Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Gone away and come back again! But mainly a short discussion about Abyssea.

I know the day after an update is not a great time to go away for a couple of weeks, but it had to be done. :) I am back now, and several things have settled in the mean time. I have been trying to keep abreast of all of the changes, but I might have missed quite a bit, so bear with me and please leave comments if I leave anything out!

Lets get started with Abyssea, which may be the coolest thing that SE has added to the game since Salvage. It might even be cooler than Salvage itself! Abyssea is like a great combination of all the fun NM hunting already in the game all mixed up with a few twists thrown in. Essentially, it looks like there are three different kinds of NMs in the zone, but even those distinctions aren't exactly clean cut.

When you first enter your Abyssea zone, you will come across different groupings of mobs. They will all be named similarly, but will come in different sizes and they will con at various strengths, usually between DC to T. In general, these mobs can be killed to get a pop item which will spawn an NM of the same type in the area. The drops from these mobs are pretty good in general, with a little bit of SE's weirdness thrown in. They also can drop another set of pop items or key items depending on the mob that are then used to spawn a new tier of NMs, but that gets a bit weirder. In addition, some of them can drop a key item that gives some permanent benefit while in Abyssea. There are a wide array of key items that give buffs depending on the NM you kill. The second and third tier of NMs come from either several pop items or several key items depending on the NM you are spawning.

Wandering about the zone there are NMs that are already up, and some that spawn just from killing mobs in the area like a regular NM. These are kind of like the popped mobs in that they have there own pretty good drops and they drop key items or pop items that are used to spawn the next tier of NMs. It looks like they have a pretty fast respawn time, so you could get multiple NMs in the time you are in the zone. The mobs that are up and wandering around to begin with look to be pretty tough and have quite a few drops. The mobs that are spawned by killing their respective non-NM mobs aren't quite as hard (but they are not anything to be taken lightly) and it doesn't look like they drop as much loot, but things are still a bit unclear on drops.

Finally, you even have a VNM system in Abyssea. These are spawned just like the ones in the regular world, but at least in Abyssea-Konschtat they are Empty-type monsters. I have only experienced the first two tiers so far, but they didn't appear to be anything that difficult. I expect the third tier to be significantly more difficult though. When we did these we had our Abyssite upgrade on the first kill of both of our kills. I don't know if this means that these have a higher upgrade rate or if it was just dumb luck. We will have to see. It isn't completely clear yet, but it appears that the tier 3 will also drop a key item or pop item for the next tier of NMs in the zone.

Additionally, Abyssea has some interesting characteristics when it comes to what happens when you kill mobs there. Unlike the standard XP chain that exists in our timeline, Abyssea has a different forum of scaling XP. First of all, the amount of XP you get appears to be rigidly standardized. You start at a base amount of XP gained, and then you gain one point of XP per kill based on the way the last mob was killed. If a mob is killed by a melee hit, then you will get an additional point of XP the next time you kill a mob of the same type with a melee hit. If you kill a mob with a weaponskill it adds one point to that category, and the same with magic. The nice thing is that these can't really get that separated because they can only fall behind by about 10 XP points. It gets a lot more interesting as time goes on though. After time goes on, several different things happen. First of all, the mobs that respawn, and they start respawning pretty quickly, will start getting more difficult moving up from their starting difficulty until they are IT++ to level 80 characters. This will not change the amount of XP you get but what will happen is that the various chests that the mobs drop will start to drop more often and they will be more rewarding. There appears to be a tier system of some kind involved, with a bit of variation in the rewards, but the chests are the real key to the whole adventure. You can get temporary items or augmented items, which for the most part aren't incredibly interesting, but you can also get chests that give XP and Cruor in increasingly larger chunks. The most important chest though are the Time extension chests, which usually don't start spawning until you have been killing mobs for about an hour. A time extension chest will grant you 10 extra minutes inside of the zone. The reason that time extensions are so great is that the amount of XP you get increases over time so that at the end of your time in the zone you can get up to 360 XP per kill and 1000 XP per XP chest. That means that your XP per hour rises dramatically at the end of your run, and extending your time means more XP during the high-end XP time. That is not to say that going without getting Time chests is bad XP. Last night we got no time chests at all, and we had to run to camp at the beginning of our run, but in the 90 minutes we were in the zone we got 46k XP and 13k in Cruor. You can do this with basically any set of mobs in the zone, but some are better than others. The main problem is that if you kill a different kind of mob it will break your "chain" and you will go back down to base XP when you start on the mobs you were focusing on. So tell your pullers to be careful. Also, since the amount of XP you get per mob is predetermined, it doesn't matter how many people you bring with you. You can bring a party or an alliance. It's fun for everyone!

Abyssea is a lot to digest. There is a whole lot to do, and I only went over some of the NMs and XPing in the zone. There are still a huge number of quests that are available and monsters that are related to that. This isn't the last time I will be going over these awesome new zones!

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