Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crowd Control

A lot of people feel that Crowd Control should be more prominent. You should have to Polymorph more, or Banish, or even Sap. I am not entirely sure I agree with this. I'm not sure I disagree with it either. I remember the days of Sapping or Sheeping, and they were kind of cool.

However, when I think of Crowd Control, I think of those demons in Tempest Keep. The ones with the Buzzsaws of Doom. You may remember them. If you failed to CC them, they started launching buzzsaws at the raid, doing massive damage before you could get them locked down again. Even the gap between Banishes was dangerous. Kind of honestly, I would rather not see trash like that again.

The thing about Crowd Control is that, in order for it to be used, the mob must be too dangerous to leave active while other mobs are alive. That means if you make a slight mistake, it often leads to a wipe. If the mob is any less dangerous, then it will just be tanked down.

Another problem is that mob must eventually be tanked and killed. You can't really make an untankable mob and expect people to control that. So the controlled mob exists in this zone between "can be tanked" and "cannot be tanked". And the better the gear you get, the more the mobs move to the "can be tanked" category.

I suppose if you really wanted to enforce Crowd Control, you have to create dependencies between mobs in the same pack. For example, Mob A applies a debuff to the tank increasing Fire Damage taken by 500%. Mob B does Fire damage. The optimal solution here is to fight the two mobs seperately, either by using two tanks or crowd controlling one until the other is dead.

I think that would be a fine mechanic to use once or twice. But if every trash pack started having these dependencies, just to force people to use Crowd Control, it would soon seem contrived.


  1. For me one of the best instances is Mana-Tombs heroic. The trash in Mana-Tombs is wonderful, or was pre 2.4.

    You had these 4 pulls.

    - A priest who would heal.
    - A shadow caster who would cast mana burn which would burn the whole mana of your healer.
    - 2 other, less dangerous ones.

    Normally, you cannot do focus damage and prevent 2 mobs from casting in a 5 man group. That's why you CC-ed one or the other.

    There are mobs who charge-stun the tank. There are mobs who put a massive debuff on random players (the immolate).

    Another one is Magisters' Terrace.

    - The mage who stacks a buff with every successful cast, increasing its haste.
    - The warlock putting a massive Immolate on random players.
    - The succubus seducing party members.
    - The ethereal doing his strong instant arcane explosion which you can only interrupt with a stun.
    - A healer.
    - A ranged Naga which couldn't be AE-tanked easily.

    These are perfect examples of mobs who can be handled easily when focused, because you will have interrupts/stuns but who are hard to handle in groups because a 5 an group cannot prevent 4 or 5 mobs from casting at the same time without CC.

    I love(d) these two instances because every single mob would deserve a sheep. Everyone had a nasty ability. (In Mana-Tombs most of them would annoy the tank and in Magisters' Terrace most would annoy the healer.) It's not the classic "sheep the one with mana, kill the rest".

    Of course, that would not work for 25 man raids as you can easily bring 5 rogues to kick 5 mobs or something like that.

  2. What's wrong with the current Heroics (heck, even some raids) is you don't HAVE to do it right to succeed, even when you're not overgearing the place. Yes, surviving Scourgelord Tyrannus' Unholy Power might be difficult for a tank appropiately geared for the place, but it's doable (you're supposed to kite him across the ice patches during it, or have him knock you over them).

    I really hate it how most of the current content supports (or doesn't punish) poor playing. Players don't need to learn the tactics, or even how to get the most out of their character, to succeed in the majority of the current content.

  3. The no need for CC thing in Wotlk is bullshit.

    The heroics were tuned for ilvl 187 blues. And if your tank has less then 20k hp trust me - cc is usable. I remember doing lots and lots of hcs in the november/december 2008 - we used quite a lot cc back there even in nexus and UC hc. We used CC on Ulduar trash. The no cc problem is the fast overgearing of content - patchwerk was supposed to hit 18k hp tank hard with 25% avoidance. 50k ones with 65% avoidance are barely scratched by it. And even 25k hp were laughing at him.

