Baba Becomes Virus Attack Vector

25 07 2009

Baba was influenced by two Virus attacks recently  The Alt virus bit once again sending us back to Shuttleport Island on the flimsyest of excuses.  This was followed by an attack by the Win32.Virut.ce virus on our office PC.

Meet AgentBaba and BabaEmphee, new toons a result of a re-occurring Alt bug. Click to view larger version.

Meet AgentBaba and BabaEmphee, new toons a result of a re-occurring Alt bug. Click to view larger version.

Sorry for no recent posts, we had the unfortunate experience of getting a nasty virus on our PC at work.  This had set us back in more ways than one, and demanded huge amounts of time to deal with.  Our centralized IT services installed a new Windows box for me about a week and a half ago.  Things went fine.  It was nice to have a faster and cleaner machine.  We were just getting settled in, with most of our applications installed and tweaked when the Win32.Virut.ce worm struck.  In just a few minutes it rendered the PC unusable.  It displays Winlogon in a permanent loop that cannot be exited.  It not only wasted my new machine, but thanks to a very bad practise that is NOT safe computing, we managed to transfer the virus to our old PC and ruined it as well.  The transmission vector was our thumb drive.  This virus infects any exe opened by Windows.  We had been using KeePass, a password safe on the thumb-drive and our mistake was to run the executable from the thumb drive instead of independent exes on each computers hard drive.

So, thumb drive is in the infected machine, and the KeePass exe gets infected when we utilize it off the thumb drive.  Then the new PC bombs out from the virus, so we move to the old PC, and in the course of the day, open KeePass from the thumb drive, and bingo, 2nd PC is infected.   Since the virus does not infect data files, we would have been ok, if we had only been using the thumb-drive for the reading the password database file.

AgentBaba and BabaEmphee in all their saturated colors of Shuttleport Island. Click for larger view.

AgentBaba and BabaEmphee in all the saturated colors of Shuttleport Island. Click for larger view.

Fortunately all is not lost.  We had most of our daily work related documents and notes mirrored on the Syncplicity web service.  We also found that the data files on both PCs are still intact, using a live CD of Dam Small Linux which we were able to boot each machine with, we could see that the file structure is still there, so one of our tasks is to transfer these to a safe place before the techs come to wipe the boxes and re-install Windows.

Before the virus struck we had spent the weekend back at Shuttleport Island creating two new alts AgentBaba and BabaEmphee.  We are infected so badly with the Alt virus that the slightest thing can send us back to nubi island to roll a new toon or two.  This time, we were reviewing our new Adventurer toon Ohtizz, who we had rolled in order to have an account to give the Funcom free 30 day offer a try.  We got cold feet when Funcom asked for our credit card number.   We would have gone through with the trial, if it had not been for that requirement.  We just do not turn over our credit card number unless we fully intend to incur whatever charges are involved.  We knew full well we would be cancelling at the end of the 30 days.  It feels like tempting fate to hand over your card number in this kind of situation.  Events have a way of arranging themselves such that somehow at the end of 30 days our cancellation does not go through and then we have to deal with the hassle of trying to get it cancelled.

So we breezed the agent Ohtizz through the island and up to level 13 on the mainland.  Outfitted him with a vagabonds coat, and realized we had forgotten to get him a range meter back on the island.  So that’s what sent us back to the island.  The need for a range meter.  We thought that if we had to go back there why not roll two more professions we had also always admired.  Next thing you know our agent and meta physicist are teaming Dyna’s like there is no tomorrow.

Our new agent and MP complete the armor quest. Click for larger view.

Our new agent and MP complete the armor quest. Click for larger view.

Impressions from 3 more professions follow.  Adventurers are EASY to play.  After going through the agony of being a AO newbi and doing it as an Enforcer, we can see that everyone should start out in AO as an Adventurer.  They truly are a bit of everything, but have no serious drawbacks like some professions.  Baba was really jealous of how the Addy can self heal putting to shame our Enforcers measly healing tool kit of first aid stims and eventually hacked boosted grafts for some very limited self healing in combat.  It was also interesting to see a profession where evades actually do something.  Our addy fighting mobs shows one mob hit landing for every 6 or 7 shots given by the addy.

