Tanking Hero Experience

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Introduction

At hero tier, grouping is widely considered the best (read: fastest) way to gain experience. It’s not very hard to get grouped as a hitter; finding people who are willing to tank is more difficult. People new to tanking are hesitant to try doing it for various reasons, whether it be fear of leading others or not knowing what areas to lead. This guide is meant to teach you about all aspects of tanking: the general theory, group composition, area selection, and actual technique (what you should be typing).

You may be asking why you should listen to this guide (and you should, since it is a guide, not law). After the change in group experience logic, I’ve been leading very consistent runs ranging from anywhere from 9k-12k atheist (depending on group composition), on my alts Mestre and Iratha. It should be noted that I consider myself a powergamer, and the guide reflects this. Nevertheless, the information here should be useful and applicable for every type of person out there.

Theory

Tanking hero experience involves maximizing the amount of experience over time. Notice that I used the word time, not per run. If you have to wait a long time between runs, or need to farm an excessive amount of consumables per run, I consider that less efficient, as that is wasted time that could be spent running experience.

One rounding monsters

Maximizing the amount of experience you get over time has one major idea, and that is one rounding monsters. One rounding a mob involves killing it in one round using the preround hits (gained by having an emote from your kill alias and your hitters triggering off that emote) and the first round of combat, ideally before the mob even has a chance to hit you. A lot of new tanks don’t understand the importance of this concept. By one rounding monsters, you are simultaneously maximizing the damage you deal and minimizing the damage you take. If you successfully one round the monster while you are on top of it (via linkrefreshing), you will take zero damage. It is for this reason that so-called “elite” runners don’t need to run with cleric-types; consistent one-rounding and careful management of linkrefresh causes them to (almost) never get hit. The same reasoning also applies for not needing sky high AC- if you never get a chance to be hit, you can tank naked. Note that some areas don’t agree with linkrefreshing, and you will attack after the monster. Even in this scenario, you are reducing the monster to only one chance at hitting you.

NOTE: If you are a hitter, you MUST have a kill trigger. If you don’t have a kill trigger, you are doing 50% less damage than you should, and making the tank’s job a lot harder. If you don’t know how to write one, ask over a public channel. The AVATAR playerbase will probably know how to make one for your MUDclient. If you are a tank, ask your hitters to turn on their trigger if it’s off. It makes a huge difference.

Usage of bots to heal

Most areas have at least one uncursed room where you can recall set and pop back to Sanctum to quickly replenish your hp with bots. Planning your run around these stops will take some prior experience, but will allow you to run without a cleric if your AC or hp are low.

Armor Class

Armor Class is obviously important while tanking. You’ll often see a bunch of questions on herochat asking if some random amount of unspelled AC is enough to tank. The answer is if you have an unenchanted set of b12 hero tank gear, you can tank. Having higher is obviously helpful, but if you follow the above two concepts, you can easily overcome the AC/hp barrier. If you absolutely need hard numbers, I will say that reaching -1250 spelled is probably not too hard and a good starting goal, and -1300 spelled is plenty (this is applicable for classes with shields. Bld/monk are diffferent. I would shoot for -1150 AC minimum. -1200 is a good first goal). I run with -1330ish with full kra spells (including kra steel/bark) and it’s been enough to carry me ever since I had 1.1k hp. Note that I like to bring a cleric when I tank with something with less than 1k hp, as the hit to exp is marginal if at all.

NOTE: I have since intentionally nerfed myself and tanked without invincibility to have around -1220 AC. The difference IS noticeable, but it can be mitigated with a healer and more usage of bot healing. It DOES NOT mean you can’t tank with a lesser amount of AC.

Group Composition

Hitters

At hero tier, hitters can largely be tiered like this (In order):

Tier 1: Arc/Asn spec'd arc, fus/101+ pal (with oath of war), war/bod, bzk
Tier 2: Everything else except sor and wizard
Tier 3: Sor and Wzd

There are arguments for rogues being better than mages and whatnot, but I don’t really care about them because in terms of efficiency, none of them get close to the top six. I put Sor and Wzd below everything else because they don’t even get third attack/enhanced damage, so you can’t put on a set of hit gear to try and be useful. Note however, that the damage you get from tier 2 is not negligible; it can often times carry you from one rounding 50% of the time to 80-90% of the time.

