NPC Sidekics

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Thanatos
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NPC Sidekics

I couldn't find this suggested before, so I thought i'd bring it up.

In Star Wars: The Old republic, pretty early on you gain a companion that follows you through your adventures, helps you in battle, aids your personal story and provides interesting missions unique to them. Personally, I found it to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. There was even romance. My only gripe was their lack of customization, though it is true that you can put whatever gear you want on them.

COT is supposed to be very story driven, and I personally think it would be awesome to have a mechanic like that. Oddly, no superhero game has (that I know of) tried to apply something in this vein. DCUO offers a laughable and slightly unsettling generic child in a cape (and a shotgun..?) as a temporary pet. CO makes you buy A more useful and fleshed out sidekick, but still without the customization or story use.

What I'm hoping for is hardly something to focus on for launch, but would make a pretty cool expansion. Think of all the possibilities! Having your story introduce reoccurring characters that you grow to love, then surprising you by allowing you to take them on as full time partners! We could have classic "Save your Sidekick from 'Vengeful Madonna!'" Or even give you direct control of your sidekick in a mission to save you! (So many exclamation marks, i'm like the Shamwow guy...)

So before I vomit out anymore of my vaguely coherent ideas, are there any thoughts on this?

Lothic
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I often thought it would've

I often thought it would've been cool to have a customizable "sidekick" back in CoH. But I think the big problem/question with this idea is whether or not this "sidekick" would actually be a combat-oriented pet or not.

I think if they allowed everyone to have a combat-capable sidekick as you'd suggest it would become a virtual necessity for everyone to have one not only in PvE but in PvP as well. Basically everyone would be a "pseudo-Mastermind" and the entire game would have to be balanced around the idea that all players would be represented in the game by at least two combat capable entities. Now we know that games like Star Trek Online are actually geared towards the idea of "every player is a Mastermind" with their own collection of Bridge Officer "pets" running around. I'm just not all together sure a game like CoT should be like that. I don't want to have to feel like I'm gimping myself if I choose to not have a combat-oriented sidekick.

So my counter-suggestion would be the idea to allow everyone the option to have a non-combat oriented "sidekick" pet whose main feature is that it could be customized in the character creator with its own costume slot but otherwise would be treated as a purely non-combat pet. This way it would not have to be accounted for in terms of game balance for either PvE or PvP.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Brand X
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Worst idea ever.

Worst idea ever.

That sidekick in TOR just encouraged soloing (in TOR's case there was more to it), but really it was just a bad idea all around. And really, if TOR is any example, I'd rather not see hundreds of slave sidekicks running around.

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I actually thought the

I actually thought the mechanic of it in SWTOR was brilliant, but I don't think the way it ties you into following their story rather than having your own would work well in a game trying to reproduce the feel of CoX.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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I posted my support for

I posted my support for player generated NPCs that can be used in story lines, I just don't think they should be "sidekicks"

There will always be stories to be told using NPC characters connected to our characters. A kidnapping rescue for instance, no player wants to be the kidnapped party. If they were they either have to be completely incapacitated and willing to be useless OR they have the power to escape and render the mission useless. If the NPC is some random character disconnected from our characters' story then it loses impact.

The place for these player generated NPCs is still up for debate. Should they be Nemesis? Base or SG Base personnel? Sidekicks?

I think since our game will have heroes and non-heroes Player Generated nemesis loses impact. I tend to dislike sidekicks because they only fit some characters' story and encourage more solo play than team play. Base personnel will depend heavily on what functions the bases are allowed.

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Thanatos
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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

So my counter-suggestion would be the idea to allow everyone the option to have a non-combat oriented "sidekick" pet whose main feature is that it could be customized in the character creator with its own costume slot but otherwise would be treated as a purely non-combat pet. This way it would not have to be accounted for in terms of game balance for either PvE or PvP.

Interesting point, I can certainly see where you're coming from. However, not participating in combat sort of...takes the wind out of the idea of a sidekick. They wouldn't necessarily have to be as effective as a Masterminds pet. In my mind, they'd be more there for the sake of looking like they're contributing rather than actually being a viable part of combat.

Brand X wrote:

Worst idea ever.
That sidekick in TOR just encouraged soloing (in TOR's case there was more to it), but really it was just a bad idea all around. And really, if TOR is any example, I'd rather not see hundreds of slave sidekicks running around.

Firstly, ouch?

Even if the sidekick was as combat applicable as TOR, it's not going to kill grouping (It didn't in TOR). How else is it a bad idea? You wouldn't want to see other heroes running around with uniquely customized sidekicks because...?

