Planting Better Pets

14 10 2010





Babaoroody has been called out of semi-retirement to assist TEAM PETS with 1) a new net of implants, and 2) to blitz for higher pets for each.  Their previous level 100 implants (which they got when they were in their 50s levels) have started looking puny ever since they got into their 90’s level range, however their treatment still needed to be increased before they could equip QL125 imps.  They targeted 125s because those are the highest level store bought basic imps available.  Imps over that level must be custom made by stripping down looted implants. Making custom imps is not something they can try until Babaemphee is around level 120 due to the high requirements.  After some calculations it was clear that Babaoroody’s Nano Programming (with an additional 92 points from an MP buff from Babaemphee) would only be high enough to make about half the implants.  Trader Tireen was employed to shop for and collect the needed basic implants and the clusters.  She handed these over to Babaoroody, who was able to build about half of them.  Baba then had to ask for help from end-game level guild mates to combine the remaining implants.  Over the course of several evenings, Angels of the Night toon Herschol combined the implants by taking advantage of a Nano Programming boost provided by guild’s player city.  The generous implant combiner gracefully let it pass that Baba had a few errors in implant preparations, however they were fairly minor and did not prevent the completion of the key implants and clusters.

Next came the actual implanting sessions with both Babaengy and Babaemphee going through that involved drill.  This drill involves a)swapping body, arms, leg, glove and boots armor for Omni med suit pieces, b) swapping regular head armor for a Biomech helmet (buffs treatment), c) hitting up a surgery clinic machine, and swapping the old imps out and putting the new imps in.  Then the first two steps have to be reversed.  While QL125 imps may not be considered ‘twink’ level for level 90 toons, they still provided just enough of a skill boost to get them to be able to control pets +20 levels above them self-buffed.  (Note: They still require Babaempee’s Masteries and trader Tireen’s Wrangle to cast the pets.)

With this out of the way, it was time for Baba to blitz a better bot for Babaengy (He had already given Babaemphee a better attack pet that he has had in his bank for quite some time.)  As the new Engy nano was level 146, it would be interesting to see how difficult the mission would be.  This usually depends on the type of mob.  The most dreaded mobs for him now are Slayerdroid types.  A one on one with these can often be fatal given the slightest error or bit of bad luck.  This mission turned out to be packed with Slayerdroids, but fortune smiled and none of them were placed squarely in the path to the mission objective.  He did have to kill a few Infector types but these are manageable.

COH-Empty first section, must be a team ahead

COH-Empty first section, must be a team ahead, click for larger view

Once Babaemphee and Babaengy had equipped their new imps and their new pets, it was time to return to the ‘kill 3 of’ mission that was running for them both at COH.  Tireen was able to log off right away, as they did not need her help opening the front door.  Someone else must have fairly recently opened it, as they strolled right in.  The found the Blorrg and Skincrawler areas completely empty.  This meant there is most likely a good team just ahead of them.  They caught up with the other ‘team’ at the pool area where the entrance to the serpent tunnels is.  It was another ‘pet team’ this one consisting of a 85 crat with droid, and 110 Engineer with Slayerdroid II.  Despite the Slayerdroid firepower, they were not moving very quickly through the tunnel, so TEAM PETS passed them and proceeded to the southern tunnel section to complete their kill 3 serpents objective.  It actually worked out to both teams favor in the Kizzermole tunnel, as it was fully populated, and having two teams prevented anyone from being swarmed.  The other team then went to pull the switch to spawn the Pit Demon.  TEAM PETS had been looking at their time displays and decided that responsibilities in RL4 were pressing so after the other team vacated the switch room to go and kill the Pit Demon, they moved next to the switch and logged off.  A review of the combat logs later showed the new Flawed Warbot critting for 1100 points and averaging 700 point regular hits.  The new attack pet was hitting for around 675 points.  It was also clear that the additional evades from the imps was resulting in more log entries of the ‘Kizzermole tried to hit you but missed’ type.

Babaente Starts Kiting Again


Overlooking Claw Camp in SW Pleasant Meadows

Overlooking Claw Camp in SW Pleasant Meadows


The last time NT Babaente was out kiting was quite some time ago, before TEAM PETS started.  Her last kite had been at South West Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows.  At that time, kiting there was a very dangerous proposition.  Her net run speed, self buffed with a hacked boosted graft Playful Cub morph, and the Boots of Infinite Speed, was just barely enough to allow her to outrun the Claws there, but just barely.  There was very little margin for error, such as forgetting to right click the boots to activate the ‘Terrain Knowledge’ +40 run speed buff.  The boots themselves only give a +3 boost to run speed when equipped.  The +40 run speed buff only lasts 30 minutes, but can be re-cast as needed.

