Priest CoH Cooldown Returns?

Matticus has no comment at this time. But, I felt that the readers should be aware of this thread. It was tried before in the summer but they removed the cooldown. They’re thinking about bringing it back again (note the dates).

We’ve tried to keep up with all of the several threads that spawned as a result of my last comments. People have made some really good points.
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.


Yeah, we did. We thought it would feel like a big nerf and changed our minds. But 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.

Assume that we would lower Wild Growth by the same proportion as Circle of Healing. The exact numbers aren’t as important to this discussion as the concept that you can’t hit the button whenever you want.


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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. I think they should leave druids with a decent heal intact. Whether that’s Lifebloom or Wild Growth, I don’t really care, but it needs to be one or the other. Regrowth just doesn’t fit with the hot-healer identity.

  2. Regarding priests, I’m more favorable towards this decision. I recently switched from Holy to Discipline because of Circle of Healing. As a 23/38/0 priest with Improved Divine Spirit, I brought little utility to the raid beyond a single buff and couldn’t contribute as effectively as a Circle of Healing priest. While I understand the need for raid-wide healing for progress, I was disappointed by how prominent the spell had become for Holy priests. Looking at WWS, I saw that 70-80% (and sometimes more, depending on who it was!) of the healing done by our Holy priests consisted of that single spell. Furthermore, I felt that this change had essentially changed priests to a mostly single-cast class.

    Pre-The Burning Crusade I stopped raiding on my Holy paladin and Restoration shaman because I loved the fact that a good priest used the vast majority of her healing spells. I feel that the sheer effectiveness of Circle of Healing pigeonholed our Holy priests into a single spell and role.

    As a Discipline priest currently in the game, I don’t feel useless, even with two Restoration shamans and two Holy priests in the raid. I bring so much utility to the raid, between preventive healing, increased healing on a target, faster heal times, a buff that allows me to increase a target’s damage or healing output, and so on. I love my spec, I love my role, and I accept that in pure healing prowess I’ll lamentably linger behind pure healing-specced players. However, I’m still damned competitive on the meters and in a single target healing situation I still flourish over my AoE-healing counterparts.

    As mentioned before, my concern is mostly regarding how I feel that priests — who are considered the core hybrid healing class since we possess every type of heal and are therefor capable to adapt to most situations — are pigeonholed into a single spell. The change wouldn’t affect me directly since I doubt that I’d return to Holy on any of my priests any time soon, but it would do a lot for my opinion on the tree!

    Regarding druids, I can say nothing! Of all the classes capable of healing, I’ve never leveled one past forty, much less raided as one!

  3. Speaking as my priest, I’d largely be in favour of this with a proviso. If we see the amount healed increased, somewhere around x2, then a 6 second cooldown seems sensible.

    Considering that CoH often procs SoL, the cast rotation may look like CoH->FH->PoM to deal with group damage, which to me seems much more satisfying that CoH->CoH->CoH->CoH.

    Speaking as my druid, not so sure. Tranquility is amazing, but hardly fills the same role. After that’s blown, I’m stuck using single target HoTs or Regrowth.

  4. My recent post says everything. Developers are getting really knee-jerk.

    http://www.lumethemad.coms last blog post..Now Is Not the Time to Evaluate CoH and WG

  5. I absolutely do not agree with this move. Sure, all some priests do is spam circle of healing all night long… But if you truly know how to play your character, you wont be.

    The reason why this spell is used more than others is because of its effectiveness. In some cases it is nearly required to avoid a wipe. If Blizzard ups the cool-down, it will take away one of the best things Holy Priests have to offer.

  6. A cooldown would be really annoying since it becomes yet another thing to keep track of. However if there is a cooldown then the spell might be made more powerful so it’s that an advantage?

  7. Woot.

    As a Paladin healer, getting sniped by a smart CoH (which requires not even the skill of CH since the target can be ignored) is really annoying. If they want to give a game breaking spell like this (and it wasn’t in TBC since it was group based, so 5 targets tended to equal 3 or so except in full raid wide situations, now its 5 basically all the time) then they need to balance other healers, and Shamans / Paladins have problems competing for healing (since there is some competitivity to healing) since they have no real instant aoe / instant casts anyway.

