Updated: The official developer blog for companions has been published.
Companions have always been a huge part Neverwinter. There were a several of aspects Cryptic addressed in module 16 (Mod 16; M16). The first issue was that fighting companions were extremely necessary due to their stat sharing from to Bonding Runes; augments were used in niche builds. Another issue was that different classes all used the same companion because that companion was best in slot (BiS), e.g. Chultan Tiger, Archons, etc.
If you’re short on companions, head over to the Epic Temple of the Spider, Great Wolf Den, or Cragmire Crypts. The second chests in these dungeons seem to drop companions at a reasonable rate. These second dungeons require a key purchased with 15 acorns from the Acquisitions Incorporated campaign.
At a high level, here are some of the changes to companions for Mod 16:
Companions have been separated from their bonus powers so that players have more freedom in choosing what companion visual they want fighting by their side. Abilities and bonuses such as “Reduces the target’s defenses by X” are now slottable powers similar to how mounts work. This means when you get a companion, you actually get a pack of assets that is the companion and the slottable powers associated with that companion. Similar to the mounts stable, companions are now stored in your Companion Roster. Which companion you select as active from your roster is still important in that it still has unique attack abilities and/or is an augment, so in that regard there will still be BiS companions – however it’s significantly less important than before.
Companions also provide bonus stats or effects, such as “Chance to heal you and your companion”, or “2% damage to enemies not facing you”, or straight stats like “+4000 Power, +2000 Awareness”. These bonus stats or effects slot in either Offense, Defense, or Utility slots. (The slots not surrounded by the red square in the image above or the Offense, Defense and Utility slots). The types of slots you have is completely driven by your class. The most important part of these stats is that they are not subject to scaling. Any “+x” amount of stats stays the same regardless of whether your in a scaled zone or not. Because these stats are not downscaled, your choices here are an important part of your strategy to deal with scaled content. The numerical value of these bonus stats increase as the companion is upgraded. For example, green companions give +2,000, blue is +4,000, purple is +6,000 and orange is +8,000.
Content creator Rainer has been hard at work creating tools to help with Mod 16. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel for his latest updates. His MOD16 pocket wiki details even companion, their type (i.e. utility, offense or defense) and all the bonuses. This is really an invaluable tool for defining your companion strategy: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/…
The 3 runestone slots are now Bonding Runestone slots. Bonding runes will be used for both augment and fighting companions, and they are now a passive power instead of needing a companion to attack to share the stats. The direct stat bonus has been removed from Bonding runestones and Eldrich runestones will no longer function. Eldritch Runestones will have a trade in for Bonding Runestones.
Using Bonding Runestones, both Augments and Fighting companions are viable. During Mod 16 testing on the preview server, many of our alliance members found success running a fighting companion during solo adventuring (they can grant positional Combat Advantage) and switching to an Augment for group play.
Companions now only use companion equipment, and companion equipment takes runestones as the slottable gems instead of enchantments. All the stats that you get from runestones become scaled and become the equivalent of Rank 7 of that runestone type in scaled areas. So anything you slot above Rank 7 will only benefit you in level 80 content (i.e. non-scaled) areas.
Companion Type Bonus
You now only have one companion slotted from your roster at a time, as opposed to 5 on live (you have multiple companion powers though, as seen in the screenshot above in the lower right corner). So what about the legendary companion stat bonus? With this, they changed the “mastery bonus” to companions be a “bolster bonus” based on how many companion of that type you have (Humanoid, beast, magical, etc) and how leveled up they are. This bonus caps out at 5 of the same type at legendary quality but gives a bonus even if you don’t have a legendary companion. The bolster bonus affects the power of your companion, i.e. you companion does more damage based on the bolster bonus.
Reddit user Michael_DarkAngel prepared a clever spreadsheet that calculates the effect of bolster (as well as other companion factors), which can be found linked via this post.
New Companion Gear for M16
Due to the restriction that companions can only use gear that specifically allows use by companions, there’s new companion gear dropping in the Undermountain Mod 16 release. As you play through the Undermountain campaign you will receive new companion gear. As with player gear, this is a much higher Item Level than any gear from the pre-Mod 16 era and also contributes to the Combined Rating aggregated across gear.
The Combined Rating adds a flat amount to every statistic that has a resistance. The Combined Rating adds the amount on the gear to everything except Power and Hit Points.