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Reworking Companions' Activatable Abilities as Instant Casts


#1

In Patch 0.7 we implemented activatable abilities for the Primalist’s Companions. Since then, we’ve been monitoring your feedback on these skills - both of the skills in a vacuum, and how they affect the way you play alongside your Primalist’s furry friends.

That the summoning skills are replaced with new abilities while the summoned minions are available has been very warmly received. You’ve told us that these abilities having a cast time for your character rather than the minions themselves can feel clunky - making it feel less like you fight with your pets, and more like you and they take turns. You’ve also told us that sometimes it feels like these skills need to be used a touch too often.

In our next patch we will be updating the activatable skill for every companion with this feedback in mind. Today we’re providing a preview of each skill in its current form, with the changes listed in bullet points underneath. Please keep in mind that further changes may be made internally as we continue to playtest their current iteration.
 

Summon Wolf

  Howl
 
40 mana
10 second cooldown
 
Your wolves howl to embolden themselves and allies around them, granting them frenzy and 50% increased damage for 3 seconds.

  • Howl is now an instant cast.
  • Howl’s Increased Damage changed from +10% to +50%.
  • Howl now also grants Frenzy (+20% attack speed, +20% cast speed).
  • Howl’s area of effect has been increased by 96%.
  • Howl no longer stacks.
  • Howl’s duration has been reduced from 6 seconds to 3 seconds.
  • Howl’s cooldown has been increased from 4 seconds to 10 seconds.
  • Howl’s mana cost has been increased from 18 to 40.

 

Summon Bear

  Bear Roar
 
40 mana
12 second cooldown
 
Releases a mighty roar, taunting enemies around it and healing it for 50 health for each enemy taunted.

  • Bear Roar is now an instant cast.
  • Bear Roar now Taunts enemies instead of Fearing them.
  • Bear Roar now heals the bear for each affected enemy.
  • Bear Roar’s area of effect has been increased by 125%.
  • Bear Roar’s cooldown has been increased from 6 seconds to 12 seconds.
  • Bear Roar’s mana cost has been increased from 18 to 40.

 

Summon Sabertooth

  Flurry Swipes
 
36 mana
10 second cooldown
 
Releases three swipes in rapid succession.

  • Flurry Swipes is now an instant cast.
  • Flurry Swipes’s base damage increased by 400%.
  • Flurry Swipe’s area of effect has been increased by 125%.
  • Flurry Swipe’s added damage scaling has been reduced by 50%.
  • Flurry Swipes’s cooldown has been increased from 6 seconds to 10 seconds.
  • Flurry Swipe’s mana cost has been increased from 18 to 36.
  • Bug fix: Flurry Swipes was previously only capable of hitting an individual enemy a maximum of two times. It can now hit the same enemy three times.

 

Summon Scorpion

  Venom Nova
 
45 mana
10 second cooldown
 
Releases a burst of venom that inflicts all enemies around the scorpion with a long lasting poison, and releases a spiral of projectiles that inflict a weaker poison on hit.

  • Venom Nova is now an instant cast.
  • Venom Nova now also releases a spiral of poisoning projectiles.
  • Venom Nova’s burst’s increased poison effectiveness increased from +25% to +100%.
  • Venom Nova’s cooldown has been increased from 6 seconds to 10 seconds.
  • Venom Nova’s mana cost has been increased from 18 to 45.

 

Summon Spriggan

  Rejuvenating Wind
 
36 mana
12 second cooldown
 
Restores 150 health and 15 mana to the spriggan and all nearby allies over 2 seconds.

  • Rejuvenating Wind is now an instant cast.
  • Rejuvenating Wind’s restored health increased from 90 to 150.
  • Rejuvenating Wind now also restores 15 mana.
  • Rejuvenating Wind’s cooldown has been increased from 6 seconds to 12 seconds.
  • Rejuvenating Wind’s mana cost has been increased from 18 to 36.

 

Interested in Companions? Why not stop by another one of our threads and post a couple of suggestions for Summon Scorpion’s skill tree nodes? You might see your ideas in-game!


#2

These look awesome! They’re definitely way better than the first iteration.

Glancing over the skills I only have two concerns. First, the bear gaining health on taunt is nice, but generally speaking a tank will need most of its healing after a taunt occurs. I wonder if an increase in regen or leech for a duration would be more mechanically valuable. Second, the Spriggan now restores mana to allies and itself, which is a great addition, but it’s also a static number. If it instead increased mana regen for a duration it could interact with other mana regen mechanics, allowing for scaling and more player customization (albeit there are very few such mechanics as it stands, but based on previous a forum post that has gained traction it seems that this may change).

Overall I think this is an excellent change!


#3

Hmmmmm ok yea. I like all of this to be honest. Now if I can talk you all into giving them stances or something so I can make mine attack only what I do and other can have them do that or even stay wild like that are now. I would say they are perfect.


