Forums » The Summoner

The summoner and their place in raids

    • 1988 posts
    May 18, 2016 12:41 PM PDT

    I want to give some thoughts on what I hope the summoner class may be able to do, and may not be able to do, in a raid/multi-group setting.

    I want to preface this by saying that my main in EQ was a mage so that is where most of my perspective is coming from. I played from just after release to just after Gates of Discord and I was a fairly active player (3.5 years of played time on my mage during that time period...granted some of it was sitting in the bazaar over night)  If some of the things I bring up here were changed later in EQ's lifespan I am unaware of them.

    I also have an understanding that one of the benefits of a summoner/mage should be that their ability to solo is a little better than many other classes and their usefulness in raids might take a hit because of it.  That is where the balance needs to come in.

     

    1)Once /pet hold came out it was a life saver for a mage. 

    I feel like having full control of your pet should be a part of the class from lvl 1.   (Not just in raids)  There were raids early on, prior to /pet hold where pet classes were basically forced to unsummon their pets because a random aoe could have them aggroing a mob that was trying to be mezzed. Even a quick reaction time on the mage's part could end up starting a bad chain reaction and the extra pet dps/abilities wasn't worth the risk

    If the mage has to go without a pet they are severely gimped...which is perfectly acceptable and understandable. Can we please never make that the scenario?

     

    2) I would like to encourage the devs to include as many support abilities for the summoner, that will be useful in a raid setting, as possible.

    Because, lets face it,  a summoner shouldn't do as much damage as a wizard in a raid setting...similar to the enchanter, but the enchanter seems to have a lot of other useful things that they bring to the table that the mage was always lacking.

     

    There were 3 main spells that helped the mage's desirability in raids (other than a little bit of extra, middle of the road, damage) that I can think of off the top of my head (a couple of these were added later and were not part of the mage originally).

    I would like to see spells such as these, and A LOT more, added to the summoner class: CotH, Mana Rods and debuffs.  Though CotH...and to some extent debuffs, weren't always necessary.

    A brief description of those spells for those who are unaware:

    Call of the Hero (CotH) is a mage spell that summons a party member to them from anywhere in the zone. Honestly I have never felt as useful as a mage on a raid than I did in Vex Thall.  I would have to die at the entrance.  Then a rogue would drag my body to a safe spot and rez me using a clicky rez stick.  Then it was my job to summon the entire raid party to me...saving hours of time it would have taken to clear there. (granted, dying on purpose as a positive thing isn't the best scenario from a game design perspective but, as a mage, your desirability in raids was often pretty low. In this case I was essential and it was a good feeling.)

    Mana Rods (also very useful in single groups).  This was a summoned rod that the mage could drop on the ground and another player could pick up and click it and it would give them a little bit of mana.  Really, the best use of this in a raid was usually after a wipe to get the party back up and ready to try again quicker.  After rezing everyone and healing everyone clerics are always oom.  This helped the clerics get ready faster.

    A third example of support abilities that the mage had in raids was their debuff (mala) line of spells.  Granted, the shaman was a better debuffer and enchanters also debuffed.  There were times though that multiple debuffs had to be stacked on certain mobs in a certain order and that is when I felt useful using debuffs as a mage.

    Example:  In Temple of Veeshan there were certain, highly resistant, mobs that would have to have 3 stackable debuffs on them in order to reliably land damage spells/slows etc.  It was my job to wait for the main shaman debuff to land and then cast my debuff (my debuff spell would always be resisted if the shaman didn't land their, higher level, debuff first).

    I would like to encourage the inclusion of many, highly resistant, raid mobs that have to have multiple debuffs stacked on them in a certain order by different classes.  It requires planning and team work.  I see this as a positive.

    There were other summonables the mage had but their usefulness in raids was limited.

     

    3)  The way items are handed out in a raid setting should really be stream lined.  This would be useful in single groups as well, but because there are so many other people in a raid it is most important in that situation. 

    I mentioned above that the mage would drop summoned mana rods on the ground for others to pick up.  Theoretically you could open a trade window but that interrupted whatever that person was doing.  If the summoner is going to summon items that need to be handed out to people (instead of buffs like most classes), there needs to be a way to to disperse them to others that isn't as cumbersome as opening a trade window...and then filling up inventory space that may, or may not, be available.

