Posted on 09 April 2006 at 04:03:49 by Magi.
1. Viruses (Biomek skills)
2. Hazard Mode
3. Vehicles with unusal handling (motorcycles and, currently,tanks)
4. Weapon statistics
5. Loot/Treasure Enhancements
6. Auto-Repair (You may think it's intuitive...)
7. Interface Options You May Not Know are There
9. Chassis enhancements
I placed this item first because it's something that isn'texplained at all. Possibly it will be in the manual; who knows.
Viruses are wonderful tools for Biomeks, and provide some uniqueflavor with powerful functionality. Their fundamental feature isthat after you inflict a target with a virus successfully, it hasa chance to spread to other nearby targets, causing the samestatus ailment to them, with the same chance to spread from thattarget to even more targets! The deeper mechanics behind theiruse can be confusing at first, though. This is easily cleared upby understanding the two types of virus:
a) Decaying viruses (described in skill as "VirusDecays")
These are the most common type of virus. They are less potentthan non-decaying viruses, as we will see shortly. "VirusDecays" means, basically, that the virus will no longer be avirus after a short time (4 seconds is the exact timeframe adecaying virus has to spread), and will instead be a simpledebuff that will not spread.
To make things clearer, let's use an example. Take slow.virus.I'm going to use numbers out of my boo-tay here, for the sake ofsimplicity and because the servers are down. We'll say slow.vgives the target "slow" status, with a "75%chance" and 60m range. It says "6 pulses x 1.0sec/pulse (6 sec)." What do these numbers mean? The listed"chance" is the chance for the virus to spread to anygiven nearby target. The pulses are how many times the virustries to spread to nearby enemies. The time factor is how oftenthe pulses occur (faster = better). The total time is how longyou can expect the effects (slow status in this case) on anygiven mob to last. The range is the distance from you may affecta mob with the virus. I currently forget if there's a separaterange listed for the virus effect. If so, this would be themaximum range at which the virus may spread from an afflictedtarget to another target. Viruses cannot afflict a targetalready under its effects, but will spread back to a mobpreviously affected that is no longer under its effects (thoughthis is rare, see non-decaying section).
So, let's say you zip up to a spawn of Pike Gopherfaces. Youtarget the nearest one, get within range, and activate slow.v.What happens? If enough mobs are close enough together, the viruswill spread from your targeted Gopherface to his buddies' faces,thereby not-quite-melting them (that job is reserved forcombust.v) and giving them the lovable "slow" status.For exactly four seconds, each pulse has a chance to give everynearby (might only be one at a time, haven't been able to tell)enemy the virus. The four seconds is global for your use of theskill--no matter when a mob was afflicted, if it was at 3.0seconds, they have one pulse of contagious slowity and then it'sdone spreading. After the four seconds are up, the effects finishtheir duration (each mob will be slowified for 6 seconds), thenall the yellow glowies will be gone. Your Gopherfaces will nowresume their higher-speed attempts to chase you down and eat yournuts.
Fun, right? Just you wait...
b) Non-Decaying viruses (described in skill as "VirusDoes Not Decay")
Ok, the good part is that these are a lot simpler in theory thandecaying viruses. The other good part is that non-decayingvirusesseses are insanely powerful. The bad part is that theoriesreally suck.
Let's whip out our magic skill-antinerfbat/machete/rocketlauncherand pretend slow.virus is a nondecaying virus with all the otherstats the same. What does this mean? Basically, it means you takeout that 4 second window of contagiousness, and leave only thechance to spread and the duration as the limiting factors in thepower of the virus.
Let's take... say.... ok, for the sake of sweet vengeance we'llpretend like combust.virus has all the same stats as slow.v, onlyit kills [censored] dead. If ONLY combust had a 75% chance...Anyway, we'll pretend you're exacting vengeance on Pike RockjawPoopooheads for all the times they threw their doo at you andmade you overheat to 210/120 heat. You sneak up on a big fatbloated spawn of them with a sickeningly evil grin on your faceand unleash hell. Assuming the virus doesn't crit (which damageviruses can do, and which happens pretty much all the time withsniper mode on)--thereby not only melting Mr. Poopoohead's facebut also his neck, stomache, lower intestine, and genitalia--youwill soon begin cackling maniacally as your virus spreadsthroughout the spawn, melting every face in sight.
