Den of Smug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turret which appears to be next to the same bridge.

Turret which appears to be next to the same bridge.

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

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

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

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

22 08 2009
Sunrise at PW Dunes, click for larger view.

Sunrise at PW Dunes, click for larger view.

Baba’s still working on level 138. Ever since he hit level 136, leveling for Baba at Perpetual Wastelands Borg spots has slowed way down. Where he used to get 90 to 100k for each Borg, it is has dropped down to around 60-70k now, so it is taking much longer to level there than it did before. As a result of having to fell more Borg per level, Baba is amassing quite a decent Miy’s armor collection.

He went to try and organize it some and turned to a program he has used for several years, the Anarchy Online Inventory System from halorn. Unfortunately it does not recognize Miy’s armor and only identifies the quality level, but not the type. As an alternative, Baba tried out the Anarchy Online Backpack Parser found here.

The AOBP is actually more convenient to use than the AOIS because it only requires you to move a bag from the bank to inventory to get the contents. The extra step of having to actually open each back pack is eliminated. When going through an entire bank, this saves a good deal of time. The program also offers quite a few options in terms of output formats, csv, txt, html, etc. What made Baba happy, is that it does recognize his Miy’s armor and another big plus is that it parses the backpack names which makes it easy to actually locate the items.

Baba relied on AOBP to help him come up with his current almost all Miy’s armor outfit. Using AOPB it was easy to copy the Miy’s entries over to a spreadsheet where he could further sort and organize it.

When he was done he had a list sorted by Miy’s type of his collection. He was able then to pick out and quickly locate the highest level Miy’s ranged pieces he had.

The reason he choose Ranged my surprise you. Why not the Tank, or Scary? Tank would be ideal but for one factor. It buffs 2 hand blunt skill, which is useless to Baba. The Ranged is almost identical except it buffs two useless skills to Baba rather than one, but, the equip requirements are Agility and Strength. With Ranged, Baba can equip higher quality levels than with the Tank that requires Stamina and Strength. Baba can equip QL 172 Ranged and QL 133 Tank, so for the time being, Ranged is the better choice since it yields higher buffs and AC protection.

Another detail Baba became aware of during this exercise was how items that buff your primary weapon skills, increase your attack rating. He had been wearing a pair of 130 Rhinoman leather gloves. When she switched them out for some 172 Ranged gloves, his attack rating went down a point. The Rhinoman leather gloves have buffs for 2 hand edged, Fast attack and Dimach which are supported by his current weapon, the Panther. This also highlights one other reason for using the Ranged or Tank Miy’s. They both buff strength and stamina, which have very strong trickle down to his weapon skills.

Since Ranged and Tank Miy’s buff 2 enforcer primary skills, strength and stamina, Baba realized that it would be in his best interest if he cast all his self buffs in order to be able to equip the highest level Miy’s he could. Once he did that he was able to get into pieces ranging from 184 to 168. See his latest set up here.

Baba has also been working on his always engaged HUD layout and made a few more tweaks recently. He moved several attack special rings out an open backpack to sit in his main inventory. The reason for doing this, is so they can be made into hot buttons on his hot key bars. He moved his health kit and nano recharge hot key buttons to a secondary hot bar. He then put the hot keys for the rings into the recently vacated primary hot bar slots. Now when kiting Borg or in any combat, he can use these rings without having to change hand positions or using the mouse. Baba has found, and others report in the forums that mouse control can lag at times, at least compared to hot key response.

Now Baba’s attack specials available to him on his primary hot bar include,

  • Flurry of Blows
  • Library of Foul Language
  • Ring of Eternal Night
  • Tattered Flame Ring
  • Bloodleech Ring
  • Weeping Flesh Ring
  • Memory Loss Ring

Baba uses Flurry as often as he can, but due to it’s cool down, it works out to about every other Borg.

