Mortiggs, Scorpiods and Beacons, Oh My!

16 10 2010

 

Babaengy's Look at Level 100

Babaengy's Look at Level 100

 

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

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

 

The Biomare Jog in Progress

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

 

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

 

Babaemphee's Look at Level 100

Babaemphee's Look at Level 100

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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BABA BASHES FOR BOTS

4 09 2010
New looks, Links Engergized and Solar Guard, click for better view.

New looks, Links Engergized and Solar Guard, click for better view.

Babaengy and Babaemphee dinged level 75 in the Biomare sewers while working in Tri-Plumbo’s area.  This section has the bloaters placed with much greater distance between them than in the sewer sections where it is common to get swarmed by 6 or more at a time.  There are six bloaters in this section that make a nice loop where the mobs respawn fairly quickly so there is no waiting.  They gave Tri-Plumbo a go and got sent back to reclaim rather quickly.  At this point they decided that it was time to go run team missions in order to roll some much needed new non-shop buyable nanos.

The went back to sitting around a mission terminal rolling missions while keeping an eyeball on Clicksaver.  At level 75 they were pulling missions at around 82-83 level.  They must have seen at least 5 go by with Beacon Warp.  They took one of those, but since Babaengy already has one equipped, it was just as an investment.  The most badly needed nano is the next best healing pet Calling of Restite.  Sanoo can not out heal the damage dealt by level 80+ mobs at this point.  A better mezz pet would help, and a better bot heal could make the difference in Boss fights.  Solar Guard would help immensely with Babaemphee’s survivability since it adds +100 to all defense.

They took break from RK2 and were doing some necro post reading in AOFROOBS in the professions sections.  One post in particular Easy Froob MP formula from Llie pointed out that the measure of a pet profession was the best pet they could command and stay out of OE self buffed, meaning the best pet that even with a outside buff to cast, that they could continue to keep under control with self buffs.  Pets operate under the same Over Equipped rules as many other AO items.  As long as the pet caster maintains their required skill at 80% or more of the requirement, they will remain in control. This meant that Tireen could help them  with wrangles to each cast a higher pet, with the limit being what they could keep out of OE.

Creation: Solar Guard gives 169 to ACs and +100 Add All Def

Creation: Solar Guard gives 169 to ACs and +100 Add All Def

After some calculations it was clear that with a +40 wrangle from Tireen, Babaengy could cast a level 113 bot and Babaemphee could cast a level 111 attack pet and keep them out of OE with Babaemphee’s masteries.  This required a bit of log-in juggling at first.  With Babaemphee first buffing up herself and Babaengy.  She then logged off, and Tireen logged in to put a wrangle on Babaengy.  With this wrangle running he was able to cast his better bot.  With the shell in his inventory, he logged out, so Babaemphee could log in and get her wrangle from Tireen.  This done, Tireen logged off after giving Babaemphee her wrangle and seeing her cast her better pet.  (They later found that triple logging would make this much more convenient.)

With both higher pets cast, team pets then headed out to their missions.  These two new attack pets went through the level 82 mobs like a hot knife through butter.  Even the mission bosses were done away with quickly.  Too quickly, in fact as in one mission, Babaemphee’s pet finished killing the mission target before Babaengy could take the elevator into the Boss Room to ID the target, so they forfeited that mission.  Even thought they did not get the wanted nano, they did nab a few nice pieces of Miy’s and Nova Dillon armor.

As part of their break from Biomare to mission for much needed nanos, Babaengy and Babaemphee invited Tireen to tag along for several team missions.  Tireen is level 75 so she would get experience and she would always be there to help them cast the highest attack pets.  It put a bit of a load on the computer, but it was manageable.  If dual boxing two toons was a juggling challenge, triple logging is even more so.   The three missions they pulled went very well as Tireen’s massive shotgun crits helped put the mobs away that much faster.

The only problem was that Tireen is by far the most squishy of the three, and the team had to be careful to manage aggro by letting the attack bot build up aggro before the rest of the team launched into any particular mob.  There were two fatalities, both caused by the same issue.  Babaengy was running a new hostile AOE nano, and several times it attracted a number opf unwanted adds.  The first casualty was Tireen, and the second time it happened it was Babaemphee.  After that, Babaengy canceled that nano, and will not be running any hostile AOE nanos.  Probably the only time they might be used would be in PVP, which they do not plan to take part in for some time, if ever.

Full set of Links Energized armor (in social tab), click to view larger version.

Full set of Links Energized armor (in social tab), click to view larger version.

Babaengy used these occasions to demonstrate the worth of the Beacon Warp nano, by bringing the team mates back from reclaim much faster than them having to revive and then make their way by grid, whompa and flying.  Out of six or so missions they netted for Babaemphee the following nanos, Creation Solar Guard, and Creation Summon Absum.  For Babaengy they netted Rebuild Casing, while Tireen bought him an Overdrive Combat Array from a store.  At the end of the missions, Tireen had dinged 76, and Babaengy had dinged 77 to catch up with Babaemphee who had just hit 77 before Babaengy’s trip to reclaim.

They estimated that it would be 3-4 more levels before they can equip higher attack pets, and there was not much else they needed that they could roll so they were about to head back to Biomare, when Babaoroody showed up and offered to pull a few missions for their level 123 combat pets.  123 is at the lower range of what Baba can pull, and should be pretty easy, however he asked Babaemphee to come along to provide healing support.  Baba knows all too well that having to self heal after every fight with health kits is very tiresome.  They were a little concerned that Babaemphee would be too squishy around 120+ mobs.

