Blizzard on Follower Strength

A couple of Blue posts this morning about Followers don’t provide any new info, but one brings up an issue worthy of debate.

I’m sure this has been talked to death, but are there any plans to make the followers not ridiculously worthless? Even when equipped with a good weapon, the followers still do like 1/15 of the damage you can with the same weapon. All they provide is a meager stat boost.

I remember the followers in D2, where if you gave them the right weapon they could match your dps, or provide an incredible buff (Insight or Infinity). At the very least, though, they would provide a great damage boost, and if geared right would make an excellent meat shield.

Vaeflare: Never fear! We’re actually actively looking into the relative strength of followers. πŸ™‚

They spend the entire time with you, chatting, helping out, adding their magic find to your pool. All they really want is to help defeat the Prime Evil in the final battle. But then they get denied. Is that really fair? I mean, I’d be really disappointed if I spent all that time working towards something and then never being able to realize the dream.
Vaeflare: I think that they were glad to offer their services to support the hero on their quests and adventures in any way they could, and I’m sure that they, like Tyrael, indeed yearned to join in the fight. They also had their own stories — some of which were resolved in-part by the end of Diablo III, while others were left open. But I also think that part of the hero’s journey is realizing that some fights must be tackled and overcome alone, and in this case, only your hero was strong enough to push forth and face the Prime Evil mano-a-mano.

Eirena enrichs your playing experience?
Ignoring the silliness of the second one, how about that first point? Should Followers be stronger? A legitimate source of damage and assistance in Inferno? This would be a big change, since the way Followers are now is by design. Players who weren’t around pre-game probably don’t realize it, but Followers weren’t even going to exist past Normal difficulty, in the original concept.

The D3 team felt they were too strong in D2, and that having a well-equipped follower was almost essential, so their design theory in D3 was to make them purely a source of minor buffs and witty banter. (Check the DiabloWikiFollowers page in the wiki for a ton of blue quotes on this balance issue.)

The D3 devs succeeded surprisingly well at that balancing, but that doesn’t mean you approve of the current system. So what do you guys think? How about a vote…

How strong should Followers be in Diablo 3?

  • 2) I want a return to the D2-style of big damage Followers. (56%, 1,712 Votes)
  • 1) I like the current buffs-but-low-damage design. (31%, 964 Votes)
  • 4) No opinion/not sure/something else. (8%, 232 Votes)
  • 3) I want Followers out of the game entirely. (5%, 153 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,061

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41 thoughts on “Blizzard on Follower Strength

  1. I kinda like how the balance for follower is now but I’d like a tad more customization on equipment. Maybe add an armor slot or two (chest and/or helm). That could also help to add some more dps since you could add more of that base stat. It still wouldn’t be enough to completely make the follower a huge dps person, but it will increase survivability and maybe add other effects.

    • I think this sort of improvement is quite likely in the expansion. More item slots, more boost from their gear to your total impact, new/better skills, etc. Recall that followers were fairly weak and disposable in D2C, before being much improved in D2X, chiefly by the Act 2 guys getting auras.

      • It seems basically all the great features from D2 are going to be in the expansion. That really bugs me. I don’t understand why so much content was cut from D2 with nothing whatsoever added to replace it. Blizzard removed runes, jewels, runewords, whites that meant something, 3 types of gems and charms. What was put in place? Nothing! The only new drop is crafting books, and we already had crafting in D2 which didn’t require you to find some recipe that drops once every 100 years. Sure, now you can craft uniques/sets… but that was what replaced all the great loot options from D2?

        Did they save all this stuff just so they could put it in the expansion? Vanilla D2 obviously didn’t have as much as LOD, but why has D3 taken so many steps backwards? Just so they’d have stuff to put in the expansion(s) so we’d have to shell out more money to get key features?

    • I can see both sides on this one. As Flux points out, they really succeeded well in achieving their design goal for followers – they play exactly as intended. However, since I play almost exclusively single player, having a strong follower is very appealing to me, and I wouldn’t mind at all seeing the return of the ability to superpower your follower if you have the assets, especially since they are a SP-only feature. Your idea could be a nice middle ground – I do often get tripped up when a nice armor falls that I immediately think “great, I’ll give that to my merc” before remembering. πŸ˜›

      I guess I wouldn’t fuss too much no matter what they chose – fine with working with the same system, would like any improvements to follower gear, and would love being able to do a beast-mode build for Eirena. πŸ˜€

  2. I like how the followers are now, but I feel they could be better, I don’t want hem to be super strong DPS, but perhaps more impact-full buffs/CC as well as a strong aura like the followers in D2 had.

