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.


Baba’s gotten a bit rusty

18 11 2008

This past Thursday evening Babaente and Tireen ran a few more team missions for tokens and Babaente finally reached 120, and was awarded her 120 token board.  The next token award requires 250 tokens, so it is quite a jump.

Not your cookie cutter mission room, but an original.

Not your cookie cutter mission room, but an original.

Tireen also got a step up Thursday evening.  After hitting level 60 she was able to equip a better ransack skills (Ransack skills).  When cast on top of Deprive Skills, her shotgun skill was boosted by about 90 points which allowed her to equip a ql 90 Vektor ND LIZARD.  In the last mission they ran, she was getting crits of 1200 to 1400, which helps cut Bosses down to size.

They tried running a couple of missions with their agg/def slider set to full defensive.
Although we have not yet looked at the log statistics, in practice the added number of mob misses was not enough to counter balance the huge reduction in damage rates for Tireen and Babaente.  The battles took longer and in the end, they both lost more health in each fight.  With each fight taking longer, the mobs were given more chances to land a strike.

Friday evening we read a post in AOFroobs for posting your GUI.  We went ahead and posted Tireen’s current setup and after doing so, decided to take some time to re-organize it.  Now that we have a bunch of levels under our belt with both the NT and the trader toolsets, we thought we could decide which things were really needed, and which had just been put up because we didn’t know any better.  The same evening there was another post at AOFroobs that mentioned a program Keyclone, which intrigued us, as it is for sending keystrokes between multiple windows or dual logging as we call it in AO and the World of Warcraft types call multiboxing.

We spent an afternoon trying to get Keyclone to work for us and like several other utility programs meant to run together with AO, it was more than our aging computer could deal with.  While it ran, and did pretty much what the box says, it was slow and flakey on our system.  After sometime messing around with it, we decided to pass on it.  If your computer is relatively new (ie multiprocessor, at least circa 2006) then it might work great for you.

Not having much luck with Keyclone, we posted a call for help with it at AOFroobs and got the thread locked by the moderator Tarradax which was a bit surprising seeing how he had participated in the previous thread there where Keyclone was discussed and had not said a peep about it then.

Baba doubted he would fit in that.

Baba doubted he would fit in that.

After putting that behind us, both Tireen and Babaente refused to run any more missions for a bit. They were both demanding a change of pace.  Since they both hit thier targets of getting thier 120 token boards and level 60, it was time to give them some fresh activities.  Since Tireen has the weakest back item, she went first and headed out to the Temple of the Three Winds via the portal next to the Newland Dessert outpost whompa.  At level sixty she was alble to breeze through the first hall with-out aggro, but she picked up a massive train running through the right L shaped hall.  She dumped the train using the hop the wall at DOT trick.  She worked her way then down to the guardian of time’s room.  She passed a couple of 60 level players coming the other way, and when she got to GOT’s room it was empty.  She dialed her adddeff to full defense and was then able to by pass the six to eight cultists on the other side of the door out of GOT’s room leading to the Exarch hall.  She moved east towards the east hall that enters the left side of the Exarch hall.  This way she only picked up one cultist to fight before the left hall and avoided Gartuas room with his 4 cultist trox buddies.  After entering the left hall, she went back to full agg and worked her way through the cultists till she was in the exarch hall.  She picked off the windcallers one by one, and was able to handle them fairly easily.  Windcaller Yatilla however was actually harder than the Exarchs.

Then she went for Exarch Ecclese and a sure robe drop.  She got lucky and landed a couple of crits in the 1200 range, and soon was a new owner of an Exarch robe.  It helped a great deal, cutting many temple mobs down to minimum damage.  She took out the other two exarchs and picked up a tattered flame ring,  a weeping flesh ring, a silver ring of three, and a notum ring of three.

She headed over to the east wing for a try at the Reanimator for one of the shoulder items, but ran out of luck there, with the Reamimator makeing short work of her.  We will have to review the logs to see why the reanimator was soo hard after having a easy time with the Exarchs.

It was Babaentes turn next, she and Babaoroody headed down to the Steps of Madness and got as far as the first room with mobs, where things got a bit confused.  Dual logging with Tireen and Babente has had plenty of practice, but Babaoroody and  Babaente together was really a first and we got bit confused since there were a few differences in thier hot bar layouts.  They decided to back out of the dungeon and return later after running a few team missions together to work out thier hot key layout and best ways to work together.

