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It's definitely more yoyoing (thankyou hero points) and knockdowns than full on TPKs. Remember that most DMs will hesistate to push for a TPK even if the situation allows for it.

In my own experience the math favors the enemy to the point that the strategy for our group is use the enemy stat blocks ourselves: (wild shape, summon monster, summon animal).

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Running through part 2 of doomsday dawn right now, and yeah cleric is mandatory. Seemingly both in and out of combat due to nigh non existent between rest healing.

Con modifier x Level is also pitiful for a once a day rest.

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After Playing Doomsday Dawn, I'm annoyed how indispensable clerics are. The healing other classes can offer up doesn't come close, and feat based healing has the disadvantage of extremely high checks.

Of course this is made worse by the gulf in accuracy between PCs and NPCs at the moment.

They really need to tweak the math in this game: Rest recovery tied to Con means damage sticks across days, High DCs on feat based healing means low chance of success, and High fragility of PCs makes combat both dangerous and a chore.

vestris wrote:

They do benefit from +1 light barding. No higher armor than that. No buff on saving throws. However they have good stats on Con, Dex and Wis. With the druid as the primary Animal companion class they get buffed up quite a bit on their own.

Like a druid lvl 8 has a savage bear with (Just a single example):

Str +6, Dex +3, Con +4, Int -4, Wis +3, Cha -1

Bite: +14 (3d8+6)(+15 (4d8+6) with magic fangs)
Claws (agile): +14 (3d6+6)
HP: 88
AC: 23, TAC 18 (10 +3 dex +8 prof +2 barding)
Expert in all saves, perception and athletics
Trained in intimidation, acrobatics

Bear hug and work together as additional combat activities

I would say that qualifies for more than just meatshield.

The ranger of course has to wait a little to get a companion like that, however the ranger can fight better alongside its companion so I think that should be fine. Plus it is better tailored towards a mobile fighting style.

Problem is they do not benefit from magic fangs (only applies to single dice attacks atm {hope this changes}). So they lose the ability to deal magic damage pretty quickly. Their damage falls off, there armor doesn't scale well past level 8, and they have very few ways to stay relevant compared to primal summons.

I think the animal companion is almost where it needs to be.

Good health, Good stats , Good abilities.
A little too fragile (even with armor)
Magic Fang becomes useless at level 4.

The gap feat at level 6 (for animal druids) hurts but isn't a deal breaker.

I think they are in a good place but the rules for animal companion may need some tweaking. I understand this is because Druids and Rangers share the same ruleset and it needs to be balanced. I don't have a great solution, but it feels a little off at the moment.

Coming from 5e, I did expect more time however; the forms scale completely differently.

I think if they had a nerfed control form at level 2 as a class feat (extended wildshape for specifically pest form and (later animal form)) It would solve most of the problems.

(I'm still trying to figure out if wildshapes benefit from potency runes or not)