Companions are a big deal in Neverwinter. They are not just there to keep you company, they can actually really give your character a considerable boost. They can act as a permanent party member and they also give you some really good bonus abilities or stats, depending on which companion you get.
You are allowed five active companions in Neverwinter when you hit Max Level. You may, of course, take as many companions as your Idle Companions inventory allows (it is basically a separate bag, it is possible to expand this, but it is very rare that you will ever need that many idle companions). But, only the bonuses of the active companions will be applied to your character.
There are many types of companions in Neverwinter. You can find the list of companions in the Zen Market.
We have: Augments, Strikers, Controllers, Defenders, and Leaders. Strikers and Controllers tend to be offensive companions that deal a ton of damage, Controllers offer some useful spells that can help you disable enemies in some way. Defenders and Leaders tend to be tanks that often draw the attention of mobs away from you, Leaders are less tanky but they can cast some beneficial spells on you.
What you should consider at the start of your game is the Augment companion. Augments don’t do anything in particular, they just follow you around. The only thing they do is give you their stats. This does not sound special at first, but companions do not have limits in terms of gears level requirement. And, some of the companion-dedicated gears offer huge stats as well as two empty slots that you can utilize for more stats.
The easiest way to search for companion gears is to go to AH select an equipment, then filter for Epic gears at 140 item level. All items with the icon are companion specific gears. Characters can not equip these. So you can imagine just how much bonus stats you can get from augments. There is another, more powerful way to get bonus stats from companions, but we will discuss that later (If you already want to know about it, you can check below).
Companions in Neverwinter can be upgraded. Upgrading will improve their stats, increase their active bonus, unlock more companion skills, and unlock more of their equipment slots. Legendary companions will give you an additional 15% of their stats.
To upgrade your companion they should first be at the max level of their rank first. Companions gain experience by following you around as you gain experience. There are also Companion Experience Tomes that you can gain from lockboxes or you can buy them from the AH.
Upgrading your companion will cost you Astral Diamonds or Companion Upgrade Tokens. It’s more cost efficient to use Astral Diamonds from the lowest rank to Purple. But, it’s cheaper to upgrade from Epic to Legendary using Tokens.
The slots on the left-hand side of your Companion’s window are for Rune Stones. There are several types of runestones at different levels but I’ll just show you some of the noteworthy ones.
As you can see the bonus effects of these Runestones are really good. They can offer you alot of stat bonus if you place them on your Augment companion.
Bonding runestones are extraordinarily Strong. They offer a huge Power or Defense boost depending on which slots you place then and they can give you up to 95% of you companions stats each(Augments only give you 100% and they can’t activate the Companion’s gift since they don’t attack).
Effect of 3 Rank 12 Bondings:
Companions gift can almost double your stats. That’s double the Damage, Chance of Critical Strike, and Defensive Resistance Ignored.
It is super powerful, but comes at an incredible cost. That is why I always recommend doing this last. It is more cost efficient to take an Augment companion and start to work your way to getting great gears before switching to Bondings.