Like many of you, I spent most of my time in Beta Weekend Events staring at damage numbers and stats to develop a firm understanding of the mechanics behind the profession.
…What do you mean no one does that? Your kidding… so I basically wasted my… UGH!
Oh well, I guess its not all in vain. I spent a lot of time playing with Necromancer pets because I ignored them previously. I felt they were gimmicks that helped cover over the flaws of lesser players. In the name of science, I decided to disprove this preconception – I mean, come on, who would completely condemn a play style without so much as a second thought or a first one? Oh, seriously? You mean lots of people do this? In EVERY video game? What a world. Oh well, lets enlighten ourselves with a little research into minions after the break.
The Testing Conditions
This whole “examining your minion as a viable skill set to use” idea came about from contemplating the best heal to take with me into sPvP. Somehow that spiraled into me entertaining the idea that the lesser steady healing and DPS of the Blood Fiend might outweigh other heals and the inherent disadvantage of a heal linked to a kill able creature. Testing some damage numbers out on a Golem made me curious as to how the Blood Fiend stacked up to the other minions and, well, this is what I spent a lot of time doing.
Before talking about Testing conditions and math and such, I want to clarify that I am in no way trying to reduce the effectiveness of any pet or player into raw damage numbers hastily scribbled onto a bar napkin and posted on a news site as fact. That would be silly since I scribbled on my arm and not a napkin. Legalish stuff out of the way I tested every pet on a Heavy Practice Golem to maintain some sort of control of the damage numbers. The Medium and Small Golems actually produce different numbers when you attack them, and the larger golems last longer, letting me get a larger set of numbers. The first round of tests were done with a default run of the mill Necromancer with no traits slotted. The second round of tests were done with a Necromancer taking advantage of every conceivable damage enhancing trait for minions added in. I tested every summonable minion with the exception of the Jagged Horrors summoned by the Lich Form Elite skill or generated through killing foes from traits. They were a little wild and hard to get control of. The “Multiplier” refers to the number of pets hitting at the same time, basically the bone minions. ”Per Sec” refers to the number of seconds between each white damage hit. Finally, a set of numbers were produced during… uhm, some duration of time and… it put them into excel with other numbers and larger numbers came out. It was very confusing, needless to say, but I have some RESULTS!
Just at first glance, we can say with some certainty that the Flesh Golem is the hands down winner. At least that is what my American education in math tells me. You know, it has the biggest numbers. I suppose it does make some sense that the Flesh Golem is a beast, as it IS an Elite. There are a few interesting tidbits I learned during the testing. The Flesh Golem’s special attack Charge will also hit every enemy in its path to the target for a variable amount of damage, generally around 100-400 each hit. It is also rather fun to charge this guy through the mosh pit of Test Golems in the Mists. The Flesh Golem will actually do an increased amount of white damage every 3rd hit similar to the Necromancer’s Dagger 1 skill, Necrotic Slash. Each Bone minion also does this increased white damage, but every 4th hit. Some pets will also do extra damage when using their special abilities, which is also noted and accounted for in this chart. Oddly, the Bone Fiend’s Immobilize attack does not actually cause any damage when utilized, at least on a Golem.
There were some surprises here for me. I was actually impressed with how much damage the Blood Fiend did, considering its healing ability. I was also disappointed with the Bone Fiend – it just seemed so pathetic compared to the others. Now you might all remember my little disclaimer back at the start of this article; it wasn’t meant to be snarky (okay not ONLY snarky), but I was there to make sure no numbskulls took this data and said, “hey, any Necromancer with a Bone Fiend out is FAIL.” Lets put our thinking caps on and try to figure out why his damage is so low.
For one thing, he has a rather nifty 2-second immobilize called Rigor Mortis on a 50-second cooldown. This also fills an ranged immobilize in the Necromancer’s toolkit since our dagger one requires us to be precipitously close to the thing we want to stop chasing us. The other feature of this guy is he has a RANGED attack, while all of our other minions are melee based.
To take the opposite approach, one might look at the mighty Flesh Wurm and say, “Huzzah, this is the pet for me!” First off, that person would be a lunatic, and secondly, they are neglecting the range and swing timer of the Wurm.
The Flesh Wurm only hits every 4 seconds – yeah, that long. Sure, it hits pretty hard for a pet but in reality that is a really long time AND it requires the target to be in melee range because the pet is immobile. Even the Poison attached to the special ability is rather lackluster. On paper, he looks awesome – in application, not so much. I am even told that the “teleport” ability you get to return to the position of the Wurm has some oddities like not liking walls and other ledges.
There are some other oddities I have noticed. For example, the bone minion Explode skill does not appear to benefit from minion master traits unlike the other minion special abilities. Also, if you look at all the numbers, they don’t seem to universally relfect the 30% damage increase given by the trait Training of the Master. I have no idea why, so don’t ask. It may be because of my sampling method, which amounted to me staring at the screen and writing down numbers as fast as I could and as long as I felt like. Yeah, I know, SUPER scientific of me. However, the Flesh Golem for instance sits at about a 66% damage increase on Minion Master and that has the most raw data I collected of any of them, over 100 data points.
Now for the summary, for those of you who had a major case of bored creeping up on you while looking at the numbers. The best all-around pet is the Flesh Golem for his damage per swing, heavy hitting charge skill that is similar to a piercing projectile, and his durability in combat. One of the best pets for Life Siphon specs with an investment is the Blood Fiend. Finally, for those with a thirst for a higher skill cap minion, the Shadow Fiend offers one of the highest dps with a high damaging special attack that must be balanced with the need to damage, utilizing the blind associated with it, and the instant gap closing ability of this skill.
At any rate, I plan on looking into minions more once the game launches. My previous prejudices have been mostly vanquished (well, obviously not the ones about Elementalists). This is just a small data set and a quick sampling in a beta, so I will repeat – don’t take anything here as law or an absolute truth. This is merely a glimpse at the numbers, and it should only be used as one source of information on which minions you should take.