I'd like to open by saying I consider myself a relatively good MW, backed by earning my spot in the progression guild I'm currently in, and via comparison to other MW and logs on WoL and the consistency of my ranks.
I'm not really sorry when I say this, but soothing mist is not viable in bleeding-edge progression raiding. I'm fine if you prefer it, but that's really irrelevant to the fact that RNG healing is not acceptable for progression raiding. Far more often then not Soothing Mist will leave me gasping for chi (hello full channel and no chi gained, when average should be 2.7 chi, hello spamming the ability for five seconds and gaining no chi, when average should be 3 chi) and extremely rarely have I actually had it give me more than I wanted. This is because our healing is entirely based around chi. Soothing Mist and jab have pitifully low healing, and frankly how you prefer generating chi doesnt matter, because ultimately the real thing that needs to be noticed is >generating chi<. Our entire healing process is generating chi. You have a choice between high chi generation, medium chi generation with a non-insignificant amount of blanket AoE healing, or slow as hell and pitiful healing chi generation. If our healing was balanced around soothing mist chi generation rates + uplift as "base healing level", and then increase via either jab or SCK (because choices are important to interesting gameplay) it would be relatively sensible design at first though. There are a few problems we now encounter.
First, balancing our throughput around SoM/uplift to pick up raids means uplift will need to heal as much as what is effectively a 2 chi spell cast time, or .3 chi/s*haste => approximately a six second cast time spell (seven when you factor in the GCD for uplift). This means uplift would essentially need to heal for 2x what it does now. Then, you can balance us around an increased mana cost jab/SCK for faster chi gen and thus faster AoE heals. This is not how it is designed however. We are completely reliant on jab for 3s uplifts, which allow us to be competitive with other classes. This means that using SoM gives around 1/2 the HPS(e) for picking people up comparing to jab. In other words, this takes us from competitive to 50% power. (This is an estimation. In reality uplift is around 30-40% of our healing, and this would bring us to ~80% power, as well as being much less able to reactively heal [which is a requirement of healers...but lets ignore that for now] and much less able to weave in chi torpedo etc.)
Second, and more importantly, this isn't how we are designed. For uplift to be balanced around 7s equivalent cast time, it would need to be nearly twice as powerful. This would be absolutely absurd. Uplifts would reach 1 million in this coming tier without TFT, and TFT'd uplifts would reach nearly 2 million. Thats similar to the power of revival. This would make our burst healing EXTRAORDINARILY powerful (easily bursting 2million healing in 2 globals by storing chi? That's broken) while making our sustained healing...still really bad. The reactive healing we would get is 100k from soothing mist (including statue) and then 700k from uplift, over seven seconds. This is 800,000/7s ~ 114k hps. Now factor in the absurd rates of overhealing MW universally have due to mechanical issues (around 40%+, and this isnt even assuming uplift would gain more overhealing due to it's increased strength and delayed response time) and we go to 68.6k hps. Compared to current jab healing, we get 24k from jab and 350k from uplift every 3s or: 374k/3s ~ 124.7k hps => factor 40% overhealing => 74.8k hps. Even doubling the power of uplift, all else constant, soothing mist is less powerful while also being less reliable, and it would be a stretch to assume it could stand in for jab if we doubled uplift. (Yes, these numbers are flawed, and you would have to factor in that ReM/EH chi would still provide more powerful uplifts overall, making the soothing case win. However, one potential solution to make SoM closer to on par with jab is to give a buff upon every 7 ticks which doubles your next uplift healing. This would make optimal healing much more complex (and a slight buff), while also allowing pure fistweaving, pure mistweaving, and a zealweaving hybrid to exist (assuming muscle memory in the form of simply the 150% damage buff exists). As it currently stands, the only real viable way to heal in next patch is going to be SCK in heroic progression raiding. Will alternative methods be "viable" or "playable" in less intense healing moments? Sure. But that doesn't mean
Now I'm not here to say that you're all wrong or that your experiences don't matter, but from a bleeding edge progression standpoint, most of you have little experience of the relative strengths of other healers. You could easily have a druid out-healing everyone right now (the weakest healer), simply because he is a significantly better player than anyone else. More likely, as you're reading this forum, you probably put more effort into playing than many others, and will see yourself (or disc priests because they're utterly broken) near the top of meters. In progression raiding, MW are hardly the most viable or powerful healers. Reducing our healing effectiveness by nearly 20% when we are already considered underpowered...what?
As for jab/jab/uplift making the rest of our toolkit moot...WHAT TOOLKIT?!? I mean seriously here. Enveloping mist? It sucks because it's a HoT greater heal with extraordinarily high overhealing even comparing to most MW spells, while hardly being any stronger than most other greater heals. Uplift? Chi burst? The two are interchangeable, and actually require some thought to use optimally (chi burst on low ReM/if ReM targets are high HP.) What else can we use chi on? Maybe substitute in chi wave and remove chi burst? Still three spells. The first spell invalidates itself because it is, frankly, worthless. The other two spells are A: one is used (uplift), and B: used in niche situations (tank healing via chi wave, vs. chi burst depending. Those are the only healing options. The other ones are smart heals such as TP/BK, and they are just as invalidated next patch as they are now (used niche to smart heal someone in close range).
So yeah, I really fail to see how jab/jab/uplift "makes the rest of our toolkit moot", because say whatever you'd like, but it pretty much "IS" our toolkit.
PS: SCK can be substituted for jab at nearly equivalent healing values and mana usage. SoM will continue to be useless next patch. Jab will be utterly gutted. What was accomplished for MW played optimally? We made MW extremely binary by reducing choices on both sides of the mana/chi paradigm, made them very, very, very, very bad at spread healing (SCK is only really a good alternative if you're stacked, I admit), and made them less reactive and (personally speaking) less fun.
I fail to see how anything positive was accomplished here.