She returned recently determined to see what a difference a whole additional 100 runspeed from her new Ring of Haste would make.  After scouting the area from her yalm she determined that some one had previously trained off the three Slayerdriods that usually guard this camp.

She only pulled a few Claws on her first kite, and it’s a good thing she did.  Early into the kite, she experienced some control issues that resulted in her momentarily getting stuck and the kite piling up on her.  She managed to get away, but with about 10% health, which caused the rest of the kite to take a long time as she had to be extra cautious since here run speed was reduced due to the low health.  After she sorted out the control issues, the next kite went really well.  At full health, and with the added runspeed from the Ring, she was easily able to pull the entire camp and lead it about with impunity.  This was the first time, self buffed, that she had enjoyed this surplus of speed.  By having more than enough speed, she could easily keep her distance when needed, and had greater flexibility in manipulating the kite to keep it together.  With the extra margin, she could take her time, tabbing through the mobs to find the strongest to use as the primary area of effect nuke target.

This large kite was more than enough to push her to ding level 90 as when she started she already had about 75% of a level built up.  The loot was nothing remarkable,  but she dutifully picked it up and tossed it into backpacks.  She ran a few more kites and then retired to the top of the little hill overlooking the camp to allocate out her new IP.  Besides pumping up her MC for better nukes, she is currently trying to build up her SI so she can equip her next best calm. While her calms are not as reliable as trader Tireen’s they come in very handy in dungeons and missions where kiting is not an option.

Solo NT kiting was a nice change of pace for the complexity of TEAM PETS.  It is quite the opposite kind of experience.  The NT only needs to cast a handful of self buffs, and then it mostly run, stop, nuke, run, etc.  It is very easy to get into action, get a decent amount of experience and then log out in under 50 minutes.  In the time it takes TEAM PETS to simply buff up, cast pets, and buff pets, NT Babaente can complete several kites.

Now that she is confident in the nice speed margin given by her new ring, she will invite trader Tireen to team up and leech experience.  While the Claws still give decent experience, it won’t be long before it will be time to start scouting out a higher level kiting spot.


Claw Camp, the NT Magnet

6 07 2009

Our level 72 NT returned to Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows again on the last day of the long 2009 July 4th weekend. Tireen, our 72 Trader came along to make a two person team.

One of Babaentes successful kites at Claw Camp.

One of Babaente's successful kites at Claw Camp.

First Tireen scouted the area in her Yalm for Slayer Droids.  While the camp has been known to have up to six Slayer Droids arranged in guard duty around the perimeter, tonight there was only one, and it was situated about a 100 meters to the south east.  It was far enough away that Babaente could safely run around the outside of the camps fence and not get close enough to pull aggro from the Droid.

Babaente’s pre-kite buff was her usual, with the addition of also popping one of the 8th Anniversary experience boosting items.  Since Babaente had leveled there recently just before the lag canceled visit, her run speed is getting better, so that combined with Playful Cub and Terrain Knowledge, she found she can now comfortably out run the Claws far enough so she can stop to cast securely.

Babaente was greatly relieved as she pulled the new kite out from the camp and to the area next to the small hill to see that lag was not present.  She did experience a re-occurrence of something that seems to be happening fairly often now.  If she gets too far ahead of the Claws, or does not nuke them often enough, some of the kite break off and leave the kite.  This causes problems because although the Claws that break off from the kite start walking back towards the camp, they do it so slowly, that it becomes difficult to avoid them while circling the kite.  Get to close and they may attack and cause serious damage.

Tireen watches Claws leave after sending Babaente to reclaim mainly due to lag the previous day.

The previous day under bad lag conditions, Tireen watches Claws leave after sending Babaente to reclaim.

She was able to manage the few who did break off, by arching the kite wide and bringing it around behind them so as to re-gain aggro by having a nuke go off in the kite when the kite was next to them.  This stills leaves a minor problem because the returning Claws will not drop when the rest of the kite does.  As a result, Babaente missed out on a nice piece of loot.  Even though she managed to bring down the errant 3 Claws fairly soon after the rest of the kite dropped, the corpses from those that dropped first started vanishing before Babaente could get to them.

