[Insert Companion Name Here] is Weak!
I do a bit of reading on SWTOR’s official forums here and there. A common thread for the various classes asks the question “Which companion should I use?” Responses then generally say “This one rocks, but that one is really weak, so don’t use that one.” Further drilling down as threads on this subject get longer, plus other threads that have people complaining of weak companions reveal the answer to be a bit more nuanced, though. Generally, the “best” or “strongest” companion will be the one that most complements your play style. For example, a Sage Seer is usually best served by a tank companion that it can heal when needed. But a Kinetic Shadow is probably better served by a healer companion to keep it up while it takes all the aggro. Or maybe even a dps companion so they can burn the mobs down quickly.
For the Trooper, it seems that the most liked companions are Elara Dorne (healer), or the one you get toward the end named Tanno Vik (melee tank). Yuun (melee dps) and Aric Jorgan (ranged dps) are well regarded too, but the ranged tank M1-4X seems to generally be regarded as “weak” or “bad.” There’s an occasional shout out for him saying that if you keep his gear up to date that he’s really good, or that those who think he’s bad aren’t using him right or something along those lines.
Since my Trooper is a Cybertech crafter and this includes the ability to make droid parts/armor, I decided to see what I could do with 4x, since I like how the thing looks. Plus I’m spec’d as a full Combat Medic healer, so in my eyes having any kind of tank companion should work well. I was already level 30 on Nar Shadaa before I got far enough in the story line to get him as a companion, and the “full set” of gear for that level range needed level 31, so I didn’t start using 4x until I got to Tatooine. And I love him to death and think he’s quite awesome. He grabs aggro like a champ and then keeps it. He can take quite a bit of damage, but. . . I’m a healer, so damage isn’t really that big an issue. His dps is decent also. Groups of “weak” mobs I can still AE down before 4x picks a target. Strong mobs he can solo, and Elite mobs we can take down together usually without me needing to heal, though sometimes I will if he seems to be getting unlucky with his avoidance chance.
As for results, well, check the screenie to the left there. That’s a Champion difficulty mob designed to be difficult for a group of 4 to take down. For comparison, group quests usually have a boss at the end with about 30,000 HP — this mob had 78,000. But yeah, it’s dead in the picture after having been hit up by the tank/healer combo. It was a long fight, and I did spend a lot more time healing than dps’ing so 4x did all the real heavy lifting as far as the killing went, but he was just fine. I also killed a few other Champions that were around the Dune Sea, though they were all in the 30K hit point range again. Got a nice Codex update for the Scyk to boot.
Down in the screenies at the bottom of the page, I have a shot of 4X’s tank stats vs my Shadow’s tank stats. Their levels are different so the HP totals reflect that, but the actual tank stats themselves look to be quite comparable when both tanks are fitted out in blue gear, though the Shadow’s still got a couple of pieces at the level 23 upgrade range, so once I get her to 31 and fully upgraded, her armor rating would probably be much nicer, especially since the 4X shot was taken while in combat with him having his 20% armor buff active. So yeah, player tank better than companion tank, but you’d really expect that wouldn’t you?
On the game play front — I’ve made it past Tatooine and am now on Alderaan, in case the 1st 2 screenshots didn’t let you cotton to that fact. I’m so over level already that I’m breezing through it and when I stumbled in to a “Heroic 4” area and thought I was pulling a single gold that turned out to be a group of 3, I still managed to CC one of them, and 4x could tank the other 2 just fine, so that worked out. Though I still don’t plan to try to solo that quest. That’d just be a pain.
Anyway, my plan now is to push through Alderaan as quickly as I can in order to finish Act 1 and unlock my legacy stuff. I was going to simply do the story quests and more or less skip the planet, but I’m enjoying the exploration too much, plus the gear I’m picking up from quests and kills and such I can send back to my alts so that they have gear appropriate to their level, rather than to the area they’re questing in. So yeah, still doing all the quests and thus still way over level for the area, but. . . such is life. Happy Gaming! And enjoy the other screenies that follow —