Biodomes not safe for tourists

4 12 2008
The end of a small kite.

The end of a small kite.

One of the things Baba and all his alts really love about Rubi-Ka, is having the freedom to just take some time off and go sight seeing when ever the mood strikes.  Tireen felt a twinge of this the other night, and rather than tag along with Babaente for some more kite leveling, she decided to tour Belial Forest by Yalm.  She had passed by the Biodomes many times going to missions, dropped down near the most north westerly one for a closer look.  While the building was impressive, the only mob around was a guide or guard of some sort and it was not particularly interesting to look at.  Tireen was about to leave, when she spotted a small camp of little huts nearby, and flew over to investigate.  Hovering at ground level she attracted several swamp denizens called bile drinkers.  She successfully trained them off to several islands a distance away, and then returned.  She was admiring one of the huts up close when, she got an alarming “Resurrected Swamp Witch” attack notices in her system log.  Since she was not really looking for a fight, she blasted up and away in her yalm, and headed for the closest zone to return to civilization.  She got about half way there when she was teleported instantly back to a spot in the camp right in front of the swamp witch.  This was repeated several times until she realized it was not going to end, that the witch could and would warp her back infinitely.  While Tireen had done a save before heading out to explore, she resigned herself to another rez session and stopped trying to escape.  The witch and the by now returned bile drinkers make quick work of her, so she did not have to wait long.

TIP:  Unless you are level 200 or above, or have friends along who are, don’t go sightseeing at ground level near the biodomes, unless you want to get sent to reclaim.  Give these spots a wide berth.

Babaente went out kiting again this Monday evening.  The current site has a huge supply of mobs, however they have a very slow respawn rate, and it looked like someone had been there ahead of her as about half of the usual supply of mobs was gone.  The mobs that were left, while plentiful, also has a few much higher level mobs mixed in, and the groups tended to be tightly packed.  The first kite went well.  The second kite, pulled 20 or more mobs.  Babaente has found at this site that if she pulls more than 10 or so mobs, things do not work out.  It appears like lag, possibly because of the large number of mobs involved, but invariably, if there are more than 10 mobs in the kite, she will suddenly get hit by almost all of them even though she is far ahead of them and gets sent instantly back to reclaim.  By taking greater time in selecting her kite targets, she was able to resume and successfully run kites of 6 to 8 mobs with ease.

The other factor that she has to look out for here is to avoid pulling any of the much higher mobs sprinkled about here.  They are about 20 levels higher than the rest of the mobs, and just a couple of hits from one can send her back to reclaim.  They are the same type of mob, so the only way to identify them is to inspect each one prior to starting to pull.

Lag also seemed to be a borderline factor that evening.  Most of the time, frame rates were fine, and there did not appear to be any lag, but several times, things slowed way down, and the kite would rubber band several times.

Her mini map would show the kite right behind her, but then she would notice that she no longer had anything targeted, and suddenly the kite appeared on her mini map to be quite a large distance away.  Sometimes she had to run back and re-gain aggro, and others, she just stopped and waited a bit for the kite to catch up.  While it’s nice to start having a surplus of run speed, it is aggravating when the minimap can’t display an accurate picture of what is going on.  Her current run speed is 322, and she buffs that with Terrain Knowledge and Playful Cub to 462.  She had been wondering what it would be like to kite with a Gridspace Freedom’s +720 run speed buff, so perhaps she will try to beg for it in Borealis at least once just for the fun of it.

What puzzles her is that the type of lag you get when visiting infamous lag pits like Borealis or Old Athens or Newland City, should not be present when one practically has a playfield to oneself, which was the case this past evening.  A /list command showed no other players present on this playfield.

Progress was slow and haphazard.  She lost a quarter of a level to one of the bad pulls that netted 20+ mobs and resulted in getting sent back to reclaim. Due to the poor conditions, she had to break and return to Newland every time she moved the level progress bar past one of the quarter points.

