Froob Trader Guide by Hahnsoo/Ferrell

Posts: 2008
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Froob Trader Guide by Hahnsoo/Ferrell

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:19 am

Froob Trader Guide by Hahnsoo/Ferrell

NOTE: This is a work in progress.

The Profession at a Glance
The Trader is a profession that is unique to Anarchy Online, in terms of archetypes. While we are a nano-casting class, we depend on a weapon for our main damage (typically, a shotgun). We are universally feared in PvP, but virtually ignored in PvM. We have a large and versatile nanoprogram toolset, but most of what we do is performed better by others. Finally, we are also one of the best tradeskilling professions, rivaled only by the Engineer.

The main essence of the Trader is the concept of exchange. As a trader you take from others and give to yourself, and vice versa. Instead of commodities and credits, though, in combat you will exchange nano-points, health, nano skills, weapon skills, etc.

This guide will focus ONLY on the Froob Trader. Expansions radically change your playstyle as well as your relative power compared to other professions. A good guide for SLoobs can be found at the official forums here: ... p?t=168020

There is nothing in this guide that has not been repeated many times on other places. This is simply my rehash of the same old information. I owe a debt of knowledge and gratitude to all of those guides and databases out there which has helped me play my trader the way I want. By no means is this guide the last word in how to play a Trader; it is simply a rough guide of my experience with traders. I hope this guide allows you to play the trader that you want.

Why Should I Play a Trader
If any of these apply, the trader profession might be a good choice:
* "I like PvP, and I like dominating one-on-one combat at low levels."
* "I enjoy crowd control, and would like a profession with both roots and calms."
* "I enjoy tradeskilling."
* "I enjoy making more money from the special shop terminals and computer literacy buffs."
* "I enjoy being able to do a little bit of everything, from healing to support to solo to team play to tradeskilling."
* "I like Shotguns. I also like equipping ridiculously high QL weapons."

Why Shouldn't I Play a Trader
If any of these apply, the trader profession may not be for you:
* "I like dealing lots of damage and gaining aggro quickly."
* "I like being able to sit back in combat, and watch my character/minions duke it out without having to interfere."
* "I want a profession that is needed in all teams and will get picked up off of LFT quickly."
* "I like peace and quiet. I do not want to have people bug me for buffs all the time."

The Inevitable Trader Lightbulb Jokes
"How many Traders does it take to change a lightbulb?"
* I can do it, but I need to drain first. One moment while I fetch a leet.
* There are no Traders... ever try to find one on /list?
* Traders don't change lightbulbs. However, once I hit level 25, I can sell you a special lightbulb that only I can get from the Trader Shop. For a fee, of course.
* Wrangles do NOT increase your Lightbulb Changing skill. Sheesh.
* There are hundreds of low QL Lightbulb-changing Traders, but once you get past level 50 or so, it's impossible to find a Trader who can do it.
* Well, you need a special Pump Lightbulb to do it as a Trader, which costs around 30m credits.
* You can never get a group of traders to change a lightbulb, as they'll fight all day over who gets to drain the lightbulb.
* Meh. You don't want to pick up a trader to change the lightbulb. Pick up that Doc on LFT instead.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
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Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:20 am

The Breeds
This is the section in most profession guides where the "best breed" argument tends to come into play. Personally, I say "play what you want to play" but go into it with full knowledge of the benefits and penalties. Folks with expansions have other wrinkles to deal with, such as breed-specific perks, but they also worry less about breed caps (which relax after level 200). As a froob, you will have to consider both breed caps on your abilities as well as breed-specific items.

Note that since breed really only affects your IP expenditure among your abilities, the main differences in your skills boil down to breed specific items and trickledown from abilities. As far as trickledown, this amounts to maybe a dozen points at endgame.

Atroxes have bonuses to Stamina and Strength, as well as to their Health. This makes them a great choice for combat-heavy traders. While the Intelligence and Psychic penalties will affect some equipment (especially Barter Armor), the resulting penalty to nanoskills (from less trickledown) is largely overcome by your drains. It also helps that Shotgun is partially based on Stamina and Strength. The lack of Nano Pool hurts, as you'll need a lot of Nano Points to fuel your combat nanos. Conventional wisdom holds the low level Atrox Trader in high regard, as a tower twink or low level PvP/PvM twink.

Atroxes also get access to certain breed-specific items, such as the Diamondine Kick Pistol (a nice Burst/Fling capable Shotgun/Pistol hybrid).

Nanomage may seem like a perfect fit for the Trader profession, as Traders are primarily a nano-casting class. The bonus to Nano points gives you a distinctive edge, and with Green Psychic and Intelligence, you'll get into higher Barter Armor at an earlier level. However, expect to struggle at the brink of death at every combat, fighting tooth and nail to survive long enough to land your drains and calms. You don't lose this "squishyness" until TL6.

The Nanomage breed, due to some unique buffing items and high Psychic breedcap, is able to reach 780 Psychic and thus the 2 second Nano Delta. Once you achieve this, you will enjoy almost unlimited Nano Points to burn while chain-casting in combat. This is my main trader's breed and with a 2 second Nano Delta, I can literally cast Preeminent Health Haggler on myself forever.

Opifex, with their bonus to Agility, will probably end up with the best evades and Shotgun Attack Rating. They will have a much easier time implanting the various Agility-Based implants, while suffering in the Stamina and Strength department.

Opifex have a few great options for breed-specific endgame equipment, such as the Flaxen Notum Pants.

Solitus is the well-rounded breed, and thus does not have any advantages and disadvantages. Most of the folks that I talk to enjoy Solitus for cosmetic reasons (i.e. they don't want to look like the Hulk or a grey-skinned freak).

It's hard NOT to recommend Solitus as a breed for any profession, because they simply aren't bad at any profession, especially for a froob.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:24 am

The Toolset

AC Drains
Draw AC line
Siphon AC line
Pawnbroker's Armor

There are two lines of AC Drains, and they stack, giving you the benefits of both. Siphon AC is easier to land, with only an 85% Nano Resist check. Draw AC has a 120% resist check. The top Siphon AC drain is actually called Pawnbroker's Armor.

Since these nanos use Matter Creation, typically it is best to start using them when you have more IP to spend, after TL4. In my opinion, these take a back seat in priority behind your Ransack/Deprive drains. Often, you won't have time to use them in a team situation unless you are fighting a boss or running a 200+ mission. As a solo PvM trader, you have all the time in the world, and can afford to "prep" with the AC drains, giving you both a defensive and offensive advantage.

AC Transfers
Major Armor Distributor, Team
Armor Trade-In, Single
Traffic AC line
Redeem AC line, Single

These nano lines take AC away from you and give it to a target or the whole team for three minutes. They are a great way to buff up your tank during a boss fight or intense combat, if the tank has enough NCU to hold it. One way to minimize the AC loss for yourself is to cast the Single Redeem AC line on yourself first, then cast it on the target. You can also use the AC Drains to increase your armor before using these to give it away to someone else.

Again, since these nanos use Matter Creation, you should probably start using them at TL4 or higher. They are useful in a team situation, but generally not necessary.

Simple Mind, Simple Pleasures
Imaginary Distractions
Glittering Plaything
Trinkets and Toys
Distracting Baubles
Bright Shiny Sparkling Thing
Distract with Trinkets

Traders get a handful of Calms. While we do not get nearly as many Calms as a Bureaucrat nor do we get any Area of Effect calms, we can reach our higher QL calms faster than Bureaucrats because of drains. Calms stop a target from attacking you and "reset" their hate list, so the target does not attack you again unless provoked. This makes the calms an excellent tool for aggro management, as well as a way to escape from harm.

Note that calms are NOT broken when you cast non-damaging nano-programs at a calmed target. The target will still aggro you (preventing you from sitting down and using your kits), but they won't attack you. This is VERY useful in solo play.

Being a single targeted nano, it is fairly easy to accidentally hit yourself with a calm, so make sure you have an enemy targeted before casting it! Also, unless your drains are fully laddered or you have some nanoskill buffs from a friendly Metaphysicist, expect your calms to take 2 to 3 casts before they actually land.

My Brain For Your Brain (only top nano shown)

By and large, the Charm line is rather worthless. While it allows you to gain a "pet" like the Bureaucrat charm, it comes with a "stun" that prevents you from doing anything until your charm is done, the pet dies, or you break the charm with /pet terminate. It's a fun nano to play with, but unless you are stealing an Engineer's Slayerdroid in PvP, you probably should keep away from these nanos.

Note that if you Charm a target that has been calmed, you'll be in a world of hurt. Not only will the Charm not land, but you'll still have the Charm "paralyze" uploaded, leaving you vulnerable for the duration of the nano.