Up next is the Agent.  One shot kills with aimed shot is a rush.  Having evades that work is a plus too.  The MP at least on the island is way overpowered compared to the others.  The starter MP gets a 1 hand blunt weapon that gives just as much damage as the starting Enforcers weapon plus the starting MP has the additional benefit of an attack pet contributing damage, practically doubling the total damage to the target mob.

In addition to farming parts and then trade skilling together a modest supply of range meters, we set out to get both new toons the sided newcomers armor.  We know from past experience to not try these quests until your toon is level 8 or above.  The mobs that have to be killed will be too much for toons below level 7 or 8.  So we ran most of the other island quests that give experience first, and actually ran several more than once.  The backpack and weapons upgrade quests can be repeated.  For the weapons upgrade, just buy the suitable weapon from Stacklund and use that when asked for a weapon to upgrade.

We did discover an early progression problem with the MP.  Every profession in AO has periods where their weapon, or combat nanos are getting progressively weaker in comparison to the mobs that must be over come to level.  The next better weapon or nano will have a level requirement that results in this situation where the toons offensive capability is getting weaker in relation to the mobs that have to be killed to level.  Our MP ran into this at around level 9.  Almost all the mobs on the island were gray to her, so killing them, would not help her level, yet the remaining mobs were way too strong for her attack pet, so she could not successfully level up off of them.  In her case the only way we could level her up so she could equip the next better attack pet was to repeat several quests just for the experience points.

Our simple suggestion to this problem, which seems to be prevalent across all classes and levels, would be adjust the damage done more aggressively upwards as one levels, due to increasing expertise.  We hold out no hope for these improvements, but it never hurts to dream.  Maybe someone, somewhere is coding the next best MMORPG as we speak, and this meme somehow makes it to them for consideration.

We actually did log both Baba, Babaente and Tireen, over the past weekend.  They spent their time disposing of Baba’s loot gained from hunting Perpetual Wasteland’s Cyborgs for his 134th level.  In addtion to sorting out Miys and other items to keep, There were several packs of monster parts which Tireen was able to convert to blood plasma for a much higher profit.    This took up the better part of an evening with Baba sorting, Babaente acting as mule, and Tireen fencing the items with a Omni trader terminal.


Level 134 and Ohtizz

19 07 2009
Ohtizz, old friend of Baba, reacts to request for credit card, click for larger view.

Ohtizz, old friend of Baba, reacts to request for credit card, click for larger view.

Baba stared out across the lake next to Newland City, watching the holo-advertisements for the various flying vehicles spin, as his long time acquaintance Ohtizz filled him in on his arrival on Rubi-Ka.  Ohtizz had been on another planet when Baba sent him a ‘free pass’ to Rubi-Ka that was supposed to include access to Jobe and what mainly interested Baba, access to the Global Purchasing Terminals.  Baba never got his access via his pal to the terminals.  The sponsoring corporation, in return for the ‘free’  30 day trial of these services, required your credit card number and the right to start charging it once the 30 days were up.  Ohtizz explained to Baba, that even though he really would have liked to see how the Planet wide shop terminals work, it just was not worth handing over his credit chip number.  Ohtizzes world had a funny way of shaking things up in such a way that he sometimes forgets to cancel free trials before the 30 days is up, and ends up getting charged.

Addys are Easy!  Ohtizz makes short work of a Boss, click for larger view.

Addys are Easy! Ohtizz makes short work of a Boss, click for larger view.

