Monday, 22 March 2010

Mob Rule?

A query on gchat today about which warlock pet to use in instances triggered a discussion about the death of crowd control in Wrath and made me think a little about how we used to use crowd control in the 'good ole days'. Just to be clear, I'm not looking back at The Burning Crusade, or Outlands with rose tinited glasses, there are mant many things that were heavily improved in Wrath, from armour to the ability to run through an instance without putting aside most of an afternoon (I'm looking at you Mana Tombs and you Shadow Labs in particular) but Wrath did bring the end of crowd control.

Pilf-the-First, for example had Shackle Undead and she had it set to a macro, something like this:

#showtooltip shackle undead
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help
/cast [target=focus,exists] shackle undead

I remember being totally panicked at the thought of a) having to use focus target (and needing to be talked through it on vent duh!) b) needing to have a macro set up and c) having to watch that and heal a tank. But gods it made life easier. It was also the point where as co-raid leader I downloaded and addon to let me know who was breaking the crowd control, because we used to set up the Moroes fight very carefully; moon was for sheep, skull was for Moroes, circle was for shackle, triangle was for trap (I think) etc etc. Yeah, that was when fights had a kill order as well...! Ah nostalgia...

I've been reading WoWWiki's crowd control page and I'm stunned by how much variety there is. When I think of crowd control it's the classics that spring to mind: hunter traps and polymorphs, but there's masses of other ones as well. Not being someone who ever participates in PvP I couldn't say which ones do see use in arenas and battlegrounds, and I'm sure that people use it for levelling, but in instances? It would seem not. I'm trying to remember, with complete honesty, if I've ever seen crown control being used in Northrend dungeons as a matter of course, and I'm coming up empty. I've seen traps, polymorphs and hexes being cast as an 'oh shit' button, to prevent a wipe but routinely put in place and marked up? Don't think so. Even in the raids I went on (Naxx and Ulduar) crowd control was rarely uses. The occasional banish possibly, frost traps on the Gulth fight but not much else. I'm in no position to discuss ToTC or ICC having not been to either but I think if crowd control had made a huge comeback I'd have heard something about it.

So, do we miss it? Or is the "mob 'em up and mow 'em down" (terminology TM to a guildie!) strategy more effective? It must be swings and roundabouts for tanks, paladins were not hugely popular in The Burning Crusade but now have excellent AoE threat generation; even in Scarlet Monastery level instances the Other Half was grabbing a pile of mobs and the DPS could AoE til their hearts content. In all honesty, I was bitching the other day about it. Mages have their frost AoE, warlocks can burn themselves almost to death or use something less painful and shadow priests have DoTs. Pilf will get her AoE of uber awesomesauce at level 75. Sulk. But yeah, tanks. Paladin threat generation is lols. Warriors and bears I'm not sure about. I know they can both get threat on multiple mobs but I'm not sure if it's as easy as it is for paladins? So maybe whilst the paladins lolsauce kinda puts the kaibosh on crowd control bears and warriors make it easier? All of which is me thinking aloud you understand.

As was pointed out in the course of the discussion on gchat, many of the 'crowd control' abilities are talents and are needed to get further down the talent tree. So should we wave goodbye to crowd control forever and hope that when Cata hits the talent trees are rejigged (which we know is happening) to remove them altogether or make them 'optional'? Or should we hope that the 'lost art' of crowd control is revitalised once more? Mind you, for Pilf that would mean chaining stuff up and mind controlling... um... yeah, I might leave that right there!


  1. I've always been a fan of crowd control, as a mage it was one of my main roles levelling up. I learned to either sheep pull, time my cast so my target was polymorphed at the exact moment the tank pulled, or CC out of the way of the main pack. Gaining aggro, counterspelling a caster or slowing a melee, and turning it into a turtle at my feet before it hit me gave me a warm fuzzy feeling of job well done! Much more so than endless blizzard spamming in any case...

  2. I think a medium needs to be found, between the *no cc* of wotlk, and the *it might be a good idea to have 3 forms of cc in the group and if you don't have any we aren't bringing you* of BC.

    I love some of the cc spells - polymorph, hex, mind control, hybernate - good fun.

    I actually get to use my Repentance in ICC - if I can beat the priest who is frantically trying to shackle :P

  3. @Issy - I have never used Repentance on my paladin and I was so excited when I got it... I guess that's what you get for not raiding :(

    And yes, I agree with the 'middle ground'. I think it was actually Len pointing out in gchat that those who didn't have CC abilities had a tendency to get overlooked. I guess maybe a possibility would be to give every class a viable CC ability, and possibly make it completely 'optional' via talents?

    @Len, yes exactly. I always used to be made up when I shackled and reshackled at exactly the right time.

    I'm saving the mage class until Cata hits and I intend to learn how to CC correctly, regardless of whether I will 'need' to use it. Therefore I will be looking to you for an explanation of how I learn to 'turtle' as opposed to 'sheep'!

  4. I definitely recommend learning to CC well, you never know when it will come in handy! Of course I always used to have polymorph and blink next to each other... that ended in tears more often than not :)

    The Polymorph: Turtle spell is obtained from a tome which has a small chance of dropping from the summonable water boss (Gah'zrah?) In Zul'gurub. It is farmable by a couple of people (a well geared DK friend of mine kindly donated it to me as he was farming the mounts) or you can find it on the auction house.

    Mages are my first love, you will have a blast levelling one!

  5. I'm definitely in favour of more cc friendly instances. You could mindcontrol some things in Ulduar, like the adds at Thorim and banish the fire elementals before Vezax. Oh and mindcontrol at the Instructor but other than that, I struggle to remember us using it at all which personally I think is a shame. Also with things like the fire elementals people are happy to do it for the first week, then the zerg mentality catches up and its no more CC ever again.

    We have these toolboxes full of interesting spells that get ignored in PvE because its simpler just to AoE everything down.

    In PvP on the other hand, I use shackle (gargoyles and ghouls), mind control (throwing people off cliffs) and fear all the time.