Hail and well met my fellow players!
As a tamer of UO I often find myself pondering taming and of its aspects.
There are so many different animals in our gaming world and all of them have their good and bad qualities. Tamers get to see all of these qualities in the most minute detail as we work to lore, tame, and train these beasts for our own use.
I've also noticed that tamers tend to be very loyal to particular breeds. While I myself am a strong advocate of the cu sidhe (the large dogs that are rideable), there are others that are as equally vehement in the rune beetle/nightmare combo for their chosen pet weapons.
As I've traveled over Britainia one thing that surprises me most is how little people know about pets and the abilities that they have. So many don't realize the value they bring to you not only as a player, but in sheer fun when hunting.
For instance, did you know that the cu sidhe (yes, my favorite) has the ability to self-heal itself? Did you know that it will also attempt to heal their owners when the owner takes damage?
Unicorns are not only pretty but functional. They cast magic and are completely resistant to all poisons. Unicorns will also attempt to cure their owners when the owner has been poisoned. They will also attack anything with negative karma. However when tamed, they will not attack people or other tamed animals with low karma, just anything else. However one drawback is that only females can tame and ride unicorns.
Ki-rins are similar to unicorns in many aspects, strong in magic, will call down the forces of nature to help protect their owners, but they are not resistsnt to poison, and only males can tame and ride ki-rins.
The rune beetle is another favorite among tamers. While these big nasty bugs can be difficult to tame, they are well worth the effort. These bad boys have poison that can fell a mighty dragon, take on a peerless with no fear and can be very fierce in the face of opposition. They only take up 3 slots as compared to a cu sidhe's 4 and can be coupled with another animal such as a nightmare (preferred) or a unicorn. I personally have seen a rune beetle/nightmare combo take out Swoop (a peerless bird that drops loot and minor artifacts) down in about 5 seconds flat. Take that birdbeak!
Another favorite among tamers is the White Wyrm. While these beauties can't cast fire breath, they make up for it with high magery skills. Their high hit points also give you breathing room to heal when you send them against other monsters and they are great for hunting their own kind. Most however enjoy them purely for their awesome beauty and noble looks. Admittedly, having a snow white dragon following you around tends to make you look REALLY good. ;)
A few pets that have been seriously overlooked both in the taming community and the player community are those that have pack instincts.
The Fire Steed is one, while the other more seriously overlooked pet is the Frenzied Ostard.
You may be thinking to yourself right now "An ostard? Oh please. Those are weak!" And that's where you're totally wrong!
While Fire Steeds are often tamed for their look (I mean really, a cool blaze colored horse? Who wouldn't want one?) they also come with TWO pack insticts. Daemon and Equine. You may wonder what the big deal is, but here it is....
When an animal with pack instincts is put together with another of its kind, the damage output they do increases exponentially. If you have one fire steed, it might do 50 damage. if you have TWO, the damage increases by 25% per animal. This increases with each animal of its type. Fire steeds require 2 control slots per animal however, but they can be paired either with another steed or with imps (daemon).
However Frenzied Ostards only require 1 control slot, which means you could have a pack of 5 which would increase their damage output to something insane! ;)
I've seen a pack of 5 frenzied ostards run rampant through Despise taking down everything in their path and barely even pausing before moving on. It was astounding! The only hard part is having to train up 5 ostards either alone or the same time. The bandages alone... lol
Well that's it for this first part of my taming essays. There's much more to discuss and I look forward to some feedback! I hope to add to this essay as well as others on the various professions on UO!
Taming can be a bane or a joy... depending on who you ask.
It can take days, months, or in some cases even years to reach the level of skill you want for your character. Anyone with a 120 power scroll on taming will tell you they expect to spend what will seem to be a lifetime trying to get to that level.
While taming isn't for everyone, it's good to know about the ups and downs of any profession. Today's discussion will focus on the tamer template and the skills needed/required to have a tamer in Britainia.
There are a number of types of tamers. You have your pure tamer, the mage tamer, the warrior tamer and of course the bard tamer. I'm sure there are other combinations out there, but these are the most common.
Depending on your style of play, you can fit taming into almost any template to make it that much stronger.
I have two tamer characters. The first one is one I've been working on for ages and believe me, her template is very difficult. She's a tamer/archer/mage/spellweaver. Impossible right? Almost! Luckily with some armor, jewelry and a talisman, she's got an extra 70 skill points above the 700 cap she's at.
