Claw Camp times

5 07 2009
Refraction

Refraction

It was all timing.  First a title 3 Trader, Tireen popped out of suspended animation to sit on top of the small hill overlooking Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows.  She equipped her Yalm and did a quick scout flight of the surrounding area for the bane of kite parties, the Slayer Droids.  She found none, so the server had not been reset since someone had trained the somewhat dim Slayer Droids to the middle of nowhere.  Her duty done, she waited for the title 3 NT Babaente to pop in.

Babaente, as soon as she materialized out of suspended animation, went through the steps to team Tireen and herself.  This done she proceeded to buff up, while, Tireen popped off one of the 8th Anniversary experience buffs, and then re-equipped her Yalmaha and positioned her self 50 or so meters above the batch of dead tree trunks next to the hill where Babaente would be leading her kites to.

blob

blob

After Babaente completed getting her usual set of buffs running, she activated one of the experience buffs just as Tireen had.  Glancing at her NCU panel before closing it to clear her HUD, it was fuller than normal, thanks to the experience buff and an Fixer run speed buff some generous soul had ninja’ed her with as she had been sitting outside the Newland City Advanced Shop.

The extra pressure of having to ‘make the best’ of these timed buffs added more butterflies than usual to her just before the kite starts nerves. The Claws were rather spread out with many outside the camp, making it hard to collect a bunch at a time, so she settled for just two at first, but she quickly found that with the wonderful amount of extra run speed from the Fixer buff, that she could lead the Claws around with impunity as she wished, so she casually routed them around the camp to pick up a good sized kite eventually.

Petals

Petals

She then lead it over to the tree log area and had fun with the wonderfully abundant run speed.  She had ample time to stop and cast more frequently than she had ever had before, so she took advantage of this.  This brought the kite down much faster with her casting AOE nukes about twice as often as without outside buffs. By the time at least half the kite had dropped, her HUD flashed the always welcome ‘new level’ icon. It was just after that that trouble reared it’s head.

Her Nano bar was hovering at around 40%.  In her usual set up, her rate of kiting and nano use (from nukes) rarely put her nano bar lower than 75%.

While she was able to continue at the faster rate, and she completed the kite, she had a rather flummoxing experience as soon as she finished looting the kite’s corpses.  When she sat down to use a nano kit to start recharging her nano, it would not work, giving her a message that she could not be in combat to use the kit.  This was crazy as she was not in combat, but she noticed that her combat logged still showed new lines of “attacked by xx Claw etc.” scrolling up, yet no Claws were near her.

At first she thought maybe one of the other minor outside buffs she had picked up in the city were locking the skills required to use the nano kit, but a frantic inspection of all her running outside buffs, yielded nothing untoward.

So here she was, frustrated and disappointed. With a sinking feeling she watched her NCU panel show the Fixer run speed buff running down while it seemed to take forever for her Humidity Extractor buffed nano delta to recharge her nano to where she could start another kite.

Onus

Onus

She should have been kiting like crazy now, and leveling herself and Tireen up like mad, She was just about to log off and write it all off to some kind of weird server problem, when Bitbomber (lvl 29 NanoTechnician, male, clan, J’avais envie) ran up in Playful Cub form and asked if Babaente was kiting the camp.  Babaente told the fellow NT  that she had been, but that she was having some problems, and could not continue, so she encouraged the Bitbomber to go ahead and start kiting the camp. After several more exchanges so everyone was clear it was OK for the new-comers (several other players in the NT’s team had arrived one by one) to ‘play through’ and take over the field, as Babaente was finished there for now.

So Babaente retired to the hill near by, while the new team went about kiting the camp.  Babaente noticed that her combat log was still showing the new NT’s mobs as attacking her, so she could still not recharge her nano.  She eventually moved to the opposite side of the hill where the server finally figured out she and the other NT were two separate toons, and the ‘attacked by x Claw’ lines stopped appearing in her log.  Rather than run out her excellent run speed buff just sitting there, she decided to log off and return some time later and hopefully when the camp was free again.

Later she reviewed the log to find:

Other hit by nano
Claw-C27 Outlaw was attacked with nanobots from Bitbomber
 for 185 points of projectile damage.
Attacked by Claw-C27 Outlaw!

Babaente is wondering if these Claws aggro every player in sight when anyone attacks them.  It has to be that or some sort of weird server or lag problem that was causing the system to not recognize that she was out of combat and should have been allowed to use her nano kits.

Babaente returned the following evening determined to get some leveling out of her Fixer Run Speed Buff, but fate said it was just not in the cards.  The lag demon was out and about Pleasant Meadows and Babaente got wiped twice in a row before she decided to stop trying.  Both times her HUD showed her well ahead of the kite, when suddenly, with no warning, her scrolling combat log went dark red with “Claw hit you for xxx damage” lines and the reclaim white out took over her HUD.  After the second time she resigned herself to spending the rest of that evening allocating out her IP points gained when she dinged 72 the previous day.

