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.

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Baba Heads Out to Sentinels

1 06 2009
Baba waves HI from Newland City

Baba waves HI from Newland City

Babaoroody, a level 131 froob enforcer, sat in his apartment with his eyes closed listening to the synthetic sea shore audio that always soothed him. Yes, it was definitely time to shake up these old and many times fractured bones and get them back into action. Somethings in RL had required his absence from Rubi-Ka, and he knew all to well how much he had probably forgotten. The cool down times for all his nanos, the best moves and combos in combat would all come back, but he really did not want to embarrass himself in front of others while re-learning them so he was trying to think of an appropriate venue to take this outing.

There was a time when his reflexes placed him as a serious contender, and his strength and stamina were solid. Years of battles, small and large, quick and fast or drawn out endurance marathons had taken their toll. There was not one part of his body that did not display the curious scar designs left there by fate and his many foes, most of which were deceased, and a few who still lived, but now carried signs of Baba’s work on their bodies. The battlefield favors the young. What does the Enforcer do when they leave youth behind? There is always treachery and experience that can be leveraged to defeat the young and fast.

When the steel apartment door slammed shut behind him, he let his musings fade out and he concentrated on navigating his 6 foot plus hulk in the direction of the grid entrance just outside of Newland City. He exited the city through the west gate and noted there were seven or eight guards on duty, twice the normal number. As he passed the shiny upscale flyer lot on the lake to his right and the Battle Station terminal on his left, he took in the group of 16 or so toons waiting to take part in BS. (Battle Station).

Sentinels (click for larger view)

Sentinels (click for larger view)

He made his way in the grid to the Sentinels exit and found himself suddenly deafened by one of those howling dust storms Mort is know for. Through the dust he could just make out 3 buildings, graduated in size much like the items in the house of the 3 little bears.

For those with out Grid access yet, Sentinels is in the Mort region and can be found just down the hill a bit from the outpost that sits near the northeast rim of the largest Mort crater.

Baba started with the smallest brown building. Inside it is laid out like a typical brown interior mission and featured level 115ish Rhinomen, Medusas, Entwined soldiers, and Bileswarms.

The second Entwined soldier he came across dropped a +100 run-speed Ring of Haste. Baba could not pick it up because he was already wearing one he had gotten off a Medusa months ago. Babaente, Baba’s NT alt would love to have one, so she hopped in her yalm and tried to make it there from Newland City before the corpse faded.

Ring of Haste, +100 run speed, NODROP

Ring of Haste, +100 run speed, NODROP

She might have made it, via the grid, but when she got to the Sentinels exit, it would not accept her. She had forgotten that the Sentinels grid exit has one of the highest computer literacy requirements on the planet of 461. She tried to fly from Meetemedere to Sentinels, but she was only half way there when Baba reported that the soldier had vanished. Even though she was disappointed, she now knew where to go to try and find her own Ring of Haste once she can handle level 115 mobs.

Baba finished clearing out the first building and proceeded to the next, which was the middle sized building. It held 140ish Aquans, Grunts, Human NPC’s and Penpods. By now Baba was pretty much re-acquainted with his hot bar layout and combos, so he had not trouble with any of these mobs.

After clearing the middle sized building out, Baba entered the final and tallest building houses which housed 150ish Cyborgs and Humans.

Baba at Sentinels (click for larger version)

Baba at Sentinels (click for larger version)

These mobs definitely meant business and Baba had to start using his Challenger and Mongo nanos to finish these mobs off. By the time he was finished he had accomplished what he had set off to do when he had marched out of his Apartment back in Newland City, and that was to re-familiarize himself with all his old moves and nanos. He came away with roughly 2 bags of loot plus change. The loot included several Miy’s armor pieces. He was also glad he had found a location for Babaente and future alts to look for the very useful Ring of Haste.

Doublesun Token Board, last of the token only boards.

Doublesun Token Board, last of the token only boards.

On the trip back to Newland City, he thought about what to do next. He checked his token bar and realized he had forgotten that he had already filled it to the Double Sun level. While there are several levels left to go, these are special levels that require completing high level quests or raids, rather than merely collecting tokens. Auno.org’s page on token boards lists the higher boards and each boards page gives information on what is required to obtain them.

As he entered his Newland Apartment he thought about perhaps making his next outing to Perpetual Wastelands Borgs.





+200 Health, +150 Nano, +1% Experience

4 11 2008
Blossoms of Summer, 60 token board for Babaente recently.

Blossoms of Summer, 60 token board for Babaente recently.

By the end of Sunday Evening both Tireen and Babaente had reached their 60 token boards. Tireen got her’s a few missions before Babaente, and the improvement was most noticeable in the Boss room battles, with Tireen having a greater reservoir of health, she was able to complete these battles without having to resort to repeated retreats to the previous level to heal.

We did find one refinement that has helped them kill all the mobs before completing the missions.  Turning Tireen’s auto attack off for the Boss room’s allows her to be teleported in without having to worry that she will auto-target the mission objective, before the other mobs have been killed.  This way she only attacks as directed.  Their basic strategy now is, Tireen teleports in first, targets the weakest mob and attacks, then Babaente teleports in and joins the fight against the same mob.

Boss Room teleporter, knock if ready.

Boss Room teleporter, knock if ready.