    A 6s cooldown isn’t bad, I manage it on my paladin (and I am normally prot / ret so I don’t get much experience), its something you know is up, you can cast count, or you get the feeling for it. Hopefully also it will mean less raid wide damage, more targeted effects and pushing healers to succeed and perform rather than spam healing the raid. While its not fun to play watch the green bars, its a lot more interesting to be able to watch the screen and see an attack (like Teron) and be able to preemptively prepare for it.

    So their choices were really:

    nerf aoe
    nerf aoe damage
    nerf priest mana using it (counterable with innervate / water totems)
    add instant aoe to pala/ shaman.

    My suggestion for paladins was an equivalent to Holy wrath for healing (unlimited targets, 10 yards, reasonable strength 15s cooldown… and the 1 response I got was “don’t you think 15s is too short a cooldown for an aoe?”…) different perspectives on AoE and healing, just because its easy to use, doesn’t mean it should remain so (and I tend to heal watching the raid + bars rather than just bars – and yes I have topped charts in MH vs CoH and Shaman).

    2ndNins last blog post..On Niches in Warcraft

  8. I feel guilty.

    I love how holy priests are imba right now. I love being able to do so much with CoH. I love having the power to outheal pretty much any other class – in the right situation.


    Is this overpoweredness, as much fun as it is, fair to the other classes? Probably not. 🙁

    Though I do think six seconds is pretty long. Make it like three seconds.

    Avonars last blog post..WoW Priest Dictionary

  9. I don’t think CoH as it is is fair to the other classes. Nor is it fair to healing priests of other specs. But, I think the cooldown should be a little shorter. Maybe 2-3 seconds.

  10. Allindra - Smolderthorn - Alliance says:

    I learned to heal on my priest as an improved DS priest, and only recently switched to a CoH priest after 3.0.3. came out. And honestly? The thought of this change upsets me. A good priest healer, such as one who learned to heal without having CoH to spam, will NOT spam it unless the situation calls for it.

    I only spam CoH when an encounter that I’m in (Hex Lord in ZA?) really calls for it, but I really enjoy the fact that it is spammable and instant right now.

    The other healing classes we have in our guild, notably a resto shaman and a few holy paladins, and occasionally one resto druid, all have something else that they bring to the healing. I can’t say they’d have a problem with Bliz leaving CoH the way it currently is.

    People shouldn’t be fighting over who tops the healing meter.

    And if they DO make this change…I agree with the other posters, lower the cooldown to 2-3 seconds, 6 seconds is ridiculous in situations where the entire raid is getting whomped with a lot of damage.

  11. I went full Disc in the patch and love it, however, I’m being blown out of the water by CoH priests just pumping out massive numbers. In our raids I’m now considered a single-target healer much like a Pally, which isn’t terrible, but I don’t think that’s quite what the devs intended.

    Maybe if they added a small cooldown (2-3 seconds) but at the same time made PoH raid wide it would help to level things out a bit and give disc priests at least something AE healing wise to compete with.

  12. I think something needs to be changed to make it a spell thats less likely to be spammed, but I am not sure a 6 second cooldown is the right way to do that. I am sure Blizz will make it a good spell still. =)

    I guess I don’t really understand how it isn’t “fair”. Healing is not competitive, the point is for everyone to be alive at the end of the pull. There will always be disparity on healing charts, based on assignment, positioning, movement, ect.
    Not to mention, the way CoH priests look on a current healing meter, is the same way chain healing shammies have looked for a long time. I for one never complained about never being able to “keep up” with a shammy.

    Each healing class has it’s own strengths, and its own weaknesses. CoH is being spammed because it is OP for a holy priest at 70 in this content. They are all still needed.

  13. If you really want to be capable of AoE spamming healing, you need to sacrifice single target healing, as it is the throughput capability of CoH is 2x that of chain heal, Shamans are already worse single target healers than Paladins / Disc, if CoH is to be a spam lol button then it has to compromise the ability of non disc priests to single target heal.

    If you want to be good at both, you cannot be the best at one.

    2ndNins last blog post..On Niches in Warcraft

  14. Allindra - Smolderthorn - Alliance says:

    The way I see it as talents stand right now, holy priests are good AOE healers, and holy priests are good single target healers, but holy priests are not the “best” single target healers.

    At least, in the groups I’ve run with that title goes to holy paladins and discipline priests.

