A sharp wind blew across the Commonlands, snapping at Drekaar's silken robes as he gave his staff some purchase on the ground and put some weight to it. He'd been watching from his vantage atop the tiny bluff for some time, looking for the right one. "There," he exclaimed to know one in particular, "that is my new slave." Walking with no great expedience, yet still covering the ground between himself and his target, Drekaar prepared the enchantments for enactment. A quick flash of blue signaled the barking of Tashan alerting the willowisp in the distance, but the creature's fate was already sealed as Drekaar completed the rite of charming. It floated gently over to him and took its place at his side.
"Why hello, little slave." He smiled satisfactorily to himself as he felt the tiny spirit of light fighting to break free of Drekaar's control. "Now now, lemming," he scolded, "there's no need for that--you're in my service until I tire of you, but if you satisfy my need of you, perhaps I shall allow you to live when I'm through." The will of the spirit sagged, feeling Drekaar's iron grip squeezing its instinctive thoughts.
Some time later, Drekaar stood over the corpse of the tiny willowisp grinning eerily. The air about the creature still teemed with wavering energies from psychic feedback Drekaar had finished the willowisp with. "As you can see, dead one, it's very difficult to satisfy a Child of Hate." Drekaar turned and scanned the commonlands again, spotting a young kodiak travelling by some distance away.
"There," he exclaimed to no one in particular...
I'm going to make a quick statement before we get too much more into this.
Charm is the most powerful tool the enchanter has, in both versatility and effectiveness.
That said, it's also pretty much the most dangerous thing you can do, except when facing certain death anyway, you might as well charm something that might save your (and your groups') butt! The basic revelations about charm from the research done by myself and my fellow charm-nuts:
There are two primary situations in which you use charm. The first is charming one mob to two or three other mobs, just watching over the fight and giving the pet an "edge"; you may or may not have a partner (especially a healer) with you, but the situation is a charmed mob fighting a non-charmed mob, and nothing else is between you and the mobs but charm (and root). The second application is in groups, where you are charming a mob to increase the groups damage output. Effectively this is a form of offensive crowd control, and will see deeper discussion in that section of these tactics. Here I will be discussing charm-solo, which refers to any time your charmed mob is soloing another mob, and you're the one the one keeping them fighting. Even if you have a partner to heal you, when charm breaks it's you that is getting your head beat in, so we'll just keep calling it charm-solo.
Primary damage is obviously your strongest nuke. Charm is a selection typically based on what level you need to charm. Always use the lowest version of charm (12th Charm, 24th Beguile, 39th Cajoling Whispers, 49th Allure) you can, to conserve mana. (The exception is at 53rd when you aquire Boltran's Agacerie, and it's fast casting time, but let's stick to pre-51 here.) The Color Stun is whatever version you need to cover the recast for your charm. Color Flux with Charm, Color Shift with Beguile, Color Skew with Cajoling... (wrong here... you have to mez after you start using Cajoling... more later). Root is the key to recharming instead of dying, as you keep the enemy mob rooted at all times--thus when charm breaks only the ex-pet rushes you. Your Single Mez should be your strongest version (especially after breaking charm and needing to med for a bit before killing pet or re-charming), but after you need Cajoling Whispers to charm, you'll find that Color Shift doesn't buy you enough time, even if you backpedal a long way off. At this point it's necessary to use Mesmerize (level 4) to hold the mob still while you cast your charm. I typicaly drop Mesmerize right into the single mez spot, and honestly don't even need to mesmerize much. Usually charm will hold through two fights, so just don't press your luck going for the third.
Next is the third most important part of charm solo. The first was charm itself, as it's not very exciting otherwise. The second is Root, because dying sucks and two mobs rushing you while trying to recharm is a good way to die. But the third most important is the "edge", or the advantage you give your pet to ensure it wins. Before considering it, just forget DOTs--never remove your ability to mez the mob when things start hitting the fan. Of all the methods I've tried, only three show real use... Damage Shielding, Haste, and Attack Slows. That's the ascending list of mana cost, and effectiveness, though Haste while less effective in the damage "edge" is more useful for shorter charm reliance.
Of course the Tashan line is present. You really want to take a chance at charm-soloing without dropping the MR of the mob? Didn't think so.
To finish is the fabled swap slot, which will usually contain your latest Rune, because losing hit points is what slows down charm solo, because that's when you really have to grind to a halt and heal up. Otherwise you can often charm solo for 20 minutes or more at a time without stopping pulls.
First a look at how to "do it". Find the mob you wish to be your pet. Start small and work your way up as you improve in ability. And by the way, spend your time auctioning for items and other "downtime" with a little greeny charmed. It'll break charm plenty often on you, and won't kill you. Get used to regaining the charm as quickly as possible. Hold it as a pet for an hour without losing your mana quickly. Learn the timing and how long you have to get it charmed again. Then move up to a bigger mob. Keep upgrading mobs till your charming the big dogs and kicking butt with them. That's the only secret to charm solo, really...
