I was in the WoW Stress Test and since then been following the beta boards and read about this. Just for those who haven't been following it, it basically breaks down to this.....
Before this patch came to be, mana was regenerated every tick if you were casting or not(I believe a tick in WoW is 5 seconds(mana regen was based on your character's spirit)). Because of this, casters put Spirit as being a more important stat than Intelligence enhancing items. Intelligence having the effect of increasing your mana pool but having no effect on the rate mana regenerates at. As long as you regen mana fast enough, the size of your mana pool really wasn't important.
After the patch came to be, The effects of spirit were increased so mana(AND possibly health I believe(Health doesn't regen due to spirit while in combat(that was true before and after the patch))) would regenerate even faster than before, BUT now you don't start to regenerate mana for 5 seconds after you finish casting your last spell. Problem being that more often than not you, as a spell caster of any mana using class, cast often enough that you may actually not regenerate ANY mana during a fight.
While I hear a lot of whining on the boards, this is probably a good thing. Before intelligence was being almost completely ignored as a stat for a caster and not it's important, AS IT SHOULD BE! I think the real problem here is the resistance to change or what is being seen as a "nerf" when it is really a correction to make things as they were meant to be all along. The purpose of spirit seems to be to help decrease downtime between fights and THAT'S IT!. There is a reason you don't regenerate health during a fight. Now there is a reason you don't regenerate mana during a fight also. You CAN regenerate mana during a fight but it means actually medding a while without casting. Not only CAN you regenerate mana during a fight, but because the effects of spirit were effectively TRIPLED you can gain more mana faster than before. The cost though is not to cast for a short time.
People can say I don't know what I'm talking about because I'm not in the beta, but I think it's because I'm not in the beta and my character wasn't effected by this that I can be more detached and logically objective over this than someone who is playing and upset by the change.
Come release, to most people this will just be the way it is from the beginning because for them that WILL be the beginning, and it will be a very accepted thing. It has a definite purpose and it serves it. Now your mana pool matters and it really should have mattered. It's because it didn't that this change had to be.
I think the smartest thing Blizzard did was start a new beta server NOW, after the patch. Reasoning is now new players will come to the game after this change and they will be able to see it in effect from the "beginning". The new server is just that, a new beginning. Now that Hunters are a class offered from when people first started playing(being the new testers invited to play), I think you will see them more welcomed in groups than on the older servers. On the older servers Hunters are a relatively new class, one that people did without for a long time so once they came to be, no one wanted them in groups because they did fine without them before.
My main reason for writing this is because this is an insight I had into this change and I just can't post it on the beta sight because it's beta testers only. I'd hope a beta tester might link this to the official sight as I think it is a reasonable insight to the change and might help people better understand the reason behind it.
Btw, let me know how this patch helped Hunter's pet's DPS. Before they were little more than meat shields with no DPS. I know Blizzard doesn't want Hunters to be over-powered, but the pets definitely needed to be dealing more damage(That was my class during the stress test obviously. I didn't have any problem grouping during that time btw as that was also a "new beginning" as I was talking about before, but I've been following people's threads about the Hunters).
Edited, Wed Sep 22 00:14:26 2004 by KerikDaven