Den of Smug

13 05 2010
Nice map of Smuggler's Den from AO Stratics via Internet Archive

Nice map of Smuggler's Den from AO Stratics via Internet Archive

Baba was just starting to set into motion the process of standing up his aging Atrox body, taking care to not move too quickly until the usual stiffness wore off, when a new org mate sent him a tell inviting him to Smuggler’s Den.  As Baba rubbed his back over one of his pre reclaim terminal and surgery clinic injuries, he watched a tell scroll by from Solarmitri, a Level 136 Solitus Male Doctor who was an applicant to Angels of the Night.  This was a hopeful sign as many of AOTN’s longtime regulars have left recently so new blood was very welcome.

Baba has been getting the inspect crates mission at Smuggler’s Den from the Daily Mission office, and so far had not gotten very far each time.  He had never in fact made it very far into the dungeon on previous solo attempts.  Most of the time the place is deserted, at least before the Daily Missions were introduced.

Baba has been to enough dungeons on Rubi-Ka to be familiar with the overall drill, at least for first time FROOB players.  You first go to a new dungeon at the low end of the intended level range and get sent back to reclaim allot as one learns the layout of the dungeon and how it works.  Smuggler’s Den is one of the oldest dungeons and has several broken design flaws.  The worst is how all the mobs, even those gray to you, will aggro and attack you.  This leads to the second flaw, trains.  As the dungeon has no level lock, high level players often come in to help out an alt or twink project, and then run out when done.  This can train high level mobs from the deepest part of the dungeon out passages close to the entrance.

Eventually, one levels up a bit and gets to know the ins and outs of the dungeon, and the process evolves past simple survival to more tangible objectives like hunting specific mobs or experience and loot, or to complete a mission or quest.

Baba had at least recently done his net research on the place.  He found good information in the following spots:

Zyvania Bagh, an NPC in Newland will warp you to Omni Forrest

Zyvania Bagh, an NPC in Newland will warp you to Omni Forrest

AO Stratics is no more, but the Internet Archive still keeps a few of its pages, with some images missing however.  One nugget Baba found there is that another short cut to the den.  It says that any one who can get a 150 or greater Adventurer to cast Parrot Form on them, and then enter a door at 720 x 704 in Borealis will be transported immediately to the center of the Smuggler area main hall.  AO Universe mentions another short cut which is to speak to Zyvania Bagh in Newland City, an NPC who will warp you to just outside the Steps of Madness dungeon in Omni Forrest, the zone next to Southern Foul Plains where Smuggler’s Den is.

After taking the Newland City shortcut, Baba then flew the short flight across a zone to reach the Smugglers Den entrance where he met up with Solarmitri.  Baba had a bit of trouble with his team chat window and had to take a minute or two fixing it before they could finish up buffing and enter the cave.  While Baba was resetting his team chat window,  Glorytime, a 145 Omni Fixer flew up and asked to join in.  This was definitely a welcome addition, so Glorytime was quickly added to the team.

The first few halls were mostly very gray mantices, that gave no experience and were mainly just an annoyance.  When the reached the large open area with a small stream running through it, no one on the team knew which direction to go in, since none of them had been there before.  Because this dungeon consists of irregularly shaped caves and passageways,  it was pretty hard to keep ones bearings.  The team eventually settled on a strategy to just keep heading north, at least in relation to the usual maps of the place.
They eventually found themselves in a whitish set of caves with a number of fairly high level Mantices that had either orange or reddish health bars.  These were rather easy for the group to put away, even when attacked by several at a time.

After clearing out that whole section, the team wandered southwestern-ish and eventually came to the entrance to the Smugglers area.  The entrance had been cleared recently by another team, so the first mob Baba’s team came across in this area was a large gun turret in a small side room.  These went down fairly quickly.

They eventually progressed to a hall with clawfingers and smugglers in it.  Things got a bit hectic as a handful of smugglers were very close to the door when the team entered.  It was the first time Baba really needed to spam his Mongo as these mobs were red and hit very hard.  The team methodically fought its way down the length of this long hall and had quite a battle with some high level smugglers at the end of the hall.  Baba was really amazed at how well Solarmitri was able to keep all of the team close to full health most of the time.  He was also glad to have Partial Grid Jump buff from Glorytime. Glorytime was doing high damage consistently.

