I’m sorry, but considering Trainer class mod exists I don’t feel comfortable sitting silently and waiting for this tree to come out before offering criticism. Sue me, but at least hear me out before you get angry in the replies.
There are 2 skills whose interactions I’ll be focusing on: Fuzzy Math and Take This. I’ll give a brief touch up on Keep Them Safe as well, but these two skills and their interactions with pet builds are my primary concern.
Take This gives pets a copy of FL4K’s shield. This can be be used to boost pet damage in 2 ways. For melee pets, you can give a roid shield, while gun pets like Jabbers and Loaders would use amp. This creates 2 separate gearing paths that have massive ramifications for FL4K’s survival and the purpose of the tree.
Gun pets can use amp shields, which grant their bonus when full. This means that you the things the Trapper tree buffs (recharge rate, delay, capacity) are all beneficial to the pet’s shield, and therefore its damage output. However, melee pets wouldn’t work like that. Roid shield give their bonus while depleted, so you would ideally want as low a capacity as you could get. On top of that, one melee shield gives massively higher damage than every other option, meaning you would essentially be locked to using a low level variant of 1 shield to keep your pet damage high.
On top of that, the use of roid shields directly contradicts several skills we’ve seen in this tree already. Fancy Math restores 30% of FL4K and their pet’s shield whenever either scores a critical hit. With Megavor, this skill would render roid shields impotent. Same goes for Keep Them Safe. If you want to build a melee pet for damage, you can’t spec down the latter half of this tree, but you are also incentivized to use a low level shield, which actually makes FL4K even squishier.
Compounding that is the issue of Gravity Trap itself and how it will end up working with pets. Gravity Trap could be used to alleviate the issues of low shield for melee pets by providing some much needed CC, but the action skill lifts enemies off the ground, meaning the melee pets would have to resort to ranged attacks to hit them. What this all results in is a likely scenario where melee pets will see absolutely no benefit from this new skill tree while gun totting pets, which are already much more powerful overall, will gain immense power from the new tree.
On to Keep Them Safe, I’ll just borrow this quote from @narfkeks
There are problems with this skill, but a simple one to address is the cool down. Attack command cool downs are 16 seconds with 3 points in Sic Em. This skill has a cool down of 12 seconds. That means we can’t spam the skill with ETI, but we also can’t use the skill before the 16 second cool down of the attack command is up. Why GB decided this skill should have a cool down is beyond me since this skill is just a far weaker version of the doppelganger’s Winning skill from TPS. That skill provided Jack with 25% shield per kill (with Leadership and Optimism it became 50% shield every 2 secs). Meanwhile, a min-maxed FL4K build can still only use this skill once every 16 seconds. What happens during the skill’s downtime? Your shield gets obliterated a second after it recharges and this skill does nothing for another 15 seconds. This continues an incredibly irritating inclination for actions requiring direct control over the pet being far less rewarding than those that don’t.
Those are my largest concerns for the tree at the moment. I’m especially concerned about the effectiveness of roid shields, since the most exciting aspect of this tree to me is being able to share my shield with my spiderant to give it more damage. Even using an on-level roid shield, you still wouldn’t be able to command your pet to melee attack enemies in the air, so the roid will be wasted. I sincerely hope there is some augment to keep enemies on the ground or some rework of the pet AI that will allow it to attack floating enemies.