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Companion Change Feedback

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EricMusco's Avatar


EricMusco
11.19.2015 , 10:13 AM | #1 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Hey folks,

Following the Companion changes we made Tuesday in 4.0.2, we want to gather your feedback on your gameplay experiences. We hope by this point you have had some time to jump in and get your hands on the changes yourselves. First, before we get into the feedback we are looking for, let’s talk a bit about our specific design goals related to Companions:
  • Leveling Content – Challenge Level: Low. To complete this content, a player should have a basic understanding of game mechanics and have level-appropriate gear. Their companion’s role shouldn’t matter.
  • KotFE Chapters – Challenge Level: Low. Like leveling content, a player should have a basic understanding of game mechanics and have level-appropriate gear. Their companion’s role shouldn’t matter.
  • [Heroic 2] Missions – Challenge Level: Medium. To complete this content, a player should have a good understanding of their class and game mechanics, as well as level appropriate gear. Their companion’s role should begin to matter at this point, supplementing the player’s own Discipline. We expect some players to find these challenging initially—maybe even needing a friend’s help--but once the player earns better gear, a few levels of Influence with their companion, and has a greater understanding of the game, they should be able to solo the hardest of these missions.
  • Star Fortress – Challenge Level: Medium. These are similar to [Heroic 2] Missions. Star Fortresses should be similar to [Heroic 2] Missions. To complete this content, we expect you to have level-appropriate gear, a good understanding of your class, a companion with a few levels of Influence, as well as being in a role that supplements the player’s. We expect most players to be able to solo these with a little practice and effort on their part to gain some increased power.
  • Heroic Star Fortress – Challenge Level: High. At this point we expect players to really understand their class, their companion, and their gear. Players should have sought out gear upgrades, as well as increased their companions’ Influence level. These are meant to be challenging and difficult to do solo.
  • “The One and Only” Achievement should still be possible. As an Achievement, this is definitely intended to be extremely hard and rewarding to players. This means the Achievement can be exceptionally challenging, and similar to HM Star Fortress, you will need to be a skilled player, with moderate to high Influence level with your companion, and very good gear on your character.
Based on these statements above, do you think that these are true after Tuesday’s changes? What content is more or less difficult than you expected? Is there something that is just flat out impossible?

Please give us your feedback, and we simply ask you to be as constructive as possible. Include information such as:
  • Your level
  • Roughly Average Item Rating
  • Discipline
  • Companion
  • Companion role
  • Companion Influence level
  • Which Mission or Star Fortress are you playing (Solo Mode? Heroic Mode?)
  • Your personal experience while playing this content
If you have a video or other related content to go with your feedback, feel free to link that as well as it will allow us the best insight into your experiences.

The team will be reviewing all feedback, along with supporting data, to see what / if any future adjustments need to be made. Thank you all in advance for your feedback!

-eric
Eric Musco | Community Manager
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Voblat's Avatar


Voblat
11.19.2015 , 10:20 AM | #2
All my toons are level 65, mostly in 216 with a few using 208, all vendor bought.

Toons with higher defenses and/or good off-heals can cope in most things.

Static, low defense DPS (Marksman Sniper is my experience) are struggling with planetary heroics past level 40, companions cant heal fast enough, tanking isnt working right and dps is too low to blow mobs away in a dps race.

In addition, healing companions have been broken since 4.0. They stop healing mid fight, wander off, do a crossword, anything but heal. Before this patch, they would spark into life and burst heal me for 20K, so this poor coding on your part was covered by the powerful heals.

Now, after scratching their backsides, they decide to heal for about 6K instead, which doesnt make up for your poor AI coding and I die.

Why did you not fix actual bugs before the ridiculous 75% cut in healing power? How can a professional development team even attempt to balance something that is actually broken already and not working properly?

Above all, adding time to a long grind for alliance, which is all your changes do, simply makes the game not fun.

Well done in taking the fun out of a game. I'm sure it meets all your goals and metrics.

AdarnVote's Avatar


AdarnVote
11.19.2015 , 10:25 AM | #3
One thing I would request is perhaps the possibility of the team looking into making the Star Fortress initial quests able to be done in both Solo Mode and Heroic Mode - if nothing else, that way players of all skill levels can complete the initial quests and have it done and over with. Keep the achievement and rewards on the Heroic mode, but allow quest completion on the solo mode as well.

edit: by "initial quests", I mean the completion of the quests that now can only be done on Heroic Mode.

orangenkaiser's Avatar


orangenkaiser
11.19.2015 , 10:27 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Voblat View Post
All my toons are level 65, mostly in 216 with a few using 208, all vendor bought.

Toons with higher defenses and/or good off-heals can cope in most things.

Static, low defense DPS (Marksman Sniper is my experience) are struggling with planetary heroics past level 40, companions cant heal fast enough, tanking isnt working right and dps is too low to blow mobs away in a dps race.

