Monday, April 6, 2009

Anarchy Online, still goin strong

From discovering preferred weapons to use after your upgraded newb weapons and getting the same fun/newb feeling that you had so many years ago, to using implants to your advantage, to spending your IP (skill points) wisely, to double boxing (on one box), to FUN! I had a very interesting and fun filled weekend with Anarchy Online which I intend to expand on and share with you! Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Newb Island
When you start a new character in Anarchy Online you arrive on an island (and we shall call it, this land!) dubbed newb island. There are some starter quests to familiarize you with the game and get you the basic equipment needed including armor, weapons, a belt with some memory, joining a side, and some beginner nano programs for your profession.

One of the things you might realize while here (after you've just about done everything) is that there are 7 or so boss mobs who are relatively easy to kill and drop some fancy jewels. Most notably are the XP and damage add rings, however there are plenty of other rings with no bonuses that sell for a lot as well. The damage rings are usually +1 but on occasion there will be a +2. You can make loops around the island killing all of these bosses and just picking up the rings and gems/stones (leave the gear as it doesn't sell nearly as well and other newbs might be able to use it). Once you have a full bag (and full carried bag) you can sell and make a small fortune. This can help you buy your nano programs or those cool sunglasses from your faction's vendor.

There are also Alien mobs in the upper middle of the island (with their own boss) but I haven't stuck around to kill too many of them (including the boss) due to their level being much higher and the weapon loot requiring the Alien Invasion expansion.

Make sure to upgrade your weapon as soon as you can and don't forget to before you leave!

Preferred Weapons
This was my favorite discovery. What do you do when you've leveled a few times in any MMO? One of the first things you ever want to do in an MMO? Get a new stronger better weapon of course! Usually you would look at your minimum and max damage, figure in the attack speed, range if it matters etc, and you arrive at having a good idea of what you're looking for. It's the same thing in AO, except there are literally way too many weapons to know them all (not really, but it seems like it). The difference in AO compared to say, WoW, is that there isn't a WoWhead or a Thottbot to look up what you want. So you've got to Google, old school style! I happened upon a few guides and a wiki pertaining to AO in general and specific professions as well. Usually weapons are covered in these guides but if they're not, for example if you're at a Fixer guide without any weapon recommendations and are wondering about Rifles, you could check out other profession guides that do list recommended Rifles.

The first preferred weapon I was to discover was the Division 9 Plasmaprojector for my Soldier. If you remember Bardiches in Diablo 2, this gun is similar in that the minimum damage is 1 and the maximum is say 80. Now you may be thinking, "but what if I hit for 1 damage three times in a row? That has got to be bad, right?" Well while that could happen, it usually doesn't. What does happen is that you hit somewhere in the middle a lot, which is a decent amount of damage on a semi constant basis.

So I knew what I wanted now it was time to figure out how to get it. A good place to find this information is AUNO, a website filled with tons of Anarchy Online knowledge (and one of the few AO websites still up and running). Just search for the item you're looking for and hopefully somebody commented on where to get it, if not, you may be looking for the wrong weapon (since the popularly accepted ones have gotten a comment over the years).

For the Div 9 Plasmaprojector I found out that I needed to kill Dyna bosses or Team Mission bosses for it, that it was a random (not rare) drop on these boss mobs. Team Missions was out for me so I Googled Dyna bosses trying to figure out what the heck I was looking for. The first site I found said something about them being in the old Backyards, which I remembered (as they were the original newb zones), but had forgotten how to actually get to. Turns out (for Omni faction players) all you have to do is walk in one of the doors (strewn across town, near mission doors) that says High Rise at the top.

So I go into the backyard door and load into a zone that appears to be on the top of a building. Pretty cool, I thought, though I did not recognize this area at all. I checked the only door I could find and stumbled upon what appears to be my apartment! Great, now I have an apartment key taking up a space in my inventory. I go back out and see a blueish entry way with the words HOLO WORLD written across the top. I figured what the hell and walked in. Ahh! Now I remember! I loaded into a real backyard, just like where I spent a lot of time on my original characters (when the game first came out). It was quite a trip down memory lane with all the leets and reets and such, not to mention the "Take me to the shop!" chips they would drop frequently that sell for 200 credits (farming greys, woot woot!). But after a little money gathering I remembered my reason for being here, to kill the Boss, to get the loots!

In the back of the backyard (back back back)I found the boss (across the bridge behind the trees!), he was gray in nature and fell easily under my upgraded newb rifle. The loot... which there was about 7 or 8 random pieces of, was Quality Level (QL) 6-10. I was level 15 or so at the time and this low QL was not very enticing. I figured, what do I know, maybe it'll be better even if it is QL10. I waited for the respawn and killed him again, nope, nothing. At this point I figure, well there are higher QL versions of the gun, it can't just be QL10, so I make my way back to Google and resume the search on Dyna bosses.