She's currently at 117.4 taming, 110 lore, 120 vet, 91.1 archery, 103 magery with some tactics, meditation and 45 spellweaving thrown in. This is my favorite character to play with. The drawback to this character is that she has 0 focus. Funny how you don't realize how much focus does for a character until you don't have it! It takes ages for her hit points to regenerate, and even though her meditation is at 80 along with 9 mana regen and she's got 5 stamina regen, it's still SLOW.
One of things that is a bonus about this character is that she's rarely left helpless in a fighting situation. With having the magery and archery as backup, she's not often left for dead in a tight spot. (Unless she's doing a peerless, in which case she's bound to die because I always send her chasing after the dog to heal it.)
The Mage Tamer
The great part of having a mage tamer is the benefit of having dual heal on any pet. This can be especially handy when fighting peerless or other large monsters. While applying a bandaid you can still cast greater heal on your pet and get them back up to full health in a matter of moments, even while they're taking a beating. Spellweaving also helps with heals if you cast gift of renewal on them (it maintains the level of damage from going lower since it absorbs new damage coming in) and gift of life will help insta-rez your pet on the spot. Unfortunately it doesn't give them enough hit points and I'd say 50% of the time they end up getting rez killed anyway lol.
The Warrior Tamer
A warrior tamer is always an interesting combo for a number of reasons. I notice that a lot of warrior tamers like to be right in there on the action with their pets, rather than standing back and letting the pet do all the work. One of the great things about pets is having them target or get targeted by a monster and then coming in swinging right behind them to get a lot of damage in without getting hit back. I know that when I'm fighting with my pet, I'll send it in, then come in right behind with my arrows and flamestrikes and whatever else I can throw at what we're fighting. This is particularly handy during a peerless run. It allows for extra damage on the monster and less damage on my frail elven body. ;)
There is ONE drawback however to jumping in with your pet. Say you're in a party and you're all fighting something. Pick a monster, any monster. The max amount of "things" allowed to hit is 9 in Trammel or 8 in Felucca (distance hitting not included - archery, spells, that sort of thing). The problem comes in when you have too many pets or EVs or dexxers smacking away on something. There will be times when you'll be fighting and suddenly notice your pet standing next to you watching the melee. You might be thinking your pet isn't obeying your "All kill" command. Not so. If too many things are hitting a monster, your pet will lose its "spot" and stop tracking the monster and come back to you, or worse, start wandering around (good time to remember to always say "All follow me, all guard me").
The Bard Tamer
The Bard Tamer is a great combo for a lot of people. Personally it's not for me, but only because I found out after many hours on Test Center that I really suck as a bard. *grin*
But for most, barding while taming is a huge help. Trying to tame a rune beetle? Peace it before taming it so it doesn't eat you. One too many bleed attack bites from that cu sidhe you're trying to get? Again, peacemaking is your friend. Many bards use their peacemaking to help them get some of the more difficult but worthwhile pets in game.
One thing I was told was that discording a pet you're trying to tame is a bad idea, unless you don't mind a pet with extremely reduced skills and points. Since I've never barded a pet before taming it, I can't give you specifics on it, but from what I've been told it's just not a good idea. ;)
However that discord will come in handy when fighting with your pet since it will reduce the monsters stats to something easily managable for your pet. Especially in the beginning when training your pet. (I will discuss training tips and tricks in the 3rd installment).
Basic Taming Skills
Basic skills you'll need as a tamer
1. Taming. (no really? Yep! You definitely need taming to be a tamer lol)
The taming skill can vary depending on what you want to tame and why.
2. Animal Lore
I'll give you a quick skill breakdown (very quick)
As you can see there's a wide variety of things to tame depending on your level. There's more on stratics here that will show you a more comprehensive list.
- 35 - Horses and Blue Beetles
- 47 - Forest Ostards
- 53 - Snow Leopards
- 59 - Great Harts
- 65 - White Wolves
- 71 - Bulls
- 75 - Frenzied Ostards
- 79 - Giant Toads
- 81 - Lava Lizards and Bake Kitsunes
- 83 - Imps and Ridgebacks
- 86 - Hell Hounds
- 89 - Hell Cats
- 94 - Dragons, Fire Beetles, and Rune Beetles
- 95 - Nightmares and Unicorns
- 96 - White Wyrms
- 99 - Hiryus and Lesser Hiryus
- 101 - Cu Sidhe's and Reptalons
- 106 - Fire Steeds
Animal Lore is definitely a needed skill. Lore will not only tell you what an animal's stats are, but will help you determine if your pet is happy, what its resists are and most importantly - your level of lore determines your ability to control a pet. Lore accounts for 20% of your chance to control a creature, while taming makes up the other 80% of the equation.