He uses the Library of Foul Language only when everything else is on cool down, or when in teams and then it is used to get and keep aggro. Because of their cool down rates, Baba cycles between Eternal Night, Tattered Flame, Bloodleech, and Weeping Flesh, so that he can use at least one in every fight. He rarely uses the memory loss ring, keeping it around for team situations where it could be used to wipe a mobs hate list so Baba can then hit the mob and become it’s new number one on the hate list, and hopefully saving the squishy that the mob may have been attacking. None of these are knockout or even equivalent of an average hit from his current weapon, but they do help shorten the time it takes to bring a mob down.

Baba usually carries 6-7 loot bags currently, so when they fill up, it’s time to transfer the good to our Trader Tireen who fences them for top credit amounts. Recently while feeding loot to the Trader shop terminal in Newland City, another player noticed her Solar Powered Backpack and commented favorably on it. Baba now sees them listed on the shopping channel for 40 million credits. Then just a few nights later, while waiting for Babaente to show up, Tireen spotted a level 50 twink sporting the same back pack. This twink was an enforcer, so the Solar Powered backpack actually grows or shrinks according to the breed that is wearing it. When worn by an enforcer, it appears to be twice as big as Tireen’s.





Baba Breaks 136 at PW Dunes

29 07 2009
Start of Babas Tuesday Borg hunt, click for larger image.

Start of Baba's Tuesday Borg hunt, click for larger image.

Baba continued his hunting trip to Perpetual Wastelands for Borg that he started the day before. For the duration of this trip, he camped out there in the dunes, rather than commute back and forth from Newland City. When he approached the main dune area, he found it about 2/3 populated. This was the best he had found it recently. As far as PW Borg dunes is concerned, there is no shortage of players, as the Borg population is frequently culled by hunters like himself.

Baba is motivated to level up to 150 at which point he will be eligible to join in Froob Title 5 group activities. Soon Baba had cleaned out the main large dune and he had to head south to the small hilly section in the pinched area between the Helipad, the acid lake and the cliff wall. Getting to the point where his standard Borg kite attack is second nature, Baba focused on adding another special, the Library of Foul Language taunts. These not only taunt the enemy, but do a small amount of radiation damage as well. With a fairly quick cool down of 6 or so seconds, it can be repeated several times during each kite. A QL 140 Library does 35 radiation damage, so hitting a Borg four times in a kite, nets an additional 140 damage. No where near a crit, but Baba is not going to pass by anything that brings Borg down faster. Also just in the last few levels, the increases to his basic skills and speed stats, he has been able to start using Fast Attack and Brawl 2 to 3 times per Borg. For the longest time the cool downs for these were so long that Baba rarely got to use them more than once per fight.

Main Dune cleared, time to start south, click for larger view.

Main Dune cleared, time to start south, click for larger view.

With his loot bags full, Baba took to the skies in his Yalmaha, and headed due south to the nearest player city’s whompa. As he was passing over the mountain that sits between the Omni Mines and the main Borg base, he spotted a group of players standing around on the mountain top. He put his Yalmaha into hover and looked closer. There were about 5 players standing or sitting at the south east edge of the mountain top, looking down at the strip of road that runs between the Borg base and the Omni Mines. Down on the road he saw the 6th member of the team, an NT, that was kiting Borg.

It was one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that moments.’ If he had been up on the mountain top, safe and secure, he would have not gotten wiped like he did the last time he was on the ground here with a kiting team from his guild. He had been too close to the action, and sent back to reclaim when several Borg took an interest in him.

Baba dings 136 at PW Dunes, click for larger view

Baba dings 136 at PW Dunes, click for larger view

He proceeded on to Newland City, where he needed to sort through tonight’s loot take. Unlike the night before, when he had only gotten a handful of Miy’s armor pieces, tonight he had not only picked up many Miy’s pieces, but it also seemed to be “special guns” night in the loot table of his Borg. He sorted the guns out, but left them for identification at another time. He was more interested in cataloging his new Miy’s armor items, and since he had also just leveled, to look for pieces he could wear. It turned out that most of the Miy’s items dropped tonight were much higher than what he can equip now. He got several 200+ pieces, which he does not recall ever looting items that high before. He filled up a backpack with the new Miy’s pieces.

