From a first look at the paladin spells from 70-80 as displayed on MMO Champion, I was struck by the jump in mana costs for the new two ranks for both Flash of Light and Holy Light.
Using a quick spreadsheet to compare and calculate evolution in healing per mana (HPM) for the new ranks, this is what I came up with:
As you can see, there is a sharp drop in mana efficiency, in particular for the former one-trick pony casters using FoL for their bread and butter healing. The ranks are, of course, FoL 5 to 9 and HL 9 to 13, respectively.
The graph appears to be spelling the end of the healadin as the game’s mana efficiency caster (though in all fairness I haven’t looked at what happens with the other healers so far), but this is, actually, not the whole picture.
If we work under the assumption that the MMO-Champion numbers are correct AND final (which might be something of a stretch, see below), we will start having to take the paladin’s third heal into account. Indeed, in Wrath, Holy Shock moves from a lackluster and highly inefficient heal on a 15 seconds cooldown to something much more useable running on a 6 seconds cooldown instead – a tool which could very well become a standart element in any healadin’s spell rotation, moreso since with the appropriate talents, a crit Holy Shock will accordingly make the next Holy Light spell instant. Or, to put it differently, if a paladin suddenly needs to step up his heals in an emergency, within one single GCD he can drop a crit HS followed by a max rank Holy Light for almost 7.5k raw healing done – before even factoring in spellpower.
Here’s the graph with Holy Shock included. While it looks very good for the new and improved Shock, there’s one big caveat which makes the whole thing look a bit, well, fishy to me. The last three ranks (HS 5 to 7) are all listed with 650 mana cost.
Which seems odd, to say the least.
Nonetheless, healadins were lacking any serious Oh Crap! tools in their arsenal in TBC. The transformation of Holy Shock, with the added talent to make a crit HS followed up with an instant HL as described above, when properly geared, may very well top off any tank who just moved from normal operations into the realm of “incoming wipe risk”.
Most definitely something worth watching out for.
EDIT: the graphs should now look less like something my 3-year old daughter made in a hurry