Stupid idea - An alternative non-kiting NT saga

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ironox
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Stupid idea - An alternative non-kiting NT saga

Post by ironox » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:13 am

Hi all,

Built an NT a while back, had fun for a while learning how to kite and how to root-and-shoot to solo outdoors and missions successfully. Carried a crystal and a pillow, and carefully avoided "Q". The problem was it was just too easy to level. Log my fixer for some buffs, and run around in circles killing stuff twice my level. Wait for them to respawn, and do it again. The only real danger was the dreaded lag-monster (and avoiding anything with roots or ranged attacks).

I got bored, and shelved the project until NS dropped or I picked up some metaplast to make into armor (repeatedly kited that sweet spot in Clondyke, no luck). But every time I would team up it was a disaster. Either I would end up tanking (and soon dead) or practically useless. Calming Adds was a nice idea, unfortunately they would get hit as fast as I could calm them (might have something to do with the experience level of the teams...). I would also run out of notum a lot faster than my teamates would run out of ammo. All this made dungeons like Temple and Foreman's not a lot of fun, especially when adds were plentiful and running room less so.

But I felt I could really enjoy the NT if I could figure out how to make it work in a more standard role, as well as in the NT-specific ones. The problem was I just wasn't doing enough damage fast enough to kill things before they killed me without root-and-shoot or kite, which were not always available options. And neither of those worked very well in a team situation. And without a weapon any disconnect was autoreclaim.

So I started looking a lot closer at weapons. The pistol had the best point cost, but judging from my experiences with a pistol doc, would require too many points in multi, fling, burst, and ranged init. Even Electronicums, to be useful, require multi as well as init. And timing constant nuking with 2 weapons going would be a pain. I worked a bit with bow while considering a PvP experiment, but found it lacking, and Aimed Shot really didn't work in PvM.

Delving in various forums looking into NT pre-history (before the cyberdeck) I encountered references to a fabled shotgun NT. Shotgun is better, pointwise, than most NT ranged skills, and is one of the few that has scalable weapons that do not require any specials. The implant conflicts aren't as bad as pistol, and I don't really like relying on OSBs anyway. And thanks to my trader, I had a bag and a half of Vektor NDs of various QLs sitting around.

According to all the guides using a weapon as an NT before high levels is a pretty stupid idea. So Stupididea was born, and landed on noob island. Solitus, because she was going to stand up face to face and slug it out most of the time, and NM health is a bit shaky for Irish Standup. Used a pistol and the early nuke to get enough money for shotguns and the rest of her nanos. Upgraded the shotguns with the quest and the tradeskill, got everything she wanted and left noob isle at the ripe old age of 9. Killing stuff had been no trouble at all, and she resisted the urge to kite the snakes and salamanders.

Got to the mainland, tossed in some QL20 implants, got a bunch of new nanos, and went to town in the subways. The combination of shotgun blasts and nukes just killed stuff FAST. Of course, she didn't have a calm yet, and the root just weren't worth the effort, but the blinds were handy when too many adds showed up. She had on the clan pads and a Vagabond Cloak, and discovered much later when she was putting on some Miys that she had never bothered to even upgrade the Joint Clans armor - it was still level 5. Joined a few teams and got an awful lot of "so-and-so is looking at your equipment" as she generally waded through foes rather quickly. Also got a few tells: "You're an NT - why are you carrying a shotgun?" Explained I was a trader in a past life.

Little digression here on choice of nukes (any NT Deities reading please feel free to skip). There are basically 5 kinds of timing/damage. Huge damage nukes that take forever to cast, with a longer than usual, but much shorter than casting time recharge. Moderate damage (varying width of damage range) nukes with moderate casting time and moderate (about equal) recharge. Lower damage nukes with a moderate casting time, and a very low recharge time, lower damage nukes with a very low casting time and moderate recharge, and AoE nukes that are usually moderate casting time and low recharge. Type 1 is great to start a fight if your opponent hasn't aggro'd, or to pound at a rooted melee opponent, and useless during a fight, especially in a team where the fight is often over before you cast. The moderate time and damage nukes are great once you have the nano initiative to instacast them - until then I do not find them useful. The moderate cast rapid recharge are great for spamming once you can instacast them, but run through nano pretty quick. The rapid cast slow recharge are great early on when your nano initiative is low, because at full aggro you can still instacast them. Other factors such as damage range, damage type, and resistance percent are important within a class of nukes, but I would argure that those should be considered after you have already picked the timing/damage ratio type you want.

Stupididea originally had 2 nukes on her bar, along with her best AoE blind, a root (seldom used) and a calm as soon as she could get one. Her superheavy slow one to start the fight, and the best fast casting slow recharge one she could cast, which would be spammed on her shotgun's recharge as often as possible. This continuous one-two was pretty effective - when she got to the temple she had no problem soloing red cultists with no OSBs. Of course, she was also carrying the best Vektor ND she could that wouldn't be OE.

