Dec 12, 2011

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 18 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: How Do You Feel About Companions?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

Since the very first day that Star Wars: The Old Republic was announced (way back on October 21, 2008, if you’re keeping track,) companions have been advertised as key innovation and a big part of gameplay. Given BioWare’s track record, it made perfect sense that they’d try and bring their master’s storytelling touch to the MMO genre, and companions are a big part of it.

For one thing, it helped allow players feel more immersed in their own Star Wars story. As is often cited, what is Han Solo without Chewbacca? Lando Calrissian without Lobot? Companions of course provided BioWare with another platform for telling the story, and making you feel that much more emotionally invested in your own character through the ones you met and came to know.

But it’s not all guns n’ roses. Some players don’t like the idea that a “pet” is being forced upon them. And while it’s hard to call sentient companions pets due to their story and conversations, there’s no denying that the powers and control BioWare has given them makes them play that way.

At one time, they weren’t supposed to take up group slots. Now they do. In fact,¬†ioWare has gone back and forth on their contribution to combat, and have landed on pretty powerful characters. You can fully customize their gear, yet they aren’t available to you in endgame Operations or Warzones. It’s an interesting choice given the amount of time players may spend with customizing and optimizing them as part of their play style.

Anyway, there are many angles on this discussion but we want to keep it simple. Do you like the idea of companions in an MMO, especially ones who are nearly as powerful as characters? And why or why not? Discuss!

What do you think of companions?

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  1. I’m surprised how much I love em! I was thinking they would be more a burden, having to worry what there doing at every moment, pulling aggro ect..ect.. Instead I looked forward to pulling Mako (BH) out! Great Idea. Can’t wait to see how they work with world pvp! That will be the real test!

  2. I played mainly a Sith Warrior during the stress test weekend, and after getting Vette I hated. I didn’t like anything about her. Then after a couple conversations with her, and making certain decisions about how to treat her, she really grew on me and I ended up loving having her around.

  3. Just a powerfull auto-attack bot yeah. That’s exactly how I fell ahaha!

  4. Love them! I love being able to send them off crafting and multitask while running instances.

  5. I don’t mind having them around. Adds something new to the gameplay. Only thing is that I would like to see a real “pet class” someday, and I don’t know how that would ever work.

  6. It’s the thing I am looking forward too most in swtor. In most games that have pets they are a burden or even a menace. Here they actually make a massive amount of sense. I for one rarely feel the need to group. We all know what a disappointment random pickup groups can be. And there is no denying that on occasion you just need a little help. Companions fill that spot nicely. They only can do that if they actually contibute and they do. Some of them are a big help in combat, others in crafting, some even offer a mild amount of healing. The fact that they can fill a group spot makes sense. How often have you not looked for a healer or a tank for some encounter only to find there are none to be found for love or money… Companions offer an alternative. Maybe not yet equal to an actual live player but hopefully enough to keep you from being stuck.

  7. I do not love them but are not just auto attack, it is a good idea but sometimes I’d prefer to go without companion, never beign a big fan of pet classes in other games.

  8. BabblingSage says:

    Only thing I didn’t like about one of the companions was
    Khem Valkept messaging to me he wanted to talk to me in private. The was annoying as hell as I couldn’t find out what he wanted.

  9. Marco Gouveia says:

    I think most of us can agree that 99% of the people complaining about companions either havent used them properly or havent understood the mechanic. From my personal experience it will depend on your character and therefore your first companion.

    My main will be shadow and I will be looking forward to the day i can dump him, as a shadow I found him cumbersome as a sage he was brilliant on the flip side if you go BH Mako is simply brilliant, put her in heal mode turned on all heals and went crazy on mobs never died not once.

  10. I LOVED my Companions! They made sense, story-wise, and were interesting to have around. Plus, they could really kick some Jawa!

  11. Companions as such have always been a big part of Bioware RPGs. And I think that the people approaching TOR more as a sequel to the KoTOR games tend to miss the “pet” aspect that the mmo fanbase are seeing. In a single-player game, the companions are nearly always on that “nearly par” with the central character, so just how well that’s being adapted to the mmo showcase just how back and forth the balance between gaming and story can be.

    While everyone who shares a class will have the same companions, it also helps individualise what’s going on. Very few people will react to their companions the same way, utilise them in the exact same manner, or interact with their companions storylines completely. That’s going to be part and parcel of exploring the universe and class story, adding further elements and depths (well, hopefully).

  12. I can see how some people might get annoyed by them but come on, who doesnt want a maid/butler? They will do all the crap i dont really want to, and even do it while im not playing! How is that not badass?!

  13. I love them as far as non combat activities go. The conversations, quests, selling loot, collecting nodes…etc. But when it comes to combat they are nothing but a pet. So I am in the middle, if they stay out of flashpoints, operations, warzones..etc i like them. If they start getting access to group combat based content I hate them.

  14. I realize they are part of the BioWare DNA but I think they have gone too far with companions in an MMO. They’re great to add layers of story, for comedy relieve, drama, etc. That’s what BioWare is good at. But they should have stopped there.

    They should in no way be critical for combat purposes. It really is a forced pet, without all of the cool features that make it a pet class (if you even like that sort of thing.) The entire leveling/solo game is tuned around having a companion, it’s very time consuming without one. So to that end, it is just a glorified auto-attack.

    And since they’re not allowed to be a part of endgame, it conflicts with the idea that you could possibly spend so much time gearing them and learning to use them, only to let them go later. In day to day questing, I’ve leveled up to 32 without glancing at their gear, never replacing or adding a piece. I barely noticed a difference. So it’s safe to say players who want to can fully ignore them.

    Not to mention the clunky AI and annoying movements, invariable standing right in front of what you want to click on. Every time. Everywhere.

  15. In my beta test as bounty hunter I used Mako to help me get through the first flashpoint. Only times I finished it was with two companions with two players. So from that stand point they were invaluable. Having a healer in Mako just rocks.

  16. 90% of me loves the companion, but the AI was designed in a way that makes it unpractical to use anything but a healing companion for flashpoint content (I say this having running them with only one other player). The DPS companions appear to ignore CC, which requires a lot of micro managing. They occasionally make targeting difficult, but no more than a player standing over a corpse.

    On the whole I love the time they save me do busy work, the conversation they add, and the fact that I can spec Tank or Heals for lvling without having it take me twice as long to lvl.

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