Welcome to the world of the great natural scientists of SWG: The Creature Handler! This profession will give you great incentive to explore the galaxy to a degree seldom found with any other profession, with a thrilling mode of gameplay unlike any other.
What is a Creature Handler?
A Creature Handler is a character who allies himself with a menagerie of beasts he or she has tamed and raised from their infancy. As such, a Creature Handler develops the abilities of his animal companions to an amazing degree, and often befriends creatures that would normally attack humanoids on sight.
The most striking characteristic of these animal companions is their willingness (even eagerness) to fight on the Creature Handler's behalf. A Creature Handler with a good collection of these pets is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the field of battle.
How does one become a Creature Handler?
The minimum requirement to become a Creature Handler is two complete lines from the Scout skill tree: Hunting and Exploration. Once you have reached Hunting 4 and Exploration 4, you can seek training as a Novice Creature Handler from a Creature Handler Trainer.
You can find a Creature Handler Trainer in front of a hut on the outer edge of Mos Espa, or along the broad thoroughfare in Mos Entha that runs from the spaceport towards downtown Mos Entha. I think there is another in Coronet City, along the back of the shuttleport in front of the Cantina.
Here is a hyperlink to a very useful profession calculator, where you can review the Creature Handler profession's skill tree as it appeared in it's pre-Combat Upgrade form:
Skilling up Scout
You can gain experience points in the relevant Scout skills as follows:
Hunting: harvesting valuable organic resources (meat, hide, and bone) from creatures you kill.
Exploration: using the Scout skill, Mask Scent and then entering the vicinity of aggressive creatures without being detected. You will also gain Exploration XP by discovering Places of Interest in the course of your travels and climbing slopes you haven't encountered before, so be sure to pick up at least Novice Scout before you do any extensive exploration!
NOTE: You can purchase certain foods and drinks, such as Jawa Beer, that give boosts to your chances of success with your Mask Scent ability.
In a moment, I will take you deeper into the nuts and bolts of life as a Creature Handler, but first, I want to educate you on a topic that is absolutely vital to any aspiring Creature Handler....
SECTION 1: HOW TO PROPERLY TAP A LAIR FOR PEACEFUL RESPAWNS (a critical skill!) Edit
If you are a brother-at-heart to one of the many ham-fisted defense-stacker types I saw in the original SWG, you may have acquired some bad habits that will make you very unhappy as a Creature Handler. Your key to a successful career as a Creature Handler is FINESSE. If you blow into a creature lair with guns blazing in order to force as many creatures hiding inside into the open as quickly as possible, not only will you spend a fortune on equipment maintenance, but you very rarely get the chance to approach a baby and tame it.
The key to taming a baby is to preserve the conditions that will allow you to approach it without it feeling threatened. And this is an art unto itself.
As you approach the lair, have your map open, and have the 'con' tickbox filled. Babies in the lair will show up as a green circle, generally, because of their relatively low level. Make your approach to the group using Mask Scent and good positioning. You may be able to make the 'tame' without doing more.
If not, follow the steps below:
The first thing to do when approaching a lair is to mask your scent. This will (hopefully) allow you to slip unobtrusively close enough to the lair to assess the beasts present outside the lair. This is what we call the “surface spawn,” or the first batch of creatures present at a lair. Generally, these surface spawns tend to be comprised mainly of adult beasts. It's pretty uncommon for any babies to be present on the surface initially, but they are sighted occasionally. If one or more babies are present, you can of course attempt to tame them, if you have the relevant Creature Handler skill. But more often, you will have to clear the surface spawn and smoke out the creatures hiding within the lair itself.
The most important thing to remember when clearing a surface spawn (or any subsequent spawns) is this:
DO NOT HIT THE LAIR WHILE CLEARING A SPAWN!!!
If you are attacking a lair at the moment a creature pops out of it, that creature will emerge in a hostile state and attack you! This includes any babies that emerge! And if that precious baby enters combat with you, you will not be able to tame it. The baby must be at peace at the time you initiate your attempt to tame it.
So, here's what you must do to coax the residents of a lair out of their hiding in a peaceful state:
1. After the surface spawn has been cleared, refresh your Mask Scent ability, and then shoot at or strike the lair ONE TIME ONLY. And then, to make doubly sure you do not auto-shoot/hit it again or something, un-target the lair. And then, wait. Once a lair has been damaged, it will begin to slowly decay. It is damage to the lair which triggers respawns. And here's the secret: If you allow the lair you've hit to continue it's slow decay without attacking it further yourself, it will reach it's spawn-trigger point itself, and you will not be in combat with the inhabitants.
