Baba’s gotten a bit rusty

18 11 2008

This past Thursday evening Babaente and Tireen ran a few more team missions for tokens and Babaente finally reached 120, and was awarded her 120 token board.  The next token award requires 250 tokens, so it is quite a jump.

Not your cookie cutter mission room, but an original.

Not your cookie cutter mission room, but an original.

Tireen also got a step up Thursday evening.  After hitting level 60 she was able to equip a better ransack skills (Ransack skills).  When cast on top of Deprive Skills, her shotgun skill was boosted by about 90 points which allowed her to equip a ql 90 Vektor ND LIZARD.  In the last mission they ran, she was getting crits of 1200 to 1400, which helps cut Bosses down to size.

They tried running a couple of missions with their agg/def slider set to full defensive.
Although we have not yet looked at the log statistics, in practice the added number of mob misses was not enough to counter balance the huge reduction in damage rates for Tireen and Babaente.  The battles took longer and in the end, they both lost more health in each fight.  With each fight taking longer, the mobs were given more chances to land a strike.

Friday evening we read a post in AOFroobs for posting your GUI.  We went ahead and posted Tireen’s current setup and after doing so, decided to take some time to re-organize it.  Now that we have a bunch of levels under our belt with both the NT and the trader toolsets, we thought we could decide which things were really needed, and which had just been put up because we didn’t know any better.  The same evening there was another post at AOFroobs that mentioned a program Keyclone, which intrigued us, as it is for sending keystrokes between multiple windows or dual logging as we call it in AO and the World of Warcraft types call multiboxing.

We spent an afternoon trying to get Keyclone to work for us and like several other utility programs meant to run together with AO, it was more than our aging computer could deal with.  While it ran, and did pretty much what the box says, it was slow and flakey on our system.  After sometime messing around with it, we decided to pass on it.  If your computer is relatively new (ie multiprocessor, at least circa 2006) then it might work great for you.

Not having much luck with Keyclone, we posted a call for help with it at AOFroobs and got the thread locked by the moderator Tarradax which was a bit surprising seeing how he had participated in the previous thread there where Keyclone was discussed and had not said a peep about it then.

Baba doubted he would fit in that.

Baba doubted he would fit in that.

After putting that behind us, both Tireen and Babaente refused to run any more missions for a bit. They were both demanding a change of pace.  Since they both hit thier targets of getting thier 120 token boards and level 60, it was time to give them some fresh activities.  Since Tireen has the weakest back item, she went first and headed out to the Temple of the Three Winds via the portal next to the Newland Dessert outpost whompa.  At level sixty she was alble to breeze through the first hall with-out aggro, but she picked up a massive train running through the right L shaped hall.  She dumped the train using the hop the wall at DOT trick.  She worked her way then down to the guardian of time’s room.  She passed a couple of 60 level players coming the other way, and when she got to GOT’s room it was empty.  She dialed her adddeff to full defense and was then able to by pass the six to eight cultists on the other side of the door out of GOT’s room leading to the Exarch hall.  She moved east towards the east hall that enters the left side of the Exarch hall.  This way she only picked up one cultist to fight before the left hall and avoided Gartuas room with his 4 cultist trox buddies.  After entering the left hall, she went back to full agg and worked her way through the cultists till she was in the exarch hall.  She picked off the windcallers one by one, and was able to handle them fairly easily.  Windcaller Yatilla however was actually harder than the Exarchs.

Then she went for Exarch Ecclese and a sure robe drop.  She got lucky and landed a couple of crits in the 1200 range, and soon was a new owner of an Exarch robe.  It helped a great deal, cutting many temple mobs down to minimum damage.  She took out the other two exarchs and picked up a tattered flame ring,  a weeping flesh ring, a silver ring of three, and a notum ring of three.

She headed over to the east wing for a try at the Reanimator for one of the shoulder items, but ran out of luck there, with the Reamimator makeing short work of her.  We will have to review the logs to see why the reanimator was soo hard after having a easy time with the Exarchs.

It was Babaentes turn next, she and Babaoroody headed down to the Steps of Madness and got as far as the first room with mobs, where things got a bit confused.  Dual logging with Tireen and Babente has had plenty of practice, but Babaoroody and  Babaente together was really a first and we got bit confused since there were a few differences in thier hot bar layouts.  They decided to back out of the dungeon and return later after running a few team missions together to work out thier hot key layout and best ways to work together.