Nevertheless, there are certain situations where you may actually end up using a charm. Stealing pets in PvP is one of them. Another is in the Crypt of Home, where a Trader can charm a monster to root out a Cenobite Shadow, using /pet hunt.

One fun thing to do with Charms is to hit a charmable humanoid NPC, like the Bartenders in the shops. Since you can use all the /pet social commands, you can make the Bartender dance (or whatever).

Computer Literacy Buffs
Trading Mogul
Bulk Trader
Frequent Customer

Traders are the ONLY profession that have a line of Computer Literacy buffs.

Not only does this allow you to buy and sell at terminals for better prices (the original intent of these nanos), but they also allow you to equip higher NCU and belts. Certain tradeskills also are based on Computer Literacy.

Note that you only have to cast the Comp Lit buff before you open the terminal (thanks Worldtrader!); the buff will give you better prices at the terminal throughout your session even when your buff runs out until you close the terminal. When you close the terminal and re-open it, though, be sure to recast your Comp Lit buff.

Damage Buffs
Balanced Striker

This nano line is the ONLY one in the toolset that uses Matter Metamorphoses.

While a damage bonus sounds nice (especially for the whole team), I do not believe it is worth putting IP into MM. You can reach most of the line by simply using Drains and possibly a Faded MM cluster in the Left Arm. The small Ranged Init bonus from Fine Tuning and Balanced Striker is nice, but almost negligable. I would skip this line, although it's not as useless as the Charm line.

These nanoprograms are the staple of your arsenal, and the source of a trader's power in both PvM and PvP combat. Essentially, they take nanoskills and weapon skills away from the target and give them to you. In PvP, actual skills are removed from the opponent and given to you. In PvM, you will receive bonus skills, but the monsters will only get an Add All Offense penalty, reducing their ability to hit and damage, but not actually affecting their base skill (Martial Artists still hit with the same Fist weapon) or nano skills (Doctors still use their top heals).

It is fairly easy to hit yourself with a Drain on accident. If this happens, it is pretty much the kiss of death for your character for the next 3 minutes. Hopefully, your teammates can save you or you are able to escape unscathed. Sit down and use a Virus Scanner to remove the ill-effects.

* Deprive/Divest line - This line has a 100% Nano Resist check, so they are no more or less difficult to land than most other nano programs.
* Ransack/Plunder line - This line has a Nano Resist check of 190%, making them more difficult to land than the Deprive/Divest line. You will want as much Nano Skill as possible in PM/TS to cast these, so start out with your highest Deprive/Divest first.
* Nanite-Enhanced Drains - This line deserves a special mention. The nano resist checks for these are lower than the regular drains. The Divest has a 90% NR and the Plunder has a 150% NR. Furthermore, in PvP, the target will receive both a skill penalty AND an Add All Offense penalty. While they are usable by froobs, they can ONLY be purchased for 6000 Victory Points each by a subscriber with Lost Eden. This makes them rather difficult to obtain.

Evade Buff
Quantum Uncertainty

Traders get a single Evade buff, and it's a whopper. Quantum Uncertainty gives +110 to all of your Evades (just 10 points less than the best evade buff in the game, Reduce Inertia). However, it will also overwrite any Runspeed buff from a Fixer except Gridspace Freedom.

Grid Nanos
AKA Meeps
Walk the Grid, Team

These nanos allow you to teleport yourself or your whole team from whereever you are directly to the Grid. Useful if you are done with a team mission and do not have a fixer in the team to evac. They are slow to cast, but are well worth the effort.

Note that Traders have several "Team" meeps and one Self meep (Personal Grid Beacon) that takes longer to cast and has higher nano point cost than Walk the Grid. I can't think of any common situation where you wouldn't just leave the team if you wanted to Grid yourself (going on an ammo/supply run perhaps... but then you can warp and just join your team again later). Skip out on Personal Grid Beacon, get Walk the Grid. You don't have to worry about the later ones until well into TL5 or so, when you have IP thrown around in all of your nanoskills.

Health Hagglers
These are your default single heals. They start out as very inefficient heals, with the lowest Health Haggler only gaining a net of 4 Health (20 damage to you, 24 points of healing). As they rise in QL, however, they become more efficient, with the top Preeminent Health Haggler gaining a net of 640 Health (229 damage to you, 869 points of Healing). With a faster recharge than Doctor Single Heals, the top Health Haggler can actually outheal Lifegiving Elixer when cast on another target. And because you are likely to be fully drained anyway during combat, you will probably be able to heal others quickly and efficiently with the high QL Health Hagglers. As a self heal, these nanos are passable, but you are probably better off using the Health Plunder line on your enemies when in solo PvM combat.

Be warned that these "heals" do their damage first before they heal you. This means if your health is low enough when casting, you can effectively kill yourself trying to self heal!

On another note, if you look at Auno's Heal Table, you'll see that the only two Froob heals that have a higher heal-per-second over Preeminent Health Haggler are Complete Healing and Invocation of the Phoenix.

Delayed Health Payment
Premium Delayed Health Payment

These are your team heals. They work differently than the Health Hagglers, however. Instead of damaging you immediately and giving the health to the team, the heal affects the entire team first and hits you with a Damage Over Time nano, for more total damage than the heal (typically) over the next 15 seconds.

The great thing about these is their consistent healing range. The top froob Doctor team heal does 485-970 of healing for the team. Our top Premium Delayed Health Payment heals for an amazing 920-1,144 damage for the whole team! Yes, this means that in a single burst, you can heal the team better than the doc.

Ideally, you would already be slightly damaged when casting this nano, as you cannot "overheal" yourself. If you are already at Max Health, then your net health will go down further than if you had lower health. I tend to use this line as an emergency heal of last resort when the whole party is hurting badly and the team healers are overwhelmed or low on nano.

Health Plunders
Sophisticated Health Plunder
Sophisticated Health Freeloader
Health Plunders damage the opponent, while giving health back to you. They have a moderate nano point cost, which makes it difficult to chain cast them like the Health Hagglers, but they are much more useful in the early levels, when the Health Hagglers do not give much net Health in return. The damage and healing from the Health Plunders plateaus off at the higher QLs, with the top two or three Health Plunders doing about the same amount of damage/healing.

Note that the top Health Plunder is actually a quest reward from the new 17.7 line of quests at the Bronto Burger in "Holes in the Wall", just outside of Borealis. You need to be level 120+ to complete the whole line. Talk to Corporal Ashley for details. This Health Plunder does almost 1000 damage and a similar amount of healing... get this nano as soon as possible! It will greatly increase your survivability at TL4 and higher.

You can also cast the Health Plunders on YOURSELF for a bit of healing. However, given the general effectiveness of the Health Haggler line, this is not recommended.

Lend Nano
Lend Nano line
These nanos give a higher Nano Pool to someone else for a short period of time.

In combat, this may not amount to much, but this buff is sought-after by low level Engineers, Bureaucrats, and Fixers who often cast expensive nano programs that cost way beyond their current Nano Pool.

Nano-Point Drains
Forced Bankruptcy

For a small amount of credits, these nano programs will suck away nano points from the opponent and give them to you. It is similar to a very short term Humidity Extractor. You receive a bit more nano than it takes to cast these drains, and they work better in combination with % Nano Cost reducing items.

Entrepreneurial Thrall, Single
Flow of Time, Area Effect

One of your staple weapons in PvP and great to use in PvM, as well. They have a much lower resist check than Calms, and so you may have an easier time rooting your target then running away rather than trying to calm your target.

Root Removers
Passage for One

The only Dyna-only nano line for a Trader. These nanos remove duration from Roots, and come in Self-Only and targeted versions. However, Passage for One is shop-buyable, and probably the only one that you really need from the ENTIRE line. The higher ones are nice to have, but not necessary, as a few castings of Passage for One should cover all your root removal needs.

Tradeskill Buffs
Maestro line, +125
Journeyman line, +80
Apprentice line, +40

Traders have a line of strong Tradeskill buffs that are castable on others. They buff the first 5 Tradeskills: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Field Quantum Physics, Weaponsmithing, and Pharmaceuticals.

Team Skill Wrangler line, Team
Skill Wrangler line, Single

Skill Wranglers come in two flavors, Single and Team. The top Single Wrangle adds +131 to skills, while the top Team Wrangle adds +132 to skills. This is the nano program that we Traders are best known for. There are folks who don't know that we can calm or root or drain, but EVERYONE knows that we can wrangle.

The basic concept of the Skill Wrangler is that it takes skill away from you and gives it to another person or your team for a short 3 minute interval of time. Skill Wranglers ONLY affect Primary Weapon Skills (no Specials or Multi-skills) and Nano Skills (but not the Aiding Skills). It does not affect any Tradeskills, Abilities, Treatment, or First Aid. Unfortunately, this fact isn't very well known among folks wanting to receive a wrangle.

