Coercer Charm Guide
This guide was created by Aoine of the Coercer Forums. All credit for this guide goes to him. You can see the original posting of this guide here.
I've seen a lot of posts lately where players are confused on how to best use charm, or young coercers just want to give up because they frustrated and not familiar with coercer charm tactics.
So I am going to give a Charming Guide a shot here.
EDIT: Updated November, 2006. Added sections on Pet Abilities, Group/Raid Tactics, LU24 Changes, and Charm/Pet Anomalies, and updated other sections where needed. Keep in mind, I am trying to convey concepts here, so many of the tactics will work regardless of tier (though, at lower levels, not all spell lines may be available).
1) Charm is not fixed duration and has a chance to break every 30 secs to a minute or so (can anyone verify the exact time interval breaks can happen?). It will "insta" break from time to time as well.
2) Anyone in the group giving Mental Resist buffs or casting Group Cure Arcane will cause charm to break more often (this *no longer* includes the coercer power/mental group buff, but does still seem to be the case for other classes’ group mental buffs).
3) It's not really worth charming anything above ^^ as they get scaled down to no-arrow when you charm, unless there is just nothing else to charm and you have a good healer in your group. This really only affects their hit points and mitigation, as their casting ability is affected by the level of your charm (App/Adept/Master Level, not Coercer's Level). UPDATE: With the exception of ^^^'s that can one shot a caster (i.e. ~ishi Praetors in Nizara), it is not as much of a risk to charm triple ups now that the mob meses itself for 3 seconds after charm breaks.
I have found there isn't a discernable difference in charming a ^ even con caster and a v blue con caster. In PoF, it is not unusual to see a charmed Kromtorr Magi nuke in excess of 3k (Dark Distortion). Similarly, when soloing near the back door in SilentCity, I have screenshots of a down arrow level 55 Augur casting Ice Comet for 3700 dmg (post LU 19). Understand this however, your pet, regardless of level or arrows, is a glass cannon. Update: Some pets, usually nameds, have TONS of HPs, so this may not always apply (Scrollbearer in BS, Gylton in SoS, etc.).
4) Mentioned above, but deserves a line of it's own: MASTER CHARM IS REQUIRED to get the full potential of your pet. Before I got master, charming casters with Adept3 charm would barely net nukes of 1k. It's huge and worth about as much plat as you can afford. Additionally, if you can't find the master for your level, get the previous master. It won't last as long and possibly break more often, but I hear the spell quality is the same as long as its master.
5) You cannot charm one mob of a multi-mob encounter and sprint. The encounter will break as will your charm spell. Best to AE mes, charm, AE mes again and get to work.
6) Many encounters are now marked as uncharmable, especially where ring events are concerned. I usually forgo charming on ring events as a rule, but feel free to experiment. Just don't come crying to the boards if the event gets bugged and doesn't drop any loot
7) If you intend to charm while raiding, make sure you have a UI that allows you to see the difference between a true epic and a heroic tagged as epic (in many raid zones, these mobs will be mixed and matched in the same encounter; you want to be looking at the targeting border). Also, some heroics tagged as epic are immune to stun/mes, so be warned that you will not always get 3 secs of mes when charm breaks.
I am adding a new section here to talk more about different pets I have seen in T7 and what that can do for you and your group. I would add more content for the lower level folks, but I really just don’t know much about charming below T6. Maybe someone could write a few paragraphs on lower level charming and post it, and I'll add it to this guide?
In addition to the great dmg output from mobs charmed with master Dominate in T6, many T7 mobs seems to have abilities I had not seen before the KoS patch:
-Dirge mobs can be identified by the little purple mandolin icon they are buffed with. When charmed, the group will get the buff, which is a + to AGI, Parry, DPS, and a dmg proc. Usually, they put out pretty good dmg as well. I've only seen these in Nizara in T7, but I have seen them in lower zones from time to time as well (I think they started appearing after the patch that went back and updated some of the lower zones, Nek, CL, TS, etc.). Also, the dirge mobs in Nizara are close to the perfect pet IMHO. They do amazing DPS with the flame claw attack, buff the group, and taunt.
