Cataclysm announcements are coming hard and fast, which is bloody fantastic. The beta has got to be dropping forthwith, just in time for me to ignore it completely. (Final exams, if you were wondering. Which you probably weren’t, but hey, I told you anyway because my primary hobby is putting douche into bags for your convenience.)
So let’s talk for a bit about the new dispel mechanics. Essentially, these are they:
- All healers, and only healers, have defensive magic dispels
- All dispels cost significantly more than they do now
- Fire and forget dispels are being removed
- You can waste GCDs and mana on dispels
And now I shall elaborate on those in reverse order, just to switch things up.
First, in our current WoW, you can hammer your dispel button as much as you want. The dispel won’t fire until there is actually something to dispel. This is changing, so that when you press dispel, it fires. If there is something that can be dispelled, it dispels it, if not, you just wasted a GCD and a bunch of mana.
Good change with no downside. Dispelling is thus a decision with ramifications for failure. Hopefully this will apply to the offensive dispels like Spellsteal and Purge as well.
Second, the death of fire and forget dispels. Things like Abolish Poison/Disease and Cleansing Totem are dying a much deserved death. These abilities have been such a massive headache, allowing, for example, things like shamans being able to completely shut down death knights with barely any effort. How many feral druids do you know who liked having their primary snare effect totally nullified by a priest pushing a single button every twelve seconds or so?
Again, good change with no downside. Brainless play should not get good results, though what choice do we have when the only course of action we have is something that could be done just as effectively by throwing a cat at your keyboard?
Rewarding intelligent play, punishing brainless play, and removing any possibility of great success with little to no effort is a fantastic thing.
Consider the differences between a paladin’s Cleanse ability and things like Abolish Poison. A druid can fire Abolish Poison on itself, and then forget about it completely until it (perhaps) needs to be refreshed later. Pushing a single button, then, will effectively take care of multiple poisons for a very lengthy amount of time. The paladin, however, can only cleanse a single poison at a time, and thus must manually cleanse them all rather than letting an automated buff do it for them.
All defensive dispelling is going to follow the paladin’s example in Cataclysm. An excellent paradigm that arena junkies have been calling for since, I dunno, season two?
Related to that is the massively increased cost to dispels. Or at least, I hope it’s massive. Relatively speaking, anyway.
Dispels currently cost nearly nothing to use. A tiny handful of mana, barely noticed, and a GCD, that’s it. The mana cost definitely should be more restrictive, again so as to reward clever play rather than mindless spamming of a button or two. Perhaps not as restrictive as the old TBC spellsteal, but at least up there with the current edition of spellsteal. It shouldn’t be costing you, say, 10% of your entire mana pool every time you hit a dispel, but spamming the thing should definitely be noticeable.
And finally, giving all healers a defensive magic dispel, and only for those actually specced deep into their respective healing trees (except, from what I can garner, shadow priests, who can still dispel magic defensively even in shadowform, but not diseases for whatever reason), sets a whole new paradigm shift that I approve of, though with great reserve.
I mentioned in a previous post that by giving defensive cooldowns to everyone, it made target switching inefficient. If all defensive cooldowns came from a single source, namely the healer, then target switching would be much more viable.
A defensive magic dispel is, essentially, a defensive cooldown, and a really good one at that. It can negate a DKs scaling damage, prevent warlocks from using Conflagrate, shut down a mages crowd control, and so on and so forth. By restricting this ability to healers, it puts all that power into one hand and one hand only.
Take an average 3v3 team. You have two DPS guys and a healy guy. Which one do you crowd control? Why, the healy guy of course! He’s the only one who can remove CC effects, so trying to control one of the DPS guys is a waste of time and resources.
This, to me, feels like getting the healer controlled and unable to dispel is going to trump any efforts otherwise. Maybe I’m jumping at shadows, but this feels as if the current situation of healers being chain CCd forever is only going to get worse. Perhaps “worse” is the wrong turn of phrase. “More pronounced”, there we go.
And thus, with healers locked down so much, classes of any spec are going to need more abilities and utilities to survive on their own for longer periods of time. Or, we’re going to see any class that doesn’t have a strong CC dumped in favour of one that does. Or we’re going to see more utility abilities (such as a paladin’s Divine Sacrifice, aka Raid Wall) introduced to counter the effects of CC. Or a rise in triple DPS, because why even bring a healer if they never get to do anything?
As an aside, this is also interesting news for those ret and prot paladins still rocking out there. Both of those specs are losing the ability to dispel defensive magic, losing a huge amount of utility and one of their few gap closers.
Look at it from a ret pally’s perspective. Their defensive dispel is one of their strongest defensive abilities, and along with hand of freedom is the primary reason they are brought into arenas and their primary gap closing ability. Losing that is a huge blow to their utility, mobility, and defensive ability.
Thus, the paladin must be provided with alternative options in order to compete. Are ret and prot pallies finally going to become a proper melee class? Here’s hoping they do.
Back to the main topic. Time to bash RNG again.
So, with these new dispel options all being manual, costly, rewards-intelligence-punishes-stupid dispels, I say this is only half of the overhaul needed. In addition to dispelling being consequential, it also needs to have RNG removed from it entirely. RNG has its place, but the game if dispelling is not it.
All of those “30% chance to resist dispels” and so forth need to be removed from the game, never to be seen again. In return, what we need are more things like Pain Suppression and a DKs 100% dispel protection from Unholy Blight.
The goal then would be that every single time you hit dispel, you dispel something. Guaranteed. However, the enemy could use an ability of their own in order to prevent that dispel from being effective. Things like:
- Discipline Priests: when you cast Power Word: Shield on someone, they are immune to all dispels for the next five seconds.
- Discipline Priests: Pain Suppression now provides 100% dispel immunity.
- Druids (all specs): Barkskin now provides complete dispel immunity while active.
- Mages: Arcane Potency can now be consumed by Polymorph, however this Polymorph cannot be dispelled (trinkets and immunities still work). You can then PoM+Poly, and that Poly will be undispellable.
You get the idea.
Various spells, then, would either always be dispelled or never dispelled. There’s no RNG to it, at least in the act of dispelling. This would open up a whole new avenue of buff and debuff play for PvP. Random chance on something so critical as this is just no good for the overall health of PvP.