Baba was successful in pulling missions for the desired items, however, Babaemphee was too low to team with him according to the team mission machine, so Baba had to pull regular solo missions.  He did duplicate the keys and gave the copies to Babaemphee so she could accompany him in the missions.  This went way much better than any one of them had thought.  Any time a mob even looked sideways at Babaemphee, Baba would mongo and keep Babaemphee safe.

While Babaemphee’s current heal pet may still be somewhat weak against 120+ mob damage, it did very well.  While several times it had a hard time keeping up with the healing, Baba’s health never dropped below 60% in each fight, and was usually back at 100% by the time the next mob was faced.  Babaoroody the Enforcer is fun when he does not have to worry about self healing.  It gives him the freedom to use things like rage and mongos more freely.  He can see that it may be worthwhile to start putting IP into Nano Init so he can cast his Rage and Mongos faster.

Baba Loves His Black Clan Tank Armor, (even if it is just social and Veil of the Revoked does the work)

Baba Loves His Black Clan Tank Armor, (even if it is just social and Veil of the Revoked does the work)

It was also great to have the extra damage from Babaemphee’s attack pet, especially in those unavoidable times when two or mobs are found close together in a mission and have to be fought at the same time.  It might be different in a team mission, however Babaemphee does so little damage comparatively, that there is little trouble keeping the aggro on Babaoroody.    Baba still has the daily mission kill x smugglers in Smuggler’s Den running and he is seriously thinking of bringing Babaemphee with him.  Tireen would be useful, however she is on the same account as Baba, so they will never share a team.  Babaente might be useful if her calms and/or roots will land on the 120ish Mantis crowds that have to be waded through to get to the heart of the dungeon.

In addition to acquiring an Inferior Frenzy Embodiment level 123 for Babaemphee and a Semi Sentient Guardbot level 123 for Babaengy, the was an added bonus of finding a Creation Living Shield of Evernan in one mobs loot.  The shield provides around 140 ACs, some parry skill and 342 health.  It is odd that even though it is a higher quality level than the Solar Guard, it provides less protection and cannot compare to the +100 add all def provided by the Solar Guard, so we suspect Babaemphee will be using the Solar Guard for some time.  There also turned up a few pieces of Miy’s and Rhinoman armor, which Baba let Babaemphee loot as they were too low to do him any good.

Tireen is going to be busy shop fooding most of loot Team Pets and Baba netted recently.  Babaengy and Babaemphee are now planning on heading back to Biomare for some more levels.  They make take a shot as Tri-Plumbo after they level enough (80ish) to equip their QL123 pets, and may even ask Tireen to help out.  They are also starting to think about when they should make a run to Steps of Madness for Neleb’s robes and later COH for even better robes, and to Beacon Warp Baba in so he can farm some phats.  Baba smiled as he watched Team Pets discuss these things with enthusiasm.  He envied them. For FROOBS, level 70-100 is a very good time to be on Ruby-Ka, with several dungeons open at that level offering serious buffing items both for use and selling for profit.





Team Baba Pets Moves to Foreman’s

19 08 2010
Foreman's Front Door Mischief

Foreman's Front Door Mischief, click for larger view

Unceremoniously, Babaengy and Babaemphee’s last trip to TOTW was this past Friday evening.  They have everything on their must have lists, and wanted to give another try for the two elusive Notum rings.  They both have the PM/SI versions but the MC ones would be more useful, however they came across some posts which point out that Rings of Presence usually drop frequently for players as they level up, and they buff from +2 or more (depending on quality), all nano skills.  In fact between all of Baba’s alts, there are about 8 of various quality sitting in their banks.  The nugget of information convinced Babaengy and Babaemphee that it was not worth putting up with the trains and spite camping twinks at TOTW any more than they already had.

On this last trip they saw several variations on the “spite camping” twinks.  These are twinks, equipped with top shelf expansion goodies, much costing billions or only available from higher level players, while in and of themselves are of passing technical interest, stand out because of the actions.  They tie up bosses by camping them for hours, preventing anyone else from getting access while they already have all the items they can equip.  One Enforcer twink who choose to run a circuit around the three main wings and their bosses, when it saw other players coming through Gartua’s room, went and popped several mongoes and trained every spawned Windcaller, Exarch and reverend to the area just inside the door to Aztur’s hall just as our pair were entering.   It actually saved our team time, and just meant all of their objectives were in one spot.  While it did take a little extra work for the healpet, they soon had all the mobs down and looted, but no Notum rings were found.

Babaengy and Babaemphee then ran back to DOTS cross roads, and found a twink and a tagging on lowbie fighting DOT.  Babaengy and Babaemphee waited for the fight to finish and then started to run towards the door to the middle hall where Nematet is.  The twink and lowbie saw this and immediately also ran for that door, exhibiting that ‘me first‘ attitude prevalent in these juvenile epeeners.  Babaengy smirked to himself how well his miss-direction had worked.  He watched them run off towards Nematet, because he and Babaemphee really wanted to go visit Lein.

They had to fight their way all the way down to Lien, which is always a good sign, i.e. that no one else was around or camping Lien.  They did see a curious spectacle play out.  When they had progressed to having just two more corners of Legionnaires left to kill and pass, this 38 or so lowbie with a Neleb’s rod, but not much else, tried to run past the remaining Legionnaires.  The lowbie got all the way to the second set of Legionnaires, aggroed them, and then realized he was in trouble.  He was trapped by six Legionnaires, and they wiped him long before Babaengy and Babaemphee could get near.