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AO 8th Anniversary Party on RK2

28 06 2009

Party smile

AO 8th Anniversary Party put a big smile on Babas mug

AO 8th Anniversary Party put a big smile on Baba's mug

There’s only one thing that will put a smile like the one on Baba’s face in this picture of him outside the 8th Anniversary Party for Anarchy Online, held on RK2 this past Sunday at the Reets Retreat in the glass floored disco.  Baba got into the swing of things by downloading and installing the GridStream player, which allowed him to dance along with the others to various metalhead tunes played live by the in house GridStream DJs.

The party was just getting started when Baba showed up.

The party was just getting started when Baba showed up.

When Baba arrived just a bit past 10 AM Central time, the party was in full swing.  The DJ’s in addition to cranking out tunes, held contests and gave away some serious loot.  During the 2 hours Baba was there, RK2 toons won tin foil hats, 8 million credits, and a sweet 30 million credits.

/LIST only showed 16, mini map shows soo many more...

/LIST only showed 16, mini map shows soo many more...

It got so crowded that Baba had to turn off the option to display names and titles above toons heads.  This helped a great deal keep the frame rate from getting too low to enjoy the scene.  One of the DJs had mentioned that this step would help deal with crowd induced lag.  Baba was a bit puzzled when he tried to use his list command to get a count of those present when it only showed 16.  The crowd must have been in the hundreds.  He was wondering if this was some new limitation introduced with the recent patch so the list command only lists no more than 16 at a time.  He is sure he has seen it list up to 60 players before.

Go Go Mr. DJ

Go Go Mr. DJ

Baba did his best to get into the spirit and after a while was able to remember and dust off his dance macros.  He quickly lost track of which one was playing and how many times he had activated each.  The huge crowd may have also contributed to his dance macros seeming to hang at times.  He saw some pretty impressive dance macros out on the floor that went far beyond stringing a few pulps and a few discos together.  RK2 coped very well with the huge crowd.  Baba is thinking the 18.1 patch may have contributed to how smoothly things went considering how large room was packed with gryrating toons of all sizes and shapes.

Hecks and Fr00b, together at last!

Hecks and Fr00b, together at last!

The highlight of the party, for Baba was getting up close and personal with a bunch of Hecklers that showed up to party instead of fighting.  The group ranged in size and alternated between dancing and running around like crazy to sitting in an orderly row.  Up till now, Fr00b Baba had thought he would never see a Heckler, much less dance with one.  Even though we have picked up an Anniversary 30 day all expansions key, Baba will have to learn second hand from a new Fr00b account toon about what Hecklers are like in their true environment. See our pool below.

Heck, lets dance!

Heck, lets dance!

It turns out the Hecklers really were NOT into dancing.  The were more into sliding around like they were on skates, gliding around and through the crowd.  It was quite fascinating to watch them morph from being just a pile of rocks, to jump up and start running around.  Baba wonders if they can do the ‘Rocky’ emote.

The big K made the scene

The big K made the scene

Baba has no idea if some of the guests were toons sporting morphs or ARK’s having fun.  A look alike to Kahlum from the Temple of the Three Winds showed up to lend the party his distinctive flair.  K was rather subdued, barely moving, so it was no suprise that no one got very close to him.  All the while, below the glass dance floor, a giant yellow rubber ducky commanded the lower floor area surrounded by a circle of birthday cakes and mini-rubber duckys.

Mini Brontos made it there as well

Mini Brontos made it there as well

Not to be outdone, a mini-Bronto or two could also be seen on the dance floor getting their boogy on.  They did look a little nervous though, with all those big troxes around dancing in a way that is sure to work up a big appetite.  Can you say ‘Bronto Burger’.  Even though there was some pretty strong no fighting gas, everytime someone mentioned eating, they flinched.  Just seeing them reminded Baba to run upstairs briefly to the wierd flesh walled room to hit the fry cook up there for a fresh burger.

Abbey aced the dance floor

Abbey aced the dance floor

Just when Baba was running out of steam and thinking of taking his leave, Abmouth Supremous, the boss from the Subway made an appearance  It was quite an opportunity to admire his ‘qualities’ up close at leisure without having to fight for life.  Baba wonders how Abbys dentist copes.





Claw Camp, Pleasant Meadows, Classic Kiting Spot

23 06 2009
Claw Camp, Pleasant Meadows kiting spot with level 80 Claws, click for larger view.

Claw Camp, Pleasant Meadows kiting spot with level 80 Claws, click for larger view.

Almost every up and coming Nano-Technician hears about Claw Camp as one of “the” must do kiting spots on Rubi-Ka.  The average Claw level of 80 places them as a major next step up after graduating from the mutant mining camps in south west and north west Lush Fields.  The jump from 50-ish to 80 is big enough that most NTs will need to level up some or get outside buffs in order kite at Claw Camp.  This is not meant to be an ultimate guide to kiting or to Claw Camp in particular.  It is meant to simply describing how one NT experiences it.

