I have around 35 hours on FL4K and I’m about to pack it in. While I’ve greatly enjoyed the raw power of his crit builds, it’s a lot less enjoyable once the novelty of instant boss farming wears off. I signed up to play a beastmaster and, even though that’s what he’s called, that’s not what he is.
Once you reach endgame, there’s no point in building around pets. FL4K has an entire tree, the one most iconic to his character, that is pure garbage. Dominate is easily his worst capstone and possibly the worst in the entire game. Melee range, short duration, long CD, can’t shoot your target or even see their health bar. It’s not even worth the damage you take getting in range to use it.
His pets themselves are also underwhelming. Jabber pets have more issues with AI than a Stanley Kubrick fan. The barrel tossing was cute at first, but the fact that they decide when to do it at random and will prioritize it above everything else – to the point that they will stop shooting a target in the middle of a fight to wander away and slow walk back with it – utterly kills their DPS and makes them very hard to manage.
This is before considering their issues with weapon swap and reload animation times. The Gunslinger jabber pet can actually put out some pretty sick DPS when mobbing, but you have to stop everything to coordinate it. You never know when he’ll ignore an Attack Command or waste several seconds running in circles before using it.
On top of this, Gamma Burst completely destroys a jabber pet’s ability to function. They put their weapon away and go bare-fisted melee for the duration, once again dropping their damage output to the floor. They’ll still pull out their weapon for Attack Command, but once it’s over it’s back to melee. The signature pet-buffing ability should not be nerfing my pets, especially when the Gunslinger/Gamma Burst combo would mathematically be the highest pet DPS achievable otherwise.
Skags and spiderants just don’t do enough damage, period. None of the pets do, but at least a jabber with Frenzy and an SMG can put out some semi-respectable DoT. The melee pets are more responsive to commands, which is nice, but their slow attack speeds and mediocre damage per hit wipe out any benefits gained by the simpler AI.
The only thing the Master tree offers above crit builds is a truly ridiculous amount of health regeneration and damage soaking potential. While that’s cool, the idea of bulldozing stuff alongside my pet is why I like beastmaster characters, it basically turns FL4K into a Nurse Maya without any of the damage or control.
Pets can’t be counted on to hold aggro because they get no taunts or aggro management tools, aside from Not My Circus, an action skill augment for Fade Away (why is this here?) and Galactic Shadow, which says “enemies are less likely to attack” FL4K and is 20 points deep into the Hunter tree.
Which brings me to my next complaint: why are FL4K’s pet buffs scattered throughout all the trees? Why is the only pet taunt ability an augment for Fade Away? Why do I need 8 points in Stalker just to give my pet any kind of passive health regen? Why is my pet’s rez ability gated even further down the Stalker tree?
If a new player joins the game and they want to build around their pet, you would think they should invest first in the tree that’s based on buffing pets. And you would be wrong, because the biggest early boost to pet survivability comes from FL4K’s burst damage tree.
On the subject of pet survivability, though: FL4K’s pets need some kind of defense against AoE. They are too easily knocked out by splash damage effects that they have no way of avoiding. Pets quickly become liabilities in boss fights and against mobs that spam explosions and elemental effects. There is literally zero defense against this, as you can’t manually command your pet to relocate and their one defensive ability, Mutated Defenses, doesn’t kick until they’re already at low health. It does nothing for burst damage.
Finally, pets will always be a joke until they move beyond flat scaling. Pet damage and health scales with level and talents, that’s it. Aside from a class mod that furthers boosts those talents, there is no way to increase their performance to keep pace with endgame. While everyone else is getting better guns and gear, FL4K’s pets will stay the same.
That’s my rant, thanks for reading it. While I doubt I’ll quit the game over this, it’s definitely starting to feel like my days on the robo hobo are numbered.