He placed that in his bank, and later after portioning out his level 136 IP points, he got out all his Miy’s armor bags and went through them looking for items he could now equip. This last level pushed up several of his stats enough that he could now equip a new Miy’s armor legs, arms and boots. The QL 111 carbonum armor arms that he removed were the last pieces of his former all carb armor set that he has worn since around level 90. Roughly 40 levels out of one set of Carb armor, goes to show what great armor the Carb is. It really is great for froob Enforcers as it buffs NCU and nano in addition to providing good AC protection. The Miy’s helps less with the NCU, but adds Health Points. At lower levels Enforcers are struggling with nano, but by the time they level up to where Baba is now, 130-140, nano is more plentiful as long as nano pool has been increased along the way consistently.

Babas New Miys armor that retired his QL 111 Carb, click for Auno.org equipment page.

Baba's New Miy's armor that retired his QL 111 Carb, click for Auno.org equipment page.

The new Miy’s pieces have both improved his stats and his AC protection. Comparing his previous armor set up with the new one, here are some of the highlights:

* Projectile AC +5%
* Melee AC +3%
* Energy AC +7%
* Chemical AC +18%
* Radiation AC +29%
* Cold AC +4%
* Poison AC +18%
* Fire AC +4%

The Radiation should help with some of the Borg guns that do radiation damage. Baba has also noticed some Borg doing poison damage, but he has never looked at the logs in detail to try and figure out the weapon used, he has just noticed poison damage showing up in the combat log window.

His abilities stay about the same, but, max health went up 19%. The only downside is he has 39 less max nano, although NCU remained unchanged.

While writing this, we relaxed to the “Open Plains” theme, which some of you will recognize as the AO in game music that plays while out in the wilderness areas like Wartorn valley.  It reminds me of one of Baba’s first encounters with the Wartorn Valley at level 29 or so.  With no Yalmaha yet, he had pulled a mission in the far upper right hand corner of the WV map.  It was night and he was way out in that desolate stretch of road on foot, just past the player cities on the other side of the mountain ridge that surrounds the plain where Old Athens sits when he first heard this music.  It was calming and yet did little to quell his fears of the many dark red mobs that he had to take detours around   It was a long night, but he did eventually make it back to Old Athens in one piece.

You can listen to this piece and the rest of the AO in game music at AO Stratics here, or download all the tracks at Soundspace, by clicking on Skydrive.  Both sites give some interesting background on the music, including a description of how it is dynamically generated in the game from numerous short clips.  That explains why it is never exactly the same.

Baba 136 at Borg Dunes

Baba continued his hunting trip to Perpetual Wastelands for Borg that he started the day before.  For the duration of this trip, he camped out there in the dunes, rather than commute back and forth from Newland City.  When he approached the main dune area, he found it about 2/3 populated.  This was the best he had found it recently.  As far as PW Borg dunes is concerned, there is no shortage of players, as the Borg population is frequently culled by hunters like himself.

Baba is motivated to level up to 150 at which point he will be eligible to join in Froob Title 5 group activities.  Soon Baba had cleaned out the main large dune and he had to head south to the small hilly section in the pinched area between the Helipad, the acid lake and the cliff wall.   Getting to the point where his standard Borg kite attack is second nature, Baba focused on adding another special, the Library of Foul Language taunts.  These not only taunt the enemy, but do a small amount of radiation damage as well.  With a fairly quick cool down of 6 or so seconds, it can be repeated several times during each kite.  A QL 140 Library does 35 radiation damage, so hitting a Borg four times in a kite, nets an additional 140 damage. No where near a crit, but Baba is not going to pass by anything that brings Borg down faster.  Also just in the last few levels, the increases to his basic skills and speed stats, he has been able to start using Fast Attack and Brawl 2 to 3 times per Borg.  For the longest time the cool downs for these were so long that Baba rarely got to use them more than once per fight.

With his loot bags full, Baba took to the skies in his Yalmaha, and headed due south to the nearest player city’s whompa.  As he was passing over the mountain that sits between the Omni Mines and the main Borg base, he spotted a group of players standing around on the mountain top.  He put his Yalmaha into hover and looked closer.  There were about 5 players standing or sitting at the south east edge of the mountain top, looking down at the strip of road that runs between the Borg base and the Omni Mines.  Down on the road he saw the 6th member of the team, an NT, that was kiting Borg.

