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[Very Long] On Minions - Value, Build Requirements, and Expendability

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Halae
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[Very Long] On Minions - Value, Build Requirements, and Expendability

This is a long one, so buckle up.

I got into a discussion with my boyfriend about games have and have not gotten pet summoning systems right. Some examples that came up off the top of my head on the bad side were Guild Wars 2, Skyrim, and Perfect World, with the good side being WoW and CoH.

In Guild Wars 2, there's three classes that can set themselves up for the utilization of minion creatures; Ranger, Necromancer, and Mesmer. Ranger has a pet stapled to it; to account for this, they have a lower damage than the vast majority of the other classes, and have since the game's launch; there's been wide demand since launch for the ability to just not take a pet for the fact that they had terrible AI, died easily, didn't make up for the damage loss, and being something that vampiric bosses can simply leech from to screw over the party. The new specialization, Soulbeast, can get rid of the pet for personal buffs, and the ranger has been in the best place it's ever been in since that spec was released, which is bad. The necromancer, meanwhile, can choose to fill its skill slots with a wide variety undead minions, all of which are disposable and can be resummoned with a little effort, but are the next best thing to useless anyways in high level content due to the fact that they aren't up to par with what is expected of them. Mesmer minions, their illusions, are even more expendable - you are in fact meant to shatter them on your enemy for damage and utility effects, meaning you build them up naturally through standard combos and then get rid of them all; they're the strongest implementation of minion creatures in the game, and you can't build a minion build with them because of how ludicrously disposable they are. for every one of these builds, you can put a lot into the pet, but it'll amount to very little in the end, and detract from your character's other abilities.

Skyrim (and many of the other Elder Scrolls games) has an entirely different problem. A conjuration specialist mage could choose to basically not take part in vast swathes of the game, due to that fact that if they call up a critter, it'll turn the corner and engage the enemy for you. you lose nothing by doing this tactic either; magicka regenerates fast enough that if you sit out of the fight, any time your summon dies, you can simply summon a new one, and they're reasonably on par with other creatures you can encounter. You send enough of one thing at a creature, and it'll be whittled down over time. Eventually, you could even summon two top-level creatures at a time, allowing you to obviate basically every combat scenario in the game for very little effort.

Perfect World, like skyrim, has the "overpowered pet" problem, but in a different direction. Rather than being infinitely expendable while also being powerful, the pet of the venomancer class is nearly a party's worth of defenses unto itself if you do it right, and with the venomancer character playing healbot to their minion, they could solo dungeons meant for entire groups of players to clear. It became a popular farming strategy, in fact, to the point of being memetic among the game's playerbase, where even if you didn't main a venomancer, you still had one so that you could go farming. Dungeons were nerfed several times to account for venomancer farming runs, and the venomancer was nerfed several times, to no avail. The pet was hard to get back after it died, but it never actually died.

But those are the bad games for this sort of thing. when it comes to WoW, you have two high-end pet systems in place - one for the warlock summoning demons, and one for the beast master hunter and their pet. Demonology warlocks are focused primarily on themselves and their spells, with the demons they call upon playing the role of extra damage and a side of defense, primarily just by putting an extra body between the target and the warlock. the warlock casts the spells that actually do the summoning, including summong extra, low-end demons to send into the fray that are completely expendable, even more so than the main demon pet. Beast Master Hunters, meanwhile, get a single pet that can play tank or damager for them based on the group they're in. It's much like how the venomancer would be if they were actually balanced, as the pet can operate much like the venomancer pet would, but the hunter doesn't have the kit and tools to keep it alive indefinitely, as the hunter itself is primarily a damage dealing class, solving the issue neatly while still allowing the playstyle of the pet being a tank to be available to the hunter. The hunter's pet is valuable, without being expendable.

The big thing that can I glean from this? How balanced a minion creature is is determined primarily how long and how much of your build you need to use up to make a summoned creature viable, how strong the minion is once summoned, and how easy it is to replace once it's no longer available.

