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.

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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.





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.





Warped again in Pleasant Meadows

17 06 2009

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

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

Crossroads in Pleasan Meadows, click for larger view

Crossroads in Pleasan Meadows, click for larger view

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Warped!

13 11 2008
Spotted hovering over Omni HQ

Spotted hovering over Omni HQ

Babaente and Tireen have been steadily slogging their way through team missions for that last week or so.  Babaente has locked her experience for now at 60, in case she needs to escort Tireen at the Temple of the Three Winds, which Tireen plans to visit after she dings 60.  While they both have been there before, Tireen needs to be able to get to Lien for dark memories mainly.  She also still lusts after an Exarch robe.  Babaente has hers along with a Notum splice which she has yet to have utilized beyond equipping it.

When they started running this string of missions, there was a pretty good sized gap between the two team mates, with Tireen in the low 50s and Babaente in the high 50s.  With Tireen rolling the missions, the mobs were pretty easy for Babaente at first, but now that they are both about the same, the boss mobs are getting to be pretty hard to handle.  Time to dial back the difficulty level a bit when rolling.

For a week or so now they have been diligently using mission buddy to choose only missions with rewards they could use or sell. Beyond the rare and not likely to be seen loot, they have been mostly going for boosted grafts which can then be hacked to remove the profession requirements.  For them the most sought after are the Hasty Augmentation Cloud, a damage booster, Lesser Protective Field, an AC booster, and Blood Circle, a heal and health delta booster.

Bank mules line up, with names like Armorbank, Buffsbank, etc.

Bank mules line up, with names like Armorbank, Buffsbank, etc., seen at ICC whompas.

After about 15 or so missions, they had collected one or more of what they were seeking and could reasonably expect to find.  With this in mind Tuesday evening they thought they would cut out the time required to roll and select missions, and just take the first missions that came up which they could reach.

They figured that if this could buy them time to even run one or more missions per night it would increase their odds of finding something phat while getting to their over all goal of filling out their token boards as fast as possible.

Well, it did not quite work out that way.  The bosses in all three missions were way over anything they have faced before.  The first one, a ninja type, surprised them by warping them back to him, if they tried to exit the boss level to heal.  This resulted in Tireen getting sent back to reclaim.  Babaente finished off the boss, and then waited for Tireen to return to apply the fixit item to complete the mission.

Tireen with Flag of Sacrifice award

Tireen with Flag of Sacrifice award

The next boss was a super engineer that had some kind of aura that made it almost immune to Tireen and Babaente’s damage.  Babaente tried to exit to heal, but got warped back again, with the result being sent back to reclaim.  Tireen was able to finish off the Boss and she went ahead and picked up the ‘find it’ item.  This was a mistake, as it caused Babaente to miss out on tokens for that mission. Apparently if you are not in the mission when it is completed, you get no tokens.

The last boss was also very hard.  This one also seemed to have an aura that stopped most of Tireen’s energy damage.  Babaente’s poison nuke worked, but the only way she would survive was to kite the boss by running around the walls of the end room.

At the end of the evening, Tireen exactly 120 tokens, so she quickly upgraded her token board resulting in her total health topping out at 1440 now, compared to lvl 60 Babaente at 1k now.  Tireen was also able move from a ql81 Vektor to a 96.  Her stats are starting to get high enough to start replacing her maxed out ql 47 living Cyber Armor with a grab bag of hand me downs and looted armor including a Miy’s nano helmet.





Gold from Shop Food

2 11 2008
Treasure Chest, source of team mission loot.

Treasure Chest, one source of team mission loot.

Part of the depth and richness of Anarchy Online is the vast array of items that one comes across when looting mobs.  Whether it be dynacamps, team missions, solo missions or dungeons, AO mobs drop thousands of different items.  The huge main body of the items seems to be useless for anything other than Shop Food.  While everyone dreams of the big Phatz drop, grid armor, nullity sphere, etc.,  is seems most of the time, loot is junk.  One line of loot that appears fairly frequently in lowbie mobs is that of the Boosted Grafts.  At first glance these are items that are worn like armor, but give buffs for various profession specific nano buffs.

Many nubies immediately shop food these if they are not for their profession.  What many nubies are not aware of is that these items may be hacked so that they may be used by any profession.  Hacking Boosted Grafts involves using a hacking tool.  Once a boosted graft is hacked it becomes a Hacked Boosted Graft that can be used by anyone.

Once you collect a few from mission loot or mission rewards, the next step is to decide if they are something you can use or if you will want to sell it.  Look closely at the hacked boosted graft to see what skill it locks, usually for 30 minutes or more.  If your luck the skill is one you don’t use to cast important nanos.  Some boosted grafts lock key skills like Time and Space.  The normally soldier Partial Harmonic Cocoon in hacked boosted graft form, locks time and space.  This means that an NT or Trader using it, will not be able to use their first aid and nano rechargers while time and space is locked.  This is not very practical.   While some other skills can be done without, especially if the boost is used for a Boss fight, the locking of Time and Space, prevents one from using health and nano rechargers.