Last night Babaente popped in after re-animating from suspended animation to find herself sitting on the small hill overlooking the south west Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows.  The weather was clear, and there were no other players in sight, plus there were no Slayer Droids to be seen.  She put in a telecommunication to Tireen who eventually showed up in her Yalmaha.  Tireen parked her Yalm a few hundred meters up directly over one of the large tree logs that are scattered next to the hill side.

This provides Babaente with a visual aid on the mini-map so she can circle her kites around Tireen’s location, therefore insuring she gets experience via proximity and being teamed with Babaente.  Babaente next got out her tool box of hacked boosted grafts, activating Hasty Augmentation for added damage, Glowing Retribution for protection, and Playful Cub for 100 run speed and +7 damage. Lastly she cast her regular NT buffs like Humidity Extractor, and lastly her Terrain Knowledge for +40 more run speed.

Slayer Droids protect Claw Camp during an previous visit, click for larger view.

Slayer Droids protect Claw Camp during an previous visit, click for larger view.

After this ritual is complete, it was time to grab her first kite of the day.  She approached the camp, and tabbed through the various claws looking for the one with the highest level.  Once it was selected, she cast a Mass Claw eyes, which aggros every Claw within range, and it is time to start running in the opposite direction.  She led the 8 or so Claws towards the small hill, veering to the left at the base in order then start circling the various dead tree logs and tree stumps that litter that area.  These are useful at the beginning of the kite to slow down and encumber the kite when it is most dangerous.  The Claws have a pretty good melee range, so it is important to not let them get to close.

So far, there had been no lag, and soon the most treacherous part of the kite has past, the beginning when the hunter is trying to wear down the mobs health to at least 50%.  The slightest trip up or stumble in this phase can quickly lead to death or loosing 50-75% of the hunters health as the result of coming too close to several Claws.  Once the mobs are at 50% or below, the kiter can relax somewhat, and start to tighten the circle as the weakest Claws start to trail behind the stronger ones.

With the first two kites behind her, she felt the tension in her shoulders dissolve. Usually in the first kite or two, if lag is going to bite, it will happen then.  The combination of her base run speed skill of 365, plus 100 from a Hacked Boosted Graft Playful Cub and 40 from Terrain Knowledge for a total of 505 run speed, gave her just enough speed to stay out of melee range of these level 80+ Claws.

Starting to get a feel for the overall speed and how the Claws give chase, she continued to pull kites, now putting more effort into setting up the initial pull in order to get as many Claws as possible in the kite. She used the layout of the camp to do this.  Since it is circled by a low fence she found the most productive way to collect a large batch was to start outside the wall at the back of the camp.  From there she would tab through the Claws to pick out the one with the darkest red target highlighting.

With the strongest Claw targeted she would cast a group area of effect blind/taunt nano and start leading the aggro-ed mobs around the perimeter of the camp towards the entrance.  While doing this she would time casting area of effect nukes so they exploded when the kite was passing close to mobs not yet in the kite, hoping to aggro them as well.  By the time she led the kite out the entrance/exit, she would be heading south west for the base of the small hill.

When ever she was able to pull 10 or more Claws (i.e. most of the camp) the kite would be a bit more demanding and technical, requiring more attention to keeping it together.  She found the often when leading a group of 10 or more over an obstacle like a tree or tree log, several could get their pathing confused and they would sometimes drop out of the case.  These then became a danger, that she needed to take special care to not come to close to them before leading the kite by them and popping another AOE nuke to get their aggro again.

Claws appear to be somewhat social to the extent that when leading a bunch of aggro-ed Claws in a kite, a stay lone Claw will attack if the kiter passes too close to them.  The fact that you have aggro from a group of them is enough motivation for them to put the kiter on their hate list.

When the satisfying end of each kite rolls around, Babaente enjoys clicking on each corpse to inspect them for loot. after a full 60 minutes (the duration of a single Playful Cub cast) and roughly 10 to 12 successful kites, Babaente had several backpacks of monster parts and assorted shop food.  While the shop food is not as plentiful as what was typical in Biomare, the monster parts represent a healthy flow of credits after conversion to plasma.

With a just a few minutes left on her Playful Cub, she decided to retire to sit on the hillside to think a bit about her experience here as she waited for the nano to time out.  Although the Claws gave pretty good experience, they also have a fair amount of health.  Babaente’s nukes are too weak at this point to bring down the kites fast enough to satisfy power levelers.  It takes her 5-6 minutes or more per kite now.

She has been having such tunnel vision while concentrating on her kites, she had forgotten about Tireen hovering a few hundred meters above.  When she asked Tireen to check her experience, she said “it looks like my experience bar hardly budged.”  After Tireen inspected her stats more closely, it became clear that she had leveled to 72 during this time, so she clearly had some work to do soon in allocating out IP points.

Babaente had gone from having about 1 quarter of her experience bar full to around 95%.  She is looking forward to returning for another round and hopefully pick up another level.





Hotkey Bar Basics

22 06 2009
Single Hotkey Bar, replaces 3 previous hotkey bars, click to view larger image.

Single Hotkey Bar, replaces 3 previous hotkey bars, click to view larger image.

