Why mind control will get you killed
Mind control does just what it says on the tin — it enables you to take control of a mob for a period of time. This is what we're dealing with:
Mind control: controls a humanoid mind but slows its attack speed by 20%. Lasts up to 1 minute.
That sounds pretty sweet doesn't it? Not only can you take a mob out of combat for up to a minute, but it can attack for you! Where can I sign up!?
But wait, you haven't read the small print. Number one, it only works on humanoids. I can live with that, I hear you cry. It's also a channelled spell, so it will be pushed back and possibly interrupted if you take damage. Meh, you say. And for the duration of the spell, you will be unable to move or cast spells of you own. Huh? Indeed.
When you take control of a mob, you effectively become that character. Your viewpoint switches to theirs, and your cast bar changes to show spells and actions available to that character. You can move and act as the mind controlled mob. Other mobs will be hostile and your party, should you be in one, will be friendly. You can attack the baddies and buff your friends according to what's available. Most mobs have some small range of attacks, a few have heals, and a small number have buffs. (For a comprehensive list of what's available, it's worth checking out the forums or a database like wowwiki.)
So already, you will have spotted the problem with mind control as cc. It ties your hands as much as the mobs. Sure, you can cast some nifty spells, and some of them even put out a fair bit of damage, but it's a gimp nonetheless.
It only allows you to control mobs two levels above you. In end-game, that's not a consideration, but it might make a difference as you are levelling. On top of that, the spell has a 20 yard range. Don't do what I have done countless times and agro a group while trying to get into range. And once you've gained control, don't skip merrily away from your body because the range still applies while channelling.
If, at this point, you're still licking your lips and jumping at the bit to squash puny minds, allow me to kill your buzz. Because the biggest issue with mind control is the chance it will break early. Due to game mechanics, the spell checks periodically for a chance to break, taking into account the level of the mob, the distance from you, and its resistance to shadow magic. I've been unable to discover exactly how often it does this, but my guess is every tick. And when it breaks, that mob is gonna be really pissed off with you, we're talking vein-popping, ear-steaming, Yosemite Sam insane mad. Your tank is going to have to insult their mother to get agro back, it's that serious.
So it's a tricky spell. It's disorienting to switch views and toolbars, hard to do anything useful for your group while channelling, and when it breaks you could be squashed like a toad in one hit. Blah blah. Now for the fun bit!
When to mind control
- As this is a pve blog, let's get it out of the way — mind control is great fun in pvp. Use it whenever you are near a cliff or lava, when you are on a roof, a boat or an airship. Take control and run them to their doom.
- When you need a boost — very rarely, you will come across a mob with a spectacular buff, such as the menders in Botanica with the holy fury buff (+295 spell damage). If you have a couple of casters in your group, how can you pass this up?
- When you are short of crowd control — if you find yourself grouped with paladins and shamen, it might be the only way to control the fight. Pop a mind control and pray.
- When you are outnumbered — my favourite strategy for dealing with those impossible five and six mob pulls is a kamikaze mind control. Strip off your gear and tell the rest of the group to stand back. Control a mob and watch the rest of the group smack it down. They'll come after you next and you will die horribly. That's why you took your gear off (to avoid the repair bill). If your party is out of agro range, the group will reset minus one mob. You won't be able to loot it, but it's only one mob and it's a small price to pay for avoiding a wipe.
How to mind control
If you're hell bent on taking over the world, one minion at a time, these steps may help:
- Use mind soothe so you can get in range without risking a bad pull.
- Max your spell hit. We know all about spell hit, don't we? More spell hit equals less chance to resist and break early.
- Ask a lock to use curse of shadows first. This will lower your target's resistance to shadow spells and help to prevent early breaks.
- Pick a caster. Not only do they have more useful spells available in general, but they are less likely to one-hit you when it breaks.
- Do your research. Know what spells the mob will have and how you are going to use them.
- Park them nearby. Some indications suggest the change to break increases with range.
- Ask a hunter to drop a frost trap at your feet to catch the stray mob if it breaks early. Or ask a friendly mage to standby with a frost nova. With any luck, your tank will have time to grab agro before you are squashed.
Follow my advice and you might just survive to dominate the next unworthy creature to cross your path. I wouldn't bet on it though.