Dispeling some discipline thoughts
Pack a lunch and grab some coffee, I’m going to take a bit of a walk today. I’m going to start with a bit of whimsy.
I wish, sometimes and among other wishes, that Focused Power in the Discipline tree were 5 instead of 2 talent points. This would make it an almost perfect match for the Shadow Focus with up to 10 percent + spellhit. Of course, it couldn’t be a smooth change. After all, it sits at a higher tier than the shadow version, and for good reason. That’s because of the change it also makes to Mass Dispel.
Now, if the 5 points were allowed, the modification Mass Dispel would have to change as well. After all, reducing MD by half a second a step – when it already starts at 1.5 seconds for cast – is obviously absurd. And frankly, the current 2/2 always tempts me when I consider a Disc spec. Oh, it’s not the most critical talent, but…
Have you looked at Mass Dispel? Seriously? See, from what I’ve seen it’s not so frequently used (outside arenas), and yet… It is worse than the normal dispel in two ways. First, it’s 1.5 seconds instead of instant – no running while casting. Second, it “only” removes one opponent’s buff or debuff on a friendly instead of two. On the other hand…
AoE dispel with a radius the same size as that of Circle of Healing. And while it’ll only remove one spell per person per cast, it can affect five friendlies and five foes all at the same time. And the kicker – it can dispel things the normal cannot. Most people know of the fact it’ll remove a paladin’s bubble. It also – not as well known – removes Ice Block. And Banish. Now, it has some serious problems. In addition to the 1.5 second cast it’s mana intensive (1/3 of your BASE mana) – comparable in cost to Greater Heal. And it randomly selects the targets in the area and THEN checks to dispel. And – with a slight twist – randomly selects the (de)buff to dispel. Oh – and paladins with the correct talent have a 30% chance of resisting the dispel (which can in turn be countered). Oh – and always beware of Unstable Affliction — which goes “Boom”on the dispel caster if it’s dispeled. (As an aside, this can be terribly ugly if you’re fighting a warlock (especially multiple) plus pally team in an arena. Not paying attention can lead to impressive suicides.)
Over in PVE, it can remove a surprising number of things – the difficulty is simply remembering to use it (and again having the time usually means getting it down to half a second cast time with the focus talent). Almost all slows (for example but not only those of Aran and Heroic Ikiss). Mobs that seem to frost nova everyone – or otherwise apply dots to everyone (the Maiden, for example, in Kara). Mobs that self-buff can frequently be frustrated here as well.
Of course, if you’re Disc with an eye to this spell, you’ve probably also looked hard at Absolution. The 15% gained from 3/3 of this talent can make a large difference given the mana cost of this spell – but I’ll note it’s more useful in PVP than PVE as three talent points is a lot UNLESS you know you’ll dispel, mass dispel, and cure or abolish disease with any frequency.
Mass Dispel is in many ways a spell like Circle of Healing or Lightwell. The uses exist – and for a dedicated practitioner they’re a lot more common than most people would believe, and further those uses can be surprisingly useful to the raid or party. I cannot advocate it as a “must have” any more than I can Lightwell or Circle of Healing — in other words, I do advocate looking hard at it as an option, but it’s not the Must Have of shadow focus for shadow priests. If you ARE planning to use the spell with frequency, then the disc talent Focused Power 2/2 is highly recommended choice.