Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Lost Skill and Art of Target Crowd Control (CC)

That loose Hunter in (Shackle Undead), I CC'd It and without the Tank asking me to.
The ability to Crowd Control (CC) a loose target and mob in a Instance to the benefit of a Instance party seem to be a lost Art & Skill that's almost gone the way of the dinosaur. Maybe not quite, but it sure feels like it. But lets face it, quite allot of players today in WotLK era have no idea What (CC) is, How, When, Where or What CC they can use at their disposal if needed.

Crowd Control is simply the spells and ability that many players have from various classes to limit a mob target ability to engage in active combat or to incapacitate them in some way. That ability limit the amount of mobs in a group in active combat to make a chaotic situation much less chaotic and a bit more controlled for the person doing the pull which is Tank.

In age of WotLK expansion where Blizzard has made every dps class to AoE like rain, and all tanks have high threat AoE to just round up groups and AoE there is no real adverse effect to how a group is ever pulled and burned down. With most mobs in group pulls having no real deadly spells and abilities to lock down or counter for a more controlled pull its all AoE all the time every time.

There has been no emphasis through out WotLK on the real use of Crowd Control skills to any real degree in use by classes that have the utility which are almost every class. And in a way what that has done is that second natured utility skills that many players had in tBC they can barely remember how to use. Overall it used to make things interesting when you had to CC something once in a while. Some players cant remember how to CC. Some never players have no idea what the hell that even is let alone ever heard of it or know how to and when to use if they ever even had to.

This is one the thing Ive though about for some time as well. And even in my guild who has allot of newer player to WoW who was never around in the tBC era many of them have simply never heard of CC, or even know what it means or what to do. If you were around from the Vanilla and tBC era at this point in WoW your totally from the old school era of WoW. Back in the era of tBC at least you knew how to use CC if it was required and it was almost in every tBC dungeon/raid you went to. Most players knew how to use their skills or they often saw it in action or was called up at various point to lock down a target at some point.

Its no secret that tBC dungeon tactics was much different to WotLK era and that's totally by Blizzard design and many players wanting easier dungeons with less emphasis on CC and faster dungeon runs start to finish. Everything is for faster and easier instances. But there are always Cause & Effect when things change. With easier faster dungeons you have less trash, more AoE and when it comes to a mob CC target pull to make things interesting........ who cares! Its a AoE grind!

No longer you have the smart surgical pulls that many tanks has skills in with X target CC on pull to make a pull interesting. Most players don't want that it seems. But what's always easy and quicker don't always make it fun or overall good for the player from a skill point or game challenge. Where is the challenge when a Hunter as dps don't get to pull and trap or chain trap in a Dungeon or practice his art once in a while to feel valuable. Or a Mage to feel he/she can get to Polymorph something once in a while or other classes to use their utility skills.

I'm a bit torn at times as well when players want a dungeon to be over in 10 mins and only have to run in kill one pack of trash and then boss dungeon over. As a player I enjoy the challenge vs having it all been totally brain dead easy. Players seem to want things all to easy but that don't always make it fun. But the effect of things is that you have dungeons with less emphasis with barely any any form of CC use ability because the mobs in the trash pack are lol easy AoE.

I like to AoE as much as anyone being a Tank. Yet often I find it quite boring as well if you cant use some strategy given the group you have to execute pulls with some form of control or lock down of a target to make things interesting for the rest of the group.

I remember the fun times back in 5 mans back in tBC, the pull before the 2 boss in Shadow Labs fun times with that room. The pull with the Tempest and the Champions immediately after the giant crab boss in Slave Pens and the pulls going up the hill all the way to the last boss. The pulls in Tempest Keep Heroics fun times! The pulls at the beginning and all the way through Steamvault. Allot of players really hated that place :) and are not going to share that sentiment because of group combination some players always thought you had to have. For CC one form or another and people using them properly. People just needed to know how to play as a team and use their spills properly. Nor do many want to go back to that era either. Why? Because it was hard or seem like it was. I more less though it was a fun challenge the dungeon tactics required vs the almost brain dead era of WotLK where you AoE everything. And where new Tanks as well seem to learn that and believe thats how you do everything as well.

But tBC had more emphasis on players ability to use their CC skills/utility as a art more so than WotLK ever had. Its like the forgotten skills. The other day through some means the conversation came up in our guild and that lead to the topic of Crowd Control. And when I mentioned the ability to CC in guild chat, it became evident that with quite a few 80's and others in our guild they totally had no damn idea what I even meant. So I asked if they knew what Crowd Control is? And barely anyone even knew that either. That kinda shocked me a bit though not as expected either. But yet I would imagine if your at lvl 80 you have some idea what CC is right? Most players in my own guild even didn't know! And that started to make me wonder even more why is that? They never had to use their skills or even seem anyone else use it to any real value or in a group. In the age of AoE all the time every time, who needs CC is the general and overall thought. Why do others care or should have to learn how to properly use their utility skills? Often many those players get to a raid environment where it may be required but they fail at using their skills and cause you potential wipes.