For those who need a list that spells it all out: Martial arts, 1h Blunt, 1h Edged, Melee energy, 2h Edged, Piercing, 2h Blunt, Sharp objects, Grenade, Heavy weapons, Bow, Pistol, Rifle, Smg, Shotgun, Assault rifle, Ranged energy, Matter metamorphosis, Biological metamorphosis, Psychological modifications, Matter creation, Time and space, Sensory improvement

Note that you can cast a Skill Wrangler on yourself, and lose a few net nano skill points, but this will allow you to chain-cast the exact same Wrangle as long as you have the Skill Wrangler bonus running on yourself.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:50 pm, edited 13 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:25 am

IP Distribution

I would like to preface this section in saying that there are very few "absolutely right" and "absolutely wrong" ways to allocate your IP. While there are several skills that I would highly recommend NOT investing in (Swimming, for example, is relatively worthless), your IP distribution should depend on your personal goals for your character. If you are a tradeskiller, bank a set amount of points for Tradeskills. If you are a combat-heavy character, bank most of your points in combat-related skills.

Banked IP that is unspent is, by and large, wasted IP. But IP placed in skills that you use rarely or above what you essentially need is also wasted IP (for example, pumping up Vehicle Air above the requirement of your Yalmaha, or raising Vehicle Air when you don't have a Yalmaha).

Also, remember that IP frees up after level 100/Title Level 4. By the time you reach Title Level 6, you should have way more IP than places to spend it. When you start out, the stretch of Title Level 3 (up to when you reach title caps at around level 85) will be the most difficult and leanest period of your character's career, regardless of profession. Make frugal choices during this time, allocate your IP sparingly to achieve specific goals, and make some estimates on some of the more nebulous skills (i.e. Evades). Also, remember that you can always shore up some of your shortcomings with implants.

You will eventually max out all of these, so no points in your Abilities are wasted. This is a good thing, too, because barring a "Reset All Skills", you cannot use IPR on them. Since IP is much tighter at lower levels (levels 1 to 100), I would suggest that you put an emphasis on Agility and Intelligence when you first start out.

Prioritizing the other abilities depends on what you want to accomplish. If you are Nano Mage or plan on extensively using Barter Armor, you will want to max out Intelligence and Psychic early on. If you are Atrox or plan on using CAS Symbiotic or Tank Armor, you will want to max out Strength and Stamina early on.

I recommend that you keep Agility and Intelligence maxed out throughout your career. Stamina and Psychic should be kept at least high enough to max out your Body Dev and Nano Pool without showing "Base Abilities are too low", and you may want to max out Psychic to use Barter Armor. Strength needs to be between 25-50% early on for your Shotgun skill. Sense isn't nearly as important for traders unless you are focusing on speed and evades and can probably be kept at 25-50%.

I recommend not spending more than 25% of your total IP per level on Abilities until you reach TL 4. When spending more than this, you will compromise the IP that you have available for your Nano Skills and Combat skills.

Don't spend any points on Adventuring or Swimming. Brawling and Martial Arts are only useful if you pursue that particular path instead of weapons.

Body Dev directly translates into Health and should be kept high, maxed if possible. Nano Pool directly translates into your nano points and should also be kept high, although you will only need enough nano to pull yourself through a few drains and maybe a calm in combat. You will want to max out both Body Dev and Nano Pool eventually, especially when you reach the higher QL Drains (which eat up a large chunk of your nano points).

You will want as much Nano C Init and Ranged Init (if you use Shotguns) as you can muster. Once you get a Nano Formula Recompiler in deck slot 6, you can start to slack off on Nano C Init. However, I wouldn't stop raising it until you can instant cast all of your drains.

Evades are a difficult thing to gauge. Early on, you won't have enough IP to max these. I would recommend only investing in Dodge Ranged and Evade Close Combat, and placing either 1-2 points per level in each or try to place 2 times the level of the creatures that you typically face in combat. If you are creating a PvP twink, you will want to MAX your Evades and Nano Resist.

Runspeed is a subjective thing. On the one hand, it is difficult to play when you are "feeling slow", but there are plenty of outside buffs for Runspeed. My traders have always been "slowpokes", I fear, mostly to conserve IP. You will have to judge how much Runspeed that you are comfortable with.

In Anarchy Online, IP tends to be tight from levels 1 to 100 (TL 1-3). Thus, it is hard to recommend blowing IP on Tradeskills at those early stages. Luckily, Traders get some fairly nice buffs to a lot of tradeskills, which will allow you to tinker a bit at low levels. Still, even if you are a primary tradeskiller, I would budget no more than 25% of your IP allowance per level on tradeskills.

When I leveled my tradeskiller, I tended to place more points in Chemistry and Nano Programming, because traders lack buffs for those skills. I did not start raising Psychology until TL5. I placed enough points in Tutoring so that I can use my tradeskilling buffing items, and then stopped raising it.

Computer Literacy is necessary throughout your career. While you have some pretty massive self buffs for this skill, you will need a high amount to access the various portals of the Grid. You can try getting to your location in less than a minute, but I would recommend raising Computer Literacy enough so that you can at least visit the places you need to go. To be honest, I always max Computer Literacy on all my characters except the level locked twinks.

Nano and Aiding
The most important skill in this tab is Treatment. Max it out!

The two next most important skills in this tab are PsyMod and Time&Space. These are the basis for the vast majority of your nanos, including Drains and Wrangles. They should always be maxed out and kept in pace of each other. When implanting, you can easily implant Time&Space in Eye and Right Hand and PsyMod in Ear and Eye. Time&Space conflicts with Shotgun in the Right Hand, I believe, so you may want to implant Shotgun in the Right Hand and have your Shiny Head slot as Time&Space.

The next most important skill is SenImp. This is needed for Calms and Buffs. SenImp directly conflicts with PsyMod in implants, sadly, so you'll probably only be able to implant SenImp in the Faded Chest slot.

Following that, if you can, raise some BioMet. You will get plenty of BioMet off of your Drains for your heals and health plunders, but still, it is useful to raise. The best targeted heals and plunders do not come until much later, and you want to get to those as soon as possible. BioMet has conflicts with Shotgun and other Nano skills, but is easily implanted in the Bright Chest slot.

Matter Creations should probably NOT be increased until you reach level 100 or so. The AC drains/transfers do not matter much. I would raise it a bit so that you can use Walk the Grid.

Matter Metamorphoses, in my opinion, should NEVER be raised on any Trader. The damage buffing nanos are not worth the waste of IP.

I also don't tend to raise First Aid on most of my characters. Some folks rely more on Stims for in-combat healing. I personally just pop a Battle-Prepared Nano Kit when I need nanopoints in combat.

Other Skills
If you run a lot of missions, you will want around 2 times the QL of the missions that you run in Breaking and Entry (B+E). If you are calm-blitzing missions, you will definitely want to get into all of those locked chests. As a tradeskiller, you will also need a fair amount of B+E for many tradeskill tasks. Otherwise, if you are just generally leveling in the dungeons or in a team situation, you can probably comfortably ignore B+E until you can spare the IP at TL4.

I generally do not raise Map Nav on my characters until TL5 (when I want to upload all the maps and the Sided map upgrade). Map Nav is important for PvP, as not having a map means you are running blind. If you can live without the map upgrades for a while, you can triple implant Map Nav at around level 50 and get all of the maps up to The Longest Road and all of the map upgrades except for Sided. Still, it does not hurt to invest some IP into Map Nav if you need the upgrades earlier.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:43 am, edited 7 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:27 am

The Basics

Laddering Ransack/Divest Drains
This is what I consider to be the bread-and-butter technique for playing any trader. The reasoning is rather simple. You have two drain lines, the Ransack/Plunder line and the Deprive/Divest line. Both of these lines can be used at the same time to provide almost double the bonus. The way laddering works is:
1) Cast the highest Deprive/Divest that you can. Note the bonus to your nano-skills.
2) Figure out the highest Ransack/Plunder that you can cast, and then cast that drain. Repeat as necessary until it lands (Plunders are notorious for not landing, due to the high Nano Resist check). Note the bonus to your nano-skills.
3) Figure out the highest Deprive/Divest that you can cast NOW, and then cast that drain. Your nano-skills and weapon skills should be even higher.
4) Figure out the highest Ransack/Plunder that you can cast, and then cast that drain.
5) Keep repeating these two steps until you reach the upper limit of your skill (you run out of drains to cast).

Once your drains are laddered, you can continue to cast your highest drains on each enemy that you run into. While the duration of the drains are limited, you should be able to continue to redrain for the duration of the mission/encounter.