Nondecaying viruses continue to spread beyond the four secondwindow, and as long as their spread check succeeds, they willkeep spreading to new targets within range. When used onparticularly dense high hitpoint spawns (for example the swarmsof PITA insects in The Moat) it will, on occasion, traverse thesame spawn multiple times--you'll know this is happening when youstart seeing experience rack up over your head well after theduration would normally have ended. It is nearly (or totally)impossible for decaying viruses to do this within the timeframesimply because of the duration of the virus outlasting thecontagion window, but it can happen with a little luck usingnondecaying viruses. The more frequent the pulses, the longer theoverall duration, and the higher the chance to spread, the longeryour virus will stick around. Faster pulses help the virus spreadmore quickly; a longer duration will (with fast enough pulses)ensure that an entire spawn will remain affected (though multiplepasses happen less quickly with longer duration); the higher thechance to spread, obviously... yeah.
Hopefully that explains these somewhat complicated skills enoughthat you use them to their fullest, beautiful extent, and get alot of enjoyment out of them!
Dear god that took a lot of explaining...
One of the first questions on many new players' lips is"When do I get hazard mode??"
The answer is level 40.
Ok, ok, calm down, it doesn't suck THAT bad. The level cap is 80.At least it's not like an "epic" mount... or regularmou... ok, done--no ranting--anyway. Until level 40, your hazardkit acts as an extra boost to your abilities. Mutants get apassive regen rate that varies by kit; Humans get a shield thatdeflects all damage, up to a total determined by the kit, andwhich recharges gradually; Biomeks get a passive defense bonus.By the way, if you hit backspace (default Haz Mode key) you willsimply deplete the charge of your kit (the "!" at theleft end of your quickbar) with no effect.
At level 40, you will receive a quest that will ultimately rewardyou with a shiny new fully-functional hazard kit... whiiiichseems also doesn't have the original racial bonus, at leastinitially. Or for meks. Once you get it, if you have a full kitcharge (the "!" is green), you may hit backspace toengage God Mode (after a roughly 2 second charge as your kitcharge empties.. DO NOT DIE DURING THIS TIME). For 40 seconds(with the basic kit), you become an unstoppable killing machine(you are -invincible-), with abilities varying by race. These aredescribed briefly on the website info about races, but I willexplain more in detail here.
Meks: Transform into a bipedal walker, ala AT-STs from StarWars. If you've seen or played a Mastermind, it looks liketheir Assault Mek with different textures. The mek mode is sadlysmall, and many chassis are actually significantlybeefier-seeming than it. That aside, once you engage God Mode youmay begin stomping and blasting things like a maniac. Walkinginto anything stuns it. Primary attack (right mouse) is a veryhigh-damage +20 penetration (armor? deflection? what??? HA!) areablast of supreme death. This is a turret-based attack--you willhit your target with it if you're not spazzing out and the targetis within range. Things will die. 5 second cooldown. Secondaryattack (these really need to be reversed), 1.5s cooldown, dealsheavy single-target damage at +20 penetration as a front-mountedweapon. This one's a challenge to hit anything with unless youstomp its [censored] first. Fortunately, that's quite easy.
NEED MORE INFO ON THESE! Please offer what you've discovered!!Credit will be given!!
Mutants: Transform into glowy green monster of death. What youbecome varies by class--champions get a bear form, shamans get a(wolf? lol. I dunno) form, archons get an alligator of doom (Ithink) form, and avengers get a (something scary) form. All formsdeal passive area damage to nearby enemies. Primary ability is aspeed boost, ?%, lasting ?s. Secondary ability is a single targetbeam of gooification--I think.
Humans: haven't even seen so much as a screenshot of what theyactually look like in haz mode. It involves sheilds, and I'm sureit's very blue and equally very glowy. Primary ability is a GlowBlue Beam of Death From Above, I believe; secondary is...something blue and glowy?
