21 June, 2007

BLM Solo- Operation Desert Swarm

A few people have already solo'ed this particular KS30 fight and have written about it, such as Kaeko, and there have been numerous videos about, like Avesta's attempt (although it is quite old now),



However, I had yet to actually do this myself. I'm not exactly sure what prompted me to throw away some 120 Kindred Seals on praticing and fine tuning, but I started on it, and wanted very much to say that I was now able to comfortably solo the KS30.

Here are the basic facts, from Kaeko's writeup:
- 6 Platoon Scorpions.
- Each has exactly 5,000 HP.
- Not particularly resistant to sleep.
- Run at normal speed.

The basic sequence is as follows:
- Buff with Protect II, Aquaveil, Stoneskin, Blink, Phalanx.
- Rest to full.
- Thundaga III → Sleepga (reapply Stoneskin and Blink)
- Blizzaga III → Sleepga (reapply Stoneskin and Blink)
- Take medicines (Pro-Ether in my case, see below)
- Thundaga III → Sleepga (reapply Stoneskin and Blink)
- Manafont
- Blizzaga III → Sleepga
- Thundaga III → Sleepga
- Firaga III (win!)


Here's the log of my first successful run. I've edited it to remove all the "chaff"- the recast timers, "Equipment changed" lines, and so on.



Although I was successful that time, it was a lot closer than I would've liked it to be. Thus, I wanted to go out and solo a few more orbs to get more practice at it before I felt comfortable with a strategy.

Unfortuntely, four orbs later (two of which weren't mine), I had yet to repeat my win. However, it was not a total loss, for there were two realisations I made that I have since implemented into my strategy.

For those who just want to cut straight to the chase, here they are:
1) Bring a Pro-Ether (just in case).
2) Equip a Terra's Staff in your Sleepga macro.


For those who like explanations and reasoning, here are the more long-winded versions:

1) You will need mana items.
Assuming your gear is not of a very high standard, chances are you will be casting six -ga spells, in between at least five Sleepgas, not to mention reapplying Stoneskins, Blinks and Phalanx.

Doing the math, your mana spent (not accounting for Conserve MP) would be:

START

Thundaga III: 322mp
Sleepga: 38mp
Stoneskin: 29mp
Blink: 20mp
Blizzaga III: 299mp
Sleepga: 38mp
Stoneskin: 29mp
Blink: 20mp
Thundaga III: 322mp
Sleepga: 38mp
Stoneskin: 29mp
Blink: 20mp
Phalanx: 21mp

MANAFONT

Blizzaga III: 0mp
Sleepga: 0mp
Thundaga III: 0mp
Sleepga II: 0mp
Firaga III: 0mp

Total: 1225mp


1225mp spent before the Manafont is very high, even for a Taru. As it is, my current nuking gear caps my MP at 1006, so I'm still 219mp away. Thus, medicines are in order.

Based off my nuking mp, I need to make up 219mp somewhere, so a Pro-Ether comes in handy. This will vary from individual to individual, so be sure to check you can make up 1225mp somewhere without the aid of Manafont.

I have to admit, I really really wanted to be able to do this without the use of anything out of the ordinary (nothing more than maybe a couple of Yagudo Drinks), but given the gap in mana, that does not look likely for me, at least not now. Should I ever get Zenith gear, however, there is a chance I will be able to push my max MP setup to over 1225, thus negating the need for any special medicines.

Of course, should you get lucky on your Conseve MP, by all means save the Pro-Ether for another day! >_<

2) Damage reduction in your Sleepga macro

This is the big one.

You will notice that in Avesta's video above, and in other videos around the net that the general strategy is to run away from the scorpions after your -ga spell has gone off before casting Sleepga.

This makes sense, since if you have Herald gaiters, you could feasily outrun the scorpions, that and you might as well gain some distance before casting Sleepga.

However, I do not have gaiters, nor can I run away because of lag issues. In my case, I have to consciously stop and wait a second or two before I cast a spell, otherwise the server-side will think I am casting a spell while moving, and thus interrupt my spell even though I appear to be standing still client-side.

Thus, I cast Thundaga III and immediately start casting Sleepga while standing at the same spot.

One thing I noticed in my subsequent attempts was that there were occasions where my first Sleepga would not resolve simply because the six scorpions were able to tear down my Stoneskin and land a hit on me, interrupting my Sleepga. Once Sleepga is down, there is no way to recover, so it is imperative that Stoneskin remains up.

Let's do the math:

* A Platoon Scorpion hits me, in Enfeebling gear for, on average, about 90 damage/hit.
* With capped Enhancing Magic skill (200), Phalanx reduces all hits by -18 damage.
* A scorpion thus hits me for around 72 damage/hit.

* With 114 MND, Stoneskin is capped at 350 damage.

So, with Stoneskin and Blink up:
Case 1: Two shadows absorbs, 4 hits- 288 damage (Good)
Case 2: One shadow absorbs, 5 hits- 360 damage (Risks interruption)
Case 3: No shadows absorbs, 6 hits- 432 damage (Risks interruption)


As you can see, the problem above lies in the reliance of both Blink shadows absorbing two hits from the scorpions. Should even one fail, then you risk being interrupted, and thus lose the KS30.

So, I needed a way to prevent some more damage while still in my Enfeebling gear. Fortunately, this can be solved by using a Terra's Staff instead of a Pluto's Staff in my Sleepga macro.

Now, with the damage reduction from the Terra's Staff, the numbers look like the following: (Note that the damage reduction from the Terra's Staff is applied first, then Phalanx is applied.)

