I am convinced that, somewhere along the path towards healing greatness, the Priest or Shaman must accurately be able to predict, and eventually plan for, the outcome of a Prayer of Mending or Chain Heal.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Any Priest – well any Priest that plays with sound – will recognise the sound of a perfectly executed Prayer of Mending healing its way around the group.
As for Chain Heal? Restoration Shamans get a visual light show to tell us if we’ve been successful. The more white lights, the better. At the moment I’m thinking about Chain Heal.
I tried to heal Trial of the Grand Crusader 10 for the first time this week. I failed. Quite a bit. But fortunately I wasn’t the only one. So when a single Chain Heal beam went out and only hit one target I don’t think too many people noticed. I can only hope that my raid members were too blinded by Snobolds and fire to notice my Chain Heal failing.
Perhaps it’s based on some out-of-date Prayer of Healing (the Priest, party-wide, AoE heal) theorycrafting but my understanding is that AoE healing is somewhat like AoE damage. If you hit less than 3 targets, you probably should have been spending your cast time and mana elsewhere. So 1 beam of Chain Heal? How embarrassing. 3 beams? I’m happy.
If you’re not familiar with Chain Heal there are two things you should know:
- The Resto Shaman picks the target: who gets the first hit and healed the most
- It can jump to and heal an additional player but only if they’re standing nice and close. It can jump a couple times.
Every time I cast Chain Heal it’s a gamble. Have I picked someone standing out on their own? Is that gap between the tank and melee less than 12 yards? What are the chances that this one will conveniently bounce back to me because I could use a heal too…
Here are some of the most common configurations that my Chain Heals like to take on. I was never one for star gazing or constellations, but I’ve got names for these:
There’s one of these in every 5 man group – a ranged DPS who not only stands at absolute max range, but also off to the side and way behind you. This means that when you’re in OMG-everyone-is-taking-damage mode and chain healing your lowest health party member one after another you might forget to swap to a different type of heal to keep this sole individual alive. At least I forget. This one is particularly painful to watch because 2 seconds later the rest of the party, including you, is probably still taking damage.
Hunters standing at 44 yards (or whatever it is) are enemies of the effective Chain Heal.
It may not look like it at first glance, but this is actually a modified version of “The Hunter”. In this configuration you, the Restoration Shaman, compensate for the poor positioning of the rest of the group by placing yourself right in the middle in an attempt to bridge the giant gap between the ranged and melee group. As long as the ranged DPS aren’t standing at absolute max range you can pull this off.
This is what Chain Healing should look like, right? You heal up your tank by a nice amount and miraculously get all the melee DPS at the same time with no extra effort.
This is the Melee Bonus without the bonus part. Did you know that some bosses are so freaking bit that their hit box has a diameter of more than 12 yards? Chain healing off the tank doesn’t always mean the melee get some of the love.
Note: Dramatization – You can’t actually heal 5 targets with Chain Heal.
In an ideal world all my Chain Heals would look like this. Neatly zigzagging their merry way through the group to heal whoever needs it. I did once get a couple of heals off like this during a VoA Koralon kill. It seemed as though there were an infinite number of players nearby just standing around ready and willing to form the next step of the chain!
Perhaps when I’m a Restoration Shaman expert all my Chain Heals will look like this…