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Beastmaster appears to have low QoL compared to other minion classes

I’m sure it’s as much a “all the other classes have new toys” while the Primalist has been stagnant outside of Tempest Strike changes and Crows, but Beastmaster as a whole feels clunkier and far more limiting in terms of builds than Necromancer. It’s nice that the 1-companion builds are capable of clearing content (I play a solo Raptor Godzilla build myself), but I’m referring to balancing full-army companion Beastmasters against full-army minion Necromancers:

  1. Beastmaster has a default max of 4 wolves, +1 if you take the Wolf node. Skeletons, on the other hand, can get up to 11, with the choice between melee and ranged.
  2. You need a Unique with a bad base to get another companion, while Acolytes get by with a +1 Skeleton as a prefix on a chest armor with any implicit that you want. Even if you’re comparing Uniques, Necro has a Unique that grants up to +12 Wraiths which can be specced to be semi-permanent (constant 6% drain is at least more manageable than increasing decay). I’d like to see something similar so that a Unique grants +2 Crows, but with a downside so that Crow builds without the Unique aren’t instantly obsolete (though they likely already are at this point without the Helm Unique and the Wolf skill, see below).
  3. Crow builds often take up the Wolf skill just to get another companion. I can understand that if you’re specializing in Crowstorm that benefits from more crows, but for basic attacks, the fact that you’re wasting another skill just to get +1 crow is bad design. You don’t want skills that you’re not even using to feel mandatory just to get more DPS.
  4. As for Ice Bite vs. Ice Arrows, I’m actually siding with the Wolves, as a 40% chance means that higher attack speed rewards it over a strict cooldown. Still, it sucks that you’re dealing Physical damage 60% of the time when you’re specifically building for Cold Damage.
  5. Necro’s minions have far more QoL as if they die, you can just re-summon them quickly. The companions, on the other hand, require you to stand in a circle, for multiple seconds, while the enemy that just killed your pets is still right there, and 80% of your DPS is neutered.

I recognize that the Beastmaster design is more of the “get in the fight with your minions,” but that doesn’t help if you’re fighting groups of monsters at once and your defenses aren’t up to par. In nearly all cases, the Beastmaster has weaker defenses than the pets themselves, especially as the pets often have great leeching abilities and huge attack speed that allow them to restore their health, and their innate damage reduction is better against enemy nukes like the Rayleigh boss or multiple Embermage meteors.

What can be done? At least using Ladder records, Beastmaster’s used far less often than Necromancer, or even Druid. BM and Necro are built the same way: aim for 100% Crit Chance and then grab lots of leech and flat damage to go alongside it. It doesn’t help that the Uniques and Set items are far more tailored to Necro than it is for BM (Logi’s Hunger gives +2 to fire minion skills, but BM doesn’t even have a Fire Minion to use). You have Sadhina’s set that gives huge resistances + skills to curses and minion skills; BM get’s Boardman’s set that gives… 21 Ward to a class that doesn’t use Intelligence, all at the cost of your Head and Chest slots where the best affixes go…

I don’t know, I feel that BM companions are way behind Necro minions in terms of versatility and use. Whether it’s damage conversions, pet abilities, it all seems tied to getting 100% Crit damage and spamming Aspect of the Lynx (or Shark if you’re spending time fighting as well). In terms of DPS, I’m trying 4 Cold Wolves + Ice Sabertooth, but the damage numbers pale to what 11 Archers and 5 Mages bring to the battle. You’d need a lot of flat damage and a +1 Companion that isn’t locked behind a Unique if BM is going to compete with Necro any time soon.

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Companions counteract Skeletons with on demand skills that are very powerful in my opinion, also the design concept is different. Necro minions are meant to be seen as pawns with a “summon and forget” mentality whereas companions are meant to be used more actively. I do agree BM (and primalist) in general could use some more interesting uniques in regards to armor uniques as well as sets.

Primalist will be getting at the very least a Druid rehaul in the next patch, I wouldn’t be surprised if both Shaman and BM are included. The developers recently stated that the primalist is one of the oldest classes skill tree wise.

I disagree that BM or primalist have weak defenses, they have access to a TON of general DR passives which are extremely powerful in their own right. I also think DoT Minion builds for BM are top-tier.

I will say though, I think cold damage archetypes for Primalist in general needs work on making it more effective. It’s one of the core damage types of the class yet you don’t see much class diversity for cold-damage primalist builds. A lot of this is due to other issues the primalist has, but still cold damage builds feel meh to me personally on primalist

I’ve seen top-tier BM builds, so I’m aware of their strength. I’m more worried about the disparity of the skills, and how the node layouts are either mandatory or worthless. I can name multiple off the top of my head:

  • The Wolf’s Howl is really good, and Frenzy Totem is practically mandatory in a Wolf build to get the extra 250% Crit Chance + additional protections + reset the Howl’s cooldown. On the other hand, nobody is going to give up those bonuses for the “Frenzy Totem hurts enemies now” nodes.

