I posted a similar post on the Preview discussion thread, but it should be of interest here as well
- Doubling Up
- Dev note: We'd like to reduce the potency of bringing two Devoted Clerics to a party, and instead open that spot in high-end groups to other classes that can provide offensive support. We also want both DC Paragon Paths to remain viable choices. As a result, we expect these changes to have low impact to individual Devoted Clerics, while opening up the meta for a wider variety of classes.
- The feat, Bear Your Sins, no longer stacks while multiple Clerics are present.
- The feat, Weapons of Light, no longer stacks while multiple Clerics are present. The strongest version of this feat will apply.
- The Damage Dealt buff from Hallowed Ground is now 35% at its highest rank, lowered from 40%.
- The Damage Dealt buff from Break the Spirit is now 20%, reduced from 30%.
- Exaltation no longer stacks when multiple clerics cast it on the same target.
- The Run Speed debuff applied by Forgemaster's Flame can no longer have more than 3 stacks even if multiple Clerics apply it.
Some of the complaints about the "2 DC meta" were made by DPSers that complained that nobody wanted them in ToNG runs, and it was unfair to let DCs take up 2 "slots", leaving them out in the cold.
You know what...this is not going to change anything for them - in fact, with the nerfs making ToNG runs slightly harder than before, groups are going to be even less likely than before to want to take an "average" TR, for example - the onnly thing that will change is that instead of us seeing "LF2M AC DC, DO DC" we will now see "LF2M AC DC, MoF CW". Nothing changes regarding the underlying problem, which is that people don't want to run the content with "1 DPS, 1 Tank, 1 Healer", simply because that is slow and painful. People are still going to want one primary DPS and the rest of the team buffing him/her.
Now, it seems to me that the idea behind the nerf is to reduce the usefulness of DO DCs in group to the point where they will no longer be wanted and encourage people to bring CWs instead - or (probably) Bards once they get introduced (Mod 14?).
I mention DOs in particular, as the nerfs seem designed to hit them much harder than ACs.
So, let's look a bit closer at the individual changes.
- Non-stacking BYS. Not surprising, I had expected this, and it affects ACs and DOs equally.
- Non-stacking WoL. Again, not surprising, I had also expected this, and it affects ACs slightly more than DOS, as ACs typically have higher Power.
- HG nerf. This pretty much only affects DOs, as HG is the only useful DO daily in group PvE content. The DO-specific Hammer of Faith is pretty much only useful in PvP. This reduction is a pretty bug nerf to DOs and their usefulness in groups.
- BtS nerf. The "standard practice" today in 2 DC groups is that the AC takes FF and the DO takes BtS - this works out better than the other way around for various reasons. So, this is another nerf to DOs, reducing their usefulness in groups even further.
- Non-stacking Exaltation. I did not think that haviing multiple ACs in the group was ever done, but maybe the motivation for this is that you want to discourage people from replacing the DO with another AC.
- FF run-speed nerf. Seriously - why bother? I don't see this as having any real effect anywhere.
So, the plan seems to have been: Make the DO only viable for playing solo content, have people use the AC in groups, and if they want more buffs, bring a CW.
So, bottom line - DO DCs are now far less useful in groups that they used to be and some groups may want to replace the DO with a MoF CW or possibly a SW (or later, a Bard). In order to make the DO not completely useless, Flame Strike got a buff, but of course, that's usually only used in solo content. Content like ToNG will now be a bit harder than before. Groups that used to run it in 18-19 minutes will now take 20-22. Groups that barely could finish in an hour will now fail. Have fun.