More holy priesting... and rantings about Chakra

I've been trying to practise the new holy healing style some more, but I'm having a hard time finding environments where this feels in any way meaningful. We're all pretty tired of ICC and only go there occasionally now, and in any lower tier raid we're simply ridiculously overgeared. It's even worse when I queue up for a random heroic - you can't practice healing when nobody needs any. I kind of envy the damage dealers for being able to practise on a target dummy.

Still, I'm starting to understand this whole Chakra thing a bit better now. Unfortunately, better understanding has not resulted in bigger appreciation so far. In fact I only found myself increasingly frustrated during our Ulduar run last night, feeling as if my own spells were conspiring to make me heal more inefficiently.

I admit, a large part of it is probably just me struggling with the more generic changes. For example my two most used spells before the patch were Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending, both of which have had their cooldown increased significantly (or rather, in the case of PoM, the holy talents that used to reduce its cooldown have been removed), so my muscle memory keeps trying to make them go off when they are not ready. I also miss my frequent Surge of Light procs and hate having to actually stand still to cast Flash Heals. Give me my mobility back, damn it!

But back to Chakra. So you have these three Chakra states, which are triggered by using it in conjunction with either Heal, Renew of Prayer of Healing; you can extend their duration by using the same spell again; and they give you an extra spell to play with plus a more generic healing boost to your existing spells.

I think Heal Chakra is the one that sounds the most solid right now, to make priests better single-target healers when this is required. Unfortunately Heal is completely and utterly useless in current content, so it's not really viable to keep this up. I reserve judgement.

Renew Chakra is easy to keep up and seems to be the "default" for many people, but it's also kind of boring. I love Renew but the reduced global cooldown kind of encourages you to do nothing else but spam that one spell really fast so as not to waste the bonus (or at least cast extra Renews when they are not needed, just to keep the buff up).

Prayer of Healing Chakra gives you a boost to all your AoE heals and reduces the cooldown of CoH by two seconds (which still leaves it at two seconds more than it used to be, woe). It also gives you access to the very interesting Holy Word: Sanctuary, which I haven't had a chance to try yet but which is apparently awesome. From the sounds of it it's also seriously unbalanced though - just like all the new "area" heals - because their effectiveness varies so greatly with the size of your raid. If your puddle of healy goo on the ground heals for one thousand damage and you have a party of five stand in it, it's pretty lackluster in terms of throughput. If you have a raid of ten, it suddenly doubles in efficiency, and if you can get a whole twenty-five-man raid to stack inside of it it's insane! I reckon Blizzard will have to implement some kind of "cap", like they did for AoE damage, so that the effect on the individual is diminished once you go over a certain number of targets. Otherwise it's just going to be crazy.

Anyway, my main beef with this Chakra is not the Sanctuary, it's the Prayer of Healing trigger, because it's such an extremely situational spell that I think it's rubbish to encourage people to cast it just for a bonus to their healing. In ICC I use PoH on Precious and Stinky's Decimate, just before Festergut expunges his gas, and maybe during the Blood Queen's air phase, and that's it. It's good if you want to wind up a big burst heal just before everyone takes a large chunk of predictable damage, but as soon as the AoE damage keeps coming more steadily, a mix of CoH, PoM and Renew is much more effective, while also allowing you to maintain your mobility and not causing too much overheal. Standing still to chain PoH is just asking for mana problems and something bad to hit you while you're rooted to the spot for ages.

So what does this leave us with? One Chakra that is currently useless but may be useful later, one that is kinda boring and spammy, and one that is interesting but requires pointless overheal and wasting of mana to access the most fun bonus spell of the lot. Sorry, but I don't think that's going to excite me even once I get more used to utilising it.