All the nifty attacks and buffs can be mostly useless if you can not access them quickly and efficiently, especially if you are in combat and don’t have time to dig through several layers of menus to find them.  In the Anarchy Online world, Babaoroody and his friends Babaente and Tireen, solve this problem with something called Hotkey Bars which appear in the standard AO heads up display that is super-imposed on the view of the person.

The really powerful aspect of hotkey bars is that when a bar is active, the individual items in the bar are activated by the 1-0 keys. There can be up to 10 hot bars on the viewing area, however this can be problematic for two reasons.  The first is the amount of screen real estate they take up. One bar can be tucked to a side or top or bottom. More than one bar starts eating quickly into the remaining viewing area and can make some activities, like kiting which require a wide area view, very difficult.  The second hang up is with multiple hot bars is it introduces another set of key commands in order to switch between active bars.

The hotkey bar settings can be found in the F10, Preferences, GUI, Misc menu.  There is a sliding scale to select the number of hotkey bars to display from 1 to 10.

One other option that is very useful on this screen is the “Lock hotkey bars” toggle.  When it is engaged the hotkey bars cannot be moved from their location on the screen. This prevents accidentally dragging them out of position.  Toggle this off of course when you want to re-arrange things.

There are only 2 commands to learn in order to master hotkey bars:

  • Shift + 1-0
    Shift + any number from 1 to 0, causes the corresponding hotkey to be activated on the active bar.  The active bar is indicated by a light block showing in the small rectangle next to the hotkey bar number.
  • Alt + 1-0
    Alt + any number from 1 to 0, causes the focus to switch to a particular hotkey bar. The active hotkey bar is always indicated by the small rectangle to the left of the bar number being illuminated.  When a bar have been selected using Alt + the bar’s number, then pressing keys 1-0 will activate that bars hot-keys.

Of course, left clicking with the mouse will activate any hotkey on any hot-bar, regardless of which bar has focus.

Right clicking on the hotkey bar number will cause the bar to toggle between vertical and horizontal alignment.  When the options menu “lock hotkey bars” is toggled to off, hotkey bars can be moved and placed just about anywhere on the screen.

Hotkeys can be assigned to:

  • nanos, special attacks, and to use items like first aid kits
  • emotes
  • chat macros which combine emotes and frequently used chat saying
  • macros to display specific custom help screens
  • macros for frequently used commands like /follow

There are two ways to create hotkey items:

  • drag and drop a nano icon from the programs window
  • from the command line.
    Example, at the command line type /macro greeting /greet.  After hitting the enter key, a small button will appear with “greeting” in it.
Visit Anarchy Online Arcanum hosted by aodevs.com for one of the most informative and attractive guides to many things AO.

Visit Anarchy Online Arcanum hosted by aodevs.com for one of the most informative and attractive guides to many things AO.

For a more complete run down of macros and custom help files, visit the Anarchy Online Arcanum hosted by Aodevs.com.

This site is a real jewel of AO information covering a broad range of topics in a well organized, attractive design that is also easy to use.  Here are links to the sections relevant to this posts topic:

When a character starts out in Rubi-Ka, they often fill up one or two rows of a hot bar, and then start additional hot bars, so that  more items are visible on the screen. Many players find that once they get experienced and can remember most of their nanos, commands and other hotkey actions, that they no longer need to have more than one or two bars visible.

Triple Hotkey Bars as used by level 71 NT, click for larger view

Triple Hotkey Bars as used by level 71 NT, click for larger view

Babaente having reached level 71, decided to take stock of her growing hot bar collection and to pare it down a bit.  She had 3 hot bars on screen holding around 50 unique nanos, commands, emotes and other macros.  She had been using this set ever since starting on her last token mission run to get 250 tokens and she knew that she rarely used more than 2 bars during the same relative period of time.

With this in mind she figured she could put all of the items in one hot bar and could manage it using the hot bar command Shift + number of the layer desired, to switch between layers.  She spent a little while moving the items to different layers on one bar.

Babaoroody has used a HUD set up with only one or two hotkey bars before.  When Babaente checked with him for his tips, he told her that it would be up to her to get used to using the Shift + number command to switch hotkey bar layers. WTB (AO shopping channel shorthand for Want To Buy) a single key method for selecting the active hotkey bar layer.  WTB also for a single key method for switching  between two or more hotkey bars.  While the commands are simple enough to learn and remember, they take two hands to execute.  Issuing these commands with one hand IS possible, and certainly would help maintain flow much better then having to free up both hands to utilize more than one hotkey bar. Try holding the left shift key and any number 1-0.  It appears fairly easy with numbers 1-5, but 5-0 look like quite a stretch, literally.

The new set up uses 8 layers with 2 layers still empty.