    What’s the cast time on chain heal? I like the fact that CoH is an instant and can be used while moving, so I would hope Bliz wouldn’t add a cast time to CoH instead of a cooldown…but if they must change the talent, give it a cooldown similar to the amount of time it takes to cast a chain heal.

    I’m still of the mindset that healers shouldn’t be “competing” with each other to top healing meters. What’s most important is that each brings their class specific traits to the raid and that everyone stays alive.

  15. I’ve always been a little conflicted about putting a cooldown on CoH, or Wild Growth. A wise healer always did do more than just spam CoH, and often the times where CoH was best was a couple in quick succession to mop up aoe damage, then get back to using other heals. A cooldown on CoH puts a hitch in what I always saw as CoH at its most effective, without being brainlessly spammed as an EZ mode.

    However, after seeing like, every single priest ever I’ve played with in two different raiding groups in my guild alliance use CoH 80-90+% of the time, to the exclusion of everything else, regardless of the encounter, or good Priests who didn’t remember how to heal right in a heroic 5man situation where CoH was a square peg in a round hole, I’m going to have to side on some kind of change to CoH to curb this kind of behavior. It’s a powerful tool, which is great. But as others have said, priests have such a great arsenal, and there were great if not flashy looking upgrades to those spells between the Disc and Holy trees, and I’d love to see a more intelligent, strategic healing style back from Priests.

    Wild Growth, I see as being affected less by a cooldown. Yes, Druids will no longer be able to spam it on whole raids much like CoH was, however it’s status as a HoT, its duration, and the way that Druid heal in cyclical ways maintaining HoTs works pretty well with a cooldown, even if it is disappointing to have a cooldown on a new, awesome spell.

  16. As far as ‘smart’ group-heals go, why not balance them a bit more by adding a scaling mana-cost per amount actually healed? I.e. there would be a base-cost, plus something like 25% of the effective healing done by the spell. Then it stays powerful, but there’s reason -not- to just spam the thing.

  17. Haha, I enjoy discussions like this!

    Julanna: I guess I don’t really understand how it isn’t “fair”.

    The concern that arises may go a bit beyond fair. Remember how difficult it was to get into a raid post-release of the Burning Crusade when every was stacking paladins for their auras and buffs, shamans for their totems and Chain Heals, while each progressive raid typically took a single priest that served as a buff bearer because stacking multiple priests was silly? That didn’t change until Circle of Healing got a nice boost, though Chain Heal was still the preferred way of group healing because it was a smart heal and because of the unique totems each shaman was capable of bringing.

    With how incredibly powerful Circle of Healing currently is, there’s almost little need to bring other types of healers when you can just stack multiple Holy priests. Classes and specs that don’t bring a lot of utility to the raid may be pushed aside for Holy priests, just as we used to be for shamans and paladins when we examined our viability in raiding a year or so ago.

    Even though we shouldn’t be looking at the meters competitively, keep in mind that people do look at the meters to gauge effectiveness in raids. In a competitive raiding environment trying to down bosses and get world or server firsts, the players who appear to not be excelling will be replaced in favor of the more effective classes. At the moment, due to the overwhelming power of Circle of Healing that class and spec looks like Holy priests.

    Alindra: A good priest healer, such as one who learned to heal without having CoH to spam, will NOT spam it unless the situation calls for it.

    However, with how effective Circle of Healing is and how little problems people are currently having with mana regeneration, regardless of the potion sickness debuff, the most effective way of healing currently — which doesn’t necessarily mean the most efficientis to spam Circle of Healing. We may run out of mana within a minute in solo testing, but with the effectiveness of the various Replenishment buffs that occur from Shadow priests and Retribution shamans, in addition to the new Holy tree talents that make overhealing not so much of a faux pas, it’s absolutely possible to spam the button.

    So, when you can’t run out of mana without really trying and have at your disposal an instant cast heal capable of automatically reaching the people who need it most within a certain amount of distance, what — beyond pre-Patch 3.0.2 prejudices — keeps you from spamming that spell? At the moment, it seems like a good Holy priest will spam that button at every opportunity in order to take advantage of the power of the spell. Anything less wouldn’t compete with how effective it is.

  18. Quote “Matticus has no comment at this time.”

    ….I don’t believe it

  19. Wow, Retribution shamans? Make that paladins and I’m a little big happier with my post. Apologies!

  20. sigh…keep driving me away from wanting to heal on druid more :/

  21. IcE_IcE_N00b says:

    CoH still makes WG it’s bitch. Cooldown to CoH only would make WG a little more balanced. But for now, priests are still spamming CoH and druids are still spamming lifebloom, since WG cannot compete. DAMN YOU CoH!

