Where will you stand when the CC comes round?

Let’s have us some fun, whattaya say?

Suppose, just imagine for a moment, that when Cataclysm comes out Northrend vanishes into the sea… and the entire world reverts to what we had in Burning Crusade, trash mob groups that flat out require the precise application of Crowd Control to achieve success.

Oh, you think Blizzard couldn’t bring Crowd Control back into importance? Really?

Look, I’ll prove it to you.

I’ll suggest one simple, fast situation where the developers could easily create trash mob groups that would require solid CC to reliably win. See if this sounds familiar.

1) A trash group of five mobs. Two normal melee types, one ranged healer, and two big giants. The two giants are both high armor/health types; both hit really hard, of course, but one applies an undispellable bleed debuff DoT for big damage, and the other does triple damage to bleeding targets. For extra fun, the one that applies the bleed debuff DoT does triple damage against poisoned targets, and the other giant applies an undispellable Poison DoT.

Wouldn’t that be fun? “Sure, you’ve got great health and armor, and you can put out great threat. You’ll hold ALL the mobs on you as long as you’d like. Just run right on in there, sunshine. You can assuredly tank either of these, no problem. But if you tank both of these giants at the same time, you’re gonna go down too fast for any healer to keep up with the big hits PLUS double DoTs. Oh, and did we mention the healer keeping them both up?”

I’ll admit, adding the ranged healer is just being mean, and probably unneccessary. Especially if it was a powerful healer with a short cast time.

We could always swap him out for a warrior-style mob that casts a group Fear (Intimidating Shout). Yeah, that would be fairer. And make sure this is in tight quarters, lots of other groups to get feared into, right?

Can you say the return of ranged line of sight pulls, Misdirecting into traps and keep chain trapping, or Saps and then traps, or whatever ingenuity the players bring? So many classes have CC, after all. Keeping one giant locked out of the way, and the healer or caster tied up so you can finish off the second giant? It’s not rocket science, but it would require a group to bring some CC skills. 

I bet Shamen would love to use Hex in an actual group environment. Froggie!

So, let’s accept that if Blizzard wants to, all your fancy gear isn’t going to change the fact that they can make you learn CC to advance.

Suppose that this brave world was here. Now.

Would you be ready?

How many of you remember how to use crowd control effectively? How many of you understand the new diminishing returns rules for Crowd Control? (PvPers, please refrain from cheating on this, we know you’ve got the skills).

How many of you Feral Druids use Kitty Form to Pounce on and then Stun your prey, so you can nibble on them for a while? Or, even more fun, how many Druids know the effective uses of Hibernation? Or Cyclone?

If you just said “Hibernation? What’s that?”, spend 5 minutes wearing the Shame hat of doom. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

How many Rogues practise Sapping? Do you even remember what happens when you Sap one mob in a group? Do the rest pull, or not?Are you still up on your emergency Vanish techniques?

How many Hunters still retain their chain trapping skills? Better question. How many Hunters out there never had to chain trap for real? How many don’t know how, and haven’t ever worried about it because it wasn’t needed?

How many Priests out there know the principle behind using Focus targets to keep one mob easily chain CC’d while healing or attacking other targets?

Imagine a world where you know, when you log in to do a random heroic, that the tank is going to ask for skilled crowd control, and that means you.

How hard will it be for you to prepare? Need a refresher, or are you gonna freak?

And finally, seriously, the biggest question.

Would you really be happy with the return of CC? Knowing what you do now about how much longer the old instances took to run compared to today, and the “go go go” mentality that says 15 minutes for a heroic is too damn long, and what kind of people you meet right now in Looking for Dungeon?

Big Red Kitty taught me how to chain trap, with his exciting series of videos. It’s where my experience with other blogs began. I dinged 70 in Burning Crusade on my Hunter alt, and wanted to know how to chain trap, because that was the quintessential mark of skill for a Hunter. I was not only prepared to be asked, I was begging to be asked to Chain Trap in instances.

Can that kind of intensity be brought back without drowning in a sea of QQ?

