Monday, September 13, 2010

The Grind: Getting to 105

Staying Awake is the Real Challenge
It's been about a week now that I've been sitting at 104.  Slowly, but surely, I'm inching my way closer to 105.  It's honestly a struggle for me, staying motivated to grind since my quests have all been long completed.
104-105 is a 955m grindfest.  I completed all my quests which may have accounted for about 10-15% of my total tops.  I didn't keep track of the experience gain from them and I did them here and there between grind sessions.  I've been fortunate enough that I haven't had to rely solely on myself to get all this experience, via kiting.

I have kited quite a bit, still more than half of my experience, but it's nice that at least i now have the level 100 KQ - Fortress of Shadows and its 5.6m experience reward as well as the occasional grind/AOE sessions in Origin of Life Tree as well as runs through the instance dungeon, Secret Laboratory.

So where do I solo grind?  At this point, there are 6 options for me, it all depends how much time I can put in and what I'm willing to spend.

1.  Origin of Life Tree:  OLT has really only one spot that's suitable for an archer and even then, one misclick and you'll get wiped out.  It's truly kiting at its most extreme.  Here I have to rely on +10 HG X-bow with skin, stacked charms, full t5 scrolls, t4 speed, t3 purple pots (def, eva, strength) and typically a buff to top it off as well.  I consume t4/t5 HP pots with frequency in here.  This is definitely not a 'casual' grind session, it is intense and requires a lot of focus for me.  By that same token, it's mentally exhausting.

2.  Phouches - AR:  This is still the old stand-by.  It's typically empty in the large circular area around H-5, H-6 which features the two lower leveled Phouch mobs.  Kiting here is pretty straight forward, just need to be careful of running into trees and getting hammered by the 20+ Phouches you string along.  Phouches have both a physical attack and a magic-based AOE.  Too many of those AOEs at once and you'll go down quickly.  Here I use at least a 50% charm, T4/T5 Scrolls, T3 Speed, +10 HG X-bow with skin.  I have no license for the Phouches as the X-Bow i'm using isn't mine and the licenses were full.  I do have a license for them on my +10 HG Bow, but the damage while AOE'ing on the Bow is really inferior to the X-Bow, and I'm there mostly for the EXP gain, not the license.

3.  Fire Shellas - AR:  Another typical archer spot.  This spot was changed when Secret Lab was released and the Snakes and Incomplete Subjects added to the AR map.  It used to be a great place for the kiting archer, but it's changed.  It's still decent, but you run into the Snake AOE party pulling the same Shellas you're trying to kite, so it gets a bit dicey at times.  You now have to adjust the pull area down from H-7 and H-8 to G-7 and G-8.  There aren't as many Shellas as there were previously.  Kiting Shellas is more difficult than the Phouches so they require the same power-ups.  Shellas give about 39k-44k experience, depending if they are the 108 or 109 variety.

4.  106 Black Bears - AR:  I had been kiting this area with more frequency when everyone was busy fighting over the snake spot, but unfortunately for me, there are parties here again with more regularity.  This was a nice spot since the Black Bear damage is fairly consistent and they do not have a magic-based attack.  The spot, as all spots are, is still better when tackled with at least a 50% charm and full compliment of scrolls.  The 106 BBs give around 30k EXP per kill and you can rull a full lap there netting you easily over 800k per lap.

5.  Boss Room - Temple of Spirit:  This is another spot that requires a lot of focus and doesn't really allow for rest or chatting.  The mobs in this circular room spawn quickly and there aren't really areas where you can stop and take a break other than the ramps that serve as the entrance to the room.  Even so, mobs can attack you there.  If I'm kiting this room, I don't usually pull the Black Shadow from the middle, but you could.  The Black Shadows still give you a chance of grabbing some 95 jewelry and the EXP gain from them is lucrative.  The drawback is that they deal massive damage and have a magic based attack on top of that.  The Shadow Master boss also spawns there.  I would avoid him if you could.  Aside from 95 jewelry and the EXP, there is not much to gain from kiting him along.

6.  Big Mud Men - SOD:  While this spot is not at all ideal, experience-wise, for grinding, it is decent enough experience and easy enough that it's considered casual.  No cookies necessary here, but I would still scroll up with t4s.  A speed scroll is also no longer necessary as by this point, the BMMs die fairly quickly.  The BMMs only net you about 18-24k EXP, but again, it's easy enough that it's little effort to at least make a little bit of progress.  It helps with motivation that I still have a license to complete here.

So anyway, that's where I am now.  Hopefully I make some progress during the week!

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