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Test Center Patch - Summoner Overhaul

I just did a few of my typical dungeon loops (mostly lvl 2). I like the gameplay of the update; but I found myself spirit energy starved most of the time. I basically just started prioritizing refreshing/healing my tank and summoning a new dps summon. Until I found myself wondering why the hell I was refreshing the thing just to spend mana on healing it- thus not casting dps spells with a chance to proc aspect. That might change if using a daemon which can specifically be upgraded to benefit from increased uptime?

I played as if new to the patch (120 SS, T3 Eldritch, 0 upgrade points).

Also, as I mentioned a few posts above- with the most recent iteration of patches knowing the duration left on your summons is even more vital info.

Is there a way to add a QOL display for time remaining? Some have suggested a red aura, some a text- my personal thought is single clicking the spirit stone will display a text of time remaining.

Something other than spamming "all names" =)
 
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Eldritch Proc
Should have some sort of interaction with Summons.

Idea:
Toggle to switch between Energy Surge -or- Summon Surge, to support both pure Mage or Summoner playstyles.


Energy Surge : ( same as before )
Summon Surge : _______ ( defense ) + _______ ( offense ) + Duration Timer suspended while PROC is active

  • Defense Effects ( only one of these obviously )
    • 30sec DMG Dealt Replenishes Spirit (health)
    • 30sec Invulnerable
    • 30sec Spirit Regeneration (health)
    • 30sec Defense / Resist Buff
    • etc...
  • Offense Effects ( only one of these obviously )
    • 30sec "Growing Fury" style DMG Increase (4% + (0.5% x Tier)) every 2sec... uncapped.
    • 30sec Bonus to Chosen Upgrades
    • 30sec Ability Refresh / Faster ActivationAttack Speed Increase
    • 30sec Attack Speed Increase
    • etc...
 
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Mana management is really harsh right now. I did a comparison run, out of aspect (no aspect armor, no aspect book) between the following two builds

120 Animal Taming, 120 Animal Lore, 120 Herding, 100 magery, 100 meditation, 100 eval int, 40 scribe
120 Spirit Speak, 120 Taste Identification, 120 Herding, 100 magery, 100 meditation, 100 eval int, 40 scribe

Here's the tamer run:



And here's the summoner run with mixed DPS/Survivability (Gale (dmg/accuracy) Windshear (armor ignore) Tempest (self heal))



And here's the summoner run with max survivability (arrival aura, spirit pact (HP), Corporeal Tether (Duration), Gust (parry), Tempest (self healing))



Mage Tamer comes out about 33% ahead, but what's really killing summoner's style, so to speak, is the increased mana cost and reduced duration of the summons. If you watch the videos, when I'm actively fighting, dps is good, but DPS starts to fall during all those periods of meditation I have (even with 120 taste ID for the enhanced mana regeneration).

Here's a little snippet from farming on live with my summoner (also with aspect off and mastery chain stored in the bank). I couldn't do a longer run because dungeons are crowded af (seriously, get us some faster respawns plz), but it makes the case fine



With the reduced duration and increased summoning times, the enhancement to summoners isn't really an enhancement. You've upgraded summon DPS, but also reduced mage DPS (by way of additional meditation needed to keep these things active) and so the net result isn't any improvement, just added nuisance meditating.

On live server, my summons last 8.5 minutes fresh out of the box at 120 spirit speak. On test they last 4 :/

Videos of some runs for people who like that sort of thing.

Mage Tamer

Summoner with DPS/Survivability mix

Summoner specced pure survivability
After this most recent patch, here's my run w/ 2 air elementals (spec'd for DPS) if I don't heal them at all and just let them die when they die and immediately resummon (they lived about 5 minutes give or take).

This is still with no aspect, just supreme book. Pretty close to mage tamer numbers, felt decent. I'll test w/ some other combos later.


 
There were some people concerned that command armor is better than Eldritch armor. I think that's mainly for the scenario where you're a summoner who doesn't cast any damaging spells (e.g. a dexxer summoner).

Command boosts pet damage but does nothing for your spells. Eldritch does both.

here are some runs against the trainer to illustrate. I did two runs for each cuz RNG has some impact even on 15 minute tests.

2 x Earth Elementals with 120 SS only (no aspect) - Avg 16.39 DPS




2 x Earth Elementals with T13 Eldritch (152 Spirit Speak) - Avg 21.7 DPS (32.3% DPS boost)





2 x Earth Elemental w/ T13 Command Armor - avg 21.4 DPS (Avg 30.6% DPS boost)




  • The tests can be kinda RNG driven, but eldritch armor and command armor basically give the same damage bonus to pets.
  • Eldritch armor gives additional bonuses to spell damage that command does not.
  • Command gives better defensive bonuses to pets in most cases (eldritch will give bigger defensive bonuses to tank pets -vs- their specialty. I.e. Earth elementals will take less physical damage when summoned in T13 eldritch than they will in T13 command. But they will take less damage from spells in T13 command than they do in T13 eldritch).
I personally find Eldritch armor more appealing to use than command armor on test server (on live server, because elementals DPS is so much less, eldritch armor isn't competitive with anything).

