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Stormay's big list of suggestions

Stormay

Apprentice
Some of these are small changes, some are big changes, some are controversial. All of this is TLDR - you were warned.

Small changes that might even be more of bug fixes:

- Remove on-hit damage when shooting locusts with a bow
- Remove on-hit bleed damage/proc when shooting prowlers with a bow
- Make 'charge' pets lock-on targets in PVM (especially for the giant bugs in oss4, although they are kinda crappy anyway)
- Remove or reduce the effectiveness of parry on mobs, especially the ones in Cavernam.
- Does *parries an arrow* really need to damage me? I mean I did find out you can kind of dodge it, but damn.
- Allow me to use different aspect levels of armor/weapons on the same aspect. For example, I want to use T10 command armor, but T13 command weapon. Coding wise, this might be a nightmare, depending on how this is setup.
- Give me that bleed/disease resist potion in the dev pipeline, but also give me some way to apply that to pets!

Bigger changes (commence the TLDR):

I originally said on discord that one way to get more variety of pets is to nerf roaches and buff pet survivability overall. This still might be true, but having come back for long enough to understand the meta, the roach is both overpowered and underpowered simultaneously.

Outside of Oss4, pet survivability in general feels fine (with or without command), and because of that, the roach feels overpowered. Within Oss4, pet survivability is a huge issue - even for the roach. While I have figured out a way to play around this, I have to be very careful, active, and safe to make it work. Part of what makes this work is T13 command for 24.5% flat damage resist on pets. I am okay with that, but there is still a reason why you do not see a ton of tamers down there.

What makes the roach overpowered is a combination of the regen and ability to cleanse. Cleanse carries the weakness of high armor/resist, which is bleed/disease/poison. Since this ability has a cooldown, pulling more than 1 monster doing these things will melt the roach very fast, which is why you have to play very safe in Oss4 specifically. What makes roaches underpowered is every other major PVM template can just deal with 1 or multiple mobs better, and with lower risk. Water elementals specifically do not have the same weakness as roaches do, and are significantly better tanks, be it for 1 or multiple mobs.

The problem is specifically ability damage/AOE damage, and mainly in Oss4. There are a bunch of ways to tackle this, with the potential to mix some of the solutions below.

1) Just nerf the AOE damage in general from mobs in Oss4. Their abilities are trivial for some templates, and many templates deal with them to the point that they are almost trivial. I personally don't like this solution because I like there to be some element of danger in PVM outside of PKs, but this solution would anger the least amount of people because it involves no nerfs to templates/builds. I think this is probably the worst approach, at least as a singular solution.

2) Reduce the effectiveness of templates to deal with special/aoe abilities in general. This would likely involve nerfs to disco/peace/water eles, hopefully specifically targeting Oss4. I don't love this solution either because there are a fair number of builds that would need to be touched, and nobody likes to be nerfed. It would also involve nerfing builds in different ways, and would be difficult to accomplish effectively across the board.

3) Increase pet survivability in Oss4/high end PVM. One problem with this is that pet survivability (at least in the 4/1 control slot meta) doesn't feel like a problem outside of Oss4/high end PVM, but maybe that is not a relevant concern, since mob damage outside of Oss4/high end PVM is trivial to literally everyone. Few ways to accomplish this:

- More traits or abilities to deal with aoe/ability damage. In the current pet trait format, this would not be effective, but with the pet overhaul, it may be. (more below). The big problem here is any big sacrifices to damage traits to do this would just continue tamers being worse in Oss4 than other templates.
- Scale pet damage reduction (or just damage reduction to aoe/abilities?) to be relative to the players armor. This should be an overall buff to pet survivability, with high aspect plate being a sizable increase. This can be done baseline or as a trait, assuming there is a trait overhaul (more below). A flat damage resist based on player AR might unlock 2 and 3 slot pets more than they currently are, but if this damage resist is high enough, nerfs to roaches would be warranted.
- Add some secondary damage reduction component to vet. Whether it be baseline or X damage reduction for Y time after being vetted. Currently many templates can "get away" with not taking vet at all. I like this answer the best.


Pet overhaul:

There are 3 reasons for a lack of diversity in PVM: Pet baseline stats are directly tied to their pet taming requirements, pet traits are static relative to the pet (and some traits just suck), and some innate abilities in pets just blow (poison/charge specifically). The last one is the hardest to fix, but fixing any of these things would increase pet diversity.