Once team pets, had cleared out all Legionnaires, they had a 5 to 10 minute wait for Lein to spawn.  They spent this time, rebuffing, and recharging, so when Lien did spawn, the whole team was primed.  The attack went by the book.  Keeping their distance, Babaengy first ticked his bots positive aggression trimmer into gear, and Babaemphee, cast her attack pets combat buff on it.  Then Babaengy sent the bot in to attack.  After the bot had a chance to get in several good hits, Babaemphee sent in her attack pet and mezz pet.  By keeping their distance, Lien’s Ju Ju dolls were immediately rooted by Babaengy’s root aura and were too far from Babaengy and Babaemphee to hit them.  After the meatballs got in a few hits, Babaemphee cast her debuff on Lien, after which Babaengy and Babaemphee started to let loose with their alphas, various TOTW damage rings for Babaengy, and a cold nuke from Babaemphee.  The team took less damage in this battle than any previous Lien fight.

They were well rewarded at the end, with Lien dropping two dark memories and a memory loop.  This just happened to be exactly what was left on team pet’s Lien checklist.  On their previous trip they had both managed to fill their 5 slot belts, and this trip gave them both an extra DM for when they upgrade to six slot belts.

Babaengy and Babaemphee decided to head out to Biomare, having reset their profiles to start collecting experience again, and looking to get back on the leveling path.  They first stopped at the small base just outside the Biomare facility to grab the first quest from Ace Starr, who hands out the clan Biomare quests.  Entering Biomare, for clan, is a bit dicey, especially for pet classes.  Due to the fact that the base is an Omni controlled area, trying to walk in, will result in attacks from the many well equipped guards.  The best way to get in, is to fly in using Yalms, quickly so that any guards around don’t have time to take any shots.  Neither Babaengy or Babaemphee likes flying with pets cast.  It just seems like a cruel thing to do.  Fortunately the entrance to Biomare consists of a quite long hallway with the first mob at the other end, which means clan can enter, go to the side, buff up and cast pets without getting attacked.

They have spent the last few evenings working thought the first set of clan quests.  Babaente, Baba’s NT, and Tireen, his trader alt, skipped Biomare entirely, relying solely on Babaempee’s kiting to get them to their 70s.  They both are currently stuck trying to do the ‘System Intrusion’ daily mission.  Tireen’s calms just don’t cut it, she rarely gets past the first L shaped hall.  Babaente’s calms work much better, and she can calm her way all the way to the end boss who is level 90.  Babaente can calm her, but not kill her, so she can’t complete the mission as long as she has aggro from this boss.  She is strongly considering calling in Babaoroody to throw his level 149 weight around for help.

Babaengy and Babaemphee are finding Biomare alot more fun that it was for Babaoroody.  When Baba did it, he barely found teams often enough to complete the basic security card guests, but he also had to do alot solo.  Soloing is not recommended there unless you are talking about a twink.  Mobs are placed in close together groups, and most of the time it is impossible to pull single mobs before one gets security clearance.  The sewers can be soloed, as can the second golf ball cave section, but the bodyguards in the third section, are very strong and hit hard, and present quite a threat to solo players.  The three bosses are tough also, requiring a good full team, or a much higher level toon with top level pets cast.

The completed the first quest, disable 6 security cams, by focusing on the 3 cams, the first one outside Rodriquez’s area, and two more further down the same hall.  This required dealing with guards which go down fairly fast when Team Pet’s attack bots have their best combat buffs running.

The next set of quests, kill 6 floaters and then kill 6 bloaters is where they first ran into trouble.  Getting swarmed by floaters and bloaters is common when other players sometime train them on to others, but Team Pet was getting swarmed repeatedly.  The got badly swarmed by bloaters once where Babaemphee got sent back to reclaim, which meant Babaengy had to beat a hasty retreat via the emergency exit. Babaengy had just dinged 62, so after she returned, they spent a good 30-40 minutes killing floaters so she could catch up and also ding 62.  They filled up all their bags about half way through, so Babaengy inspected each corpse and only looted really expensive or valuable items, like battle suits or Notum chips.

Babaoroody had told them that he thought Biomare was much better designed than TOTW.  Things like the security cards and the emergency exits go along way in preventing the epidemic training like what goes on at TOTW.

Later they reviewed their various running buffs and are guessing that ‘Intrusive Aura of Entanglement’ is aggro-ing every mob within 20 meters, so they are going to try not using it on their next visit.   It also has the negative effect of getting Babaengy flagged for PVP, and open to ganking by some opportunistic higher level omni there.

They decided to level up some more before taking on the kill Tri-Plumbo boss quest.  The sewers provides fast leveling for them, and TONS of loot.  The best thing about Biomare, in addition to good leveling, is the income.  Mobs at Biomare drop tons of semi-valuable loot.  A single average bag can easily bring 90,000 credits when vendored by Tireen.  It’s quite easy to fill 10+ bags while getting a level in the sewers.   With all bags full and both hitting 62, they left for the evening.

Later while allocating out their new IP in a Newland shop, Babaengy realized he had just increased his skills enough to be able to use ‘Beacon Warp’ which Babaoroody looted a year or two ago.  This opens up a lot of possibilities, from warping lowbies in for phatz, to warping Babaoroody in for places like Crypt of Home.

They made a short follow up visit the following night, and refrained from using the Intrusive Aura as well as any reflect damage things, and as a result, had a much more manageable time in the sewers, grabbing about 10 bags of stuff, and a level each (level 63).  This finally allowed Babaemphee to be able to cast her first Chant, so she cant’ wait to try it out.  Babaengy however is in one of those stages where it will be several levels before he can bump up a level on his bot or any of his nanos.   They both are also still inching towards equipping level 70 first aid and treatment kits.  Stores only sell these in 50 and 70 steps so they have been trying to make do with some 60s that dropped in a team mission a while back, but these have been used up and they are stuck with using puny 50s now.





