Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mage Technique: Solo AOE

With the changes in Swamp of Dawn, it's actually a bit easier for most intermediate (skill wise) 9x Mages to solo AOE there... While solo AOE'ing is a lot tougher than a double pull with a cleric partner, the benefit is tremendous.

I never took screenshots of me doing this back when I was in my early 90s, so I tried to kinda fake it.  I made my way down to the Caiman spot in Swamp of Dawn using the following to simulate an early 9x mage:

I equipped my +0 level 100 Warlock Greens, they're unenhanced so my Defense was a measley 1468 with a t4 Defense Scroll active.  I'm soloing so there are no additional cleric buffs either.  The only added benefit of the 100 Warlock armors for this scenario is the added evasion over what most early 9x mages would have using 75+9s, if those 75s were high DEX, then they may possibly surpass the bonus I got from the base armor stats.  I did not activate an Evasion scroll for these runs, under normal circumstances I would have.

For a weapon, since on Bijou Hellgaits are hard to come by, I'm using a +9 TBK Wand, nothing special, decent END, no DEX, decent SPR. with a Caiman license still at 15% (I just added that before heading out).  I am not using a weapon skin.

As far as scrolls go, I have only a T4 Vitality, T4 Defense, and T1 Speed active.  I have a 5% guild buff and none of those fancy-schamancy dragon things.  I'm not extended, and not buffed, I only have 4851 hp with the scrolls active.  You can see my stat window below.

I have also further handicapped myself by using the level 87 Inferno and level 90 Frost Nova, you can verify by the colors of the icons on my hotkeys.

The Technique:
Okay, so how's it done?  I do it a bit different than the "Aka pull' that was shown on YouTube, you'll see the difference.  I won't dispute the now common name of this technique as there are well known mages on Bijou that were also doing this.  But anyway, here's the Aka Pull:

The way that I do this is a bit different, I'm not trying to avoid the damage so much as I am trying to get the kills done quicker and more efficiently.  In lieu of hopping back on my mount, I opt for a speed scroll.  When I was doing this for real, I would use a T3 speed scroll for any SOD mobs, a T4 for mobs in AR.  As you can see, it's not a cheap technique to do often.  With the culling of the sheer number of mobs in SOD now, areas like the Caimans can be done using a T1 speed scroll.  The speed scroll, which some people may find unnecessary, is just an extra little boost to provide you a bigger buffer from the mobs chasing you.  If by using that scroll, it saves you once, you've paid for it 10x over in time and financial savings.

So here it is:

Step 1 - The Lure
You will need a cash shop mount for this, the Tiger Raccoon is actually perfect, it's not so fast that it's leaving the mobs in the dust.  I used my Cupcake Cat for this example.  So basically all this is is you running around gathering mobs.  If this is your first time doing it, just pull a few maybe 5-7 to just get a feel for it.  Work your way up to larger quantities later when you're more comfortable in your abilities.  I usually just hold down 'W' and rotate the mouse during pulls, if clicking is easier for you that's fine too.

Step 2 - The Step Off
This step is absolutely critical.  As anyone that's spent time pulling mobs via mover knows, there are many times when the mobs will just wander off unexpectedly.  Spend some time at the Black Bear spot in Alberstoll Ruins for a little while and you'll see what I mean.  The best way to combat this strange phenomenon is to stay absolutely still once u dismount your mover.  If you dismount and then move a step or two, there's a good chance you'll lose a bunch of your mobs.

Step 3 - The Cast
Unless you're some kind of freak that runs backwards on the screen you're going to have to get comfortable rotating your screen 180 degrees to face the mobs chasing you the second you dismount.  Once you've rotated, immediately cast Frost Nova in the path of the oncoming mobs.  Follow that with Inferno.  There is no reason to chain-cast anything here.  You want to always cast Nova first as this will slow the mobs down giving you an extra bit of time to get Inferno off.

Step 4 - The Hightail
This is where your speed scroll comes into play.  Once your Inferno is done casting, immediately start running in a circle trying to stay along the perimeter of the AOEs you just casted.  Again, if you're a clicker, use that to run, I also use 'W' and mouse rotation here, it's easier and smoother for me.  As you're running, you'll notice most of the mobs dying off.  If there are stragglers, it's time for:

Step 5 - The Finisher
If these are the easier SOD mobs, they should be left with very little in the way of HP, typically a Magic Burst should seal their fate.  If not, you can either recast Nova (if you have full CD empowered, it should be up and ready), or just tab and Magic Blast them into oblivion while continuing your circle.  The Magic Blast technique takes some getting used to as you're doing several things at once, running with W, rotating the mouse, and spamming Magic Blast.  I have Blast hotkeyed as '1' so it's very easy for me to just use my pinky to hit it while my ring finger keeps 'W' depressed.

That's it, not too difficult is it?  You can use this technique in multiple areas of SOD as you get more comfortable.  Mudmen, Wereboars, Mantraps, Big Mud Men, etc... all can be successfully pulled and AOE'd in short order.  Some of the level 100+ mobs may require a second Nova to finish them off though, so be wary.  I used this same technique from 95-100 mostly AOE'ing Phouches solo, I was cookied though and had nearly every defense-type item available from the cash shop.  Again, it's not easy to do, but the gains are well worth the effort to learn this technique.

