On the topic of who wanted this change, we’re just in a better position than players to get a sense for what a wide variety of paladins are asking for across the world. Players are most familiar with what their friends on their own realm are thinking, or what they read on the forums they frequent. Those are typically fairly small sample sizes. And I don't mean that as a slight against anyone in this thread who disagrees with our decisions. It's just the nature of the way in which data can be collected.
The more salient point though is that this isn’t a decision-making process that is heavily influenced by polling. The change made was a suggestion we saw several times, considered, and decided we agreed with. We know there are players who disagree with the decision, which to be fair, is the outcome of every single design decision we make. We think the most fair point is that some tanks already have enough going on, and as we suggested in the recent Blood DK discussion, we’re considering options to let players opt out of complexity at their discretion.
As far as Protection paladin mastery goes, one solution we like, as we alluded to before, is to split Protection’s mastery into multiple components so that hitting the “hard cap” is less of a hard cap. There are two problems with this design. First, it would feel a lot like the warrior mastery, and we know some of you want to be less like warriors, not more. Secondly, it would be a huge nerf to Protection survival overall. We could compensate for it elsewhere, but you will see a lot of players upset about the nerf -- players who liked stacking mastery to the cap and then being able to focus on other stats. We looked a lot at the paladin gear for Firelands and concluded that while it will be easier to max out mastery, there won’t be so much of it that paladins get frustrated when mastery gear drops. It might let them swap out a few other pieces or use fewer gems. We could have the problem again in the next raiding tier, but we have ample time to consider our options before that time.
"We redesigned Holy Shield, partially because paladin mitigation was going to be too good in the Firelands raid, but also because many paladins (though of course not all) told us they wanted a more dynamic rotation and less passive mitigation."
We just didn't ask the 99% of prot pallys that were raid leading if they thought this was a good idea...pipe down Theck ;)