New Followers Info from PC Gamer

KuangTu of let us know that the new August issue of PC Gamer has a one-page feature on Diablo III, with new information about the DiabloWikiFollowers. We’ve been asked not to post the scan, so here’s the key info transcribed from the page.

…your followers will chime in during dialogue or with playful banter as you adventure. For instance, “The Scoundrel will flirt with the female Wizard, and she’ll flirt back,” Martens explains, “But when he flirts with the female Monk, she’ll tell him, “You have no chance.”

There are also details about nine of the Followers’ skills. We knew the names of all their skills from the Followers’ Video, but the functions of them haven’t been elaborated on just yet, so this is cool to see.

The DiabloWikiScoundrel, Level 10 abilities:
DiabloWikiDirty Fighting: Throws dirt in an enemy’s face, and scrambles in an attempt to wedge the player between him and danger. (Coward.)
DiabloWikiBandage: A straight-forward heal that Lyndon will use when you’re badly injured.
DiabloWikiScavenge: Passively increases your chance to find DiabloWikigems and DiabloWikirunes while adventuring with him.

The DiabloWikiTemplar, Level 15 abilities:
DiabloWikiInspire: Boosts passive regeneration of your mana stat (Wizard’s DiabloWikiArcane Energy, Monk’s DiabloWikiSpirit, Barbarian’s DiabloWikiFury, etc.)
DiabloWikiIntervene: When your health gets low, Kormc will taunt all enemies near you for eight seconds.
DiabloWikiTribute: Increases all gold you pick up by 20%.

DiabloWikiEnchantress, Level 20 abilities:
DiabloWikiEnergy Bomb: Damages enemies near the player, and also heals you and gives you life-steal for 15 seconds.
DiabloWikiGuidance: Passively increases your chance to find magical items, making Eirena the perfect companion for loot runs.
DiabloWikiEnergize: Instantly replenishes your resource to its maximum amount.

I find Blizzard’s avowed “Followers will only be viable on Normal difficulty” a little more understandable, looking at how powerful some of these skills are. I’d still like mercs who could remain viable throughout the entire game, since I like the added strategy of having a helper who is really powerful in some ways, and yet who requires constant management on my part to remain alive.

But if these Followers with these skills were DiabloWikiend game viable, that would be crazy. Instant full resource refills? Rune find bonuses? Automatic healing? Those sorts of bonuses should come from items, and fairly powerful items at that. Being able to add them just for fun, from Followers, would be unbalancing. Or is that the whole point/attraction?

On the other hand, even with these abilities, you could argue that the Diablo 3 Followers will be weak sisters compared to their D2 predecessors, who could add enormous damage plus multiple aura bonuses from high level equipment.

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53 thoughts on “New Followers Info from PC Gamer

  1. I like how they distributed the item finding skills between the three of them. Now I don’t know who to choose. I’ll probably go with Lyndon, just because he’s cool. 🙂

    Also, looks like the dialogues between the player and follower will be fun to listen to. I wonder what the male barb will say when the scoundrel starts flirting with him…

    • Seems like the Scoundrel got the best one. I’ll be going with him as I’ll want to get as many gems as possible so I can start getting level 10’s/14’s or whatever max level they’re at now as early as possible.

  2. So if I can prevent monsters from hitting the followers, will I be able to have these bonuses in the end-game anyways? Interesting to see whether the monsters will just be too numerous for this to work or if they have implemented other features to not allow them to be used for end-game MF.

  3. Yeah i’m wondering about the MF/GF skills in NM/Hell.  Even if the followers die quickly in NM, and get 1 shotted in hell, their added gold find for e.g. would be nonzero.  Since they self-rez after a time, they wouldn’t be dead 100% of the time.

  4. From my understanding, the Followers are only usable in Normal. From NM on, they are not with you as a player. This, as we all know, can change, based on play-testing.
    One thing I wanted to ask is who’s going to spend the time outfitting their follower if they can’t take them to NM and Hell with them? I know that I won’t spend a great deal of time with my follower, knowing that I won’t be able to keep them with me for the long haul. It would be such a waste of my time to put so much effort into a companion, only to lose them to a new difficulty level.
    A shame. A damned shame.

    • They are available in Nightmare and Hell, they just die too easily.
      But if we assign them defensive stances, may be they will be more viable on Nightmare and Hell. They have nice abilities that a hardcore player could use.
      It is know that hardcore play it is more cautious than normal play…

    • Developers have said the followers would be useful in the early stages of NM as well, only progressively less useful. And you really dont have to upgrade them a lot. Theres no customized armor slots and I think they automatically level up with you as well. So its not a big deal.

