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25 March 2014 @ 04:01 am
Many thanks to Jsweetie. She was the person that originally got me into soloing HS. Much of this information came from her.

Ship selection: my ship of choice is a fanch. The ability sink a sloop in 3 shots is fantastic. Sloops are the only other ship I've run on. They're probably the least expensive to use, but 6 shots to sink a sloop is a little tedious. I mostly use them to recon maps now.

I've also tried soloing a warbrig, but that was an absolute nightmare. Even though you only ever need one, moves were simply not reliable enough, especially with that chainshot ability in HS ships.

Initial recon: before I start moving ships and buying stock for a map, I'll stick a sloop in just to make sure it's a map I want to commit to. I check the areas around the safezones to make sure the obstacles are workable. Typically, I like to be able to sit in the corner where the edge of the map and the safezone meet.

Stock: Soloing on a fanch, I'll go 20r/70cb or more. Soloing on a sloop, I'd go 20r/100-200cb. Obviously, add more rum if you're bringing friends. I'll add about 10 for each extra person.

Sailing: I usually dnav on Evade both ways. I used to not bother on the way over, but then I constantly got intercepted on the way to a map once. Now I'd rather not worry about getting intercepted.

Entering: There are 2 types of spawns you can get in Zone 1. The more common spawn is 2 sloops and a warbrig (or a GY, which is the same thing), which I personally estimate at a frequency of 85%. The other spawn is 5 sloops, which happens roughly 15% of the time. I stay if it's the latter. If there's a brig, I disengage and let the ship reset.

There are also usually preexisting hauls on the board that you might be able to grab so you have chests even if you spawn a brig board. I take those when I can easily return to the safezone in one turn.

Rinse and repeat until you get a sloop board. For a full board reset (as in, new preexisting hauls and new ships), I usually wait an hour before sailing back out to the point. For just a ship reset, waiting for your ship to reset (30 minutes) does it.

I don't really know how to influence which side of the board you enter on. If I really prefer the opposite side, sometimes I'll jump on rigs and dash across on a sloop. I don't recommend this on a fanch. Even on a sloop, it's often a close shave since boarders will start slowing you down. Fanchs are just flat out not made for the cross board solo dash.

Sinking sloops: If you're a loop gunner, I recommend finding a good board before entering. Usually, I sit in the corner facing the safezone and shoot parallel to the safezone as sloops approach. On a sloop, I shoot like hell. On a fanch, I'm a just a touch more thoughtful on when I shoot. Unless you have a ton of time before any sloop reaches you, I recommend ignoring boarders.

If things get too hairy (too much damage, too many boarders), bail and repair in the safezone. I think boarders overtake you when their numbers either match or surpass you and your swabbies. Definitely exit if you get a shipwide fray. Usually 4 is enough to convince me to exit.

Odd as it sounds, I feel like boarding rate slows down after the first one or two. If you concentrate on keep them completely off, you won't be able to focus on anything else really well. Hence I recommend you just leave them alone (unless you actually want something to do) until forced to exit.

Cool down: If you sit at the league point outside, the boarders will gradually leave until there's one left. I usually give 2 minutes per boarder. So if I exit with 4 boarders, I sit outside for 6 minutes, reenter, then fight the last boarder 1v1. Breaks don't count in the cool down period. The cool down period is a great way give yourself a break. Usually I'm making tea, grabbing food, etc etc etc. Love it.

After clearing the boarders, I fix any damage I might have acquired, clear the bilge, find a solid gunning board, then go again.

To solo, you obviously need to be somewhat adept at each of the stations. I definitely recommend being able to gun ren/gm+ on a sloop, master+ on a fanch. Semi-decent rigging abilities definitely come in handy during emergencies when you need to pull a last minute move out of your hat before the bilge starts filling. The ability to carp and bilge is less important as you usually do that in the safe zone. Decent swordfighting skills probably make clearing bots easier, but again, by the time you're fighting them, you're in the safezone and you can make as many attempts as you need.

Bnavving ability and experience is also less of a priority in this tactic. Sticky situations do arise though. You definitely want to be comfortable with the basics and bumper boat mechanics.

For navvers not familiar with driving in SMHs, be aware that the edges of the board are not hard. You can drive off the side and then get pushed back in without a damage penalty (of course, there is one minor exception). The most dangerous situation I run into is when I get bumped off the side of the board and something is blocking me from sliding back in. I can't exit into the safezone from off the board, and I'm taking damage every time I bump into something trying to slide back onto the board, not to mention any shot I could be taking.

Ships can also move between you and the safezone, yes, even when you're sitting right up against it. This not only temporarily blocks your exit, but this also knocks you away from the safezone, requiring more moves to exit. This is where quick rigging and bnav abilities can make a difference.

Remember that HS ships have chain shots, which will take moves from you. More of a concern to fanchs than sloops, but if you let your moveset dwindle down to the bare minimum, the chain shot can screw you over.

Hauling: For those not familiar with SMH hauling, tactics are somewhat different than shipwreck expos. The most efficient chest pulling method doesn't always score well, so keep in mind that your TH rank may suffer.

I highly recommend timing your hauls with the breaks. Be warned, the countdown to break doesn't always line up with the turns. The timers could be up to 15 seconds off from each other. In other words, the countdown could sit at 0 for a whole 15 seconds before the actual break hits. Super annoying when you're trying to time haul with it.

So tips for catching haul on the break: I usually rig for a couple turns (around the 2:30/3:00 mark) to make sure I have the moves I need. Move to the edge of the safezone sometime before the 2:00 mark. Three turns from break, you should be placing your moves. This is usually somewhere between the 1:15 and the 1:30 mark. I guess I usually go for the turn that *begins* closest to the 1:30 mark. Turns are 35 seconds long.

Two turns from the break, you should be sitting next to the haul. The most ideal spot is in a space diagonal to the haul to draw out the haul time as much as possible to maximize the amount of time you have to pull chests. Sometimes I'll settle for the space next to a haul if it gives me a safer position. Take a look at how close the enemy ships are because they will start moving towards you after you enter. I like to take this turn to position my screen so I can watch for ships while I haul.

The haul will pop up on the last turn before break. Grab it, start hauling your butt off. So yes, you have to sit on the map for a turn before you can haul.

If you move on the second-to-last turn, the option to haul will pop up at the break, but you will not be able to take it until break is over. Break is nearly two turns worth of hauling without ships coming after you, which is pretty precious when you can't sit. I'll sometimes wait entire segments to take advantage of it.

When you're soloing, the chances of you being able to sit on a chest are practically 0. So you either get it fast or it's gone. To encourage chests to spawn on your board, clear something like a 3x2, 4x2, etc to "make a space for it" in a way. A clear like that doesn't guarantee a chest, it just seems to speed the process up a little. This means I will actually take extra clicks to set them up. Also try to keep those clears toward the center of your board to keep the chest spawns toward the center.

Obviously, once you do get a chest, do whatever you need to to get that thing to the top as fast as possible.

Typically a wreck gives you 2-3 chests depending on how much you let it degrade while repairing or how fast you pull them. If you haul two wrecks at once, don't be surprised if that second haul only adds a chest or two.

For a typical HS solo run, I...
1. Check the stock, chart the course, set voyage to Evade, hire the swabbies.
2. Set sail, order a swabbie to bilge (since a bot never takes it on its own for me), order a swabbie to gun, then dnav.

Once at the point, I...
1. Exit dnav, enter the board, wait until the current turn/break ends so that the ships spawn.
2. Scan the board for nearby wrecks and ships in zone 1 (I estimate zone 1 to be about 10 squares from the edge. I don't think that's completely true, but it works as a general rule of thumb).
3. Assuming it's a sloop board, I order 2 bots to sails, one to carp, one to bilge.
4. Shop for a decent board on guns... I usually go for a 1 arrow then loop two cannons at a time. If I'm impatient, I settle for being able to loop both top and bottom with two arrows.
5. Enter the board. I usually start with two straights just to get to the edge of the safezone*. A straight and a turn into the edge and wait.
4. Shoot any ships that come down the edge. Turn back towards the safezone and shoot as ships start coming into that area.
5. Sit and shoot until a couple sloops go down, you're overrun with boarders, or your damage gets dangerous.

For the cool down I...
1. Exit. Wait outside at the lp if I need to get rid of boarders.
2. Reenter. Clear any boarders. Repair any damage (max bots on carp and bilge). Clear any bilge. Exit/Reenter if I need to replenish moves quick. Don't forget to move swabbies back to sails.
3. Haul if there's anything down. The cool down period gives time for the enemy ships to scatter so hopefully there's some time to pull stuff up before they come back.
4. Repeat the cool down cycle.
5. Check for GYs and brigs in my zone and make the decision to continue or leave.
6. When I do decide to leave, I rehire the swabbies, dnav back to port, and divvy. Yay!

*As I mentioned earlier, there is a minor exception to zero damage on the soft boundary. If you're sitting in the corner facing the edge then turn toward the safezone, you'll incur a super small sliver of damage. In other words, if you use 2 instead of 3 straights to set up your position, then the two turns, you'll get end up with a small sliver of damage on that second turn. It's not a big deal, but it also only takes an extra straight to avoid it.

Graveyards: GYs do not give you any chests. Honestly, if you want poe, go do something else. So quite frankly, seeing a GY spawn in my zone is bad news. All GYs come with a brig and two sloops. And as I mentioned before, I don't like brigs in this strategy.

That doesn't mean you have to bail as soon as you get a GY. It can get a little risky, but if you can time your entrance so the sloops get to you first, the sloops can shield you from the brig's attacks, and you can probably get the brig to sink sloops for you.

2-3 man strategy: I've been experimenting with this to balance effectiveness vs. maximum shares for people. When I have a friend that wants to come with me to HS, there's a gun spot and a haul spot. The gunner is on guns the whole time. There are times when there's nothing in the area to shoot and then they may opt to take challenges. The haul spot hauls when applicable. This allows you to pull in treasure while shooting more stuff down, which is super nice. The hauler might also supplement elsewhere while waiting for hauls... clearing boarders, supplementing sails, maybe a dab of carp work as they see fit.

If you get a third person on board, a full time carper is nice to combat damage and extend the amount of time you can stay on the board. Something to think about: when solo, I'll often exit/reenter just to get the basic moveset quickly. When you have people on board, sometimes it's worth waiting for the moves to spawn so you can keep their indicators rather than the solo strategy.

Rotating through the different roles between cycles is a good way to keep people from getting bored. Even with one or two more people on board, I limit it to one person hauling at a time. Again, this is to maximize the amount of hauling time to pull chests.

I'm not inclined to go above three on board just because I feel more people won't really help you pull more chests. Other than that, more people probably won't ruin a run.

I don't plan on posting this guide on the forums or wiki yet just because of selfish reasons... I'd rather keep the likelihood of running into other people at a minimum. But if you do come across someone else in HS, be courteous. Don't steal their hauls. Heck, if I see someone else there before me, I leave because I don't want to ruin their operation. At least chat with them, see if you can team up or work something out.

If you're curious, I've started keeping collecting data from my runs. The running spreadsheet can be found here:

The blue boxes are just to help me quickly find the boxes I want to manipulate. The data is broken up as follows:
1. WB boards vs. sloop boards spawned
2. Number of one locks (1-L), two locks (2-L), and three locks (3-L) pulled... or at least, that I've accounted for
3. Average amount of poe, highest amount of poe, and lowest amount of poe I've found in each type of chest. After documenting numbers for a while, I concluded that 1-L chests give you <1k, 2-L chests give you between 1k and 3k, and 3-L chests give you >3k.
4. Distribution of items I have found in each of the chest types.

Other than that, good luck. Happy HS Hunting to you.
25 March 2014 @ 04:23 am
While I'm here, I thought I'd document some fun times that came up lately.

Anna's Bedtime Story:
B: "O.o How late do you plan on staying up?"
A: "until I'm sleepy, I think >.>"
A: "The thing is, I'm not even a little bit tired right now, so all I will be doing is staring at the ceiling"

B: ":\"
B: "Let's see if I can come up with a sleepy bedtime story while I zap this soup"
A: "hee"
B: "Five leagues off a Sakejima, a ship was hauling in long lost treasures from the deep dark bottom of the sea."
B: "When the net hit the deck, all hands jumped into a skirmish to claim the most valuable items."
A: "Oooh, what did they get?"
B: "Not wanting to be thrown back into the darkness, a piece of driftwood noticed he was being repeatedly passed up."
B: "He threw himself onto the nearest pirate and cried, "Take me with you! Make me into a peg!""
B: "But the pirate kicked him overboard and grabbed a nearby coin instead."
A: "poor drifty :("
B: "An old gaff made a similar revelation, and latched itself onto the nearest lass. He said, "take me with you! Make me into a hook!""
B: "But she stumbled and he clattered overboard after the poor driftwood."
B: "An old shirt was determined to change her fate. She was sure her plan would surely work"
B: "She wrapped herself around the nearest pirate and double, triple, quadruple knotted herself and cried, "take me with you! Make me into an eye patch!""
B: "But one swipe of a sword twarted her attempted."
B: "With the last of the loot nearly gone and the deck nearly clean, a quivering starfish decided to try his luck."
B: "He threw himself at the grizzly captain's face and cried, "take me with you! Make me into a technicolor mole!""
A: "mwahahahahaha"
B: "And the captain, no matter what she tried, could not pry the dang thing off."
B: "So the starfish lived happily ever after. The end."
A: "ehehehe, I do believe that was the best bedtime story I have ever gotten!"
B: "*bows* thank you, thank you"


Ttoonnyy says, "where does my monkey go when i bone up??"
Ttoonnyy says, "lolol"
Ttoonnyy says, "that sounds so bad"
Bisquick says, "It... falls.... off...."
Ttoonnyy says, "O____O"


[17:58:42] Ttoonnyy points to his Wooden stair
[17:59:05] Bisquick says, "Way to add the en stair to cover that up"
[17:59:43] Ttoonnyy says, "HAHA bis, i get it"
[17:59:45] Ttoonnyy sticks out a tongue
[17:59:47] Bisquick says, "XD"
[17:59:55] Ttoonnyy says, "took me a minute.. i was all derpy"
[17:59:58] Bisquick says, "Okay, NOW you're a nub on a tub"

20 May 2012 @ 08:51 am
It's interesting, I think, and after a lot of rambling, I'll eventually get to why. Almost six years after joining RM, I'm sitting here with that odd little captain's hat on my head. Not that there's really much of a crew to watch over at the moment, but that had nothing to do with my willingness to accept the promotion in this little bubble of a virtual world. I'm pretty sure I've been offered the position at least once since the crew fell dormant, and I declined.

This probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that knows me: I don't see myself as a leader. I mean, I can usually be okay as one if forced into that position, but I feel it takes me longer than most people to feel like I belong there proper. RM took their promotions fairly seriously for a game, and my personal experiences lined right up with that mindset.

The topic of this position came up when I was returning from three months away in Fannon's crew. Heh, Pj brought it up this last time by initiating a promotion for me to captain rather than SO. Thing was, I had already been considering the position before he did that, and that consideration was fairly new... like, within the hour.

Truth is, I was having difficulty leaving the Wynds... and to be clear... the promotion wasn't on the table until after I had made the decision to come back. As I told him, Fannon's been a great friend, and I was having a lot of fun hanging out with her in her crew... I honestly didn't want to leave. I hadn't told her I would be returning to RM until earlier that day, and the reaction was "whyyyyyyyy? There's no one there." Which didn't make leaving any easier and left an unsettling feeling in my stomach.

After going to bed that night, I ended up lying awake thinking about the whole thing and concluded a couple things:

-There was no denying RM is a dormant crew in terms of the game. But something most current players don't see is that this crew is not dead. We're still friends, and we still interact as a group (ah, the wonderful thing that is Facebook). As I had mused out loud to Pj, RM still exists, just outside the realm of the game.
Admittedly, I delayed announcing to the crew that I had completed the memorization of Cerulean (and therefore, the condition of my time away was complete) because I knew exactly what would happen, and it made me sad. And sure enough, as soon as I posted, Pj was asking when I would be returning. Which, even though I was expecting it, it still hit me that there were still people here that cared whether I stayed with the crew or not. Even if they've appeared to move on from the game for the time being.

-I didn't want to leave the Wynds, but that didn't mean I didn't want to go back to RM, if that makes any sense. I started in RM under very fortunate circumstances of complete and utter luck. There's too many memories, good and bad, too much history, and my own personal growth that happened here to just walk away from it. And I feel it's on par with asking Fannon to leave the Wynds. It just doesn't feel right. And while I felt so comfortable and happy amongst the Wynds, I definitely had that warm "coming home" feeling when Pj sent me the game invite, and when I saw "Ransack Marauders" under my name on the Ye panel.

Then Pj said something that I didn't expect, yet didn't surprise me:
Pjotr says, "I'll say this though... I thought you were ready for it years ago, but during that PvP, I saw you changed since then"
Pjotr says, "(for the better)"
Bisquick says, "Oh?"
Bisquick says, "I thought I was quite a dork during that pvp :P"
Pjotr says, "yeah, more sure of yourself, I guess"
Pjotr says, "you'll always be a dork :P"

Which... I've actually noticed that change, too. I see myself as a valuable jobber/puzzler and a knowledgable player... things I feel a good captain should be at least capable of. Things that I had lacked the confidence to admit about myself before. I mean, I'm far from perfect, far from the best or the most knowledgable player, and that's okay.

And that's a recent development, too, within the last five months. And judging from that, I think there are two major factors contributing to that change in attitude.

The first initiated from my increased interaction with Mousebeard in November. I give him a lot of crap, but the truth is, despite his cold bastard moments, he has helped point out the valuable jobber part just from how much energy he's put into getting me on his ships. From near begging, to offering to kick people off for me, to negotiating specific stations for me or my friends... when half the time, I don't even want to go. Jobbing with him networked me with J, Tony, and Bling. Tony and Bling with their typically elite CIs (where Tony is often untouchable in foraging, which provides many of us with a fun challenge to aspire to), and J, on top of being a fantastic friend, has turned me on to the fun that is soloing in HS.

The second is undoubtedly my increased interaction with Fannon, whose self confidence is impossible to miss after interacting with her, especially in regards to the game. I admire that. And I'm thinking it's contagious. Or more likely, I take that sort of thing in like osmosis. Kind of rings true with the "you are who you hang out with" sentiment. Of course, hanging out with her doesn't make me a great battle navver... perhaps hanging around her for another five years will give me that :P

So I think it's interesting... I'm on the slow track, but I do think I grew up a little. And I think that's pretty cool, even if it's just a game.

As for captaining a "dead crew", I kind of see it as being an active representative of what we once were, standing watch over something that was amazing, keeping a small part of it alive as the ocean moves on around us, and hopefully ensuring there's a home to return to should any of my crew members decide to come visit.
14 February 2012 @ 02:44 pm
Heh, the tag was just being nice. There are probably exceptions, but it's actually my Wall of Idiots.

I haven't been really feeling well since the PT test. I think I'm on the trail end of it, but I still didn't feel like being productive. So I when I saw Void start up a friglantis run, I thought, "sure." But he wasn't even near filling, so I opted for a viking run on the board while I waited.

The viking run was run by Sailerjess. Terrible stats, terrible jobber management, no cbs for the chance that we got intercepted (and I only know that because we got intercepted), and overall, just a newbie-ish run. Heh... and something's wrong if I'm on top of the gunning report with the only excellent... both times. But anyway, not impressed, but hey, at least we won both of the raids I was present for and her jobbers sucked so I didn't complain.

Go on Void's run, and it was actually going pretty well. Lost a cit and went through a couple tight spots on damage but things were all right. But... my overall attitude these days is to do SMHs because I feel like puzzling and I like shiny trophies. So he just had to sink snails and turtles to make me happy.

But alas, we sunk after a 2.5 hours or so. Which is unfortunate considering the 2.5 hours and the fact that it probably could have been saved had people filled carp like they should have (and done well... there were no increds and a few excellents on the station). Then this number shows up in jobber chat:

Sailerjess says, "what a waste of time"
Sailerjess says, "because of gambling tut tut"

*smirks* Interesting attitude considering. So here's my note to self to reconsider if I see another job offer from her. Also, Harshshadowz was one of the really bad jobbers on the first run, and somehow managed to make it all the way through the second. I thought about warning Void about him, but I figured they'd figure it out pretty quick. Yeah, nope.

Also, I muted Werddog today. Heh, the first mute in years. Woo.
02 November 2011 @ 01:30 pm
First SceneCollapse )
23 March 2010 @ 11:55 am

Springheel won the 1st category in Navigating!
Bisquick won the 2nd category in Navigating!
Vova won the 3rd category in Navigating!
Nine won the 4th category in Navigating!

I don't really care that I lost a monkey to Springheel. I beat Vova! *dances*
25 August 2009 @ 12:40 am
This one's classified as a phail because it has the traits of what I decided to put under this tag, but this doesn't seem that bad of a loss. Besides, a tan octo isn't a 'gotta have it' prize for me. Logged on to find a bilging comp in session with 7 minutes left. After 3 leagues of bilging, I placed 5th. Not complaining...too much ;)

Still working on DW. This is taking much longer than I'd like. *sigh*
18 May 2009 @ 06:51 am

My winner was Bisquick of Midnight. I loved the balance of skill and simplicity in the image, and I felt that both the avatar size and the full size work really well. Plus I have my beloved sister with me! <3 Bisquick wins an Apollo doll.


The results are in from Hermes!

Winner: Bisquick, Midnight (here) wins a Hermes Doll!
13 April 2009 @ 09:36 pm
This right outside the prize eligibility thing happened again. So I'm going to document them, too :P

Warning: big picturesCollapse )
10 March 2009 @ 03:03 am
Two things. One, I entered a quick writing competition at the end of February. I figured it wouldn't take away from my studying a whole lot compared to other things...like solitaire on Neopets or youtube or fmylife.com or Hatchlings on Facebook...of course, it sorta did because I kept checking my watchlist for results. But anyway, surprisingly, I submitted a winning entry, so a Bia egg for me! Yay! Of course, now to replicate Bia's outfit for the portrait with it...which'll be expensive. Perhaps after I can get some CI runs in with Mousebeard. :P

The second thing, I was looking through Y!PP comics that I've drawn and noticed that I didn't post one of my favorites here. So I'll do that now, plus another one. They're simply comics on my Y!PP friends for fun. Particularly Deka (she's the pea. <3 the pea).

comics make my layout wonky.Collapse )