Sunday Babaoroody and Babaente rolled a few missions to get into practice working together.  A good hour was wasted when none of the duplicated mission keys would work when they got to thier destination.  Since they are too far apart to team, one has to roll solo missions and then duplicate the key for the other.  For some reason none of the first set of rolled mission keys would work as duplicates.  After re-rolling another mission, they headed out to Lush Fields south of Harry’s.  They worked out several things. mostly having to do with re-arranging some of Babaoroody’s hot bar keys.

Another major problem with his hot bar surfaced after they had exited from one of the shops in Newland city after restocking Babas med and nano kits.  He was going to put himself on follow, and out of habit hit the 0 hot bar key that Tireen and Babaente both use.  Unfortunately, on his bar this pulled a mongo.  As he was standing right next to three guards, they promptly sent him back to reclaim having been aggroed by his mongo.

The mission turned out to be too easy, with Baba putting down the mobs before we could alt/tab to Babaente and doing any support casting.

That evening they decided to make another run at the Steps of Madness.  Baba realized once they were about 2/3 of the way through the dungeon, that he had removed his long range taunt from his hot bar.  The previous times he has been to Steps, he had relied a great deal on this long range taunt to allow him to take most of the mobs one at a time.  Singlely, they are a piece of cake for him. But since they do fair damage while taking a while to kill, getting swarmed by 3 or more is usually fatal for Baba.  They pressed on anyway, with several near death fights, and actually made it to the final long room. Without his long range taunt the final room proved to be thier undoing.  Previously with his taunt, he would pop his head in the door, and taunt one mob out away from the others.  With out the taunt he and Babaente had to enter the room completely and as a result, they both got swarmed with several mobs.

Earlyer a much higher a few high level players had passed them heading for Nelebs room.  As Babaoroody and Babaente approaced the room they could see on the mini map a good number of the mobs in the final room, getting trained somehow to the part of the room where the entrance they needed to pass through is.  Baba was able to survive, but Babaente succumbed to the swarm and got sent back to reclaim.  Babaoroody then terminated himself so he could join Babaente.

The design of Steps seems to follow a what seems to be a fairly standard AO dungeon plan which is basically a linear passage through a large number of proceedingly higher level mobs, starting with easy ones, but quickly moving into a range that requires them to be taken one at a time.  There are almost no large open places or alternate routes and almost all of the dungeon is very tight and cramped, with lots of mobs in close proximity.

This puts Enforcers at a disadvantage since they cannot use Mongo, one of thier main tools.  If Baba mongoes in the Steps, he attracks all the mobs in whichever room or hall he is in, which is not a good idea.  The problem with the Steps mobs is that they seem to have much higher amounts of health for mobs of the same 50-60ish level.  It seems like they have 2 to 3 times the normal amount.  Since Enforcers are melee and have no area of effect attack, they can only damage one mob at a time.  If, as is the case with the Steps, the mobs take 3 times longer to kill, that means the other mobs in a swarm have 3 times as long to pound on the poor enforcer.  It is also bad news for Babaente, because when they get swarmed she is really at a disavantage as there is no way she could outlast one of these monsters one on one, much less several.  This is because of her pitiful nanomage health bar.

One thing that sets Steps apart from the other dungeons Baba has done is the use of light.  There is one spot about halfway in where as you pass through a narrow door into the next section, the waiting mobs floating in the air cannot be seen because there is a strong light source shining directly in your eyes.  This is a place where Baba used his taunt before with good results.  Without it, he had to blunder into the room, getting attacked by several at once.  Another thing that is characteristic of Steps is there are multiple places where the world geometry is just plain messed up.  On every trip in so far he has seen various mobs stuck in the walls in different places.  There are also many places where there are invisible barriers where although it appears you have a clear line of sight to a mob, the game tells you it’s not there or cannot be targeted.  This combines with the narrowness of the halls and the lowness of the ceilings to make camera use difficult.  In many places it is impossible to use a long zoomed out view. While this may be manageable for solo players who can do ok in first person mode, it makes it hard to keep up with the status of teammates.   These irregularities tend to give an overall unsettled feeling the further you go into the place.

Because of this and perhaps some other issues previously discussed here (how the mobs are actually alot tougher than the given level they are supposed to be) he has yet to see any players of that level there.  Almost every single player he has seen has been title 4 or higher, sometimes like himself with a lowbie in tow.