    • I agree, if the beta could already be out now without them I’d be quite pleased, they could always add them later.. It’s too late now though they appear to be pretty much done.

      • Yea, I really don’t see the point of having them at all if we’re just going to use them in normal difficulty, Blizzard might as well have used the time to focus more on perfecting other aspects of the game imo.

  5. the skills don’t sound that strong to me at all
    “Passively increases your chance to find gems and runes while adventuring with him.”
    by what ?
    3 %  ?
    10% ?
    so if your chance of finding a rune is .001 out of 100 it now becomes .003 out of 100 ?
    doesn’t sound OP to me
    “When your health gets low, Kormc will taunt all enemies near you for eight seconds.”
    define – when your health gets low
    you could balance that skill by making it 30 % in normal, 20% in nm and 10% in hell
    that way the merc will still with you, but hell is hell, as it should be

    even if we kept it a 30% in hell I still don’t think that would be overpowered; the decoy, golem and Valkyrie in D2 were helpful but were certainly not overpowered
    I think this skill could be scaled as those were
    “Instantly replenishes your resource to its maximum amount”
    unless that’s casting every 10 seconds I don’t think that’s very OP either, at least not in hell, but I can see it being OP in normal even it were cast every 30 seconds
    “Boosts passive regeneration of your mana stat”
    so, warmth ? ?
    that’s not OP
    I just don’t see these as anything that can’t be balanced
    back when the news of the followers first came out someone here posted the theory that they were originally meant to be viable in all 3 difficulties, but blizzard decided balancing them would delay the game and it wouldn’t be released this year
    so blizzard just decided to scrap the followers from nm and hell
    I’m beginning to believe that more and more

  6. A guidance enchantress might be a good way to have a little extra MF in Nightmare and Hell. If DIII is anything like DII, a wizard or demon hunter might kill anything from afar before the enchantress could be harmed by a monster.

    So if a player joins your game, your follower disappears. Does that mean that the MF-rate increases the more players join your game? you know, to promote cooperative play instead of playing solo with your MF enchantress?

  7. Attempting to keep followers alive for MF in NM or Hell will be tempting. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible, say for a WD with a bunch of Mongrels for tanks, but Bliz has repeatedly insisted we won’t be doing it.  Lots of Blue quotes on the Followers wiki article.

    Example, by Bashiok:

    Followers will not stay alive easily past Normal, and if they’re not alive you aren’t going to be getting their bonuses. I’m sure people will try to game this, and ideally they will fail. If not we will ensure followers are not part of the end-game MF equation. They are not intended to be, and we will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure they cannot be.

    • Makes me wonder if they will make monsters go for followers first in nightmare and hell to make them somewhat ignore the player and their minions until the follower is dead in order to make sure you can’t work around it… otherwise yeah, all wd’s could keep them alive with a few summons out all the time…

      • At one point they did say that mobs will attack the target they perceive as the weakest first.  So I am guessing that they will attack the followers first, thus making it nigh imposable.

        • It seems that monsters have a variety of priority targets. Some will go for the tanks, others for the mages in the back row. So if Followers get their hit points/defense/etc turned down on NM, and there are monsters in every pack who will attack all 3 types of followers no matter what their aggression stance, that would ensure they’re always under fire, if only from ranged attackers. And deds.

          Seems to be Bliz’s plan, anyway.

          • “It seems that monsters have a variety of priority targets. Some will go for the tanks, others for the mages in the back row” Did you see any of this in the PvM demos you played? What else do they do? For examples, do they try to avoid projectiles and stuff?

    • The devs said a lot of stuff about endgame in D2 as well, if you remember. I seem to recall them saying that going into hell alone was “suicide” (in a multiplayer game with buffed monsters). It never really was.

      The devs have no idea what’s going to happen once the game comes out, although I’m sure they have intentions.

  8. Looking at WoW I believe mercs could be completely useless on Nightmare and Hell. In WoW difference between 25 level (mercs cap) and 60 level is huge. It’s not even \one shot to kill\ it’s sometimes almost \one aoe-skill to kill\. And I believe same thing with items. So, for example, from level 40 you’ll find items providing 50 times more MF than your merc. And his bonus to your MF would be around 2%. I’m sure they won’t let mercs wear high level gear so you won’t be able to use them even as \MF items bearers\.

  9. Wait… so are they going to be available in NM and Hell after all ?

    I thought they said they’ll be in Normal mode only. I’m lost here.

    • They never said they wouldn’t be available. They said they’d be worthless past a certain point in NM.

