2038 Class Feedback: Summoner

This series of threads is intended to provide a place where internal class balance can be discussed. Once class balance becomes a priority the 2038 team will collect all constructive feedback in these threads, investigate it, and act accordingly, always with the intent of fairly adressing the testing phase in which the game was left in TCv4.

Can be used in a really versatile way
for example
Garnagor Tank + The Ripper
Warper DMG + The Ripper
Doctor for party + The Ripper
And then finally, zombie
Or old fashioned ZOO
Unfortunately, you can’t summon the zoo at once

which also bothers me a little that you can’t play The Ripper together with garnagor warper and doctor
It has to work because the cooldown time is very high.

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I’ll give some feedback after i have levelled my summi a bit. I have never played this class except in 07/08 vvhen i did it for 20 minutes and then thought… hmmm, and made a MM sniper instead.

Minions base hp is too low, thats why you see them die like flies on low level, you should rise it by 100%, give them some armor, and reduce the minion hp/armor bonuses on equipment a bit for comparsion (not much).

Implement concentrate elemental skill from global, or just give the ability to summon all elementals of each type in one cast.

Reduce the skillcap of elementals from 10 to 7, increase minions base damage by 30%. This should help you in running all elementals at once, also leaving like 9 skill points open for you.

Master of the flame should be called Elemental Revenge and affect all type of elementals. Remove Fire elemental pre-requirement.

All minions should run at least 100% faster, and teleport to the player more frequently (dunno maybe more than 30m away from player should trigger it)

Elementals shouldn’t die if they’re geting too far from the player.

The skill effect of Hand of Nostrum (WD gaining extra beams) should be integrated to the WD skill itself, and move the skill under Summon Circle, make it a passive minion armor bonus skill (Like how it was in Global)

Since the Reaper is a temporary “buff” it should be utilized while other demons are summoned.

Carnagor’s taunt should be much more effective, and investing point into the skill should give you increased taunt radius.

Word of Fear should guarantue the fear status on mobs, investing points into this skill should increase the fear radius and duration. It should also grant some armor debuff (3% per level). Reduce the maximum level of this skill to 5.

Darkform should also increase your armor value.

Fix the Shadow minion summoning chance please :slight_smile:

Redesign Leadership expertise to not give increased minion damage, but 3%cc and 75%cdb per level to minions. This will affect the engineer’s pets too, but i don’t see this would be a problem…

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you’re almost talking about the soul

I’d like to see elementals receiving an immunity against their natural damage type (with the exception of force elementals).

This has got several advantages:

  • Firstly, it makes the idea of “elemental beings” more sound, because watching fire elementals die because they got hit by fire just seems wrong. Or watching lighting elementals being shocked…

  • Secondly, it makes a “zoo of elementals” on average more resistant, but without tapping straight into armor or health bonuses.

  • Thirdly, it has several meaningful consequences:

So are fire elementals the ones most players get early on. At the same time is fire a common damage type of AoE attacks. Not to mention what happens when an entire zoo of elementals catches fire and burns to the ground because of the fire effect jumping across to other nearby elementals… Here would an immunity to fire for fire elementals provide summoners with a bit of security and especially on low levels.

The other types of elementals shouldn’t see too much gain from an immunity to their natural damage type. Only the force elementals with their strong buffs would need to be excluded from this.

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The player himself and his minion wouldn’t be immune, only the elementals would be (and just to one damage type and not all).

We already had coloured mobs in HGG which were immune to some damage types, and it was still possible to kill them. These even appeared on the lowest level maps around Holborn Station where these could occasionally annoy newbies, who just didn’t know how to fight them. But that’s about the only time where such an immunity was a bit of a problem (and most newbies could overcome it once they had realized the situation).

Think of the elementals as the Summoner’s weapon. You then cannot destroy a Marksman’s or a Blademaster’s weapon. And I’m still only suggesting to make elementals immune to a single damage type and not all, which is probably what you fear here.

