So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

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Posts: 37

So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#1 » November 30th, 2016, 12:36 pm

I've been an AC player since Dec 1999. And a fair at best, often having to learn from others to up my game. So you'll not be surprised that about 5-6 years ago, I decided that a few accounts and a "/follow" mentality (WOW influence...) to drag three doogs around behind one, and hope they didn't die. Did it work? sort of. that was then, and pulling for gear was a hassle. they were not in leading-class gear for their time. I look back at one char/suit from that era, and would not want the suit on my latest chars as any other than a stop-gap suit while I work on better. But hey that was 2000-2001.

Roll forward to this year. Yep I had a six month misearable time frame in there 2ish years ago, gear wise. I was in circa 2000 gear when the Tier eight stuff started to appear. in a word, ouch.

Add in a few breaks for other games, a stint trying to be clever live streaming (I'm not), and this summer when I logged of "four" in, I saw a much improved landscape and opportunity to learn from others. In particular, the work around "command" and "control" (Chaos Control and variants thereof) looked promising.

And so we are 5+ months from that realization. I've learned some lessons along the way, some the hard way, some necessary to push to the next level. But, in my own world, I'd set a new goal on paper in the summer of 2016. The game won't be around forever, let's see what all we can do and build, given my own preferences, frustrations, and interests, running a larger "squad" became the thing I wanted to try. And in short, it worked, at least for my tastes.

In that July - Nov interim, I've been able to run colosseum a ton. Even have a small friendly following of folks that are often along for the ride. I run nine or ten doogs out into the wilderness a bit, host a quest every so often, and as a group, can pretty much go kill whatever I want. Limitations and challenges in the Nov timeframe had been staying alive in Rynthid, solved for that with some gear swaps and running Gauntlet for more wards. Getting the full group into several key ideas has made the team *nearly* fool proof @ Rynthid:

Get EVERYONE well over 400 health.
Get the doogs struggling out of one acid and one lightning ward augmenation -- and into two lightning augs. This was a noticeable improvement
Continue to particupate in gauntlet runs, use keys from "completed" doogs on others, and work towards a full set of Gauntlet Jewelry. And while that may sound a tad elitist, "hai doog, I can't run gauntlet"... the object lesson is this: get red rings from colo. improve them. CRITICALLY examine for holes in your gear relative to the fight at hand. If you are doing hoshino's? gear differently from Rynthid. toutou? either you are on top of it, or need some protections. consider a swap in aetheria for more protections.
And at the end of November, my conclusion was this - getting all the doogs to over 30 (now pushing 33? on average) +dmg ratings? winning combination. Note this is not for everyone. YOUR situation may warrant more protective ratings. Soloing? getting hit and know you are? go defensive. Know your role and place in the space. If you are taking a lotta damage, address the issue. If you have ten (or sixteen targets and/or lots of summons around you? go for more dmg). Need wards? get them in your gear. sacrifice some melee def or STR. and push to max/min health.

But the overall lesson that November was about for my squad of ten? Be a student of the game. look critically at not what is killing you, rather, look at what's happening BEFORE you get killed. what's the recipe that sets you up for death? obviously a loss of health is pretty clear to be a problem. But we aren't getting one-shot... okay, what's that "hit" before the one shot? Do we really need to do society tasks a lot and load up on nullification gems? need potions? Be a student of what's keeping you well out of harms' way, and look for trends in what's getting you low on health. Solve for, observe some more. It's worth the energy, and there's no single right answer.

Where am I now? sixteen doogs, on TD, I've come from admiring to doing a little meta work, come from wishing I had resources to now generating extraordinary wealth in game off colosseum in particular.

I'll make a string of posts here in no particular order about the journey and some key lessons learnt. Chime in, ask, maybe we'll all learn some more and gimp a little less.

And yes, this certainly takes AWAY from the purist approach to the game. Next post will wreck what you thought leveling and "doing things the hard/old way" should be like!
Last edited by doog on November 30th, 2016, 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#2 » November 30th, 2016, 12:44 pm

Ok so it's November. I have had nine or ten doogs fighting alongside each other since about July of this year. And ten *will not* beat the Gauntlet. We have one retired, and one active group effort that's Gauntlet-proven on TD. I'd like to set the challenge for myself, and honestly/selfishly, be able to do it on my own time frame at some point.

So on Thanksgiving, for a change we were not out of town. Figuring I had all weekend long to work on an increase in the squad size, I started buying accounts and creating an array of archers. I received some good advice to have about as many void/summon mages as archers, and I was at four void/summons and one solid archer.

Six accounts "in" the Turbine web site stopped taking my credit card. Probably an anti-fraud measure, I figure... fine. Six is not the eight I wanted, but will do.