After they healed up, they pulled another mission for practice again.  Things were going well, however they made one mistake in judgement near the end of the mission.  Even though they really were not concerned with the loot or the mission reward, they found themselves in one of those end of mission quandries.  It was a spot the person type mission, and the target person was in the middle of a hall, blocking the only way to 3 other mobs and rooms.  They should have taken thier lessons from Steps that Babaente is still squishy and if they get attacked by more than one mob at a time, she is vulnerable.  This is because even though Babaoroody easily overpowers mobs in Babaente’s range, as a melee fighter, he can only do damage to them one at a time.  If more than one mob attacks Babaente, Baba is limited to attacking those mobs one at time in series.

Baba made the mistake of trying to run past the target and take on the two mobs just past it.  This did not work out as all three mobs aggroed him and Babaente.  While he tried to fight them off, Babaente succumbed, since she was way overmatched with the single mob that had attacked her while Baba was busy taking the other two down.

Preparing for The Temple

20 10 2008

The Original Electrocutium

Babaoroody’s alts Babaente and Tireen, reached a major objective recently, they both have reached or passed level 50. Thanks to Babaente’s NT kiting abilities, she completed leveling Tireen to 50 and herself to 54. The last two kiting grounds have been a small ruin with Rhinomen in Varmint Woods, just north east of Majestic Bridge, and then NW Mine in Lush Fields. At Lush Fields they relied on Babaoroody to stop in occasionally and put down any lifebleeders that were in the way. They set the level 50 targets as the level when they would like to give the Temple of the Three Winds their full attention. While there is no level requirement, and it is quite possible for low teen players to do well in teams there, it can be frustrating for low levels because of the train problem there.

By the time a toon is at level 50, they should be immune from most of the trains, with the only exception of trains that include any of the major bosses.

Before they could move their operations to the temple, they both had a few tasks to take care of. Tireen was overdue for a better set of implants, and Babaente’s stats had advanced close enough to equip a Quality Level 67 Carbonum Armor set that is a hand-me-down from Babaoroody. The carb had been a gift to Baba from a Angels of the Night guild mate Renfred.

Tireen spent the better part of Saturday evening buzzing laps around the shops in Omni Trade, collecting her new implant clusters and specifically level 75 basic implants. As always, it seemed to take longer to find the last two pieces, a quality level 75 cluster and a quality level 75 basic head. She obtained the basic clusters from the first machine on the left in the Advanced shop trade rooms. These vending machines feature basic implants where the quality levels are random. She eventually gave up trying to find a 75 basic head and settled for a 74.

Early Sunday morning she delivered them to Babaoroody, who dutifully assembled the implants. Tireen’s concern about the 74 basic head vanished when it was clear that almost every implant Baba assembled was bumped up by one or two levels, such that the 74 ended up being a 76 and most of the others came out 77s. We had forgotten how this happens when assembling implants from scratch, and must confess a lack of understanding as to how it is determined and how to manage it. Tireen was happy however to get the higher quality, her only concern was if the requirements had risen too much for her to equip them.

As we have discussed before, traders have to make several trade offs when trying to use store bought assembled implants, so custom implants seem to always make sense for Tireen.

When she donned her med suit, cast her self generic treatment buff and used the surgery clinic she easily had the required treatment. She did come up a few points short in stamina for 3 of the implants.

Unfortunately Tireen is on the same account as Baba, so he could not provide her with an enforcer’s essence buff for the extra stamina.

This meant it was time to head over to Borealis for a little buff begging. To make it as easy as possible, a few scripts were in order. The first script has her wave, ask “May I please have an Essence buff? :-)” followed by a curtsy. A second script was also created to serve as a follow up. This macro has her say “Thank you very much!” and then bow.

Here are the scripts:

To ask (filename: beges)

/delay 1000
/v May I get an Essence please 🙂
/delay 1000

To thank (filename: thkyu)

/v Thank you very much!
/delay 1000

If you have not used scripts before, these are text files placed in an Anarchy Online scripts folder. To use them in the game, you create a macro for each.

To create the first macro, enter at the command line in a chat window:

/macro beges /beges

After you press enter, a macro button with the name you gave it will appear under your mouse pointer. Move it to a hot bar, and click once to deposit it on the hot bar, where you will be able to activate it in the future by clicking on it. The procedure is the same for the next script macro, just change the script filename in the macro.