In one particularly galling case, she opened one corpse to find an Instruction disk for Enfraam’s Major Fortification, an NT nano that usually costs a bit, but her inventory was full so she could not pick it up.  By the time she transfered an item from her inventor to a backpack, the disk and corpse vanished.

It has been quite a few levels since she equipped her current AOE nuke “Limited Shrapnel Spray” and it is really starting to show.  Babaente tried modifying the frequency that she nukes her kites there.  It had been taking her 7 to 8 minutes from start to finish there.  This was at a rate of casting her AOE nuke after every 6 running steps while in Playful Cub form. The seemed to work well in regards to managing nano, as her nano level would rarely drop below 75% at this rate where clearly her buffed nano delta was working well.  When she increased her rate to nuking once every 5 steps, the kite did go faster, ending in about 5 minutes, but the increased nano use rate brought her nano down to around 10%.  When this happened she had to do a quick F1 toggle to target herself, and activate a nano stim, and then toggle F1 back to a Claw so as to resume nuking.  This brought her nano level back up past 50% and allowed her to finish the kite.

Babaente is a bit dejected that it seems it will be another 8 or so levels before she will have increased her Mater Creation enough to equip the next step up in AOE nukes.

Babaente was able to get 3-5 more good kites in before here Playful Cub hacked boosted graft timed out.  During that time, Tireen dinged, and Babaente was at about 95% towards a level.  Babaente still felt fresh, and went ahead and recast Playful Cub when it ran out.  She was just about to go pull another kite, when she noticed that another kite team had shown up and was currently kiting most of the camp.

Babaente retired to sit at the top of the hill and observed the new team for a while.  There were two high level MP’s and an NT at about Babaente’s level.  With various buffs and healing from the 2 MP’s the NT was able to dispense with most of the running.  Babaente decided that the best use of her limited remaining time for this session would be for her and Tireen to return to the outpost to save their experience and allocate out their new IP points.

Claw Camp times

5 07 2009


It was all timing.  First a title 3 Trader, Tireen popped out of suspended animation to sit on top of the small hill overlooking Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows.  She equipped her Yalm and did a quick scout flight of the surrounding area for the bane of kite parties, the Slayer Droids.  She found none, so the server had not been reset since someone had trained the somewhat dim Slayer Droids to the middle of nowhere.  Her duty done, she waited for the title 3 NT Babaente to pop in.

Babaente, as soon as she materialized out of suspended animation, went through the steps to team Tireen and herself.  This done she proceeded to buff up, while, Tireen popped off one of the 8th Anniversary experience buffs, and then re-equipped her Yalmaha and positioned her self 50 or so meters above the batch of dead tree trunks next to the hill where Babaente would be leading her kites to.



After Babaente completed getting her usual set of buffs running, she activated one of the experience buffs just as Tireen had.  Glancing at her NCU panel before closing it to clear her HUD, it was fuller than normal, thanks to the experience buff and an Fixer run speed buff some generous soul had ninja’ed her with as she had been sitting outside the Newland City Advanced Shop.

The extra pressure of having to ‘make the best’ of these timed buffs added more butterflies than usual to her just before the kite starts nerves. The Claws were rather spread out with many outside the camp, making it hard to collect a bunch at a time, so she settled for just two at first, but she quickly found that with the wonderful amount of extra run speed from the Fixer buff, that she could lead the Claws around with impunity as she wished, so she casually routed them around the camp to pick up a good sized kite eventually.



She then lead it over to the tree log area and had fun with the wonderfully abundant run speed.  She had ample time to stop and cast more frequently than she had ever had before, so she took advantage of this.  This brought the kite down much faster with her casting AOE nukes about twice as often as without outside buffs. By the time at least half the kite had dropped, her HUD flashed the always welcome ‘new level’ icon. It was just after that that trouble reared it’s head.

Her Nano bar was hovering at around 40%.  In her usual set up, her rate of kiting and nano use (from nukes) rarely put her nano bar lower than 75%.

While she was able to continue at the faster rate, and she completed the kite, she had a rather flummoxing experience as soon as she finished looting the kite’s corpses.  When she sat down to use a nano kit to start recharging her nano, it would not work, giving her a message that she could not be in combat to use the kit.  This was crazy as she was not in combat, but she noticed that her combat logged still showed new lines of “attacked by xx Claw etc.” scrolling up, yet no Claws were near her.