1) Pet stats. Fixing this is "simple" in concept, but the balancing will be the devil in the details, as always. Tie baseline stats to the tamer's taming skill, rather than the pet requirement. The only downside to this is it has the potential to nullify 'taming difficulty' or taming chance on pets, especially 120 pets. IE, why tame a 120 taming requirement X dragon when another X dragon that only takes 95 taming can scale to be the same. I think looks, slot count, and innate pet ability are enough to counter this in most cases.
  • A way to do this without having to try and calculate what pet damage/wrestle/hitpoints should be based on taming skill is to just add more stat allocation (or remove the stat allocation penalty to some degree) based on the pet's taming requirements. IE, a 50 tame requirement pet would get more stats or less penalty for stat allocation for a 120 tamer than a 100 taming requirement pet. The big problem here, is low wrestle/damage is still going to be very hard to scale up enough to be meaningful.
2) Static pet traits. I believe there is actually a creative way to fix this that allows for tweaking of traits over time to nerf OP traits, buff UP traits, and add new traits, seamlessly. Put all of the current pet traits into a pool based on level, and each pet, regardless of type, randomly pulls a trait of each level. Will you randomly tame a sand muck that has increased bleed damage at level 10, but no ability to bleed? Yes.
  • For that reason, and because taming high end pets are already fairly difficult and requires more investment than other templates, you should be able to have some way to 'reroll' traits. How gated or costly that is, is up for debate. This will allow people to build pets that are more customized, but also can help add to strengths or decrease weaknesses of their build/pet combo.
  • Could also have higher taming ability allow you to choose from more traits initially, and reduce the amount/need to reroll.
3) Some abilities are just bad. I don't have a creative global solution to this. Another aspect to this is that roaches are just too good, and in the current PVM situation, you simultaneously need a good tank, and there happens to only be one. This makes 2/3 slot pets harder to use as you are shoehorned into a roach, 3/1/1 doesn't work well, and there is maybe 1 potential 2/2/1 pet combo.
  • Poison seems to just be a damage issue. Right now poison pets are a good way to bypass very high armor/high health PVM targets, but it just isn't effective enough, and the problem it solves is just a little too niche. Perhaps the damage could also have a % health of mob component with a cap?
  • Breath attacks can be fine, depending on what the secondary part is. Poison is like above, bleed is fine, and anything that reduces armor (drowned dragon) can be amazing, but the problem comes back to the 3/2 pet meta not really having a place against high end PVM due to survivability.
  • Charge needs to be "locked-on" and PVM and potentially carry a secondary component - like breath attacks. For example, the 120 Colossal Blazing Beetle is one of the worst pets I have because of a few reasons, but part of which is the charge just does not work well in PVM, and it doesn't do enough to justify bringing it. If the charge locked on, and did a secondary effect like a giant armor crush, it would suddenly be a far more interesting pet.
    • I also think it's flamestrike ability is currently being combined with a very low base wrestle (70), which adds to it being a bad pet.
  • Stealth/Ambush are actually probably fine (For PVM anyway), it's just that those pets are seldom used due to the 3/2/tank issue mentioned above.
  • Flamestrike/Chill or on-hit would probably be fine, except they usually can't make use of the 'being hit' part due to the tank problem, and many times these pets just have low base wrestle and no way to increase attack speed. Part of this would be fixed with the trait overhaul above.
  • Disease has the same problem as poison, just to an even larger degree. I think in most cases fixing this is going to need to be more creative than just more damage, as it's probably going to either be completely overpowered, or not really usable. Something like making traits (or even player skills somehow) do more damage if the target is poisoned AND diseased (or some combo of things), while increasing the application rate of disease. Application of poison is probably fine, depending on the base wrestle of the pet.
  • Bleed is fine
  • Frenzy is currently the best
  • Crush/armor ignore is exceptional, but most of the tames that have it are not usable currently (or low level). There is also a lack of armor reducing pets/abilities at the high end, especially on 2/3/4 control slots.

Controversial changes:

Part of the problem with wisps and another spellcaster pets is both the 3/2 pet problem described above, and that the phoenix is just a better version of them. I don't really know of a way around this except to fix pet survivability, nerf roach, and probably nerf the phoenix. To be clear, the Phoenix is probably the best in slot pet for me even as a non-mage tamer, but I outright refuse to use it (and I have tamed a good one in the past). Similar concepts are what make the prowler the other BIS pet - combined with that it both frenzies and bleeds, which are the top 2 pet traits/abilities.

Smokies need to be nerfed in PVP (Ambush reduced in damage in PVP). Many people disagree with the concept of tamers in PVP - and I don't want to get into that personally, but smokies are a clear outlier here regardless.

Nox mages are also somewhat of an outlier, with the main counterplay being to 'just catch them xD' or 'just run from them xD' both of which come with issues. Without fundamentally changing cure rates, damage, or how anything really plays outside of nox mages, one change could be to scale the cast speed of poison based on the players poison skill. IE, as poison skill goes up, cast time for poison spell increases. I don't even know if this is possible with how UO is coded, but it seems like the fairest way to approach the problem without damaging/changing other areas of the game. This adds counterplay to interrupt them, counterplay to escape easier, and counterplay to catch them easier - while all still fighting the war of attrition that is cure pots.

