Thursday, April 14, 2011

More stat experiments vs. Jacko

Uwebe owns Jacko with high vitality
Mages own Jacko because of their lightning strike ability. But to kill Jacko they often need to run around like chickens (except in the area pictured where there's a bug which allows mages to freeze jacko and just stand there zapping him with lightning). Warriors don't have the luxury of freezing Jacko which means they either have to kill jacko fast or be able to take a beating.

Killing fast was the suggestion I got over and over again in the graveyard from people, so I thought I'd try a series of stat experiments on the auldsbel server to see which stat made the most difference. The short answer is even more vitality beats out agility, at least while the speed skill is still 1. The difference was a few hundred points of damage against Jacko. The difference could have been more, but Jacko actually died at that point so I couldn't see how much more difference (it was around 500 points of extra damage when Jacko died). Keep in mind Jacko died because of previous pounding from adjusting stats. The following are the stat differences and resulting damage:

Test #1: 41, 60, 80, 1, 65, 62
Test #2: 41, 1, 92, 1, 65, 62

In test #1 the experimental character did 2.7k damage before Jacko killed the character. In test #2 the experimental character did 3.2k of damage before Jacko died. Visually on the screen it looked like the character was going to do more damage, he seemed to be striking faster, but the higher vitality won out. The speed skill was in focus for test #1, but the character only had speed 1. Perhaps with speed 9 this would have been a very different result - I'll probably come back to this experiment when Tarq (Tarq has speed 9) makes level 87 on the main server (he's 82 now). For the moment it seems it's better to pump points into vitality instead of agility, warrior tanks seem to be better than warrior chickens.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Auldsbel TMW poster

Those who know me know I love open source software. Being able to edit code (even if you don't really know what you're doing or don't consider yourself a programmer) has huge advantages over closed-source software. I think one of the reasons why I like The Mana World so much is the fact that I can edit both the scripting code and if I really wanted to delve deeper I could check out the source code for the server back end.

Because I also run a Mana World server I thought I'd put some effort into promoting my Mana World server: (It also happened to be 5am in the morning and I was fairly restless). I'm not an artist, but I do know a few things about using graphics-related software (e.g. using layers, masking, cropping, etc.). I use Ubuntu Linux (I gave up on Windows in my desktop several years ago because Linux has so much more to offer) which meant I wasn't about to use Photoshop (besides, it has a huge price tag). I've used Gimp for about 8 years on and off, mostly for photo editing and manipulation. This was the first time I tried to use it for something that would exist in Print. I like the style of ads Apple came out with several years ago to advertise the iPod, so I decided to do something similar. I could have used Inkscape, an open-source vector graphics program I'm also familiar with, but I chose Gimp because: a) I wanted to learn more about Gimp (with each project I tend to learn new things), and b) I knew I would be able to do more because of the wealth of features in Gimp (it's more mature).

I started with a black background layer. Then I made several sky layers (changing the mode of one of the layers to Overlay) to darken the sky. The great thing about layering is you can just turn on and off layers - letting you play with your image a bit more. The mode of a layer can also affect what's below the layer. I only changed layer modes on a couple of layers.

One tool that came in quite handy was the lasso select. After blowing up a screenshot of one of my characters on the server and a skeleton I created a new layer and used the lasso tool to trace around the characters, which I then filled with white and pasted as a new layer on my already created image. Using a few more layers I rotated and flipped a couple more of the same characters, brought down the opacity and skewed the characters to form shadows of the characters.

The last step was the text. For the title I used a font not included in Ubuntu. For the rest of the text I used the Impact Condensed font at different sizes. The font used for the title had some spacing issues I didn't like, but Gimp lets you adjust both the spacing between letters (kerning) and lines (line space).

I saved the poster in Gimp's .xcf format to maintain all the layer information. The printed result is much better than the screenshot I've included above.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chewbacca and Gremlin take me to over 80% experience

Big thanks to Gremlin and Chewbacca who took Tarq from 62% to over 80% experience in the graveyard this evening.

I posted earlier that I thought leveling is slow but better outside the graveyard than in other spots, but it's a lot quicker with a couple of others. At level 81 going up a level is slow progress, but with Gremlin and Chewbacca I was getting about 13k experience/minute (compared to between 3.3k - 4.6k outside the graveyard).