If you are lazy, like me, you can use this program to figure out the most efficient draining order to get to your top drains:

Laddering Nano-point drains
Most traders do not realize that you can stack the nano-point drain line. You simply cast the lowest nanopoint drain in your arsenal, then work your way up. After several castings and a handful of credits later, you will enjoy a few moments of virtually unlimited nano flow. When the final nano-point drain expires, simply start the chain again.

In practice, this is a rather annoying waste of time, especially if you are not able to instant cast the nano-point drains. I typically start with my 3rd highest, and cast the 2nd highest and highest nano-point drain in succession, and only after my Ransack/Deprive and AC drains have been cast.

Calming is one of your most useful PvM tools. You can use Calms to blitz missions by calming the enemies that you encounter. This leaves you free to explore the mission and to open all the chests.

You can also use Calms before a combat, and use the calmed enemy as a drain pet or pre-drain the enemy before starting combat. Also, there are many situations where two enemies are side by side. You can calm one and take out the other. Or calm both.

I also use Calms in the middle of combat to take on opponents much tougher than I am. Basically, you can use the Calm as a respite, sitting and recharging your health and nano. Be warned, though, that most enemies will heal when they are not actively aggro'ing you.

If you are having trouble calming an enemy, you can attempt to root them instead and run off, stim yourself, then creep back into nano range again and calm them from a distance. This works well on resistant melee enemies like Martial Artists.

In a team situation, your calms WILL break from a teammate attacking the calmed enemy (Murphy's Law AO corollary: If there is a competent calmer in the team, there will also be an equally incompetent team member who will attack calmed mobs) . In this case, you simply re-calm the enemy and hope that your teammate buys a clue. Be on the lookout for adds (additional enemies) in team situations, because your calms can spell the difference between an intact party and a total party kill. Calms also take the teeth out of the pet professions that you will face as enemies in team missions (Bureaucrats, Engineers, and Metaphysicists), because you can simply calm the pet. Instantly, the pet-dependent enemy is gimped.

Typically, you will want to enter combat with all of your best drains running. In solo missions, you have the luxury of calming, then draining your opponent. In PvP, you do not have such concessions. One way to get around this is to calm a nearby enemy (preferably low level), and use them as a "drain pet". You drain from this enemy, then enter into combat fully buffed to the gills. If it is calmed nearby, you can return to this "pet" if you happen to lose your drains somehow.

In non-combat situations, you will want to use your drains to heighten your nanoskills as well, whether you are casting a wrangle on someone or tradeskill buffing yourself. At high levels, I tend to use the OT Bartender in the general stores. At lower levels, you probably will want to head to the backyards and drain a leet there.

One useful "trick" in team missions is to drain the pets (robots or meatballs) or adds spawned by the various pet professions. The pets typically have a MUCH lower Nano Resist than the creator, and thus are easy to drain if you are a looking for an easy way to ladder up to your higher drains.

(or how to keep chucking a 131 Wrangle for 3 minutes)
This one is simple. If you exceed the requirement for casting a non-team skill wrangle by around 10-11 points, cast the wrangle on yourself first. This will give you both the bonus and the penalty for the wrangle at the same time, which will give you a small net loss of nanoskills in exchange for being able to constantly cast that particular wrangle for the next 3 minutes or so. Useful if you intend to do a lot of wrangles in a row. Also useful in the middle of a mission, if someone in the team needs a wrangle, and you do not want to totally sabotage your effectiveness in combat.

Instant-Casting Your Drains
You will definitely want to be able to instant-cast your drains as soon as possible. The reason is two-fold: Instant-casting means that you can chain your drains faster, and an instant-cast nano-program cannot be interrupted. Unfortunately, Your Deprive/Ransack drains are one of the very few nano-lines that has an INCREASING attack time as you go up in QL. At the high end, you are looking at around 4.5 seconds of Attack Time to compensate for. At full aggressive on Agg/Def, you will need around 700 Nano Init to instantly cast all of the drains.

Fortunately, you have cheap Nano C Init. Also, with your Comp Lit buffs, you should be able to get on a 6-slot belt and a high QL Nano Formula Recompiler early in your career.

Root and Shoot
This classic combination is a good way of taking out melee enemies. Cast a root on a melee enemy and fire away. When the root breaks, re-root them and run to maximum distance, then fire away again. Wash, rinse, repeat. As long as you have a long corridor or an open area to do this without adds, you can safely kill a melee enemy while taking very little damage. If you have problems (a random critical hit, for example), simply calm the enemy, sit and heal, then start over again. You can also root, then drain the melee enemy, too.

This technique does not work well against ranged enemies or enemies that have mixed ranged/melee attacks (i.e. Borgs). Instead of wasting time running to you, the enemy will simply stand and shoot, possibly killing you while you are running.

Putting It All Together
or "Just tell me how to play a trader already!"
When I enter an encounter as a solo trader, I tend to try to calm the first enemy that I see. After calming, I would ladder up my drains, followed by casting my top AC drains, then calm the target again and sit and heal my nano (I no longer have to worry about nano points at TL6, but this is what I did at lower TLs). Then I'd start attacking the pre-drained gimped enemy, using Health Plunders during the encounter to keep myself healed. If I find that the enemy is too powerful, I will either try to calm the enemy or root it and run away.

In a team situation, the enemy probably will already be targeted and under attack. I will take a few moments to look for adds, then start draining the opponent. I will also glance at the team health and make sure the healers in the team don't need supplemental healing. Drains have a LONG recharge time, so I want to make sure that my other programs aren't needed when I drain. At boss encounters, I'd take the time to fully drain the boss and AC drain the boss. I'd also try to calm the adds so that the team can focus on the boss (who typically cannot be calmed).
Last edited by hahnsoo on Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:38 pm, edited 12 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:28 am

The Nifty Toys

All-Match Augmented Bowtie
Made from a Sealed Order FPGA-202, which drops from the Lab Director in Foreman's/Biomare, this nifty Neck slot item adds from +10 to +12 to your Tradeskills. Useful, and relatively easy to get.

Chemist's Pad
Dyna loot. This pad adds a small amount of Chemistry. Not very spectacular, but considering that Traders have no Chemistry buffs, this could be useful in a pinch.

Deformed Mantidae Mandibles
Trader Only. A nifty Neck Slot item that buffs Vehicle Air, Field Quantum Physics, and Max Health/Nano. In general, a sided Token Board is probably better, although Neutral Traders would probably love this item as a substitute token board. It can be found in various QLs (usually around QL 100ish) in the Smuggler's Den, off of Mantid monsters.

Flutter Cuffs
These unusual items add to Vehicle Air and Field Quantum Physics. Fits in the armor "Hand" slot. Dyna loot only.

Focus-Funneling Helpers
The Focus-Funneling Device is possibly one of the most useful tools you can put into your HUD2 slot (it beats the Nano-Programming Interface and Night Vision Goggles, anyway). It adds to your tradeskills and ACs. The Device itself drops from Cerubin in the Crypt of Home. However...

The Focus-Funneling Device can be combined with various SL items to create Focus-Funneling Helpers. While the upgrade items only drop in the Shadowlands (with very poor droprates), the result is usable by Froob Traders. The set of three helpers fit in your HUD1, HUD2, and HUD3 slots, more than tripling the benefit of the Focus-Funneling Device. You would need a total of three Focus-Funneling Devices, three Focus-Funneling Spirits, and two Spirit Training Programs (one for Love, one for Hate).

Handy Steelribbed Gloves
These Sense/Agility gloves add bonuses to Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Breaking and Entry. Useful to shore up some points in B&E. Dyna/Team Mission Boss loot.

Hollow Island Token Boards
Merit Board of the Blue Wolf, Clan
Omni-Tek Engineer Corps Merit Board, Omni
These merit boards drop from the Weed at Hollow Island. They are the top token board available to froobs of Clan and Omni factions respectively. Locked at 1750 Tokens and TL6. They add some more Computer Literacy and Nanoprogramming, as well as higher Health and Nano Points. However, the damage bonus doesn't change, and you actually lose some Offense, in exchange for some Defense. A worthy upgrade, but not much better than the 1000 token board.

ICC Engineer Skinchip
This Neutral-only skinchip comes in QLs 1 to 200 and adds from 1 to 20 points to Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineering, Field Quantum Physics, and Weaponsmithing. Drops from Dynas/boss loot.

Mister Hadrulf's Specs
These are NoDrop Unique items that drop randomly in missions off of Metaphysicist (and other) enemies in various QLs. Gives a +20 bonus to Nano Programming. Useful for implant building.

Mister Lucien's Specs
These are NoDrop Unique items that drop randomly in missions off of Bureaucrat (and some other) enemies in various QLs. Gives a useful +20 bonus to Psychology.