Train Stopping at TOTW

7 08 2010
Train Stopping at TOTW

Train Stopping at TOTW, click for full image

The final boss in both the Subway and the Temple of the Three Winds are designed to be a significant challenge to the capped levels allowed in those dungeons.  What is especially devious is how the players are set up to fail by the major jump from the next to the last boss to the last boss.  The progression of mob difficulty in both dungeons is mostly linear.  Players get lulled into expecting each next higher mob to be a few degrees harder.  The jump is a 2-3 levels for most of the progression, at the end however the jump is about 10 levels.

Babaemphee and Babaengy made another run to TOTW a few evenings ago.  They had to fight their way in through solid grays all the way to DOT.  They headed due north to the center wing and were glad to see the halls mostly clear.  They found the Curator waiting in his room and engaged him in a short brutal battle that he lost.  He did not drop any notum rings, however he did fill out Babaengy’s TOTW shoulder piece collection.  They headed next over to Nematet’s room and were taking down their second Windcaller when their neighborhood experienced a brown out, which caused their Net connection to go dead.

The only thing that really concerned them was that they had had the room to themselves and it looked like they would have a clean shot at Nematet, so they were concerned that the link death delay could allow some other team to take over the spot before they got logged back in.  When they did log back in a few minutes later (after all flash lights and candles were located) in RL4, they still had the room to themselves, which was a bit of a problem.  They had rezzed back right next to a Windcaller and got instant close vicinity aggro and so had a fight on their hands, without their pets.  After a few minutes, it was clear that their puny weapons were not enough to take this Windcaller down, at least not before several hours had passed.  Fortunately they still had their buffs intact so Babaengy was able to re-cast his bot which quickly put the Windcaller away.

In taking down all the Windcallers, they had to let rot a bunch of very nice Agent only armor. Babaengy really wished he was able to cast Beacon Warp, so he could warp AgentBaba in to collect this loot.  Babaengy is about 20 MC short of being able to cast it. It would require an outside Infuses buff, since Babaemphee herself is a couple of hundred IP points away from casting those.

The main gain of the evening was that Babaengy dinged level 60 after defeating the curator, and Babaemphee hit 60 after they felled Nematet.  They both decided to head back to Newland to allocate out this IP.  After doing so, Babaengy was just 7 points short in MC to cast his lvl 90 bot.  He did an extensive search of all of the Baba’s inventories via Inventory Assistant, for MC buffing items.  The closest thing he found was a Miy’s chest piece which would do the trick, but it required quite a bit more to equip than he could expect to get a wrangle from Tireen for.

After reviewing the Auno database, they decided they did not have any buffing items that would do the trick. The decided that the surest thing would be to go from QL75 to QL100 implants.

They were starting to tire a bit of the Temple, so a break was taken, and a few other of Baba’s alts were logged in to grab a level or two when they could complete daily missions.  Unfortunately about half the daily missions are impossible for the advertised levels.  The only way to complete them is with  twinked paid toons or by having higher level toons complete the tasks.

Once again, new content turns out to be a vehicle catered to end-gamers, in this case a convenient way for end-gamers  to level up their alts.  It is very suspicious how almost all of the new missions allow a higher level character to collect any required items and simply hand them over to the lowbie.  Curious how they went out of their way to keep those items from being no drop and prevent that kind of practise.

The impossibility for leveling toons comes in when the missions require having to kill or navigate through large numbers of mobs that are 10 to 20 levels above the toons current level.  My level 25 got a mission to kill level 55 mobs.  I am sure this has got to be discouraging for new players.

But to get back on topic, why do we dread the temple sometimes.  I guess it is no matter what your business is there, from camping or leveling for hours, or just a quick in and out to grab a single not-so-hard-to-get item, one has to spend 15 minutes killing grays on the way in, and another 15 doing the same on the way out. At least at Foreman’s after you completed a few quests, the guards stop aggroing you.  For toons like our pet classes, it means more down-time stopping to re-buff as needed before ever getting close to the objective.

The other thing we dread about TOTW is some of the other players there.  On almost every trip there one gets to see a new and different way for toons to misbehave.  On this last few trips trip several stand out.  First there were the jumpers.  There is a certain brand of noobe in AO that thinks that the space bar (jumping) is a drug, they cannot get enough of it, and somehow think that everyone else is bound to be amazed by their jumping skills.  When our team rezzed into the TOTW entrance they were greeted by a MA whose sole form of communication was to walk up, stand directly in your face and jump up and down endlessly.  No vicinity chat. Just jump, jump, jump, look at me jump!  It was almost enough to make us want to dust off our emote help screen and program a special emote macro for the next time one of these geniuses show up.  Later while in Nematets room, a distant cousin to the MA, one of million lvl 60 Exarch robbed Enforcers with a Carb Helmet, ran into the room, right up to our team, and started in with the jumping in place.  Yes we see you can jump, and no, we have no openings on our team for jumpers at this time, as soon as the day arrives that combat requires a jumper, you will get the call.  I guess they never heard of vicinity chat.

The next winner has to be Mr. My-Only-Skill is pulling trains, an otherwise unremarkable and forgettable level 37 soldier with a Carb Helmet and Exarch robe.  Mr. My-Only… had been waiting in the entrance area for someone/anyone to display his skill.  As soon he could see us starting to advance after buffing towards the inner door, he burst through it and ran at top speed down the hall into the dungeon.  About the time we had just killed the first pair of cultists and were starting in on the first one that stands in the middle of the hall, Mr. My-Only comes racing back with most of the cultists from the left wing on his train.  I imagine he actually had to stop and hit a few just to make sure they would join in.  Of course as he passed us on his way towards the entrance, he gaily gave us the jumping greeting several times.