  1. Layer 1 is for Missions
    • Enveloping Darkness (single blind/debuff)
    • Greater Toxic Field (single nuke)
    • Phosphor Torch (single fire nuke)
    • Mass Claw Eyes (group blind/debuff)
    • Limited Shrapnel Spray (AOE nuke)
    • First Aid
    • Treatment Lab
    • Nano Kit
    • Nano Recharger
    • Follow macro
  2. Layer 2 is for Primary Buffs
    • Crunch code Sieve
    • Enhance Nano Communications
    • Humidity Extractor
    • Enfram’s Superior Fortification
    • Treatment Expertise
    • Regeneration health delta
    • First Aid Expertise
    • Terrain Knowledge
    • Quickness
    • Weapon Augmentation
  3. Layer 3 is for Secondary Buffs
    • Computer Expertise
    • Agility Boost
    • Intelligence Boost
    • Psychic Boost
    • Sense Boost
    • Space Time Boost
    • Stamina Boost
    • Strength Boost
    • Mat Met Expertise
    • Matter Create Expertise
  4. Layer 4 is for Kiting
    • Furious Assault (single long cast nuke)
    • Greater Toxic Field (single nuke)
    • Phosphor Torch (fire single nuke)
    • Mass Claw Eyes (group blind/debuff)
    • Limited Shrapnel Spray (AOE nuke)
    • First Aid
    • Project Calm
    • Notem Splice (nano HOT)
    • Weak Gravity Pull
    • Enmity (taunt)
  5. Layer 5 is for Assorted Buffs
    • Breaking and Entering Expertise
    • Pistol Expertise
  6. Layer 6 is for Emotes, Chat, and Help
    • Macro to Beg for Iron Circle, GSF etc.
    • FBLOCK emote
    • PULP emote
    • GREET emote
    • BALLET emote
    • Macro to shout for help in Team channel
    • Macro to display own custom help screen directory
    • Macro to display additional emotes and chat commands in
      custom help screen
    • Backflip emote
    • Thankyou emote and chat vicinity macro
  7. Layer 7 is for Commands and more Macros
    • Macro post looking for team message in vicinity chat
    • Macro to post Train warning in vicinity chat
    • Macro to emote and say thank you in vicinity chat
    • Macro to display listing of guild members online in guild
      chat
    • Macro to display listing of those logged into Froobs chat
      channel.
    • Macro to display custom help screens
    • pick item up command
    • crawl command
    • Yalmaha activation/deactivation
    • Exit command
  8. Layer 8 is for seldome used actions
    • Weak Gravity Pull (root)
    • Project Calm (calm)
    • Nano Contagion (DOT, damage over time nuke)

Babaente plans to try this for a while to see how it works.  She can always put a second bar up if this the time arises where a single bar does not seem up to the task. If that should be the case, then she will only need to master one more command: Alt + number to make the so selected hot bar the active one.





Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows

21 06 2009
Claw Camp in south west Pleasant Meadows, click for larger view

Claw Camp in south west Pleasant Meadows, click for larger view

After scouting out most of Pleasant Meadows as described in a previous post, Babaente returned to the Claw Camp in the south west corner of this region to give it a few trial run kites.  She wanted to see if she could do well enough here kiting these 80+ level Claws so that both she and Tireen, our trader, could get some leveling here.

To find it from 20K, the main whompa station and neutral outpost in the center of the region, she simply follows the road in front of the outpost east a bit till it angles southwest.  This passes the Foggy Hill location and leads eventually to a ferry landing with an Omni outpost next door.  Heading due south along the coast will lead to Claw Camp where a small hill sits just to the right of the camp and next to the shore.  In the south distance the City of Omni Trade looms, with much local air traffic and several huge floating space vehicles that glide back and forth over the city.

Claw Camp overview, click to count Claws in mini map

Claw Camp overview, click to count Claws in mini map

The camp is home to about 8-10 level 80+ Claws and is sometimes guarded by two Slayer Droids.  The Droids are fairly high level. They will destroy any clan individuals that try to attack the camp.  To make the camp accessible is it necessary to train the Droids away.  This is possible because they are not programmed to return to post if they are led astray.  They only re-appear at the camp when ever there is a server reset.  Players with Yalmahas can easily get the Droids to chase them and then lead the Droid to any spot outside of sight range of the camp.  They quite happy to be lead either to west for a refreshing dip in the river (they do float/swim) or to be led south to-wards the city walls.  Players with out Yalms can with the Droids in chase, run south until they hit a zone at which point the Droids will stop and stay put.  The running player only then need to double back a ways east or west of the point where they zoned so as to avoid passing close to the now stopped Droids.

Slayer Droids a long way from thier duty posts, click for larger view.

Slayer Droids a long way from thier duty posts, click for larger view.

Babaente landed on the small hill next to the camp and got her kiting buff kit out.  This includes her usual combat and NT buffs plus a hacked boosted graft Playful Cub for +100 run speed and Terrain Knowledge for +40 run speed.  Read all about where and how to obtain the item that gives Terrain Knowledge here. She was not sure if this would be enough speed to safely kite these claw mobs.

The first pull she tried netted about 6 claws in hot pursuit.  Right away she realized she should have studied the area a bit more before starting.  She could not find a good area in which to lead the kite.  The area to the south was out due to the Slayer Droids lurking there.  The area to the west was too small being hemmed in by the river bank.  The area just north west of the camp looked open, but was not flat.  It had a raised area that was not large enough to be considered a hill, but was enough that the Claws could lose aggro there if she got too far ahead of them.

