by Darcena Wolf-Valslayer

Welcome to the results of the 2020 GemStone IV TownCrier Ranger Survey! The intent of this survey was to gather detailed information on player satisfaction in regards to all aspects of the ranger class in the game GemStone IV.

Roleplaying

This section is intended to provide specifics on how satisfied players of rangers are with the roleplay opportunities of various parts of their class. Questions asked about: players’ satisfaction with the inclusion of roleplaying elements into the ranger’s class development, the primary aspect of ranger mechanics that separates the class from others in terms of roleplay, satisfaction with ranger companions’ roleplaying abilities, and ideas for boosting companions’ roleplaying flavor.

Roleplaying Elements in Class Development/Mechanics

Animal Companions: Roleplaying

The ability to mount your companion as a steed. [Dhairn, 16]

Companion demeanors, and ambients related that demeanor. [Nroth, 34]

They are always “hungry”. I wished there was other “moods” we could command them to have. [Pukk, 35]

I’d like my companion to be able to talk back in some fashion. [Morofinwe, 35]

Ambient messaging review or customization would be my number one. After that, additional/expanded interaction verbs to show different kinds of relationships besides one of fawning love. [Seomanthe, 39]

Maybe make them more interactive with the ranger, and less scripting to make them more room friendly like at merchants and what not. I want a companion that I can always have there, unless conditions don’t allow. [Meliot, 43]

sometimes I wish for more character/companion interaction [Direthorn, 58]

A few more TELL commands to boost utility, an upgrade to SCOUT to show not just how many creatures are in a region but maybe size/injuries/type (scaling up in effectiveness via affinity rank of course), and of course more creative ambients. [Kedsie, 61]

This is the #1 thing I’d love improvement upon for the ranger class. I love my ranger companion, it was one of the primary things that drove me to the class to begin with, and it was the spell I was most looking forward to getting, I loved being able to search and find and summon my companion after a long journey of trying to find the perfect one, and I’ve loved every minute of having it since then.

That being said I wish there was a much deeper range of interactivity we could have for our companions and for role-playing. I wish I could interact with them more in different ways, and I wish I could make them interact with other people and the environment better too. I enjoy that I can get my companion to sit or sleep (and I like how there is a delay, sometimes a begrudging delay, which makes them feel more like a thinking living animal than just a hand puppet), but I wish I could get them to interact with other people, or to look and act surly, or energetic, or have moods and demeanors they could showcase.

Constantly people are commenting about my animal companion or petting it, and I wish it could do something more in response to that. I wish I could prompt it to nuzzle against somebody, to play with them, to sniff them, or to growl at them, or to turn away from somebody who petted it disdainfully, or maybe go sit in front of them and beg with their eyes for treats. I wish I could temporarily set their mood and demeanor to be annoyed, or excited, or indifferent. I wish animal companions would interact with other animal companions when they are in the same room together. All of this would be amazing! And of course I also wish for some kind of PROD that could silence the ambients when in a role-playing event or big room auction or something where the ambients could add to screen scroll. (Note: In general I love ambients and I’ll all about ambients, and I spend a decent amount of time in Gemstone alone so ambients from my companion make things feel more alive and vibrant and less lonesome sometimes, BUT all that being said there should always be a way to turn off animal ambients easily in times of big groups, other than simply sending the animal away).

I wish the TRACK functionality was more fleshed out, I wish it told me more specifics of where that person was. I wish I could send my companion out to SCOUT and I wish I could sense rooms or environments or even concentrate or cast a spell to see through it’s eyes temporarily (this is one big advantage wizard familiars get). I wish I could tell my companion to find somebody and deliver a sense of urgency. I wish my large companion could drag my dead body when I get killed. (I also wish I could send my companion to get help from somebody when I get killed). Or at the very least uncover my body after certain creatures bury it from sight.

This is far more minor but I’d also love more wearables for the companions. Or even types of animal armor (it doesn’t have to be functional, just decorative is fine). I like the handful of paw-wraps and collars and things, I just wish there was more. It feels like a system that was started and abandoned rather than being fully fleshed out.