Below 100 lore you can view this data on any TAME creature.
At 100 lore you can view this data on any TAMABLE creature.
At 110 lore you can view this data on ANY creature.
Here is more about lore (taken directly off the stratics page) -
Veterinary is an essential part of being a tamer. Without vet, it's often extremely difficult to heal your pet simply using greater heal.
- The Animal Lore skill is influenced by INT.
- Like anatomy is a complementary skill for healing, Animal Lore supports the Veterinary skill.
- Animal Lore is a target-based skill, this means you have to use it on numerous targets to keep gaining if you use it directly.
- It can also be raised passively through taming or use of the Veterinary skill.
- You need a minimum of 60.0 skill points in Animal Lore and Veterinary to be able to cure poison and a minimum of 80.0 skill points in Animal Lore and Veterinary to be able to resurrect a bonded pet.
The higher your vet, the better chances you will have for healing your pet, either from poison or damage, and being able to rez your pet. You may only rez BONDED pets. (I will go more into depth about the vet skill in the 3rd essay).
Vet will help you keep your pets alive either during training or while fighting. Vet is raised by simply applying bandages to a damaged pet. There is a skill check every time a bandaid is applied and you will either fail, succeed, or one of the other and gain.
There is a 2 second delay time for every bandage, which is why it's good to be able to cast healing spells at the same time as you're applying bandages.
Taming Template Overview
So there you have it. Some of the templates that are popular with tamers and why. Taming may not be for everyone, but if you've always been curious or even wanted to try it, I would suggest it highly. It can be very rewarding on a number of levels. I know I have a blast when out hunting with my pet, and of course it's always a bonus to know I'll never have to run anywhere in the game. I'll simply tame a horse and ride off into the sunset. ;)
As our taming discussion continues there's a few things that should be discussed - namely the veterinary skill along with some tips and tricks to help you train up your pet!
Before getting too in depth, I would like to say that Stratics has an awesome taming forum, and I highly suggest looking at it for some great information! The forum can be found HERE
Some of what I will bring to you in today's discussion will be things found in our Stratics taming forum, along with some of my personal experience that I've gained in being a tamer on Baja.
Let's start with one of the main skills - veterinary.
Vet is a vital part of any tamer's template. The vet skill not only keeps your pet alive in a bad situation, but at different levels of skill offers other benefits as well:
At 60 you will have the chance of curing poison on your pet.
At 80 you will have the chance at rezzing a dead BONDED pet.
At 100 you will gain an extra stable slot.
At 110 you will gain another extra stable slot.
And at 120, you will gain yet another stable slot.
(Lore and Taming also give you extra slots at 100, 110, and 120)
To give you an idea of how many pets this is, I'll share what I currently have in the stable.
My character has - 116 taming, 113 lore, 120 vet ( am always rearranging jewelry but try to keep things about the same skill level)
My current list of pets -
1 iron colored cu sidhe
1 agapite cu sidhe
1 valorite cu sidhe
1 shadow cu sidhe (yes, I know, a lot of dogs... someone asked if my life was going to the dogs.... if you only knew... lol)
1 greater hiryu
1 white wyrm
1 rune beetle
1 red dragon
1 horse (hey, sometimes I want to ride instead of run when hunting with a pet)
Grand total - 13 pets plus whatever I'm riding
As you can see, having higher taming skills bring the benefit of more choices of pets!
But back to vet... lol
Without the vet I have, I couldn't keep half of these pets alive with a simple greater heal. While some of the pets can cast magery on themselves for bless and heals, a lot of pets don't (like the firesteed, or the hiryu). Plus when fighting, your pet isn't always trying to take care of itself, it's looking to kill whatever you commanded it to kill. It's relying on YOU to keep it healed and protected while it battles.
Some folks take a long time to train up vet simply because it can be a long tiring process, but with some helpful tips, you might actually find your vet skill shooting through the roof!
Vet tips and tricks
First thing to do is set up your macro key. (for 2D version)
On your paper doll, click OPTIONS. Then inside that menu you will see a curved arrow at the bottom left.
Click that arrow. You will see a menu, this is where you add your macro key. Click ADD, then choose a key (mine is F4) and then in the first drop down box choose - Use Last Item. Then in the next drop down menu choose - Last Target.
