Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls

This is a guest post by Lodur, a blogger from Way of the Totem. Today, he examines the nerf to Circle of Healing, the impact it will have to Resto Shamans and how they may need to compensate.

The patch notes can be found here: PTR Patch Notes!

This is going to be important to us in several ways, not least of which is the change to some of the other classes. I’d like to offer my opinion on it. Let’s take a look at priests.

Holy: Circle of Healing now has a 6 second cooldown.

This is going to be extremely important to us. The fact that Circle of Healing is getting a 6 second cooldown is huge. My current experience with CoH raiding priests is they blow group healing out of the water. One of our Shadow priests rolled over to Holy to fill a gap for raiding in 25 man Naxx. With no gear change, he was able to blow past me in healing output while maintaining mana. Now I’m not suggesting that we need to be the kings of the roost, nor am I doubting the abilities of this priest, but it was a difference of almost half a million pure healing output over the next closest.

In a normal raid you would find a few percentage difference between the top 4 or 5. maybe 1-2% difference. Between healer in first and second was a whopping 6%. As someone who has poured over stats and combat logs after raids trying to figure out how to keep the tanks up while maintaining the raid’s health, let me tell you, that’s a lot. The higher the discrepancy between places, the more over-healing there is, the more mana issues during the actual encounter is, and so on.

This "nerf" to CoH to me, is an attempt to try to bring the spell back into line and make healing more consistent. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, I do however think 6 seconds is going to be a bit much of a cooldownn, but only time will tell as the PTR is being run. I’ve been pestering my priests about it, so we’ll see what they say. In the meantime it means we should be preparing for another reliable group heal not being as powerful or present as it was before, we should be ready to pick up the slack so to speak.

I’ve gone on and on about the joys of haste, you can see it here For those that don’t remember there is a formula we follow to figure out the cast time of your spells and how it’s affected by haste. And look, here it is!


Importance of Haste Rating

If you want to spam your chain heals and heal a raid it’s time to start looking at your haste gear and to start looking at your glyphs.

First of all you should be shooting for somewhere near 350-400 haste. 340 haste with a Wrath of Air totem will net you a 2.2 second Chain Heal cast time.

Your goal should be around a 2.0s cast time on your chain heal.

This will allow for your Global Cool Down to be up but also allow you to keep a constant stream of CH casting. By using the formula above we see that 2.0 seconds = 820 haste rating, however one must take into account the haste around you in a raid. The trend of almost every raiding guild I’ve seen has been to include at least one Retribution Paladin, and lets face it, Balance Druids have come a long way since vanilla and have found their way into raids quite frequently.

I’m going to make the assumption that you’ll have at least a Ret Paladin. So we can assume you’ll have 350ish haste, Wrath of Air totem down and a Ret paladin, your chain heal will be 2.2 seconds. Not bad. If you snag yourself the all holy Egg (which currently does not have a cooldown on the proc) the proc will put you at a 1.9 second cast time. This is good as this thing procs off just about everything. You can see more about the egg proccing in my post here. Now the reason you want to shoot for a 2.0 second cast time is other haste effects. Heroism / Bloodlust give you 30% increase in your casting speed. If you push too much haste, when you use it you will push yourself past your global cooldown timer, causing you to trip over your heals and keeps you from being able to heal effectively.


To go with your haste gear you should also be looking at glyphs. If you are going to be raid healing I have three major suggestions.

  • Glyph of Water Mastery: Will help keep your mana supply coming in good order (30% counts for a lot more then you would normally assume),
  • Glyph of Chain Heal: Necessary. The extra target just makes the spell even more effective. This again allows it to claim the title as most mana efficient heal around.
  • Glyph of Earthliving Weapon This one is a must for a few reasons. First, the Earthliving Weapon ability can proc of any heal, and each target of Chain Heal counts towards it proccing. Second, is the fact that the egg procs off HoT ticks. So, with chain heal delivering Earth Living to everyone and ensuring you have 4 targets and more then likely a HoT up at all times, your egg should be giving you an almost constant 505 haste. Pushing you right at 1.9 – 1.8s chain heals constantly allowing you to keep that raid nice and topped off.

Mana Regen

Now I’m sure many of you are asking "but what about mana regen?"

MP5, the magic shaman stat, is still present. If you are collecting gear based on haste, much of it also comes with a healthy dose of MP5. With that said, it is well within reason to have around 350 haste while still being able to pull off close to 550 mp5 while in combat. Once you reach your haste number, start getting a few pieces with MP5 in spades and everything will be fine.

On the topic of MP5 we do have a change on the horizon that will help with this.

On the PTR currently we see these:

Healing Way: Now only one application is required to reach full benefit. No longer stacks.

Improved Water Shield: Lesser Healing Wave now has a reduced chance to trigger this talent WOOOOOO.