Baba tried to do his best tanking, but he was a bit rusty, having spent that last 20 levels or so mostly kiting Borgs and running missions solo.  It all came back pretty fast, but he really needs to work on his pulling skills which have been neglected for a while.  While the Mantices has been easy, the Smuggler area was very intense and the team for the most part rolled over everything they met.

A dangerous bridge, where Baba's team was wiped.

A dangerous bridge, where Baba's team was wiped.

The team then took a side door and went up some stairs where there were 4 gun emplacements all together in a corner.  The team dealt with them and several bots in the adjoining hall way.  After the bots, there was a door, and on the other side of the door was an elevated walkway, with similar walkways a few feet away on either side, all crawling with Smugglers.  Baba ventured out on the middle of the walkway and engaged a smuggler, which was soon joined by several more that came through the opposite door. The rest of the team followed out onto the walkway as well.

These Smugglers did not seem to be any higher than the last few, but the whole team was losing health much faster than before.  As soon as one smuggler dropped, another would come running through the door on the other side, and take its place.

Turret which appears to be next to the same bridge.

Turret which appears to be next to the same bridge.

The whole team got wiped.  While rezzing the team discussed what went wrong.  Perhaps they should have stayed behind the first door, and pulled smugglers to them there.  It was getting late and although Solarmitri was game to go back, Baba and Glorytime had run out of time for the night and needed to log off.

Later Baba reviewed what happened and noticed that according to several pictures from the AO Universe guide that the bridge/walkway where they got wiped, looked to have large gun turrets pointed at it from the end of the hallway that the bridge covered.  He will be sure to inspect that area carefully next time around.

Baba added a few items to his personal to-do list:

  • find and update all of his taunting tools
  • practice pulling
  • find and equip some hacked boosted grafts (a root and an AC  buff)
  • redo his hot-bar to put back his taunts.

Baba Heads Out to Sentinels

1 06 2009
Baba waves HI from Newland City

Baba waves HI from Newland City

Babaoroody, a level 131 froob enforcer, sat in his apartment with his eyes closed listening to the synthetic sea shore audio that always soothed him. Yes, it was definitely time to shake up these old and many times fractured bones and get them back into action. Somethings in RL had required his absence from Rubi-Ka, and he knew all to well how much he had probably forgotten. The cool down times for all his nanos, the best moves and combos in combat would all come back, but he really did not want to embarrass himself in front of others while re-learning them so he was trying to think of an appropriate venue to take this outing.

There was a time when his reflexes placed him as a serious contender, and his strength and stamina were solid. Years of battles, small and large, quick and fast or drawn out endurance marathons had taken their toll. There was not one part of his body that did not display the curious scar designs left there by fate and his many foes, most of which were deceased, and a few who still lived, but now carried signs of Baba’s work on their bodies. The battlefield favors the young. What does the Enforcer do when they leave youth behind? There is always treachery and experience that can be leveraged to defeat the young and fast.

When the steel apartment door slammed shut behind him, he let his musings fade out and he concentrated on navigating his 6 foot plus hulk in the direction of the grid entrance just outside of Newland City. He exited the city through the west gate and noted there were seven or eight guards on duty, twice the normal number. As he passed the shiny upscale flyer lot on the lake to his right and the Battle Station terminal on his left, he took in the group of 16 or so toons waiting to take part in BS. (Battle Station).

Sentinels (click for larger view)

Sentinels (click for larger view)

He made his way in the grid to the Sentinels exit and found himself suddenly deafened by one of those howling dust storms Mort is know for. Through the dust he could just make out 3 buildings, graduated in size much like the items in the house of the 3 little bears.

For those with out Grid access yet, Sentinels is in the Mort region and can be found just down the hill a bit from the outpost that sits near the northeast rim of the largest Mort crater.

Baba started with the smallest brown building. Inside it is laid out like a typical brown interior mission and featured level 115ish Rhinomen, Medusas, Entwined soldiers, and Bileswarms.

