NOTE: I am a player who is both in full support of the Vital Combat system and who has not spend a single dollar on her pet.
With the announcement of the upcoming Testing session, I am under the assumption that changes to pets and combat in general will be rolled out sooner rather than later. However, despite my overall positive outlook on the update to the combat system and the intention behind it, I think it is incredibly unwise to put them out in the game’s current state, especially the endgame.
For most of the game’s content, an IC/OOC system would be incredibly beneficial; dungeons like the Abyss of Demons could actually become challenging locales that required more than one beefed-up knight to steamroll through. Even higher-end midgame dungeons like the Ocean Trench and Tomb of The Ancients would regain some of that intrinsic danger that they originally held back in 2012. However, the problem lies in some of the more recent endgame content, specifically that DECA has introduced. Understandably, most of these dungeons are balanced around pets as they currently are. A perfect example of this is the Marble Colossus: bullets filling the entire screen so much so that sometimes you have to rely on heals from healing classes and, more importantly, your pet. Time and time again in Halls raids, it’s called that the most important shots to dodge are the blue spirals that inflict Pet Stasis, because the sheer amount of bullets is too much without that cushion of your pet. That’s not a result of me being a “bad player”, that is the patterns of the fight having little to no recognizable patterns to avoid. Oryx 3 is another great, more recent example. The only way that most players, even at the highest level of gameplay, are able to survive his exalted Celestial phase is by dodging shots that disable your pet.
I believe that before the changes to pets are implemented, many of Realm’s endgame dungeons need a big overhaul. The Void Entity is a fantastic example of what bosses should look like; fast, high damaging shots, but in a small amount and in recognizable patterns that encourage precise dodging. A fight like the Marble Colossus or the Killer Bee Queen where you will constantly be taking damage that puts you in an In Combat state (which, for players without a divine pet, is essentially a 7 second pet stasis), absolutely requires some change to encourage skill rather than tanking. To update the way a game is played, one must change the players and their opponents; fighting a boss that was conceptualized and continues to be a response to the meta that it was created in despite that meta changing is frustrating and not the way this fantastic update should go out.
tl;dr - DECA needs to take some more time to balance the game around these combat changes without just unceremoniously shoving them in and leaving us to fend for ourselves.