That said, I’d imagine one could make them fully immune, scale down the dps a little, and it would keep being in balance. The engineer’s bots then are immune to damage for example.

Yet that’s not what I want. I do like for them to be destructible, but they are currently very flimsy. Only when you get a lot of +% Minion Armor and +% Minion Health on your gear does it start to get better, but it also means you need to have two properties on your items just to protect your elementals. You then still need to find gear with additional properties to increase the damage and to protect the summoner for the end game, which means a Summoner has a harder time finding good gear while the number of properties on an item is also limited.

The fact that one can only summon one at a time and with a 3-second delay doesn’t allow one to lose too many at a time. And instead of changing those timers and summoning all at once, which really just means you’d be spamming elementals, would a partial immunity add to the versatility of the game without turning the Summoner into a spammer or “caster of elementals”.

Can you give reasons why you disagree?

You are constantly suggesting things that changes the core mechanics of the game, which would result in a game what isn’t Hellgate anymore.
HGG’s immunity affix was bullshit and critical hits bypassed it anyway, making critical even more important than now.

It’s far from being as dramatic as you pretend it to be. 4 of 5 elementals (80%) getting an immunity to 1 of 5 damage types (20%) makes this a 16% improvement to their survivability.

We are also not talking about how HGG implemented it and I’m sure you’ve played it, too. So it couldn’t have been that bad.

Let’s just try to have a reasonable conversation. You’re making it sound as if I’m the reason why you dislike the suggestion.

I just don’t see the reason why should we implement a mechanic which was clearly dropped by FSS after they realized how bad was it in diablo2. It really hurts build diversity and solo play. As you see i’m not talking about the summoners minions but about the mechanics, which i assume you would apply to mobs too, otherwise it would be very inconsistent.

If you could just stop for a moment and think about why does your minions dying fast? Is it because the dmg of the mobs are too high? No, because you can easily survive those attacks. It’s because your minions have low base hp and lack of armor (except for forces ofc), so you have a stat (minion armor) that now have absolutely no value on elemental builds and another (minion life) which barely solve the problem if your minions have low hp, and even after the multiplier it’s still low.
So why don’t just rebalance the base hp/minion life bonuses rather than implementing a totally new mechanics?

Take bots. They’re minions, but they’re also completely immune to any form of damage. How do you explain that?

They doesn’t even targetable by mobs so you can’t use them as defense, while elementals can act as bullet sponges.

I know how they work, but you’ve said there was no immunity and I’ve shown you where you’re contradicting yourself.

If you know how do they work, then i shouldn’t explain to you whats the difference between unable to target something and getting hit by and take no damage. You are speaking of two different mechanics and trying to prove that you are right abut those changes.

Let me tell you a sad little story about a mod called Hell Unleashed, one of the best Diablo 2 mod i’ve ever played. The concept was to make a private realm, and by keeping the core mechanics of the game they expanded the acts, and made the bossfight more meaningful by forcing teamplay. This worked surprisingly well, and when the author left the team, some ppl like you just showed up and tried to patch the mod on their own taste, changing the core mechanics of the mod which ran about 5 or more years at this point. They did the rebalanceing and the changes so well that 99% of the playerbase left the mod in a month. After that they reverted some of the changes but surprisingly ppl doesn’t cared anymore, and they never came back.
So the mod is currently in a wreck, left by ppl, and what can a single person do in a mod which was originally designed for teamplay? All you can see the ppl who messed up the mod are playing it with 8 of their own chars in one game, noone else is interested in that anymore.

So please excuse me if i am VERY sceptical with those changes that involves removing content or changing core mechanics, while you can clearly see that the issue could be addressed by minor changes.

This isn’t about me or some little story. Can you please get back on topic?

Edit by Bryan: The convo below was moved here from a different thread.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think HGG had a cap on +% Minion Damage, at least not in the 300%-400% range as it’s being assumed/guessed in one of your links above. I was able to get as close as 800% from gear with double properties and I do remember the increases being still noticeable. I could melt Molly within a few seconds in the end and the Reaper took good, visible chunks of life from Molly with each of its hits. (Again, MM strikers and engi’s were able to one- or two-shot Molly in comparison.)