Cinnder wrote:

I actually thought the mechanic of it in SWTOR was brilliant, but I don't think the way it ties you into following their story rather than having your own would work well in a game trying to reproduce the feel of CoX.

If memory serves me well, the companion story pieces weren't the main meat of the arcs right? Just little diversions here and there. I was actually thinking more of the companion mission than of the ways they tied into your story as a whole.

JayBezz wrote:

I posted my support for player generated NPCs that can be used in story lines, I just don't think they should be "sidekicks"
There will always be stories to be told using NPC characters connected to our characters. A kidnapping rescue for instance, no player wants to be the kidnapped party. If they were they either have to be completely incapacitated and willing to be useless OR they have the power to escape and render the mission useless. If the NPC is some random character disconnected from our characters' story then it loses impact.
The place for these player generated NPCs is still up for debate. Should they be Nemesis? Base or SG Base personnel? Sidekicks?
I think since our game will have heroes and non-heroes Player Generated nemesis loses impact. I tend to dislike sidekicks because they only fit some characters' story and encourage more solo play than team play. Base personnel will depend heavily on what functions the bases are allowed.

I think optional sidekicks/partners/buddies/whatever that aren't combat effective as to necessitate their use could coexist with all of your stated wishes pretty well.

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Thanatos wrote:
Thanatos wrote:

If memory serves me well, the companion story pieces weren't the main meat of the arcs right? Just little diversions here and there. I was actually thinking more of the companion mission than of the ways they tied into your story as a whole.

Oh yeah, I forgot about those! Yeah, a set of missions unique to the sidekick would work regardless of your own character's backstory. And if this were still too out of bounds for your character, you don't have to hook up with the sidekick in the first place.

My only remaining reservation would be meeting another player with the same sidekick. I always hated that in SWTOR, and the minor appearance customisation didn't do enough to solve this. Any ideas how to deal with this problem?

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Thanatos wrote:
Thanatos wrote:

Even if the sidekick was as combat applicable as TOR, it's not going to kill grouping (It didn't in TOR). How else is it a bad idea? You wouldn't want to see other heroes running around with uniquely customized sidekicks because...?

If the sidekick is of any advantage at all, in combat, then the designers will have to assume that everyone will be using a sidekick (assuming the option not to have/use a sidekick is available). This means that sidekicks will be perceived as necessary because any character without a sidekick will be handicapped. In other words, if you want to play a hero who does not have a sidekick you will consciously have to choose to make them less efficient/effective because of that (again, assuming there is an option to not have a sidekick). I have my doubts about how many people would be interested at the prospect of being 'forced' to have a sidekick.

Then there are all the questions about implementation and the perceived, as well as practical, impact on ATs and power sets with pets when everyone has a default combat pet.

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I'm not quite sold on the

I'm not quite sold on the idea yet, but just thinking out loud... What if the sidekick were an ancillary power pool not available till your character reached a certain level? This could support Thanatos' idea of meeting them several times throughout your character's career before you had the option to let them join you, as well as conforming to the idea that only a more experienced character would take on a sidekick. The other powers in the pool could enhance the sidekick and address Darth Fez's point about balance, since characters who did not choose to have a sidekick would instead be enhancing their own powers with a different high-level ancillary pool.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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I'm not a fan of NPC

I'm not a fan of NPC followers, unless I directly control them as a minion. In fact, often times, i'm among those kinds of players who's more then likely to shoot an escortee in a game if I can get away with it, OR i'll try to save them but with my luck, they jump into my line of fire and I end up blowing them away anyways on accident. Fact is its easy to unless the player has some really good control over them, NPC followers are very very stupid. They'll often rush into a battle if your trying to use stealth, they'll charge into deadly situations and die, and it only really ups the artificial difficulty factor when they have to live. I remember the many cases I had an npc follower in CoX just rush headlong into a mob cause I forgot to turn off my leadership: tactics power buffing their perception, and getting killed within seconds for it and then getting "mission failed".

I realized something today(5/8/2014) that many MMORPG players, are not like us who enjoyed CoX. They enjoy repetitiveness and predictability, rather then unpredictability. We on the other hand enjoy unpredictability and variety.

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How about those sidekicks are

How about those sidekicks are only active when you enter a mission without a team? That way you would have some help for those AT's who are hart to solo but they would not be in the way if you decide to team up with other players. And if you reward playing in real player teams more than soloing with a sidekick, there should be no competition.

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Thanatos wrote:
Thanatos wrote:

Lothic wrote:
So my counter-suggestion would be the idea to allow everyone the option to have a non-combat oriented "sidekick" pet whose main feature is that it could be customized in the character creator with its own costume slot but otherwise would be treated as a purely non-combat pet. This way it would not have to be accounted for in terms of game balance for either PvE or PvP.

