Summoner changes (forthcoming)

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Sher'Tul Godslayer
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Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#1 Post by lukep »

There are several issues with high level summons, which would be relatively easy to address in an addon. This is very apparent when a random unique summons (for example) a Warhound with 600 strength that can deal 500 damage per turn, lasts 30 turns, and only has 15 accuracy, making it useless against most characters. My ideas for changes are:

- Make the talent descriptions give useful information, such as talent damage or stats.

- Possibly switch from willpower to mindpower for summon power.

- Change summon talent level scaling to stop 100% resist all turtles, 20 000 damage spiders, and anything else.
-- maybe prevent summon talent levels from scaling at all, keeping their damage progression consistent with most other talents. This would require changing some (eg. spider's web) to scale off of a stat instead of just talent level.

- Scale main stats with combatTalentStatDamage (or combatTalentMindDamage) instead of scaling linearly with summoner willpower and talent level.

- give melee summons enough accuracy to be useful.
-- Maybe by giving them scaling DEX, but less than their STR? (scale DEX with cunning?)

- either stop warhounds from increasing in physical power with talent level, or change others to scale as well.

- Give jellies a real attack. Even if it is weak, it should do more than 10 damage at lvl 50.

- make high level minotaurs actually last significantly less time; the difference between 3 and 6 turns is much more noticeable than the difference between 13 and 16 turns.

- Possibly change flamespitter or fire drake to a different element, to give more diversity.

- Change Hydras so that they don't just blast three attacks, wait 5 turns, repeat. It makes them boring, overly powerful for burst damage, and useless past three turns, as they rarely make it to turns 9 to 11.

- look at giving Rimebarks something to do when their main talent is cooling down.

- Make sure fire drake talents scale with its stats.

- give spiders something to do when web and spit poison are both on cooldown (change AI?)

Feedback and other ideas would be greatly appreciated before I start coding this in a few days.
Some of my tools for helping make talents:
Melee Talent Creator
Annotated Talent Code (incomplete)

Retired Ninja
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Re: Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#2 Post by edge2054 »

The most balanced stat scaling we've seen so far on summoning talents has been necromancer pets which use the same stat scaling as everything else in the game (which is probably why it's the most balanced). Granted, we don't want Summoners to just feel like necromancer clones but I would definitely borrow from this model to some degree.

In other words, just give the summoner pets stat scaling based on their own level (which should be equal to the summoners) and an appropriate auto-level scheme. At level 1 give them the stats a creature of their type should have, at level 1, and allow the auto-level scheme to take it from there.

Of course, this leaves us with a hole, what do summoner talents do if they don't improve stats?

Well we can add some intrinsic effects to each talent and have these scale with talent level and the summoners mindpower. For instance, the War Hound could gain 1 - 20 accuracy, 1 - 20 damage, and 1 - 20 speed. Or if you're feeling ambitious he could gain new talents as you put talent points into him and use these talents with the summoners mindpower as the primary means of increasing effect. The Minotaur could learn Weapon Mastery and gain points in that as he levels along with some immunities (scaling off mindpower). The Stone Golem may change to a different type of stone as he levels up with different effects all together. The drake could be done the same way, a series of different drake types.

The mindpower talent thing would work well for many of the current summons as well. 5 points in the Fire Drake with 100 mindpower will give him much better Flame Breaths then 1 talent point in because you're making the talent use your stats.

I guess I'm saying there's a lot of ways to come at it. Tweaking numbers is one way to do talent scaling but there's another way to do it and I think Summoner talents could stand to be a lot more diverse with in themselves and offer more for the investment then stat gain (especially considering all attempts at balancing those stat gains so far haven't worked out very well). It is a lot more work though ;)

Just switching over to an auto-level scheme and making all their talents use the talent level in the respective summon along with your mindpower shouldn't be to hard though and probably a good first step (if that's the direction you want to go of course). Some of the individual summons may need a new talent or two to justify the player investing in them but it sounded like you where considering that anyway.

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Re: Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#3 Post by bricks »

Instead of attribute inheritance, I think scaling mindpower into a summon level bonus makes the most sense (stronger mind = able to control more powerful summons). Otherwise summons should behave like normal NPCs. This way, there is no complicated stat inheritance scheme. If resistances/immunities are really needed, they could still be inherited, but I'd rather see summons get a spread of resistances and immunities.
Sorry about all the parentheses (sometimes I like to clarify things).

