Getting Your Trinity Right (or: in Defense of CC)

Lots of talking about pros and cons of the holy trinity again recently. One thing that irks me a bit is that often, the trinity is implicitly defined as “tanks, heals, DPS”. Which isn’t true, of course. The classic “holy trinity”, as it appeared in EQ, didn’t even have DPS in it. DPS was merely something you added once you had constructed the actual trinity. After all, every could DPS… somewhat.

No, the role that always gets forgotten, which is something that saddens me greatly, is crowd control. For the classic holy trinity, you brought a tank, a healer, and a CC, which in EQ typically meant a warrior, a cleric, and an enchanter. And CC is a great asset! Plus, what’s more fun that to play a class that can completely shut down your enemy? But it seems that true CC classes died out over the years. First, their defining trait was distributed among other classes. Suddenly, most classes had one weak CC power, but the master of CC disappeared. But, here’s the thing. Many players that ended up with a CC ability didn’t like playing CC. They wanted to play DPS or heals. So they complained about having to do CC in groups and raids. And the developers listened and did away with CC requirements. So, these days, many encounters are designed to not use CC any more. Just go in and AoE everything.

Keep that in mind when you talk about removing specialized tanking and healing roles from a game. There’s a good chance you’ll end up with a situation where everybody has to tank and heal a little. And people will complain. Especially those DPS that now complain about long queues in games like WoW, and will then complain about suddenly having to do some tanking and healing themselves, which is something that they didn’t sign up for. And if developers listen to that, too… we’ll be without tanking and healing too, and it’ll be even more of a zerg fest than it is these days without CC on trash.

6 thoughts on “Getting Your Trinity Right (or: in Defense of CC)

  1. I blame the players who can’t grasp any “for the team” concept besides DPS MOAR.

    CC is also hard to balance. Make it a total shutdown and everyone will just bring sufficient cc to nullify everything into punching bags, no need for tanks and healers. Make it only last a few moments and no one will bother (and complain that cc is worthless.)

    1. I totally agree on the first point. I don’t want to blame all DPS, there are many DPS players I know who were/are very aware and appreciative of group mechanics and specific (I was and still sometimes am one myself, after all! ;)). Of course, those are often those that don’t mind doing some non-DPS work anyway…

      I’m not sure whether it’s really that hard to balance CC. I think it’s important how long you can shut down mobs while they are attacked (stuns). That’s of course a very powerful ability, and most CC classes I know don’t give you long stuns for good reasons. Mez abilities (by which I mean CC, but only until damage taken) is a lot less problematic. I don’t believe it’s that hard to balance by scaling how long CC lasts and how many mobs you can CC at the same time. Or by how fast mobs regen under CC. Throw in non-CC-able mobs every now and then (like one or two in a group, or something like that), and you also prevent CC classes being overpowerhouses that can solo better than everybody else.

      1. Well you need to stop mobs from being alone or in duos and have party of mobs, with their own healers and CCs.

        This work a lot better in instanced games like GW1.

        Bit harder in open world games.

  2. I wrote long long ago that the real trinity should be nothing more than CC, Heal, and DPS. Tanking and aggro is nothing more than an artificial mechanic to simulate more damage, after all.

    Now you can unhitch the classes from their stereotypes and enjoy the freedom of classes done fundamentally differently.

    Or better yet – follow DnD 4th edition – instead have Leaders, Protectors, Strikers, and Controllers. Protectors debuff, leaders buff, strikers handle single mobs well, and controllers manipulate the terrain/space. What a group that would make!

  3. EQ2 has the Enchanter and Coercer, and I played Coercer as my main for quite a while, so I got to watch as CC changed from a must-have thing for dungeons and raids, to something completely ineffective as nearly every mob became immune, to getting reworked into a “not really *required* but very nice to have thing, but then since we figured out ways to use it to solo dungeons then it got nerfed back that all boss mobs in dungeons and a ton of overland ones couldn’t be charmed or CC’d again, and then in raids everything was immune again to boot, so. . . . .

    I’ve not played EQ2 in a couple of years, so I have no idea of the current state of CC. During the time where it was useful before being re-nerfed, the whole “green won’t hit CC’d mobs” vs “Blue will hit CC’d mobs” mechanic came about, and most groups were fine with not breaking mez. Until CC got nerfed and AE damage went through the roof and mez got basically removed from your hotbar. Stuns were still well liked, but no more mez.

    Still and all, even when I stopped playing, it was very definitely a case of “If I can control it, I will kill it. Might take a while, but I will do it!” At least until some moron tried to jump in and help. . . lol.

    In the newer “action oriented” mmo combat style, I do find some classes have okay CC, but as you said — no class is a master of it, and the few CC powers that do exist are very short, so only extremely situationally useful.

    That said — I love the Control Wizard in Neverwinter. It’s more dps than CC, but still enough CC that vs any controllable mob is much like vs the EQ2 coercer — if I can control it, I can kill it.

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