Of course we have  no idea how much of our performance problem is due to bandwidth, and how much is due to our ancient computer.  When we see AO videos on Youtube, of people getting butter smooth action at huge resolutions, we have to wonder.  We are in the market for a new computer again, this time for certain, as our current laptop is starting to get rather noisy.  We have our eye on a certain model and was looking at it in the big box store this past weekend.  The salesperson told us it was slated to go on sale soon, so hopefully we will be playing a much higher resolution soon.

Eyemutants Camp, click for larger view

Eyemutants Camp, click for larger view

The next day, having the day off, Babaente and Tireen, changed venues.  The spot they had been working was proving just too problematic.  Like Rosanna Rosanna Dana used to say, “if its not one thing, its another!”  Again we can’t reveal the location just yet, suffice to say, this spot features eye mutants.  Spending the better part of an afternoon there, they racked up about 1 and a half levels easy.  Babaente is closing in on upping her multi ranged in order to equip a higher quality pair of Electrocutiums.  In the 60s, she seems to be at a step that is taking some time to get past.  Most of her next nano upgrades are still 4 or more levels worth of IP away.  Tireen was able to up her pharmaceutical skill enough to be able to start making plasma from the monster parts these mobs drop prodigiously, netting them both a tidy sum at the trader’s terminal in Omni Trade.


Kiting with lag

17 10 2008
Babantes basic black look.

Babantes basic black look.

Babaente and Tireen were back at NW Mine in Lush Fields this past Thursday evening and had a very productive kiting session.  Babaente is learning a few new things about kiting she would like to pass along.  If you have ever tried kiting, you know that kiting success is highly dependent on two things, staying ahead of the kite and being able to kill the kite in the fastest way possible, without running out of nano.  Another potential problem is kite stragglers or dropouts that remain in the area.

If you have ever dual logged, you know that the relative positions of your character and any mobs in the vicinity is not always perfectly up to date.    You may have also noticed that the more mobs that are on screen visually, the harder your computer has to work to keep up with refreshing the display and the location of each mob.   If you have a fairly new computer this may not be a problem, but for many of us, with computers that are more than a few years old, as the number of mobs on the screen increases, playing becomes slower and more like a slide show.

If you have ever kited, also you will know that you may start seeing your health decrease for no visible reason when a kite becomes spread out and dispersed and you are trying to view it in a zoomed out 3rd person view.    Babaente believes what is happening is that dispersed mobs you pass by are hitting you, but your display is not showing them accurately due to lag.

Thursday evening Babaente tried some experiments and has come to several conclusions related to this.  You can maximize you likelihood of  not getting hit by laggards and dropouts by most obviously keeping your kite to a size that you can manage and keep together.  Another action that seems to work well for Babaente at least, is stop using a greatly zoomed out view, and instead use one that is behind and above your toon, and zoomed out just a little ways. She has it zoomed so that she does not see the mobs unless they are within a few feet of her.  This proves useful in that as long as she can’t see them, she knows they are a safe distance behind her, if she sees them, its not time to stop.  The main benefit though, is the framerate stays crisp and smooth, since your computer has to display fewer moving mobs.

Do not rely on the screen to keep track of the mobs in the kite, use the mini-map for that.  Then learn how to measure of how many paces, or seconds or any measure you like  for your toon to run between nuke casting stops.

Babaente has been kiting using the Playful Cub morph, so she has been counting off the lopping strides of her big cat form.  While the kite is new and has most of its health, she counts off 7 hops of her cat form before stopping to cast.  She found this works well and preserves her nano.  She found that stopping more frequently, every 6 hops, while it killed the kite faster, would sometimes put her nano use at a greater rate than her Humidity Extractor buffed nano delta replenishes it.  At 7 steps per cast, it seems to be about even with her nano replenishment.    When the kite is near the end, and the remaining mobs are down to less than 25% health, she may switch to casting once every 6 hops.