  1. A minion that has too much value for how easily it can be replaced, or how much of a build it takes up will always be overpowered compared to other options. Conversely, a weak minion must have similarly low build requirements and be easy to replace to be worthwhile.
  2. A minion that is too easy to replace for its value or build requirements will lead to endless waves of minions being thrown at targets, which even if weak will whittle down high-end targets. There's actually not too much problem with making minions difficult to replace, as it makes them a "between combat" replacement deal; it just means the summoner will suffer more strongly from attrition than their peers. Still, one must balance the value and build requirements based on how long it takes to replace them.
  3. A minion must be as valuable as is proportional to the build costs required for it. A creature that costs too little of the summoner's build to utilize for its value will result in the summoner specializing in other places, allowing the pet to wreck house even while the summoner does their own thing. Conversely, a weak minion that doesn't grow enough with a build dedicated is the next best thing to useless, and can even be a liability in certain scenarios.

I'm fairly certain someone better at math than I am could lay this out as an equation. You must balance these aspects to have minions that feel good, which leads me into my next point: the fact that CoH balanced these values near perfectly through the mastermind structure.

Do you remember your crappy level 1 minion? Easily replaced, as you only needed to use a single power to get it back. Said power had a fairly long cast time, so it still hurt when you lost the minion, but it wasn't difficult to get back at all, making it not very valuable, but easily replaced. The moment it started to feel underwhelming - around level 6 - you got your second tier 1 minion and your first empowerment. your tier 1 summon spell becomes more valuable, but to keep your minions up to snuff either way, you needed to empower them; you've just more than doubled their (admittedly quite low) value, in exchange for doubling the build cost (two slots, rather than one) and casting time to make them combat ready.

And then, at level 12, you got your third minion, and your first tier 2 minion at that. Still capable of being empowered with your original empowerment ability, you're up to a three slot build cost and triple casting time to get everything ready, but life is downright good at the moment, as the minions feel valuable for the level, since the tier 2 minions is out and out strong, especially since it has your two tier 1 minions as backup dancers. And that lasts until about level 18, where your your tier 2 minion isn't the unstoppable badass he was six levels ago, but you get a third tier 1 to pick up the slack, and that's enough to keep you going for another 24, when you get your second tier 2 minions; value boosts, since the old amount of value wasn't keeping anymore for the build and expendability cost it required from you. And then, finally, you got your single tier 3 minion at level; another build requirement, another value boost, and another increase in how long it takes you to replace your minions. finally, you have a high enough value to see you through for quite a number of levels until your second empowerment spell comes along on at level 32, and that will see you all the way to endgame.

This is the important thing; every time that you lagged behind in CoH, it increased your minion value to make up for it. It often requires you to commit parts of your build to it, but it maintains being viable at all levels without being overpowered by making certain to balance the available cost in fairly blunt ways. Minions dying too often? Here's an extra! They're not doing enough? Here, give them new abilities! It even included a few boosts that didn't require expending extra resources from your build or cast times by giving you additional minions now and then.

This is something that I feel needs to be kept in mind when making minions in CoT, for the devs. This is in fact important; every game I can think of that fails at summoning puts the onus on one of these parts of the balance equation.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

Lost Deep
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CoH Masterminds were finely

CoH Masterminds were finely-balanced in other powers as well. Their core power set was a mix of minions, minion upgrades, and minion support, with a few personal attack powers just in case. However, those personal attack powers dropped off in relevance as you leveled up: you changed from being a part of the damage output to a dedicated backline character. However, giving you these abilities at low level smoothed the difficulty curve at the beginning of the game.

The secondary sets, support powers, were mostly re-organized, too. This was because for Masterminds team support abilities were more important than personal support or enemy limiting ones even at low level. Even when considering solo play builds, team support abilities were important because they indirectly impacted your DPS (from keeping your minions alive), your survivability (from the mastermind passive ability giving the minions damage instead of you), and for some power sets your support ability (from keeping minions with support powers alive)

On the other hand, while I can't speak on the fine balance, the minions for the necromancer in GW2 are each kind of in a bubble. There's no power interaction between them, since each one is made to pop in and out of a build as needed, and even without getting into the AI issues they're very limited. They each only have a basic attack and one ability you can have them use on click, and there's no way to improve them other than general improvements from the traits. In addition, about half of the click powers are sacrifice-based. This is commonly a very bad idea: The burst heal from sacrificing the healing minion is not worth the time you need to spend without a healing minion, sacrificing the bone minions for bust damage is arguable even after it's made more effective by a trait that triggers on minion death, and sacrificing your wurm just moves you to it. I've never had a situation where I need mobility that badly, much less to my wurm's position (which is either out of the way for ranged attacks or in the thick of things so enemies target it before me).