-Now that mobs have the ability to taunt, it's nice to have a pet that does it as well. With the exception of mobs that flame claw in Nizara (which is a taunt AND huge dmg attack), I can't really say exactly which mobs have taunt. What I can say is if you keep the mob you are fighting targeted while your charmed pet is hitting it, and the mob all of a sudden loses your tank as the implied target for a few secs, you have a mob that taunts. This is a great ability because when the mob is taunted, it is unable to retarget *anything* for a fixed duration (basically a mini stun). Anyone who has been taunted in PvP knows how much this can affect the outcome of a fight.
-Brigand mobs, when charmed, will apply Dispatch from time to time. If you don't know what this ability is, go look it up...its huge.
-SK mobs have pretty good dmg output and usually life tap. Like dirge mobs, SKs will always have a buff up to identify them (so will guardians, coercers, and zerks for that matter)
As always, tactics depend on the encounter you are about to tackle. With about 20 spells and countless pets available to us in a given situation, there’s a near infinite number of ways to take an encounter. Meaning, learn what your spells do to the various mob types and develop your own tactics that fit the situation. What I list here is really just for educational purposes, and for those who don't realize the power of our charm spell.
If you think my tactics work, use 'em...I do all the time. If they don't fit your play style or you think they suck, come up with something better and post it!
I am going to give two tactics I use, one for solo mobs in PoF and one for groups of heroic giants in PoF. FYI, I am a 59 Coercer with master Dominate and Master2 mes. All of my stuns are master as well, fyi. [I'll add some tips for grouping with folks while charming little later]
Both of these tactics are with a Kromtorr Magi charmed, which is a warlock NPC. My tactics center around letting the pet do all the DPS while I mitigate dmg with stuns, silence, and mes. As I mentioned, our pets do not tank well at all (with the exception of certain named pets, noted above),
Before we begin, a trick that EVERYONE needs to know about. Target a mob, send pet in, then IMMEDIATELY hit back off. Most of the time, the pet will have started casting a spell, and will finish it before backing off. By using root, you can affectively have your pet nuke from range by repeatedly hitting attack/back off in quick succession. Keep in mind, NPCs have spell refresh timers too, so they won't always have a spell up to cast. Just give the pet a sec or two for the cooldowns and try again.
EDIT: I intentionally left out pet buffing, since it really depends on the mobs you are fighting and the mob you have charmed. In T7, I really haven’t bothered with buffing my charmed pet much as it really seems negligible
UPDATE: I think these tactics are still applicable given the changes to many of our spells. I am going to leave them as is, with some minor changes to spell functionality, and will add raid charming tactics if I have time.
-Lead with Root
-Intense Focus (8 sec) stun as pet finishes casting its first spell
-Magus or stun as necessary, usually solo mob is almost dead by now.
Obviously there are 100 different ways to do this. This way never lets my pet go below 80% while he burns the mob down, and I of course don't get hit. My rule is, don't nuke if you don't have to. Use stuns to keep pet safe while he burns everything down.
Soloing a Heroic Group
MAKE SURE PET IS SET TO NOT PROTECT YOU OR ITSELF!!
-Lead with AE Mes
-If any resist, single target mes those, or run if they all do
-If group has a ^^, single target mes him and save for last.
-Pick one, non-caster preferably, Stroke him from max range, then root him as he runs towards you (just in case pet AEs)
-Re-mes others if necessary
-For the one you pulled out, assuming he is no arrow or ^, repeat solo tactic above
-Once he's dead, re-mes others where necessary, then Stroke the next one
-If next one is a caster, you need to pull him with Silence instead of Stroke
-He will close the gap, root him away from others, repeat solo tactic using Confoundment and PW as well to keep him from casting
-For last ^^, re-mes, stack everything you have on him that won't break mes (Ravaged Psyche, Magus, Spell Whip, Mindbend, Tyrannical Mind), then send pet in and unload on him.