Ohtizz explained to Baba that he still enjoyed the trip to Rubi-Ka and how he had chose the Adventurer class when required by the bureaucracy running the welcome/processing orbital station.  “It’s like 10 times easier than Enforcer, or NT or even Trader.  Practically all my skills are green and unlike these professions, the starter IP allotments are more then enough for keeping the basic abilities maxed.”  There is only a handful of important skills to raise, so the IP goes much further than they did for Baba’s Enforcer, or Babaente’s NT, or Tireen’s Trader, at least for title levels 1-2.

The Shuttleport Island has been quite easy for Ohtizz thanks to the advise Baba, Babaente, and Tireen had laid out for him. They had laid out for him the following:

The Froob’s Shuttleport Island to Mainland One Page Guide

  1. Talk to Brandon Thorn, do as he asks, get a light bar,  a belt and a level.
  2. Kill beach mobs in the immediate area to level up to around level 6, be sure to loot everything.
  3. Give Thorn monster parts, he will give you first aid stims, health and nano kits. You will be outgrowing these soon, so only get a few.
  4. Take the belt to Stacklund who will upgrade it. Aslo ask him about weapon upgrades.
  5. Sign up with Clan or Omni, then trade your loot with your sides equipment vendor.
  6. Talk to  Adri Afeli by the docks and get your weapon(s) upgraded.
  7. With the cash you earned from all the mobs you killed leveling up. Buy you beginners nano package.
  8. Do Travis Molen’s sided shoulder pad quest twice to get a pair.
  9. Do Travis Molen’s 5 quests for the Newcomer’s Armor pieces, gloves, pants, body, sleeves and boots.  (There is no helmet). Use the best helmet you find looting mobs.)
  10. Buy sided badges and upgrade each of you Newcomer’s armor pieces.
  11. Don’t waste your time doing the backpack or other quests. You can buy a backpacks cheaply on the  main land.
  12. Optional, kill all the Dyna-camps you can find on the Island.  You may get a decent buffing item or two, like a Ring of Power (extra damage), Ring of Offense (extra offense points) and a few others. These are nice to have, and only cost a few minutes it takes to kill the mobs.  Not worth camping for however. If you need experience in order to level up so you can equip something new, then do these quests, and repeat them if more experience is needed.
  13. Go to the Mainland. Ignore the drunk.  Enter the subway, find the Vagabond that hangs out in the passage way between the 2nd and 3rd set of doors beyond the entrance.  Kill him and loot the Vagabond cloak.  If it drops, place it on your back slot. The +25 all defense is golden at these low levels.  If the cloak does not drop, take note of the time, proceed to the left wing off the large main hall.  Kill robots, muggers, looters and Vagabonds (the other Vagabonds may also drop the Vagabond cloak) for 20 minutes, then return to the first Vagabond and kill him again.  Repeat this process until you get a cloak. This cloak and the newcomer’s armor is all you need for the next 15-20 levels armor wise.
  14. Get a Bio Communicator to turn monster parts into more valuable blood plasma.  For sale in shops for a few thousand credits, or get a free one by talking to the woman standing near where you first arrived. Agree to return her Bio Communicator to a guy over by the shops.  He will end up giving you one for your very own.

At this point you are on your own.  You should know how to play your character, how to kill mobs to level and how to earn credits.

Ohtizz breezed through Newbie Island and hit level 13 on the Mainland without ever once visiting reclaim.  Poor Baba got to know reclaim at starter Island right away as did Babaente and Tireen. “It’s so easy” he told Baba, “I hardly take any damage, and the mobs are usually dead before I break out a sweat.”  With evades maxed, and dual wielding a pair of fairly powerful pistols, Ohtizz rarely has to use an many med kits and first aid charges as Baba did.

Baba listened patiently to his old friend.  He had know Ohtizz, long ago, on other planets in other solar systems, other times.  He was glad his friend had finally found something at which he could excel.  Not wanting to bring up some of Ohtizz’s previous less than glorious undertakings, Baba encouraged him to continue with the Addy thing.

