Apparently Christmas comes early in Irvine. Blizzard decided to share their notes for the paladin class a full two days ahead of time, which I have to say is a nice switch in tradition from their normal habit of pushing content back until "it's ready." While prot paladins are wondering what exactly Blizzard's plans are for their spec, ret paladins are worrying about losing their defensive capabilities that have been their go-to cooldowns in PvP play. The developers did however shine a light onto their plans for holy paladins in Cataclysm, revealing a bit of their design strategy.
The big reveal came in the form of Healing Hands, the future addition to our healing toolbox. While it satisfies a few of my requirements, such as having an AoE effect and being on a relatively short cooldown, there are still a lot of questions about exactly how powerful HH will be and how tiny the radius actually is. Either way, we've finally got something we can cast when our group is taking AoE damage, and that has me hopeful that we may finally escape the bonds of full-time tank healers. The power of this ability remains to be seen, but I'm glad that Blizzard knows what we lack and they're working to fix that.