Priests: value of Improved/Empowered Healing talents to you?
Seeing as Heal, leave alone Lesser Heal, is hardly getting much benefit from your +heal at lvl 70, Improved Healing talent (the one that reduces mana cost of all your Lesser Heals, Heals and Greater Heals by 15% when maxed) seems relatively unattractive.
With the universally praised and admired Prayer of Mending now becoming the healing workhorse even on a single target, Empowered Healing (which happens to empower only GHeal and Flash) is also looking underwhelming.
Personally, I don't tend to include Empowered Healing in my spec even when I spec relatively deep into Holy.
But now I am starting to think that even Improved Healing might not be worth it, with the talent points better spent on Spell Warding for example.
You're looking at two completely different types of heals and healing styles.
I don't think you can compare gheal to prayer of mending because they're used in completely different situations. I do pretty much all of my healing in raids (and most of it in heroics) through gheal (usually rank 1-3 and rank 7, depending on the zone) with mending and renew used between casts for the next spike. PoM is a great ability in terms of efficiency in many situations but the way I look at it its far from a main healing spell. It works pretty well in easy 5 mans, but when the tank starts getting drilled it doesn't provide enough hps to sustain a group.
If you're going for a pure pve spec, it should include both improved healing and empowered healing if you ask me.
Yes, Prayer of Mending is good. And used on many trash burns and AOE cases.
With greater heals thrown in here and there
But when I'm on a boss fight, my main heal is going to be greater heals on the tank.(With PoM and renews to keep up group). And boss fights are where mana concerns are a bigger issue. Thus Improved Healing is always valuable.
As for Empowered Healing, I probably won't seriously consider this talent until I have at least 1800-2000 +healing.
For arena healing, divine fury, improved healing and empowered healing are almost utterly useless. For raid healing and particularly heroic instances, you need the huge healing per second to keep the tank up, and with the downsized raid groups each healer must put out more HPS than before. If you tend to PvP a lot, heal in light PvE content and rarely chaincast greater heal, then skip those talents. The "ideal" arena build definitely excludes greater heal talents, but a PvP + PvE build really needs them (minus empowered healing).