Interesting point, I can certainly see where you're coming from. However, not participating in combat sort of...takes the wind out of the idea of a sidekick. They wouldn't necessarily have to be as effective as a Masterminds pet. In my mind, they'd be more there for the sake of looking like they're contributing rather than actually being a viable part of combat.
Brand X wrote:
Worst idea ever.
That sidekick in TOR just encouraged soloing (in TOR's case there was more to it), but really it was just a bad idea all around. And really, if TOR is any example, I'd rather not see hundreds of slave sidekicks running around.

Firstly, ouch?
Even if the sidekick was as combat applicable as TOR, it's not going to kill grouping (It didn't in TOR). How else is it a bad idea? You wouldn't want to see other heroes running around with uniquely customized sidekicks because...?
Cinnder wrote:
I actually thought the mechanic of it in SWTOR was brilliant, but I don't think the way it ties you into following their story rather than having your own would work well in a game trying to reproduce the feel of CoX.

If memory serves me well, the companion story pieces weren't the main meat of the arcs right? Just little diversions here and there. I was actually thinking more of the companion mission than of the ways they tied into your story as a whole.
JayBezz wrote:
I posted my support for player generated NPCs that can be used in story lines, I just don't think they should be "sidekicks"
There will always be stories to be told using NPC characters connected to our characters. A kidnapping rescue for instance, no player wants to be the kidnapped party. If they were they either have to be completely incapacitated and willing to be useless OR they have the power to escape and render the mission useless. If the NPC is some random character disconnected from our characters' story then it loses impact.
The place for these player generated NPCs is still up for debate. Should they be Nemesis? Base or SG Base personnel? Sidekicks?
I think since our game will have heroes and non-heroes Player Generated nemesis loses impact. I tend to dislike sidekicks because they only fit some characters' story and encourage more solo play than team play. Base personnel will depend heavily on what functions the bases are allowed.

I think optional sidekicks/partners/buddies/whatever that aren't combat effective as to necessitate their use could coexist with all of your stated wishes pretty well.

TOR has what is basically sidekicks.

Last I played, a majority of people turned their companion into the slave bikini clad companion (At least on my server...which I can see as making sense I guess when you see so many running around in the slave bikini...but talk about ruining one's immersion)

It did not help teaming for normal quests. Though I'm willing to say part of that was also how TOR handled quests to begin with.

Like JayBezz said, if they become permanent, then whether the concept calls for one or not, people will feel the need to have one, as it's considered part of the character.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Worst idea ever.
That sidekick in TOR just encouraged soloing (in TOR's case there was more to it), but really it was just a bad idea all around.

Well to begin with I did offer the idea that these "sidekicks" should strictly be non-combat pets. While I realize that's not what Thanatos had in mind with this it does solve most of the "problems" that could arise. The thing to realize is that CoH already offered a number of ways to get "temporary combat pet powers" to help people in missions - I'm not really sure we have to go one step farther and let this new game give everybody "permanent combat pet powers". I honestly think that'll lead to the problems Darth Fez mentioned and goes one step too far in this kind of game.

Brand X wrote:

And really, if TOR is any example, I'd rather not see hundreds of slave sidekicks running around.

While I'll grant you that there'd probably be at least a few people who'd create "slave sidekick" pets I think the potential for that already existed with the Masterminds and their pets. And with as easy as it was to multi-box it was always easy enough to create a customizeable "slave-bot" if you really wanted.

Even with that I didn't really see too many slave-bots, Masterminds roleplaying their pets as "slaves" or even people playing their vet pets as slaves either. I think as with most things there might be a few people who'd "abuse" a customizable non-combat pet and for those people you could always report them to the GMs. If it made you feel better they could always make these customizable sidekicks relatively hard to get (like you have to be level 50 to have one or they could be a high-cost microtransaction). That would probably keep most of the idiots at bay. *shrugs*

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Neverwinter has a sort of

Neverwinter has a sort of companion/npc based dice rolling game for your characters follower. It is web browser based.

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Brand X
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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Brand X wrote:
Worst idea ever.
That sidekick in TOR just encouraged soloing (in TOR's case there was more to it), but really it was just a bad idea all around.
Well to begin with I did offer the idea that these "sidekicks" should strictly be non-combat pets. While I realize that's not what Thanatos had in mind with this it does solve most of the "problems" that could arise. The thing to realize is that CoH already offered a number of ways to get "temporary combat pet powers" to help people in missions - I'm not really sure we have to go one step farther and let this new game give everybody "permanent combat pet powers". I honestly think that'll lead to the problems Darth Fez mentioned and goes one step too far in this kind of game.
Brand X wrote:
And really, if TOR is any example, I'd rather not see hundreds of slave sidekicks running around.