To make the situation worse, lag started to appear, and within a minute Babaente was back at the 20K reclaim cursing about the fact that those Claws were nowhere near her, when he log shows 5 of them clobbered her repeatedly.  Not wanting to give up, she returned after she got over the reclaim sickness and tried again.  This time, she was able to avoid getting clobbered, but she was having trouble keeping the kite together.  If she kept a safe distance from the Claws, the mobs would start breaking off one by one, until only one or two were left in the kite.

She took what she could get, but was not happy barely getting less than 10,000 experience points  after two Claws dropped.  She is hoping that the next time she logs in that the area that it will be lag free and she will be able to keep that kites together.  Hopefully, with lag abscent, Babaente will be able to pull fuller kites there so that she and Tireen can gain several levels.  If she finds that even in good conditions that her run speed is still too low, it will be buff begging city for a while.  Between org chat and Borealis, getting Gridspace Freedom should not be a problem.





Warped again in Pleasant Meadows

17 06 2009

Warped again in Pleasant Meadows, sounds like the title for a Hunter S. Thompson bio-pic, but it is only the title of this latest episode concerning Babaente scouting for kiting spots.  There is warping, and it does occur in Pleasant Meadows, but the story starts somewhere else.

Babaente and Tireen spent about an hour or so in Newland City sorting out the last batch of loot from their last run of team missions that completed their 250 token quests.  Besides sorting out things to squirrel away in their banks, Tireen also took the time to tradeskill the bag of monster parts they had collected in this last run by using her Biocommunicator Device on each one.  Once converted to Plasma, each one yielded 7-8 thousand credits from the Newland Trader’s shop terminal.

Crossroads in Pleasan Meadows, click for larger view

Crossroads in Pleasan Meadows, click for larger view

With this chore out of the way, Babaente set off alone to scout out their next kiting spot.  First she went to where they had left off, the small camp just north west of the 20k outpost in Pleasant Meadows.  There are always 10 or so level 60 Eye Mutants milling about there.  Babaente wanted to do a few practice kites here before moving on to finding something more challenging and rewarding.  While these 60 level mobs gave great experience when she and Tireen were in their 40 to 60 range, now that they are both over 70, the experience per mob is less than a standard team mission mob of about 2k per mob.

This was OK with Babaente for tonight as she just wanted to get comfortable with kiting and the  whole kiting tool set.  After running 30 or so missions straight she and Tireen had the moves for that down pat, and it was now time to relearn kiting in the open.

The first thing to attend to was her screen layout.  When kiting, what works really well is to zoom out rather far in the 3rd person view, and look straight down on the scene  This allows one to see where they are going and keep track of the kite of mobs being lead.  It helps to drag much of the usual mission HUD panels away to the edges of the screen or close them entirely.  HUD things like the chat windows, any open backpack windows, etc.  are just potentially leathal distractions when kiting.  This is because NT’s usually kite mobs that are much higher than they are.

These mobs are so much higher in level that it would be suicide for your average NT to try and fight just one toe to toe without kiting.  Kiting is not something you want to do if the weather outside is stormy, and your connection is bad, and your getting any significant lag while outdoors far from large numbers of other players.  Lag can cause you screen to display the mobs in the kite as being where they are not, with deadly results if you collide with where they actually are.  Generally at the first hint of serious lag Babaente usually calls it a day for kiting and starts looking for something else to do.

The next area she concentrated on had to do with getting back into the usual flow of a typical kite.  This involved getting buffed up properly for the job.  To kite an NT needs runspeed first.  For low level NT’s, NTs that is who have yet to be able to cast thier Area of Effect nukes instantly, (or “insta-cast’ as the hip players call it) have to be able to run fast enough to get far enough ahead of the mobs such that they have time to stop, cast their AOE nuke, and resume running before any mob in the kite gets close enough to harm them.  Nanomage NT’s tend to be some of the squishy-est players on the planet, so getting hit by mobs higher than them is not advisable.

For NT’s in Babaente’s level, even if they have always maxed runspeed with IP points, this is usually not enough to outrun higher level mobs.  Some sort of buff is needed.  If you are lucky and social, a Grid Space Freedom from a Fixer,  is just the ticket.   Babaente instead uses a combination of +40 runspeed from her Subway Boots of Infinite Speed, and +100 run speed  from a Hacked Boosted Graft Playful Cub.  She has found that this boost of 140 runspeed is enough to let her comfortably kite mobs 10 to 20 levels higher than herself.   She has tried kiting with Grid Space Freedom, but feels she would need to get it regularly to become proficient with it, because the speed increase is really so much that she has to concentrate on stopping often enough for the kite to keep up.

