Neleb and Temple Passed By

25 11 2008

Assault Class Tank ArmorOn their last training mission, the final boss was taking forever to kill.  It was so bad, Baba had to resort to using both his Hasty Augmentation Field and use the 20 second shield from his Assault Tank Armor, before it would go down. Oh, and lots of Mongos, too.

Backpack of SurvivalAn interesting item that dropped was an adventurer only Backpack of Survival.  It is a backpack with the added benefit of providing ACs like an armor back piece. This one is QL 101 and it has 505 to 400 ACs and +20 to perception.  The only requirements are adventurer profession and 202 in adventuring.  It should be a nice twinking item for lowbie adventurers.  Now that AOGMS has stopped it’s service and the in game mrshop and thegms are also no more, Babaoroody and his alts are back at square one in terms of selling loot.  Shopping channel on Sunday afternoons, looks like the best remaining option now.

One of the other goodies that also dropped from this last tough boss was a QL99 OT Windchaser SM32 PSB which we passed on to our trader Tireen.  On paper, or online in Auno’s damage simulator it looked better than her current QL 90 Vektor Lizard, and with it’s much shorter attack and recharge times, it allowed Tireen to crank her Agg/Def bar back to 56%.

She first tested it out on a few Rhinomen in Newland Dessert and then via several team missions with Babaente.  After the trial run, she decided to go back to the Vektor.  She has to keep her Agg/Def bar at 100% Agg due to the slowness of the gun, but from her logs, it appears to hit consistently higher regular and critical hits.  We have experienced a great degree of variation between what the official stats say a guns performance should be and what shows up in our logs.  We have also found that individual guns even vary by QL level.  We once had Vektor that was 5 QL’s below the next higher up one we had, and the lower QL one consistently delivered better damage.

This is similar to some behavior Babaoroody experience below title 4, where similar 2 hand blunt weapons would diverge from the published specs and sometimes a lower QL version would out damage a higher quality version.  We suspect it may be true for many weapons in AO, so our advice is to pay close attention to your damage logs, especially when upgrading weapons.

Over this past weekend Babaoroody and Babaente made several more unsuccessful tries at Neleb in the Steps of Madness.  What seems to get them into trouble is the geometry of the place.  Very often what looks like a clear line of sight is not, such that the floating meatballs may be able to press their attacks, but our enforcer is unable to reach them with his axe to cause damage or with taunts to draw them closer.  This leads to Babaoroody having to get so close to a group of mobs that some of them aggro on Babaente.

Babaoroody and Babaente see lots of other players doing well there.  Even teams of lvl 50-60 players.  Baba does not want to scare off others from trying the Steps, but he and Babaente are just not doing well there now.  Our pair decided to call it quits for now.  The objective, Neleb’s robe is just not worth it at this point.  Currently Babaente has more than enough nano, NCU and nano skills, such that getting the robe now would not make any significant difference.  The exarch robe she currently has gives 30 more AC and 35 health and has the same nano cost reduction.  They may return someday when both have leveled more.

Next Babaente and Tireen went scouting for a new kiting spot, having decided there was nothing else they absolutely had to have from the Temple of the Three Winds. They found a promising site, and Babaente dropped down for a few trail kites to see how it would go.  These mobs were in the range of 60-75, a bit higher than anything she has kited before.  She cautiously picked a small number for her test kites.  Even though they were small kites, it was enough complete her 61st level, while Tireen still has a way to go at level 60.   Passing level 60 means Babaente can never enter the Temple of the Three Winds again, since it is level locked to players over level 60.  As we did with our pairs previous kiting spot, we will not identify thier new kiting spot until Babaente and Tireen have leveled out of it.

While out scouting for a new kiting spot, an problem that they had been trying to ignore came back to plague them.  About 5 levels ago, when they implanted Map Nav to equip the monster map upgrades, they also made an effort to get and equip all the maps they could also equip while the temporary implants were in.  While most of the maps they choose went in with no problem one would not load, giving the message to check their skills and the maps requirements.  Babaente had more than the amount stated, but the Map would not show up in her profile or when in the zone.  While scouting they had found a promising site, but it was a zone where the problem map would not load.

Babaente even purchased another copy of the map which also would not load.  She entered a petition at around 9 pm and was contacted by an ARK at about 9:45.  The ARK was very polite and walked Babaente through many diagnostic steps including having to zone several times. After allot of troubleshooting, Babaente was finally able to use the needed map.  Every time you petition, you are putting yourself at the mercy of a volunteer at the other end. The ARK on this evening was just fantastic, no attitude, just technical expertise, humor and polite firmness when nescessary.  We have gotten a some less than friendly ARK’s in the past, so after getting good service from this one, we were sure to send a postitive write up to the survey PM address that was given at the end of the session.

Although it may take a while sometimes, it does get results.  We would caution everyone however to ONLY enter a petition when you have sought help elsewhere, done independent research, and exhausted your own resources.  You may also want to weigh the potential time involved.  Is it worth your time (at least 45 minutes or more) and that of another person?  In the same amount of time, could you achieve what you wanted in another way?





