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Companions, can they ever be viable?


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#1 Kuskah

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:55 AM

I've been thinking about this and I don't really know if AI companions, as in minions/pets/whatever can ever become a viable part of PvE builds. Since Fractals are basically the end-game PvE, I'll be focusing on those mainly.

The survival in GW2 is hugely based on dodging/blocking/evading at the right time, especially in high level FotM where you get downed in 1 hit. I'm not 100% sure on this, but I very much doubt that the AI of companions is so highly developed as to allow them to evade attacks by themselves and I haven't noticed a dedicated player button forcing them to do so either. So in order to survive this content, I'd imagine that the minions would either need a giant attack values and/or OP skills to make up for the down-time, or enormous defense/HP to survive for long enough to boost the DPS a little bit.

It can be  seen on the enemies that the AI in the game can be quite solid but I believe it would be quite a challenge to have this kind of AI assist the player without making it too imbalanced.

As I mention though, I'm not running a minion-centered build so I might be wrong on this and it's working great atm so yeah...

#2 FoxBat

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:07 AM

There is nothing "balanced" about high-level fractals. (aka one-shot-ville vs. invuln frames.) There's no point in tuning AIs for it.

Making them not completely worthless in your average dungeon would be a step up though. And giving them built-in resistance to large AoEs (particularly DoT fields and one-shot wind-ups) would be a big step. If you make the bosses always prefer targeting players with these big attacks, and don't cap the # of targets boss attack can effect, it will keep minions from tanking away the challenge while still allowing them to plink away and absorb smaller hits.

Diablo 3 somewhat addressed the "easy vs. difficult" variance by making minions only take a max of X% of their health per hit, X varying on defensive stats compared to level. You would have to make sure bosses don't lock their big attacks exclusively on minions to keep that from getting out of hand though.

#3 Desild

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:17 AM

Minions make excellent cannon fodder. But it is specially aggravating when a Mesmer can somehow be a better Minion Master than a Necromancer... Just paint the Mesmer spells green and change illusions to bone fiends and presto.

And fractals are terrible to accurately see how effective the AI is.

#4 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:39 AM

Companions are passive: you point and activate them and they do their job regardless of how much you suck at playing. And as much as I absolutely adore that type of playstyle (it started with playing a druid in NVN (companion, animal empathy, summon, ...), carried onto GW with a MM necro, a spirit pooping ritualist and beastmaster ranger, along with summons in D3 (Mystic Ally FOREVER!), Torchlight, ...), I don't think it's something A.Net desires GW2 to be.
So with that in mind, I am not sure they will ever be really viable and I question how we can justify wasting resources on something that seems to be designed to be bad. Honestly, just remove the mandatory animal companion for the ranger (and give the guy a different F1) and we've solved the pet issue.

Edited by Ritualist, 26 May 2013 - 10:53 AM.


#5 Kuskah

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:19 PM

View PostRitualist, on 26 May 2013 - 09:39 AM, said:

Companions are passive: you point and activate them and they do their job regardless of how much you suck at playing. And as much as I absolutely adore that type of playstyle (it started with playing a druid in NVN (companion, animal empathy, summon, ...), carried onto GW with a MM necro, a spirit pooping ritualist and beastmaster ranger, along with summons in D3 (Mystic Ally FOREVER!), Torchlight, ...), I don't think it's something A.Net desires GW2 to be.

I quite enjoy it in theory, the concept of having minions do stuff for you so that you don't need to "get your hands dirty". In most RPGs, however, I stay away from companions because they can't handle stuff on their own and if I want to help, they just get in my way.

Edited by Kuskah, 26 May 2013 - 05:19 PM.


#6 madmaxII

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:38 PM

As far as the necro minions are concerned they should just go back to the GW1 system. Instead of giving us 5 different minions with some ultimately irrelevant abilities and long cd's give us one fairly spam-able summon spell and some other utilities to support our minions. That way, it wouldn't hurt so much when one of them gets killed due to its lack of AI and would give the necro something to do besides summoning them.

Edited by madmaxII, 26 May 2013 - 05:40 PM.