In addition, healing companions have been broken since 4.0. They stop healing mid fight, wander off, do a crossword, anything but heal. Before this patch, they would spark into life and burst heal me for 20K, so this poor coding on your part was covered by the powerful heals.

Now, after scratching their backsides, they decide to heal for about 6K instead, which doesnt make up for your poor AI coding and I die.

Why did you not fix actual bugs before the ridiculous 75% cut in healing power? How can a professional development team even attempt to balance something that is actually broken already and not working properly?

Above all, adding time to a long grind for alliance, which is all your changes do, simply makes the game not fun.

Well done in taking the fun out of a game. I'm sure it meets all your goals and metrics.
*nods in agreement*

*Fixed since I used slow clap incorrectly. Apologies*
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Zorbiax's Avatar


Zorbiax
11.19.2015 , 10:30 AM | #5
1) Heroic [2+] Voss: Cyber Mercenaries; most pulls 2 strong, 1 elite. I plan to take as many of my characters as I can through the same heroics so I can eliminate the player-related variables.

Smuggler, Gunslinger. I know this character very well.

Level: 62
Roughly Average Item Rating: 172-186
Discipline: Sharpshooter
Companion: Corso Riggs
Companion role: Tank
Companion Influence level: 24 (Presence 2031)

No deaths and it felt easy. Using crowd control and focusing on one target at a time; I used my heroic moment frequently because I am amused by it, but it did not feel necessary. Corso often had low health but only died once, when I forgot to regen between groups (a bad habit from the way things were from 4.0 to Tuesday). This feels satisfying to me as a player. I need to stay alert but don't need perfect execution.

Jedi Knight, Guardian. This was my "Start at 60" and I have never played one before the KoTFE content. My husband has played a jedi guardian since beta and when I ask him how I'm doing he gets as evasive as when I ask him if jeans make me look fat. I have no idea what most of my abilities are, but prior to 4.0.2 I did story content and solo Star Fortress with a healing companion, and would have called it Low difficulty.

Level: 65
Roughly Average Item Rating: 190
Discipline: Defense
Companion: T7
Companion role: Healing
Companion Influence level: 20 (Presence 1912)

I died on the first pull (three strong mobs). Got back up, rebuffed, and examined my defensive abilities. Popping those and NOT taunting the mob that went for T7 let me get past it, but my health was hovering around 30%. Pulled the group of four strong mobs; second and third deaths, one when I disconnected. T7's channeled heal ticks for only 260, and multiple mobs are hitting me with attacks 2-3 times that. But I managed to take one of them with me each time and I am not a quitter! Wait, these things respawn? The first two are back? Finished the fight with T7 at less than 2,000 health, I'm at 32%.

Companion role: Damage

I switched T7's role to damage. Obviously my health is still pretty low at the end of the fight, but the next few pulls feel much easier, with no deaths. This doesn't feel right: as a tank shouldn't I be using a healing companion if anyone does?

Companion role: Healing

I put T7 back on healing and study my abilities closely. This thing called saber reflect sounds useful and Heroic Moment wasn't even on my bar for all of KotFE? Seriously, me? We start breaking open kolto tanks and, fighting one elite at a time, "T7 + Jedi = Great Team" - my health stays near full. Next pull of 4 strong mobs - I do use heroic moment, but with a bit of paying attention to my abilities, my health never drops below 50%. Got the boss on the first try, although my health did get low.

My conclusions/feedback:

My trip with a tank + healing companion was initially a lot more painful than on my other classes, but I approached it with the attitude that I could do it instead of the assumption that it was broken, and I learned and was able to complete the heroic alone. I think that one big problem is that the stronger companions masked the learning curve on new classes, and you gave the majority of players a new class. But, MMORPG players often play for a sense of increasing mastery, both because we've gained skills and gear upgrades - anything that weakens us is going to be unpopular because it cuts the heart out of our psychological reward. I think that the big lesson here is to do more testing before things go live.

That said, healing stance does feel significantly less useful than the other stances, even on the same companion. The current experience may meet your stated goal for heroics but they're faster and easier with other player/companion compositions, and the alliance system is designed to require us to do them literally hundreds of times.

Healing companions are especially having trouble keeping up with the incoming damage from 3 or more attackers. You may be able to achieve your design goals by adjusting the mob distribution in heroic areas, or by buffing the crowd control spells given to healing companions, instead of increasing heal numbers again.

Additional update, after doing Trouble in Deed (cakewalk) and The Viper's Nest (painful even with two well-coordinated players + our two companions; we did this heroic together back when it was 4+ with the same setup and it was easier): too large a range of difficulty is labeled as "Heroic 2+" right now.
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Strydon's Avatar


Strydon
11.19.2015 , 10:31 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by orangenkaiser View Post
*slow clap*
no need to be a dick. Eric wants feedback, and he has to expect it's not all going to be constructive as a lot of people are disappointed. he needs to know how the community is feeling about this in general, as well as the more specific things he has asked for.

