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I am going out on a limb here and just wildly assume things based on what I find logical. YMMV.
It would make sense that anything other than normal mode was not really playtested in the strictest sense. They are likely to have run all skills just to check if they are working at all, but balance-wise, they would have concentrated on normal mode (despite claiming it to be "tutorial mode") because they assumed the majority of the playerbase would be playing that until they were ready for the first batch of balance changes.
Those few sad people (compared to the bulk) that have crossed the threshold to the nightmare lands and the hells beyond are nothing but balance-beta testers at this point.
It only turns out that normal mode is so god-awfully easy that even the bulk of the playerbase that is largely comprised of what one could not describe as "canny gamer" are rushing the content, so those balance changes better roll in fast.
How do I arrive at that conclusion?
Mainly, scaling issues.
Mana works in normal. It still works to a degree in nightmare, stops working properly in hell. (Really, have you ever compared mana to arcane power in normal? No real difference there)
Pets work in normal. They still work to a degree in nightmare. They don't work in hell (unless providing background color with their bodily fluids is "working as intended")
I have used dog's + Gargantuan +Fetish all the way through Hell Hell and believe they are for the most part fine. You can pull of some amazing tricks with pet rotations on many of the boss fights and some of the harder Rare packs.
For me this has been the key. Sure you want them all out all the time to start but as they die you need to manage your cooldowns and bring them back 1 at a time regardless of if the timers for all are up. If you get caught with no pets up and waiting for cooldowns you are dead in Hell Hell.
Spirit walk is also critical to buy you time for a cooldown to refresh.
The only time I really find it irritating is on a wipe waiting 60 seconds to cast pets and then waiting another 60 seconds so cooldowns are ready.
Also regarding their survivability, every time I felt like they were getting squishy it was generally due to outdated gear. A few upgrades and they were back to being relativly solid.
Finally, yes the dogs do die....quite alot actually but in all honesty I was not really looking for the undying wall of pet doom. The way it is now requires some strategy and quite a bit of kiting and for me personally has led to some incredible fights and thrilling boss encounters as I kite and manage cooldowns.
This all being said, perhaps I will change my tune when I step into inferno.
Edited by ElDrewid#1903 on 5/21/2012 7:12 AM PDT
Beta tested as in Act 1 up to Skeleton King. Balance issues occurred afterward as Blizzard didn't want spoilers before launch... Back when Zombie Dogs were fine...
Check out necromancy masterminds in CoX. That is what I call a pet class - 3 lesser servants, 2 stronger ones, 1 master servant, and depending on your secondary, yet another uncontrollable pet. You can command pets directly and individually or in groups - full control. You can even command them to emote. Although the game is dated by now, if you want to see a real pet class in action, have a look. One might argue that the revivemancer had more pets and thus was a real pet class...however, no direct control over your minions takes away a LOT of depth.
Sorry for the short detour, not wanting to derail the thread - it's just I love pet classes and am a bit saddened that noone ever replicated that system from CoX - most likely because the "average gamer" of today is mentally incapable of handling such a rocket-science-a-like task.
Edited by Brick#1530 on 5/21/2012 7:51 AM PDT
The reason I played that game was for my Robotics/Trap mastermind, who had 6 robots, then a shield drone, as well as explosive drones from traps. The game itself is not that fun but i love the pet classes in that game.
Every time a new rpg comes along i hope for a new really fun pet class.
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