BioWare nerfs SWTOR companions hard, asks for feedback [Updated]

MMO players have always known the danger of a class or feature being overpowered, as it can draw the attention of developers and invite a nerf beatdown. Star Wars: The Old Republic gamers are learning this the hard way this week, as BioWare greatly reduced companion stats, damage, and healing with this past Tuesday’s 4.0.2 patch.

Community Manager Eric Musco posted an explanation for the nerf on the forums: “What we saw in those instances is that companions, simply put, were just way too good. Their healing and damage output could be greater than that of a very skilled player with a fully maximized character.”

Yesterday Musco followed up his original post by asking players for feedback on companion performance post-4.0.2. Both threads have since racked up well over a thousand replies each, with heated discussion on both sides of the issue.

Source: Nerf explanation, feedback thread. Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Update: Musco posted this evening that the team will be readdressing companions soon. “As we go into the weekend, we wanted you to know that we have gone through this thread, the forums, Reddit, and social media to gather everyone’s perspectives. We have come out of this with quite a few action items that we are going to take, including buffs for companions. On Monday, we are going to release a forum post highlighting our plans to address current companion balance, along with the state of heroic missions and star fortress.”
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dionm01
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dionm01

sukumei dionm01 I would be more than happy to explain what a casual hardcore player is.  Now other people’s definitions may vary but this is my interpretation.
A casual player in my opinion is a person who limits one’s self to questing and daily activities and maybe a open world event or two.  They usually do not participate in raiding or dungeon running as their primary game play.

The hardcore part is, they do the activities as stated above but spend a lot of time doing them.
Here is an example that I will use myself as the example.

I am currently playing SWTOR as I stated on my post.  I am doing the activities I stated above including solo 2+heroic  instances, but I am doing them in a hardcore fashion in the context of, I am focused at full throttle to doing activities 6 to 10 hours a day which I consider is hardcore and still have a daily life.  I have objectives to complete and putting in that kind of time in the game to meet the goals that I set myself to complete.  So I consider 6 to 10 hours a day of game play is hardcore.

Now others will have a difference of opinion and that’s fine because this topic you brought up is very subjective and there is no absolute definition.  I hope this helps and you may find your own definition.

Dion Markgraf
AKA: Dionsol
FOR THE EMPIRE

PS: This is the way I do every thing, Weather it is gaming or living life. I have only one speed “and is GO GO GO”
Life is too short, and there is always more gaming,Flight Simulation, &  life in general ahead to do. So Full Speed Ahead. Damn the Torpedoes.  Need more coffee!!!!!

sukumei
Guest
sukumei

DugFromTheEarth Bioware did a Blizzard.

sukumei
Guest
sukumei

dionm01 What the hell is a ‘casual hardcore player?’ Are you a part-time full-time employee? Is it soft but at the same time hard? Are you casual by day but hardcore by night? Do you actually not have time for games but prefer a challenge? If so then you’re just a skilled player.

Can someone please explain this one to me?

ShintarCommando
Guest
ShintarCommando

Feydakin The thing is, companions have never been restricted to solo content. And in small groups people were getting kicked because the group was going to be more efficient with fewer real people playing and more companions.

seemsthatway98
Guest
seemsthatway98

Disappointing to a degree. I haven’t played in over a year, but, I did like that with some creative gameplay, my friend and I could duo flashpoints with our companions out. Took us a long time, but it was almost always doable. Sad to see that if we (or even I) just come back, it wouldn’t be feasible anymore.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

Feydakin It wasn’t just ‘soloable’ for me. It was ‘my companion is doing 95% of the combat; I can go for a pee break and it’ll kill everything in the room; If I have to do anything, it is pressing 111 a couple or few times’.

A nerf was necessary, period.

Whether this far? That I’m willing to debate on.

dionm01
Guest
dionm01

Boardwalker dionm01 That is good to hear, that they will buff up the companions a little bit.  That’s all I’m really asking for, I’ve been having a great time playing SWTOR and but in a subscription capacity.  When my sub runs out, we’ll see how it is from there.  To each his own on the second job issue, for me Eve Online did become a second job if I wanted to keep up with plexes on two accounts.  However this was back in 2010 when the last time I played err.  At that second job.
Thanks for your reply and I appreciate it
Dion Markgraf
AKA: Dionsol

Boardwalker
Guest
Boardwalker

dionm01 I play both SWTOR and EVE, and they’re both fun. Not a “second job” at all. And the good news for SWTOR is that, after reading the feedback from players, it looks like BW will be buffing companions a bit. Hopefully they can find a balance between faceroll and too hard for casual players.

Boardwalker
Guest
Boardwalker

Tamanous Boardwalker Sometimes, a spade is a spade, no matter how you look at it.

