I know our insane equine friend Suicidal Zebra didn't break the story, but I'm linking his post on buff/debuff changes in the expansion. In the post, he lays out and explains a blue post from a dev on the beta boards which breaks current raid buffs and debuffs into categories, and informs the community that the strongest buff/debuff present will be counted and others ignored.
Now, I don't mean to be alarmist, but consider this for a second. What does a ret paladin bring to a raid in WotLK?
- 3% crit on debuff judgements
- Replenishment from Judgements of the Wise
- 3% haste from Swift Retribution
- 2% increased damage to all raid members affected by Retribution Aura
- The crit can be provided by a Holy/Ret paladin, which I anticipate many healer paladins speccing for since Conviction helps their healing now, and they have a reason to Judge. In addition, Totem of Wrath is a additive raid crit buff, so both cannot be active at once.
- The Replenishment buff, unless it can be provided by multiple people at once, is duplicated by survival hunters and shadow priests. This is nothing exceptional.
- The haste from Swift Retribution is duplicated by Moonkin Aura.
- The damage multiplier is duplicated by Ferocious Inspiration.
Depending on how well Blizzard does in tuning ret paladin damage and mana management, we might see a new age in paladin raid invites - ret paladins being sought after purely on skill rather than a desperate grasp at having a full-time Judgement bot.
Me, though? I might just take the easy way out and spec prot at 80. Everyone always needs a tank, even if they're just "good" and not "OMG amazing!"