74 thoughts on “Where will you stand when the CC comes round?

  1. BBB – your point is well taken. In fact, there is something to be said for having to PVP to learn and use all of your class skills in the right situations. in WoTLK, The closest PVEers got to that, I think, is in ToC 10/25… the fight after Jaraxxas. I still see today’s overly-ICC-geared groups wipe on that, despite mob kill orders listed and some actual prep. You can say all you want to kill the tree first, but if someone isn’t interrupting said tree’s casting, you aren’t going to kill it fast enough before one of its counterparts kills one of your party members, no matter how l33t your groups DPS is. I have spent that entire fight cycloning despite the fact that they wanted me in tree healing instead of main tank….


  2. CC’s downfall really began when every boss, every dungeon (and the LFD tool) rewarded Badges which could be turned in for gear which was better than the gear available from the mobs. Now it was no longer about running a dungeon for the chance at your drop, but rather a farming run where mobs were nothing more than an inconvenience to be dealt with as swiftly as possible to get to the rewards which were guaranteed and were accumulated more quickly the faster you went. Can LFD/Badges coexist with CC? Sure, it’ll be a rude awakening for a lot of people and to be honest, those who lack the mental dexterity or aren’t sufficiently determined will suffer and likely bail on the game, enhancing its quality for the remainder. And we’re all going to have to adjust – too many taking abilities are focused around AOE now and that doesn’t seem to be letting up for Cata. We’ll have to combine high aggro generation with mob management and good positioning, not to mention leadership skills.

    As much fun as its been spamming Seed of Corruption on my Warlock, I look forward to having to find my Banish skill (where to hotkey it…) again. I look forward to needing Sheep/Hex/Hibernate/Cyclone/Shackle/Chains of Ice in more than just the occasional encounter. Right now, for people in the know, proper use of CC is a point of pride and an easy differentiator of people who understand encounters and have skill vs people who have a good rotation and mash buttons quickly.


  3. @Crackilakin

    Well, like you’d said, these are ‘guesses’ as to whats going to happen, which will usually be correct in the majority of situations. If there is a special mob, normally someone with experience will pipe up and mention it. If you’re running completely blind, and no-one has prior knowledge or says anything about an evil group wiping mob, which then does wipe the group, its nobodies direct fault and no-one should feel upset about having to do a corpse run. On the other hand, if someone had known about the mob, and didn’t say anything, they cannot be upset about the wipe because they didn’t take the relevant steps to prevent it. This person could scream about it being a ‘noob-tank’ all they want, but really it’s their own fault.


  4. Bring it on, blizz, bring it on. I would kill for a opportunity to show that my dps toons are not the worthless mouthbreathers that they are relegated to. I would welcome a chance to be a useful part of a group and I wasn’t tanking or healing.

    Do I see that happen? No, not really. Maybe for a bit in the beginning, but as soon as people start getting their epics, its bye bye CC.


  5. Count me as another person that wants to see CC come back. It’s not just heroics, folks keep trying to tear thru the LFG leveling dungeons like they are in full purples “LOLZ WE DON’T NEED CC” and it’s frustrating.


  6. I think CC is a lost art. My guildie and I got tired of the group drama doing dungeons, so we decided to do them ourselves. I love it, because it keeps us creative, and we use most of our special abilities. I know my Druid has probably shape-shifted more than most, but it’s fun to challenge myself. I wish Blizzard would make the dungeons more mentally challenging, not just about gear score and dps. I have to agree that PvP does make you use a lot of skills you wouldn’t use anywhere else. I think some of that element should be incorporated into the dungeons.