One of our fairly geared Hunter I asked out of curiously if he knew how to chain trap? He never heard of it! He had no idea how and wondered why he even had to know how. He figured he can easily throw a arrow and drop it at the mobs position and have it trapped. Chain Traping, he had no clue though. The thing that bothered me a bit was I knew these things, but barely anyone in my guild did. Barely anyone in my guild been around before WotLK. When I talk about how it was in tBC in the old school days of WoW to them in chat its like talking about a forgotten era in WoW how it used to be.

In all the dungeon instances in all of WotLK I've ever personally been in. I have never seen a Mage Polymorph anything! I've never seen a Shaman Hex anything though I did use it a time or two leveling up my Shaman just to see what the spell does out of curiosity. I've seen a Rogue's Sap a target just playing around before a pull. I've never seen Repentance use ever by any other Paladin besides myself. I've never seen a Hunter ever successfully Freeze Trap anything at range or on aggro pull. I've never seen a Warlock Banish, Enslave or Seduce anything, I have no idea if they still even have the spell or if they even still have the Succubus. Never seen a Druid use CC anywhere. I seen a some Priest use Shackle Undead a few times at least at various places doing things. Overall not much CC have I ever seen other than what I've used on a Alt personally. But its kinda sad that's quite allot of classes with utility I've never ever seen spells used anywhere. Lost skill and art?

And to me when it comes to the ability to use CC it seems in WotLK even though not really required by content design by Blizzard, many don't seem to know how to avoid breaking the spell ability when cast if its even used either. Because everyone and every class now use AoE! Someone cast a CC, someone else immediately now breaks it. Sucks!

In the new ICC Heroics where its possible to use some form off CC I've seen the ghostly waves of trash tanked out in the open and in the alcove both. I've been there on my Paladin as tank and Ret dps on different occasions. I've also been there on my Shadow Priest as well. On every occasion been there I've used my own CC at least once minimum as dps. And the funny thing is almost every time I CC a target at range or close by out of AoE range, someone else almost immediately breaks it and often its not the tank. At times I've popped Repentance on the ghostly Hunter or a Mage at range just outside AoE range, someone breaks the CC almost immediately. I cast Shackle Undead on a target at range, it never last the duration of the spell barely 5 secs as someone else breaks target CC with AoE damage. I'm using my utility skills where its good to do so and very helpful to the tank and the healer both for a bit more control of chaos. But others just breaks it. But at least I thinking and using the abilities when necessary.

I have Repentance on my Ret Paladin as a macro that yells in chat I'm CCing a Target and which target so everyone sees the notice on cast of spell, people still break the CC every time! Same with Shackle Undead on macro and only yesterday of all the times I ever used it that someone didn't break the Shackle Undead. But it was quite funny in that when the other mobs were dead everyone was wondering why the that Hunter mob was standing there in Shackles before they finally decided to burn it down. What that did was help the healer out in that instance healing. And though the healer died in yesterdays run on the next waves of trash, we still managed to finish the waves of trash, kill the 2nd boss all with the healer dead. Was able to CC a mob, dot a target or two and hit a healing spell to get through trash then dps and heal the boss all while the healer was down for utility. Hell I found that more fun than anything but it was teamwork at that point to avoid a wipe with a healer down. You never know when you need to use other skills in playing as a team instead of just trying to top the damage meter all the time. Its good to have usable utility and know how to use as needed.

That deadly caster mob over in the far left distance, I CC'd it with (Repentance) without being asked.
The only other time I've managed to use CC and no one broke it is in the picture above. It was hard to try to take the shot while dpsing due to the lag as well. But I had the article in mind and I needed a active CC shot at work for this because it seem rare. No one else in the whole run used any form of CC ever on any the trash pull. Of course its easy to AoE everything right? But i do remember how many people got killed due to Ice Spikes across the floor as well from those same casters earlier. But its less chaos when CC is used and saves people from unnecessary death when you don't have a caster throwing Ice spikes across the floor killing people. As causing unnecessary healing to have to be done.

I remember in that same ICC pull we couldn't find the trap for the Bone Ward Giants mobs. And on pulling the large trash group before the first boss in ICC raid while pulling the trash one of the two remaining Giant Bone Ward mobs immediately popped and could be a potential wipe. I immediately popped Repentance on the caster in the distance since I knew he be casting the Ice Spikes across the floor constantly while trying to kill the large trash pack and the Giant Bone Ward mob. Not once only but twice successfully I used Repentance on that same caste to keep that mob locked down as Repentance was up. And who knows if the other giant in the alcove would pop as well. That saved a potential wipe and no one really died on the pull either. The thing was there were 3 Ret Paladins and a Hunter in that pug ICC run, yet none the others thought enough to CC a stray loose cannon mob.

