Heavy Petting Baba

21 06 2010
Babaengy and Babaempee, Froobs with pets, set out for the Subway

Babaengy and Babaemphee, Froobs with pets, set out for the Subway

Baba sponsored another pair of immigrants to Ruby-Ka a few months ago,  an Engineer and an MP.  They started out on immigrant island, i.e. Shuttleport Island, much like other immigrants.  Teaming them on newbie island was not very remarkable, mainly due to the wimpy starter pets.

They left newbie island as soon as they hit level 12, and had completed all the various island quests upgrading their weapons, getting belts and backpacks etc.  They then were left in suspended animation for a while as Baba did his best to grind his mostly solo way to 150.  Earning level 149 was a major grindfest, requiring hours and hours of solo Borg kiting in Perpetual Wastelands.  Baba also got stuck in terms of getting any progression out of the new daily missions.  He managed to complete the Smugglers Den inspect crates mission, but was getting no where on the kill 3 of each type of Smuggler other than a collection of failed attempts.

Baba’s HUD was convinced there was a level 150+ Ravager right next to him.  Baba’s eye’s and this screenshot say otherwise.  Smuggler’s Den, another bugged dungeon spot?

Baba’s HUD was convinced there was a level 150+ Ravager right next to him. Baba’s eye’s and this screenshot say otherwise. Smuggler’s Den, another bugged dungeon spot?

This was leaving him with a very strong desire to go back to suspended animation and hopefully dream away his predicament.  Trying to get level 150 and title 5 mostly solo as a Froob Enforcer was proving to very difficult and slow going.

A while back he had sponsored a trader and an NT (Tireen and Babaente) who teamed their way to level 72.  About the only time they were really fighting as a team was during their 250k token run.  The rest of the time, it was Babaente solo kiting while Tireen hovered above safe in her Yalmaha.  They were last at the Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows, but the going was slow and eventually both elected to go back to suspended animation for a while. Further leveling for this pair is mostly dependent on getting outside speed buffs, and heal over time (HOTs).  Baba’s least favorite activity is buff begging.

On Babaengy and Babaemphee’s first outing to the Subway in Athens, things just suddenly clicked.  Counting their pets, they make the equivalent of a 5 member team.  Babaengy and his attack bot take up the pulling and tanking role.  Babaemphee and her attack pet provide extra damage, while her heal pet acts as team doctor.   Of course a heal pet can do no where near all the things a real doctor can, but it can do one key thing and that is to heal the tank during battle.  The only down side to this duo might be for first timers without a higher level main to supply credits.

Both the Engineer and the MP depend a great deal on nanos and have to upgraded them every few levels.  They also benefit greatly from always having good implants which also require credits.  Both professions are also heavily dependent on equipping the highest capacity utility belts for NCU.  While belts and memory are only moderately expensive, they are time consuming to collect due to a limited number of quality levels available from vendors at any time.  It has helped this pair many times already to be able to draw from an inventory of belts and memory built up over the years by Babaoroody and his alts.

A starting out new duo will need to mix leveling and dungeon romps with credit making team missions.  Tireen, Baba’s trader alt has contributed around 2 million credits so far mainly on nanos for this pair, sparing them the need to have to run team missions just yet.

Baba's Pet team Sets off for the Subway for the first time.

Baba's Pet team Sets off for the Subway for the first time.

On their first trip into the subway at level 12 they kept to the west hall where the shops are.  They had no problem with the any of the mobs there and in less than hour had grabbed two levels.  They then exited to a backyard to allocate out IP points and upgrading their pets.  When they re-entered the subway they proceeded to the east hall, and took the left that leads past the shadows section.

This hall goes west for a ways and then turns right and leads to the west side restroom area that is populated with strikers.  On this trip the team only went as far as the bend where it turns north towards the restroom area.  After cleaning out all the shades along the way and quite a few strikers, they both dinged to 15 and decided to call it a night.

To say it went well is an understatement.  Even though they were fighting deep orange mobs, often with 2 to 3 at one time, health almost never dipped below 75% for most team members.  There was one fatality, that of the heal pet when they got swarmed by strikers once.  At this stage, most concentration is going to juggling the commands to each team member, and at this point, its not clear what is the best way to arrange the HUD in order to keep track of the health of all the pets.  A item for future enhancement of the HUD would the addition of pets to the team window.  As it is now, the team leader has no way of knowing if a team mates pet is running low on health points.