At first she thought maybe one of the other minor outside buffs she had picked up in the city were locking the skills required to use the nano kit, but a frantic inspection of all her running outside buffs, yielded nothing untoward.

So here she was, frustrated and disappointed. With a sinking feeling she watched her NCU panel show the Fixer run speed buff running down while it seemed to take forever for her Humidity Extractor buffed nano delta to recharge her nano to where she could start another kite.



She should have been kiting like crazy now, and leveling herself and Tireen up like mad, She was just about to log off and write it all off to some kind of weird server problem, when Bitbomber (lvl 29 NanoTechnician, male, clan, J’avais envie) ran up in Playful Cub form and asked if Babaente was kiting the camp.  Babaente told the fellow NT  that she had been, but that she was having some problems, and could not continue, so she encouraged the Bitbomber to go ahead and start kiting the camp. After several more exchanges so everyone was clear it was OK for the new-comers (several other players in the NT’s team had arrived one by one) to ‘play through’ and take over the field, as Babaente was finished there for now.

So Babaente retired to the hill near by, while the new team went about kiting the camp.  Babaente noticed that her combat log was still showing the new NT’s mobs as attacking her, so she could still not recharge her nano.  She eventually moved to the opposite side of the hill where the server finally figured out she and the other NT were two separate toons, and the ‘attacked by x Claw’ lines stopped appearing in her log.  Rather than run out her excellent run speed buff just sitting there, she decided to log off and return some time later and hopefully when the camp was free again.

Later she reviewed the log to find:

Other hit by nano
Claw-C27 Outlaw was attacked with nanobots from Bitbomber
 for 185 points of projectile damage.
Attacked by Claw-C27 Outlaw!

Babaente is wondering if these Claws aggro every player in sight when anyone attacks them.  It has to be that or some sort of weird server or lag problem that was causing the system to not recognize that she was out of combat and should have been allowed to use her nano kits.

Babaente returned the following evening determined to get some leveling out of her Fixer Run Speed Buff, but fate said it was just not in the cards.  The lag demon was out and about Pleasant Meadows and Babaente got wiped twice in a row before she decided to stop trying.  Both times her HUD showed her well ahead of the kite, when suddenly, with no warning, her scrolling combat log went dark red with “Claw hit you for xxx damage” lines and the reclaim white out took over her HUD.  After the second time she resigned herself to spending the rest of that evening allocating out her IP points gained when she dinged 72 the previous day.

Hotkey Bar Basics

22 06 2009
Single Hotkey Bar, replaces 3 previous hotkey bars, click to view larger image.

Single Hotkey Bar, replaces 3 previous hotkey bars, click to view larger image.

All the nifty attacks and buffs can be mostly useless if you can not access them quickly and efficiently, especially if you are in combat and don’t have time to dig through several layers of menus to find them.  In the Anarchy Online world, Babaoroody and his friends Babaente and Tireen, solve this problem with something called Hotkey Bars which appear in the standard AO heads up display that is super-imposed on the view of the person.

The really powerful aspect of hotkey bars is that when a bar is active, the individual items in the bar are activated by the 1-0 keys. There can be up to 10 hot bars on the viewing area, however this can be problematic for two reasons.  The first is the amount of screen real estate they take up. One bar can be tucked to a side or top or bottom. More than one bar starts eating quickly into the remaining viewing area and can make some activities, like kiting which require a wide area view, very difficult.  The second hang up is with multiple hot bars is it introduces another set of key commands in order to switch between active bars.

The hotkey bar settings can be found in the F10, Preferences, GUI, Misc menu.  There is a sliding scale to select the number of hotkey bars to display from 1 to 10.

One other option that is very useful on this screen is the “Lock hotkey bars” toggle.  When it is engaged the hotkey bars cannot be moved from their location on the screen. This prevents accidentally dragging them out of position.  Toggle this off of course when you want to re-arrange things.

There are only 2 commands to learn in order to master hotkey bars:

  • Shift + 1-0
    Shift + any number from 1 to 0, causes the corresponding hotkey to be activated on the active bar.  The active bar is indicated by a light block showing in the small rectangle next to the hotkey bar number.
  • Alt + 1-0
    Alt + any number from 1 to 0, causes the focus to switch to a particular hotkey bar. The active hotkey bar is always indicated by the small rectangle to the left of the bar number being illuminated.  When a bar have been selected using Alt + the bar’s number, then pressing keys 1-0 will activate that bars hot-keys.

Of course, left clicking with the mouse will activate any hotkey on any hot-bar, regardless of which bar has focus.

Right clicking on the hotkey bar number will cause the bar to toggle between vertical and horizontal alignment.  When the options menu “lock hotkey bars” is toggled to off, hotkey bars can be moved and placed just about anywhere on the screen.

Hotkeys can be assigned to:

  • nanos, special attacks, and to use items like first aid kits
  • emotes
  • chat macros which combine emotes and frequently used chat saying
  • macros to display specific custom help screens
  • macros for frequently used commands like /follow

There are two ways to create hotkey items:

  • drag and drop a nano icon from the programs window
  • from the command line.
    Example, at the command line type /macro greeting /greet.  After hitting the enter key, a small button will appear with “greeting” in it.
Visit Anarchy Online Arcanum hosted by for one of the most informative and attractive guides to many things AO.

Visit Anarchy Online Arcanum hosted by for one of the most informative and attractive guides to many things AO.

For a more complete run down of macros and custom help files, visit the Anarchy Online Arcanum hosted by

This site is a real jewel of AO information covering a broad range of topics in a well organized, attractive design that is also easy to use.  Here are links to the sections relevant to this posts topic:

When a character starts out in Rubi-Ka, they often fill up one or two rows of a hot bar, and then start additional hot bars, so that  more items are visible on the screen. Many players find that once they get experienced and can remember most of their nanos, commands and other hotkey actions, that they no longer need to have more than one or two bars visible.

Triple Hotkey Bars as used by level 71 NT, click for larger view

Triple Hotkey Bars as used by level 71 NT, click for larger view

Babaente having reached level 71, decided to take stock of her growing hot bar collection and to pare it down a bit.  She had 3 hot bars on screen holding around 50 unique nanos, commands, emotes and other macros.  She had been using this set ever since starting on her last token mission run to get 250 tokens and she knew that she rarely used more than 2 bars during the same relative period of time.

With this in mind she figured she could put all of the items in one hot bar and could manage it using the hot bar command Shift + number of the layer desired, to switch between layers.  She spent a little while moving the items to different layers on one bar.

Babaoroody has used a HUD set up with only one or two hotkey bars before.  When Babaente checked with him for his tips, he told her that it would be up to her to get used to using the Shift + number command to switch hotkey bar layers. WTB (AO shopping channel shorthand for Want To Buy) a single key method for selecting the active hotkey bar layer.  WTB also for a single key method for switching  between two or more hotkey bars.  While the commands are simple enough to learn and remember, they take two hands to execute.  Issuing these commands with one hand IS possible, and certainly would help maintain flow much better then having to free up both hands to utilize more than one hotkey bar. Try holding the left shift key and any number 1-0.  It appears fairly easy with numbers 1-5, but 5-0 look like quite a stretch, literally.

The new set up uses 8 layers with 2 layers still empty.

  1. Layer 1 is for Missions
    • Enveloping Darkness (single blind/debuff)
    • Greater Toxic Field (single nuke)
    • Phosphor Torch (single fire nuke)
    • Mass Claw Eyes (group blind/debuff)
    • Limited Shrapnel Spray (AOE nuke)
    • First Aid
    • Treatment Lab
    • Nano Kit
    • Nano Recharger
    • Follow macro
  2. Layer 2 is for Primary Buffs
    • Crunch code Sieve
    • Enhance Nano Communications
    • Humidity Extractor
    • Enfram’s Superior Fortification
    • Treatment Expertise
    • Regeneration health delta
    • First Aid Expertise
    • Terrain Knowledge
    • Quickness
    • Weapon Augmentation
  3. Layer 3 is for Secondary Buffs
    • Computer Expertise
    • Agility Boost
    • Intelligence Boost
    • Psychic Boost
    • Sense Boost
    • Space Time Boost
    • Stamina Boost
    • Strength Boost
    • Mat Met Expertise
    • Matter Create Expertise
  4. Layer 4 is for Kiting
    • Furious Assault (single long cast nuke)
    • Greater Toxic Field (single nuke)
    • Phosphor Torch (fire single nuke)
    • Mass Claw Eyes (group blind/debuff)
    • Limited Shrapnel Spray (AOE nuke)
    • First Aid
    • Project Calm
    • Notem Splice (nano HOT)
    • Weak Gravity Pull
    • Enmity (taunt)
  5. Layer 5 is for Assorted Buffs
    • Breaking and Entering Expertise
    • Pistol Expertise
  6. Layer 6 is for Emotes, Chat, and Help
    • Macro to Beg for Iron Circle, GSF etc.
    • FBLOCK emote
    • PULP emote
    • GREET emote
    • BALLET emote
    • Macro to shout for help in Team channel
    • Macro to display own custom help screen directory
    • Macro to display additional emotes and chat commands in
      custom help screen
    • Backflip emote
    • Thankyou emote and chat vicinity macro
  7. Layer 7 is for Commands and more Macros
    • Macro post looking for team message in vicinity chat
    • Macro to post Train warning in vicinity chat
    • Macro to emote and say thank you in vicinity chat
    • Macro to display listing of guild members online in guild
    • Macro to display listing of those logged into Froobs chat
    • Macro to display custom help screens
    • pick item up command
    • crawl command
    • Yalmaha activation/deactivation
    • Exit command
  8. Layer 8 is for seldome used actions
    • Weak Gravity Pull (root)
    • Project Calm (calm)
    • Nano Contagion (DOT, damage over time nuke)