CC isn't dead, few just remember how and when to use it or even why I believe. But its teamwork to use your utility to help and benefit your group to control the chaos. Often someone just blame the tank saying the tank didn't get the stray mob. But if you have the ability to lock down a mob on the fly with a usable form of CC which takes a second or two of utility then its your fault if you see it and never do anything about it. And if someone marking or tanking don't say to CC something loose, many just seem to possibly ignore the fact that they can do something as a team player and locked down a stray mob. Group play is a team effort! They'll probably do good dps on target, but its like not caring if loose mob kills someone else in the process or cause healer added work load enough that someone or more possibly dies.

As a player I like the challenge of interesting pulls, being able to execute it and mark my targets or CC if I have to. Yet I can AoE them all if I needed to, though more chaotic. Its a choice what one chooses to do somewhat given the group they have. Yet its good to practice your utility skills or know how to use them, you just never know where and when you will be required to use them. And when you do, you just stand out that much more than the next average player in your group who didn't think enough to use his/her ability.


Hulan said...

I finally did this on my ret pally a few days ago and had a blast! It was a guild group and we had agreed beforehand not to sue aoe. I used repentance on the mages and the dawrf hunters were running around screaming like girls until we were ready to kill them. It was the most fun I'd had in an instance in a long, long time!

Honors Code said...

I wonder if PVP plays a role here. No one likes to be CC'ed in PVP. So perhaps by the underemphasis in PVE they will see less of it in PVP.

Ardent Defender said...

@ Hulan, glad you were able to use your Repentance ability and found it a useful tool as it should be.

@Honors. I really don't know if or how PvP may affect some players use or choice to use their CC ability. I really don't know. Players hate to be caught in it though but being able to use it in PvE is much different in WotLK vs tBC era with players seemingly less skilled at using their utility.

Some people don't seem to even understand what stuff mean when its marked or marked for CC in PvE either. A bit of a knowledge gap and skill gap perhaps. But what's never used is as well soon and easily forgotten.

Its a interesting topic contrasting tBC era players skill and tactics as compared to WotLK players, newer players and some lack of skill and use of tactics.

Lucint said...

I've played since vanilla WoW. My main is a mage, and I have a plethora of alts, one of which is a hunter. There are times I yearn for the days of marking every trash mob, looking for the "moon" to sheep, or the blue square to LoS pull with the hunter to freeze in a trap. I agree, it is indeed a lost art form. That being said, I've lvld a pally as prot in the Wrath era, and I could probably fumble around to find his CC abilities, but I wouldn't count on them in an emergency. There is definitely a shift away from CC, which to me is a finesse skill, and a shift towards AoE, which to me is more like brute force.

I have used CC in a Wrath instance. Once. I don't raid so I can't speak for that, but in heroic Pit of Sauron, the pulls after Ick, I can and have sheeped the lady caster in the middle. Its a tricky pull to make sure the sheep isn't broken by AoE, but it sure as hell made things easier on the healer to not have all 5 mobs beating on the tank at once. Not many groups do that. In fact, when the tank first asked me to sheep it, I was like, huh? She's undead, I can't sheep her---oh wow, humanoid, ok! I had gotten out of the habit of even seeing if targets were sheepable or not, simply because no one ever requests CC.

Thus ends my ramble. Not sure I've added any value here, but I always feel like adding my two cents.

Hulan said...

Well said Lucint! I don't think my mage has sheeped anything or my priest shackled anything since Wrath came out. As a mage it certainly is nice to aoe sometimes, after all it was supposed to be our speciality at one time however I think it has become a very boring way to play.

Tanks and DPS have forgotten how to work around crowd control, if they've been in the game long enough ever to have known in the first place. It was an extra dimension to the game and I'm sad that it's gone. I can remember running Kara as a Holy Priest and being asked to shackle and heal at the same time, I was so nervous! It did add a little frisson to the whole encounter though. Especially if the mob broke the shackle as you were half way through a greater heal that the tank really, really needed, hehe. I still have my sheep and shackle macros on my bar...just in case :)

Señor Puzzle said...

Actually, the real name is't WoW. Is WfD (Warcraft for Dummies).

Yesterday, y went to Magister's Terrace to remember it. One tear is still in my cheek :'(. I remember when my Shadow Priest casting Mind Control, one rogue doing Sap, one mage doing sheeps, and one warlock using Sucubos's Seduce.

I don't want to remember Scholomance, because i start to cry.
It's sad, very sad. I have 4 80s and i like to do CC whit all of them.

