Follower Viability

General Discussion
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When we first announced the follower feature we revealed that these unique characters would accompany your hero on an adventure to save Sanctuary, but that they would only be able to survive in Normal difficulty. The amount of positive support the follower feature received, as well as the number of players who wanted to be able to keep these companions throughout the game — even into the toughest difficulties — left us wondering if it would be possible.

At BlizzCon we announced that we had taken that player feedback and were indeed working to make the single-player followers (templar, scoundrel, and enchantress) viable in the later difficulty levels.

We want to share some of the details surrounding this change and what it will mean for the single-player experience.

A lot of us wanted to see followers become viable throughout the game too, and agree they really add something to the experience as a whole. One of our main driving forces in making this decision was the benefits of the co-op experience, and the disadvantage of playing alone in the Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno difficulties. Followers won’t follow you into co-op games because you’ll already have the superior firepower of your friends to help you, but playing alone you’re going to want to take advantage of their benefits. We’ve made the later difficulties of the game brutally difficult, and we realize that for those attempting to tackle these later difficulties alone, they’re really going to actually want some additional support in the form of the followers.

Some players didn’t like their experience with mercenaries in Diablo II. We took feedback regarding mercenaries very seriously when designing Diablo III followers, and they differ from mercenaries in a few key ways that we think set them apart and resolve many issues. First of all, there is no resurrection or cost to your followers’ deaths, which makes their upkeep far less intrusive. When a follower takes enough damage to “die”, they simply take a knee, catch their breath, and after a few moments are back in the fight. That downtime could potentially have an effect on your own survival, but it’s unlikely to create a situation where you’re worrying about them or constantly working to keep them alive. We don’t want to turn what could be a fun benefit into a punishment by making players pay for their followers’ poor combat choices.

Secondly, when you die, so does your follower. These aren’t characters that can hope to compete or continue on without you. While some players prefer to be the lone wolf taking on the forces of evil, our intent isn’t to dilute the hero aspects by adding more wolves to your wolf pack. We want followers to be an extension of your bad-assery, not a liability. The followers could almost be considered automated buffs/damage skills, but of course with quite a bit more flavour and customization options.

We still have some tweaking to do with the followers, including their skills and end-game balancing. We continue to discover cool little ways to improve how each follower performs and the complements the different heroes. Our intent is to ensure players who take followers along find them to be helpful additions to their single-player experiences.

In the meantime, we’re interested to hear what you think of followers at end game and what your intent will be. Will you ever play alone, considering the benefits of co-op (personal loot drops, increased killing speed)? If you do play single player will you bring a follower? Or do you intend to challenge yourself by not bringing one?
I love the new followers personally, could never really get to grips with being bothered with the ones in D2 (wasn't a hard-core enough player i spose).

I will try to play with other people for the most part as this is more fun I personally feel. However if the game is indeed that hard later on (and I am not playing with other people - friends unavailable etc.) then having the followers will not only be pleasant company but also quite useful I imagine!

If I chose to live more dangerously then I could just not bring them along but having the choice gives the best of both.

So yeah.....good job :)
I totally agree with Bassmango - Most of the gametime I'll be playing with friends or random players, but if I wanted to solo something, just for the challenge of it, I'd diffently go single-player and with a follower to aid me. I would love to see followers in the fight of Diablo :)

I do wonder about the followers, I suppose they got a blocking system, so that you can't pass right through them...? It was kinda a bugger in D2 when you moved into smaller paths and was under heavy attack and couldn't turn around as you had your "hired gun" in the way.
And this is diffently an important factor for me - I'd prefer not to have something blocking me when I am hitting Hell-, or Inferno mode as I hate when NPCs interfere with my gameplay and gets me killed :(

Good job and thanks for working on the followers viability :)
06/01/2012 18:01Posted by Takralus
We’ve made the later difficulties of the game brutally difficult, and we realize that for those attempting to tackle these later difficulties alone, they’re really going to actually want some additional support in the form of the followers.

If Inferno really is as hard as we hope it is, followers won't only be a nice addition in your toolbox but also a fun addition to the overall experience. In Diablo 2, I really enjoyed a follower. Gearing a "friend" to help you slay demons was awesome in general. I sometimes got the feeling they were somewhat stupid and too careless with no sense of immediate death. For example, they never tried to "kite" on very low health which that any intelligent creature would do when facing an imminent death. Diablo 2's version of followers were a bit like cannon fodder.

