With 5.4 coming soon, I figured I would take some time to comment on the possible upcoming changes to the lovely paladin class. Remember this is my opinion on the changes, and I am a protection paladin with a retribution off-spec. I may not have everything correct with holy but if you want to correct me, I will gladly listen and make changes accordingly.
The basis of this is off the blizzard patch note page that was updated the 20th of August. General Sanctity of Battle now also affects the cool down of Holy Shock.
This is really helpful for holy paladins (further reference to holy paladins as shock-a-din or holydins), this allows them to stack haste to get faster casts on holy shocks. Holy shock heals and deals damage, so being a shock-a-din is more relevant with this change.
Seal of Insight no longer has a chance to restore mana on attacks.
I will go on a limb and say, mana hasn't really been an issue. Being a noob, I use to run with Seal of Truth for single target and I never experienced mana loss as an issue. With that being said, this effects holydins the most with the loss of being able to melee bosses for mana.
Turn Evil now has a 15-second cool down.
"Lol" at this. Turn Evil having no cool down was basically OP. But there was no use for PVP since there wasn't too many things affected by this. However with a change to turn evil, makes Turn Evil cast-able on Humans.. making this change extremely necessary. Without the cool down, paladins can solo anything easily.
Holy Mastery: Illuminated Healing no longer activates from periodic healing effects.
This is an obvious nerf to the holy paladin. However, there aren't too many Heal over Time dependent paladins out there. This did benefit some of the new spells that had come out for the paladin to compete with the druid and shaman. This hinders them but with with the increase in Holy Shock, I feel that holy paladins will be just fine.
Divine Plea no longer reduces the amount of healing done, and now restores mana based on the Paladin's Spirit.
As stated above in the general paladin section, the hit to the Seal of Insight hurts the paladin. However, with this change to divine plea, it increases the mana regen for the holy paladin. The reduction to healing done hurt the paladin. Removing it helps the over all healing of the pally, to make up for the loss from new Mastery: Illuminated. Overall, I feel that this is the best change for the holydin.
Guardian of the Ancient Kings (Holy Version) now deals additional healing based on any heal cast by the Paladin for 15 seconds for the duration of the spell. The Paladin also has 10% additional haste for the duration that the ability is active.
This is a huge buff for holydins. With higher heals and critical heals, this additional healing from the ancient king is pivotal to a healers rotation. Also with the Sanctity of Battle buff the haste from the Ancient King makes the holy shocks even more powerful.
Holy Insight now increases the effectiveness of Eternal Flame, Light of Dawn, and Word of Glory by 50%. Effectiveness of other heals are still increased by 25%.
This is another buff for the holydin. However it is only an increase of healing for the eternal flame, light of dawn and Word of Glory. The rest is left alone at 25% which is still good. Which, correct me if I'm wrong is directly related to your teir 3 talents.
Holy Shock's mana cost has been reduced by 50%.
This is a beneficial change to a holydin since the Sanctity of Battle buff affects the holy shock. This is huge,
Judgement for Holy Paladins now cost 12% of base mana to cast (up from 5% of base mana).
This is a little bit of a nerf, not sure how big of an impact this is going to be. With the removal of mana regen from seal of insight, I feel that it was an unnecessary change. The Selfless Healer now grants holy power for the holy power with judgement.
Protection Crusader Strike now applies a Weakened Blow effect to the target for Protection Paladins. For anyone who is curious a weakened blow effect is an debuff that reduces the victim's attack power by 10%. This is helpful because before this, paladins didn't have any type of debuff to help with damage reduction. This will stack up to 30% I believe. Grand Crusader no longer has a chance to activate from Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous, but now has a 30% chance to activate when dodging or parrying a melee attack (up from 12%).
This is a partial nerf and a partial buff. It is a nerf in the fact that most of the paladins in the game went nothing but haste to build Word of Glory's and try to get Grand Crusaders. This is a buff because its makes dodging and parrying worth something again. Do not worry boys and girls, haste is still the number one stat for paladins, but dodge and parry matter once again. Guarded by the Light now restores 15% of the Paladin's maximum mana every 2 seconds (up from 6%).
Guarded by the Light is a very helpful for a protection paladin (further references will be prot pallys). Increase total stamina by 25% and block chance by 10%, Reduces the chance you will be critically hit by melee attacks by 6%, word of glory is no longer on the GCD, your spell power is now equal to 50% of your attack power and now restores mana for 15% of your max mana from 6%. Huge increase since they took away the seal of insight mana regen.
