Dispels have undergone numerous changes of the course of the game, evolving as Blizzards design philosophy has. Moving away from particular classes having unique abilities to a more uniform design with multiple classes being able to fill the dispel role – “bring the player not the class” e.g. all of the healing classes are able to dispel magic effects plus at least one of the other common dispellable effects (poison, disease & curse). When discussing the topic of dispels, enrage effects are often forgotten in a PVE context for a variety of reasons; the mechanic is rarely used (compared to the other types of dispels), the duration of the enrage is quite short or the mob dies quickly so the mechanic becomes trivial or the mob can be stunned / crowd controlled, and/or there are only a limited number of classes that are capable of dispelling enrage effects (Druids, Hunters & Rogues) so the mechanic sees limited use in current encounter design.
Druids have only been able to dispel enrage effects since Cataclysm when the Soothe Animal spell was transformed into what we now know as Soothe. In its current form Soothe is instant cast but has the downside of removing you from Cat & Bear Forms but not Moonkin Form. As a Feral or Guardian Druid this can be inconvenient (costing 2 GCD’s) and result in a dps loss. However the dps loss is traded for increased raid survivability & utility, which is equally important. This is best summed up by Leafkiller on the Fluid Druid forums in this quote on utility;
“…The great ferals focus on fight mechanics and what they can do to optimize their dps in all phases, and also what other things they can do to get bosses down (healing, CC, etc.)…”
~Leafkiller, The Fluid Druid Forums.
Enrage effects are easy to identify when you are looking for the right signs. When under an enrage effect it is common for the mob to turn bright red and grow in size. In addition the mobs will gain a buff that says enrage in the tool tip and can be seen on their portrait. This expansion has used the enrage mechanic many times in a variety of content types. In this post I wish to highlight some key encounters that use the mechanic so you can use all of your spells and maybe provide your raid with some utility that they were unaware they had.
The Kunzen Hunter-Chief
This daily quest in the Valley of the Four Winds requires you to defeat one of the Hozen Hunter Chiefs. They can also be killed as a part of many other dailies in the zone too. These particular mobs have an enrage ability that can be dispelled. It can be quite damaging at lower gear levels but becomes trivial as you gear up.
The Secrets of Ragefire
During Final Stage of this scenario you face multiple waves of mobs which contain one named Kor’kron Dire Soldier. This abnormally large mob has an enrage effect but with a twist – the enrage effect stacks, increasing damage by 5% each stack. In the normal scenario this mob will most likely die before it does any significant damage. However in a heroic scenario this guy can be a threat, especially to melee classes. I usually wait for 3-4 stacks before dispelling so I’m not spending more time out of Cat Form than in it, or if the party is taking excessive damage.
The Scarlet Myrmidon is a warrior type trash mob in the Scarlet Halls 5 man with an enrage ability. On Heroic difficulty this mob isn’t of much concern, however in a Challenge Modes its damage output can be devastating.
Thok the Bloodthirsty
When Thok goes into Stage 2 he summons an add named Kor’kron Jailer. This add has an enrage effect that can be dispelled. In a 10 man raid you may be the only person capable of dispelling the enrage effect. Be prepared to be called upon.
What does the future hold for this mechanic? With the introduction of the Mythic raid size and the design changes associated with it, we could potentially see the come back and more use of class specific abilities that are very integral to the encounters design e.g. Priests Mind Control on Instructor Razuvious from Naxxramas or a Mages Spell Steal on Krosh Firehand from Gruuls Lair. However button bloat is an issue that the devs have talked about addressing. The question is, is Soothe a relevant or important enough spell to warrant a button in the future? With regards to button bloat I think there are several paths the devs can take.
- Combine Soothe into Remove Corruption. This would reduce button bloat & allow Druids to keep the spell without too much impact on game mechanics as they stand currently. However I’m unsure if such an elegant solution is available for Hunters and Rogues.
- Remove enrage dispels / make enrage effects unable to be dispelled. This would address button bloat but could have significant impacts on the game particularly in PVP. I play very little PVP, but it is my understanding that enrage dispel is very important for dealing with Warriors who use a number of enrage abilities and also Guardian Druids Enrage.
- Remove enrage effects from the game. This is more of a radical move as I think it would more than likely require a complete redesign of Warriors and possibly retro fixing all previous encounters / mobs with enrage effects. While it is unlikely, I wouldn’t put it past Blizzard to do something like this.
- Nothing changes. This spell may survive the button bloat cull and remain as it is.
What are your thoughts on Soothe? Do you use it or were you unaware of its potential usage? Let me know what you think should be done with the spell. You can leave a comment on the post, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter @Elamari_ or like and comment on the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.