#4

Now this looks like a fantastic step in the right direction and these all look pretty great. I agree with the other comments, but what is the reasoning behind the now only 3 seconds wolf howl?


#5

Hrm, I’m not sure I agree.

Certainly, if we were talking about a fight in World of Warcraft where two tanks in a 25 man raid were switching the boss’s attention between the two of them as they gained stacks of a debuff - yeah, this design would be ill-suited to that, and it’d likely need replacing entirely.

ARPGs usually revolve around engaging many enemies in a relatively short period of time, and we’re trying to avoid downtime caused by a non-player tank having relatively low health, and that discouraging the person playing from moving onto the next group. The iteration of Bear Roar we are playtesting is designed to allow you to effectively ‘reset’ your bear’s health when engaging a group of enemies so that you aren’t waiting around while it gradually recovers life. That’s not to say that this iteration is perfect and couldn’t be improved, but so far in our testing it does feel right to us. We’ll likely release it in a patch as-is or close to it, and if we get feedback that the design isn’t what people want, we can examine potential changes.
 

That Mana management is more involved than in some other ARPGs is a deliberate design decision, which is intended to result in either greater investment being required to be able to regularly use a high Mana cost skill, to allow similar investment to get an initially lower cost Mana skill to a higher power level and thus help them remain competitive (which isn’t always the case in ARPGs), or to encourage players to use more active skills fairly regularly, rather than resorting to the One Button Wonder™ builds you sometimes see in ARPGs.

If the Spriggan’s restoration of Mana scaled with other sources of Mana recovery, that would almost certainly come with the trade-off of it being less powerful by default, so that for the average build it’d work out around the same - and for those not investing into greater Mana recovery, it would end up less powerful. Would you still want us to make such a change?


#6

I’m not sure how likely it is their AI will be meaningfully improved prior to the implementation of multiplayer. While I think having a few different settings for their AI would be a good addition, it would be contending with multiplayer for the time of specific team members.

I’ll raise the issue in a meeting next week, but unfortunately it’ll likely be a while before something changes. But I could be wrong - I’ll try to remember to follow up here after doing so.


#7

That is all I ask and thank you Sarno.


#8

Hi there!

Have you recently been guiding members of the community?

Balance is a funny thing. Different skills will have different power levels perceived as being appropriate for them, but sometimes that power level can be more effectively delivered than others. For example - you could have a very powerful, but very niche option. You often see examples of this in card games, where cards are deliberately designed as counters.

The longer the duration, the less powerful the effect will be. At six seconds long you’re going to run into cases where 30-50% of the duration occurs while you run to the next group of enemies, and in addition to not being very effective, that just doesn’t feel good. Additionally, the longer duration can result in a “I’ll just press it at the start of the fight!” mentality.

We’d be much happier seeing people fighting a rare Immortal Eye which is preparing to detonate and deciding to tactically use a short duration, high power damage boost skill than see people using the skill as a ‘fire and forget’ button that doesn’t change how they play.

There’s nothing to say that three seconds is an ideal duration, and that two seconds would be too brief, and four seconds would be overly long. But in general we wanted the activatable skills to feel more immediately impactful, and curtailing Howl’s duration helped achieve that.


#9

Greetings!

Only about pineapples on pizzas, but that’s a very important topic as well.

Nevertheless, yea that totally makes sense. Thanks for clarifying :slight_smile: We’ll just have to test it out. But for now it sounds a bit short. It might just be fine with the things you’re describing, and the power it gives sounds really nice. Maybe for the 3 seconds, the buff could be slightly bigger. As we then have to wait 7 seconds for it to come back. I’m fine with the 3/7 second rotation if the buff is worth it to remember and press occasionally.

I agree I wouldn’t want to just press it once at the start of a fight and then it’s there for the whole time. That sounds boring. Situational and with a nice impact is definitely the way to go.


#10

Good news here, dps boost from wolves, yea! I already have some nice uniqs ideas to support this skills :japanese_ogre:


#11

I think a Max HP increase at start of the taunt might be helpfull, like as soon as the bear taunts his max health is increased by 10% and hes healed for the same ammount (something like this), so he has a bit of a HP buffer and is healable after he did his job. So no tank the world style and get healed after it, but a meaningfull HP increase at the start of the taunt that soften some burst spikes because if we take a look at the dmg the bear recives it’ll instantly die in arena if it taunts all spawns at once.
This is something that should’nt happen to a “tank” at all because it’s the job of a tank to at least sustain the preassure. I think the bear should be beefy and not easiely taken down, while doing no real dmg but offering options like debuffs through skillable nodes like bleed or poison or armor shred chance if hit and such stuff but to be fair I’m not that deep into pet builds because I pretty much dislike the pet behaviour ingame.

