We just got a new mod that, once fixed, could be a decent alternative. Unfortunately, apart from problems with the mod itself, the UC tree’s skills are so bad that you actively lose DPS the more you invest into it past tier 3.
I’m going to go through the skills and suggest changes for each of the skills to make them worthwhile.
Barrier: remove the penalty for picking up the barrier. Zane is not a character that benefits from being in one small space.
Hearty Stock: increase the numbers. Take it up to 50.
Ready for Action: same as above, especially the recharge rate. Delay is less of an issue with certain Guardian skills and CCC.
Stiff Upper Lip: Just make it a straight up resistance. No condition like ‘gains resistance’ or ‘when he takes damage’: just give him a flat resistance to damage. Characters are too spongy for there to be delays in skills activating.
Rise to the occasion: make it a consistent rate independent of shield capacity. In particular, CCC conflicts with this due to filling shields first. Maybe increase the rate too, but at least fix that part.
Confident Competence: rather than an accuracy boost, give a crit boost. Would work well with amp shields, and accuracy is useless on certain guns, anyway. Overall good, though, as more damage with fuller shields syncs well.
Really Expensive Jacket: Maybe decrease the DoT for elements as well? Or add some elemental resistance? Something. Most elemental effects don’t really last that long in the first place.
Best Served Cold: remove the cooldown, and either centre it on the killed enemy or increase the radius a lot. Possibly damage buff, not sure if it’s been buffed through scaling or not.
Futility Belt: make it a flat resistance to all damage. Change the Kill Skill to either shield recharge rate, ‘shields start recharging’, or crit damage.
Refreshment: Add gun damage buff against frozen enemies, or per frozen enemy. Life Steal is good, but gun damage would give a reason to invest more than one point. Plus, the tree really needs some way of increasing damage as a reward for freezing enemies, as we already have life steal from salvation, and CCC is outclassed by a mod.
Cool, Calm, and Collected: Increase the health regen rate a lot.
Nerves of Steel: Buff it slightly and make it a 1 point skill. You only need one, anyway.
Distributed Denial: give Zane the same boost as everyone else, make it not lose the boost when the shield is picked up, make the skill work with all shields (or at least more of them), and either double the shield bonuses or add some additional ones, or both.
Zane needs a lot of work. The latest class mod has kind of cemented this.