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Community Spotlight: The Death of Crowd Control?

Posted by MikeB Friday December 3 2010 at 11:18AM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Crowd control? A thing of the past?” by Averros. Averros uses his thread to comment on the state of crowd control (or lack of) in MMOs today:

 “I have noticed that very few games have crowd control anymore..... my favorite class in EQ1 was the enchanter.... EQ2 the Coercer, hell even CoX I LOVED Controllers. What has happened to this in games. I enjoyed this mechanic for the strategy of groups. Now it is simply Healer, Tank, DPS. Does anyone else miss this type of mechanic?

If you know of a newer game (Other than EQ2) that has crowd control, please list it here. I would be happy to find a game again that has the CC classes!”

How does the community feel about the state of crowd control? Read below to find out!

Ajrock622 has a number of thoughts to share on the topic:

“I miss the days of Daoc sitting watching your group die while you stood mezzed/rooted/stunned but it was so much fun when you were on the other side.

You have a point in my opinion. However you can't really deny they still exists Warhammer has knockdowns, roots, and knockbacks. WoW has roots and stuns. Aoins has Asians? Even Eve has electronic weaponry.

Developers seem to be moving towards less fight changing CC (shorter durations unlike 1 min single target mezzes of Daoc). Especially in PvP. I always liked how single target spells lasted tons longer than AoE ones in Dark Age and that you could also spend points into ways to offest the time it lasted on you.

I think the biggest problem facing crowd controll is immunity timers. Finding the right length of time so someone can't stunlock you is at the front of the list. Gone are the days when you could keep someone locked down for more than 20 seconds but with it went being interupted if a melee looked at you when you were casting. Pre-kiting and combat kiting was an artform. Nothing was more frustrating than being locked down not being able to cast except once every 30 seconds as a caster. When WoW came out and you only got set back a half second or less when being swung at I thought it was overpowered as Warlocks.

The point is you are correct in the fact that CC classes no longer exist. Healers have to be able to do damage or they are gimp and everyone needs to have a self heal these days.”

Wizardry wonders why people like crowd control in the first place:

“I have to ask why so many like crowd control?If i was a puller and made a bad pull,shoudl i be rewarded with having skills that can make my bad skills mute?Personally i never liked the massive mob scenario,i prefer 1-3 at most with controlled combat,any more is unrealistic ,your tank should be dead fast if fighting 6+ strong mobs.

If you make a bad pull or draw unwanted aggro,then it should be up to your groups fast thinking skills to help you survive,it shouldn't be a mez everything and your safe routine.IDK maybe it is just me ,but i like the challenge of a skillful game,i don't like easy out mechanics.

Thing of the past?I doubt it ,there is always some old school dev out there ,from Eq days ,thinks it should be in there.IMO i would rather not see it at all.”

Chile267 also laments the lack of dedicated crowd control classes in contemporary MMOs:

“I loved my Controller in COH. He was an Earth controller with Wind as his secondary. I would place a rock formation AOE around all mobs in a certain radius as a hold. Then I would put Volcanic Gases AOE in center of them which was a choke+Dmg. I would add in an Earthquack AOE for knockdown. The boss I would keep held with a Fossel hold. While the tank tanked and everyone else blasted away. I also had a Hurrican around myself (secondary Wind powers) which I buffed with Target + ToHit Debuffs so any mob held in place that fired ranged at me would miss most of the time, and if they broke out and ran to me the Hurrican would push back and then do knockback.

Controllers are fun and part of any good MMO. I do wish they had more controllers like COH style, unfortunalty the end game and repeated mission of COH wore on me after a bit and I left. I still think COH had the best controllers.”

Dedicated crowd control classes aren’t on the class roster for many new games due to the fact that CC in general is viewed negatively these days. Most players don’t like to lose control of their characters and so the role of CC in MMOs has eroded over time. I was never a fan of pure crowd control clasess, but then again I’m not often a fan of pure anything, I prefer hybrids. To use City of Heroes as an example, I much prefer the Dominator to the Controller. The Dominator can lock things down just as well but can also really lay waste to his enemies. I’m pretty sure the days of mass-mezzing a whole warbands worth of people at once are over forever.

What are your thoughts on the state of crowd control/crowd control classes? Share ‘em with us in the comments below!

fansede writes:

I suspect devs had to come to a decision. How do I make the game challenging to the player? Do I give players a dedicated role of crowd control character or do I give each player the ability to control the crowd? Judging what I am reading of games like GW2, SW: KOTOR, they are leaning to giving players the tools. Time will tell if GW2 will announce a Mesmer or not. 

however, since MMO games are competing against a dwindling player base, who usually are coming from console single player games, they are going to let the players have tools to control crowds. 

I do notice since EQ - there are few "trains" anymore. You just don't see these modern games where a busted (or intentional) decision results in a large amount of enemies chasing you down. Hence the CC character role fades.

Now the PvP centric games, I can understand the CC extinction. The fun factor dries up if a CC toon can lock you out of reacting for a long time. So short stuns or knockbacks are only tolerated.

Fri Dec 03 2010 2:32PM Report
astoria writes:

I love playing crowd control toons. However, it ends up getting abused if there are not sufficient counters or timed reverse stacking immunities. There were many points in CoH (which has a very elaborate CC system) where the controller characters were able to take out dozens of totally helpless foes solo - Trollers & Doms.

Fri Dec 03 2010 3:02PM Report
Kyleran writes:

I thought CC in DAOC was great.  It made for great tactical battles and a single group could decimate several if properly applied and the opponents didn't have their counters up.