  3. The followers aren’t bad, but not really great either. They just become a stat stick who also happens to bring a particular buff your class might benefit from. I was under the impression no one brought them for their offensive abilities…

  4. if they make the followers too good that will just drive people back to single player only. anything that reduces the co-op game is bad imo. i already lose a good amount of mf by going and playing with friends imagine losing a load of dps as well? i think they are good as is personally

    • “i already lose a good amount of mf by going and playing with friends”

      Not since 1.0.4 you do, averaging has been removed.

      • What he means is that his follower have +MF gear and that when he joins a multiplayer game that bonus is lost because the follower is lost.

      • But you lose the MF/GF and +xp loaded on the follower: an enchantress can give you 24% mf, the templar even more. For me losing the enchantress’ IAS and armor is the main concern though.

  5. I’d like to have the followers even in MP so we do not lose the MF/GF, IAS, Armor, Crit chance, or whatever. The current configuration is not bad, but maybe some other gear slot could be interesting to have.

  6. atm, the only viable companion for damage is the enchantress through erosion and forceful push, it just so happens she offers the best passive buffs in armour/speed buff.

    the passives for the other two are no where near as useful when push comes to shove.

    the templars level 30 skill that isn’t the resource regen skill could activate when you’re at 20% health but it has to have a 100% chance to work, instantly and heal for a percentage of life, say an extra 30% to get you to half health, but have a longer cool down once activated to prevent abuse.

    as for the scoundrel, a choice of blind or poison arrow for 3 secs? replace that skill with every shot is cold or fears and move it down to the final skill choices and then we’re talking..

    which defines the companions better, templar for the pure defensive (would appeal to hardcore players), scoundrel for the dps (which in turn would appeal to the softcore people) and enchantress left as the jack of all trades.

    • I guarantee ievery HC player would use the templar if the skill were changed to work that like, it could even be called “Disconnection Protection” πŸ™‚

    • Step 1: Take scoundrel
      Step 2: Take the skill that fires 3 arrows
      Step 3: Give legendary bow/x-bow with chance to pierce and legendary ring that gives cold damage.

      Result: Most monsters are always chilled

  7. It is nice to have a follower or pet who helps you kill stuff. It definitely does not hurt. Boosting follower to help kill things more effectively can be seen as an anti-party move, however by many. Although, with all the nerfing of things to the ground including such change as the 75% additional HP per party member, there is also merit in having follower buffed to “match” it.

    I am ok with how follower is now, current system is fine. But, I am also fine if follower gets buffed to help kill things faster (convenient sake). What I really want to see as improvement however isn’t in the killing stuff area. I’d like follower to be able to hold items (2-3 tabs of inventory), have ability to ID items automatically, and other functionalities not necessarily related to damage boosting. All of which do not upset the balance in terms of soloing-partying nor write-off previous changes related to partying, nor making follower a Witch Doctor pet clone.

    Currently they are only good as limited accessories mule and weapon mules, and very little mf/gf booster.

    Now, let see if D3 Devs managed to lvl up their head intellectually now compare to when they made the game prior May launch. *sits back & chomp popcorn, waiting for yet another Dev blog talking about how they “suddenly” come to realization after ‘accidentally’ having played a barb or any class last week, on what they didn’t do prior game release that they should’ve*

  8. My enchantress is already 2-shotting white mobs in Inferno and they want to buff them? Their recollection of D2 mercs is also fraught with broken items. Insight was extremely broken as it basically gave you infinite mana. Infinity was similar in how broken it made casters, it however was supposed to be created through runes that were nearly impossible to find through legitimate means.

    The followers now aren’t too far from D2 followers which could be slightly more uselful in slightly worse gear.

  9. I don’t think they should be super strong match your DPS like in Diablo 2, but I do think they should basically do as much damage per swing as you, just at their current attack speed. So like say my Barbarian can do 15k non crit normal swing, and so can the Templar but because his attack speed is innately much slower, it’s not like having another person in a public game or anything. That’s how it felt in the closed beta, and that’s how I wish it would return.

  10. I think the balance is pretty good, my enchantress does over 6k damage, which is a fifth of what i do (unbuffed).
    My suggestion would be to make the follower specific items much more powerful with follower specific bonusses, for example “adds 1% increased attack speed to focussed mind”. That would be awesome imo.

  11. I wish monsters would target them more often. It’s sad to be a ranged class and watch all the the mob walk past the templar like he’s not even there.

