So, I think I'll be playing a Disc Priest in Cataclysm. Whoa! I know, big change for Mr Warlock Blog guy. "Why?" you ask? Several reasons, really.
1) Cataclysm is more of the same. Sure, incredibly polished more of the same, but more of the same nevertheless. Blizzard hit their formula and are pretty well sticking with it. More power to 'em, but I've been playing Warlock since 2005. It's 2010. 5 years is a lot of time to play one game and an even longer time to main the same character. A change of pace is very much needed less I lose interest in the whole game.
2) The Soul Shard system. What a letdown. Maybe it will be further developed, but if the entirety of beta is any hint as to the future attention devoted to this class mechanic then I'm quite disappointed. Right now it feels like a minor perk, not a fully fledged feature. There aren't nearly enough Soul burn effects, and even if there were I'm not sold on the methods of replenishing shards.
3) It's good to be the healer. Not so much the getting focused down in PvP (that happens often enough on the Warlock too) but the ability to fill a needed role is great. I can't count how often I've wanted to run BGs with Draele and some others DPSers, but we could never find a healer to come along. Add on top of that the ability to *sometimes* get other players to listen and cooperate and it's looking pretty positive overall.
4) Affliction is becoming more and more like any other caster. Soul Swap & self healing to are the areas of note. Soul Swap essentially removes the huge play-style distinction between Affliction and most other casters. Ramp-up time. Long ramp-up time is a weakness, a weakness offset by other strengths, such as high self healing. Self healing has been neutered both in numbers and stated as an intentional design goal by Ghostcrawler.
Essentially the play-style is moving more towards the generic "attack target. do damage fast. kill target" The reason I was drawn to the Warlock class in the first place was that low damage/high longevity style available to the old SM/DS Voidwalker sacrifice spec. That's ancient history now and any vestiges of the SM/DS and SL/SL styles that were still around with WotLK are diminished even further with Cata. The Warlock class has simply moved in a direction that no longer interests me. Nothing really unique is being added to the class and the aspects of it I previously enjoyed have been eroding away since BC. It's not being butthurt over a nerf, they come and go, but when the core design philosophy behind your class/spec alters course with what you love then it's time to move on.
Add on top of that Discipline gaining Evangelism, Archangel, and Atonement (on top of PI, Penance, and Borrowed Time) it's really looking to be way more up my alley. A nice mix of healing and damage =D