The Wilderness around the graveyard

In large groups the graveyard is one of the best areas to rapidly gain experience. Quite a bit of Tarq's leveling in the 75+ range was done in the graveyard.  But as much as I enjoy knocking around zombies with a gang of other goons, I prefer doing things on my own.

Some characters in their 90's might solo areas of the graveyard, but even they run the risk of getting swarmed by too many zombies, skeletons, and lady skeletons. A few are easily manageable, but 8 or 9 end up being dangerous even for powerful characters.

Outside the graveyard there's lots of opportunity to fight skeletons and lady skeletons. Zombies don't wander outside the graveyard, which is probably a good thing since they tend to hit quite a bit harder. Perhaps one of the best creatures to fight outside the graveyard are Poltergeists, blue/cyan balls of energy in TMW. Poltergeists don't do the damage skeletons do (skeletons still hit me the odd time for 10-20 damage, Poltergeists), but they can be deadly in groups. At 81 I can manage 3 Poltergeists without suffering too much damage, but any more and I know I need to start running.

It's almost the same for skeletons, though today when I thought I was fighting 2 skeletons and suffering too much damage I learned there were 4 stacked together - I might as well have been in the graveyard.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Helping snowman

 This evening a spent a bit of time helping snowman collect 10 mushrooms for the Bone Knife quest (you also need 10 black scorpion tails and a beer -- who doesn't need a beer sometimes). What I appreciated as a higher level player is the fact that snowman kept attacking the Evil Mushrooms. Occasionally snowman would die, but then come right back and attack the Evil Mushrooms again. A few times I've started helping someone only to find they sit back and let me do all the work. In those cases I've usually stopped helping - if someone doesn't even want to try why would I do all the work for them?
Snowman seems like a cool player. Good luck with the Bone Knife quest snowman.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Congratulations Prsm and thank you readers!

Prsm in his GM digs
A big congratulations to Prsm on becoming a GM on The Mana World main server. Also a big thank you to all the readers who read this blog and who voted for Prsm.

Today Prsm got to stretch his GM legs with a few events with the other GMs.

I think Prsm will be a good GM. Time will tell and there's lots to learn. For now, congrats again Prsm.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nice spider cave

Lately it seems like a lot of the usual haunts are crowded with more and more people on the main server. I've come to realize that Tarq's a bit of a tank. There are a lot of faster players doing more damage, but they're like chickens who hit and run, a few chops of a truly powerful monster and they're squawking home to Hades. That said, even at a higher level its easy to miss drops when you're not stated to do heavy damage.

I still don't understand how archers do a lot more damage than a warrior swinging a heavy sword, but it's how the game is currently set up so no point whining about it. Because more and more areas are getting crowded I've been looking for spots that are a little more quiet. The spot pictured above does from time to time have players in it, but it's nowhere near as popular as the spider corridor in the cave north of Hurnscald. And this spot is only a cave away - just bypass all the spiders and scorpions and take the north cave. This cave is strictly scorpions, no spiders, it's a nice spot to collect black scorpion tails if you don't mind waiting a bit.

Tica leveling after level 40

Tica kill stats after red slime bout
I've already mentioned killing cave snakes is a good idea between levels 20 to 40, but it also appears to be one of the best methods to level after level 40.

I've noticed a slow down in Tica's ability to level. More powerful monsters like Mogguns, that give more experience, are too difficult for Tica as he's currently stated for a warrior.

Monsters lesser than cave snakes don't tend to spawn fast enough to equal the experience per minute - with one exception - the red slimes in the caves north of Hurnscald.

I did some kill stat analysis concentrating mostly on cave snakes and noticed Tica gets between 600 to 1000 exp / minute killing cave snakes. Killing red slimes resulted in about 900 exp / minute. The down side to killing red slimes is that Tica seems to take more damage from the red slimes - 8 to 9 hp per hit. Cave snakes hit with 2 - 3 points of damage, but take a little longer to kill. The up side of killing red slimes is they drop a variety of items that can be sold for gold.

For the next few levels Tica will be concentrating on upping the vitality stat.