July 28, 2000
Advanced Player Killing
For some, Player Killing in Medievia is an art in itself. To match brawn and
wits against a worthy human opponent is a thrill that matches no other. If
you are interested the basic survival PK tactics, this isn't for you.
However, for those of you that wish to go right down to nitty-gritty of PK
warfare and hone your skills with vigor and dedication, this is for you.
If you're still reading at this point, then let's get right to it. Trying to
account for all the possible class combinations against all the other class
combinations is a considerable amount of work, highly redundant, and not
necessarily the best approach. Therefore, I will discuss the main factors of
PK warfare and assume you will have nearly all the abilities of each class,
since most of the important abilities/spells can be replicated through items
and other equipment and Thief should probably have been a class completed
early. PK warfare is a balance of Equipment, Speed, and Experience.
Your equipment is very crucial to PK. Your power in PK is partly determined
by how good your equipment is and the good balance of stats that come with
it. A good PK mode is a goal of many players. Usually, a good PK mode will
always have good hit points, AC, appropriate SS. The reason for this is
simple. Hit points determine how much you can take before you die. AC
determines how often you will get hit in melee. Having max AC (-100) will
often keep you alive much longer, since getting hit 2 or 3 times is
preferable to 5. As for a high saving spell, this is almost a necessity
because falling prey to magic quite often can spell your doom. No pun
intended. Being constantly blinded, dispelled, and plagued gives even the
best of us a hard time. Furthermore, being spell resistant is particularly
good because offensive spells hurt you MUCH less (usually by half). Just for
reference, warriors need -8ss, thieves need -6ss, clerics need -5ss, and
mages need -4ss to be spell resistant. So getting your hands on some elite
equipment like drow mail or servant apparition is quite worth the trouble...
and the great expense. Getting great equipment off auction certainly is
convenient, but never cheap because these items are highly desirable. They
provide excellent SS and other great benefits (i.e. drow mail, you can get
something like -3ss and around 40-50 mana).
Suggestions for Warrior/Thief
After all these requirements are met, equipment varies. Most players will
often strive for hr/dr for that all-important backstab (commonly warrior/
thief) or for great hp/mana and rely on spells. (usually cleric/mage). For
those of you that want to follow either path, here are a couple of pointers.
The mix of hr/dr is usually dependent on available equipment, money, level
and so forth, but attempt to reach this goal: a hitroll in the high 40s or
low 50s and a damroll in at least the low 60s. If you can manage it, the
best hitroll is around 52 or 53. Equipment used to attain a higher hr than
that could be better replaced by something better... perhaps more hit points
or dr. Although it's sometimes hard to resist, try to get that hr first.
It's rather annoying when you backstab your opponent and you don't even
scratch them. A higher hr will result in more melee damage anyway, even at
the expense of some dr. Doing 5 hits at 75 damage is better than 3 hits at 1
00... that's 375 versus 300 for all you non-math majors :) .
Suggestions for Spellcasters
For those going for that great hp/mana (which is usually spell-casters), I
have a couple words of caution. Strive for at least 700+ hit points before
you focus on getting mana equipment (Spell casters usually start with
sufficient mana anyway, and good hp equipment is much harder to attain than
good mana equipment). Manashield and malediction are poor substitutes.
Even though manashield will soak up your mana instead of hps when hurt (and
there are times when manashield does not... certain dangers in the catacombs
come to mind), keep the following in mind. Brawny backstab(s) can cripple or
even kill you if you are not extremely careful. Woe to the mage that gets
backstabbed and finds their manashield gone, sucking nearly all the mana with
it (and by consequence, taking your primary offensive and defensive means as
well), and half of the hit points have vanished. Although malediction
definitely has its uses, there are some severe drawbacks. Casting the spell
is expensive and will negate Images (Spell casters often live or die by
Images), but it also requires a large amount of mana points, say... at least
750+, to be worth the effort.
There are times when malediction is quite good. It can pack quite a punch.
Unlike the backstab, malediction will only send you into 2 round wait state
after the attack instead of three. Damage is determine purely determined by
mana points (not dr), which can be made tremendously large with the right
equipment. It's no wonder that malediction is a popular choice of attack for
mages in nailing unsuspecting PKers.
As for clerics (with no mage background), no spell is available that can
cause a massive amount of damage in one round (except maybe Hammer of Faith,
but your opponent really should have 1000 or -1000 alignment for it to be
effective). So, players will usually either go for hr/dr for the backstab (
although not the extent of a warrior/thief due to lesser melee and limited
weaponry) or stick with the hp/mana and wear opponent to death using spells
like Harm, while relying upon Images and Heal for survival.
It also should be mentioned that most players will spend about the same on
equipment, regardless of class. Although spellcasters may need more hp/mana
equipment, the good hr/dr equipment used by the warrior/thief is often quite
expensive. The expenses for equipment average out in the end.