And realize I started all this with about 20,000 colosseum coins spread out on my max level, well geared team of ten.

Day 0: setup accounts. Created five 10/100/100/100/10/10 archers. Created one more 10/100/10/10/100/100 void summoneer.

Login. skip intro, tag LS. talk to NPC, into bar, exit, get XP trinket (times six)
Create a "reporting to" 2>A, 2>B, A,B> existing doog vassal structure.
Feed 10,000 colo coins worth of 100 mill gems into the babies.
Day 0: new doogs level 150. Buy into core skills and their supporting attributes as a priority.
Last edited by doog on November 30th, 2016, 6:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#3 » November 30th, 2016, 12:46 pm

And from Day 0 for the new doogs, let's go back about a week and a half. Did Hoshino's and Rynthid tasks using my TEN doogs about twice. stuffed away something like 1600 pulls worth of legendary keys.

Adjusted my loot profile "downward" to be far more forgiving, set profile to pick up a lower tier of bow/xbow than I would normally. with Minor adjustments, see a nice flow of STARTER (e.g. 360 skill or 375 skill) bows/xbows.

Muled away about 120 bows for safe keeping ahead of creating the new accounts. ahem, back to our story.
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#4 » November 30th, 2016, 12:49 pm

Day zero: get the group into colo.

New tricks in group management. With TEN, I've been able to do split fellows for months.

Tricky to learn, when your leader makes two busted followers and you "Get to ten", those become, by label, A and B.

A stays put. leader cleans out hte group, leaving in A, B.

B invites up to eight.
Leader does his magic, and "in" B's group, two invite until B sees TEN in fellow, e.g. broken/new group members C, D are "special" now.

Here's the trick I just had to stare and stare at. DROP B. keep A, Keep C, keep D. A, C, D can invite seven each. + leader and a/c/d, this is a fellow of now... 25 people.

Run colosseum with friends "at" 25 now. for a day.
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#5 » November 30th, 2016, 12:51 pm

Day one.

Buy last of core skills. load up them bows and Xbows. Go get a nice "375" void caster for new void doog.

Group makes 180 today. Whee.
Run group on focusing stone. get stone, get diemos rock.
Go get other two Diemos rocks.

Day one. Complete Diemos flagging, kill diemos. Be smug, you just did diemos with 24 hours on the clock new doogs.

realize this is rather ridiculous compared to the days of old watching "tim..." smack down tuskers for a week.
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#6 » November 30th, 2016, 12:53 pm

Day two:

Burn a few more colo coins. we made some.

all the doogs are level 200. Go to Snowy Valley. get tasks.

Take too long; at the 45 min mark 3=4 of 6 new doogs have Mnemnosyne. need buffs, gurogs pund faces.

run group through again after rebuff.

6 new doogs are Lum flagged on the Saturday after making them... about 52 hours after creation. INSANE. giggity
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#7 » November 30th, 2016, 1:01 pm

Day six. Realize writing this stuff down may be of interest. all the doogs will be 225 today. Aetheria tonight after work.
interim days have had successes, nothing too dramatic

(Days two-three, got everyone into a suit of some kind. like AOD for this short-term application. minor buffs, armor that works till you go bang on tier 8 content). Ran AOD back to back days really just for the MMDS. Visited the professors, learned VII's). Everyone's buffing.

Some tweaking with Virindi Item Tool, we weren't society flagged for a few days, the long term goal is to get everyone on command restocking at one society for the mana scarabs. Do some interim restocking and setup of VIT "buy comps" tab. iron out the kinks.

Ow, overall, for a week or two, 10 STR is painful. we'll manage weight for about 2-3 weeks while we wait for +STR augs. Still, nice to have two no-drop augs on day one, esp at this level.

(day four- all make level 210, move some gems/colo rings around to faciliate for the lower level doogs)

(day Five - all made 220, again move some colo rings around, V.I.T. it the BEST for one char w/ key open vault for the other.
New void mage started working on Lvl VIII spells. ahhhh longer buffs).

(day six - seven) work on VIII spells for the team by hand in between colo runs. turn colo vault chest "on" to pick up quills / inks and I hand-pick other glyphs from the vault as we have time)

It looks like after one week we'll have six new level 225 doogs. some VIII buffs. Needing gear. all in a fair to middling set of tinked weapons... rather nuts.
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Posts: 67

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#8 » November 30th, 2016, 3:31 pm

The real problem with new toons is how long it takes to get the necessary augmentations. If the timer was more like 3 days for Bellas and Diemos and the society aug, it'd be a whole lot easier. At one point I rough counted that it takes ~40 augmentations to "finish" a character. And you can't even get to Master in a society for something like three weeks after you join, so for the first month you're basically on two augs a week.

