De-frag AO

10 12 2008

Backpack of SurvivalWhile using our favorite net browser trick, using the keyword bookmark/search feature (learn all about Mozilla custom keywords here), we found a tips on how to improve Anarchy Online performance.

The improvement involves the bottle neck for most systems, the hard drive.  While CPU speed is the main speed determining factor, hard drive performance determines how quickly things like zoning and opening bags occur.  Most AO fans already know that it is a good idea to defrag your hard drive to get maximum game performance, but this usually means tying up your PC for hours while the defragmenter does the job to the entire hard disk.  I had just read part of a thread describing this chore, and was about to start working out when would be the best time for me to schedule a complete hard drive defrag when a light bulb went off for me.

We had recently been looking at a site listing developers favorite PC utilities.  Among the many titles that we had read about there, one popped out as being the perfect solution to our problem. It was a utility to defragment a single file, files, or directory.  The program we chose to do this is called Power Defragmenter.  Microsoft provides a nice command line utility called contig that defrags single files and directories, but we have never been a huge fan of command line utilities.  With our fumble typing skills, and our preference to NOT have to remember a plethora of arcane command line switches and commands, if we can find a GUI version, we will take it every time.  In this case Power Defragmenter 3 provides a friendly GUI frontend to the Microsoft command line defrag utility contig.

We pointed the defragger at our AO directory, started it doing it’s thing.  It completed the job in about 5 minutes.  When we next logged in to Rubi-Ka, we were amazed at the difference it made.  Where it used to take our ageing laptop a minute and 45 seconds to zone from some playfield to the next, it now took 20 seconds.  Where opening inventory backpacks used to take 30 seconds, they now opened in about 5.

Both programs are free and require windows XP or better.  As with any thing that involves your AO directory, its always wise to have a backup copy.  The Power Defragmenter is certified by Softpedia to be virus, and spyware free.

With our AO system purring along at an improved clip, it was time to take Babaente and Tireen back to their eye mutant camp  for more kiting this past weekend and on into Monday evening.   With the new capability of being able to zoom out to the max while kiting, the kites went very well.  The first evening certainly started off with a bang.  When Babaente logged in, she found herself sitting just outside the eye mutant camp fence, with a big Timber wolf with a huge red health bar licking its chops while running straight for her.  Not having time to buff up, she took off running, and while running was able to cast terrain knowledge which was enough to keep her ahead of the wolf so she could then start kiting it.  It took quite a while to bring down, and Babaente had to keep an eye on her nano pool to make sure she was not depleting it too fast, since she had not yet been able to cast humidity extractor.  When the wolf did go down, Babaente found a Ring of luck, defensive, that gives about +20 to all defense, which she quickly put on her left hand, after removing a Notum Ring of Three to make room.  Baba and his toons are converts to utilizing any items if that add all offensive or all defensive boosts.  After getting it on, the rest of the night’s kites went extremely well, with Babaente avoiding any serious health bar hits.

To put this in perspective, prior to donning that ring, almost every kite at his spot has cost Babaente anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of her health bar.  Usually in the first few minutes of each kite she would get hit several times by the mobs chasing her. After donning the ring, and making no other changes, she completed kite after kite taking no damage at all.

During the first evening both Tireen and Babaente dinged 64.  Tireen took some of the new IP points to bring up her pharmaceutical skills enough so she can make plasma out of the level 60-80 monster parts they are now looting.  They have a pretty good routine going now.  After enough kites to fill up 6 bags with loot, Babaente transfers the bags to Tireen who then converts the monster parts to plasma and then takes the plasma and the remaining loot to a trader terminal in Omni-Trade.  Later on Monday evening, they both dinged 65

Babaente noticed something most likely due to the benefit of continuing to raise her run speed.  She has got to the point where she can quickly outpace her kites and run past their perception distance.  Along with this she has noticed for the first time while kiting, that the mobs in her kites range of vision seems to be shortened when it is night on Rubi-Ka.  She noticed that when it is night, the distance at which a kite will break up if gets too far ahead of the kite is definitely less than when it is daytime.

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