Babaente plans to try this for a while to see how it works.  She can always put a second bar up if this the time arises where a single bar does not seem up to the task. If that should be the case, then she will only need to master one more command: Alt + number to make the so selected hot bar the active one.

Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows

21 06 2009
Claw Camp in south west Pleasant Meadows, click for larger view

Claw Camp in south west Pleasant Meadows, click for larger view

After scouting out most of Pleasant Meadows as described in a previous post, Babaente returned to the Claw Camp in the south west corner of this region to give it a few trial run kites.  She wanted to see if she could do well enough here kiting these 80+ level Claws so that both she and Tireen, our trader, could get some leveling here.

To find it from 20K, the main whompa station and neutral outpost in the center of the region, she simply follows the road in front of the outpost east a bit till it angles southwest.  This passes the Foggy Hill location and leads eventually to a ferry landing with an Omni outpost next door.  Heading due south along the coast will lead to Claw Camp where a small hill sits just to the right of the camp and next to the shore.  In the south distance the City of Omni Trade looms, with much local air traffic and several huge floating space vehicles that glide back and forth over the city.

Claw Camp overview, click to count Claws in mini map

Claw Camp overview, click to count Claws in mini map

The camp is home to about 8-10 level 80+ Claws and is sometimes guarded by two Slayer Droids.  The Droids are fairly high level. They will destroy any clan individuals that try to attack the camp.  To make the camp accessible is it necessary to train the Droids away.  This is possible because they are not programmed to return to post if they are led astray.  They only re-appear at the camp when ever there is a server reset.  Players with Yalmahas can easily get the Droids to chase them and then lead the Droid to any spot outside of sight range of the camp.  They quite happy to be lead either to west for a refreshing dip in the river (they do float/swim) or to be led south to-wards the city walls.  Players with out Yalms can with the Droids in chase, run south until they hit a zone at which point the Droids will stop and stay put.  The running player only then need to double back a ways east or west of the point where they zoned so as to avoid passing close to the now stopped Droids.

Slayer Droids a long way from thier duty posts, click for larger view.

Slayer Droids a long way from thier duty posts, click for larger view.

Babaente landed on the small hill next to the camp and got her kiting buff kit out.  This includes her usual combat and NT buffs plus a hacked boosted graft Playful Cub for +100 run speed and Terrain Knowledge for +40 run speed.  Read all about where and how to obtain the item that gives Terrain Knowledge here. She was not sure if this would be enough speed to safely kite these claw mobs.

The first pull she tried netted about 6 claws in hot pursuit.  Right away she realized she should have studied the area a bit more before starting.  She could not find a good area in which to lead the kite.  The area to the south was out due to the Slayer Droids lurking there.  The area to the west was too small being hemmed in by the river bank.  The area just north west of the camp looked open, but was not flat.  It had a raised area that was not large enough to be considered a hill, but was enough that the Claws could lose aggro there if she got too far ahead of them.