It was one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that moments.’  If he had been up on the mountain top, safe and secure, he would have not gotten wiped like he did the last time he was on the ground here with a kiting team from his guild.  He had been too close to the action, and sent back to reclaim when several Borg took an interest in him.

He proceeded on to Newland City, where he needed to sort through tonight’s loot take.  Unlike the night before, when he had only gotten a handful of Miy’s armor pieces, tonight he had not only picked up many Miy’s pieces, but it also seemed to be “special guns” night in the loot table of his Borg.  He sorted the guns out, but left them for identification at another time.  He was more interested in cataloging his new Miy’s armor items, and since he had also just leveled, to look for pieces he could wear.  It turned out that most of the Miy’s items dropped tonight were much higher than what he can equip now.  He got several 200+ pieces, which he does not recall ever looting items that high before.  He filled up a backpack with the new Miy’s pieces.

He placed that in his bank, and later after portioning out his level 136 IP points, he got out all his Miy’s armor bags and went through them looking for items he could now equip.  This last level pushed up several of his stats enough that he could now equip a new Miy’s armor legs, arms and boots.  The QL 111 carbonum armor arms that he removed were the last pieces of his former all carb armor set that he has worn since around level 90.  Roughly 40 levels out of one set of Carb armor, goes to show what great armor the Carb is.  It really is great for froob Enforcers as it buffs NCU and nano in addition to providing good AC protection.  The Miy’s helps less with the NCU, but adds Health Points. At lower levels Enforcers are struggling with nano, but by the time they level up to where Baba is now, 130-140, nano is more plentiful as long as nano pool has been increased along the way consistently.

The new Miy’s pieces have both improved his stats and his AC protection.  Comparing his previous armor set up with the new one,  here are some of the highlights:

  • Projectile AC +5%
  • Melee AC +3%
  • Energy AC +7%
  • Chemical AC +18%
  • Radiation AC +29%
  • Cold AC +4%
  • Poison AC +18%
  • Fire AC +4%

The Radiation should help with some of the Borg guns that do radiation damage. Baba has also noticed some Borg doing poison damage, but he has never looked at the logs in detail to try and figure out the weapon used, he has just noticed poison damage showing up in the combat log window.

His abilities stay about the same, but, max health went up 19%.  The only downside is he has 39 less max nano, although NCU remained unchanged.

old
http://auno.org/ao/equip.php?saveid=139143

new
http://auno.org/ao/equip.php?saveid=140417

http://ao.stratics.com/content/ingame_music/music.php





Baba Beats Borg for 135

27 07 2009
Sand Worm Dynacamp in far West Perpetual Wastelands, Baba spotted this on his way from Mort Sentinels to PW Borgs. click for larger view.

Sand Worm Dynacamp in far West Perpetual Wastelands, Baba spotted this on his way from Mort Sentinels to PW Borgs. click for larger view.

Baba returned to Perpetual Wastelands to work on his 135 level this past Sunday.  Having done nothing since hitting level 134 other than sort loot and trade, his experience bar was empty.  This would be a good time to try an experiment, with no experience to loose, he headed for Tir County.  He had seen the Vermin Disposal Unit, a unique Dynacamp many times before as a lowbie traveling around the region.  He could not tell how difficult it would be for him to take it on, so he was going to find out tonight.  Heading west from Tir city, he quickly found it in a narrow strip of green just south of a player city in the west end of Tir.  Perhaps because it looked just like the waste control units back on Shuttleport Island, he thought it would be a push over like they were.  This did not turn out to be the case.

Unusually crowded reclaim in Newland City, click for larger view

Unusually crowded reclaim in Newland City, click for larger view

It was it is a lot tougher than it’s health bar and warning imply.  It turned to out hit very very hard, slicing through Baba’s armor and dealing him 1900 damage for ‘normal’ hits and 2500 or more for crits.  With hits like that, Baba barely managed to cut the unit down to 75% health before Baba was looking at 25% health.  Baba tried to mongo for enough health to let him run away, but he soon found him self back at reclaim, which was unusually crowded tonight.

