Friday, August 10, 2012

The Future of Dispels

Mass Dispel looked like this in 2007. Cool, huh?
On the Mists beta, all defensive dispels have been given a cooldown. Single-target dispels all gained an 8 second cooldown, and Mass Dispel gained a 15 second cooldown. Since this change has been active since the very early days of the beta and hasn't been adjusted at all since then, I'm pretty sure it will make it to live. Additionally, the defensive component of all of our dispels now removes all harmful effects on the targets that match the category, not simply one or two.

So, what does this mean for shadow priests? Well, the most obvious is that now a healer can lock out all of our DoTs in PvP with only a single GCD, instead of needing to spam it. On the other hand, they now have a much harder time dealing with multi-DoTing in PvP. Except, priests of all specs can easily shut down multi-DoTing too, in addition to stripping assorted slows, HoTs and so on. With this change, both in raid environments and in PvP, our Mass Dispel is going to be seriously useful. Well, more so. Even for single-target dispels, priests will be a cut ahead of the pack, being able to dispel 50% more rapidly than other healers by alternating Purify and Mass Dispel.

Healers will finally have to choose what to dispel and what to just live with. Ghostcrawler tried to make that a difficult choice in Cataclysm, via mana costs. Needless to say, he failed. With a hard cooldown on dispels, there's likely to be times when we simply cannot dispel every debuff there is. In order to choose who to dispel, we'll have to consider things like remaining durations, debuff stacks, the target's HP, and whether or not the spec can dispel itself.

Between 5.0 and the launch of Mists, certain "current" raids will be effected. In all likelihood, things like H Spine of Deathwing, Sinestra, H Zon'ozz, H Hagara, and similar will become much harder or even impossible without additional dispel support from non-healers. Things like Anti-Magic Shell, Cloak of Shadows, shadow priest's dispels, Every Man, Hand of Freedom, Divine Shield, Ice Block and so on will be more important or maybe even necessary to overcome these fights that we already have on farm. We may end up needing to run 4-5 healers for H Spine just to meet the dispel requirements. Good thing the 30% nerf is up!

Update: Blood Corruption: Death now mutates after just one dispel, and dispelling Wrack resets the cooldown of your dispels. H Spine will be easier, and Sinestra will remain at about the same difficulty.

After the launch of Mists, we probably won't be facing anything with as frequent or precise dispel requirements. If we do though, DPS with the ability to strip or avoid debuffs will need to keep a close eye on their own dispellables. This whole change may actually become less of an increase in healing difficulty, and more of an increase in DPS responsibility.

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