She went the entire evening without a single ‘mystery hit’ while kiting using this method and in doing so, gained another level for herself and Tireen (putting her at 52 and Tireen at 47).

So Babaente was feeling good about mastering these new tricks, but she is still puzzled by a different kiting aspect.  Usually she can rely on the two settings auto-target mob, and auto-attack mob to target the hostile mob closest to her, and switch to attack mode on that target.  This seems to work about 3/4 of the time, but in about a quarter of the time, it fails, with drastic results.

When it fails, here is what happens.  She may be leading a decent sized kite with her mini map and display clearly show a mob in the kite is targeted and attack is activated, and then she stops to cast a nuke, and not only does the nuke not cast, but, she auto turns around in the direction of the kite.  If this catches her too much by surprise, it is sometimes impossible to avoid the mobs by turning direction and running again soon enough, resulting to a major health ding.   Once it starts happening, she then has to start manually using her next hostile target key and attack key to select the healthiest target and activate attack mode on it.    She may experiment with turning auto-target and auto-attack off on their next outing, just to see if that will give better results.

KITE, a new definition

16 10 2008
A Lifebleeder, not welcome.

A Lifebleeder, not welcome.

Kite as in Anarchy Online kiting, usually stands for “killing in transit”.  To kite in AO, is to aggro one or more mobs and run fast enough to stay a comfortable distance away from them and use a weapon or nano to deal damage to them.  This past Thursday morning Babaente learned another appropriate meaning for KITE.

Babaente and Tireen continued on kiting at NW Mine in Lush Fields through Wednesday evening.  Both were getting very close to leveling, and they stopped for a breather.  When they were ready to resume, Tireen logged off so Babaoroody could log on had get rid of a couple of pesky lifebleeders.  There were two in particular that were each in the center of large clumps of mobs.  The was a fairly large conglomeration of mobs on top of the same mountain with the static dungeon, but it had a lifebleeder in the middle.  Baba got rid of it and one other that was not too far away.

Next he tried kiting several using his yalm, and tried to lead them to a far away corner of the region.  This did not work as they, immediately returned to their original spawn points.  Next he tried kiting them to a far off spot and then killing them, hoping they would only respawn where they had died, but this also was unproductive.   Their respawn points seem to be within a set rather small area, regardless of where they die.  For now, Babaoroody will have to settle for dropping lifebleeders mainly when they happened to be located in the middle of the kite field or too close to a large number of mobs, and hope they either respawn much later, or farther away.

After buffing up, Babaente started her run using the clump on the mountain to start with.  The kite was the largest yet she has managed at this location, but the visibility was good, and there was a period of fairly good network performance, so response was crisp.  With such good conditions she decided to lead the kite around a few other areas in the hopes of picking up more mobs in the kite.  This succeeded, but greatly extended the length in time of the kite.  By the time the last mobs dropped, most of her 30 minute buffs were running out.  Both Babaente and Tireen leveled off this kite, Babaente hitting 51 and Tireen going up to 46.

After allocating out their new IP points, even though it was late and time to log, Babaente wanted to use the occasion, i.e. having zero experience, to try and kite one of the lifebleeders as a purely information gathering exercise.  The information the exercise provided was that low title 3 NT’s have no business trying to kite level 81 lifebleeders because not only do they have a very fast run speed, but they appear to be able to cast their ranged energy attack while they are moving.   The lifebleeder deals damage at a much greater rate than a low title 3 NT, and after a very short chase, Babaente was back at reclaim with the knowledge that she needs to give lifebleeders a wide birth.

Only 4 more levels to go, until Tireen is level 50 and then they will be off to the Temple of the Three Winds.

