I won’t lie, I did my fair amount of bagging on Wilhelm as a damage character. He was undoubtedly the weakest of the bunch, as the raid trials from the best Wilhelm players we had at the time showed his kill times were twice as long as the other characters.
However, Wilhelm himself being weak does not translate into wolf being weak. Unlike most other summons, wolf had infinitely scaling damage, increased fire rate, and could apply a 90% multiplicative debuff. Wolf was a lot of the damage from Wilhelm’s character. In my opinion, the reason overcharge chaining builds fell out of favor was because the combination of laser-guided plus Wolf’s added damage from rolling thunder was simply too good to pass up for the temporary burst. And wolf did not fall off in uvhm, if anything he just scaled better because of the increased buff from laser-guided.
As for Gaige, there’s no reason to really ever play her without DT at all. You can get everything you need from the order chaos tree by just putting one point into nth degree. If you want more you’re welcome to get it, but you are in no way obligated to go all the way down the order chaos tree to get everything you need. This is more true after the increase level 80 cap in borderlands 2, but even back when the level cap was 72, you did not need to spec completely down order chaos. You were always able to get the relevant DT perks to make him a powerhouse in his own right. You don’t even need a hide of terramorphous, simply using any roid shield combined with make it sparkle will still leave enough points for Gage to get the majority of relevant skills she needs in order to be a powerhouse on her own right as well as having a powerful death trap.
Besides, what you’re talking about in regards to clear speed is an inherent design choice with any pet class in any game ever. Pets will almost always attacks slower than the player, not aim as quickly as the player, and will have few ways to increase the rate at which they attack. So yes you can clear out an area faster with your Gaige than DT but not because DT is weak. You can kill faster because you are a human who can aim like a human, shoot like a human, and spec your skills like a human to be able to shoot your gun faster and do more damage. Deathtrap is not able to do those things because it is an AI. That does not make deathtrap weak, it makes deathtrap stupid. And while they may seem similar, they are not the same thing because death trap is still more than able to kill any enemy it comes across. It will just not do it as efficiently as a player would.