An alternate theory of Roles – the CHK model

There’s an interesting theory of roles in instances that’s popped up a few times.  I’d dismissed it the first few times, but am becoming intrigued – enough that I’m going to discuss it here.  It goes by various labels, but the concept is what brings mine.  Simply stated, there are three roles in the instance team – crowd Controllers, Healers, and Killers.  Yes, this means that tanking is defined as a type of crowd control.  So, by the way, is kiting.  (hmmm)

It makes  great deal of sense, actually, not least because it takes a number of excess duties and focuses them all as a central element.  You heal the party, and you kill the mobs, and you control the mobs’ participation in the combat.

What I like about the theory is that it brings player – or at least class – abilities in to sharper focus.  At the same time it allows “all hunter” (or all whatever) groups to ‘follow the rules’ instead of being exceptions.  It allows me to designate duties better.  Such as:

Kill team leader (KTL) is responsible for selecting which mob to kill now, and all killteam members should follow the direction of the KTL.  The KTL may choose to select a mob ‘out of order’ (different from what was indicated in marking) due to the situation.  The team should have a means of knowing when this happens – my recommendation is by using an assist macro.  The KTL should be the partymember LEAST likely to have CT or HT duties midbattle.   OUT OF INSTANCE TRAINING of kill team members should emphasize the ability to switch from secondary task (CT or HT) back to the KTL’s designated target.

Control team leader (CTL) is responsible for determining what mobs are brought to battle in what order, and what party members those mobs will be attacking.  The CTL may not actually pull, but will decide which party member pulls.  The CTL should be responsible for marking to aid in identifying which mob is controlled in what fashion.  The CTL will need to be aware of all forms of CC available, which are sustainable/repeatable, and their duration and likelihood of failure.  OUT OF INSTANCE TRAINING of CT members should be working on ALL their CC capabilities.  As an aside, I’ve noticed that few players regardless of class work on all their abilities.  A few classes are commonly skilled at a couple of abilities, but still not all:  Rogues are usually completely competent at sap, but rarely ready to use blind; Mages are usually very good at polymorph and frost nova, but rarely practice kiting (especially blink-kiting).  ADDITIONAL TRAINING – all party members (but ESPECIALLY the KTL) should be aware of what CC allows and what is negated by other player actions (usually damage).  At a minimum, “if it’s not Tanking or Kiting, leave it alone”.

Heal Team leader is responsible for determining the priority of survival of party members and coordinating healing to try and keep all members alive.  Management of mana regeneration (and awareness of mana status) is part of this task, as is appropriate use of bandages.  OUTSIDE TRAINING will be on all these factors plus selecting the “right heal for the situation”.  The HTL should be the player LEAST likely to have KT or CT assignments, though every player class has some CC capability.

Consequences…  While all classes are able to do (thanks to bandages and potions) all duties, some are significantly better at doing one over the others.  Since the CC role is the new one, it’s the one for which “best” is tentative.  I’m going with the current evaluation – but want to note it may change soon.

A “good” CC class is one which can provide sustainable, repeatable CC on most if not all mob types.  This makes the “best” CC classes those that can tank consistently, those that can kite consistently, and those which have other abilities that fit the “good” definition.  At this point in time, then, my “top classes” for CC are (not necessarily in order) Warriors (tank) Druids (tank, cat-kite, hibernate), Hunters (traps are all classes, kite).  Note all three can (and do) contribute to at least one of the other two teams.

I doubt the WoW community (among others) will shift to considering Tanking as a form of Crowd Control and CC as a Primary Role in itself.  And yet, it gives an interesting ability for the planner to assign tasks and responsibilities — and the leaders of a group a basis for evaluating skills.


~ by Kirk on September 6, 2007.

11 Responses to “An alternate theory of Roles – the CHK model”

  1. I’ve read that theory of roles a few times now myself, and while it works well enough for low powered encounters – mainly trash pulls – it is wrong as generalizable theory. Tanking is a role distinct from CC.

    The job of a tank becomes blindly unique and distinctly not just another form of CC when you consider any major boss fight. If you tried to clear the maiden in Kara (for example) using a group with sufficient “CC” by the above definitions, but no tank, then you would wipe every time.

    I’ve always considered CC when creating a group or raid, however it is a complimentary skill that come come from members of the three main roles (tanking, healing, dps) and NOT a unique role in and of itself.

  2. I happen to agree with Karthis on this. There is a subtle but distinct difference between CC and tanking. CC effectifley takes a mob out of combat. Sheep, Shackle, Hibernate, Trap, Sap, Seduce all prevent a mob from damaging ANYONE. Kiting does as well since the kiter is essentially keeping the mobs attention while not allowing them to do any damage by keeping them at distance. Tanking on the other hand is forcing a mob to attack a specific target. It’s not out of combat, you just tell it to ignore the mage and attack the tank even though the mage is wailing on his ass. Also a tanked mob can be damaged (and should be damaged, kind of the point is to let someone else kill it) while a CC’ed mob, with the exception of kiting, shouldn’t be damaged (again, defeats the purpose). I have trouble throwing the two roles into one category.

