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I'm so late to the party it's the after-after party!

 

I'm not even a fan of summoning spells generally but the thread has some great discussion.  I'd agree with some other posters that it'd work well to balance summoning by introducing a risk the summon would rebel.  Having a summoner pull a lost soul (which I'd guess is the PoE route) into material form and subvert it to the summoner's will immediately suggests a mechanic of it going beserk or such.  It strikes me as the obvious way to balance it, and hopefully it's the primary mechanic for doing so.  It'd also open the door for metamagic spells to improve such risk.

 

But I favor spell diversity.  There's room for "summons" without such risk.  The illusion school in some games/ game systems houses illusionary "summons" (a kind of an interactive holograph) that would make sense to have without a risk of rebelling.  They'd also be commensurately weaker than true summons, and it'd make sense.  One of my hopes is to have a vibrant illusion school.  The gnome illusionist is one of my favorite archetypes.

 

There are a lot of other good suggestions on the thread.  Since animancy can be perverted to necromancy-like effects then perhaps having some summon spells harm the caster as josan motierre suggested might work for some "specialty" summoning spells.  I also like his suggestion that druid summons would be loyal but could be balanced by having a high risk of fleeing.

 

I'm not such a fan of the idea of having the summons' attack use up the summoner's own standard action.  That seems overly punitive.  Contrary to other posters, I already rarely find summons competitive in IWD and the BG games (particularly with the 5-summon cap).

 

My big reason to post though is Osvir's suggestion of a "true-name" spell that commands mastery of a single, highly powerful summon.  The game will require wizards to find spells around the world, and that brings to mind the possibility of extremely rare spells that are available in only e.g. hard-to-access/easy-to-miss coves towards the end of difficult quests.  I was already wondering what those types of spells would be like.  A true-name spell that gave command of a powerful being - perhaps a demon, perhaps the lost soul of a long-dead sorcerer, etc. - and had some of the mechanics he suggested would be great for one such spell.  Perhaps that type of thing would fit a high-level expansion pack.

 

The only other thing I'd say is that hopefully all this won't take away from the non-summoning spells, which I generally prefer.

Edited by ZornWO
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This is a big thread so I apologize for missing a lot of it.  Summoning is tricky business because there are a lot of ways it can become the de facto tactic, especially in a CRPG environment.  Casters do not currently have a huge number of summoning spells (chanters more than others), and using summons as hit point bag nose tackles can cause harm to the summoner, but I recognize that people like being able to use them.  Additionally, we do plan to have summoning figurines and similar goodies for people to use.  Sorry I don't have more details right now, but summoning is something I've only started revising recently.

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No apology needed, Josh. We appreciate you hopping in here to say something about it. Take your time, and feel free to poll us for specific info/feedback whenever you need it.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I got threw 5 pages and stopped so sorry if some said this already. What if the summoned demon or w/e didn't have and abilities on its own but the Mage would have to cast spells for it to do its thing like a fire ele having a minor aoe burn around it, or a earth golem to stun an enemy. These spell would be cast by Mage and exicuted by summon.

 

This solves balance issues with Mage being strong then having summons. The issue with progression as a summoner learn new abilities for summons. And the issue of a boring class that just sits the casts spell at beginning and does nothing but sling attacks

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^ Not sure if that's been suggested yet or not, specifically, but it's a good basic idea, either way.

 

Another quick thing is, you could easily have just sort of "reinforcement"-type summons (among other types) that are basically an extra batch of hitpoints with an auto-attack, and balance them out by having a sort of global freeze on all casting/ability-use for a duration after summoning that aid. Kind of like an interrupt, or the effect from Grimoire-swapping in combat. This could range anywhere from the entire duration of the summon (if it were a very tough one, etc.), to a very short duration for weaker ones. You could even go with something like a freeze/lock on spells/abilities only above a certain tier/level, based on whatever summons you're maintaining. So, if you wanted to whip out 5 ethereal allies, you'd be limited to just your lowest level spells and abilities. Maybe you dismiss one summoned ally, and you can once again use Level 1 (D&D terminology example) spells again. Dismiss another, and you can use Level 2 spells again. And so on.

 

There's a lot of options allowed there, depending on exactly how each of the summons is designed, but, pretty much any solution involves some kind of investment on the caster's part beyond just having to cast the spell in the first place. I know sometimes such things are "balanced" by a long cast time. "Ohhh, this is a potent summon, so it takes you like 10 seconds to actually get it into battle!". But, I'd much rather be able to summon it relatively quickly, then simply suffer the penalty of having some portion of my capabilities being tied up in the presence of that summoned entity (locked spell tiers, an ability cooldown after summoning, the entity not really doing much unless my summoner is directly controlling it/casting through it, etc.).


