"Let the bears pay the bear tax, I pay the Homer tax."
- Homer J. Simpson
Part of the reason I'm insistent that Seals should not proc of instant attacks is because those Seals exact a "tax" on our abilities. To see what I mean, compare Mortal Strike and Crusader Strike.
Mortal Strike is easier to get (31 points vs 41 points), has an awesome debuff, and does about the same damage as Crusader Strike (100% Weapon + 380 vs 110% Weapon).
Yet that comparison is not quite accurate. CS will proc a Seal. If we assume Seal of Blood (Seal of Command is much the same, only more bursty and with a bit more complex math), Crusader Strike actually does 110% Weapon + 28% Holy Weapon. *That* ability combination compares well with Mortal Strike. Paladin attacks will always seem weaker than you would think, because of the hidden "Seal tax".
You can see the same thing with Divine Storm. 100% Physical Weapon damage to 4 targets, with a small heal, is seriously not worth being a 51-point talent. It's pretty much Whirlwind, only Whirlwind is a baseline warrior ability. But 100% Physical Weapon + 28% Holy Weapon is much closer to a decent talent.
Maybe it's a problem with perception, more than anything else. Paladin attacks just look weak, and I think that hurts the morale of the class. If abilities didn't proc seals, but were slightly buffed, I think paladins would be happier. If for example, assuming no seal proc, Crusader Strike did 125% Physical Weapon damage, and Divine Storm went back to 100% Holy damage, they would look more powerful. A direct comparison to warrior abilities is not so one-sided anymore.
Second, having abilities proc Seals tightly couples Seals to the abilities. This means the abilities don't really exist independently of each other, and it's harder to tweak abilities without affecting Seals and vice versa. For example, Seals have been significantly nerfed since the start of Beta, primarily to keep Retribution damage in line. But this has had the side-effect of significantly hurting Holy's ability to solo. If Seals were separate from abilities, the Seals could be made more powerful, and Ret's abilities tuned separately. This would help improve Holy soloing, while not adding to Ret's burst or sustained damage.
Third, I think Blizzard is coming too close to making a Retribution paladin feel like a "Warrior-lite". Crusader Strike is Mortal Strike without the debuff. Divine Storm is Whirlwind. Apparently we're getting a Deep Wounds variant just like Warriors. We gear like warriors, and use warrior weapons. Judgements of the Wise mimics rage.
Having some points of differentiations is important in my view. For example, the new Art of War talent is a very nice talent--assuming the heal doesn't interrupt the swing timer--because it plays up to the *paladin* side, and doesn't feel like a warrior talent at all. Even the old Crusader Strike refreshed all Judgements, which is a very paladin-centric ability. One of the knocks against the new CS is that it really doesn't feel like a paladin ability anymore.
One of the main points of differentiation is that paladins do Holy damage. That's our shtick. Crusader Strike is the exception, mostly so we can still do something when Silenced. The old Divine Storm was Holy damage, reinforcing the differentiation, and the paladin identity. And this manifests in subtle ways. As Slayton at Retpaladin.com points out:
Making Divine Storm be physical damage also takes away from the good itemization. The armor penetration we weren’t stacking just got an itemization buff, and that destroys the simplicity of who got what and what was best. We got the haste strength gear, warriors got the hit armor pen.
It's not to say that armor penetration and hit are useless to Ret paladins, just we value those stats slightly less than warriors, and that's a good thing. Too much homogeneity is bad for the game.
I want a Ret Paladin to feel like a Ret Paladin, not a warrior rip-off. Keep Divine Storm as Holy damage, decouple Seals from abilities, eliminate the Seal Tax and balance abilities so that they can stand on their own.