  4. I am generally tasked with playing Ret CC by pugs when I play Heroic Halls of Reflection. Keep a Hunter repented and Turn Evil on a Mage whenever I can sort of thing. Other than that, it hasn't really even come up.

  5. The idea your suggesting is exactly what the first boss encounter is like in Gruul's Lair. Remember that one? And you can make untankable mobs if by untankable you mean mobs that aren't tanked by the traditional class tanks. It might be nice to see more content with dps classes required to do tanking of some sort rather than the traditional tank/healer/dps tactics you find in most 5-man content. The problem the developers face is of course the unknown makeup of a group. You can't do an encounter that requires specifically a warlock if the group doesn't have one .... this is why 5-man content has become more generic ...

  6. Shadow Labyrinth was never fun.

  7. Do you remember the mobs packs on the to Kael'thas? I broke a sheep once as a -healer- and wiped us. Ah, those were the days. Overzealous healers wiping raids...

    Another way to enforce CC would be to put multiple strong healers in a group, ones that you can't just burn through the heals. (Like in SSC, I think.) Or multiple mobs that Mind Control. Mind Control is a pain, no matter the gear level. Having packs of mobs with multiple MCers would be one way to really enforce that CCing again.

  8. Another alternative is to make it difficult or impossible for a single tank to hold threat on all mobs simultaneously.

    Back in the good (bad?) old days of vanilla WoW, when warriors were basically the only tanks and had very few AoE threat-generating abilities, you *had* to CC because the tank simply couldn't hold all of those mobs at once.

    In BC, when tankadins became viable, their AoE tanking abilities became the gold standard: groups forgot about CC, and other tanks suffered because groups expected them to just tank everything. (As a warrior tank at the end of BC, I routinely felt like I just didn't have the tools to tank effectively.) In WotLK, this imbalance was fixed by giving *every* tank reasonable AoE capabilities, which made CC irrelevant.

    Thus the "quick" fix for the lack of CC is to nerf every tank's AoE threat generation abilities to the point where they can't reasonably expect to hold more than three active mobs at once.

  9. Another problem with crowd control is that it simply delays the inevitable. Sooner or later, you'll have to break that sheep and kill the mob, so you might as well cut out the middleman and proceed directly to the killing part.

    If CC worked like Mind Soothe, allowing people to skip killing mobs altogether, more people would use it.

  10. This is a topic thats a bit under my skin. I don't have a problem with the ability or occasion if needed to CC a mob in a group and do a surgical and controlled pull if needed. Hell I like to do that every now and then and do enjoy it.

    What the lack of CC has done between the era of tBC and WotLK is encourage very poor performance on a lot of players with complete disregard to how they use their spells to no adverse effect on any mob group you pull. Everyone now a days has AoE spells, everyone just throw AoE spells all around on group pull.

    From what i've mostly seem, few players today have any real skill in ability to on demand CC a target. Few players even remember what the hell CC even is. Then you got others who have no idea how the hell to use CC.

    When you use CC chances are if the target got CC that target because many players never seen it or even know what the hell CC is end up breaking CC. Almost instantly that happens with others complete disregard to careless AoE all over the place.

    And that is pretty much the problem I have with Crow Control....... people who have the skill have no damn idea how to use it. And when group pulls go to crap its always easier to blame the tank for a mob that the tank missed or was loose out of range.

    I can remember my all time favorite CC tactical pull. It was that pull in Slave Pens with the double Champions immediately after the the Crab looking boss before you headed to the last boss. I used to find it fun being able to mark CC, execute the pull on that group knowing people will be feared all over the place and more than once. Kill the group and have no one in group get killed. Little moments like that was fun with group teamwork on other people to use their own skills. Sadly you don't have that in WotLK, what you've had is allot of poor performance players who believe the way the play is the norm.

  11. Your comments on CC omitted the actual reason that CC was formerly useful: the lack of tank durability. Originally, if you had a 4-mob spawn each of those mobs would have 25% of the hit points but all of the offense of a similar 1-mob spawn. So your tank would simply die if he tried to tank all of them at once.