I’m writing this post after conducting a discussion with a friend of mine who plays a CoH priest. He was griping about the CD addition to CoH and Wild Growth, saying that now shamans will occupy the top AOE healing spot. This is my refutation of that claim. I’m going to mostly talk about how the CoH nerf affects Chain Heal and vice versa, seeing as I have the most experience with these two spells.
“That ability isn’t ready yet.”
We all know about the cooldowns coming in patch 3.0.8. Ask any priest or druid; it’s on the top of their list of complaints. I was recently discussing this change with a friend from class that plays a dwarf priest, and he had nothing but bad things to say about the fact that Chain Heal was not getting a nerf as well. He argued that shamans will now be the best AOE healers in the game. I personally disagree.
I still think priests are perfectly capable AOE healers, and I attribute this to the fact that CoH is still a smart heal. CoH prioritizes who it heals. Those raid members with the greatest deficit health will receive the heals. I think that makes CoH one of the best “fire and forget” healing spells in the game. If you see a bunch of raid members taking damage, you can launch off a CoH and be fairly certain that the raid members who need the healing the most will receive it. You don’t need to even switch from your current target if they’re near the incoming damage. You are only limited by the 15 yard range, which remains nothing to scoff at. CoH is extremely useful in this regard because if your raid members are alert and moving to avoid AOE damage, you can pop off a quick CoH to keep them topped off.
Some healers are under the assumption that a shaman can just spam Chain Heal and win, much like priests are doing now with CoH. With Chain Heal, you have to pay close attention to who your target is, as they will receive the most benefit from the heal, and who is standing nearby them to receive the jumps from the heal. The jumps from the Chain Heal are much harder to judge than the smart healing from CoH. You can’t guarantee that the more damaged raid member will receive the 2nd jump, and the less damaged raid member will receive the 3rd jump. It’s not something you can judge easily in combat while a dozen other things are happening around you. Chain Heal IS very powerful because of it’s spammability. If you have a tightly packed group taking damage, like melee dps or the like, it’s a very useful tool for keeping them all up as they move to avoid AOE damage or what have you. Chain Heal is much more suited (post-nerf) to dealing with sustained AOE damage, whereas CoH is now more of a burst damage AOE heal.
There are a lot of priests who bind every key to CoH and faceroll and top charts doing so. (I’m not saying every priest does this, but there are more than enough that do.) The only thing the nerf will mean for priests is that now you will have to make more efficient use of your heals. PoM is very powerful, as is Renew. Those spells didn’t lose any functionality with the advent of CoH, but they arguably gain some functionality now that CoH has a cooldown. Additionally, CoH is still instant cast. Chain Heal has a cast time. CoH is much more reactive than Chain Heal will ever be. There’s nothing wrong with CoH and Chain Heal. They merely are suited for different situations now.
I’ve always been a fan of laser beam Penance healing, and no, I don’t spam Chain Heal. I’m a Lesser Healing Wave fan myself, although I do realize just how useful Chain Heal is in the right circumstances. I believe there is no “useless” heal. All heals have their place. It is finding a place for each of these heals that makes a healer good.