At three a week, it would take a little over three months to finish a toon. More realistically, it's three an a half months.
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#9 » November 30th, 2016, 6:22 pm

So learning the tooling that makes for an automated group was an entire goal I had to make happen.

One weekend over the summer, I decided to simple stop fighting. I went at about 1/4 pace through some rather typical activities. For example, restocking.

Do you also look back at years of game play and every think, "wow, if I could just restock more quickly... I'd have been in been sooner... for a decade?"

If the answer is YES, then the META system is for YOU.

Learn to create a route. Yep Vtank. route tab. add a point. Make it circular. make it linear.

Delete the route. save it. load it. Get good at these small blocking and tackling skills.

Now learn how to load metas that are on another screen.

Now that you can load metas, stop. go get good ones that other people have created. they are, in a word AMAZING. And tons of great examples here on IB's site (and more elsewhere). Use a few, watch them. learn to appreciate what the potential is.

And plan on getting better. Here's a set of challenges I took on and beat:

1. create my own "restock" in candeth
2. change it to go up the corner tower for blue scarabs. scream at the staircase.
3. scratch that. make a meta that uses a gemstone on command.
4. Make a meta that pops a gem, uses the resulting portal. walk forward. talk to a master mage.
5. GET VERY GOOD AT VIRINDI ITEM TOOL. LEARN THE COMPS TAB. If you just learned this in 2016, poke an eye out, you deserve it. It's an AMAZING time saver.
6. now create a recomp suitable for mages, for a master mage, and for the candeth tree top. you too can ensure, that in a few minutes, you will never run out of components, expensive stuff, and healing kits. just a-maz-ing. And really, I had all this stuff down - but hadn't bothered to..
7. String it together. or setup a meta that looks for arrows, or healing kits. "says" "I AM LOW ON KITS" etc, when you are hey. low on kits.

Adn of course, experiment with your STR, augs, weight of what's important and can go. get to where you only need to re-stock once every 24 hours. or less frequently.

You'll literally get hours of your life back. Spend some on the wifey. Spend some in Dereth too. :)
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Posts: 37

Re: So I had this idea. "Play" a squad.

Post#10 » November 30th, 2016, 6:35 pm

But that's just the basics of being a meta user. There's another goal if you are going to run a team and really manage it well.

You're gonna have to learn some meta programming. Yep. get over it.

Look I have a computer science degree. And while I'm not a programmer by day, I "Get" how to do scripting. Not everyone does. I get that.

Now then, get OVER it. Ask for help. You've already found the right web site. :)

And do these:

automate a command and control framework for your characters. I decided to run a single, heavily modified "control" meta on ALL characters and I prefer to issue !commands to move my forces around. Pick the gui, use the improved GUIs/mods. I love them all.

Just pick one. At or above about 5 characters, you are going to want to be able to:

walk the group up to a portal.
Turn navigation on or off quickly
send group through a portal
Realize, while in portal space, the drop is hot. or not. turn combat on or off - quickly. Get to where your group controls are learned, work well, and you understand when you need combat on. corners on/off.
Learn for yourself, critically what follow distance really does and means. change it outside and see how it works. Mess with it inside.
You will arrive at knowing when you need to have close quarters, short attack distances, corners on or off and how to get a crew to the GY, up the staircases, clear as needed, combat on/off, up and out the hut.

When you can do this little dance with your crew, get to where you can run the Rynthid ramps (combat off or you'll have someone stop for heals!)

And learn to use a virindi group. monitor everyone's health from there. Recognize its strengths and limitations.

Your goal is this: run GY tasks without having to touch any screen but the group leader's. That means:

all chars can navigate the steps smoothly, clearing as you go as necessary.
all chars talk to the NPCs for daily/kill quests.
all chars in group pick up 8 jaws, no more, no less, using "loot fellows' corpses..." and a loot profile
and of course, restock.

When you can do these things, setup and plan a small network of metas.
Learn to add your own "load" command into someon else's meta. e.g. My "control" meta has a half-dozen other tasks it can call by name. One command, on all doogs, loads a new meta on all the others. And in that meta? there is a command I've added to load my control meta.

Get to where you can go out on a task or quest for an hour, run that -- as a group - under leader's control. "program" in returning to task NPCs. Turn in the quest. Issue a command to get all your chars back into a home room - meta wise, and to wherever you like to hang out - your fav town, quest place, dungeon, home/villa/hometown.

Add one task a week.

Before you know it, you'll have your team setup to be able to drive, as a group, to a task, have fun overly killing it, and getting on back to civilization.

And get the legendary key meta. You'll be turning in some keys. Hate to see you go blind reading all that loot:

LegendKeys meta is worth gold. learn it.
You will learn how a loot profile works. and if you don't, use Lootsnob. Just go. now. get it. there is never enough mule space in AC. nevah.
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