The first step is the scouting phase:  The NT circles a group of mobs from a distance, sizing them up and determining which ones look the strongest, while also looking for any potential pathing problems that might prevent the mobs from joining the chase.  In this case, the camp is enclosed in a wire fence and is jam packed with a number of small huts and buildings.  While it is easy to aggro almost all of the mobs with a single cast, many often do not end up in the kite because they get stuck behind a building or the fence.  In this situation, sometimes if the mobs are on the side of the camp furthest from the entrance, Babaente may have to enter rather far into the camp in order to get and keep aggro while leading the kite out of the camp and onto the open space nearby.

Bad Lesser Woodwolf, that will teach you to horn in on my kite!

Bad Lesser Woodwolf, that will teach you to horn in on my kite! Click for larger view.

The next phase of a kite takes place after the intial pull.  The NT generally tries  to lead the kite to a wide open area where they can lead the kite in gradually smaller circles.  Once out of the camp, a fairly well zoomed out view is needed to see what is going on and to a keep a safe distance from any high level wild mobs that may wander into the area.  Babaente has lost many a kite due to having a much higher level mob join in the chase. Since the mob is much higher than the rest of the kite, the origninal kite mobs die long before it does, such that by the time Babaente can wear down the high level mob, the other corpses have vanished.

The last phase starts when the targeted mob  hits 50% health.  Now is a good time to tab through the other mobs in the kite to see if any one in particular has more health left than the others. If one does, tab back to it and keep it targeted.  Now the mobs will start showing the effects of their reduced health, and start gradually slowing down.  Some may slow down before others, and when this happens, it is time to start spiraling the kite in to smaller circles so that the slow ones do not get left behind.  The NT ends up leading the kite around in a tight circle focused on the slowest ones.  Depending on how well executed the whole process is, the mobs will start dying at about the same time.   NT’s like to pride themselves when they get them all to drop simultaneously, but that’s more of a style issue.

The kite is then over, and all that is left to do is to heal up from any damage sustained, and collect loot from the corpses before they vanish (hard core, old school players call it ‘rot’).

Crash at Omni Outpost.  Keep your distance from the Generalissimo! Click for larger version.

Crash at Omni Outpost. Keep your distance from Major Woon! Click for larger version.

After several more kites she felt pretty comfortable with the routine again and was ready to try it on higher level quarry.  It had been a while since she had looked around Pleasant Meadows, so she took a quick tour of the region.  After she had checked out the northern half, she was checking out an Omni outpost in the southeast part of the region.  She paused to take some screen shots and was on the east side of the base fairly low to the ground, but a safe distance away when she decided to leave and head west again.  She thought let’s show that Omni Major Woon with the super long health bar what she thought of Omni as a whole,  and putting her Yalmaha at full speed buzzed past the general just a few inches over his head.

As she proceeded west and the base shrank from view, she noticed that the vicinity log showed that  Major Woon had indeed noticed her, and had tried to hit her and missed, twice!  Babaente was chuckling to herself until she suddenly found herself seeing the total white out that always precedes coming to at reclaim.

We are really not sure what happened. But we think the general warped her back and shot her faster than her poor ancient cpu and monitor could keep up with it. Checking the logs a while later it shows this:

-Attacked by Major Woon!
-Major Woon tried to hit you, but missed!
-Major Woon tried to hit you, but missed!
-Attacked by Major Woon!
-Your reflect shield hit Major Woon for 5 points of damage.
-Your damage shield hit Major Woon for 5 points of damage.
-Major Woon hit you for 7390 points of melee damage.Critical hit!
-Nanoprogram CrunchCom Code Sieve terminated...

So she buzzed Major Woon, got about a half mile away, and then the above appears in her log and she finds herself in reclaim.   Whatever transpired, be forwarned, lowbies, keep your distance from Major Woon.  We are subscribing to the theory that Major Woon warped her back to where he was and sent her back to reclaim with one fell swoop, either that or he as very fast reflexes and managed to hit her as she flased by in her Yalmaha at top speed.

This is not the first time she  have been warped but every time it is just as surprising and just as helpless a feeling as she ha sencountered in this world.  A swamp hag near Bio-Domes did this to us once, except she did not hit as fast or as hard, so Babaente could get away briefly, only to be re-warped back, until she got tired of that, and the hag finished the job.  Then there were several different mission Bosses, that when Babaente’s  team tried to retire to the previous level to heal up a bit after putting away the Bosses minions, would have none of that and demanded their continuous presence until it or they  alone were left standing.

So Babaente headed straight out from reclaim back to Pleasant Meadows to the spot she should have gone to strait away after leaving 20K.  It is often referred to as “Claw Camp” in south west Pleasant Meadows.  It is a camp much like the previous Eye Mutant camp except these mobs are around level 80-90.  Babaente had tried this spot back when she was in her 50s and was not fast enough and her nukes were also too weak to make it practical then.  She was about to set down and get buffed up at the small hill just west of the camp when she noticed a level 138 fixer sitting there, perhaps allocating out IP points after some kite leveling there.  It was getting close to our time to log off so Babaente decided to set down nearby and log back on here the next day.