So what do you pick? Get 3-4 hitters from the tier 1 group and you’ll probably one round nearly every popular hero area consistently, with the exception of Alpha Thule. There are differences between a war who is sub101 vs a war who is 101+, but that is mitigated by lowhero experience bonus. A sub101 war is still probably better than anything in tier 2 - however diversity considerations may tip the balance either way.

It is also useful to have a large war/bzk type in group who can rescue smaller groupmates in case they get aggied. They are colloquially known as "meatshields".

Healers

If you’re new, and you’re not sure how your group will do, bring one. They will provide you peace of mind and ensure that your run goes more smoothly. With diversity playing a role, adding a healer is now a significantly smaller reduction in experience that before (it might even be free, see notes on diversity below). I bring dru/cle/prs in my groups sometimes for this reason: I lose out on a small amount of experience, but I help them level. And we do need more priests at lord tier.

Diversity and Group Size

In my experience, the amount of experience doesn’t get hit hard until after the group is 7+ big. You can run with a group of 6 without too harsh of a hit to experience, especially if you have decent diversity. What this basically means is that if you have you (the tank) and 3 quality hitters, you can afford to take a cleric and mage/rogue if you felt nice, and not get completely slammed on experience gains. I find that the fourth hitter (assuming it is at least tier 2) tends to tip the one-rounding ratio much closer to 100% than just having 3 quality hitters. If you have a group composed entirely of melee, you’ll actually notice your experience gains seem to worsen, so you may want to take something else to increase diversity. Diversity also encourages casters to tank, since they count as a caster for diversity, and you can add an extra hitter without taking as large a penalty.

Area Selection

There are several popular areas to get experience, and the one you pick will greatly influence the amount you get per hour. The following contains some quality areas to learn, including detailed area descriptions. All of these areas have their own pages about adventuring. Please note that for all these areas, I assume all your members have fly/passdoor/water breathing active. Otherwise, you may at times be stopped because you lack these spells.

Note that I’ve grouped these areas into relative danger only, ie how aggie the area tends to be. I run only in the areas in group 2 myself, and can still regularly do 10k runs.

If you have very squishy hitters, you probably want to avoid groups 3 and 4. Those two groups are very swarmy and aggressive, so unless you have someone who is willing to brandish your hitters may find themselves in danger of dying quite often.

Group 1:

Igecsoz

k ajuu, s, k hji, 2e, k ekj, n, k hlu, n, k kins, w s d, k hle, u n w, k brg, 2w n e 2n w, k arm, e n w, k weap, e 2n w 2n u s w, k sig, e s w, k sil, e s w, kill iov

Upper Greed’s

The area is mostly circular. Try and keep track of the directions you’ve been to and scan/kill. Note that these mobs are good aligned, so you will want to watch your alignment and leave once it dips below 450ish, as you are then in danger of having your gear zap off.

Hamlet of Kreigstadt

k otto, k wolf, k uda, k sieg, w n n, k kru, s, k kru, 4s 3w k bow, e s, k cle, s, k sch, 2n e 6s 2e s, k ivan, k sash, k raj, e, kill golem, w s, kill madam (beware, this mob can cast disint for ~500 hp damage. Skip if tiny.), 2n 2e s, k wode, n e n, kill hol, s e s, k change, n e, kill sha (x3)

Note: This area also connects to Saints of the Blade Temple, which is a pretty decent place to tack on if you want to. You can access it by heading 2n e 4s w after the Schulz. Head west and down into the main part of the area and kill dragoons/pilgrims/priests while avoiding the slaves. After you head d n d and go 2e, you can open north to find a large amount of dragoons to kill. NOTE THAT THE DRAGON LIEUTENANTS (Show up on scan as flying) CAN STAB. The damage is not THAT high (dismember or so), but it can still be dangerous with small heroes. Heading all east and up, then following the path will take you out of the area and back to the entrance, where you can head towards Ivan/Raja/Sasha and finish the rest of the area.