Last night I was browsing the official forums for other priests' opinions on Chakra, and minds seemed to be about equally divided between those who thought that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread and skeptics like me. I got rather annoyed though when some Chakra fans started accusing anyone who criticised the spell of supposedly being too stupid to use it and simply hating complexity. Give me a break. The large and complex toolbox has always been one of the main things that attracted me to holy priest healing, but there's a difference between having a large toolbox and trying to work with a bent hammer just because it looks different and having twenty different screwdrivers but being unable to find them because they are all buried somewhere behind the sofa. To me it seems like the Chakra system is shaping up to be more like the latter situation to be honest. Or, as a EU forum poster put it very aptly when responding to the question whether Chakra was fun: "it's about as "fun" as stances are for warriors, except stances where you have to rub your stomach and say "Mississippi" every 4s".

In fact, I think the problem is quite similar to the problem Tam sees with discipline's new smite spec: smiting is supposed to increase your healing, but at the same time casting Smite by its very definition equals not healing, which is an obvious Catch-22. Likewise Chakra is supposed to make our heals better, while at the same time encouraging us to waste mana on heals that might not be needed or choosing spells inappropriate for the job just to maintain our improved healing status. Confused much?

Also, the more I think about it, the more I can't help but wonder what exactly is supposed to be the point of Chakra. When I first heard about it I thought that it was supposed to be a sort of healing cooldown, a bit of an "oh shit" button to increase your healing output when needed. However, for that it requires too much faffing about to set up, while not being powerful enough and having too short a cooldown. In fact, with the cooldown supposedly getting lowered even further, down to thirty seconds, it seems that Blizzard wants us to maintain some sort of Chakra state pretty much at all times. But if we're balanced around having Chakra bonuses up at all times, why do we have to hit all these buff buttons anyway just to stay on par with other healers? It just doesn't quite add up to me.

I really want to like it but I can't help feeling that it's more trouble than it's worth, increasing the spec's complexity by a huge chunk for only very limited benefits.


  1. It's taken me a bit to get used to. So far, I have used primarily Chakra: Heal which seems to be solid, though annoying when it drops off and is still on CD (I think they are reducing the chakra CD to 30 sec, so you can be in a chakra state at all times, just a question of which). I did use chakra: renew when I was doing a motion-heavy fight. It was nice, but meh... what's the use of pumping up hots when you have ONE HOT?

    I can see the AOE one being worthwhile if you're in a large raid group and you want to put down the shiny floor of heals. Not so much for the POH increase (bleh) but for the shiny floor of heals while you top off the raid with COH and renew. ANd, I guess, Holy Nova?

  2. Hehe seems we have chosen similar topics today - I felt just like you about Chakra, but having tested it quite a bit now I am warming towards it. =)
    And indeed, it isn't meant to be an occasional thing or emergency spell, that was probably my biggest revelation during testing. it's something we should get used to use all the time or there's not much point. it's cheap and they keep lowering the CD.

    I do actually disagree that PoH-Chakra is useless: I don't know about sanctuary so much, but PoH has possibly been my most-used spell in WotLK (in which I was mostly raidhealing). I've used it a ton in Ulduar for example and it was rather crazy burst-healing for a while, so much the shammies felt 'useless' before CH got buffed a little! :D
    I also love the applied HoTs via PoH glyph.
    That said, I dislike the removal of groups in 4.1., I find it much harder to direct my healing with PoH now, so no idea how frequently used the spell will be in Cata.

  3. Wait what? POH isn't based on group anymore? Where have I been? I need gridstatushealtrace to be updated ASAP so I can monitor where my heals end up.

  4. @Zelmaru: I kind of wish the Heal Chakra also reduced the cast time of Heal. From what I've seen so far, all other healing classes have procs and such that reduce the cast time of their medium heal, except us. :/

    And I agree that the PoH Chakra state itself is interesting, I just wish it wasn't triggered by PoH only. Maybe if you could also enter and extend it with CoH I'd like it more.

    Oh, and I think Syl was talking about a future patch there, as far as I'm aware we still have group limits right now.

