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Companions For Adventuring

The zookeeper is one of my personal favorites when it comes to build archetypes. Summoning a pantheon of pets to fight along side me is great! With our limited number of action bar slots, players who take mostly pets have very few actions that they can take moment to moment in gameplay. We want to give the zookeeper a more active role in their adventure. We also want the Primalist pets to feel like they are a part of your character and to form a real bond. With these goals in mind, we have made several changes to the pet system.

  1. Primalist pets are now companions. They are still minions and will still be affected by minion affixes. Companions include the: wolf, scorpion, sabretooth, bear and spriggan. Temporary pets like the serpent and totems like thorn totem are not companions.

  2. When a companion runs out of health they enter a downed state and can be revived by the player. If you neglect to revive your minion for a significant period of time, they will die and will be required to be re-summoned. Companions have a high mana cost and cooldown so this will not be the ideal method of returning your companion to active status. Reviving your companions is as simple as standing nearby for a few seconds. You may still use other abilities while reviving your companions and no specific actions are required to begin the process. You simply need to be near them.

Here is an example of my Wolf defending my Sabertooth while I get it back on its feet.

  1. Companion skills can be activated while the companion is already summoned to use a unique ability. For example, you could command your bear to perform a powerful roar which debuffs your enemies. The specific bear ability is not set yet and this is subject to change. These abilities are not implemented yet and will be available on Beta release, not the next patch. When they are added, you’ll have a whole new suite of skills to keep your companions active in combat. This change also opens up some more design space for the companion skill trees. We can modify the activated ability and in some cases replace it entirely.

  2. You have a limited number of companions which may be summoned at a time. This limit can be increased through passive skills and select unique and set gear. The initial value which we are using for your starting companion limit is 2. The passive tree has two more nodes which can increase that limit by 1 each and there is a unique helmet which has been added to the game that can increase the value by 1 more. In total this means you will be able to have 5 companions summoned simultaneously. Individual wolves each count towards this limit. Because of this change, the Summon Primal Wolf skill tree has had significant reworks also.

I know that this probably looks like it will be a nerf. We are always adjusting balance and this will by no means be the final time companions are adjusted up or down in power level. The goal with this change is for a design shift rather than a straight nerf. After all of these changes are implemented, the gameplay with companions will be much more active and will hopefully be more fun.


For the most part I’m pretty happy with this idea, but I think the change to Primal Wolf is the one that has the biggest negative impact on how the class currently plays. Given the risk of one-shots in this game it can be very important for a class like this to have a consistently-available defensive screen of meat shields, and without Primal Wolf that’s not going to be possible anymore.

Personally I think PWolf should have an interior node that determines if it’s a Companion skill or not. It could default to summoning a pack of disposable individual wolves with a section dedicated to changing it into a Companion piece with individually-powerful companion wolves.


Sounds cool. And it’s also a very good idea to be more active in general with this build and it sounds like you guys are on the right path to address it. And thanks for taking the time to explain the thought process behind these changes. I really like that, you’re all pretty great at that btw.


Hmmmmmmmm :blush:
Glad to hear this :hugs:

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It really seems so. But I can suggest two quick solutions which probably still can be implemented.

  1. Limit companions by type - not by overall number.
  2. Fleeting Pack node makes wolves temporal, so they shoudn’t be limited by the rule anymore, right?

I probably should have put this in the main post but between this patch and beta, all the existing companion skill trees are also getting overhauls. All the passive trees are also getting overhauled to help with this change too. The wolf tree is very significantly altered already.

As always these trees and numbers aren’t set in stone. We will adjust them as development continues.

These were my favourite pets, but mostly because I didn’t have to summon them myself. Will be interesting to see how the mending mechanic makes the companions feel.

I am generally not a fan of summoner/zookeeper archetype, but a more active playstyle for such archetype is something I could get behind :slight_smile:

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One thing I appreciated about the alpha was the ability to choose between more active and more passive play styles, with commensurate strengths and weaknesses: the former was generally more offensive in nature, with the drawback that some otherwise permanent minions were made temporary and had to be resummoned.