Dream Steppes

Like Upper Greed’s, scan/kill. Note that many mobs flee here, and the masked psionicists (show up on scan as mysterious masked men, and one as a sailor in agony) can be quite nasty for smaller heroes.

Group 2:

Lower Greed’s

Find the down exit in the southeast. Heading 3d u w n u will take you to the main area. After the 3d you will have to kill some aggressive snakes before you can take the up to the Legless Cooper. This area is somewhat circular, so scan/kill. Some mobs are aggressive, which you’ll learn if you spend enough time here. MAKE SURE TO HAVE SOMEONE WHO CAN PORTAL WHEN YOU GO ON THIS RUN. This area has no exit and is cursed, and the quest to get out is hard to do while maintaining good experience, since you need to wait an agonizingly long time for the mobprog to finish.

Frozen Wastes

The PP will take you to the top level of frozen wastes, where everything except snowbirds aggie. The entrance into the glacier is found in the north end of the area. I like to head south-ish at first and kill as many mobs as I can, then head north and find the down exit and clear all the mobs nearby. After the first down, you can head 3s 3d into the main glacier.

To clear the main glacier: after 3d, k ice, s, k ice, e, k ice, s, k ice, w, k ice, w, k ice, n, k ice, n d s, k ice, e e, k ice, w s, k ice, w, k ice, e e, k ice, w 2n, k ice, n, k ice, w, k ice, 2e, k ice, portal out. Make sure to loot the milks from the guardians when you kill them!

Shogun

This area is rather large and hard to explain. There are 3 main parts, which I will loosely call the west, middle, and east. Scan and kill; everything is free game to be killed, but avoid the sanc’d mobs. You may also want to avoid the High Guards and Emperor’s Peacekeepers. These hit VERY hard (can hit up to massacre on a sanc’d character), and if you are not one-rounding it can be very taxing on HP.

The west portion is found 1e and then north of Pansho. This area contains a smathering of guards and the monk temple. Note that you may wish to avoid the mob “A stern looking monk,” as he can cast disintegrate. At the very north end is a down which will take you to a tunnel that contains some ghosts and ninjas. Follow that tunnel south and east, then go up when you reach what appears to be a dead end. Heading u 2w 3s from this room will put you in a room with a fountain, which is the start of Gaishan Road.
The middle section is found 3e from the fountain room. From here you’ll want to clear the south and north sections. The south section is composed of 4 rooms (2s, then e and w). AVOID THE SANC’D MOBS NORTH OF 2S E. They will probably kill your group if you are weak, and is certainly not worth the effort experience-wise. After you clears this small section, head north and then west to the Mashan headquarters. Here you can kill the Clerk,and the Trainer directly north of him. You may or may not want to kill the High Mage west of the Clerk, as he wields and can cast disintegrate/acid rain. Once these mobs are dead, head east and south to get back to the Gaishan road.
The east section is found 2e from this intersection. Heading n e n from here will take you to 3 generals. Target Bensai upon entering the room, he’s the only aggie. Kill the second general, then leave the sanc’d mob alone. Head back to where you came from and head further north. Clear the up branch when you get to it, then clear the west branch. The room 2n of the cook is the last room on your stop in this area, after which you can portal out.
Note that there you can head 2e after the “east section.” After that scan will put red eyes north of you. This is the ninja leader, and he hits pretty hard and casts. I’d avoid him when you’re running the area, but you can kill anything in the 2e after the “east section.”

Deepways

Note: This area was changed in July 2012 to be run in groups of size <= 3. Anything above that will drastically reduce xp gained.

This area is even larger and also hard to explain. There are 4 main sections to this area: The northeast section (The Amphitheatre), the middle section (Fallen Angel Cave), the west section (Hall of the Mountain King/Steps of Durr), and the tunnel section. You will be using the scan/kill method, but following a path. I will try to explain the path I use with as much detail as possible. Note that the red eyes on scans are quest mobs, and are not worth killing for experience. Do not areaspell these to make them visible. If you ever see a monolith, head the opposite direction, as you’re leaving the area. If you ever kill a mob worth zero experience, head the opposite direction, as you’ve entered a different area.