Baba would never choose the Adventurer route, but he did feel a bit cheated.  Newbie island has been a somewhat difficult undertaking for him.  He was mostly envious of the Adventurer’s solo/self healing nanos.  You would think that a profession that is designed to take damage, would have nanos to replenish the health lost while tanking.  All Enforcers get are nanos that increase the overall health point base.  The problem being that once it’s used up, in battle, there is nothing except first aid stims, to keep his health for running out in a hard fight.

Baba shook Ohtizz’s hand, wished him luck, and hopped in his Yalm.  Baba had some leveling to do in Perpetual Wastelands with some Borg.  When Baba arrived over the dunes in north east PW he was happy to find no other hunters there to compete with.  There was evidence however, that someone had recently left there.  The main dunes section, that has a somewhat elevated altitude to the extent that one can see far in all directions, was itself only about half full of the usual complement of Cyborg soldiers and officers.

Baba quickly buffed up, and popped a anniversary experience boosting stim and went to work.  It did not take long for Baba to clear the rest of the main dune section, however he could swear that his experience bar was hardly moving.  The combat log clearly still showed massive experience being awarded with each Borg downed, so it must have been one of those time/reality dilations that occur sometimes due to stress or excitement.  Baba had to move further south to the section of undulating dunes that sit next to the acid lake and the Heli-pad.  He greatly reduced the distance by which he would kite his prey away from the main body. This helped speed up the process, but also caused him to catch unwanted aggro from Borg which re-spawned close to where he was recharging or looting resulting in multi Borg kites, and/or sustaining 50% or more damage before dispatching the Borg involved.

Baba hits level 134 at PW Dunes, click for larger view.

Baba hits level 134 at PW Dunes, click for larger view.

By the time Baba dinged 134, darkness was falling.  He hopped in his Yalm and few north just a bit to set down in his usual safe spot where he could sort his recent loot and heal up via his health and nano deltas rather than use of costly kits.  There were several Miy’s armor pieces in this take, but nothing he could equip any time soon.  While not in his loot bags, he did cogitate a bit over seeing not one, but several Experimental Cyborg token boards dropping during this outing.  It was a shame to have to let them rot, but since they are no drop, and he already had a clan board, they were of no use to him.

Mission Difficulty Settings for Squishies

3 06 2009
Alien Raid leaving player city, click for larger view

Alien Raid leaving player city, click for larger view

Babaente and Tireen, on thier way to another mission located at the oasis just north east of the outpost and bridge over the acid river in Newland Dessert, saw an Alien ship just leaving a city raid. While they had never themselves taken part in any Alien battles (froobs can fight Aliens that land and invade cities, but cannot enter the Alien ships). The had heard mixed reports from thier enforcer friend Babaoroody. He had told them tales of partaking in defending his guilds city from an Aliens. Apparently it involves a guild member (sloob) throwing some sort of switch in the city that takes down some kind of net that normally prevents Aliens from landing there. Shortly after this is done, many small Alien craft may appear, and may encounter sporadic resistance from planet based air patrols. Next a medium sized Alien ship lowers close to the surface and begins beaming down waves of attacking Alien soldiers. While Baba has gotten experience, when he has been teamed with guild mates defending the city, and could loot the Alien corpses, much of the drops require the AE expansion in order to be used. Baba’s speech does draw faster and his expressions get more animated when he starts to describe how the waves start out with small and medium sized soldiers, and eventually a good sized Alien General is the last and hardest foe.  The last, at least, for Froobs, as only Sloobs may proceed at that point to board the alien ship for more Alien carnage.

Flat Top Ridge along Newland Dessert Acid River, click for larger image.

Flat Top Ridge along Newland Dessert Acid River, click for larger image.

Our pair were discussing this when thier yalms reached the Newland Dessert acid river Ridge where they paused for a few minutes to admire the view and enthuse together about how the ridge top would make a dramatic battle field. In a few minutes they left the scenic, but devoid of mobs ridge and descended to the oasis mission entrance. Since both had reached level 68 recently, they had bumped up the mission difficulty level a notch or two. Although they had increased the level by 1 or two points, they got a mix of big cats and hammerheads. Even when they fought well coordinated, in the first level, Babaente’s health dropped below 50% in several individual mob combats.