I have found I can do the giant groups in PoF with little risk with the above strategy, and its pretty fun too.
As above, MAKE SURE PET IS SET TO NOT PROTECT YOU OR ITSELF!!
Also, try to be aware ahead of time which mobs are charmable for a given raid zone or instance and let your raid know you are charming (<<MOB Charmed>> macro is your friend). Having to drops conc buffs to get off a quick charm mid-fight is a pain.
Raid charming differs in that you really aren't trying to solo-kill anything. The goal is twofold: 1) A charmed raid pet will usually add significant DPS to the fight; 2) Charm is a form of offensive crowd control, especially where encounters are immune to mes.
-Inform raid prior to any given pull that you will be charming
-Unless specifically asked to pull with charm, wait for MT to pull and get a couple taunts off before you start casting
-Try NOT to target the same mob the tank is going to kill first; make sure your target is not a true epic.
-Depending on how much time you have (and possibly how much dmg the tank is taking), debuff resists, then charm
-Always, Always, Always cast illusion on your pet, so it is easier for your raid to see which mob is charmed
-When attacking, I always keep a window open where I can see the dmg my pet is doing. This is important because it is VERY possible your pet will take agro, which could be very bad if the mob has a frontal cone AE that could kill the raid. If the pet is doing really sick dmg, I try to back him off occasionally during longer fights to prevent agro.
-Try not to keep one pet too long, or you risk it poofing and respawning its encounter.
-Last, but definitely not least, don’t be a jerk about using charm in a group/raid situation. Many folks know very little about the mechanics of charm, so use good judgment. If, for example, your charm keeps breaking, and it is not mission critical to the raid, just stop charming. Also, don’t be shy about telling your group what pets can do, and don't get disappointed if they don’t always let you charm. We bring so much to a raid that charm is seen as fluff to some.
What I'm hoping is that people will develop their own strategies by seeing what works for me. There's always room for improvement, and of course you will have to temper your tactics based on the quality of your spells. UPDATE: Additionally, with some or our new abilities (ranged ae stun, ae daze), we now have a few more options. For example, stacking stifle and daze on a mob is basically just as good as a 6-8 sec stun.
Not sure how useful this will be for lower level coercers, but I think its still sound in concept. Understand, when I was a level 40 coercer, charm was fixed duration at less than 1 minute
Post LU19 Considerations
Since LU 19, mob's AI and spells/abilities they are allowed to cast has changed significantly.
Lets take a mob as an example, Sandscrawler Mender in PoF (Goblin Shaman). Before the patch, with Adept3 Dominate, every one I charmed did basically the exact same thing: Led with a disease/poison DoT then followed up with Smite (with some variation based on what spell is refreshed and available for the mob to cast at a given time). The DoT would generally do about 200-300 a tick, and the Smite would be about 600-800 dmg. The mob would also either Ward or do one of 2 heals on himself (big heal and little heal).
Now post LU19, same mob (and any NPC caster post LU18 for that matter) is a crapshoot. First one you charm may lead with a DoT or may cast one of several nukes, all from the sub-class level. What's important to understand is a given NPC will ALWAYS cast the same small subset of spells. If you get a Shaman that always leads with a disease DoT and then a poison DoT, he will always do that if those spells are up. If they are not up, he may have a backup spell that he will cast like once every few fights, but then its back to one of those 2 DoTs and melee.
Since I have a lot of experience with them, lets take another example, Kromtorr Magi (Warlock Giant) in PoF. Every time I charm one of these ^'s, it's different. You can get one that leads with Negative Absolution (AE) then follows with Suffocating Breath (single target DoT), who might throw out the occasional Nethero dumbfire pet. Or, you could get one that leads with a Netehro, then does Dark Distortion (single nuke), with the occasional Corrosive Strike (also single nuke).