Double Flags of Righteousness at Dawn

15 06 2009
Goodbye to Rhinoman Cockpit Oasis, click for larger version

Goodbye to Rhinoman Cockpit Oasis, click for larger version

As Babaente and Tireen, ascended in their shiny silver Yalmahas into the clear blue Rubi-Ka sky and the Rhinoman cockpit oasis recedes from view below, they shared a warm feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.

They said their goodbyes to this mission location, a lonely desert setting on the fringe of the Newland Desert, just past a huge ridge wall and an acid river.  They probably would not be returning to this place again now that they both had completed their quests for their 250 token boards.

They had chosen to limit their token board missions to Newland Desert so as to limit travel time and take advantage of Newland City’s neutral status, although out in the desert Tireen has to keep a wide distance from any Watchers and other clan sided guards.

Babaente gets her Dawn token board, click for larger view

Babaente gets her Dawn token board, click for larger view

One really nice feature is that when one first gets the new token board, epaulets appear over the toon’s  shoulders showing the symbol for that particular board.  It would be awesome if the epaulets stayed visible for a few days so one could walk around Rubi-Ka cities to show off. Unfortunately, they vanish as soon as your toon zones.

Babaente was awarded her “Dawn” token board, in the middle, not the end of a mission.  How?  She got her 250th token as a Clan Bravery Award when looting a mission mob.  View the larger version of the picture to see that the mini-map shows an uncompleted level.  This is something to keep in mind when running team missions for token boards.  Looting of mobs needs to be rotated or some agreement needs to be made about how the bravery awards are taken.  If an omni player loots the mob, it will be an Omni award and if a clan player loots, then it appears as a Clan award.

Tireen nets her Double Flags of Righteousness token board, click for larger view.

Tireen nets her Double Flags of Righteousness token board, click for larger view.

Since Babaente and Tireen have been teaming as a result of ‘dual-boxing’, it was too much trouble to try and switch back and forth on looting, and normally we have Babaente do all the looting.  As a result she got her 250th token about 2 missions before Tireen.

When Tireen finally collected token number 250, she got a much more impressive token board title “Double Flags of Righteousness.”  Besides the mind-numbing grind that missions can become, this stint has been somewhat profitable for them. Since they had been pulling missions in the 55-60 range, they had come across 2 Grid Armor Mark I instruction disks, fairly valuable finds for title 3 toons.

The 250 token board is the highest level board title 3 froobs can hold.  It gives substantial buffs to the holder.  Here is the breakdown:

Max Health      +500
Max Nano        +500
Add all Off.    25
Add all Def.    35
% Add Exp.      6
Add Damage      10 (Proj., Melee, Energy, Chem., Rad., Cold, Fire, Poison)

It’s hard to think of any loot items that title 3 toons have a reasonable chance of acquiring that offer comparable  or better benefits.

Here is a quick cheat sheet outlining title levels, and token boards:

Title        Levels          Token Boards
1            1-14            10 tokens
2            15-49           30 and 60 tokens
3            50-99           120 and 250 tokens
4            100-149         400 and 1000 tokens
5            150-189
6            190-200
7            205-220

One minor gotcha, is that token boards are for sided players only. Neutrals have no token boards other than Cyborg token boards that are dropped by mid level Cyborgs.  For title 5 and above, there are additional token boards, but the requirements for each are very specific and different quests.

Our pair are now itching to get out in the open, and for Babaente to get back into practice kiting.  Because the levels can fly by pretty fast while NT kiting, our pair need to make sure they stop some time in this short run to title 5 (level 100) that they again run a like number of team missions AGAIN in order to pick up the next token board, which requires 400 tokens. They also will need to make sure they get through Biomare/Foreman’s dungeon as it is level locked to 100 and below.

Mort Crater, the circle track of DOOM, click for larger view

Mort Crater, the circle track of DOOM, click for larger view

Babaoroody was prodded by Babaente, out of his title 4 rut, to make 3 passes through the Sentinels base small building with Babaente tagging along.  They are looking for a Ring of Haste to drop from an level 115-ish Entwined soldier, but this week end they cleaned out the static dungeon 3 times, but came up dry in regards to a Ring of Haste.  The ring is a no drop item, but it adds +100 run speed, so it definitely would be a bonus for Babaente when kiting.

It was fun lumbering around and popping Challenger and Mongo nanos when any of the Sentinels mobs put up a decent fight.  Pumped up with the increased size of a Challenger nano, adjusting the camera became a bit of a problem in the tight quarters of a mission setting.  In third person view, the only way to see a fallen mob is to have Baba sit.

It brings us to Baba and why aren’t we leveling him?  After getting past the midway point of title 5, the options seem to have narrowed significantly.  It’s either team missions or PW Borg pickup teams.  While solo kiting PW Borgs is still an option, the experience is slow glowing when you have to kite and kill them one at a time.

We have nothing but admiration and wonder for froobs who have made it all the way to 200, and a ton more if they are ‘pure’ froobs.

Babaente and Tireen are really excited about getting out in the wild again for some fast kite leveling, but first, they will be sorting through and marketing thier loot from this last run of token missions.  Once that is done, they will be out scouting for a nice kiting area suitable for a 71 level NT.