The zookeeper is one of my personal favorites when it comes to build archetypes. Summoning a pantheon of pets to fight along side me is great! With our limited number of action bar slots, players who take mostly pets have very few actions that they can take moment to moment in gameplay. We want to give the zookeeper a more active role in their adventure. We also want the Primalist pets to feel like they are a part of your character and to form a real bond. With these goals in mind, we have made several changes to the pet system.
Primalist pets are now companions. They are still minions and will still be affected by minion affixes. Companions include the: wolf, scorpion, sabretooth, bear and spriggan. Temporary pets like the serpent and totems like thorn totem are not companions.
When a companion runs out of health they enter a downed state and can be revived by the player. If you neglect to revive your minion for a significant period of time, they will die and will be required to be re-summoned. Companions have a high mana cost and cooldown so this will not be the ideal method of returning your companion to active status. Reviving your companions is as simple as standing nearby for a few seconds. You may still use other abilities while reviving your companions and no specific actions are required to begin the process. You simply need to be near them.
Companion skills can be activated while the companion is already summoned to use a unique ability. For example, you could command your bear to perform a powerful roar which debuffs your enemies. The specific bear ability is not set yet and this is subject to change. These abilities are not implemented yet and will be available on Beta release, not the next patch. When they are added, you’ll have a whole new suite of skills to keep your companions active in combat. This change also opens up some more design space for the companion skill trees. We can modify the activated ability and in some cases replace it entirely.
You have a limited number of companions which may be summoned at a time. This limit can be increased through passive skills and select unique and set gear. The initial value which we are using for your starting companion limit is 2. The passive tree has two more nodes which can increase that limit by 1 each and there is a unique helmet which has been added to the game that can increase the value by 1 more. In total this means you will be able to have 5 companions summoned simultaneously. Individual wolves each count towards this limit. Because of this change, the Summon Primal Wolf skill tree has had significant reworks also.
I know that this probably looks like it will be a nerf. We are always adjusting balance and this will by no means be the final time companions are adjusted up or down in power level. The goal with this change is for a design shift rather than a straight nerf. After all of these changes are implemented, the gameplay with companions will be much more active and will hopefully be more fun.