More Leveling at PW Dunes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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 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.