After dinging 15 they called it a night.  The next day, rather than go right back into the subway it was decided to send trader Tireen out to collect implant components to outfit Team Baba with QL 50 implants.  Thanks to Implant Helper by Donald Milne, part of Saturday was spent designing QL 50 implants for Babaengy and Babaemphee.  The Implant Helper made it easy to design Agility based implants.  A few agility laddering implants were also designed.

Tireen spent the better part of Sunday shopping for the components.  The laddering implants called for a few basic implants of QL 35 and QL40.  For some reason, (I wonder why)  The basic implant vending machines skip right over implants from 30 to 50.  They offer Basic imps in steps of 10 from 10 to 30 and from 50 to 125, but mostly skip over 30 through 50.  They usually offer one implant somewhere between 30 to 50, so the odds of finding particular QLs in that range are pretty slim.  This translates to hours of camping terminals hoping to get lucky.

After spending several hours with no luck, Tireen decided to try and make do with the closest final implants she could find in the completed implants shop which resulted in less than the desired ladding jump benefit.  This would cause problems later on.

Tireen handed these of to Babaente who had just the right amount of Nano Programming to assemble the implants with out bumping them past the desired QL level.  Assembling the implants took an hour or so, due to her having to terminate often in order to combine some clusters without them being bumped up past QL 50.  Due to the fact that there is no way to reduce Nan programming, the only way to avoid bumping an implant is to terminate and time the implant construction step to coincide with the moment their skill level rises to the target amount.

On Sunday, the completed implants were handed over to Babaengy and Babaemphee.  With Tireen standing by, Babaengy put on a med suit (a gift from Baba), and flipped the surgery clinic switch.  Although the first set of laddering Agility implants went in without a hitch, he soon found that he was shy a few a handful of points to put in the rest.  He ran off to Old Athens grid to seek an Agent for a Feline Grace buff to bring his Agility up.  After about 15 minutes of circulating the grid area and the shop area, he finally located an Agent, asked for and received the buff.  After running back to their chosen back yard, the rest of the implants went right in.

Once Babaemphee got med-suited up, and we checked her stats, it became clear that she was (even if she got a Feline Grace buff) 3 points shy of able to put in the implants.  The called it a night.

The next Monday evening, they checked all of Baba’s various inventories and found a Sekuteck helmet that Babaemphee could equip that would add 1 Agility.  At that point it seemed the simplest and fastest way to get the last 2 points needed would be to grab another level in the subway.  In the mean time, Babaemphee installed a set of QL 30 hand me down implants she found in the shared Baba inventory.  While they appeared to be a set originally put together for a trader or NT, they were still an improvement over no implants.

The big plus from this set was that it buffed her computer lit up to put her in range of equipping a 3 slot belt.  The lowest 3 slot she could find in Baba’s shared inventory was a level 62 with a requirement of 187 CL.  On a hunch, Tireen offered to do a quick Basic Shop run of Old Athen’s 3 basic shops to look for a lower quality 3 slot.  She came across a vendor with QL 40s which she quickly bought 3 of.  She made a note to her self to start making it a habit of checking those machines every time she enters a basic shop and hopefully someday find some QL 30 3 slot belts to stock up on for future alts.

Babaempee and Babaengy suit up for the Deep Subway.

Babaemphee and Babaengy suit up for the Deep Subway.

On Sunday Babaengy and Babaemphee managed to reach level 22 by making their first serious forays into the deep subway.  Eumenidies no longer guards the doorway leading to the spiral stairway that leads to the deep subway.  This bothered Babaoroody a bit when he first heard about it.  To long-timers like Babaoroody, Eumenidies was a sort of rite of passage for new toons in the subway.  As a level 24  mob, he effectively prevented casual lowbie solo toons from entering the deep subway.  If you were below his level, you had to have a team to get past him.  This led an additional air of mystery and mystic to the deep subway for  newbie’s.

The rumors are that he has been moved to the cave area past the slum runner room in the deep subway, but Babaengy and Babaemphee did not get to that room to verify that.

Our pair were level 19 when they started this foray, and both had pets a couple of levels above their own.  The problem they ran into was that their NCU capacity was not keeping up with the demand caused by the new pets and buffs.  It took some intricate buff juggling to get both sets of pets up and all of the team buffed.

Babaengy was still a level away from being able to self cast the generic 20 point nano skill boosts, so he was dependent on Babaemphee first buffing him so he could cast his best bot.  Once the bot was cast, he had to kill these buffs to make room for the AC, damage shields and damage boost buffs he usually runs.  At this point he had to leave out a few to still have room for health and nano recharge self buffs.

