Don't be silly, people, WE ARE NOT NERFING SHIELD AT ALL THE SPEC IS STILL THE SAME AS IT ALWAYS WAS LA LA LA WE DON'T HEAR YOU.
We want Power Word: Shield, Power Word: Barrier, and Divine Aegis to continue to be an important part of a Discipline priest's rotation. We want you to use those spells frequently. The changes we've made through hotfixes and those that we currently have planned for 4.1. aren't intended to remove that element of gameplay at all, but simply refine it and bring it more in line with our design goals for the spec as a whole.
I'm finally catching on to the fact that they give this quite reasonable explanation every time to make me feel better, but that it actually has no relationship to reality. I never spammed shield in the first place. These nerfs have gone well beyond making sure I can't spam it.
Essentially they're trying to make sure shield is no better or different than any other tool in the box, like Circle of Healing, or Beacon of Light, something that adds flavor to the spec without overpowering it. The trouble there is, if you're going to build the spec and its mastery around one spell
, that spell cannot be the same as every other spell; it has to be special. Special does not mean it's the only spell people cast, but it does mean, yanno, special. They're probably right that shield is too important right now; but breaking shield is not the answer if you're not going to change the underlying structure. All that does is break disc.
If it's so impossible to balance shield so it has elevated importance without being spammable, then hey, here's a thought, make the disc mastery work with other stuff! Divine Aegis is lovely and all, but it's not that useful to me personally when I'm not able to stack crit in meaningful amounts with the current gear. If this is the mitigation spec, then howzabout PW:S isn't the only thing that mitigates? Add a little absorption to other heals, the way holy's masatery adds a little HoT to other heals. Or add a couple more shieldy spells in various degrees of efficiency. I'm pretty sure there are other ways to do it besides... this.