The second Entwined soldier he came across dropped a +100 run-speed Ring of Haste. Baba could not pick it up because he was already wearing one he had gotten off a Medusa months ago. Babaente, Baba’s NT alt would love to have one, so she hopped in her yalm and tried to make it there from Newland City before the corpse faded.

Ring of Haste, +100 run speed, NODROP

Ring of Haste, +100 run speed, NODROP

She might have made it, via the grid, but when she got to the Sentinels exit, it would not accept her. She had forgotten that the Sentinels grid exit has one of the highest computer literacy requirements on the planet of 461. She tried to fly from Meetemedere to Sentinels, but she was only half way there when Baba reported that the soldier had vanished. Even though she was disappointed, she now knew where to go to try and find her own Ring of Haste once she can handle level 115 mobs.

Baba finished clearing out the first building and proceeded to the next, which was the middle sized building. It held 140ish Aquans, Grunts, Human NPC’s and Penpods. By now Baba was pretty much re-acquainted with his hot bar layout and combos, so he had not trouble with any of these mobs.

After clearing the middle sized building out, Baba entered the final and tallest building houses which housed 150ish Cyborgs and Humans.

Baba at Sentinels (click for larger version)

Baba at Sentinels (click for larger version)

These mobs definitely meant business and Baba had to start using his Challenger and Mongo nanos to finish these mobs off. By the time he was finished he had accomplished what he had set off to do when he had marched out of his Apartment back in Newland City, and that was to re-familiarize himself with all his old moves and nanos. He came away with roughly 2 bags of loot plus change. The loot included several Miy’s armor pieces. He was also glad he had found a location for Babaente and future alts to look for the very useful Ring of Haste.

Doublesun Token Board, last of the token only boards.

Doublesun Token Board, last of the token only boards.

On the trip back to Newland City, he thought about what to do next. He checked his token bar and realized he had forgotten that he had already filled it to the Double Sun level. While there are several levels left to go, these are special levels that require completing high level quests or raids, rather than merely collecting tokens.’s page on token boards lists the higher boards and each boards page gives information on what is required to obtain them.

As he entered his Newland Apartment he thought about perhaps making his next outing to Perpetual Wastelands Borgs.

974 Tokens and counting

9 08 2008
Taking a breather in a player city south of 20k

Taking a breather in a player city south of 20k

Baba is very close to completing his 1k token board, and in the last few days, the missions all blur together into one long eye-straining sequence. Rather than rehash the details of those missions, Baba thought he would review what he has learned recently and give us a good look at how Baba uses his Enforcer nano toolkit.

In this batch of 100-120 QL missions Baba has seen Aqua’s drop a good deal of Miy’s armor, while Avian-mates drop rings of essence and endurance.

Hellhounds and T-700-800’s drop mostly insta-drop, cheap ammo, same can be said for any paired mobs. Insta-drop is Baba’s term for junk that it not worth taking up backpack space to lug to the shop. Some other insta-drop items: flower rings, rings of zern, most ammo except shot gun ammo which he saves for Tireen, monster parts (until Baba finds a friend who can make it into plasma for him), robot junk, and robotic self preservation modules. It takes doing something repeatedly, like running enough missions to collect 1k tokens, to start to realize that sometimes taking up backpack slots with items that are worth less than a few hundred credits is not a good idea. Plus Baba is finding that the five packs he carries just for loot in missions start to get full before he completes 3 missions, and he then has to toss low value items to make room for high value finds.

Another bit of wisdom learned is that the entrance area to missions is a red zone. This area just past the inside of the first door often puts one at risk from being attacked by mobs that are roaming the hallways. It pays to not enter any rooms until you have scoured all open hallways for free ranging mobs. It can be a dangerous place to sit and heal after killing the first mob of the mission.

Baba stopped pulling find person and kill person missions and has found it to be no loss and a definite improvement, with no more long waiting sessions for target mobs to move away from remaining missing mobs etc. After hitting level 120 Baba has started to run into mobs that root (Brain dogs and humans.)

In an effort to think of something else than missioning tokens, Baba would like to go over Enforcer nanos, or Why is that enfo always buffing himself?