When they took on this task to mission for tokens to reach thier 250 token boards, they were around level 65 and they set the mission difficulty level to where it pulled missions with mobs 14 levels below them at around 51. Every few levels they have been adjusting the difficulty setting up slightly and then use Mission Buddy to get the actual level that resulted. when they pulled this batch of missions, they thought they were ready to take on mobs only 11 steps below them at level 57. They soon found this was not wise and that they should be pulling missions with mobs no higher than 54 (current level 68 – 14 =54).

Thier friend, the grizzled enforcer Babaoroody had tried to tell them about this, although his settings and margins were much different. “The basic idea is you find what level of mobs you can handle consistently, and then always pull missions to yield that equivalent level” Baba had said. “The only time you pull higher level mobs, is if you have more help.” by which Baba later explained, meant a full team or one or more high level friends present. Of course Baba and our duo knew this advice was relevant mainly for thier professions. Other professions with effective calms, roots, pets, etc. have other ways of doing things.

As they level up, it is becoming more evident to our pair that for missions as a duo, need to be dialed down in difficulty as Baba had recommended. While our NT can easily kite mobs at and above her level, she is not in her element in the typical mission, especially missions in tight narrow spaces. As an NT, Babaente is not built for tanking. Her body and her equipment set up are meant for kiting, or dealing damage from behind a tank and supporting the tank. So while our NT and trader could be out racking levels up with Babaente kiting, they still needed to run missions as it is the only way to acquire tokens for thier token boards.

So when Babaente and Tireen hit the second level of the mission, and one small mistake sent them both back to reclaim. Babaente’s mistake was to not look close enough at her mini map, and she did not verify what she thought it indicated before taking action. In her mini map it looked like there was a single red pie shape floating security cam in the room. She proceed on this assumption and motioned for Tireen to take up a position close to the door where the trader could see and shoot the camera. Just as Babaente was starting to move closer to already open door, a large cat pounced on her from the room.

Startled, she stumbled slightly to the left enough to catch the eye of the security camera, and the next thing she knew, she had a security cam, two floating sentries, and a large cat beating her and Tireen up. Tireen fired on the cat, and Babaente tried using area of effect nukes to harm all 4 mobs. Unfortunately all the cams and the cat focused on harming Babaente, and while she was winning in terms of outlasting 2 of the sentries, her health was down past 50% and even after a quick first aid infusion, she could see that she was taking damage much faster than she was reducing the health of the cat and the remaining sentry/cam. Meanwhile Tireen was pumping her shotgun furiously, but in an a quirk of the crit Gods, none of her monster Vector crits made an appearance. Babaente was reaching for her Company Policy hacked boosted graft for some additional healing, when her health ran out, and Tireen was left by herself.

The big cat still had over 50% of its health and it soon became clear that even if Tireen managed to kill one of the mobs, the one left would still finish her, which is what eventually happened.

Back at reclaim our pair talked over this latest set back. It was becoming clearer to them that the further they leveled, the less leeway they had in the level of mob they can face as a pair. If the mobs are any higher than 14 levels below our pair current level, they deal out damage way faster than our duo can survive. At around 14 levels below thier current level, the most of the mobs still appear red in the target display, and still give good experience.

Ashes ashes, all fall down

29 11 2008
7/24 Shop in Newland backyard

7/24 Shop in Newland backyard

Babaente, our NT, has spent the last day or so out kiting, with Tireen our trader tagging along for the experience.  Without telling you where the new kiting spot is, we can give you some hints.  It is a region that seems to be rarely visited by other players.  All the time they have been there, the only other players sighted have been a couple of players fighting an alien raid on a nearby player city.  As far was we know, there are no dungeons in this region.  There is a suspicious looking pumpkin patch; we will file away for paying a vist next Halloween season.  Babaente has several interesting lag related things happen while kiting.

