Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crowd Control Basics

So I think it is time for another basics post and this one should be a gooder. I am going to talk about the long lost art of the crowd control. I am putting this at the top so hopefully people read it.: I am trying to include pictures so that people can see what the CC looks like but I don’t want to just pull pictures off of wowhead because that just feels wrong; however, I don’t have all the characters at high enough level to show all the CC abilities so I am looking for a little help. If there is an ability that does not have a picture and you want to help out, you can send me a screeny at and I will give you credit for the picture. Also, try and get the picture without anything over the mob (ie UI elements) so that it is easier to tell, so if you have to hide your UI please do that. Also I found that zooming your camera in all the way gave the best quality of pictures. Oh and anyone on the beta I would really appreciate a smoke bomb picture.

For thousands of years prior to the coming of the Lich Kings Wrath there were mystical abilities that were used to ensnare and entrap, incapacitate and slow, these abilities belong to a sect of ninjas that were part of an ancient cult called “lolwarriorsnocc”. The wrath brought by the Lich King forced all these CC’s in to submission and they were not seen from for a solid 2 years. But there is an ancient prophesy that tells of the coming of the great black dragon that will free the CC’s from there submissive state. And that time is coming to pass.

Wow that was lame, but really fun to write. So anyways yeah I am doing a guide on CC for anyone who didn’t read that above or figure it out from my lame story. We haven’t really needed to do any crowd control in wrath but we still got some new abilities for pretty much every class so that all-1 classes have a CC ability. So what I am going to do in this post is outline what every class has, what it is usable on, the practical applications for it and pictures, because who doesn’t love pictures?

I am also going to do a rundown on other types of crowd control that are not abilities but instead rely on player skill, as well as the joys of marking targets for CC and how to properly do that. Also LoS pulls. So here we go.

CC AbilitiesI am going to go through this class by class and tell you a little bit about the CC, how it breaks, whether or not it is a single use ability and what spec it belongs to if it is part of a talent tree. Oh and pictures, because I like pictures. Also anything listed here is not going to be abilities that only last for like 6 sec or 8 sec unless I have a reason for adding them which I will explain in its description.

Death Knight
Chains of Ice
This ability slows the target by 60% for 8 sec this used to go down to 0 over 8 seconds but unless the tooltip is wrong, it now stays at 60% for the full 8 seconds. This is not a CC in itself but given that it slows the enemy you could use this while kiting an add in order to keep it controlled and not hitting the group. With DK’s having a taunt the kiting should be rather simple just keep it slowed and run away while taunting .

Entangling Roots
A long time ago Entangling roots could not be used inside and many druids rejoiced when you became able to use it indoors as it gave them a CC to use. Entangling roots immobilizes one target so that they cant move, but that is all that it does. It does not silence then or stop them from attacking so you want to use it on a melee add that is out of range of everyone. If you use it on an add in the group then he will hit the closest target regardless of how good your threat is unless you are also in melee range. This breaks from dmg but a little incidental aoe shouldn’t break it, so just use it on a melee and refresh.

Cyclone whips the target up into the air and immobalizes, silences, pacifies, and makes them immune to everything. It only does this for 6 seconds however and after the third cast DR will stop it from working. It is not really that reliable for CC but it has a good use while CC’ing. When you use Entangling roots too many times the mobs will go immune. With a little luck and some well timed casts you can reset the DR on entangling roots by keeping them cycloned for long enough. Oh and don’t use this on the kill target because it really ticks people off.

Hibernate puts the target beast or dragonkin to sleep for 40 sec allowing you to pretty much forget about it. This breaks as soon as the target takes dmg but it is very reliable if used on a target outside of the group. This also means that if you have a melee and a beast or dragonkin you can keep them both locked down if you are a boomer or a tree.