The trio returned briefly Thursday morning before work to get a kite in.  Determined to make it count, Babaente collected her largest kite yet at the top of the mountain where an unusually large number of mobs had gathered again.  She then led it down through the east part of the mine area, and then out to the west side of the mine.  All was going well, until the weaker mobs started breaking off.   This was a new occurrence for her, previously when her run speed was less; the weakening mobs would keep up the chase until they dropped.  With her better run speed now, if the fall too far behind, they break off the chase and go back to wandering around.    This has been manageable when dealing with 10 or less mobs, but it just became a big mess, with this kite of over 20 mobs.

It also did not help that there is a very wide range of different mob types at NW Mines.  There is a mix of shades, and most of the mutant variations, such that they all have different run speeds, and health bars.   This had not been a problem at SW Mines, so we are not sure why it is here.

She was trying to run circular patterns so the weak mobs would get picked up again.  It kept getting harder and harder to avoid the many strays, plus lag was turning up with the result that out of the blue, she would see her health drop down to 10 percent.  She recovered several times, and got the kite back together, but there were just too many, and it was too difficult to keep such a big kite together. Finally after getting bitten hard again by lag, or perhaps a few weakened mobs that did not show up on the map, she took a huge hit to her health, and decided to run for the fixed dungeon to survive.

She made it to the dungeon, where she logged off safely, vowing to keep her kites at NW Mines to more manageable groups of 5 to 10 in the future.  She also vowed to clear out the central section first, so as to have a wide open kiting area and not have to worry about unwanted adds.  Babaente’s new interpretation of KITE is “keep in temperate enumerations”.

Subway Payback

9 09 2008
Senpai Tertius Decus Armor Coat, gift from Baba

Senpai Tertius Decus Armor Coat, gift from Baba

Over the past weekend Baba continued to hunt dynas and help Babaente now and then.  He had no luck in finding the elusive Skill of Highlander. He thinks he can perhaps stand another week of this before it will get to be too much.  In between dyna camp trips he stopped off in Athens a few times to check in on Babaente and provide her with a few gifts.  These included a set of ql30 store bought implants.  He checked his bank but could not find any armor items that had low enough requirements for her, so Baba’s omni trader Tireen made the rounds of Omni Trade basic shops and returned with a nice set of mostly worn cyber armor that should hold Babaente until she levels enough to equip some nice carbonum.  Baba also helped purchase another round of NT nanos that she should be able to equip while under level 25.

Babaente started the weekend at level 19 which is an awkward level for NT’s.  This is because many of the lower level mobs are now gray to her, and the new yellow level mobs do damage faster than the puny nukes she has at this point.   A quick perusal of the nano chart showed that in one or two levels she would be able to equip nanos that would do twice as much or more than what she had been doing.  Fortunately she did not have to solo at this stage and hooked up with a small team that actually made it all the way to Abby.

On the way she got totally lost at the spiral stairway.  She had paused while her teammates ran down it first, so when she got to it, a trick of perception caused her to run UP the stairs, which go up and then drop you off back where you started.  At first this was totally confusing because it is partly an optical illusion.  It looks like you are going down, and it looks like you have reached another level.  Only after some head scratching did she figure out the down side was on the right.  Babaente picked up at least one level before they were wiped by Abby.

Long stairs, leads to dead end hide out.

Long stairs that lead to a dead end hide out.

When she returned on Saturday evening, she was killing slum runners down by the deep subway entrance, when a MP with dual skulls asked her to team which she did, on the way they picked up one other player.  This MP was incredible, killing practically every mob in the deep subway in seconds, so fast that Babaente rarely got a single cast off before they were dead.  It was not enough for Abby, which quickly flattened all three.  When checking it seemed to at odds.  It showed the team mates as being much higher levels, and being at those levels  a week earlier, so we will not trust that data for now.  There is no telling where the problem lies.

There was the usual occasional team chat lag and even a few link deaths over the weekend, but no more than usual.

This player was just incredibly fast.  Babaente was pressed just to keep up in the same room, much less have time to inspect their information or send bot inquiries.

