Monday, April 26, 2010

The Crowd Control Cure

This weekend, I healed a partial Heroic Halls of Reflection with some guildies.

I say ‘partial’, because we flamed out after multiple wipes on Falric/Marwyn. We’d made it past Falric with one wipe on trash, but then got repeatedly slaughtered on the second set of spirit waves. Given that we were running with three solid dps, it’s safe to place the blame on me or the tank, who is a bit undergeared (we had to enter the dungeon the Old Fashioned Way – by flying to it and walking through the door, as we were not allowed to queue for it due to her gear). I was disappointed at our failure, but had a realization:

I worked harder healing this heroic five man than I had healing an Icecrown 25 the previous night.

This realization, along with some other things I’ve been reading, overhearing in vent, seeing in guildchat, etc., made me wonder: What are we looking for in this game, and will we be happy when we get it?

I had read something on recently in which everybody’s favorite former marine biologist stated that Crowd Control would be making a bit of a comeback in Cataclysm (and for the life of me, I can’t find that thread now). This was met with a ‘yay’ from a responder, and in general a lot of positives from the community. In searching (unsuccessfully) for that, I also came across this O-boards plea for more CC. Seems like there’s definitely some support for it.

So what do we want? Do we want to continue playing a game where you can clear a heroic in under 10 minutes? Or do we want to have to take our time, plan out pulls, single-target mobs down, and use Polymorph, Sap, and Banish?

Personally, I feel that more Crowd Control, and more need for strategic pulls can only improve the game, even if it requires a little more time. ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop’, they say. In WoW, idle hands lead to trade chat heroes and LFD terrors. I honestly believe that if dps were more engaged in heroics (i.e,, had to do something besides spam their biggest, bestest, AoE ability) then maybe groups would actually function like, well, a group. Of course there would be some inevitable conflicts when someone breaks CC early, or if someone forgets to re-sheep, etc., but I think in the long run, we might actually have more interesting experiences, and it would not be as much of a snore-fest as they can be now.

Sadly I’m not sure how well it would go over in practice. WoW heroics have evolved (or maybe DE-volved) into a race to the finish. This is both good and bad. I can recall turning down the opportunity to heal BC heroics because ‘we’ve got a raid in an hour’. It was a legitimate possibility that an hour would not be enough, especially if they were asking for something like Shadow Labrynth (heh, you could easily spend 2+ hours in there and not succeed). I think our top speed for things like Hellfire Ramparts and Underbog in T5 and Badge of Justice level gear was around 40 minutes. Nowadays we’re looking at six and a half minute clears of Drak’Tharon Keep. Raid in one hour? Sure, I’ve got time for three or four heroics! Our current WoW culture may not really accept spending more time in a measly heroic, and if there’s one thing that Crowd Control requires, it’s time.

It also requires communication. Even if it’s a simple ‘Mage sheep moon, Rogue sap star’ in party chat before a pull or at the start of the dungeon, you have to communicate with your party members (and boy, do I hate it when people say things like that. ‘lock, summon’, ‘mage make table’. Even when they insert a ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ it strikes me as rude, and I hate rude). As far as I’m concerned, any form of communication that doesn’t involve variations of ‘nub’ or ‘lrn2p’ (or some of these) are positives compared the silent runs we’re currently experiencing.

Balance is the issue. I don’t think anyone wants to see a return to the days where you can’t complete something if you don’t have 3 mages. Then again, most dps classes ended up getting fairly reliable forms of Crowd Control heading into Wrath, but they never gave us a chance to use them. Let’s see it come back, at least a little bit. I feel that the increased engagement of all players, and the need for more effective communication in the party, will combine to make the world of the World of Warcraft a bit of a better place to be, even as the Cataclysm tears it apart. Sheep the Moon in 3…2…


  1. Hey, I like your style and commentary. I'll be following you via RSS!
    Oh, and I used a shackle in ICC-10 yesterday and the raid was like "whoah, haven't seen that in a while".

  2. Thanks Tim, I appreciate it! I'm a bit inconsistent right now with posts but will hopefully get better.

    One of our guildies use Mind Control recently -- what a shocker!