He stopped off in the Advanced store to give himself a healing pop from the implant machine and then sat down next to the bank terminal to pass the next few minutes.  Checking his skills window he remembered that he still had to allocate out IP points from hitting level 134.  Due to a virus problem with the ether net, his usual spreadsheet was not immediately available, so he had to do this one from memory.

Baba has finally reached the stage where most of his basic skills are starting to max out, so he is beginning to have a surplus of IP points and can start building up a few areas he has had to short change in the past. These have been primarily evades and duck skills.  After topping off all of his important priorities, he put a large amount into evades.  Hopefully at some point, this will result is fewer crits landing on him.

While he as doing this, two kind souls, both doctors in his range, who happened to also be passing the time in the shop ninja buffed him with various heals, which he gladly thanked them for.    Once his IP were saved, he headed out the door and ran for the grid terminal outside the Newland City Gates.

He took his usual route to PW, which is grid to Sentinels in Mort, and then fly due east to Perpetual Wastelands and then across PW to the north east corner.  For the second time in recent visits, he seemed to be arriving just after someone else had cleared the field of Borg, and only a handful of Borg could be seen.  This was fine with Baba, as sometimes, a full field is hard to pull single Borg from.

By the time Baba had hunted down enough of these Borg to reach about halfway on his experience bar, he got an important sub-galactic phone call, that he did not want to miss, so he retired to his safe spot over by the cliffs and went into suspended animation so he would not waste the experience stim he had running.

Close call after bad pull, click for larger view.

Close call after bad pull, click for larger view.

After the call finished, and he returned refreshed, he went back to hunting the Borg.  He had one bad pull that got him a Major and two Generals.  It was a very close fight, with both he and the final Borg being down to less than 20% health at the end.  Fortunately the Borg seem to stop landing crits once you have them down past 30%, so Baba did prevail.  The next pull was almost an exact copy, except the 3 Borg were just Majors, and Baba had no problem taking them down.

Baba has gotten his Borg kiting moves down much better now.  Once he has the Borg(s) kited to the spot where he wants them, and he gets them running in a circle, he first hits his Fast Attack, and then Brawl.  Curiously he has found that his Brawl special will not fire if more than one keyboard button is depressed.  This was preventing him from using it, as he was using the forward and left arrow keys simultaneously to run in a circle.  He found that in order to get the Brawl key to respond he has to lift either the forward or the left key for just long enough to depress the Brawl key.

Baba dings 135 at PW Borg Dunes, click for larger view.

Baba dings 135 at PW Borg Dunes, click for larger view.

He usually lifts up on the left key, causing him to run straight for a second.  Baba uses his action panel buttons as indicators to show when the cool down for each of these attacks is reached.  After using one of these attacks, the button is grayed out, and it comes back to full color when the cool down period is over.  Baba had two other keys he uses while kiting Borg this way.  He has his hotbar key 1 set to fire his Flurry of Blows and his hotbar key 2 to fire his library of foul language taunt. He often throws in the taunt while waiting for Fast Attack and Brawl to recharge.

Once again, he had to move south to the uneven dunes section close to the Helipad for more Borg.  Tonights loot take of note was a few Miy’s pieces in the 130-200 range.





Claw Camp, Pleasant Meadows, Classic Kiting Spot

23 06 2009
Claw Camp, Pleasant Meadows kiting spot with level 80 Claws, click for larger view.

Claw Camp, Pleasant Meadows kiting spot with level 80 Claws, click for larger view.

Almost every up and coming Nano-Technician hears about Claw Camp as one of “the” must do kiting spots on Rubi-Ka.  The average Claw level of 80 places them as a major next step up after graduating from the mutant mining camps in south west and north west Lush Fields.  The jump from 50-ish to 80 is big enough that most NTs will need to level up some or get outside buffs in order kite at Claw Camp.  This is not meant to be an ultimate guide to kiting or to Claw Camp in particular.  It is meant to simply describing how one NT experiences it.