That is when I found the Leets Online website. If you click on say Omni Forest, you see a Map with some markings on it. More importantly, if you scroll down, you see a table that lists Dyna Camps! These are the camps where the Dyna Bosses are!

So I made my way to the Omni Forest (from Rome Blue -> Rome Green -> Whompah to Entertainment -> follow the signs outside) and then realized, shit, how the hell do I read these coordinates? I didn't see any on my map, but once I opened my mini map (using the map button on the bottom right side) and hovered my mouse over it (while not moving) I began to see similar coordinates. The way it works is obvious and simple, you get two coordinates and X and a Y, it's just like the graphs you learned to plot in elementary (middle for some) school. The first number is your X (left to right on your mini map) and the second number is your Y (top to bottom on your mini map).

Killing these solo was quite difficult, as I had to kite some of them across the whole damn forest. If the Boss cons green to you and his minions con gray, the minions will not add on you. If the minions are not gray, they will add, so be careful! Sometimes it is best to focus on the minions first while kiting so you can get the boss alone, however, running too long or too far will cause them all to give up and turn around. Sometimes you can fight just the boss when this happens, sometimes you've got to follow it all the way back and then fight just the boss (because the minions are lost in the forest). Either way, I killed roughly 20 of these bosses and didn't get one Div 9 Plasmaprojector, bummer!

I was a bit fed up with this nonsense, having run across the damn world killing tons of boss mobs solo, I was now level 17. I was toying with the idea of logging in my 2nd account and grouping with my soldier just so he could get a team mission and go solo it. So I typed /tell helpbot level 17. Helpbot let me know what level ranges I could team with and saw that the lowest was level 13. On my other account I had a level 11 Bureaucrat, so I opened him up and solo'd him to 13.

I grouped them up and grabbed a mission. I began working on the mission alone on my Soldier before I realized a few things. One, my computer wasn't having any trouble running two instances of AO. Two, I would outlevel my level 13 and would have to solo him again to group more if needed. So I alt tabbed back to my Bureaucrat and ran him in the mission, found my Soldier, and did a /follow.

If you've ever done this in a game before, then you probably hate oddly shaped corners around doorways as much as I do now.

Anyways, after killing a few of these mission bosses I found a QL 19 Div 9 Plasmaprojector which was a much welcomed upgrade from my upgraded newb rifle. On my Agent the weapon to upgrade to was this one, which I have one of so far, working on a 2nd (but more on that later). After getting two of these preferred weapons, it appears that they will always be obtained from mission bosses or dyna camp bosses, which is good to know if you plan on making alts.

Taking Advantage of Implants
Before yesterday I knew about implants, had them on most of my characters, but really didn't get too into them. That all changed yesterday as I was playing my Agent/Agent duo I recently created.

As I mentioned earlier (read: last section) I have found one of the two guns I am looking for. As my search for more continued, I was beginning to notice how bad my upgraded newb weapon was compared to my preferred weapon (that my other agent was using). So I would make it a habit to check the Basic shop after most missions, just to see if there was something a little bit stronger. That is when I came across a Rifle that required 100 Rifle skill (due to being higher QL than my level). My rifle skill at the time was around 68-75, so I could not use it. The gun wasn't as good as the preferred weapon, but it was a nice step up from what I had. The attack speed was slower and the max damage was higher (so it would act like the preferred weapon with slow, big spikes of damage).

I figured, there must be some way for this to work out, so I went to the implant department in the Basic shop. I found a couple Agent implants that added to rifle, but it wasn't going to add up to be enough skill! I noticed a QL 20 implant (that added to rifle) required 44 Agility (I had 48) and that a QL 30 implant required 64 Agility. So then I began looking for Agent implants that added to Agility because I really wanted to use this rifle. I found a QL20 leg implant that added 10 and a QL20 foot implant that added 6. 16 + 48 = 64! So I bought the 2 QL30 Rifle implants and popped them in. I was now the proud Agent with over 100 Rifle skill and a shiny new Rifle.

I plan on going much further in depth with implants in my next few play sessions. I hear much talk of implanting implants to implant implants, a.k.a mini twinking (real twinking requiring much more than I currently know).

Spending Your IP Wisely
I am not 100% sure on this section. I think I know the basics, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone commented and shattered all that I knew.