Retribution Guardian of the Ancient Kings (Retribution Version) now has a reduced cooldown of 3 minutes, down from 5 minutes, and the maximum number of stacks has been reduced to 12.
This is a buff with the cooldown being reduced. However the number of stacks being reduced is a real killer for the dps that this thing puts out. But with the 2 minute reduction, The retribution paladin (further references will be retadins or ret pallys) can cast this king a couple more times in a long battle. More than you could before.
Inquisition now lasts 20 seconds per charge of Holy Power consumed, up from 10 seconds.
Huge buff, the inquisition lasts longer, meaning less holy power consumed to keep this up. Meaning more holy power for Templar's Verdict. This is a really big retribution buff.
Talents Burden of Guilt has been replaced with a new talent called Evil is a Point of View - Evil is a Point of View allows the paladin to use Turn Evil on players and beasts.
This is extremely useful in PVP, however a tad bit overpowered. This is overpowered in my opinion because you are giving an already hard to kill class an ability that can alter an arena or PVP There is a change that I had mentioned before that adds a cool down to Turn Evil. But even with the cool down, the paladin will be superior in the arena. This is also helpful when leveling. You can fear around beasts if you get overrun. Simple, helpful mechanic.
Eternal Flame's periodic heal-over-time effect now heals for 40% more.
This is a huge increase in the healing done of Eternal Flame. With the change of the mastery illuminated healing no longer affected by hots, this increase in healing done for the Eternal Flame seems like a good counter. Worth spec'ing in to and worth using on CD.
Execution Sentence will now immediately damage the target for 5 times the amount of damage that had been dealt by Execution Sentence's most recent periodic effect when dispelled. Stay of Execution will now immediately heal the target for 5 times the amount of healing that had been dealt by Stay of Execution's most recent periodic effect when dispelled.
Instead of a delay with the healing/damage done from Execution Sentence, it happens immediately. Seems like a huge buff in both healing and in damage.
Hand of Purity now reduces damage taken from harmful periodic effects by 80% (up from 70%) and reduces damage taken from harmful periodic effects that cannot be prevented by immunities by 40% (up from 0%).
This is helpful for all specs of the paladin class. It reduces damage across the board by 10% and it also takes in effect the harmful periodic effects that cannot be prevented by immunities. This is probably the biggest change to Hand of Purity, to help with survivability.
Sacred Shield: Holy - now applies its damage absorption shield immediately, can be active on more than one target at a time, but the talent now costs mana and has 3 charges with a 10-second recharge. Protection - 30% less effective.
The Sacred Shield for holy turned into the old Earth Shield from shamans. It gives them a priest like bubble that absorbs damage, and it has 3 charges with a 10 second recharge. The change is from absorbing damage every 6 seconds to being always active. Also it can be cast on multiple targets unlike the shaman's earth shield. This is a buff. However, for prot pallys, its an obvious nerf. 30% less effective.
Sanctified Wrath: Holy - now also increases the critical strike chance of Holy Shock by 20%. Protection - now causes Judgement to generate 2 Holy Power instead of 1 while Avenging Wrath is active.
When Sanctified Wrath is active for the holy spec, Holy Shock's critical strike goes up 20%. This is a buff, more holy shocks and for higher the amount healer and damage done. When Sanctified Wrath is active for the prot spec, Judgements generate 2 holy power. Buff. More Holy Power equals more survivability.
Selfless Healer in addition to its current effects, now also causes judgement to generate a charge of Holy Power for Holy Paladins. Stacks of Selfless Healer now reduce the cast time, mana cost, and improve the effectiveness of Divine Light, Flash of Light, and Holy Radiance. Bastion of Glory will now apply Selfless Healer's bonus to healing to the casting paladin as well as other targets and consume all stacks of Bastion of Glory in the process.
This saves the blizzard from the changes they made to seal of insight. Taking away mana regen and increasing judgement costs? Selfless healer now has an answer for that. Judgments now generate a charge of Holy Power for holydins. It also reduces cast time, mana cost and improves effectiveness of key holy spells. Bastion of Glory also will add stacks of selfless healer, but will consume all stacks of BoG in the process.
Unbreakable Spirit has been simplified. It now reduces the cooldown on Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Lay on Hands by 50%.