I do think the spell damage side of eldritch armor still needs improvement. For a mage who doesn't use summons or who uses low DPS summons like tanking pets, eldritch will still underperform -vs- other options.

Command book is certainly better than eldritch book, but that's largely because command book continues to be completely OP compared to other aspects because of the way its healing bonus is handled (just throwing massive amounts of completely free healing at pets every time it procs).
 
I would suggest that if spirit stone is double-clicked and you target yourself, that 50% is consumed and the duration of all active summons is refreshed by the normal amount.

Especially for summon creature, needing to drag bars and target each pet individually is super tedious.
 
Summon creature would be nice if its base time was 3 minutes to make up for the long casting times, stone clicking etc to get 5 pets going.

With your stone drained using summon creatures to kill mobs as a dexxer, by the time I killed a few they vanished, so it was a little unfun to have to panic mode kill stuff and charge up then summon cycle 5 pets again and keep the best one alive.

Maybe reduce summon creature cast time a little more like 3-4 seconds?
 
I played for about 2 hours last night on test. To be honest with you, I was not very disciplined or methodical in my testing.

I literally just dove in and started having fun.

To me, that is a measurement of the fact that the overhaul has made significant progress. We are back to prime fun.

I went back on my dex/summoner hybrid build and the changes to duration and mana really smoothed out the gameplay. I actually felt really powerful.

I've been doing some benchmarking on live the past few days and from a DPS perspective on low & mid-tier mobs 2x air elementals are under a 90/90 tamer but still in striking distance.

I am going to state the items that I still think could improve the patch:

1) There are some really bad options in the summon creature pool. If we aren't going to be able to make a selection (would like that option), can we at least get rid of some of the pets that are objectively trash:
  • Black Bear
  • Brown Bear
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Polar Bear
  • Sand Crab
2) For testing purposes point acquisition is great, but these values are too low for the real world.

You either need to admit that 2 "farm 250k" society jobs a week is unreasonable (it's not, people frequently do this) or admit that 28k for the final point is laughable.

This needs to be calibrated against the expectation of what a "weekly job" is.

Here is my suggestion (I literally just added a 1 in front of each of your values...it ends up being a little over 1.5 million per summon):

1st Point: 15000 gold earned
2nd Point: 16000 gold earned
3rd Point: 17000 gold earned
4th Point: 18000 gold earned
5th Point: 19000 gold earned
6th Point: 110000 gold earned
7th Point: 111000 gold earned
8th Point: 112000 gold earned
9th Point: 113000 gold earned
10th Point: 114000 gold earned
11th Point: 115000 gold earned
12th Point: 116000 gold earned
13th Point: 117000 gold earned
14th Point: 118000 gold earned
15th Point: 119000 gold earned
16th Point: 120000 gold earned
17th Point: 121000 gold earned
18th Point: 122000 gold earned
19th Point: 123000 gold earned
20th Point: 124000 gold earned
21st Point: 125000 gold earned
22nd Point: 126000 gold earned
23rd Point: 127000 gold earned
24th Point: 128000 gold earned

3) Luthius already said he would add code so that if your SS dropped your summon would lose power. Definitely need this.

4) Other thoughts:

Daemon is definitely in a better place. Although not quite at the level of the air elemental, this summon got a lot better with this patch.

Fireblast is underwhelming though. Can we change this to MaxDamage and see where we are please?
 
Summon creature would be nice if its base time was 3 minutes to make up for the long casting times, stone clicking etc to get 5 pets going.

With your stone drained using summon creatures to kill mobs as a dexxer, by the time I killed a few they vanished, so it was a little unfun to have to panic mode kill stuff and charge up then summon cycle 5 pets again and keep the best one alive.

Maybe reduce summon creature cast time a little more like 3-4 seconds?
That's another thing I was gonna suggest was to make the initial time for summons 3 minutes instead of 2 (freshly summoned). It feels rushed trying to get them increased when they spawn w/ 2 minute countdown.
 
On the subject of Summon Creature, I think someone else mentioned this but I would personally rather have it include creatures that are not tameable to give summoners and tamers even more distinction. I don't know how possible this is, or how much extra work it would be, but I think it would be cool.
 
Eldritch PROC for Summons.