  7. @Machangel
    Nice and generic enough for most dungeons, but what about important mobs that DON’T fit into any of those categories, but are important to kill? Like botanica, where you have an aoe pull with a bunch of dragonhawks and a mob named “Dragonhawk Tamer”? Is that just a flavorful name, or is Blizz giving you a hint? What about Shattered Halls with the Commanders shouting orders to the rest of the pull, or stride around in front of kneeling mobs? General melee that can be safely ignored, or does he have to die first so he doesn’t call for reinforcements?

    kinda why I suggested an article on what I did for newer tanks. I can tell you, I didn’t have a cheatsheet in BC and I can count on one hand the mobs that I bothered to memorize. Everything else I chose on the fly based on the cues that were there (visual or name-based), previous pulls that I had just completed, and kill order would even change based on what kind of CC I had. (mind controlling dangerous mobs that I would otherwise have as 1st or 2nd kill and saving for last was a favorite tactic of mine). As opposed to Wrath, where I only note spell slingers and runeshapers, and everything else is aoe. 😦


  8. I think the complimenting giant skills is a great example of what game design should look like.

    Personally, I’d love to see a comeback of CC. It would help to move away again from the assembly-line game play that some parts of WoW have turned into.


  9. I really hope that they get more into the tooltips – it’d be nice not to have to memorize which mobs do which awful thing. While I heal more than I tank now, I’ll probably tank some in Cat… and I’d rather not have to have a cheat-sheet pulled up in another window so I know what all the mobs do.


  10. Can’t speak for the bear but my kill priority goes (though in BC i would CC the stun/fear mobs);

    – Things that heal (tree form, priest in the name, white clothing)
    – Things that stun (mercenary/rogue in the name, duel wielding daggers or swords)
    – Things that fear (shadowform, purple staffs, warlock or priest in the name)
    – Casters
    – MS effect Melee
    – Generic Melee

    Your generic melee tend to do less on the tank. I’ve noticed casters tend to do more damage, but they’re easier to kill and can be interrupted. If something has a mortal strike effect, back in the day that would be CC’d.


  11. @ Phelps
    “One of the evil mechanics that I thought of was a “commander” type mob that did a reverse taunt on all of the other mobs (telling them to focus a player)…”

    Either you didn’t do Heroic Botanica, or you forgot about the dragonhawk tamers. Those mobs had the exact logic you describe (not sure about the hypersensitive healing agro tho..) 🙂

    And I’ll be ready when CC returns. My friends and I still remember, hell we bust it out sometimes when were bored. And I know there’s some puggers on my battlegroup who do also. One of my favorite H HoR runs was when it first came out and I got some slightly undergeared dps, a ret and I believe a survival hunter. Both did around 2k dps, slightly under on some pulls.. But they were a pair of cc machines! Made that the smoothest HoR run I’ve ever done on my bear.

    I try to encourage these type of people on my battlegroup with /hugs, cheers, licks and kisses. Sometimes a personal whisper thanking them for going above and beyond expectations.

    And Tully makes a point relevant to a question I was gonna ask you via email BBB. It seems like you’re trying to educate newer tanks with these last few posts you’ve made. I’ve been tanking since ZG, so I already know my own answer to this question but I’m curious on both yours and some of the other old hands amongst your readers:
    What do you do when you’re running blind in a new dungeon when there isn’t much information on it, such as towards the start of an expansion? How do you decide, when faced with a pull of 4-5, which one to try and focus down first? How do you identify trouble mobs by their names, or even sometimes visual cues? What are some things to keep an eye open for, or even ways to successfully identify good LOS spots?

    I’ve seen a lot if information out for new tanks, especially on this expansion, but I’ve never seen anyone detail this sort of information that some of us long time tanks consider without really thinking about it. So, food for thought fellow bear, I’d appreciate seeing an article from someone I respect on this sort of thing. 🙂


  12. I’d love to see some CC come back. Perhaps not to the extent of Shadow Labyrinth’s 6-pull section, but perhaps something like “Moroes”. On the few occasions where my pally gets to go ‘ret’ instead of ‘tank’ in PoS, I try to tell the tank that I *could* make life easier. Stun one of the fire-casters on the uphill 5-man pulls. Then stun one of the frostcasters. Just something that simple and easy makes that spot near-trivial. Or even (not truly CC) in FoS walking up to the far away caster and arcane-torrent him to make him walk up to the tank. Sure, I’m not top-dps, but I’m all for making things easier.
    But I have to admit, I was “that” tank who broke hunter traps in some heroic. In my defense, how was I supposed to know that a pugged hunter uses a trap?!?!


