Hideous freak

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Do you like hurting other people?

Hideous Freak is one of HellMOO's "racial" mutations, and is one of the most game-changing mutations a player can take, with several big mechanical changes. The mutation revolves around Focus and Stress.

Effects

This mutation grants:

   +4 senses
   +1 endurance
   -3 cool
   +4 torture
   +3 focus
   +3 sneak
   -2 persuade
   100% resistance to vampirism
   90% resistance to toxic exposure
   Acidic blood
   All stress changes reversed
   Cannot reclone in Panopticon Prison or the Cube
   No aggro from Necropolis junkers, freaks, aboms or specters
   Can hire a posse of freaks and one abomination as bodyguards
   Can live in the Freak Tunnels
   Easy access to Necropolis Gate
   Hard cap on number of installed implants
   Permanent stars in several communities
   Refusal of service in many shops
   Inability to live in some apartments
   High chance of gaining single or multiple mentals on reclone
   Aggro from Necropolis FCEF troops
   Can't enter Southern Necropolis
   scare command: inflict fear on enemies and frenzy yourself!
   Incompatible with: Chromemouth, Chud, Vampire and Zombie.

Advantages

  • +4 Senses. This is the largest single focus bonus available in a mutation, tied with Vampire.
  • +1 Endurance. This is a modest bonus, but Endurance is a very high-value stat, so it's still a good contribution.
  • +4 Torture. This equates to a substantial crit rate boost for freaks.
  • +3 Focus. This is a big bonus, and can bring out the highest power levels that focus can offer.
  • +3 Sneak. This is supposed to help with rushing past FCPD cams without getting caught, but Sneak is an almost useless skill, so it's mostly just a number.
  • Stress reversal. Probably Freak's most important feature: all stress damage becomes stress healing, and vice versa. This allows you to spam cooldowns that cost stress (like focus abilities and grab) with zero cost, and removes the stress downsides of several mutations altogether.
  • 90% Toxic Resistance. This is mostly for picking up bleach from the Toxic Dump for implant reasons - see further down. It also makes some fringe situations easier, like exploring Diablo Seco and eating basilisks.
  • Can't clone in prison. If you get killed by cops, you'll reclone safely in your regular tank.
  • No aggro from Necro mobs. Junkers, fellow freaks, specters, and abominations will leave you alone, which makes the Necropolis a lot less dangerous in the early game.
  • Use of scare. Scare is a situational cooldown that can be used for both combat and pre-fight buffing; see the section below for details.
  • Easy entry to Necro. If entering from the east, Freaks can get past the deadbots by going west past them, and down through the tunnel.

Disadvantages

  • -3 Cool. Cool is a relatively low value stat for everyone who isn't Blades, and it's even less of an issue for freaks, who mostly ignore Cool's stress mitigation because of their stress reversal. It is still a downside for some situations like extended climbs, however.
  • -2 Persuade. This is almost a non-downside; almost every single situation where persuade is useful (lawyering, scamming) is off-limits to freaks anyway. The most this will do is hurt your haggle in the few freak-friendly stores.
  • Acidic blood. In theory this is occasionally advantageous; in practice it's a total pain. Acidic blood on the body inflicts acid damage every heartbeat to a random body part. This must be either soaked or removed quickly, and lingering blood can still damage worn armor even if the damage is soaked. This also adds extra micromanagement to Bleeder.
  • Doesn't reverse Empath. Stress from Empath isn't turned into stress healing, so there's no unholy freakpath synergy. See the Empath page for more information.
  • Clone with mentals. Every time freaks leave their clone tank, they will usually gain a mental illness. Some of these are more problematic than others; some are benign because of Freak's stress reversal. Other times, a strong medic must be sought to fix the illness.
  • Implant limits. Freaks can never have more than four implants, no matter what. They also must be under the influence of bleach to accomodate more than 2, which involves extra micromanagement.
  • Aggro from FCEF. FCEF troopers wander the Necropolis, often wielding guns, and sometimes equipped with the Jammer mutation. They can be very dangerous if their targets are caught off-guard.
  • Cannot enter South Necro. Freaks can't get past the electric grid without getting zapped. They can technically land a plane or take the train in, but this is not a good idea. South Necro's security consists of FCEF empees and sarges, who swarm fast, use guns, and generally shred any freak visitors.
  • Permanent 20 stars in many places. Several civilizations in the game with police forces, most notably Freedom City, will automatically deploy to kill freaks who are sighted on camera.
  • Can't use many shops. Shopkeepers will outright refuse to serve freaks in many stores, though some remain accessible, and any that don't require a storekeeper to use (like the kiosks in Maas Neotek) are fair game. Players who highly value independence will be frustrated to discover that they must rely on corpmates and friends to buy things for them from shops; some important items can only be purchased in shops that are not freak-friendly, such as many weapon mods.
    • Dr. Nick in Freedom City will not install implants on freaks, but Dr. Stigg and Meatwad in Weezer will. Both are more expensive than Nick.
  • Apartment restrictions. Freaks can't live in Sweaty Palms, the Innsmouth, the Helliday Inn, the Final Rest Home, or Burbclave. The Helliday is the biggest loss, as it has the best security in the game.

Location

The mutation spot can be found at the old burned out victorian (Vi on the map) at the Necropolis Gate. This area is a red zone, and contains many dangerous mobs. The mutation spot is two tiles down from the victorian.

Scare

Scare is a situational ability that is exclusive to freaks. Upon use, it acts a lot like Screech, except that instead of shock, everyone in radius will be dosed with fear instead. This reduces their stats and may make low-Cool enemies attempt to flee battle.