Both the engineer and the MP classes at these staring levels are very time dependent.  Both of the MP’s pets are limited to one hour.  The pets stick around after an hour, but they become in-effective, unable to deal damage or heal.  Babaemphee has to keep track of this life cycle time line be prepared to start looking for safe places to stop and re-cast pets when needed.  While the engineer’s pet does not seem to have a timer, most of the lowbie engineer’s buffs vary in length from 20 minutes to 45 minutes.

As Babaengy and his bot serve as this teams tank, it is imperative that he have his best AC buff, damage shield, and bot damage booster running on himself and his bot.  In addition, he usually casts the AC and damage shields on Babaemphee also.  This is a major drain on nano, and Babaengy uses up many nano charger kits.  While the loot tables of most average mobs in the subway appear to have been tweaked upwards a bit, nano charger kits seem to have been left out.

The tunnel leading to the deep subway is now guarded solely by a few infectors.  Once beyond the spiral staircase, it is obvious that there has been some major tweaking of mob placement.  The usual suspects are in their usual places, but there are numerous wandering versions throughout the main passageway.  These changes serve to make it more difficult for solo players.  Babaengy observed several solo agents and MP’s pass going deeper in to the subway, only to be seen a few minutes later running out for their lives with a handful of cyborg type mobs in tow.  Babaengy and Babaemphee were more than happy to dispatch these trains, as it simply helped them level up faster.

While the loot tables in general seem to have been tweaked upwards a bit. The cyborg subway mobs seem have had the frequency of Living Cyber Armor drops increased.  In just this one hour long trip, Babaengy had collected helmets for he and Babaemphee, legs for both, and sleeves for himself.

Things went fairly smoothly going in.  The cyborg mobs also seem to cast blinds more often now.  They made it as far as the last doorway leading into the long flat level with Abmouth at the end.  At this point, Babaemphee had to recast her pets.

On the way out, they did run into a spot of trouble.  In the last large room before entering the long straight section, Babaemphee got stuck coming up the stairs and had lost about half of her health before Babaengy realized she had not been able to keep up and had two cyborgs beating on her.  Babaengy had to health stim her while fighting off the mobs.  This pair will have to give extra attention from now on when passing sections with stairs going up.

After spending some time allocating out IP, both had advanced computer skills enough to be in range to equip 4 slot belts.  The lowest QL 4 slots in the Baba group inventory were 72 or greater, with too high CL requirements.  This was a job for Trader Tireen who grided over to Tir city where she camped a basic shop, entering the shop every 2 minutes and trying the terminal for belts.  After about a half hour of this, she did not get the lowest quality 4 slots (60) but did manage to snag two at QL62 which Babaengy and Babaemphee would be able to equip.  Babaengy and Babaemphee ended up with 40+ ncu each once the belts were in and populated with the best memory chips they could equip.  This should help avoid some of the nano juggling Babaengy was having to do.

Another evening, Team pets (Babaengy and Babaemphee)  made a quick run to the lower subway level this past evening and netted level 24.  Again we saw the spectacle of lowbie solo-ers or pairs training a pack of cyber type mobs.  Before the patch, in the long straight tunnel section of the deep subway, lowbies could solo quite easily, as the mobs were less numerous, and spaced out more.  With the patch there are both more mobs and many of them seem to spawn and roam about randomly.  Babaengy and Babaemphee have several times been in a room in this passage, rebuffing only to have several mobs spawn and/or come waking in.  While this has been a boon for our pet team, providing a more steady stream of experience, for solo lowbies, it spells doom.

Babaemphee picked up another Living Cyber Armor Sleeve, which leaves only one set of Living Cyber Armor Gloves left before Team Baba has all the Living Cyber Armor pieces that drop.  The chest and boots are only available via two separate quests, both of which are a bit of a pain to complete and make one question the usefulness of those two pieces.

It was time to prepare for what would most likely be their final subway excursion.  There has been posts on the official boards to the effect that the final level that can enter the subway has increased from 24 to 25.  Both Babaengy and Babaemphee sent our Trader Tireen off to get a hold of what will most likely the final pets they will be able to cast in the subway.  The bot and attack pet are level 37.  The corresponding level heal pet Babaente does not have because it is a mission/boss loot only nano, not available in shops.  Both Engineers and MPs are somewhat hampered by the fact that what seems to be about half of their combat toolbox is made up of non-store buyable nanos.  A search of the common Baba shared inventory drawing on higher level characters Babaoroody, Tireen, and Babaente did turn up a half dozen or so such nanos, but almost all are in the ql100 or above range, so it will be a while before Team Pet can use them.