While I'll grant you that there'd probably be at least a few people who'd create "slave sidekick" pets I think the potential for that already existed with the Masterminds and their pets. And with as easy as it was to multi-box it was always easy enough to create a customizeable "slave-bot" if you really wanted.
Even with that I didn't really see too many slave-bots, Masterminds roleplaying their pets as "slaves" or even people playing their vet pets as slaves either. I think as with most things there might be a few people who'd "abuse" a customizable non-combat pet and for those people you could always report them to the GMs. If it made you feel better they could always make these customizable sidekicks relatively hard to get (like you have to be level 50 to have one or they could be a high-cost microtransaction). That would probably keep most of the idiots at bay. *shrugs*

CoH MMs didn't have any options when it came to their pets.

I'm not against it for MMs, I'd rather just not see it for every hero/villain around. And I know, not everyone will do it, but TOR made me lose hope in the idea of vast majority :p

Lothic
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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Lothic wrote:
Brand X wrote:
Worst idea ever.
That sidekick in TOR just encouraged soloing (in TOR's case there was more to it), but really it was just a bad idea all around.

Well to begin with I did offer the idea that these "sidekicks" should strictly be non-combat pets. While I realize that's not what Thanatos had in mind with this it does solve most of the "problems" that could arise. The thing to realize is that CoH already offered a number of ways to get "temporary combat pet powers" to help people in missions - I'm not really sure we have to go one step farther and let this new game give everybody "permanent combat pet powers". I honestly think that'll lead to the problems Darth Fez mentioned and goes one step too far in this kind of game.
Brand X wrote:
And really, if TOR is any example, I'd rather not see hundreds of slave sidekicks running around.

While I'll grant you that there'd probably be at least a few people who'd create "slave sidekick" pets I think the potential for that already existed with the Masterminds and their pets. And with as easy as it was to multi-box it was always easy enough to create a customizeable "slave-bot" if you really wanted.
Even with that I didn't really see too many slave-bots, Masterminds roleplaying their pets as "slaves" or even people playing their vet pets as slaves either. I think as with most things there might be a few people who'd "abuse" a customizable non-combat pet and for those people you could always report them to the GMs. If it made you feel better they could always make these customizable sidekicks relatively hard to get (like you have to be level 50 to have one or they could be a high-cost microtransaction). That would probably keep most of the idiots at bay. *shrugs*

CoH MMs didn't have any options when it came to their pets.
I'm not against it for MMs, I'd rather just not see it for every hero/villain around. And I know, not everyone will do it, but TOR made me lose hope in the idea of vast majority :p

Maybe they could keep the "fully customizable non-combat sidekick" pet super rare by making its unlock be the first ultra rare in the first set of CoT Super Packs. I'm sure everyone would be happy with that. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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No, no, no, a Real sidekick

No, no, no, a Real sidekick needs Random Flailing and Shrill Taunt powers and enough defenses that it takes at least 2 hits to put them down.
Then we send them for Quips and Quotes training!

Be Well!
Fireheart

vidicate
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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

No, no, no, a Real sidekick needs Random Flailing and Shrill Taunt powers and enough defenses that it takes at least 2 hits to put them down.
Then we send them for Quips and Quotes training!
Be Well!
Fireheart

+1 haha

Moving on, let's give some thought to Diablo style followers.
I haven't been playing Diablo III for long. As in its predecessor, you can have Followers. They have two main purposes AFAICT. They can help fill in cracks for solo-ability, and they add a lot of flavor -- especially as your hero interacts with them and their backstories are revealed. But their DPS is a puny fraction of your hero's, and they have an independent AI. There are also no followers in a multiplayer game (correct me if I'm wrong, I've only soloed).

It seems like a similar setup could work in a game like CoT, and for the same purposes. They wouldn't really present a clear advantage as some would prefer to not have autonomous AI buddies. If they don't affect multiplayer in PVE and PVP, then no one will feel like using them is a requirement by other players. Yes in D3 they are a major component of the game, but in no way do they overshadow the main characters.

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vidicate wrote:
vidicate wrote:

Moving on, let's give some thought to Diablo style followers.
I haven't been playing Diablo III for long. As in its predecessor, you can have Followers. They have two main purposes AFAICT. They can help fill in cracks for solo-ability, and they add a lot of flavor -- especially as your hero interacts with them and their backstories are revealed. But their DPS is a puny fraction of your hero's, and they have an independent AI. There are also no followers in a multiplayer game (correct me if I'm wrong, I've only soloed).
It seems like a similar setup could work in a game like CoT, and for the same purposes. They wouldn't really present a clear advantage as some would prefer to not have autonomous AI buddies. If they don't affect multiplayer in PVE and PVP, then no one will feel like using them is a requirement by other players. Yes in D3 they are a major component of the game, but in no way do they overshadow the main characters.