Thus prepared Tireen set out for Borealis with the typical enforcer profile clear in her mind. She has always had her best luck on the street in front of the general store entrance just north east of the Omni recruiter and the giant metal dog. It seems to be a place that always has plenty of people milling about. She used her macro and it worked quite well. She got her buff off about the 3rd Enforcer she asked.

With her essence buff running (they generally last over an hour) she headed back to her Newland City backyard, and completed installing the last 3 implants. The main benefit of these QL 77 implants is the healthy bump to her shotgun skill, this time enabling her to finally equip the highest quality standard Vektor ND available, a QL 69 one. The Vektor line continues with the Vektor ND Lizard line that goes into the quality levels above 100. She is now looking forward to using it at the temple where previously the QL 40ish Vektors she toted, had not been very effective against the 30ish level cultists she encountered in the first few halls.

It was Babaente’s turn next. She had made a slight mistake when calculating the buffs she could count on to help her quip the 67 carb. She had mistakenly counted the generic stamina boost as giving her 20 stamina. It was only after that failed, and she checked and found that the generic stamina boost only buffs 12 stamina. The big question was where to get 8 more stamina. The trio checked their inventories, but came up empty for any buffing items to make it up.

It turns out they did overlook a pair of concrete cushions that they had for sale. At quality level 10 they would have easily provided the 8 points of stamina needed. Of course Babaente did not remember the cushions until after she went to Borealis for an Iron Circle buff.

She used a copy of the same macros/scripts Tireen had used and quickly obtained the Iron Circle buff from an helpful doctor (Drcordova, lvl 123 nanomage Omni Doctor). Of course Tireen had to prove her nuube-ness, by not knowing it was a team buff, and being confused when the doc asked her to join his team. Thankfully the doc was gracious about it.

The carb went on then with no problems. It yielded practically double her Armor Class points all around, and gave her a healthy boost to her NCU and max nano.

They also upgraded or added a few new nanos. Tireen added Advanced health funnel, Capable Health haggler, Deprive skills lesser, Skill wrangler commonplace, Strip assests, Sticky ground and elementary delayed health payment. All are fairly well known and welcome with the exception of Sticky ground. So far the low end beginner trader root nanos have been rather dissappointing and weak. She is of course hoping Sticky ground will prove to be more useful.

Babaente added two nanos, Crunch Com nano compressor which will reduce the amount of nano used up when she casts, thereby extending the life of her nano pool. Curtain of Darkness is a progression up of the NT’s basic blinds.

Dual Logged Team Missions

2 10 2008
Interesting camp near rock with a tunnel through it found in northern Galway County

Interesting camp near rock with a tunnel through it found in northern Galway County

Babaoroody has spent quite a few hours flying about the mainly neutral regions of Rubi-Ka in search of a kiting field with 50-60 level mobs. He found tons of QL 60-70, and 70 to 80 concentrations, but very few 50’s. In Stret East Bank, just east of the tall rock formations just beyond 2HO, he saw the largest concentration of QL 60-70 claws and mutants he has ever seen. In Upper Stret East Bank, while searching for kitable 50s, he found a concentration of QL 100-150 Noken in a dense forest northeast of the outpost at the end of narrow inlet of water. They are hard to spot as they blend in quite well with the large trees of this forest. He also spotted some Chirop larva, another weird looking beast nearby.

Babaente and Tireen seem to have hit a dry spell in regards to kite leveling. Babaente and Tireen had their last good kite run in Stret East Bank just south of the ferry landing, with a dense area of malles and scorpiods ranged 50-60.

Unfortunately, the mobs do not have a fast re-spawn, and most of them are gone now. Baba found two villages in Northwest Pleasant Meadows with 50ish level human mobs, but the landscape between the coast and these locations is sprinkled with Slayer droids, and would be problematic to reach on foot for Babaente.

With no good kiting prospects at this point, it seems as though the pair will need to either run some team missions, or head out to the Temple of the Three Winds individually.

Team missions might be the best bet, as they both need to start working on their prospective token boards. In fact that is exactly what Babaoroody recommends. He did not do well at TOTW from the 30 to 40 level range, so he concentrated on leveling up to 50 via missions and collection tokens. With level 50 and the benefits of the first few token board steps, he was able to handle most of TOTW with few problems.