Btw Pet stances might be helpfull I hate it when they fall behind because they attack something 3 screens back. There need to be at least a toggle to make them not attack stuff from my point of view so the come along without mindlessly attacking something you don’t intend to attack. Imagine Monolith speedfarming and as soon as you reach the end engagement all your pets are back there to gnaw on the bones of 10 skeletal adds just because the AI is stupid like a brick and can’t work with simple commands. That’s no Petmaster in my eyes because a petmaster should be able to tell his pets “No, sit! Bad bear!”. Maybe you need to implement a wrapped up newspaper into the game we can beat our pets into submission with like a unique or something ^^.


#12

Ive played a Serpent Strike Beastmaster til 55 or so and now have a 65ish Shaman and never use the pet abilities ever - even though my Beastmaster spends no mana.

The Beastmaster just uses DoT pets with attack speed buffs and the Shaman did use the Panther/Wolf to level until they died repeatedly, added in Spriggan but I dont have any spare mana to cast anything but Avalanche and Tornado when they are off cooldown, so increasing their mana cost to 40 is just insane to me

I personally really dislike short cooldown buffs you have to press every few seconds. I dont and never did understand it, it just promotes AHK macros to press it for you. I think long cooldowns with more impactful buffs are more logical

On the mana note, Mana is awful to deal with in this game. The game is going the Diablo 3 route which is - careful resource management and no Auras, if you want a player to press a buff key every 4 seconds so they almost never have that mana available then just let us reserve the amount of the spell +20% or something…


#13

Excuse me but putting too long CD on these skill while reducing duration is… ugly … Doubling CD then cut in half duration is bad.

Other than that keep up the good work.


#14

Thank you for the response Sarno!. Your point on the bear is a great one, and I definitely see the value in a heal that keeps the player moving forward. However, if we want the bear to be a true tank, his active abilities should allow him to take on packs of enemies that the other pets simply could not. In the iteration you’ll be implementing, there is nothing built into the bear’s kit that improves his tanking performance after a fight has been engaged, so what would make the bear “tanky” would only be derived from skill tree choices and gear. I think it would be both more thematic, as well as easier to gear (A problem for beastmaster builds at the moment) if there were additional tank benefits for the bear from its active ability. What about a relatively small heal at the beginning and an increase in regen for a period after the roar?

As far as the spriggan, you’ve made another great point, and my concern only applies if you all do decide to make changes to how mana regen works. This is going slightly off topic, but in my personal opinion mana regen in its current state actually works pretty well, and I don’t see it as needing a substantial change, however it does often limit the “meta” to taking mana reducing nodes in the skill trees of primary damaging abiliites (and even secondary abilities like shield rush) most of the time. If changes were made to accommodate a meta that wasn’t so built around these particular nodes and instead allowed for more scaling, then the 15 mana would begin to underperform end game on many builds (sort of how static numbers is making penetration a highly undesirable stat, but maybe not to the same extent). As for your question, I would say yes, because it would allow the player to have more control over their decisions to customize their build, but only if the dev team did ultimately decide to offer more than just the mana recovery that is only currently available on wands and the mana efficiency on amulets. Basically, my feeling is if the system becomes more robust, then so should this skill, so it really is a bit of future thinking I’m doing for the Spriggan.


#15

That’s a great point, and I think your idea of “increased max hp by x percent for x seconds” would fit the thematic approach I was concerned about. I could get behind this option as long as regen and/or leech can scale well enough on gear to keep the bear alive at deep endgame without too much of a gear investment.


#16

" * Howl no longer stacks."

I like the idea of howl being able to stack and lasting a little bit longer and doing less buff, simply because it enables a cool build I have in my mind.

Maybe the skill tree for it has a %chance to proc something that resets howl’s CD. And if you get a lot of procs, then multiple buffs could be stacked. I think that would feel good and have a cool playstyle.


#17

Howl doesn’t need to stack at all if it does the same or more then it did when it did stack.


#18

Just curious if there was any follow up as of yet.


#19

Well no, this wasn’t my intention. If someone want’s to play a petbuild there should be a requirment for heavy investment and options to transfer power back to the petmaster if he don’t want to use pets BUT if you want to use pets those should require a LOT of investment to be viable.
That’s my main issue with pet classes :). Normaly the AI is crap, the userfriendlynes is crap and the useable skills of the pets are crap. LE trys to change this up with active parts in the skills and passives triggers from other skills and this may work if it’s more finished.

So hell no my idea is NO idea to counteract requirements to make the bear viable with no points invested! It’s just a little thing on top to make the bear perform even better. The times I played pet builds I felt they were weak but this was some patches ago.


#20

Yeah that wasn’t my point either, just adding a caveat because this wouldn’t fix beastmaster’s current gearing issues that require the player to choose between being really squishy or having very underperforming pets.