    • Indeed, the templar needs some sort of passive taunt skill – what is the point of having a tank if everyone ignores him? πŸ˜•

  12. > are there any plans to make the followers not ridiculously worthless?

    What the hell? Blizzard forum-goers at their best.

    It’s not all about damage. Equip Lyndon with a 49% knockback chance Windforce (dirt-cheap on AH) and give him the multishot/crippling shot skills and at 1.5+ attacks per second, you get ridiculous crowd control in Act 3 Inferno. Also remember Followers gain a lot more Life from Vitality than we do. Just stack MF/Vit gear and don’t look at their damage. Enchantress with a Tormentor staff is decent as well. Cold damage bows can’t compete with a Windforce though.

    • To be honest here…

      Follower as damage dealer is only relevant when your character is sub-par in gear. The kind of state where you struggle and have to spend a lot of time tickling monsters to kill them.

      After you reach certain point in gearing yourself up when you can molest monsters at east (does not even have to be 1-2 shot ko monsters), it does not matter if your follower can do damage or not, not even that crowd control mumbo jumbo. Damage role of followers will continuously diminish as your character gets stronger. It’s not like you purposely pull your punches so your Lyndon can put his 49% knockback to use, is it lol? Left to remain useful are their mf/gf buffs and follower’s skill specific buffs.

  13. If they allowed followers to do equal damage, they need to also give ability to have them in multiplayer games or else everyone goes to solo.

    Perhaps they expand followers to have more equipment… in expansion.

  14. I think it would be nice to add some more Follower abilities that unlock at levels higher than 20. It made sense to stop adding skills after level 20 when they were Normal-only but now it seems a little silly. That would also give a bigger selection of skills to choose from which could make Followers more useful without (necessarily) increasing their damage output.

  15. I always hated D2 hirelings and felt they were completely imbalanced. Sorcs were not meant to have their own personal meatshield. NEcs had their skill-based minions and were balanced around them. Zon had a Valk.

    With that said, I agree that the Enchantress is, if anything, overpowered.

  16. The current follower system consists of a dead body that provides buffs. When a follower isn’t mindlessly jabbering or attacking a treasure goblin, they are dead. They are dead bodies that provide buffs. The only difference between a follower and a set of single-player only passive skills is the character model that walks around.

    And dies. And talks.

  17. I am playing hardcore and the enchantress is incredibly strong. Her dps is over 5k and provides a significant boost.

  18. I think I’m fine with whatever they do as long as they don’t bring back revive costs. That’s all D2 mercs were – obligatory babysitting the walking resurrection bill.

  19. i think they could use some (but not too much) improvements in many areas, but whatever it is/will be, they should DOUBLE the benefits you get from followers when entering a multiplayer game. how or in what form I don’t care, but coop needs to have a reason/benefit/advantage over solo. that is what is really important atm. especially for an online only game.

  20. Followers are pretty good, I’m using the enchantress now. The only 2 things I would like to see are

    1. allow followers to get a % of you own attributes
    2. allow them in multiplayer

  21. I’d guess that Blizzard are pretty much through with making the game any easier for some time. So when they are aiming to make followers stronger, expect either your own character’s power to go down a bit in return or expect monsters to become a little stronger as well to make up for it.

    Either way, some of your own relative power would have to be transferred to the companion. And then there’s the question if it’s a good thing to have more automated damage-dealing/targeting around or a bad thing that some of your output is transferred to an AI that you can’t really control.

    So this could actually be a bit of a double-edged sword.
    On the other hand, acquiring a matching killer weapon for your follower and then seeing it yield a whopping 5.37 damage increase isn’t exactly awesome either.

  22. I would like to equip more items on the followers, but since they have their own armor progression it wouldn’t work unless Blizz changed a few things. I like to try to give them magic find gear, but at the same time keep them alive. I know the buff they give is still active if they die, but the Templar can’t heal you if he is dead and the Enchantress can’t turn monsters into chickens either.

    I was watching some TL2 videos on YouTube just to check it out, and I liked a few of the things the pet does to help. Such as going back to town with gear to vendor off and pick up potions. I also liked the ability to give them a temporary buff, which I think would be an awesome addition. Looking past the graphics on TL2, it really don’t seem to bad. I am so into D3 though it would be hard for me to break away from it right now. It definitely interested me more than GW2 and PoE.

  23. I don’t really care about whether or not they are strong or weak, just make them stop hitting my Goblins!!!

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