Warped again in Pleasant Meadows

17 06 2009

Warped again in Pleasant Meadows, sounds like the title for a Hunter S. Thompson bio-pic, but it is only the title of this latest episode concerning Babaente scouting for kiting spots.  There is warping, and it does occur in Pleasant Meadows, but the story starts somewhere else.

Babaente and Tireen spent about an hour or so in Newland City sorting out the last batch of loot from their last run of team missions that completed their 250 token quests.  Besides sorting out things to squirrel away in their banks, Tireen also took the time to tradeskill the bag of monster parts they had collected in this last run by using her Biocommunicator Device on each one.  Once converted to Plasma, each one yielded 7-8 thousand credits from the Newland Trader’s shop terminal.

Crossroads in Pleasan Meadows, click for larger view

Crossroads in Pleasan Meadows, click for larger view

With this chore out of the way, Babaente set off alone to scout out their next kiting spot.  First she went to where they had left off, the small camp just north west of the 20k outpost in Pleasant Meadows.  There are always 10 or so level 60 Eye Mutants milling about there.  Babaente wanted to do a few practice kites here before moving on to finding something more challenging and rewarding.  While these 60 level mobs gave great experience when she and Tireen were in their 40 to 60 range, now that they are both over 70, the experience per mob is less than a standard team mission mob of about 2k per mob.

This was OK with Babaente for tonight as she just wanted to get comfortable with kiting and the  whole kiting tool set.  After running 30 or so missions straight she and Tireen had the moves for that down pat, and it was now time to relearn kiting in the open.

The first thing to attend to was her screen layout.  When kiting, what works really well is to zoom out rather far in the 3rd person view, and look straight down on the scene  This allows one to see where they are going and keep track of the kite of mobs being lead.  It helps to drag much of the usual mission HUD panels away to the edges of the screen or close them entirely.  HUD things like the chat windows, any open backpack windows, etc.  are just potentially leathal distractions when kiting.  This is because NT’s usually kite mobs that are much higher than they are.

These mobs are so much higher in level that it would be suicide for your average NT to try and fight just one toe to toe without kiting.  Kiting is not something you want to do if the weather outside is stormy, and your connection is bad, and your getting any significant lag while outdoors far from large numbers of other players.  Lag can cause you screen to display the mobs in the kite as being where they are not, with deadly results if you collide with where they actually are.  Generally at the first hint of serious lag Babaente usually calls it a day for kiting and starts looking for something else to do.

The next area she concentrated on had to do with getting back into the usual flow of a typical kite.  This involved getting buffed up properly for the job.  To kite an NT needs runspeed first.  For low level NT’s, NTs that is who have yet to be able to cast thier Area of Effect nukes instantly, (or “insta-cast’ as the hip players call it) have to be able to run fast enough to get far enough ahead of the mobs such that they have time to stop, cast their AOE nuke, and resume running before any mob in the kite gets close enough to harm them.  Nanomage NT’s tend to be some of the squishy-est players on the planet, so getting hit by mobs higher than them is not advisable.

For NT’s in Babaente’s level, even if they have always maxed runspeed with IP points, this is usually not enough to outrun higher level mobs.  Some sort of buff is needed.  If you are lucky and social, a Grid Space Freedom from a Fixer,  is just the ticket.   Babaente instead uses a combination of +40 runspeed from her Subway Boots of Infinite Speed, and +100 run speed  from a Hacked Boosted Graft Playful Cub.  She has found that this boost of 140 runspeed is enough to let her comfortably kite mobs 10 to 20 levels higher than herself.   She has tried kiting with Grid Space Freedom, but feels she would need to get it regularly to become proficient with it, because the speed increase is really so much that she has to concentrate on stopping often enough for the kite to keep up.

The first step is the scouting phase:  The NT circles a group of mobs from a distance, sizing them up and determining which ones look the strongest, while also looking for any potential pathing problems that might prevent the mobs from joining the chase.  In this case, the camp is enclosed in a wire fence and is jam packed with a number of small huts and buildings.  While it is easy to aggro almost all of the mobs with a single cast, many often do not end up in the kite because they get stuck behind a building or the fence.  In this situation, sometimes if the mobs are on the side of the camp furthest from the entrance, Babaente may have to enter rather far into the camp in order to get and keep aggro while leading the kite out of the camp and onto the open space nearby.

Bad Lesser Woodwolf, that will teach you to horn in on my kite!

Bad Lesser Woodwolf, that will teach you to horn in on my kite! Click for larger view.

The next phase of a kite takes place after the intial pull.  The NT generally tries  to lead the kite to a wide open area where they can lead the kite in gradually smaller circles.  Once out of the camp, a fairly well zoomed out view is needed to see what is going on and to a keep a safe distance from any high level wild mobs that may wander into the area.  Babaente has lost many a kite due to having a much higher level mob join in the chase. Since the mob is much higher than the rest of the kite, the origninal kite mobs die long before it does, such that by the time Babaente can wear down the high level mob, the other corpses have vanished.

The last phase starts when the targeted mob  hits 50% health.  Now is a good time to tab through the other mobs in the kite to see if any one in particular has more health left than the others. If one does, tab back to it and keep it targeted.  Now the mobs will start showing the effects of their reduced health, and start gradually slowing down.  Some may slow down before others, and when this happens, it is time to start spiraling the kite in to smaller circles so that the slow ones do not get left behind.  The NT ends up leading the kite around in a tight circle focused on the slowest ones.  Depending on how well executed the whole process is, the mobs will start dying at about the same time.   NT’s like to pride themselves when they get them all to drop simultaneously, but that’s more of a style issue.

The kite is then over, and all that is left to do is to heal up from any damage sustained, and collect loot from the corpses before they vanish (hard core, old school players call it ‘rot’).

Crash at Omni Outpost.  Keep your distance from the Generalissimo! Click for larger version.

Crash at Omni Outpost. Keep your distance from Major Woon! Click for larger version.

After several more kites she felt pretty comfortable with the routine again and was ready to try it on higher level quarry.  It had been a while since she had looked around Pleasant Meadows, so she took a quick tour of the region.  After she had checked out the northern half, she was checking out an Omni outpost in the southeast part of the region.  She paused to take some screen shots and was on the east side of the base fairly low to the ground, but a safe distance away when she decided to leave and head west again.  She thought let’s show that Omni Major Woon with the super long health bar what she thought of Omni as a whole,  and putting her Yalmaha at full speed buzzed past the general just a few inches over his head.

As she proceeded west and the base shrank from view, she noticed that the vicinity log showed that  Major Woon had indeed noticed her, and had tried to hit her and missed, twice!  Babaente was chuckling to herself until she suddenly found herself seeing the total white out that always precedes coming to at reclaim.

We are really not sure what happened. But we think the general warped her back and shot her faster than her poor ancient cpu and monitor could keep up with it. Checking the logs a while later it shows this:

-Attacked by Major Woon!
-Major Woon tried to hit you, but missed!
-Major Woon tried to hit you, but missed!
-Attacked by Major Woon!
-Your reflect shield hit Major Woon for 5 points of damage.
-Your damage shield hit Major Woon for 5 points of damage.
-Major Woon hit you for 7390 points of melee damage.Critical hit!
-Nanoprogram CrunchCom Code Sieve terminated...

So she buzzed Major Woon, got about a half mile away, and then the above appears in her log and she finds herself in reclaim.   Whatever transpired, be forwarned, lowbies, keep your distance from Major Woon.  We are subscribing to the theory that Major Woon warped her back to where he was and sent her back to reclaim with one fell swoop, either that or he as very fast reflexes and managed to hit her as she flased by in her Yalmaha at top speed.

This is not the first time she  have been warped but every time it is just as surprising and just as helpless a feeling as she ha sencountered in this world.  A swamp hag near Bio-Domes did this to us once, except she did not hit as fast or as hard, so Babaente could get away briefly, only to be re-warped back, until she got tired of that, and the hag finished the job.  Then there were several different mission Bosses, that when Babaente’s  team tried to retire to the previous level to heal up a bit after putting away the Bosses minions, would have none of that and demanded their continuous presence until it or they  alone were left standing.

So Babaente headed straight out from reclaim back to Pleasant Meadows to the spot she should have gone to strait away after leaving 20K.  It is often referred to as “Claw Camp” in south west Pleasant Meadows.  It is a camp much like the previous Eye Mutant camp except these mobs are around level 80-90.  Babaente had tried this spot back when she was in her 50s and was not fast enough and her nukes were also too weak to make it practical then.  She was about to set down and get buffed up at the small hill just west of the camp when she noticed a level 138 fixer sitting there, perhaps allocating out IP points after some kite leveling there.  It was getting close to our time to log off so Babaente decided to set down nearby and log back on here the next day.


ICC Shuttleport shortcuts

3 09 2008
Babaente, Baba's NT alt, starting out at Newbi Island.

Babaente, Babas NT alt starting out on the island.

Baba has contracted a raging case of alt-itis over the long Labor Day weekend, using the time to create a female NT Babaente. Running through the quests of newbee island gave us to chance to refresh our knowledge of the place and discover a few useful shortcuts and tips.

The Shortcuts

The shortcuts are all a variation on one theme, jumping down from the upper level of the island to the lower levels. To complete the needed tasks and missions on the island, Newbees have to do a great deal of running back and forth from the upper level to the several beach locations.