  22. One of my favorite features of lifebloom over wild growth is leveraging the bloom. If someone took a damage spike and there is a pending bloom, I can choose not to renew it and whammo, mini-heal hits. In the meantime I’m doing something else, which may or may not be afk.

  23. Personally .. and I know *know* I am not alone. Blizard massively goofed in how they implimented priest class changes ALREADY. Nerfing COH …. NOW would completely handicap many priests who are still trying to heal through the last wave of patches. You can’t take a class that mostly scales with + healing NOT + crit and suddenly have their effectiveness as a healer be changed to + crit.

    ALL of my heals now land for less then they use to. ALL OF THEM. With the loss of greater heal rank 1. And the INSANE and I do mean INSANE heals per secound pally healers now seem to be pumping out — COH so far is the only thing that lets me even hit in the same ball park with him for healing any more. When we use to be neck and neck.

    And I dont know *any* priest that *only* uses COH. A smart priest … KNOWS better. In fact, as priest class lead if I find *any* priest I raid with regularly COH spamming when renew, POM or Greater Heals are more appropriate, I certianly HAVE A TALK WITH THEM.

    What’s more .. many of us are *Still raiding* content with large AOE splash damage. At 80 .. maybe boss fights wont require COH ‘spam’ or whatever you want to call it and the cool down wont matter. But currently .. it does still.

    Half the priests I know have already gone shadow, because they dont enjoy healing in the days post-patch because they can’t really do what they use to effectively in the gear they have. I’m just worried this might drive more priests from the holy flock. Or worse .. make everyone go Disp, since holy will have such a weak 41 point talent.

  24. @cynra

    I suppose that is why I don’t see it. I am fairly new to the end-game. I have only been raiding for about 3 months. I have routinely been passed over for healers with more hp and armor. I have routinely been held as not able to heal certain encounters because I am a priest, and not the “best” at anything. I have been seeing raids that bring one ids priest for buffs, and then stack other healers. I am only now, post-patch being invited to raid heal as a holy priest.

    I guess, to me, it seems as thought a holy priest IS a raid healer, and a dics priest IS a single target healer, neither one should be trying to be both, as neither one is suited to both. Yes, as a priest you can “fill-in” for both, but to be the “best” you have to pick one. I think it’s great priests can pick something and be “the best” at it, instead of being a fill-in because you cannot find the healer class that is best at it.

    I lost some of my utility as a single-target healer in the patch, or at least it feels like I did. The only way I have been hitting the numbers I could hit pre-patch, is by using CoH, where previously I might have cast it twice a run, now I use it quite a bit more, or I look like I am doing nothing.

    People do look at healing meters. True. But, if they know anything about healing, then they know how to read them. A coh priest and a resto shammy should be at the top. Single target healers should have less, the way to look at a healing meter to see how the healers are relative to each other. The raid healers should be top of the chart, regardless of who it is. I guess what I am saying, is that I don’t care what people who don’t understand healing thinka botu healing meters. If they dont understand healing they shouldne be putting together a raid, and I probably dont want to be in it.

  25. More thoughts…

    I think coh is, right now, more in line with Blizzard’s plans of homogenization.

    Now, a raid leader putting together a healing team can say…

    “I need tank healers, find me a good player with a pally, druid, or disc priest”
    “I need raid healers, find me a good player with a Shammy, or holy priest”

    Instead of saying

    “I need raid healers, find me a shammy, any shammy that can faceroll on his/her keyboard and push CH, doesn’t matter how good they are”

    So, yes, that leaves two different specs of priests as able to fill either healer role. THat is the point of a priest. Yes, we can dps as shadow, and now even slightly as holy when needed with the change to spellpower. Yes, there are not two different specs for other healers to choose their role. But that seems intended. Priests are as close to a pure healing class as you can get, and they always have been. They have fewer options for anything other than healing, and other classes have more options for things other than healing, and fewer healing roles. Every class has a few roles it can choose from,
    Pally, druid can tank, dps, or single target heal. Shammy can raid heal, dps, or enhance everyone else. Priest can dps, single target heal or raid heal. All classes still have 3 options, it is just that priests have two separate healing choices.


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