CoH is Fine, Damnit!

In a shocking statement made by Ghostcrawler (Blizzard developer), there is consideration to giving Circle of Healing a cooldown (again).  Blizzard is considering a 6 second cooldown on Circle of Healing and Wild Growth (druid healing spell).

Based on feedback from this forum, elsewhere and our own brainstorming, what we are thinking about right now is something like a 6 sec cooldown for Circle of Healing and Wild Growth.

We’re less concerned about Chain Heal, in part because it’s not instant, prevents movement, falls off with multiple targets, and is the spell that shamans are supposed to be hitting, while priests and druids have many other spells.

At 6 seconds, you would still want to use CoH/WG in the right situations (though hopefully not *every* time they are up), but you’d also want to use other spells during the cooldown. To be fair, a lot of priests and druids are asking to push other buttons. :)

This sounds like a potentially scary change because it has a lot of ramifications — one of the reasons we are mentioning it so early is to get feedback. We don’t want Resto shammies to push other healers out of raids. We would change some of the encounters knowing that CoH spam was no longer possible.

He continues on to say:

… seeing the state of healing at 80 makes us think it might be the right call again. When AE healing is so prominent, it also makes specs without great AE heals (Holy paladins and Disc priests) feel useless.

My personal opinion is that Circle of Healing is fine the way it currently is.  It feels like a 41-point talent should. It gives the holy tree definition and augments our healing ability in a way that makes us raid-desirable.  With the changes to downranking, we can’t spam this spell the way we used to be able to, anyways.  Casting CoH more than 4-5 times in a row really burns through the mana pool.  Fast.  However, this spell is still a big gun in our arsenal, making up a fair percent of our total healing.

Ask yourself, why is it used so much? Why does it consititute such a large percentage of a holy priest’s healing?

AoE damage (otherwise called “splash damage”) to the raid, especially in bursts, makes Circle of Healing godly.  If you can remember a time before CoH existed (so long ago…), what did you use to top off raids?  You’d cast Renew or a downranked heal.  At this juncture, Renew is too costly to toss around as a means of healing through splash damage, and downranked heals are gone.

Giving Circle of Healing a 6 second cooldown is treating the symptom and not the problem. It really feels that one of our key tools is going to be nerfed because of Blizzard’s encounter design, and not truly because it is overpowered.  There are many encounters where topping up the raid fast or stabilizing it through splash damage plays a prominent role.

Why I love Circle of Healing is the mobility it gives me.  The ability to keep a raid topped off while moving gives holy priests a unique and powerful role, albeit situational.  I worry that if this change goes through, holy priests will really become a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.  What will our strength be?  Why will we be brought to raids, beyond filling gaps in the roster?

Ghostcrawler mentioned that there would be ramifications of giving Circle of Healing a cooldown.  Here are a few that I can think of off the top of my head.

  • Fewer players will spec for Divine Providence, giving us a weak top of tree.
  • Less raid stabilization options.
  • Holy priests needing rebalancing of other spells’ throughput and mechanics to have them remain first-string healers.
  • We’re back to having a wimpy 41-point talent.

Alternatives to the cooldown:

  • Remove it’s smart-heal aspect.
  • Have it affect fewer targets.
  • Raise its base mana cost.

What would need to be changed to make the cooldown okay with us?

  • Making CoH baseline.
  • Upping the benefits of Prayer of Healing (such as making it raid-wide).

Fortunately, Blizzard is seeking further feedback before changing this spell.  Here’s hoping they see the light!

29 Responses

  1. At 70, with the AoE heavy content like Sunwell CoH is certainly NOT fine. It is very much over powered. Sure I like being on top of the healing meters by a clear margin as much as the other guy, but I also realize that its clearly unbalanced.

    I did Naxx a few times on beta and it was pretty much just as OP as it is currently on live. Maybe a little less so since mana was more of an issue then, but of course naxx gear at 80 is equal to kara gear at 70. So its pretty weak in the long run. I can absolutely guarantee you that CoH WILL be nerfed eventually, most likely by giving it that six second cooldown since its the easiest solution to the problem.

