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I now get what Chakra is about. I was reminiscing on my old economics class and it dawned on me that Blizzard intends Chakra to be an "interesting" Opportunity Cost. Personally I like the idea of a talent that comes with an Opportunity Cost. The problem, as many Priests agree, is the Cost is too high relative to that paid by the other Healers.
For example, to cast Efflorescence a Resto Druid must make the Opportunity Cost of using Swiftmend. Do they use Swiftmend on the Tank if they are Tank healing and lose the chance to cast Efflorescence on a group or do they use it on a group and lose the chance to cast Swiftmend on the Tank? It requires thought BUT if they make the wrong choice they don't give up their overall healing strength.
Or another example, a Holy Paladin's choice of how to use Holy Power (or not use it at all) has associated Opportunity Costs. If they use Word of Glory on the Tank they can't use it on a group member, if they use it on a group member they can't use it on the Tank, if they decide to save it they take the risk of a casted heal not landing in time. But they don't give up their overall healing strength in the trade-off. Again, it requires thought but isn't overly punishing.
This is where Chakra runs into a problem. The Opportunity Cost is noticeably higher. If the Priest makes the wrong choice a portion of their overall healing strength is effectively weakened for 30 seconds. This is not a choice any other Healer has to make.
The answer is to make the Opportunity Cost smaller while still keeping the choice interesting. And that answer is found in the Holy Words. When a Priest chooses (or doesn't choose) a Chakra state they gain access to a different Holy Word. Therefore the Opportunity Cost of one Chakra over the other should be the gain or loss of the associated Holy Word, not in the strengthening or weakening of one type of healing versus another.
I would propose removing the associated bonuses to both the single target and multi-target spells Chakra affects and balance them against the other classes' spells as is. Then make Chakra a Holy Word centered talent where activating the single target Chakra gives you access to Holy Word: Serenity, the AoE Chakra gives you access to Holy Word: Sanctuary, and no Chakra gives you access to Holy Word: Chastise.
Now you have interesting choices but the associated Opportunity Costs aren't so high as to feel overly punishing.
It's a concept that has been debated since we were first introduced to Chakra, but I think it's a moot point now that there are only two Chakra states, which means you're only ever going to be in the "wrong" Chakra if you're changing roles mid-fight.
And speaking practically, if you're changing roles mid-fight, the cooldown is probably going to be up.
But as to the philosophy...
If the Priest makes the wrong choice a portion of their overall healing strength is effectively weakened for 30 seconds.
I don't think the developers are blind to this, and considering how long Chakra has existed without seeing a removal of the cooldown, I think it's by design.
This is not a choice any other Healer has to make.
...and this is probably a good thing, in their eyes. =)
So the developers only give the crappy mechanic to the priests by design?
Actually, I think the developers are actively trying to create and preserve differences between the various classes/specs - at least differences borne out of interesting mechanics and not just bad ones.
On the other hand, one could suggest that Chakra is a fundamentally bad mechanic. But in general, "X is the only one that has Y" turns out to be a reason not to change things.
It should be possible to make Chakra simply an interesting or fun mechanic instead of a fundamentally bad one, though. Chakra is currently looking more like a built-in handicap to Holy with the only "interesting" part being the addition of yet another key in order to alternate between raid and tank healing reliably.
Chakra isn't a bad mechanic altogether with the intention to go into different states.
The inflexiblity of Chakra is ultimately more punishing than any other class mechanic, Lets say that you switched into AoE healing mode and there is no AoE heals needing to be done. It would look silly.
I'd advise a simple cooldown to switch Chakra states, make it like an emergency button.
Sudden Refocus - Current Chakra is debuffed and your next spell that can be used as chakra will be your next state. (Resets Chakra cooldown if there is any). It gives some flexiblity to priests as i know how annoying it is to be in for 30 seconds in the wrong healing mode and also gives you some reacting time to react to different events aswell.
P.S - I don't play a priest but i see most priests are complaining about it being clunky and inflexible but something like that should be done to switch states but put it on a heavy cooldown so priests don't become super duper brain dead easy.
The whole opportunity cost argument made sense when there were 3 healing chakra states. However, now that it is single target vs AoE healing, there really is very little cost at all. From my experience in raids, you rarely ever switch roles from tank to raid and back again. A few fights have that (Festergut, for example), but the switch is on a larger time scale than 30 seconds so that it becomes a non-issue, other than a few extra keybinds a priest has to manage over the other healers.
The idea behind Chakra is a good one. However, with just two states, it's a binary and the cost of being in the wrong state is low, if there is any at all. Therefore, it just becomes a flat buff (or debuff, depending on how you look at it) that you must make sure is up, and you rarely change.
I'm expecting to get a more interesting decision-making and managing out of Inner Fire vs Inner Will than from Chakra states, which is sad.
Also keep in mind that Chakra: Heal or it's Holy Word aren't necessary to assist in tank healing. 10% crit to Heal and Renew renewal aren't make or break, even in Cata when the crit is significant. It's just a nice boost if you know you won't need raid heals.
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