Summon Surge
  • Lasts 30sec
  • Duration Timers suspended while PROC'ed
  • Health Regen 3.5% + (0.5% x Tier) every 3sec
  • DMG Bonus 3.5% + (1.5% x Tier) every 3sec, "Growing Fury" style
At T13...
  • HP Regen = 10% every 3sec, 100% over the full 30secs
  • DMG Bonus = 23% every 3sec, 115% at halfway point, ending at 230%
This puts it on par with Command, but mechanically different.

T13 Command Proc is FIXED 115% DMG Bonus, unchanging over the entire 30secs
T13 Eldritch Proc is RISING 23% to 230% DMG Bonus, increasing over the entire 30secs, averaging to 115%
 
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I guess it's the last time I will argue against command (or command-style) procs working for summons.

As Wesley reported in Discord last night, Command book enabled his growing fury daemons to essentially survive unhealed for as long as he wished, at ~60dps overall farming dps, farming in Ossuary 4. Part of the patch was leaving that "fire-and-forget" gameplay style behind, I thought; opening the door for the immediate return but at an overall higher DPS just seems like an odd way to go. Tamer logs on, says "stable", summoner logs on, says "kal vas xen corp", and beyond that are they essentially identical for all intents and purposes? Should aspect dictate that, rather than template choice?

That doesn't strike me as a particularly great direction to take summoners; balancing summon timer, summon types, health remaining, upgrade options, the next mobs in the farming cycle, etc. etc. should be a UNIVERSAL concerns for summoners under any scenario.

I'm also afraid that bumping eldritch up to bring it closer to command only devalues the other aspects that are currently still OK relatively; void's mana bonus seems to be significantly offset by the mana gain from not resummoning/healing summons, for example.
 
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For the auto drain after six hours what if it stopped at your effective ss like 120% at ss so there is less down time the next day? It would still drain to 0 on use but if u log off it would stop at effective ss (higher for eldritch) or possibly effective ss/2 ?
 
Summoning Stones refresh mechanic
-If not using target self, you have to separate each summon to actually check it's duration (other summoners have been asking for some kind of gump/solution to this for as long as I can remember)
-Allowing summons to last TOO long will pigeon hole people into command book, the only thing that will realistically keep them alive. CAP it to like 8mins so it is somewhere in the region of traditional summoner, which should help to bridge the gap between command book and the others. Resummoning once in a dungeon run is fine
-PRO: You can start playing with full strength summons, and extend the duration as you go along which is a massive improvement
-CON: Need a way to extend duration during bosses when you haven't built up prior charge. SUGGESTION: Allow all damage to directly channel charge into the stone instead of only getting it from corpses. This way we can replenish charge during long fights. This also counts for spell stones, which are not a huge dps boost but just another issue we have to deal with.

Generally, this mechanic is tedious to use. I'm not even sure if Razor will tell the difference between a spell or summon stone for use type.


Fire Elemental
This guy was not useful for farming.
-Removal of the self-heal talent means they are difficult to use without a tank
-With T13 Eldritch and 120 SS skill, used 2x Fire Ele and one of them was dead in 50 seconds after fighting 3 blood dragons. The other was on about half HP
-Testing was too short to tell, but these could do well at bosses with the spellcaster upgrade and be a bit more out of the way
-With the testing I did get done (also tried it paired with an Earth ele tank) the damage felt lacking compared to air


Water Elemental
This is starting to be a pretty good tank now.
-Immunity upgrade is the main reason to use this


Earth Elemental
-Low resist and worse version of the water ele immunity means it can take more damage sometimes
-Would either like this buffed to be more tanky (give back the AR) or give it some more damage and I feel like it will be in a good place


Tanking in general
"Increase aggro" should be remove from current upgrades and added as a CHEAP one (2 points or even a 0 point toggle!). Current upgrades can be buffed to compensate.
-May open up more possibilities for the player to combo summons and play with the survivability/damage ratio of their duo
-For example, if I summon a water ele + fire ele, I do not want the fire ele to take any aggro, but I have to spec points into the water ele just for it to do its intended job, tanking? which give me much less wiggle room to spec the water ele for the environment I put it in
-Still not completely sold on the usefulness of full tanks, hopefully they gain a lot more value with the "make lvl 3's like oss4" thing


I did some short runs and took numbers for my personal analysis rather than something accurate to adjust balance by, but I thought I'd post them anyway. You need multiple, longer runs with each to average out any rng

All are same dps mage spec, using T13 aspects, and without herding. Was pretty much the same loop in Aegis 3, did not do longer more reliable runs because it would take hours. So disclaimer this is without resummoning which would have dropped some of their dps, and my loop starting to respawn slowly.