So now the question will be what level missions to pull and what kind. After some research on the net, the pair decided to let Tireen, the lower level member roll the team missions, at about 45% setting. The slider settings were all Evil, All Chaos, All Order, All Open. These settings gave missions with mostly human mobs, fewer traps and hidden areas. They chose missions for how close they would be to minimize travel time, which is problematic when dual logged. While the follow command works great, each zone takes walking each toon through individually and then reestablishing the follow, necessitation constant switching back and forth between sessions. Once in their mission, however the NT, Trader combo works well because the higher level NT can be controlled directly, while the trader, on follow, will auto attack anything if attacked. They found that in the Boss rooms, the best approach was to have Tireen enter first and start combat, and then Babaente would follow and also engage. Once Tireen has entered combat, she will continue on auto attack, so it is only necessary to control Babaente. Unfortunately NT’s will only auto attack with their pistols, not their nanos.

They ran 4 missions, 3 of which went very well and one which they abandon. The one they abandon had been an experiment with rolling a mission at 50% difficulty, and the end boss was too hard for the two of them to take down. They were both very close to leveling and had gained allot of experience since their last saves, so they thought it better to save the experience and move on to a new mission.

The only rough spot was Babaente seems to have problems with mob MP’s in missions. When they engage one, Babaente auto targets the MP’s meatballs, however, when they die, and before the MP can cast another, she has not been able to target the MP. Or she gets it targeted, and but nothing happens when she tries to cast nanos on the MP.

Fortunately Tireen was able to finish the MP’s off. She is doing quite well as a damage dealer since she recently equipped a level 52 Vektor ND shotgun. She also found a 56 and a 69 in Omni Trade that she bought. In addition, she recently looted 107 Vektor ND Lizard for future use.

Team missions besides giving good experience, definitely yield far better loot. In just 4 missions, they came up with several very relevant weapons. In one mission chest they found a sealed weapon receptacle with a soft pepper pistol in it. One of the end bosses gave up a ql 36 original electrocutium that Babaente will be able to equip fairly soon. The pepper pistol however is going to require Babaoroody to level up a bit more until he has enough weapon smithing skill to assemble it.

In one of the chests they picked up the nano pylon that is required to rebuild the soft pepper pistol after it is liberated from the receptacle. The rest of the take included several loot only nanos, nothing super rare, but bread and butter types. Tons of adventurer only type armor. Baba is thinking of having an adventurer rolled just to have someone to give this stuff to instead of shop fooding it.

Tireen gained two levels bringing her to 38 while Babaente only gained one level bringing her to 46. Babaente still has a another level or three before she will be able to equip her next higher up Area of Effect nuke. They will need to experiment more with the difficulty setting so that Babaente gets more experience. At 50% most of the regular team mission mobs give her experience and are not a problem to beat. It is the team mission Bosses, that seem to be running 50-50 in terms of being something this pair can beat. They both also gained mission tokens, so they are on their way in regards to their token boards. We suspect they may use team missions to level up until they are both over level 50, at which time they may head out to the Temple of the Three Winds.

Mule Turns Alt

29 09 2008
Babaente and Tireen, take a break while out hunting.

Babaente and Tireen, take a break while out hunting.

Babaente, Baba’s NT alt, after getting more familiar with kiting, decided to take a break at level 40 and wait for Tireen, Baba’s former omni trader mule/fence to level up to where she can team with Babaente for kite leveling.  That way Tireen can continue to fence loot, but also can start giving some nice skill buffs and use the trader terminals when fencing loot.

So it was back to the subway with another toon.  Since Tireen is an omni, she could not safely go to the subway in Athens, so she chose the subway in Borealis, instead of the one in Rome.  Borealis is more convenient as Babaente or Babaoroody can meet up with her there if needed.

Although the server stats usually show Borealis to have more players present than Athens, the subway in Bor seems to be less populated.  Tireen guesses most players are in Bor for trading, socializing, rolling missions, or just passing through.  It would be nice if the server stats can’t be filtered by level or playfield.

She started out with her newbie island solar shotgun dual wielded with a home defender, but when it came time to upgrade to a higher quality level, she did not want to put IP into multi ranged, so she chose to go with Tekor ND shotgun line.  She started with a QL16, and after some shopping in Omni Trade, and also bought several higher quality ones to grow into every few levels.  While slow, it does pack a nice punch and the crits are very good.  While the icon is somewhat incomprehensible, the actual gun looks impressive and formidable.