On another recent visit just as we were approaching DOT’s central part of the big hall some people refer to as the crossroads, when from of the door to the west wing comes some twink battlerod enforcer, a twink MA with one of those hats that look like an upside down brass wok (official name: Original Mentors Straw Hat.)  There is something about TOTW MAs in upturned woks.  Babaoroody has regaled his alts with tales of upturned wok wearing MAs up to mischief at TOTW.  Now Baba and company make it a policy to not judge a book by it’s cover, but anytime they see one of these upturned wok wearing MAs, a red flag pops up which they try to not pre-judge the wok wearing toon by.

This pair seemed to have a couple of other accomplices in their team, who all executed the TOTW crossroads train escape of jumping the low wall on the north side of the eastern wing entrance and running around behind the entrance to hide.  Bursting forth from the door to the west wing came several Deathless Legionnaires, several Windcallers, a handful of cultists, and Lien.  Babaengy and Babaemphee were suddenly in a fight with the legionnaires which took them a minute or two to clear.  Fortunately Lien had wandered over towards the south wall of the hall and was minding his business.

Custer Did It Better

Since Babaengy and Babaemphee had been on their way to Lien, this was actually not a bad thing, at least, that is what they thought as Babaengy started buffing the bot with his two best combat buffs.  Babaengy gave his bot a wait command, so it would not run over to where Lien was. Babaengy wanted Lien to come to them, at which time he would give the bot an attack command.  About two microseconds after Babaengy and Babaemphee and her pets attacked and aggroed Lien, the Defender of Three spawned right on top of them.  There was some confusion, as Babaengy tried to switch the bot to DOT while Babaemphee continued with the already started attack on Lien.  Babaengy found his bot unresponsive suddenly. He would  target one of the bosses, and then issue a bot attack command, but the bot just stood still.  This went on long enough that Lien was able to knock Babaengy’s health down to 25%.  Babaengy then realized that Babaemphee had recently switched the heal pet to her self after a previous fight and they had forgotten to switch it back to Babaengy.  By the time Babaengy got his bot back under control and attacking Lien, and Babaemphee switched the heal pet to Babaengy, the poor heal pet could not keep up with the damage rate Lien was dealing on Babaengy.

In the past when they fight Lien, they usually have the bot attack first and build up aggro, so most of Liens damage goes there in addition to his AOE attacks that hurt everyone in the vicinity.

It was not much longer before Babaengy was back at reclaim, and soon after Babaemphee.   It was time for lunch in RL4, so Babaemphee and Babaengy logged off for a few hours.  When they logged back in a few hours later and returned to TOTW, they found it with far fewer toons roaming the halls.  None of the mischief makers from before were to be seen.  Perhaps some other victum successfully petitioned them, but that is highly unlikely given FUNCOMS usual performance with petitions.

They made a beeline for Lien, and after slogging through the Legionnaires on the way down, they took on Lien, this time on their terms, better coordinated and according to a strategy that works for them.  After pulling and taking care of all the surrounding Legionnaires, Babaengy buffed his bot, and then sent it to attack Lien.  After they bot had had enough time to land several high damage hits, Babaengy attacked and Babaemphee sent her attack pets in, while throwing a debuff on Lien.  Babaengy then unloaded his three TOTW damage rings on Lien to help bring his health bar down faster.  Babemphee, after landing her debuff, launched into throwing her single nukes on Lien.  The heal pet had no trouble keeping Babaengy’s health up.  Babaengy gave Babaemphee a first aid stim shot about half way through.  They simply ignored the little doll things that spawn, as they do little damage, and they go away once Lien dies.  After Lien went down, it was Babaemphee’s turn at his goodies, and she took away a Dark Memory and a Memory Loop!  After rebuffing, they fought their way back out of the temple and returned to Newland City for the day.

Friday night, Baba’s trader alt Tireen was enlisted to try and sell one of the Grid Armor I ID disks our teams have found, to further finance Babaengy and Babaemphee’s progress.  The credits were needed to bump up their store bought implants from 75ish to 100.  Sitting in the grid near the OA exit, it did not take long for Tireen to advertise the ID, find a buyer, dicker over price and agree to a deal.  They met at OA grid and the infusion of credits Tireen took away will help equip team pets next set of implants.

Both team pet toons were outfitted with store bought 100 imps.  It was necessary with both to purchase a couple of extra implants for treatment laddering.  It was nothing like the multi-step laddering real twinkers do, it was simply, put in a 75 treatment right hand, then put in a 100 eye treatment, take out the 75 hand and replace it with a 100 with treatment.  Next the 100 treatment eye could come out and a more useful 100 eye put in followed by the rest of the QL 100 store bought imps.

Notum Defender

Notum Defender, click for full image

The imps made it possible for Babaengy to equip a one more step higher bot (level 90) and allowed Babemphee to be able to use her Notum Defender.  The Notum Defender, to other players looks like a gimp weapon.  It is a gimp weapon, but MP’s at her level don’t rely on their weapons, but their pets.  The Notum Defender gives her 370 nano and a nice -3 nano cost reduction.  The modest 104 points to all AC’s helps with her overall defense.

The next day, they returned to TOTW, and made their way down to Lien with little incident.  They came across a couple of low level 30-40ish toons, and enforcer and some other toon we did not have time to identify.  They seemed to be unsure if they wanted to fight Legionnaires.  They pulled a few, while Babaengy and Babaemphee were fighting others, but eventually that pair left.  Later when team pets made it to the last Legionnaire before Lien’s room, they came across a toon sporting one of those spiffy Perennium Beamers.  Being too busy pulling and taking down the other Legionnaires around Lien, they did not identify the player but it could not have been a twink, as it was taking it forever to take down each Legionnaire it fought.  That player stood around to watch as Babaemphee and Babaengy prepared to take on Lien.  The fight went pretty much like the last battle with Lien.  This time, after Lien was down, it was Babaengy’s turn to loot, and he took away his second Dark Memory.  There was also a Urn which Babaemphee was allowed to take and several Howling Skulls, which they left for some other players loot.

