I have been reading through the healing forums a lot in the last few days, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Chakra is highly misunderstood. Because of this, people tend to view Chakra as a be-all, end-all, if-you’re-not-in-the-right-Chakra-the-raid-wipes type of mechanic. The problem with that is, it’s a false assumption, for a few reasons. But moreover, Chakra’s mechanic as it is right now is fine. There have been several suggestions on how to “improve” it, from changing it to stances, to changing it to an Eclipse-like mechanic, to changing it to be similar to Death Knight presences. Perhaps I’m one of the few people that think it’s actually fine the way it is.

Chakra: Heal

My arguments regarding Chakra are pretty much as such:

  1. If you are in Chakra: Sanctuary, it is not going to kill your tank to have 10% less crit on heals, to lose Holy Word: Serenity, and to be refreshing Renew manually, for approximately 10-15 seconds (give or take).
  2. If you are in Chakra: Serenity, it is not going to kill your raid to have 15% less healing on AoE/Renew and to lose Holy Word: Sanctuary for approximately 10-15 seconds (give or take).

In both cases, if you could prevent being in the wrong Chakra state, you should. If shit hits the fan and your tank healer dies halfway through the encounter, then chances are you wouldn’t have just hit the wrong Chakra. In fact, odds are that you’ve been refreshing Chakra: Sanctuary by way of Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing, and Chakra is most likely already available to swap over. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand what it is that is actually so difficult to understand about these mechanics, and how unlikely it is that one is going to end up in the wrong Chakra state.

And here we also have the arguments against Chakra (well, the big ones):

  1. Being in a Chakra state nerfs your other heals and/or being in a Chakra state makes your other heals useless and/or being in a Chakra state disallows access to my other heals.
  2. Chakra states are too limiting.
  3. I have to use Chakra to be competitive with other healers doing the same things.

In the first case, they are very bold, and false, statements. Being in either Chakra state does not nerf other heals, it does not make other heals useless, and it only disallows access to one spell at a time (one of the Holy Words). The misunderstanding here comes from the benefits of each Chakra state. As of the latest Beta build, Chakra: Serenity boosts critical strike chance for single target heals by 10% (Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal) and allows them to refresh Renew on the target, as well as providing Holy Word: Serenity, which is an instant heal and increases critical strike chance of the priests’ single target heals on the target by 25% for 6 seconds (effectively, 4 or less, due to global cooldown). Chakra: Sanctuary increases healing done by AoE heals, Prayer of Mending and Renew by 15% and provides Holy Word: Sanctuary, which is a target AoE heal. The unfortunate thing about Holy Word: Blind (as I’ve heard it called, and tend to agree with) is that the coefficient, in short, sucks. But in either Chakra state, it’s only going to be temporary if you do not have the correct Chakra up. In the long term, it will mean very little if you are in the wrong Chakra a couple of times throughout a raid night. In the case of both Holy Words, they are on considerable cooldowns (Serenity at 14 seconds, and Sanctuary at 28, with 2/2 Tome of Light), and it negates the utility of Holy Word: Chastise.

In the second case, Chakra is not limiting. It doesn’t disallow any spells (again, Holy Words aside) to be cast while in Chakra. It also does not mean you can’t help out when tank healing or raid healing if need be when in the opposite Chakra state.

In the third case, this may or may not be true. Right now Holy priests are very limited in their general output, mostly due to mana regeneration. There is little definitive evidence one way or the other to show that Holy priests must be in a Chakra state to compete. As it stands right now, Holy priests aren’t able to be truly competitive even with Chakra, as evidenced by both Paragon and vodka’s videos for Nefarion. Even watching vodka’s Nefarion video, it seems like Holy priests are a tad bit short on mana regeneration. According to Ghostcrawler regarding this, though:

Ghostcrawler:
We’re still comparing all of the active and passive sources of healer mana to make sure things feel even among the different classes, but we feel pretty confident that the mana from Revitalize is too high. The Holy priest at 85 feels the closest to how we want mana to feel at 85.
Source

What this essentially means is that Holy priests are at least close to fine (if not totally fine) in terms of regeneration. There are, however, some things that I could suggest as far as regeneration occurs:

  1. Make Holy Concentration provide more regneration.
  2. Have Spirit of Redemption provide a bonus to spirit again.
  3. Have Holy Concentration go back to a Clearcasting state.
  4. Provide more opportunities for Holy to activate Surge of Light, such as with Flash Heal or Greater Heal, while in Chakra: Serenity, and Prayer of Mending or Circle of Healing in Chakra: Sanctuary

In the first case, this would be the easiest to manage, as it gives a flat boost to regeneration. In the second, the same thing, though how much regeneration it would provide over Holy Concentration by itself would be debatable. I would assume that it would, at some point in gearing, overpower just a flat boost to Holy Concentration. In the third, it would give Holy more value to critical strike, especially since Surge of Light no longer procs on critical heals. This also raises the value of Chakra: Sanctuary significantly. In the last option, what this does is not so much provide regeneration as much as overall longevity. It also raises the value of being in any Chakra state (and thereby, State of Mind). I would be hesitant to say that Surge of Light would be able to proc on either Holy Word, due to Serenity’s cooldown, and Sanctuary’s AoE healing. At least in the case of Sanctuary, it could very well become overpowered. As long as it is able to proc more than it does, it would allow for more Serendipity procs, which equally boosts both Chakra states (Greater Heal in Serenity, Prayer of Healing in Sanctuary).

Finally, as Suzushiiro said on the forums, more Chakra states would make Chakra a little bit better, and much more valuable in terms of diversity in ways to heal. On the other hand, it would also mean a reduction on the cooldown of Chakra (again) to make it worthwhile, and having to implement more Holy Word states.

Suzushiiro:
I feel like the initial idea with Chakra was that you’d be rewarded slightly for being in the ‘right’ state and penalized slightly for being in the ‘wrong’ state. But with only two states it’s kinda hard to be in the ‘wrong’ state, which means that it’s hard to reward you for doing it right.

I feel like the better solution would be to move towards having *more* Chakra states that are more specific like renew’s as opposed to generic like PoH’s, but also reducing the effect duration/cooldown so you swap between them more.
Source

I think this would be more along the right lines, but at the same time, it’d be a little more difficult to really determine what kind of other Chakra states there might be. The types of heals that Holy has are pretty limited – Renew, Lightwell and Power Word: Shield are the only non-AoE and non-single target heals (one could argue Binding Heal as well) that don’t fit in the model of either Chakra state. I would like to say that a lower cooldown even than 30 seconds would be great, but that could prove to be a little on the side of disastrous as well, especially in a PvP environment. Beyond that, as Suzushiiro said, Renew Chakra was definitely too much of a niche for that particular Chakra state. The only thing that I could think of that would give it some form of benefit further is if priests had one additional HoT, and it also boosted Power Word: Shield (of course, not to the capabilities of Discipline, but enough so that it’d be worthwhile to cast).

All in all, I actually have some high hopes for Holy priests in the expansion, as far as playstyle goes. My only concerns now are throughput (since Druids are completely OP right now) and mana regeneration (but it looks like that’s actually going to be somewhat resolved, and Druids are still completely OP).