This is essential for bandages! I cannot stress this one enough. I've used this key so often my F4 is actually worn off the key.
Here's why this is essential. You click on your bandages, you target your pet. Now... hit F4. Guess what, it just did it again in one key stroke and no mouse movement! You can even run up, hit F4 and run away from your pet in 2 seconds for quick heals (oh yes Lady Mel, I'm speaking of you!) With this macro key I can literally heal a 580 hit point cu sidhe who is down to 50 points in about 8 seconds flat. Trust me, this is your number one vet helper. ;)
Next - how to raise that pesky vet skill!
There's a number of ways to do this, but I'm going to share the one I have used to 120 my vet skill on both of my characters in a matter of say a few days or so?
First step - Make sure your tamer is in a guild. Not in a guild? Make one up and be the leader! Hey might turn out you like being a guild of one ;)
Second - Tame yourself two polar bears. Yes, polar bears, just follow along please. (you can use other animals, but bears worked best for me)
Three - Verify that you have a crazy amount of the following - bandages, raw fish steaks, time on your hands, sanity.
Four - Sitting in a quiet spot (I like using my house) feed each polar bear, pull up its health bar and lore each one (I also name my bears in case I lose a bar or I need one to stay and get the other to follow me). I like to write down beginning stats and check their progress as they go, but that's just me. ;)
Five - Say - "All follow me", "All guard me". (This is very important - do NOT forget the "All guard me").
Six - Have Polar Bear 1 Attack Polar Bear 2. Now since you're in a guild, the bears will actually take damage from each other. This is where it gets hairy, and fast! Start applying bandages to the bears.
Make sure they have taken damage otherwise your chances for a gain will be greatly reduced. If you have magery or chiv you also might want to get those healing spells out. Now you're going to be frantically busy for say, the first hour. Slapping bandages and heals left and right can be very wearing. However, as the bears gain skills (and they will) the damage they take slows a bit allowing you some time between bandages to take a breath or two.
I will tell you this - You WILL kill a polar bear. It's inevitable. However, just go tame another one and start over with the feeding, loring, guarding and kill steps. Don't worry if these bears are bonded or not, you wouldn't be able to rez it anyway until you get to 80, so why have a ghost bear following you around while you're trying to vet? Just seems silly.
At regular intervals during this vet training you will want to feed each of the bears a fish steak in order to keep them happy and fighting. I usually feed mine about evey 30 minutes or so and do regular lore checks on them.
Speaking of lore.... you can also take this time while raising your vet to work on raising your lore (since lore applies to the vet skill) or you can do what I did and lock down lore and force all gains to go to vet. Lore will raise both passively (through vet and taming gains) or actively (using the lore skill on pets and other creatures).
It's really a matter of your own preferences on how you wish to raise skills. I know some people don't mind the extra time it takes to raise both skills at once, but for me, I wanted to hit 80 with vet as soon as possible ;)
Trust me, my lore went up just fine as soon as I started hunting with my pets and having to heal them all the time.
Now that I've mentioned hunting, let's talk about how to train your pet. There's a ton of things to fight in UO. Your main concern will be to make sure that you're sending your pet against something it can handle and WON'T get it killed. The first thing I'm going to stress here, and I cannot stress it enough when talking about hunting with your pet -
MAKE SURE IT IS BONDED!
(notice all caps, bolded AND underlined. I really really mean this lol)
If you spent an hour struggling to get a nightmare tamed, you definitely don't want to take it out and watch some Ogre Lord shred it in 10 seconds before you get a heal off. That would be bad, mm'kay?
Wait, you don't know how to bond a pet? Well shame on me! *slaps hand*
It's very simple to bond a pet. Here's what you do -
1. Tame a pet
2. Feed it
3. Stable it
4. Take it out of the stable in 7 days
5. Feed it
Voila! Bonded pet! If your pet hasn't bonded after feeding the second time, put it back in the stable and try again the next day. You will know it's bonded in two ways. 1, you will get a message after you feed your pet that says "Your pet has bonded with you!" and 2, your pet's name will read "Pet name" and underneath it instead of reading (tame) it will say (bonded).
I know 7 days seems like a long time, but... think of the benefits! Your pet may die, but you can always rez it and won't have to go tame something new! You will also be able to recall with your pet instead of having to gate it with you. Tame pets will not recall with you unless you're riding them. Bonded pets will whether they are ridden or not. These two things alone make a week's wait well worth it.