    My solution would be to have the summoner summon one item.  They then click it and it can supply a buff to everyone in the raid (or a specific target).  Sure, this would be slower than just casting an actual buff...but that can be taken into account when balancing.  There could even be one item that could be summoned, say a sword.  Click it and all of the pets in the raid would be given that sword.  The one caveat would have to be that if that pet had a better weapon already it wouldn't replace it.  Anything is better than having to open a trade window with each individual person.  Please No! 

    Side note: A separate, personal pet peeve about summonables....please, Please, PLEASE!!!  Never put a summonable bag in game that if you put items in it and then go offline all of the items are gone.  That is a horrible design choice.

     

    4)It would be nice for the summoner if there was a way to make pets more sought after in raids.

    Pet damage and abilities against raid mobs was sometimes very limited compared to single group encounters.  I feel like there are a couple reasons for this: (i make some broad generalizations below.  Please take them with a grain of salt because we all know specific encounters can have different results)

    Firstly, a lot of raid mobs are resistant to things like root or stun etc.  Depending on the pet they may cast these things anyway, wasting valuable time.  Yes, using a different pet might have better results.  But then, even using a pet that only cast damage spells, can also be very limited against raid mobs.  This was probably because your pet was very rarely the same level as the mage themselves.  Raid mobs (from the current expansion) are usually tuned toward the current level cap (the level the players are...not the level the pets are).  This can lead to lower damage output from pets against raid mobs than they might normally do against slightly lower level, single group, monsters.  In comparison, spells cast by a player, as long as they aren't resisted at all, do about the same amount (near the spells damage cap for their current gear/level).  This makes pets extra weak against higher level monsters.

    A few possible solutions that I can think of: 

    *Maybe have a buff the summoner can cast that could increase the "effective" level of the pet for a short time (but still be limited by the pets maximum output for it's current level).  This would only be effective if the pet was getting resisted a lot or having it's damage mitigated.  In a normal situation it might be hitting for the maximum for its current level anyway so there wouldn't be much if any benefit.

    *Give the summoner more variety of pets than the standard 4.

    I would really like to see a pet that doesn't cast any spells at all and just does physical damage.

    Another pet that doesn't attack and only casts spells.

    Another pet that goes through a debuff cycle with various stackable debuffs would be nice.

    Yes, these would be very situational.  Giving the summoner more variety gives them more possible solution for an individual battle...granted that still doesn't really solve the issue with pets vs raid mobs.

    **Have a better pet AI so that if some of its abilities aren't being effective it stops using those abilities against that target. 

    ...Or better yet,

    a tunable pet AI where you can choose the spells that pet will cast and in what order and it will cycle through them.

    Maybe you could even set up your pet to cast summon spells and it would summon a certain amount of items and give them to your group/raid members?

     

    There were times...when I was at the point of raiding every day...that I regretted that the caster class I created was a mage.  Wizards were more useful for teleporting people around and damage in the raid itself.  Enchanters were more useful for things like mana regen spells, CC and slightly better survivability with runes.

    I hope the summoner can be implemented in a way so they never have to feel the same way I did sometimes playing my mage in raids.

     

    Thoughts? Opinions?...I know it's a lot.  I was pretty long winded.

     


    This post was edited by philo at May 18, 2016 7:29 PM PDT
    • 697 posts
    May 19, 2016 12:47 AM PDT

    1) I agree, good pet control isn't something that should come down along the road (through AA or so), it should be something you gain early on. Maybe not from level 1, but definitely before the "raiding game" starts. I could also imagine some great quests granting pet commands as rewards ("Learn to control your pet, you must. Teach you how to do that, I will" :)

    2) I think this really comes down to the role(s) of the summoner. So far we can assume it will be DPS/Utility, but how are those weighted? I also think that out-of-combat utility should not count (much) towards this (like summoning stuff). I would like a strong DPS role, but that means that the utility role will have to be rather limited. Of course the devs may go the other route and make the summoner more of a hybrid: less DPS, but more combat related utility (debuffing, CC, ...).

    3) I dont mind summoning items and then passing them to whoever needs them. Being able to target someone and cast summon, and having an item appear on their cursor (or in their bag) might work too, but is more likely to be abused (spam innocent people with summoned items).

