Holy Priests got an early Christmas present this patch in the form of Chakras. However like most of my Christmas gifts it’s taking a bit of getting used to. Puce Argyll sweaters hand knitted by a Great Aunt anyone?
A Brief Overview
Chakra is a new talent in the Holy Priest tree.
As you can see from the tooltip there are four different Chakra states. Within the Holy tree there are also a couple of other talents which benefit your Chakras. The most important of these is Revelations as it adds more spells to your healing arsenal.
Holy Word: Chastise is the new class defining spell that all Holy Priests receive at level 10 for picking the Holy tree. Besides Revelations, you can also spend two points to shorten the cooldown of your Holy Words (Tome of Light) and a further two points to help you prolong your Chakra states (State of Mind). Personally, I would recommend picking up both State of Mind and Tome of Light if you’re speccing for Chakra and I can’t really see a Holy Priest not picking up Chakras right now.
Our mastery also works with all three Holy Word: heal spells. You get full benefit from Sanctuary and Serenity whilst only the upfront portion of Aspire provides the hot (just like Divine Touch portion of Renew).
How to use your Chakras
First of all, Chakra doesn’t trigger a global cooldown so you can easily make macros for each of the four possible states.
/cast Prayer of Healing
Being an example (don’t forget to remove the extra line).
Once you have picked your Chakra you need to cast the relevant spell before you can use Holy Word: Chastise. For example, if I want to use Holy Word: Serenity, I need to cast a heal first. Without that heal, you just get the message “invalid target”. Besides making it easier to use, this is another reason why macroing Chakra to each spell is possibly the simplest thing to do.
To Clarify you have to cast either a renew, prayer of healing or heal before you can use the corresponding Holy Word: Chastise.
It might seem as if that’s a lot of new spells to find room for, but it’s not too bad because when it comes to adding the Revelations components to something like Clique/Vuhdo etc, you just have to add Holy Word: Chastise. Whilst your tool-tip on your interface might change, the actual spell name that Blizzard uses to track it doesn’t. At the moment I’m using Vudho because Grid and Blizzard’s own UI drove me crazy in the first few hours of post patch madness and here is a screenshot from my setup.
I selected mousewheel up for my Holy Word spells and now as long as I’m in one of the three healing Chakras, it casts the appropriate one whenever I roll my mouse up over my raid UI.
When to use your Chakras
Whenever you feel like it. Personally I’m working on the principle that our class is probably balanced around it and was having great fun in an Alterac Valley zerg using Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing and Holy Word: Sanctuary. I could easily get used to that many green numbers floating around my screen. For five mans, I tend to default towards Chakra Heal because most of the time I’m only healing one person but in raids (although I haven’t had a huge amount of time to test yet), it’s on a fight by fight basis. As we learn new fights in Cataclysm, it should be easy enough to decide which phase of which fight suits which Chakra best. However get used to using them now because I doubt very much that they will be going anywhere.
Maintaining your Chakras
At the moment Prayer of Healing is the easiest to keep up as potentially you have five times four seconds added on each time you cast it (four seconds for each person that the PoH hits if you have two points in State of Mind). Heal is in my opinion the most annoying to keep up. I did my dailies as Holy this morning and managed to stay in Chakra Smite the whole time, using Body and Soul to zip between mobs. In fact until my guild’s Shadow Priest started talking about his target dummy numbers, I actually felt like a real dpser.
Is Holy Word: Chastise any good by it’s self?
Yes, yes, yes, yes!
Coupled with Body & Soul, it provides a handy escape tool from melee. The only issue I have is that you have to be facing your target to cast it which can be a bit of a pain. Use it as an interrupt or just to buy a bit of time to escape. Remember you can use in it dungeons too to help out with the crowd control or interrupting.
Chakra: Smite also boosts the damage it does and because it’s a disorient it doesn’t break on damage either. Add in the short cooldown and it provides a panic button that Holy didn’t really have before.
What does the future hold for Chakras?
In the current beta build, the cooldown has been reduced to 30 seconds which I think will really help us switch from one to another easily. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. However, I have my concerns about the mana costs. People are already complaining about struggling to keep up Renew Chakra in Icecrown with the decent mana regen we have now, what that’s going to be like at 85 in a proper raid environment still remains to be seen.
Our tier 11 set bonus is also geared around us being in a Chakra state as much of the time as is humanly possible. 540 spirit for the duration of a Chakra given the intended Cataclysm model of mana starvation is not to be sneezed at. Obviously a shortened cooldown would help us maintain it easier so we’ll just have to hope that goes live. (Apart from the helm, I think I’m one of the few people who actually likes the Priest tier 11 set. I think the colours are amazing, far better than puce.)
I’ve seen a quite a few posts on the forums complaining about the clunkiness of the whole Chakra system however I remain fairly positive. Healing has always been about understanding the fight and knowing which spell to use when. The whole Chakra system plays on that. If you know that there will be massive amounts of AoE damage incoming two minutes into the fight then you make sure you’re set up for that.
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