Boardwalker
Guest
Boardwalker

LordOfBread Nope, not even close. Anyone who says KotFE is like NGE hasn’t played KotFE.

dionm01
Guest
dionm01

Well for me personally I was having fun rolling up my characters as the way it was.  Now I am dying more and because of this, the fun factor has went down for me.  I’m coming from the perspective of a casual hardcore player.  This is a problem when you tweak things from one extreme to the other.  I think they need to bring up the companions back up just a little bit and make my characters either on par or slightly (a teeny bit) overpowered.

Yes I will admit that the way it was I was not dying at all and I was melting faces with no issues. “But it was fun” and I was enjoying myself tremendously.  Now I am dying a lot, and is becoming more tedious and as fun.  We will see what the developers do, I still have 18 days left on my sub and for me I’ll decide if I want to resub or not then.  Remember, we play games to have “FUN” and not to have a second job.  That’s for the Eve Online users.

Dion Markgraf
AKA:Dionsol
Begeren Colony

tominva2012
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tominva2012

When I recently resubbed to SWTOR, the main, best change made to the game were (i) the option to respec any companion as healer, dps, or tank and (ii) the companions’ strength and ability to help a player drive along through the many — MANY — groups of trash mobs in this game. And now, this. I sometimes wonder if Bioware understands the distinction between “fun” and “tedium.”
I will wait to see what Bioware does regarding this issue on Monday, but if the game returns to being a drudgery instead of moving forward at a quicker clip, then I will likely unsubscribe from this game once more. Weak, all-but-useless companion characters are the reason I finally gave up on Neverwinter and now Bioware seems to want to do the same thing…. :(

dorn2
Guest
dorn2

The nerf was needed but the problem is the same problem SWTOR has always had.  Killing the mobs is boring.  There are too many of them and they have too much HP. WoW, GW2, Wildstar, etc, etc don’t have this problem.

Having the OP companions made combat at least acceptable.  I only started playing again because of this.  If they don’t find a better solution the game will be too boring again.

tominva2012
Guest
tominva2012

Alex J An adjustable setting is a good idea, Alex. 
I rather liked SWTOR’s “OP’d” companions. The game forces you to wade through a lot of trash mobs. The stronger companions made your progress through the game, which I treat as a solo RPG anyway, fast and fun rather than slow and sloggy. 
I say let players who want weaker companions have them; let players who like stronger companions have what they want as well.

mrgrimord1
Guest
mrgrimord1

WS f2p would like to have a talk with you..

Hounddog74
Guest
Hounddog74

Broseph

” touchin’ his lady’s feet, and stickin’ your tongue in her holyiest of holies, ain’t the same ballpark, ain’t the same league, ain’t even the same fuckin’ sport. ”

That’s about how similar this is to the NGE.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

Well, I had all stories unlocked. All comp stories. My presence was large. Put that Yavin 4 gear on them and felt like I had an equal. My Operative would just heal HK and watch him work. This was logical. He is HK. Now HK is a skin, that is my issue.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

I logged on this morning. My sub only reward Niko went from stud to dud. It is rather dramatic.
I’ll just go finish TSW.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

Section X was 700cc, I think it is half as much now.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

The section X content can be purchased on the GTN.

Kithred
Guest
Kithred

This nerf was needed, but now they are talking about buffing them again. Please just don’t go overboard with it. I’m sure I enjoyed the god-mode companions just as much as the next guy, but it did feel a bit stupid to have abilities on your toolbars you never ever needed (namely all defensive cooldowns and heals).

DugFromTheEarth
Guest
DugFromTheEarth

A nerf was needed

Bioware over-nerfed

The only thing they need to do is scale the nerf back some

RicharddeLeonIII
Guest
RicharddeLeonIII

Cartap LordOfBread NGE was more a complete overhaul of the game regarding mechanics, which the companion nerf still doesnt compare imho.

fluffymagicalunicorn
Guest
fluffymagicalunicorn

Chuki792 I like it. Understand, I was playing a sith sorcerer, so I never, ever got to use any of the damage companions for a lot of content. Instead, I was using… Khem. Or Khem. Or Khem.

Now I can actually brng other companions who I feel like might be more interesting for that section of story.

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

Polyanna Wait…fucking what? Sauce for this >.>

KDave
Guest
KDave

distaste I started playing last month and bought some bundle or another, so it’s paid for another couple of months.
Good timing though, I’ll have to try out F2P while they play these studio games.

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

SwobyJ Honestly, I loved the super laid back/leisurely nature of the game with powerful companions. I could really just chill out to the max while enjoying the story or working on alliance rep grinds. Didn’t have to really have to put much effort in (since it’s repetitive content for the grinds, and people play for the story) so it made a lot of sense.

