The “Alternative Methods” guide set is aimed at presenting different ways to fill the basic roles/needs in any group or instance without use of either the normal class/roll or method. My goals with these set of suggestive guides are to break people of the “You have to have classes A, B, C, D and 2 others” mentality as well as offer suggestions of how to use skills and mechanics more aggressively in the logic of the best defense is a killer offense.
The classes in this game are far more flexible than some realize and there are a lot more possible class combinations that can work through content just fine. Break this mind set and you may find new fun and challenges in your everyday LotRO gaming.
The term crowd control (often abbreviated: CC) is most commonly used as a broad term encompassing the following effects roots, stuns, mezzes and fears. The general use of crowd control skills is to separate multiple mob pulls into smaller, easier to chew pieces or in other cases to keep separate mobs that aid each other (especially via buffs) when close to each other.
A common and often unneeded use of crowd control is to lockdown a monster that has an interruptible skill with a very powerful negative effect even if the total number of monsters in the pull is easily manageable.
Alternative Method: Dead Men Tell No Tales (they also don’t use skills and don’t do damage)
In scenarios where a mob is being CCed just because it does a big attack but strictly speaking the strength and number of mobs isn’t unbearable it is far faster and in lots of ways easier to simply kill that mob first.
If the big attack you’re watching for is induction based, have interrupt skills ready and don’t be afraid to use short stuns to break up that mob’s combat cycle. Once the problem mob is dead it can no longer do you harm.
This method keeps the group as a whole on a higher plane of alertness and is actually very effective at keeping everyone awake through the whole instance or whatever the case may be. The reason alertness is heightened is this: when you are CCing a mob, generally, one person is watching it, if the CC method resists and the mob breaks lose, people need to be alerted, then find it, then watch for it’s big attack or try not to use area of effect skills so that it can be CCed again… whereas, by having everyone working actively on the problem mob you’re far less likely to have an “Oh crap” moment since the their attention is already in the critical place.
A less specific use of this “kill’em quick” method is simply to take on the full brunt of a pull, have the tank round it all up and let DPS go AoE crazy, healers can focus healing on one person while the DPS gets the job done.
Thing about this method is that you may have to burn some skills that are referred to as “cooldowns”; however, it’s my opinion that any skill with a cooldown of 5 mins or less is meant to be used heavily. “Guardian’s Pledge” is a perfect example of a skill often called a “cooldown” that should be used more frequently, especially to aid in executing bold moves such as taking on whole pulls that most groups will always CC a part of. Guard charges in, challenges, uses pledge and the groups DPS (especially the AoE sort) goes to town and like a riding mower on grass that’s just a bit too tall –– mows them down.
Alternative Method: Staggered and Alternated CC (Aka “Rolling Lockdown”)
This method combines both the classic “lockdown” style of CC in which a mob is incapacitated by mezzes and left alone until the only thing left standing and the “Kill it quick method”. The basic premise of this method is to alternate stuns (which leaves a debuff and are subject to the red stun-immunity dot) and mezzes (which do not leave a debuff and are not subject to the stun immunity dot) to basically render the mob useless but still strikeable until dead. By doing this you eliminate or at least significantly reduce the risk of the mob doing any particularly nasty attacks and the mob is dead fast; especially since that, while stunned, a mob has no block, parry or evade… rendering them very vulnerable.
But Elb, mezzes are broken on damage.. so how are we still able to lock them down if the mez is instantly broken?
That’s a great question! Let me start answering this question by first explaining the nature and differences of stuns and mezzes…
A stun is an effect which renders the target completely useless for a short time. Typically between 3 and 10 secs depending on the skill that generated the effect [there are longer stuns that some mobs do but that's irrelevant to this topic]. Stuns on mobs cannot be undone by damage, which means during a stun you’re getting some free swings in at the target.
Mezzes are generally longer with the typical range being between 30 seconds and a minute (although there are some mezzes as short as 5 secs, these are in just a couple very special cases though). Mezzes, unlike stuns are broken by damage, meaning if you hit the mob, he “wakes up”. HOWEVER, mezzes have a 2 second immunity to the break by damage rule.