Freezing Trap
Welcome back freezing trap. This spell has a 20 second duration and traps the target in a block of ice which breaks on any dmg. With the 30 second CD on the ability you may be thinking that it is not very reliable, and you would be wrong. Back in the day you judged hunters on how well they could chain trap. I know hunters that were really bad at it and you would wait for 20 seconds later when you had to taunt that add back, and I know hunters that you could tell to trap a target and 4 min later (exaggeration) after the next two trash packs were dead you could walk back and grab the mob that was still in the block of ice. I would make a video and show you what it looks like but if you got HERE by Lassirra of The Hunters Mark, I am not going to imbed it so that you have to go watch it on youtube and because it is not my video and she deserves the credit. It is old but it is good. And with the adding of trap launcher it is much easier.

Wyvern Sting (Survival)
This sting out of the survival talent tree puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds with a 1 min CD. This breaks on any damage and doesn’t last for as long as the other ones because it cannot be reapplied. This target should probably be the first CC you break after the main kill target is dead as it only lasts 30 seconds which is long enough to kill the kill target and maybe an off target but not any longer.

This normally turns the target into a sheep that wanders around in a small area until it takes any damage. It lasts 50 seconds and is usually the last CC that you break as it is really reliable when the mob is far away. It can be reapplied indefinitely as long as you don’t run into DR cap. I say this is usually a sheep because some mages have polymorph-turtle or polymorph-pig or into a penguin or baby monkey if it is glyphed for that.

Slow (Arcane)
This ability comes out of the arcane tree and slows the target for 60% for 15sec. Like the Chains of Ice from the DK this will need to be accompanied by kiting in order to be affective. If you leave it alone slowed it will just walk up to someone and kill them instead of run up and kill them.

Repentance (retribution)
This ability incapacitates the target for 1 min with a 1 min CD. This means that it is refreshable on one target but not useable on more than one ( but most CC isn’t useable on more than one target ). That being said it is really reliable and is only not useable on beasts. Think of it as useable on sentient beings and you will be good.

Shackle Undead
This roots, silences and pacifies the target for 50 sec as long as it is undead. While the applications may not be as widespread as they could have been in Wrath it may be useful at some point. Thanks to Tufva for this picture.

Mind Control
Control the mind of the targeted mob for up to 1 min. This spell is more likely to break the farther away you are from the mob you are controlling but has some interesting consequences. It is only useable on humanoids and results in trading your priest for the MC’d mob. There are 2 basic ways to use this: MC one mob in a group and let the grou kill it and then resume the pull with the rest of the CC or MC the mob and resume the pull as normal using that mob to help you fight. Remember however that the priest controlling the add is indisposed so having your healer do it is a bad idea unless you are just going to let the other guys beat the one guy down and then complete the pull. Thanks to Tufva for this picture.

Sap is a very standard CC ability that incapacitates the target for 1 min as long as the target is not in combat. This ability breaks on any dmg and cannot be reapplied. This is a good way to have some fun with your rogues as they must be relatively close to their target to get a sap off. So give them the target at the back of a group against a wall with a dog with true sight in the front ( yes I have done that, and yes he did get it). This not being able to be reapplied should be one of your first CC broken and killed, but remember to have fun with it. Remember however that this CC has the advantage of not causing combat to start when it is applied to its target so that makes it useful for guaranteeing that someone is out of the fight.

Smoke Bomb (85)
I know this isn’t in the game yet and I know that rogues don’t get it till level 85 and that it is not technically a CC ability but it forces mobs to run to you instead of casting and is basically a portable LoS device. I cant get a picture yet but at 85 if I remember I will try to update it with a picture.

Hex is basically Polymorph and lasts for 1 min, has a 45sec CD, turns them into a frog, allows the target to take some damage before I guess it isn’t like polymorph all that much. This can be used on multiple targets now and can by glyphed down to a 30 sec CD although CC'ing 2 mobs isnt really possible by yourself with the CD.