With this first respawn, you should have a good chance for discovering a baby or two.
2. If you elect to continue looking for babies after disposing of that first respawn, you can trigger a second at-peace respawn by chipping the lair down to roughly 55 percent of it's original condition, and then stopping combat again. At this point, if you wait again, the continued deterioration of the damaged lair will trigger it's second round of respawns at around 50 percent condition. And again, if you are not attacking the lair and have your scent properly masked when the residents emerge, you may have another baby or two to tame!
As you can see, the tap-and-tame process is one that requires patience. Still with me? Then let us continue....
SECTION 2: YOUR FIRST TAME Edit
So, you've achieved Hunting and Exploration-4 and have consulted a Creature Handler Trainer, and are ready to embark on your first taming attempt. Here are the mechanics of it:
In your Options Menu's list of command hotkeys, you will see a “Tame Creature” hotkey that you can drag and drop into your hotkey toolbar. When you wish to tame a baby, you will first target the baby and then press this hotkey, or type /tame. Or, you can right-click on the beast to bring up it's radial menu, which will contain a new command: “Tame Creature.”
Whichever method you use, the command will give you a percentage chance of successfully taming a creature. Initially, your chances are pretty low, but they will rise as you climb the skill tree.
Additionally, you will be initially unable to tame “vicious” creatures. These are the ones with the orange Health bar and that attack you on sight. Again, this is an ability you will acquire later. Alternatively, if you know an established Tailor who can craft clothing with bioengineered tissues, you may be able to purchase clothing that contains boosts to creature-taming, including the ability to tame vicious creatures. An established Chef may also be able to whip up a food called Almond-Kwevvu-Crip Munchies that give bonuses to your taming abilities, as well.
For your first tame, I'd recommend something significantly lower than a challenge-level-12 beast, which is the maximum level a Novice Creature Handler can tame. Once you get the hang of it, you'll probably want to find a gurrcat or a female kaadu, but for now, let's start with something (relatively) easy. A gnort, perhaps? Or how about a nice Dwarf Nuna?
At any rate, let's move forward: you've masked your scent, and you've activated your Tame Creature command. What happens?
Chances are, you will see a question mark pop up over the creature's head and the on-screen message, “You failed to tame the creature” and perhaps some droll bit of information such as, “The creature is spooked and runs away.” The worst-case scenario is that the baby breaks your masked scent and is provoked into attacking you.
Be sure to have your 'Peace" action on a handy hot-button, right next to 'Tame'. Be ready to spam it and run away to keep that baby alive.
If the attempt did not provoke the baby into attacking you, you can try it again. And again. And again. Until at last, you are rewarded for your (extreme) patience with the green on-screen message: “You tame the creature” and it's name turns from yellow (representing a wild, non-aggressive creature) to white! It will also begin to follow you. Additionally, your datapad will now show a small diagram of the pet that you use to summon the pet, just like summoning a vehicle. And last, you will be rewarded with an amount of Creature Handler XP! The amount you gain will be roughly 200 XP per tame and for each new command you teach your pet, plus or minus ten points per challenge level above or below your character's challenge level.
Congratulations! You now have your first pet!
SECTION 3: CARE AND FEEDING OF YOUR PET Edit
Teaching commands to your pet
Since an untrained pet is good for nothing but decoration, you will want to begin to educate it as soon as you can.
Here's the routine:
First, summon your creature. With the creature at your feet, right-click on it to summon it's radial menu. In the menu, you will see the item, “Train commands.” Select this, and you will see a list of the commands you know how to teach to pets. Select the command you want to impart to your pet. At this point, you will see a question mark pop up over your pet's head. At this point, you must either type into Spatial Chat or /tellpet the sequence of letters or numbers you want to use for that command. It can be pretty much any combination, although I would recommend against symbols. For example, for the “Attack” command, you can choose to assign the string, “kill” to the command, or you can choose a single letter such as “a.” Bear in mind that these commands ARE case-sensitive, and must be typed EXACTLY as you've trained it. (NOTE: It's been a while, so I don't recall if symbols are disallowed in the pet-command system.)
Again, as with the taming process, you will have a percentage chance of success when you attempt to teach commands to your pet. And as a lowbie Creature Handler, your chances of success per attempt will be pretty low. Failed attempts to teach your pet will generate another question mark over the pet's head, with the chat system message, “The pet doesn't seem to understand you.” Fortunately, you can try it again, as often as needed until the pet finally “gets it” and rewards you with an exclamation point over it's head and a confirmatory message in the system chat informing you, “Your pet has learned the Attack command,” or whatever you taught it.
