The devs have been telling us for some time that they're not happy with the current state of (most) healers having infinite mana, and it looks like the reckoning is going to come in 3.1. And make no mistake, we're getting hit hard.
- Outside-of-5-second-rule regeneration is decreasing. They think the combination of HoTs and clearcasting let us stay OO5SR too long and get too much mana back.
- Since Paladins don't really use Spirit for regen, they're getting a different nerf: the healing penalty on Divine Plea is getting raised from 20% to 50%. Spiritual Attunement is also going to be nerfed for Holy paladins somehow.
- They're "taking a close look" at clearcasting abilities. "One likely outcome" is changing them so they restore mana instead of making spells free to cast, which would still give you mana back, but would not kick you OO5SR.
- It has finally been spelled out that they balance around even 10-man raids having Replenishment. Although I think this is silly (why not just remove it from the game, if everyone should have it all the time), it makes me feel a bit better that they said they are "likely to offer this ability to additional classes" (it's already been announced for Destruction warlocks, for instance).
Overall, although this feels very "sky-is-falling," it's important to remember that Blizzard is not trying to make healers sad, or break the game, or ruin your class. As they spell out at the bottom of the post, this is for the purposes of giving encounter designers more room to play. If healers can't run out of mana, they only way to make the encounter hard for them is to throw huge amounts of raid damage around, which is not always the best choice for an encounter.
This will be going up on the PTR, of course, so we'll get a chance to see exactly how it plays out. But I know a certain Holy paladin who will probably want to stop completely avoiding gear with MP5 on it in the near future.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.