Tobold's Blog
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Magister's Terrace and crowd control

I like the new 5-man dungeon, Magister's Terrace. But having run it repeatedly in normal and heroic with various groups, I noticed that our success was pretty much determined by the amount of crowd control we brought. If besides a tank and a healer you have 3 dps classes with crowd control, like mages, warlocks, hunters, and rogues, the dungeon is totally doable. If you bring lets say an enhancement shaman, a retribution paladin, and a fury warrior and thus have no crowd control except tanking, doing Magister's Terrace becomes nearly impossible.

That makes me wonder why not all classes get *some* form of crowd control, so they can perform a useful role beyond pure damage dealing in a group.
If you gave the dps offspecs comparable crowd control to help in 5 man groups then you would need to decrease their dps, otherwise what would be the point of playing a main dps class?

If you did this it would mean that the dps off specs would never get into raids where a large part of the bosses are crowd control immune and so dps is all that matters.

You can't win.
I like the new 5-man dungeon, Magister's Terrace. But if you have only dps and tanking, doing Magister's Terrace becomes nearly impossible.

That makes me wonder why not all classes get some form of healing, so they can perform an useful role beyond dpsing or tanking in a group.
Hahahaha..Shalkis! Super funny! And you are right! If we continue in this direction all classe ends up being the same. I can understand why pvp-lovers want equal classe...but hey..let the classes be different in pve!!!!
A small note here - according to a Retri Pallie friend of mine, Retri pallies can actually perform CC in this instance - using a combination of stuns and their fear effect on demons, they can tie up the succubus more or less indefinitely.
If you gave the dps offspecs comparable crowd control to help in 5 man groups then you would need to decrease their dps, otherwise what would be the point of playing a main dps class?

If you did this it would mean that the dps off specs would never get into raids where a large part of the bosses are crowd control immune and so dps is all that matters.

You wouldn't necessarily have to drop their DPS just for being an off spec, you could instead adjust the talent trees so that more specialized DPS specs get more powerful versions of the crowd control available in general to the class, since they are so specializaed, they are for all intents and purposes a full DPS class with a few more buffs than usual.

However, this seems a fault of instance design more than class design, in a 5 person instance, groups will as likely as not not have a perfect combination of classes (if they want to start the instance quickly), so the instances need to be designed so that several characters can take on a single role, and so that all types of characters are useful somehow.
The problem is: A normal group consists of 1 tank, 1 healer and 3 DDs. The more CC you take with you, the easier it gets. And CCers are usually also DDs (with the exception of shackle).
There was a time when one CC was considered enough, but as time passed, I found more and more people who tried to cover their lack of skill with things like "I want three mages as DD, this instance can't be done without three sheeps".
But this is only general, Magisters' Terrace is definitvely more difficult. Doing it with a Warlock as our only CC on heroic would have been impossible without the awesome DPS we had.

The harder content gets, the thinner the air gets for DPS-specs without CC. In our fin little universe of Tank-DD-Healer they are considered "the rest".
Kiseran pretty much summed it up. This is exactly what happened in heroics before the changes to the 360 degree cleave that all mobs in heroics had.

you were either ranged DPS or a rogue with improved sap, or you just didn't get into heroic pugs as a DPSer (and most people wouldn't take the rogue anyway!) People often talk about the holy trinity including tanks and healers, but the pre-2.1 holy trinity (quadrity?) in WoW was holy pally, shadow priest, warlock, mage: crowd control for everything, all DPS is ranged, and the SP/holy paladin syngery before the spiritual attunement nerf was through the roof.

It's a shame that Blizzard has started to move back to the days of over-tuning the content.
I just read an article about this same issue on WoW Insider today (can't find the link atm), but what the author mentioned was that there are ways for the hybrid classes to effectively provide the same utility as CCers in MrT-- players will just have to be prepared to use all of their skills and really be aware of what they can do.

The example they used was an enhancement shaman being able to use purge, earth shock, and grounding totem to keep many of the casters in the instance fairly ineffective.

Is it easier and less trouble just to sheep them? Sure. But the point is that a skilled hybrid player can pull their weight just as well a class with traditional CC-- it just asks a little more of everyone. That's part of the price you have to pay for versatility.

A shaman has the option to switch to heals (like I did). A mage doesn't.
I totally disagree... you don't need the cc especially if you have an enhancement shaman, a ret pally, and a fury warrior. All of these classes can in effect work for all of the pulls in the dungeon. (Your one problem will be the 3rd boss encounter). Most people play the pulls straight up ... which means no strategy beyond "hey lets all do this at the same time" ... the fact is this dungeon forces you in the absence of cc to kite, fear rotate, stun/blind interrupt, and in general have excellent coordination to succeed ... all of which are cc that most people don't use because they are harder and require more skill. I have been through the entire place with only one cc out of the (5) (Warlock) and completed it. Push past the narrow conception of cc you have ... warlocks rock in here... they are 3 cc in one.... seduce/banish/fear... hunters are kite/trap/(even silence and slow).... priests are mc/mana burn/fear ... warriors are bash/fear... pallies (ret especially) are stunners with the added effect of aggroing the entire set ... bubbling and allowing your fury warrior to fear them while your enhance shaman pops their elemental and chains them all to death.