Bind Elemental
So this is basically the polymorph for elementals. It lasts 50 sec, breaks on damage, and stops elementals from doing anything, so you can use this in basically the same way that you use polymorph

Frost shock/Earthbind Totem
Frost shock has a 6 second CD and slows the target by 50% for 8 sec, while also causing a high amount of threat. This combined with Earthbind Totem, which slows targets within 10 yards, allows shamans to be very strong kiters

This spell is like a 30 second Druid Cyclone that only works on demons and elementals. This can not break on damage and can only end by running out of time or by having the warlock recast banish on the same target. This is basically THE CC for demons and elementals if you have a warlock with you, and although I don’t see there being that many demons in cata there should be a ton of elementals.
Enslave Demon
This is situational as, unless it has changed, this replaces their demon but with soul shards gone now, warlock who flat refuses to do this if they are already using their banish is just being selfish. Basically it just enslaves the demon for 5 min and then when it ends the demon is released; however, the demon gets an attack and cast speed nerf. After the fight is over you can either release the demon and kill it or use it for the next pull and then release and kill it.

This causes the target to run away in fear for 20 seconds. The problem with this is that it can run into another pack of mobs and aggro them to you. This is however eliminated by the glyph of fear which causes them to cower instead of run in fear and gives the ability a 5 second CD. This means that for PvE purposes it is significantly better allowing the warlock to keep the mob locked down for a little while.

Curse of Exhaustion (Affliction)
And just when you thought that your warlock couldn’t do anything else, you realize that they are affliction and that they can slow a target by 50% for 30 sec and kite it around just like a mage or death knight.

Seduction (succubus)
Oh wait, waht was that, you mean that the demon you were going to enslave is actually a humanoid? Well have no fear because once again the warlock can handle that. Getting out his succubus and using seduction allows him to lock down an enemy humanoid for 15 seconds as long as it channels the spell. So pretty much the warlock can lock down 4 targets if it is the right mob pack. This might be even more fun than giving the rogue a crappy sap target.

And not to be outdone by warlocks the warrior is going to...well I mean he huh....what can a warrior do? Oh right...

Slows the target by 50% for 15 sec. Read the DK-chains of ice or mage-slow cause I’m not typing it out again. Also this has no noticeable effect so sorry warriors no screeny, unless you want me to just take a picture of me running.

So there you have it that is, I think the full list of CC abilities in the game but there is more than just abilities that can be used as CC. These are the CC skills, not abilities, skills. These are only partially determined by class but mostly have to do with player skill and their ability to actually execute them.

Kiting is named after a kite. The idea is that you are “attached” to your mob by the invisible threads of aggro; however the mob is never allowed to reach you, as if you were to be pulling a kite along after you ( this may or may not be true but i am going with it ). Usually kiting is done by having a move speed difference between you and your kiting targets, either they have a slow on them or you have a speed increase. If they have a speed increase or you a movement slow then you may want to try kiting a different target after you run back to your corpse. Hunters are basically able to kite anything due to having aspect of the cheetah which allows them to move faster as long as they are not getting hit, however any mob that is not immune to slow can be kited by anyone as long as you have a DK, Arcane Mage, Affliction warlock with the curse or a Warrior. That being said though, if the mob is slow moving you can kite it regardless of group comp, like the deformed fanatics on the LDW fight in ICC.

Off Tanking
Sorry clothies this one is not for you unless you are a warlock (/facepalm). This can be done with any tanking class for a short period of time if you absolutely need to. This can also be done by a hunter pet or a warlock blueberry or felguard. This is as easy as it sounds. Taunt or gain aggro on a mob and then pull him away from the group and tank him till the first target dies. This is not the same as what happens in Wrath right now where you just aoe until the mobs start attacking you and then keep going, giggling to yourself because if your healer has half a brain and your gear is good enough then you won’t die. Don’t just offtank the add because you will die. This needs to be something that you decide to do with your whole group and more specifically your tank and healer. If you are just going to pick it up there are three likely outcomes: 1) you pull it off and healer and tank don’t notice or the healer can’t keep up with the new dmg going out and you die. 2) You pull and have a good tank and immediately lose agro. 3) you pull and the tank decides that you are not worth it in which case situation 1 becomes your reality. If you just pull it off you may live but don’t count on it.

