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Warlords of Draenor: What CC needs to be cut?


Blizzard Community Manager Lore posted yesterday about the devs' plans to reduce CC with Warlords of Draenor's changes to abilities. If you haven't been keeping up, their general plan is a so-called ability squish, removing certain skills from every class, with a particular focus on those suffering from button bloat, such as hunters and shaman. We spoke a little while back about how they should cut abilities, and what you could stand to lose, and now Lore's weighing on CC.
We are planning to take a strong look at CC in Warlords with the intent of dialing things back a little. We do think it's important that players are rewarded for using CC intelligently (by coordinating usage, being mindful of diminishing returns, etc), but we think we can approach things in a way that allows us to tone down CC overall while still providing that gameplay.

To me, the key here is this: "We do think it's important that players are rewarded for using CC intelligently..." CC, in my opinion should have to be used intelligently. It shouldn't be something you use just because it's off cooldown, because there's no risk to using it, because it's effectively a surefire thing. That is not intelligently using CC, that's using CC blindly, and it's because there's no risk to doing so. So, what's bad CC? What would I cut, if it was up to me?

Automatic and pet CC

What's the very worst, in my book, is CC that can be used automatically, without the player even having to think about it. I'm thinking of CC like the Succubus Seduction or its big sister, the Shivarra, and her Mesmerize. Both do much the same thing, and can be auto-cast on a target by the pet. It'll generally favor anything that's attacking its master, and it's a frustratingly long CC that the warlock doesn't even need to cast. The only good thing about it is that it DRs with Fear, but if you're careful to only fear un-seduced targets, that's not really a big deal. Seduction and Mesmerize are some of the most annoying CC to face, and in my opinion should be for the chop. Psyfiend was similar to this before the nerfs to make it only fear one target. Without this nerf in place, I'd say the same for Psyfiend.

Other pet cc, while definitely nowhere near so annoying as the aforementioned, might be worth considering too. The question is, how often is it actively cast by the player rather than automatically by the pet. Things like Intimidation are fine, in my opinion, as this is cast by the hunter rather than by the pet. Things like spider Webs are more tricky, as a skilled player will usually force the pet to cast them, while a less skilled player might let the pet do it automatically. Your pet also needs to be on the right target, and there's an admittedly minor skill requirement there.

Is there a case for simply removing pet CC? I think that would be a step too far, personally, but perhaps standardizing or simplifying it a little would be good. For example, hunter pets have, according to Lore's Diminishing Returns post, six different pet roots. Do they all need to be slightly different spells? Probably not. And maybe there could be a change made that forced the hunter to cast all pet CC manually, so that it couldn't be automated. Hunters have the ability to work well with DR categories, thanks to the variety of CC they have available from different pets, but personally I think that's a class flavor thing.

And removing other pet CCs such as the Water Elemental Freeze would be a bad move in my book, simply because frost mages are so reliant on Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost procs, and because the pet freeze is necessarily cast by the player, not by the elemental itself.

I would also include things that stack up with repeated applications under automated CC, although rather more hesitantly. Remorseless Winter and Paralytic Poison are both great examples of this supremely irritating type of CC, and Paralytic Poison particularly is applied in the normal course of combat if the talent is selected. They do at least take some time to build up, so there's a skill element on the timing. Let's make both these abilities build up to a root, not a stun. Speaking of roots, not stuns, Fists of Fury ought to get the same treatment. For something that does such damage to be an untrinketable stun is excessive in my book.

No-cooldown and instant CC

Hex is, in my book, a great example of a CC spell. If you know I play a shaman, you'll probably call bias, but let me explain. Hex has a cast time, so it can be interrupted. Yes, it can be cast instantly with Ancestral Swiftness, but only every 90 seconds. Hex has a cooldown, a relatively long one, of 35 seconds with the Glyph, which means that unlike Polymorph cast instantly with Presence of Mind (PoM) or Cyclone cast instantly with Nature's Swiftness (NS), it can't be instant-cast and then spam-cast. Hex's great strength is that it is a curse, not a magic effect, so only classes that can dispel curse (Mage, Shaman, Druid) can remove it. But it makes up for that with its cooldown, and the fact that you can still control your movement while hexed.

While I think that PoM Poly and NS Cyclone are both too strong, it's because they can be the lead-in for a spammed CC. As there's no cooldown on Polymorph or Cyclone, you instant-cast the first, then follow up with two more. That's a long old time to be CC'd in itself, not to mention any other CC that might follow up. I'd remove PoM Poly and NS Cyclone, but not the instant Hex. I'd love to see additional nerfs to Cyclone, but it's unlikely.

Also on my radar for instant CC would be abilities like Blinding Light. This is far, far too strong, as it's AoE and affects several targets, and is in addition to Paladins' other CC, of which it only DRs with the stun. Priests have Psychic Scream, yes, but they're far softer targets than paladins, and fears have many, many more breaks than stuns.

Fear is an interesting one. It falls into the category of spammable CC, and part of its strength is that as well as CCing the player, it moves them across the map. If you're melee this can be insanely annoying, especially if you're a ret paladin who lacks any real gap-closers. Fear, though, among all the other full control abilities (i.e. not roots and slows) has the most breaks. Warriors, monks, death knights, shaman, anything undead, priests, all have abilities to break or prevent fear, quite outside of their abilities to break other CC, such as trinkets or the like.

Because of all these abilities, and the fact that fear breaks on damage, I don't mind it being spammable. But I would make a few changes, such as shortening the run distance on it. I don't know how far it is right now, but it's far enough that if I manage to fear someone across the map on my priest, I have to run after them to Dominate Mind. So it's over 30 yards. That's probably too far. I'd also make it break on lower damage, or on a damage range, because right now it's a set amount. Say it's 50k, and you hit someone for 49k, then for 150k. They can't do anything about the 150k hit, because they were still feared when it landed, even though it took them way over the threshold.

Other cuttable CC

I've talked a lot about modifying certain abilities, instead of cutting them, so let's get harsh now. Rogues have too many stuns, let's drop Gouge, perhaps, or force rogues to give up another CC to get it by making it a talent. Warriors have way too much CC altogether for such a mobile class with high sustained output. Let's drop Shockwave, maybe, or Storm Bolt, or even both. Both are instant, both are stuns. Let's reduce the number of slows, too, and the number of spammable speed boosts to go with it.

I'd also love to see Blanket Silences removed, like Blizzard originally planned for mid-Mists, but felt was an expansion change. There'd obviously have to be changes to go with it, the lowering of instant-casts, for example, but there would have to be changes to go with all of this. None of this can happen in isolation. And, to quell the impending rage of my PvE-focused brethren, this all ought to be done in such a way that it has the minimum impact on PvE. But it has to happen, for the good of PvP. And really, we're just getting started. But these are just my ideas. What are yours?

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