[SUGGESTION] Chakra Changes

100 Blood Elf Priest
12595
The issues with Chakra have been beaten like dead horses on these forums for quite some time. Basic summation: The single-target chakra, in which priests spend most of our time in any encounter that we're solo-healing or tank-healing, is difficult to enter and very difficult to maintain especially at the times when it's really needed (intensive single target healing).

Despite being balanced as a mechanic that's intended to be "always on," it has an unfortunate habit of falling off or threatening to fall off at the worst possible times despite any and all efforts at maintenance and pre-planning. It's so dangerous to let Chakra: Serenity duration drop below about 20 seconds that we must spend a truly inordinate amount of time casting Heal, even at gear levels where other healers are able to rely much less on their efficient heals and where our healing is strong enough that we do a fairly significant amount of unnecessary overhealing in slow-damage phases of fights just to maintain the requisite level of spam.

Another problem with the mechanic is that if you assume that Chakras are really intended to be re-selected every 30 seconds, and that the time extensions are merely intended to be a buffer so that we don't have to re-select at the 30-second mark on the dot, then fight mechanics are not designed to accommodate this. Bosses don't all switch from single target to AoE damage modes in perfect 30-second intervals (or even close); while other healers can switch at will from effective single target to AoE healing, holy priests cannot unless we make use of the Chakra time extension mechanic to keep the Chakra CD available, so re-selecting our Chakra every 30 seconds would cause us to spend significant periods of time in a stance that's ineffective for the job we're doing - something no other healer has to deal with. And while this view of the mechanic requires less mindless overhealing spam of Heal, it still often requires a Heal cast at an inappropriate and inconvenient time when Heal is really the wrong spell for the job at hand.

Any modification to the mechanic would have to remain balanced in a similar way to the current setup. It would presumably be unbalanced if priests could swap Chakras at will with no commitment, because Chakra-buffed heals are presumably marginally more effective than other healers' heals in their respective areas (I believe this is actually true for Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing, just because of the nature of the spells - I'm less sure about Greater Heal/Heal/Flash Heal, but it may be true when you consider their interaction with Renew, which beats even Nourish/Lifebloom because it works on multiple targets).

On the other hand, it would presumably be balanced if we could have it as an "always on" state, unless holy priests are actually balanced around casting our efficient heal more often than other healers and at terribly inconvenient times. I doubt this is the case.

So I have a couple of suggestions for different ways to implement the mechanic.

(continued below)
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12595
Option 1: Chakra as a permanent stance.
This would be, in my opinion, the best and most easily balanced implementation. I'd suggest that switching stances should take a GCD and a reasonable amount of mana (perhaps 5k or so). It would also be reasonable to apply a cooldown, perhaps the current 30 seconds, on stance-switching - but I think the mana penalty would be quite sufficient to keep priests from doing excessive amounts of indecisive Chakra switching. There are a number of ways to implement a "stance" model that would require us to commit to a healing style for significant periods of time without artificially constraining our spell selection within that style.

Option 2: Chakra similar to the current model, but triggered/refreshed by more/different spells.
There are a number of ways this could be implemented. All single target heals could trigger Chakra: Serenity; Holy Word: Serenity could extend Chakra: Serenity duration by 15-18 seconds; any single target heal could extend C:S duration by the current 4-second intervals. This option would probably require the fewest and smallest changes, but it retains some of the unpleasantness of the current model, and so is my personal least favourite.

Option 3: Chakra as a stance that can only be switched out of combat.
This could be interesting, and in my opinion would probably come closest to GC's vision of Chakra as 'the reason to play a holy priest.' Basically, priests would need to be redesigned so that we're balanced/possibly very slightly weak healers in all areas with no Chakra. Then Chakra stances would "buff" some heals (to be slightly better than other healers' capabilities in that area) while "debuffing" others (to be significantly worse). Each stance would grant access to its specific Holy Word spell. Priests would have to either choose a specialty before starting an encounter or go in unspecialized as a 'jack of all trades.' The reward for specializing would be slightly buffed healing in the specialty, but the trade-off would be a relative lack of capability in the unspecialized area, making it more difficult for a priest in Chakra to contribute outside their chosen role in a given fight. I really like this option in a lot of ways but understand that it could be hard to balance for 25s where specializing is less of a trade-off.

