Most of you are probably familiar with the latest Advanced Companions update in Pirate101, but using it effectively isn't something the tutorial tips are going to teach you. Here's how to maximize the potential of your companions using this new system.
#1: Properly Tasking CompanionsMost pirates know that having too many tasks means taking too much time. But there's a twist. As you assign the same task to multiple companions, they add a certain percentage of the previous time to the new one. Eventually, Pet Wrangling goes from 30 minutes to 8 hours. The mistake that most people make is assigning all of their companions to a task and collecting on those tasks before every single one is finished. Because while your second mate (El Toro for this example) only starts with a 30 minute time for Pet Wrangling, others will take longer. The surprise comes when you have a companion with a time of 8 hours (now down to 7.5 with El Toro finished), instead of taking the 30 minute time slot again, El Toro's new time will be 15% longer than the longest wait time currently activated.
So how do you deal with this? Only assign companions to a task as long as you're available or until you'll next be available. So if you're logging off for the night with a ten-hour gap between when you'll next log on, assign companions to Pet Wrangling up until the ten-hour time. Then, once you've verified that all tasks are complete the next day, you can collect on all of them. If you intend to be in-game for awhile, assign only a few companions to a task up to an hour and collect on all of them each hour. Just don't make the mistake of collecting on and reissuing one before all are finished.
#2: Companion Management on a Large ScaleThis one might seem obvious, but it's something even I will overlook. If your companions aren't being maximized in terms of efficiency according to tip one, then use them to gather tomes or something - put them to work! The best activity to assign is Brawling. Companion brawling times work independently of other companions at work, so you can train as many at once as you like - plus, higher-level companions will be a help to you in general.
Keeping companions busy will get tougher and tougher as you get to higher levels, but you can almost always use them to get training tomes at max for other companions who haven't reached that level yet. On my Privateer, I currently have no companions that have hit max level yet, so I assign many to Pet Wrangling - but only according to rule number one, which can vary. The rest I send Brawling, which trains them. This is the task that will be replaced by the training tomes at level 65 (or max level).
#3: Retaining AvailabilityYou might decide to go farming or questing at any moment. Any even when you think you've got a crew of three that could get you through anything, there are always special circumstances during which you're needing other companions. Instead of just making sure your top three are available, you need to plan according to what you intend, or might intend, to do.
When fighting the guards before Moo Manchu, you're going to want all melee units that can respond to their attacks. When you're fighting Rooke, you're not going to want any ranged units. You have to keep this mind ahead of time so as to avoid having to cancel tasks with no reward. One of the best ways to do this is to assign tasks backwards - don't start with your fourth mate. You might need those better companions, and maybe you can't completely fill up your roster with one task in accordance with rule one.
#4: Utilizing Tasks to Affect RandomizationIf you're like me, you're an advocate of companion randomization, though I liked the old scale better than the current options. However, without sleep tokens, and with wounds in the new system, it's essential to keep companions alive and NOT draw the last few on your roster.
By tasking the last companions first, and perhaps a couple of thorns in your side near the beginning, you can eliminate chances of receiving truly horrible companions in difficult battles, while retaining the true essence of the companion system in randomization. This is one thing I'll definitely be taking advantage of.
What tips do you have regarding the new system, and what are you thoughts on it?
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!