Preparation a.k.a. Before You Ascend Into Hardcore

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Preparation a.k.a. Before You Ascend Into Hardcore

Post  ShadowWolf on Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:20 pm

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One of the plus sides to Hardcore ascensions, to me, is that you don't have to stress out about preparation. No planning out your pulls, no making sure you have a progression of equipment and consumables in Hagnk's, nothing to worry about outside of the run itself.

There are, however, a few exceptions. I'll ignore ascension rewards from the previous HC ascension for now since we're talking to first-time HC ascenders. But there are a couple other things that will affect your HC run that you have some control over going into the run: Familiars, Class Selection, and Zodiac Sign. There are a couple of other things (like the telescope) but those are advanced topics.

Familiars:

Before you ascend into hardcore, make sure you've got all the familiars you're going to want or need. Nothing sucks more than realizing you need Familiar A and then actually having to farm it in Hardcore. Since familiars carry over into HC then I strongly recommend making sure your familiar situation is set up now while you're still in SC and can easily buy or otherwise acquire your familiars.

I recommend ensuring you have all five tower familiars: mosquito, barrrnacle, levitating potato, angry goat, sabre-toothed lime. Trust me, I did Bad Moon, backfarming tower familiars sucks. So. Bad. So save yourself the grief and get them now while you can buy them in the mall or get 'em from the stash. You should also have a star starfish youself if the prism is broken and you're contemplating ascension, because you needed it to beat the NS to break the prism in the first place. But if somehow you managed to puncture the walls of spacetime and broke the prism without a star starfish, get one.

Also, having a fairy type (baby gravy, or any of the elemental fairies), a volleyball, and a hovering sombrero generally makes your life easier in many places. You'll be farming a -lot- more and the fairy is invaluable, even the "plain" baby gravy fairy. A leprechaun probably couldn't hurt in places as well since for the first several HC runs you'll be buying almost all your skills and meat will be thin.

Familiars beyond those are largely icing on the cake (e.g. Mr. Store familiars) but there are a few types of familiars that could be very helpful to you in specific circumstances. Of note are MP/HP gaining familiars (ghuol whelp, cocoabo, NPZR ... in addition to the aforementioned star starfish and mosquito) which will help replenish yourself and save you meat in the long run. I've also found the exotic parrot to be very helpful as well in very limited scenarios ... most notably against Lord Spookyraven (level 11 sub-boss) who hits you very hard with elemental damage, as well as some other areas like passing elemental resist tests in daily dungeon or the level 8 quest.

Class Selection:

In general, it might be best for you to start HC as the class with which you're most familiar or most comfortable, to reduce the learning curve. But frankly some classes are more challenging than others in HC.

My personal recommendation for a first HC run is do it as a disco bandit. This is because (and I'll go into this in more depth later) improving your daily consumption is the most important key to improving your hardcore ascension speed, and DBs are the lords of booze thanks to Advanced Cocktailcrafting. Plus, moxie classes are (IMHO) a lot easier to run in general -- buff up moxie, get a ranged weapon and you're done. Muscle classes have to worry about one-hit killing vs. HP restoration, Myst classes struggle to balance MP spending vs. MP restoration, and so forth. But moxie classes have the advantage of only needing to worry about raising their moxie; it fuels attacking as well as defending and getting your moxie above a certain point means not even getting hit at all. It's boring at times "plinking" but it's hella easy.

In my opinion, the most important key to a successful run is consumption. And that's regardless of the type, hardcore or softcore or oxycore or bad moon, it's all about maximizing the number of adventures you get per day. More adventures per day means fewer days spent per ascension means a faster run. So obviously the key to a faster run is eating and drinking and spleening the best you can given your situation.

That's why I recommend disco bandit as your first hardcore. There are three skills that are critical to improving your consumption: Advanced Cocktailcrafting, Pastamastery, and Advanced Saucecrafting. The problem with the food skills is that they're from myst classes and it's my opinion that low-skill (or no-skill) myst classes are a huge pain in the you-know-what. I had enough trouble with my first HC myst run, and that was after I already had 10-15 HC runs under my belt. DB is so much more straightforward, so much easier, that I think it lessens the aggravation and gets your hardcore feet wet a lot more smoothly.

In fact, if you look at my ascension history you'll notice that my first several HC runs were moxie DB runs. But also notice that I had a boozetafarian fetish for a long, long time so that led to my avoidance of myst classes for as long as I did. But that aside, do a DB run and perm AdCocktail first.

I'll go more into skill progression in another chapter. But if you must do a non-DB run first, here are my recommended skills from each of the other five classes:

Pastamancer - Pastamastery - See above re: improving your turns per day through eating and drinking.

