Animal Taming

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Playing a tamer character in UO is a unique experience, being a partnership between player and pixels. Many otherwise level-headed players will admit that, while their head tells them it makes no sense, their heart harbours a totally illogical affection for the bunch of pixels that constitutes their favourite pet.

Skill Details

    • Animal Taming is the skill used for taming animals and tameable monsters.
    • In conjunction with the skill ‘animal lore’ it also determines your level of control over a particular pet. The formula for calculating this control can be found on the animal lore page.
    • Not all animals and monsters are tameable, the Tameable Animals page is a list of the ones that are.
    • Your ability to tame a particular creature is based on your total displayed skill, including any points from items such as jewelry, Mark of Travesty or Birds of Britannia Talisman. At the minimum skill level required to tame a particular creature you have only a 0.2% chance of successfully taming it.
    • Taming is difficulty-based, this means you have to tame creatures of increasing difficulty to keep gaining. The Tameable Animals list is arranged in order of difficulty and grouped into suggested skill levels. Some overlap is recommended, as is the acquisition of a Crystal Ball of Knowledge. This item is quest reward from Ortlem the Mystic in Royal City, Ter Mur.
    • Once you have tamed a creature, its taming difficulty is set to 0.0 for you and you will always be able to retame it on first try. Taming and releasing the same creature repeatedly, therefore, will not raise your skill , but you can gain skill from other people’s tames.

Taming & Retaming

When you tame a creature and release it the minimum taming requirement is increased for the next person who tries to tame it. A creature can be re-tamed by different players a maximum of 5 times (provided the taming difficulty does not exceed 120.0). The table below will contains some examples of this increase.

Retaming examples

General Values
(adjusted skill)
minimum + 4.8 + 19.2 + 43.2 + 76.8
a hind 23.1 27.9 42.3 66.3 99.9
a grizzly bear 59.1 63.9 78.3 102.3 135.9
a dragon 93.9 98.7 113.1 137.1 170.7

Simple transferring of a tamed pet from one person to another has no ‘owner’ limit.

Gaining Skill

Your aim should be to tame creatures on which you have about a 50% chance of success, you will not gain from failed attempts. If using the Crystal Ball of Knowledge, aim for ‘optimal’, but vary that with ‘easy’ or ‘challenging’ when needed. Avoid ‘very easy’, ‘too easy’, ‘very challenging’ and ‘too challenging’. You can also adjust your difficulty level by wearing or removing jewelry if the ‘optimal’ difficulty seems elusive. A macro for ‘use skill >taming’ ‘last target’ is very helpful.

Use the far right column of the Tameable Animals page as a guide, but don’t feel you have to follow it strictly. Taming gains can vary quite a bit from character to character, so experiment with the recommended range, allow some overlap, and see what works best for you.

Training taming can seem a long road, it takes rather a lot longer to tame a pet than to swing a sword! Include variety in what you tame, boredom soon sets in and you’ll start dreaming about polar bears or bulls!

Taming Aggressive Creatures

An excellent way to avoid too much boredom is to tame something that chases you instead of you chasing it. Start early with something that won’t kill you even if it catches you and by the time you’re high enough to tame the big guys you’ll have lead taming off to a fine art. Deathwatch Beetles would be a good ‘starting’ aggressive.

There are a few things that you need to consider. There must be a clear path from you to the creature – though sometimes you can take advantage of the fact that the creature isn’t bright enough to actually find that path; also you can not tame a creature that is receiving damage of any kind – don’t hit it! Failure to stay out of the creature’s melee range leads to the message “The animal is too angry to continue taming“. A tip to avoid this problem is to carry a bow, preferably spell channelling, but no arrows.

Methods by which you can avoid being eaten by your prospective tame, if you have the relevant skills and abilities, are:

  • Use peacemaking on the creature.
  • Invoke honor virtue
  • Use the mysticism spell ‘sleep’ (or mass sleep)
  • Use the spell ‘paralyze’. Never use this method on a pet you intend to keep, use of the spell drops the pet’s skills by 4%.

Some of the most intelligent creatures do not take kindly to being tamed. “You seem to anger the beast” is most likely the result you will see quite often before you can actually start a (not necessarily successful) taming attempt. Keep trying, and eventually you will succeed.

Battle Strategies

The idea of being a tamer is the pet takes the hits, not you.

  • Aim to keep the pet between your character and the spawn at all times, be alert, if the new spawn appears closer to you than the pet step smartly past the pet in the fraction of a second before the newcomer targets.
  • Send the pet in with an attack or kill command and then move in to vet.
  • Paragons in Ilshenar re-target on anything that moves. There are 3 main strategies for dealing with this
    • Use a template with ‘stealth’ and simply walk up to the pet, you will be revealed when you begin to vet.
    • Send in the pet with the attack command, then use ‘follow me’ to bring the pet and the attacking monster to you, re-issuing the attack command when they reach you.
    • Use the teleport spell to reach your pet’s side.

