Blizzard mentioned they'd like Haste to also increase our mana regeneration. If that's the case they might make Divine Plea benefit from haste too or something to that effect. We can be pretty sure they'll try to balance things such that we won't be ignoring haste like we are armor penetration right now even if it's indirect like meaning more mana for later/continuous stream of it.
Haste affecting mana regen is only useful if we're designed to be mana constrained rather than cooldown constrained. At this point I'm not ruling anything out. There's too many things about our class (ret and holy, not so much prot) that don't line up with blizzard's design goals. They're also iterating on our design fairly rapidly (as indicated by the DS change and the recent holy comment).
If they do decide to go with mana management, then I'd fully expect an attack power to mana conversion (probably 1-2 mana per AP). If we're meant to be holy warriors (which is once interpretation of GC's comment of we're warriors which give up mobility and bleeds for heals and holy damage) then, in my opinion, this feels like the right change. Should we feel more like a melee caster than a melee? Maybe that's the answer to the mobility question as well. We should want to be in melee range but if we're not, we could still do our job (at a reduced effectiveness). Something like we have a mix of ranged and melee holy damage abilities. The ranged stuff would be instant cast when in melee (or reasonably close to melee) but has a cast time outside this range. The mechanics are in the game to do this (Art of War but instead of a buff check, its a range check).
The reason I say this is that holy is meant to be able to solo effectively enough that you could farm/level with a holy spec. Holy really needs some spamable damage ability if it's going to solo, preferably ranged as holy really feels like a caster. Giving something like this to all paladins kills about three birds with one stone (prot ranged threat, holy solo, ret mobility).
The closest to Ret is Enhance, here is how haste affects their mana regeneration.
Primal Wisdom - Your melee attacks have a 20/40% chance to immediately restore 35% of your base mana.
Shaman have some spells that do decent damage but are mana inefficient such as the AoE moves Fire Nova and sometimes Chain Lightning is better than Lightning Bolt on a single target, so with more haste they should be able to use the higher damage/mana inefficient attacks, so that would be interesting to see if the two new Ret abilities follow that style.
Actually, removing the cooldown off exorcism (and buffing the damage quite a bit - about a 4k nuke in holy gear and 6k in ret gear at the current content level and bump the mana up to about 18% of base) would do this. Art of war is our maelstrom weapon equivalent. More haste would mean more exorcism procs. Crit and haste would play off eachother (more crit makes more haste valuable and vice versa). Holy dps would be about 4k (with good haste, exorcism has about a 1.0-1.15 second cast) giving holy good soloability while Art of War becomes something we have to watch for and want to use. The more I think about it, the more I think that this is likely.
Whatever design they choose to make for us, we will be viable. We will see improvements from all stats which affect melee damage that make it worth the itemisation. That doesn't mean that we won't prefer one over the other but we won't see things like crit being twice as good as haste. We will be fun to play... well, I hope we'll be fun to play.
An interesting question is what is likely to remain in our talent trees, given blizzard's design goals? Here's my opinion:
- Art of War
- Righteous Vengeance
- Divine Storm
- Vengeance? (Not completely certain)
- Swift Retribution (will probably have some other bonus attached as well so it's worth taking if we're duplicating raid buffs)
- Replenishment (I'd say the self mana part of Judgements of the Wise will be a passive given at lvl 10)
- Sanctified Wrath
- Eye for an Eye (Maybe, it's an interesting talent but isn't exactly useful, maybe if it's changed into a reflection?)
Everything else is either passive damage, a cleave (Seal of Command), pvp talent (we'll probably keep just one with a modified Pursuit of Justice being the likely candidate), a boring talent (eg. Imp Judgement) or buff to a buff. That's about 20 points using the current design and none of these are 5 point talents (so it's likely to stay at 20ish points). Sheath of Light (or similar) will be a specialisation passive (we probably lose the hot part).
We still need half a tree. Some of which will be things affecting our active specialisation ability, an end of tree ability and some synergy talents but the rest will be entirely new ret design.