Hazard mode is something that can save you from death and turn abattle in your favor, or it can be something that just brings yousheer slaughterlicious glee every time your charge is up. Iprefer the latter, as green punctuation pisses me off.
Vehicles with Unusual Handling
Currently there are several chassis with quirks in theirhandling. These include motorcycles (See posts referencing Biokeincluding the word "Rocket") and tanks. Part of thisseems to involve their really, really high spinout rating, maybe.Hopefully the devs know.
There are a few things that are important to know in order tosuccessfully use one of these chassis. I'll cover bikes firstbecause I know half of something about them, and delve into tanksas much as I can.
You may ask, obviously there are serious issues with these--is itworth even trying? The answer is unequivovally yes, it's worth atleasat trying, because these can be the most potent chassis inthe game when used properly.... and see my babble about mybeloved Salvo--you'll pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
The motorcycles in AA not only look insanely cool when trickedout right, but they are also the very definition of crotchrocket. The Bioke, a level 23+ Biomek bike, has amostly-bass-spectrum engine sound that is deep and throaty with agood subwoofer, can top 120 mph with maxed power to speed and agood drivetrain, and accelerates like... well, a rocket.
So what's the drawback?
Turning. Turning is a complicated ordeal with motorcycles atpresent. I recently discovered, more thoroughly thanks to DRiP,that there are ways to get it to work quite effectively. Theprimary issue is that standard turns (using A and D keys) simplydo next to nothing at speeds over 50 mph or so. Doing so will atbest veer your bike a degree or two to one side, and at worststart you into a catastrophic side-sliding adventure in terrainanomalies. Standard turning can work if you slow down enough,then accelerate again, but it costs a good deal of time to dropspeed and correct direction--since turning bikes at low speedscan work -too- quickly.
The easiest way to make bike handling manageable is to use"soft turns." These are assigned to Q and E bydefault--try them with any chassis. They usually will result ingentler direction changes, best used on slippery surfaces at highspeed to avoid spinout. However, it seems soft and hard turns arepseudo-reversed for bikes--soft turning allows you to changedirection almost as much as a regular chassis (on par with themore sluggish constructor chassis) with minimal drops in speed.Using a combination of S (braking), e-braking, and soft turns athigh speed changing to hard turns as you slow, the bikes becomemuch more maneuverable, albeit with considerable effort.
There is another issue currently with the center of gravity ofbikes--it's the front wheel. Hit b, watch your bounce. Like thatrear-wheelie? You'll feel that on every jump, every bump, andevery random tiny terrain anomaly you encounter. You WILLnosedive, and regularly. Fortunately it's not as bad as theproblem my little Salvo has with getting stuck on repair pads.Faceplanting should be an acceptable consequence to driving acrotchrocket, but managing to avoid going Truffle-digging withyour Pet Bioke take some practice.
My personal experience here comes primarly from my shiny newSalvo Wedge of Doom (see car screenies in Mek forum), and otherinformation is drawn from board posts.
There are no treads currently. Tread vehicles essentially use 6wheels--watch your tire skids--only the "empty" tireset has little to no traction on any surface. This poses a fewproblems, obviously.
First and foremost is turning of tanks. Much like with bikes, itcan be messy. It's not quite as bad, though, having the whole,you know, surface in contact with the ground thing. The primaryturning issue facing tanks is either sliding, or not being ableto turn. At low speeds, tanks can slide quite deftly across anyterrain as if it were snow, and it's very easy to make lazy,pretty curly-cues on the ground by getting up to 50% speed andlaunching into a sharp turn. At higher speeds, tanks have greatdifficulty turning at all (bear in mind "higher" meanslike.. 60mph here).
My suspicion here is that soft turning works the same way it doesfor bikes. Soft turns work for my Salvo quite well, preventingextreme sliding when I need to NOT fall off the side of the Moat.My lil tank doesn't have very substantial difficulty turning attop speed, but it is a struggle. Soft turning does help alleviatethis to an extent, but it feels like a soft turn--the directionchange is slight--though it's easier to accomplish than a hardturn in short time.