It also illustrates a weakness, at least at lower levels of the Trader profession compared to an NT as least as far as IP spending is concerned.  The NT does not have to worry about keeping a weapon skill high, and mainly just focuses IP on nano skills, The Trader has to dedicate IP points to a dedicated weapon skill that is expensive and is useless for anything else.  She is finding IP much shorter in supply as a lowbie trader.  So far the NT has been able to comfortably raise needed skills with out having to put any on a diet.

Another observation, based on another pass through the subway, is that beginning players seem to find the martial arts profession the most rewarding at those levels.  All the martial artists in the subway seem to do really well.  Baba found the subway as a first toon enforcer with 0 twinkage to be somewhat difficult. So far NT has been the most powerful professionat we have experience with in the subway.

After several teams on Saturday she had worked her way up to level 18.  It was a bit disappointing after playing an NT, as trader combat nanos at that level  are rather wimpy, so in the subway, the shotgun does most of the work. At this point she tends to run out of nano, before anything else, so the benefit of having an NT in a team becomes obvious.

Late one evening, there was nobody to team with, and she was getting bored leveling off slum runners and fleas, she decided try out the charm nano line.  Of course having not read up on it before hand, she was rather perturbed at being frozen for 5 minutes, along with the mob she cast it on.

She spent the next day working with Babaente on preparing a set of custom QL30 implants, with Tireen buying and the plan was for Babaente to construct them.  While reviewing the stats, Tireen saw that as a trader, she had lots of nano programming and could make all but 4 of the implants herself.  After constructing the ones she could, Babaente finished off the few the required a little more nano programming skill.  The actual implant creation tradeskill process itself only took a few minutes, while it too Tireen at least 2 hours to find all the desired clusters at the specific quality levels needed.

With her new set of custom implants in and the satisfaction of now knowing how to create them from scratch, it was time to level up some more.  While she could probably handle some of the cyber types in the deep sub, she just did not do enough damage to face some of the gate keeper types like Eumides or Infectors.

She instead chose to hunt in the wild outside of Newland City to level up.  She did an insurance terminal save and then headed out the north gate.  She soon found out the hard way that not only Rhinomen, but many other mobs in the desert are social. like rollerats, some of the lizard and salamander types, and sand and salt fleas.  After a few trips to reclaim because of this, she gravitated to hunting in the area around the small outpost that is north of the city.  There are guards there that will bail you out if you come running with several mobs on your tail.

Having read up on the Charm nanos, she found a great use for them.  When ever she encountered pairs of social mobs, she would cast the charm on the stronger of the pair, and then issue the pet command /pet hunt and then sit back while the charmed mob took out the weaker mob, and any other mobs in the vicinity, all the while giving her the experience points.  One does have to be prepared to fight the remaining mob when the charm wears off, but this is usually not a problem as the mob has probably lost quite a bit of health fighting the other mobs.

She was able to level up to 24 quite easily there off a mix of blood reets, salt and sand fleas, rhinomen, and a few others in the area that were all in the level 20-25 range.

At level 24 it was time to return to the subway and try and collect some
Living Cyber Armor, as she had spent quite a few fruitless hours checking shop terminals for something to replace her now out leveled beginners starter armor set.  The tunnel section has a very claustrophobic feel to it, and the whole design is just too linear, steering new players to what is most often a doomed encounter.  At least some of the other dungeons like Temple of the Three Winds and Foreman’s have multiple ‘destinations’ and boss mobs who give up unique rewards.

By the time she arrived at the subway, it was rather late in the evening. The first person she found to team with was a level 18 engineer, who must have been new to the subway, as he wanted to rush right into the deep subway.  Just their luck they were greeted by Eumenides who sent them both quickly back to reclaim.  A while later Tireen returned and after a couple of real close fights with paired infectors, achieved access to the deep subway, where she seemed to have it to herself.  She made several runs from the start of the deep sub to the last part of the tunnel section where the L bend is.  She stopped there because she did not think she could take on the group of 4 or 5 cybers that are found there.  She was able to deal easily with all the cybers up to that point, and after about an hour, she had all three commonly dropping Living Cyber armor pieces, the helmet ,the gloves, and the pants.  She was about to call it quits for the night when a two person team showed up and asked her to join.  She decided to go ahead with them. They were both below level 20 and neither had encountered Abmouth before, so she had a feeling they would want to go all the way to Abby and find out just how tough that boss mob is.  The martial artist did very well as the tank, allowing Tireen to hang back and shoot away with her Vektor.   The other person was an addy or agent, and they provided some very timely heals, especially in a couple of tight spots in the very deep subway.  They made it all the way to Abby.  By this time Tireen had level up to 26.  Since she is not planned to be a subway twink, she had the 3 Living Armor Pieces that drop there, and she was quite ready to put the subway behind her, she agreed to go along with the attack.  The fight with Abby was very short, with the whole team finding themselves back at reclaim in under a minute.