    On summonable bags: EQ handles this so that summoned bag with real items in them turn into (very heavy) "real" bags when you log out for too long, and remain on your character. Thus you cannot lose items this way anymore.

    4) I think part of what you describe exists already in today's EQ: The water pet is a very strong melee pet (rogue), yeah it still casts but the majority of its damage is from melee. The fire pet is a quite good caster. The earth pet tanks quite well (although I hear the tanking power has been nerfed, due to multiboxers abusing mages :( And the air pet is a fairly good general purpose pet.

    I agree with you that having more specialised pets in Pantheon would be nice. A summoner doesn't neccessarily have to only summon elemental pets, they could be able to summon a wide variety of creatures. Some good ideas were posted in the thread about types of summoned pets in this forum!

    • 1913 posts
    May 23, 2016 5:21 PM PDT

    Nice post. I played a mage as well and what I noticed on raids was that mages were consistent.

    There was never a time when a spell was not being cast or a clicky bonus dps used; one spell right after the other for the time of the raid. There was rarely a time when no casting was done and the elemental, of course, whittling away.I did not need to sit to med much at all, except for those small times between targets.

    For me, I liked playing the mage that way- carefull of spell aggro- but consistent, and non-stop. And of course at any time we could pop the cork when needed and nuke ourselves dry or to death if needed. 

    I like the idea of summoning monsters and of course learned pet control, I agree Sarim the pet hold was learned later when you were older.  I also like your idea philo of attributing spells or abilities to the summoned depending on the scenario.

    Summoning pet toys, was ...ok. It got cumbersome when BST's would let their pets push to high heaven and thinking they were mages and not even mele'ing like they are supposed to and asking for a fresh set of toys every time they lost their pet.

    I also liked the call of the hero spell- that was mage specific and it also wiped aggro which was handy in group senarios when the puller got in trouble.

     

    • 57 posts
    November 6, 2016 9:29 PM PST

    Trying to be creative here...

    Instead of summoning and trading or Mass Group Summon, perhaps the summoner can summon a type of "vending machine" placed in the world that has a set amount of one item that is given to players. Maybe the summoner can cause another type of this "vending machine" to cast another player's buff, and the drawback is that both players lose all of their mana. This "vending machine" flags players that have clicked it so that they can't get the buff again until it is spent and gone from the world. Obviously this would be high level stuff.

    The pets themselves can have special "once every 24 hour" or "once every week" abilities where they can sacrifice themselves to resurrect the dead (fire pet), heal and cure (water), stoneskins/ac buff (earth), prevent aoe/give mana (air). The once every day ability could be received at level 20, and the weekly ability at max level. The pets can have abilities if they die so that the fire pet can explode or create a pool of lava when it dies, the water pet can cure or restore stamina, the earth pet can debuff a mob or make a barrier, and the air pet can blow down enemies.

    Depending on what pet you summon, a group buff is given. As an example, the fire pet can give stamina regen, the water pet can give resists, the earth pet can give damage absorption, and the air pet can give mana regen. If the summoner is put into the caster group, the air pet could benefit them, if there's a lot of melee dps you'll do fire, etc. This would probably help if there are multiple summoners.

    Pets could have two stances (melee or caster). The fire pet can either be a berserk melee with a huge fireshield or a pyromatic distance caster. The earth pet can be a tank or a offensive (atk) debuffing DoT caster. The air pet can be a rogue or basic crowd control (stun, interrupt spellcasting, lightning spells). The water can be a monk or a defensive (ac) debuffing ice shard thrower that can heal a little.

    If summoned bags vanish with items in them then they'll just go to a special temporary slot when the player comes back until they need to be dragged out into bags once again. EQ2, GW2 and I believe more mmos did this.

    The big thing is that summoners are prepared...they summon BEFORE combat. Maybe it could be more like a magical engineer where the things that are summoned are the things that benefit players and attack. If a player didn't bring a mace to a skeleton fight, a summoner will give them a "good enough" mace that is much better than daggers (I hope weapons stay relatively simple stat-wise). Outside of the obvious summon-everything-for-corpse-run things the Summoner has a disposable tank in case no one wants to tank (which would be terrible honestly)! Maybe the pet can be the one constructing barriers, traps, etc. in exchange for a loss of their stamina and maybe an item traded to them. Perhaps it should feel more like a real-time strategy game where the summoner commands their pet(s) to do all these fancy things rather than just "summon barrier". Maybe the new epic pet could build the Obelisk of Light and have it shoot lasers at enemies *cough*.