You will also earn Creature Handler XP for each command you teach to the pet for the first time. You can re-teach your pet a command it has already learned (if, for example, you decide you want to use a different name for the command), but you will not gain XP for re-teaching the command. (The pet will also instantly learn the command's new name.)
Naming your pet
You will be able to name your pet once you acquire the ability to teach four commands to your pet. Unfortunately, at Novice you only know how to teach three commands: Attack, Follow, and Release. (The Release command allows you to store your pet again via a pet command,rather than right-clicking on it and using the radial command, “Store Pet.”) You gain your fourth command, “Stay,” when you earn your first box in the Creature Training skill line.
To name your pets, you must teach (or preferably, re-teach) it four commands, using the name you want to give your pet ahead of the command name. For example, let's say you want to name your pet gurrcat, “Fluffy.” To do so, you would select a command (let's say the Attack command first), then type in Spatial, or via /tellpet, the words, “Fluffy kill” (minus the quotes -- just Fluffy kill). You then repeat the process for three more commands: Fluffy follow, Fluffy stay, and Fluffy release, or whatever commands you want to use for this purpose.
Upon successfully (re)teaching the fourth command, a dialogue bubble will appear over your pet's head to show that the pet has caught on to it's new name: (“Fluffy...?”), and the name over it's head and in it's HAM display will change to show the new name.
Once your pet has learned it's new name, you will want to re-teach it your original command names again. Otherwise, you'd be stuck with having to say, “Fluffy kill” every time you wanted to command your pet to attack, because you have quite literally given that command the tagline, “Fluffy kill” (or whatever) in the course of teaching the pet it's name! So, don't forget to change it back!
(You can see why teaching a pet a new name while simultaneously teaching new commands is not the way to go.)
Watching your new baby grow
Your new pet will start out very small and weak – generally, about one-tenth the HAM it will have as an adult. At this stage, you generally don't want to send it into combat, although a baby version of a tough monster (such as a baby bull rancor) might still be relatively formidable even as an infant.
But fear not. Your new child prodigy will quickly grow to adulthood, generally in about a week or less.
In that sense, your pet acquisitions require a certain amount of lead time to get the pets to a usable state. All sorts of debates swirled around whether there were ways to accelerate your pet's growth process. Personally, I think we can speed things up. I always made it a point to summon my baby graul maulers for a few rounds of combat with the meatlumps outside Coronet City until they reached a decent size. I found I could grow them to adulthood within a couple of days.
Speaking of combat....
Using your pet in combat
The primary benefit of your pet is that he will fight for you. To do so, simply target the creature you want your pet to attack, and type your attack command.
Many Creature Handlers write macros for their pet commands so they can use hotkeys for them. They also might include tweaks in the macros, such as sending the command via a /tellpet, or including a /point command or some other heroic gesture for their own character.
Generally, your pet is a reliable tank. NPCs and other creatures will focus their attention on whichever of you initiates combat. So if you want your pet to tank, have your pet attack first. Conversely, if you want to be the tank while using a less sturdy pet for additional DPS or the application of a damage-over-time effect such as Strong Poison or Strong Disease, you initiate the combat.
However, a thing to bear in mind is that creatures vary in their Ferocity. This is a characteristic you can ascertain using your Scout's Examine skill. Some species are quite timid and tend to run away after taking a certain amount of damage in combat. Others are extremely tenacious, and will fight to the death.
Storing your pet
There are several ways you can stow your pet. You can right-click on the pet to bring up it's radial menu, which contains a command to Store Pet, or you can do the same with it's icon in your Datapad. Thirdly, you can use your Release command, which does NOT release the pet into the wild, but is your Store Pet shortcut. I generally used some variant of the word, "Store" as my label for this command just to remind myself it was not going to permanently release the pet.
Keeping your pet healthy and happy
Pets take damage just like our characters do. And that includes HAM wound damage. Fortunately, you will be able to heal these wounds.
Your pet will let you know when it's hurting. You will see cartoon bubbles pop up over it, which say either, “Hungry!” or “Play!” When you see those messages, you know it's time to take care of your pet's needs.
Health and Action wounds are signified by the “Hungry!” message, and are healed by feeding your pet. Fortunately, you do not have to use expensive Chef-crafted pet-buff foods for this purpose (although they will work, of course). A regular organic resource will work as well, such as creature meat or grain.