Line of Sight Pulling (LoS)
This used to be needed but pretty much never happened in wrath except to move trash in some raids. This involves pulling a target and then moving around a corner or pillar so that the enemy casters stop casting and run towards you so that you can pick them up easier. This enables you to pick everything in a confined area. This is used when the CC needed is non-existent. When you have a large amount of very weak casters that you don’t need to CC such as non-elite, but they are in the way of a patrol of strong elites so you can aoe the casters down but need them out of the way so that you don’t aggro the strong patrol because you will need to crowd control them. LoS pulls use changes in elevation, pillars, walls, corners, outcroppings and in cata possibly a rogue smoke bomb in order to cause the casters to run to you. Here are some pictures so that you know what I am talking about. I am going to pull this pack with casters in the first picture to where I am standing. I am going to pop out and hit one target then immediately tuck back behind the corner. If you do it right the mobs will be all bunched up just like in picture number 2. And thats all there is to it. Just make sure that you look for places where you can LoS.

So the commenters have spoken, and I shall respond in kind. They ask for silences and they shall have them. Silences are not directly CC in a PvE environment (imo) but they are very important to have. Silences, and by extension, inturrupts cause a caster mob to stop casting and run towards the target that has highest aggro on. These are extremely useful in situtaions when the tank wants to tank a caster but he wont move or if you are trying to stop a large damage attack or heal that you dont want to go off. There is pretty much no bad thing to inturrupt, there may be better choices but if you see a spell being cast and have presence of mind to inturrupt it, go for it. Chances are that anything that absolutely needs to be inturrupted is being watched closely by your tank or you will be told to inturrupt it. These are very valuable abilities and if you are askied to use them for a specific reason, you should. NEVER assume that someone else is going to inturrupt something important unless they expressly say that they will, and even then you should be on edge a little. This is a list of CD by class with the name(spec) Duration and CD in that order as well as any potential quirks. As always, leave a comment if i miss anything (keep in mind that these are direct silences and not things that you can inturrupt casts with or i would be looking for abilities all night).

Death Kinght
Mind Freeze-4 sec, 10 secCD
Strangulate-5 sec, 2 min CD (1 min talented in Blood)

Skull Bash-5 sec, 1 min CD (10 sec talented Feral)
Solar Beam(balance)-10 sec, 1 min CD (must be standing in solar beam to be silenced)

Silencing shot(marksmanship)-3 sec, 20 sec CD

Counterspell-8 sec, 24 sec CD (only silences that school of magic. ie.frost, fire, arcane, nature...)

Rebuke(Retrobution)-4 sec, 10 sec CD

Silence(shadow)- 5 sec, 45 sec CD

Kick-5sec, 10 sec CD

Wind Shear-2sec, 8 sec CD (only silences the school of magic that was being cast, like counterspell)

Spell Lock(felhunter)-3 sec, 24 sec CD (if used on a target while they are casting it will also lock out spells in that school of magic for 6 sec, otherwise it is simply a 3 sec silence)

Shield Bash-6 sec, 12 sec CD (must be in battle or defensive stance with a shield equipped and only silences the school of magic being cast, 3 sec CD if talented Prot)
Pummel-4 sec, 10 sec CD (must be in battle or berserker stance)
Heroic Throw-3sec, 30 sec CD (must be talented in prot for this effect)

