Quick bullet points:
- As predicted, Art of War was changed. Overall, Ret is still awesome, but no more 20K crits.
- Seal of Righteousness is really strong at the moment. It's scaling a bit too well with AP. In full Ret gear, with a Ret spec, SoR is looking like my highest DPS seal. Unfortunately, it's our levelling seal for 1-60, where we don't have any SP, so Blizzard will have to be very careful with it. The only solution I can think of is to have a breakpoint in the AP scaling. I.e. the first 1000 AP gets 10% scaling, but all AP after that only gets 5%.
- Divine Storm's graphic is awesome! It's pretty much the single best spell effect in the game. It's like a storm of hammers swirls around you.
- Seals now last for 2 minutes. However, Judgments now invoke a global cooldown, as they should.
- Pets and mounts are sort of spells now. At least, right-clicking the pet or mount causes you to "learn" the pet/mount and puts it in a pane on your character sheet. This is pretty neat, and frees up a ton of bag space. Plus, it's really easy to review your collection. The pane has a display so you can see what each pet looks like.
- There's a built-in calendar now. You can schedule raids, and do sign-ups. It's somewhat bare-bones, but it covers all the basics. In my view, this is a huge step forward for new guilds. In many ways, this simple change has the potential to be the best change for endgame that Blizzard has introduced.
- Potions grant a debuff now that prevents you from drinking another potion until the end of combat. This puts an end to chain-potting, and returns potions to an emergency-use item.
One interesting thing about this change I found is that a lot of casual commenters are predicting that the hardcore would be unhappy with this change, as it makes the endgame more accessible to casuals (no more farming for pots). Meanwhile, at EJ, pretty much everyone is cheering the change. The point is that a lot of the things that the casuals don't like about endgame, the hardcore also do not like. However, the difference is that the hardcore is willing to put up with these negatives, to do whatever they deem necessary to be successful.
On the one hand, that's good, as they're willing to work hard for a goal. If killing a boss requires chain-potting, they will chain-pot. On the other hand, they do lack a sense of proportion about things, and things end up balanced around the extremes, rather than closer to the center. Raid encounters end up balanced assuming that everyone is chaining potions.
- Back to paladins, apparently Consecration and Exorcism now scale with AP as well as SP. The biggest problem with current prot gear is that there is very little strength on it, and that makes it hard to judge how good the the Protection tree is. I'm strongly considering junking all my Prot epics and trying the new Cobalt blacksmithing armor (+Str, +Sta, +def). I also need to find a good DPS 1H weapon. Maybe I'll try Ret Gear + 1H/Shield, and see how that works for general soloing.