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As part of our basic gear guides for new players, we are looking into companions in this article. Please note that this is not meant to be an in-depth guide of the best companions for certain builds, classes, or situations. We’ll just look at the general options that players have in obtaining and upgrading companions, as well as pros and cons. In contrast to similar gear guides, this one is structured a little differently. Since companions can drop virtually everywhere and can be bought from all sorts of vendors, going through a list of available types and sources does not make too much sense. Instead, we’d like to generally discuss what you should be looking for when picking your active and passive pets.
First of all let’s get through some basics of companions. You can have five so-called “Active Companions” that grant their “Active Bonus” to characters. On top of that, one of those is a “Summoned Companion” that is physically present, attacks mobs, and usually transfers additional stats to its owner. All pets level while being summoned, from white “common” quality up a “legendary” rank 40. The exception are VIPs, which additionally spread a bit of their gained XP to all active companions. The higher the level, the more stats, HP, and powers the companion has access to.
Leveling and Upgrading Companions
Leveling the companions is fairly easy. You can just summon them and watch them grow pretty fast, but usually experience tomes like Greater Companion Experience Treatise are also super cheap. You only need a few to get any companion to max rank in terms of XP. So I personally wouldn’t bother leveling them the hard way. Just buy the tomes you need and you should be good to go. If you open lockboxes or have an alt army you should have enough XP boosters for companions anyway.
The hard part is upgrading the companions’ quality. Going from common to legendary requires 1.8M ADs. Since it can be beneficial to max out all five active slots, that’s up to 9M ADs. The good news however is that you should only aim to get your summoned companion to legendary at first, and that there are Companion Upgrade Tokens to help you. The tokens can be acquired on the ZEN market or in lockboxes, and can be used instead of ADs to upgrade companions. If you’re a VIP, which we highly recommend, you should be able to gradually build up enough tokens to upgrade your companions every once in a while. Also beware that the Companion Upgrade Token Packs sometimes are not your best option.
What to Look for in Your Summoned Companion?
Now that you know how to level and upgrade companions, what summoned companion should you aim for? Well, as mentioned, their main purpose is to transfer stats to its owner. So first and foremost the type of slots are relevant. Defensive runeslots offer defensive stats, and are hence more viable on tanks and support characters. Offensive slots in the meantime serve DPS better.
In terms of gear slots, rings are always a superior option to anything else. Illusionist’s Gambit offers a wide range of gear for all slots, but since you can also equip most rings for characters, companions with ring slots are that much easier to gear. As rule of the thumb, you should choose the runeslots based on the type of your build and then also aim for as many ring slots as possible.
Augment vs. Bonding
There are two ways of how companions transfer stats to their owners. Augment companions always transfer 100% of their stats, and Eldritch Runestones can add to that total. All other companions transfer stats based on the added percentage of their Bonding Runestones.
Augment companions are considered the casual and value option. Sufficiently geared they already can contribute quite a lot of stats, but get severely outperformed in endgame territory by companions with Bonding Runestones. Augments however are able to fully transfer Hit Points from gear, Bonding Runestones are not. The choice between both types is exclusive by the way. Bonding Runestones have no additional effect on Augment Companions, and Eldritch Runestones don’t work on regular Striker/Defender/Leader/Controller pets. The only other runestone that really makes sense is Empowered in case you want max HP on Augments. In all other cases the added stats from Bonding or Eldritch Runestones is worth more than any replacement.
I would definitely advise you to aim for a Bonding Companion on your main. For alts, or very specialized builds, Augments can make sense though, and you can play around with our Ratings Simulator to min/max your characters. It fully supports both Augments and Bonding Runestones. A detailed description on Augments vs. Bondings can also be found in this article that covered the last major changes to the stat transfer functionality.
Summoned Pet Powers
Since your summoned pet also actively combats mobs, its powers can matter. In the current meta, most players look for a summoned companion that adds some sort of debuff with its attacks. The Chultan Tiger is such an example. If you can’t get your hand on a companion with a debuff, it should at least feature something more than just damage. The DPS of pets is completely irrelevant and if your summoned companion does not contribute anything beyond, you should pick a different one. Please note however that the companion needs to attack mobs to proc Bonding Runestones and certain Insignia Bonuses. This makes purely defensive pets non-viable.
To sum up what you want out of your summoned pet:
- Needs to attack at all
- Prioritize offensive / defensive rune slots based on build
- as many ring slots as possible
- some powers that add debuffs; at least something of value other than DPS alone
For the remaining four “Active Companions” all that matters are their active bonuses. As general approach, purely stats based bonuses are less efficient than percentage based. +300 Power from a purple Sellsword is worse than +5% damage from the Siege Master. Examples of good companions:
- Erinyes of Belial
- Alpha Compy
- Fire Archon (especially in combination with other Archons)
- Rust Monster
- Silver-Scaled Cleric Disciple
- Stalwart Golden Lion
- Cantankerous Mage
- Dread Warrior
There are more, but this is just to give you a general idea of what active bonuses to look out for. Active companions do not have to be geared at all. They do not transfer any stats unless they are of legendary rank, in which they add to a legendary companion bonus:
- The first active/summoned legendary companion gives 16% stat bonus.
- Each additional active/summoned legendary companion gives a stat bonus half the size of the previous one.
- Two active/summoned legendary companions: 16 + 8 = 24%
- Five active/summoned legendary companions (Max): 16 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 31%
The legendary bonus is also fully supported in our Ratings Simulator.
That’s our guide to companions. I hope it’ll help you to crawl through the available companions and pick the ones that serve you the most. Have any questions or additions? Share them on our social channels, in the comments below, or the corresponding thread on our message board!
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