The main battle tanks (lvl 41+) have an issue with being far toolight, but they are being SUBSTANTIALLY increased in mass soon,as reported by a dev. The first large-weapon tanks arebeautifully heavy, and I'm not sure whether they suffer from assevere problems as the main tanks. They probably have about thesame difficulty as my lil guy.
Not quite a tank, definitely not a bike, but this beast has someinteresting issues. Here is my baby, replete in death-dealing splendor,and horrible graphics quality. I need a shot of a foot soldierstanding by me... I go up roughly to the shoulders of most mobs.
The main problem the Salvo faces is ground clearance... or lackthereof. It's an amazingly fun ride, and you are literally amobile ramp--I had several people doing jumps off me that had melaughing nonstop the other night--as well as being -completely-unrammable. No one can go under you, but YOU can go under THEM.Stealthing under someone and lifting them off the ground is quitehilarious.
Anyway, enough of my babbling about my precious Salvo--there arethings you have to be careful of with this, and any similar,chassis. The first is repair pads. INC ones are the WORST, buteven regular Mek pads can cause problems. Actually hitting thepad can flip you, first off, but once you manage to ramp up ontoone, the INC pads can get you horribly stuck. The dip in themiddle--yes, it's a physical gap in the repair pad, I didn't evennotice the fact before--WILL get you stuck every time you enteran INC pad. Bouncing is usually adequate to escape... unless youhit the crevice between the pad and the central hub. Thenyou're... well, [censored]. Wiggle around all you can, bounce atevery opportunity, and eventually you'll either escape or flip,and flipping will usually place you back on the main pad. I'venever been scared of returning for repairs...
Another issue facing the Salvo is that the center of gravity ismysteriously forward. While you'd think that a wedge-shaped tankwould have its mass located in the locus (locus! whee! whateveryou want to call it) of the wedge area, the salvo's CoG islocated at its tip or slightly rearward of it. This means thatwhen you hit those pretty little lights on the ground in INCbases (DAMN YOU INC!!) --yes, they actually stick up from theground, dangerously so--you -will- ...well, faceplant,essentially. If tanks have faces.
Careful steering can avoid all of these problems except thebloody INC repair pads. Standard mek pads are save if youapproach at an angle.
That said, I <3 my Uneven Terrain Detector!!
See here for detailed information on varioustypes of weapons.
Some of these statistics are obvious, some are not. This willhopefully clarify them all!
DPS: Damage per second. One of the most important traits of anyweapon.
<#> Target Spread: Weapon hits multiple enemies in its arc,starting with your selected target, up to a total of the listednumber.
<#>m explosion: Blast radius weapon. Damage is dealt to-all- enemies within the radius of impact.
TacArc (# degrees): The bigger the better. This is how wide anarea you have to work with while still hitting enemies. Mostimportant for front weapons; absolutely essential for sprayweapons. Insignificant for blast radius weapons, except frontweapons.
Range (#m): Distance from which you may pelt, splatter, molest,disintigrate, or burninate your chosen peasant. Longer is better.Just in case, you know, that wasn't obvious.
Refire Rate (#s): Rate of fire in seconds. Refire is a trickybeast--for some situations and some classes, faster is better;for others, slower is the only way to go. PvP demands slowrefire, high damage per shot weapons; mowing down infantry anddestroying buildings, and making the most of skills that adddamage to each shot, call for fast refire weapons. Anything under.75s is "fast." 1.3-1.6s is modest, and any more than1.76s is fairly slow. >3s = You better hit, and you betterhope it was something with a lot of hp, or you just wasted a lotof damage. Always consider the next factor along with refire.
Heat (+#): Amount of heat generated per shot. The faster therefire rate, the more painful this becomes. If you have a gunthat generates 2 heat per shot and has a refire of .5s, in oneminute of sustained firing that gun alone will generate 240 heat.That's enough to overheat a top-notch level 60 powerplant, andthat's not counting your other gun, any skills that cause you togenerate heat, combat modes, etc. Your powerplant's heatdissipation directly opposes this. If you take your weapon's heatrating and divide it by your weapon's refire rate you'll haveheat per second. Compare that to your powerplant's heatdissipated per second--if these numbers for both your guns totalup to more than your PP's dissipation rating, you're going tooverheat. By how much is the issue, since most people overheatafter enough sustained gunfire... but if the result would top outyour plant's heat in less than 60 seconds, you -will- haveproblems, period, unless you have -heat skills or like buyingcoolant flushes from people like me.