After rebuffing, they again fought their way back up the ramp that goes down to Lien.  As the were going through the room right after the grotto area, a 33ish solo toon went running by and down towards Liens hall.  They proceeded and eventually stopped in the wading pool area near DOT to recast some of their pet damage buffs for the final set of outgoing hall fights.  This area is a good one to pause, rest, or anything in comparative safety.  It is far enough away from DOT and the three wing entrances, that if someone does pull a train out of them, it is easy to make a run to the exits or run behind one of the entrances to hide.

It was quite humorous to see the previous 33ish toon come running like crazy out of the west entrance at DOT’s crossroads, with several Legionnaires in tow.  He made a beeline for the exit hall at the other west end of the big hall, but stopped when he realized he would just pick up more cultist if he attempted to run through there. He was already starting to go into that slow death run, and we assume the Legionnaires finished him off.  Babaengy and Babaemphee then proceeded to fight their way out the east exit hall.  Some one must have just come in and taken the west wing, as all the cultists in the central exit hall were dead, making it easy for our pet team to stroll out the rest of the way.





Temple of Twinks Working

31 07 2010
The once busy meeting place that was the Temple of the Three Winds, deserted.

The once busy meeting place that was the Temple of the Three Winds, deserted.

A few years ago, a Friday evening  visit to the Temple of the Three Winds would find the area outside the entrance crowded with low level 1-60 toons and high level 120+ toons.  The lowbies were there for the Temple and the high levels were there for Inner Sanctum.  Babaoroody, our Froob Enforcer has many fond memories of evenings spent there.   Showing up as a sub level 61 player, one first had the challenge of finding a team in the crowd.  On busy nights, this could take a while as many people were just sitting around chatting, or waiting for someone else to show, or looking for a specific person or team.  It was a great exercise in people watching, and listening (vicinity chat).  Most TOTW pickup teams were usually just 6 toons running from mob to mob and wailing away on said mobs.  Occasionally, in the top Boss room, teams would emerge that actually functioned as teams, with tanks tanking, healers healing, CC toons controlling adds, and damage dealers, damaging.  Once and a while a twink would show up to “pwn” Azzy, but for the most part, these were leveling new toons.

Back then, the Guardian of Time was far more likely to be camped by one or more twinks and their customers/friends.  The fact that every mob there, even low 30s cultists, will aggro every player including level 60s combined with the design of the place and the many new players, led to frequent massive trains.  These trains were lethal only to low end players, and a nuisance for every one else.

Babaengy and Babaemphee (at level 59)  made their first visit this past Friday evening, and things have definitely changed.  TOTW could now very well stand for Temple of Twinks Working.  After teleporting in from the portal in Newland Dessert  they were first struck by how deserted the outside area was at prime time.  There were perhaps 4 players to be seen, and each of those was a level 60 solo twink. Not a team to be seen.  After entering they did not see another player until just before the Defender of Three’s hall, where they spotted a level 60 twink with a baby crat in tow.  Inside DOT’s hall, the only other players to be seen was a smattering of low level solo Enforcers leveling up off of cultists.  Those were the closest we saw to new players for the evening.  After easily wiping the floor with DOT, our team headed down to left wing.  Here they had a short fight with the Re-animator and netted Babaemphee a Skull of Lamentation for future use.  Once they made it down to Lien, they found he was being camped by another 60 Enforcer twink.

Coming back out from Lien’s , they passed another solo Enforcer leveling on Deathless Legionnaires.  A couple of the Legionnaires aggroed our team and after putting them down, Babaengy looted a Frosted Scythe just for the fun of it (if he changes his mind at some point to go 2 hand edged.)

Next was the north middle wing, where they had a short and victorious fight with the Curator that  netted the rock crusher gloves but no notum rings.    Nematet had just been killed by the only full team we saw all night.  They appeared to be systematically camping Nematet-‘s room.  Our pet team decided that was enough for the evening, and headed out and back to Newland City via the player city whompa just  west of the Temple.   It had been a good excursion.  They were basically doing recon this time around, mainly to get a feel for how their current set ups would fair.  The set ups were doing very well.  They never lost a pet, and no one every saw their health dip below 75%.

Babaengy and Babaemphee are now debating adding level 60.  They may very well need it to equip slightly better pets and nanos to take on the top Bosses at TOTW.

It was a bit disheartening to see TOTW, SO once lively and full of newbie’s reduced to a handful of leveling solo Enforcers and polished level 60 twinks farming items.

The next day, Saturday, our pet pair were back for their second TOTW run.  This time they headed for the East hall hoping to net some Exarch Robes.  This did not happen however.

Where is Azzy?  He was too much for the lvl 60 soldier and crat that did so well with Uklesh and Khalum.

Where is Azzy? He was too much for the lvl 60 soldier and crat that did so well with Uklesh and Khalum.

They were prevented from farming Exarch robes when a twink 60 soldier and a crat friend or dual log started in on the final three bosses.  It took them quite a while to fight the first two placeholders successfully.  During this time Babaengy and Babaemphee took down all the mobs in the south, west and east parts of the final hall.  They even pulled a couple of Exarchs while the soldier was still busy with Khalum.    Once Azzy came out, the soldier and crat seemed to really have their hands full.  Babaengy and Babaemphee kept their distance and watched as Aztur eventually sent the soldier and crat to reclaim.  In retrospect this would have been a great chance for team Baba pets to take on Azzy due to the first two mobs being out of the way.  They had not really even started to think about what their strategy might be, so they decided not attack Azzy and went looking for Gartua the gatekeeper instead.