In general though my animal companion is one of my favorite things in gemstone, it’s wonderful to have in combat and even more wonderful as a roleplaying prop. I just wish we could have them do more at our commands. [Aeith, 72]

Have them be able to perform more variety of actions, such as fetching or picking up things. [Erek, 75]

STOP DROOLING ALL THE BLOODY TIME. We all understand they are wild animals, but to have the hungry growl and drool is beyond normal. It not only breaks my immersion into the game, most Rangers that DO roleplay their companions more are *forced* to respond to it. [Lunaryna Talviel, 75]

I would like the ability to control the demeanor. My regal wolf wouldn’t be snarling at strangers all the time. [Maodan, 86]

more interaction. make them useful in finding paths that are usually unseen. alert of danger(nearby enemy), even maybe if someone dies nearby they alert. just any little thing that makes them stand out from a rat, pet, or familiar. [Shern, 91]

I’d like to see the animal companion have differing behaviors towards/interactions with other player characters based on his/her ranger’s “friends” list…or maybe even maintain a separate “friends” list for the companion. In fact, it would be awesome if companions could be added to other player characters’ “friends” lists! [Name Withheld, 92]

Ambient messaging could be a little more situation specific. Sitting in a room and having your companion growl menacingly at a close friend is a little odd, as is acting hungry right after eating a couple of mammoth steaks. [Noldi Stewart, 96]

Sometimes the ambients are too often and don’t really match what’s going on. I’d like their emotional state to be responsive to what the master feels. [Rouste, 100]

I love the variety of animals, but I sorely wish there were more commands to use with them. Wizard familiars are the far more expressive of the two.

The endless hunger of animal companions is also a bit annoying to RP around. I wouldn’t want to see it go away completely since I know several ranger players who have incorporated that aspect, but maybe companions could have settings for friendliness and hunger like familiars have settings for friendliness and activity. [Leafiara, 100]

More interactions, maybe the ability for him carry things in his mouth. (Even deliver a note this way.) [Name Withheld, 100]

With the addition of all these pets, they don’t seem ‘special’ anymore. Furthermore, they animal companions don’t seem to be as powerful as you might expect. I would like to see the ability to use and interact with these companions in a greater variety of ways. [Leifa, 100]

More interaction verbs. Improved descriptions without needing GM intervention via grooming. [Valdarrow, 100]

Do more than just look at people starvingly. Maybe nip at you or show affection unprompted. It’s supposed to be a companion, not a familiar where I as the ranger control every aspect of what they do. [Kreigh, 100]

Rangers currently have some great ways to make their animal companions unique to them: if you try hard enough, you can find companions with fairly unique short descriptions when you’re initially looking for one to bond with. Then, Zendrian offers very regular opportunities for companion grooming for those lucky enough to win one. Finally, rangers with an eye for “fashion” can find cool wearables for their companions if they look hard enough. It seems to me that the only thing that’s really missing is the ability to customize your companion’s behavior. I don’t believe there’s another tiger in Elanthia that looks like mine, yet he still behaves just like every other tiger companion that exists.

I mentioned in the response about companion combat abilities that it would be great to be able to train your companion in combat skills of your choice; I think this concept would work exceptionally well for roleplay (“fluffy”) abilities as well. Every real tiger, wolf, falcon, raccoon, etc. is going to have its own unique personality, and it would be really cool if in-game companions could have a semblance of a unique personality as well. One thought is that this could take the form of training your companion over time that results in gaining one of a variety of signature verbs, or perhaps custom verbs. Maybe there could be a large selection of companion ambients that a player could carefully select a subset from.

Rangers in a number of games (like D&D) are known for having specific “hated” enemies. Perhaps once Elanthian rangers know their companions really well, they can discover that their companions hate specific kinds of enemies too. [Lanzerik, 100]

Being able to actually give my companion a “personality” would make it much more useful in an RP setting. Right now, I can only tell it to land/fly, sleep, or wander around (basically). The most interesting thing I can do with it was bugged for 3-4 years and finally was fixed – send messages – which is admittedly very cool. One of the worst thing about ACs is that they constantly spam messages and there is no way to turn that rate of messages down or off short of telling the thing to leave. I almost never bother summoning my AC because they are effectively pointless and only cause screen scroll and added headache. [Alisaire]

Qafziel Nalfein

Qafziel Nalfein

Qafziel Nalfein, scholar and political devotee, travels Elanith learning more about the relationships between notable parties. His focus is on the Cooperative Houses of Elanthia and Meeting Hall Organizations and their liaisons, but he’s also known to pop into a town meeting on a whim or congratulate someone on reaching the pinnacle of their studies whether it be in warfare or sorcery or something else entirely. Qaf is always on the lookout for ways to connect individuals and organizations both with each other, with adventurers, and with the TownCrier for the betterment of our society. He maintains a network of informants who assist him in his tasks.