While I’m not particularly concerned about the implementation, I hope you continue to recognize that the two play styles are distinctly different archetypes and as such attract two different kinds of players. If anything, that was what impressed me: That you managed to serve two different kinds of players without creating a brand new character type (and its associated assets, new skill tree, etc.).

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If I’m not mistaken I believe that the acolyte is meant to serve as more of the passive petmaster role, adding active components to the primalist would be one of the distinguishing differences between the two.

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Hey Gibbous, as the game director with a pretty severe case of carpal tunnel from an extreme amount of ARPGing I stand behind this sentinment. We’ll definitely make it so that you can be a lazy zookeeper though you may have to earn it through passives with an opportunity cost and certain uniques to make it really shine. This is another step forward in making our Primalist, and specifically Beastmaster, feel unique to our Necromancer.

You can still roll a Necro and be pretty lazy from the get go if you specialize/gear that way. The primalist just has to work for it a little more!

Keep the feedback coming :slight_smile:

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Hmm I’m not sure how I feel about this. A Primalist summoner with many wolves seemed pretty cool as it wasn’t something that you could really make work in Diablo 2. I like the active abilities for companions, but making the number of companions so small kind of ruins the fun. I think you guys should reconsider the number of wolves that are allowed and place limits on each kind of companion instead of a flat number as someone mentioned in a post above.

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We have relaxed it slightly since this post was made based on feedback from the beta testing group. There is a node in the new wolf tree which makes 1 wolf not count towards the cap. You can still get up to the same limit of permanent wolves. The temporary wolf node has been removed because we thought that it conflicted with the core values of the Primalist character.

If it really doesn’t work then we’ll look at changing it back. We aren’t set in stone with anything really. We are going to give this new system a little while to grow and see how it feels though.


I’m currently running a MonoPet Druid, but I’m a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to run a Mono-Pet Druid with Serpent Strike (potential 18 nodes of investment completely lost if the minion gets killed during a boss with low adds, doesn’t count as a companion for the purposes of Mono Pet Builds), without also needing to run another Pet at the same time. Took a long way to find that the interaction doesn’t work like I’d want. Can Companions be more clearly marked - fancy border on the UI, or a Companion Tag, say?

(PS, In general, I think Guardian Spear in general for the Primal Serpent Build is so integral it will never not be taken, and thus should be included within the core skill - I’d also consider giving this Pet or the associated skills another go over - so much investment to increase it’s longevity after specifically stating the pet doesn’t heal is a bit of an odd decision, I think)


Would be great to hear whet you guys are working on for pets. They still need a ton of work and a lot of feedback has been given.

Yea, we have a lot of talks about pets still. We’re looking at all sorts of options for them right now and we aren’t really locked in to an option yet. We’re testing some things out internally right now but I’ll see if we can get some sort of update on the plan.


A follow up as totems are “pets”. Are totems meant to be the huge aggro poles that they are? It would be nice if everything on screen didn’t make a B line for them the second they are summoned.

I like it when the totems pull aggro. At least the thorn totems. But I tend to use the 5-at-a-time nodes and like getting everything around them so I can wipe out the enemies with less risk.

It would be nice if storm totem didn’t with it’s lengthy cooldown but I assume I just need to learn to place it smarter.

I haven’t paid enough attention to the aggro mechanics, for all I know they’re random. I assumed that mobs went for the first thing that hit them. I know they can be distracted after that because they’ll chase me occasionally when I haven’t hit them at all and my minions are whacking them.

Well thanks man for sharing this amazing idea on …really helpful ! :slight_smile: 9Apps VidMate app VLC

Well I think Totems pull a lot of agro and this is the best way to handle it. Imgain placing a Totem and all enemys say “nay!” and move away from it. Would be fun for sure but right now the enemys kill those. I have skilled the Claw totem node in the swipe tree and those little ones are agro magnets as well. Would be strange if melee range totems simply would be ignored :D.