Combine that with the fact that some abilities that target allies don't target minions and you have a bit of a mess. It means that support abilities aren't really reliable for minion builds: You're better off supplying more damage while the minions take hits. As a result you can't really focus a build on and around minions. You just have a bunch of minions taking hits and backing up whatever your damage source is from your weapons. You're not a minion master, as it were: you're instead a person with a bunch of expendable chaff.

Under Construction...

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In GW2, Rangers can have two

In GW2, Rangers can have two pets available and swap between them, if they start to die. Having two Bears means having two semi-expendable 'tanks', freeing the Ranger to rain death on the difficult mob, and one only needs to keep an eye on their HP bars to tag-team the target. Of course, the Dragons 'cheat', so you can't expect to solo them.

Be Well!
Fireheart

Halae
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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

In GW2, Rangers can have two pets available and swap between them, if they start to die. Having two Bears means having two semi-expendable 'tanks', freeing the Ranger to rain death on the difficult mob, and one only needs to keep an eye on their HP bars to tag-team the target. Of course, the Dragons 'cheat', so you can't expect to solo them.
Be Well!
Fireheart

The problem with the GW2 ranger pets is that they're just not valuable enough on offense, and due to balance concerns, the devs made it so that rangers were balanced around the concept of their pets being one of their primary sources of DPS. This overvaluing means you need to go for the high-end damage pets to meet up with the damage expected of you by the game itself, as well as other players, so you can't reasonably choose to go with a tank pet and expect to keep up in damage.

An early dev comment stated that the ranger's pet was supposed to be about 40% of the Ranger's damage capability, but when the game launched, even DPS focused pets could only manage up to about 15%, nevermind the tank pets like bears who have a fraction of the DPS pet's power. There was requests for buffs right from the get-go, and there was a comment from the devs that they couldn't buff the pets without turning it it into an NPC warrior the ranger had at their beck and call, which was ludicrously wrong for how powerful everything was. Over time, the Ranger has been buffed, but the pets, aside from a 90% damage reduction against monster AoEs, have barely been buffed at all, making them worse in value comparing them to the ranger, as the game has become more dangerous in PvE due to the fact that there's much higher end PvE builds these days.

Seriously, pets are in a very screwy position right now, and right up to when the newest expansion came out, people were demanding that there be a way to turn pets off entirely, even if it didn't provide the players with a buff. That's how bad they are; you simply can't keep up with other players if you go with a pet focused build. There are no endgame ranger builds in GW2 that put any sort of emphasis on the pet; base ranger has one that focused exclusively on condition damage with no consideration given to the pet, the druid spec is focused on healing (and thus ignoring the pet in favor of party support), and the rise of the soulbeast has included a ton of builds that do nothing but ignore the fact that the pet exists in favor of the bonuses you get for getting rid of it.

you can't honestly tell me that's a good position for the petmaster class to be in.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

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Considering that Tannim has

Considering that Tannim has stated (can't find the post right now) that there will be 4 different "amounts" of pets in the summoning sets we can only hope they manage to keep the same balance as you describe it that was done in CoH. My guess at the amounts would be 1,2,4 and 6 respectively.

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That wouldn't surprise be,

That wouldn't surprise be, blacke4dawn.

Say you had one extremely powerful pet, right? I imagine a lot of your other abilities would be focused on giving it empowerments. If it takes up the same amount of build space as the 6 minions, that'd work really well, as it'd keep the pet powerful and relevant without going too far into it.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

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I stopped playing CoH after a

I stopped playing CoH after a while, but while I was playing (with my main being a Zombie/Poison MM) Masterminds were extremely broken in regards to how easy it was to solo as them compared to other classes. I can't speak for other specs, but I personally was able to solo AVs simply by summoning my minions, buffing them, and letting them do the work while healing/resummoning them as needed during the fight. Flight just made it even easier. I rarely ever found myself needing to find a group in order to deal with anything other than giant monsters found in the open world or to do task forces.

Pets are extremely difficult to balance in any game. Too powerful and they trivialize the game, too weak and they're simply not feasible. I just hope when they are implemented into the game, they're done well.