This isn't a buff or a nerf, it just simplifies Unbreakable Spirit, reducing cooldowns of our bubbles by 50%.
(New majors) Glyph of Divine Shield: Removing harmful effects with Divine Shield heals the Paladin for each effect removed. This heal cannot exceed a percentage of the Paladin's maximum health.
This is a fun little buff, healing the Paladin per harmful effect that is removed with buff.. It's helpful in raids and even more helpful in PVP. My only question is that is the healing a flat rate per effect or does it increase if the effect has a stackable counter.
Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice: Hand of Sacrifice no longer transfers damage taken by the target to the Paladin.
This is helpful when it comes to raid encounters, reducing damage taken of the target is helpful, not having to heal yourself afterwords is helpful as well. This also applies well to PVP, arena, dungeons and other PVE encounters.
(Major Glyphs) Glyph of Denounce now causes Holy Shock to reduce the cast time of the next Denounce by 0.5 seconds, and the effect can stack up to 3 times.
This is a sweet major that causes Holy Shocks to reduce the cast time of Denounce. This can stack up to 3 times, which makes the Denounce cast time quicker. This is helpful for the shockadins out there. I am no expert but this sounds like a really good glyph to use.
Glyph of Divine Plea now reduces the amount of mana restored and cooldown of Divine Plea by 50%.
The glyph is mainly for the decreased cool down for the Divine Plea which is useful. The reduction of the mana restored is nearly just a setback because of the change to Divine Plea in the first place. The mana restored is based off the Paladin's max mana which is already a buff. If you want more divine plea's, I would say go for this glyph.
Glyph of Holy Wrath now also allows Holy Wrath to stun Abberations.
This should have been done when Pandaria came out, this is helpful against Sha creatures. Suggests a lot of sha creatures will be fought in the Siege.
Glyph of Immediate Truth now increase the instant damage done by Seal of Truth 40% (up from 30%).
This is a pure damage buff for ret pallys. This is also a single target threat bonus for paladins, if they aren't using battle healer.
Glyph of Inquisition has been redesigned. The glyph now increases the duration of Inquisition by 30 seconds (up to a maximum of 2 minutes) each time the Paladin lands a killing blow on targets that yield experience or honor.
This is huge, this way a paladin doesn't have to keep using holy power every time Inquisition wears off, every 30 seconds or so. This way if the pally gets the killing blow, it stays with him for 30 more seconds. Win in my book for ret pallys in PVP and in PVE.
Glyph of Rebuke has been replaced with Glyph of Devotion Aura. Glyph of Devotion Aura causes Devotion Aura to no longer affect party or raid members, but the cool down is reduced.
This is just another cool down for the pally. The cool down reduction is nice, but I personally like Devotion Aura as a raid wide damage reduction.
Glyph of the Alabaster Shield now increases damage for the next Shield of Righteous by 10% per stack (down from 20% per stack).
This is a damage reduction for the pally, but the shield's damage reduction is the same, still worth grabbing as a prot pally in PVE and in PVP.
Glyph of the Battle Healer has been redesigned. The glyph now causes Seal of Insight to no longer heal the Paladin. Instead, a nearby raid or party member will receive healing for 30% of the amount the Paladin would have received from Seal of Insight.
I am still on the fence about this one. This is a buff in terms of a raid or PVP where healing others is why battle healer was put into place. The part that I do not like is that it no longer heals the paladin, which is what seal most paladins use to farm or do dailies. It would change the way I do dailies but I can see where it is good for the betterment of the raid. 30% of what it would normally heal the paladin would suggest the more hit points the paladin has the more healing it does.
Glyph of Turn Evil has been replaced with Glyph of Burden of Guilt. Glyph of Burden of Guilt causes Judgement to reduce the targets movement speed by 50% for 2 seconds.
This is a PVP glyph, this reduces the movement speed by 50%. This is helpful for ret pallys to ensnare their victims. This has no effect in raids, and also a bit of an advantage in other PVE fights.
(New Minor Glyphs) Glyph of the Exorcist: Exorcism will now appear to remove the evil from its target.
This is cosmetic, and it seems pretty awesome to remove evil from a target.
Glyph of Pillar of Light: Critical heals on other players display a small pillar of light at their location briefly.
This is also cosmetic, makes it known who the pally is healing with a big critical effects.