Later that after noon, she leveled her self up to 23 mainly off slum runners and the fleas in the farthest back washroom on the right or south.  She frequented the striker area, but the teams there were too low for her now.  Finding a room full of lowbies leveling off strikers did have a payoff. She was able to proceed to the Strike Foreman and take him down without getting swarmed by other strikers.  This was sweet payback for all the times Baba as a lowly enforcer had been wiped here.  To make it even sweeter, there was the drop of Boots of Infinite Speed, which is a bit of a misnomer.  The boots do not have to be worn, but have a temporary speed boost that can be activated when the item is in your inventory.  The actual speed boost is +30 run speed for 10 minutes, not infinite, but still useful for lowbies.

Once she got several AOE nukes, she practiced kiting muggers in the main entry hall for a while.  Another sweet payback came when she paid a visit the Shadows the bunch up in the central section.  She was able to kite about 7 and drop them all using her second nuke, and came out of it with more than 50% health.  While it was slow progress, it was exciting since Babaoroody had always had to avoid this bunch when solo.

Later in the evening she got a chance for some Eumenides payback, when someone trained him to the upper subway hall just near the dead end next to the strikers room.  There were several teams there, plus a few solo players, and everyone jumped into the battle.  It was Babaentes first time to really contribute towards putting this bad guy down.

Later she did hook up with another NT, Weth, who suggested the go out and ‘nuke something‘.  They were a pretty good team, having no problems with dealing damage, but a bit squishy, requiring plenty of stops to heal and recharge nano.  On the way they collided with another small team, and once they both reached Abby’s area, the two teams joined.  The team made a pass around the level, taking down just about every single native mob until all that remained was Abmouth.  The Doc protested, but secretly Babaente thinks they all knew that they probably would not be successful, due to their newbi skills and lacking any tanks.

Babaente got a bit nervous as she dinged to 24 after reaching the bottom level, and the action was so non stop, she had not been able to get to her settings screen to turn off experience.  She did not want to level to 25 and then be stuck in the dungeon.  Since 24 is the highest level one can enter the subway, she did not want to hit 25 yet because she has not had her fill of the deep subway yet and she would like to leave with at least one positive Abby outcome.

Babaente is a very reinforcing influence for Babaoroody, providing first hand experience on why tanks like Baba are needed.  Yes Enforcers may not deal as much damage, but they keep the aggro off the squishies long enough for them to do their major damage.

The group paused for this debate about attacking Abby, that Babaente was finally able to get to her setup screen and turn off experience.

  • Weth – lvl 20 clan nano male NT
  • Lovelucy – lvl22 clan opifex female Doc
  • Mezzedj00 – lvl20 clan nano male Crat
  • Princexavord – lvl22 clan opifex male Eng
  • Rotpada – lvl22 clan solitus female Crat

The team got blindsided by several adds right away, so that by the time Abby was strolling around, they had their hands more than full.   Before she could get of his line of sight, Abby clobbered Babaente so hard that she could barely move. While she tried in vain to reach a hiding place Abby sent her back to reclaim with another massive blow.

Tree landing after high altitude de-yalm over Athens

Tree landing after high altitude de-yalm over Athens

On Sunday  Baba was not able to pick up a single team, and spent most of her time just exploring the upper subway and trying out some nano combinations.  At one point someone trained a huge batch of infectors up and Babaente used one of her recent hidden type areas as an escape route.
In the old subway station area facing in the direction of the strikers room, take the 1st door on the left.  In the small hallway, turn left through a small door and proceed down a very long flight of stairs.  Go through a door to another abandon subway tunnel that proceeds north and dead ends with a few crashed cars, and a non working ticket dispenser.  Due to pathing issues only one of the infectors managed to make it that far, making it easy pickings for Babaente.

That evening Babaoroody showed up again with some gifts that included a set of Worn Cyber Armor the Baba’s alt  omni trader Tireen bought at Omni Trade, a few more purchased NT nanos that she can now equip, and several that required buffs from Baba to equip.  The armor was needed since the nice newcomers armor stops upgrading at level 15.  In addition Baba brought a Senpai Tertius Decus Armor Coat to replace that ratty vagabonds cloak.