Okay so back to hunting with your bonded pet...
There you are, out in the wilds of Britainia. You have your trusty pet, a pack full of food for your pet, bandages galore and your tamer's wild heart that says "Yes! I am a taming god/dess and I shall rule all of Britania with my fierce and valiant pet! bwahahahaaaaaaaaa"
So my first suggestion would be to calm down. You're going to die. A lot. Your pet? Yep, it's going to die. A lot. The bandages? Oh yeah, you'll think they were made of water because they will flow out of your backpack in a never ending stream. The create food and recall spells are your friend, and finally... you'll realize while sitting in some dank dungeon with too much spawn and a half dead pet and only 5 bandages left that you my friend, are not invincible. THAT however is the thrill of it all. Of pitting yourself and your pet against those monsters and seeing what the outcome is.
The question you have to ask yourself is this -
What am I comfortable fighting against with my pet?
This was the hardest question I've ever asked myself as a tamer, and with some of my pets, I just don't know. I'm still learning what my comfort levels are.
There is an amazing training guide in the taming forums that helps break down what monsters to fight depending on your pet's levels.
I will do a VERY quick breakdown here (not of the list but of how), but to get the full scoop, read this awesome article here.
There are a number of skills to develop on your pets. There are some that all pets share which are the melee skills - wrestling, tactics, anatomy. These are trained up fighting monsters that are close in skill to your pet (within 10 points).
One of the best and quickest (yet non loot gaining ways) is to have a GM miner dig up a shadow elemental for you and put your pet on it. Shadow elementals will take no damage from your pet and will actually gain skill as your pet gains in skill so that they will train up at the same rate keeping your gains fresh. Be aware however that the Shadow Elementals spawn with anywhere between 60 and 80 wrestling so you want to put a pet on it that is close to that to begin with.
Wrestling and tactics are target based, so both of these will go up as your pet fights. Anatomy is not target based, so your pet will gain no matter what it fights.
Another skill that pets share in common is Magic Resist. This can be a bear to train up, but I trained my pets using a variety of ways. On a non-casting pet, the best way to do this is grab a friend/guildmate and have them come with you. Put your pet in a confined area - stable, or blocked off area where they can't get to the spell caster. Then have your partner start casting on your pet. If you have a couple of friends this works even better especially if they have magery, spell weaving, and necro or any combo of them.
Here's the deal and please pay attention - magic resist goes up when RESISTABLE spells are cast on your pet. I had a friend come over that thought they knew everything about taming and sat there flame striking my dog until it was almost dead, despite the fact that I kept yelling "RESISTABLE SPELLS ONLY! NO PHYSICAL!" It about made me mental, and wasted about 400 bandages before I finally jumped on my dog and told him I had to go. ;)
So WHAT is a resistable spell? Okay here they are - Poison, Curse, Clumsy, Feeblemind, Mana Vampire, Blood Oath, Pain Spike, Evil Omen, Corpse Skin, Mind Rot, Poison Strike, and Strangle. With spell weaving you can cast summon fey and put the pixies on the pet since those lil buggers just LOVE to poison.
I spent about 6 hours with some friends (necro mage spell weavers) and went from 70 to GM on my cu sidhe in magic resist. It will also help your friends if they're looking to work their magery or necromancy skills. :)
Another way to train magic resist up is to go to the Twisted Weald, find pixies stuck on a wall and tell your pet to attack them (non-magical pets). The pixies will be safe from harm as your pet paces and they will cast on your pet from the safety of the wall. The more pixies the better, although I don't recommend going over 3 pixies. Then it gets crazy and your pet takes a beating.
Or the old fashioned way - take your pet out and have it fight casting monsters to have it gain magic resist. Dragons, White Wyrms, Lich Mages, etc. You can bring casting pets for these because they can train their magery at the same time, whereas with non-casting you're only working their magic resist.
I could go on forever with what to train and how to train it, but that alone would take at least 3 more installments lol so I will say now, if you want to learn more go to the taming forum and read this article!
Finally, I want to say there is SO much more to say about taming that it would take pages and pages just to get it said. I hope and more importantly encourage people to contribute to these articles with their helpful tips and tricks and love of taming!
Stay tuned for the next series of installments. I'll be writing a series on Blacksmithy/Mining. I'm combining the two of them since they're dependent on each other.
I hope you've enjoyed these articles and I hope to continue to bring you more information on all of the fun professions and skills in UO!
Be well and play safe!