You, Robot – Part 2: Your companion as a lethal fashion accessory

Welcome to Part 2 of a three-part series on companions. You can view Part 1 here and you can download the most amazing Companion Stats Uber-Mega-Omnibus right here!

Combat is like fashion: you don’t want to be wearing the wrong thing for the occasion. Just as a bow tie and a thong might be appropriate attire at certain events, it may also be like using a Glock 26 for sniping. In other words, a poor choice that attracts the wrong kind of company.

From the time your first companion joins you, the advantages become obvious. Instantly you have someone to cover you, draw fire or in many other ways be the ying to your character’s yang. For most classes this means you get a DPS or Tank with melee or ranged abilities, whichever is complimentary to your own skillset. Only the Bounty Hunter gets a dedicated healer.

So are companions much more than a bipedal pet class? Simply put, yes they are. Functionally the mechanic is familiar, with a dedicated toolbar offering attacks and stances. The big difference is the versatility of control. Using various combinations of the AI toggles you can set certain abilities to operate automatically or manually. Don’t want your companion to use AoE when tackling an enemy? Turn it off. Do you want to choose when your companion uses their most devastating attacks? Go for it! Your companion’s toolbar can be expanded for full control or minimised if you’re letting them run on automatic, either way you get a lot of flexibility with this system.

Aside from them letting you take on many Heroic 2+ areas (in case you can’t find or don’t feel like dealing with another player), they’re also handy if a player bails out of your group halfway through. If this happens the group leader can select which companion of the remaining group members can jump in and fill the gap. While a last minute sub like this is not ideal and can’t realistically replace a capable human player, it can make the difference in completing the raid or gazing at the screen in abject defeat and wondering why you have no chicken.

Speaking of chicken, (no, not really, I just can’t think of a seque), there’s the ability to customise your companion’s skin colour and dress. While the initial selection of customisations is restricted, more customisations become available throughout the game. To be honest, I didn’t like this system as the customisations became available far too long after your companion initially joined you. It broke immersion and disrupted the emotional connection that Bioware work so hard to build. Happily this has changed with one of the recent patches. You now get to customise your companion as soon as they hitch their carriage to your train. Not only is this less jarring, it also means there are fewer identical companions running around the origin worlds.

So that’s the face and hair taken care of, what about the threads? As with your character, a little sartorial augmentation works wonders. Companions use the same core-stat system and need gear with the correct primary stat to do you the most good. They don’t have any relic slots, but that won’t matter until after level 15 – they also only have a single implant slot. The exceptions to this are the ship droids whose requirements are more… umm… mechanical, but they still use ear and implant slots, can ‘bear’ blaster pistols or rifles (main hand) and shields or generators (off-hand). Except that’s not entirely true. While they have slots for blaster weapons, they can not be equipped. There are hints that this may change but for the moment they are only useful as healers who will throw the occasional punch.  It’s also worth noting that companions can’t equip any item with light/dark side requirements, although they can use crystal mods.

Then there’s the troubling issue of ‘Affection’. No, actually that’s a lie. Affection isn’t that tricky at all, in fact you would have to work very hard to get them to hate you, except at certain pivotal points in their stories. In general any +affection you get is substantially greater than any negative awards. So it’s almost always a net gain. In any case it’s easy enough to buy their love although you need to know their tastes first (see the guide). The ship droids are (again) an exception. At present you can’t increase their affection, gifts or no gifts, so an absence of trinkets won’t reduce the menu planning or random cushion stuffing. Another little trick is to dismiss your companions (when practical) if you don’t think they’ll like your upcoming conversation choices. What they don’t hear, won’t hurt you.

You might be asking yourself why you should care what a companion thinks of you but there are practical advantages particularly in crafting, which is the exclusive province of your companions. Since it’s a fairly broad topic I’ll be covering that in the last article of this series, because, if you’re anything like me you just want to get on playing the game and won’t bother with this until later – which would be a mistake.

Just like that bow tie and thong.

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  1. […] evening’s play. While away those hours by having a look through our recent posts, including a beauty from Simon on companions that includes an amazing spreadsheet with every companion’s stats. We will be bringing down […]

  2. […] to the final instalment of a three-part series on companions. You can view Part 1 here and Part 2 here. You can also view the most amazing Companion Stats Uber-Mega-Omnibus right […]

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