Token Efforts For Froobs

4 07 2010
Team Sparrow Flight - click for larger view.

Team Sparrow Flight - click for larger view.

Babaengy and Babaemphee reached level 36 recently from a series of team missions around Newland Dessert, and Varmint Woods.  Normally they would only accept Varmint Woods missions if they were close to the Whompa there due to the many ‘higher than them’ mobs scattered across the country side there.  Babaemphee was very close to being able to use a Hacked Boosted Graft  Sparrow Flight (Team), so they decided to accept several team missions located far out in the woods because the rewards were non-shop buyable professions specific items they both needed.  One was a Sympathetic Armor Boost, a nice Engineer nano that boosts by 101 all ACs of friendly toons close by. For Babaemphee, there was a Material Metamorphosis Masteries nano.  While Sparrow Flight is not flying like it is with a Yalmaha, it is faster than running and hence, somewhat safer way to pass through areas with dangerous mobs around.  After Babaemphee dinged level 35 she was able to cast it, so they flew sparrow style to their next Varmint Woods engagement, which happened to require passing through areas with reddish bar Rhinomen about.

First Gladiatorbot, click for better view.

First Gladiatorbot, click for better view.

Getting more confident, Babaengy upped the difficulty level slightly again, this time facing mobs 2 to 3 levels above them.  The experience comes faster at a cost of slightly more time for the pets to take down the prey.  With the lowest Attack Rating of the pair, Babaengy is starting to miss most of the time due to the higher level mobs they are facing.  It is easy to see why experience Engineers talk about sending their pet on hunt and then hiding.  The higher the mobs get in relation to the pet caster, the less effective his personal weapons are and the more likely he is to get critted multiple times by the mobs if he fights them directly.  For now it is not a problem, and he can continue to contribute, but he can see the time coming when “pet hunt” and “pet attack” will be combined with staying out of sight of the mobs.  Babaemphee’s AR is much higher so for now she contributes significantly to the taking down of the mobs.

Babaengy finally figured out how to use an bot trimmer over the last few missions. It turns out that they work somewhat like the flurry of blows item does for melee classes.  It temporarily increases the combat inits of the engineers bot while decreasing it’s ACs.   When the bot has started combat with a mob, the Engineer has to select the bot and then right click on the trimmer in an open bag.  A message then appears in the system chat HUD “The arms of your robot jerk briefly.”

With a QL 17 Trimmer, for the next 5 minutes the bot’s overall offense is increased by 6, and all damage types are increased by 6.  At the same time there is a reduction of -61 to all ACs of the bot.  This also locks the Engineer’s Mechanical Engineering skill for 5 minutes.

Rather than use it all the time and be captive to the vagaries of random chance and the possibility of being locked out when you really could use it, Babaengy has been learning to conserve her use of the Trimmer to Boss fights and other extreme situations.

Token Boards

First Token Boards All Around, click for larger view.

First Token Boards All Around, click for larger view.

Our pet casting pair managed to acquire their first two token boards as an added benefit of the team missions they have been pulling ever since graduating from the Subway.  They have been collecting 2 tokens each mission, and recently collected their 30th tokens each.  The first token board gave them both a extra 30 health.  Token board number two (which required 30 tokens) gave 60 health and 40 nano.  Froobs should get their token boards as soon as they can, to get the most benefit from the buffs.  For non-froobs the buffs may not be as attractive, in light of the many other advantages non-froobs have.  There are not that many items that will buff 60 health and 40 nano available to froobs.  Board number 3 requires 60 tokens and is attainable at level 15, gives 200 Health, 150 Nano, and +1% Experience.  Froob Subway twinks (level 25 max) could certainly benefit from the 3rd Token Board.

Acquiring tokens at low levels is more time consuming than at higher levels, as at higher levels, the number of tokens rewarded increases per mission.   Another reason that farming tokens takes time is that the to get the token reward two things are required: 1) the mission objective is completed, 2) All of the mobs in the mission are killed.  Because of this, identify and/or kill person type missions are less than desirable due to situations where the placement of the mission objective person is such that killing or identifying them is unavoidable before all of the other mobs have been killed, resulting in no token reward.

Name Your Pets or Die

It pays for pet classes to give their pets unique names.  Not only does it make for a more personalized experience, but it provide better control of the pets in hectic combat situations.  MP’s with 3 pets can not give a generic /pet attack command and expect that the command will be heeded by the appropriate pet.  Taking the time to manually select each pet before giving a command, can be hard in combat.  A few hot bar macros can simplify things greatly.

