May 13, 2000
The idea of this article is to give the basic does and don'ts of combing. I've been killed in combing forms too many times by people who, although they have never been there before and they're still learning, haven't bothered checking the med webpage for the basic tips on combing. This article will reiterate the basic tips as well as giving some others.
The combs load in a different zone every time they reset. The only way to tell where the entrance to them is is to ask the wizard in the warroom in Castle Medievia. If you comb frequently you will already know the way but for those who don't I'd suggest asking someone in your clan how to get there. Another way that works occasionally is to shout for a summon to the warroom while you're in med. Don't expect this to work because there may not be anyone at the warroom and even if there is, they may be AFK or have other pressing matter to attend to.
As a general rule, the lower down you go into the combs, the bigger, harder and more frequent the mobs get. It's best to stay in the upper levels when you are new and haven't had much experience combing. As you get more confident you may wish to venture down further into the depths but be wary of the dangers. About half the mobs you encounter in the upper levels will not be aggressive and almost all will not be able to detect invisibility whereas close to all mobs on the lower levels will be both aggressive and detect invisibility.
Going Solo. If you're a multi-healer/sneakers odds are they you'll want to comb solo. Two people combing solo will get many more eggs than those two people formed. Don't expect people to take you combing. Especially if you can't sneak. Combing is much easier solo and it's also much less stress. If you need eggs or egg points, try and create a new form of people in the same position as you. Even if nobody in the form has had much combing experience that's still ok, you'll all learn together.
Mist Mephits. There are some spells that you just shouldn't ever cast in the combs unless you know exactly what you're doing. One of these is phase. As a rule, you should never phase when in the combs. Every time you phase someone (including yourself) there is a rather large chance of a mist mephit following you through. Basically what happens is: you phase, a mist mephit appears in the room with you and the phasee, the mist mephit backstabs. The backstab is does quite a lot of damage (usually killing you if you're not prepared for it) and is, as such, undesirable. If you really must phase, make preparations beforehand. Make sure you are sanced and have spare traps on you. Phase then immediatly flee (assuming a mist mephit appeared) and trap that room (or shield room it if you can't trap). As an added precaution, have the phasee clear the adjacent rooms of mobs and shield/trap them so you can flee safely. Images are very useful here if you can cast them. One last note: mist mephits, annoying as they are, give you 0 xp when they die. That's right, 0.
Cave Weeds. These are very annoying. When you try to leave the room, most of the time you'll get tangled up and end up not leaving the room. This in itself isn't so bad, you just have to keep trying to exit the room until it eventually works. The problem comes in when you're losing a fight with another mob (or the weed) and wish to flee. Failing flee five times in a row when you're on less than 100hp is not a good thing and is usually fatal.
Centipedes. These are my favourite xp mobs. When you kill a centipede it doesn't just die peacefully, it splits into two smaller centipedes which together, are more dangerous than the original. Once you have killed one of these, it will split into another two which will, in turn, split into another two. When the fight is finally over, 15 centipede segments of varying sizes will have been killed. Scribe or bloodbath come in very handy here.
Thought Slugs. These are very nasty. If you do ANYTHING in the room that one is in, it will rip your thoughts from your mind (resulting in a significant loss of hp). The only commands allowed are directional ones (n,s,e,w,u,d). Any other command sent will result in damage. This can occasionally be useful if for some reason or another, you with to kill your charmed mobs as thought slugs will damage when they respond to your orders. If formed, make sure your entire form knows to keep very quiet when passing through a slug room (slug rooms tend to come in groups so stay quiet until you're through all of them)
Whirlwinds. These not particularly dangerous. They're not even aggressive. The reason that they rate a special mention is because they have a very useful ability. They will occasionally throw everyone in the room they're in and who isn't fighting up a level (if you're not on the highest level already). Very useful if you accidentally went too deep.
Cave Rays. These are just like whirlwinds except they go the other way. You go down a level. Very useful for when you want to get to the lower levels. Like whirlwinds, they can also be very annoying when you like the level you are on and they move you.
Dream-weavers. These are a variation on the whirlwind/cave ray. They are a lot more random in what they do. Basically, if your entire formation rests in a room with a dreamweaver you will all be magically transported to a random room in the combs which doesn't have a mob in it. Very useful if you don't like where you are and want to go somewhere else quickly. These are also know as "girls". The next time you're in the combs and someone shout out that they're in desperate need of a girl you'll know that all they're after is a dream- weaver. Note: the name dream-weaver derives from the old tick system when you had to sleep to tick instead of rest. The dream-weavers used to transport while you where sleeping.
