This isn't the way Holy Paladins were meant to be played. It's more like a Druid playstyle. Instead of being optional, Holy paladins are in danger of having this playstyle be mandatory. So Blizzard is taking aim at this practice. The last PTR version featured several major nerfs:
- Initial heal of EF decreased by 30%
- The HoT part of EF no longer gives mastery shields
Now, Blizzard has walked back these changes, but it is pretty clear that some sort of change will come to Eternal Flame.
After the mastery nerf in 5.3, Holy Paladins are not overpowered in PvE. It's more that EF was becoming mandatory, and that Holy Paladins were being pushed to heal in non-traditional (at least for paladins) style. The second part is why EF will not become a baseline spell, and instead will be nerfed.
Here's my suggestion for an Eternal Flame nerf:
- Make Word of Glory and Eternal flame cost exactly 3 Holy Power.
Right now, WoG and EF can be cast for 1, 2, or 3 Holy Power for a scaling effect. If you can only cast 3pt EFs, you can keep them up on about 2 people at a time. You can do more sporadically with Divine Purpose, and go nuts with Holy Avenger on cd, but those can't really be counted on (and note that both can't be used together). Instead you'll effectively maintain EF on a tank and one other, maybe yourself or the other tank. If EF is on a tank, mastery shields will get chewed up pretty quickly, so having EF extend mastery is not an issue.
It would also match the other Holy Power finishers. Templar's Verdict, Divine Storm, and Shield of the Righteous all require exactly 3 Holy Power.
Now, this might not be a strong enough nerf to make EF optional. At that point, Blizzard would have to look at stronger actions, or strengthening the other talents in that tier. However, a fixed Holy Power cost is the smallest change that attacks the playstyle directly, and is more in-line with how Eternal Flame was original designed to be used.