Baba’s gotten a bit rusty

18 11 2008

This past Thursday evening Babaente and Tireen ran a few more team missions for tokens and Babaente finally reached 120, and was awarded her 120 token board.  The next token award requires 250 tokens, so it is quite a jump.

Not your cookie cutter mission room, but an original.

Not your cookie cutter mission room, but an original.

Tireen also got a step up Thursday evening.  After hitting level 60 she was able to equip a better ransack skills (Ransack skills).  When cast on top of Deprive Skills, her shotgun skill was boosted by about 90 points which allowed her to equip a ql 90 Vektor ND LIZARD.  In the last mission they ran, she was getting crits of 1200 to 1400, which helps cut Bosses down to size.

They tried running a couple of missions with their agg/def slider set to full defensive.
Although we have not yet looked at the log statistics, in practice the added number of mob misses was not enough to counter balance the huge reduction in damage rates for Tireen and Babaente.  The battles took longer and in the end, they both lost more health in each fight.  With each fight taking longer, the mobs were given more chances to land a strike.

Friday evening we read a post in AOFroobs for posting your GUI.  We went ahead and posted Tireen’s current setup and after doing so, decided to take some time to re-organize it.  Now that we have a bunch of levels under our belt with both the NT and the trader toolsets, we thought we could decide which things were really needed, and which had just been put up because we didn’t know any better.  The same evening there was another post at AOFroobs that mentioned a program Keyclone, which intrigued us, as it is for sending keystrokes between multiple windows or dual logging as we call it in AO and the World of Warcraft types call multiboxing.

We spent an afternoon trying to get Keyclone to work for us and like several other utility programs meant to run together with AO, it was more than our aging computer could deal with.  While it ran, and did pretty much what the box says, it was slow and flakey on our system.  After sometime messing around with it, we decided to pass on it.  If your computer is relatively new (ie multiprocessor, at least circa 2006) then it might work great for you.

Not having much luck with Keyclone, we posted a call for help with it at AOFroobs and got the thread locked by the moderator Tarradax which was a bit surprising seeing how he had participated in the previous thread there where Keyclone was discussed and had not said a peep about it then.

Baba doubted he would fit in that.

Baba doubted he would fit in that.

After putting that behind us, both Tireen and Babaente refused to run any more missions for a bit. They were both demanding a change of pace.  Since they both hit thier targets of getting thier 120 token boards and level 60, it was time to give them some fresh activities.  Since Tireen has the weakest back item, she went first and headed out to the Temple of the Three Winds via the portal next to the Newland Dessert outpost whompa.  At level sixty she was alble to breeze through the first hall with-out aggro, but she picked up a massive train running through the right L shaped hall.  She dumped the train using the hop the wall at DOT trick.  She worked her way then down to the guardian of time’s room.  She passed a couple of 60 level players coming the other way, and when she got to GOT’s room it was empty.  She dialed her adddeff to full defense and was then able to by pass the six to eight cultists on the other side of the door out of GOT’s room leading to the Exarch hall.  She moved east towards the east hall that enters the left side of the Exarch hall.  This way she only picked up one cultist to fight before the left hall and avoided Gartuas room with his 4 cultist trox buddies.  After entering the left hall, she went back to full agg and worked her way through the cultists till she was in the exarch hall.  She picked off the windcallers one by one, and was able to handle them fairly easily.  Windcaller Yatilla however was actually harder than the Exarchs.

Then she went for Exarch Ecclese and a sure robe drop.  She got lucky and landed a couple of crits in the 1200 range, and soon was a new owner of an Exarch robe.  It helped a great deal, cutting many temple mobs down to minimum damage.  She took out the other two exarchs and picked up a tattered flame ring,  a weeping flesh ring, a silver ring of three, and a notum ring of three.

She headed over to the east wing for a try at the Reanimator for one of the shoulder items, but ran out of luck there, with the Reamimator makeing short work of her.  We will have to review the logs to see why the reanimator was soo hard after having a easy time with the Exarchs.

It was Babaentes turn next, she and Babaoroody headed down to the Steps of Madness and got as far as the first room with mobs, where things got a bit confused.  Dual logging with Tireen and Babente has had plenty of practice, but Babaoroody and  Babaente together was really a first and we got bit confused since there were a few differences in thier hot bar layouts.  They decided to back out of the dungeon and return later after running a few team missions together to work out thier hot key layout and best ways to work together.

Sunday Babaoroody and Babaente rolled a few missions to get into practice working together.  A good hour was wasted when none of the duplicated mission keys would work when they got to thier destination.  Since they are too far apart to team, one has to roll solo missions and then duplicate the key for the other.  For some reason none of the first set of rolled mission keys would work as duplicates.  After re-rolling another mission, they headed out to Lush Fields south of Harry’s.  They worked out several things. mostly having to do with re-arranging some of Babaoroody’s hot bar keys.