But I will definitely use one if there is an on/off switch. When we start to out gear content and "whirlwind" ourselves through most of Hell and perhaps some of Inferno the demand for that follower diminishes. But, since we don't know how Inferno looks like, one could just assume that you're going to need that extra damage, healing or protecting provided from a follower if you're playing alone.

The current customization are excellent and creative with the abilities they use and the different styles they have. Three things that would make them even better and smoother to use would would be an on/off switch when you want to use them or not, a defensive/passive/aggressive stance to tune their aggression and lastly, at least some desire to live longer than a few seconds.

Sometimes it arguably be better to have them on defensive and healing or attacking from a far rather than having them on aggressive and hit a brick wall. If the followers feels "clunky" and "stupid", they would be an nuisance to me and not an assistant and as a result I probably won't use them.
Sure, I'd bring a companion around when playing alone, I always did in D2. And I think it's better this way, no point in wasting a mechanic by applying it only on normal. Though I'll mostly play multiplayer in the end I think.
Have blizzard thought of controlling the way your follower behaves? Passive.. agressive? In Diablo 2 what caused me to die a few times was a follower pulling a bunch of packs of creatures or hitting creatures with 'lightning skin' causing it to proc the creatures abilities and sending lightning bolts over the floor killing me.. Would it be possible to recall your follower to a location or a strategic point in battle so that lets say.. the huntsman takes a position on a cliff as i walk by? Or stays at a safe distance of creatures since his abilities are ranged? In later difficulties i could imagine controlling your follower to not go and run into a pack of demons or causing a creature to go into a frenzy or something like that would be far more helpful then a follower that hits the units but just.. pisses them off sorta speak :D

Ah yes, I forgot to add that in my post - the ability to "control" even a little bit would be so welcome as NPC helpers can be really stupid sometimes! (Something like aggressive/passive would do).

I know that the idea is to not over complicate things with a pet bar and extra control etc. but maybe an on/off button or something (so off = they just cast supporting spells or spells + engage monsters only once you have engaged)....
Nice post . i like the idea that they can follow us and be useful in the same time .
And yes indeed i will use them .regardless at what level i am (nightmare hell inferno) no problem .
Thanks for letting us to use the follower on higher difficulty . good job .
I will ALWAYS use a follower when playing solo. Normal, nm, hell and inferno. They are awesome! Thx blizz for making them viable through the whole game!
When playing solo i will definitly use a follower. They were really helpfull in D2 i guess they will be more in D3 :D

i will probably play single player just to have done it, and then i will bring the enchantress or templar along for the ride, i loved the mercs in d2 and thought they made a great addition to my skills ofcourse that was because of the gear (auras) and more they gave me..

maybe its because im a min/maxer that i wanted a merc, the survivalbility of the mercs were pretty bad in hell but still needed the conviction aura from the infinity runeword to get rid of those stupid lightning immunes :D

I will only play this game with my friend or at least most of the time apart from grinding maybe. And i feel like we'll be missing out on the whole follower only for single-player thing.
I truly loved the whole finding out the best combination of followers for our combination of classes. Like getting a vigor rouge scout for a mass army druid/necro.
I just don't see why we can't bring at least one follower in a co-op game.
Thanks for a fat blue post. Nice read.

I think I will travel with followers, I mean, I travelled with mercenaries in D2, until they died and I had to pay a ton of money to revive them. Maybe I won't go with them on normal, since it's going to be rather easy. If followers will have some character, I mean some nice comments about the current situation, not only lifeless bots, I will enjoy them a lot.

What I don't want to see is the following situation:
Random chat on bnet
A: I finally beat hell!
B: W/ or without merc?
A: W/
B: Real men play without them you noob!

That didn't happen in D2 though, at least I didn't see that ^^. In D2 merc had more impact on the game, a lot of builds even relied on them to tank the majority of damage. Followers won't have so much impact, from what I've read.
I did like playing with mercenaries in Diablo2 even when the choises were pretty much limited to act 2 ones who gave auras.
In short the mercenaries added more combat options to the game and it was much much more entertaining.