Sunday Babaoroody and Babaente rolled a few missions to get into practice working together.  A good hour was wasted when none of the duplicated mission keys would work when they got to thier destination.  Since they are too far apart to team, one has to roll solo missions and then duplicate the key for the other.  For some reason none of the first set of rolled mission keys would work as duplicates.  After re-rolling another mission, they headed out to Lush Fields south of Harry’s.  They worked out several things. mostly having to do with re-arranging some of Babaoroody’s hot bar keys.

Another major problem with his hot bar surfaced after they had exited from one of the shops in Newland city after restocking Babas med and nano kits.  He was going to put himself on follow, and out of habit hit the 0 hot bar key that Tireen and Babaente both use.  Unfortunately, on his bar this pulled a mongo.  As he was standing right next to three guards, they promptly sent him back to reclaim having been aggroed by his mongo.

The mission turned out to be too easy, with Baba putting down the mobs before we could alt/tab to Babaente and doing any support casting.

That evening they decided to make another run at the Steps of Madness.  Baba realized once they were about 2/3 of the way through the dungeon, that he had removed his long range taunt from his hot bar.  The previous times he has been to Steps, he had relied a great deal on this long range taunt to allow him to take most of the mobs one at a time.  Singlely, they are a piece of cake for him. But since they do fair damage while taking a while to kill, getting swarmed by 3 or more is usually fatal for Baba.  They pressed on anyway, with several near death fights, and actually made it to the final long room. Without his long range taunt the final room proved to be thier undoing.  Previously with his taunt, he would pop his head in the door, and taunt one mob out away from the others.  With out the taunt he and Babaente had to enter the room completely and as a result, they both got swarmed with several mobs.

Earlyer a much higher a few high level players had passed them heading for Nelebs room.  As Babaoroody and Babaente approaced the room they could see on the mini map a good number of the mobs in the final room, getting trained somehow to the part of the room where the entrance they needed to pass through is.  Baba was able to survive, but Babaente succumbed to the swarm and got sent back to reclaim.  Babaoroody then terminated himself so he could join Babaente.

The design of Steps seems to follow a what seems to be a fairly standard AO dungeon plan which is basically a linear passage through a large number of proceedingly higher level mobs, starting with easy ones, but quickly moving into a range that requires them to be taken one at a time.  There are almost no large open places or alternate routes and almost all of the dungeon is very tight and cramped, with lots of mobs in close proximity.

This puts Enforcers at a disadvantage since they cannot use Mongo, one of thier main tools.  If Baba mongoes in the Steps, he attracks all the mobs in whichever room or hall he is in, which is not a good idea.  The problem with the Steps mobs is that they seem to have much higher amounts of health for mobs of the same 50-60ish level.  It seems like they have 2 to 3 times the normal amount.  Since Enforcers are melee and have no area of effect attack, they can only damage one mob at a time.  If, as is the case with the Steps, the mobs take 3 times longer to kill, that means the other mobs in a swarm have 3 times as long to pound on the poor enforcer.  It is also bad news for Babaente, because when they get swarmed she is really at a disavantage as there is no way she could outlast one of these monsters one on one, much less several.  This is because of her pitiful nanomage health bar.

One thing that sets Steps apart from the other dungeons Baba has done is the use of light.  There is one spot about halfway in where as you pass through a narrow door into the next section, the waiting mobs floating in the air cannot be seen because there is a strong light source shining directly in your eyes.  This is a place where Baba used his taunt before with good results.  Without it, he had to blunder into the room, getting attacked by several at once.  Another thing that is characteristic of Steps is there are multiple places where the world geometry is just plain messed up.  On every trip in so far he has seen various mobs stuck in the walls in different places.  There are also many places where there are invisible barriers where although it appears you have a clear line of sight to a mob, the game tells you it’s not there or cannot be targeted.  This combines with the narrowness of the halls and the lowness of the ceilings to make camera use difficult.  In many places it is impossible to use a long zoomed out view. While this may be manageable for solo players who can do ok in first person mode, it makes it hard to keep up with the status of teammates.   These irregularities tend to give an overall unsettled feeling the further you go into the place.

Because of this and perhaps some other issues previously discussed here (how the mobs are actually alot tougher than the given level they are supposed to be) he has yet to see any players of that level there.  Almost every single player he has seen has been title 4 or higher, sometimes like himself with a lowbie in tow.