Most people don't want to bother with any of this. They just want to do it the "easy" way. Let me suggest that you take the group you've laid out in there and really learn what you are capable of doing. You might find it more fun in fact.

You know the one cc class i don't want if I can only get one? Mages... they can only sheep (or can they do more?)
They can do more, for example frost nova on trash, AoE for the hall before the second boss, and kiting the phoenix with frostbolts.
Personally, I'm not arguing at all that a skilled hybrid can't handle it. That's why I specifically mentioned that pugs don't want to take these classes, because you are grouping with people that you haven't played with much/at all, and therefore cannot guarantee their skill level.
Even as a person who plays one of the underloved 5-man DPS hybrid specs, for a pug I would take a random person with CC over a random person who didn't, because I can generally be assured that most mages can handle "polymorph the elf," but I'm less confident telling an enhancement shaman "frost shock, drop earthbind totem, and run in circles."

Of course, this changes if you are doing guild runs.
People said Shattered Halls heroic was impossible without a Mage; as it turned out it wasn't.

Of course things are a lot harder in a pug. People expect everyone else to never make a mistake, and if they do then 'wtf u noob, L2P ur class, loser'.

People need to learn that you can't aoe everything in sight when there is cc going on; they need to learn to target the same target as everyone else (eg the Skull), and so on.

Finally, they need to learn some social skills, and then the average pug wouldn't be such hard work.
Of course the instance can be done without crowd control. But its vastly more difficult. And regardless of what people say, nearly everyone wants a nice smooth run, relaxed atmosphere and much laughter. I have yet to meet the guy who says "I don't want the mage, it'll be no fun with CC, lets take the fury for some funny hours of wiping while figuring out how or if we can get through this or not."
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When putting together my first MgT (normal) I was cautioned to get a mage.

I did so and after the first MT I thought how will we ever do this without a mage?

Later over the weekend I put a group together without a mage at all and we cleared it just fine.
Anything beyond 1 CC is just icing.

1 is pretty much required, as it is for most heroics.

However, since most of the mobs in MrT are casters, new options are open that some people dont think about.

For instance last night we only had a rogue. The rogue would sap a physician, the tank would tank a mage guard and blood knight, and maybe the magister. The rogue and I ( enhancement shaman) would tank and kill the warlock, then the magister ourselves. We can both interrupt and basically neuter the casters, so those are easy.

CC is really more of a requirement for the 3rd boss. Enhancement shamans have a big advantage over ret paladins, because heroism/bloodlust provides alot of benefit on the boss fights.
"I want three mages" = lazy ass weak tank.
This is one of the boiling points of wow. They'll put drops in an instance that everyone wants. Then design encounters that require certain specific types of abilities. So 30 percent of the populace effectively get locked out of the content. I sometimes wonder if they even consider stuff like this when they design the encounters and then add the loot. Or if its two seperate people who never talk
...because Blizzard hates shamans.
Don't completely discount the shaman in heroic Magister's Terrace...we may not have any CC, but we do have the fastest cooldown interrupt of any class. With all the spells thrown around in this instance it can be extremely helpful.

That third boss, though, is just unfair on heroic. Went in last night with a group geared in T5 and plenty of CC and it was just a wipefest. Coordination is the key, I think -- going back tonight with just guildmates, and re-speccing resto for chain heals. Got a feeling she'll be nerfed eventually; but dangit, I want my Shard now!

BTW: I disagree with the assumption that giving "dps offspecs comparable crowd control" is any kind of Problem. Nor is it very accurate -- EVERY class has some kind of CC except shamans. Warriors have fear, priests have fear amd mind control, paladins have stuns, druids have snares, cyclones and sleep, etc. Shamans do have pretty excellent kiting potential, but that really only works if the mob has an aggro table and doesn't cast spells.
I offer my thoughts:
I had no problems with heroic Magister's Terrace last night with this group comp:
Feral Druid (tank), Holy Paladin (me), Rogue, Enh Shaman, Arms Warrior.

Traditionally, our only "pure CC" was sap.

But we also used Frost Shock Kiting, Bash, Intimidating Shout, Blind, Hamstring.

Finally, the more dps you have, the faster things die, which means you need less CC.

Also, a lot of the need for CC comes from bad tanks who can't hold multiple mobs at once. Protadins have it easy in this regard with Warriors having it hardest, and Feral Druids in the middle, but having a good tank is critical.

What makes a good tank? In a word, awareness. Not just watching the mob he's tanking, but also all the other mobs, and using abilities like Intervene and Feral Charge to get around quickly and grab as many mobs as possible, while keeping an AoE taunt available if necessary.

A solid healer who can triage and prioritize heals also helps a lot -- often times in Heroic MrT I had to leave someone at 30% for a few seconds while I kept the tank up. Thanks to being aware of what the mobs were actually on (Grid's aggro indicator helps a bit here), I had the information needed to make the right call.

MrT is a great, quick heroic that is a lot of fun, but you need to take skilled players who know how to play their class. My group above was all guildmates who had run this place before and knew each other's playstyles. I would never, ever pug heroic MrT. Another guild mate recently did and ended up in a 2 hour long run that finally finished after about 7 wipes in total. That's no fun for anyone.

And the moral of the story:
Choose your group mates wisely.
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