1. Gain control.
I think you get the point. As long as the charmed mob is hitting the enemy mob--and not you--you're doing something right. The only tricky part of charm soloing is making sure they keep fighting each other. Anyway, charm your pet and /guard it at your "pull area" (a spot with few/no wanderers), or if you're in a place with non-aggro mobs (like oasis) just head off with the pet in tow. When you find the mob it's going to fight, Tash that mob and run to pet. As you get there /pet attack the pet in and spin around--root the enemy mob right away. Then your pet has "the edge" be it a damage shield (actually cast before pulling), haste (again do this before pulling), or an attack slow on the enemy mob (my preference, and cast right after rooting). Once this is all done, have a seat and use F1 to target your pet (press twice) and F8 (target nearest NPC) to watch the mob's health. The whole affair is much easier from 35th on when you have automed, and if you don't wish to meditate during 12-35, there's no shame in that. You can get by without medding just fine, but you'll have to take breaks more often. If root breaks renew it, but always stay targetted on your pet whenever possible. When charm breaks (eventually it will) you want to have it in your sights already. Best case scenario break, the pet rushes you and the other mob is rooted. Color Stun and charm (or color stun and mez if using Cajoling/Allure) then send the pet right back in. Worst case scenario (setting aside trains), Root breaks, followed by charm on pet. In this case, get them under control, through mezzing, stunning, rooting, and spitting if it helps. If it's looking nasty, just zone. You can bend their will anytime you want, which is pretty damned cowardly and devious. During the two mob rush when you're getting pounded down isn't the time to be a hero. If it doesn't look like you'll get control quickly, just zone--when you're solo there's no one to show off for, no tanks that can't Gate... just you and your experience bar.
That's the basics really. Charm pet, pull mob, sic pet, root mob, keep mob rooted. When pet is nearing death, invis (or if charm breaks between pulls) and then either Root-Nuke it out, or Mez it and go get a new pet to kill off your old pet (getting to be my favorite way to do things since mobs are getting so big). Let me take a moment to discuss "the edge" though. When I use a damage shield, I'm going to take out one mob, and have a pretty wounded pet. I won't have to help it kill the other mob (most likely) and it's cheap mana wise. However I'm not getting two kills out of the pet before it's damaged goods.
Damage Shield Pros: Cheap mana cost, no increase in danger on charm break.
Hasting the pet is an awesome edge, but also the most risky. The mob will kill much faster, equating to less damage during the fight, and less time in the fight itself--that means you don't need charm to hold as long, which is very important. With a 60% haste buff on the pet, it will kill a mob in 66% of the time it takes it without haste. That means it will also only take 66% of the damage it would have been dealt. Unfortunately most mobs just just about kill each other around the same level, so you end up with a pet in the 40% range on health after the first fight. Now that fight ended about 30 seconds faster than normal, which is good, but will most likely need help to finish the next fight. Also bad is the charm break, as a mob swinging 1.2 seconds faster (with SLtW) rushes you. If root breaks also, you're in for some heavy trouble.
Haste Pros: Faster kills, works with shorter charms, less damage taken in quick
Then my preferred method is still the attack slow. Using Shiftless Deeds a 49th, a mob changes from a 3 second attack tic to 6.5 seconds! Instead of taking 66% of the damage it normally would by using haste, the mob takes 46% percent of the damage it would take. This pretty much means the mob will have just over 50% health for the second pull, and be nearly dead when it's time to kill the pet off. Plus, when charm and root break together, the enemy mob swings so slow you can almost ignore it while resetting your charm, making the worst case scenario so much less dangerous. So where's the downside to this? Mana cost for one... Feedback is 70 mana for the fight. Haste is 250 mana for two fights. Shiftless Deeds will be 400 mana total, and has a chance to resist, where buffs don't. The fight also isn't sped up in any way. Even with a damage shield the fight ends faster--but with attack slows the pet just swings like normal--but in a game of control that normal speed swing is what I'm interested in. Honestly I get about two fights per charm in easily using the attack slow for "the edge".
Attack Slow Pros: Pet lasts the longest, charm breaks easiest to handle, two mobs
per charm easy.
Honestly this is about all there is to the real essence of charm soloing. There's more to it than just this, but that's the stuff you need to know... the rest you pick up with experimentation. Word to the wise:
You will have horrible charm durations. You will be chased to zone or die horribly. You will get a train on you that you can't do anything about. And non-smokers die every day.
(You will also get the hang of it, and have amazing stories to tell about that one pet that killed 5 mobs in a row and you finally had to blur it because it was too tough to nuke out still.)