I'm wondering what people's thoughts on the current implementation is. Personally, I find it sub-optimal. They make a rather large difference, but they are essentially a "click me every 2 minutes and forget" mechanism. I'm not a fan of this as it makes them basically manditory for hard content (hardcore-inferno comes to mind) because most of them make rather large differences.
Mantras were changed to have a "burst" benefit upon cast. I don't want to place judgement on without playing, but given what I do know it doesn't sound like a good fix to me. All it does is make you dedicate a skill slot to it in what I feel isn't terribly interesting. I would find it much better if the "burst" effect was secondary in nature, and not just a better version of the current effect.
Essentially my concern is with the wizard, and the monk to a much lesser degree since I don't know how "fun" the mantra activation bonuses actually are. However, wizard armors possess no such function. You will never actually put one on your action bar, as it is an enormous waste of your limited hotkey slots. Anyone who is doing something that qualifies as challenging will want all of their slots for abilities they need in combat, not ones they simply need to click every 2 minutes.
Most of us plan on playing for a few hours at a time where real life permits. If not most of us, I'm sure a significant enough portion do. Do you want to have to exchange and exchange-back skills on your bars every 2 minutes because it could mean the loss of your hardcore character? I don't. I find that tedious and annoying. There is nothing fun or interesting about a manditory skill switch every 2 minutes. Yes, you can waste runes to reduce this, but that is still a waste unless there is a serious abundance of runes. Even with the rune, it's still a silly mechanic in general and barely less annoying.
Before this discussion gets underway (if it even does), I'd like to point out a particular point of view that I find has very little merit. It's something that nostalgia has done to both the WoW and diablo communities. This involves such tedious mechanics being regarded as fun, or even adding additional difficulty to the game. There is nothing difficult about opening my skill book every 2 minutes. This relates heavily to the "i wish it was like grinding to 99," there was nothing skill related about hitting 99. It was a timesink, a repetitive, meaningless timesink. That's what I believe this is. You have to do menial tasks to continue to have maximum potential in hard content.
While I don't disagree with all forms of micro-managing (some add great depth), I find this one to be bad game design. Feel free to agree, disagree, and whatever else (except troll, cuties...totally just guaranteed someone will troll). I'm just looking for how people feel about this. Keep in mind that I don't find the armors/mantra's manditory in normal content, so if you play beta and don't use them that is not really appropriate experience. If you're a person who thinks this is a great game mechanic, just make sure you explain what you think it adds to the game. I personally think the mantras are halfway there, and armors need a rework. The other option is a "stance bar" but I don't really like that idea, as it actually takes away from some of the fun since you could exchange armors/mantras on a whim with them all available at all times.