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Re: Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#4 Post by Phoenix1 »

If you were to do an auto-level scheme, I kind of think the idea of adding stats would be a good way to keep talent levels useful without it being too complex. However, I think I'd go with more of a % increase to one or two of the summon's core capabilities. Probably either a single boost from 0-100% (since damage talents tend to about double in power at talent level 5), or a pair from 0-50%. Probably something like:

War Hound: +0-50% Attack Speed, +0-50% Physical Damage.
Jelly: +0-100% Hit Points.
Minotaur: +0-100% Physical Damage.
Stone Golem: +0-50% Physical Damage, +0-50% Physical Resist.
Ritch: +0-50% Casting Speed, +0-50% Fire Damage.
Hydra: +0-100% Casting Speed.
Rimebark: +0-50% Cold Damage, +0-50% Hit Points.
Fire Drake: +0-100% Fire and Physical Damage.
Turtle: +0-50% Hit Points, +0-50% Physical Resist (not sure on this one because of Shell Shield)
Spider: +0-50% Crit Rate, +0-50% Crit Mult (maybe boost to 75%, since technically a +50% chance of double damage is only a 50% increase, but it is a utility summon...).

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Re: Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#5 Post by donkatsu »

Playing with my level 49 Summoner, here are a few observations and opinions:

The more talents a summon has, the more frustrating it is to use. Tactical talents usage seems to do little to nothing. Even Rimebark will still insist on using its melee attack instead of Winter's Fury, despite setting Attack's priority to 0. So I'd be against giving them extra talents to use until that bit of AI gets fixed.

Haven't really used melee summons apart from Jelly because of the dismal accuracy.

Rimebark is quite good as is and doesn't need anything to do between talent cooldowns. It's solid AoE over time that hits straight through invisibility and stealth. It never actually manages to freeze anything but that's okay. If you wanted, you could have Rimebark talent level increase whatever stat it uses to freeze stuff.

Jelly (particularly when placed inside Rimebark's ice storm) is more guaranteed equilibrium recovery than you'll ever need. Maybe tone down its equilibrium absorption ability, have it scale with talent level, and make it do slime damage or slime spit or something. It seems weird for it to be made of slime, as suggested by Detonate, yet be unable to do slime damage on its own.

Hydra and Fire Drake have their 2-3 ranged attacks and then after that they're just dead weight. So much so that it actually helps you when they die, freeing up summon slots. They really need to have a spammable ranged attack, or be decent at melee. You should rarely, if ever, want your summons to die as long as you can invest class points into making your summons last for more turns.

Summoners have a summon dedicated to each "natural" element except lightning, so maybe change Fire Drake to Storm Drake?

Spiders almost never pin anything, and the Insidious Poison they get from Wild Summon only reduces healing by 0.40%. Not 40%, 0.40%. This seems like an oversight. They do however do solid damage and is currently your only capable melee summon. Unfortunately it has a ranged AI, scuttling away from melee range whenever it can.

Grand Arrival War Hound, Flamespitter, Rimebark, and Slime are extremely important as they give -50% physical, fire, cold, and nature resists respectively. Against some high resist enemies, that can double or triple the damage you deal with these damage types. Keep that in mind when considering summons that don't do one of these four damage types.

In general Summoners have extremely high survivability, due to their endless stream of meatshields and mass healing from Grand Arrival Turtle, but low burst damage because all of their talents are basically DoT spells that can get killed. So perhaps offer an option to have increased burst damage at the cost of actually having the risk of dying? One thing that I can think of is to have Summon Control increase damage instead of resistance, but transfer a portion of the damage received by the controlled summon back to the summoner.

Summons need to inherit some stats from the Summoner, otherwise the Summoner's equipment choices become rather boring, boiling down to just "what has the most Wil/Cun?" It's already pretty boring, but removing stat inheritance will make it even worse.
Last edited by donkatsu on Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sher'Tul Godslayer
Posts: 1709
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:32 am
Location: Canada

Re: Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#6 Post by lukep »

Thanks for the feedback, it's been almost a year since my last high level summoner (and there have been many major changes to the game since then).