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Perhaps for some sort of balance you could have cloudkill spells that insta-kill summons? For both the player and the Computer obviously. I do understand the implications regarding balance and tbh I don't know how the BG series got away with it but I do have fond memories of commanding my small army of summons in certain playthroughs so I hope you can find a way round the issue without limiting us too much.

 

That being said you were still limited to each rest (if you tried to play the game fairly seriously), however in this system I image it will be per combat encounter I think, so perhaps another limiter could be introduced? Per day summons? Reagents?

 

I did like someones idea earlier of temporary CON losses for the summoner, as long as the AI is smart enough to realise that and then focuses it's attacks on said summoner to dispell all his minions and leave you a man down, perhaps for further balance the summons can only be within a certain distance of the summoner to prevent him from hiding behind a rock 3km away? I realise this is getting convoluted, just a few ideas :)

 

Do not like the idea of CON losses if the summons die tho (that's what they're there for :D) I would propose that the CON doesn't restore until the end of the battle (not rest) regardless of whether they die or are "unsummoned" and I always thought at the end of a battle it looked much cooler when there were bodies/skeletons/spiders strewn everywhere.

 

Only thing i would say is please don't make the special item summons limited to the overall limit of summons, as in my opinion if you already have a summoner this completely devalues said item, although i could understand if you decided to do that.

Edited by Jobby
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Summons you don't get back if they die would make it exactly one of those assets you never ever use because you might need it later for the even bigger fight. And then you just keep storing that tactical kobold past any usefulness. Still carry it around to the final battle where summoning it would take too much time and it'd die in a second anyway.

 

Just about every NWN module where you were given a summon something 3 uses item, you never use them. Or maybe you do, on a second or third playthrough where you know you can just use it on miniboss 3.

 

Yep, I would be doing this if a summons only had a limited 3 uses and it's gone. It would become a meta-gaming tool on subsequent play throughs, which is why I'm not in favour of the 3 uses and it disappears item. Except for things like wands that can be recharged.

 

BG2 did figurines quite well and they weren't OP. What made summons in BG2 unbalanced were some of the spells and the amount you could summon. I was playing BG2 last night and sent my summons in to see who would survive against a Lich purely to see what summons was OP and what weren't. The spider and fighter figurines put up a fight but died. Spider spawn and Animate Dead spells were okay but died. However, Monster Summoning III summons didn't seem to be affected and killed the Lich and the two mummys that were helping the Lich.

 

Also, I wouldn't mind seeing a limit of summons compared to how many members are in your party. BG2 had a 5 summon limit. This was good for solo spellcasters because it could turn your party into 6. However, when you had 6 party members, it turned your party into 11.  So maybe as you get more party members, the ability to summon lessens?

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II

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I wasn't a fan of the hard cap on summons b/c it felt too "artificial".  Maybe instead, you could have the risk of a summons going beserk start out very small for the first one, like 5% or something tiny, only to go up and up w/ ea. summon w/in a battle?

