First thing’s first, the mongrel is now (or again) known as the Zombie Dog. It was the name that was used when the idea was first proposed and all the way through development. Calling it a mongrel was kind of confusing because everyone was so used to calling it a zombie dog for so long, no one remembered to call it a mongrel (dune thresher and fallen imp suffer from it as well to a degree). The name zombie dog doesn’t need to be lore-fied really. It describes the skill perfectly, so why not use it?
So anyway, right, the fire and poison/locust enhancements for the zombie dogs was removed. It was a cool idea but it just wasn’t really panning out to be anything meaningful. It was sort of confusing as to why you would be switching between fire and poison, was it to keep an additional DoT active, or maybe there would be tactical reasons for it? But it just wasn’t really jiving in a way that made sense for the rest of the game as it all came together more. It wasn’t shaping up to be a meaningful or fun decision to make on-the-fly. And if you didn’t happen to spec into the skills that would empower the mongrels in different ways, what then? You’re just constantly refreshing a fire DoT on them? To what end? It seemed more and more that a decision that was made at the base skill, either through spending points in another skill (passive potentially), or using particular runes to alter the zombie dogs, made the most sense.
I haven’t spoken to the designers about it, so I could be way out of line, but I think the potential for passives that affect all “summoned zombies” is definitely there as there are quite a bit more of them that exist now. The gargantuan, zombie charger, wall of zombies, grasp of the dead, and then the zombie dogs of course.
It’s not an issue of coming up with various ways the effects could work, it’s the issue of why is it interesting or fun to switch between the two? Why/when/how would I choose to set my dogs on fire versus poisoning them, and most importantly! could it be done accurately enough so that it actually makes a difference?
“Ok I’m a firebomb WD.
Firebombing, firebombing… Oh sweet, my zombie dog lit on fire and is doing extra damage/trail of fire/etc etc
Firebombing, firebombing. Yup, he’s still on fire and doing all that stuff.
Still on fire.
Always on fire since I use firebomb so much.
… still on fire.
This might as well be a passive.”
Repeat the above for locust swarm.
“Ok I have firebomb AND locust swarm!
Firebombing, cool he’s on f… wait nope I accidentally hit him with locust swa… nope now he’s on fire agai… ok they need to stop getting in my way I want them to be on fire but they… ugh.
This should just be something I can choose/switch in a more meaningful way.”
In related news, we’re going to be posting the full list/discussion of the WD’s skills tomorrow morning, if you want to learn more about those summoning passives Bashiok just referred to.