Life continued easy, with frequent implant, armor, shotgun, NCU and nano upgrades. RK missions were pretty easy, she realized the ones her level weren't even a threat, and started soloing orange missions instead (always at full chaos for the odds for Miys - and the nice exp for Hellhounds). By the mid-thirties she could solo Leggos, though it was tough. But on a team she would usually end up as primary DD even when playing with paid characters. She picked up an Exarch robe sometime in the 50s, but had already traded in her Vagabond Cloak that had served so well for an upgraded Nelebs Robe as soon as she could get all her nano skills up to 225.

Sometime in the low 50's she got her 6 slot belt with recompiler and nano point cost modifier, at the same time she got her maps and her lvl 100 imps. Sometime before that she had put in Notum Splice and the Collar Casero de la Cripta. At this point she started farming the Curator for the MC/TS ring, and picked up the shoulderpads from the Re-Animator for future reference (Strength was a bit low). Never did get around to trying any of the real bosses, since they didn't have anything she needed.

Off to Foremans. She had visited in her 50's and found that the Chief Base Protectors consistently resisted her Project Calm, and that too many Bloaters at once could be a problem. Now she was back at 60 and quickly got up to Tri Plumbo. Unfortunately, nobody was handy for a team, and soloing Tri was just not going to happen, so in came her brother Abbienormal with his Slayerdroid Igor to lend a hand (overkill FTW). Also picked up the Beta and Gamma passes while Abbie was handy.

Spent a while levelling (with fairly regular gear/nano upgrades - love that Hood of Wicked Inspiration) with daily missions, RK solo missions, and exterminating bloaters in Foremans. In general, without OSBs, found Stupididea to be a faster, safer killer than either my 1H edged Advy or my piercing Enfo at the same levels. This was a (pleasant) surprise. With OSBs (usually Fixer for NCU, speed, HoT and add damage, occasionally Engie reflects and/or Enfo essence) she had no real trouble at all. And, while she had almost no points in runspeed, with GSF readily available (the joy of alts) kiting was always an option. For example, when she got mobbed during Embrace the Shadows daily mission and ended up in reclaim, she came back with GSF. And kited the whole UTurn Canyon. Or when I got tired of doing missions and just wanted a quick half level - time to say "Hi" to my old ninja friends in Wine.

After all, the goal was an NT who could team, level, etc without HAVING to kite - not one who couldn't.

Now heading into her 90's, and it's getting a little harder. Which generally means it's time for another set of implants/NCU items/armor upgrades. Ever since Stupididea could instacast the medium castingtime/recharge/damage nukes, she has used the ones that give a predictable damage. "Ol Faithful" was her primary nuke until she could use Burning Quartet; her next goal for a primary nuke will be Searing Stream, though she may go with one with a wider damage range while working up to it. She is now concentrating on tossing IP into PM and SI - I had been wondering why my calms were taking repeated attempts (not a good thing...) not taking into account that the NR of my foes was going up, and I had been holding off IP'ing PM/SI until I could get the next calm. Oh well, reclaim and learn.

Summary: So far so good - Stupididea can do the traditional NT kites and root-and-shoot at need, but was also able to function both solo and in a team as tank throughout the levelling process. Her damage has been significantly higher than it would be using nukes alone, since while she had to nuke a little slower, to work with the shotgun recharge timing, the shotgun damage (not including the occasional awesome critical) averaged about 1/3 of her nuke, and came out at a rate of about 3/2 to the nukes. Breaking it down, in the time she could have cast 5 nukes, she could cast 4 nukes and 6 shotgun blasts. This works out to an average damage equal to 6 nukes at a nano cost of 4 nukes. What's not to like? As a bonus, at least once she disconnected mid-fight and still managed to kill her opponent - something that just wasn't going to happen with the straight nuke route. Regarding blinds - I love them, but seldom use them unless I am in a team, because generally the timing works better if I just concentrate on damage. Dead enemies are blind by definition. This may change as the blind duration gets longer.

Next is to see if this keeps on working as well for the 100-150 stretch - to see if the weapon damage keeps up adequately, and if the miss rate goes up too much. Basically, right now orange is readily tanked without OSBs. As long as that keeps being the case, I will be happy and feel the experiment is a success (not to mention a lot of fun).

However, since there is a lot more experience here at aofroobs than I will probably ever have, any suggestions on tactics, gear (if I get inspired, I will see if I can figure out auno's character configuration screen) etc. will be more than welcome. Except for "Shut up and kite!"