 

~~~~

Btw, thanks for the response, JS.

 

edit: It's worth mentioning, it makes a ton of sense to give chanters a lot of summons now that you say it. 

Edited by ZornWO
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Meh.  Why should no-reloaders pay for the save-scummers' sins?  If that's what they want to do, why does it bother you? 

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That will probably encourage save scumming. Summon, berserk. reload, summon, not berserk, okay.

Agreed. I think using a single factor like that as a counterweight, so to speak, is not a very good idea. (Especially chance, in this case). Basically, you're having a chance that the summon's addition to your fighting capability will be balanced by something, rather than a direct effect ratio (the more things you summon, the less you can do such-and-such, etc.).

 

I think looking at how the Ranger animal companion's being handled is a good way to look at summoning. I mean, basically, you just don't want it (if it's an ability/inherent part of the class's capabilities) to be just some pure freebie construct with HP and damage running around. In some way it needs to function as a part of the summoner's capability "pool."

 

And, of course, if it's not an ability (figurines and such/ limited consumables), then there are different factors to consider. But, you still don't want it to just be "FREE FIGHT-MADE-EASY!" or anything.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Additionally, we do plan to have summoning figurines and similar goodies for people to use.

This is very gratifying news, indeed. It's always good to have an ace up your sleeve for those times when your party needs some extra muscle. Thanks for the update.

Edited by Tsuga C

http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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Meh.  Why should no-reloaders pay for the save-scummers' sins?  If that's what they want to do, why does it bother you? 

 

I'm not bothered by it. I thought the dev's were trying to keep away from this sort of stuff? The reloading to get a better outcome? The reload to get your death spell off, a successful pick pocket, to do 'anything else better' type outcome?

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Summoned creatures could be turned into Stamina drains for their owners by giving them a lower Stamina cap and allowing the caster to transfer her own Stamina when the creature gets low (at, say a 1-for-2 rate). This could be done by setting up a Stamina link at the instant of summoning, which automatically draws down the caster's Stamina as needed. If the caster doesn't sustain the summoned creature, then it gets eliminated relatively quickly.

 

Requiring Stamina maintenance would remove the need to limit the number of summons and make it a resource management issue.

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Meh.  Why should no-reloaders pay for the save-scummers' sins?  If that's what they want to do, why does it bother you? 

 

I'm not bothered by it. I thought the dev's were trying to keep away from this sort of stuff? The reloading to get a better outcome? The reload to get your death spell off, a successful pick pocket, to do 'anything else better' type outcome?

 

 

Wow, I thought that was just for a particular spell or two?  Are they really examining every little mechanic for how it affects that issue?

 

I don't get it.  It's a single-player game.  If some ppl save-scum I don't see why the game should nanny them.  It starts to impact no-reload play.

Edited by ZornWO

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I can't find the thread, but I'm pretty sure Josh was looking at things like the pick pocketing skill being changed from a random dice roll so you won't have to reload. It never bothered me if players reload or not. It's their game, not mine. There's plenty of potions of thievery in BG2 that you can use for specific quests. Maevar's Guildhall quest is one where you need a potion of Thievery if you're relying on Imoen as your thief. Save-scumming and reloading to get better outcomes is something they're looking at and there's been multiple threads on the subject.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II
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It's not about the sheer ability for you to reload and get a different outcome. It's the effect of the chance on things, and whether or not that's the best way to do it. The fact that you can save-scum to a huge benefit simply points that out. Besides, with a chance like that (of a summon turning on you), you're basically tossing a coin between making combat EASIER or making it HARDER. Thus, when it lands on "harder," you're encouraging the player to either reload and retry, or simply avoid the risk in the first place. Neither of which is a desired goal of the design. The only goal of the design is to provide a cost/limitation on the benefits of summoning, so that it isn't purely some benefits.

 

It would be akin to trying to balance healing by saying "the more often you heal someone, the greater the chance that it will HARM them instead of heal them." If you play through a combat and get really unlucky, you're going to actually lose faster than if you hadn't even tried healing at all.

 

Save-scumming, in-and-of-itself isn't "bad." There are ways to eliminate it, but they're unnecessary. If you save before a dialogue, and pick an option, and it doesn't produce the result you wanted, so you reload and try a different one, then more power to ya. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the dialogue design. However, when you get things like "there's a chance this lockpick will jam in this lock, and you'll never be able to open it," then the game's encouraging you to reload if your lockpick has a 1% chance to jam and does so, because you inadvertently made the situation worse than if you had not acted at all.

 

Obsidian's not trying to prevent anyone from save-scumming ever. They're trying to avoid designs that encourage/support its use rather than just it's allowance.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I don't categorically hate the idea of a stamina drain associated with the summoned creature(s), but it does raise some concerns. The whole point of summoning a creature is usually to add some combat ability to the party. Should the cost be too high you're left with a depleted summoner and the creature isn't around long enough to do all that much good.

 

