Goal: Personalization, uniqueness, variation in pets. Not stronger, just more interesting. What pets could be trained to do: Expanded skills: All the magic, for starters, and things like parry, stealth (I know that idea wont set with well with many, but it could be balanced), and so on. Improved stats and Resists: Self explanatory. Special traits: Things life elemental breath, Bleed, etc, but with expanded choices like slayers, and other passive effects, with a bunch of new things as well. Restrictions, limitations, and control slots: At this point you may be thinking to yourself: "Self, making a wolf with 500 hit points that can poison is insane! Imagine 5 of them! The insanity!" and rightly so. Here in comes the part of the idea that preserves the balance of the skill. When you first tame an animal in the wild, your pet will come with a "training level" statistic, and a "training threshold" statistic, appearing as- x/x such. As you probably already guessed, as a creature becomes trained up, its training level improves, and once it hits the training threshold, it cannot be further trained. The trained level when tamed will be based on stats of the tame. All tamable monsters will spawn with a SIMILAR, but not identical threshold range. This allows for continued "perfect pet" hunting, albeit admittedly at a much lower level. Say threshold is 1000 at max, and monsters spawn with 850+1-150. So people can still enjoy that aspect. For example you could tame some bitchin' walrus, which would look like this: 20/1000. Or you could tame a bitchin' Greater Dragon which would look like this 925/1000. So you can see, that walrus has a long road to ass kicking status ahead of it, but christ... it would be worth it to have a deadly battle walrus. Now then, the most important part of the training level stat is that it would determine the CONTROL SLOTS the creature requires, as well as the taming required to control. So if you want that beefy carnage bringing "Omega Walrus"... it's gonna end up at 5 control slots. Or conversely, you could have 3 slot version the "Dire Walrus" and team it up with a devious 2 slot "Necro Cow". The names are just for fun of course, but you can see the endless possibilities. Methods of training, pet bonding, and loyalty: I would then greatly revamp the pet "training" process. First of all I would change the bonding, and loyalty statistics. First of all, a tamed pet once tamed, is "bonded" like we know it now. In other words it will no longer die like a regular pet, but rather turns into a ghost. Also, and I know this may seem like a controversial step, but pets would also never go wild, unless you released them. So I could mistreat my pet all the live long day? No. It would eventually stop listening to you, and dissapear back to the stables until you stop treating it poorly. Once you have the pet, you begin the new bonding process, and a new numerical bond rating will be displayed on the creatures info gump. Now if you want to teach you pet snazzy new skills, and specials, it will have to be loyal to you, and trust that you know whats up. Each type of creature would have a regular group of things it could learn naturally with little loyalty required, but if you wanted to say... teach a wolf to parry, or develop a poisonous bite, have 200 strength, or 70 cold resist, then you would need higher loyalty the further out of the breeds regular domain you travel. Improving (and lowering) pet loyalty: First and foremost, hunt with your pet, and keep your pet fed and ALIVE. Each kill you make, the pet will gain loyalty based on the fame of the creature killed, and how much damage the pet did (top attacker info). As the loyalty improves, your training options improve. If you let your pet die, or starve it, or lack the taming skill to control it, obviously, it will trust you less. Eventually if you keep mistreating your pet, the bond rating will hit 0. Once it hits 0, the pet will disappear, returning to your stables, and will remain unavailable for a day. Once a day passes its loyalty will go up to 1, so you could take it out, and try to start the bonding process again. Expanded ways of improving loyalty would include preferred foods, preferred foes, etc, just learn your what your pet is, and what it wants. Means of teaching: Stats and skills would go up like they do now, just in combat, but I would slow it down a touch personally. Resists would improve by fighting creatures that do that type of damage. A new cooking craftable line "pet food" could would also play a roll in the process, improving gain chances, and allowing pets to learn the more exotic traits and skills, like poisoning, and spell casting, slayers, bleed etc, and maybe hue changes (within reason). Maxes tie to the bonding level. So your pet couldn't have 120 wrestling or 500 str until your were well bonded with it. Pets would have a skill list like they do now, but it would only display the skills it has unlocked, and would have a "show cap" rating, and up and down arrows, sames goes with stats and resists. This way you can choose what you want to go up, or down, and you can tell your maxes. Conclusion: This system or one like it, while an across the board creature re-evaluation would be required, and scads of work and scaaaaaaads of balancing, would really improve the system as something people can invest time in, and feel rewarded for doing so, encouraging but not demanding (you could still go tame a GD and be ready to go) pets be more "companions" than big meaty tools, to kill and to be killed carelessly. And customization is always a big draw to players I think, and for a popular skill like taming, it could really be a big hit if done well I think. And I think it COULD be done well, with just a little forethought, and a lot of testing, making it a really nice, and balanced addition. Thoughts? Opinions? Insults?