Tireen is especially happy with her most recent hacked boosted graft for Blood Circle.  She has found it most useful for Boss rooms, because of the +1 increase to her heal delta.  She has found that while the heal data only lasts for about 10 minutes, it is enough time to provide an edged when taking heavy damage in a Boss room.  Heavy damage in a Boss room usually means, that all the mobs in the room have attacked.

Tireen shows off her new Triple Ribbons of Battle.

Tireen shows off her new Triple Ribbons of Battle.

Babaente and Tireen ran a number of team missions over this past weekend.  Babaente dinged twice reaching 58 and Tireen dinged up to 55.  Tireen also collected her 60th token, and upgraded her token board to Triple Ribbons of Battle which give +200 Health, +150 nano and +1% experience.  Babaente finished up Saturday evening with 57 tokens, just 3 shy for his 60 token board.  Their Rubi-Ka bank accounts have seen health increases from the team mission loot found while earning tokens.  They are averaging about 70,000 credits per mission each.

An advantage of pulling missions with mainly human type mobs is that they sometimes drop First Aid and Nano rechargers of the same quality as the mission.  Ever since Babaente and Tireen have been running team missions, they  have not had to buy any First Aid or nano rechargers.

Another boosted graft they found this past weekend was a sparrow flight graft.  This was put into a bank for safekeeping and eventual gift to future alts.  While it takes time for starting out toons to raise the 5-8 million credits needed and actually finding a low quality level Yalmaha, new toons can benefit from having Sparrow Flight, which even though it only flies a few feet off the ground, does have a fast speed, easing the nubi’s travel burden between far-flung missions.

Tireen is currently sporting a quality level 86 Vektor ND Lizard, now and getting 1050 critical hits.  Despite this, she tried a visit to the temple of the three winds a few levels back, and got sent back to reclaim by the Defender of Three.  For a solo squishy like Tireen, the DOT’s massive fire damage is pretty hard to stand up to, even while dishing out 1k critical hits in return.  We are still hesitant towards trying to dual log our pair in the temple.  Too many variables that can not be controlled, such that, when things go bad there, they tend to go down hill quickly.  It is looking like we won’t see Tireen back at the temple until she is a level locked 59 or 60 and solely to get one of those Exarch robes.

We have had good luck selling hbg’s via sloob guildmates in game shops.    Which brings us to our froob rant of the week.  Funcom, please, please, please, allow froobs to have access to the player shops.  There has got to be a way to do it programming wise, and it would benefit all players by invigorating a moribund market.  If Funcom wants to keep AO going, then this is one step that would not cost them anything, would require little if any development time, and again would benefit all players, froob and sloob.  Not being able to sell a great deal of a froobs loot is incredibly frustrating.





First single kite level

20 09 2008
Alien Invasion Flight over Shade Pipe.

Alien Invasion Flight over Shade Pipe.

Babaente has been leveling all week at Shade Pipe. In the process, she eventually leveled up enough to be able to equip a hacked boosted graft sparrow flight. Even though sparrow flight is not as fast or as high flying as a Yalm, it is faster than running, at least fast enough to outrun most Rubi-Ka mobs, so crossing high level mob areas is no longer a problem. On her way to Shade Pipe one night she cut the corner of the mutant area and collected a huge train of hammerheads behind her, much to high for her to kite at this stage, but rather funny looking. When she hit 37, her Living Cyber Armor topped out at level 50. Now when she levels, she only has one morphing memory and the Ring of Nucleus Basilus to level up. At level 50 Living Cyber Armor (helmet, chest, gloves, pants, boots) combined with her modest Acolyte robe yields over 1k AC. Even so, with the nanomage miniscule health bank, she is still as squishy as ever. She died once when she picked a fight with a single level 40 eye mutant at SW mines. She wanted to practice using the battle prepared nano recharger. Ignoring her health bar like a enforcer, she did not notice it was almost all gone in time to save a trip back to Newland reclaim. She did however, get to successfully practice using the battle prepared nano recharger for the first time.

Babaente took a little time from leveling to upgrade her med and nano kits a step each from 20s to 30s. She devised a new tool to help her allocate IP when leveling based on the chart of IP costs at aofroobs.com.

This helps one to keep focused, and know when IP is tight which ones cost the most and which cost the least.

She has another spreadsheet for storing a copy of her ability and skills amounts that also has lists of her professions nanos and other item requirements that have conditional formulas to highlight items when requirements are reached.

With this knowledge she asked Baba to pick up the appropriate level med and nano kits, plus several NT nanos she could now or would very soon be able to equip. Once he flew out and made the hand off, she considered where to hunt next. Since she hit 37 the Shades at Shade Pipe have turned gray, yielding 500 or less XP points each. Now that she had a new AOE nuke that was considerably more powerful than what she used on the shades, she decided it was time to move camp to the SW mine that is coincidentally just a little distance away to the south west.