Choosing the Right Pet

When it comes to filling your stable you will need to consider not only which type of pet, but how good it is for its species. If your animal lore is high enough you will be able to select which creature to tame before making the attempt, if not you will need to tame and release till you succeed in acquiring one that meets your needs. Some people spend an extraordinary amount of time looking for the ‘perfect’ stats, though not everyone’s interpretation of ‘perfect’ is the same. Should you go for high HP or high skills? It’s a matter of choice, though the introduction of Animal Training (publish 97) makes it possible to customize and improve even a mediocre pet.

Two other things to take into account are ‘follower slots’ and ‘pack instinct’. They will determine which pets you may ‘team up’ to hunt.

Follower slots are discussed in the page ‘Pets Ownership ‘.

Pack instinct is also something to think about when assembling your ‘team’. When you use 2 or more creatures with the same pack instinct, even if not the same creature type, this pet property gives a bonus to the damage each pet does. The bonus is applied as follows:

  • 2 pets = +25%
  • 3 pets = +50%
  • 4 pets = +75%
  • 5 pets = +100%

Note: This bonus only applies to pets controlled by you. Teaming up with another player using the same pet-type won’t give the bonus.  Pet instinct is lost if animal taming raises the follower slot requirement to the point where multiple pets cannot be used.

Pets with Pack Instinct

Pack Type Pets
Bear Black Bear, Brown Bear, Grizzly Bear, Polar Bear
Bull Bulls
Canine Dark Wolf (Familiar), Dire wolf, Dog, Grey wolf, Hell Hound, Hell Hound (leader), Timber Wolf, White Wolf.
Daemon Fiend (summon), Fire steed, Imp
Equine Fire Steed
Feline Cat, Cougar, Hellcat (Large), Hellcat (Small), Panther, Snow Leopard
Ostard Desert Ostard, Forest Ostard, Frenzied Ostard
Raptor Raptor

Pet Profiles

A brief look at the advantages, disadvantages and quirks of some of the more popular pets. This section considers the pets in the form in which they spawn, no account is taken of the affects of Animal Training.

    • The Frenzied Ostard

The first ‘aggressive’ pet most tamers add to their stable and needing a single control slot, used in a pack their damage output through pack instinct is phenomenal. However controlling 5 creatures at once, and keeping them alive, is not a task for the faint hearted. A single frenzied is useful where you need to keep tight control on damage output, such as reducing a giant beetle to the ‘subdued’ state necessary to tame it.

    • The Bake Kitsune

This giggling creature’s fairly low taming requirement, yet high hit points and damage capabilities make it a popular first hunting partner. Taming one can be quite amusing, since when wild, they have the ability to polymorph, sadly they lose this ability when tamed.

    • The Drake

Rarely seen now, a drake used to be a training tamer’s first hunting companion as he rode his frenzied ostard.

    • The Nightmare

For many years the most popular mount of most tamers, less often seen as the range of tameable pets has become more diverse.

    • The Fire Steed

Often dismissed as merely decorative these creatures have pack instinct and a pair of them can be a formidable force against the right foe, their damage output being 80% fire damage.

    • The Unicorn

This creature is completely resistant to all poisons and will attempt to cure their owners when the owner has been poisoned. However one drawback is that only females can tame and ride unicorns.

    • The Ki-rin

A Ki-rin will call down the forces of nature to help protect their owners, only males can tame and ride them.

    • The Dragon

Overtaken by its more powerful cousin, the greater dragon, most tame dragons languish in their owner’s stable, neglected and forgotten.

    • The White Wyrm

A powerful ally when used against the right foe, its damage output is 50% physical and 50% cold.

    • The Rune Beetle

High poisoning ability allows for the quick despatching of most foes.

    • The Dread Warhorse

This stronger version of the tamer’s favorite nightmare was obtained by defeating its former owner, a Vanguard controller. These creatures were featured in a story-arc event and no longer spawn

    • The Hiryu

This bird-like rideable dragon has a fierce attack  and is capable of dismounting a foe.

    • The Cu Sidhe

This friendly mount not only heals itself, it will also attempt to heal its owner, though sadly resurrection is beyond its abilities. While this pet is able to take on most  foes, it can be an extensive battle and often a pairing of lesser pets will achieve the objective more quickly.

    • The Reptalon

With a damage output of 25% poison, 75% energy this pet is effective only against the right foe.

    • The Greater Dragon

Largest and fiercest tameable in the land, this pet requires that its owner have no other companion (ie it takes 5 pet slots). Similar to the cu-sidhe, it can take on most foes, but it isn’t always the swiftest way to achieve your aim.