Ret Paladins Losing Dispel in Cataclysm

Yes, it looks as if the plan is to strip Ret Paladins (and Prot Pallies, too) of their dispelling ability. It would appear the goal is to ultimately have Holy Paladins spec into their dispelling abilities. Blizzard’s intention for healing classes is to give them each 3 dispelling abilities out of a pool of 5:

  • Defensive Magic (every healing class will have this)
  • Offensive Magic
  • Poison
  • Disease
  • Curse

Holy Paladins will be able to cure defensive magic, poisons, and disease, exactly what we can do now.  This is a pretty heavy blow to Ret Paladins in all aspects of the game.  Very curious to see how this evolves.

From Zarhym [Source]
We wanted to introduce some of the changes to dispel mechanics coming in Cataclysm. Our goals were to make dispelling a little less trivial to do in PvP, and to make sure there is more equity in dispel capabilities among healers in both PvP and PvE.
Within the system, there are currently five types of dispellable (or curable) buffs and debuffs: curse, disease, poison, defensive magic, and offensive magic. An example of defensive magic dispelling would be using a dispel to free a polymorphed ally, while offensive magic dispelling would be utilizing a dispel ability to strip away an enemy’s buff or heal-over-time (HoT) spell. The main distinction between these two types is in whether or not you can target an enemy with your dispel.

In Cataclysm each healing class will be getting three out of the five types of dispels, with one of these always being a defensive dispel magic. This design makes sure that finding a healer with the ability to remove magic isn’t restrictive in building teams for Arenas or rated Battlegrounds. It also allows the encounter designers to assume, when designing dungeon or raid fights, that every group can dispel magic.

In addition, we’re making the opportunity cost (what the player could have accomplished with different actions) for dispelling a bit steeper. We think the cost is too low for three reasons: 1) The actual mana cost is low. 2) You never waste a dispel. If you try to dispel a debuff that isn’t there then the dispel just won’t go off. 3) We have spells that remove debuffs with minimal input on the part of the player. In Cataclysm we are raising the mana costs, making it possible to waste mana by casting a dispel when there is nothing to dispel, and removing Cleansing Totem, Abolish Disease, and Abolish Poison from the game. With these changes in mind, we are working to plan dungeon and raid encounters where dispels aren’t in constant demand or spammed in order to be successful, though some need for dispels will still be a part of the design.

As previously mentioned, we are providing three dispel capabilities to all healing classes as follows:

  • Druids will be able to dispel defensive magic, curses, and poison.
  • Paladins will be able to dispel defensive magic, diseases, and poison.
  • Priests will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and disease.
  • Shaman will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and curses.

There is some trade-off that is being made in making these changes and we wanted to expand on this further.

  • Protection and Retribution paladins will lose their current ability to dispel magic.
  • All shaman will lose dispel disease and dispel poison in exchange for Restoration gaining dispel magic.
  • Restoration shaman, Restoration druids, and Holy paladins will need to talent into their defensive magic dispels.
  • Shadow priests won’t be able to remove disease in Shadowform.
  • Mage, hunter, and warlock will retain their current dispel mechanics.
  • Body and Soul remains the same, and basically any dispel mechanic not mentioned above is currently planned to remain as it is.
  • When possible, we’d like to combine dispels into a single action. For example, the druid ability to dispel curses and poisons might be a single spell with a Restoration talent that also allows it to dispel magic. This part of the design isn’t finalized, however.

As with all of our Cataclysm previews, keep in mind that any of these decisions could change when we’re in beta.


  1. incrusiable says:

    this is going to sevearly suck for me as a flag runner in wsg because all i do is spam cleanse on myself while running to make sure any dot is instantly removed and if i get stunned or slowed i hit BoF. screw that idea after this hopefully they will change it because shadow priests are still able to do it they just have to come out of form to do it and since all paladins are is a battle priest 0.0 hopefully it will change.

  2. Slacker says:

    Agreed. All I do when I have the flag is jam the cleanse button, with HoF or Every Man for himself when necessary.

    And fighting warlocks is going to be even more of a pain since I cant be dispelling as I run up to them.

  3. Zavaris says:

    I hope they add something in the Retribution talent tree that will help us in PvP. A lot of changes to classes seems like Blizzard is shooting to make a healer’s job harder. When classes lose their “stay alive abilities” it will make it harder for healers. I use cleansing on myself in PvE because it doesn’t use that much mana, and if I have time to do it in between my rotation it helps the healers and raid overall.

  4. Khor says:

    Zav, my viewpoint is right with yours. I am hoping they leave the talent somewehre higher in the Hoyl tree, so if need be, we have the option of speccing into it.

  5. Jake says:

    This is brilliant.

    ”Holly Mollies Batman! Subscriptions are going down, people are quitting trial accounts and we’ve seen an awful lot of QQ from classes that don’t have a skill another one does, they say they can’t find a group and it’s our fault – translation: they stink”. Batman: ”I have a solution Robbin, not only will it prevent QQing, it will also make our job easier. Are you ready? Equality is the answer Robbin, Marx was right, everyone should have the same opportunities”. Translation: WoW’s latest hero class – all ten rolled into one. Then we shall have balance.

    Can’t wait for RIFT to come out.

  6. Jake says:

    Gives two healing class the ability to dispel offensive magic, and two the ability to dispel defensive magic. Increase the mana cost of mass dispel to the point where it’s painful to cast, but the option is there. Give the two ofensive dispellers different mechanics that will make them desirable and the two defensive dispellers something uniquely theirs to make them desirable.

    Say, I don’t know… Paladins could have an aura that increases resistances to magic, a buff that makes you immune to movement impairing effects, and various..shall we call them ”bubbles”? that make you either take less damage or none at all. Shamans could get offensive cc on a short CD, buffs for the entire raid in the form of… totem, perhaps? And a very OP ability that increases melee, ranged and casting speed by 30%? Uh uh! I know… Druids could be the hot healers and priests be able to shield their allies and AoE cc on a short CD…

    Brilliant, this game is going down the tubes.

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