Banishing the Dispel Blues – Rough thoughts on Dispels in MoP

One of the many things being altered for the Mists of Pandaria is defensive dispelling.

All the defensive dispels, (Dispel Magic, Cleanse, Purify Spirit and Nature’s Cure) now have an eight second cooldown. The tooltips have also been changed to read:

(Priest’s Dispel Magic)

Dispels magic on the target, removing all harmful spells from yourself or 1 beneficial spell from an enemy (costs 3 percent of base mana). 

Now I know Mists isn’t even in Beta yet and so nothing is written in stone but I have four potential issues with this.

  1. Mass Dispel
  2. Unstable Affliction and other forms of Dispel protection
  3. Offensive Dispels having no cooldown.
  4. Priests and the fact that it seems we’ll only be able to remove magic come Mists.

So up first is Mass Dispel. Now Ghostcrawler said (it’s at 11.38).

“Dispels are just too frequent. They are supposed to be decisions, but they aren’t. We don’t think the answer is to give everyone dispel protection. We think the answer is to make dispels harder.”

Ignoring the fact that I think Blizzard are making the same mistake they made with the cooldowns on Circle of Healing and Wild Growth, I’m not sure how Mass Dispel fits into this brave new world.

Yes, it has a far heavier mana cost than Dispel Magic as well as a cast time (1.5 seconds and we don’t know if the glyph reducing that cast time will survive into MoP) but the tooltip still reads as follows:

Dispels magic in a 15 yard radius, removing 1 harmful spells from each friendly target and 1 beneficial spells from each enemy target.  Affects a maximum of 10 friendly targets and 10 enemy targets.  This dispel is potent enough to remove Magic effects that are normally undispellable.

The mana cost hasn’t currently been increased either. So we can only cast 1 dispel every eight seconds but whilst we’re waiting for Dispel Magic to come off cooldown, we could technically spam Mass Dispel to our hearts content? Don’t get me wrong, as a Priest, I’d hate to lose it but I feel it’s out of place in their design philosophy without some change. Now obviously 38 percent of base mana is a lot compared to 3 percent but then if you use it when its needed most and strip off say 10 harmful spells off 10 different people as well as say five or six off enemy players, then it’s mana well spent.

Given the cooldown going on all the other dispels, I would imagine we’re never going to see the like of Lucifron again, where you had to dispel virtually the entire raid fast, so with a heavy heart I find myself wondering if Mass Dispel needs a radical makeover. Should it be similar to Warrior’s Shattering Throw?

Throws your weapon at the enemy causing 12 damage (based on attack power), reducing the armor on the target by 20% for 10 sec or removing any invulnerabilities.

A button that purely removes invulnerabilities on a long cooldown? (Shattering Throw has a five minute cooldown after all). I’d prefer a shorter cooldown but I suspect it will gain one, either that or the mana cost will have to increase to the point that it’s painful to cast unless you absolutely have to.

Up next, the bane of my life, Unstable Affliction. I’ve hated it ever since it was introduced. It’s the only player debuff I have to add manually to my raid frames so I can track it’s subversive progress across my team-mates.

However according to the Warlock MoP talent calculator there it is, lying there like blood engorged tick, smirking at us.

In addition, if the Unstable Affliction is dispelled it will cause 4198 damage to the dispeller and silence them for 4 sec.

In a world where dispels have a cooldown to prevent them being spammed willy-nilly, I believe that the silence component of  Unstable Affliction has no place. The circumstances which led to it’s introduction have been removed and thus, it too should finally be laid to rest. Given that dispels will now remove all enemy spells from a target, Unstable Affliction nullifies dispelling completely because there is no way of playing or gambling around it. You either have to try and heal your way through it or you eat a four second silence. Neither of those are appealing options in PvP and I would argue neither does it make “dispels harder”, it just makes PvPing as a healer that bit more frustrating.

It’s Shadowpriestly counterpart Sin and Punishment seems absent from the spell list but I could see it turning up as a glyph and I feel that it too should be obsolete if these changes go into effect. Punishing healers for dispelling when there is already a cooldown in place doesn’t make for exciting, fun or interactive game play.

