In a shocking statement made by Ghostcrawler (Blizzard developer), there is consideration to giving Circle of Healing a cooldown (again). Blizzard is considering a 6 second cooldown on Circle of Healing and Wild Growth (druid healing spell).
Based on feedback from this forum, elsewhere and our own brainstorming, what we are thinking about right now is something like a 6 sec cooldown for Circle of Healing and Wild Growth.
We’re less concerned about Chain Heal, in part because it’s not instant, prevents movement, falls off with multiple targets, and is the spell that shamans are supposed to be hitting, while priests and druids have many other spells.
At 6 seconds, you would still want to use CoH/WG in the right situations (though hopefully not *every* time they are up), but you’d also want to use other spells during the cooldown. To be fair, a lot of priests and druids are asking to push other buttons. :)
This sounds like a potentially scary change because it has a lot of ramifications — one of the reasons we are mentioning it so early is to get feedback. We don’t want Resto shammies to push other healers out of raids. We would change some of the encounters knowing that CoH spam was no longer possible.
He continues on to say:
… seeing the state of healing at 80 makes us think it might be the right call again. When AE healing is so prominent, it also makes specs without great AE heals (Holy paladins and Disc priests) feel useless.
My personal opinion is that Circle of Healing is fine the way it currently is. It feels like a 41-point talent should. It gives the holy tree definition and augments our healing ability in a way that makes us raid-desirable. With the changes to downranking, we can’t spam this spell the way we used to be able to, anyways. Casting CoH more than 4-5 times in a row really burns through the mana pool. Fast. However, this spell is still a big gun in our arsenal, making up a fair percent of our total healing.
Ask yourself, why is it used so much? Why does it consititute such a large percentage of a holy priest’s healing?
AoE damage (otherwise called “splash damage”) to the raid, especially in bursts, makes Circle of Healing godly. If you can remember a time before CoH existed (so long ago…), what did you use to top off raids? You’d cast Renew or a downranked heal. At this juncture, Renew is too costly to toss around as a means of healing through splash damage, and downranked heals are gone.
Giving Circle of Healing a 6 second cooldown is treating the symptom and not the problem. It really feels that one of our key tools is going to be nerfed because of Blizzard’s encounter design, and not truly because it is overpowered. There are many encounters where topping up the raid fast or stabilizing it through splash damage plays a prominent role.
Why I love Circle of Healing is the mobility it gives me. The ability to keep a raid topped off while moving gives holy priests a unique and powerful role, albeit situational. I worry that if this change goes through, holy priests will really become a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. What will our strength be? Why will we be brought to raids, beyond filling gaps in the roster?
Ghostcrawler mentioned that there would be ramifications of giving Circle of Healing a cooldown. Here are a few that I can think of off the top of my head.
- Fewer players will spec for Divine Providence, giving us a weak top of tree.
- Less raid stabilization options.
- Holy priests needing rebalancing of other spells’ throughput and mechanics to have them remain first-string healers.
- We’re back to having a wimpy 41-point talent.
Alternatives to the cooldown:
- Remove it’s smart-heal aspect.
- Have it affect fewer targets.
- Raise its base mana cost.
What would need to be changed to make the cooldown okay with us?
- Making CoH baseline.
- Upping the benefits of Prayer of Healing (such as making it raid-wide).
Fortunately, Blizzard is seeking further feedback before changing this spell. Here’s hoping they see the light!