30/04/2017

Love Me, Love Me

Ever since companion affection became companion influence, I haven't concerned myself too much with getting my companions to like me. Pre-4.0, I was motivated to get them to the max in order to unlock their stories and various legacy perks, though to be honest once I'd achieved all of that, I stopped caring about companion affection on alts too.

Since 4.0 you're supposed to be motivated by the power increase companions benefit from as they go up in ranks, but that honestly hasn't mattered that much to me. While levelling, your companions tend to feel ridiculously powerful even at low ranks anyway, and I don't craft enough to really need the extra efficiency. At endgame I tend to spend most of my time doing activities where companions don't feature: operations, PvP, flashpoints.

The only times I've actively felt the need to invest in companion levels have been when I first tried the Eternal Championship and when I was struggling with certain veteran mode story chapters. But even then my efforts were pretty half-hearted, in the sense that I didn't really try to get anyone to max level, I just gave them a couple of gifts and then made another attempt at the content to see if it had helped any.

For this reason, I've only had a single companion at rank 50 until recently, and that happened kind of by accident more than anything else, because even after his initial Alliance recruitment mission, you keep gaining influence with M1-4X for every PvP match you play. Since I've been doing a lot of random warzones, hitting maximum influence with him just kind of happened.

Doing the Iokath dailies since the patch, I've found myself in the position of actually finding a powerful companion useful for the first time in a while, and since I recently bought an Akk Dog, I decided that it was time to make him love me. As he's not a story companion, the only way to gain influence with him was to feed him gifts.


"See you in half an hour," my pet tank joked when I sat down to start gifting, but sadly his joking prediction turned out to be pretty accurate. In fact, even with the legacy perk to speed up gifting time, it took me more than half an hour to go through the hundreds of companion gifts required to get my new friend to influence rank 50.

And I couldn't help thinking how stupid that was. Not the gifting system by itself, but that sitting there for half an hour, pressing the same button over and over, is the only way to max out your influence on certain companions. Seriously, where is the fun in that?

It seems to me that we desperately need a way to raise companion influence more organically beyond conversation approval or disapproval, since that's so limited. And as soon as I thought about it, it seemed really easy to do too: Just give +1 influence for every mob you kill with that companion out.

This wouldn't make companion gifts useless, because even if you spent all day farming mobs, you wouldn't earn the 250,000 influence points to max out a single companion in a day, not to mention that we have a lot of different companions to work on now. Gifts would still be the fast track. But if you took your companion to do dailies with you every day for example, it would slowly but surely start to make a difference too.

We've long abandoned the pretense that companion influence stands for true affection - that's why they renamed it to influence after all. It's more a measurement of slow bonding as you hang out with each other a lot (or buy their loyalty). Slowly increasing it as you spend time actually playing with your companion would therefore only make sense.

Seriously, why wasn't this implemented yesterday? I can see that people already suggested it on the forums over two years ago...

6 comments :

  1. Lord of the Rings dealt with similar click shenanigans when came to reputation tokens. You could easily get a stack of 100 or so just from questing. And then you had to click each of them individually! No wonder people turned to macros that clicked them for them.

    Eventually it was changed so you can consume an entire stack at once and get all the rep in one go if you use a keyboard combination when clicking. A simple change like this would go a long way to making ranking up companions in SWTOR less tedious.

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    1. That sounds like a good solution too. Though I still think it would be helpful to also have additional ways of gaining companion influence, now that the numbers are so much bigger than they used to be.

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  2. This is also why I once suggested that Romance played a part in Influence by giving it a 'passive' boost without actually raising the Influence level; if we implement the suggestion to make them gain Influence with each mob kill, make it twice the standard amount just to make it 'feel' more important than it actually is.

    As it is, your Romanced Companion has nothing to show for the stronger bond formed between them apart from a now-broken appreciation for Courting Gifts.

    But, yeah, it takes far too long to do anything serious by way of increasing Influence (and I'm saying that as someone with forty-one Influence 50s across all characters!).

    Even the quickest Companion gifts are a pain to acquire, since if you need to buy the full stack of 151 Legendary Gifts required to go from 1 - 50, and you don't go via the GTN, that's 37,750,000 Credits lost to the vendor.

    I'm thankful that they decided to increase the Affection of certain Companions (Marr, Acina, Dramath, Darkann) exponentially in Master Mode Chapters since there was no other means of accessing them, but they really should implement this in other ways as well.

    Ah, well.

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    1. As someone who's not tried any master mode chapters yet, does this influence boost only apply to those temporary companions or also to others? And is it permanent or does it go back down again once you finish the chapter?

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    2. It is sadly only these temporary Companions (not counting Companions who leave/die without an option to prevent it or those who have already been kicked out), and it is a permanent upgrade.

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  3. According to one of the sneak peeks of the roadmap, crafting missions will increase influence in a soon-to-be-released patch. This does not help teh Cartel Pack companions (which, as a devoted droid colelctor, makes me sad).

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