Third, if dispelling is meant to be harder, why don’t things like Purge and Spellsteal have cooldowns. As a Priest, it looks like Mass Dispel not withstanding I’m going to have choose between stripping off your Fortitude and dispelling myself or a team mate every eight seconds. Why should other classes get to strip me of my buffs without making any trade offs.

Purges the enemy target, removing 1 beneficial Magic effect.


Steals a beneficial magic effect from the target.  This effect lasts a maximum of 2 min.

Yes, they cost more mana than the defensive dispels but they’ve got no cooldown and can be overpowered against certain classes.

Now I found a thread where people were talking about purge being removed all together but I haven’t managed to find any blue posts saying that. Personally I think it should be redesigned rather than removed but it definitely needs a cooldown to stop it being mindlessly spammed.

Finally, Cure Disease is one of the abilities which has been missing from the Priest MoP Talent tree since the beginning. Without it, Priests will be the only healing class who can remove only 1 debuff, magic (don’t yet know what Monks will be able to do but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more than just one).

  • Resto Druids get Magic, Curses and Poisons
  • Resto Shamans get Magic and Curses (as well as access to Purge)
  • Holy Paladins get Diseases, Magic and Poisons
  • Holy and Disc Priests get Magic.

Holy even loses the ability to remove poisons from themselves through the Body and Soul talent because whilst it’s being made available to everyone through the new talent trees, the poison removal aspect has been removed. This coupled with the fact that Priests will only bring Stamina in terms of buffs, could mean that we’re the less attractive choice for PvE. Yes, we have lots of cool gimmicky utility but that tends only to shine on certain fights.

Now this might be an oversight and I really hope it is because I’d miss cure disease in PvP.

What I think should happen is this, Cure Disease and Dispel Magic should be squished together as one spell just like every other healer. The offensive dispel aspect of Dispel Magic should be removed from that spell and would become a spell in it’s own right, sharing whatever cooldown is imposed on purge/spellsteal. That way, Priests would be making the same choices as all the other healing classes when it comes to dispels. I think it’s wrong that as things stand we have to choose between offensively dispelling  or defensively dispelling, especially when the only other healing class with both offensive and defensive dispels doesn’t have to comprise.

Part of me would like to keep Cure Disease and Dispel Magic, the way they are now as separate spells just both with eight second cooldowns but I feel that would diminish what Blizzard are trying to do. Having three different dispel buttons (if the lack of cure disease is an oversight) all with different cooldowns or in the cast of Mass Dispel no cooldown at all, means that dispelling becomes less of process you have to think about. It also helps negate the impact of my old favourite Unstable Affliction because, I could lessen the damage coming into a team-mate being hit by say a Lock, Mage and Deathknight without having to remove any magic.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the forthcoming press tour will cover dispels in more detail but I still can’t shake the feeling we’ve seen this before. I dispel a lot in PvP right now, I strip people of their buffs because it makes sense but once they’re naked, I stop. Right now I might pre-emptively strip a paladin so when they pop wings, I’ve got less to take off to stop them hurting me. I don’t spam it mindlessly, I dispel appropriately but once it has a cooldown it limits how smartly I can use it. What’s likely to happen is that everyone will just dispel every eight seconds and the gap between good healers and bad healers will narrow even further.

Here’s to hoping we get to dig the grave of Unstable Affliction sooner rather than later (my shovel is ready and waiting).


3 Responses

  1. I’m not really sure what to think about dispels in MoP and I have done very little research, but the holy paladins will still be able to dispel Poisons, Diseases and Magic effects. Poisons and Diseases are native to all paladins and then Sacred Cleansing (currently a talent) is part of the passives one gets in the holy paladin specialization, at level 34. 🙂

    • Ty, must have missed that when I was looking through the tree. I thought it was odd I didn’t see it. Edited the post to reflect that. No idea how I missed it seeing as they’re next to each other, clearly /fail on my part.

      I know it’s early and we don’t have anywhere close to the full story yet but I like to get my prospective issues with any changes down on paper whilst I’m thinking about it.

  2. […] and disease effects from a target and an offensive dispel. (This was my preferred solution when I discussed dispels a few weeks back although I’m still not convinced that adding a cooldown to dispels […]

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