Thing is CoH already had a number of ways to get "temp power combat pets" for those few times you might have needed extra firepower while soloing. Assuming CoT will provide similar temp powers I'm not sure giving people permanent versions of that type of thing (in the form of a Diablo-esque Follower) would be all that much more helpful.

And as far as having a mechanism for a little bit of sidekick RP I'd much rather have my idea (from my previous posts in this thread) of being able to customize my own sidekick pets and generate my own backstories for them. I don't need the game providing me random uncustomizable NPCs for that.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

No, no, no, a Real sidekick needs Random Flailing and Shrill Taunt powers and enough defenses that it takes at least 2 hits to put them down.
Then we send them for Quips and Quotes training!
Be Well!
Fireheart

Thanks for pointing us to a great archive dive, Fireheart!

Foradain, Mage of Phoenix Rising.
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Fireheart
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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Thing is CoH already had a number of ways to get "temp power combat pets" for those few times you might have needed extra firepower while soloing. Assuming CoT will provide similar temp powers I'm not sure giving people permanent versions of that type of thing (in the form of a Diablo-esque Follower) would be all that much more helpful.
And as far as having a mechanism for a little bit of sidekick RP I'd much rather have my idea (from my previous posts in this thread) of being able to customize my own sidekick pets and generate my own backstories for them. I don't need the game providing me random uncustomizable NPCs for that.

Yeah, I'd say that, if you have a permanent Sidekick that was more than simply decorative, then you must be some form of Mastermind... Or the Sidekick is a Pool Power? Hmm!

@ Foradain: Yeah, it's fun comic. I should post it to that list. I read the other online comics there, over the weekend. Well, the ones I had not Already read, at least.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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I love the idea of a fully

I love the idea of a fully customizable sidekick as an off-shoot of Master-Mind. In fact, I'd like to see a bit more customization available to the pets in a standard MM power set. Like coloring the skin or adding a couple of distinct costume pieces to a generic model. Mainly so I could tell my ninjas/robots/thugs from the other MM in the group. :)

There's a lot of potential in having a single sidekick that you can fully design, though. Enough, in fact, that it might be worthy of its own Power Set. Like choosing "sidekick" as a secondary power. Being able to choose his/her/its power set to either compliment or augment my own, then leveling them up on a much narrower, somewhat weaker power tree. Setting some basic AI functions and 'idle' emotes. Then having a few keys set up for Attack/Defend/Taunt. (I only ever dabbled at MM AT's, so the veterans may have better ideas)

And most DEFINITELY let them come out with custom comments appended to their actions!

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So, when these guys get

So, when these guys get killed do we go to the local sidekick dealership and pick out a new one?

I don't get mad, I restructure the laws of quantum physics and resolve the situation with temporal engineering.

Lothic
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WarBird wrote:
WarBird wrote:

I love the idea of a fully customizable sidekick as an off-shoot of Master-Mind. In fact, I'd like to see a bit more customization available to the pets in a standard MM power set. Like coloring the skin or adding a couple of distinct costume pieces to a generic model. Mainly so I could tell my ninjas/robots/thugs from the other MM in the group. :)
There's a lot of potential in having a single sidekick that you can fully design, though. Enough, in fact, that it might be worthy of its own Power Set. Like choosing "sidekick" as a secondary power. Being able to choose his/her/its power set to either compliment or augment my own, then leveling them up on a much narrower, somewhat weaker power tree. Setting some basic AI functions and 'idle' emotes. Then having a few keys set up for Attack/Defend/Taunt. (I only ever dabbled at MM AT's, so the veterans may have better ideas)
And most DEFINITELY let them come out with custom comments appended to their actions!

There was actually a suggestion back in the old CoH forums to have a fully fleshed out Mastermind powerset that would focus in detail on one "super-pet" instead of multiple lesser ones. It'd be very easy to translate that idea into being a "sidekick" as is being suggested here. Of course the downside is that only Masterminds with that specific powerset would have a "sidekick" like this.

There's also been the idea to make a "sidekick power pool" which would in effect let anyone who chooses powers from that pool to become a sort of pseudo-Mastermind. Obviously the powers in that generic powerset couldn't be better than the standard Mastermind powersets.

Personally I still like the "non-combat pet" sidekick idea. It avoids all the concerns about this pet being overpowered or unbalancing game-wise and could allow for a large amount of customization without having to worry about any "mastermind-only" pet customization issues.