However, the problem with getting a Summoner to high DPS is more complex than what most players are willing to deal with. So can an Evo or an MM use weapons against a specific monster type such as Demon or Spectral in order to achieve an outstanding DPS. A Summoner with its zoo cannot do this. As such can a MM deal high damage against a single type rather early in its end-game development, while still lacking the DPS for the other types. It’s just that nobody cares for it.

When another class is then being compared to the Summoner does it always show the Summoner as having less DPS, because players usually compare one classes’ peak damage to the Summoner’s average damage (which happens to also be it’s peak damage). And while this isn’t a fair comparison does it still say something important about the Summoner, and that it is indeed easier to build a high DPS char with other classes than with a Summoner.

Another problem is that it’s very hard to find gear with two, high +% Minion Damage properties on them. It’s probably about as hard as getting twice +10 AA onto gear.

And finally, in the beginning of the game did we have a lot of lag and graphics cards weren’t as advanced as these are today, which resulted in Summoners being disliked due to their large zoo of elementals. They were seen as lack-luster DPS chars that only cause lag for others.

This hopefully explains why the Summoner is and has never been the most popular character class in this game. I personally find it to be the most challenging class to push to its limits.

Agreed on the numbers having possibly been different than what was claimed at the time. Still, going by what players who (allegedly) contacted t3 on this claimed, there must have been some cap somewhere. I’ve repeatedly tested this myself at the time, and it seemed to be the case, although of course it’s very difficult to pinpoint exact numbers for where the cap was (in hindsight even more so :stuck_out_tongue: ).
Peculiarities such as, say, the cap affecting main minions and not Elementals, or observational bias on the overall performance of minion-heavy builds instead of individual effects of the stat, or pretty much any other factor, could’ve possibly skewered my results, or yours, or anyone else’s. Transparency was never their strong suit to begin with, after all, so we were all left to make up our own minds.

It would certainly make sense for their bussiness model to do so though; DPS that is not directly dependant on one’s weapons (and thus the Nanoforge) would provide an escape route away from their cash shop. Combined with the non-specialized nature of minion damage (as you explain below), NOT having a cap in place would have likely made the minion-based classes’ performance unpredictable by comparison to Nanoforge-dependant ones’.

It’s what soon made me resort to the Toxic tree, frankly. Minion performance and survivability, power management, and, in the end, practical limits that could only be pushed further by resorting to the Nanoforge…

While I do agree, in my mind there’s also another set of factors in place; DPS sustainability, and AI dependancy. No other class has its DPS flactuate so wildly based on how often their minions die, and no other class is so heavily dependant on the AI making the right calls, or even deciding to attack at all.

Even if we assume that the Summoner is designed around dealing single-target damage, that damage can never be reliable when it’s hampered by the Warper’s and/or Elementals’ deaths, their AI’s choice to focus on different targets as they spawn, and the Warper’s teleportation. Dark Form presumably aimed to remedy this, but it was also left incomplete; pushing a fragile class into melee range is entirely counter-productive, and introduces even more variables. Countering this with the WD (which is arguably still unreliable) then leaves damage output almost entirely up to autoattacks, since the class has no melee skills that synergize with it.

This practically creates what I believe to be the worst case of gear dependancy in the game. All +minion stats are essential towards minion survival, +stats and +shields/armor are essential towards personal survival and sustainability of the minion pool and skill usage. Focusing on either or both still doesn’t alleviate the issues that come with the base design of the class, so there really is no solid ground for the class to compete with anyone in any role in the current endgame.

True. This may very likely be a reason why Flagship intended to push the class away from minion-heavy builds, through the addition of Dark Form (which requires more +stats to function and thus leaves less room for +minion stats) and the power point penalty of Feral gear.