Given this you can stun, wait maybe 2-3 seconds after the stun breaks (not enough time for the mob to do anything significant) Mez him which will buy you two more seconds, then wait the remaining 3-4 seconds on the mobs stun-immunity and stun him again and repeat the process until you’re out of stuns and mezzes or the target is dead.
This method is highly recommended for any mobs that have absolutely insane attacks that aren’t worth taking a chance on.
Alternative Method: “Hey guuuuuys.. I haz CC 2!”
What follows is a list of CC sometimes forgotten by group leaders and at times, even players themselves!
- Loremasters: despite being the quintessential “CC Class” I don’t see enough LMs using Ents Go to War. It’s a massive damage Area of Effect skill with 6 second stun on each of 5 targets. It’s a huge tide turner on a large pull and completely unenhanced it’s only on a 5 min cooldown.
- Hunters: Crafted traps (always useable in-combat), In-combat traps via the skill (when traited) and distracting shot. I see rain of thorns and bard’s arrow being used a ton and that’s great. However, not enough hunters are both carrying and more importantly, USING crafted traps. Crafted traps give you a ton of varied options to suit the need and always being able to be used in-combat these are great for a quick fix via CC. Example of quick fix: hunter pulls aggro on something that is neither something they can handle nor the main target… slow mob, move away, drop trap. mob is rooted, get back to business on the main target and be more careful next time! Distracting shot is another option for a temporary quick fix.
***Hunters get enhanced and more numerous CC options when traited in the “Trapper of Foes” line however unless the group is truly in need of and hurting for CC, it’s not worth it***
- Wardens: Desolation: puts an effect on each of 3 targets (untraited. Traited is 6) giving them a 25% chance to be feared (50% traited) for 2 secs every 4 secs for 16 secs. Now, this isn’t a sustained CC by any means, but it’s perfect for muddling the affairs of several nasty mobs at once. It’s not a sure thing but it IS very very handy. Warden’s can also invoke 5 second mezzes on “the boot” (25%) and Boar’s rush (on crits)… again, not sustainable helpful to continuously. Try on mobs that a “rolling lockdown” is being attempted on.
- Runekeepers: Shocking touch and vivid imagery. these mezzes are not long (in fact their duration is subject to randomness) but in a tough spot they can help out.. You cannot do wrong by upsetting a mobs flow of combat with any sort of mez. Know’em. Use’em. Love’em.
- Champs: Ok, so most of you guys do use this a lot but just a gentle reminder: Sound the attack/horn of gondor and the crafted long cooldown horn stuns. Use the sound the attack and horn of gondor at every opportunity if their is a stunnable mob or mob around. Stuns are win.
- Captains: Routing cry when traited stuns, being a defeat response it won’t always be ready when you need it and it won’t always be the optimal choice but if you’ve traited for it, don’t forget about it.
- Minstrels: Hey, you’ve got a fear, and a mez for the dead (potentially sustainable if prepared for it). You also have a stun on piercing cry critical if you have unrelenting slotted. If you get a mob on you, your first reaction should be trying to fear it then use song of soothing be an independent minstrel and use your CC to help yourself out, that’s what it’s there for.
See Goldenstar’s post on Minstrel Crowd Control.
- Burglars: Everyone knows about the burglar’s CC skill, Riddle (which is especially useful on “the dead” since a Loremaster’s capabilities on the dead are severely limited with Blinding Flash having no effect). Burgs also have a few other nice tricks such as Startling Twist (a good long stun) and Confound (a 2-target delayed Mez) as well as some conjunction stuns and more mezzes from gambles if appropriately equipped. And don’t forget your Stun Dust!
Everyone has CC, don’t forget to use it if and when needed. You should neither overdo it either nor should you fear running without pure CC. Remember, that which is loot-able can no longer harm you. Nothing beats purely eliminating the opposition, but remembering all the CC skills available and mastering the technique of a “rolling lockdown” will help speed up the game-play and keep things interesting.