After trying unsuccessfully to find a subway team, Babaente took the grid, (thanks to comp lit expertise buff), to Tir and then used the Boots of Infinite Speed buff to run to the clan outpost near the Temple of the Three Winds.  She made a insurance save there and then proceeded to the temple.  She got as far as the ramp up, when a huge spider sent her back to reclaim.

When she got over rezz sickness and she was able to return to the Temple.  No one there was interested with adding a lowbi 24 to their team, so she eventually tried going in solo.  This did not work out as just inside the door to the main entrance hall she was greeted by 7 or 8 already agitated mobs, who sent her back to reclaim before she could get more than one cast off.  She thought it was at least a try to see if she could get an Exarch robe before returning to see Abby off.

Handy bot commands in AO

2 08 2008
Baba's annual physical

Baba's annual physical

Baba took some time last evening to learn a few useful tricks with his guild’s bot. Bots are a guild benefit that froobs can partake of fully. If you are not in a guild, you still have access to several in game chat bots including: itemsbot, helpbot, and recipebot.

Baba learned how to use the timer command, the is command, and the logon command. !timer can be used to set up a countdown timer, very handy when camping mobs with known spawn rates. The command is /tell (botsname) !timer 3:30 (timername). The bot then notifies you progressively on the timers progress and sends a tell when the time is up. The is command is a fast way to find out if someone is logged on. The syntax is /tell (botname) !is (playersname). The bot will check and reply indicating if the person is in game or not. The last new command he learned is !logon which provides a sort of tag line that is displayed within your guilds chat channel after your name when you first log in. The syntax is /tell (botname) !logon (The message you want) It is a great way to personalize your log in announcement, and you can use it to announce news or what your current in game goals are etc.

Kite room

Kite room

Baba discovered another new type of ‘room’ that he had never seen before on a mission yesterday evening. The mobs in the mission were Borgs, and this room provided a new fun way to kite Borgs. The room is basically a long hall with doors at each end, and a sunken area in-between with stairs on both ends. Baba found he could kite Borgs into the pit area, and then run to the top of the stairs, turn around, start running and jump up and over the Borg down in the deep part, then land on the stairs on the other side, run up them, and repeat. The Borgs never got a shot off or touched him, but his trusty Panther was chopping away the whole time.

Baba continues to work towards his 1K token board, with his latest tally being 819, less than 200 to go! On a recent mission Baba observed some mob behavior he has never seen before. He was about half way through a mission with Borg mobs, when he had to take care of something that would only take a few minutes in real life that it happened. When the interruption came, he had just peeked into a room to identify the type of mob in it. The mob was a Borg, so Baba backed away a bit sat down and waited while we took care of what we had to in RL. We were a bit concerned about leaving Baba sitting defenseless like that near a door with an active Borg strolling about on the other side, but it could not be avoided.

A few minutes later we returned and found Baba unmolested, however when he strode into the room that was holding a Borg, all he found was one of those diseased scurrying things instead. There was no other door to the room, so Baba is a bit perplexed and wondering what actually happened. He is certain he DID see a Borg there previously. It could be just one of those things. That evening, there had been several disconnections, and other strange happenings clearly due to lag. Several times he found himself suddenly ‘rubber banded’ back to where he had been a few seconds ago. Given the vagaries of the Internet, it is a wonder anything works at all over it.

Continuing on, the following Saturday morning, Baba began a series of missions where Avian Mates were the primary type mob (115-117 level). They do not seem to have much of value in their loot tables. Baba did however in the course of 6 missions collect 5 rings of endurance and 3 rings of essence, all from Avian Mates. In his last mission, 3 rings of endurance dropped from individual Avians. While not the biggest buff around, they are not no drop, so he could share them.