New things we learned about pets.  Some buffs used by toons can also be of use on pets.  Nano restoration, AC buffs, health restoration work great on the pets.  Damage shield do not seem to take.  MP pets last about an hour before they become of little use.  The may stick around longer, but are completely ineffective.

More details added to shops.  Many shops now have display cases containing actual weapons and a few have weapons in slick packages.

More details added to shops. Many shops now have display cases containing actual weapons and a few have weapons in slick packages.

On June 18,  2010, we sent Babaente to do a daily mission to kill borg north of Tir.  She had to kill about 15 to 25 borg to gain the 3 needed parts, and dinged 75.  Trader Tireeen pulled  the “take speed boost stims to guy at end of longest road” to ding 75.  Tireen also shopped up some more memory for Babaengy and Babaemphee, as well as their level 37 attack pets.  With her teachings Babaemphee can also now cast the next up healing pet Salivinious.

Babaengy and Babaemphee made their final Subway run the next night.  Now that Babaemphee can cast her Teachings nano line buffs, both she and Babaengy can cast pets even further above them than before.  They are getting an effective +45 buffs on their nano skills based on +20 from Expertise, and +25 from Teachings.  This requires rebuffing after when they are about to time out, or the pets will become non-responsive (O.E., over equipped).  We brought out a simple kitchen digital timer with a beeper to let us know when it’s time to rebuff.  The one we use has a large lcd display, so we can actually start re-buffing a few minutes before the buffs time out.

They had tried logging off and logging in down in the subway line that is found at the bottom of the stairs that is vacant, but Babaengy ran into our pattern texture glitch that can only be reset with a hard zone, which meant running all the way back and out the main subway entrance.  We did some research, but could find no way to reset the graphics that would work. This meant they went back to their old method of buffing up, casting pets, buffing pets in the next door backyard and then entering the Subway.  This method loses 5 minutes or so to the long run in before they start seeing mobs that are not gray in the deep subway.

They both dinged 25 by the time they had reached the section that overlooks the large room where the giant spider and cyborgs hangout.  They stopped there to rebuff and then proceeded fighting deeper into the subway.  It was late Saturday evening, and they had the dungeon to themselves, which seemed unusual.  This meant that they also had more mobs to take on.  There was some weirdness with Babaengy’s bot Stark-Fist who seemed to vanish for a minute or two in the section where there are cyborgs, infectors and a striker and there is a walkway above.  After clearing this section they then fought further to the room with the sunken water filled area.  There seemed to be more cyborgs here than before and they seemed to be more social.  Attacking one brought them all into the fray.

This seems to be common to the rest of the deep subway.  It seems like there are more cyborgs than before, they are more social, meaning, they aggro from greater distances when any one of them in sight is attacked.  They also appear to re-spawn sooner.  All of these changes are great for teams like Babaengy and Babaemphee, as it just provides more targets, but it ought to make soloing the deep subway a greater challenge than it was before.

They came close to wiping when they took on Virgil Aneid in the last room before Abmouths.  They made the mistake of pulling him and several shades into the larger prior room instead of fighting him in his room.  As a result, many more cyborgs respawned during the fight and piled on.  It was the first time this pair has seen both of their health dip below 50% and without some mutual 1st aid stimming and passing the heal pet around several times, they would not have survived.  They both dinged 26 during this fight.

Hitting 26 meant this was to be their last time in the subway. There was no bling loot here to draw them.  Memory rings would be nice, but just not worth camping for.  They decided to give Abmouth a shot and at least go out in style, rather than camp for rings, or simply run out.

At this point they stopped and recast pets, rebuffed and then went into Abmouths room to try their hand at him.  They first met a few infectors and a stray cyborg.  With them down, they proceeded to look for Abmouth and found him spawned down in his pit.
Babaengy and Babaemphee cast their best pet combat buffs, and then attacked.  They might have had a chance, but the moment they started in on Abmouth, 3 infectors spawned on top of them too.  It was over pretty fast as there was just too much damage for their heal pet HOT-LIPS to compensate for, and they simply could not take down that many targets at once, especially when one of them was a half dozen levels higher than them.  Abby sealed the deal when he destroyed HOT-LIPS.

Back at reclaim they learned that pets don’t die when you do as the bot and the attack pet were still with them.  With 2 levels of IP to hand out, they both will be able to equip some new pets.  While working out their IP allocation, they spotted a nicely twinked level 20 Engy sporting a level 47 bot in the shop they were in.

After allocating out their new found IP, they decided to start pulling team missions in Newland City, so some homework scouring the net is on their to-do lists to look for information about items to look for in missions at their level.

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