They did find one notum ring on an Exarch corpse left by the Soldier, so that was a plus.  The did find Gartua the door keeper, but after a short fight, he dropped nothing.  They then noticed that the Guardian of Time was blocking the exit door.  After topping off all the teams buffs, including the pet combat buffs, they rushed GOT.  They were surprised on just how easy it was.  Neither toons or pets took much damage, with only one heal had to be given to the attack bot during the fight.  For their efforts GOT dropped a Guardian Circuit board, amplified bracelet and a damage ring (ring of tattered flame).

After fighting their way out through the obligatory halls of grays, it was back to Newland City to peruse their take for the day.  Babaemphee got a nice ncu boost from a platinum ring of three, plus some ac, health and damage.  Babaengy equipped the Guardian Circuit board to enjoy the additional 15 NCU it provides.  They also turned experience back on, hoping to tick 60 for the benefit of a few more IP points.  Babengy is 12 BM points away from equipping Beacon Warp, which Tireen and Babaente looted during their token mission grind and gave to Babaengy.





Open Those Little Brown Boxes

26 07 2010
Open those little brown boxes, and you just might find this... Instruction Disk for Grid Armor Mk I

Open those little brown boxes, and you just might find this... Instruction Disk for Grid Armor Mk I

Babaengy and Babaemphee (aka Team Pets) have been on a roll and hit the jackpot recently.  It was a QL 60ish team mission where they found a Instruction Disk for Grid Armor I in one of those non-descript small square boxes. AOPriceWatch.com lists the current average asking price to be 15.5 million credits for this item.

This is the third time is similar circumstances, our toons have found a Grid Armor ID.  The small square boxes are sometimes hard to spot, and often are just plain empty.  On the plus side, unlike barrels and chests, they are never locked, so opening them is a simple single click.  When we first started doing missions with Babaoroody, we often skipped those small brown boxes thinking that nothing of worth could be found in them.  We certainly had never read on any forum or web site about valuable loot showing up in those.  After Baba opened the one where he found his first Grid Armor, we require all of our toons to always open small brown boxes.

TEAM PETS, Babaengy and Babaemphee, with matching helmets!

TEAM PETS, Babaengy and Babaemphee, with matching helmets!

Team Pets (Babaengy and Babaemphee, both level 57), also made significant progress over the past weekend, bringing them to within a couple of more missions to getting their 120 token boards and the juicy 350 health, 300 nano, +3% experience, and +10 defense.  Those mission should also put them at or very near their target level of 59 for optimum Temple of The Three Winds phatz.  The more we play this pair, the more it feels like this could be the combination that goes all the way to 200.

Evolving Boss Room Tactics

Due to the many factors in play, there is no ‘typical Boss room’ encounter.  Bosses can special auras that give them extra strong defenses, ranging from reflects, to strong evades, and just plain loads of health.  There can be one or several minions, additional mobs that will aggro you on sight.  The larger the room, the more flexibility the team has in choosing it’s battles.  In a large enough room, some mobs or the Boss can be avoided by distance while the team takes out another hostile.  Placement of the Boss and the minions in relation to the elevator is crucial.  Rezzing on top of the Boss and it’s minion(s) bring with it several disadvantages beyond just getting instant aggro from all.  The worst disadvantage to these scenarios is that it is very difficult if not impossible to quickly identify each mob and then target them appropriately.

Video Glitch, the joys of dual logging.  Requires a hard zone or re-log to fix.

Video Glitch, the joys of dual logging. Requires a hard zone or re-log to fix.

It the room is big enough, one can often run away enough to be able to separate and ID the mobs.  A small room may prevent this and this can lead to a very confusing battle that is likely to end badly.  The MP may not be able to id and target the weakest mob for mezzing.  With Pets on guard mode, their is no telling quickly which pets are fighting which mobs.  The MP also has to quickly size up the situation and decide who to put the heal pet on as soon as possible.

The Baba chart of Boss Room Encounters looks like a reverse geometric grow chart (i.e. it goes down very quickly to a long tail).  The most damage can be potentially done to team members in the first few moments of the encounter.  If targets are not coordinated and attacked in those first few moments, the mobs gain a lead in damage, that it may be impossible to overtake.

We are currently favoring the MP being the lead into the room, mainly because she can enter with the heal pet on her, so that she can afford to take some damage, while the Engy teleports in and takes the few precious moments to target and start attacking.

Once both team members are in the room and engaged, we have also been favoring controlling the MP, due to the fact that she recently acquired her first rally  decent nuke which can really help whittle down the Boss’s health.  It is a nano drain, so we are happy we have been keeping her nano pool maxed.

Aliens City Raid Passed Trekking to Missions

Aliens City Raid Passed Trekking to Missions

She also recently graduated to a fairly decent mob debuff, so we have added it to her standard operating procedure attack (select team leader, hit assist macro, hit attack button, hit macro for debuff.

For most of the non-Boss room antics, we still drive the Engineer who pulls targets and sets his bot on them.  Once the Bot had had a chance to get a few good blows in, we have the MP start her attack sequence.  If she attacks too soon, she draws aggro and the Engy ends up having to health stim her, or we have to switch the heal pet off the Engy and on to her.  It would be ideal if we had a good multi-boxing macro that would reliably toggle the heal pet between the two of them, but so far, we have not written one that is reliable enough.