  • Pet Naming Macros.
    Select the intended pet and the hit a Pet Rename hot bar button with this macro:
    /pet rename PETNAME
    with PETNAME replaced with the name you want for the pet. Create a separate naming macro for each pet.
  • Pet Specific Guard Macros.
    Pets, after zoning, do not always seem remember the last commands given to them.   In team missions, after every level elevator, Babaemphee and Babaengy have created a set of pet specific guard order macros.
    /pet PETNAME guard

Bailing Out of Smuggler’s Den

27 05 2010
Baba's New Look

Baba's New Look

Before heading over to the mission office in Old Athens, Baba was sorting some current loot, and while adding a few Miy’s pieces to his bank, he spotted a Flawless Organic Armor Helmet that he could not remember ever trying on. He slipped it on to see how it would look in a social slot. He fancied the look of this helmet and  decided to make it a regular part of his ‘look’ for now.   He also decided to dust off the Black Clan Tank back piece that an org mate had given him a few years ago.  He had been finally getting close to being able to equip it, but then he found a good deal on a Veil of the Revoked, so he never equipped the Black Clan piece. Since he was using a plain bright red heavy tank armor in his social back slot, he thought he would try on the Black Clan there.  It has quite a bit more detail than the standard heavy tank armor and one detail that really stands out.  Prominent in the very center of the armor is a distinctive heart shape.   Baba decided he liked the difference the Organic Armor Helmet and the Black Clan Tank Armor made.

He was not as happy with how one of the new Daily Missions is shaping up.  He has been stuck with the same Kill 3 X at Smugglers Den mission every time he goes to the mission office. He gets the mission, tries, fails, cancels it, and then gets handed it again when he asks for a new mission.  The first week of the missions debut, and there seemed to plenty of freelancers showing up at this dungeon, looking for others to team with to complete these missions.  Now that the novelty is gone, and most everyone is familiar with this particularly odious mission, there seems to be far fewer if any individuals to be found roaming the Den.

Baba spent the last few evenings unsuccessfully trying to do the mission solo while looking for a team at the same time.  The second time he did manage to kill two of the first triads on the list, the Den Loot Controllers.  These he found at the entrances to the Smugglers section, however he dared not risk going deeper into the dungeon alone.

Somewhat like Steps of Madness, a solo enforcer cannot sneak around or avoid groups of mobs which he could handle individually, but not as a social group.  He tried but did not have the patience to sit around for twenty minutes for another Den Loot Controller to spawn.  After waiting some more and not seeing a single other player, he decided to bail.  Instead of going out the front entrance, he decided to make a run for the exit to Borealis that can be found at the west end of the Smuggler area.

Borealis Exit Point From Smuggler's Den

Borealis Exit Point From Smuggler's Den

He simply made a run for it, and would not have suffered much damage he had not run into the dead end that is at the end of the main hallway.  Even with having to double back a bit, by the time he exited out into Borealis, he had plenty of health left, so it is conceivable that it could be used as an emergency exit much like the ones found in Foreman’s.  If only Parrot Form was available as a Hacked Boosted Graft, then Baba could quickly get to the part of the dungeon that counts, and have plenty of time left on outside buffs.

After-wards he headed out to Perpetual Wastelands to grind out what experience he could by kiting Borgs.  After about an hour, he had gained about a half a level and decided to head back to Newland City to save and call it a night.

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.

More Leveling at PW Dunes

16 07 2009
Tightly packed Borg at PW Dunes, view larger version here

Tightly packed Borg at PW Dunes, click image for larger version

Baba rubbed the sleep out of his ancient eyes and rose from his sleeping couch to lurch into his ‘living room’.  He moved slowly, so as to not aggravate his sore muscles, out of practice and a still a bit out of shape, following his recent leveling PW Borg Hunt.  As his hands groped in his closet for his new Miy’s Scary Body armor, to start suiting up for another outing, a small portion of still active brain cells reminded him that there was another task which needed his attention before he faces the Borg again.

Grabbing some hot Java from his ‘kitchenette’ that folds out of one wall, and a toroidal sugar encrusted calorie delivery ring some crazy archaeologist claimed recently on ‘In the Ether Tonight‘ that ancient cultures called a donut, Baba sat down and activated his HUD display for allocating IP points.  As an Atrox Enforcer, the process was fairly simple, always max his basic skills and his combat skills (2 hand edged, Brawling, Fast Attack, Physical Init). Baba only gives a point or two to Dimach, as the weapons requirements for it are generally low and it has not been that useful to Baba.