Made for some very skillfull fights as you tried to get the mez or avoid being mezzed, and positioning of your group was very important, you couldn't all just run together in a line unless you wanted to end up dead.

Now they disperse those skills among every class in the game and reduce them to simple, short stuns and knockbacks.  I liked seeing people get rooted/mezzed for up to a minute, but I realized there are those who abhored it.



Fri Dec 03 2010 6:34PM Report
Isturi writes:

Ah CC a good subject from Time to time. One thing that I will give credit for CATA is that they brought back CC for instances and Raids. And now if you play a toon with CC my favorite toon is the hunter class to I learned CC from post BC and what it means to use LOS as long as proper timing of my traps. Sadly Many Noobs who never played CC post BC wont get none of this at all.

Fri Dec 03 2010 9:03PM Report
Lord.Bachus writes:

CC will play an important pat in GW2

Sat Dec 04 2010 4:15PM Report
xBludx writes:

As a warlock in WoW, before pallies became OP, it was warlocks for a while because of the fear-death coil thing. But stealthed rogues with that stunlock...there wasn't much I could do if I didn't see them there to begin with.

So CC worked for me most of the time, but I hated it against rogues.

It was a rock-scissors-paper thing I guess since total balance seems like a myth in pvp.

The worst thing for me was the Pally bubble-hearth. While not a CC, that was a real game-breaker for me in pvp.

Sat Dec 04 2010 11:43PM Report
warfist writes:

I kind of like the point that Wizardry makes, but I have a counter point to add to the subject.

For example, we shall say the Tank is only capable of taking direct damage from no more than 3 separate mobs of equal strength (using the example given by Wizardry) within the dungeon/raid that your party is doing. Your party is faced with a group composed of 5 mobs of equal strength. In this case, the best way to handle this encounter would be to CC 2-3 mobs so that the Tank doesn't get overrun and you can take out the entire group in a wipe-free manner. Of course, this requires that you have at least 2 CC in your party if the tank, for this example, could not handle being attacked by a fourth mob even with a healer on him.

The best part about CC is that it provides for additional ways to handle enemy encounters. Keeping an extremely irritating mob that sucks your healers mana or mind controls your DPS is really handy. Also, having more strategies for defeating enemies helps to break the monotony that the holy trinity ultimately causes.

Sun Dec 05 2010 3:52AM Report
Aristides writes:

The answer to this should be obvious, by looking at it from the standpoint of designers trying to make their games more fun for as many players as possible.  In trying to make games appealing, designers have been eliminating crowd control skills from classes because as a player, it completely sucks to lose control of your character, even for a few seconds.  Crowd control does provide interesting and helpful options in PVE, but as the general trend has been to unify skillsets across PVP and PVE (because this simplifies the designer's job), crowd control has simply lost out as being more harmful to players' overall enjoyment, in the bigger picture.

Sun Dec 05 2010 9:17AM Report
ericbelser writes:

There are two unrelated problems here; One is simply that any form of CC is much harder to balance for PvP than the simple tank/healer/dps trinity.

The other is that the trend for all PvE has been to make it simpler, faster and "dumbed down" from what it was. This removes any real need for CC.

The "golden days" of CC go back to when if a mob saw you, it aggro'd...and so did all his friends within yelling distance. CC was a key element in massive fights that could last for many minutes and involve dozens of solo friendly games with very restrictive "BaF" code result in much shorter fights with fewer enemies.

Sun Dec 05 2010 10:09AM Report
Reianor writes:

Ideas don't die that fast. If no one manages to use it as an enjoyable gameplay element in a couple of generations, then it may die.

We have protections to survive damage, we have healers to remove it, we have our own damage that allows us to out-do the attacker in his own field. It became commonplace and obvious, but it is nevertheless a thought-through design.

 "Not being able to do anything for 5 seconds" is a matter of taste, taking it's roots in "active vs thought-through" preference. This is native to CC.

"Not being able to do anything about being CC-ed" is a matter of bad design. It is also called "one-sided battle" when players actions don't affect the outcome of the battle, only those of his opponent matter. This is not specific to CC, but this is what's causing most of the outrage about it.

CC system merely needs thought-through defensive elements.

Wed Dec 08 2010 8:01AM Report
ashfallen writes:

CC is a fine art, newer games seem to miss completely.  Always going for the big dps and flashy numbers.  Then again DPS for the sake of DPS is a simpleton's game.  When you learn to use  DPS as crowd control, then you have something note worthly.

I remember locking down 15 mobs inside seb one day, and keeping them locked down with my enc.  My group thought I was the hero.  I did save us all, but thats a fine are lost to newer game design. (eq1 of course) 

Playing my EQ2 coercer is not the same nor is there any reason to CC.  An AE stun or two is that is required as CC any more.

Wed Dec 08 2010 10:40AM Report
kjempff writes:

Maybe crowd control is not used much because every new game tries to be pvp and pve games at the same time, and obviously crowd control in pvp would be hard to make fun for all parts. When/If a new game focusing on pve comes, I think crowd control will be back along with other cooperative play styles.

Wed Dec 08 2010 5:39PM Report
kjempff writes:

Such as slowing, positioning, rooting, kiting, protecting, communicating and other combat tactics.

Wed Dec 08 2010 5:43PM Report
Vargur writes:

I dislike CC in general because I believe everyone gets annoyed when they loose control of their characters. Especially AoE CC and CC that allows enemies to hurt you while you are CC'd should be used with caution.

Tue Feb 08 2011 8:30AM Report writes:
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