Coral rooms. These would have to be the most annoying rooms in the combs. Strange formations of coral are all over the walls of these areas. The coral found in the catacombs is a very unique type of coral. It has a rather unique reaction to light. It fires projectiles at any light source in the area. These stinging projectiles are usually fatal to the unwary so make sure to remove your light source before entering a coral area.
Painting rooms. There are paintings in the catacombs so realistic that they almost seem to come alive when you look at them. Then they peel off the wall and attack you. When travelling through a room with Cave Paintings it is best to keep invisible so as to avoid combat with one of the rather tough paintings. Fighting one is as futile as fighting a mist mephit.
Ore rooms. These are the spellcasters dream. The properties of the a rare ore found only in the combs imparts a magical regeneration surpassed only by divine intervention. If any current-class spellcasters are combing, they should always rememeber where the nearest ore room is as the time spend getting there and back is more that offset by the quasi-divine mana regeneration.
Underwater rooms. These are fun if you can breathe water. If not, it is best to avoid them. The giant eels found here and quite placid, even if they are extremely hard to find. Given the aqueous nature of these tunnels, shockwaves work particularly well.
Cliff rooms. Sometimes an adventurer will come across a cliff. These are usually scalable and as such are the only conventional method of vertical traversal available within the combs. Cliffs allow travel from one level of the combs to the other.
Workshop. In the deepest level of the catacombs, hidden in an almost inaccessable dead end is the only dragonlair dragonhide workshop in Medievia. By answering a riddle raw dragonhide that you are carrying can be professionally crafted to produce one of the most powerful items available. Unfortunatly, due to the powerful nature of the constuction materials, these items do not last long.
Wind. Winds as strong as hurricanes sweep through the tunnels and passages of the catacombs all the time. These winds are so strong that they hurl rocks and debris at great speeds, smashing any living creature not prepared for them into the wall, causing immense damage and smashing fragile eggs that the creature happens to be carrying to bits. Whenever you get warning that wind is coming you way: sit. Not rest or sleep: sit. When the wind comes through an area, all mobs and player there will be picked up and thrown against the nearest wall. Not only does this cause massive damage, it smashes the eggs that players are holding. If you are prepared and sit, then these are lots of fun, since all the mobs in the area are seriously damaged, all you have to do is run around and pick them off before they get too much better. Great xp.
Water Reapers. Not only do winds sweep the catacombs, an interesting form of flash flooding occurs too. Creatures native to the catacomb undergrounds are not affected by water reapers but those verturing in may find them swept along, completely helpless until they find themselves being dumped at an underground lake. There isn't really anything you can do about water reapers except sit back and watch and hope there isn't anything too nasty at the lake you end up at.
Stalactites. The dynamic nature of the catacombs means that any particular tunnel or cave is not particularly stable. In fact, the entire catacombs are very unstable. As a result, stalactites and stalemites that have formed keep breaking under the constant strain. Broken stalemites are not particularly conerning but large falling stalactites have been know to kill. There's not much you can do about these except don't hit your head on the stalactites and don't enter the combs with few hp. They can normally be dodged but they can even hit you mid-combat so be prepared.
Sneaking. Always sneak. Always. If you can't sneak them I seriously doubt that you'll live for long on the lower level (solo anyway). As soon as you flee you should sneak. Sludge mephits have a habit of bsing non-sneakers very successfully.
Metamorph. The only really big mob in the combs. He walking around the lowest level minding his own business until you attack him. If you come across him and don't know what to do, ask a clannies or if all else fails shout out that you'll summon someone to the metamorph in exchange for gold/eggs.
Hermits. These wise hermits wander around the catacombs with no discernible purpose. As well as eggs, these men sometimes carry repaerdnim roots which, when eaten, provide immunity to thought slugs and coral.
Eggs. Eggs load on almost any catacomb mob (except mobs such as mist mephits, thought slugs, cave rays, whirlwinds and cave paintings). They'll load anywhere between 1 and 15 eggs. If you can't peek at a mob then try steal egg mob. If it has one or more eggs, the mob will then attack you. If not, it won't (unless it happens to be aggressive in which it'll attack you anyway). You have to be quick to get eggs: look for rooms in which nobody has been and if you're in an area where there are lots of names from mappings, then find a girl (dream- weaver).
I've created a very basic outline of the mobs to expect when combing. It gives a quick summary of each mobs and its relative difficulty. Most proficient combers will already know most of the following information so it's purpose is mainly to inform the newbies. Each mob has a difficulty rating before its name that is a general indication of how hard it is.