  10. They are in NM and Hell.
    Flux, so the problem is now that they can ruin the MF delicate balance in boss fights on NM and Hell?
    They can make them return to town as they are scared, when you approach the boss area, if they want. 🙂
    The idea is, like you said, to try to keep them alive in NM and Hell too, for their bonuses.
    Even if we play usually in a party, there can always be a miss match of playing time from the players and the first who initiate the party game, often will play solo while awaiting for other team mates.

  11. Damn !

    I was so sure I’ve read that Followers would be only available in Normal mode, and not just “viable”.
    That’s awesome ! o/

  12. I’m a bit sad at the approach they took on the followers. For sure it’s nice to have them at all but to \make sure\ that they aren’t a factor in endgame (read: late nightmare, hell) is kinda defying having them in the first place. It would have been nice to see the followers improve in their viability over nightmare and hell by adding an additional item slot to them when reaching a new difficulty level while at the same time reducing the power of their pure support (read: magic find / heal) skills. Even replacing the pure support skills with additional (aoe) damage / crowd control skills when reaching a new difficulty level might be a viable approach. I mean, including runes,  they designed 700+ skills for the classes, designing an additional set of 9-12 skills would be something I think they could easily achieve.

  13. Yeah it its definitely understandable that this stuff could be way too overpowered in nm and hell, but it still feels wierd to lose them after normal difficulty. It really feels like \training wheels\ or whatnot to make normal even easier for those who will just play the first difficulty. understandably those who feel they are too helpful can just decline their services if they want. Still seems like a waste of development time to get rid of them in nm and hell.

  14. If followers are available in any way, they will be used in NM and hell no matter how slight (e.g. 2%) the mf/gem/rune advantage.  Serious players (and botters, unfortunately) can beat any system developers can put in.  There are too many of us not to think of ways/exploits to do it.  Why not kill everything around a boss/unique/champion then wait for your follower to pop back up before delivering the last blow?  What can prevent that other than their absence?

  15. they are planing to turn this into romance simulator? pre order canceled. it was shaping to be a shit game anyway

  16. Well I know I’ll be trying to keep the scoundrel alive in hell to get them gems… we need like millions of gems for the top rank gem so it might be the hardest thing ever but, I’ll be trying it.

    • Ditto though i suspect ill just give up if he/she dies to often and clear an area then get the appropriate follower out and pop the chests.

  17. Sure hardcore players could use mercs but the thing is resuling merc’s bonus to drop chance for real rare items on Hell could be +0,0001% (and about +1% to ordinary magic items [with 60% drop rate]) so definitely finding a good team to make a fast loot-run would be a better choice.

  18. Here’s the question I’ve been pondering since first hearing about the follower’s gem-find skill: Are we going to be doing our end-game gem finding in normal?

    If followers are truly limited to Normal (either due to unavailability or a burdensome lack of survivability in NM and Hell) and if the follower gem-find skill and our end-game magic-find (or gem-find) gear have any real impact, then it might be more efficient to run Normal.

    The last we heard, level-5 gems will be the highest to drop. If you need 3 gems of one level to make 1 gem of the next level, then you would need 9 level-1 gems to make a single level-3 gem, 27 level-1 to make a level-4 and 81 level-1 to make a level-5.

    I’m going to make up some random percentages here, so forgive me, but I don’t think anything I say is too off the wall.

    Let’s say that you have good magic-find (or gem-find) gear your and your drop averages for gems in Hell is 5% level-1 gems (because you know they would), 10% level-2, 20% level-3, 30% level-4 and 35% level-5. That means that in terms of level-1 gems, your average gem drop is worth 38.6 level-1 gems.

    Let’s say you wear the same gear in Normal, but you also give your scoundrel some good MF (gem-find) amulets and rings and you give him the gem-find skill. This gives you a 60% chance at dropping a level-1 gem, 30% chance at a level-2 gem and 10% at a level-3 gem. That means that your average gem drop is worth 2.4 level-1 gems or only 6.2% of your average Hell gem drop. However, if your follower’s gear and skills and the fact that you are in Normal all increase your drop *rate* for these crap gems by 60%, then the overall value of your Normal gem runs are worth 9.92% of your Hell gem-runs.

    The question then becomes whether or not you can run Normal 11 times quicker than you can run Hell and whether or not the gem-combining costs will be prohibitive. If so and if not, respectively, then Normal would be more viable for gem-finding. And thinking about the days back before God-gear polluted D2, I could definitely run Normal 11 times quicker than Hell, probably more like 15-20 times quicker.

    All that said, this is all based on invented numbers.

