Friday, July 22, 2011

'Gaining Entry'

Are you lot ignoring me?
The preceding story mission was: 'Back to Mizar'

The following story mission is: 'Molikar Search'

Now then, this is a good 'un. At first glance it seems identical to 'Testing Aggro' but it's a lot tougher. While I was playing this there was a large squadron howling in frustration as they failed again and again. I can understand why, and I bet it's driven many a player to distraction.

I played it solo and in my first 8 attempts failed, by trusting to skill, judgement and luck. Then I realised that there is a systematic method of working out The Solution. In the next 8 runs in zeroed in on three numbers which would allow anyone to nail this blighter. Am I going to tell you what those three numbers are? No. Of course not. However I will tell you how to discover and apply them yourself. Then if you want to be a spoil sport and blab them all round Mizar then that's up to you.

The aim of the mission is to get three different Mantis types to damage the Aggro Beacon (AB) Layla Hornblower built for you. As on Terasa, you must get the AB to receive damage within a maximum and minimum value in 60 seconds. It's harder this time though as the Mantis are tougher. That means that the damage accumulates quicker and it's harder to stop it by fragging the Mantis. However Layla saw fit to install the AB with a Repair Droid (R2 unit), which is the key to beating this mission. You activate it by scanning the AB.

You are given directions to three locations where the following happens

  1. The AB is attacked by 4 level 35 Detonators and requires between 50% and 65% damage.
  2. The AB is attacked by 4 level 35 Marauders and requires 65% to 85% damage.
  3. The AB is attacked by 4 level 35 Pyros and requires between 80% and 90% damage.
In my first attempts I just tried to judge when I should start attacking the Mantis, hoping to kill the last when the damage was in the required range. However there were too many variables. Sometimes I got few critical hits and the Mantis lasted longer doing too much damage. Other times they did damage quicker, or slower which was just as bad. Half the time I got the Detonator attack right, but then I'd fail in the Marauder attack and have to start again. Luckily failing does not get you podded, so failure is free.

Once I realised that the variation in the Mantis and my own attacks was the problem, I came up with a theory.   If I stopped attacking the Mantis then that removed one variable completely. Second, if all 4 Mantis were allowed to attack the AB then the damage they inflicted, though greater and quicker, would be more consistent and easier to gauge. Third, the R2 unit is very consistent. I could turn it on exactly when I wanted, it always runs for 15 seconds, and it repairs damage at a fixed rate. 

Bare with me, I'm getting there. 

The practical application of this geeky variation theory is this. As the Mantis attack the AB, select it and leave the mission sidebar open, as in the screen shot above.  Watch the 60 second countdown (between the cryonite reward figure and the % complete figure) and when it gets to whatever number feels lucky to you (50 for example) scan the AB to start the R2 unit. The AB will repair faster than it's damaged and by the time it runs out it will be back at 100%. That leaves the Mantis what ever time is left in the countdown to damage the AB. So if you started the R2 unit at 50 seconds then the Mantis will have 35 seconds to damage the AB. Don't fire on them. When the timer runs out you will be told if the AB unit took too much, too little or a Goldilocks amount of damage. If the AB unit took too much then next time start the R2 unit a few seconds later. If it took too little, then start the droid a few seconds earlier. If the damage is just right then remember that number for the next attempt and move on to the next attack. 

There is still variation of course, so if in one run the Detonator attack worked with a 45 second start, then it may fail at 45 seconds in a later run. If so, just move the start by plus or minus 1 second. It just means that you are at the edge of the required range and need to nudge nearer to the middle. 

I've tried explaining that as clearly as I can without telling you the answer so I hope it makes sense. 

When I worked out my three numbers, which are the points in the countdowns to start the Repair Droid, I felt extremely smug. I'm sure others got there earlier and quicker, but I don't care. It's nice to beat a mission through using your brain every once in a while.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

'Alerting Colonials'

The preceding story mission was: 'Saving Tobias Planck'

The following story mission is: 'Colonial Counterattack'

There's no time to mourn cuddly uncle Bill. Tobias says that with Lyris under attack you have to bomb over to Administration City on Axiom. Warn the Colonial defence forces before the Mantis get there.

This sounds exciting but the mission is basically fly to Axiom and earn 30 crystals in the process. Still you probably needed a chance to pull yourself together.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Paying Customer

Picture stolen from
Two years and three months after joining, and 19 days of Pirate Galaxy (PG) play time, I finally put my hand in my pocket and paid for the privilege.

I've already posted on the arguments about paying in Cheating? Or paying your way? Feel free to comment if you're either outraged by my actions or want to pat me on the back. Another good read on this topic is Tobold's MMORPG Blog. Tobold regularly blogs on payment for online games and he talks a lot of sense. His blog covers a much wider scope than mine and is always worth visiting.

From my Pirate career so far I had collected just over 12,000 gold bullion. Some of this was rewards for levelling up, but most was compensation from Gamigo ages ago for a service outage. I'd decided that I wanted to get myself the 6 month Ultimate Membership which costs 66,000 gold. I clicked on the purchase gold button in the shop and a separate browser window opened to take me through the transaction. Gold is purchased in packages so I chose the 54,500 deal which was almost exactly the amount I needed. A couple of clicks later and the deal was done, costing me just over £44. Minutes later the gold appeared in my game account and I took out my membership. I should say that this was for my Gamigo account which houses my main pilot. My Splitscreen account is separate so how smoothly that would go or how much it would cost I don't know.

For those who don't know, the Ultimate Membership means that playing the game is virtually Energy (E) free. Using my Blaster, Repair Droid, Shield, Aim Computer or any other equipment uses no E at all. I can also repair ships in the hangar for free, and jump between planets at zero E cost. Resurrecting yourself costs just as much E as it normally does but that's the only cost there is. Sweet.

In the few days I've had membership I've wondered why it took me so long to get it. No more boring E collecting is the most obvious benefit, but there are others. For example jumping between planets is now almost a joy. If I want to nip back to Gemini, swap my ship and have a blast on Technatoria, it takes one or two minutes. Previously that trip could take seven  minutes or more, unless I wanted to spend all my E in hyperjumps.

Grinding is easier as you don't have to keep leaving your spot to fuel up. Another gain is that it's free to kill something. Before, when I passed a solo Mender I'd be tempted to blast it but might have wanted to save power. Now as long as I'm not against the clock I can indulge myself and see if I strike gold.

Basically I get more fun time in the game, and I suppose a slight advantage against other players. Nothing as significant as a Blueprint (BP) or firepower booster but I do have more staying power. The non-game benefit is a warm feeling knowing that I've contributed financially to PG, helping preserve its existence and adding to Splitscreen's honest profit.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

'Back To Mizar'

The preceding story mission was: 'Testing Aggro'

The following story mission is: 'Gaining Entry'

Like most travelling missions, there's not much to say about this one. In orbit around Terasa, Layla Hornblower tells Natassia that the modified aggro beacon has passed testing and is ready to be used in Mizar. Say goodbye to the Antares system and fly back to Baumar.

Once in Baumarian orbit Natassia tells you that Layla put a special feature in the device to make the task easier with more powerful Mantis. If you want to know what that is then take the next mission.

With some story missions it's really difficult to make an interesting post.