    Some logs:

    ~Perceived of

  2. Sunwell will soon be the past. I was thinking more of Naxx healing when I made the post, where I, too, endeavored to balance CoH with mana.

    I disagree that a 6 second cooldown would be the easiest solution. Wouldn’t raising the base mana cost be?

  3. Well they’re both pretty easy solutions. A cooldown stops CoH spamming cold and forces priests to use the different spells in their arsenal. This may be a issue if there are times where you -have- to be spamming for a few seconds. I personally don’t think thats such a big problem considering how nifty PoM is now and how efficient flash heal has become.

    If they just increase the mana cost it would be a solid temporary solution, but thats a tricky thing to balance. Odds are it’d be absolutely horrible for early Naxx raiding, ok for Ulduar level raiding, then back to being OP once we hit Icecrown level gear.

    Neither method is really that great for balancing and the increased mana cost could be worse on healing output then adding a cooldown would be, it all depends on what percentage they increase the cost by.

  4. Really… when you think of the class that was designed around healing… the only class that has 2 healing specs… thats the priest.

    As if they shouldn’t be better healers then Pallies that can Tank and Melee DPS, Druids that can Tank and Melee DPS or Shammies that can Melee and Caster DPS…

    What can we do… Heal, Heal and Caster DPS… Seriously, we should be the best healer in the game cause thats what our class was made for…

  5. Having both a Holy Priest and Holy Paladin with experience up to and in Black Temple, I understand both sides of this argument.

    However, this symbolizes a major breakdown in Blizzard’s conception of encounter design and their management of raid healing mechanics.

    Also, it will severely injure Priests and Druids in 10 mans when a Shaman is not present. Unless, that is, they plan on toning down splash.

    Additionally, consider the fact that Blizzard has stated that the primary reason for ramping up splash in Black Temple and Sunwell was to diminish the prominence of Holy Paladins lighting up the raid with little mana loss — Blizzard needed a way to `distinguish` Priests as the primary healers they were advertised to be. Thus, splash damage and the new Circle of Healing (which began as a group hot, if I remember correctly) came about.

    Moreover, it is ironic that Blizzard is suggesting this change because their intended single-target healing specialists feel “useless” during splash events.

    Ghostcrawler’s entire statement is senseless. Hopefully, after the enormous mistakes they’ve made with the Retribution tree, they’ll step more carefully this time.

    The bottom line is that, with this change, Blizzard will once again only be bandaging a larger underlying problem. Refusing to give one class (read: Paladins) a multi-target heal and then considering nerfing the `primary healing` classes as a result is a terrible idea.

  6. There are many holy priests that is asking for this change, it have broken healing totally and we want to work for our healing done. We don’t like to be OP and have the courage to tell the developers that. (hint hint, OP Ret Palas, there is nothing wrong with us!!).

    It has made healing so boring, I have always loved healing, but from 3.0.2, I’m hating it so damn much. I’m going to post a post from guild forum that I did write yesterday.

    I really start to hate my healing macro and healing so damn much.. Only 2 more raids to go as 70… that’s like 6-7 hours of spamming on single button and don’t check anything else.. and I really hope that they fix this crap until we start at 80!

    Just check healing from yesterday… I did “win” healing meters on 3 places that I didn’t watch at HP bars at all. Trash, boss 1 and boss 3 (MH). I’m going to repeat that, I didn’t watch any bars at all, some parts of the time I didn’t even watch my screen, and still I can win from just spamming one button and don’t know a shit what I’m doing .. and that sucks so damn hard… from have to focus a lot on healing, from not even watch the screen… :(

    This is the only that is needed… = watch TV while raiding, and still get nr 1 on healing done macro…

    /tar Focus
    /castsequence reset=combat Renew, Prayer of Mending, Circle of Healing, Circle of Healing, Circle of Healing, Circle of Healing, Circle of Healing, Circle of Healing

    SO go go Nerf CoH, CH, WG.. Its soooooo much needed.

