Take Out Lab Director – Visit Reclaim

18 10 2010
Lab Director's Office Waiting Area

Lab Director's Office Waiting Area -Note the one toon in the mini map, click to enlarge.

Babaengy and Babaemphee, both now level 100 and pretty much as well implanted and equipped as Babaoroody (level 149) can manage, decided it was time to have their first go at  Biomare’s final boss, the Lab Director.  The good news is that the Lab Director did go down, and Babaengy did get to loot one Custom Desert Reet.  The downside was that the team wiped very soon after the Lab Director went down.

The team enjoyed giving their new Recapture Beacons a work out.  After using a neutral backyard in Borealis to cast pets and buff up in, they then walked out into Borealis proper, and activated their beacons.  In a moment they were just outside the Foreman’s front door.  The ran inside, activated their security clearance badges and made the long jog down to the Director’s Office.  They did find the computer core fully spawned, so they did have to fight their way through that and later two bodyguards in the west tower had to be put away.

As soon as they had hit the Computer Core, Babaengy noticed that his combat chat window was showing that someone was at that moment in a battle with the Lab Director.  They must have been quite seriously twinked toon as Babaengy could only see one white dot in the Director’s Office.  The log at first only showed this player and the Director trading blows.  The mini map showed the guards to be in the room, so they must have been rooted, or stunned or something as they did not show to be attacking the player.  It looked as though the director eventually spawned 3 Executive Defenders.  Once the director must have died, as there were no more entries for the player hitting the director, or the director taking fire damage, the player took down the defenders and the body guards one by one.

By the time Babaengy and Babaemphee had fought their way up to the directors level, the other player was down to only two red dots left.  Babaengy and Babaemphee first took out the two guards outside the doors and then waited at the end of the hall for this mystery player to finish.  The logs show the player was doing melee damage.  The players name was made of up various no alphabet characters, so there Babaoroody could not later figure out how to look him up via whois or Auno.org.  Baba does not have enough to go on to even guess what profession the player is.  One last clue, when the player had killed everything in the office the player just vanished, which means they could have died, logged off, or somehow been warped or meeped out.

While waiting outside the Lab Directors office the team’s reviewed their strategy which was first to take out the two guards at the outside of the office and then try and pull just the Lab Director using a TOTW flame ring. Babaemphee would be waiting back at the corner of the hallway where Babaengy would pull the Director to.  It did not quite work out as planned.

Babaoroody and Babaemphee on a Blitzing Mission

Babaoroody and Babaemphee on a Blitzing Mission -Nice sunrise

Both toons refreshed their attack pets combat nanos, and Babaengy fired off his Area of Effect Blind.  He then snuck up close enough to cause the door to open, and tagged the Lab Director with his flame ring.  Once he could see that the ring hit, he ran back to Babaemphee.   Perhaps he had tarried too long by the door as one of the Bodyguards in the office also ran out after them.  Both Babaengy and Babaemphee unloaded their TOTW Eternal night Rings on the Director and Babaemphee hit him with her main debuff.  They were holding their own with the Director and making good progress on the Director’s health bar, when  two more bodyguards appeared.  They had forgotten that while most of Biomare’s mobs are on 10 minute respawn timers, all of the bodyguards in this final section are on five minute timers.  Then about 30 seconds in to the fight, the Director started spawning the Executive Defenders.

For about another 30 seconds, these seemed to be countered by Babaengy’s AOE blind, causing them to mostly miss.  After about a minute that seemed wear off, and with now four of them spawned, they were rapidly bringing down the teams health.  With some health stim juggling, they managed to hold out long enough to take down the Director, one body guard and one Executive Defender.  Babaengy could see it they were not going to out last the other defenders and bodyguards and with both of their health bars at around 25% and still falling, he quickly made the effort to loot the Lab Director’s corpse to at least make the attempt worthwhile.  The mezz pet was the first to fall, with Babaengy next and then Babaemphee.  Babaengy was still happy back at reclaim as he inspected the Custom Desert Reet and executive order that he had looted.  Note: The loot did not include the “Director’s Identification Card” which only appears directly in your inventory if you are running the specific kill the director mission.