From Leper head 2w to enter the area. From here, head north and east until you get to a room called “The Amphitheatre.” Head north and clear the small up section, then return to The Amphitheatre. Head east and follow the past south until you reach “The Cloisters.” From here, you can head e u and clear the small section.
After the section is cleared (It’s about 10 rooms big), head down and back to the Amphitheatre, killing the freshly spawned mobs as you go. From this room, head s w 2s 2w 3n (killing everything along the way) until you reach the “Fallen Angel Cave.” This room has the two forks, east and west, which you can go up and follow the path until everything dies. Once both forks are cleared, return to the “Fallen Angel Cave.”
From this room, head 2s 2w s u s w (Again, kill everything along the way) to reach “The Hall of the Mountain King.” Kill everything on scan, then go s w n 2w n w to reach “The Steps of Durr.” Head up and clear the small section (it’s got 6 rooms), then head n 2w u. This is the last room of the western section. After you clear this, retrace your steps to The Hall of the Mountain King. From the up (Room Desc: A steep chasm), the directions are: d 2e s e s 2e s e.
NOTE: There will be a sanc’d myconoid s w n 2w from “The Hall of the Mountain King.” In this room, you can linkrefresh group without any lag! It’s a good idea to do as you enter and exit the western section since it takes almost no time at all and can save you a decent amount of hp.
Once you’re in The Hall of the Mountain King again, head down. Follow the path south and east until you reach a fork. You will want to take the north exit and follow the path. Once you head north and find a room with exists [north east south], you will be at the room 2w of Leper. You can then repeat the loop, or leave to another area.

Alpha Thule

From the selkie portal point, you’ll want to head north, trying to find the room “Northern Shoreline.” Chances are you’ll be too far east/west, which will show up as Northeastern/Northwestern Shoreline, respectively. Head the opposite direction and continue working your way in a northward direction until you find the right shoreline. One north from this room will take you into Alpha Thule. The area is split into 4 main areas, the entrance circle, the shafts, the bottom area, and the top area.

The entrance circle is made up of golem-type mobs (all have a keyword of ancient, so k anc will hit them all). They are somewhat painful and have armorancient, so you will hit a little less hard. You’ll want to choose a direction after the initial sentinel and follow that path until you can take a south. Taking this south will put you into the shafts.
The shafts contain souls which do not have armorancient and as such are much easier to kill. There are a total of 5 of these shafts; three will lead down into the bottom area, and two will lead you to the top area. Clear the 3 shafts in the middle of the area first, heading in a down-up-down path before taking the final down into the bottom of Alpha Thule.
The bottom of this area has Energized Clays. These also have armorancient, but are lower level than the mobs found in the entrance circle and thus hit less hard. The area is a 3x5 rectangle with the entrance/exit in the dead center. Clear out all the clays, then take the shafts to the top level, killing the souls in the shafts as you go.
The top level is interesting. After passing an ancient sentinel, you’ll be able to head up one more time into an area with sanc’d, non-aggie mobs named “The Ancient.” These mobs are very high level (90 iirc), sanc’d and have armorancient, and will thus take many rounds to kill. There are six of these Ancients. If you head up one more time, you’ll be able to find the Celestial, the biggest mob in the area. He sells bullets and carries the Celestial’s Arbalest, the best gun-type weapon for hero tier.
It’s arguable whether the sanc’d Ancients are worth running. They take many rounds, but are worth ~150 exp per group member. My personal feelings on this are as follows: If you want to stay in Alpha Thule the entire run, you should come to the Ancients last to try and get the area to repop. If you are not interested, you should leave to a new area as soon as you clear out the souls and the energized clays.
If you’re interested in staying in the area and the souls have not repopped once all the Ancients are dead, make your way back to the entrance circle and start clearing the second half. Chances are by the time you get back to the entrance of the area, the rest of it will have repopped. If it hasn’t, you can head south onto the Lake of Tears to kill some mobs there while waiting, or just switch to a new area entirely.