Another major problem with his hot bar surfaced after they had exited from one of the shops in Newland city after restocking Babas med and nano kits.  He was going to put himself on follow, and out of habit hit the 0 hot bar key that Tireen and Babaente both use.  Unfortunately, on his bar this pulled a mongo.  As he was standing right next to three guards, they promptly sent him back to reclaim having been aggroed by his mongo.

The mission turned out to be too easy, with Baba putting down the mobs before we could alt/tab to Babaente and doing any support casting.

That evening they decided to make another run at the Steps of Madness.  Baba realized once they were about 2/3 of the way through the dungeon, that he had removed his long range taunt from his hot bar.  The previous times he has been to Steps, he had relied a great deal on this long range taunt to allow him to take most of the mobs one at a time.  Singlely, they are a piece of cake for him. But since they do fair damage while taking a while to kill, getting swarmed by 3 or more is usually fatal for Baba.  They pressed on anyway, with several near death fights, and actually made it to the final long room. Without his long range taunt the final room proved to be thier undoing.  Previously with his taunt, he would pop his head in the door, and taunt one mob out away from the others.  With out the taunt he and Babaente had to enter the room completely and as a result, they both got swarmed with several mobs.

Earlyer a much higher a few high level players had passed them heading for Nelebs room.  As Babaoroody and Babaente approaced the room they could see on the mini map a good number of the mobs in the final room, getting trained somehow to the part of the room where the entrance they needed to pass through is.  Baba was able to survive, but Babaente succumbed to the swarm and got sent back to reclaim.  Babaoroody then terminated himself so he could join Babaente.

The design of Steps seems to follow a what seems to be a fairly standard AO dungeon plan which is basically a linear passage through a large number of proceedingly higher level mobs, starting with easy ones, but quickly moving into a range that requires them to be taken one at a time.  There are almost no large open places or alternate routes and almost all of the dungeon is very tight and cramped, with lots of mobs in close proximity.

This puts Enforcers at a disadvantage since they cannot use Mongo, one of thier main tools.  If Baba mongoes in the Steps, he attracks all the mobs in whichever room or hall he is in, which is not a good idea.  The problem with the Steps mobs is that they seem to have much higher amounts of health for mobs of the same 50-60ish level.  It seems like they have 2 to 3 times the normal amount.  Since Enforcers are melee and have no area of effect attack, they can only damage one mob at a time.  If, as is the case with the Steps, the mobs take 3 times longer to kill, that means the other mobs in a swarm have 3 times as long to pound on the poor enforcer.  It is also bad news for Babaente, because when they get swarmed she is really at a disavantage as there is no way she could outlast one of these monsters one on one, much less several.  This is because of her pitiful nanomage health bar.

One thing that sets Steps apart from the other dungeons Baba has done is the use of light.  There is one spot about halfway in where as you pass through a narrow door into the next section, the waiting mobs floating in the air cannot be seen because there is a strong light source shining directly in your eyes.  This is a place where Baba used his taunt before with good results.  Without it, he had to blunder into the room, getting attacked by several at once.  Another thing that is characteristic of Steps is there are multiple places where the world geometry is just plain messed up.  On every trip in so far he has seen various mobs stuck in the walls in different places.  There are also many places where there are invisible barriers where although it appears you have a clear line of sight to a mob, the game tells you it’s not there or cannot be targeted.  This combines with the narrowness of the halls and the lowness of the ceilings to make camera use difficult.  In many places it is impossible to use a long zoomed out view. While this may be manageable for solo players who can do ok in first person mode, it makes it hard to keep up with the status of teammates.   These irregularities tend to give an overall unsettled feeling the further you go into the place.

Because of this and perhaps some other issues previously discussed here (how the mobs are actually alot tougher than the given level they are supposed to be) he has yet to see any players of that level there.  Almost every single player he has seen has been title 4 or higher, sometimes like himself with a lowbie in tow.

After they healed up, they pulled another mission for practice again.  Things were going well, however they made one mistake in judgement near the end of the mission.  Even though they really were not concerned with the loot or the mission reward, they found themselves in one of those end of mission quandries.  It was a spot the person type mission, and the target person was in the middle of a hall, blocking the only way to 3 other mobs and rooms.  They should have taken thier lessons from Steps that Babaente is still squishy and if they get attacked by more than one mob at a time, she is vulnerable.  This is because even though Babaoroody easily overpowers mobs in Babaente’s range, as a melee fighter, he can only do damage to them one at a time.  If more than one mob attacks Babaente, Baba is limited to attacking those mobs one at time in series.

Baba made the mistake of trying to run past the target and take on the two mobs just past it.  This did not work out as all three mobs aggroed him and Babaente.  While he tried to fight them off, Babaente succumbed, since she was way overmatched with the single mob that had attacked her while Baba was busy taking the other two down.





First single kite level

20 09 2008
Alien Invasion Flight over Shade Pipe.

Alien Invasion Flight over Shade Pipe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baba is in Neleb's house,

Baba in the house of Neleb

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

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

Take away lessons:

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