After thinking it over they may try a few things differently next time.  One alternative will be to try the Pets Only approach which is to have only the pets attack the director while the toons hide.  Team pets was leaning toward this approach, but in thinking it more about it, most of the forum posts about taking down the director, were from people running mochams and using top of the line pets.  The lowest bot we have read about surviving solo with the Director was a 176, while Babaengy’s best bot now is 149.

The other alternative is a variation of the original pull the Director plan with a few modifications.  The got into trouble last time by killing the outside guards and then waiting for the other player to finish meant that by the time they did pull the director, the guards were close to popping again.  This time they will wait until they know the Director is there and pull him immediately after taking out the two outside guards.  Babaemphee will do the pulling using her debuff nano, which Babaoroody reports he found a video on the nets that showed an MP doing just that.  Babaengy will wait at the top of the West tower.  This may be far enough away from the office bodyguards and hopefully the bodyguards at the lower level of the tower will not be attracted.  This way they only have to take on the Lab Director and the Executive Defenders.  It may again be a “loot-before-reclaim” try, but hopefully Babaengy will have his second CDR.  Also in preparation both Team Pets toons scoured their banks and re-equipped their fire reflect bracers.  It may only be a few points but they need every point they can get at their current non twinked state.

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Mortiggs, Scorpiods and Beacons, Oh My!

16 10 2010

 

Babaengy's Look at Level 100

Babaengy's Look at Level 100

 

Babaengy had recently equipped a Disruptive Photon Absorber which sends out an Area of Effect blind for 3 minutes, and he as anxious to try it out.  TEAM PETS debated making another run at Emile Zuduwaza or returning to Biomare to either take on the Director or do the Recapture Beacon mini quest.  They eventually decided to do the Recapture Beacon quest a try, as they figured it would be the most likely to be successful.

The Recapture Beacon Quest has three steps.  The first is to collect one (they are unique) SD Power Core.  These drop from many of the mobs in Biomare, and you should have seen at least one drop by the time you make it to the final section.  The second step is to travel to the East tower, and give the core to the Containment Unit System Droid waiting there.  Once the core has been handed to him, it proceeds to start releasing five Mortiggs, one by one, and after them, two scorpiods.  If you can manage to kill each mob fast enough so you do not have to fight more than one at a time, and you survive them all, the dead Scorpiods will drop Recapture Beacons.  The Transgenic Experiments (the Mortiggs) and the Scorpiods are level 90, however the Mortiggs health bar is much larger of the two.

 

The Biomare Jog in Progress

The Biomare Jog in Progress, From Front Door to 3rd Golf Ball

 

When they completed the jog down to the third golf ball they got there just in time to see a pair of tunes taking TIM down.  They then completed buffing up and proceeded to the Computer Core room, and found it occupied by a team that appeared to be farming experience there which meant the way was clear for them.  They decided to try the west tower, as Babengy was not sure if any of his defensive nanos would aggro Rik-Rak.  Previously when they first entered the west tower they were attacked by 3 body guards.  This time there was only two near the first door, and the third was on the other side of the large circular room.  They put away those two guards with no problem and proceeded up the spiral ramp.

 

Babaemphee's Look at Level 100

Babaemphee's Look at Level 100

 

Next they had to take down two more bodyguards outside the Director’s office.  The then proceeded to the East tower and ran down to stand next to the droid waiting at the base of the tower, surrounded by 5 red dots encircling the room.  Babaengy and Babaemphee used this situation to re-cast all their short term pet combat buffs, and freshen up any other nanos needing it.  Once everyone was ready, Babaengy gave the power core to the Data Collector droid.  At first nothing happened, but eventually after a minute or so, it started to unlock each of the 5 holding pens that ring the room.  Babaengy made sure to cast his Disruptive Photon Absorber and then the team attacked the first Transgenic Experiment (looks like a Mortigg).  The Mortigg had a health bar quite a bit larger than the Bodyguards, and Babaengy drew his breath at first in awe.  After about 20 seconds, it was clear that the AOE blind was quite effective, as none of TEAM PETS, were taking serious damage.  It was clear that they would prevail against this one, but the question was, would they be able to kill it fast enough so that it would be dead before the droid released the next one.  They just manage to slay each one a few seconds before the next arrived, so there was no chance to pause to heal or rebuff.

 

Biomare's West Tower, Cleaned of Varmints For Now...

Biomare's West Tower, Cleaned of Varmints For Now...

