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View Full Version : Ideas for improving pets in Epic



droid327
07-08-2014, 12:09 PM
TLDR - make Pets scale better so they can survive in Epic with minimal babysitting, and can actually do enough to make it worthwhile to use them.

Right now, pets (especially Arti pets) have largely been left behind by the power creep that's occurred as Epic has progressed further and further. Considering they're a significant component of Arti and Druid's balanced effectiveness (and an option for Wizards), having them be untenable in Epic is tantamount to making TWF untenable for Rangers or Light damage untenable for FvS and Clerics.

Here's what I think are the main problems with pets, as they stand now:

-A pre-EP-style enhancement system and lack of Epic-level enhancements (ie Epic Destinies), which is where 80% of player effectiveness now comes from
-Only two gear slots means they cant stack all the various mods (Ghostly, Incorp, Dodge, CON, Fort, HP, PRR, etc.) that are de facto necessary for even baseline survivability in Epic, let alone the mods necessary for effectiveness (STR, Doublestrike, alacrity, etc.)
-A base attack speed that has not kept pace with the acceleration of player combat, making it difficult for them to ever take or hold aggro without the players actively trying to avoid/shed aggro.
-DCs for their special attacks that, for similar reasons, don't scale up to useful levels for Epic fights

I realize that pets are not meant to be fully-realized characters on their own, and at best should only be as fractionally useful as a dedicated melee PC...but they should still be able to function somewhat autonomously and provide some meaningful ancillary DPS and the ability to tank somewhat reliably in low-threat (ie normal non-boss fights) situations.

Here's what I'd suggest to bring pets back up to that baseline ancillary usefulness, and hopefully add a margin of additional efficacy back to Druids and Artis (and PMs):

-Enhancements: these need to be overhauled to bring them in line with the current Enhancement design philosophy. Basically, a fully-enhanced pet at L20 should be roughly equivalent to a L20 character with only half their AP spent, just using autoattacks.

One "offensive" tree would give bonuses to doublestrike, attack speed, +W, crit profile, fort bypass, - all the usual things that melee fighters look for to increase their DPS. One "tanking" tree with bonuses to AC (assuming that's improved), HP, threat gen, Dodge, Incorp, Concealment, saves, (Imp.) Evasion - all the usual things that melee fighters look for to survive. Various tactical and special-attacks could be peppered in through both trees, like Wolves and Iron Defenders currently have, with some obvious deletions and replacements with more useful and scalable abilities. 40 points at L20, like for players, should be enough to reach capstone in one tree and dabble in the other.

And a special "ED-style" set of Epic enhancements that provide more endgame-focused bonuses, like a watered-down version of LD, for the levels they gain when you gain Epic levels.

-Unlock additional equipment slots every 3rd level as the pet levels up: Bracers, Colorless Augment 1, Colorless 2, Red, Blue 1, Blue 2, Ring, Necklace, Trinket. Augments, unlike in gear, would be removable when placed directly in pets' augment slots. This should give pets the flexibility to slot necessary mods without making them too powerful with a full set of equipment.

Alternatively, simply give them set bonuses based on your character level, similar to how Hirelings (and PM Skellies IIRC) scale with level and get elemental resists, Deathblock, PRR, etc...though I like the flexibility and higher upside of earning gear and equipping them yourself better :)

-Increase their base attack speed to that of a BAB1 unarmed player so their gear and enhancement bonuses scale more like players' rather than being hamstrung by a low rate.

-Use the player's class stat (INT for arti/wiz, WIS for druid) as the DC stat for all of the pets' DC-based tactical and special attacks, so that it scales better as the player improves their own bonuses.

Again, the goal is that a pet should be somewhere between a hireling and a low-end but viable PC in efficacy. They should be able to survive on their own in situations where a low-end player wouldn't be in realistic danger of dying, and they should do enough damage/provide enough support abilities to make up for the fact that they'll never have as high a ceiling of potential as a dedicated caster or melee class.

Scrabbler
07-08-2014, 12:23 PM
And a special "ED-style" set of Epic enhancements that provide more endgame-focused bonuses, like a watered-down version of LD, for the levels they gain when you gain Epic levels.
I think they could handle it more simply by having the pet gain action points according to your class levels + epic levels, meaning a full Artificer 20/Epic 8 would have 112 AP to spend in the pet. Then simply extend the pet enhancement trees with new, stronger enhancements past level 20.