To feed a pet, simply drag a stack of whatever resource you want to feed to your pet directly onto the pet. If the resource is palatable to the pet, it will pop up a message bubble with the word, “Yummy!” in it. Not all organic resources are palatable to all pets. Some will turn their noses up at certain resources.
Mind wounds are signaled by the “Play!” request. To heal this wound, you must have the pet use one of it's “Trick” commands. You gain the ability to teach your pet the first of it's two tricks when you've earned the Creature Empathy-1 box. Or, if you know an experienced Creature Handler, you can have him or her teach the command to your pet. Then, when you give the pet the command to perform it's trick, it will perform an amusing animation, which varies for each species.
To heal everyday combat damage, you can use medic/doctor-created stimpacks if you have the requisite Medic or Doctor skill, but for pets, a specialized line of stimpacks that can only be used on pets ("Pet Stimpacks") can be created by Bioengineers. They grade upwards in potency to a Pet Stimpack-D, which if I recall correctly, would typically heal roughly 1500 points of Health and/or Action damage on a single use. These specialized pet stims do NOT require ANY Medic or Doc skill at all to use. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to form a symbiotic relationship with a friendly Bioengineer, both as a customer and as a supplier, because the main component of those stimpacks is fish meat. And yes, that means some poor sod has to spend the time actually catching fish.
A final health issue for your pet is it's maximum Vitality rating. This is, in effect, the pet equivalent of a weapon's Condition rating. If your pet dies, it's Vitality rating (expressed as a fraction, such as 90/100, showing it's at 90 percent of it's original 100% Vitality) goes down. Eventually, it's vitality will drop so low, it begins to lose effectiveness in combat. At that point, you will want to use a crafted medical item called a “Pet Resuscitation Kit” on the pet.
This will restore your pet's Vitality back to maximum – almost. Unfortunately, whenever you use one of these kits on a pet, it loses a point off it's maximum Vitality. So thus, a pet that was at 85/100 Vitality will return to 99/99 Vitality when treated.
Releasing a pet into the wild (destroying a pet)
After long years of faithful service, you may decide it's time to give a creature companion it's freedom again. To do this, all you need to do is right-click on the pet's icon in your Datapad. You will receive an on-screen comfirmation query: "Release your pet into the wild? (yes/no)." If you select yes, you will receive a confirmation message that your pet's control device in your datapad has been destroyed.
You can use this function creatively when destroying a pet. The night before the NGE went live, for example, I found a NPC encampment on Dantooine that lay at the bottom of a small depression. With the help of a Master Creature Handler, I positioned myself so that a small knoll blocked my view of the camp, then summoned each of the pets in my datapad one-by-one and ran them through their tricks one last time, then targeted a NPC and ordered my pet to attack it. As the pet crested the hill and disappeared from view, I destroyed its datapad device, giving me as my last contact with my pet the on-screen message, "You release your pet into the wild."
Creature Handler XP
There are three ways you can gain CH XP: Taming creatures; teaching tamed creatures new commands; and using the pets in combat.
The backbone of your CH XP grind will be using your pets in combat. And the biggest XP gain will come when you're in a group that allows you to not use your personal weapon, but only command your pet to attack. Any time you use both your weapon and a pet, you will be splitting your XP gains between Creature Handler XP and weapons XP.
If you are in such a group, you will want to focus on tabbing through as many targets as you can that your group is fighting. All you have to do is have your pet hit a given mob once for you to get full Creature Handler XP for the kill. Oh, and make sure your pet survives the fight or you lose the XP.
That's one way to skill-up quickly. But you may find Creature Handling so darn fun, that you'll keep sneaking off to Endor for some solo hunting (and baby-hunting) in the boondocks.
SECTION 4: SKILLS EXPLAINED Edit
In this section, I will break down the four branches of the Creature Handler skill tree, and decipher all the fragmentary bits of lingo contained in the skill boxes.
Novice Creature Handler
Okay, let's take a look at the Novice Creature Handler box. Here we see the following:
[Skill Mod] Additional Pets +1
[Skill Mod] Max Number of Pet Levels +12
[Skill Mod] Stored Pets +4
[Skill Mod] Taming Wild Creatures +5
[Ability] Pet Command -Attack-
[Ability] Pet Command -Follow-
[Ability] Pet Command -Release-
Here's the translation from SOE's technobabble:
“Additional Pets +1” means that a Novice Creature Handler is able to use and have one pet active and in play at a time. However, since non-CH's also can have one pet, this seems redundant, does it not?