What goes for followers kneeling down when they are beaten too much.... umm i'd prefer a (3 sec or so) channeled spell which is cast while standing in melee range of the fallen follower. Since the channeled spell could be interrupted by any damage, the player would need to plan the revival in critical moments which might give an extra edge in the combat. It would also have an interesting effect on pvp.
I personally will use a follower. If i'm at single player ( friends offline) then its just better to take them , who knows how much they can help us , plus give a bit of fun and exciting effect to the game. Hopefully they wont bug from time to time , and in crucial moment ( extra pulling , stuck near a fence and out of line of sight , dissapeiring , running off, etc.) , but given the amount of time they've put in the game and its development , I'm convinced it wont bug.
But when in multy , its just better as they designed it , because if everyone could have a follower there , taht would be just to ridiculous. Then the army of hell and whatnot wouldn't stand any chance and in later difficulties it would be on farm in no time.
So far as everything goes , its heading towards the OK part.
Really looking forward to it.
I will definitely want to play without followers even in a single player session sometimes, not only because I will enjoy the added challenge (hoping the end game difficulties will still make it balanced to play without a follower), but also simply because although I appreciate how followers will add their own flavor to the game, which I will enjoy at times, I will also enjoy, other times, being in full tactical control of battles, which is something that you can only get close to by playing without an unpredictable AI character who will make mistakes and not be able to learn.
I pray to god you won't scale the difficulties (when solo) with followers in mind.
I also hope there will be some other buff to take as a replacement of a follower.

I don't want a follower.
They are in the way, and no matter how good AI there is, they will always be stupid. It also takes away from the epic feeling of being a "hero", since you will have an invulnerable soldier next to you holding your hand.

The follower system is the worst thing in D3, and if it means that I will have any significant disadvantage playing without one, then you, Blizzard, have failed.

I'm extremely glad there will be no followers in co-op games.
I don't want a follower.
They are in the way, and no matter how good AI there is, they will always be stupid. It also takes away from the epic feeling of being a "hero", since you will have an invulnerable soldier next to you holding your hand.

I hold the same basic opinion. I honestly couldn't stand how necessary followers were in D2 and was quite happy to hear the game wasn't being tuned around them in D3.

If other people really want them in the game then it's great Blizzard has catered for them but I'd like to ask that the presence of a follower should be a choice of the player. As in, using a follower removes a portion of your power - whether this means one less passive skill slot or X% reduction in power while a follower is active or some other drawback I don't really mind. Just as long as there is some reason not to have one such that electing to use a follower is a decision a player needs to make.

For me, unless I'm deliberately going for a "minion master" build, followers detract from the game experience. I'd like to be able to play the game without being punished because I don't want to do what everyone else does.

Edit: dinophreak (1st response in the US thread) made an excellent suggestion: "I'd like to see followers upping the difficulty fo the mobs a bit, like a second player would. Not as much as a second player would, but generally I think there should be at least some drawback to using them, to balance not. Otherwise, it's no longer a choice."
Im the type of guy that just LOVES to play pet classes and having an extra follower who i can customize kind of makes me hard in my pants..

You should really consider SWTORs companion settings for D3, i know that it would make alot of people happy, im sorry that im tired and cant express myself properly but let me try.

1 player - 1 follower
2 players - 2 followers
3 players - 1 follower (Host keeps follower. IF he dismisses his companion, someone else can bring his)
4 players - 0 followers

and since followers isnt as powerful & efficient as real players, there really shouldnt be any problems here. 2 + 2 + player connect = 3 + 1 + 4th player connect 4 + 0 = greatness.


1 merc should add a small exp penalty.

Maybe add an option when hosting games [X] Followers allowed.
Every decent player in Diablo 2 had a runeworded mercenary, and I liked it that way. It's a shame that people cant bring their followers into multi-player games in D3. I completely understand that there's some major balance issues in terms of making the end-game a lot easier with 4 players and 4 followers, rather than just 4 players.

IMO, followers should be an end-game thing - like mercenaries was in Diablo 2. For a sorceress and many other classes/builds, Hell difficulty was undefeatable without an aura-enchanted high level mercenary. Now, you said Inferno would be harder? I don't think so.

Don't make followers some private pet for single-player sessions, make them a part of the game. They should be a show-off, a status symbol. I want a windforce on my scoundrel merc, and other players should see it. I want a Grand Vizier on my enchantress, and other players should see it. What good is it to me in a private game? It's like having a Ferrari in your basement.

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