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There are different operating

There are different operating modes you could use for different "pet based" class options. You could have pets that are very durable but do low damage, thus "tanking" for you while you do a lot of the damage yourself. You could have pets that are used for DPS while you play healer for them. Pets can be melee only or ranged only or a mix of both. It'll be interesting to see what CoT comes up with. Hopefully not as OP as the Mastermind was in CoX, but I mean, given that they won't be there on day 1, and given that power creep is a thing, I expect the pet class to have it's advantages.

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I think what can also make or

I think what can also make or break a pet class in a game is not the pets themselves, but the AI of the opponents. If I understand MWM's intentions for CoT, every heal and buff and debuff you perform adds to your threat rating, so I fully believe that making sure all your opponents are engaged by your pets will be key to keeping yourself safe. Otherwise you could find yourself at the top of the threat list of an otherwise lightly engaged opponent, especially ranged opponents.

Typically, I've found that pet summoners who find themselves under personal attack are far less survivable than other classes, and either have to out-DPS their opponents or otherwise keep opponents off themselves with control abilities or pet-taunts. A good opponent AI should take advantage of this fact, but sadly a lot of games don't have that sophisticated an AI. I believe the AI in Elder Scrolls Online is this sophisticated but I haven't played it since they introduced the Warden class, so if anyone out there can comment on it, you should add your 2 inf.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Typically, I've found that pet summoners who find themselves under personal attack are far less survivable than other classes, and either have to out-DPS their opponents or otherwise keep opponents off themselves with control abilities or pet-taunts.

This reminds of a puppeteer class in a game I cant remember the name of right now. When you connected your "strings" you would control the puppet and its abilities.

It was a really cool concept which I hadnt seen done before, and was actually really well done as the puppet came with CC abilities to keep enemies aggro'd on the actual character away from them. (or you could disconnect strings, and the puppet would be in a sort of catatonic state)

As foolish as this seems,

Gotem.

From ya boy, Elios.

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the the trick coh had for

the the trick coh had for master minds was low damage and lowdamage and lots of hitpoints.
when it came to the ,mastery powers class where you got a widow or spider solder etc they had liutenet damage and boss hitpoints

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Halae wrote:
Halae wrote:

The big thing that can I glean from this? How balanced a minion creature is is determined primarily how long and how much of your build you need to use up to make a summoned creature viable, how strong the minion is once summoned, and how easy it is to replace once it's no longer available.

If I may Halae, I think there is something to be said for how 'involved' the managing of your pets is.
CoH pets had at least a few simple to understand commands that could be given to your pets. Stay, follow, passive, aggressive, attack that target, go there, ect. Unless I am misremembering things greatly, most pet classes in other games tended towards a more 'fire and forget' approach. At most you get a choice between passive and aggressive but little else.

I think this is why the Mastermind from CoH is generally regarded as a stand out in terms of pet classes and why it's fans speak at length about the Masterminds strength. The fact that a Mastermind player could micro manage his pets to squeeze out every drop of their capability goes a long way to providing a more versatile and useful pet class.

Halae
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Well Brainbot, I personally

Well Brainbot, I personally roll that into the "Value" part of the minion, which is meant to be how effective it is overall when you have it summoned. I didn't really forget about is so much as conflate it with its stats, which I admit, i likely should have been clearer on.

One particularly good example of a "well controlled" pet class is the arcanist from FF14, and the two jobs you can turn it into, Summoner and Scholar. The pet bar has a surprisingly robust number of "general" action keys, which allows for a much higher level of tactical versatility than you might otherwise get from the class. Given how well you could control the minions in CoH, I'd be pretty surprised if they skimped on pet control in CoT.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

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Halae wrote:
Halae wrote:

Well Brainbot, I personally roll that into the "Value" part of the minion, which is meant to be how effective it is overall when you have it summoned. I didn't really forget about is so much as conflate it with its stats, which I admit, i likely should have been clearer on.

It doesn't matter if you consider pet controls a hidden (by this I mean nothing in your OP hinted towards control) part of what you call value or not. You laid out the aspects you deemed the 'big thing' in properly designing a pet class. Specifically build, duration, strength and reinforcement.
I was simply pointing out that I think control is every bit as important as your stated factors, perhaps more so.
I am perfectly willing to discuss the cogency of my opinion but you have dismissed it by expressing incredulity it could be overlooked simply due to the way a previous game handled it.
As I don't care about the topic enough to turn a discussion into an argument I leave you to it.