“Max Number of Pet Levels +12” would seem to mean that since a non-Creature Handler can use a level-10 creature pet, that a Novice CH would get to use a lvl-22 pet, right? Wrong! Actually, a Novice CH can use up to a level-12 pet. And actually, the gobbledygook takes a bit of a twist here. Note that it says “Max Number of Pet Levels” -- that's plural. Which means that your limit (later, when you can have more than one pet in play at a time) means a TOTAL of 12 pet LEVELS, which means that you can have TWO OR MORE pets, whose COMBINED TOTAL of challenge levels EQUALS 12. This cap gets boosts all across the skill tree, with bigger boosts at the higher end of each line. At Master Creature Handler, your challenge-level cap is a whopping 70. That will allow you to tame and use some very nice pets!
The pet command, "Follow" commands the pet to follow you around. I think the default was that the pet would follow you around, but since other commands cause the pet to do other things, you'll need this to get it back to heel at times.
An additional note: The "Release" command does NOT set your pet free. It should be called, "Store Pet."
Line 1: Creature Taming
Throughout the Creature Handler profession tree, you steadily gain in your chances to sucessfully tame creatures. However, it's only in this line that you gain the ability to tame “vicous” (aggressive) creatures. The only other box that boosts your ability to tame vicious creatures is the Master CH box. Master Creature Handlers have a total of a 40% base chance for taming vicious creatures. Get thee some good taming togs!
Line 2: Creature Training
This line boosts the number of pets you can store and gives you several pet commands.
Line 3: Creature Empathy
Here you learn how to train your pets to use their tricks for healing their Mind wound damage. Also, you gain two important pet buffs: Embolden Pets, and Enrage Pets. Embolden Pets boosts their Health by 15%, while Enrage Pets boosts their damage output by 15%. Both pet buffs can be used at the same time.
Line 4: Creature Management
Here, we gain several important commands and abilities. The “group” command allows you to have your pet join a group with you. It's helpful in many ways. First, you will be able to see your pet's HAM just as you would any other groupmate. Second, you will be able to pull higher-challenge-level (and thus, more lucrative) missions off mission terminals. “Follow Other” means you can set your pet to follow someone else. Useful for when you're using the next command: “Friend.” The Friend command allows you to let another player command your pet as though he/she were it's owner. In addition, you gain the ability to use TWO pets at once. But note that the combined levels of the two pets cannot exceed your “maximum pet levels” allowance. But the biggest prize of this line is the ability to mount-train rideable pets! (cf. Creature Management IV.)
Master Creature Handler
Master CH only gives a couple of new abilities (Pet Ranged Attack for those pets that can use ranged attacks, and Transfer Pet, for selling pets). But several key skills gain important boosts. Wild Creature taming is now almost automatic with a 95% chance for success, while vicious-creature taming tops out at 40%. Max Creature Levels of active pets is now CL-70, and his datapad bulges with a whopping total of 26 stored pets! A Master CH is truly a walking zoo. In additon, he now can have up to 3 pets in play at once.
One of the most popular skills of a high-level Creature Handler is his ability to convert certain pets into mounts. Mounts are not the fastest means of transportation, but they offer one benefit not offered by mechanical vehicles: You can shoot a weapon from astride a mount! Also, your mounts can swim, AND you can STILL shoot a weapon while riding a SWIMMING mount. Mounts aren't able to run at full speed while you're engaged in combat while mounted, and you won't be able to do anything but auto-fire... but hey, it's something, and if you have a good DoT weapon, it can be a deadly ability.
ALL mountable creatures MUST be mount-trained by a Creature Handler. Even a bioengineered mount does not come out of the can mount-trained. Even they must be trained by a Creature Handler.
All mountable pets much grow to a certain minimum size before they can be mount-trained. For some animals, that minimum size comes earlier. (A giant carrion spat, for example, can be mount-trained as a CL-1 infant!)
To mount-train a grown pet, you must possess it, even temporarily. You cannot mount-train a pet while another person owns it or has the pet's icon in his/her datapad. If the owner is a customer, the customer must temporarily trade the pet to you for training. After you've mount-trained it, you must trade or transfer the pet back to the owner.
Once the pet's in your datapad, simply summon it and right-click on it to bring up the pet's radial menu. If you've progressed to at least Creature Management IV, you will see a command to “Mount-Train Creature.” Select that option, and voila! The creature respawns equipped with a saddle and riding gear.