Omni-Tek Technical Library
Ah, the humble Omni-Tek Technical Library. This is a tradeskiller's best friend in Util1. It costs about 8k credits in Newbie Island and while it is only sold to Omni, it can be used by any faction.

Profiteer's Helper
This Neutral-only Neckitem drops from the Hollow Island Weed, and is probably one of the best reasons to stay Neutral for Tradeskillers. It adds massive bonuses to Tradeskilling. While Omni and Clan get similar Nano-Programming and Computer Literacy benefits from their token board, this Neck slot item adds more bonuses to more tradeskills.

Remains of AESA 10
A nifty little HUD slot item that drops from Hollow Island. It is NoDrop, and gives a small amount of buffs for Weapon Smithing, Breaking and Entry, and Time and Space.

Ring of Magpie Tail Feathers
The Jack Legchopper Rings are well-known for buffing seemingly useless skills for each profession, and our JL ring is no exception. It does add some points for Sense and Fling Shot, which can be useful in a pinch.

Small Ebony Figurine
Shotgun version
Nanoskills version
These items drop from the Primus Camp, and give small bonuses in an Util slot. Two of the more notable ones add to Shotgun and Nanoskills and are locked at TL6. As far as I know, the Psychic/Intelligence buffing one does not exist.

The Extruder
This bizarre gadget drops from the various Hags of the Biodome raid. It creates the Extruder Nutrition Bar, a consumable item that adds +2 to all abilities for about 60 seconds. I can't tell you how many times this particular item became vital for twinking on implants and armor. It is in low demand, mostly because the population at large has no idea that it exists, but still one of the more useful and fun gadgets we have at our disposal. "Mmm. Tastes like cardboard."

The Trader Shop
Available at level 25, the Trader Shop is going to be one of your favorite "toys" in the game. Combined with your high Computer Literacy, you should be able to make a much higher profit from selling to the Trader Shop than any other profession, regardless of faction. Remember to cast your highest Comp Lit buff before selling! Even if the Comp Lit buff runs out while you are selling, you still get the benefit of it without having to recast, as long as the store is open.

As for the contents of the Trader Shop and the locations, check out my guide at AO Universe: ... k=4&id=328

Or you can check out this useful thread on the official forums: ... did=169901

Note that the Portable Shop Interface is virtually worthless for fr00bs, as it is simply a portable GMS.

A brief list of all the Trader Shop locations that I'm aware of:
- Omni -
* Omni Trade - 230x490 (NW corner, sign says "Finest Edition")
* Omni Ent - 845x430, (SE, look for the gigantic Yalm sign)
* Rome Green - 410x340 (midline on East Wall, north of the Jobe Whompah)
* Rome Blue - 540x330 (midline on West Wall, mirror image of Rome Green)

- Neutral -
* Newland City - 290x315
* Borealis - 652x576 (sign says "Hi Tech")
* Harry's - 3040x3030 (Go down the road, it's a shop to your left)
* 20k - 1190x2350

- Clan -
* Tir - 395x545 (NW Corner)
* Old Athens - 370x500
Thick Leather Wristbands
Drops from Hollow Island. While not too useful as a wrist slot item (I'd rather use Sandy Pieces of Goo or Anything myself), it adds 10 points Chemistry and Pharm. Useful for Tradeskiller Traders, because of our lack of Chemistry buffs.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:50 pm, edited 10 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:28 am

The Weapons

Shotguns are the vanilla default weapon choice for Traders. You are given a shotgun when you first talk to Brandon Thorn, and Shotgun is the most efficient weapon skill in terms of IP for a Trader, with a multiplier of 1.5.

* Shop-buyable - This weapon can be purchased from a weapons shop terminal or from most weapon vendors. However, because the stock of all vendors and terminals are random, this does not necessarily mean you'll find the right QL that you want or that the weapon is in stock.
* Rollable - This weapon can be received as a mission reward or a mission "Find Item". This is a better way to ensure that you can find the QL that you want (especially if you use Clicksaver or MishBuddy), but because Traders can use weapons way beyond their skill, you may have to hire a higher level character to get the weapon for you.
* Dyna loot - This weapon only drops (randomly) from Dyna Bosses, which are scattered across Rubi-Ka. Use CSP map or Atlas of Rubi-Ka to find the locations of the Dynas. The weapons drop in limited QLs, and correspond to the level of the Dyna. Note that Dyna loot weapons do NOT drop from Team Mission Bosses (which have a similar loot table, but lack these rare weapons). Also, you may have to kill hundreds, if not thousands, of Dynas before you find the weapon.

Generic Shotguns
These Shotguns ONLY require the Shotgun skill, making them ideal for traders of all kinds.

Vektor ND QL 180 - I consider this gun to be the "default" weapon by which all other Trader weapons are to be compared. It only uses Shotgun skill, has decent average damage and criticals. It is a bit slow, and can only be single-wielded. I would recommend this gun for a primary tradeskiller (less IP to spend on various specials/multi ranged). Shop-buyable and rollable.

S.A. Home Defender line QL 200 - Similar in profile to the Vektor ND, except that it deals projectile damage and more importantly can be dual-wielded. This compensates a bit for the slow speed. Note that there is a MASSIVE jump in Multi Ranged from QL 65 to QL 66. Shop-buyable and rollable.

MTI G04U QL 150 line - Trader only. This shotgun is Dyna loot, and comes in QLs 140-150. It is basically a superior version of the S.A. Home Defender line.

OT-Windchaser SM line QL 190 - This line has poor average damage, excellent crits, and excellent speed. It's a good shotgun if you have a crit-based setup or early on when you don't have much Ranged Init. Shop-buyable and rollable.

Turn Spirit Shotguns
Shotgun of Noticable Presence QL 200 - Omni only
Shotgun of Security QL 200 - Clan only

Trader only. Turn Spirit weapons are crafted from SL parts, but are NoDrop and Froob usable. Comes in various QLs. The higher QLs are probably the absolute best shotguns you can get as a froob.

The Shotgun of Noticable Presence is crafted from an Inamorata Shotgun and a Turn Spirit of Beauty. The Shotgun of Security is crafted from a Sacrosanct Shotgun and a Turn Spirit of Lama the Steadfast.

Fling Shot Shotguns
These shotguns use the special Fling Shot, and thus will require an investment in IP and implants for them. Fling Shot is buffable by using Fling Shot Expertise (+20) and the Soldier buff Offensive Steamroller (+30).

Medium Shotgun QL 200 - A mediocre gun, with mediocre stats. It's like having a less powerful Vektor ND. Nevertheless, it is widely available and better than nothing. Shop-buyable and rollable.

Uncle Bazzit Diplomatic QL 200 - Trader only. Drops from various trader mobs in missions. It has an excellent damage and speed ratio, and is dual wieldable.

Krutt Assault 219 line QL 184 - The classic "crit-based" shotgun. Lousy regular damage, but incredible critical hits. Shop-buyable and rollable.

Maw of the Abyss QL 1 - Drops in Inner Sanctum from 2nd floor bosses. This is widely considered by many to be your endgame shotgun for any profession that uses a shotgun, and indeed, it's hard to argue otherwise. Sided traders do get access to Turn Spirit weapons, but for a Neutral Trader, this is the end of the line.

Burst Shotguns
Burst is buffable by Burst Expertise (+20), the Fixer buff Minor Suppressor (+7), and the Soldier buff Riot Control (+110).

OT MPS-0X Police Shotgun line QL 190 - Similar in profile to the Medium Shotgun, except this shotty has Burst. If you MUST have a shotgun with a powerful special, this would be your gun. Shop buyable and rollable.

PvP Shotguns
These shotguns are some of the ideal froob choices for PvP.

Pump Master/Trainee QL 50 - Low level PvP shotgun. It has Fling Shot and is Trader only. Drops only from dyna bosses. Possibly one of the most sought-after weapons in the game, with prices ranging from 15m to 30m on RK1.

Eye Wind Onehander QL 188 - The quintessential off-hand shotgun, it probably isn't worth using until you can equip a QL 188 (top of the line). It has Fling Shot, Burst, and Aimed Shot. You will definitely need a high QL scope and a good crit setup with this weapon. Rollable.

Ithaca Ki-8 line QL 199 - Fling Shot, Aimed Shot. An old PvP favorite, due to having Aimed Shot. Also needs a high QL scope and a good crit setup to work "properly". For some reason, this line stops at QL 199. Shop-buyable and rollable.

Buffing Shotguns

Shotgun Buffing Shotguns - The O.E.T. Co. Chic Urban Sniper QL 38 buffs Shotgun by 14, useful for twinking on a higher Shotgun. The OT M50 line QL 200 also buffs Shotgun, with breakpoints at QL 70 (+15), QL 90 (+20), QL 150 (+25), and QL 200 (+30). These weapons are useful as a "hotswap" weapon to get a higher Shotgun on, if you still need more points of Shotgun beyond Drains and a Wrangle.

