Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CC is a Dying Art

                CC stands for crowd control and it is when you disable a mob or another player for an amount of time which takes them out of the fight.  However this post will be mostly directed at PvE (Player vs Environment) content as people still use CC in PvP (Player vs Player) as they should to their advantage.  Thus CC is meant to ease the burden of the tank by granting him less targets to hold threat on.  Also it will ease the burden on the healer since fewer targets are hitting the tank thus taking less damage. Then finally CC allows the dps to better focus down mobs.

                Crowd control works well and can be very effective if used properly.  It can turn a difficult pull into a trivial one.  However, it can slow down the pace of a group.  I find that the time it takes to use CC is worth the extra time spent pre-pull compared to the time a chaotic pull takes, especially if there are deaths and revives.  Not to mention for smoother trash pulls, as in when using CC, there is less downtime between pulls with people healing up.  In swtor every class has a quick out of combat heal/regen ability which is awesome.  No more people not bringing food and water expecting the healers to waste their resources to heal up their unprepared comrade.  I have to say it is a pet peeve of mine that people, especially dps do not heal up in between pulls.  Particularly since Bioware made it so easy to heal/regen between pulls.  But that is a rant for a different time.

                Anyways, with a group on voice chat or even just a group that is well in sync (Side Note: this tends to be people that run together often) then there is no need to mark.  Each person knows who they have to CC and they do it EVERY pull that it is acceptable to use CC.  It is better to over utilize CC than to under utilize CC.

                The key to crowd control ultimately comes down to employing crowd control and then not breaking it accidentally.  In general, I am running mostly with pick-up groups (PUGs), where the tank is usually bad or they don’t trust dps/healers to CC mobs.  The bad tanks break CC with area of effect (AoE) abilities or the dps use AoE or dps intentionally break CC so they can dps/tank their own mob.  This all makes it harder on the healer.  I mean I like a challenge but when I am tanking three mobs via healer threat alone I do not find that fun or useful.  When this happens the tank usually is tanking one mob and the dps are each tanking their own.  There is no kill order, no strategy, just survival.  That is not how pulls should happen.  No one usually dies but still no one likes repairs bills when it does happen.  Side Note:  Being an operative healing is great because I have a great skill called cloaking screen.  So when Sith hits the fan I drop out of combat and save myself the repair bill.  Sorry group mates but you couldn’t have survived the onslaught.

                Tanks shouldn’t need to use AoE to grab three mobs and in the case of swtor most mobs in a pull aren’t all strong/elite so some don’t even really need to be tanked.  But that doesn’t mean tanks shouldn’t leave mobs to attack the healer either.  The healer shouldn’t be pulling agro on heal threat alone.  This is where CC alleviates the problem by breaking the fight down into smaller chunks of damage.

                I remember back in Burning Crusade, (and I know I hate to use to many WoW referances in my swtor blog) when I was mostly tanking in five man heroics while raiding as an off-tank/dps. In the heroics I was running with a hunter, a rogue and either a mage or a warrior for dps.  The mage could pretty easily CC anything.  The rogue would do a sixty second CC pre-pull.  The hunter would grab agro on a melee mob and trap it in an ice block.  The hunter I have to give props to because he could CC pretty much anything I told him to.  Which is impressive for a hunter given their abilities, but alas I digress.  The warrior brought little to the table for CC.  However, these guys made a five pull into a two or three pull providing easy to tank and easy to heal combat situations.

                The more I play MMORPGs the less I see players utilize CC.  In Rift I rarely remember the use of CC and when Wrath of the Lich King expansion came out CC pretty much died in WoW and AoE tanking reigned supreme.  It seems like AoE tank every pull and AoE everything down was the new way, easier, faster, less strategy, skill and planning.  I don’t buy into this though.

 Bioware gave pretty much everyone but tanks CC so obviously they intended people to use it in more than just PvP.  I mean I love to CC as a healer.  I think it is so awesome and it gives me another job to do.  CC is fun to use and as healer I feel I am doing more than just healing when I am also able to use my CC.  Yet people don’t or don’t want to or don’t know how to use CC.  This is why CC  is a dying art. A skill that only old MMO veterans know and few still practice.  As for the newer players it is a skill never learned and never requested.  Here’s to the death of CC may it not stay long buried.

