Thursday, February 14, 2008

Has over use of Crowd Control unbalanced WoW PvP?

It used to be back in the early days of World of Warcraft you knew what classes could effectively take one of your teammates out of a fight with a well time crowd control. Mages had the dreaded polymorph and warlocks had the very frustrating fear. Both were annoying but easy for support classes to dispel or cleanse away. Still the spells were useful for interrupting healing classes and people often clamored for similar abilities. Well since that time you can tell that Blizzard has moved away from long duration crowd control spells and started spreading short duration versions to everyone in an attempt at balance.

The most notorious of these new crowd control abilities is definitely the druid cyclone which is superior because it can only be broken through the PvP trinket. Recent changes to blind have made it almost as annoying as cyclone to break though some shields will also do the job. Theoretically there isn't anything wrong with having a hard to break crowd control spell but in PvP there are always side effects. Both rogues and druids have other abilities like vanish, travel form, and stealth which work very well in combination with blind and cyclone. In fact it works so well that both classes are highly effective in the smaller arena brackets at escaping death then returning quickly to sap or heal.

I'm not trying to argue that any one class needs its abilities nerfed or taken away. I'm stating that PvP has been deeply influenced in negative ways by the over abundance of crowd control. In particular the large amount of stun and silence procs in a couple of class trees have had an even more widespread effect then cyclone or blind. The widely spread ability to silence or stun an enemy for 1-2 seconds every 8-10 seconds is hell on classes that depend on long casting spells. In particular paladins and shamans are forced into the 5v5 bracket where they aren't the only healer for a team. In smaller brackets healers have to be able to cast an instant heal or a heal over time.

Another interesting side effect of the over abundance of short duration crowd control is that it made physical burst damage the most effective way to kill someone. Burst damage has always been the best way to kill someone in PvP but high damage spells require a decent cast time after initial cooldowns have been blown. This makes them very vulnerable to silence and interrupt abilities like earth shock and kick. However, mortal strike is unaffected by these and warriors are uniquely built to recover from short duration stuns with their intercept ability. As a result mortal strike warriors are easily the better choice over destruction warlocks or mages for doing burst damage in the small brackets.

If Blizzard is interested in a better spread of classes in the different arena brackets then they have their work cut out for them. I will admit they have done a great job recently with the hunter changes. Hunters used to be a joke in the arenas but now I see them much more often. They haven't quite reached the levels of warriors but I think the strength of the beastmaster tree will eventually make them second place for the burst damage spot on a team. However, what Blizzard really needs to do is replace some of the current short duration crowd control abilities that only affect casters with ones that only affect melees. Root would be a good method to use since it’s not overpowered but definitely effects melee more than casters.

Last Month's Arena Team Breakdowns


Trebormojo said...

Cyclone should break on damage or it should regenerate like sheep does. All cc should be on the same diminishing returns and no more than 3 cc's in 30 seconds. So a fear from a lock diminishes the sheep of a mage on the same target.

Relmstein said...

A shared diminishing return timer for all crowd control abilities sounds like an interesting idea. I'm not sure of its side effects on classes that depend on long lasting but easily broken spells like fear and polymorph.

It will be interesting to see how Warhammer tries to balance abilities for PvP compared to World of Warcraft. From what I know they aren't including any classes that have stealth and I wonder if they'll take a similar approach to crowd control.

Heartless_ said...

I don't really want to get into the whole talk, because CC in WoW makes me QQ. I play a Shaman, the only class without a decent CC and without any way of escaping CC.

But I want to say, the PvP trinket should not be a trinket, but instead something you can use from your backpack once every two minutes.

Tipa said...

With the new 3v3 for prize money games, I expect there will be a very sharp focus on unbalancing PvP abilities; I expect Arena battles to look a lot different in a year.

Relmstein said...

WoW has the most popular current form of PvP on the market. But its still a tacked on game system that is severely unbalanced when human intelligence gets involved.

I think the 3v3 prize money is more of a way of keeping PvP fans from switching to Warhammer then a core reason behind balancing
"overly effective abilities". I expect Blizzard to do more promotional work like tournaments to try to emphasis the PvP side of their game.

Also I predict cyclone to get nerfed before the expansion. Probably a regeneration effect on health and mana for the target of the spell.