Reno_Tarshil's Avatar


Reno_Tarshil
11.19.2015 , 10:34 AM | #7
Most planetary heroics feel fine to me except for 3 on Makeb.

The Observer: This heroic is fine, except for the champion droid half way thru the Heroic, it was boss immunity and hits pretty hard for it's planetary level, I was able to complete it with a Sorc in 172 gear at 65 (but I did wipe a few times) and as a Merc with 208/216 gear at level 65. I feel if you remove the boss immunity from the Mob so that it may be CC'd it will be more solo friendly from newer and older players alike.

The Viper's Nest: This Heroic is very anti-solo friendly. The first part of the quest requires you fight off 8 silvers, which apply all sorts of debuffs and deal a large amount of damage very, very fast. I spent a good portion of my afternoon on my Sage trying to complete it before having to cheese with knock backs off a cliff to complete it. I imagine Tank classes will find this easy but I was near death after having used cooldowns on my Sentinel in mostly 220 gear when I went thru.

False History/For the Record: I list two different Heroics because they are the same Heroic just different factions. This is very not solo friendly because of the Gas Room needing 4 panels and if you arn't able to move quick enough (because it's designed for 2 players on opposite sides of the room clicking wall panels), you die and get kicked out of the instance and your heroic reset. There for, I strongly recommend if you wish this to be solo friendly, you should disable two of the panels.

Like I said above, I feel all planetary heroics are alright except for those 3(4) on Makeb and I hope they are adjusted to become more solo friendly, thank you.
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dscount's Avatar


dscount
11.19.2015 , 10:34 AM | #8
Companions stand in stupid. Need to fix this. The over healing they had before would compensate, but now they have been nerfed by 75% that is not so anymore. No armor/defense is also a MAJOR issue that needs to be addressed. You guys borked this up a LOT, but again the over healing by the companion addressed this short sighted untested issue.

Level 65, near BIS 224, influence 50 on Senya/Treek, SORC Healer. Primary focus is Heroic Star Fortress. Was able to handle Pre-Nerf Exarch for "The one and only" with companion dying once (Back when I was around 198 gear BIS Pre-Nerf) and both of us "Healer" spec'd and me kiting a LOT. Now... ya.. not fun anymore and no plans to do it beyond the initial series for DECO only.

Struggled with the first room with two knights. CC'd the Champion of course the any time he got lose it was game over. Managed to complete that room, but after the sheer volume of time it took... NOT FUN and just not worth the crappy rewards provided. I stopped after trying some with Treek.

Shifted to Treek with some better luck, but it's like doing NIM content with the lack of intelligence (IE: PUG RUN) by the companion. They STAND IN STUPID.. you can't heal that with the Armor issue creating a double whammy.

Correction Actions BW should take:
  • Revert the changes to healing for at least 50% given back)
  • BEEF up the influence level 50 to what we had before NERF
  • Fix the AI of "Standing in Stupid" damage the companions seem to keep doing.
  • Fix the ARMOR/DEFENSE (4.0.3 I think I saw mentioned) issue.
  • Not make knee jerk changes on the fly. Your causal market base just took this as a giant middle finger and will not end well for Bioware. I'm sure your metrics are going to show a rapid decline in subs due to stupidity and degree of this change.

EDIT: Healing compared to my healing is TERRIBLE comparison and very lacking. I'm seeing 1k-2k heals with influence level 50 - how does that help? Compared to my Innervate with 5k ticks that is CRAP. Swapped to TREEK and she at least had 2k heals and a few 8k ticks. Again.. I can crit a 20k on the right condition and this is FAR below "MY healing" and in no fashion equal to my heals. I agree the comp's should not over shadow our skills, but they should at least provide the same level of heals we can provide. With level 50 influence this clearly is not the case. FIX it please.. My companion healer at 50 influence should heal like he/she was wearing at least 216/220 BIS gear.

IF you guys can't get this right then give us back the ability to gear our companions ourselves. I at least knew I would get better results with doing it myself.
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Mallo's Avatar


Mallo
11.19.2015 , 10:34 AM | #9
Playing on 65 healers (Operative in 220 mix of Ops gear and Vendor, and Sorc in 216 mix of Ops gear and Vendor) I'm able to clear the H2 content on the Heroic terminal. That puts me mostly healing on the more challenging Heroics but hey healers... The Operative is using an INF 10 is companion. While the Sorc is using a INF30 companion.

My less geared or less INF companions are all having more issues.

I have to say let me pick which companions are good and which are bad by how I gear them. This their good one week and bad the next because you patched them isn't happy making. If they're bad because I didn't gear them then it's at least my choice.

mallo
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Pagy's Avatar


Pagy
11.19.2015 , 10:35 AM | #10
eric has just reaffirmed that heroic star fortresses should be difficult.

best case scenario i think is companions get buffed to pre 4.0 levels. they will never revert back if the above is true.