Here's reason #1 why I love the penance spec.
Check out the recount data from a recent raid. This was a TK pug, not a lot of leadership, so healing assignments were pretty lax. And being a 25, things were sloppy all around. (It's my least favorite number, 25, by a long shot.) Being a pug, and with many people never having done TK before, we only got down 2 bosses, with a single attempt on a third. In other words, this ain't the most representative sample, but it will do.
Here is my recount profile:
And the profile of "S", a CoH priest with similar gear level (very different stat profile of course, since I'm a crit stacker atm):
The CoH priest was pretty on the ball. I've seen profiles that were 90% CoH, even more. I've also seen recount data for me that was almost perfectly evenly split amongst the top 5 or 6 spells; Flash Heal was definitely the main spell for this discombobulated pug.
Look at the number of casts for each of us, in addition to the pie charts. I'm using all my tools, all the time. He's using spells in exponentially decreasing frequency. Granted, I should have been PoM-ing more often, and probably renewing as well. But for now, that's not the point. The point is that the spec both encourages, and even forces a degree of engagement and creativity that I have not experienced before as a priest.
And an engaged player is more valuable to your team than a bored or unhappy player. Which is what I was during that brief "let's try CoH" phase of my career. I'm not imposing that experience on other CoH-ers, but certainly many of them are people who were forced to respec because of the demands of T6 content, not because of the pleasure of the playstyle.
Next post will be another analysis of the same raid. But it will be more of a QQ on "Why a raid leader would still not want to take me, even if I'm a better player than the CoH priest."