 

The two scorpiods did arrive before the last Mortigg went down.  Fortunately TEAM PETS took little to no damage from them, as by not yet attacking them, the blind nano was proving effective at hindering the scorpiods.  The scorpiods seemed to have about half the health of the Mortiggs, but were still formidable since they were released two at a time.  A review of the logs after the battle showed that Babaengy’s Ql146 Flawed Warbot was outdamaged by Babaemhee’s QL139 Superior Frenzy Embodiment by about 60%.

Once the last scorpiod dropped,  Babaengy was quick to loot his Recapture Beacon.  Babaemphee decided to see if she could find one, and did manage to loot one for herself off one of the other dead scorpiods.  Most of the guides out there have been a bit vague about this, and do not say if each scorpiod drops a beacon, or just one.

After they returned to Newland City, the rest of the team logged off, then Babengy headed over to Borealis because he wanted to try this new toy out to see how it worked.  Once in Borealis, he kept his yalm equipped and simply right clicked on the Recapture Beacon. In a few seconds he was hovering in his Yalm just in front of the Foreman’s main doorway.

So he learned that it works with Yalmaha’s equipped, which might be the best way to approach this maneuver, there is still the very dangerous possibility that an omni guard could be waiting in the area just as one zones in.  With the yalm equipped, one can make a fast get-away.  Having proven to himself the utility of this nifty item, he flew out of the Foreman’s base and over to a nearby player city whompa in order to get back to Newland City.

This item will certainly make TEAM PETS remaining outings at Biomare more convenient.  It will also be a boon for any future Biomare twinks.  Now they will be able to meet with trader Tireen in Borealis, cast and buff pets, and then instantly be at Foreman’s front door.  Of course all that remains for them is to take on the Lab Director, mainly for Babaengy who could use the nice CDR pistols.





Planting Better Pets

14 10 2010

 

Babaoroody

Babaoroody

 

Babaoroody has been called out of semi-retirement to assist TEAM PETS with 1) a new net of implants, and 2) to blitz for higher pets for each.  Their previous level 100 implants (which they got when they were in their 50s levels) have started looking puny ever since they got into their 90’s level range, however their treatment still needed to be increased before they could equip QL125 imps.  They targeted 125s because those are the highest level store bought basic imps available.  Imps over that level must be custom made by stripping down looted implants. Making custom imps is not something they can try until Babaemphee is around level 120 due to the high requirements.  After some calculations it was clear that Babaoroody’s Nano Programming (with an additional 92 points from an MP buff from Babaemphee) would only be high enough to make about half the implants.  Trader Tireen was employed to shop for and collect the needed basic implants and the clusters.  She handed these over to Babaoroody, who was able to build about half of them.  Baba then had to ask for help from end-game level guild mates to combine the remaining implants.  Over the course of several evenings, Angels of the Night toon Herschol combined the implants by taking advantage of a Nano Programming boost provided by guild’s player city.  The generous implant combiner gracefully let it pass that Baba had a few errors in implant preparations, however they were fairly minor and did not prevent the completion of the key implants and clusters.

Next came the actual implanting sessions with both Babaengy and Babaemphee going through that involved drill.  This drill involves a)swapping body, arms, leg, glove and boots armor for Omni med suit pieces, b) swapping regular head armor for a Biomech helmet (buffs treatment), c) hitting up a surgery clinic machine, and swapping the old imps out and putting the new imps in.  Then the first two steps have to be reversed.  While QL125 imps may not be considered ‘twink’ level for level 90 toons, they still provided just enough of a skill boost to get them to be able to control pets +20 levels above them self-buffed.  (Note: They still require Babaempee’s Masteries and trader Tireen’s Wrangle to cast the pets.)

With this out of the way, it was time for Baba to blitz a better bot for Babaengy (He had already given Babaemphee a better attack pet that he has had in his bank for quite some time.)  As the new Engy nano was level 146, it would be interesting to see how difficult the mission would be.  This usually depends on the type of mob.  The most dreaded mobs for him now are Slayerdroid types.  A one on one with these can often be fatal given the slightest error or bit of bad luck.  This mission turned out to be packed with Slayerdroids, but fortune smiled and none of them were placed squarely in the path to the mission objective.  He did have to kill a few Infector types but these are manageable.