Raid Icons
Raid icons are useful in more than just a raid and allow you to put a mark above the head of a mob that will show up on their portrait for all party and raid members when you target them. This allows you to easily mark which target you want to have CC by who as well as who is your main kill target/secondary kill target. Back when I learned to tank there was something that every tank said after looking at his group and it went something that went like this...”sap star, sheep moon, trap square. Kill order is skull, X, star, square, moon.” After that was said everyone knew what was going on and the tank would mark and pull. Knowing what to mark for what CC isn’t hard but there is something of an art to it. That caster in the back behind the mob with true sight...that is a perfect target to tell your rogue to sap. The melee in the group is good to have a hunter chain trap. Generally it is good to sheep as it is a ranged CC and allows you to pull with it and have that mob way out of the group. Generally at the start of the run you want to look and see what kind of party members you have and think about all your possible CC options. What are your CC options you ask? Really. You need to read better. After you have decided what you have then you need to remember what each one is effective against as well as its weaknesses. You don’t want to tell your warlock to banish the humanoid. Then you want to assign each CC ability, or each party member if you have more than one of each class, a raid icon. Then move to the pull. You want to look at the group that you are attacking. Generally there is going to be a mix of ranged and melee targets to CC and it is your job to know which to use which CC on. I would love to tell you that there is a best way to do this but it is personal preference at some point, just try and be predictable and consistent. There is no right or wrong way to go about assigning marks but remember that Skull is always the kill target and historically star is sap and moon is sheep which may make it easier to appeal to the older group of raiders. One last thing about this is that if you are the tank, get used to doing this. If you don’t want to then run with a guild and have someone else do it, suck it up and do it, or stop tanking because that was the tanks job back in the day and I think that that is not going to change. And for DPS and healers, in wrath there was no consequence to checking off that you would be the group leader, but with the new (old?) instance philosophy you might get made to mark things if you choose to be group leader so just make sure that you are ready for that. If you are a tank and you flat refuse to mark targets then, in my books, that is reasonable grounds to vote kick you from the group, if you don’t want to do it then ask if anyone else is comfortable, never demand the group fill a role that has, and probably always will be reserved for tanks and raid leaders. The raid icons are Skull, X, Square, Moon, Star, Circle, Diamond and Triangle

So this is everything that I have for right now. As always if you have an idea that you think will help throw it in the comments and if I add it in you will get credit. I hope this doesn’t go unnoticed because I think it is a good thing for everyone to know. Until next time, have a good one.


  1. Hex now lasts for 1 minute with a 45 second cooldown, so can be used to lock down humanoids and beasts indefinitely, subject to DR. You can glyph the CD to 30 seconds, but since both are less than the 1 minute timer, this seems designed for PvP.

    Also, Shaman are great kiters with Frost Shock and/or Earthbind.

  2. Fixed hex and added frost shock/earthbind

  3. Hunters trapping a mob for four minutes? Exaggeration? No way. My brother played a hunter, and did trap a single mob for four minutes in Shattered Halls (nine traps.) He was also known for having three traps out at once (with the Survival reduction on the cooldown and the Tier bonus reduction.) It was pretty much a gimmick (and there were only three out at once for about four seconds) but it was that sort of thing that defined hunters.

    Hunters and Locks were the go-tos on CC for us. Mages were tsk-tsked at because they could only CC one mob at a time. Shadow Priests were expected to CC two (MC and the target it's tanking), hunters two or three (trap, sleep beast, and pet tank), and locks three (banish, fear, and succubus seduce.)

    It's funny -- back in BC, we measured how good a DPSer was by how many mobs they could reliably CC, and would mock people as nubs who were high on the meters because they were dropping their CC assignment.

  4. I picked an arbitrary number but ill make that higher for you if you want ;P

    No kidding about the CC in BC. I didnt do any raiding at the time but tanking in dungeons and pushing into heroics there was none of this "I am good because my dps'sare high" crap that we have in wrath right now. It was the people who you could count on to keep there mobs out of the fight while doing decent damage that you invited to group with you again and i hope it goes back to that.

  5. What qualifies as a CC? What does it have to do?

    - Silence?
    - Dispel enrages?

    How long does it have to last?

    You include Cyclone, so 6s is ok. You didn't include Pounce (I might not either) ... .

