Vampi's Guide to PvP

an Anarchy Online Player Guide


Note: this used to be Lusti's Guide to PvP. Lusti was my fixer and she was great at PvP. But I've put Lusti on the shelf and gone back to my agent Vampi for various reasons. Hence, the change to the title of this guide.

A big thank-you to the following contributors: Aufklarung, CaptFallout, Croak, DB (no in-game name given), Fadinaway (Funcom Events Team Lead), Kusimi, Moondragon, Vanven, Wrathstar, Xaxon

Warning: this is a loonnnnggg guide (16 pages, so far). There's a lot to say about PvP in Anarchy Online, and I go into a lot of detail. So if you're reading-challenged or have the attention span of a gnat, don't say I didn't warn you. =P

Goodbye, My Friends

I will leave this guide and my Weapon Evaluation Guide up for some time, at least until I need the server space for things related to the next game I play. I give blanket license to anyone to take my weapon evaluation spreadsheet and carry it forward, and to take the information in this document and carry it forward. I, however, will no longer be updated either of these guides or my spreadsheet.


PvP is BROKEN At All Levels

In my last update to this guide, I limited this section to a discussion of how PvP was broken at levels 75 and up. Well, it still is broken at the high levels, but unfortunately there are quite a few reasons why it is also broken at EVERY level now:

Exploits aside, the big problem at all levels of PvP is that Funcom has screwed up big-time by developing two completely different fight curves: one for PvP, and one for PvE. They took the easy solution to the age-old problem that monster AI is weak. Because a human player can use creative tactics in a fight, game designers have typically compensated for this by making monsters much tougher than human characters. Funcom is no exception. That yellow mob you're fighting has more hit points than you, more AC than you, and better evades than you.

The net result is that as players and mobs approach the higher levels, Funcom has to seriously increase the damage output of players. Even with the current PvE curve, you see high-level players having a hard time soloing even yellow-greens and greens.

How this completely screws PvP is that monster hitpoints, AC, and evades increase at a much steeper rate than for players. So while a level 120 agent may need his massive 3000-point aimshot to give him a fighting chance in the PvE environment, it allows him to get off one-shot kills in PvP. While that soldier may need his massive fling-burst-FA combo to give him a fighting chance in PvE, it allows him one-shot kills in PvP. Same goes for any class that is capable of dealing out special damage in the 1500+ range.

Also complicating/screwing high-level PvP is the fact that the three evasion skills seem by all accounts broken and ineffective. I waited a long time to weigh in on this, but I've seen enough factual accounts with hard data to believe it now. At best, all that IP you are pumping into evades does is to reduce the amount of criticals scored on you. Big whoopee-do. By all common logic, if my total Attack skill is equal to your evasion skill for the type of damage that I'm doing, I should MISS you 50% of the time or thereabouts. Read that again. This is definitely NOT how it is working in-game right now. Not even close to that. Why? Again, probably because it would completely bork PvE--either we'd be killing mobs way too easy or they'd be killing us way too easy.

The bottom line is this:

So what is my recommendation? Just stop. Forget about PvP until FunCom fixes all this, because you won't have fun unless you're one of the few classes that can actually pull off nice one-shot kills. Avoid the Political zones and Mayhem zones, and if you do need to go there for leveling, make sure you're always with a full group.

Meanwhile, keep bitching to FunCom LOUD and LONG to fix high-level PvP.

Don't even bother reading the rest of this guide because it was written at a time when some of these exploits were not in frequent use, and before the 12.5 patch when criticals happened almost never in PvP. Back then, PvP was a blast, at least at the lower levels below 75. Now, it's all a huge clusterf*ck. Come back and read on when FunCom fixes the main exploits I list above, and when they fix the basic PvP offense-defense formula.

What Can You Do About Exploiters in PvP?

Note: Due to Funcom's more stringent policy about banning people who post exploits, and due the to fact that some game sites would not host/post this guide while it contained PvP exploits in it, I have elected to remove them from this guide.

Exploits will always be found. Some will always stoop to using them; it's human nature. If you encounter somebody in a PvP zone who you are *certain* is using an exploit, here are some things you can do about it:

Remember, the best deterrence to exploiters is to deny them the benefits of their exploit, and if you can (by coordinating with others), to punish them severely for even existing. Be creative, and do what it takes to spank them mercilessly and repeatedly until they leave. Even if they swear up and down they'll stop using the exploit, keep ganking them. Over and over.

Don't tolerate an exploiter in PvP. Don't buy their bullshit. Don't let them con you. Just kill them, efficiently and repeatedly until they leave.

Why Every Player Should Care About PvP

Special Update 6-Aug-01:

, the FunCom Events Team Lead, has responded (very quickly, I might add) to requests that Funcom clear up the confusion about whether levels 75-200 would be able to PvP even in 75% suppression zones. Dr. Giggles had earlier reported that both GMs and a Funcom developer had stated that when the storyline got started, a "war" switch would be thrown that would enable levels 75-200 to attack each other even in the 75% zones.