After they healed up, they pulled another mission for practice again.  Things were going well, however they made one mistake in judgement near the end of the mission.  Even though they really were not concerned with the loot or the mission reward, they found themselves in one of those end of mission quandries.  It was a spot the person type mission, and the target person was in the middle of a hall, blocking the only way to 3 other mobs and rooms.  They should have taken thier lessons from Steps that Babaente is still squishy and if they get attacked by more than one mob at a time, she is vulnerable.  This is because even though Babaoroody easily overpowers mobs in Babaente’s range, as a melee fighter, he can only do damage to them one at a time.  If more than one mob attacks Babaente, Baba is limited to attacking those mobs one at time in series.

Baba made the mistake of trying to run past the target and take on the two mobs just past it.  This did not work out as all three mobs aggroed him and Babaente.  While he tried to fight them off, Babaente succumbed, since she was way overmatched with the single mob that had attacked her while Baba was busy taking the other two down.

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Froob Docs and Trader Pwn Azzy

22 10 2008
Female Froob Trio Downs Temple Boss Trio of Uklesh, Khalum and Azztur

Female Froob Trio Downs Temple Boss Trio of Uklesh, Khalum and Azztur

This past Monday evening, it was time to take Babaente to the Temple of the Three Winds.  No more preparation, leveling up, researching, but time to get real and just do it.  To simplify getting there she went to the Newland Desert whompa and bought a pass off the cultist there.  With the pass she can right click on the portal there and be instantly teleported right in front of the temple’s front door in Tir.

Babaoroody also planned to be there to provide Essence buffs and moral support.  He thought he would try the portal route as well.  This did not work out.  It turns out that, even though the cultist will sell the pass to players over level 60, the portal itself will not accept them.    Baba then used the grid to get to Tir and then flew out to the Temple where he cast Essence on Babaente.

When she tried to enter the temple, she could not.  She got a message saying the playfield had the maximum number of players in it.  This happened once a week or so ago.  Is this a good sign?  After a few minutes there were a handful of toons trying to get in the door.  She kept trying and after about 2 minutes she got in, along with the other 7 or 8 players.  This worked to her advantage as she hung back at first and allowed them to forge ahead and engage any cultists ahead.

At level 50, she found she did get instant aggro from the cultists in the first hall, but she killed a few just as payback.  Here first cultist that did not fold easily was a big trox with a hammer that guards the place where the main hallway runs into the two branches.   This took several of her strongest individual nukes to take down, and when it was over, she noted that her nano level was down to about 25%.

All this time kiting, when she was relying on a fairly nano efficient area of effect nuke, did not prepare her for this.   Nano management was going to be a problem tonight.  She used her mini-map to scope out the two branching hallways.  The one on the right seemed to have the fewest cultists present, and a team fighting their way through, so she chose that hallway.  She managed to get as far as the corner room, where 2 docs and an adventurer were fighting several cultists that had been trained into that room, plus the regular 4 cultists with Katanas that guard that room.

Babaente jumped in and started taking down cultists.  As she was fighting she got an invite to join their team, which she accepted right away.  One of the teammates commented that it was an all female team.  You don’t see that very often, especially in the temple which seems to be a magnet for male melee types more than any other.  There is always lots of troxes and martial artists.  The layout of most of the temple favors close in melee fighting.  It can be challenging for ranged professions.

Team make up, Monday evening 10-20-08

  • Ilione – 53 solitus female adventurer omni, Random
  • Kirelyn  – 60 nano female doctor Neutral, Heretic’s Creed,
  • Lovelucy – 49 opifex female doctor clan

The team easily fought its way down to GOT’s room, where the Guardian had just spawned.  They forged ahead immediately and attacked GOT.  Babaente really had not had time to inspect any of her new teammates, so she as yet had no idea if they had a chance against GOT.  She was still under 50% towards her next level, so she had nothing to lose, so she was not reluctant to go ahead with the GOT attack.  That was when she started realize some of her teammates were a cut above the average temple toons.

Before this team, GOT wend down quickly, with hardly a dent in anyone’s health bar.
All that dropped was the Guardian’s circuit board and Ilione spoke up for it first.  Next they fought their way through Gartua’s passageway, with Gartua and about 4 trox types, which gave Babaente an excuse to break out her AOE nukes.   Gartua did not drop anything this time around.   About this time Ilione had to leave due to some Real Life emergency.