-Unlock additional equipment slots every 3rd level as the pet levels up: Bracers, Colorless Augment 1, Colorless 2, Red, Blue 1, Blue 2, Ring, Necklace, Trinket.
They don't need more equipment slots. The easy thing they DO need is to properly use your character level for item ML, not class level. If a Fighter18/Monk2 is allowed to use ML 16 Handwraps, then a Rogue18/Art2 should be able to attach an ML 16 collar.

Then the devs could add a few named ML 25+ collars which are super-strong.

domnslave
07-08-2014, 02:11 PM
Then the devs could add a few named ML 25+ collars which are super-strong.

This already exists.. My pure arti dog runs around with a complete (and fully augmented) tier 3 Thunderforged Collar and complete (fully augmented) tier 2 Shadowscale Docent with shadowstriker on it. You can take ANY set of handwraps and turn them into a collar. Same arti dog has a fully upgraded and augmented Antipode collar, gravewrapping collar, level 24 eveningstar challenge collar (few of these).

I won't go into specifics for obvious reasons but outfitting one's pet isn't all that hard. The druid dog is also just as easy to outfit. The PM skelly on the other hand could use the same system as the arti and druid while the arty/druid could use the boost to their pets that the PM's have via AP. As to the original poster, those are ALL good solid ideas to use. The pet ally classes effectively loose 1/2 of their power and contribution once the pets become useless lever pullers etc. This is more noticeable in the pure versions vs the splashes. I speak from experience as my arti is pure, has 3x druid past lives, an upgraded Ediolon Necklace (augment summoning), guild boost to pet stats etc and still feels lack luster in many a situation despite all the passive buffs to the metal rover.

rosedarkthorn
07-08-2014, 02:16 PM
I'm all for upgrades to pets to make them more capable in epic content.

I was wondering something that's slightly off topic though. I have Antipode for my iron defender, but I haven't turned it into a collar yet because I was uncertain whether or not it could be upgraded after I did that.

Can I turn it into a collar and then upgrade it as I get comms to upgrade it with, or do I have to wait until it's fully upgraded before turning it into a collar? Same goes for Thunderforged handwraps.

I'd really appreciate a definite answer on this.

droid327
07-08-2014, 02:58 PM
I'm all for upgrades to pets to make them more capable in epic content.

I was wondering something that's slightly off topic though. I have Antipode for my iron defender, but I haven't turned it into a collar yet because I was uncertain whether or not it could be upgraded after I did that.

Can I turn it into a collar and then upgrade it as I get comms to upgrade it with, or do I have to wait until it's fully upgraded before turning it into a collar? Same goes for Thunderforged handwraps.

I'd really appreciate a definite answer on this.

edit: nevermind, I thought about it more and it might go either way.

It depends if Collar-izing a set of handwraps actually creates a new Collar, or if it simply changes the "equippable" parameters and icon. If it actually creates a separate item, then no, you probably cant upgrade it. If it just "masks" the handwraps as a collar, then maybe - but it'll probably still produce the handwrap version which you'd then have to re-collar-ify.

There's a somewhat easy way you could test this, especially if you have Cannith Challenge mats already saved up. Get a L20 Calomel Handwrap (those are the only ones with upgrade tiers according to wiki?), Collar-ize it, then see if it lets you upgrade it to T2 (you don't have to actually upgrade, just see if it offers you the recipe when you put it in the components slot). That should use the same UI system as Antipode.

domnslave
07-08-2014, 03:02 PM
The handwraps have to be upgraded before converting into a collar. Once turned into a collar they no longer play well with the barter UI box to upgrade further. The exception to this, is that you can augment the collars after the handwraps have been converted.

rosedarkthorn
07-08-2014, 03:14 PM
The handwraps have to be upgraded before converting into a collar. Once turned into a collar they no longer play well with the barter UI box to upgrade further. The exception to this, is that you can augment the collars after the handwraps have been converted.

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind and wait to convert until after I upgrade.