Having the MP select herself is foolproof with the %m chat command.  The f2 key to select the team leader does not always work as expected because if the leader was already selected, it toggles to select the MP.  It’s a shame you can give chat commands directed by name, like you can with Pet commands.





Off to the Skys of Ruby-Ka

18 07 2010
Running, running, always running between missions.

Running, running, always running between missions.

Babaengy and Babaemphee have been working away at a steady pace on their team missions bringing them to level 48.  One of their prime objectives has been to roll loot only nanos for their professions.  Babaemphee has had the best luck recently as she added a Greater Deranged Mindreaver, and 4 of her masteries nanos.  Some of each toons skills are starting to be capped, which frees up IP somewhat for secondary skills.  In Babaemphee’s case, this has allowed her to up her MM, PM and SI.  This helped her be able to cast the new masteries nanos, which in turn allowed both herself and Babaengy to cast higher pets and nanos.

Babaemphee shows off her new Vital Buckler, click for larger view.

Babaemphee shows off her new Vital Buckler, click for larger view.

The diminutive MP also acquired as mission loot an MP only weapon, (The Crotalus) and a MP only shield (The Vital Buckler).  The Crotalus has a rather ominous reading description that new MP’s should pay heed to.  Babaemphee’s tip, do not attempt casting the Crotalus unless your toon is 1) at max health, and 2) in a safe environment, (i.e. not likely to be attacked), and 3) ready with a heal pet with orders to heal you.  When one casts this nano, you lose 98% of your health.  The Buckler provides 72 all ACs and +150 health.

Team pets is slowly evolving their Boss Room strategies to include more use of the Mezz pet for crowd control.  Babaemphee first orders the heal pet on her before jumping in first.  Once in the room, she first tries to run to a spot that is away from the elevator, and hopefully can isolate one or more of the mobs.  This also helps to hopefully put some space between the mobs, so it is easier to identify and target them individually.  If there are three or more mobs, she orders the mezz pet on to the weakest mob, and the attack pet onto the strongest.  She keeps the heal pet on herself for the time being and she also attacks the strongest mob.

Bosses are getting bigger and tougher, click for larger view.

Bosses are getting bigger and tougher, click for larger view.

Then it is time for the Engineer to enter.  He jumps in and sets his attack bot on the same mob Babaemphee’s attack pet is on.  He makes note of the MP’s health and stims her if needed.  The MP monitors the health of all and switches the heal pet to any team member that needs it, including her attack pet.  She also is ready to health stim her self or the Engineer when needed.

This method works fairly well, but the first few seconds are the most crucial.  The longer it takes to sort out the individual targets and categorize them, the more damage the team takes before starting to fight back. Sometimes if the room is very small and there are multiple mobs, and they will all be on top of the elevator.  This makes it very hard to select and differentiate them.

Babaemphee only recently started setting her mezz pet on the weakest mob, but has found this to work really well when the pet is strong enough to effectively control the mob.

You know all we need is  a couple of  QL 90ish Nav Air eye implants and a pair of low quality Yalms, and we could say bye bye to this running business.

You know all we need is a couple of QL 90ish Nav Air eye implants and a pair of low quality Yalms, and we could say bye bye to this running business.

Babaoroody wanted to help this new team out, so he posted a question for them on the AOFroobs board.  So far they had not been able to find documentation of the duration of MP and Engy pets.  They did find some very old posts that indicated that the pets had really short durations under a half hour.   Babaemphee knew this was not the case, as both she and Babaengy had kept pets over an hour.  The AOFroobs replies indicated that MP and Engy pets have a max duration of 2 hours.  Since both Babaemphee and Babaengy rarely are logged on for more than 2 hours, they have not run into this limitation.

Running to missions on foot is starting to get really old for the pet team.  It adds a great deal of extra time, limits where they can accept missions, and often results in canceled missions when the way is blocked by multiple red mobs.

That has to be the longest hall Babaengy has seen in missions.

That has to be the longest hall Babaengy has seen in missions.

Between missions, the toons have been making it a habit to check the shop terminals for low quality Yalmahas.  Babaengy hit pay dirt first with a QL35 Yalm he found in the trader shop in Newland City.  He had to call in both Tireen and Babaente for help with credits which enabled him to walk out with a shiny new Yalm.  He still needed a small set of air navigation buffing implants in order to be able to equip it.

Babemphee lucked out Saturday evening, when Tireen was hitting the shopping rounds in Old Athens looking for a set of better looking Energized armor sleeves for Babaengy.  Tireen knew something was up when there were several other toons parked beside the vending machine.  As soon as she opened the shop window and saw the QL 30 Yalm, she called Babaemphee, who quickly made the few whompa hops from Newland to OA.  After both Tireen and Babaente lent credits to Babaemphee, she  bought the Yalm, and now is in the market for a set of air navigation buffing implants.

With their Yalmahas successfully equipped, our pair take a break before rolling up some missions.

With their Yalmahas successfully equipped, our pair take a break before rolling up some missions.

This will allow them to no longer have to turn down some missions because those mission entrances are guarded by high level mobs.  The Yalms solve this problem in two ways.  One is that the superior speed of the Yalm can be used to train the mobs a safe distance away from the entrance.  The other way is that it allows them to fly quickly right into the mission entrance, usually to fast for any mobs around to react to.

Babaoroody logged on for a few minutes on Sunday to assemble the two Eye implants.  It turns out a single QL 80-90ish eye implant with a shining Navigate Air cluster and a Time and Space Cluster, was all that was needed (40+ Nav Air) to allow Babaengy and Babemphee to equip their new Yalms.

They also shared one other achievement over the last few days.  They both earned their Blossoms of Summer token boards, which gives a tasty 200 health and 150 nano, and a +1% experience increase.