After the tamer overhaul, triple monster HP across the board. Part of the problem in dungeons, and part of why Oss4 is so good, is that everything just dies so fast. That has a secondary effect of making high monster difficulty more valuable. If you are going to get loot rights on 1 monster, it is far better that it is a 115 difficulty monster in Oss4 than a minotaur in Petram3. There are many other ways to approach this problem, many of which I am sure are better, but this is a global easy to implement solution. It punishes people like me who only recently returned, as the gold per hour rates would slow dramatically, but something like this is needed.
 
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Dovestrangler

Neophyte
Smokes in dungeon PvP aren't really that overpowered. You can easily para or reveal and they have to stop to do their breath attack. The skill requirement is such that to get smokes you give up hamstring and tracking. 1x slot pets, and specifically cats with their attack speed, should be nerfed for PvP.

PvM wise the main problem is near constant proccing going on in oss4. If proc chance at t13 was severely nerfed and the chain link for it removed aspects would live more on their general ability rather than having their special be such constant DPS. Alternatively you can make it so you "charge" your proc and every 10k damage you can click a button to trigger it. Watching a dexxer facetank a spectral horror with air is dumb. PvM abilities have escalated way too much, and instead of buffing mobs to ridiculous (hello winterlands) levels the pvm abilities should be reduced so people actually have to group up to do content. Constantly escalating both mob levels and pvm abilities just means a few people who grind 24/7 end up having their own dungeon levels that spew out inflation into the rest of the economy.

I realize PKs are perpetually frowned upon here, but the reason you only see smoke tamers PK in oss4 is because it's the only PK template that can survive mobs there while still being effective (can't really kill anyone solo on a stealth archer). Since PvP will shut off your aspect's ability to keep you from getting insta-obliterated constantly escalating mobs and aspects means eventually the highest level areas in the game will paradoxically be almost risk-free in terms of PvP except for the odd thief.
 

Stormay

Apprentice
I agree there is some counterplay to smokies, as you mentioned, just that they seem to be an outlier for a reason. I don't have any experience with cats running me down yet, so I can't comment. Although I should have been more specific, I am not just talking about smokie PK tamers in oss4 specifically.

I like the idea of having the procs be more controlled and based on damage, although you will see even more griefing with them in that system. People already will take a swing or 2 at high HP shit someone else is on just on the off chance they get a proc and steal it. Agreed that a dexxer facetanking in air is real dumb, especially a spectral horror that I can't actually fight.

I wish some of the procs were a little different, something closer to void or command, where it isn't just a billion frontloaded damage. I would say maybe add some that are utility based, but nobody really wants a utility proc, unless maybe you could control it to some extent.
 

Stormay

Apprentice
The suggestion was made to:

"
Given that pet classes (summoners and tamers) represent the overwhelming majority of gold farmers (16 out of the top 20 this season), let's not buff them in the #1 farming area. Instead, let's pick a solution that addresses both your problem with your pets taking AOE damage, and the fundamental problem of characters being able to ignore monster mechanics and never put themselves at any risk.
All aggro generated by pets or summons goes to the summoner. Pets and summons no longer tank - they do damage and produce effects. Monsters will aggro/chasethe summoner or tamer. This allows everybody to participate in monster mechanics, and, as a bonus, if you stand far away from your pets, they will not be AOE'd. "

The reason this suggestion will not work is that the farming templates not mentioned have other ways of mitigating damage or dealing with monster agro. For instance, bards can provo, peace, and just flat reduce monster damage by over 30%. Bards are more equipped to deal with monster agro and damage than tamers (especially in Oss4), although perhaps not more than summoners.

This suggestion fails to mention that this data is not for oss4, as the majority of players in Oss4 are not tamers. It also fails to realize that identifying the top 20 farmers does not necessarily indicate balance concerns or specific problems. I was the #1 gold farmer when I left, and dex tamers were not (and are not) better than mage tamers. If a statistical comparison is warranted to make a point here, you would need to look at total templates, and specifically in Oss4, which is not data we have access to. A top 20 list is indicative of exactly one thing, time spent.

Warriors are generally favoring an aspect that reduces damage from monsters further, and also have parry. Neither of these are viable for tamer as command already reduces damage on pets, and is the 'tamer' set. If the tamer set is not viable for tamers, that would seem to indicate a pretty severe design flaw. Warriors do take more risk in farming, although much of this is mitigated by void or Earth armor, but they do so at the tradeoff of generally doing more damage.

Tamers and summoners do not have viable paths in their builds to pickup the skills needed to reduce damage or deal with monster agro like these other templates. The pets ARE that solution, except specifically in oss4 where tamer pets are struggling relative to the above templates. I do appreciate the above suggestion as it really does help to illustrate the problem, even if the suggester was not aware of it.
 
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Pen

Novice
mobs and aspects means eventually the highest level areas in the game will paradoxically be almost risk-free in terms of PvP except for the odd thief.
dont even have to worry about thieves since you can just set loot to trapped pouch.. the end game areas are 100% risk free besides mobs.