Ain’t nobody… heal you better. Makes you happy, gets you healed this way. Ain’t nobody heals you better than me….

Ava did a great post last week recapping the Priest preview for Cataclysm – I agree with most of what she said. While, personally, I hate the current design of Leap of Faith. I sincerely hope the current incarnation isn’t implemented as described – where’s the throughput? Threat dump? Healing Bonus? Anything? It needs just a little SOMETHING else to it. Or the fact that the level 85 spells are supposed to be our ‘shiny new toy’… I don’t want to get too distracted by it. Aaaaanyway…

One of the more interesting changes is the concept of Chakras. I really have mixed emotions about this proposed ability. One one hand I can see the whole ‘Wow! It’ll be great to be able to hit our stride and then be better at what we are focused on doing at that point in time!” but then on the other hand, I keep noticing holes or concerns I have with the ability.

The idea behind the Holy “cast three in a row” talent (it’s called “Chakra”) is that we’ve always positioned Holy as a versatile healer. This talent lets you shift into different modes. If you need to be a tank healer, cast three single target heals and your single-target healing is now better. Cast three area heals, and you can be a temporarily specialized group healer. We’re going to try to play this mechanic up with a cool UI to try to get that “I’m almost in the zone” feel. We’ll let it apply to as many types of spells as we can, perhaps even Smite for those times when nobody’s taking damage.

Ok, buffing spells by casting spells. Sounds interesting – sounds possibly exciting. (and I better looking freakin fantastic when I trigger this ability – WTB Valkyr form!)

But wait… didn’t Blue also say that they didn’t want healing to feel spammy, and that not stopping casting heals isn’t what they want the healer experience to be? They did. Doesn’t that seem slightly counter to what Chakra is about?

Chakra sounds like it is going to reward healers for casting the same spell in a row (three times) to then buff that same spell (or type of spell) that is subsequently cast. Lets put this theory in practice: You cast Prayer of Healing… 3 times in a row, to then buff your fourth (and fifth, and sixth…) Prayer of Healing after that. First of all, even on heavy Aura damage fights in Heroic ICC25 you don’t do that… not to mention in the new world that is Cataclysm where they seem to not want healers to spam or chain cast the same spell. It just seems slightly counter intuitive to the new mana mindset that is Cataclysm.

Some people feel it would be better similar to the Grace talent in the Discipline tree. Letting it build up when you are focused on a certain task (or on a certain tank). But, what happens if I cast two POH’s then cast 2 renews… am I building up POH Chakras or Renew Chakras? Just like Grace, if you switch quickly to heal the offtank, your original Grace stacks are gone.

Speculation is speculative!

Now, I am not saying I dislike Chakra. I actually really do like the concept and I will reserve my judgement until I get a chance to see it in action. (Pssst, Blizzard…. Beta key! Over here!!!). The ability to be better at the task that I need to do is always good. I just have some reservations mainly regarding the theory behind it… and I am hoping we don’t become the whole “Jack of All Trades Master of None” healer without being in an appropriate Chakra mode; and the spam to trigger it seems awkward given Blizzard’s new opinion of healer mana and spam casting.

The UI interface sounds interesting… for some reason I am seeing this meter that tilts towards Hots/AOE/Direct heals based on what you’ve already cast. Hopefully Blizzard pulls through and executes well on this. I am betting the Chakra UI interface is similar to the Eclipse interface that they hinted at for Boomkins. I am hoping Chakra isn’t overly complex where just having it being a cooldown ability. (Ie. Chakra is a buff that is consumed by your next spell, and based on the consuming spell does X, Y, or Z – consume it with renew to buff hots, consume with POH/COH to buff AOE heals, or Consume it with GHeal to buff direct healing spells).

At the end of the day, this sounds like a really interesting ability — and if executed properly will be a great tool in our arsenal! Time will tell, and early beta information is ALWAYS subject to change… and the promises of a Ghostcrawler pony. ;)