The latest PTR notes had some interesting information about Eternal Flame. First, they have reduced the initial healing Eternal Flame does by 30%. This will have an impact because Eternal Flame is often the 2nd healing spell on Holy Pally logs, right behind Illuminated Healing (or which Mastery has been also nerfed in these notes from periodic healing). Fortunately, they have made a blue post detailing why the changes were made, and what we could possibly see changed/reverted once more PTR data is out.
Intent behind the Eternal Flame change
We’ve made some changes to Eternal Flame because we feel the talent was being overrepresented within the Holy Paladin population.
Our intent for was for Holy Paladins to pick Selfless Healer if they like to Judge, Eternal Flame if they like heal-over-time spells, and Sacred Shield if they liked damage absorb shields. As it worked out, most every Holy paladin chose Eternal Flame, and we don’t want every Holy paladin to be a heal-over-time machine. (That’s a niche best served by Restoration Druids and Holy Priests.)
We don’t think Holy Paladin’s healing throughput is too high overall (though we’ll gather more information from testing on the 5.4 PTR), so our intent is not to nerf but to reduce reliance on Eternal Flame. One of the biggest problem with Eternal Flame is the way it interacts with the Illuminated Healing mastery, which turns the heal-over-time spell into a potent shield as well. If needed, we will compensate by buffing healing elsewhere.
Our plans for now, are to revert the nerf that was done to the initial healing component of Eternal Flame, but we are unlikely to change the Illuminated Healing back to the way it was.