    In mythology/occultism, the elementals were more like this: Salamanders for fire, Sirens for water, Sprites for air, and Dwarves/Gnomes for earth. Since dwarves and gnomes are playable characters, sirens are most likely mobs, and Salamanders are the only animals, I'd be more happy if something surreal is summoned rather than something mundane. You can put more personality to a faceless pet from the fifth dimension than one with a face and looks like a dog, is on fire, and looks like a hellhound...what game doesn't have that? EQ2 has a ton of summoned pet appearances that look like mobs from the game, so that's why its better if the pets looked completely unique and in their own category.

    Maybe the pets can harness energy from the atmosphere differently than players.

    Maybe I should stop here.


    This post was edited by Radeon at November 6, 2016 9:31 PM PST
    • 1913 posts
    December 24, 2016 5:28 AM PST

    Radeon said:

    Trying to be creative here...

    Instead of summoning and trading or Mass Group Summon, perhaps the summoner can summon a type of "vending machine" placed in the world that has a set amount of one item that is given to players. Maybe the summoner can cause another type of this "vending machine" to cast another player's buff, and the drawback is that both players lose all of their mana. This "vending machine" flags players that have clicked it so that they can't get the buff again until it is spent and gone from the world. Obviously this would be high level stuff.

     

    I did read the entire post, but i lauhhed a bit when I read this because it reminded me of a kind of fan fiction written by a character named "The Quon" harkening back to when mages were "vending machines" and essentially dropping mana rods on the floor during raids for "important" raid members to pick up and use.

    Also I noticed another wierd quirk as a mage where; if in a resting mode the elementals would wander to where their element was. For instance, underwater with air elemental? and air elemental would rise to the top (like a bubble). this caused some concern at times because I thought I lost it! and did not realize to look up. If in a town, fire elemental would wander and sit in a fire pot. If flying, and even with lev cast on earth pet, earth would always be below (as if drawn by gravity). and If I recall, Water elementals were the only ones that actually had a swiming animation if you were swiming across the surface of water. 

    But building on your post; perhaps the contrary element would be stronger in an adverse environment- IF summoners are limited to types of pets in Pantheon. I hope that its completely new and like, if you need to aclimate yourself to an environment? then as a summoner, you also need to have special spells to summon a something-or-other that is effective ONLY in THAT environment. No acclimation? No summon spells and you have to come up with other ideas to deal with the situation or then limited to other means in your spell book.

    I make this associaiton based on the recent twitch stream where in the middle of cold environment, there was a hot environment that had a crafting NPC for special smithing (which I thought was neat) and they said how you had to have the right acclimation to not only be unharmed in the cold environment but also- I suppose have to switch- to head into the special hot NPC smithing place.

    I would like to see the same for a summoner- especially for summoned items that have partial acclimation elements on the summoned item- no rent.  So with environent influenced summoned creatures and items, and damage spells for that matter, hmm, this would certainly make having a well organized spell book a neccesity.

     

    But I do recall the shaman's developed a kind of Buff vending machine that you describe in their use of totems. A shamam could summon a totem that Gave X regen or +fear resist for anyone in range of the totems influence. I think there were two, one beneficial and the other harmful to NPC's so it generated like a consistent reduction in resists, like -5 to all or something.

    It was neat because it added to my imagination the theater of the fight in my mind. The warriors and knights engaging the monster, struggling, and then the Shaman,  oh-so-angry-and-mystical, coming in and slamming the totem of something-spiritual-deep-and-meaningful on the ground and those spirits benevolently or malevolently influencing the boundries in the rift created between the spiritual and the real by the totem.

    In fact, I think there should be a faction modifier on that totem. Skar Shaman plants a totem and you dont have faction with Skar? no soup for you!

    Archon shaman plants a totem and the only the archonian merchants like you because of your humble delivery of fine, scent-free skunk pelts to the poor furrier? some soup for you  (you can choose consome with mushroom slices or chicken noodle, yes we have many more but only these for you for now, better overall faction- more choices/benefits!) As an example.