With the development deeper and deeper of players in Riders of Icarus, although more and more micromanagement of game kicks in, and it becomes a little mini game of its very own eventually, revolving around juggling mounts and pets. Riders of Icarus largely revolves around its “Familiar” system, and it opens the doors to a much more customizable experience.
The possibilities here are truly endless. In the field the vast majority of beasts out appear to be Familiars. That is to say they can be tamed as mounts. From questing to random exploration, you will come across so many of these, you could spend days just going around and attempting to tame everything. There are a massive quantity of them out there, and this in itself creates a little game of “gotta catch ‘em all.” Since these are all usable as mounts, it is a pretty neat feature. For the players that do not feel like trying to catch everything that’s out there, they can roam around until they find that one they think would be a cool mount, and then tame it.
It is fun just to capture some Familiars itself, but also getting “sets” of these, there are different bonuses awarded and ROI Gold. There are many different sets available, each coming with its own reward. As an example, there is “Old Faithful’s,” which requires capturing Ruins Wolf, Ruins Reindeer, Morineh Turtle, Black Bison, Highland Panther, Gray Wolf Alpha, and Feral Boar. You are then rewarded with a Familiar Full Growth Potion after capturing all of these.
What you would expect to see are these sets often named things that represent. For example, Goldilocks includes three different bears. You will knock these out fairly quickly as you travel the world and continue to capture Familiars. But if there is a specific one you want, while you explore the world you can also skip down to it and make that your focus.
Seeing the Familiars that You Are Missing
It is easy to forget which ones you still need when you are out exploring, but taking a quick look at the list will show exactly what is missing so you can focus on capturing it. A great side aspect of the bestiary is that not only does it have a full listing of all of the Familiars out in the world and where to find them, but it also keeps up with which ones you have already collected. If you want a set for each of these purposes, it is a good idea to go ahead and capture two of each Familiar while you are exploring, so that you can still follow the bestiary to figure out what you still need. However, that it does not have any differentiation between those that you have captured and turned into pets for fighting and those that are just sitting idle as mounts.
Doubling as Pets
At this point I think it’s worth mentioning when we talk about them as being “pets,” this means the type that do battle. While most games allow you to get a number of different pets that just follow you around, they actually help with taking down foes in Riders of Icarus. Not only this, they are actually efficient. For example, I had missed a mob and realized my pet wasn’t with me. The pet was the same level as the mob and had already pretty much killed it by that point. So they can definitely hold their own out on the battlefield, and are extremely helpful, if not essential, while you work on progression. If nothing else, they help take down enemies faster.
Sorting By Region
Along with being able to see the different Familiars and their locations, it also gives some important information about them. For example, it lets you know if they are common, elite, or heroic, which tells how difficult it will be to capture them on your own (in that some may require having friends come, just to be safe). It also tells whether they are land or flying, so you know the general spots to check in each area. And for many, it also includes entries in the bestiary that give a little bit of their background, a bigger image, and help give some lore to the capturing process, as well as helping better understand what may be required in order to tame them. When looking at the Familiars with the book icon, be sure to read it so you can capture all clues.
If you are in an area and are ready to start trying to hunt down everything near you, the best plan is to hit up the bestiary and sort it by region. Here, you can select the region you are in and see all of the available pets. The bestiary is open from early levels onward, so you can use it to make your capturing a lot more efficient the first time around. Along with this, it will also tell exactly where to find them, and also gives information like their maximum level. This lets you quickly pinpoint where you need to go, and also lets you know when you need to stop trying to level one up.
Bringing in Micromanagement
The micromanagement comes in because if you are playing for an extended period (or even a somewhat short one, say an hour or so), you are more than likely going to hit the point where you are having to keep cycling between your mount and pet. While having the ability to tame pretty much anything you want, meaning you can keep a large selection of both mounts and pets available at any given time, it is a far less than ideal situation. This is especially true with the pet, where you will quickly drain their stamina supply in most cases.
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to mount it or use it as an actual battle pet, if it has no stamina, it will stay put away. Now, here is where the micromanagement comes in… stamina. This is a stat that determines whether or not you can utilize your Familiar. Stamina is generated by either leveling up (which completely fills its stamina bar), using Familiar Energy Potions, or by just letting it sit idle, where it will continually increase its bar, albeit a bit slowly.
The ability to have so much control over what you are riding and what pet you are using (if any) to help with questing and progression is a great benefit. Over a short period of playing, this system is quite enjoyable. Over extended periods, however, it becomes a bit tedious. For some, this is a fun aspect, but for others, it is more of a nuisance than an actual benefit. Having to keep managing which ones are out and watch over their stamina becomes less fun over time, creating a system where you are overly attentive to just keeping things going smoothly, rather than actually working your way through the game.
The Best Path to Follow
From the early levels on, keep using the bestiary to lock down the closest Familiars, and stay on top of them. If you are hunting for all of the Familiars, the best plan is to start early and keep at it. When you do this some will be somewhat tough – especially those that are surrounded by aggressive mobs – but it will save a lot of time down the road, rather than having to keep backtracking to catch the ones that were missed.
Clear out any aggressive mobs that are even close to the Familiars you are trying to catch, because you can be thrown all over the place and it is very, very easy to find yourself getting overwhelmed by others. Take a safe approach to capturing these, as well. Just take it slow, pay attention to what is around you, and do your best to keep from getting into a mess. While some are going to take a lot more work than others to actually capture (either they keep rejecting the taming or you have mob issues), they can all be tackled. To make things a bit more difficult, these mobs will attack you even while you are attempting to tame a Familiar, which can create a dangerous situation.
Working around it
If you really like the Woodland Joey (kangaroo), for example, you can capture a few of them and swap them out as needed. Unless anything happens to change the way stamina works (or at least in regards to being able to still use pets and mounts without it), there is a workaround… you can capture multiple of the same Familiar type. It is not an ideal situation and still requires a bit of micromanagement, but in this case you are able to keep using the exact pet or mount you want, rather than having to go with others.
Pets, for example, could use stamina just for special attacks or increased damage. Mounts could use it for running and then force a walk when it’s out. Both of these systems would take away the hardship that’s currently faced, while still having a direct effect on the game. More high-end ones that bring about better than normal benefits may make sense with this design, but with everything having it attached, it makes things more like a job than an enjoyable time. Or even just damage in general. Despite the great usefulness of Familiars, having stamina attached to them in such a core way brings about its problems. And when they have no stamina, they could simply follow you around while they regenerate.
Riders of Icarus largely revolves around collecting Familiars and the world is so large, it may be hard to find all of them on your first pass. Luckily, there is an in-game bestiary that helps serve as a central area to everything you need in regards to collecting each and every one of these pets.