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Automatisch wrote:
Automatisch wrote:

So, when these guys get killed do we go to the local sidekick dealership and pick out a new one?

Depends on whether sidekicks like these would be implemented like unique NPCs (sort of like STOs bridge officers) or if they would be like Mastermind pet powers that could just be "recast" on the spot.

I personally favor them implemented as "fully customizable non-combat pet powers" which would allow them to be "summoned" or "dismissed" at will.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Automatisch wrote:
So, when these guys get killed do we go to the local sidekick dealership and pick out a new one?

Depends on whether sidekicks like these would be implemented like unique NPCs (sort of like STOs bridge officers) or if they would be like Mastermind pet powers that could just be "recast" on the spot.
I personally favor them implemented as "fully customizable non-combat pet powers" which would allow them to be "summoned" or "dismissed" at will.

Meh. I've never seen any value in non-combat pets, myself. I mean, if you want to have a kitten or a raccoon or something following you around as part of your RP, fine. Whatever. That's a pet. But if it's a sidekick, what's the point of having one if it doesn't do anything? Why bother with the time and resources spent to create the customization framework for a useless manikin that just follows you around?

Nah, If we're going to have a sidekick that's customizable, lets make it worthwhile. Otherwise, it might as well be the goofy "bobble-head of the Signature Hero" variety.

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WarBird wrote:
WarBird wrote:

Lothic wrote:
Automatisch wrote:
So, when these guys get killed do we go to the local sidekick dealership and pick out a new one?

Depends on whether sidekicks like these would be implemented like unique NPCs (sort of like STOs bridge officers) or if they would be like Mastermind pet powers that could just be "recast" on the spot.
I personally favor them implemented as "fully customizable non-combat pet powers" which would allow them to be "summoned" or "dismissed" at will.

Meh. I've never seen any value in non-combat pets, myself. I mean, if you want to have a kitten or a raccoon or something following you around as part of your RP, fine. Whatever. That's a pet. But if it's a sidekick, what's the point of having one if it doesn't do anything? Why bother with the time and resources spent to create the customization framework for a useless manikin that just follows you around?
Nah, If we're going to have a sidekick that's customizable, lets make it worthwhile. Otherwise, it might as well be the goofy "bobble-head of the Signature Hero" variety.

I would argue that non-combat pets are "worthwhile" in their own way, but I won't bother to quibble that exact point here.

For what it's worth I'm not necessarily "against" having a combat-capable sidekick. I just foresee there are many different ways to implement the idea (based just on what's been covered in this thread) and I suspect it would emerge as a major enough feature to become a huge point of angst to the percentage of the playerbase who absolutely hated whatever way MWM eventually chose to implement it.

The idea of having a non-combat sidekick simply sidesteps most of the game-balancing problems for the Devs and much of the bitching and QQing that would come from the playerbase who would endlessly debate the merits of CoT's version of a "Follower".

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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WarBird wrote:
WarBird wrote:

I love the idea of a fully customizable sidekick as an off-shoot of Master-Mind. In fact, I'd like to see a bit more customization available to the pets in a standard MM power set. Like coloring the skin or adding a couple of distinct costume pieces to a generic model. Mainly so I could tell my ninjas/robots/thugs from the other MM in the group. :)

Having the customization limited to a subset of the complete range of costume pieces, though, gets around the harem/slave girl type of objection; for example, a Thugs powerset might restrict you to gang-style clothing pieces, although you'd be able to color and decorate them without restriction (although adding suit costume pieces would let you extend a Thugs set to look like Family if you wanted a Mafia-style MM)

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

WarBird wrote:
Lothic wrote:
Automatisch wrote:
So, when these guys get killed do we go to the local sidekick dealership and pick out a new one?

Depends on whether sidekicks like these would be implemented like unique NPCs (sort of like STOs bridge officers) or if they would be like Mastermind pet powers that could just be "recast" on the spot.
I personally favor them implemented as "fully customizable non-combat pet powers" which would allow them to be "summoned" or "dismissed" at will.

Meh. I've never seen any value in non-combat pets, myself. I mean, if you want to have a kitten or a raccoon or something following you around as part of your RP, fine. Whatever. That's a pet. But if it's a sidekick, what's the point of having one if it doesn't do anything? Why bother with the time and resources spent to create the customization framework for a useless manikin that just follows you around?
Nah, If we're going to have a sidekick that's customizable, lets make it worthwhile. Otherwise, it might as well be the goofy "bobble-head of the Signature Hero" variety.