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I wasn't trying to start an

I wasn't trying to start an argument, and I'm not certain where you got that impression, but at this point I believe you've started one, whether you want to or not.

There's a lot of details I didn't go into detailing with my original point; they were meant to be as general as possible, because I don't feel these factors apply to just MMOs and similar games. My three points are what trading card games such as Magic: the Gathering and RTS games such as Starcraft are built on.

To get a specific creature, how much of your deck/buildings do you have to dedicate to getting it? what does it take to put it on the field and make it effective (buffs and the like)? How much resource do I need to spend to summon and maintain it? What does it do when it's on the field? These questions are pertinent to any game that includes summoned creature separate from the player, regardless of whether they're an MMO or not, and in particular that last question was what I was thinking when I included the factor of "value", and to me at least, that includes what you can make it do for you.

I don't appreciate the insinuation that I was dismissing you out of hand for any reason. I was not. But the CoT devs have stated, time and again, that they wish for CoT to have superior mechanics to CoH. It seems like it'd be a rather large failing on their part if they were to fail to supply at least the same level of summon control as was in the last game, given what they've stated in the past.

I didn't go into details regarding HP, attack speed, minion appearance, or the like when I was detailing my original points. Why would you assume that because I didn't go into detail about something, I don't consider it?

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

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Halae wrote:
Halae wrote:

I wasn't trying to start an argument, and I'm not certain where you got that impression, but at this point I believe you've started one, whether you want to or not.

I didn't say you were starting one. I said I didn't want to. I am still not going to argue with you over this but I will explain my second response for you.

Halae wrote:

I don't appreciate the insinuation that I was dismissing you out of hand for any reason. I was not. But the CoT devs have stated, time and again, that they wish for CoT to have superior mechanics to CoH. It seems like it'd be a rather large failing on their part if they were to fail to supply at least the same level of summon control as was in the last game, given what they've stated in the past.

Your reply started defensive stating you didn't forget about controls and ended with a comment that reeked of 'let's not worry about it'. I never said you forgot about controls, I said you didn't consider it as important as I do.

This is evident by the fact that nothing in your OP or follow ups mention control. You focused on the pet's DPS/power, defenses, cost to summon/maintain, build requirements but nothing about control. Furthermore, when describing the merits of the Mastermind class, you clearly use 'value' to mean how strong, easy to replace, how many powers you need in your build and when you get multiple minions for a single summon. These are your words:

Halae wrote:

This is the important thing; every time that you lagged behind in CoH, it increased your minion value to make up for it. It often requires you to commit parts of your build to it, but it maintains being viable at all levels without being overpowered by making certain to balance the available cost in fairly blunt ways. Minions dying too often? Here's an extra! They're not doing enough? Here, give them new abilities! It even included a few boosts that didn't require expending extra resources from your build or cast times by giving you additional minions now and then.

Nothing about control.

You can be upset about my insinuation, even though I didn't insinuate dismissal, I flat out stated it. But in the end you have decided that your points (cost, reinforcement, power ect) are worthy of discussion but my point of control is not. Your reasoning, CoH got the control aspect right and there is no reason to think CoT won't. Well, according to your extended description of Masterminds they got all the 'value' (your word) right but still you had to point out everything but control.
You were saying 'Control's will be something the devs will get right but dps and pet cost, well I don't trust the devs to get that right so I better point it out.'
Are you seeing how you were dismissive?

Halae wrote:

I didn't go into details regarding HP, attack speed, minion appearance, or the like when I was detailing my original points. Why would you assume that because I didn't go into detail about something, I don't consider it?

Just so I am clear, I never said you didn't consider it. I said you didn't think it important enough to discuss prior to my bringing it up and immediately dismissed it as ridiculous that anyone could get pet class controls wrong.

I hope this explanation lets you look at things from my perspective and you can calm down a bit with the overly defensive attitude.

So again I say, I don't care enough about the subject to start an argument and I leave you to it.

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Basically, this comes down to

Basically, this comes down to a Quality vs Quantity debate, as well as a Versatility vs Ease Of Use debate.