    @Syl: Yeah, I saw your post go up just as I was finishing this one. :)

    I used PoH more in Ulduar as well, but then it got nerfed... and still, it's always been a burst heal only for me, and burst is something you do quickly, once or twice, not really something you keep doing over and over and over (as you would have to to extend the Chakra). Not something you need a seperate state for in fact! I've also seen the suggestion on the forums to just have two Chakra healing states, one single target and one AoE, which would include both Renew and PoH.

    And I'm surprised there is info about patch 4.1 out already? Where did you get that from?

  5. Yeah it will definitely be too costly usually to maintain PoH-Chakra. if i think back of the spammage at kologarn or XT though, I would've managed there, hehe! ;) that said we prolly will never see such mana in abundance anymore. It would be nice if they switched it to a general AoE-Chakra!

    And apologies, I was talking about 4.0.1 - I was convinced they already made PoH ranged-wide or smarthealing as they talked about removing groups, but apparently they havent?
    oddly enough my PoH felt very dodgy the past raids, sometimes not healing those up I meant to heal...mmm lol

  6. smite means you're healing :/ you just cannot control exactly which person you'll heal, as its proximity based (so you can sorta control it I guess)
    there' a talent, atonement that makes you heal for the same amount as you damaged and with glyph of smite making you effectively hit capped, I've seen my atonement heals hit for as much as 10k - I have found myself to be very mana efficient once I got used to it.

    I think what happens is in current content with health pools being only slightly larger then pre patch and damage still being spiky, there's just not enough time to build up these stacks to take full advantage of them without letting people die, most of the time. its a very delicate juggling act. I think it will feel a lot less wonky once it all fits the content/gear more.

  7. Hey there - long time reader, first time commenter, here.

    The way that I justify Chakra being created and added to our repertoire is because for a long time, holy priests had a reputation as being very versatile healers. We could tank heal. We could raid heal. There was a point where there was nothing we couldn't do.

    Somewhere down the line, that changed and I don't know if that was driven by the players or by the developers (who may or may not have nerfed or made certain spells less effective than before) and it sort of placed us in a box and we became Renew/CoH bots - sort of how druids became Rejuv bots. That wasn't a role we were meant to fill.

    I think by adding a spell like Chakra, we can really earn back that reputation of being just that versatile and being how we used to be in the past. If we have to Renew/CoH spam, the resources are there to be just as good at it or better. If we have to tank heal, we can do that, too. For fights where the Rejuv spam isn't enough, we can up the ante and really AOE bomb those heals out.

    Overall, I feel it puts us back in the position and back into the role we were meant to be filling and that's the role of the extremely versatile healer that can fill any healing role quite well.


  8. Welcome Oestrus! :)

    I do think you explained Blizzard's thought process behind the idea quite well, but it still doesn't quite add up to something coherent in reality. After all they said that they want to get rid of the current idea of "niche healers" and want all healers to be versatile.

    From what I hear druids still outdo everyone on the AoE healing front right now, and their tank healing with the rolling lifeblooms and nourish is very powerful as well. Ideally it should all be more balanced at 85, but still the question remains why priests should have to need special healing states to be able to fill different roles, when the other classes can just do the same thing without having to fiddle with any weird mechanics like Chakra.

  9. Thank you, Shintar!

    My response to why holy priests would need the special states would be that not every raid may have that variety of every healing class or enough of a certain healing class. Specifically, in a 10 man setting. My former 10 man was made up of myself (as a resto druid, back then), a discipline priest and a holy paladin. Now, that was a pretty nice dream team.

    But, let's say you only have 2 holy priests and a resto shaman at your disposal. To some, that would be a strange composition to take. But with the holy priests, they can rotate Chakra depending on what they're facing and you could essentially have each niche covered on each particular fight. We really could be that versatile. I'm sure other classes could to some extent too, but I think Chakra is more defined, with that idea in mind.