Icarel. Shen'dralar (EU)

G-Rebel said...

This may make you happy, I didn't start playing until WoTLK, but I've made a point to learn the CC abilities on all my toons and practice them even while soloing.

I remember my first time in ToC facing the faction champions I asked the group who I should Hex (unfortunately Hex has a pretty long cooldown, which I don't understand). I got jeers from my own guild-mates telling me to just "burn the skull down, don't worry about CC". We wiped over and over.

My second time around was in a pug and we all used whatever CC abilities we had and we took them out easily.

CC requires teamwork, as you say, and an awareness of what's going on around them. Both are lacking in an era of "burn it down, baby, burn it down".

I'm not a nostalgist, I haven't played long enough, but I've tried to study enough of the classes to know that those spells aren't on your bar for nothing. It's fun and useful, that's the kind of game I like to play.

Vordan said...

I dont know if anyone has written this in any of the comments above but one reason I do not usually use my cc abilities in a group is because I always get grouped with a DK, and what do DK's do? They go Apesh*t with their aoes including pestilence...ive seen quite a few dks break shackles in ICC with that and forget sheeping, the dk has that mob covered! Even if the group ends up dead.

I mean there is no use in CC'ing if its going to be broken right? I would however like to see more of it implemented in fights, like a you cant do it with out it type deal. I think its more strategic that way and would make it fun again. CC use to matter a lot Pre BC and BC, Id like to see it come back with a bang.

J.P. Mays said...

glad to see I'm not the only one feeling this way. I had posted a little rant on this not too long ago. For me it was more of a disappointment with how the game is being played now, as I haven't really grouped much in WoW till 3.3. My experience in grouping is mainly from other games were CC was a requirement/job which some classes were built around. If you couldn't CC the mobs, then you needed a class that could single pull.
Compared to these other MMO's, Wow is a greater game in so many other ways, but Blizzard is loosing the attention of some of us Old School gammers.

Skill and thought needs to be brought back to the encounters. Pulling the whole room and spamming AoE's should get you killed.

Señor Puzzle said...

If one DK breaks the CCs, it is because the CC is maked on the wrong way, or the DK is a inconsiderate. In vanilla wow, paladins had got Consecration, and they not broke the CC. Why? Because the CC was made correctly, with one simbol over him, and far away from the "battle zone".

CC is an Forgotten Art. Try to finish Diremaul with level 60 and one tank with 3k in green bar. You will see. ;)

yvonne-tart said...

Huge reason why CC is forgotten are the wide use of AOE since everyone uses them now because now everyone can AOE, not like the old days. Even rogues can aoe now. Unless the mob is far away from the main pack, the aoe will get break the cc, rendering useless. Another reason is people's obsession with dps. time used to cast CC = lesser dps = less effective dps? More and more people are relating high dps with good game play. CC is now mainly used for PVP, but perhaps (think i read this off someone's blog) it will be good to create mob groups whose abilities complement each other. i.e. one casts frost aoe and the other does +100% aoe damage to those affected by frost debuff. This will force the players to burn one of the mob quickly, or CC it. With a plethora of CC skills available, it shouldnt be hard to exercise abit of CC :) I really would like to see more frogs,sheeps and penguins walking around.

Arkaneena said...

You know my main is a heal/tank. I can't cc anything or people DIE. But I have asked that others cc on difficult pulls like the caster ramp after Ick in H PoS. Yes mage, you know sheep, yeah that. Grab star with that. Ret Pally Repentance, trust me you have the spell, yes now bring it down to the tool bar and use it on X. All dps on Skull first.
Nobody thinks strats are needed ever anymore, just run it, bash mobs until dead and loot drops.
But with the new ICC 5 mans CC is useful, so I think Blizz is trying to bring it back some. The incoming nerf to AoE threat worries me more than teaching dps CC though.

DDH said...

I miss CC as well. In tBC I even leveled a mage so that I could find groups in LFG easier since sheeping was in such high demand. I have focus macros for all my CC abilities on all my 80's, but like you, never use them.

I hate the whole AOE everything scenario we are in now. Where Blizz messed up, at least in my mind, is that they didn't get the correct message during tBC. There was a little talk back then about too much CC, and that was a fair statement, but they missed the bigger message. That message was there were waaaaay too many trash mobs. They assumed because we said instances shouldn’t last 2+ hours, that they should take out CC, when they just should have reduced the unbelievable amounts of trash those instances had.

When ever I look at screenshots of peoples UI's, I see something like 10 buttons. Gone are the days when you had to think and use all the really cool abilities each class had. Part of this is from them nerfing the group quests. Since you could hardly ever find a group for those, they were the prime teacher for me about learning to ring every bit of performance out of my character.