Penetration (+#): Chance to bypass deflection and armor.Penetration directly opposes deflection--deflection being pointsof damage completely ignored. I still haven't dug up the answerto whether pen. bypasses "defense" or"resistance," but I believe it bypasses defense, whichis flat damage reduction to all attacks. Penetration is of-paramount- value in PvP, where players will have deflectionequipment and/or very high armor/resist ratings. Penetration iswhat lets you deal full damage with your weapons no matter whatyour opponent tries to do. The higher the number, the better.
Damage (#-# with icon by it): This is the damage each shot deals.The icon tells which damage type is dealt--a red bullet isphysical, a green hazmat sign is contamination, a yellowradiation sign is corrosive, a blue lightning bolt is energy, andfire... well, if you can't figure out what the red flame iconmeans in this context, you need to take a long walk off a shortpier over flaming lava infested with rocky alligators of deaththat eat liquid hot mag-ma. Obviously more damage per shot isgood, but high refire weapons won't deal as much per shot asslower weapons--but that can be beneficial. High damage per shotweapons will act as ghetto penetration--the more brute force yourgun puts out, the higher the chances it has of dealing damage tothe enemy. A faster refire, lower damage gun will suffer much,much more from deflection than a slower gun, because deflectionprevents X damage from each shot.
Enhancements of note: Weapons can have an insane number ofenhancements on them. These appear in green below the otherstatistics of the weapon. All of these are taken into account inthe statistics you see listed above the enhancement section onthe weapon (i.e. a weapon with a +1 penetration enhancementlisted that is +2 penetration is not actually +3 penetration,it's +2, enhanced from +1). Most notable are +damageenhancements, adding various types of damage."Converting" weapons add energy damage to each shot inexchange for consuming power with each shot--watch out for fastrefire guns that consume power in this fasion, because unless youdon't use much power, you'll find yourself short quick.Profiteering enhancements also have this drawback (see latersection). +Penetration enhancements are quite handy, as areweapons with faster refire, increased range, etc.
These are still largely a mystery to me. I've been able to gleanthe function of some of these from theoretical forum posts, butsee my prior reference to theories.
There are 4..? different types of loot enhancements. Followingare their effects and how sure I am of said effects.
Greedy loot--Increases odds of items dropping. 30% certain.
Lucky loot--Increases odds of dropped items having enhancements.90% certain.
Fortune loot--Increases odds of clink drop. 25% certain.
Treasure hunter--Increases odds of rare drop. 10% certain.
Profiteering--Increases amount of clink that drops when it does.75% certain.
Pillaging--No [censored] idea. 100% certain.
Profiteering incurs a power cost with each shot. Obviously thiscan hurt a lot on fast refire weapons. What's important to watchfor is when this bonus appears on non-weapon items--chassis withthis are probably the worst, followed by, well, everything elsebut a weapon. This forces you to base your weapon choice on theequipment you already have, besides your powerplant, whichalready plays a part. Having to never use a fast refire weaponbecause you're stuck with that insanely uber MilitaryConstruction chassis -sucks-.
Don't ask me the extent to which any of these do anything, Idon't know. Sadly, Gfxx's enhancement list doesn't include theexact database effects of any of these.
In a nutshell, autorepair items heal you for their listed amount(+1 through +5) of hit points each second. However, there's onequirk--as with any item of the exact same bonus, autorepair itemswith the same rating do not stack. You can't have 5 items thatgive +5 autoheal for 25 hp/sec. You can, however, have a +1, +2,+3, +4, and +5 for a total of 15 hp/sec, which is far fromshabby.
There is also an issue (hopefully merely a bug) where autohealwill break stealth every pulse. You have enough time to stealthand hit a stealth attack if you activate it shortly after a hpregen tick, but only if you're quick, lucky, and have a good netconnection.