Also, what happens when an already stamina-depleted summoner calls forth a creature to bolster the party because the summoner needs to take a breather? If stamina is drained from the caster, then only fresh casters need consider calling up anything to aid the party and they're generally the ones in least need of another ally. It's the hard pressed casters who'd suffer most if the drain was significant, so wouldn't this drain obviate summoning as a viable tactic much of the time?


http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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I don't categorically hate the idea of a stamina drain associated with the summoned creature(s), but it does raise some concerns. The whole point of summoning a creature is usually to add some combat ability to the party. Should the cost be too high you're left with a depleted summoner and the creature isn't around long enough to do all that much good.

 

Also, what happens when an already stamina-depleted summoner calls forth a creature to bolster the party because the summoner needs to take a breather? If stamina is drained from the caster, then only fresh casters need consider calling up anything to aid the party and they're generally the ones in least need of another ally. It's the hard pressed casters who'd suffer most if the drain was significant, so wouldn't this drain obviate summoning as a viable tactic much of the time?

I think one of the best things to do, in that respect, though, is linking, like the Ranger and his animal companion. I mean, there's still room for the summoned thing to be instrumental in taking hits in place of the summoner, etc., via differences in armor/defense values, etc. (summoned creature gets hit less often and/or takes less damage, but that damage still translates over to the summoner). You can even further balance that by having percentages. Maybe if you have one summoned thing out, then 25% of the damage it takes goes toward your summoner's health/stamina pool. If you have 3 summoned things out in combat, the percentage increases. Blagh, it's hard to make an example there without getting into the balancing of the specifics, which is kind of beside the point at the moment. I'm just pointing out the sheer method. If you want to summon a huge army of things, the number of things you summon produces a direct cost to your summoner, etc.

 

That's just another potential factor, but I think it's a really good way to go along the stamina-drain lines. Between that, and some kind of cooldown on your other spells (summoned something? Can't cast a spell for 7 seconds, etc.), and the aspect of direct effort on your summoner's part to use any of the summoned creature's abilities beyond basic attacking, etc., there are plenty of ways to make summons a tactical decision in a variety of situations, even with a variety of specific summonable things.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I don't categorically hate the idea of a stamina drain associated with the summoned creature(s), but it does raise some concerns. The whole point of summoning a creature is usually to add some combat ability to the party. Should the cost be too high you're left with a depleted summoner and the creature isn't around long enough to do all that much good.

 

Also, what happens when an already stamina-depleted summoner calls forth a creature to bolster the party because the summoner needs to take a breather? If stamina is drained from the caster, then only fresh casters need consider calling up anything to aid the party and they're generally the ones in least need of another ally. It's the hard pressed casters who'd suffer most if the drain was significant, so wouldn't this drain obviate summoning as a viable tactic much of the time?

 

Well it's one balancing mechanism or another; choose your poison. The summoner is presumably staying out of combat, so the stamina is going to other purposes. In the example I gave, the summoner gets a 2 for 1 deal with the Stamina, effectively reducing their rate of loss. The summoner is also not taking Health damage--that is being absorbed by the summoned creature.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I don't categorically hate the idea of a stamina drain associated with the summoned creature(s), but it does raise some concerns. The whole point of summoning a creature is usually to add some combat ability to the party. Should the cost be too high you're left with a depleted summoner and the creature isn't around long enough to do all that much good.

 

Also, what happens when an already stamina-depleted summoner calls forth a creature to bolster the party because the summoner needs to take a breather? If stamina is drained from the caster, then only fresh casters need consider calling up anything to aid the party and they're generally the ones in least need of another ally. It's the hard pressed casters who'd suffer most if the drain was significant, so wouldn't this drain obviate summoning as a viable tactic much of the time?

I think one of the best things to do, in that respect, though, is linking, like the Ranger and his animal companion. I mean, there's still room for the summoned thing to be instrumental in taking hits in place of the summoner, etc., via differences in armor/defense values, etc. (summoned creature gets hit less often and/or takes less damage, but that damage still translates over to the summoner). You can even further balance that by having percentages. Maybe if you have one summoned thing out, then 25% of the damage it takes goes toward your summoner's health/stamina pool. If you have 3 summoned things out in combat, the percentage increases. Blagh, it's hard to make an example there without getting into the balancing of the specifics, which is kind of beside the point at the moment. I'm just pointing out the sheer method. If you want to summon a huge army of things, the number of things you summon produces a direct cost to your summoner, etc.

 

That's just another potential factor, but I think it's a really good way to go along the stamina-drain lines. Between that, and some kind of cooldown on your other spells (summoned something? Can't cast a spell for 7 seconds, etc.), and the aspect of direct effort on your summoner's part to use any of the summoned creature's abilities beyond basic attacking, etc., there are plenty of ways to make summons a tactical decision in a variety of situations, even with a variety of specific summonable things.

 

 