There is one other thing to point out about equipment. Items that cast
spells are often overlooked. Although they take up space and weight, they
provide some advantages to the avid PKer. First of all, using items to cast
spells cost no mana. In effect, you have more mana to use in helping you
win. Mana spent on sanctuary, invisibility, etc. could be better spent on
healing yourself or shockwaving/hammering your opponent into submission.
Second, items that cast spells can be used in battle. This is often an
overlooked fact. For example, take the all-important sanctuary. Suppose you
are in a battle with an opponent and the opponent manages to dispel your
sanctuary spell. Normally, you would have to flee to cast sanctuary on
yourself again. However, you can stay in battle and get your sanctuary back
by using a holy flask on yourself. You save 75 mana, and you are not forced
to leave combat (and perhaps leave yourself open to a backstab). Third,
items cannot fumble. This property can save both precious time. A mere
second in a PK fight can often make the difference in whether you succeed or
fail. For example, fumbling an important spell like heal can be particularly
fatal to the careless PKer. Some items contain a spell of such a high level
that it is difficult to resist them. Instead of trying to desperately trying
to affect someone with loads of SS (which will often waste several rounds
and lots of mana) with a spell like blindness or plague, use an item like a
pirate flag or a diseased skull. Finally, magic items can work in places
that casting a spell will not. Firestorm and anti- magic rooms come to mind.
There is nothing more frustrating for a spell- caster. Items allow you to
avoid that disadvantage.
Being quick on your feet (or at your fingertips in this case) and making
quick decisions is also important to any PK battle. Anyone who has observed
a hero-battle or have fought heroes in PK will quickly realize that they are
fast and waste little time. As a result, it is a great idea to have a good
link if you can. Fighting in PK can be difficult enough without having your
commands go through 3 rounds after your death. Second, you need to organize a
way to relay commands quicker and faster. Although you can abbreviate
commands in Med, there are other ways to put in commands much quicker. To
this end, it is very helpful to have a good telnet client for Med. Many use
MUDMASTER or ZMUD. They have many useful tools like an alias, a trigger, a
macro, a path, a variable, etc. Make sure to take full advantage of these
features if you haven't. For help on this subject refer to the Med page or
explore the Internet for lots of good info and software. There is just
simply too much ground to cover for it to be included here. Be sure to
download some scripts and learn a bit of programming for yourself. Good code
can save loads of tedious work and grant tremendous speed, but be sure to
review the rules (particularly those concerning combat) of Medievia in
regards to code. There are limits as to what you are allowed to use code for
in Medievia. Ex: Combat Triggers are not allowed. So, I say to you: be
smart, know the rules, and use code wisely. The last thing I want a bunch of
innocents punished or people pointing fingers at me simply because they didn'
t know the rules.
Experience is perhaps the best, and the hardest skill to develop fully. You
want to develop your ability to think ahead and anticipate what you will need
before the time arises. To demonstrate, let's say two heroes are fighting in
eliminator quest. The layout is a 2x2 grid. The heroes muck around for a
bit and finally Hero A backstabs Hero B in the southeast corner. Hero B
knows that Hero A is now in backstab lag, which means he has time for 2
spells and sufficient time to return for a backstab before Hero A gets out of
lag. A also needs a heal before he runs back in for a backstab. So, A
immediately puts in these commands in rapid succession: flee, c heal me, e,
s, bs B (acceptable short-hand command for "backstab B"). By the time A
leaves battle, A is now set for a heal, and a backstab for Hero B, no matter
where he flees. What I have just described is what many heroes call "flee
orientation". This concept is a staple that many Heroes rely upon for power
and near inhuman speed. Of course, experience is impossible to fully impart
through a written article, but I shall try to explain and show how experience
ultimately contributes to victory. Experience in PK is what "separates the
men from boys".
Knowledge of the terrain is a key element of any battle. If your opponent
has better knowledge of the zone, then you are already at a disadvantage.
The opponent knows the good ambush spots, the safe holes, the places to
avoid, etc. Believe me, it's not fun being hounded by 5 clan members working
together in hunting you down and you wish you knew where the heck you were
going! I've been there. However, by knowing the zone, you can neutralize or
perhaps even compensate for that disadvantage. If you know the popular
ambush spots, you can surprise them. For example, some thieves like to hide
and wait for the unsuspecting to wander in and fall prey to the notorious
death dealing backstab, you can flush them out with a surprise attack and
gain the upper hand. If you are particularly foxy and you know you face a
PKer that is competent, you can purposely hide in a good ambush spot. By
using farsight and scan, you can be prepared to attack them first... knowing
that opponent will come and try to ambush you. This example somewhat
illustrates my next point.