Best,

IronOx
Jennydoit ("Building in your imagination") Lvl 200 TS'ing Eng
Sleipnirfast ("Think of it as a proactive acquisitions strategy") Lvl 195 Fixer
Tradingup ("Oooh, that shotgun's even BIGGER!") Lvl 180 Trader
Sgtfiery ("Reach out and torch someone") Lvl 173 ICSF Soldier
Cthulhulives ("Not your TOTW Cultist. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu ftaghn") Lvl 153 MP
Bandagebabe ("Fine Pharmaceuticals at unreasonable prices") Lvl 158 Doctor
Stupididea ("Party time! Have a blast.") Lvl 162 Shotgun NT
Notthedroid ("Don't worry, I have your back!" [In my crosshairs]) Lvl 132 Agent
Selar ("Really, I'm just a big pussycat") Lvl 156 melee Advy
Sharpanswer ("Have a heart - I seem to have picked up some extras") Lvl 104 Piercing Enfo
Remfbypref ("Go! Go! Go! I'll assess the situation as soon as I finish my coffee") Lvl 105 Crat
Abbienormal ("No Igor, the OTHER subject!") Lvl 100 Eng (Semi-permanent resident in CoH)
And about 2 dozen more alts waiting for their shot at the big time

EDTA
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Re: Stupid idea - An alternative non-kiting NT saga

Post by EDTA » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:31 am

Super! I'm slightly jealous :). Must be hard on IP, guess you don't have any left for evades and stuff (was about level 120 when I had enough IP to max evades and that they actually worked). And was 174 by the time I put IP into weaponskills (arbalest for pvp), and I was till short on IP then. I wonder how you manage :). Shotgun seems like a decent choice to be cheap on IP; I guess a single pistol without specials would work too, but not sure there is any decent ones (engi pistol is decent, but requires tradeskills to make and I'm not sure it's so good for lower levels).
If you don't use the roots, you might like 2he as alternative, but again: can't think of any good weapons without specials.

I wonder what your defense is though... You can't possibly have tons of hp on NT, AC, reflects I don't see to be high either; probably not enough IP to make evades work well; no heals (except first aid); you say you barely use your roots; you don't keep them away with kiting,... I don't see any defense really. Is your damage really that high you can apply a kill-before-killed principle?
RK2
Main: Edta 200 NT,*Setup*, General of NEPA, Raid Leader of TLfiveplus
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Wanh 1 trader / Kaiter 60 NT / E Lektra Natchios 24 agent / Mewaku 30ish enfo
Froob For Life, Neutral For Life, AO For Ever

ironox
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Re: Stupid idea - An alternative non-kiting NT saga

Post by ironox » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:10 pm

You are quite right, IP is ridiculously tight, and my evades are way under what I would like them to be. Honestly I was surprised at how well this worked. I do keep my Enfraams Fortifications up to date (for what that's worth), keep Body Dev maxed at all times and Stamina up there (after all, trickle to MC plus implants) and am very careful to start each fight with a fresh Absorption Layer, but throughout this experiment I have been taking significantly less damage than I expected. I have started to wonder if there is some kind of slight stun effect on mobs to taking a hit, since some of them really should have been hitting me more. The fights do tend to be fairly short - especially when I can start at distance with the heavy damage nuke, then nuke and shoot as they close - but I do wonder a bit.

My other experiment is a Nelebs Rod NT - my old org started to get active again with new players, I wanted to start someone to go through the game as a party with them, and was really in an NT mindset. This one is still very low, and I am not sure how it will work yet, but so far so good. At least for a while nano will be even easier than usual (when I can put on the upgraded version in a few more levels), and kiting when I have both the nuke and the melee kite attacks going should be interesting. Since the upgraded rod has a quick attack, and a slow recharge, it should work very well with the instanuke on recharge timing.
Jennydoit ("Building in your imagination") Lvl 200 TS'ing Eng
Sleipnirfast ("Think of it as a proactive acquisitions strategy") Lvl 195 Fixer
Tradingup ("Oooh, that shotgun's even BIGGER!") Lvl 180 Trader
Sgtfiery ("Reach out and torch someone") Lvl 173 ICSF Soldier
Cthulhulives ("Not your TOTW Cultist. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu ftaghn") Lvl 153 MP
Bandagebabe ("Fine Pharmaceuticals at unreasonable prices") Lvl 158 Doctor
Stupididea ("Party time! Have a blast.") Lvl 162 Shotgun NT
Notthedroid ("Don't worry, I have your back!" [In my crosshairs]) Lvl 132 Agent
Selar ("Really, I'm just a big pussycat") Lvl 156 melee Advy
Sharpanswer ("Have a heart - I seem to have picked up some extras") Lvl 104 Piercing Enfo
Remfbypref ("Go! Go! Go! I'll assess the situation as soon as I finish my coffee") Lvl 105 Crat
Abbienormal ("No Igor, the OTHER subject!") Lvl 100 Eng (Semi-permanent resident in CoH)
And about 2 dozen more alts waiting for their shot at the big time

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