- Cu Pa (Tatooine: CL-10)
- Wasteland Cu Pa (Tatooine: CL-20)
- Male/Female Kaadus (females: CL-12, males: CL-14)
- Motley Kaadu (CL-10)
- Banthas (multiple varieties)
- Dwarf Bantha (CL-10)
- Dewback (CL-19)
- Mountain Dewback (CL-20)
- Lesser Dewback (CL-10)
- Carrion Spat (CL-10)
- Giant Carrion Spat (Special: if trained as a mount, this creature's max level will be "stunted" to CL-14, but it will still look full-size.)
- Bol (Dantooine: CL-29)
- Lesser Plains Bol (Dantooine: CL-10)
- Humbaba (Corellia and Talus: CL-17)
- Falumpaset (Naboo: CL-19)
- Brackasets (Dathomir: females: CL-29, males: CL-30) - Lowland Brackaset (Dathomir, CL-10)
SECTION 5: Food and Drink for Creature Handlers Edit
Jarikranger, the SWGEmu Chef Correspondent, has written up a list of pre-CU foods and drinks. I thought it'd be helpful to highlight those foods and drinks that are of particular interest to Creature Handlers....
(NOTE: The stats he recounted look like the base recipes, with the ranges that would result without using bioengineered food additives.)
Mask Scent +7.5 to +12
Duration 12m to 24m
Almond-Kwevvu Crisp Munchies
Creature taming bonus +7.5 to +12
Duration 12m to 24m
Pet health +550 to +875
Duration 39m 30s
TO USE: Drag from your inventory, and drop directly on your summoned pet
Pet Action +675 to +1250
Duration 40m 30s
TO USE: Drag from your inventory, and drop directly on your summoned pet
Other noteworthy foods:
Terrain Negotation +7.5 to +12
Duration 12m to 25m
A useful lowbie Chef food. VERY helpful early in a Scout's career for speeding those long climbs up steep slopes for Exploration XP. And when that baby Gleaming Lantern Bird decides to flap straight up a steep cliff in the midst of your taming attempt, you'll be glad you ate some of this.
Burst Run HAM reduction by 48% to 88%
Burst Run Recovery Time decreased by 40% to 75%
When you've swapped out your armor for creature-taming togs, you'll want to be ready to run out of Dodge as fast and far as you can!
Burst run HAM reduction 20% to 30%
Burst run recovery decrease 15s to 30s
Kinda like a lite version of Parwan Nutricake. Tastes great, less filling.
Creature Harvesting +11 to +18
Duration 9m to 18m
One of your biggest potential moneymakers is harvesting tissue off your kills. Maximize your greed with these tasty morsels.
SECTION 6: Clothing for Creature Handlers Edit
One of your most important acquisitions will be a good set of bioengineered clothing items with built-in Creature Taming bonuses, especially Vicious Taming. A Novice Creature Handler starts out with a paltry 5% chance for successfully taming or teaching creatures commands. The best bonus I saw on a single piece of clothing was +17 Creature Taming and +10 Vicious Taming. In addition, a piece with a Terrain Negotiation boost is a boon. I seem to remember having a piece that also boosted my Mask Scent skill, but it's been a long three years since the Combat Upgrade went live. And I think there were skill tapes (armor/clothing attachments) that could boost these skills as well. I know there were Terrain Negotiation tapes. I just never was one for grinding the NPCs that dropped the things.
SECTION 7: Iakimo's Secret List of Hawt Pets Edit
Part of the fun of mastering Creature Handler is comparing the relative strengths and weaknesses of various tameable creatures, and trying to one-up the competition. But, with ten planets full of wildlife out there, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. So... here's my personal set of recommendations for up-and-coming Creature Handlers to look for and aspire to.
These are the pets that mark a talented young Creature Handler's progress...
CL-12, 1300 HAM, Special attack: Intimidate. These are handy for their ability to halve the damage output of your target, and are handsome pets as well. Look for them on Corellia and Talus.
One of the game's CL-10 mountable pets, so they can be sold to non-Creature Handlers as mounts. You'll need a more-experienced Creature Handler mentor to mount-train them for you initially, but they're worth keeping an eye out for.
Same as the Lesser Dewback: Mount-trainable CL-10 pets, and they're everywhere on Corellia, it seems.
At CL-12, these and their slightly-stronger CL-14 Male Kaadu brothers are almost emblematic Creature Handler mounts.
These vicious little denizens of the Tatooine landscape are the bane of many a nOOb SWG player's existence. You'll need to acquire the ability to tame vicious creatures somehow (either through climbing the Creature Taming line or via taming clothing) to be able to tame these, but once you have a scyk in your datapad, your hatred for the things will transform rapidly to respect and admiration. These things almost never back off from a fight, and their Medium Poison is handy when it sticks.