Group 3:

The Great Divide

From Wartha, head 4w 2n 2e 2n w n to enter the main area. From here it’s scan and kill. There are two main “temples” to the west and east which you have a bunch of mobs to clear. I would put more notes, but I can’t really think of any. Beware, the insatiable one eats corpses.

Most mobs here are aggie and in many rooms there are several of them. Also many wander so there will be walk-ins. Therefore it's common for groupies to get aggied and then rescued, which sometimes takes a few rounds, so it's advisable to have a healer and/or groupies that have enough hp to withstand a couple rounds of hits fairly regularly; the damage adds up over the course of a run. If you're a smaller groupie it's worth bringing a few quaffs along, in case there's no healer.

Morte Vallta

From giant vulture, head down. Scan and kill. Watch out for Colossus (A towering stone golem) and Azric (A blindingly bright light). The first hits really really hard, the second takes forever to kill and casts annoying spells.

Group 4:

These are big and very swarmy areas. More info can be found on their individual pages.

Elite Hero Areas (EHA)

I won’t talk about EHA because I don’t find them time/resource efficient. The general theory applies just the same though, you’ll just need more hitters and 2-3 dedicated brandishers. There is a map of the area on the wiki if you are interested in trying to learn the layout of the area.

Leading Technique

First of all, make sure that your kill command has an emote in front of it, ie alias k emote is killing %1:kill %1. This will allow your hitters to hit before the first round of combat begins.

So, what are you typing? There’s exactly one order of commands you should be typing, and it goes as follows:

k mob, sca, stack commands to kill next mob, repeat

Here’s how the actions should (ideally) play out:

  1. You type ‘k mob’, then ‘sca’
  2. All your hitters trigger off your emote
  3. Scan goes off, you find a mob to kill
  4. Type the direction and kill command in your prompt (eg, in Zmud, e;k tr)
  5. Mob dies in the first round of combat
  6. Hit enter
  7. Repeat

This is, as far as I’m aware, the most efficient set of commands. You should be typing scan right after you hit kill, as the time between the attack triggers from your hitters firing and the time the actual first round of combat begins is usually enough to find your next mob.

That’s it. Easy, huh? It just takes practice before you start running through mobs at breakneck speed.

Aliases

A few aliases can help reduce the typing effort.

  • alias k emote is killing %1:kill %1:scan
  • alias n north:scan (and similarly for other directions)
  • alias nk north:emote is killing %1:kill %1:scan (and so on for other directions)
  • alias heal tell bot1 div:tell bot2 div:tell bot3 div
  • alias rs recall set
  • alias lig linkrefresh group

End Notes

If you’re completely new to tanking, you’re not going to become amazing on your first run. Your experience gains over time will increase as the layout of areas becomes burned into your memory and as you get more comfortable with keeping up the string of commands listed above. Remember that most classes can only solo about 5k/spellup at most. If your run brings in more experience that this and has similar downtimes, you’re benefiting everyone by tanking.

Get tanking! With new experience logic and diversity, consistent 10k runs are in everyone’s reach.

- Atris/Mestre/Iratha et alts

Nuances

This section of the guide has random nuances that may help your runs in specific scenarios. More may be added as I think of them.

- If you are a monk/shf with counterpush or a bld with inspiring dance, it may be beneficial to NOT linkrefresh. Having the mob go first will then cause it to be pushed in the first case, or cause your casters monitoring you to have a shot at regaining some mana in the second. Note that this is more draining on your hp, so test and see!

- Asking your warriors to have bash in their trigger is only beneficial if you are constantly two rounding monsters, and the bash will reduce this to one round. This is the case because when you fail bash, you have a round of lag to stand up, whereas if you succeed bash, this lag is maybe half a round. The scenario goes as follows:

No bash: Mob dies in 2 rounds.
Fail bash: You kill the mob in the second round, then stand up, then your attack trigger fires on the next mob
Succeed bash: You kill the mob in the first round, then your attack trigger fires on the next mob.

If you one round without bash, you risk missing the attack gained by attack triggers, and this should thus be avoided.