  19. Man, we might be able to beat Normal w/ our eyes closed.
    But, I think one thing they could do, if too many people are somehow keeping their mercs alive too late in the game for Blizzard’s liking, is have a mid-nightmare cinematic where some boss jumps in and viciously kills your mercs. Your character raises a fist to the sky, “MENDOOOOZZAAAAAAAAA!” and vows revenge. Then, when you beat the game in Hell, you see their Jedi ghosts at the caravan, and the scoundrel has turned into Hayden Christensen for no damn reason whatsoever.

    • Your idea must be made reality!

      As for beating normal with our eyes closed.. if that turns out being the case then that’s probably just to ease us into a false sense of security for when we make it onto hell difficulty and quickly become bold from immense hair pulling. Though I hope they meant it when they hinted at how much of a nightmare hell would be (poor pun very intended).

    • I remember perfectly Bashiok answering to a Q&A (don’t remember which one tho) question from a guy who was a bit worried that the game would be too easy and he said :

      “Oh don’t worry, we’ll beat the crap outta you.”

      So I wouldn’t really worry about that 🙂

  20. Makes me wonder how the female barb will respond to his advances… or maybe he doesn’t like the big girls 😛

    “I like the added strategy of having a helper who is really powerful in some ways, and yet who requires constant management on my part to remain alive.”

    Um… by strategy do you mean running away to avoid them getting killed because they are too stupid to get away themselves? Yeah… that’s not really strategy, it’s baby sitting… And the fact that these followers will also be uncontrollable makes managing them almost nonexistant outside of the customization…

    Also, holy crap… energy bomb sounds like circle of wrath on steroids… and gem/rune finding on the scoundrel will likely make him the most used follower unless it’s a tiny boost…

    • “Makes me wonder how the female barb will respond to his advances… or maybe he doesn’t like the big girls. ”

      By grunting enthusiastically and squeezing the pulp out of him with her marbled thighs?

      “By strategy do you mean running away to avoid them getting killed because they are too stupid to get away themselves? Yeah… that’s not really strategy, it’s baby sitting…”

      I’ll venture to say that if that’s your memory of merc husbandry c in D2, you were doing it wrong.

  21. I could the AI of monsters being setup to specifically target followers first with their rez timer lengthen on NM/Hell to absurd levels to prevent them from being used.  But likely people will continue to try and use them find ways of keeping them alive or exploiting holes in mob AI which lead to one of two things:
    1) Blizz will just not allow them be used in NM/Hell at all
    2) Blizz will make them viable in NM/Hell and makes adjustments accordingly.

  22. I too would love to see Followers be given the ability to progress to all 3 modes, normal, nightmare and hell, not just normal.


  23. Not horribly thrilled over the idea of some npc hitting on me. I mean, not a big deal, but I could certainly do without it.

  24. If I were Blizzard, which i’m not, I would have the followers each get owned by a finishing blow of some monster when they die in the later difficulties. Easy, interesting and entertaining solution. And once they’re dead, they never come back, even if you go back to normal. That would stop those oddballs who want to farm normal for 2187 lvl 1 gems just to get ONE level 7 gem. I just don’t get people’s priorities sometimes

    • Last we heard (I think), a level 5 was the max drop, and who knows if we’d get the max drop every time just because we are in Hell.

      If the above is still true, then Normal could have several advantages for gem-finding, all of which might make it more efficient to gem-run there. For example, the ease might allow you to do the runs significantly faster and to equip yourself fully in end-game gem-find gear since survivability is not a problem. Survivability would also allow you to spec for gem-find if any such traits or skills will exist.
      If you add that to gearing your follower in end-game gem-find gear and choosing the gem-find skill, then your drop rate, average gem-level per drop and kill speed might all be high enough to make Normal more viable for gem finding. 

      I gave some hypothetical math on the previous page. If your average-level drop in Normal were only 6.2% of what it was in Hell, but your drop rate were 60% higher and your kill speed were 11 times faster, then it’d be more productive to hunt gems in Normal. And these aren’t outrageous suppositions if the game isn’t flooded with goodly gear and skills to make the end-game cheese.

      Two disclaimers: (1) This all – the possibilities listed hear, the numbers on this and the other page, etc. – is conjecture; (2) Even if this is the case, I doubt I demonstrate the OCD needed to run Normal over and over again. I don’t think I could handle the monotony.

      But… it ought to be clear that some people will have the priority of getting the best items as soon as possible if only to resell them for real money.

  25. For me seems like a nice feature, but if you cant use them in hell, where 99% of the game will be played, seems like a bit of a waste. Theres always patches / expansions though

  26. My question is, where the heck is this in PC Gamer?!? I sure can’t find it in my August issue of the US version. Was this UK only?

  27. Oh yeah, we’ll be seeing them used in Hell, even if their extra MF is 1/10th of what you get from items it’s still a little extra. And players will find a way to make it work.

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