COH-Empty first section, must be a team ahead

COH-Empty first section, must be a team ahead, click for larger view

Once Babaemphee and Babaengy had equipped their new imps and their new pets, it was time to return to the ‘kill 3 of’ mission that was running for them both at COH.  Tireen was able to log off right away, as they did not need her help opening the front door.  Someone else must have fairly recently opened it, as they strolled right in.  The found the Blorrg and Skincrawler areas completely empty.  This meant there is most likely a good team just ahead of them.  They caught up with the other ‘team’ at the pool area where the entrance to the serpent tunnels is.  It was another ‘pet team’ this one consisting of a 85 crat with droid, and 110 Engineer with Slayerdroid II.  Despite the Slayerdroid firepower, they were not moving very quickly through the tunnel, so TEAM PETS passed them and proceeded to the southern tunnel section to complete their kill 3 serpents objective.  It actually worked out to both teams favor in the Kizzermole tunnel, as it was fully populated, and having two teams prevented anyone from being swarmed.  The other team then went to pull the switch to spawn the Pit Demon.  TEAM PETS had been looking at their time displays and decided that responsibilities in RL4 were pressing so after the other team vacated the switch room to go and kill the Pit Demon, they moved next to the switch and logged off.  A review of the combat logs later showed the new Flawed Warbot critting for 1100 points and averaging 700 point regular hits.  The new attack pet was hitting for around 675 points.  It was also clear that the additional evades from the imps was resulting in more log entries of the ‘Kizzermole tried to hit you but missed’ type.

Babaente Starts Kiting Again

 

Overlooking Claw Camp in SW Pleasant Meadows

Overlooking Claw Camp in SW Pleasant Meadows

 

The last time NT Babaente was out kiting was quite some time ago, before TEAM PETS started.  Her last kite had been at South West Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows.  At that time, kiting there was a very dangerous proposition.  Her net run speed, self buffed with a hacked boosted graft Playful Cub morph, and the Boots of Infinite Speed, was just barely enough to allow her to outrun the Claws there, but just barely.  There was very little margin for error, such as forgetting to right click the boots to activate the ‘Terrain Knowledge’ +40 run speed buff.  The boots themselves only give a +3 boost to run speed when equipped.  The +40 run speed buff only lasts 30 minutes, but can be re-cast as needed.

She returned recently determined to see what a difference a whole additional 100 runspeed from her new Ring of Haste would make.  After scouting the area from her yalm she determined that some one had previously trained off the three Slayerdriods that usually guard this camp.

She only pulled a few Claws on her first kite, and it’s a good thing she did.  Early into the kite, she experienced some control issues that resulted in her momentarily getting stuck and the kite piling up on her.  She managed to get away, but with about 10% health, which caused the rest of the kite to take a long time as she had to be extra cautious since here run speed was reduced due to the low health.  After she sorted out the control issues, the next kite went really well.  At full health, and with the added runspeed from the Ring, she was easily able to pull the entire camp and lead it about with impunity.  This was the first time, self buffed, that she had enjoyed this surplus of speed.  By having more than enough speed, she could easily keep her distance when needed, and had greater flexibility in manipulating the kite to keep it together.  With the extra margin, she could take her time, tabbing through the mobs to find the strongest to use as the primary area of effect nuke target.

This large kite was more than enough to push her to ding level 90 as when she started she already had about 75% of a level built up.  The loot was nothing remarkable,  but she dutifully picked it up and tossed it into backpacks.  She ran a few more kites and then retired to the top of the little hill overlooking the camp to allocate out her new IP.  Besides pumping up her MC for better nukes, she is currently trying to build up her SI so she can equip her next best calm. While her calms are not as reliable as trader Tireen’s they come in very handy in dungeons and missions where kiting is not an option.

Solo NT kiting was a nice change of pace for the complexity of TEAM PETS.  It is quite the opposite kind of experience.  The NT only needs to cast a handful of self buffs, and then it mostly run, stop, nuke, run, etc.  It is very easy to get into action, get a decent amount of experience and then log out in under 50 minutes.  In the time it takes TEAM PETS to simply buff up, cast pets, and buff pets, NT Babaente can complete several kites.