The most obvious outcome of the former is the Conservation of Ninjitsu trope, which basically looks like this:

The counterpoint to this notion is everyone's favorite retort that Quantity has a Quality all of its own complete with (real world) historical precedents.
Yes, a Tiger tank was a qualitatively better tank than a Sherman, and a Tiger tank could destroy 10 Shermans. The problem was, that there was always an 11th Sherman out there ...

For the second debate, if something is really versatile, it winds up in a place where it either can't be that easy to use, or it needs to be something that can't be used all the time (or "perma" as we liked to say in City of Heroes). The more versatile something is, the more downtime it needs to have to keep it from being too overwhelming. Among Masterminds, the power Gang War exemplified this as something that was really good and fun to use, but wasn't something you could throw out too often.

In that respect, I think that the stacking of Pets used for Street Thugs in City of Heroes is probably the direction that MWM will want to steer towards.
One STRONG Pet (Boss).
Two Medium Pets (Lieutenants).
Three "crunchy" Pets (Minions).
A "swarm" of disposable Pets (Underlings) that aren't available full time.

That system worked reasonably well for City of Heroes. It would be nice to think that we could get it working for City of Titans too.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

In that respect, I think that the stacking of Pets used for Street Thugs in City of Heroes is probably the direction that MWM will want to steer towards.
One STRONG Pet (Boss).
Two Medium Pets (Lieutenants).
Three "crunchy" Pets (Minions).
A "swarm" of disposable Pets (Underlings) that aren't available full time.
That system worked reasonably well for City of Heroes. It would be nice to think that we could get it working for City of Titans too.

Tannim222 wrote:

My current plans are along those lines; 4 Focused Play Styles designed around the number of total pet summons in the set. Then variations of the pet modules (we use modules - think npc versions of power sets) for each set under each Focused Play Style set.

The above is a quote from this thread.

The use of the term Focused Play Style by Tannim222 is specific and intentional. Perhaps we should add this to the list of terms, because it comes up in discussion every once in a while. It is defined in the announcement How it Works: Powerset Design

Quote:

To create a Power Set, we must first define its Basic Playstyle. The Basic styles are Melee, Ranged, Control, Support, Protection, and Summons. Then we move on to the next level: Focused Playstyle. Each Basic Playstyle has four Focused Playstyles under it. For example, Melee has Single Target Focused, Area Effect Focused, Standard Melee, and Utility Focused. Each of these Focused Playstyles generate a basic template for the Power Set.

emphasis added by me.

Other Archetypes have 5 power sets to choose from. Those power sets pick from among the 4 focused play styles assigned to that archetype. Thus every archetype has at least one overlap where two powersets are designed around the same focused play style.

Let us assume for the sake of consistency that Commanders will also have 5 power sets to choose from. Thus, like the other archetypes, two power sets will be designed to have the same focused play style, which we now know means that two (2) power sets will have the same number of pets. But we also know that pet modules will determine the behavior of our pets and Tannim says that we will not be able to pick the modules, so whatever modules we get with our pets are the modules we get with the power set we choose. But that doesn't really change what we expect. In CoX, our pets behaved a certain way and we were not able to choose whether our imps were ranged or melee or manipulation, they were just imps. So it looks to be with CoT: Our pets will come equipped with one (1) set of behaviors per pet.

So this gives us some idea what the Commander class will look like:

Your choice of focused play style will be simultaneous with your choice of number of pets. (with one overlap, which could be anything)
So, besides the number of pets, Focused play style choices could also include any of the following:

  • Melee (single target)
  • Assault (single target)
  • Ranged (single target)
  • Melee Utility
  • Assault Utility
  • Ranged Utility
  • Melee Control
  • Assault Control
  • Ranged Control

(using the melee play styles as a template, I consider utility to be a buff and debuff set, while I consider control to be a knock-down, knock up, immobilize and stun set)

So the 4 focused play styles could be four of the following 36 possible combinations:

Style 1 pet 2 pets 3 pets 4+ pets
Melee Single Target - - (*) -
Assault Single Target - - - (*)
Ranged Single Target - - - -
Melee Utility - - - -
Assault Utility - (*) - (*)
Ranged Utility - - - -
Melee Control (*) - - -
Assault Control - - - -
Ranged Control - - - -

with the (*) marking the five power sets I think would be the most likely, making sure there is one per pet number, since Tannim222 has stated that there will be 4 different pet numbers available(subject to change).
(also, I assume that assault with more than one pet would probably be a combination of pets with at least one having a melee module and one having a ranged module)