Just think, you don't have to shout, "9x mage looking for party!" in SOD ever again.  Now isn't that worth it?


  1. I know mages that have been using both the "Aka Pull" and your thingy since liek the 79 cap o.o Heck one of them didn't even run in circles lol. She just kept kiting them forward.
    I always wondered why it never caught on... and then suddenly... I looked here. Well glad to know mages are finally learning how to solo efficiently.
    Blog is kewl =P.


  2. Agreed, this blog is really cool. I was just doing some mobbing yesterday with some Invictus guild people on Cypion helping me out with goblin quests. The couple was a Paladin and an Enchanter. I used my Tiger Raccoon to attract tons of mobs and the cleric healed me while the mage used nova. It was pretty awesome. Because of the amount of monsters killed, and because of the quests, it actually went faster than a power-leveling. Your comment about not moving after dismounting makes a lot of sense though. I was wondering why I would lose mobs and then I wouldn't lose mobs, for some odd reason or another. Sometimes it was too much distance, and others it was me walking after dismounting.

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. I'm glad you could put what I described into practice! And you're right, oftentimes, quest help on repeatables like Goblins, Werebears, etc can be a quicker exp gain than straight plvling. I hope you'll visit again! =)

  4. I noticed that your mage is full Int. Is it better than 25spr and rest Int?

  5. Hello again Fatal! (I'm the Anonymous guy about the post with mobbing on Sep 26th)

    I am a very new, fresh Enchanter at level 60. I just wanted to share my experiences and ask a few question about how to improve my technique.

    About a month ago, I read this post and renewed my vigor for getting to enchanter. Now I'm finally there and I'm using the Aka Pull a lot.

    At first, I almost became monster food very quickly, and stayed at 0% because I was inexperienced and didn't know the range of Nova. I kept casting it beyond my range and ended up running towards the mob I was trying to mage kite. XD

    Now I'm getting a lot better at it, I can kite Blue Clover Trumpys, which are somewhere in the 7x range, I can't tell what level they are because of the star. I even got a license for all of my practice paying off.

    At first, I started to practice with Orc Hunters and King Mushrooms right outside of Uruga. I quickly found out that this didn't work well because both mobs had different running speeds, and therefore I wasn't able to catch the entire mob grouping in my Nova. It often ended in me eliminating one type of monster, then running by a random respawn and ending up without a mount. It gets ugly quickly after that since the mob I've gathered can 1-hit me.

    After practicing with these types of mobs, and running into several annoying road blocks, I decided to practice in a clearing with one type of mob and no obstructions. That ended up with me killing the Blue Clover Trumpys, although not successfully at first.

    So anyways, now that I've covered my experience, I'll sum up my technique and ask for tips on how to improve it.

    First off, I'll get on my Scorpion mount. I totally forgot about using my Tiger mount at the time, so I've been using it up to now.
    Next I'll grab a bunch of monsters, and circle around them. I've found that circling around them knits them together in a tight ball and allows me to hit them all at once with my Nova. I cast my Nova in-between me and the mob, so that I can get on my mount in time due to the random lag coming from my laptop. I circle around, and continue to do that on and on.
    I can also kite monsters in 7x abyss, using only the slow effect from Nova and vit and shield scrolls.

    That sums up the technique I use. I also am one of those freaks that looks behind them when they pull monsters. Essentially, I run backwards. XD

    So anyways, how do you think I can improve? Also, I notice both akadamage and a couple of other rare Aka Pullers use the Nova right in front of them. Am I supposed to do this? I don't really see why they cast Nova right in front of them. In my opinion, it seems really risky if you're able to mount in time, mob hits, =road kill.

    Thank you in advance!

  6. When I got to 60, I started working from this guide. I started with MD kq and killing those ogre, hob and ratmen mobs that someone inevitably seems to pull. Not ideal, though, without a speed scroll and mount. Some nice tricksters and fighters helped me out.

    Now, I've been practicing on archons. I can mob about 14 of them -- which is the extent of that area. This is using T3 vit and def, with T2 speed and an iron mount (speed 180).

    After I grab all the mobs, I loop once more back into the area (to collect mobs in one area -- so important!). I click where I want to go, and then during that mouse free time, rotate the view to see the mobs coming. Switch to using "s" (to run backwards) until I get as much distance as I want. Dismount, nova. Then run around the area until my nova is almost recharged. Run away to gain some distance. Nova. Repeat until dead.

    I tried blue clover trumpies, but couldn't find a good spot to start with just a few to practice. So I'd grab my three, run to the nova spot and then as I moved to a second spot - ouchies, more of them without slow on them.

    Also not good to mob: pixies and orcs, unless you're so quick that you don't get hit even once. Immobolize and stun doom all.

    It takes a bit of practice to get used to nova. I can't wait until I get inferno to up my dmg. Hopefully less running bc the mobs die sooner.

    Still, my mind boggles at how I can kill 14 mobs in one minute or two. Even as a fighter, I can't go that fast (well, maybe with a +9/10 axe).

    I use a +9 50 staff for about 900-1000 mdmg. On archons, each nova hit causes around 389 dmg and takes 2-3 novas to kill them all.

    Thank you for the great technique! I love it!


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