Last night Babaente popped in after re-animating from suspended animation to find herself sitting on the small hill overlooking the south west Claw Camp in Pleasant Meadows.  The weather was clear, and there were no other players in sight, plus there were no Slayer Droids to be seen.  She put in a telecommunication to Tireen who eventually showed up in her Yalmaha.  Tireen parked her Yalm a few hundred meters up directly over one of the large tree logs that are scattered next to the hill side.

This provides Babaente with a visual aid on the mini-map so she can circle her kites around Tireen’s location, therefore insuring she gets experience via proximity and being teamed with Babaente.  Babaente next got out her tool box of hacked boosted grafts, activating Hasty Augmentation for added damage, Glowing Retribution for protection, and Playful Cub for 100 run speed and +7 damage. Lastly she cast her regular NT buffs like Humidity Extractor, and lastly her Terrain Knowledge for +40 more run speed.

Slayer Droids protect Claw Camp during an previous visit, click for larger view.

Slayer Droids protect Claw Camp during an previous visit, click for larger view.

After this ritual is complete, it was time to grab her first kite of the day.  She approached the camp, and tabbed through the various claws looking for the one with the highest level.  Once it was selected, she cast a Mass Claw eyes, which aggros every Claw within range, and it is time to start running in the opposite direction.  She led the 8 or so Claws towards the small hill, veering to the left at the base in order then start circling the various dead tree logs and tree stumps that litter that area.  These are useful at the beginning of the kite to slow down and encumber the kite when it is most dangerous.  The Claws have a pretty good melee range, so it is important to not let them get to close.

So far, there had been no lag, and soon the most treacherous part of the kite has past, the beginning when the hunter is trying to wear down the mobs health to at least 50%.  The slightest trip up or stumble in this phase can quickly lead to death or loosing 50-75% of the hunters health as the result of coming too close to several Claws.  Once the mobs are at 50% or below, the kiter can relax somewhat, and start to tighten the circle as the weakest Claws start to trail behind the stronger ones.

With the first two kites behind her, she felt the tension in her shoulders dissolve. Usually in the first kite or two, if lag is going to bite, it will happen then.  The combination of her base run speed skill of 365, plus 100 from a Hacked Boosted Graft Playful Cub and 40 from Terrain Knowledge for a total of 505 run speed, gave her just enough speed to stay out of melee range of these level 80+ Claws.

Starting to get a feel for the overall speed and how the Claws give chase, she continued to pull kites, now putting more effort into setting up the initial pull in order to get as many Claws as possible in the kite. She used the layout of the camp to do this.  Since it is circled by a low fence she found the most productive way to collect a large batch was to start outside the wall at the back of the camp.  From there she would tab through the Claws to pick out the one with the darkest red target highlighting.

With the strongest Claw targeted she would cast a group area of effect blind/taunt nano and start leading the aggro-ed mobs around the perimeter of the camp towards the entrance.  While doing this she would time casting area of effect nukes so they exploded when the kite was passing close to mobs not yet in the kite, hoping to aggro them as well.  By the time she led the kite out the entrance/exit, she would be heading south west for the base of the small hill.

When ever she was able to pull 10 or more Claws (i.e. most of the camp) the kite would be a bit more demanding and technical, requiring more attention to keeping it together.  She found the often when leading a group of 10 or more over an obstacle like a tree or tree log, several could get their pathing confused and they would sometimes drop out of the case.  These then became a danger, that she needed to take special care to not come to close to them before leading the kite by them and popping another AOE nuke to get their aggro again.

Claws appear to be somewhat social to the extent that when leading a bunch of aggro-ed Claws in a kite, a stay lone Claw will attack if the kiter passes too close to them.  The fact that you have aggro from a group of them is enough motivation for them to put the kiter on their hate list.

When the satisfying end of each kite rolls around, Babaente enjoys clicking on each corpse to inspect them for loot. after a full 60 minutes (the duration of a single Playful Cub cast) and roughly 10 to 12 successful kites, Babaente had several backpacks of monster parts and assorted shop food.  While the shop food is not as plentiful as what was typical in Biomare, the monster parts represent a healthy flow of credits after conversion to plasma.