  13. WTB more CC. Lots more CC. It makes the game so much more interesting. Running heroics (or hell, even leveling my prot pally in LFD) has gotten into an AoE fest and it’s boring. There’s no skill involved.

    I remember playing my mage back in vanilla and having to actually worry about sheeping stuff (and keeping it sheeped). I’ve done some crazy things on that toon (sheeping one mob and kiting / frost novaing another because it ate the hunter and was coming back for the healers).

    These days for S&G, I cyclone loose mobs on my resto druid… let’s see you break that CC, Mr. dot happy lock. 😛


  14. It would be great if CC would make a return. But I highly doubt it. Wrath was basically Blizz getting away from that ‘elite hardcore raider’ mindset. Making WoW more for the masses, than those few hardcore raiders. They mad WoW simpler, more accessible. And despite all the QQ about it at the time, people expect it now. Blizz has gone too far down that path to return to the intensity of BC. And CC is included in that.


  15. I’ll be ready. On of my favorite instances to run is HoR on a ret paladin. I even got a “Dude, you rock” from a slightly undergeared and intimidated tank after 10 waves of double CC (repentence and turn evil), cleansing and interrupts (while still being the top DPS). Back when you needed to clear Heroic Sethekk Halls to get Swift Flight Form, we ran it with two druids, a priest, a rogue and a mage. On one 5 pull, we hibernated both birds, sapped one humanoid, sheeped another and shackled the undead. Then we had a little /dance party.

    I think Cataclysm will be a rude awakening for most people. DK’s target death and decay so they hit all the mobs – even the ones who are just slumped over with pink swirlies around their heads. Warlocks and shadow priests who DoT up CC’d mobs so they don’t drop on the meters. When I asked people to burn down the skirmishers in H AN so they don’t eat the healer, a warlock actually asked why they couldn’t just AoE everything down… In a 9 minute instance. Tanks routinely pick up two or three groups. Warriors rush in and whirlwind while the tank is ducking around a corner to pull the caster over. Tactics are ignored in favor of brute force (remember when you actually had to LoS the Ingvar’s AoE ability?). I’ve literally seen a tank stare at a penguin for 5 seconds with 4 mobs hitting him from behind while he tried to figure out what that penguin was doing and whether or not he should be worried about it. Or tanks run off before we’d killed the sheep. Healers who can’t figure out why they’re still in combat while a pig wanders at their feet.

    Think about the start of Wrath. Think about your first heroic when you hit 80. Remember how hard it was? Even if CC isn’t required, the inevitable expansion gear reset is going to require people to be a lot more careful.


  16. CC should make a comeback.

    It gives dps something other to do than just blast away laughing and dancing at all the big numbers filling their recount (or whatever dps meter they use). It also adds another layer of skill to the game, it gets to easy chain pulling encounters knowing they can’t but barley scratch the tank.

    I fully support it and can’t wait to see how blizzard implement it.


  17. LFD is just too convenient, whatever Blizzard does to instance difficulty people will never go back to trade and guildchat spamming en-masse.

    Again, to clarify the point I tried to make in my previous comment: the people we scoff at in LFD aren’t bad players because they suck as a person, they are bad because they didn’t luck into this blogpost and that resource. In ye olde times the game forced us into looking up this stuff by turning solo play into living hell from level 40 onwards if you didn’t know what you were doing and didn’t have the proper spec/addons/keybinds etc.

    WoW isn’t a hard game to play once you’ve found the info you need to have about these things. The problem is that right now this stuff on how to play your class and how to behave in dungeons is scattered all around the internet. If Blizzard would implement some rudimentary in-game encyclopedia explaining the basics and providing links to outside resources like WoWWiki, WoWhead, class blogs and WoW Insider, I think it would cause a huge shift in the skill level of your average WoW player. Just imagine how great it would be if you could just link the “Rules of playing as a DPS in dungeons” article in party chat from the in-game encyclopedia when you see someone misbehaving in your group…


  18. I know some stuff about (cat) CC, but I’m not any good at it because I’ve never really had to use it. I suppose I should find somewhere to practice, anyway. It’s a skill I’d like to have, useless or not.