Instead of the usual lag induced massive damage; while the screen shows lots of distance to the mobs being kited, the opposite happened several times.  Babaente would be kiting a group of mobs through some obstacles, i.e. logs and stumps in the ground, that usually slow down the mobs as their path finding has to decide what to do.  In this case they were getting stuck, and Babaente would have to turn around and run back closer to them to regain their attention.  Several times she had her kite disperse because she apparently got too far ahead of it, and the mobs gave up the chase.  It is a good feeling for Babaente to finally have to be able to quickly out run kite mobs if necessary.  For Babaente, necessary comes about once and a while kiting.  Due to a mistake or lag, should her health dip down to 25% or less, the extra run speed lets her put some distance between herself and the mobs so she can use stims to heal up while still keeping the kite together.  Once she has healed, she can stop long enough for the mobs to catch up, and then resume the kite.

Looking for Brontos? Try SE BS

Looking for Brontos? Try SE - BS. Click for larger version.

IP wise, Babaente is going through a bit of a dry spell as far as equipping new nanos. The next step up in all of her nano progressions have a rather large jump that is going to take another 5 or so levels to reach.  Since the mobs she is kiting now are several levels above what she has kited before, her area of effect nuke is starting to seem rather meager, such that it takes quite a few applications to bring down her kites now.

The high point of her last kite session was to see the result of an almost perfect kite, with all of the mobs dropping at the same time.  She knew it was going to be a good kite when she first spotted a group of about 8 Bio-Rejects close together and she successfully targeted and area of effect nuked the Bio-Reject in the center of the group.  She had found the group quite a distance from where Tireen was waiting, and so she had quite a long jog back to her, nuking the kite as she went along.  By the time she reached Tireen, the mobs health bars were down to about 30%.  She had only made about 2 laps around the tree logs she was using as a kite focus, and the health bar for the mob she had targeted looked like it was about to flat line. She stopped and turned briefly to pick out another target, and was greeted with the sight of the entire group, not just her target stopping and falling dead in their tracks.  Next came a warm fuzzy feeling while a stream of experience gains scrolled by in her combat log.

Challenger size boost demo

Challenger size boost demo

Tip: to beginning NT’s, if you want to do allot of kiting, start maxing your run speed from day one. You may not need it in the subway, but as soon as you try and kite mobs outside, you will.  Babaente did not do that with her run speed and when she started kiting at around level 27, it took her several painful levels before she could max it.  Even then two indispensable buffs anyone can get are the Boots of Infinite Speed and a hacked boosted graft of playful cub.  With these, you will have no need of begging in Borealis for Gridspace Freedom.

So it was good to be back in Babaente’s field of expertise and it was a welcome salve to the wounds still tender from her last visit to the Steps of Madness with Babaoroody and things did not go well.

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.

Babaente at the Temple

10 09 2008
PM mole hunt interupted by Alien sighting

PM mole hunt sights aliens

Baba spent a few hours Tuesday hunting Mole bots in the woods between 20k and  the player city south of 20k.  In 2 hours he only found 5 and there was no Notum Saturated Metaplast plates to be found.  The plates are said to be very rare by long time 200+ players, so Baba is thinking seriously of just getting back on the leveling path, and forget about rare drops entirely.

Babente had an exciting 2nd night at the Temple of the Three Winds, notorious for its trains.  Having learned previously that at 24, she is too squishy to even think about going in solo, she had to wait for a team to form.  Her first team of the evening was:

  • Warrell  – 30 solitus male Crat, clan
  • Kruzifix –  24 opifex male Fixer, clan
  • Leione – 28 solitus male Adventurer, clan
TOTW evening started out slow.

TOTW evening started out slow.