Another Tatooine resident. Smaller cousins of the vicious Tatooine Bocatt, and a handy CL-10 pet.
The Next Step Up: CL-16-25
This is the point where Creature Handler begins to become really fun. Pets of this challenge level begin to show decent toughness, with HAMs ranging around 3600 and up.
Female Tusk Cats
These are easily my favorite CL-16ish pets. They feature high Ferocity, so they can be counted on to fight to the death almost every time for you if necessary, and they come in a variety of colors, from almost coal-black to blonde.
Giant Carrion Spat
A true status-symbol mount for an up-and-coming Creature Handler. When you hop aboard one of these big birds, you're sitting 'WAAAY above the crowd! If you choose to train your giant spat as a mount, you will receive a warning message informing you that your pet's growth will be stunted in order to retain it's suitability as a mount. But don't worry; your spat will still LOOK as huge as a non-mount-trained spat. For some reason, the devs of SWG thought it was a good idea to level-cap a mount-trained spat at CL-14. Why they only did this to giant carrion spats is beyond me.
Another huge mount. When you're astride one of these huge Corellian beasts, you're sitting every bit as high as on a giant carrion spat.
Wasteland Cu Pa
This creature is about 50% larger than a regular cu pa. Yet another cool mount to set you apart from the non-CH rabble.
These CL-18 kitties pack a nasty surprise that makes them sought-after PvP pets: Medium Disease! With HAMs around 4500, they're slightly tougher than Female Tusk Cats, but with slightly lower Ferocity ratings.
Another CH status symbol, with enough toughness to serve as a combat pet. Plus their two special attacks (Knockdown and Dizzy Strike) are handy.
At around CL-22, these huge monkeys from Naboo inspire laughs with their trick animations and sheer size.
Similar to Tusk Cats, narglatch females are slightly tougher than their male counterparts. In the pre-CU environment, they're not as much of a standout as they were in the Combat Upgrade, but they packed a respectable 6500 HAM and two useful special attacks: Intimidate and Stunning Strike.
You've probably noticed a pattern here: I am very much a cat person, especially in SWG. And the razor cats of Corellia are another worthy entry to the field of Iakimo's most-favored pets. These cats are roughly equivalent to the narglatches of Naboo, but with slightly higher HAMs and lower resistances. Surprisingly though, they are not Vicious-type creatures, so they make for a much easier-to-tame target than a narglatch for an aspiring Creature Handler.
With 8000 HAM, these housecat-sized Talusian critters are amazingly tough for their size and challenge level (22). They're like a poor man's Greater Sludge Panther, except that their Kinetic resistance isn't as high. Still, after nurturing your fragile lowbie pets for what seems like ages, these sturdy little beasts will seem like a huge relief.
Greater Sludge Panther and Grand Wrix
These two cats were the subject of intense debates back in the day, with CH's saying one or the other was the better pet. Both feature 35% Kinetic resistance, but the GSP has slightly higher HAM: 8000, versus the Grand Wrix' 6500. However, the GW also featured 35% Energy resistance vs. the GSP's 10% Energy resist. Plus, the GW had both a Knockdown and a Stun special attack, while the GSP only had Cripple (a posture-down attack), giving GW fans reason to assert their favorite was more well-rounded. But if you're looking for the best CL-25 natural tank, look no further than the...
Boar Wolf This nasty little porker featured 9000 HAM (no pun intended) and 50% Kinetic resistance, making them a very strong PvE tank for their level. However, they were vulnerable to Energy, Heat, Stun, and Acid, so don't go throwing them against Stormtroopers or Rebel Commandos.
The Transition: CL 26-40
In this range, the diversity of tameable creatures becomes more apparent -- and that, of course, increases the fun factor. Your pets also become progressively tougher and sport more deadly special attacks, but generally still lack light armor. In practical terms, a well-made bioengineered pet with light armor will be more useful at this stage of a CH's development -- but we don't really want a pet-in-a-can, do we?
At CL-26, this can be a real challenge for an up-and-coming Creature Handler to acquire. As if their Mild Poison and Intimidate attacks aren't bad enough, they're found on Dathomir in the midst of mixed lairs of several deadly subspecies of Gaping Spiders (several of which are tougher and more powerful than this species). This is a difficult target for even the most experienced Creature Handlers.