#7 Featherman

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:42 PM

They're not likely to ever become viable, not with ANet's ability to design proper AI anyway. The only way to make them viable in end game PvE would be to make them all ranged and to give the player precise control over their over their positioning. Another method is to make them spammable, like Mesmer clones, to offset the death rate.

#8 El Duderino

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

View PostFeatherman, on 26 May 2013 - 05:42 PM, said:

They're not likely to ever become viable, not with ANet's ability to design proper AI anyway. The only way to make them viable in end game PvE would be to make them all ranged and to give the player precise control over their over their positioning. Another method is to make them spammable, like Mesmer clones, to offset the death rate.

It would be nice if pets, in particular, had access to the same kind of mechanics as heroes did in GW1. Doesn't seem like it should be that far fetched, yet I doubt it will ever happen.

#9 Featherman

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:09 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 27 May 2013 - 03:02 PM, said:

It would be nice if pets, in particular, had access to the same kind of mechanics as heroes did in GW1. Doesn't seem like it should be that far fetched, yet I doubt it will ever happen.
That would be amazing, but I doubt ANet would implement something so complex. They do simple in vain of simulating depth. Problem is simple doesn't give players enough control in environments that are complex and dynamic. The only thing simple about the pet mechanics is summoning them, but they have little to no control over their pets afterwards. There are too many vectors of motion for the simple "zerg target" AI to deal with.

Edited by Featherman, 27 May 2013 - 09:46 PM.


#10 Sandpit

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:18 PM

One thing we don;t need is more micro requirements on pets.

Adding dodge can be done quite easily by giving pets an ability like aegis and should be very easy to implement. If anything I would like AI to target pets more, but rangers need better abilities to keep their pets alive in these high end areas. Maybe reduce the cool-down penalty for losing a pet in these high end areas. For me, the biggest problem with pets is their speed, pets are so damned slow, they always lag behind and take an eternity to get into the battle. In any party engagement with any mix of players, even pure melee, the pet is the LAST thing into the battle. Pets need a serious speed buff, make them run at your side (or ahead), not a mile behind and make them jump into combat. Every other player can jump/shadowstep etc into combat, but pets get there last.

#11 Dasviidonja

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:07 PM

If you're only talking about fractals and dungeons then my companions (sword and hammer) certainly wouldn't be viable. But, in the open world of PVE which is 99% of the PVE game then they are quite viable. They are great for farming and keep chit off of you in a pinch. I've come from getting my azz kicked to winning the battle because of my sword and hammer. I run with spirit weapons cause burning and spirit weapons do not disappear when using their specials and spirit weapons recharge 20% faster along with my other fun traits. Lemme tell yah those specials do some extreme dmg when they crit. So, I'll take my sword and hammer any day in the real pve world and leave yall to the dungeons and fractals. Long as I can get max gear from the AH or TA or whatever it's called I'm fine. :P

Quote

If anything I would like AI to target pets more,

The ai targets my sword and hammer all the time. They will beat on them till they are dead before they come after me unless I get too close to the battle.

Edited by Dasviidonja, 27 May 2013 - 08:09 PM.


#12 Kyonshee

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:41 AM

That is exactly the problem. Anet seems to have developed this "more spike damage and mobs = difficulty" mindset. That is why these Zerk builds are thriving and I think changing the mechanics would make companions viable again. Claw of Jormag: Sustained, unavoidable damage. That is what we need. It would kill the "zerk or gtfo" meta, it would make companions more useful because they won't die in the huge bursts of damage they can't dodge like we can and it would make other builds more useful.

So yes, companions can be relevant, if Anet drastically changes their approach to 'difficulty'.

#13 darksol

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:49 PM

View PostFeatherman, on 26 May 2013 - 05:42 PM, said:

The only way to make them viable in end game PvE would be to make them all ranged and to give the player precise control over their over their positioning.

Trust me, as an Engineer, this doesn't fix the issue as much as you think it does. ;)

#14 Featherman

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:03 PM

View Postdarksol, on 31 May 2013 - 02:49 PM, said:

Trust me, as an Engineer, this doesn't fix the issue as much as you think it does. ;)
That's because you can't move them...

#15 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:06 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


#16 Featherman

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:03 PM

View PostRitualist, on 31 May 2013 - 08:06 PM, said:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Hahahaha, this is brilliant.




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