On they went to the main hall and cleared it quickly of the various windcallers and reverends.  A trox type got to the exarchs before they could, and must have looted the robes, as when Babaente checked she found none.  Once everyone was ready, Kirelyn charged Uklesh.  Babaente also attacked directly and helped as much as she could when Kirelyn got stunned.  Uklesh’s stun did not stop Babaente from being able to cast nukes.  It was amazing to see how the two docs were able to out heal the bosses damage.  About the time Uklesh was going down, Babaente was out of nano, and just got a recharge in before Khalumn spawned next.  Khalumn seemed to go down faster than Uklesh.  By now Babaente was resorting to battle prepared nano kits to recharge.  It would give her enough nano to cast 7 or 8 nukes before she had to recharge again.

Again the two docs had no trouble keeping the teams health close to 100%.  It was taking a while to bring these bosses down, but considering the level of the team, it was impressive.  Aztur was just like the previous 2 bosses except his health bar was even longer and he seemed to take longer to wear down.  Babaoroody has seen Aztur go from 50% health back up to 100% if you give him a short breather, so he must have a fantastic health delta.

Kirelyn, Lovelucy, and Babaente stand over the vanquished bosses.

Kirelyn, Lovelucy, and Babaente. Click for larger image.

Babaente had to break out in dance to celebrate when Aztur finally hit the marble floor.  Since none of the team use edged weapons, the Styg was going to rot, or some lucky bystander might find it.  Babaente did get a ring of tattered flame off his corpse.  Babaente mentioned that what she really needed was an Exarch robe, and before she could finish her sentence Kirelyn had engaged one that just popped, and Babaente was soon the proud wearer of an Exarch robe.  Kirelyn asked if there was anything else anyone on the team needed from the temple.  Babaente spoke up that she still needed to get a Notum Splice off DOT.

So the team headed off towards DOT.  On the way, Gartua and his gang challenged them again, and when he dropped, Babaente was allowed to loot Gartua, and bingo, a Keepers Vitality.  Babaoroody could only shake his head when he heard about it later.  He must have camped and killed Gartua 70 times and never seen it drop, and Babaente gets it on the second try.

When they passed through GOT’s room, it was not present, so they proceed on, cutting a swath through the various cultists.  When they got to the last hall before the up ramp, they were confronted by GOT which must have been trained there.   Soon it was history, and Babaente got the go ahead to loot, and again she got lucky finding a Guardian Circuit Board.  It had taken a number of kills before Babaoroody had gotten his.

When they finally did get to take on DOT, it dropped two Notum splices, of which Babaente picked up one.   Babaente inspected Kirelyn‘s setup and was really impressed with the 140ish implants on a level 60.  Other goodies included a Neleb’s upgraded robe, and a Neleb’s battle rod.  The nuube Babaente asked Lovelucy why she had locked experience at level 49, and not 60 like Kirelyn.  It was interesting to hear that it was done for Battle Station where classes are determined by title level, hence 49 is the highest title 2.   When nuube Babaente commented that as a froob she did not pay much attention to Battle Station, both Kirelyn and Lovelucy revealed that froobs can do Battle Station and they both have some Battle Station experience.

By now several team members mentioned that they were running out of time and had to log soon, so Babaente thanked the team and made a beeline to exit.  On the way out she ran into a problem with zoom.  An overly active shove on the zoom scroll wheel, sent her zoom way out and she discovered an interesting new problem in AO.   We have only witnessed this recently, and are surprised we never saw it before.

When zoomed out in any of the 3rd person views and changing rooms, sometimes the camera gets stuck and tries to pass through the wall unsuccessfully.  The only way to fix this is to hit the function key 8 to get back to first person view.  Of course this happened to Babaente when she had a fairly good sized train of cultists around her.  Yes, she had trained a few, but this huge mob was someone else’s handiwork.  She kept peeking at her health bar while frantically looking around for the key to bring about first person view, since her external zoom was stuck and offering an unhelpful view of a wall.

Back at the clan outpost, she sat down to review her new items and to determine what she could equip.  She also took a while to think about how inspired she was by the super froobs (Kirelyn and Lovelucy) she had just teamed with.  Perhaps someday, after Baba, Babaente and Tireen have leveled up to 200 or close to it, she will be in a position to start twinking out low level characters.

She also took a while to review her performance and realized that she really needed to do something about her nanopool.   She felt pretty useless and helpless when she ran out during the temple boss fights this evening.   The first thing she did was equip the Guardians circuit board, and then, plug in a CPU upgrade that gives a nano cost reduction.  A six slot belt with a nano formula recompiler would not hurt either.   Neleb’s robe is starting to change from a vague idea to a definite need to get.   Her stats are high enough now she could equip it and stay out of OE (over equipped).  She also was able to get the Notum Splice in with a little help from Baba.