Hello fellow MMO-champers, I'm going to warn you beforehand that it's going to be a bit of a wall of text. I also ask that before you respond, please read the whole thing so we can constructively discuss the matter rather than dwell on misunderstandings. Also I speak from a 10m point of view, just so we're clear.
First of all let's begin with the rant. A short 'history' recap for discipline. At the start of Cataclysm it became clear very fast that Discipline in general was underpowered. Our mana regen suffered, our throughput from our absorbs were laughable. Thankfully however we got a fairly quick hotfix increasing our rapture by a fair amount. A while after that we got a major increase on our shields throughput, 208 % to be exact. After this patch I finally felt like the class had the throughput and tools to compete with holy spec.
However; in highend 25m raids we had several disc players spamming shields with the aid of several innervates/tides, resulting in ridiculously high disc priest parses. This was immediately countered by Blizzard by majorly increasing the mana cost for shields, effectively making it unspammable. This however, in my opinion nerfed disc priests in 10m too much, we never had access to that kind of mana regen and thus shield spamming just wasn't viable either.
What comes across to me as plain odd is that a lot of our disc talents are designed around the regular use of power:word shield. Soul warding, Rapture, Borrowed Time and Strength of Soul are all talents that don't increase shields effectiveness, no it promotes regular use. Which they're trying to counter in the first place. This sounds like a dilemma to me. Which brings me to my first suggestion: Redesign these talents to increase effectiveness, but without promoting regular use. Now I'm no game developer, so as to how to redesign the talents I'll leave that to the experts.
Next patch they're going to half the duration of our shields. This effectively destroys any form of pre-shielding. Before you start jumping the bandwagon and scream 'l2play you need to predict incoming damage' hear me out. The playstyle I use in 10m is that I'm mainly the tank healer, I keep up the tanks. However, I help out on the raid when people get low, I usually toss them a shield to give them a 'buffer' sort of speak so the other 2 healers can top him up again. If the player doesn't get hit for a while, sure no problem it's not that much of a mana waste as it's reasonably possible the person will get hit by something else in the 30 seconds after that. However with shields being reduced to 15 seconds, that's really not a whole lot of time. It only becomes useful to cast on people who you know are going to take imminent damage. I do this already, I don't just mindless spam shields, but with the duration nerf you really have no choice now but to save it as a 'panic' button, where the above mentioned talents just go against that idea completely.
The last item on my list I was planning to mention is our mastery. Our mastery affects a total of TWO mechanics. Power:word shields directly, and our Divine Aegis, which is random as it's based on crit. It also has a cap on how high it can be. Now let's look at the holy mastery. It affects... well pretty much all spells. They don't need to crit or anything, no random based element there. And definitely not based on a spell that is discouraged to use often. This brings me to my second suggestion. Completely redesign our mastery to make it affect more spells in our arsenel. A way to do this for example is to make mastery ALWAYS add divine aegis to our direct heals, not just on crits. Obviously this would need to be a lower value than DA in it's current state, but I'm sure with some rebalancing with numbers we could make it work where it's not overpowered. If this doesn't promote using direct heals I don't know what else will. It will much better fit within the definition of a discipline priest, we use absorbs to increase effective HP, and a much more controlled procrate of DA would help towards this goal. As for actual numbers, I'll leave that to the professionals, I'm merely suggesting the possibility.
So what do you think? What flaws do you discover about my suggestions? What do you suggest instead?