As well as this, the freak will gain one dose of frenzy for every mob on their tile, up to the frenzy cap of 4 doses. This works regardless of whether the mobs are affected by the fear. In other words, if a freak uses scare on a tile full of robots, which cannot become scared, the frenzy will still hit even if the fear doesn't. This allows scare to be used as a pre-fight buffing tool; using scare on a tile full of mobs that are immune (robots, drunk players, etc.) or insignificant can apply an instant +4 Frenzy without the health concerns of Bleeder. Max frenzy grants +4 Brawn, +4 Senses and increased resistance to feint, making this useful for brawny fighters or against brainy opponents.

The downside to scare is that it is not affected by Freak's stress reversal, so if used by a freak with low cool, it can cause a huge spike in stress. Maximum frenzy also debuffs focus by -10, meaning that for focus-heavy users this ability can hurt more than it helps. Finally, compared to other abilities at high levels of focus, scare's cast time is relatively long.

Strategy

Hideous freak has some great strengths as well as several drawbacks, but none of them are without counterplay except for the hard implant cap.

High Focus

Hideous freaks are able to reach some of the highest focus totals in the game, if played with a focus-friendly build (usually Endurance Whips). The mutation itself provides a massive +5.5 to the focus skill in total. Carrie, Salamander's mend, Screech, Writhing Smoke and even Chiller can be brought to their maximum potential with freak, with sufficient investment in the focus skill. Most freaks should have no trouble hitting the focus requirement for Blink, nor with getting potent seeks using Medium.

Stress and Cooldowns

Most cooldowns, such as mend, cost stress to use. This is not a problem for freaks thanks to stress reversal, so freaks are free to use their buffed-up focus to spam abilities in every fight. This only has two costs: First, mild risk; using most cooldowns debuffs dodge while the cooldown is casting. Second, this can be a bad trade if you are over-using abilities that don't benefit your fight, since any time spend using abilities is time spent not hitting people with your weapon! Using cooldowns well, a freak can overwhelm opponents with screech, spew and burn or freeze in quick succession. High focus skill also decreases cooldown times for these abilities, so they can be spammed more frequently. Spamming also works with non-focus cooldowns, such as grab, though it does not work with scare, which still costs stress.

Low Cool

Cool is widely considered to be the least important of the six key stats by a large margin, and since most stress gains are reversed for freaks anyway, it becomes even less significant for them. It is also an easy stat to buff; +4 cool is granted by four gold ruby rings, which are easily available in the player economy.

The innate cool disadvantage does make a Freak Blades build less attractive; there are much better racial mutation options for bladers. Every other weapon class is fair game, however, including the guns classes, oweing to all guns' ability to nullify dodge in their targets. This means that inaccuracy will only become a problem if facing an opponent who uses focus to deliberately debuff accuracy.

Police and Shopping

The easiest way to deal with police is by not going to Freedom City. Since none of the shops there sell to freaks anyway, visiting is mostly a waste of time outside of participating in robberies and other illegal pursuits. Most of FC's important shopping options have an alternative elsewhere anyway; everything from furniture to ghostbusting gear can be bought in Weezer for instance. There are some things that can only be bought in non-freak shops however, such as plane modules on Kakuri Island, camelbacks from FC's survival shop, and some weapon mods from Ammu-Nation. In these situations, the only option as a freak is to have a friend buy stuff for you - or, perhaps, find someone who has it already and kill them for it!

The Galleria, where all the player-stocked shops are, is notable for being 100% freak-friendly and also a safe zone for freaks fleeing the FCPD; Freedom City's finest will not path into the Galleria, so freaks are free to linger there. Southern Necropolis, on the other hand, is probably the most dangerous location in the game for freaks, with an incredibly powerful and fast police force that only reacts to freak presence. This makes Camp Benjamin an outright death-trap, which means it's impossible for freaks to buy elemental rifle ammo. Freaks will have to rely on corpmates to source this instead.

Mental Illness

When you clone, you're likely to wind up with at least one kind of mental problem. The effects of these are many, varied, and occasionally annoying. You can counter this problem by partnering up with someone brainy, who can analyze you to potentially cure your mental. This has a cooldown of ten minutes, regardless of the psychoanalyst. Note that the strength of mentals builds up over time. If you're analyzed shortly after cloning, you'll probably be cured of your schizophrenia easily; if you wait ten hours, it will be much harder.

Implants

Hideous Freaks can only wear up to two implants before they start degenerating. This is a very obvious and quick process complete with some very freaky messages; every heartbeat where you are over two implants, the game will pick one implant randomly and degrade its condition, until you only have two left. The game doesn't pick one implant and stick to it, which means that you can even get all your implants degraded to 2/10 condition until one finally breaks, leaving you with a head full of busted tech. Damaged implants are very problematic; see the implants page for more information.

This cap can be bypassed by drinking bleach, which raises the number of allowed implants to four (the logic is that this makes freak blood less acidic, or something). Bleach applies a light damage-over-time effect to freaks, which is easy enough to mend away. There are no warnings when the bleach is about to wear off, so freaks must be sure to stay topped up; taking a sip every three minutes or so seems to keep up well enough. Bleach can be sourced from two key places. The Toxic Dump has a leaky chemical pipe to the far south, which spawns a very small amount of bleach. Some bars, such as those in Weezer and the Necropolis, also sell bleach boys, which contain two doses and can be spam-bought to fill a jerrycan, which is a much more practical choice.

No matter what, freaks can never have more than four implants.

Appearance

Freak adds "On top of all that, %N is a hideous mutated freak." to one's appearance, after all other mut appearance modifiers.