Fadinaway said that no such thing would be happening. Here is his exact quote:

"There has been no official comment like the one you described relating to a 'war switch'. Currently, anyone over the level of 75 should be able to freely PvP each other regardless of level difference, but only in a Political or Mayhem zone. Political and Mayhem zones may change in the future due to issues related to the storyline, but this should affect everyone. If there is to be any change other than this, we will definitely let you know."

So those of you who wish to avoid PvP can choose to do so, provided you avoid the 25% "political" and 0% "mayhem" suppression gas areas.

Which brings me to why everyone should care about PvP. Sooner or later, you simply cannot avoid the 25% and 0% zones altogether. As you advance in levels, for instance, more and more missions end up being in political zones. I imagine that at levels 75+ a fair number of missions end up being the mayhem zones. Also, as the dimensions become more populated (the game's only a month old now, and many people are holding off until they see whether FunCom fixes the technical problems), you're going to have more competition for the good high-level spawn, and I betcha that some of the better spawn areas will end up being in political and mayhem zones.

Remember, this entire game and storyline is based around a war between Clan and Omni. If players themselves do not meet in conflict, there is no storyline. So I lay $100 on the table right now that says as the storyline progresses, we will see more 25% political zones cropping up, and FunCom making subtle tweaks to encourage players to come into conflict with each other. You will still be able to avoid PvP conflict if you really really want to, but by doing so you will be significantly limiting your options and the areas that you can visit.

My advice? Get comfortable with PvP now, at your early levels. PvP can really be quite enjoyable and fun, and to address the main drawback of PvP in other games (namely, that risked losing valuable exp and some or all of your best equipment), FunCom has made it about as risk-free as possible to engage in PvP.

The Newbie's Reluctance to Try PvP

Unlike other MMORPGs to date, AO gives you the ability to PvP your ass off with NO RISK if you so choose, while you're a newbie. Until level 75, if you scan at an insurance terminal before entering a 25% suppression zone (the "Political" zones) or a 0% "mayhem" zone, you lose NOTHING if you die except the time it takes to wait out your resurrection effects and travel back to the PvP zone.

So those of you who are new to the concept of PvP on an MMORPG server, and are reluctant to try PvP, don't be! Try it; you'll like it!

The only real risk (and it is a real one) is that as you go higher in levels your missions, and the choice leveling spots, end up often being in political zones or mayhem zones. So you won't always have the luxury to scan at an insurance terminal before you enter a 25% or 0% suppression zone. Really, this is all the more reason to get comfortable with PvP early on in your character's life. And if you really find some incredible loot in a mission that you just can't bear to lose to PvP attack because your mission area is in a political zone, you always have the option to /terminate from within the mission area.

PvP Overview - The Nuts and Bolts Mechanics

Here are some basic facts about PvP mechanics.

Level Restrictions

This fact about team ranges has an important ramnification if you are fighting in areas with multiple enemies nearby: you cannot always presume that a deep red or grey enemy is unable to attack you---if they are teamed, they just might be able to. I'm reasonably certain that their teammate(s) don't even have to be in the vicinity, but I could be wrong. This fact also explains why sometimes you will get a message that you cannot attack a given enemy that is green or orange--they may be grouped with somebody who takes them out of your effective solo range, despite their "color."

The Deal with 25% "Political Zones" and 75% "Monster-Only Zones"

The PvP Titles

Looting Your Kills

Neutrals Have It Rough

Res-Camping and Grid-Camping

The Dirty Facts About Line of Sight Attacks

Where To PvP And How To Get There

I wasted the better part of a Saturday afternoon figuring out how to get my level 17 fixer to the Stret West political zones for my first foray into PvP, AO-style. Took me for-freakin-ever. Nobody I asked in-game knew what to tell me. None of the bulletin boards had any better directions other than "run up through 4-Holes" (I'm Omni). Blah. A level 17 dies too easily running up through 4-Holes. Add that to the fact that my map skill wasn't nearly high enough to load maps of Stret West, etc., and I ended up doing a lot of running around in Newland, Athen, Varmit Woods (yikes), and Aegean, not to mention looking all over Stret West for the tiny little 25% zones once I got there. All without maps.

Stupid me. Of course now I know better, and I'm gonna save you the trouble that I went through. Be aware that since I've only PvPed with my lowbie Fixer reroll, I can't tell you much about the PvP areas in 4-Holes or Upper Stret East. If any of you reading this can give me succinct directions (and preferrably coordinates, too) to the PvP areas that I don't list here, please email me with that info and I'll add it here. Eventually I plan to show actual maps marking all the PvP zones.

Getting to Stret West and the Holes-In-The-Wall Political Zone

  1. If you're Omni, use the grid to get to Tir. You need a buffed Computer Lit. of 75 to get into the grid and take the Tir drop.
  2. From Tir, take the whompa to Newland. (Note: even if you have a high enough comp lit to take the Newland drop, don't do it! You're dropped from midair into the middle of Newland desert, which is a long run away from Newland City itself. Presuming you even survive the drop. (A trick that actually worked for me is to jump just before you hit ground. I kid you not--I took only 28 points of damage that way.)
  3. In Newland, take the whompa to Borealis, which is a neutral city *in* Stret West. Both Clan and Omni can shop and restock in Borealis.
  4. Take the only road out of Borealis, follow it down the mountain, and you'll zone into Holes-in-the-wall about 40 seconds down the road. Keep following the road straight for another half-minute and you'll see a Bronto Burger stand up ahead. Go there and scan at the insurance terminal there, for speedy return to the PvP zone nearby.