    Anywhoo, my 2 cents…

  3. Karthis, nod in understanding your position, but consider this viewpoint:

    What type of control can you apply to a boss that controls its position and who it attacks? In most cases, tanking. HOWEVER…

    I was present for an interesting Archaedes fight a few months ago. The hunter kited/trapped him, running him repeatedly through frost traps. As the healer I spent a surprisingly small amount of time healing him (and his pet), and much more with the rest of the party. (Hunter ran Archaedes around the outside of the circle, and we all positioned in the center.) Thus for some bosses I will state that the tank is not a necessity. Easier, yes, necessary, no. Obviously there are cases where this is not true. The most obvious that comes to mind is Murmur – it’s rather worthless trying to kite/trap a mob that does not move.

    The biggest weakness of trying to kite/trap/CC Kara bosses is the fact that as level 73 they’re going to resist the traps far too often. The second biggest weakness is the AoE’s several of them have for which avoidance/mitigation strategies are keyed upon player/boss location. And some bosses are going to do so much RANGED damage to their target that any class that hasn’t got the HP/avoidance/mitigation capabilities of the tank had BETTER be able to pass off the kite/CC task to other players smoothly and consistently. And with Nightbane (to name one), I’m not certain that’s possible.

    Let me state it yet another way. If you have NO CC, can you succeed in Kara? I submit the answer is no. I submit that Tank is a flipside of the “shackle” cc – the latter is very restricted, the former is functionally unlimited.

  4. Galadria, I disagree. CC is not merely “taking a mob out of combat”. It’s controlling the mob’s participation in combat. Most of the time this is delaying its entry. However, a kited mob can still be hit by everyone — I’ve watched it done. (Makes it more fun for the kiter, but that’s the way it goes.) Likewise you can attack a mob that’s feared or been earthbound.

    Crowd Control is selecting what mobs you want to fight in what order and putting those mobs where you want them. Just “keeping them out of combat” is as complete (and smart) a description as “spam the heals” or “max DPS all the time.”

  5. Kirk,

    How many bosses do you know – especially in the end game – that are susceptible to any method of “traditional” CC, and/or that do little enough damage that a class aside from a traditional tank can control it?

    As with everything (in life as in WoW) there are exceptions. You can kite Archaedas. You can ranged-tank a couple of the Ogres in the High King Maulgar fight. You can’t tank Aran, period.

    But would you ever consider going to Kara without a tank (or two)? How about Gruul’s? Or even the lower level instances, like the Sunken Temple. A tank is far more than just another mode of CC.

    To answer your question about CC and Kara: I don’t feel comfortable going in there without at least two forms on CC, and I’d prefer 3. Shackles, banishes, and traps come to mind.

    But if you think about it, this just reinforces how wrong the CHK model is. When making a Kara group I look for 2 tanks, 3 healers, and 5 DPS. (Within those roles I look for 2-3 types of CC as well.)

    In the CHK model I would not do this… I would look for 3 healers, x CC, and y killers. But CC members are not interchangeable. If you have 2 warlocks and 2 rogues as your CC, you’re not going to be able to handle the Moroes fight, even though it’s a CC dependent fight. It’s not the CC “role” that’s important per se – it’s the actual skill. For Moroes, 2 shackles and an offtank are ideal…. but a shackle, a trap, and an offtank will do.

    CC ought to be picked from your healers/tanks/DPS based on what yopur group is trying to accomplish…. but it is NOT a role of its own.

  6. […] { Instance Tactics } Kirk over at Priestly Endeavors wrote a very interesting article about instance roles.  Short Story: group is divided into Controllers, Killers, and Healers (tank is a Controller […]

  7. *nod* ok, I see the basis of your argument – or I think so. To paraphrase:

    If considering Tank to be a form of CC, then it must be recognized that some targets can ONLY be CC’d by a tank. Thus a generic call for CC will leave you unable to complete the objective.

    Assuming that’s correct, two responses. First, commonly accepted practice is that you ask for a tank. General calls for “CC” and followon question “can you tank” would get… really odd looks and responses. Second, and on the other hand, we already ask respondents to, “need DPS” “can you CC?” It is, in the end, mindset.

    Frankly, I don’t intend to convince. For that matter, I’m not convinced myself – I’m arguing an interesting position that has some strong merits, and which for me has already helped see interesting opportunities for building strong groups. My difficulty with the objection “you have to have a tank” is that “you have to have CC”, accepted as equally true, is called an invalid argument.

    If “You have to have [A]” makes defining A as a role is true in one case, it must be true in all cases, or it’s a wrong statement of definition.

  8. I responded to Galadria at her page, but to do this right I’ll put the same comment here. (Please go read the comment – it’s insightful.)

    grin – not necessarily disagreeing, or certainly not in whole. As I responded to Karthis, I’m not completely convinced it’s “right” myself. It’s just… mentally re-evaluating groups with which I’ve played using this model has been enlightening. Try it this way…

    There are three roles, Control, Heal, and Kill. A party’s control team should ALWAY include a tank or have an adequate (and usually more challenging) alternative.

    Shackle isn’t sheep isn’t trap isn’t sap isn’t hibernate isn’t Tank. Some are usable in more circumstances than others, and tank is a universal.

  9. I hadn’t read this over here when I responded on my page… it makes sense now :-). I can agree to the above statment since seperates the role of a tank as a specific subset of Controller. Like I said over there, they have to be healed differently and therefore are different to me.

  10. […] theorized about classes in raid groups–Crowd Control, Healers, Killers (CHK Theory), which resulted in a pretty lively […]

  11. Hi all!

    Very interesting information! Thanks!


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