Agility Buffing Shotgun - The O.E.T. Co. Urban Sniper Kaiser QL 188 ONLY exists in QL 188 and buffs Agility by 30. It is also dual-wieldable.

Intelligence Buffing Shotguns - The Krutt Assault line adds to Intelligence, with breakpoints at QL 84 (+12), QL 158 (+18 ), and QL 184 (+24). The OT MPS-07 Police Shotgun at QL 190 also adds Intelligence (+15).

Stamina Buffing Shotguns - The Krutt Assault line adds to Stamina, with breakpoints at QL 84 (+12), QL 158 (+18 ), and QL 184 (+24).

Psychic Buffing Shotguns - The Vektor ND line adds to Psychic, with breakpoints at QL 70 (+15) and QL 180 (+25)

Alternative Weapons
As far as ranged weapons, Traders can also do well with Pistols (multiplier of 2). For the Tradeskiller trader or the Buff-bunny wrangler, this may be the weapon of choice, due to the many buffing pistols out there. Tradeskillers will especially appreciate the Master Engineer Pistol. Multi-Ranged, Burst, and Full-Auto can be prohibitive, however, so probably the best option in terms of pistols for a Trader would be either the Original Electronicum (no Specials) or the SOL K-91 Monster (low Multi-Ranged). Note that the Bright and Faded clusters for Pistol conflict with MC/TS, which may be an issue when making implants. For my pistol recommendations, check out this thread.

For the Trader on a budget, Martial Arts is not a bad choice. It has an IP multiplier of 2, along with Brawling (also a 2). Your damage will scale as you level up, albeit much slower in scaling than a Martial Artist. Martial Arts has no cluster conflicts with Nanoskills in Implants, unlike Shotgun and Pistol. And of course, with no Maximum Beneficial Skill, MA will continue to scale upward as you drain.

Sharp Object is interesting, in that there are no viable weapons for froobs that can be equipped for this skill. However, when Traders drain, they raise all of their weapon skills, and you will probably have enough Sharp Object skill to use Kizzermole Gumboils (drops from Kizzermoles in the Crypt of Home), which provides nice supplemental damage at pretty much no cost (other than harvesting the Kizzers).

Situational weapon choices
Melee weapons are prohibitive in IP for Traders. 1-Handed Blunt is probably the most "efficient" in terms of primary weapon skills, with a skill multiplier of 1.8. However, Multi-Melee is a 3.2 and is generally too expensive to effectively use 1 handed weapons, at least when paired. 2-Handed Edged weapons may be a viable choice, especially for a low level Trader tower twink. While Fast Attack is on the expensive side (and not outside buffable), drains will allow you to easily equip a Frost Scythe of the Legionnaire or Stygian Desolator. The main bottleneck in using melee weapons is the high cost of Melee Init (again, making 1HB a more viable choice, since the good 1HB weapons also tend to be fast).

Rifle is also a mediocre choice for Traders, mainly used for PvP. Since the Ithaca shotgun also has Aimed Shot, and the best Rifles for PvP are profession-locked (aside from the Zastaba Velocity), it is rather redundant. However, there are quite a few outside buffs available for Rifle and Aimed Shot, so you may be able to equip an extremely high Rifle at an early level. I'd still rather stick with a Shotgun, myself. For a different perspective, check out this post: ... 3078#53078

Poor weapon choices
Assault Rifles are a poor choice for Traders. Bow is also a poor choice for Traders. Both of these weapons have a multiplier of 4, and the support skills for them are very expensive for Traders.

SMG is a mediocre choice for Traders. The multiplier isn't bad, and with generally only one special (Burst), it is relatively cheap on the IP. However, the best SMG for froobs, the Blackbird, is locked to Soldiers and Fixers only.

Heavy Weapons and Grenade lack any viable weapons for Traders, and probably should be avoided. Sadly, the Misc Weapons tab is mostly neglected by FunCom.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Sun Jul 29, 2007 2:19 pm, edited 12 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:29 am

The Armor

A full discussion of Trader armor is beyond the scope of any profession-specific guide. This section will just hit the highlights of some of the better armors and some of the nice Trader-only items.

Rollable Armor Sets
These armors are easily found on missions. While they may not have the absolute best bonuses, the ACs tend to be decent and can hold you over until you can slip into a nice crafted armor like CAS Symbiotic, Barter Armor, or (Sided) Carbonum.

Agility/Strength - Flowers Tech Armor, Primus Decus

Sense/Agility - Obtru Steel-Ribbed

Stamina/Strength - Graft Armor, Omni-Pol Elite (Omni Only. QL 75+)

Intelligence/Psychic - Nano Armor (QL 75+), Waitt Cyber Armor

Psychic/Stamina - Biomech Armor (QL 75+)

Crafted Armor Sets
Some Armor Sets aren't rolled on missions... they are forged. *grin*

Barter Armor
Crafting Guide
Intelligence/Psychic-based. One of the best armors for a Trader by far, this armor is made from tradeskilling Nano Armor (which comes in QLs 75-200), Nanobots, and Notum Fragments/Chips. Not only does it have great ACs, but it provides bonuses to various Tradeskills, Max Health, and Nano Points. Weak against Chemical damage.

CAS Symbiotic
Crafting Guide
Stamina/Strength-based. A variety of good bonuses, but more importantly, very strong ACs for its QL and requirements. Great protection as a low-to-mid level Froob. Weak against Cold damage.

(Sided) Carbonum
Crafting Guide
Stamina/Agility-based. Carbonum armor is the staple of crafted armors. The "brown undies" provide good bonuses to NCU, Nano Pool, and Nano Init. The sided versions add another bonus on top of that (Nano Resist for Clan, Max Health for Omni). Fairly easy to craft, as well. The main disadvantage is the two AC holes, Radiation AND Energy.

Metallic Mantis
Crafting Guide
Agility/Strength-based. Metallic Mantis is probably one of the best mid-ranged armors. It has high ACs for low requirements, although it is weak against Radiation and Fire. In addition to miscellaneous bonuses, it provides a bonus to Energy and Projectile damage per piece, which lines up neatly with most Shotguns. The main problem is that this armor only comes in QLs between 70 and 140, as it is crafted from Mantid parts in the Smuggler's Den (which have limited QLs).

Omni Steel-Ribbed
Crafting Guide

Apocalypse Leather
Crafting Guide
Agility/Sense-based. Omni Steel-Ribbed and Apocalypse Leather Armor are probably the best set of crafted armors for evades. They have great ACs, and the parts are fairly easy to obtain.

Looted Armor Sets
There are a handful of armors that cannot be crafted OR rolled on missions. You will have to earn these from monster loot.

Miy's Armor
By far, one of the best additions by Funcom in recent patches. Miy's Armor has plenty of bonuses, a wide variety of ability requirements, and can be fairly easy to get at the higher QL ranges. Miy's is fairly scarce, though, below QL 100, since it's a looted armor from mobs that are commonly higher in QL. Traders will get the most benefit out of the Miy's Ranged Armor Gloves (which add to Shotgun) and Miy's Nano Armor (which add to Nano Skills).

Armor of the Servants of Eight
Strength/Agility requirement. This armor is Boss Loot only. While it is level-locked, it provides a lot of great bonuses and has decent ACs.

Misc. Armors
Advanced Salesman's Hat
The Advanced Salesman's Hat provides some decent ACs and NCU, and definitely marks you as a Trader. It is a leveling item from QL 20 to 75, made from combining a Salesman's Chip and a Salesman's Hat. The Salesman's Chip is a relatively common drop in missions and low level trader enemies, while the Salesman's Hat is purchased from Zoftig Blimp in the city of Hope, Mort.

Anun Membrane Gloves
These rare gloves are NoDrop and are made by combining an MRR (Shape Soft Armor) with an Anun Wing. Anun Wings drop from Anuns (duh). They have decent ACs, add to Max Health, a small amount of AAD, and 20 points in Pistol. A good buffing item, if anything.

Bag of Exchange
Trader Only. This backpack has mediocre ACs, but it trades one ability for another for 7 points. For example, one version exchanges +7 Intelligence for -7 Sense. Very useful for twinking, and one of the few backslot items that can buff Psychic (if you are going for a 2 second Nano Delta). Found rarely on trader enemies, QL 100+.

Dirty Bioplast Overall
This ugly backslot item resembles a workman's brown overall. I like to call it "Tradeskiller Tank Armor". It provides decent ACs, but the real gem is the bonuses given to tradeskills and Shotgun.