Perhaps the most powerful attributes that a PKer can develop through
experience are flexibility, creativity, and unpredictability. Always expect
the worst to happen... for it quite often does. Expect every backstab to hit
at least twice. When opponents dispel you, be prepared to instantly respond
if your sanctuary or some crucial spell should disappear. In wilderness,
keep a close eye on weather. In short, the best advice is to come prepared.
Note: a tidbit regarding dispel magic. Most people don't realize that dispel
will take away the enchantments last cast on you first... which is usually
something like important like sanctuary, fireshield, or manashield,
particularly since they last only a few ticks. Typing score a will show you
order that your spells will dispel from top to bottom. Therefore, if you
really want something important like sanctuary from being dispelled, simply "
bury" it. Casting a couple of quick low-mana spells like invisibility,
detect good, etc. after casting sanc will effectively save your spell. Using
a spell like detect invisibility, sense life, and other spells regarding
vision is not always ideal. Trying to nail an opponent when he is weak is
hard when you can't see him. Therefore, when you trying to cope by putting
back that spell, you offer the opponent that critical second needed for
Creativity is important too. For example, in regard to equipment... who said
that you have to always wear what you have on? Sometimes it's best to be
able to instantly change your equipment in the midst of a PK fest. This
concept is what many veteran PKers refer to as a "switch". Most often, hurt
PKers will switch hp equipment, for dr. After all, the hp equipment can be
safely taken off without penalty since they are no longer at max hit points
and putting dr equipment will result in a much stronger backstab. The Wand
of Orcus (those on auction are typically something like -100hp, 8dr) is a
Finally, unpredictability is often the very latest attribute to mature for
the PK champion, and perhaps the most important. Good PKers can reach a
certain level in which they can always PK the average or equal player quite
effectively, but will often fall prey to a true master of PK. They stick to
a certain plan of attack and defense and have perfected it over time. For
those players out there, I urge you to not fall into a rut (those who rely
solely on the backstab-flee combo come to mind). Any battle routine, no
matter how intricate or complex, cannot effectively counter every possibility
and it will have a weakness.
To illustrate my point, let me discuss the common backstab-flee scenario.
The backstab, although arguably the best attack in the game, does have its
limitations. The backstabber must have a target, which must be in the same
room and that it can see. Also, the backstab attack must initiate combat.
Finally, the backstab, whether it lands or not (dependent upon a huge number
of factors like your level, hr, AC, your attributes (mostly Dexterity) in
comparison to your opponent, etc. but mostly upon luck) will paralyze the
attacker for three rounds. Based upon these rules, a plan of attack/defense
can be made against those who kill purely by the flee-backstab.
One plan might follow as thus against such an opponent: Frustrate and wear
the opponent down until death. Never allow the opponent to backstab by
initiating combat first (naturally, using backstab or something that would
lag you is not ideal since that will probably result with your opponent
fleeing and rushing in for a backstab). Having images upon yourself will
mostly likely deter a backstab and result in being attacked by magic missile
instead, particularly if you also have fireshield on too. (It is possible for
current class other than mage and cleric to have images.) Finally, you can
use spells designed to hurt your opponent's hr/dr or blind him. Provided
that your opponent is able to hit you with a backstab, decreased hr/dr can
only help you win. Spells like plague, poison, weaken, and chill touch all
work nicely in whittling down that hr/dr. Some of these enchantments also
damage the opponent and/or cannot be removed. In addition, a blinded
opponent cannot backstab, since the backstabber must be able to see his
target. You can usually do this by casting colour spray or blind. Even
providing that your opponent has loads of SS, items can be used to hamper
your opponents instead. (Note: Although ideas in this plan may or may not be
fully implemented effectively in actual practice, the idea is to prey upon
your opponent's limitations and weaknesses and use them against them)
My point? When you PK, don't always do the expected. A predictable PKer can
be anticipated, countered effectively, and defeated. So, when things don't
work out for you, learn from your mistakes and find a better way. Don't be
afraid to experiment just because what you have is good enough. If you
haven't already, spend some time watching hero battles and learn from the
best. A true master never stops learning.
Comments & Closing Remarks
I hope this article has taught you something, or at least kindled an interest
in trying to perfect your PK skills. I'll leave you with the best possible
advice for PK; nothing is set in stone, even the guidelines I have given you.
These guidelines are my personal opinions in regards to PK, but it should
hopefully give you a good idea of how to hone your PK ability. I don't even
follow my guidelines all the time. One particular example includes a PK mode
in which I had strayed from involved fireshield. The opponent was quite good
at nailing me with lots of damage and I was definitely losing, so I changed
my strategy. I changed equipment for incredibly nasty amounts of hps, rock
bottom AC, bad SS, some decent mana, and threw on fireshield. I simply let
him pound me until he nearly killed himself while I focused on keeping myself
alive. It wasn't long before it was over. Good luck to you and many wishes
for your success.
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