In my opinion, their massive oversight came in the form of not giving the class a distinct role. It’s a class that’s versatile enough to be built around tanking, supporting, or DPS, but it can’t practically excel in any role. It stands to reason why players would often prefer minion-heavy builds; more targets indirectly assist in tanking, and more minions assist in dealing damage. Sadly, the utter lack of taunts made (and makes) them lackluster tankers, and absolute minion dependancy made (and makes, though slightly less so) them lackluster damage dealers.
And while many builds may suffice for decent basic PvE farming, there’s very little incentive to play a class that cannot perform as well as any other, in any role, against bosses.

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I did play the Summoner in HGG from start to end. And I’ve had my own DPS measuring tool based on an mmBBQ script, which let me verify my gains and I’ve never encountered a cap. Nor was there any sign of such within the data itself like one could find a cap on 1000 luck for instance.

I believe the 300%-400% number comes from the fact that this is about the amount of damage one could get from gear with a single +% Minion Damage property on each piece of armor (7 pieces with at most 40% per piece, plus set bonus, gave you 330%).

Only once the botting had gone wild and we were producing set items and pallas from thin air could one actually get to the point of having a full set with all the bonuses and augmenting it to get the rare, second +% Minion Damage bonus of another 40% per piece. This then yielded one about 500%-550% Minion Damage from gear, plus another 50% from the set bonus. It still required one to max rank and skill, plus the two Master’s Hand, to end up with 700%-800%. I honestly doubt we had many Summoners who got this far and it might be easy to believe in a cap there.

Besides, what exactly would have been the point to cap the DPS of one class such as the Summoner, which is already hard to max in DPS, but to allow others such as the MM and Evo to go all the way to 95% CC with 1500%-2000% CDB? … It makes no sense to me and I still believe this cap that’s been mentioned was more imaginative than real.

I also never had an issue with the survivability of my pets in the end game. With +3 or +4 (if one could get lucky enough to get a +1 on a set helmet) to all skills from items plus the extra 10 event skill points and another 10 cash shop skill points could one max the Summoner including both +% Health and +% Armor skills in the tree. Additional +% Minion Health and Armor on gear did the rest. Equipped like this could not even Molly kill my zoo before I had killed it.

It’s true, the Summoner on low levels or just low equipment is a bit of a pain to keep all pets alive. But it got a lot better with the right gear and one can find the occasional rare but useful item such as this one in 2038:

screenshot_000000_summi_belt

Not sure where 2038 will leave the Summoner though. We don’t have set bonuses, only +3 to all skills at most, nor can we get an extra 20 skill points (or 25 if you account for level 55).

Fair enough :slight_smile: I never had such tools at my disposal in Global, so you may well be right.

I was mostly referring to the class design in itself, and by extension, its state here. Still, as far as Global goes, I personally went for the Toxic tree for the simple reason that it utilized CDB. It was far less demanding in terms of gear, and had much higher practical caps (CDB and weapon enhancements, opposed to +damage on gear). Plus, it alleviated the issue of absolute minion dependancy, making Forces and the WD specifically take up tanking, while the Toxic tree would provide the damage.

Either way, to leave Global out of this altogether.
Even if one does manage to tackle the survivability issues through perfect gear, three issues still remain.

  1. Massive minion and AI dependancies. No other class will ever find their DPS hampered by a stray Fireball that decimated their minions, and no other class is dependant on anyone but themselves to deal damage (perhaps except Engineers). Yes, that is the theoretical point of such classes, but HG’s core design itself makes it lackluster at best, and horrific at worst.
  2. Massive gear dependancy. No other class ever needs to propose that it can be functional with perfect gear. Any other class can grab its set or decent, generic endgame gear and function, whereas Summoners require perfect gear to start being able to function, let alone compete. It simply comes with the needed properties being way too many, if I may oversimplify it.
  3. Role. The class will never have a dedicated role unless it either gets a reliable way to taunt, or manages to rival others in terms of dealing damage. The latter of which is practically very hard to achieve, for reasons that you and I both outlined above.

…on that note, I feel we’re straying too far from the thread subject. Perhaps it’d be best if we moved this over to the class feedback thread.

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