The Possibilities of Ranged Pets

Jul 10, 2014

Currently there are only melee pets in the game, but what if ranged pets were introduced? How would that affect the current pet system and allow it to continue to grow? Some issues may come up with implementing ranged pets, but their potential would likely exceed beyond anything we’ve yet seen in
terms of Pirate101 pets.

Melee Pets

Ever since the game was released, all pets have been melee. At the time, this may have seemed a bit strange – pets would only come with one epic talent, so why couldn’t ranged ones be added? If the system was left how it was at the time, then perhaps ranged pets could be introduced much more easily. It used to be as simple as a pet having Cheap Shot and that aspect alone separating it from other pets that don’t have that epic talent.
Therefore, it’d be quite possible to have a pet that’d function similarly to a Musketeer and have an epic talent like Parting Shot instead.

However, we never saw any pets like that. Why? The simplest answer is that the Pirate101 team was planning ahead to this advanced pet update where ranged pets wouldn’t really be possible. We’ll discuss more on that later.

It is important to note that, with melee pets, you must walk up to the enemy in order to hit. This would certainly put your pet in danger, even
if it has talents like Turn the Tide, First Strike, Vengeance Strike, etc. Higher level enemies will rarely miss your pet, and, with their relatively low health, it won’t take long for them to be defeated. You’ll want to hope that they can make use of their melee powers as fast as possible when they engage in close combat!

This is likely the greatest weakness of melee pets – their vulnerability. In various cases you’ll likely find that they won’t even be ableto use all of their powers in time before they’re defeated. Especially if you’re using ranged companions yourself, your pet will be one of the few units out in the fight, making them the primary focus of the enemy. Perhaps this isn’t so bad; it’s taking the heat off you, allowing your pirate and your companions, who are the main heavy hitters in the fight, to attack away at the enemy unscathed.

Ranged Pets

Ranged pets would have completely different purposes than melee pets, mainly because they won’t be up close in the fight. This allows
them to survive longer, so they’d likely deal more damage to the enemy than a melee pet could. Keep in mind that the existing pets in the game, who are all melee, already don’t have such high dodge, and that’s generally an advantage of melee classes over ranged ones. So, is there any case that ranged pets would actually be weaker than melee ones? Stats-wise, probably not. To truly retain the central aspects of the Musketeer class, they’d have to have high enough accuracy that they’d barely be missing the enemy – this is a huge advantage that melee pets won’t have.

What’s so different about ranged pets? If they won’t be in the center of the fight, a ranged pet wouldn’t be able to draw the attention of
the enemy as well as a melee pet could. This shifts the focus over to your melee companions, who are generally pretty fragile – something you wouldn’t
want. Therefore, there definitely are downsides to having a ranged pet. If you like using a pet to keep the threat off of you and your companions, perhaps you’d want to stick with a melee pet if ranged pets are ever introduced to the game.

You also have to take into account that your pets are auto-controlled, unlike your other units in the fight. What’s to say a ranged
pet won’t charge into the middle of the fight, attacking from only two square away from the enemy instead of four? It’s a bit more unpredictable than melee pets are, considering that they have to be adjacent to the enemy in order to attack.

Associated Problems

Simply put, a ranged pet can’t just be added to the game without taking any further measures. The pet on its own would be pretty cool, being completely different than everything else we’ve seen so far – so why can’t one just be added?

Just like in Wizard101, to get really good pets, you’re going to need to hatch – or, in the case of Pirate101, morph. First generation pets probably won’t have everything you’re looking for in their talent and power pools, so you’ll have to move on to second generation ones, third generation, fourth generation, etc.

Consider this. A ranged pet is introduced and it has a great talent that you want to have on your main pet, so you decide to morph it with one of your other pets. What would happen if you morph a melee pet with a ranged pet?

The answer is that the hatch wouldn’t be able to be completed without almost entirely duplicating one pet’s trait pool. If the result is a ranged pet, no melee talents or powers could be on the offspring. If it’s a melee pet, it couldn’t have any ranged talents. So are you really morphing anything together, or will you just be getting the same melee/ranged pet back? Perhaps some talents can be mixed – extra dodgy would work fine on a melee or a ranged pet. But Repel Boarders or Riposte doesn’t work as nicely.

This is the main problem that will arise; of course there are others, but they aren’t as severe. An entirely new set of ranged talents
and powers would have to be created, consuming much more time for the Pirate101 team that could be devoted to producing more playable content. More animations would have to be created for melee-ranged hybrids, too – if the hybrid resembles a melee pet, it couldn’t just take on its animations; instead, an entirely new set would have to be created since it could be attacking from a distance instead of right next to the enemy.

Possible Solutions

That shouldn’t rule out having ranged pets in the future, though! There’s an easy, though restricting, solution – melee and ranged pets
can’t be hatched together. Only melee-melee and ranged-ranged morphs would be allowed. At first, that might be a bit more frustrating considering that there
would be a very few number of ranged pets and not much to hatch them with. However, as the game progresses and more ranged pets are introduced, there’d soon be many more ranged combinations that could be made with.

Another solution that might be more difficult would be to change epic talents to correspond with the pet being melee or ranged. For example, suppose a melee pet that has Riposte is hatched with a ranged pet and the offspring is ranged. The Riposte could simply be changed to Parting Shot, though this could conflict with the ranged pets own epics – perhaps it already has Parting Shot in its own talent pool. Instead, the Riposte could become Stock Assault, which is essentially the same thing as Riposte, except for it only being able to be used on a ranged unit. Not only does this allow for the transfer of melee and ranged epics, it creates the opportunity for melee-ranged morphing in general.

Stock Assault may currently be the only epic talent like this that a companion can currently obtain, but more are coming, as confirmed by Ratbeard. It would be very interesting to see these types of epic talents available on pets, too.

Perhaps there simply wouldn’t be any ranged-only powers, just ones with infinite range. That way melee and ranged pets could both use them and these powers could be transferred on normally. Attacking from, say, four squares away might be something that ranged pets would only do with their normal attacks – powers could be set for infinite range, thus creating the possibility for them to be used by both melee and ranged pets after these powers are morphed out.

Conclusion

What’s your opinion on this? Could ranged pets work with the current pet system that Pirate101 has? What solutions would you propose to eliminate the above issues from occurring? We want to hear what you think!

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5 Comments

  1. Swordroll

    I do hoped to see ranged pets, but I don't necessarily foresee all of the associated complications. Our pets (all melee) are using ranged and magic attacks now. I think that when you hatch, you either get your melee pet back, your ranged pet back, or a hybrid that goes one way or the other. Then the only issue is ranged powers on melee companions and melee powers on ranged companions, but then, we've already got that.

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