When one chooses the path of the Enforcer, one may not realize the amount of time they will be casting buffs on themselves. While other professions have both self buffing and team buffs, the Enforcers buffs are mostly of use to Enforcers with the exception of the essence line. Who can turn down more health? The most difficult aspect of successfully using Enforcers nanos is timing. For some reason, the different buffs all have different lengths of time that the benefits last. Baba has 6 buffs he starts every mission or dungeon crawl with. At his current 120 level these are, Essence of Gargantua, Skill of Viking, Barbaric Blades, Grid for Punishment, and Regeneration (not enforcer specific). With his current carbonum/miy’s armor set up this takes roughly half of his available nano pool and NCU.

When Baba was running around the Temple of The Three Winds, he would also cast a whole slew of generic buffs, proficiencies, quickness, etc, that would use up the rest of his nano and ncu. Then when Baba graduated from Foreman’s and started hunting Borgs, he stopped loading up the generic buffs in order to leave room for team buffs from Docs and others.

Let’s look at the core 6 in more detail. The Essence of Gargantua immediately boosts health by 520 and adds +20 to stamina and strength, and it lasts for 1 and a half hours, so fire once and forget. Skill of Viking gives +65 to 2hand edged skill for 45 minutes. Barbaric Blades gives another 256 health and +25 damage shields for 30 minutes. Gird for Punishment adds 436 layers of protection for 20min or as soon as they are used up. Regeneration increases by 3 the heal delta for 20 minutes.

The initial buff up at the start of a mission, means the time to cast these plus sitting and using 1 or two health kits. Essence does not give you the extra health, but the capacity for it, so that when you cast it, you health bar appears to go down. Baba also sports two Hacked Boosted Grafts which he uses. Hacked Boosted Grafts are grafts that once were profession specific. They are not store buyable, but mob and dyna-boss loot. Baba uses a HBG Hasty Augmentation Cloud, which increases damage by +10 for 40 minutes. It locks sensory improvement for 30-40 minutes. He also uses the HBG Lesser Protective Field that gives 168 to all ACs, which again works for 40 minutes and locks Matter Creation for 30 to 40 minutes.

We will now follow Baba thru an example mission. The first mob met turns out to be a barely yellow one, which Baba can dispatch with just a few swings of his Panther. Very little health if any lost, so no healing needed, but time to recast Gird for punishment, as that puny mob used up 200 or so layers. Baba recasts Gird after every fight, so he starts each fight with a complete set of layers. The next mob is either a very red one or two red ones together. Baba attacks and immediately casts a Mongo. If things get tough, say he misses a few, or the mobs got lucky and hit several crits, he may also cast a Burning Rage. This has the effect of speeding up Baba’s Panther swings, but also burns up a few health points. If things are still not going Baba’s way, he may then cast a Challenger which only last for a minute but greatly increases his offensive skills, and damage output, as well as making him 22% bigger. He may repeat hitting Mongo several times for the additional healing. Most people know that Mongo is primarily one of the most powerful AOE taunts in the game. What many but Enforcers don’t know is that it yields about 2k of healing to the caster. 1k immediately and then 108 health points every 2 seconds a total of 10 times. This is why many low level Enforcers sometimes seem to be Mongo happy, to the detriment of those of around them.

The first thing any Enforcer has to do when entering a combat situation is to spot all mobs in the vicinity that could potentially be attracted by a Mongo. In some environments, like the Temple of Three Winds, Mongo’s taunt can travel through walls and excite mobs in adjoining rooms.

When soloing missions, Baba usually finds himself about 1/3 to 1/2 done when his first batch of 20 minute buffs start running out and need to be recast.

Unless he is running low on Nano re-chargers, Baba usually recasts all his buffs except Ess at this point, just to keep things he has to time to a minimum.

Depending on how long the mission takes to complete, Baba may or may not recast his HBG’s if they run out. If he has another mission to complete following this one. He may choose to not recast them now but save them for starting fresh on the next mission. When they do run out in a mission, and Baba does not restart them, he can compensate by utilizing several special ring attacks he has that really on skills that the HBG’s locked. Ring of Tattered Flame, and Ring of Eternal Night. But that is getting into another topic (attacks and specials) for another time.