Basically, when it comes to abilities (STR, AGI, etc), you want to max these all up until about 30-40 (when IP starts getting short). Afterwards, depending on your Profession, you want to only max a few of these. For instance, on my Soldier and Agents I max STR, STA, and AGI. Whereas on my Bureaucrat I max AGI, SENSE, INT, and PSY.

From there we go to Body. I max Body Dev and Nano Pool for a while, I stop maxing Nano Pool and continue to max Body Dev (because it raises your HP). Put more points in Nano Pool if you can't cast all of your buffs and are tired of using Nano heal pack thingys.

Ranged or Melee. Max your preferred weapon skill and any skills granted by your weapon (Fling Shot, Burst, Fast Attack, etc).

Speed. I always max Run Speed. Max whichever INIT your weapon uses. Ranged weapons used Ranged Init, Nano Programs use Nano Init, etc. If you don't know, check your weapon. I raise Nano Init for the first few levels as well due to it increasing your cast speed on your buffs (or spells if you use them).

Trade & Something. Always max Comp Lit. If you wanna craft then do it, but Comp Lit is important.

Nano & Aid. I always max First Aid and Treatment. First aid allows you to use in combat heals and treatment allows out of combat heals (as well as implants). Do not put points into the other skills until you get Nano Programs that you want to use. Then raise them accordingly depending on the requirements for the programs you want.

Double Boxing (or playing 2 dudes at once!)
Let me start this section off by saying I am highly considering creating a new account and upping my number to 3! It just runs so smoothly and makes the game twice as interesting.

I started out with this idea so I could get items I needed from Team Mission Bosses. I needed to be in a Team to be able to get the Missions! From there I designate 1 character as the main and 1 as the alt. Basically I just run into a room (far enough so the alt follows into the room) target the bad guy, use all my specials, and alt+tab to the alt. On the alt I would use my special and send in my pet (Bureaucrat). I got my Soldier to 25 and my Crat to 20 I believe, just from runnin missions! When I first started I was getting almost a level a mission, which was real nice.

After tiring of my Soldier/Crat combo I decided I wanted to play an Agent. I don't know much about ANY of the Professions but Agent sounded to me like a good choice. I wanted to run 2 of the same class and hopefully that class would be good at DPS. The plan is that since I'm fighting 1 mob at a time usually, we could take it down much faster this way, and since they're the same Profession I hit the same buttons and do the same thing.

It is working out pretty good so far, still trying to get a 2nd Rifle for the alt, but we don't have problems fighting at all.

The most fun part about playing 2 guys at once is during the Boss fights. I cannot solo a Boss that is a few levels above me (not sure about my level tbh). In these Team Missions the layout is a bit different due to their being multiple levels. You usually go down or up a level and then down or up another level to the Boss level. At the Boss level there is usually the Boss and 1 mob, sometimes there is just a Boss.

You need to have the best First Aid and Treatment packs as you can. Because you just cannot survive against an Orange con Boss without having to change tanks a bit to heal. You don't need taunts for this to work because you just go down a level and you're taken out of combat so you can sit down and heal. But don't take too long or your alt will die! If you leave the Boss alone longer than 5 seconds or so his health will begin to go back up pretty quickly too!

This is what I would suggest. Go in with the main, get aggro. Come in with the 2nd, start shooting the Boss, press F2 to select your main and watch until his health goes down whatever amount your first aid is capable of healing, then heal him. Switch back to the main, target yourself, use your first aid as soon as you've lost as much health as it can heal. Since they are both on the same timer you can now sit on your alt and wait to do it again.

You can usually go through this 4 or so times before it starts to get hairy. When you can no longer take hits and your first aid isn't close to being cooled down, you go down a level, sit, and use your treatment pack. Alt tab back to the alt. Check your first aid cool down, hopefully you will be able to survive until then. Switch back, you should be able to heal again with the pack, do so. If you're over half HP, go back up. You should still have aggro so though your alts health is low, he isn't taking hits and doesn't need healing. Use first aid as soon as you can, switch to the alt, heal your main.

Sometimes you have to take your alt down a level, sometimes you have to take them both down a level (try leaving a DoT on the Boss if you can, if not, heal one toon a lot and get him back up there fast), and sometimes your alt will become the new tank.

It really keeps you on your feet. Another thing that does this is when you're fighting a pet spawning mob. Sometimes the pet goes for your tank, sometimes your alt, when it goes for the alt it can get sticky.

Etc
All in all this is still a great game. If anything I would compare it to EVE in that it can be daunting how much you do not know and how much you are not told, really feeling out of the loop. But if you use Google, you can get yourself in the loop, and begin making your way through the land of Rubi-Ka!

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