Red Bioplast Protective Helmet
Gives decent ACs, and adds to TS, MC, and Shotgun. High QL Dyna loot.

Veil of the Revoked
One of the best backslot items in the game. Made from combining a Spirit Tech Circlet of Cerubin and a Cloak of the Revoked. It adds to pretty much everything, and gives great ACs to boot.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:34 pm, edited 14 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:29 am

The Implants
Generally, as a Trader, you will want implants that boost your main weapon skill and your bread and butter nanoskills of PsyMod, TimeSpace, and SenImp. Note that PM/SI share cluster space, so you'll probably only be able to single implant the SenImp Faded, with Double or Triple Implanting of PM/TS.

Recommended Pre-made Implants
Premades can save you the hassle and cost of making custom implants. While they only go to QL 100, the various profession booths provide pretty much any configuration that you could want, with some minor adjustments. Here's a recommended implant configuration, selected all from the premade booths:

Code: Select all

Eye     - Agent (Rifle/PM/TS, Agility)
Head    - Trader (PM/Ranged Init/Sense, Intelligence)
Ear     - Enforcer/Soldier (Empty/Conceal/PM, Agility)
R Arm   - Crat (Shotgun/Chem AC/Mech Engi, Agility)
Chest   - Trader (Stamina/MatMet/Strength, Stamina)
     OR - Crat (Max Nano/BioMet/SenImp, Psychic)
L Arm   - Agent (Empty/B+E/MatMet, Agility)
R Wrist - Crat (Ranged Init, Nano Resist, Fling, Agility)
Waist   - Agent (Empty/Duck Exp/BioMet, Agility)
     OR - Soldier (Cold AC/Max Health/Stamina, Stamina)
L Wrist - Crat/Trader (Multi Ranged/Runspeed/Nano Resist, Agility)
R Hand  - Trader (Trap Disarm/TS/Comp Lit)
Leg     - Agent (Agility/Evade Close/Empty, Agility)
     OR - Soldier (Agility/Stamina/Max Health, Stamina)
L Hand  - Agent (Empty/Trap Disarm/First Aid, Agility)
Feet    - Trader (Evade Close/Agility/Duck Expl., Agility)
Custom Implants (without Jobe Clusters)
Here is a generic Custom implant configuration that will work well with any Trader that uses Shotguns. Note that it is all Agility based, except for the Chest (which is based on Stamina). Agility is easily buffed, and so it will be easy to get into all of these implants at a high QL.

QL 200 config on Auno

Code: Select all

Eye     - Aimed Shot/PsyMod/TimeSpace (Agility)
Head    - TimeSpace/Ranged Init/Empty (Agility)
Ear     - Empty/Conceal/PsyMod (Agility)
R Arm   - Shotgun/Chem AC/Mech Engi (Agility)
Chest   - Max Health/BioMet/SenImp (Stamina)
L Arm   - Empty/B+E/MatMet (Agility)
R Wrist - Ranged Init/Multi Ranged OR Nano Resist/Fling (Agility)
Waist   - Empty/Duck Exp/Shotgun (Agility)
L Wrist - Multi Ranged/Runspeed/Nano Resist (Agility)
R Hand  - Trap Disarm/Shotgun/Treatment (Agility)
Leg     - Agility/Evade Close/Empty (Agility)
L Hand  - Fast Attack/Fire AC/First Aid (Agility)
Feet    - Evade Close/Agility/Duck Expl. (Agility)
Custom Implants (with Jobe Clusters)
When you reach TL5, ability requirements start to become trivial as you reach Breed Caps. You will want to start using Jobe Clusters in your implants. These clusters add special bonuses on top of the usual skill and ability bonuses. I typically like to implant Nano Cost, Nano Delta, XP Modifier, and Add All Defense. You can also add damage clusters to increase your damage output.

It is assumed that you will have enough in all of your abilities to implant whatever the heck you want. Here is a sample configuration of an implant config with Jobe clusters.

QL 200 config on Auno

Code: Select all

Eye     - Aimed Shot/PsyMod/TimeSpace (Intelligence)
Head    - TimeSpace/Ranged Init/Sense (Agility)
Ear     - XP Mod/Nano Cost/PsyMod (Sense)
R Arm   - Shotgun/AAD/Mech Engi (Agility)
Chest   - Max Health/BioMet/SenImp (Stamina)
L Arm   - AAD/B+E/Nano Cost (Sense)
R Wrist - Nano Delta, Multi Ranged, Fling (Psychic)
Waist   - Nano Cost/Max Health/Shotgun (Psychic)
L Wrist - Multi Ranged/Runspeed/Nano Resist (Agility)
R Hand  - Trap Disarm/Shotgun/Treatment (Agility)
Leg     - Agility/Evade Close/XP Mod (Stamina)
L Hand  - Fast Attack/Nano Range/First Aid (Agility)
Feet    - Evade Close/XP Mod/AAD (Agility)
What I Use
To give an example of a custom implant configuration that fits my own needs, here's what I use. I am first and foremost a Tradeskiller, so Breaking and Entry, Weapon Smithing, and Mech Engi are implanted. I also boosted Psychic, as I wanted to reach the 2s Nano Delta on my nanomage. I also implanted some Nano Delta bonuses, as well as some Add All Defense and XP modifiers. Lastly, instead of Tutoring, I triple implanted Vehicle Air to fly around in my Stiletto (what can I say? I'm a bit vain). Overall, this isn't what I would consider an ideal configuration for a Trader, but it is an example of how I made my implants work for me.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:41 pm, edited 7 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
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Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:30 am

The Roles

The Wrangler
So far, wrangling has not earned me anything, except a load of trouble, and 2/3rds of my customers who aren't even grateful. Do tell me that it's not like this all the time, please. - GDB2222
It's like this all the time. - Hahnsoo

One of the fun things about being a Trader is that there are activities for you outside of combat in the missions and dungeons. One of these activities is wrangling folks. Whether it is to equip a big weapon or cast a big robot, folks are always looking for traders to help them out.

As a Wrangler, I would keep two numbers handy: The highest wrangle that you can cast self-buffed without drains, and the highest wrangle that you can cast fully drained. Those are the two main wrangles that you are going to be casting on a consistent basis. I would also seek out and upload as many of the wrangles as you can cast. The more variety you have in your repertoire, the more likely you can tailor your wrangle to the needs of your customer. I also tend to keep a full load of expertises for various weapon skills and specials, in case the customer needs a little extra boost.

Since you are probably going to need to drain for most of your higher wrangles, you should probably pick a meeting spot that facilitates draining. Typically, one of the backyards fits the bill nicely, especially those near a Grid point. For example, in Omni territory, the Omni Trade Grid (tg) is a popular location, and next to Trade Grid is a Highrise with a Holoworld that folks use for draining. When you get high enough level, you can even use the Bartenders in the general stores as a drain pet.

It is generally understood that Traders need to drain to cast a wrangle, but I would inform your customers politely if you need to drain for the wrangle they desire. I would also ask politely if they have the requisite amount of NCU free.

As far as payment, there are several different ways the customer can respond:
1) The customer will pay up front, and wait patiently for the wrangle while you drain. This rarely happens.
2) The customer will wait for the wrangle, and tip you after receiving it. This is how most transactions go, with tips being random amounts from 1 credit to 2 million or more. I've been tipped 10 million for a wrangle before. Generally, though, when people say they are "tipping", they mean 100k, and "tipping well" means 200-500k.
3) The customer will wait for the wrangle, but then find out that for whatever reason, he cannot cast his bot or equip his weapon. I generally try to do my best to help resolve the problem. If we cannot find a solution, I don't insist on payment, and tell them that they can come back to me when they are ready.
4) The customer will wait for the wrangle, then run off after the wrangle is done without paying. I generally send a couple of tells before I put the customer on my personal blacklist, as well as keep a watch on the customer's organization/clan.
5) The "customer" will flatly insult you after the wrangle, then run off. Onto the personal Blacklist you go, along with your whole org.

Nowadays, I don't have much time to wrangle random folks on the shopping channels. I log in to play and to help my org, not to service the masses. However, when I do go for wrangles, I typically go for the folks who say how much they are tipping up front, as well as well-spoken folks on chat or folks that I personally know or teamed with. Wrangling as a favor is a great way to build upon an existing in-game relationship, and I always like to help my in-game friends.

When people ask me at random for a wrangle, I let them know how much I charge up front. I set my prices and keep them consistent (1m for a wrangle that I have to drain to cast, 500k for a wrangle that I don't have to drain to cast... it used to be 500/200, but on that pricing scheme, I get swamped and overwhelmed with wrangle requests). Some of you folks may not believe in charging for buffs, and I respect that. Charging for buffs used to be one way I could earn cash, but now it is a way for me to politely prevent people from cutting into my play time. Just one button press isn't much... but it quickly becomes WAY more than that on busy days.