Jack Pipsam
Guest
Jack Pipsam

That’s annoying, because when I play solo my companions are of great use.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

Greaterdivinity Boardwalker I’m not sure if anything companion could kill 90% of my motivation for SWTOR, short of removing them from the game.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

cobracommander Deuter Technically you can buy the unlock on GTN without spending a cent. But that’s pretty hard.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

Godson691 cobracommander The biggest plus I can think of for companions is a return to unique abilities, even if just 1, and only for a specific role. Like yes, HK’s sniper shot. Its okay to have some companions uniquely slightly more ‘useful/powerful’ than others. Slightly. I want some flavor.

SwobyJ
Guest
SwobyJ

Damonvile That’s how I felt too. Maybe there’s a middle ground here, but there’s no damn way that they should have been as strong as they were for those weeks. Period. I don’t care how many players howl out – the companions of 4.0 were like.. playing Mass Effect 3 on Casual (as in, the companions killed almost everything for you if you AKFed for even less than a minute, even gold enemies).

Alex J
Guest
Alex J

Don’t really see any good reason why they would actually “nerf” the companions again – SWTOR is basically a “co-op RPG” (was like that from the very beginning, got even more so with latest major update) which 99% of players play just to experience the story of particular class (and some occasional PvP matches) and overpowered companions just made you going through annoying parts of the game faster… 

What EAware should’ve actually done is provide a simple setting for how “strong” YOU want your companions to be, similar to “game difficulty” setting in any single-player RPG game. Perfect solution for any kind of player – for people who only care about the story and for people who are masochists and like beating on single, scary-looking NPC for several hours ;-)

Esquimaux
Guest
Esquimaux

F2P isn’t supposed to be comfortable…

Polyanna
Guest
Polyanna

Ironweakness Eh. I mean, this is the company with a community manager who was amazed to learn that people had actually reached Legacy Level 50. This was within the last six months. The game has been out for four years.

Cartap
Guest
Cartap

LordOfBread I didn’t play NGE, but wasn’t NGE about dumbing down? And this is about un-dumbing down.

Cartap
Guest
Cartap

Ironweakness It might be a case of staring at something for too long and becoming blind to it. Not sure, but whatever it is it’s a common phenomenon within game companies. Some truly crazy things make it to live games far more often than you would rationally expect.

Broseph
Guest
Broseph

Estranged The whole thing is a gigantic face-desk. It’s like they actually wanted to piss people off. Welp, mission accomplished.

Broseph
Guest
Broseph

Godson691 Nerfs often infuriate the players that are impacted. A potential alternative is to avoid nerfs altogether and instead mitigate the problem by buffing something else (i.e. stronger enemies). At least then it doesn’t feel so much like something is being taken away.
You are right though that nerfs in small increments are much better than huge changes. This one pretty much has companions biting the curb.

Ironweakness
Guest
Ironweakness

What I don’t understand, is how did these overpowered companions even make it to live? And then they act surprised by this turn of events. Either they think their players are stupid and won’t realize that they are only feigning ignorance, or they really weren’t aware of how imbalanced they made the companions which is even more disturbing.
I’ve got no opinion one way or the other about companion power, I haven’t played since I completed chapter 9 shorty after the launch, but this just makes Bioware look stupid and it should have been a none issue had they done some simple math during the testing phases. I mean seriously, how do you not realize you made companions more powerful than players?

Broseph
Guest
Broseph

alexjwillis Alien Legion Eh, Level Sync is great and all but an “Off” option for it would have been nice. Players usually like to have a choice. Crazy talk, I know…

Broseph
Guest
Broseph

JonBuck LordOfBread I’m feeling the similarities.

Broseph
Guest
Broseph

Those morons. They make changes like this and THEN ask for feedback? Try listening to your customers first.

JonBuck
Guest
JonBuck

alexjwillis Besides, even when they’re all light green it’s very easy to avoid the mobs. They can’t really hurt you much. Even the Strong/Elites.

JonBuck
Guest
JonBuck

LordOfBread This isn’t anywhere close to NGE.

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

Boardwalker Godson691 I always get a kick out of seeing some posters calling the game a failure from launch and how they’d never give EA any money or waste time on this pos game….then you get a thread like this and here they are, same people… ” the game is ruined I can’t enjoy it anymore”!!!!

I think drama queen applies.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

On behalf of employees and families, if you are going to do something monumentally stupid – and it’s Bioware, so you are – at least don’t do it the week before Thanksgiving. In a similar vein, I kinda hope they can keep the WoW beta and SC 2 alpha in their pants until the 30th.

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

SallyBowls1 If the alpha/beta players had better skills, when why were companions so wildly powerful before? I mean, I’m assuming you’re talking about 4.0 testing and not this patch, because it appears that they didn’t even bother to QA this patch before pushing it live.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Bannex19 IMO, the breakdown was in alpha/beta.  I’m sure the alpha/beta players had better skills than the average player and they had 5-6 months of seeing them operate. Going with a 75% nerf a month in says something did not go right.

Midgetsnowman
Guest
Midgetsnowman

“expect actual action on the companion nerfs in 2 months time!”

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