Now that the subway was behind her, Tireen decided to follow in Babaentes footsteps and proceed to the Living Cyber Armor quests in order to fill out her set.

The chest piece quest was quite difficult for Tireen since she is omni, and the 1st quest mission requires a visit to the center of Old Athens.  Since the gates are well guarded, and there is no neutral whompa that connects with this clan city, the grid seemed to be the only alternative route.  It took her 3 tries.  She buffed up and drained a mob outside Newland City and then hit the grid.  She exited the grid in Old Athens, to see no guards close by.  She ran east towards the nearest city wall, and then started south along it when she reached it.  She  was spotted about the time she passed the first apartment entrance on the left and she was able to run all the way to the central square area before one of the guards nailed her and sent her back to Newland City.  On the second try she got further, because she was not spotted by a guard until she had reached the middle of the city, and she got all the way to just outside the mission building before the guard shot her.  The third try, she buffed up again, and this time added the quickness running buff.  The guards spotted her at about the same point but she ran like a halfback between a number of buildings, weaving in and out, and was able to reach the mission and get inside without getting shot.  Perhaps she should have waited a few more levels, as the mobs in the mission were in the high 20s.  She managed to avoid all but one, which was in the furthest room between her and the mission objective.  It was a hellhound to top things off.  It was a very close fight.  She was down to about 100 health, and was having to cast a health funnel between each shot, when her Vektor came through for her and delivered a healthy crit that tipped the final balance and allowed her to outlast the mob.  The second mission was just time consuming, having to run from Newland City, cut across a corner of Varmint Woods and proceed to the center of Wartorn Valley.

The next living cyber armor quest was more accessible for an omni.  This is the quest for the boots which actually involves 2 missions just like the chest piece quest. The first mission is a kill person mission in Varmint Woods, just a short run from Newland City.

The first time through, Tireen got sent back to reclaim by one of the hellhound mobs that are in this mission. The hounds are around level 28 to 30 and about a 5050 chance for Tireen, mainly dependent on how many crits she lands.  Anyway, when she returned she brought Babaente with her for more fire power.  The two together were able to cut through the remaining hellhounds with no problem.  Tireen ended up having to run the mission again because she allowed Babaente to attack the mission target, and since Babaente out damaged her, the mission did not complete, since the mission requires the person who pulled the mission to be the one who kills the target.  So they had to repeat the whole run from Newland City again and fight their way into to the target.  Once there Babaente, waited in the hall, while Tireen engaged the mission target alone in a separate room.  She did have an unusual experience.  The mission target person was standing in the lower level of one of those large sunken mining area type rooms, with catwalks above.  Tireen was on the catwalk above. This particular mob was a martial artist so when Tireen cast her NT blind, the mob stayed put while Tireen continued to pour lead into her.  The curious thing was that as soon as the mobs health dropped to around 60% it would pop back up to full health.  There were several large malle type mobs also down on the lower level and Tireen did not want to have to go down there and also spend time killing them.

She decided to try using her charm and hope the martial artist would attack the malles, and kill them, and lose a good part of its health.  Another curious thing happened. Instead of running up to where Tireen was after being charmed, the mob seemed to be teleported directly up there in an instant.  From there they could not see the malles, so it did nothing when told to hunt.  After the charm wore off, and she and Tireen dueled, the health bar issue went away, and Tireen had no trouble at all finishing the mob off.

With her ‘as full as its going to get’ Living Armor Set now, Tireen went looking for a place to level.  Before going hunting however, since she is now over level 25, she made her first visit to the Trader store in Newland City, and got to view all that the trader terminals have to sell.  There is a wide assortment of easy to equip ‘drinks’ that buff various skills there for purchase.  The buffs are just a few points, but nice to know about and have access to.

