I’m thoroughly enjoying the companion system in Neverwinter, having a team of helpers is a great asset when soloing or duoing content. Equipping and training a stable of different companions – strikers, controllers, leaders or defenders according to the game’s version of the trinity – offers interesting choices and extra depth to character customisation.
There is the “issue” of needing to upgrade or replace companions with higher quality ones of course. Companions have a quality rating, matching those of equipment (white, green, blue, purple). That sets the maximum level of content for which they can be used effectively (white = 30, green = 40, blue = 50, purple = 60).
I’ve spent some time recently looking into options of what companions I can get easily and how to get better quality ones. The free white-quality dog from the Sword Coast Adventures tutorial was a no-brainer to fill an empty active companion slot. I also bought a white-quality cleric off the action house for a couple of thousand Astral Diamonds (AD). That’s proved a very good investment; during solo dungeon runs I use my tank-ish mimic defender normally but if I’ve taken a lot of damage in a tougher fight I swap to my cleric and stand in a safe place for a minute to give her a chance to top up my health – why waste potions out of combat?
Having a stable of mostly white companions and one green however isn’t good enough now that my character is approaching level 50. I need to get serious about having at least one purple companion and probably some other better quality ones as well. This will make me more effective for solo content, group content and also make it possible to try higher difficulty missions in the Sword Coasts Adventure web-game. I’ve looked at auction house and Zen store for better quality companions and running the sums a single purple companion from the Zen store would cost approx £17 (2200 Zen is £15.67, the purple companions are 2500). Purple companions range between 400 000 and 1 500 000 AD on the auction house. To purchase one on the Zen store via the Astral Diamond exchange the necessary 2500 Zen would cost approx 850 000 AD (1 Zen = 340 AD; all prices based on 06/02/2014 search).
So to get one purple companion for my two main characters would be at least £38 with Zen. However there’s another option, I could buy one of the mid-tier ‘packs’ on offer on the website, either Guardian of Neverwinter or Knight of the Feywild (wiki link). That would give me among other things – one purple companion per character (including future characters), one purple mount per character and 600 000 AD as a bonus. The pack costs approx £36.50 so that’s marginally cheaper but, I would say, a whole lot better value than buying just two companions – since I have three characters at the moment I’m getting at least 3 purple companions and 3 purple mounts for that price!
The only downside is that I’d have the same purple companion on each character (the vicious dire wolf or sylph respectively). Having a striker wolf companion makes more sense for my control wizard main than the controller sylph companion. My cleric and ranger might benefit more from the controller than the striker wolf. Of course I could probably afford to buy at least one purple companion of another type with the bundled astral diamonds. As a side-note to the companion choice issue, I’d prefer the horse mount of the Neverwinter pack to the unicorn from the Feywild equivalent.