I would argue that non-combat pets are "worthwhile" in their own way, but I won't bother to quibble that exact point here.
For what it's worth I'm not necessarily "against" having a combat-capable sidekick. I just foresee there are many different ways to implement the idea (based just on what's been covered in this thread) and I suspect it would emerge as a major enough feature to become a huge point of angst to the percentage of the playerbase who absolutely hated whatever way MWM eventually chose to implement it.
The idea of having a non-combat sidekick simply sidesteps most of the game-balancing problems for the Devs and much of the bitching and QQing that would come from the playerbase who would endlessly debate the merits of CoT's version of a "Follower".

I hear ya, Lothic. I'm not trying to figure out every possible ramification or avoid pitfalls that may or may not present themselves. We're just playing "Wouldn't it be cool if..." games. here. Game balance is the Dev's problem. :p

As has been pointed out to me on numerous occasions in these forums when I've tried to anticipate the community's reaction to something; "No matter what, somebody's gonna complain about it." ::shrug:: Now I just talk about what I think would be interesting and why.

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srmalloy wrote:
srmalloy wrote:

WarBird wrote:
I love the idea of a fully customizable sidekick as an off-shoot of Master-Mind. In fact, I'd like to see a bit more customization available to the pets in a standard MM power set. Like coloring the skin or adding a couple of distinct costume pieces to a generic model. Mainly so I could tell my ninjas/robots/thugs from the other MM in the group. :)
Having the customization limited to a subset of the complete range of costume pieces, though, gets around the harem/slave girl type of objection; for example, a Thugs powerset might restrict you to gang-style clothing pieces, although you'd be able to color and decorate them without restriction (although adding suit costume pieces would let you extend a Thugs set to look like Family if you wanted a Mafia-style MM)

Yeah something like that might work for the "humanoid" Mastermind pets. But they'd probably have to come up with some kind of "unique customization" options for each and every Mastermind powerset to make things fair. This would mean special colors/parts for robots, special robes for ninjas, etc. Not saying it'd be impossible - just saying it would not be trivial to support all the Mastermind types.

Also there's the point that without full freedom to customize "sidekicks" any way you'd want then how do you address the idea of "matching outfits" that's a staple in comic books? For instance let's say I'd want to make a hero with a "matching" sidekick like the following:


Without the freedom to create my sidekick's outfit using whatever options I wanted I'd probably never be able to have something match like these. I realize full customization has the potential for abuse, but without it I'd argue having proper "comic book" styled sidekicks would be semi-impossible. With that it'd just be easier to have random "temp combat pet powers" (like CoH already had) and be done with it.

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Different things, really. The

Different things, really. The point is that a sidekick would get much more "individuality", becoming more of a character in themselves. Just like in the comics or any other genre,(like noir detective or western, even) But such individuality is less wanted or needed with an army of minions, which is what the Mastermind AT is supposed to simulate. I mean, you don't devote a whole issue of Nick Fury rescuing a single SHIELD agent, but Captain America would rescuing Bucky.

So, I'd think an individual "sidekick" would be entirely cutomizable, as you suggest. Why not? That requires no additional model creation, just a framework on how their powers would work in conjunction with the Player's to maintain game balance.

However, in the conventional Mastermind model, where you have a whole gang of 'pets', that your choices would be limited to a 'type' (thug/robot/squid-monkey/etc) with some color freedom and a limited amount of "add-on" pieces distinct to the type. So, sure, there would be some additional models, but it's not like you'd need FULL customization for every type of pet. How many types of pets were there in CoH, anyway? Five or six? Not all that many if I recall. (But again, I didn't run too many MM's.)

Of course, the cookie cutter temp combat pet would be easier. That's not what we're talking about. We're discussing whether something that's more fully fleshed out would be desirable, first. Then the devs can figure out if the work necessary is equal to or less than the benefit derived by the players.

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srmalloy wrote:
srmalloy wrote:

WarBird wrote:
I love the idea of a fully customizable sidekick as an off-shoot of Master-Mind. In fact, I'd like to see a bit more customization available to the pets in a standard MM power set. Like coloring the skin or adding a couple of distinct costume pieces to a generic model. Mainly so I could tell my ninjas/robots/thugs from the other MM in the group. :)
Having the customization limited to a subset of the complete range of costume pieces, though, gets around the harem/slave girl type of objection; for example, a Thugs powerset might restrict you to gang-style clothing pieces, although you'd be able to color and decorate them without restriction (although adding suit costume pieces would let you extend a Thugs set to look like Family if you wanted a Mafia-style MM)

There is nothing wrong with someone trying to pull the harem concept. The problem is when that's all you see. If it was limited to a Mastermind class, and all of a sudden someone does a Austin Powers with Fight Attendants concept, it's limit.

But giving everyone a customizable sidekick, I feel will lead to Slave Leia's running around everywhere, and that just ruined immersion for me in TOR (though didn't stop me from playing it until I finished all 8 stories).