To make the situation worse, lag started to appear, and within a minute Babaente was back at the 20K reclaim cursing about the fact that those Claws were nowhere near her, when he log shows 5 of them clobbered her repeatedly.  Not wanting to give up, she returned after she got over the reclaim sickness and tried again.  This time, she was able to avoid getting clobbered, but she was having trouble keeping the kite together.  If she kept a safe distance from the Claws, the mobs would start breaking off one by one, until only one or two were left in the kite.

She took what she could get, but was not happy barely getting less than 10,000 experience points  after two Claws dropped.  She is hoping that the next time she logs in that the area that it will be lag free and she will be able to keep that kites together.  Hopefully, with lag abscent, Babaente will be able to pull fuller kites there so that she and Tireen can gain several levels.  If she finds that even in good conditions that her run speed is still too low, it will be buff begging city for a while.  Between org chat and Borealis, getting Gridspace Freedom should not be a problem.

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.

Kiting with lag

17 10 2008
Babantes basic black look.

Babantes basic black look.

Babaente and Tireen were back at NW Mine in Lush Fields this past Thursday evening and had a very productive kiting session.  Babaente is learning a few new things about kiting she would like to pass along.  If you have ever tried kiting, you know that kiting success is highly dependent on two things, staying ahead of the kite and being able to kill the kite in the fastest way possible, without running out of nano.  Another potential problem is kite stragglers or dropouts that remain in the area.

If you have ever dual logged, you know that the relative positions of your character and any mobs in the vicinity is not always perfectly up to date.    You may have also noticed that the more mobs that are on screen visually, the harder your computer has to work to keep up with refreshing the display and the location of each mob.   If you have a fairly new computer this may not be a problem, but for many of us, with computers that are more than a few years old, as the number of mobs on the screen increases, playing becomes slower and more like a slide show.

If you have ever kited, also you will know that you may start seeing your health decrease for no visible reason when a kite becomes spread out and dispersed and you are trying to view it in a zoomed out 3rd person view.    Babaente believes what is happening is that dispersed mobs you pass by are hitting you, but your display is not showing them accurately due to lag.

Thursday evening Babaente tried some experiments and has come to several conclusions related to this.  You can maximize you likelihood of  not getting hit by laggards and dropouts by most obviously keeping your kite to a size that you can manage and keep together.  Another action that seems to work well for Babaente at least, is stop using a greatly zoomed out view, and instead use one that is behind and above your toon, and zoomed out just a little ways. She has it zoomed so that she does not see the mobs unless they are within a few feet of her.  This proves useful in that as long as she can’t see them, she knows they are a safe distance behind her, if she sees them, its not time to stop.  The main benefit though, is the framerate stays crisp and smooth, since your computer has to display fewer moving mobs.

Do not rely on the screen to keep track of the mobs in the kite, use the mini-map for that.  Then learn how to measure of how many paces, or seconds or any measure you like  for your toon to run between nuke casting stops.

Babaente has been kiting using the Playful Cub morph, so she has been counting off the lopping strides of her big cat form.  While the kite is new and has most of its health, she counts off 7 hops of her cat form before stopping to cast.  She found this works well and preserves her nano.  She found that stopping more frequently, every 6 hops, while it killed the kite faster, would sometimes put her nano use at a greater rate than her Humidity Extractor buffed nano delta replenishes it.  At 7 steps per cast, it seems to be about even with her nano replenishment.    When the kite is near the end, and the remaining mobs are down to less than 25% health, she may switch to casting once every 6 hops.

She went the entire evening without a single ‘mystery hit’ while kiting using this method and in doing so, gained another level for herself and Tireen (putting her at 52 and Tireen at 47).

So Babaente was feeling good about mastering these new tricks, but she is still puzzled by a different kiting aspect.  Usually she can rely on the two settings auto-target mob, and auto-attack mob to target the hostile mob closest to her, and switch to attack mode on that target.  This seems to work about 3/4 of the time, but in about a quarter of the time, it fails, with drastic results.

When it fails, here is what happens.  She may be leading a decent sized kite with her mini map and display clearly show a mob in the kite is targeted and attack is activated, and then she stops to cast a nuke, and not only does the nuke not cast, but, she auto turns around in the direction of the kite.  If this catches her too much by surprise, it is sometimes impossible to avoid the mobs by turning direction and running again soon enough, resulting to a major health ding.   Once it starts happening, she then has to start manually using her next hostile target key and attack key to select the healthiest target and activate attack mode on it.    She may experiment with turning auto-target and auto-attack off on their next outing, just to see if that will give better results.