Baba always reviews a section of his IP spreadsheet that lists in order of quality, all of the Enforcer nanos, along with their requirements and these are coded to change color to indicate when he has enough IP points to equip them.  He was delighted to find that he was within striking distance of equipping two nanos.  The first improvement was with the jump from Essence of Cyclops to Essence of Titan which heaps on 189 more health points (Essence of Titan total is +590 health points to the +401 of Cyclops.  It also adds +3 more to Stamina and Strength, plus another +1 to scale. In his Shields line, he would be able to move from Barbaric Blades to Lightening Shield which adds another +54 health, +5 more to all Shield ACs and +160 to Energy AC.  (Total health for Lightening is 310).  Together with the additional ACs and health he gained the previous visit to PW from his new Miy’s Scary Body armor, Baba should be somewhat less squishy when hitting +175 level Borg at the PW dunes.

Once his IP were doled out, Baba strolled over the the Advanced Shop in Newland City to pick up the Lighting Shield Nano (he already had a Essence of Titan he had found as loot.)  A furtive check of the Enforcer nano terminal told him the nano he wanted was not there, he needed to be shopping in a superior shop.  Superior shop usually means superior prices, Enforcer nanos jump from tens of thousands at the advanced shop to hundreds of thousands at the superior shop.  This was a job for his trader friend Tireen who could buy the same items for a considerable discount compared Baba.
He sent her a quick personal tell request and logged off.

Tireen, an omni trader not above dealing with toons from any side (credits are credits), took the ICC whompa from Newland City and then to Omni Trade.  She made a bee line from the Omni Trade whompa to one of the superior shops and made sure to cast her trading buffs before opening the Enforcer terminal.  She found the Lightning Shield nano listed there for 300,000 credits and she purchased one.  She then made her way back to Newland City where she passed the item to Babaente, who then met up with Baba.  Babaente gave him the new nano, and Baba gave her the 300,000 credits to cover the cost.  Baba was not going to freeload off those at lower levels than him.

Baba equipped his new nanos and added them to his hotkey bars.  He then headed out to Perpetual Wastelands determined to spend at least an hour hunting Borg.  When he arrived at the dunes, he found plenty of Borg and no competitors.  He touched down at his usual spot north of the dunes by the cliff wall and proceeded to buff up. It was his usual buffs including the hacked boosted graft Hasty Augmentation Cloud, and his two new nanos, Lightning Shield and Essence of Titan.  Popping another anniversary experience stim, he set off down to the southern end of the dune to say Hi to a Borg.

Close call, click image to for better view of what is left of Babas health bar.

Close call, click image to for better view of what is left of Baba's health bar.

The random dispersion of Borg at the dunes always seems to vary.  Today they appeared to be somewhat more closely packed than they usually are.  Baba had to exercise more caution during the first half hour, trying to avoid pulling more than one Borg at a time.  They were all so close that at least on three separate pulls, he ended up with 4 to 3 Borg on his case.  The 4 Borg kite almost sent him back to reclaim.  Baba was down to 25% as he wore down the last Borg in that kite.  If he had not be able to use a first aid stim while on the run, he would not have made it.  The problem with kiting multiple high level Borgs, is that it only takes a few mistakes to use up Baba’s absorb layers, and after that all it takes is two solid hits and a crit, to obliterate most of Baba’s health.

The PW Dune Borgs seem to have 3 types of damage, melee, energy and projectile (depending on type of gun.)  During this outing Baba’s logs show Borg melee hits averaging 436 damage, their Energy shots averaging 449 damage, and their projectile shots doing around 490. He did wince when he saw a 936 melee critical from one of the Generals.  This of course will vary for others due to differences in player armor and protection buffs.

Ding 133 off Borg at PW Dunes, click image for larger view

Ding 133 off Borg at PW Dunes, still over 3 mil in experience pool, click image for larger view

By the time 45 minutes had passed, he had chipped the Borg down to handful.  Baba started pulling his Borg a shorter distance from the rest, to avoid running out the clock. He wanted to level on a single charge of the experience stims.  He only has a handful of them and he wants to make them all count.  Near the end of the hour he could see two things converging.  His experience bar was edging toward being full and gaining a level,and his experience stim count down was down to 5 minutes.  Pausing only to  re-cast his damage buffs, and his major nanos, and he went to work the remaining Borg.  Things went well and he dinged 133 with 2 minutes left to go on his  experience stim.

