How often are you the only Paladin in your 10 man raids? How do you feel it affects your raid composition?
For several weeks now, I have been the lonely pally. Thankfully, I come prepared with Drums. The people I run with know they are going to get Might/Wisdom and the ghetto kings buff. It's not as nice as having two paladins in the raid, but it works.
It might seem like the the inconveniences end there, but they don't. I am the only one to offer Judgements to the raid. Judgement of Light is powerful. I do use it as often as I can, but the other specs of paladins are able to judge as part of their rotation. As a holy paladin, I often can only judge when I know its a GCD I can spare. I am able to judge enough to get healing done from JoL, however, I can only have the debuff up at one time, which means any times there are multiple targets, I can't get more than one by myself.
Judgement of Light isn't game-breaking by any means. I'm sure there are plenty of groups who go without it (or go with one of the comparable buffs... Shadow Priests, Feral Druids, and Shamans and Paladins all bring a similar blanket-hot for the raid). These buffs are extremely powerful. It's true that most of the time, the little ticks of healing provided are straight overheal. I agree, if things are easy, these things aren't noticeable and that utility isn't needed.
However, all sources of little heals and mitigation also extend a character's time until death when it's a new and challenging fight. Festergut comes to mind. When we're progressing, the utility of a second paladin (assuming I'm the holy paladin in the raid, a ret paladin will bring replenishment, and a protection paladin will bring Sanc - 3% damage reduction) can be the difference in a really good attempt or a kill.
I know a lot of people three heal that fight but two-healing it is FUN. I did feel the "lonely pally" pressure, though, as I didn't have a cast to spare. I managed to keep up well enough of Judgements during the first inhale but by the time we got to the third I was afraid to do anything but Holy Light. I'm sure that in a few weeks this won't matter because it won't be progression. But therein lies my point - paladins are better in numbers while you're progressing, when our hybrid utility is a competitive edge. Throw in our Hands for the mistakes we all make as we're learning the fights, it means that two paladins are more powerful than one. It's not a problem for paladins, but there are so many other classes whose utility does not grow in numbers.
So what is it, then, about one-paladin raids that feels so lacking? And why? After all, a second rogue in the raid isn't cheered, and no one could care less if we have two mages instead of two casters. In fact, that repetition can be crippling to your raid composition, if all of your melee DPS are rogues. I'm not saying it doesn't work, it surely can, but it's always going to be more ideal to have some variety in the raid. Hybrids get away from this a little bit - Druids of different specs bring special auras and buffs, Shamans bring special spec-specific totems, Paladins bring auras and blessings, and Priests bring unique spec-specific buffs. Bringing a Shadow Priest and Disc Priest to the raid is awesome and not gimp. Even if you brought two rogues of different specs, you're still... bringing two rogues. Again, it's entirely possible but not near as optimal.
So why is there so much room for more hybrids in a raid than pures? With DPS being the majority of the WoW playerbase, and the majority of the raid, it works out. Classes are certainly balanced closely enough that no one is going to get benched because of their class. In that regard, I think WoW is in pretty good shape balance-wise.
But it's still irksome to me that we can be encouraged to stack certain classes. That I feel "lonely" when I'm the only paladin. When I play my priest or druid, I'm happy to be the only priest or druid. I don't feel gimp being the only Druid in the raid, because we can live without excess battle-rezzes (the argument could be made that needing multiple battle-rezzes is just messy playing), and any other utility that I bring as a Druid, I can provide as the only Druid (lol yes you can have my innervate). I don't feel that way when I'm the only paladin.
I am not complaining because I want another paladin in our 10 man group. In fact, I wish I couldn't tell the difference either way. I like how for the most part 10's are flexible enough that most raid comps will work. It's broken to me that a second paladin would be at all considered necessary. A raid without a second paladin feels incomplete to me, and that's a problem, when a raid with two (let alone three!) of any pure class is "too much".
I'm not saying it can't be done. We did Saurfang last week with no knockback whatsoever, and had no problems downing him with only one Mark at the end of the fight. It took some creative use of the abilities we had (crippling poison + fan of knives, lots of stuns, and a rare opportunity for me to use Hand of Reckoning. I enjoy taunting as a healer far more than I should...). Anyways, moral of the story here is that raid composition can be a challenge, and while good groups will overcome it, it's often daunting to overcome those challenges without a second paladin. Maybe I need to be a better paladin if I'm not paladin enough for my raid, but my argument is still valid: multiple paladins bring multiple utilities, while the utility of many other classes is only filled by the first and not multiplied by the second.
It makes me a lonely pally!