  • Sabertooth, on the other hand, doesn’t have that great of an ability, and you’re only really using it in combination of the other companions. Question becomes: what can a Sabertooth do that another Wolf doesn’t already do alongside it?

  • I’m aware that Aspect of the Boar is mandatory for the DR, but when have you seen anyone take the increased bleed chance and bleed effect nodes, especially when multi-stacking Aspect of the Shark gives you tons more attack speed to apply bleeds anyway, and Aspect of the Viper is also mandatory for the 50% attack speed boost?

  • We know the Spriggan is really good as a Machine Gun solo companion with the Druid tree that gives +40 Adaptive Spell damage. But nobody bothers to use it as a strict healing pet because its healing effectiveness is far worse than what it can do offensively. Especially since the spriggan’s healing aura doesn’t give extra resistances that could potentially make it a replacement for Frenzy Totem.

  • Then you have the idols, which instead of opening up more playstyles, gives you %chance of healing nova (since when was THAT ever used in the Druid tree?) and % Bleed on Cold hit (???). Otherwise, the idols are more mandatory stats like the +2% minion crit chance (and haha if you lose on RNG and the idol just gives you +1%) and minion Crit Avoidance.

There’s no interchangeability, no fun Uniques to build around (there’s the Raven gloves, but it’s not like people are making Crow + Spriggan + Totem builds to take advantage of all those +skill points), no discussions on updating the old skill trees, and the class feels like it’s already been solved… a year before release. It’d be nice if there were any updates on the old skills to see how they’re getting new functionality, but so far, it’s either picking the mandatory skills or don’t bother.

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Double Post, but there are other things that I missed in the earlier discussion:

  1. Take a look at some of the older companion skills: Sabertooth and Spriggan in particular. There are WAY too many nodes for random effects (8 points just to get 80% more health? What?) that have no business being there. There are some nodes that are pretty unique (Sabertooth having bonuses depending on Dexterity, which is nice despite there being NO Dexterity bonuses in the Beastmaster tree), but are too randomly placed with too many pre-requisite nodes for people to make good use of them.
  1. As the above poster mentioned, the only skill that has full conversion is the Wolves’ Ice Bite, which is ironic as the Wolf is the only companion that can grant multiple pets with one skill, making it already a superior pet when it comes to stacking a lot of flat damage from multiple sources. You have things like Ice Tiger, which sounds like it would be a full conversion from Physical to Cold, but turns out it doesn’t convert the base damage at all.

That doesn’t go into the problem with Scorpion’s conversion to Frostbite, since there’s no indication as to whether the active Poison Nova ability inflicts Frostbite or if it’s useless if you’re running a Cold build since the Nova just does Poison. Heck, it’d be really cool if one of the Scorpion can convert Poison chance from all sources to Frostbite, so you can use things like Entangling Roots’ Poison chance and convert it to get a ton of stacks of Frostbite. It looks like it’s possible to do that since you have things like the Raptor causing all Bleeds to speed up.

  1. You have skills like Maelstrom that appear that you can place on Companions, but I’m guessing that passive Maelstrom casts (such as on the Shaman tree) are placed on you instead of your closest minion, so you can’t have cool things like Wolves getting Lightning Retaliation + Lightning blasts from having 6 or more Maelstrom stacks (which would be really cool on a single companion Shaman build, but again, Wolves have to have all the good stuff). Besides, Maelstrom looks like it’s only used for the Dodge Rating bonus, and it’s already clunky enough having to Auto-cast it so that you can get sufficient stacks, so any use with minions would come with only having a few nodes to work with.
  1. Summon Storm Totem has a node that grants allies (including your companions) 15 Melee Lightning Damage, but then you have Summon Frenzy Totem, which applies just as much flat damage, but also has so many more minion bonuses. For the signature skill of the Shaman, Summon Storm Totem feels so limited due to only having 1 in the field at a time and weak bonuses (only a 30% to shock when the Storm Crows can get 500% to Shock from its Crowstorm ability).

I can go on and on, but without a generalized thread that says “Hey, we’re revamping our 2-year old skill tree for Primalist, tell us some cool ideas that we can use for the new skills,” it seems that the complaints are going on deaf ears. Especially since I’ve written a revamp of Primalist skills 2 years ago, and there’s been no action on any of the old skill trees since then. I know making new animations or skill nodes take a lot of time to do, but heck, just getting rid of those stupid 8-node buffs and streamline them into 4 nodes would already drastically improve the skill tree’s versatility.

This is being reworked in future patches. To what degree do these suggestions get used or are already incorporated only EHG knows.

Eight now the BM is the “pet” class who is able to deal the most dps by simply ignoring almost all pets. Undisputed at 300% AS is simply nuts.

The pet builds on the other hand suck compared to necro. But then again we get a druid patch in the near future and maybe they do other stuff after. Primalist got treated like the ugly duckling for a loooong time but I hope it was worth the wait.