Bridge jump shortcut to beach tunnels

Bridge jump shortcut to beach tunnels

The first shortcut is found on the small bridge on which the Unicorn soldier and the medic are standing. When going from say Travis Molen near the whompa tunnel entrance to the beach or the docks, run to this point and jump over the side and you will find yourself in the depression where the two beach tunnels exit near the up ramp, so this saves running down the winding ramp.

Stair jump, shortcut to docks.

Stair jump, shortcut to docks.

The next shortcut is a bit more technical, but easy once mastered. Jump up on the left wall of the ramp going up to the area with Travis Molen and move to the top, then turn left and face the wire fence. Run a step or two and jump and you should clear the fence and be on a large ledge that you can then jump from to quickly reach any part of the docks. This one is big timesaver when farming melted circuit boards.

Back to the crash site shortcut.

Back to the crash site shortcut.

The third shortcut is to get from the Travis Molen area back to the crash site. Run to the path that leads to the landing pads, when you get to the T where the path intersects with another, jump over the side and bingo, your close to where you started. Another variation is to use jumping down to the beach as an emergency exit when swarmed by roller rats or bots on the landing pads. This can be very useful on the kill the saboteur mission. Sneak onto the landing pad past the roller rats to the saboteur and take out the saboteur. If aggroed by the roller rats jump over the side to escape. The entire terraformed area just past the landing pads has one continuous ledge from which you can reach any part of the beach.

General ICC Shuttleport mission tip: Don’t try to complete the sided armor quests from Travis Molen first thing. The mobs involved are way to high for the damage you can do and your pitiful health at the start. Squishy toons should instead spend some time just killing easy mobs on the beach and level up to level 10. Do some of the other easy quests, like the monster parts for health kits one. Buy your first beginners nano collection with proceeds from farming cargo driods on the docks for melted circuit boards.

Bonus tip: Even though the patch that enabled the social tab implies that things worn in the social tab do not function, if you equip a backpack on the social tab back slot, you get it’s full use. If functions exactly as normal, you can open a window, put things in or retrieve them, so you get the benefit of having another backpack to carry stuff, without using an inventory slot.

Baba has always envied those impressive nukes NT’s have and could resist the lure no longer. Of course there was some major play style differences right from the beginning. Yes your freshly minted NT comes with a pistol, but it’s rather wimpy. The damage it does is so small that it takes much longer to kill a mob with, than an NT’s health will support. With very little health to loose, NT’s need a faster way to do damage, and that is where their combat nanos come in. They have lots of different damage nanos, that vary in the type of damage and can be single mob or area of affect type damage.

From the island Babaente met up with Baba in Athens where Baba fixed her up with a few very modest twinks. An infusion of credits to buy some starter implants, plus a 3 slot belt, a pair of 8-15 NCU memories, a IQ ring (% Add Xp 2), and a capsule of thin blood (Body Dev. 2). In return Babaente contributed to the cause by presenting Baba with his much wanted range meter, something he missed when he started out due to it’s being counter intuitive. How could a range meter do a melee fighter any good? It is not logical, but it does increase your chance of a critical hit by 1%.

Babaente popped into the Athens subway and hit up a violent vagabond for a vagabonds coat for the token add all def 35. Next she made her way to a general store and acquired and installed a set of QL10-20 store bought implants. Next stop was the nano section where she collected about 10 nanos which she has a reasonable expectation of being able to equip before hitting level 25. To help pay for it, she did the bio-communicator quest and used it to create blood plasma from the rats killed doing Tibors quest. She just resold the armor rewards as it is not as good as the sided island armor that levels.

This all done, it was time to hit the subway in earnest. For a while she dabbled in the beginning section just before you get to the strikers. She could level off the various bots and muggers there. She also hooked up several times with singletons to form a pair team, which increased the leveling rate. When she reached level 13 she the stopped for the night. The next day, after leveling up her armor and morphing memory, she re-entered the subway with her looking for team checked on. She picked up several teams. Things were very par for AO at this point with the usual mixture of really good and gallant players sprinkled with goofballs and 6th graders. The last team was the perfect leveling sweet spot for her at that time. Her 3 person team met up with another 3 person team in the striker room, so they formed just one 6 person team. With the strikers spawning quickly, team members were leveling at a good clip. When things petered out, she had reached level 15. The team broke up in the slow crumble style. One person ran out of ammo, so left for the store, another did the same a few minutes later, then another just plain vanished. That left just Babaente, a crat, and one enforcer. Baba quickly learned that anything less than a full team in the striker room is not a good idea.

Before logging off, Baba had to take a few minutes to allocate out her new IP. By now was able to equip all of her nanos, and could also now replace her dreaded light bar with a much more stylish Floating Torch.

In the meantime, Baba has been taking a break, having gotten a bit burned out hunting the same 5-6 dynas hoping for a drop of the dyna only Skill of Highlander. He had decided he would rather be leveling, so if you have one to sell, give Baba a tell.