They had just entered the first large entry hall, and taking on one of the cultists there, when a huge train including a few bosses from Aztur’s room engulfed them.  With health bars dropping dangerously fast, the team retreated back outside.  The next try a few minutes later was more productive and they
had made it as far as just entering the first L shaped hall on the left, when Babaente was hit with Link Death (LD).  From her perspective every thing just froze.  Fortunately for her, since the hall had been fully populated with mobs, by the time she was able to re-log, she was able to catch up with the team which had just entered the room at the joint of the L.  From there she helped fight the rest of the way to the first large hall where DOT (Defender of Three)
holds court.  They had to pause for a teammate to take care of something in real life.  When the teammate returned someone outside the team pulled DOT out into the end of the hall where they were.  The team tried to stay in a corner and continued fighting cultists.  Babaente made a fatal mistake.  She had moved so that her back was facing the direction of where more mobs were, instead of keeping the mobs they had killed to her rear.  While fighting a mob with the team, a mob from behind her attacked her and killed her.  There was no more chatter in the team chat as she rezzed back at the Clan outpost nearby, so she assumes that DOT had wiped the team as her team window showed no names.

From this Babaente formulated this Lowbi Squishy rule.  Always keep your back to mobs you have killed. Another Lowbi Squishy rule is try to keep the teams tanks between you and the mob the team is fighting.

Babaente had quite a wait, after returning to the Temple entrance area, for another team.  To pass the time, she inspected the other toons there.  What she finds interesting is how so few people make use of the social tab, especially since it costs nothing extra, but adds to much.  One of Babaoroody’s biggest irks when he started was the lack of the ability to individualize your character.  Baba went through the temple before the social tab was available as it is now.  The crowd out front of the temple was a sea of black and brown temple robes, with everyone wearing the same basic armors etc.

A second team formed up eventually that included Babaente.

  • Samenanny – 24 nano male Doc, neutral
  • Megasis – 33 solitus male Doc, omni
  • Aquatica – 17 solitus male Doc, omni
  • Samexer  – 23 opifex male Fixer, neutral
  • Peanut____????       – (a lowbie trox who said nothing in team chat, so no record)

The lone tank ran way ahead of the team to about half way into the first hall, where he was quickly surrounded by several mobs, while the rest of the team drew agro from the cultists near the door.  Before the team could regroup sufficiently, another train showed up.  Everyone except the trox tank made it back outside.  The tank left the team.  And after another similar attempt meeting another train, that team broke up.

After waiting for what seemed like 30 to 40 minutes Babaente got onto another

  • Chiumi – 27 solitus female MA, neutral
  • Gjchan – 35 opifex male MA, neutral
  • Lchan – 35 opifex male MA, clan
  • Arcini – 31 opifex male Fixer, clan

The MA’s were all around level 24 at the time, the levels above are what anarchy onlines official database lists them to be at the time of this writing. This brings us to Babaente’s second Squishy Lowbie Player tip of the day. Always accept a team with multiple MAs at the temple.  They seem to be far superior at tanking in the 20-30 range at the temple than trox enforcers.  With 3 MAs the team cut through the cultists like butter, and had no trouble getting all the way to the middle boss hall, Nematets room.  They successfully took down all the mobs in Nematets room, sparing Nematet.

Babaente came out ahead with an Acolyte robe and one of the Notum Rings of Three.  By the time they reached Nematets the team was working well, with the 3 MA’s tanking while the Fixer and Babente hung back and provided support with heals, nano, etc. Babaente would debuff each mob with Claw eyes, and then once the tanks had started in, she would hit the mob with one of her fireball type mini-nukes.

ICC Shuttleport shortcuts

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

Babaente, Babas NT alt starting out on the island.

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

The Shortcuts

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

Bridge jump shortcut to beach tunnels

Bridge jump shortcut to beach tunnels

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

Stair jump, shortcut to docks.

Stair jump, shortcut to docks.

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

Back to the crash site shortcut.

Back to the crash site shortcut.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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