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Did anyone ever stop to think

Did anyone ever stop to think the best way to pull off the sidekick option was to just play with a friend? :p

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

But giving everyone a customizable sidekick, I feel will lead to Slave Leia's running around everywhere.

Brand X wrote:

Did anyone ever stop to think the best way to pull off the sidekick option was to just play with a friend? :p

The trick with that is convincing your friend to run around dressed as Slave Leia... ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Brand X wrote:
But giving everyone a customizable sidekick, I feel will lead to Slave Leia's running around everywhere.

Brand X wrote:
Did anyone ever stop to think the best way to pull off the sidekick option was to just play with a friend? :p

The trick with that is convincing your friend to run around dressed as Slave Leia... ;)

I laughed.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Did anyone ever stop to think the best way to pull off the sidekick option was to just play with a friend? :p

Oh yeah, plenty of times. That's fine and all, but this is more for personal role-play. Not everyone is going to put in the time to coordinate Sidekick RP with another player, many wouldn't even care to RP that much. But having a nice simple customization sidekick would be a great way to live out those fantasies and make that classic character concept without all of the other bits that come with a human player. Even in an MMO, you shouldn't always have to be dependent on other people, especially when it comes to personal story. Options are good.

Also, I really think your concerns about this whole slave outfit thing are a bit overblown. Even if our game HAS a slave outfit, It's fundamentally different than in SWTOR. TOR's pets, much as I hate to say it, felt sort of like tools, especially Kira (Chief Slave girl). A part of me feels like if players have some sort of connection to this character, they won't just make them look goofy for no reason, because they feel important to the identity of the character. And even if the slave outfit is in use, with the customization this game is aiming for, at least they'd be unique slaves :P

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Thanatos wrote:
Thanatos wrote:

Brand X wrote:
Did anyone ever stop to think the best way to pull off the sidekick option was to just play with a friend? :p

Oh yeah, plenty of times. That's fine and all, but this is more for personal role-play. Not everyone is going to put in the time to coordinate Sidekick RP with another player, many wouldn't even care to RP that much. But having a nice simple customization sidekick would be a great way to live out those fantasies and make that classic character concept without all of the other bits that come with a human player. Even in an MMO, you shouldn't always have to be dependent on other people, especially when it comes to personal story. Options are good.
Also, I really think your concerns about this whole slave outfit thing are a bit overblown. Even if our game HAS a slave outfit, It's fundamentally different than in SWTOR. TOR's pets, much as I hate to say it, felt sort of like tools, especially Kira (Chief Slave girl). A part of me feels like if players have some sort of connection to this character, they won't just make them look goofy for no reason, because they feel important to the identity of the character. And even if the slave outfit is in use, with the customization this game is aiming for, at least they'd be unique slaves :P

Now see, I was on the RP server and saw it every where, and in my RP Guild I was the most dressed. So it could have just been me seeing it all over fleet and in my guild...and on Hoth...and on Tattooine...okay that last one might make sense. :p

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The only way this is possibly

The only way this is possibly going to work is making each mission required three, or six, characters and filling out the group with sidekicks. That way the difficulty can be scaled to a known target and will be failrly consistent (and thus manageable for a small team having to balance hundreds of thousands possible builds).
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And of course to encourage teaming up, the number of actual players determines the amount of experience and drops, but the rewards will be divied up by the total number of group members (so one player and 5 sidekicks will get only a sixth of the reward for 1 players, while a group of six players will each get the full reward)

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I'm pro NPC sidekick, as long

I'm pro NPC sidekick, as long as it has the Fusionette A.I. :)

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I like the idea of a sidekick

I like the idea of a sidekick but I think that you should be a hero of a decent level, 25ish, before you are given a sidekick. There could also be a filter of sorts on the TFs that keep you from calling your sidekick because its too dangerous for them or something. Its not quite a fully customizable sidekick but I sort of like the idea of Jr hero training missions. Basically you get to pick a pre-generated or randomly generated sidekick who fallows you around for a time period to give him some field training. After doing this enough you can ,for lack of a better term, adopt one of these jr-heroes as a sidekick. You might not be able to pick their powers but you could pick their costumes at least. Another way of working sidekicks is for them to have power sets specific to them that are of a lower power. Sort of like in the movie "Sky High" if you have good powers you are classified as a hero. If your powers are not so good you get to ride the super short bus to sidekick class.

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Why not just have 'Sidekick'

Why not just have 'Sidekick' as a power pool-style power choice? That way it can be balanced in along with every other power (pet and otherwise) in the game and the devs do not have to assume that everyone is going to have a sidekick.