Now that she is confident in the nice speed margin given by her new ring, she will invite trader Tireen to team up and leech experience.  While the Claws still give decent experience, it won’t be long before it will be time to start scouting out a higher level kiting spot.





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




Implanting Belts and Monsters

26 06 2010
Map with directional arrow, people, and monsters upgrades showing.

Map with directional arrow, people, and monsters upgrades showing.

Belts and map upgrades do not go O.E. (Over Equipped.)  With this fact in mind, new characters on Ruby-Ka can get the benefit of a 5 slot belt and most of the useful map upgrades without spending a great deal of IP points. This is done by implanting the skill points just long enough to equip the items.  Once the items are in, the implants can come out, so these temporary implants only need the bare minimum of clusters for the desired skill and another cluster if required to make the implant be based on a preferred ability (Agility in Baba’s alts).  The implant slots can then be filled with implants buffing other more important skills.

Babaengy and Babemphee as pet classes, have been putting the max amount of IP into their nano based skills which determine how high a pet they can cast, at the expense of being very stingy with IP points to map navigation.  They have also maxed computer lit at every chance.  At level 29 after a quick review of their stats, it became clear that they were within range to implant enough computer lit and map navigation to be able to equip five slot belts (259 for QL 103) and get the map upgrades for direction, people, monsters, and machines (130 Map nav).  They enlisted Babaente to build two sets of implants. One set of 3 to buff computer lit, and one set of 3 to buff map navigation.

Five slot belt equipped with 5 memory chips.

Five slot belt equipped with 5 memory chips.

Both Babaengy and Babaemphee are level 29 and have the same base computer lit stat at 190.  Their map navigation stats were, 62 and 66 respectively.  The computer lit implant set gave 71 IP points, and the map navigation set gave 75 IP.  Combined with expertise buffs of +20 in each skill and +12 to their basic skills the total should put them with enough points to equip the 5 slot belt and add the map upgrades.

Babaente, a level 75 NT was called on to purchase and assemble the implants as she has just about the right level to nano-programming skills to create QL65 implants.

Not wanting to spend all day camping for QL65 basic implants, Babaente constructed the implants in varying levels between 62 and 65 depending on what she could find in shops.
Since it was a Saturday morning and the 9th anniversary celebration was going on, the OA shops were crowded.  Babaente took the grid to Newland City and then two whompa hops later started shopping in a deserted shop in Hope.  After about a half hour, she had been able to get the required basic implants ranging from 62 to 65 in quality.  Only two implants required more than one cluster and that was solely to change the skill base to Agility, so credits were saved by only buying 8 clusters for the six implants.

Once the two sets were constructed, she handed them off to Babaengy in the Newland City shop.  He proceeded to don his med suite, buff up, and then tagged the surgery clinic.  First the computer lit imps were swapped in.  Once they were in he stripped his memory chips and then his belt.  The new QL 103 5 slot belt went in with no hang-ups and with several IP points to spare.  After scrounging another NCU memory from Babaemphee, he sported a five slot belt with 5 memories giving around 98 NCU (an increase of 18.)  Hopefully this will suffice until he levels up further and his computer lit gets within range to equip a six slot belt.

Babaemphee graduates to 3 pets.

Babaemphee graduates to 3 pets. Larger image available.

Done with the belt, the computer lit buffing implants came out, and a set of map navigation implants was inserted.  With well over 130 map nav, he bought the map upgrades and installed them immediately there in the shop. Next he removed those implants and put his original QL 50 implants back in the slots the map buffing imps had taken.  He then handed off the backpack with the computer lit and map buffing imps to Babaemphee.

Babaemphee tried to repeat the whole process but even though she started out with the same base computer lit as Babaengy, she came up short of meeting the 259 requirement.  She was showing 253.  It seems that she had more computer lit implanted already with her QL 50 implants, so that in swapping them out of the 60+ buffing implants she did not have as much of a net gain as Babaengy did.  She will just have to hit another level or two to make up the 6 points.  She did manage to get the map navigation buffing implants in, and did manage to install the same map upgrades as Babaengy.

The 9th Anniversary party was going on at the time, but none of Baba’s tele-presences felt like making it this year.  The Froobination of the generic composite nano buffs is the best Funcom birthday gift so far, so the other items like the headphones and the duck social clothes just did not interest Baba or his alts.





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.





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.