* A Platoon Scorpion hits me, in Enfeebling gear for, on average, about 90 damage/hit.
* With capped Enhancing Magic skill (200), Phalanx reduces all hits by -18 damage.
* A scorpion thus hits me for around 72 damage/hit.
* With 114 MND, Stoneskin is capped at 350 damage.
* Terra's Staff reduces all physical damage taken by -20%.

Thus, I take:
(90 x 0.8) - 18 = 54 damage/hit.

Giving us the following three cases
Case 1: Two shadows absorbs, 4 hits- 216 damage (Good)
Case 2: One shadow absorbs, 5 hits- 270 damage (Good)
Case 3: No shadows absorbs, 6 hits- 324 damage (Good)


As you can see, the inclusion of a Terra's Staff dramatically improves Stoneskin's duration. Now, there is almost no way the scorpions will be able to break through your Stoneskin before your Sleepga goes off, even if all six Scorpions successfully connect, and you even have some room to play around with should a scorpion land a critical hit on you.



In fact, even if you gave yourself an error margin and assumed that scorpions hit you for 100 damage/hit instead of 90, a Terra's Staff setup would still let your Stoneskin last five hits without wearing off.

What about Magic Accuracy?

When I first considered Sleepga-ing in a Terra's Staff, my immediate concern would be the accuracy of my spells. After all, while it has not been conclusively proven to my knowledge, there are many people out there (including myself) who seem to vouch that equipping the corresponding staff to your spell increases its accuracy.

By wearing a Terra's Staff instead of a Pluto's Staff, my Stoneskin will go off, but the chance that it will actually stick may go down.

Fortunately, when I went to test this out (yes, on yet another orb -_-), I was pleasantly surprised at having absolutely no difficulty landing my Sleepgas whatsoever.

For reference's sake however, my current Enfeebling gear puts me at an Enfeebling Magic skill of 285, which would've also helped.

Is there a way to keep Stoneskin up and still wear a Pluto's Staff?

This idea also crossed my mind, and resulted in a quick flurry to the Bostoneaux Oubliette in search of a Jelly Ring before I changed my mind. The idea was that with a Jelly Ring and an Umbra Cape, I might be able to prevent enough damage and still hold my Pluto's Staff for Sleepga, but doing the math unfortunately proved me wrong:

* A Platoon Scorpion hits me, in Enfeebling gear for, on average, about 90 damage/hit.
* With capped Enhancing Magic skill (200), Phalanx reduces all hits by -18 damage.
* A scorpion thus hits me for around 72 damage/hit.
* With 114 MND, Stoneskin is capped at 350 damage.
* Umbra Cape and Jelly Ring reduces damage by 11%.

Thus, I take:
(90 x 0.89) - 18 = 62 damage/hit.

Giving us the following three cases
Case 1: Two shadows absorbs, 4 hits- 248 damage (Good)
Case 2: One shadow absorbs, 5 hits- 310 damage (Good)
Case 3: No shadows absorbs, 6 hits- 372 damage (Risks interruption)


Which is only slightly better, assuming the Cape/Ring effect is applied first, otherwise Stoneskin still falls within five hits. In fact, if Phalanx were indeed applied first, then any percentage reductions, we'd need:

(90 - 18) * 5x < 350
x < 0.972

13% damage reduction, which is only available by having a Jelly Ring, Cheviot/Umbra Cape and Goliard Slops, which aren't exactly accessible to everyone. Even then, you still get interrupted within 6 hits, so for now, I prefer to just stick with a Terra's Staff.


So, has all this helped?

After the changes, I made one more trip into the Waughroon Shrine armed with a new Sleepga macro and a Pro-Ether. Suffice it to say, I was very happy with the results, particularly the staff as you can see from the above chatlog excerpts.

In fact, I would've won by a very comfortable margin, except that in order to play things extra safe, I popped my Pro-Ether, cast Sleepga II (just to be sure), then Manafonted into Blizzaga III.

I then Sleepga'ed, Thundaga III'ed...

...then found out my Sleepga II still had six seconds on its cooldown. >_<

Oops. >_<

In any case, I still haven't quite gotten the technique quite down for myself just yet, which is something that's been frustrating me. I went on another run after the Sleepga II blunder, and this time, one Scorpion woke up prematurely, causing me to have to run back into the Scorpion cluster to sleep it, and then my final Sleepga was partially resisted by two scorpions just before my Blizzaga III would go off, so it missed a scorpion.

In essence, there are still a few things that can go wrong. For now though, I'm at least satisfied with the breakdown thus far, and with a little bit more practice, I should be able to do this without any further hitches.

Of course, the problem now is that I'm about 10k experience down from all this testing...>_<

7 comments:

Thazienne said...

Let me know if you need some more orbs for practice, I have quite a few just sitting around. I wouldn't mind losing them either.

SeraphPDH said...

"By wearing a Terra's Staff instead of a Pluto's Staff, my Stoneskin will go off, but the chance that it will actually stick may go down."

I think you meant 'Sleepga' instead of 'Stoneskin'...


Anyway, seems like you took my damage reduction advice after all. And to think I thought you talked _my_ ear off about this. ^^

saucy. said...

so THAT's what you've been "busy" with! you and i SO need to talk!

>: x

Axeman said...

great!

Bleu said...

Very nice indeed, grats on your first solo win! And also THANK YOU for the tips and such -- I actually soloed this for the first time myself just the other day and after reading this, I have a few more things to think about to make the experience go even smoother. (My win was a bit sketchy mostly through stupid, nervous mistakes.)

Zetfih said...

LoL thanks if i ever get around to lvling BLM to 75 (probably not) i will use this as a refersnce.. ^^

Keepa said...

Just for reference sake, I forget the figure on it but Umbra/Cheviot Cape gains a (I'm not sure the exact amount but..) I belive a +5% damage reduction bonus at night.

Cheers, this was very well done. ^^