AND for people who think Mana is just energy/focus now... Mana has always been like Energy or Focus, minus the fact that mana regenerates SLOWER and uses larger numbers... It is a resource to use spells.
No, it isn't just energy or focus with larger numbers.
It is a resource bar (just like rage/energy/focus/runic power). It has its mechanics to regen (in the case of healers, spirit and intellect). Fundamentally, they are not much different.
Take for example the comparison of a hunter. A hunter has three ways of regaining focus normally - Steady/Cobra Shot, Haste and passive regen. A healer, on the other hand, also has three ways of regaining mana normally - Intellect, Spirit, and Class Cooldown X. Though one of a hunter's focus regen mechanics is active, it's still one of the ways available to every
hunter - same with Int, Spi and the healer's cooldown for mana. The only
differences between hunters and healers (in this example) are:
- Which stats dictate resource regeneration
- How big the resource bar is
- How quickly the resource bar fills
Now, if we were to look at some other comparisons, let's take Survival compared to Disc, and Marksman to Holy.
In Survival you have something that more or less equates to Rapture - Thrill of the Hunt. It restores focus based on a particular condition. Interestingly, Rapture has the same mechanics. It's just a different resource, and a different condition for the trigger. For TotH, it's only a 15% chance, however, as opposed to guaranteed, like Rapture.
For Marksman, you actually get no such regen. Just like Holy.
So, classes not using mana get extremely similar mechanics. So... yeah. As I said, fundamentally, they are just like energy bars.
As an aside, I find it interesting, by the way, that many RPGs use the regen stat to increase mana pool, and WoW doesn't. Why not just have spirit increase mana pool for healing specs? It's pretty clear that this is a possibility, given that spirit can mean different things even within the same class, and provide a different "thing" entirely (right now, Hit rating). The Intellect portion of regen could still stay where it is so Intellect isn't too
devalued, but it would greatly increase the importance of spirit to healers.
Yes, it would mean healers with a DPS spec would need two sets of gear again, but... anyone competent enough to do that already gets two sets of gear.