Do you use CC or do you just find it a waste?  Give me your insight into this fine art. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Problems Getting to 50

                In most MMO’s I do not cherish the grind of getting to max level.  I want to be max level as soon as possible so I can do group activities such as dungeons, raids, occasional PvP (Player vs Player) and random shenanigans with friends.  However in swtor (Star Wars: The Old Republic) I cannot stop starting over.  I can’t figure it out.  I really like the different storylines, the different character types and the differences between the Advanced Classes (AC).  Not to mention the mysterious legacy experience that I am getting on all my characters.

                Currently my highest level character is a level 38 Bounty Hunter: AC: Mercenary.  At first I really liked him and chapter 1 of his storyline drove me along but after the end of Chapter 1 and the unlocking of my legacy I have been turning to play my alts more and more just for a different experiences.  I am also finding that I like playing my Bounty Hunter (BH) less and less.  He is mostly there now to gather crafting materials and money for my vast army of alts.

                My BH is specc’d for damage dealing or dps (damage per second) and I picked my BH because he could heal and I like rolling healers.  And as from previous MMO experience it seems easier to level my healers as dps to quickly get to max level then respect to healer.  Swtor is different though; the grind is pretty long but very interesting and engaging.  It is also a game that you can level as a healer or a tank and have little problems and lose barely any time as your damage output is less than a dps.  So I tried healing on my BH.  It is okay and just okay.  I think this is due to the fact that I have been leveling an Imperial Agent: AC: Operative.  I love healing on my Operative.  It seems too that the synergy of leveling as a healing operative is better with my ranged tank companion, Kaliyo, than leveling as a healer on my BH with a healing companion, Mako.  My BH is high enough that he has Gault, a ranged dps, and Torian Cadera, a melee dps, and then he is pretty close to getting Blizz who is a ranged tank.  So once I get Blizz leveling as a healing BH might get better that is if I want to get on and even play my BH.

                My Operative is up to level 30 as of today and he is great fun to play.  Questing on him I find to be a little bit of a bore thought, but stealth definitely helps this a lot.  I also find myself missing sneaking back out of zones I have already cleared once on my non stealth characters.

                I want to start a sorcerer, which is a AC of the Sith Inquisitor, to try their healing but I am holding off for now because I am waiting for the legacy content to be released, hopefully soon like in March.  I want to see what the legacy experience will do for character creation. 

                So recently I have been turning to my tank Sith Warrior: AC: Juggernaut and also my other tank Sith Inquisitor: AC: Assassin.  My Juggernaut has been very entertaining as of late.  I love flying across the screen to attack a mob.  Then my Assassin has stealth so you know that’s nice.  Then most of my other alts are anywhere between levels 5-14. 

Introduction: The Kicker

                Since I am setting up a new blog I figured I had better write a short introduction.  And don’t worry I will keep it brief to kick this Star Wars adventure off.

                Though I was not alive to experience the original Star Wars trilogy (Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) I did get to watch the re-mastered versions in theaters growing up and have thus been a fan ever since.  I was able to attend all the midnight releases of the newer trilogy (Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) and recently watched Episode I in 3D. The 3D was actually not too bad and pretty consistent throughout the movie.  This also gave me the opportunity to introduce my wife to Star Wars for the first time, which was great.  I must also report that though she was reluctant to go at first she ended up really liking it.

                I have also played many of the Star Wars games, including Star Wars Galaxies (both the original hardcode Galaxies and the updated let’s let everyone be a Jedi version).  I have other MMO experience such as World of Warcraft (WoW: vanilla, Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King).  Though I never made the jump to Cataclysm because I didn’t like the direction the game was going.   I also played Warhammer Online, Aion, Age of Conan and Rift, but Rift was the only game besides WoW that I did a fair amount of endgame raiding. The last MMO game that I have to mention I played was Planetside.  I only mention it separately because Planetside was so different and awesome, though I find it hard to explain its awesomeness to others simply due to the fact that the game was such an experience in and of its self. I can’t wait for Planetside 2, definitely will have to try it out.

                I generally tend toward healing classes, and usually the healing class that is more of a hybrid.  I like to heal in endgame but I like to sometimes be a damage dealer aka dps (damage per second) or tank just for a change of pace. Plus I benefit from learning what other people do on fights and how they should be done.  And hey, if I play a hybrid class I can do it all, more or less, on the same toon (your character) which is a benefit.

                I want to conclude with saying that I really enjoy reading blogs and writing them (if I can find the time).  I love all the background lore in MMO’s and getting to know all the ins and outs of the game, especially the character that I play.  I want to see what others are doing with the class and give my opinion on different setups I try.  I hope that you will enjoy my blog if you find your way here.  See you next post.