My current thoughts on what I'll do (that are different from the first post):

- Autolevel stats based on the summon's level, with possibly additional boosts to stats.
- Summoned creatures get levels based on talent level and mindpower (possibly ~80-120% of the summoner's level instead of a number of levels)
- Mindpower and talent level controls duration (roughly combatTalentMindDamage (80, 15) + 2, (or 6 to 18 over a game))
- Summon Resilience gives + saves, as well as some immunities. (not based on summoner's)
- Summoned creatures still inherit +damage% and damage penetration
- Summon Control gives the controlled summon some percentage of all your stats (and immunities?), increasing damage greatly. You absorb 50%(?) of the damage done to the summon into your mind, giving your character a DoT damage effect for the absorbed amount when you leave the summon. (may be beyond me code-wise)

- Summons gain new talents or other discrete bonuses based on talent level (including some that are currently part of the summon)
- replace all summon talents that are shared with anything else with nearly identical ones specific to the summon.
- (almost) all summon attack talents share (short) cooldowns with (almost) all of the summon's other attack talents
-- Hydra will no longer spam 3 attacks then sit, minotaur will not spam stun, sunder arms, sunder armour then attack.

- War hound gets bleeding attack talent, +movement speed as two bonuses for talent level.
- Minotaur can use either stunning blow or warshout once in its life, and Sunder arms/armour is on a shared (3 turn?) cooldown.

- Hydra breaths on a shared 2 turn cooldown. Unlock variety with investment (1 = poison, 3 = lightning, 5 = acid)
- Fire Drake changed to Storm Drake

- Spider AI changed to melee, Web and Spit Poison given shared (3 turn?) cooldown.
Some of my tools for helping make talents:
Melee Talent Creator
Annotated Talent Code (incomplete)

Posts: 160
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:25 pm

Re: Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#7 Post by Phoenix1 »

I'm not sure the Summon Control option is going to accomplish the intended goal. My experience with Summon Control has pretty much always been, I find a nice secure spot, summon something (usually a hydra), control it, send it off to go as far as it can and injure/kill anything in its way, repeat until all opponents in range are dead or I feel confident enough to move on myself.

Most summons have less life individually than the summoner, so there's not really a risk of death here unless you keep sending them out without recovering.

I'm thinking if you want an option for exposing yourself to risk for greater rewards, another way to do it would be a talent, or a tree of talents, with low-cost (probably like 1-3 equilibrium), low or even 0 cooldown, range 1 support spells. Something so a summoner can spend its turns augmenting, healing, and supporting its summons, but to do so, has to be in the thick of the fray with them. I'd think maybe an offensive buff, a low-powered heal, a talent that basically extends the summon's duration a couple turns, and one that reduces that universal cooldown you're talking about by a couple turns.

Sher'Tul Godslayer
Posts: 1709
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:32 am
Location: Canada

Re: Summoner changes (forthcoming)

#8 Post by lukep »

I made some quick modifications to the flamespitter, to test out damage scaling vs. the old style, here's the damage results

Setup format is Character level/flamespitter talent level/WIlpower and Cunning stats, results are for fire damage by an average flamespitter bolt.

Code: Select all

Setup      Default    New      Test
1/1/15        17       31       18
5/5/20        49       36       23
50/1/20       18       65       65
50/1/60       20       70       85
50/5/60       70       90       130
The main changes in the "new" code make summon levelling a function of your level and a multiplier based on talent level and mindpower, give bonuses to stats based on level, and summons now have static talent levels.

Code: Select all

	sumlev = function(self, t)
		return math.ceil(self.level * (40 + self:combatTalentMindDamage(t, 100, 100)) / 100)

Code: Select all

			inc_stats = {str=15, dex=15, con=10, cun=10 + 2*t.sumlev(self, t), wil=10 + t.sumlev(self, t), mag=8},
			level_range = {t.sumlev(self, t), t.sumlev(self, t)}, exp_worth = 0,

Code: Select all

The "test" code I ran had the flamespitter bolt increase in level every 10 levels of the creature, but I found it scaled too quickly at the top end.
Some of my tools for helping make talents:
Melee Talent Creator
Annotated Talent Code (incomplete)

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