Well, the newest patch notes have hit and it's PvP nerf
* Eye For An Eye: This talent now deals 5/10% of the critical strike damage taken by the paladin back at the attacker. [down from 10/20%]
* Hand of Freedom: The base duration of this buff has been reduced from 10 seconds to 6 seconds.
These changes are obviously a blow to Paladin PvP against Rogues, Feral Druids, Hunters, and certain flavours of other classes. I can't complain about Hunters because in BG PvP I find them to be quite squishy when all my tools all me to get in range (i.e. if they are not BM), but Rogues and Druids are already a huge PITA.
The E4aE nerf is at first glance the more minor of the two as it comes into play the most against Rogues and Ferals due to their high crit rate, and coupled with the recent nerf to Retribution Aura and Thorns it's obviously Blizzard want to move away from any sort of 'free' reflective damage.
Another nerf to HoF will hurt the most though, and the skill is now back in contention for most nerfed since Vanilla. It should still retain its' talented stun-break and 4sec increased duration but the fact that it remains dispellable and Ret has no distance closers should re-cement this classes key weakness: stay safe by staying out of range.
Still, this won't make many PvPers happy. In fact, nothing less than a 25-50% reduction in burst damage output will sate the ravening hordes now. I suppose that we should be thankful that our burst will remain untouched, but this does not augur well for any projected combat mechanic change in 3.2. Kiteability + long-lead time before burst DPS output would probably make it much more difficult for the class to function in 2's and 3's. It's not 3.2 yet however, so bring the pain whilst you can. And be comforted by the knowledge that not only Paladins were nerfed (what's the point of Chaos Bolt again?).
More words from GC:
Hand of Freedom: The base duration of this buff has been reduced from 10 seconds to 6 seconds.
Holy paladins in PVP are officially killed. Way to go Blizzard, if this isn't heavily compensated for in our holy tree or elsewhere, you'll be seeing a lot of anger from me and a ton of other paladins trying to stick with this trash spec.
Try to avoid nerfing the already crap specs while trying to tone down ridiculous things like Retribution, it makes you guys look completely clueless.
Holy and Ret paladins have in some form been on top of the current and previous Arena season. Furthermore, we think part of the reason some players, especially casters, feel like they are dying so quickly in PvP is because they can't use their crowd control abilities without them getting quickly removed. Freedom was a big part of that. It's supposed to be "Get out of jail free" card, not "you can't ever cc me" card. If that makes sense.
It is still a very potent ability, especially talented, which almost all PvP paladins do. To be honest, we're concerned the duration is still too long. (Source)
Just in case anybody wasn't aware, the new HoF will be 10 seconds talented (7pts in Prot) with a cooldown of 25 seconds. I think this has to be a blow struck due to Ret's current arena representation in 3's, and seems a bit much for Holy which is far from mobile and needs the group utility to be competitive. 10 secs apparently may still be too long, so expect yet another nerf later (or something of a side-effect, such as a slow after you come out of Freedom or a Forbearance-like debuff lasting longer than 25secs). Stoicism not affecting the dispell chance of Freedom is another possibility.
As mentioned, the litmus test will be 3.2, with this supposed change to melee combat timings and the requirement to 'wind-up' our burst.