Sometimes folks use the /list command to see if there are any Traders in the area. This is all well and good, unless you don't want to advertise your presence to the immediate surroundings. If you want to avoid the /list, then type /anon. This is also useful in team PvP, as it prevents people from scouting your profession and level before you arrive. Another way to "camouflage" yourself is to use a Playful Cub graft or Leet form (Veteran's or Adventurer buff)... most people just assume you are an Advy and don't look at your info.

Sometimes, you are asked to wrangle in the middle of a raid or during a mission. Whenever this turns up, I typically use the Single Target wrangles. I self-wrangle first, then cast the wrangle on my target, so that I don't lose much combat effectiveness for the next 3 minutes. Occasionally, you will run into combats in which the whole team is missing their attacks a lot, due to the target's evades. In this situation, I hit the Team Wrangle... it is better for the rest of the team to hit the target more often than it is for just you to hit with your augmented attack rating.

The Tradeskiller
While froob Engineers get access to a lot more "toys" for tradeskilling, froob Traders get access to a variety of powerful Tradeskill buffs, which can be cast on others. SL Engineers also get a similar line of Tradeskill buffs, but this is a bit moot if you are reading this guide.

Your weak point as a Tradeskiller is will be your lack of buffs for Chemistry and Nano Programming. The 1k token board (or Experimental Cyborg Board) gives a massive Nano Programming bonus, so NP becomes less of an issue. But Chemistry is used in a variety of common and popular Tradeskilling processes, including Carbonum Armor. You may have to rely on an Engineer friend to cast Philosopher's Stone on you from time to time.

I generally keep a set of Tradeskilling Temporary Implants in my bank handy that I can swap in and out of my Head, Ear, Eye, and Right Hand slot with minimal buffing. You never know when those extra points will help out.

I also keep a "Toolbag" in my inventory at all times with the following equipment: HSR Sketch and Etch, Mass Relocating Robots, Bio-Comminutor, Lock Pick, Hacker Tool, Nano Programming Interface, Screwdriver, Jensen Gem Cutter, Wire Drawing Machine, Field Quantum Physics All-Purpose Tool, Precious Metal Reclaimer, Implant Disassembly Clinic, and Kyr'Ozch Structural Analyzer (yes, I'm a Froob. This was a gift given to me by an orgmate a LONG time ago, and I've since been ID'ing clumps of Bio-Material).

I keep ANOTHER bag full of Tradeskilling buffing items in my inventory at all times. Sometimes I need just a few more points, and so I open this bag when I need them. This bag includes: Tutoring Devices, All-Match Augmented Bow Tie, Handy Steelribbed Gloves, Mister Lucien's Specs, Mister Hadrulf's Specs, Lollygagger's Monocle, Pick-a-Finger, Dirty Bioplast Overall, Thick Leather Wristbands, and various "other stuff".

Psychology is necessary for a handful of processes (including Tier Glyph combines), but Bureaucrats do it better. Because it is needed for so few processes, I would not raise this until TL5. Leave it on the back burner, and come back to it when you have IP. At TL 6 with maxed Psychology, I need to use temp QL 200 buffing implants and various equipment to do Tier 2 Armor combines and Bright Jobe Clusters, and Shiny Jobe Clusters are currently out of my reach.

Tutoring is pretty much only useful for the items that can be equipped with it, including the Focus Funnelers, Dirty Bioplast Overall, and Red Bioplast Helmet. Luckily, it is fairly easy to implant.

While Breaking and Entry is in the Spying skills tab, it is essential for many Tradeskill processes. Thus, a dedicated tradeskiller probably should have a generous amount of points in B+E. It also is quite useful for opening mission chests and doors.

The PvPer
Drains are particularly deadly in PvP, in that they reduce both Nano Skills and combat skills directly. This will prevent most casters from casting their top nanos and will cause most weapons to go OE while reducing the opponent's chance to hit.

Roots are your friend. Roots will get you out of combat if you need to evac, and nail down those pesky melee opponents leaving them open to being drained and blasted by your weapon. Be sure that you invest in a couple of Root grafts. Although you can cast Roots yourself (and this should be the staple of your ranged tactics), the Root grafts are unique in that they cannot be resisted by Nano Resist (innate resistance can stop Root grafts, however, such as the protection given by grid armor).

Invest in some Kizzermole Gumboils. The added damage is significant, and you can easily toss them after draining up (which boosts Sharp Object).

If you can, try to enter combat polymorphed (a Hacked Boosted Graft: Playful Cub comes in handy). While it only takes a second to inspect your character and thus find out your level and profession, there are many visual cues that an opponent can use to determine the weapon you are using, the armor you are using, etc. Polymorphs take this out of the equation. The Leet Form, in particular, can be used in large mass PvP to "hide in plain sight", as it tends to be tiny and easily overlooked.

The Tactician
The TRADER in essence is the glue that can keep teams together longer and stronger. I see myself as a "combat manager". I control the tide of skirmishes. - Worldtrader

While the trader is surpassed in terms of damage-dealing and combat survivability at higher levels, the trader fills a support role quite nicely. You can supplement healing with your heals (which, at the high end, rival the healing of Froob Adventurers and Doctors), remove "adds" in mass combat using your Calms (which will land easier due to your augmented Nano Skills from your drains), and boost the ACs of your allies.

In a team situation, I try to keep myself fully drained at all times. Of course, this may not be possible if the team decides to take a break longer than 3 minutes at any given point. If this happens, I politely ask to calm an enemy nearby to use as a drain pet to keep my drains running.

When I first encounter an enemy while teamed, I look at the minimap and wait a few moments before starting to drain. Drains have a lengthy recharge time, and the first few seconds are crucial in determining whether or not you are going to need to calm an add. If, after a few seconds, there are no adds, then I start casting my Deprive/Divest drains, followed by my Ransack/Plunder, followed by AC drains (if the enemy isn't already dead).

If anything, team missions are full of randomness and unpredictable elements. As a trader, you should be prepared to deal with these situations as they come up, as your teammates are probably going to be busy healing and hitting their crazy specials (or in some cases, running away, drawing aggro from MORE sources). Your teammates will open chests during combat, causing Rollerrats of Doom to pop out (which you can calm or root easily) or explosions taking off half of the team's health (hit a team heal after this happens). They will draw aggro from surrounding enemies (use your calms and roots). They will get rooted occasionally (use Passage for One and Free Movement stims). They will trigger security cameras and turrets (again, use your calms. Note that Alarm Sentries have an inherent resistance to calming, so it may take several attempts before one lands. Also, use your Team Wrangle to boost your team's AR if they are getting misses on high level sentries).

When it comes to high-level raids or dungeons, like Inner Sanctum or Hollow Island (or any other adjective-noun entity on Rubi-Ka), be aware of what you can and cannot do. This self-awareness is important for all characters, but for traders in particular this boils down to crowd control and drains. Not only do you need to "know your role", but you also need to know if the mobs you are facing are vulnerable to your nano-programs. For example, at Hollow Island, your calms are most likely not going to land, and each successive wave of Eremites gains larger and larger drain resistance, to the point where by the end, you are reduced to simply plugging away the Eremites without draining. At Inner Sanctum, most of the Corrupted Souls and High Exarchs can be calmed, as can the Archdeacons on the 2nd floor. You can use your area root to nail down the Pandemonium Idols that spawn with Iskop.

Multiple Traders in a team can lead to a lot of conflict, as the traders wrestle for who gets to drain and bump into each other with their overlapping skillsets. While you get more eyes to calm adds, it becomes a chore keeping all the traders in the team drained up. You may have to designate a "draining order" in which every X amount of enemies, one of the traders will get to drain up. If everyone is casting the same top drains, then you can all drain the same target. This is difficult to coordinate, however. The best policy is to only have a single trader on the team.
Last edited by hahnsoo on Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:37 pm, edited 12 times in total.
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
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Posts: 2008
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Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:31 am

Reserved for Rambling
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
~ Proud Member of Newcomers Alliance ~ My AO Guide

Posts: 2008
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rome Blue Advanced Shop, RK1

Post by hahnsoo » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:41 am

Reserved for MORE Rambling
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K.Chesterton
Years of experience means years of learning bad habits.
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Post by flyingengi » Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:24 am

Great job as always!!!! And I'm sure this will help a few ppl along the way after we get the normal "That's wrong!!! Do it this way!" out of the way.
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Post by Weeping Willow » Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:49 am

Perfect guide ! as usual :)
Last edited by Weeping Willow on Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by itninja » Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:01 am

Well, it is about time you wrote a Trader guide! Good stuff as always mate!

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