  7. You make some good points naraxi, however my head is hurting after trying to read your comment. I also hihgly agree with tair

  8. Hmmm, I also have a holy pally and a priest, so I’m a bit torn by this change. On the one hand, I do love CoH for being able to top off many people quickly. And I’ve heard it’s even better in the 3.0 world with the smart healing (although I’ve been playing my priest as disc to try that out so I don’t know first hand). However, I’ve suffered through the lack of aoe healing options on a pally in 5 mans; pre-3.0 there were times I would have killed for just binding heal. Bacon is an awesome new spell for pallies, but I’m still worried about healing heavy aoe content. Particularly 5 and 10 mans where I’m limited in the number of healers I have to fill in my weak spots. I agree with Tair that nerfing CoH and also druid Wild Growth won’t really fix the problem, it will just allow more people to experience the frustration that is healing aoe damage with no aoe heals.

    That said, I saw another post from Ghostcrawler in the same thread where he hinted they might be willing to reduce the aoe damage in encounters if it needs it. The change would still be a nerf to my priest when she’s specced holy, but at least my pally wouldn’t be in the position of deciding which dps to heal and which dps to let die. At least, assuming those encounter changes went into 5 mans and 10 mans, I should be tank healing as a pally in 25s.

  9. @ Naraxi – I think looking at how things are currently in 3.0.2 isn’t representative of how they will be in WotLK. Currently, raiding feels more like a zergfest. The current raiding content wasn’t created or balanced around the tools we currently have available (from talents) and the hitpoint reduction to raid mobs was implemented to allow people one last chance to give this content a good go before everyone moved on to WotLK, resulting in raids that just fly through content with things dying so quickly that mana isn’t a concern in many cases. In WotLK, we’ll have to carefully balance CoH use against our mana pool.

    @ Mirabi – Well said: “Nerfing CoH and also druid Wild Growth won’t really fix the problem, it will just allow more people to experience the frustration that is healing aoe damage with no aoe heals.”

  10. I find it ironic how Blizzard basically bullied Holy priests into taking up CoH by constantly tweaking it until it was a very good spell (remember when it was crap? I do).

    Of course the issue isn’t CoH being too good, it’s Shammies and Pallys’ healing spells that need work, but the easy way out is to nerf others classes to make the weaker classes look not as bad.

    I absolutely hate this approach, Blizzard uses it way too often. They’re lazy.

  11. While I guess that current raiding isn’t quite representative for level 80 raiding, it still gives an indication that CoH needs a remake. The change to make it raid wide has trivialized the use of it. In my opinion, a priest healer should not be CoH spammer in PVE. There’s a reason why I like playing my priest and that’s because I’m able to do so many different tasks. I actually like being the healer that you with good confidence can put on any duty. I can see why hardcore raiders are worried that we will not get enough raid spots, but I’d rather see that changed in some other way than letting us only press the CoH button. A good priest should be able to fit into any raid, but not a bad one.

    Rather than having a cd on the spell, however, I’d like to see that it becomes more expensive to cast and has to be used more seldom (that is, less aoe damage). Perhaps also by making the rest of our spells more powerful. It’ll be very interesting to see what Blizzard makes of it. I think a change is justified even though I’d really need to be level 80 to fully stand by that view.

  12. Because most buffs are raidwide, it’s easier to shuffle groups around bases on proximity to one another (not that that usually didn’t happen anyways). Even with a CD on CoH, PoH and HN are still viable splash damage healers if you can keep your party grouped together (HN for collapses, PoH for other stuff).

    On the other hand, the change would gut what seems like a major aspect of the Holy tree.

    Perhaps a false CD would be better, allowing spamming but making spamming inefficient. Either making 1/3 of CoH’s healing a HoT or a damage shield would mean spamming is never a great choice, but still possible if needed. And it would also help differentiate bad players from good ones – the bad ones just spam the spell, but the good ones mix in other stuff to take full advantage of the spell’s efficiency.