7. Interface Options You May Not Know are There
There are a couple of very important interface options. I'll alsoinclude a couple slash commands that are helpful here. To viewthe full list, just hit ESC and click "interfaceoptions" (whodathunkit).
The most notable options are All Windows Movable and Don't PlaySummon Sounds. With windows set to moveable, you don't need topiss people like me off by canceling trade when you open yourlocker. You can also view your journal while you read a newmission, and more importantly, with your zone map open--check offmissions down your list to see which is closest, which areclumped, etc. You can reposition HUD elements like your speedo,but these are currently reset on login.
This option is actually in Audio Options, but it still goes here.Summon sounds are somewhat buggy, like other sounds right now,and some are just downright annoying at times. Turning off summonsounds disables the ambient noises summoned mobs make (flamerflamingness, laserbot drone, waahhh-waahhh of towers). They willstill make weapon and summon activation sounds.
An important option for taking good screenshots is "Camerastays behind vehicle." Unchecking this will allow you to usethe Del key to turn off HUD elements, hold your mouse wheel orhit ` (tilde) to rotate your view, and have your turret -not-pointing straight away from the camera by hitting ` again andchoosing your desired aim direction.
If you get looping ability and gunfire sounds, type /sound twice.Your ears will thank you. It's amazing how many looping effectscan build up without realizing it.
If you're really stupid, type /togglefog to disable the beautifulfog that makes AA not POS EQ-esque graphics. This may or may notimprove performance, I haven't tested. Might not actually disableprocessing of things like weather effects, only their rendering.If you really, truly think this improves the look of the game,see what to do earlier regarding the icon for fire damage onweapons.
Coming sometime after I sleep. Hopefully. Or maybe I'll leavethis feat to TerminalX.
The main thing I wanted to say here is you can reverse-refineyour refined goods by clicking the dropdown box at the top of therefine interface and selecting "reverse." Helps yousave some inventory space when you need it.
Also, right clicking a broken item or clicking craft on amemorized item with the refinery open will bring up all materialsrequired to craft the item, including components, and filtereverything else out. Most useful for quickly seeing what refinedmaterials a specific component requires.
Credit goes for Gfxx for his database grocking for the exactdetails on what these do.
So we all love our platform of supreme destruction... whodoesn't? Enhancements make them even better. There are tons andtons of different enhancements for chassis, but I will list somereally good ones here. I won't go into detail on the chassisattributes, because honestly, no one has any [censored] clueexactly -what all- most chassis attributes affect. The most 100%reliable one is that more weight = more ram damage, but moreweight = other things too. Oh, and if it says "Mediumweapons only," odds are pretty good that you aren't going toconvince it to stick a small weapon on it, even if you try tocoax it with two, or offer to install a coffee maker in thetrunk. So, without further ado, here are some great boosts toyour ride!
Military Construction (currently only Mk1): Some argue this is-the best- enhancement you can get on a ride. Some disagree. Whatit does is boosts every single attribute of your car, from topspeed to RPM to handling to, most importantly, inventory.MilCon cars have 1 more inventory page than standard. The thingsome people don't like is that it's not a substantial boost toany one statistic, and takes up a precious enhancement slot.
Storage Module (Only has one effect no matter what mark): Addsone inventory page. Very handy.
Improved Drivetrain: Improves engine power, period. This improvestop speed and, in theory, acceleration. We -do- know thisimproves top speed. Also improves brake response. The higher theMk, the better.
Performance Frame: Improves armor and impact force. Theoreticallyyou don't go flying as much in a Perf. Frame model. Higher marksmight not have any effect if db info is still correct from 12/05.
Performance Suspension: Arguably one of the best enhancements fordifficult-to-drive rides. Improves turning angle (sharper turnsmore easily) and makes turning easier at higher speeds. Alsoimproves armor. As with frame, higher marks may not have fulleffect.
Performance Brakes: Improves brake response. Higher mark good.
That's all for now; please offer any feedback you have via a posthere or PM! Also feel free to let me know ingame if you havefurther info on anything, or something you'd like me to checkout.