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The future of CC and Diminishing Returns


Following his post on Friday listing out the giant categorization of Diminishing Returns (DR) in PvP, Blizzard Community Manager Lore has posted again regarding the future of DR and its PvP implications.
As our senior PvP designer Brian Holinka tweeted over the weekend, we've got some pretty solid goals for the future regarding crowd control. We do think it needs to be toned back a bit, both in the amount of CC effects available and in how frequently they can be used.

That said, CC is still an integral part of World of Warcraft PvP. Dealing with it intelligently, both in choosing when to use your own CC as well as reacting to opponent CC's, does have strong gameplay value.


Honestly going to guess they're getting the exact opposite of what they planned from it.

Our only "plans" were to try to make an admittedly confusing system less so. Confusion about which CC effects share DR's doesn't help anyone.

So where do we go from here? First up, the post he's referring to in the section about their "plans" is the Diminishing Returns list published last week. This is an incredibly useful resource, which all teams should have at least a cursory glance at before they start trying to make CC chains. There's no need to memorize it, but it's good to have an idea of how your comp's CC works. But that aside, it's a pretty scary list. As Lore mentions above, Brian Holinka tweeted about their plans to rectify the issues behind the DR system in the next expansion. What are the options? What should they do? What shouldn't they do?

Diminishing the Returns

It's pretty clearly the case that something has to give. Lore's post spells out 117 abilities across 13 categories, and what's more that post doesn't include things like the root from Wild Charge, the knockback from Carrion Swarm, or the slow from Remorseless Winter (the stun does DR). Reason being that these don't DR against each other or anything else, so there's a whole other list of abilities like these.

Now, it's worth remembering that, of these 117+ abilities, many are talents or pet-related and therefore can't all be used at once. Nonetheless, it remains a daunting, if incredibly useful, representation of just how hard it is to keep in mind just exactly what DRs together. Nobody's ever going to be able to perfectly remember 117 abilities in their individual categories. And even if you could, it'd be really hard to call upon that knowledge in the heat of an arena battle.

So, it's pretty obvious that something needs to change. But what? What can they do to remedy this?

Regaining control of Crowd Control

First off, simply reducing the number of CCs would be a great start. But it's sort of like an arms race, this, because where we are right now everything is too much. There's too much CC, but there's also too much burst damage and too much healing. If any of these three is altered in isolation, the other two will be excessive. If the devs just remove half the CC in the game, without also changing damage and healing accordingly, matches will be a mess. All of it needs to change at once. So an overall reduction in, well, everything really.

Notwithstanding that issue, CC is probably the single most problematic element of PvP right now. Burst damage comes in a close second for frustration, but there's nothing more annoying than being completely unable to play your character. What's more, as Holinka says, it's annoying to cast a CC on a player and have them be immune to it.

The bigger issue here, for me at least, is that CC chains are incredibly frustrating. That being said, they're also not that easy to pull off. While I categorically agree that CC needs to be reduced, or at the very least simplified, CC chains require skill and should still be a viable strategy.

The right and the wrong kinds of CC

However, they should come at a greater risk. There's far too much CC right now that has little to no risk for the player casting it. What do I mean by risk? Well, for example, if I'm on my shaman and want to Hex someone, I can be interrupted, which locks out my Nature school. That is the school I use for, well, almost everything. It has a good range at 30 yards, and, when glyphed, a 35-second cooldown. It can also be reflected back at me, which a warrior did yesterday to great effect, and it takes a little damage to break. It can be grounded, as well, and, if you can dispel Curses, it can be dispelled. You can also still run around when Hexed, meaning you can still use Line of Sight to avoid further CC.
The future of CC and Diminishing Returns
Compare that to the monk Paralysis, which, when talented, has a 20-yard range, can't be reflected or grounded, can't be Dark Simulacrum-ed, can't be dispelled, has a 15-second cooldown, and is instant, so can't be interrupted. It does break on damage, which is something. But the risk factor of Paralysis is basically nil. Sure, it's shorter, and can't withstand any damage, but it's a very short cooldown for an incredibly strong instant-cast ranged CC, which is immune to most methods of evading it.

Hex is the right kind of CC. Paralysis is the wrong kind. There shouldn't be ranged, instant cast CC that can't be resisted via grounding, reflection or dispels. Even if its duration is short. Cyclone is another example of a bad CC, as it's spammable, and not dispellable. In Cyclone's favor, at least, is that if it's interrupted the lockout is Nature. CC should come with both risk and counters in order to reduce frustration, Paralysis comes with too few.

Diminishment of Returns

Quite apart from the necessary alterations to CC as a whole, DR needs work. There is one popular suggestion that crops up very regularly when discussing such issues, and that's the Resolve system.
Used in Star Wars: The Old Republic, Resolve, as seen to the right, also represented as bars, is a system that builds up immunity to CC. It is in addition to a "trinket"-type ability, not instead of one. Basically, it means that whenever you're CC'd, you are building up Resolve, and when your Resolve hits 1000, you are immune to all CC for a short period of time.

So could this be applied to WoW? What are the pros and cons of doing so?

It's a very easy to understand system. No more trying to work out whether Hex DRs with Paralysis and Sap (it does) while you're in a chain of CC and deciding whether to use your trinket. Everything DRs with everything else, and you're immune to everything when your Resolve hits 100%. It's also, in SW:ToR, visible to your opponents, so that makes it less complicated to be the CC-er, as well as the CC-ed. No longer do you have to work out your chains to maximize duration. What's their resolve at? Oh well, CC will work then, unless they use a trinket. Is their Resolve getting high? Maybe save that long-duration, long-cooldown CC for later, then, and spam shorter ones to max it out. While they're simpler, there are still tactical elements. It's a great way to display DR as well, one of the battles Blizzard faces is getting DR on-screen in a way you can understand.

It removes a good chunk of gameplay and skill. While I completely agree that the current system is way too complex and hard to remember, the basic premise is, in my opinion, good. If all CC were to DR together, regardless of whether it's fears or stuns or anything else, the CC element of PvP would have been completely neutered. And comps with a lot of control, such as mage/rogue comps, would have a distinct advantage over comps with less, as separate DRs would no longer be a factor acting against mages and rogues. Also, if it were a carbon copy of SW:ToR's system, the Resolve bar takes a long old time to fill up. Unless you use your trinket wisely, you'll be dead, or almost dead, before it's maxed out.

So what could be a good compromise? A reduction in the number of DR categories would be a great start, bring it from 14 (including "no DR") to maybe six. Perhaps, within those six categories, there could be a sort of resolve system implemented for all of them, it could be displayed on-screen as bars, and be easier for the average player to understand than an invisible system. It's just a thought, though, what's your take on a fix for CC and DR in PvP?
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