Baba strolled back to his ‘safe’ spot north of the dunes, and proceeded to sort through tonight’s loot.  While in the field, he usually just sorts out the Miy’s armor to a separate bag so he can inspect it in detail and equip then and there of possible.  He was quite happy to find the Miy’s Tank Body armor piece was both a higher quality level than his current body armor, and had requirements he can meet.  He took a minute to bring up his equipment HUD panel and go through the technical part of equipping it. With that done, he took the actual previous Miy’s piece off and the put on the new QL 168 Tank Body armor. The Miy’s Tank piece offers some nice improvements over his previous 151 Miy’s Scary Body part. The new Tank gives +12 health, +102 all AC’s +13 Stamina, +10 Strength, +21 max nano and a really helpful -3 nano cost reduction.

Claw Camp, the NT Magnet

6 07 2009

Our level 72 NT returned to Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows again on the last day of the long 2009 July 4th weekend. Tireen, our 72 Trader came along to make a two person team.

One of Babaentes successful kites at Claw Camp.

One of Babaente's successful kites at Claw Camp.

First Tireen scouted the area in her Yalm for Slayer Droids.  While the camp has been known to have up to six Slayer Droids arranged in guard duty around the perimeter, tonight there was only one, and it was situated about a 100 meters to the south east.  It was far enough away that Babaente could safely run around the outside of the camps fence and not get close enough to pull aggro from the Droid.

Babaente’s pre-kite buff was her usual, with the addition of also popping one of the 8th Anniversary experience boosting items.  Since Babaente had leveled there recently just before the lag canceled visit, her run speed is getting better, so that combined with Playful Cub and Terrain Knowledge, she found she can now comfortably out run the Claws far enough so she can stop to cast securely.

Babaente was greatly relieved as she pulled the new kite out from the camp and to the area next to the small hill to see that lag was not present.  She did experience a re-occurrence of something that seems to be happening fairly often now.  If she gets too far ahead of the Claws, or does not nuke them often enough, some of the kite break off and leave the kite.  This causes problems because although the Claws that break off from the kite start walking back towards the camp, they do it so slowly, that it becomes difficult to avoid them while circling the kite.  Get to close and they may attack and cause serious damage.

Tireen watches Claws leave after sending Babaente to reclaim mainly due to lag the previous day.

The previous day under bad lag conditions, Tireen watches Claws leave after sending Babaente to reclaim.

She was able to manage the few who did break off, by arching the kite wide and bringing it around behind them so as to re-gain aggro by having a nuke go off in the kite when the kite was next to them.  This stills leaves a minor problem because the returning Claws will not drop when the rest of the kite does.  As a result, Babaente missed out on a nice piece of loot.  Even though she managed to bring down the errant 3 Claws fairly soon after the rest of the kite dropped, the corpses from those that dropped first started vanishing before Babaente could get to them.

In one particularly galling case, she opened one corpse to find an Instruction disk for Enfraam’s Major Fortification, an NT nano that usually costs a bit, but her inventory was full so she could not pick it up.  By the time she transfered an item from her inventor to a backpack, the disk and corpse vanished.

It has been quite a few levels since she equipped her current AOE nuke “Limited Shrapnel Spray” and it is really starting to show.  Babaente tried modifying the frequency that she nukes her kites there.  It had been taking her 7 to 8 minutes from start to finish there.  This was at a rate of casting her AOE nuke after every 6 running steps while in Playful Cub form. The seemed to work well in regards to managing nano, as her nano level would rarely drop below 75% at this rate where clearly her buffed nano delta was working well.  When she increased her rate to nuking once every 5 steps, the kite did go faster, ending in about 5 minutes, but the increased nano use rate brought her nano down to around 10%.  When this happened she had to do a quick F1 toggle to target herself, and activate a nano stim, and then toggle F1 back to a Claw so as to resume nuking.  This brought her nano level back up past 50% and allowed her to finish the kite.

Babaente is a bit dejected that it seems it will be another 8 or so levels before she will have increased her Mater Creation enough to equip the next step up in AOE nukes.

Babaente was able to get 3-5 more good kites in before here Playful Cub hacked boosted graft timed out.  During that time, Tireen dinged, and Babaente was at about 95% towards a level.  Babaente still felt fresh, and went ahead and recast Playful Cub when it ran out.  She was just about to go pull another kite, when she noticed that another kite team had shown up and was currently kiting most of the camp.

Babaente retired to sit at the top of the hill and observed the new team for a while.  There were two high level MP’s and an NT at about Babaente’s level.  With various buffs and healing from the 2 MP’s the NT was able to dispense with most of the running.  Babaente decided that the best use of her limited remaining time for this session would be for her and Tireen to return to the outpost to save their experience and allocate out their new IP points.

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.

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.