Most people choose to solo Wizard101 to completion, with some occasional help. Most people use minions or buy henchman to help with that. But that leaves a slight feeling of loneliness. So another one of my not-so-bright ideas: What if you were able to have conversations/give battle orders to minions and henchman alike? It would make players feel less lonely during battle with minions/henchman, and even get the helpers to have more strategic battle plans. Most people probably disagree with the conversations part, but i think the battle orders thing is actually really useful.
It would be nice if you could give minions and henchmen orders of some type. There was an old thread that claimed saying certain menu chat options affected the minion's next spell choice, but I have not been able to duplicate that result with my own experiments.
It seems to me minions, henchmen and PvE enemies (monsters) use exactly the same procedure for selecting spells. As far as I can tell there is a database table they consult with a line for each possible pip total, and a list of several possible spells with a percentage chance of casting each at that pip total. The table lets them select some spells more often than others, but each selection appears to be completely random with no account taken of the current situation. If KingsIsle were to upgrade this system for minions/henchmen there would be a strong temptation to upgrade it for PvE opponents; if those NPCs suddenly start making smarter spell choices questing will get way harder in a hurry.
Some system of allowing you to give orders to minions/henchmen rather than upgrading their built in AI would seem to be less likely to spill over to making PvE opponents act smarter. It would, however, make henchmen and minions much more effective, which may cause balance issues; minion spells might need to be tweaked to cost more pips or something.
Yes, Henchmen and Minions should be either more intelligent or you should be able to have some control over them. Most of the time they play like they don't know what they're doing. Casting Dryad on people with full health instead of the one who's almost defeated, putting blades on a player who can't use them, and probably the worst; casting a big spell where it is total overkill and could have actually defeated the boss. You should be able to at least tell a Henchman/Minion "No" and have them pick again or pass. All of us that play solo would probably like that..
Minions I think should be the way they are, Henchmen on the other hand are paid for with real money. Henchmen should at least have a basic "Strategy" option at the beginning of the turn. No control over what they cast, but just simple orders. For example, "Protect" "Attack" "Heal" "Buff"