It still boggles my mind that people can't understand how bad Paladins really will be. Outside of 1 or 2 token Paladins for Blessings, what do you gain by bringing more? And since those token Paladin slots can be covered via Ret or Prot, why bring Holy, since Prot brings BoSanc which is arguably irreplaceable.
I have the exact opposite impression. In fact, I would say that paladins (as a class, not a spec) are best positioned for stacking. Technically, you get additional benefits for up to 4 paladins although obviously the 4th blessing is of limited use. What other class is that true for? Certainly, I can see bringing 3 paladins to every raid because of sanctuary (unique), kings (unique), might and wisdom (unique). Why bring holy? Because prot and ret aren't going to spec into imp. BoW.
The goal for healing balance is not that any 6-8 of them will be able to heal any fight in the game. They presume that there will be some mixture of them, and certain healers will be better at certain tasks. When you have 5 specs to use for 6-8 spots it is safe to make some of those assumptions. For DPS where you have 21 specs for 13-18 spots, and tanking where you have 4 specs for 1-3 spots, is why they changed those classes to be more interchangeable.
Beacon of Light has greatly helped us when we need to heal non tanks. It is amazing in 5/10 mans, and with it we should have no problems healing these instances compared to other healers. The only time it could be an issue is where every single group member needs a heal in less then 6 seconds or else they will die. I don't know of any fights though when that will be an issue.
I am very excited to heal with my paladin in WotLK, and I think we are in a much better place then TBC. We have a lot more tools (SS, BoL, HS) at our disposal to deal with different situations that still keeps with the style of Pally healing. I don't want to be made into a priest with different spell names, I enjoy the healing style of my paladin.
This focus of Blizzard's also shows their lack of intelligent design. You *cannot* have something be "different, but equal", it just isn't possible in a game of this size. The only remote chance you have is to dumb down encounters so much that the *obvious* answer is to use a Paladin as the MT healer, even though a Shaman or Disc Priest give nearly as much throughput, along with more options over a Paladin. This is what I'm worried about their "no more sunwell" comment in regards to raiding.
While I disagree about "you cannot have something be different, but equal," you are missing the point. GC said that the whole equality for tanks and class buffs does not apply to healers. To state it clearly, healers are not designed to be equal to each other. This is similar to the pre-Wrath design where the tanks were not equal - pallies were hands down the best AoE tanks, warriors had the best tools to fill the MT role, and druids had the best DPS when not tanking. The reason for changing tanks to be "different, but equal" do not apply to healers, and the current design is to have healers fill niches in raids but be relatively equal in 5/10-mans.
I don't believe that Blizzard will dumb down encounters. I have no proof or theory for this belief other than the consistent track record they have with providing entertaining, challenging, and creative encounters. YMMV
I have no proof or theory for this belief other than the consistent track record they have with providing entertaining, challenging, and creative encounters. YMMV
EDIT: TLA FTL
I believe Magtheridon and Kael'thas would like to have a few words with you on that one.
But it's true, Blizzard has specifically inclined that they don't hold tanks and DPS under the same design lens as healers. Therefore, it's important for Holy paladins to realize that there is a limit at which they will not be brought to raids--a limit that does not exist for any of the other three healing classes. That's the price we pay for being the "best" tank healers. In reality what this means is that the first 1-3 Holy paladins are guaranteed raid slots, but any Holy paladins over that number are guaranteed exclusions. This is going to result in a stringent limit on the Holy paladin roster in heavy-duty raiding guilds, unless Blizzard removes raid healing as a necessary component of raids.