  19. The question of DPS using CC isn’t even the whole equation. How many tanks are capable of marking targets for varying forms of CC? How many tanks are capable of creating a good kill order? How many tanks are capable of dealing with CC that breaks early? How many tanks will know that when CC breaks, the most likely target will be the healer? Having tanked in BC, this was a contributing factor in tank burnout. Tanking in BC for PuGs often felt like a field trip. “Get on the bus and remember your buddy! Don’t touch anything, CC your targets, keep them CC’d, follow the kill order …” It’s not just the role of DPS that will change, tanking will change a great deal as well. I’m not confident that DPS will pick up the CC skills. Likewise, I’m not confident that the majority if the existing tanks will pick up the required skill/knowledge either. There is already a tanking shortage in LFD. Will the added burden on tanks make it so less people queue as tanks? Will the additional requirements of CC mean fewer people will use LFD instead preferring to run randoms only with guildies so the skill of the group is a known quantity?


  20. I still try to sheep with my mage Eviltouch when I am in LFG groups, but usually the tank or dps immediately hit them and break the CC. I would love to see the return of CC.


  21. BBB, I think you’re right that this will be a “sometimes” thing. Instances will still have largely “round up and AoE” trash, but one or two pulls per boss or even instance may require a bit more thought. We might even see the occasional “Hallway/Room from Hell” ala Shattered Halls or Shadow Labyrinth, but those would be pretty uncommon.


  22. I hope CC makes a return. Not because I like doing it, but because raising the complexity of the role the DPS-es have to perform in 5 mans back to the BC level would force them to either read up on the encounters, and focus away from their damage meters OR give up their hopes on getting badge gear and go back to PVP and alts.

    As of now, DPS-es can go from level one to high level epics and right into your raid PUGs without ever needing to read up on their stats and abilities or game mechanics or instances.

    In the early days of Wrath I met a level 80 druid who never ever left caster form. She was really dedicated so I’ve spent at least 10 hours through the course of 2 weeks with her trying to explain the basic mechanics of the game, pointing her to WoWWiki and EJ and WoW Insider, even making a leather gearset for her but the amount of information she would have to swallow at once at the level cap was just too overwhelming…

    It wasn’t her fault, it’s Blizzards. If I were designing the game I’d include messages like:
    – “oh, you’ve reached lvl 10 and get to spend your first talent point, CLICK HERE to read up on the possible roles your class can fulfill” or
    – “oh, you’ve acquired your first green item, CLICK HERE to read about the different stats in the game and which one you should focus on as a ” or
    – “oh, you’ve just learned Cat Form, CLICK HERE to watch the introduction video showing how playing a kitty DPS looks like in practice at your level and at the level cap, so you can decide if you want to focus on learning to play as a cat or just get by till you get to learn moonkin”

    An in-game encyclopedia for these would be the best of course, but if the links just pointed to WoWWiki that would be adequate as well, just get new players to learn the habit of reading up on stuff they don’t understand in the game. WoW is chock full of stuff you need to know, but unless someone in game notices you don’t know and tells you about them you’ll never know, because the game itself just doesn’t tell you – this I think is the main reason PUGs are as horrible as they are.


  23. “and the “go go go” mentality that says 15 minutes for a heroic is too damn long, and what kind of people you meet right now in Looking for Dungeon?”

    Sadly I don’t expect a big return of CC because of the above. I used to love chain trapping ( and on occasion double trapping!) on my hunter and I did indeed know how to Hibernate when possible. Now, even when I SHOULD be shooting a block of ice at an offending stand-offish caster I rarely bother … as it’s inevitable someone has dotted it or will charge it/whirlwind/chains it before the current target goes down.

    That said I’ve gotten more into the Serpent Sting mindset myself.


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