With a just a few minutes left on her Playful Cub, she decided to retire to sit on the hillside to think a bit about her experience here as she waited for the nano to time out.  Although the Claws gave pretty good experience, they also have a fair amount of health.  Babaente’s nukes are too weak at this point to bring down the kites fast enough to satisfy power levelers.  It takes her 5-6 minutes or more per kite now.

She has been having such tunnel vision while concentrating on her kites, she had forgotten about Tireen hovering a few hundred meters above.  When she asked Tireen to check her experience, she said “it looks like my experience bar hardly budged.”  After Tireen inspected her stats more closely, it became clear that she had leveled to 72 during this time, so she clearly had some work to do soon in allocating out IP points.

Babaente had gone from having about 1 quarter of her experience bar full to around 95%.  She is looking forward to returning for another round and hopefully pick up another level.





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 aodevs.com for one of the most informative and attractive guides to many things AO.

Visit Anarchy Online Arcanum hosted by aodevs.com 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 Aodevs.com.

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
      chat
    • Macro to display listing of those logged into Froobs chat
      channel.
    • 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.





S.O.M. – Single file, Obscured, Monotony

20 11 2008
Think we can take it?

Think we can take it?

Babaoroody and Babaente set out for the Steps of Madness dungeon Wednesday afternoon after spending the last few days running practice missions together.  Babaoroody needed to re-arrange his hot bars a bit so they were more similar to those now standardized somewhat by Babaente and Tireen.  Standard hotkeys are things like stims, heals and nano rechargers and some really basic combat macros (only the officially sanctioned Anarchy Online type, using the macro command) like follow and assist.

As we have described it before, Steps of Madness, involves a very long, narrow, almost rail shooter exerience, with vaious types of lighting based obstructions, and numerous repetions of a handful of mob types.

Click for larger version.

SOM - Steps of Madness Entrance

With a map of the Steps printed out for reference they buffed up and entered the dungeon.  Things went pretty well for the 1st half of the dungeon and they got to the halfway mark where the Notum Habit’s little side cave is in about 20 minutes.  It was slow going as Babaoroody did most of the fighting and since Babaente has no calms or roots that are powerful enough to be useful here; Babaoroody had to fight every mob one by one.  To avoid having to use health kits, Babaoroody also took the time to recast his absorb shield after every few mobs.

I think they would have made it all the way, but greed did them in.  The other times Babaoroody has made it all the way to Neleb, he has basically fought his way in, without stopping in any of the side rooms like the Notum Habits.  Before setting out Babaoroody had reviewed a guide at Anarchy Online Universe that told of some nice Phatz that drop from the Notum Habit, specifically Dark Dreams (20 NCU with 1% root resistance).  Babaente could really use one.  The problem turned out to be that the mobs in this dungeon have a fairly short respawn time, something less than 10 minutes.  Just in the time it took to stop and fight the Notum Habit and then a minute or two for both of them to rebuff, the mobs in the passage outside of the Notum Habits lair, were starting to respawn just as Babaoroody and Babaente had started to enter the next room.  While Babaoroody was taunting and fighting the first few mobs in the next room, several spawned in the previous passage and since Babaente was standing in the open doorway, they attacked her.

We may have to fudge the size of this one in our report.

We may have to fudge the size of this one in our report.

It was their worst nightmare come true, as we have discussed before, our big old enforcer is limited in that he can only fight mobs one at a time, and while he has the health reservoir to survive the time it takes to fight them all off, Babaente does not, and before Babaoroody could swing fast enough to kill all of the attacking mobs, Babaente was sent back to reclaim.  Babaente, as an NT, is meant for kiting or support, not standing toe to toe with multiple mobs at once.  She can face single mobs her own level one on one, but not multiple mobs at once. They know now, that if they want to reach Neleb’s room in the future, they need to keep moving forward, even if it means not re-buffing for a while.  There is room at the end to re-buff before the final fight with Neleb and his closest cronies.