I could write at great length on the many variants of vesp. Found on Lok in large mixed colonies, these highly-social CL 25-30 beasts can be a nightmarish swarm, with Blind, Dizzy, Posture-Down, Intimidate, Stun, and even Strong Poison attacks a'flying. Worse, several sport eye-poppingly high resists to specific damage types. So be sure to carry weapons with several different damage types and examine your targets before wading in with blasters blazing!
Graul and Graul Mauler
Once the darling of pre-Book 5 PvP, the Graul Mauler has lost its armor and much of its former luster. In general, monsters at CL-30 to 35 feel somewhat like 'tweeners -- impressive-looking, but not quite tough enough to stand up to the pounding dealt out by more-challenging fights. Critical to the GM's survivability in the post-5 world is its Intimidate skill. Still, a fun "show" pet, with the ability to use two different sets of tricks. Pet them to get them to squat and unlock a fist-pounding trick animation!
One of my sentimental favorites, because of its Strong Poison and unique appearance. Downside is its relative frailty when thrown against tough foes. Like the Gaping Spiders, Merek Assassin babies tend to be found in mixed lairs that sport tougher subspecies, including Death's Heads and the like. A pet Merek Assassin is quite a status symbol for an up-and-coming Creature Handler.
Handy when paired with another CL-35 pet (especially a bioengineered tank), these spiders' Strong Poison can turn a fight. Slightly tougher than the Merek Assassin, but still lacking light armor.
The toughest mountable pets in the game. Tough enough to be sent into combat in a pinch, although not capable of withstanding a sustained pounding.
Crystal Snakes/Giant Crystal Snakes
Yet another difficult tame. Babies are found in mixed lairs of highly-social, highly-venomous adults.
Gleaming Lantern Bird
One of the fastest pets in the game, these magnificent birds are able to keep up effortlessly with a rider on a swoop. This makes them handy bodyguards for the search-and-destroy missions in Phases 1 and 2 of the Hidden Village of Aurilia.
So you think you're l337? The 40+ Pets
Light armor at last!
There are three tameable subspecies of rancors: rancor, bull rancor, and gnarled rancor. Of the three, the Bull Rancor is considered the grand-daddy of all tameable creatures. Very tough against energy weapons, but somewhat less so against kinetic damage, and considerably less resistant to blast, acid, and electricity. Still, no true holes in their armor, save against lightsabers.
The armored arachnes
At CL-42, the Arachne Warrior is a significant trophy for an on-the-rise Creature Handler. This critter boasts 30% resists on both Kinetic and Energy damage to go with its light armor, AND strong poison and a blinding strike. The Arachne Webmaster is a bit tougher at CL-50, with 35% kinetic/energy resistances and slightly higher HAM, while the Arachne Widow ups the ante to 40% at CL-58.
Gaping Spider Hunter and Recluse
These two spiders are almost identical in their physical characteristics, but the Recluse boasts both a Strong Poison attack and a Poison Spray attack. It's the Recluses that make Gaping Spider lairs such terrifying places.
Another fast pet, these CL-50 cats are known to keep up with vehicles. Their light armor has vulnerabilities to blast, stun, and electricity damage types, while they offer 30% resistance to kinetic and energy damage, and 50% to heat, cold, and acid damage. Generally a top-end bodyguard for fights against NPC mobs. Just don't run them up against a Nightsister armed with a stun baton!
The armored mereks: Merek Death's Head, Toxic Merek Battlelord, and Delirious Merek Avenger
Merek Death's Heads are the main killers in most merek lairs. The Player Notes section on this creature's entry in swgcreatures.com indicates that Death's Heads once boasted 75% Kinetic resistance. This is long gone in the time frame targeted by the SWGEMU Project. It only has 10% across-the-board resists to go with its light armor in the 14.1 environment. The Avenger, on the other hand, boasts a much-higher 45% Kinetic resistance, but has a Vulnerability hole versus energy weaponry. This makes the Avenger a much better tank against critters, but duck soup against most NPC mobs. At any rate, the Avenger is only CL-40, so this often makes it the first armored tameable for an ambitious Creature Handler.
The CL-45 Toxic Merek Battlelord is another deadly merek. Nasty special attacks, light armor, and impressive resists (up to 80% versus acid!) make this a highly sought-after pet, save for one glaring hole: It's vulnerable to energy weapons.
Mantigrue Screecher Good across-the-board resists (35% vs. Kinetic/Energy, and 10% vs. everything else save lightning and of course lightsabers), and the always-nasty Plague Strike make this one of the most sought-after high-end pets.
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