Sauceror - Advanced Saucecrafting - See above re: improving your turns per day through eating and drinking. Plus, reagent potions make your life SO much easier no matter what your class is.

Accordion Thief - Moxious Madrigal - Almost every class can use +10 moxie for 2 MP. That much of a moxie boost is a huge advantage at low levels, and the cost is silly cheap. The downside is a negative shared with all AT buffs ... you need an accordion. But more on that in another chapter.

Turtle Tamer - Amphibian Sympathy - It's passive, so it's on all the time. It gives you +5 familiar weight right off the bat so out of the prism all your 1# familiars are now magically 6# familiars with no work needed. It's awesome.

Seal Clubber - There isn't really one GOTTA HAVE Clubber skill, but in a pinch Tongue of the Walrus (10 MP for 30-40 HP healing, plus gets rid of Beaten Up and a lot of other negative effects) is a good one. You probably get beaten up a lot, and running around with -50% stats is a big suck. And cheap healing is nice. Other skills worth considering are Eye of the Stoat or Claws of the Walrus, since most classes have to attack with a weapon at some point. People like Pulverize too, and I definitely recommend that if you're looking at some HOxy runs.

Because of this, I don't recommend Clubber as your first HC class. There really aren't any "wow" skills, IMHO.

Zodiac Sign

Zodiac sign is largely a judgement call on your part, and depends on your play style. I think the myst signs are largely worthless except for jewelrycrafting, so for me it's moxie vs. muscle.

Moxie is great for free +ML (you have to pay 300 meat for the radio in muscle), not having to farm second door items at the beach (you can buy them at the gnome store), occasionally decent booze at the gnome tavern, and most importantly going Blender for the +adventures per booze.

Muscle is great for mushroom farming for reagent pasta (after you get Pastamastery and AdSauce permed), instant meatcar, meat maid parts if you want them, food bits (pie tin, casserole dish, wad of dough, etc.) without needing to farm a bugbear costume, and free smithing / meatpasting; I usually go Mongoose for the +muscle substats.

There are people who swear by either and I think more people swear by muscle than moxie. I think for a first-time HC run you may find the muscle zodiac to be more helpful because of the free meatsmithing and easy food fixins, but I think people may also find the easy booze from the tavern to be helpful as well. Nothing's better than seeing extremely salty dogs at the tavern.

Up next: Basics


Last edited by ShadowWolf on Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:50 am; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Preparation a.k.a. Before You Ascend Into Hardcore

Post  ShadowWolf on Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:42 am

I've given this a bit more thought and I am now prepared to strongly suggest that you select a muscle Zodiac sign for your first few HC ascensions.

The more I look at the food situation for a first-time HCer, as well as remembering my own BM runs recently (it's been a looooooong time since my first HC runs so my BM runs are fresher and a better indication of what a low- or no-skill HC runner will be going through), there are two strong advantages for a muscle sign:

1) Easy access to food parts. I ate nothing but pies for most of my BM runs, and for me farming a bugbear outfit was a necessity. Why go through all that aggravation when you can get the benefits for free as a muscle sign? Wad of dough + pie tin = pie crust and once you have access to the Hippy Store you can make all the pies you want. Plus, do not underestimate the benefits of the casserole dish. Fricasseed brains from the Haunted Kitchen turn into brains casserole for a good early dish, and once you make level 11 the three casseroles that open up (dessicated caviar + displaced fish -> fishy fish casserole; ancient spice + filet of tangy gnat -> gnatloaf casserole; black pepper + long pork -> long pork casserole) are some of the best non-PM/reagent foods you'll come across.

2) Free meatsmithing. First of all, you save 1000 meat from not having to buy a tenderizing hammer thanks to Innabox. Hardcorers with a lot of skills like me still have to buy it, for Pulverize and Armorcraftiness / Superadvanced Meatsmithing, but that's not a concern for a low- or no-skill ascender. Anything you would want to meatsmith is meatsmithable by Innabox under a muscle Zodiac. And 1000 meat is a HUGE amount at lower levels when you're scraping by for other necessities. And you're going to want to at least make your epic weapon to unlock the "Fun" House for boxen, so you're going to save at least two turns along with the 1000 meat. Plus all the other things you'll be able to smith for free.

So ignore my initial comments above regarding "largely a judgement call on your part" ... go muscle zodiac.

Sanity Point for N00bs

To clarify, your Zodiac sign and your class don't have to match. That is to say, you can play a moxie class (Disco Bandit, Accordion Thief) and ascend under a muscle Zodiac sign. Just because I'm saying "do a muscle Zodiac sign" doesn't mean "do a muscle class". Just FYI so there's no confusion.
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