I saw that there is a separate thread for discussing the future of the Beastmaster mastery at Reimerhart’s Beastmaster Thread, but I wanted to get some ideas flowing on the nature of Primalist pets themselves and how to revamp their skill trees.
I originally thought that skill trees were going to be rather shallow until I saw the Wearbear’s tree. It’s filled to the brim with route options, clearly designed to work around the Wearbear’s active skills. Ideally, pets would work the same way, granting multiple routes based off of which primary skill and damage type you want to work with. I would map out potential skill tree ideas, but my laptop is sitting at a very smooth 5 FPS in normal settings, so I’ll leave image gathering for people who can play this game more smoothly.
Here are the main routes that I can see pets specializing in:
- Damage / Offense - this would be the typical stack damage, stack speed, stack leech and let your pets run wild. Ideally, only the Beastmaster would be able to unlock the full potential of its pets so that it can keep the flavor of its mastery. Attempting to go full offense with pets while choosing another mastery should result the pets in being too squishy to survive the roughest enemies.
- Defenses / Survivability - I suggested in my Primalist passive thread that one of the “only one companion” nodes should be that nodes that grant pet survivability are also transferred to the player. Lore-wise, this makes sense: if you put all your energies into caring for one pet, training with it should make you stronger in some way as well. Otherwise, you can use this route to stack armor / protections / health for those who want to keep pets alive for support skills / buffs, but don’t care if they do little damage (the Spriggan pet in the Wearbear build is a good example of what I’m talking about).
- Auxiliary Damage Types - This is for those who want to go off the beaten path and take a different damage type for flavor. Since totems also scale off of minion damage, a player can use this to combine totems and companions for a different degree of minion-based builds. Right now, enemy protections and penetrations don’t mean much, so you can throw all the flat damage you want, but if future game versions force a player to stick with one damage type, you use these nodes to use pets in a different way. Examples include Cold damage for Sabertooth and Lightning damage for Wolves.
- Support / Active Skills - Currently, pets’ active skills are mostly an afterthought, but we have the board space to be able to take good advantage of them; they are active skills in our skill bar, after all. This path can also be used to grant pets additional abilities - Sabertooth’s frozen aura, Spriggan’s Entangling Roots and Poisonous Vines, and Bear’s totems are good examples to follow.
I’m beginning to flesh out this post, but the Companion Skills thread came and illustrated what casting the pet skills do. I certainly hope the skill trees include nodes that buff these abilities.
The bottom left corner that gives +1 companions is miles away the best option, no matter what you’re doing with your other pets. Whether it’s the “maximize melee damage” in the upper left or the “Lightning + Attunement scaling” on the right, Wolves have it very linear. The top right corner ends up being very lonely because of this.
Offense is rather simple: maximize flat damage and attack speed as any multipliers are going across two wolves. You’re either maximizing melee damage or scaling with Attunement for additional flat sources of damage.
Defense and Support are a bit more complicated, as wolves are not generally known for defensive prowess. Ice wolves and hellhounds are common in fiction, but cold damage is taken by the sabertooth and fire is absent in the Shaman repertoire outside of Fire Tornados. The only real defensive option I see is dodge ability, and the only support option I see working is maybe Slow / Blind as Wolves surround their opponent and wear / drag them down. I don’t imagine Slow being rather useful, however, but it’s something to fill the skill tree.
I’m embarrassed to admit this: I built 2 characters thinking that I could convert Sabertooth’s base Physical damage to Cold damage; I had no idea that the left nodes actually convert physical damage from enemies to Cold damage. You spend 7-9 nodes getting all excited about this, only for the Sabertooth to die from Void or Necrotic hits. Oops.
I’d personally like to see the Sabertooth have a chance to leap at the player and take damage that would have been given to the player; of course, this only being the case if you decide to take that particular node. If you give it enough protection and health nodes, it should be a “takes hits for the player at a pinch” sidekick that differentiates it from the bear being a slow tank or the Spriggan using roots to protect the player.
In short, replace the “convert enemy physical damage” nodes with “convert Sabertooth physical damage” nodes, remove the Dexterity + Health Regen + Dodge rating nodes and replace them with a path that allows Sabertooth to take hits for the player. Both Leap and the Frost Nova are kinda useless - having the Sabertooth use the Arctic reaction spell is suitable enough, especially since you’re using a lot of specialization points to take both the damage conversion, melee Cold damage, and increased Cold damage. Leap can stand to use more damage, and if you take the “take hits for the player” approach, then it becomes an actual choice as to whether you want to keep it or not which is much better than the “sure, I’ll take 40% extra damage for free” node it currently is.
Bear’s in a weird spot. Full Melee pets are more easily done with the Wolves / Sabertooth, while Spriggan is as support / caster oriented as you can get. The Taunt heal is a great way to make it stand out as a defensive tank, as offense there’s not too much to it outside of bleeds and Physical damage.
If bear’s going to be the tank, it should have the most defensive bonuses - far and beyond what the other pets can get. Armor for sure, multiple protections, massive health compared to other pets and hopefully the taunt actually works on the enemies you want it to work on.
I don’t know if you’re going to keep the Claw Totem nodes, but if you want to go totems, you need a much higher percent on kill than 10% per point, especially since you’re limited the spawn to once every 3 seconds. I’d personally like to try the Frenzy Totem / Thorn Totem / Bear / Swipe / shapeshifting form with the healing totem passive and see how many totems and totem benefits you can stack and whether getting multiple buffs that require a single companion are worth it.
I made my main pet build a Druid because I wanted to see how well the Spriggan can do with large healing support and maximum offensive capability. It’s hard to tell since you can’t attack the training dummy with pets, but I took the 200% damage when bleeding and 200% damage when poisoned and I’m not seeing too much power when compared to the Wolves or Sabertooth. I am waiting until the respec changes get on line to see whether the “single-line” approach gets the most damage or my current “spread-them out” orb attack is better.
For support, there’s vines, roots and improving its active healing. Maybe if Healing Wind gets its own tree, the nodes can help the Spriggan’s healing as well as your own. 5 FPS is a real downer and I can’t really do Arena, but I hear the larger problem there is huge one-off damage strikes instead of sustained damage over time which Healing Wind and Spriggan’s heal would be much better at mitigating. Maybe the Spriggan can provide an extra layer of Thorn Armor - if you stack Spriggan armor with those Ice Thorn nodes that allow you to wear the armor before it attacks, the armor can have extra protections or provide a flat Ward.
I’ve already mentioned it in the Scorpion skill thread, and I’ll mention it here too. It’d be wonderful to see Scorpion serve multiple purposes outside the standard Poison user as Entangling roots already has good Poison buff abilities without pressing against the companion limit.
For offense, I’d like to see Plague abilities see more use, especially as it can serve side-by-side with Serpent Strike and the Serpents being summoned.
For defense, I’d like to see the molting concept more than anything - taking off its skin can grant Scorpion faster speed and periodically removes negative statuses; on the other hand, you can have the Scorpion molt a huge piece of its exoskeleton for the player to use. In exchange for zeroing out the Scorpion’s Speed bonuses in its tree (the standard bonuses from passives should still remain), the player can wear the Exoskeleton to reduce incoming damage.