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Advanced Serpenting - by Bberke

A lot of people have been asking to be taught how to 'serpent'. There are detailed help files, two articles addressing mob factions and serpents generally as well as a few reporter articles giving tales about serpent and Khrait runs. Still there are some tips to serpenting that will allow you to make a lot more gold per hour as well as make your ship much more versatile. To make your ship runs even smoother it is possible for everyone to have and use ship spells. Lastly, capturing Khrait easily turns a ten or twenty million profit run into a thirty or forty million gold profit run.

Serpenting is all about headshots. With the serpent hunter flag, firing any three or four adjacent guns in a row can produce a headshot. What do you do when that violet serpent splits and you accidentally engage that other serpent that popped up at precisely the wrong time? You don't have time to think, you barely have time to type. The following commands should be set to macros:
  • Shout fire lb (my f1 macro)
  • Shout fire sb (my f2 macro)
  • Shout fire lb t (my shift-f1 macro)
  • Shout fire lb b (my ctrl-f1 macro)
  • Shout fire sb t (my shift-f2 macro) ,li>Shout fire sb b (my ctrl-f2 macro)
  • Shout fire st (my f3 macro) note: stern deckhands are unreliable, if you are really depending on these shots hitting, fire them two at a time yourself.
  • Shout fire b (my f4 macro) note: the bow deckhand is unreliable, I often run to bow to fire myself
This is just the beginning, this setup allows for six headshots. Add the following aliases and you add three additional headshots to your arsenal. Note that you should have quickness cast before using these.
  • Alias fst {w;n;w;ship fire serpent;s;s;ship fire serpent;n;e;e;ship helm} This fires your two top stern guns, at headshot range this gives you a head shot almost every time and is crucial when you have some workers off doing something else.
  • Alias fst2 {n;e;d;w;w;w;ship fire serpent;s;s;ship fire serpent;e;e;e;u;n;w;ship helm} Doing this you are more likely to get the head shot than trusting the deckies (you can trust them to reload though.
  • Alias flb {n;e;n;d;ship fire serpent;e;ship fire serpent;e;ship fire serpent;w;w;u;s;w;ship helm} Fires 3 guns on your lb side
  • Alias fsb {s;e;s;d;ship fire serpent;e;ship fire serpent;e;ship fire serpent;w;w;u;n;w;ship helm} Fires 3 guns on your sb side
This gives us nine possible headshots.

This is the most I use, but there is room for more. On the top deck on each side you have 8 guns.

In a true emergency you could split the remaining five guns on each side up and have aliases ready to fire two of them yourself, then shouting fire (sb/lb) to have deckhands kick in the last 3 guns. There we max out at eleven possible headshots, four on each side, two on stern and one on bow. If you set up your client properly and use quickness (ruby boots help a lot). You should be able to pull off some amazing feats of serpent killing.

Now that you are ready client-side to take on twenty serpents at a time here are some more tips to prevent you from wasting a valuable headshot. Timing is everything when serpenting. Rank 0 deckhands are great if you have perfect time, 100 rank deckhands however, will always fire the moment your shout hits the deckhand's ears. What I want to cover here is not just timing, but when your fire will be effective. Currently the firing command is rather crude, intentionally it's supposed to be challenging. When you fire, the moment the deckhands let loose (or perhaps a brief moment before), the closest serpent within range of those guns on each side is targeted. With three serpents coming at you on one side, it sometimes happens that all the serpents are practically on top of each other. When you get your first headshot off, you need to time your second headshot delayed just enough so that the first serpent is farther away then the second for the second headshot.

Perhaps the point is that it's near impossible to always having timing perfect, that's why it's safer to split up your guns with the above aliases. If you want to be absolutely sure you are not going to sink you must always have an extra headshot available on each side. You must have all the aliases above or be ready to pound your directions keys and fire manually without them. The deckhands are only a convenience - do not depend on them.

July 11, 2007

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