TL;DR: Chakra was a good idea with a flawed implementation. Changing it to something more like a stance mechanic, or enabling it to be refreshed more safely and conveniently, will make priests better balanced and more fun to play in endgame content.
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90 Tauren Druid
5025
so chakra is like a druids lifebloom should be on tank at all times?
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58 Orc Death Knight
0
Switching to AoE healing mode already blows all our mana. Putting a steep mana tax on switching into it and back out of it again would not really help anything.

The combat restriction is utterly ridiculous. It would basically make HPriest the least versatile of any healer.



I feel like Chakra should just have a 1 min duration and no CD. If we're expected to switch it on the fly, then it needs to be available for that purpose when needed. But having to spam Heal all the time just to keep it up is freaking irritating.
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12595
No, Chakra is a priest self buff (or more accurately, a stance in which we're balanced with respect to other classes). There are two "forms" of Chakra, one that benefits our single target heals and one that benefits our AoE heals and HoT. The way it works is that we activate the Chakra ability (off the GCD) and then choose which version we want by casting a designated spell. For the single target version, that spell is Heal (our small efficient heal). For the AoE version, it's Prayer of Mending or Prayer of Healing.

The Chakra ability itself has a 30 second cooldown. But the Chakra buff can be extended by 4 seconds each time we cast the appropriate "activation" spell, meaning that in theory if we spam Heal (or Prayer of Healing, but that's not sustainable) approximately every other spellcast we can extend the buff indefinitely, thus keeping the option open of being able to switch to the other version at will.

Switching when needed is important because priests are balanced around having one Chakra or the other active at all times and around having the appropriate Chakra up for the type of damage the group is receiving. We have a noticeably difficult time tank healing in AoE Chakra; we're missing a key spell (a medium instant cheap heal) and our other single target heals are 10% weaker. We have strong AoE heals in general so we can usually muscle through AoE phases in single target Chakra, but it's quite inefficient and we don't have access to one of our AoE heals (our ground AoE, the gold sparkly circle equivalent to your green sparkly circle). So we usually spend most of each fight in single target Chakra but when we hit phases of serious/extended AoE damage we want to switch - but the current mechanic design makes this impossible unless we keep the Chakra ability off cooldown by spamcasting Heal.

The other major issue is that the activation is tied to Heal. This means it's an issue even in exclusively single target fights where switching isn't a concern and we can just reactivate the single target Chakra every 30 seconds. As I mentioned, we have a noticeably difficult time tankhealing unless the single target Chakra is active. But the 30 second timer can expire in the middle of very heavy tank damage where casting Heal (either to extend or refresh Chakra) is a very risky proposition. We have to risk either taking 2.3-2.5 seconds in the middle of heavy tank damage to cast a very low HPS spell, or dealing with noticeably inadequate healing for the duration of the heavy tank damage when we most need the Chakra buff.
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85 Undead Priest
4005
oh and the other note is, we are only as effective as other healers with it on, so it always has to be on.
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12595
12/17/2010 6:19 AMPosted by Woo
oh and the other note is, we are only as effective as other healers with it on, so it always has to be on.

Yep, we're balanced around it always being up.
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85 Blood Elf Priest
6445
Am I the only person still experiencing a bug with chakra wherein the the cd is used but I am not placed in any chakra state? Because honestly it happens fairly regularly for me at least as of the last time I logged on any healed a few days ago.
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85 Human Priest
3585
It happened to me just last night... I went to hit my Word, and it hadn't been activated >.> I was not amused.
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58 Draenei Death Knight
0
Chakra is just annoying on trash. I have found it decent during interesting bosses where I actually switch it. The cool down only sucks if I misapply. I havent ever been waiting for it.

I totally understand why people hate it. When it falls off you feel like you should reapply. I just decided not to stress about it. If it falls off, and I dont know the fight so can't predict what to choose, it stays off until I can figure it out. As I get better and know the fights, I will know when and what to apply.

What I really want is for blizzard to balance us without this chakra thing. Make us effective without it, and then this becomes a differentiator. Good healers will be that much better, but average ones can still have some success. This might already be how it works.
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12595
Yes, Kitty, mine's been bugging too. I thought it was just an issue with Sanctuary (the known bug where if you try to use PoM to activate Sanctuary but cast on a target who already has PoM, it doesn't activate) but I've been having Serenity chakras fail to activate all night too.
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