My thinking for making my selection is as follows:

  • If we were going to have a one-pet option, it has already been stated that it would not be a tanking pet. I also think that if we are going to have controls as an option, it would be cool to have a single controller pet and the player character is relied upon for the offense. But then I realized it would make more sense from a game design perspective to give players more discretion over where to fire the control effects, rather than their pet AI. It would be easier to write a pet AI not to attack controlled opponents. Other games already do this. Thus, I selected a single pet with controller-like abilities going to the player (probably ranged). Whether the pet would be melee or ranged could be determined by the tier 3 and 7 ability choices.
  • The 4+ pet options would be a combination of melee and ranged and would also be presented with a more damaged focus option and a more utilitarian option. These would be the play styles that most resemble CoX.
  • I went with melee attack as the 3-pet choice because I see this being either a 3-pet dogpack or a lieutenant and two underlings. I think both of these options will be possible when presented with our tier 3 and tier 7 choices.
  • The 2 pet choice then became an assault utility with a single melee pet and a single ranged pet with one of them buffing and debuffing for the other, or both doing the buffs and debuffs. I think which does which role would be determined by your tier 3 and tier 7 choices.

I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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I would love a power to

I would love a power to summon an army of ninjas.

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Let us also be conscious of

Let us also be conscious of 'The AI'. It has been stated on occasion that 'The AI' is clever, even too clever. Having 'The AI' on your side might be one of the desperate balancing acts that necessitated releasing Commanders after Launch. Much of the discussion about pet and pet-set design may be moot, in the light of summoning a million 'Smart' pets.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Dragon's Prophet had the best

Dragon's Prophet had the best pet system imo. No mmo can touch it

There were so many pets, I would wager you could easily run into someone with your exact same bots or thugs in CoH. Not in DP..
http://dragons-prophet.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Dragons

You could ride them.

Some could fly, others could not.

Some were faster.

Some could glide.

The pets could wear armor.

You can train them for roles such as tank

There needs to be a DP 2, doubt it will happen, but anyway..... I would like some depth to the pet system in CoH. Pets in DP served a purpose. Be it roles, transportation or faster battles. There was a gotta catch them all feel to it. Some creatures could do things others could not. Some of my toons were based upon the type of creature they trained. For instance, I had an avian themed toon that only trained creatures that resembled avians.

Pets were associated with events, and recruiting powerful creatures gives a sense of fulfillment or swag flying around with it.

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CoT will let you design you

CoT will let you design you own pets using something similar to the character and power editors, so the only limit there will be your own designs.

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TheInternetJanitor wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

CoT will let you design you own pets using something similar to the character and power editors, so the only limit there will be your own designs.

I would really like to see pieces of this in action, when it is ready.

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TheInternetJanitor wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

CoT will let you design you own pets using something similar to the character and power editors, so the only limit there will be your own designs.

Can you point me to where MWM said this please? I don't recall hearing this before, and I'd like to see what I missed.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

CoT will let you design you own pets using something similar to the character and power editors, so the only limit there will be your own designs.

Can you point me to where MWM said this please? I don't recall hearing this before, and I'd like to see what I missed.

I am having trouble finding it now but I swear I remember a post saying minions would be decoupled from aesthetics like any other power. I must be going mad.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

CoT will let you design you own pets using something similar to the character and power editors, so the only limit there will be your own designs.

Can you point me to where MWM said this please? I don't recall hearing this before, and I'd like to see what I missed.

Its here:
https://cityoftitans.com/comment/91057#comment-91057

Snarlmarx wrote:

I like the idea of having the option to create customized appearances for pets, similar to the character creator, where players could go with generics, or make their own from scratch

Tannim222 wrote:

One of my white board lists for designing Summons Sets does indeed have sets with varying numbers of pets from 1 to well, I can't get into ratios but let's leave it at more than the old game.

Now do to hownthe underlying system for powe set designs will be done this won't be possible for each Summons set individually. So there isn't a point buy system for "pick uour pet" just as there isn't a point buy system for "pick your power".

It is a matter of testing as a songle pet set and a 'many' pet set need to provide relative performance. A single pet could prove too strong and too 'many' pets could get pasted too frequently. As we need all options to be viable at all levels and types of play.