Next she went to Lush Fields to hunt,and as an omni, she does not have to worry about the omni slayer driods that lurk about there.  First she tried in and around the Mutant Domain area, but either found the mobs slightly higher than she could handle or too dense and too social.  She found she could get good experience points taking on the higher level Chirops she came across.  One skill that she is now starting to get the hang of, which she now wished she had developed from day one, was how during a fight, to quickly select her self, use an health stim, and the re-select the mob and continue fighting.  On her way to the SW Mine and Shade Pipe area she managed to level to 27.

This level provided her with enough shotgun IP points to equip the next higher QL Vektor ND shotgun in her inventory.  She found the mobs around SW Mine to be way to high for her now, and so she then went to the Shade Pipe area.  These mobs are in the 20-29 range and she can solo them one at a time quite well, especially with the additional punch of this latest Vektor equip.  The shades are social, so she has had to take care in selecting her target, and how to approach it so that the other shades in the area do not ‘see’ her.  This involves the basic military”crossing the T” or flanking maneuver.  If there are 3 shades, approach them so that they appear a line from the end.  By the time she had to log off, she had gained about 3/4 of her next level.

Thursday Tireen was quite active.  She did some exploring around Lush Fields and found the Northern edge to be mostly devoid of mobs.  She made several more unproductive forays into the Mutant Domain, but still found them to be too tough.  While traveling she did gain about a half a level mainly off level 25-30 minibulls, and Hammerheads.  She eventually gravitated back to Shade Pipe after where she eventually dinged 28.  She has been practicing the use of health stims in combat and almost has it down pat.  Too bad the stims do not recharge faster.

Once she passed level 28, she stayed at Shade Pipe and over a few days, leveled her self up to 32 which is high enough so that she and Babaente can team.  They met at SW Mine, and on Friday and Saturday Babaente kited the mobs around SW Mine, raising her level to 45 from 42, and raising Tireen from 28 to 35.  Eventually, the level 40 mobs went gray for Babaente and they spent most of Sunday looking for a suitable new kiting ground.  The mobs at the NW mine in Lush Fields proved to be too high.  The mobs there are in the 60 to 70 range, and hit too hard for Babaente to survive anything but a perfect kite.

Meanwhile, Tireen, made a supply run in to Omni Trade, and came back with the highest quality Vektor ND made, a QL 69 one.   Right now she is using a 48, which gives some nice crits.

They enlisted Babaoroody to scout out a new hunting ground using his Yalmaha.  He first sent them to a field of Hammerheads and Goelfs, level 55ish, in 4 Holes, but they took too long to kill because of their very large health bars.  Babaente could easily outrun them, but it took over 10 minutes to bring one down.

Dragonrider, when mounted on a wingless dragon, is known as a Ragerider

Dragonrider, when mounted on a wingless dragon, is known as a Ragerider

Baba basically scouted all the neutral territories.  Although he did not find any suitable 50ish groups of mobs in Mort, he did come across a very unusual sight, a creature he had never heard or read about on Rubi-Ka.  Think of a wingless dragon, with a Lien like rider in a throne like saddle with a triangular awning overhead.  The riders are known as Dragonriders, and look much like the Lien boss in the Temple of the Three Winds.  When mounted on a wingless dragon, they become a Ragerider.  Not only is their health bar red and long, but of the 3 that Baba spotted separately in North West Mort, they bring an entourage of several giant sand worms, a clutch of anuns, some gun beetles, and even a cyborg or two.

Next Baba found them another spot in Pleasant Meadows.  It took some running interference on his part as there were a few pesky omni guards who seem to have been trained there previously.  They were in the 100 level range, so Baba did get some experience out of it.   We will divulge the exact location of this kiting ground, after Babaente has outgrown it.

The going was slow, as Babaente seems to have hit a weak patch in the NT’s AOE nuke progression ladder.  While her run speed has progressed suitably for the level 50-60 mobs.  She currently has Matter Creation maxed, and if she continues to max it every level, she will not be able to equp the next AOE Nuke until well past the level 50.  The problem is the current AOE nuke, while sufficient against level 40’s, is just too weak on 50s and above.  It takes quite a few applications to take the mobs down.  The progression of NT leveling is not all as easy as some might think.  This is going to be a slow and painstaking number of levels.  Hopefully once it is past, Babaente and Tireen will, be back on the fast track again.