After the 1st mob drops, they may teleport out to heal if needed, otherwise the Boss is next. Once the Boss is down, then Tireen can be directed to target the objective mob and complete the mission.

Their next token boards are 120 tokens.  Token awards are somewhat like levels in that the requirement seems to double with every step up.





Mystery Buffing Items

29 10 2008
Face only visible from air, north of Wartorn Valley

Face only visible from air, north of Wartorn Valley

If someone told you about an item that gave 950 health, you might assume that it is rare, in limited supply, or not seen often.  If someone told you of an item that gives 950 nano, you might think it would cost a bundle of credits on the AO market.  If someone told you about an item that gives 210 runspeed you might assume that it has very high skill requirements.  If someone told you about an item that gives +210 comp lit, you might think is all of the previous.  If someone told you of an item that gave 210 nano programming you will most likely think the same again.  Ditto for an item that gives 140 Concealment, or items that give +7% experience, or +60 defense,  or +20 damage.  Surely you think, such items must be obtainable only via the highest level elite raids and then only by a combination of points and lottery luck.  Finally you might think such items are out of the reach of beginners and froobs especially.

All of these buffs are available to beginners and froobs, at a cost practically any player can afford.  The best part is that they all come from one item.  The cost for this item, is practically nil, although you will need a handful of credits to get started.   It does require that the player join omni or clan.  The only other requirements are 1) completing missions and 2) killing all the mobs in said missions.  We are talking about the common token board leveled to 1000 tokens.  Players have to pay for the cost of rolling missions, however, this should be more than recovered from the combination of mission loot and rewards, so a beginning player will need a few hundred credits to get started.  There are title level requirements.  As players progress in title levels, the token board rewards increase from a healthy 20% increase at title 2 to a huge 100% at title 4. (Based on increase to base health, exact percentages vary due to breed and profession.)

Token  boards as twinking items are often overlooked and not mentioned because of their one  and only drawback which is the lack of being available immediately.  There is no easy way to blitz tokens.  One can team and leech tokens, but to pay high level characters to carry you through token missions would be expensive given the time required.

The significant cost of token boards is the investment of the players time.  The number of tokens per mission seems to be determined mainly by the number of mobs found in the mission and eliminating at least 95% of them.  To get to 1k tokens may take 250 to 300 missions, so it is a long term objective.

Realistically, only the most dedicated hard core twinkers will be willing to complete 250+ token missions with a level locked toon.  Fortunately token boards give out rewards in steps, so even if  you take your time accumulating the tokens, you get modest rewards along the way.  For all the details auno.org has a great page listing all the token boards and their rewards. The Anarchy Online Wikia also has a very informative token board page.

Token awards display above Tireens shoulders, Double Ribbons of Skirmish in this case.

Token awards display above Tireens shoulders.

Speaking of token boards, Babaente and Tireen have been running team missions, primarily for tokens recently.  In the process, Tireen reached her 53rd ding, putting her just 3 behind Babaente now.   The last few team missions have been all human mobs, with a heavier than normal mix of MP types.  MP’s and engineers take a bit more hands on control of the dual logged Tireen, since her auto-target often selects the pet rather than the master mob.  A few well thought out macros and hot bar keys helps the dual logging control go smoothly.  With Tireen set to follow Babaente, here is how the drill goes.  Directly controlled Babaente enters a room’s doorway, aggros mob, and pulls it out into the hallway.  If mob attacks Tireen, her auto-attack kicks in, so there is no need to further control her.  Continue with control of Babaente, pouring nukes into mob until dead.  If mob does not attack Tireen, then
Alt/Tab to switch windows to Tireen’s window, press the key for select nearest hostile, then press the key for attack, Alt/Tab back to Babaente’s window, start pumping nukes into mob.

Most of the time with works quite well.  The main problems usually appear in boss rooms where there may be up to 3 or more mobs (including pets).  One such problem occurred Sunday evening.  The mission was an observer the person type mission.  Their current Boss room Standard Operating Procedure is for Tireen to teleport in first, drain and then start pumping lead, with Babaente following as soon as Tireen gets her shot gun going.  The problem tonight was there were three mobs in the boss room:  A boss, a regular human mob, and the observe target human mob.  They all attacked Tireen at once.  Before Alt/tabbing away, we made sure Tireen had the boss targeted and was attacking it.  There was a slight delay in Alt/tabbing to Babaente and getting the teleport to work, such that by the time Babaente materialized in the boss room, Tireen had switched her targeting to the objective mob and was 99% done in killing it.  The observe target mob hit the floor before another Alt/tab could be issued.  The outcome, discerned by reading the Tireen’s log, was that when she targeted the objective mob, the system recognized the mission as complete and the mission reward was issued.  Tokens however were not awarded, because the Boss mob had not yet been eliminated.  This particular mission had been a small one, i.e. it had just a handful of mobs in it, so not killing just one mob was enough to deny awarding the tokens.

In retrospect, it served them right because they actually had NOT followed SOP for boss rooms.  Their 1st procedure for any boss room is for one team person to teleport in and simply scout the room and teleport back without engaging any of the mobs.  Even so, at this point we are not sure what strategy to use in the future in similar situations.  How to get the benefit of both players firepower, without risking one of them targeting the observe objective mob before the other mobs and/or boss.