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Clarification on Cataclysm dispel mechanics

Anne Stickney

Yesterday's news on the upcoming dispel mechanic changes coming in Cataclysm raised a lot of questions among players worried about how the changes will affect their particular class. Today, Zarhym clarified some of these changes surrounding dispel mechanics, particularly how it will work with the shaman and druid classes. To the concerns about requiring talent points being spent for particular buffs -- something that Blizzard has said time and time again they wanted to move away from -- Zarhym stated, "This is specifically an example of a utility talent we were referring to. Rather than going for all of the "increase your damage/healing by X" talents of today, you'll more often be choosing from talents which will add utility to existing spells and abilities, or just plain give you new spells or abilities. "

As to the concerns that the changes were suggesting that PvP is now going to take precedence over PvE, Zarhym had this to say:

No one here approached dispel mechanics with the idea that PvP takes precedence over PvE, so there's little reason to object in that regard. The changes to class systems in Cataclysm we've announced thus far are being proposed to make the game better, both in terms of PvP and PvE. Mind you, we have a host of changes planned for every class we plan to share in the future. Before providing overviews of our goals for each class though, we wanted to give you a look at some changes to more broad systems.

While the feedback is welcomed, I'd caution players to consider this information with an open mind, rather than directly translating the proposed changes into the class systems of Wrath of the Lich King. "

In addition, Zarhym had a few other clarifications to make; check them out after the break.

Based on a lot of feedback and concerns being raised in this thread, I'd like to make a few clarifications in no particular order.

  • Shaman will get Cleanse Spirit as a base spell that removes curses. Restoration will have a talent to add magic dispelling (on friends or enemies) to Cleanse Spirit.
  • We recognize this change risks making shaman too vulnerable to rogue and hunter poisons in PvP (and especially mind-numbing), and we might very well offer a talent or mechanic to compensate for that.
  • We also recognize the challenge for magic-based controllers in PvP, say mages, to handle teams with druid healers and we might have to reconsider the druid ability to avoid Polymorph. We think it's important for PvE reasons for all healers to be able to dispel magic however.
  • For the most part, talents that reduce a chance to be dispelled are going away. We want dispels to be more expensive, but we also want them to be effective when you do choose to use them, so we want to downplay the random aspect. Mechanics such as Unholy Blight granting dispel immunity, or rogues reapplying poisons so quickly will be handled on an individual basis. We've had a little bit of an arms race going on because some of those debuffs could be removed so trivially; but on the other hand, death knights and rogues need those debuffs to function. Balancing that will be an ongoing process.
  • We also want to downplay the role of "junk buffs" that protect dispels. Our usual course of action here is to make those buffs undispellable such that you dispel the thing you actually want to dispel.
  • If we didn't mention a specific dispel mechanic (like Shield Slam), then you can assume it probably isn't changing, at least for now. A lot may change in beta.
  • We want to stress yet again that one of our goals behind these changes was to help us design 5-player dungeons and 10-player raids. Currently having the ability to remove, say, a poison or disease can make an encounter go from challenging to easy, yet not every group has those abilities. With this new matrix, the encounter designers can make anything that must be dispelled a magical effect, while curses, poisons or diseases would be in the category of helping you win, but not an instant wipe if you lose. In 25-player raids, we have more flexibility to ask you to dispel more types of effects.
  • We understand that in some cases we are making changes that have been core to some classes for a long time (shaman losing poison and disease dispel for instance). While we don't want to make any beloved classes, or even spells unrecognizable to players who have stuck with that class for years, Cataclysm is also an opportunity for us to fix some of the class systems and mechanic issues we've had for a long time. We have to be careful about having too many sacred cows that keep us from being able to iterate on the design. The dispel matrix we had was somewhat arbitrary and could change a PvE encounter or PvP battle dramatically, almost in a binary manner, depending on what dispels were available to the group involved. When dispelling is trivial, either because it's too easy or because someone is capable of dispelling too many things, then neither PvE or PvP feel as strategic or tactical as we think they ideally could be.
  • Defensive dispels (say, a shaman removing a debuff from an ally) should always hit. We don't want healers to have to stack +hit for PvE. When you are dispelling buffs on an enemy, you will still have a chance to miss.

This does clear up a few points, and concerns raised about the removal of the druid classes immunity to polymorph while shapeshifted affecting not only restoration, but feral druids were addressed as well. Blizzard is currently considering a Feral talent designed to give Feral forms the polymorph immunity, while trees will remain completely sheep-able.

Hopefully the upcoming class previews will shed even more light on the mechanic changes and how they affect individual classes, as well as healers as a whole. Either way, one thing has been made entirely clear -- as of Cataclysm, the game is going to play a lot differently than what we're used to. Stay tuned for more changes and updates as they come in.

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