Diablo® III

Follower Viability

Blizzard Employee
Posts: 3,659
When we first announced the follower feature we revealed that these unique characters would accompany your hero on an adventure to save Sanctuary, but that they would only be able to survive in Normal difficulty. The amount of positive support the follower feature received, as well as the number of players who wanted to be able to keep these companions throughout the game -- even into the toughest difficulties -- left us wondering if it would be possible.

At BlizzCon we announced that we had taken that player feedback and were indeed working to make the single-player followers (templar, scoundrel, and enchantress) viable in the later difficulty levels.

We want to share some of the details surrounding this change and what it will mean for the single-player experience.

A lot of us wanted to see followers become viable throughout the game too, and agree they really add something to the experience as a whole. One of our main driving forces in making this decision was the benefits of the co-op experience, and the disadvantage of playing alone in the Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno difficulties. Followers won’t follow you into co-op games because you’ll already have the superior firepower of your friends to help you, but playing alone you’re going to want to take advantage of their benefits. We’ve made the later difficulties of the game brutally difficult, and we realize that for those attempting to tackle these later difficulties alone, they’re really going to actually want some additional support in the form of the followers.

Some players didn’t like their experience with mercenaries in Diablo II. We took feedback regarding mercenaries very seriously when designing Diablo III followers, and they differ from mercenaries in a few key ways that we think set them apart and resolve many issues. First of all, there is no resurrection or cost to your followers’ deaths, which makes their upkeep far less intrusive. When a follower takes enough damage to “die”, they simply take a knee, catch their breath, and after a few moments are back in the fight. That downtime could potentially have an effect on your own survival, but it’s unlikely to create a situation where you’re worrying about them or constantly working to keep them alive. We don’t want to turn what could be a fun benefit into a punishment by making players pay for their followers’ poor combat choices.

Secondly, when you die, so does your follower. These aren’t characters that can hope to compete or continue on without you. While some players prefer to be the lone wolf taking on the forces of evil, our intent isn’t to dilute the hero aspects by adding more wolves to your wolf pack. We want followers to be an extension of your bad-assery, not a liability. The followers could almost be considered automated buffs/damage skills, but of course with quite a bit more flavor and customization options.

We still have some tweaking to do with the followers, including their skills and end-game balancing. We continue to discover cool little ways to improve how each follower performs and the complements the different heroes. Our intent is to ensure players who take followers along find them to be helpful additions to their single-player experiences.

In the meantime, we’re interested to hear what you think of followers at end game and what your intent will be. Will you ever play alone, considering the benefits of co-op (personal loot drops, increased killing speed)? If you do play single player will you bring a follower? Or do you intend to challenge yourself by not bringing one?
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Posts: 314
I'd like to see followers upping the difficulty fo the mobs a bit, like a second player would. Not as much as a second player would, but generally I think there should be at least some drawback to using them, to balance not. Otherwise, it's no longer a choice.
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Posts: 177
I'm happy with the new change. I would love to see followers have a role throughout each difficulty. I think I will want to experience each type of play (be it alone, with others or with a follower)

I guess it really comes down to what a player thinks is more fun; and Dinophreak does have a point.
Edited by Dustymang on 1/6/2012 10:11 AM PST
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I'm the, as you Bashiok said, a lone wolf ^^ and i always will be take the follower with me on higher difficulties,why??
Because give a nice benfit from their skills, what i see in the beta (i know that only a beta and higher difficulties will be more different) followers is a great addition.
Ofc with followers theres a little easiest(but not easiest if i go with live friend) but in co-op when you go with friends there will be to easiest than alone (even if mobs have more hp) and followers is great addition for "lone wolfs" especially on higher difficulties. ^^

For me, as a lone wolf, model of followers what you plan in Diablo 3 must be, for sure.
Edited by D3BETA on 1/6/2012 10:15 AM PST
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Hard to give an honest assessment of any follower except the templar, since we haven't played with them yet, but I find the mechanic to be just about right so far. Due to the nature of the templar I've typically been more keen on using him with ranged classes and leaving him out with melee, since his ability to distract enemies tends to be more useful than his damage output. Nonetheless, from the couple levels I've worked with him I'd say he's helpful but not necessary, which is hopefully what you guys are going for.

And while his little little quips can get annoying, they're great for spotting rares.
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Posts: 177
Are you a one man wolf pack? lol
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Posts: 35
I'm OK with using a follower in the end-game as long as it's a small bonus rather than one of those "if i don't have one my combat efficiency is a lot lower than it could be". For example I think the Act 2 mercs in D2 were way too powerful with auras and the right gear.