She did a couple of tentative small kites outside the mine barrier, just to get a feel for how many applications of her new nuke it would take to fell this mixed batch level 40ish mob types (various mutants). Just two small 4-5 mob kites and her xp jumped to about 1/4. Feeling confident she entered the mine inner area and proceeded to about the 7 o’clock position just south of the entrance, and cast her opening nuke on a group in the entrance. Once she had aggro, she started running counter clockwise around the mine, picking up more and more mobs on the way, by the time she completed a lap and exited the entrance, she had about 20-30 mobs in tow, and performance started to get jerky, and slow. To compensate she led her kite down the road a bit to a more open area before starting to keep them ‘herded using small circle patterns.

The only problem moment came at one point when the initially targeted mob died, and she accidentally nudged her mouse while trying to kit the keys to select another target. (She had turned off auto-attack.) This accidental nudge of the mouse transferred control away from the keyboard direction keys. The kite briefly caught up with her while she was working to regain control, and her health got beaten down to about 50% before she was running free again. This fumble behind her, she was greatly surprised and elated when she dinged while the kite was only about 1/2 finished. By the time the last mob dropped she had gained about a level and a fraction from one kite! The NT bug has bitten hard!

Later on Thursday evening she only had time for a brief session. She logged in at SW Mine and after a couple of warm up kites, did one massive kite collecting all of the mobs within the barrier, and kiting them out onto the road leading east where she dinged to 40 by the time half of the kite started dropping. When she logged off after a grand total of maybe 10 minutes online, she had gained a level and a half.

In the meantime, Babaoroody has started to do some recon at the Steps of Madness, where a sought after NT robe is to be had. He flew out to the dungeon located in Greater Omni Forrest via Harry’s, a long trip. On his first foray, he got too confident after smiting the level 50ish mobs in the first 100 feet or so, then he blundered into the next area and aggroed almost the whole room of 5-10 meatballs. Individually, they are no sweat, but as a group, they quickly sent him back to Newland City. The next day, he saved himself time and effort and got the NPC Zyvania Bagh in Newland City to warp him there. Zy can be found just inside the town lake gate.

Baba is in Neleb's house,

Baba in the house of Neleb

This time when he got to the spot where he was wiped before, he carefully pulled each one individually using one of his taunts. He made his way to about the 3/4 point in this linear cavern, when real life intervened and he had to log for that morning. Later close to bed time that night he logged in only to find Neleb down and several 60-70ish level exarch robe wearing types clowning around, so he logged off. The next morning when he returned he found himself all alone with Neleb and his cronies. He started pulling the mobs one by one. All of them were easy except for one of the meatballs, which cast a nano that prevented Baba from attacking. Fortunately this particular meatball, does not do much damage by itself so, it was no problem to wait out the nano, and then flatten it. Once all the mobs but Neleb were down, Neleb himself was quite easy to take down. After looting Neleb and taking a trophy shot, Baba decided to train out, but got wiped when the train caught up with him when he got momentarily lost trying to find the exit in one of the larger rooms.

Back at Newland, Baba inventoried his take. All of the useful goodies are no drop, but the items used to upgrade the robe are not, and a careful count showed he had more than enough of each required item. As long as one takes the time to loot each mob on the way in to Neleb, one should collect have all the required items to upgrade Nelebs loot.

Take away lessons:

  • If you like to level fast, NT is the way to go. One level solo is less than 5 minutes at level 37.
  • Get warped instantly to Steps of Madness by Zyvania Bagh in Newland City, and save travel time.
  • Steps of Madness mobs are not very formidable taken one by one, but take care not to aggro more than one at a time. Even title 4 and up players can be overwhelmed if swarmed here. Pulling single mobs is the key to navigating this dungeon.
  • Steps of Madness mobs seem to be on a very fast respawn. In the first 2/3 of the linear dungeon, mobs appear to respawn in 5 minutes or less.
  • Steps of Madness lowbie mobs drop multiple pieces that will be needed to upgrade several of the uber loot items the boss mob Neleb drops. Be sure to loot all of the low level mobs on the way in if you intend to upgrade the boss drops.
  • If you want to try and train out of a dungeon and attrack as few mobs as possible, turn Agg/Def all the way down. At full Agg, every mob within sensing range will be aggroed as you pass. Baba will research this further and report later in more detail on this.
  • Hacked Boosted Graft Sparrow Flight is a great lowbie alternative to a yalmaha. They show up as mission loot from QL 60 and above, and are not “no drop” so they may be bought from other players for a fraction of the cost of a yalm. They offer speed and security for lowbie travel.
  • The aofroobs.com Skills Chart is your friend. Use it as an aid in prioritizing and allocating IP points because it tells you the relative cost of each. Very useful when you need to stretch out and get the most out of limited IP every level. All lowbies do not have enough IP to max everything, so choices have to be made, let this help you make those choices more intelligently.
  • Neleb and/or one of his meatball crony personal bodyguards have a nano that shuts down your attacks for a brief period and a nano that is like a shield or layers. The simplest strategy is to pull each mob from a distance, and battle each one at a time. The ability to cast nano debuffs on Neleb and his guards could be useful but not required here. Neleb and his henchmen appear to be level 50-60 but Neleb appears to have around 100k+ health, so good damage dealing is required to avoid a drawn out fight. The henchmen have a fast respawn time of just a few minutes, so plan for adds if the battle draws out.