I think this idea is awful. Summons are precisely that--thralled creatures. They are pawns. They are not companions. The notion that the summoner would be bonded to fodder--let alone by their (effecitvely) HP, is counter-intuitive. This reads and feels like a gimp and a nerf, nothing less. The only instance where something along this lines might hold any water, would be where a caster may bargain a portion of their (actual) health in order to petition a demon or similar creature to battle. As a general mechanic though, it's absolutely terrible.

 

I'm telling you, it's about control. We don't even need to really theorize about it. Baldur's Gate 2 did it, and it worked superbly. Fodder was easy to summon, massable, and reliable--if lacking in potency. More complex summoners like Nishruu & Hakeshar had hard counters and several of them. Djinn & Efreeti were a liability in that their abilities could harm the party through AoE. If damaged, they would turn on you. Elementals were powerful and reliable--if mastered. Otherwise, that several round mental engagment could not only have left you vulnerable in the heat of battle--but actually summoned a foe. Demons were very potent, but uncontrollable--a critical risk, and technically not members of the party (no xp from their kills without the aTweaks Mod).

 

Control, control, control. Have the fodder be easily controlled or guarunteed to be controlled. Their role as pawns are important. More sophisticated and intelligent summons with power and abilities need to pose a risk to all involved. They can still be balanced to suit the appropriate spell tier without breaking the game, a control mechanic doesn't change that. It's simple. It's flavorful. It permits effective summons. It provides an element of risk and counter balance. It has already proven to work. What else needs to be said?

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maybe link the number of summons to your concentration score. the higher your concentration, the more summons you can maintain. Getting hit and failing a concentration check may unsummon or unbind a summon.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Why so complicated?

 

Per summoner, 1 summon spell. Cast another? The original summon(s) dissapears. Since not all party members can summon, that keeps it in check.

Why remember more summon spells for a wizard then (with the cooldown system in mind)? Well, If the summon does, cast another spell.

 

No artificial hardcap, nothing difficult to explain to people, no statistics that have to be balanced with summons in mind. Just... the summons themselves need balance. Sound good to me...

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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Why so complicated?

 

Per summoner, 1 summon spell. Cast another? The original summon(s) dissapears. Since not all party members can summon, that keeps it in check.

Why remember more summon spells for a wizard then (with the cooldown system in mind)? Well, If the summon does, cast another spell.

 

No artificial hardcap, nothing difficult to explain to people, no statistics that have to be balanced with summons in mind. Just... the summons themselves need balance. Sound good to me...

 

That is very simple. You make a valid point. To that effect, why have all of these complicated Confusion spells? A Confusion spell is a Confusion spell. No need to distinguish between them at all. Never mind areas of effect, duration, potency, damage types, blah blah blah. It's a spell. You get one. It doesn't matter if you want to cast against multiple targets, or apply different effects to different enemies. You get one Confusion spell. You cast it. When it's done, you cast another one. No artificial hardcap, nothing difficult to explain to people, no statistics that have to be balanced with spells in mind. Just... the Confusion spells themselves need balance. Sound good to me...

 

For that matter...what's up with dual-weilding? Why does it have to be so complicated with off-hand, ambidextery, and other rules associated with the speed, accuracy, and effectiveness of using multiple weapons? You know what, everyone gets one weapon. When you try to use another weapon, the previous one goes away. Simple. No artificial hardcap....

 

Need I go on?

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No offence Hassat Hunter, but you described one of the most boring mechanics possible for someone who enjoys to use summoning. I've stated my case a few times though so I'm not going to drag it all up again (at least, not that much).

 

Seems there's a lot of people that don't really understand, enjoy or use summoning spells but still want to design them for other people to use. It's like having fashion experts designing combat equipment for the army - in other words, no fun for the poor sods that have to use the garbage. You can cut all the complexity out of something and it'll be balanced, but it'll be boring as hell. It won't effect you of course - you won't use them anyway. It'll just effect those who want to use summoning spells as a primary weapon, only to find out they've once again been given squeaky play mallets while everyone else is using a weapon.

 

I've recently played a bit of Age of Conan. Of course I went straight for the Necromancer and experienced a new kind of summoning which worked quite well. I can't say that it's my favourite kind of summoning but it's simple enough in mechanics that it'll keep people happy and gives enough of an illusion of summoning that it's not that bad. Summons are weak in HP and plentiful but draw no aggro - the enemies ignore them and go straight for the summoner. In this way, they're a bit like a whole heap of Damage Over Time spells that are very fancily and cleverly disguised as summons. You can have a satisfying amount of them (8 or 10 from what I recall) and you can cause one of them to temporarily become a tank by using a spell with a rather hefty cooldown. It bolsters the damage and health of one of the minions for 10 seconds or so and causes that minion to draw all aggro. Due to the incredibly low health of the minion, it's guaranteed to die in the process.

 

So how's that, people? DoTs are balanced, aren't they? Why not have 8 of them and make them look like they're doing something as they run around. It'll make you happy because the tactical advantage of a summon is completely gone. No more tanking. No more complexity. It's just a nice, simple, glorified Damage Over Time spell. This way the summoner can be pretty much exactly like a wizard, except for his cleverly disguised DoTs.

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