I played a 1st level cleric this weekend, running alongside a ranger.
We decided to try the new-new-channeling: the one where you pick damage OR healing and actually "turning" is a feat.
We fought a bunch of zombies and it was actually fun. More fun than channeling in the Beta version.
I had to prioritize damage over healing. If I had had both as was the case in the Beta, the encounter (which should have been challenging for a 1st level party) would have been a total pushover. Instead, I got damaged pretty badly, but I focused on hitting back, and it felt like a fight. And we won. And it didn't feel too easy.
So from this one encounter, I get the sense that the new channeling is an improvement. I know a lot of people were skeptical, as I was.
Anyone tried this out in gameplay?
We ran this last night with 5th lvl characters, and the 3d6 30' burst 8 times a day (with improved feat) seemed a bit strong imo, but I did make the cleric choose to harm or heal as it were.
A properly designed cleric is a beast in the first place, and this adds to their strength. Undead cease to be a threat when you combine channel energy and crits/sneak attacks.