  13. Comparing CoH with chain heal? One is a trained spell and the other is a major high tier talent. Compare it with Tree of Life and see what you get for results.

    This is like calling Lightwell the Mortal Strike / Holy shield of the priest class. Ummm, not its and that would be a huge insult to priests. Mortal and Holy Shielf strike defines that class’s tree and becomes that trees core spell. CoH does this for Holy, or did that until it was nerfed with a cooldown in order to balance it with other classes in some backwards way. If mortal strike were put on a ~36 second cooldown. Making it useless toughly 5 times your normally would spam it today, thats how I would feel with a CoH nerf.

    Him saying the word ‘early’ at least saves me the time of griding new gear for my priest before dropping it.

  14. I for one feel CoH is fine. Consider this. Raid makeup is changing significantly by (For a lot of folks) going to a 10 man format. That means there will be two healers on board. Given this I feel it is important that Priests have the ability to be well rounded with the ability to heal both specific targets and AoE heal for the group.

    To make the statement that CoH is OP at this time is inappropriate. What are you basing this on? Every raid in the game has been significantly nerfed and we got a universal boost in “spellpower”. Having smashed Kara w/ 6 people I can tell you everybody is a bit OP at present in relation to the content. Was CoH OP prior to 3.0? I don’t think so. It was an effective AOE heal. Although if you spammed it you were oom.

    As priests we need to be well rounded. We are the quintessential healers of the game. I feel it would be a huge mistake to put a cooldown on CoH.

    My advice to Blizz is to let us transition to the new content and then see how things sit.


  15. I can see the arguments in favor of the cooldown, but not if we aren’t given something back. MK makes a very strong point: No one used CoH until 3.0.2 because it sucked so bad: Lousy HpM, not a very good “intelligence” to the spell. It wasn’t much better than Holy Nova, but with threat added!

    At the same time CoH was improved, PoH was changed to the point where it’s almost pointless to use it.

    What about giving CoH a cast timer, rather than a CD? (of course, that would basically eliminate PoH from anyone’s spellbar, so that definitely needs work).

    Bottom line: More people are going to die.

  16. From —

    What if Circle of Healing was affected by diminishing returns when healing targets above a set health threshold? 60%, for example. This accomplishes a number of things:

    1. Reinforces Circle of Healing’s identity as a rescue spell, not a general raid upkeep spell.
    2. Synergizes very well with Guardian Spirit and Test of Faith.
    3. Permits a Priest to use this spell numerous times in the event of a true emergency, but;
    4. Severely oppresses frivolous use of the spell.

    A cooldown is not the answer; please consider other avenues before taking the easy way out.

  17. Hmmm, interesting Tair…

    I definitely like this idea better than the cd. Not sure if they could implement it though.

    On another note, I don’t think increasing the mana cost would work to decrease “frivolous use of the spell”. GC says they see some priests getting 75% of their healing at 80 from CoH, and I’ll agree that’s not good. But those priests would continue to spam CoH with increased mana cost, they would just need more innervates and could stack int to get more out of replenishment. And Ghostcrawler is right, some of them would complain in the forums about gear itemization. So it wouldn’t really stop the spamming.

    I’d still rather they gave my pally a crummy aoe heal and left my priest alone though (seriously, it could be holy nova level and I’d be happy).

  18. If they do nerf it my major gripe will be that it makes the Tier 10 Divine Providence 5 point talent a waste. And priests have been getting shafted with their last tier talents in holy since the game came out.

  19. I don’t understand. If priests are complaining it’s all they do and it’s boring, well, don’t spec it. Don’t learn it. Don’t put it on your toolbar. Use your other spells.

    If you’re whining about it because of meters, then you’re simply sick in the head. This game isn’t about meters.

  20. I’m now 100% convinced that Blizzard devs never play priests. They seem to have no clue what to do with the class and this is more evidence.

