Baba Becomes Virus Attack Vector

25 07 2009

Baba was influenced by two Virus attacks recently  The Alt virus bit once again sending us back to Shuttleport Island on the flimsyest of excuses.  This was followed by an attack by the Win32.Virut.ce virus on our office PC.

Meet AgentBaba and BabaEmphee, new toons a result of a re-occurring Alt bug. Click to view larger version.

Meet AgentBaba and BabaEmphee, new toons a result of a re-occurring Alt bug. Click to view larger version.

Sorry for no recent posts, we had the unfortunate experience of getting a nasty virus on our PC at work.  This had set us back in more ways than one, and demanded huge amounts of time to deal with.  Our centralized IT services installed a new Windows box for me about a week and a half ago.  Things went fine.  It was nice to have a faster and cleaner machine.  We were just getting settled in, with most of our applications installed and tweaked when the Win32.Virut.ce worm struck.  In just a few minutes it rendered the PC unusable.  It displays Winlogon in a permanent loop that cannot be exited.  It not only wasted my new machine, but thanks to a very bad practise that is NOT safe computing, we managed to transfer the virus to our old PC and ruined it as well.  The transmission vector was our thumb drive.  This virus infects any exe opened by Windows.  We had been using KeePass, a password safe on the thumb-drive and our mistake was to run the executable from the thumb drive instead of independent exes on each computers hard drive.

So, thumb drive is in the infected machine, and the KeePass exe gets infected when we utilize it off the thumb drive.  Then the new PC bombs out from the virus, so we move to the old PC, and in the course of the day, open KeePass from the thumb drive, and bingo, 2nd PC is infected.   Since the virus does not infect data files, we would have been ok, if we had only been using the thumb-drive for the reading the password database file.

AgentBaba and BabaEmphee in all their saturated colors of Shuttleport Island. Click for larger view.

AgentBaba and BabaEmphee in all the saturated colors of Shuttleport Island. Click for larger view.

Fortunately all is not lost.  We had most of our daily work related documents and notes mirrored on the Syncplicity web service.  We also found that the data files on both PCs are still intact, using a live CD of Dam Small Linux which we were able to boot each machine with, we could see that the file structure is still there, so one of our tasks is to transfer these to a safe place before the techs come to wipe the boxes and re-install Windows.

Before the virus struck we had spent the weekend back at Shuttleport Island creating two new alts AgentBaba and BabaEmphee.  We are infected so badly with the Alt virus that the slightest thing can send us back to nubi island to roll a new toon or two.  This time, we were reviewing our new Adventurer toon Ohtizz, who we had rolled in order to have an account to give the Funcom free 30 day offer a try.  We got cold feet when Funcom asked for our credit card number.   We would have gone through with the trial, if it had not been for that requirement.  We just do not turn over our credit card number unless we fully intend to incur whatever charges are involved.  We knew full well we would be cancelling at the end of the 30 days.  It feels like tempting fate to hand over your card number in this kind of situation.  Events have a way of arranging themselves such that somehow at the end of 30 days our cancellation does not go through and then we have to deal with the hassle of trying to get it cancelled.

So we breezed the agent Ohtizz through the island and up to level 13 on the mainland.  Outfitted him with a vagabonds coat, and realized we had forgotten to get him a range meter back on the island.  So that’s what sent us back to the island.  The need for a range meter.  We thought that if we had to go back there why not roll two more professions we had also always admired.  Next thing you know our agent and meta physicist are teaming Dyna’s like there is no tomorrow.

Our new agent and MP complete the armor quest. Click for larger view.

Our new agent and MP complete the armor quest. Click for larger view.

Impressions from 3 more professions follow.  Adventurers are EASY to play.  After going through the agony of being a AO newbi and doing it as an Enforcer, we can see that everyone should start out in AO as an Adventurer.  They truly are a bit of everything, but have no serious drawbacks like some professions.  Baba was really jealous of how the Addy can self heal putting to shame our Enforcers measly healing tool kit of first aid stims and eventually hacked boosted grafts for some very limited self healing in combat.  It was also interesting to see a profession where evades actually do something.  Our addy fighting mobs shows one mob hit landing for every 6 or 7 shots given by the addy.

Up next is the Agent.  One shot kills with aimed shot is a rush.  Having evades that work is a plus too.  The MP at least on the island is way overpowered compared to the others.  The starter MP gets a 1 hand blunt weapon that gives just as much damage as the starting Enforcers weapon plus the starting MP has the additional benefit of an attack pet contributing damage, practically doubling the total damage to the target mob.

In addition to farming parts and then trade skilling together a modest supply of range meters, we set out to get both new toons the sided newcomers armor.  We know from past experience to not try these quests until your toon is level 8 or above.  The mobs that have to be killed will be too much for toons below level 7 or 8.  So we ran most of the other island quests that give experience first, and actually ran several more than once.  The backpack and weapons upgrade quests can be repeated.  For the weapons upgrade, just buy the suitable weapon from Stacklund and use that when asked for a weapon to upgrade.

We did discover an early progression problem with the MP.  Every profession in AO has periods where their weapon, or combat nanos are getting progressively weaker in comparison to the mobs that must be over come to level.  The next better weapon or nano will have a level requirement that results in this situation where the toons offensive capability is getting weaker in relation to the mobs that have to be killed to level.  Our MP ran into this at around level 9.  Almost all the mobs on the island were gray to her, so killing them, would not help her level, yet the remaining mobs were way too strong for her attack pet, so she could not successfully level up off of them.  In her case the only way we could level her up so she could equip the next better attack pet was to repeat several quests just for the experience points.

Our simple suggestion to this problem, which seems to be prevalent across all classes and levels, would be adjust the damage done more aggressively upwards as one levels, due to increasing expertise.  We hold out no hope for these improvements, but it never hurts to dream.  Maybe someone, somewhere is coding the next best MMORPG as we speak, and this meme somehow makes it to them for consideration.

We actually did log both Baba, Babaente and Tireen, over the past weekend.  They spent their time disposing of Baba’s loot gained from hunting Perpetual Wasteland’s Cyborgs for his 134th level.  In addtion to sorting out Miys and other items to keep, There were several packs of monster parts which Tireen was able to convert to blood plasma for a much higher profit.    This took up the better part of an evening with Baba sorting, Babaente acting as mule, and Tireen fencing the items with a Omni trader terminal.

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