If the follower is that powerful then I wouldn't want him around, because I wouldn't get a good idea of how strong my own character is.
Edited by WarEnsemble on 1/6/2012 10:19 AM PST
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Are there any tangible benefits to players who don't use followers? I understand there will probably be an achievement for that, but perhaps a blessing system where you choose a follower to stay in town and he/she gives benefits in the form of auras.
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Posts: 117
I think it would be kind of neat if, in multiplayer, every player's follower was stationed in town somewhere. Then everyone can see how badass your follower is even though they can't be used for battling.

As far as using a follower or not, I don't see much reason not to. I sometimes find AI controlled followers annoying because they generally do stupid things but Diablo is such a simple game that they can't really be THAT bad. As long as they don't set off traps or run around pulling groups of mobs towards you, I think everyone will use them. Especially since they occasionally chat back and forth with your character about things.
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Thanks for some info on what you guys are doing to make this bad !@# game even more bad asser! Hopefully this will calm everyone down about the release date(it helped me...........................a little)
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Posts: 904
I definitely want the option to play higher difficulties without another real person, but with a follower. One might want to play with their own pacing, and not worry about appeasing others play-styles.
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The follower is interesting to me because I love gearing out characters. Looking for the next crossbow for my scoundrel or finding something that I don't need, but would make my follower stoked. These are the things that drove me to play Diablo 2 for so many years, GEAR!

I plan to play mostly with friends, but I know that my interest in D3 far eclipses my amigo's so I will probably find myself soloing with my follower late into the night. I intend to use my follower through end game content, I have been excited to do so since you guys announced it.
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85 Human Priest
Posts: 772
I will have one with me at all times while I play solo.

While playing wizard, I'll want the templar to take off some of the heat for me.. while witch doctor, scoundrel for some ranged DPS.
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Posts: 218
Get rid of the followers, release the game!!!

Is that the big system change? Kill it with fire
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Posts: 106
I would like to have the followers with me every time I play by myself. I plan on playing the Wizard and having a build focusing on damage instead of survivability. Having the Templar with me tanking would be so much better.
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Posts: 3,547
01/06/2012 09:56 AMPosted by Bashiok
In the meantime, we’re interested to hear what you think of followers at end game and what your intent will be. Will you ever play alone, considering the benefits of co-op (personal loot drops, increased killing speed)? If you do play single player will you bring a follower? Or do you intend to challenge yourself by not bringing one?

Personally, I will play solo with the use of a follower to experience all that they are capable of. I like to experience everything that a game has to offer before challenging myself (like going solo, for instance).

I absolutely love the fact that these Followers are far different than Mercenaries.
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Through the course of my Beta experience, I've been running solo; I enjoy setting my own pace, being able to read through the story, being able to explore every end of a dungeon. Come release, well, I'll still have the option to do that, yet I'll be joined by my girlfriend... who's not so good on the questing text / storyline stuff heh.

I do enjoy bringing Kormac along with my toons, though interactions with him are... well, by nature, repetitive. I like that you're clearly giving the followers personalities, as that gives them character, which gives you one more reason to like or dislike them depending on preferences, though it'd be good to have fewer of the same side conversations occur. We really did just discuss what happens to criminals in my land not 2 minutes ago... that kinda thing.

Kormac complements my Demon Hunter quite well, most of the time, as he likes to round up mobs into neat little groups that I can just devastate with flame arrow or grenades. He generally keeps the attention of nastier things off my DH, leaving me free to do the real work from range, where a DH should be. For my Barbarian, again the Templar fits nicely, at least for the limited scope of the beta.

What I would like to see from followers, or at least the Templar, is that they not get all itchy trigger finger on me, and ruin a perfectly good environmental trap; those chandeliers, the walls on supports. You know, the kinds of things that put up that mini-achievement for 'Pulverized by the Dungeon'? More often than not, Kormac will run into the mobs that are blissfully unaware that they're about to be squashed, and deny me some of the kills. While I certainly understand that many players do NOT want to have some kind of follower control bar, I'd like to be able to issue a 'stay here for a moment' command, or at least see the followers be less aggressive in areas where an environmental trap is present. Hell, maybe they could hint at them... but again, some players might find that intrusive or annoying.

As it stands, the Templar seems to complement the two classes that I've played, he has character, and for the most part is a welcome addition to solo play. It could be how limited the Beta is, but I'd like it if I didn't keep having the same conversations with him, and if he wouldn't run into that Risen pack before I drop a chandelier on their heads. I would definately bring a follower with me during solo play, and certainly well into higher difficulty levels.
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