Either way it is our hope to allow for a wide range of customization to summons sets. And it should go without saying but "nothing is set in stone" in this regard yet.

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That's not quite what that

That's not quite what that says. In fact, the Dev team has been very tight-lipped about actual pet mechanics. And why is pretty clear; they need to have a solid handle on the overall balance of the game before starting on pet sets.

Not having a solid handle on game balance before starting on pets and the problems that causes are rather what this thread is about. I don't doubt that they'll share their thoughts when they're ready.

Under Construction...

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OK I remember Tannim's saying

OK I remember Tannim's saying that, but I don't read that as being able to design pets in a fashion similar to that in the character and power editors. I took it as just meaning we'll have choices about our pets within the parameters MWM sets up for each pet set. Being able to choose from a limited set of options, rather than being able to design our own pets. But that's just my interpretation.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Good point.

Good point.

It would really stick out if they were the one power we couldn't customize though.

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You will be able to customize

You will be able to customize pets. They may not be as customizable as player characters as the pets use a different model than PCs.


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That's good enough

That's good enough information for me!

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

You will be able to customize pets. They may not be as customizable as player characters as the pets use a different model than PCs.

I take you mean that they will use the "NPC system" which is the same basic system just with different and/or sub-sets of assets available (and different UI) to our own characters. Or is NPC generation yet another "system"?

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Same system, simpler options

Same system, simpler options most likely.


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Even simple customization is

Even simple customization is more than other games have so that is really exciting!

Plus, adding more pet customization options is kind of a given over time as the game grows and more assets are developed. I'm sure there will be plenty of eager mastermind players happy to spend their pocket change on fancy hats for their minions.

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I'm hoping there will be a

I'm hoping there will be a way to unlock enemies as pet customizations. I have a character idea that would use stolen hacked robots.

Under Construction...

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Lost Deep wrote:
Lost Deep wrote:

I'm hoping there will be a way to unlock enemies as pet customizations. I have a character idea that would use stolen hacked robots.

Be great for villains with mind control powers too.

Edit: having like a permanent pet that's an enemy NPC would be rad as heck. Like, you use a power to gain the pet by mind controlling it, can only have so many, different strengths of enemy count for different numbers, upon your defeat they come back to their senses and behave normally (look out team!)

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Now that you mention it

Now that you mention it collecting pet aesthetic options in similar ways to unlocking costume parts or power aesthetics would be awesome. Beat up a mobster boss or alien overlord, get relevant pet options along with capes and blasters.

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Project_Hero wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:
Lost Deep wrote:

I'm hoping there will be a way to unlock enemies as pet customizations. I have a character idea that would use stolen hacked robots.

Be great for villains with mind control powers too.

Edit: having like a permanent pet that's an enemy NPC would be rad as heck. Like, you use a power to gain the pet by mind controlling it, can only have so many, different strengths of enemy count for different numbers, upon your defeat they come back to their senses and behave normally (look out team!)

That's actually what Shroud of the Avatar does. Similarly how Vanilla WoW did hunters' pets. In SoA, if you are equipped with a taming whistle and taming collar then you can attempt to tame a monster. The success chance increases the less hit points it has. Then you can have the pet fight by your side from that point on. The difference is that if that pet is defeated, it is gone (barring resurrection). You will have to tame another.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:
Lost Deep wrote:

I'm hoping there will be a way to unlock enemies as pet customizations. I have a character idea that would use stolen hacked robots.

Be great for villains with mind control powers too.

Edit: having like a permanent pet that's an enemy NPC would be rad as heck. Like, you use a power to gain the pet by mind controlling it, can only have so many, different strengths of enemy count for different numbers, upon your defeat they come back to their senses and behave normally (look out team!)

That's actually what Shroud of the Avatar does. Similarly how Vanilla WoW did hunters' pets. In SoA, if you are equipped with a taming whistle and taming collar then you can attempt to tame a monster. The success chance increases the less hit points it has. Then you can have the pet fight by your side from that point on. The difference is that if that pet is defeated, it is gone (barring resurrection). You will have to tame another.

I figured this idea would work like that too, if they're defeated, gone forever. But I really like the additional if the controller of them is defeated they go back to being normal NPCs. Which would likely be hostile to your teammates.