  21. CoH is overpowered in my opinion in the situation we are in now. I am aware of the fact that raids we do now are not a good example of what we will face at 80. But here is how I heal now in raids: CoH on a tank, renew a tank, CoH a tank, renew a tank, CoH a tank, PoM a tank, rinse, repeat. This heals all tanks and melee in the raid to full, without going OOM. If ranged get dmg, its mostly aoe-based damage so 1 or 2 times casting CoH is usually enough to fix that.

    I can do all this without going oom in most bossfights. Like I said above, encounters are not representative of what we will face at 80, but with this method I top the healing charts without breaking a sweat (and much like shamans could before 3.0 by only using chainheal). And I can add 1 thing to this: it’s no fun. I had more fun while I was actually fighting for my 4th or 5th spot on the charts and using a lot more variety of heals and targetting a lot more different people. I’d hate to see CoH getting a 6-sec cooldown, as it is good and it would be totally ruined with a cooldown. But increased mana would be something. Before 3.0 I mainly used CoH as an “OHSHIT”-button.

    I just hope Blizzard will come up with something good…

  22. What about having the 6 second cooldown, but then add a reduction from Divine Providence? Actually I think that all the spells under DP should have some benefit, other than the heal bonus. It could be as simple as ‘reduces cooldown’ or maybe reduce cast time on some of them instead.
    That would encourage (or justify) spending more points in the Holy tree, and make it a choice to focus on CoH rather than mixing it up with Discipline talents. Similar to Paladins having to spend extra to make Blessing of Kings full power, it lets us have our Overpowered CoH, but at a cost.
    That, or move it to the top tier again, swapping with Guardian Spirit (which might need some tweaks)…

  23. or, what if Circle of Healing used 5 ranks instead of just the 1?
    something like “Heals 1/2/3/4/5 Targets…”

    Would you be willing to spend 5 points on it to keep it the way it is now?

  24. They are going to put the 6 second cooldown. I think we can heal fine without even spending points talenting COH. 6 second cooldown on a 1500 – 2k heal is not much if you cannot cast it twice in a row imo. We shall see, I’m pretty sure it needs some kind of nerf but I would say maybe 4 seconds. But my biggest gripe is not the nerf to coh per se its that priest last 2 holy tiers again are very very sub par and that annoys me with what should really be a 45 and 51 point talents.

  25. ok well let me preface by saying I’ve healed with my priest up through Illidan and i have to say, there are very few times where I would cast more than 3 CoH’s in a row, yes surge of light changes that a little, but regardless if you don’t want to spam CoH as much as i do then you can heal without it. Spec to holy/imp spirit. I used to refer to that as gimp spirit spec because i thought CoH had to be our bread and butter, but after raiding with people that use CoH over 90% of their heals. With the mana return from overhealing (serendipity i believe its called) flash and greater heal and glyphs that reduce mana cost, more chance for clearcasting proc and PoM crits its not hard to heal without CoH if you wanted. I might be rambling here but it upsets me too to see the lazy priests spamming CoH to top charts, but to the people that are bored with it…..just don’t use it, i might also be pretentious by saying that but its not as hard as it seems. Final note, a friend of mine stacked crit after the patch (around 35% for a holy priest) and his #1 healing spell in raids in PoM even while spamming CoH a fair amount, with crits on that for over 4k i think we as players just need to rethink how we play our own class, leave us alone blizz!

  26. ehhh my enrish not so good when i ramble

  27. We are boned – See PTR notes on MMO-Chamption..
    6 sec cooldown on the table..

  28. [...] November 7, 2008 by khaeli ThisThisThisThisand This. [...]

  29. but we got the Prayer Of Healing now-heals-other-parties un-nerf back in 3.1.0

    together with 2/2 imp Prayers, I see a shift towards even more variation in healing spell usage, making priests yet again the most versatile healers with way too many healing spells

    lets see: renew, GH, FH, PoH, PoM, CoH, holy nova… and now shield even allows warrior tanks to continue getting rage when absorbing dmg, the list just becomes longer and longer…

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