To get to the small PvP zone in Holes-in-the-Wall

Head down the road to your right if you're facing the Bronto Burger. (Can't remember the compass direction right now.) You'll see that the road you're following forks to either side of a small hill in front of you. Take either fork and go around to the other side of that small hill.

You'll be standing at a cross-roads where something like 4 different roads come together. Take the road South that goes up another embankment. On the other side is a river and a bridge. The road/bridge leads into 4-Holes. Almost as soon as you start down that road to the South, you'll cross into a 25% zone. Theres a physical zone barrier to 4-holes in the middle of the bridge.

Explore and fight in this area. It's the main PvP zone in Stret West, at least for lowbies. Chickens will often run for the safety of the zone border on the bridge, so you'll have to devise tactics for killing runners before they can hit the zone wall.

To get to the large PvP zone in Stret West proper

There's a much larger 25% zone directly to the East of the Bronto Burger stand. Out there you may catch teams who are leveling up, and there are lots of mission areas. Just take a beeline East from the Bronto Burger. It's 25% all the way to the big river, with only a few very small 75% zones here and there.

Getting to Meetmedere

The best and quickest way is to take the Meetmedere drop on the 2nd tier of the grid. You'll need Comp Lit of 100 to use the MMD drop. (Note: you'll need Comp Lit of 110 to use the grid terminal in MMD itself. Also note that the Grid terminal in MMD is in a 25% zone in the middle of the outpost.)

  1. If you can't grid directly into MMD, then with a Comp Lit of 75 you can grid to Tir, then take the whompa from Tir to Newland.
  2. Exit the West gate from Newland and head straight North across a small expanse of desert. If you have a Newland area map, or look on your big map, you'll see a set of twin lakes right next to each other with a narrow spit of land in between them. MMD is sitting at the North side of that spit of land between the two lakes. All the mobs you'll run into on the way are newbie mobs, so it's a safe run even for lowbies.

Take your time exploring MMD--there are three different 25% zones, some inside the walls of the outpost and some outside. There are also 75% zones that you can use to walk safely right into the middle of the outpost. Remember that once you step inside a 25% zone and somebody attacks you, they can continue attacking you even if you move back into a 75% zone. There are two different "back entrances" to the MMD outpost, and it can be very effective to sneak into the outpost using these, and also very effective to confuse teams by running them into and out of the outpost using the different entrances.

Getting to Stret East

I've been to Stret East only for full-difficulty missions, so I haven't seen much of the area because it's pretty dangerous for my mid-20s character to run around out there. What I do know is that Omni can get there via whompa or grid into 2HO. The 2HO military base is heavily guarded by scads of NPC guards, so it would be certain death for a Clan to grid there. The roads near the 2HO base are heavily guarded by Omni NPCs as well. The only feasible way for Clan to hunt in Stret East would be to run there from somewhere else, avoiding the guards that are probably located near bridges and crossroads.

Despite the danger to Clan of gridding directly into 2HO, a lot of Clan, particularly the high-level ones, try to do it. So if you're over level 75, watch your back while in 2HO.

Getting to 4-Holes

Similar to Stret East, 4-Holes is easy for Omni to get to via either whompa or grid. I know that the whompa drop would be certain death for Clan, due to the high density of Omni Guard NPCs. I haven't taken the Grid drop yet so I don't know what the story is at the grid exit.

I have noticed a lot of higher-level clan running South from Stret West into the 4-Holes zone, but never followed them. There is a bridge leading to 4-Holes right near Borealis, in the Holes-In-The-Wall area that I describe up above in the Stret West section. So it seems fairly easy for Clan to get down into 4-Holes via Borealis and Stret West.

One interesting thing about 4-Holes--there are a ton of Clan NPC mob/guards that spawn in the same area as the Omni NPC guards, so even if you're Omni you can die easily to a Clan NPC within sight of Omni guards. There are always firefights going on between the local Omni guards and these Clan NPCs. I tried sneaking past a Clan NPC once, thinking that it would ignore me since it was already fighting with an Omni guard. Wrong! I was dead in one hit.

General PvP Tips and Tactics

Here are some useful tips and tactics, in no particular order, that apply equally to solo and team fighting:

Equipment Has a Huge Effect

Speed Kills

Spying Skills and Aimed Shot

Timing Your Big Damage Shots

Using General Nano Debuffs Offensively

Miscellaneous Tactics

Team Tactics

I don't have much to say here because I've focused only on solo fighting to get my Rookie title. As I do more team PvP I'll add stuff later. If you have team PvP experience and would like to contribute some tips, email me and I'll add them. Here are some things that I have managed to learn from fighting solo against entire teams, and from team tips that others have sent in: