Questions From a Paying Noob Hypnotized by AO

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Questions From a Paying Noob Hypnotized by AO

Post by Benford » Sat May 03, 2008 2:48 pm

Hi all,

I have started to play AO a few days ago and I am completely hypnotized by this great MMORPG. I went ahead and bought all the expansions pretty quickly because I wanted to support Funcom and its efforts in my own little way. (Even if I quit tomorrow and never enjoy my expansions, it will have been money well spent to me.)

Anyway, I have some questions I needed to ask since I can't seem to register properly on the official AO forums:

a) Could anyone point me to a guide to help me decide whether to go Clan, Neutral, or Omni? I'm not looking for guild offerings, just a hard look at what are the disadvantages/advantages of taking a side or going Neutral for a while. (For instance, does filling up a token board early have any advantages?)

b) Since I have the expansions, could anyone tell me more about Alien XP and what it can do for the player? I couldn't find anything about either this or research (see below) in the AO online game manual since it only covers Notum Wars and Shadowlands.

c) Can anyone tell me if research can push your skills beyond the natural maximum for breed and profession without the expansions? If this is so, wouldn't it be more of an advantage to wait until lvl 200+ to start any research at all?

EXAMPLE - Let's say I'm an Opifex engineer with a natural limit to Stamina of 480 (not sure of the exact number here) with all possible IP's spent on the attribute. If I study the "Serendipity #1" research line at a very high lvl and get +5 stamina...could this make my base stamina go to 485? If it does, would studying this earlier "lose" that extra potential 5 points of potential stamina? Hope I asked these questions in a non-confusing way...

Thanks for any help or insight. AO sure is a fun game!


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Post by Fourthaid » Sat May 03, 2008 4:02 pm

Hiya, welcome to the world of Expansions :D I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability, so we'll see how it goes :)

Off the top of my head I can not think of any guides for this.. However factions in AO do not have major differences.. Most of the equipment in game has both clan and omni equivalents (With a few exceptions such as the Omni-Tek Gunship, st/str sleeves (Frederickson Micro-kinetic Sleeves), and a few other minor things. Some clans will argue that Omnis have an easier time travelling through Shadowlands as well because of the exits from the Unredeemed Gardens being situated better (Can not say much about this, as I have never played clan side too much personally)
In addition omnis/clans get the great token boards, and it is something that is extremely handy to have (210 Comp Lit from the 1000 token board is extremely handy) If you can not stand the grind to get the token board, perhaps neutral is the way to go? :D
In the end I would say that choosing which faction to go comes down to where you have the most friends :)

Alien Experience at low levels (1-100) can be gotten in two ways:
City Raids (guide here
Lost Eden Missions (guide here

Sadly City Raids are mostly an org (and possibly close friends) event at these levels, or just farming for the viral bots that make Alien Armor. So your best bet would be Lost Eden missions at these levels.
Once you get to around 120-130 you can start considering going into the Mid-level alien sector (Sector 10) Mind you this is a harsh place, and I would recommend grabbing or trying to get onto a team.
Sector 10 is level locked to 150, so from 151 and onwards you will again rely on City Raids and Lost Eden missions until you are high enough to get into the High Level Sectors (13, 28, 35 and 42, some guides to these can found here)
I would say that around 205+ you can get onto teams reliably in these Sectors.

When you look at the breed caps and title level caps, they are always marked as the max you can get without any buffing items.

So let us take your example of an Opifex Engineer with a breed cap on stamina of 480, this is the Max you can have if you have no research/items/armor/imps/symbiants on that buff stamina at all and have maxed it completely.

So let us say you have a research line that, once you have completed it, rants you 10 stamina, you will then have 490 stamina. In addition comes the buffs from the aforementioned armor/imps/items/symbiants ontop of that.

So I would definitely recommend doing research as much as possible, as long as it grants you abilities/procs that are handy to have :)

And as one final note.. Unless you have already seen it, you might want to have a look at this guide. It is mostly aimed at froobs, but it does provide a lot of basic information and I am sure it will confuse and help you out all at the same time :D

G'luck :D

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Post by Benford » Sun May 04, 2008 1:16 am

Hi Quilluck. Thanks for giving me a good post to help me with my questions. However, there are some things that I still need to clear up:

A) I did a careful search on the Internet not long after making my original post and found yet another great guide: ... 194&bhcp=1

Even though sections B-24 and B-25 were also a great help in deciding which faction to join, I still struggle with this big decision


B) Although I certainly appreciate all the guides and help you provided on where to get Alien XP, my question was more focused on what benefits do Alien levels give your character. Everything I've read so far is where to get Alien XP and experience/level tables. I wish Funcom had updated the Alien Invasion and Lost Eden expansions to their original game manual so I could see exactly what gaining Alien XP does for my "toon".

C) You clearly answered my question about the research potentially pushing my attributes beyond the breed caps. Does it also push skills beyond their caps, too?

More importantly, let me do another example to show why I asked whether doing skill/attribute research late-game is more beneficial:

EXAMPLE - If I have my Opifex Engineer study Serendipity #1 and I get my +5 stamina while I have a *base* stamina at say, 200-300 or so...and spend IP's the rest of the way to the natural breed cap, will this research push the "natural breed cap" up by 5 points in this case even though I may have already done the research long before that? In this limited example, would I actually be able to spend IP's all the way up to a Stamina of cap of 485 instead of the 480?

This seems like a very critical question because there are only so many lines of research that offer enhanced skills/abilities. If the early research won't push the breed/profession caps up (considering I did some research during lvls 50-150 or so), then wouldn't it be more of an advantage to wait until I hit the breed cap *before* starting skill enhancing research so I can have a more powerful end-game "toon"?

Funcom was never very clear on this issue, and I'd hate to go deep into AO not knowing whether early skill/attribute enhancing research can allow you to spend IP's beyond the natural caps later on.

This topic has nothing to do with research that grants "procs" or other miscellaneous powers, so I can understand doing those lines of research earlier in the game if the skill/attribute improving research isn't required first.


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Post by Fourthaid » Sun May 04, 2008 5:14 am

Let me see if I can help out a bit more on B and C :)


Alien ranks, unlike normal levels, do not give you any IPs to spend. Instead you will receive Alien Perks (similar to the Shadowlands perks which you gain every 10th level (10, 20, 30, etc) and at each shadowlevel (201, 202, 203, etc)

If you press CTRL+P you will get an overview of the perks available to you, the ones marked in Green are Alien perks. Most profession will have: Atleast one in their Profession Perks, atleast one in their Group Perks and all professions have the same in the General Perks.

For instance as an adventurer I have access to:
The Call - The Profession specific Alien Perk which adds a bit of nano, a bit of evades, some HP and a few other neat things in addition to two perk actions
Counterweight - The Group specific Alien Perk Line which gives me more Multi Melee and Multi Ranged skills in addition to a few nifty perk actions.

What Perks you get depends on your profession, but many of them are very handy, and also the Champion lines are nice for just about any class (adds to specific weapon lines or to nano skills)


The example you provide with Stamina is correct to some degree. Let me try to explain.

The natural breed cap is hardcapped at X stamina (in the case of an opifex it is 480 (until you hit the Shadowlevels, where you can again spend IPs in attributes <3 ) ) This basically means that you can not get any more stamina than 480 from purely sinking IP into it. On top of that comes your equipment, perks, research, etc.

In the case where you had 480 stamina already IPed and finished the research for +5 stamina, you would then gain automatically 5 stamina.
In the case where you had 300 stamina and then research the +5 stamina line, you would automatically gain 5, adding up to a total of 305.

So to put it bluntly, the breedcaps simply limit the amount of IP you can spend on a skill/attribute, ontop of that comes everything you have equipped/perked/researched :) For instance my adventurer has 997 strength in his current equipment at 220 even though the breedcap at 220 is 772 strength, the additional 225 strength comes from what I mentioned, perks/equipment/research and when I had equipped/researched/perked this would not matter because the math for that is applied after the IPed skill/attribute :)

When you research the skill increases does not matter, as it will not affect the caps in the way you describe, but simply add to the current attribute level total.

You'll have to excuse me if I might be slightly confusing, but I am not the best person at explaining game mechanics :D I hope I was atleat clear enough that you understood the basic idea, if not please ask again for anything that I might need to clarify further :)

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Post by Trgeorge » Sun May 04, 2008 2:34 pm

A bit on A) :

Difference between each faction is slowly dimishing. Those days even neutrals can get goos token boards from tlt4 onwards. Subtle difference still remains tho, like Quilluck already stated. In reallity it usually just boils down to where you feel more at home. Most players choose faction based either on their friends, their game tactics or where they feel most welcome. For example, neutrals can travel almost anywhere unmolested by guards, can talk to most channels, however they are limited by targeting (tabbing) as well as somewhat lesser neutral population. Omnis have highly organized cities, but they all look the same. Clans have a mre diverse cities, but one can get lost in them if he ain't familiar with them.

I'd suggest you make new alts of each faction and ask couple of noobish questions on OOC. That way you'll be able to see where's most helpfull players on when you usually play (that differs by faction and time). Just don't be discuraged by unhelpfull tips (like 2xAlt+F4), since there are always some that think stuff like this is funny.

Oh, just a general tip, stay out of Shadowlands with your main till you decide which side you'll join. By killing sided NPCs in SL, you get /faction, positive with one side and negative with other. So if you accumulate wrong faction, changing side is a bit more difficult (basicly boils down to killing mass ammount of faction "birds" in Nascence).
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Post by Snakebite » Mon May 05, 2008 8:03 pm

The important answer is:

After that it's all just trimmings... Lol.

Maxing out your Token Board is certainly an advantage.

Alien XP opens up a new set of Perks (in my opinion, it's worth paying for the game for no other reason other than the Perks!)

You can't do research without having the expansions, since research came in with the last expansion.

The answer to your example is that ALL things combine to give you an end result, IP, base skill, trickledown, Perks, Research, Implants, Items, Buffs & anything else I've missed... lol

Just DON'T put any IP into your Map Navigation, it's the only skill you can't reset!!!
Don't make me come in there and Moderate you!

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Post by Nadab » Tue May 06, 2008 1:19 am

Snakebite wrote:Just DON'T put any IP into your Map Navigation, it's the only skill you can't reset!!!
What!!!! Now you tell me :cry: heh heh yeah... don't do that... you can implant and symbiant Map nav..... also some perks give map nav So putting points into it is bad.
Alexsi "Nadab" Stefanovich********Corporal, Omni-Pol Field Ops**********T-Sgt1C Omni-AF, 4th Fusiliers RST, retired"If I'm the agent Shai-hulud, where's my 10% ?"Roleplaying Profile of Alexsi "Nadab" Stefanovich

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Post by Benford » Tue May 06, 2008 5:26 am

To all,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! If you have any more input, please keep it coming.

@Trgeorge and snakebite - I decided to go Neutral so I can look around and get a better feel for things. I figure I can never be neutral again once I pick a side before lvl 200 someday, so I'm going to try to enjoy my neutrality as much as I can. (I'm afraid I don't have enough RL time to play multiple alts, so I'll just probably pick one faction soon enough.)

@Quilluck - I checked with some of the in-game helpers on the Noob channel and asked an ARK about the skills/research question. They confirmed exactly what you said about the breeds limiting the number of IP's you can spend on any attribute or skill. Everything seems cleared up for me now and I won't have to worry about when to do skill/attribute enhancing research anymore. Thanks for all your help!

@Nadab and snakebite - Your postings about the Map Nav not being reset are noted, and I will act accordingly.

On a final note, I tend to be a very serious IP "saver". Now, I have a dinky little lvl 10 Engineer, but I still have about 34,000 IP points saved. I know about all the reset points and such, but I've been very reluctant to spend more IP's than absolutely necessary. It does leave me seriously underpowered for now, but I keep hearing about how many high-lvl people are always hungry for more and more IP's.

I am looking to see if there are some neat nano chains and ladders I can perform so I can get decent implants without spending too many IP's for now. I also figure it might keep things very flexible for later on when I have to decide how heavily I want to invest in tradeskills as an Engy.


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Post by Ukblizzard » Tue May 06, 2008 9:29 am

I am looking to see if there are some neat nano chains and ladders I can perform so I can get decent implants without spending too many IP's for now. I also figure it might keep things very flexible for later on when I have to decide how heavily I want to invest in tradeskills as an Engy.
With regards to this, will be your friend. You can look on there for things that effect certain skills, be it nano programs or items - this will hopefully help you somewhat with getting equipment on.

You are right to be a little cautious about where you are spending IP early on, but dont be overly cautious as it could effect your overall experience. Check on for instance what nano skills you are going to be needing for the whole way though.. then dont feel bad about maxing them out so you can fight towards getting the best bot you can.

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Post by Benford » Wed May 07, 2008 2:50 am

Ukblizzard - I seriously thought about giving your link a good search, but I realized that knowing what's in there would spoil much of the fun of playing AO for me, personally. I have fun not knowing a lot of things yet and trying to find them on my own.

This is not to say I won't ask questions about game mechanics or look over beginners guides, though.....

I will try to "loosen up" a bit on spending my IP's.


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