  6. Hunters: scatter shot, very short duration, breaks on damge, shorter range than some shots
    concusion shot+frost trap+taunt shot+md+fd=kite for hours

    Rogues: blind, short duration, breaks on damage
    kidney shot, variable duration, doesn't break on damage, lowers rogue dps
    cheap shot, fairly low duration, must be in stealth to cast, gives yummy combo points (can be used in combat, vanish allows a cast after the pull)
    crippling poison slows, mind numbing lowers casting speed

    Pallys: HoJ, 30 sec stun, long cooldown
    Holy wrath aoe stun for a very, very short duration, undead (and maybe demons?) only
    Turn Evil, fear demon (maybe undead too?) can be glyphed to instant cast at the cost of longer cooldown

    Priest: also has a fear, but it's aoe, can be glyphed to "cower in place" instead of "run and aggro stuff"

    Warrior: intimidating shout, stuns target, fears others, fairly low duration
    Concussion blow and shockwave stun, prot only
    a whole array of silences and interrupts, I _love_ being told to sit on a caster on my warrior, some require a shield, a few don't

    Frost mages have a silly array of freezes, none of which last very long but all of which can break a cast, and counterspell and spellsteal. My crazy mage friend and I have been known to kite elites several levels over our mages to death without taking damage.

    Dks also have a couple silences. Blood elves all have an aoe silence. I know this isn't all. This is just the alts I've been playing with recently. Do you care enough about any of them to want screen shots? None of them look very exciting...

  7. You missed horror-effects like death coil.

  8. So it seems like you guys want some clarification on what i decided to add or not add in this post as a CC.

    Basically i was looking to give the average player a place where they could go to see the basic crowd controls and what they look like.

    @ Bill
    I didnt include silences but it occurs to me now that this might be something to add near the end of the post in a section of its own.

    generally i didnt add anything that lasted less than about 8 seconds, except cyclone which i added because on a really long fights it adds around 10 seconds that you can reset the DR of roots with.

    @ Jessie
    Hunter- scatter shot has a pretty long CD for the duration which makes it not very reliable
    I should probably add something in about hunter kiting but i will have to look into that.

    Rogues- everything you are talking about is something that cannot be guaranteed. Yes a good rogue can lock out a mob for a large amount of time but to say that that is an ability that every rogue has would be very optomistic and i think you would agree that in the present state of the game you would be a fool to think that all rogues can do that.

    Pallies- ill look at HoJ as a situational stun for pallies.
    I was really hesitant to add any fears in because good players will ping pong the add while others will simply let it run off and aggro another group and cause a wipe.

    Priest- again, hesitant adding fears. this may be a good ability for when you get in trouble but i would not really call it reliable as a CC.

    Warrior- agian with the hesitancy on fears. with what you are saying about warriors this would fit in my OT section which i may need to flush out a little more with some examples.

    Mages- I was looking at frost mages and i wasnt sure that i wanted to commit to saying that they could reliably kite (i dont know why) but i will throw it in on my next pass through.

    about the silences. It appears that you guys think i should add silences so i will add a section at the end that lists the classes that can silence and the ability CD's but i dont think i will add pictures because the result of a silence is always the same whereas, other CC's look different and behave different and pictures are really a pain to format.

    Vasburg- could you keep a mob CC'd with death coil?
    I know i couldn't. it may be situtaional but a reliable CC it isnt.

    You guys seem to really want to help and make sure it is accurate, which is great, but i think you guys are wanting way more information than this post was intended to provide. This is supposed to be a general overview of the reliable CC methods that everyone of that class/spec can do. It may not be the most in depth look at CC but i didnt know all of the durations and CD's when i started writing the post and i didnt even know that shamans got a CC for elementals.

    That being said i would rather have a comment with your disagreement then have you not say anything.

    The changes i talked about will probably need to wait for a few days because formatting the post with all these pictures takes about an hour and a half

  9. Updated with silences and 2 new pictures