My point with all of this is pets now seem to spawn with a "profile", or, a set number of spells and a greater chance to cast certain spells on the list (usually 4-6 spells). This does not change when you re-charm the same mob. If you want a pet with a different profile, you have to charm a new one of the same type. I don't want to take full credit for discovering this, as I read it initially on these boards, but I have done a ton of follow up research to verify.
Post LU24 "Chanter Patch" Changes
I'm going to start with just copying some of the LU24 Patch notes here for reference:
- Coercer: Mind Bend: Restored stun duration to 4 seconds. Casting time reduced to 1.5 seconds. Reuse time increased to 30 seconds.
- Coercer: Terrible Awe and Illusionist: Phantasmal Splendor:
* Resistibility increased
* Casting time increased to 2s
* Reuse timer increased to 15s.
* Removed number of targets restriction for PvE.
* Removes target from area effects.
* Mesmerize effect can now affect Epic targets.
* Reduced amount of hate caused by Mesmerize.
- Coercer: Stupefy: Functions as a medium- long duration target area effect Stun. Resistibility increased. Casting time set to 1.5s. Reuse time is 45s. Stun effect can now affect Epic targets.
- Coercer: Psychic Wail: Increased reuse to 45s. Stun effect can now affect Epic targets. Reduced duration to 5s.
- Coercer: Channel: No longer distributes power from dead players in the group. Damage reduced.
- Coercer: Ego Shock: Changed Root into target encounter Daze without a break chance. Reuse timer changed to 45s. Damage reduced. Daze effect will affect Epic targets. Casting Time is 2s.
- Coercer: Amnesia: Stun effect can now affect Epic targets.
- Coercer: Slumber: Mesmerize effect can now affect Epic targets.
- Coercer: Silence: Stifle effect can now affect Epic targets.
- Coercer: Medusa Gaze: Stun effect can now affect Epic targets.
- Coercer: Gloom: Lowered reuse time to 6 seconds. When spell expires, target receives additional damage if they have over 50% of their maximum power remaining.
- Coercer: Smirking Demeanor: Targets single ally and no longer has concentration cost.
- Coercer: Cerebral Shock: Damage increased.
- Coercer: Empathic Link: Also reduces hate gain if placed on non-fighter. No longer toggles, and now costs 1 concentration per ally.
The big change here of course is our ability to now CC epics, with reduced effectiveness. Really, the only thing that affects charming is the changes to our CC spells in relation to durations and refresh timers. It is now not quite as easy to keep a mob stun-locked until your pet beats it to death, but definitely not hard. You likely will just need to use root and throw out a little more dmg than before to make up for the loss of stuns duration.
Also, since KoS, we now have AAs to consider. I honestly can't really think of any AA's we have that would have a significant impact on charming, with the possible exception of the AGI line for casting speed. Daydream is nice for AE Mes pulling rooms with multiple encounters (which I think is in the WIS AA Line). The AA charm supposedly really sucks, and in my opinion is not worth the 8 points given the short duration.
This section is to list out some bugs/weird occurrences with charm.
-From time to time, a mob I have charmed will just poof or vanish (though I don't think I have ever seen it happen mid-fight, its always while I am not engaged in combat). This isn't really a big deal EXCEPT for the fact that if you charmed a mob from a previously cleared encounter, when the mob poofs, the ENTIRE ENCOUNTER WILL RESPAWN in its default location. This can be a real pain in zones that are not supposed to re-pop, especially when trying to run back down after a wipe (happens to me in Nizara a allot). Because of this, it is not a bad idea to release and kill your charmed pet from time to time, and just get a new one as you clear further down in the zone.
-Charmed pet will sometimes lock your group in combat. If killing the next encounter does not clear it, release and re-charm. If all else fails, just kill it and get a new pet.
-Stairs are buggy, which I think anyone who has played a pet class knows by now. Try getting on the same stair/step as the mob if you get the cannot attack message.
As before, I'll try to come back and edit this later, as I usually need a few days to read over to see what I forgot to mention.
Comments/critiques appreciated. Also, please let me know if I got something blatantly wrong and I'll fix it.
Symphony of the Night