First, of all lets talk improved Water shield. On a crit of Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide It will consume a charge of water shield, giving you the mana return as if you were hit. This is fine and dandy but in the heat of a battle, there are times you won’t be able to give up the Global Cool Down to put it back up instead of healing. A reduction in the proc rate down from 100% is very very good as it allows the orbs to stay up giving use more passive mana regeneration, which will come out to more overall MP5 in the long run.

Second, the change to Healing Way means we only have to plop down one Healing Wave instead of the 3 we normally would have, which means we can conserve that mana and still get the full effect.

Front loading the effect was an amazing move on the part of Blizzard.

That’s it for my thoughts on this patch at this time. I’m currently waiting on a response from my priests as far as their input goes on the talent change, but in the meantime, be prepared to step up and fill the gap.

Happy healing!

7 thoughts on “Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls”

  1. I still can’t believe that blizzard would put a 6-second CD to COH. I can understand a 3 second CD, or increased mana cost (to prevent spamming)..,but I agree that the 6-second COH CD is HUGE.

    With this nerf we should at least be allowed to wear mail, or have blood lust of some sort, so we’d actually still have spots in the raid (as far as raid healing goes).

    Merry Christmas! 🙁

  2. I dont see the nerf to COH as being the end all fix, EIther on ptr or after its live, I would expect buffs in other areas or nerfs to content. But we went through BT and sunwell and mostly the resto shaman,priests and druids stayed comparable. Some fights one class would excel and other fights others would be best suited, But in wotlk in Naxx, our holy priests closely followed by our resto druid outheal our shaman by a wide margin. Its the same! players, the priests didnt suddenly get better and the shaman worse, only the abilities changed.

    We killed Malygos with 2 holy priests, a disc priest,resto druid ,1 shaman and pallies.
    We went back the next week with 1 holy priest, 1 disc,3 shaman and pallies. It was so much harder!

  3. @Evilhalo: Don’t worry that much about our healing. I have nearly ignored CoH since 3.0 as a curtesy rule for other healers. It never stopped us from getting the job done and never stopped me from producing competitive amounts of healing. When that CD goes live, my CoH curtesy goes through the window. Merry christmas indeed *evil grin* !
    /boastmode off

    What I do fear is that some fights will rely on Shamans to get us through. Blizzard aims for a system where lacking one spec/class won’t necessarily give you a penalty but in this case I fear they made an exception. I don’t see 2 holy priests, 2 druids and 2 paladins get through heavy AoE fights as easily as a shaman team. Then again.. the same problem existed before the nerf with holy priests and (to lesser extent) druids.

    Now, regarding the haste part of the article.. I always find that haste is a dubious stat for a healer. When it comes to healing, and producing high HPS, then spell power is a very viable stat. Next to increasing HPS it increases efficiency as well. On top of that, Chainheal scales better with spell power than many healing spells in the game. How does haste balance out with that? 45% of your chainheal is smartheal. Haste does not make smartheal more efficient. So why this focus on haste?

    Now here’s a tricky part.. I don’t invest in haste and this makes my major spell, the greater heal, a 2.5s cast. Now.. it’s hard enough to get an efficient heal out of it as is but when Shamans start stacking haste I can see notable increase in my overheal and decrease in my efficiency. Oh yeah, the shaman numbers go up alright… but not because they are doing more healing… but because they are sniping other people’s heals. So my question would be:
    When speeding up your smartheal, what are you really increasing? Your HPS or your position on the meter?

  4. Hmm, reading my previous post I feel I may have sounded a little harsh, sorry. I’m quite sincere about my question though: I really want to know where you feel that haste is increasing your HPS and how this augments your overall healing output, compared to spell power. I checked your articles but they don’t include numbers on this, unfortunately. If Haste really becomes a way to increase HPS that can be proven more effective than spell power, and by this I mean raw healing output, it might prove interesting to investigate it for the priest as well.

    The thing is.. one of your points in your article regarding haste is that faster heals = prevent deaths = safer. However, in our current 25 man teams there are many instant abilities and faster methods to save a tank/player.

    Hence… I’m suspicious about this stat and what it “really” brings.

  5. Even as a shaman I hope CD on CoH and WG won’t lead to shaman stacking in certain encounters somewhere in the future.

    -Chainheal spamming is no fun
    -Being back to chainheal spamming for a good chunk of WotLK would be horrible
    -In BC many very mediocre resto shamans could choose any T6 guild just because they were shamans.
    -And even if many shamans won’t like me for that: spamming chainheal is very easy. Not comparable to druids who never drop their HoTs on tanks. Not comparable to priests who really make use of their wide range of healing spells.

    Only time will tell what’s going to happen. 3.0.8 won’t change a thing because of fairly easy content. I’m very curious what the first hard instance is going to bring regarding healing class balance. And I hope raidwide bloodlust and totems bring enough to the table to prevent shaman stacking.

    drugs last blog post..Fishing, Cooking and Me


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