Melting's Manual: Powerleveling in HellMOO
Gotta go fast.
Powerleveling is the practice of getting as strong as possible in as short a time as possible. This is a guide on how to do that. This guide is intermediate-level, and assumes a fair amount of HellMOO knowledge. If you're still accidentally attacking Care Dog or wondering where Weezer is, then go play the game, read some other guides, and come back later. HellMOO isn't going anywhere, and despite its bluster, it's a very forgiving game. It will wait for you.
- 1 Philosophy
- 2 Starting at 0 XP: Join a Corp!
- 3 Hitting 60k
- 4 60k to 110k
- 5 110k to 220k
- 6 To infinity 220k and beyond!
- 7 What Now?
The idea of powerleveling in HellMOO is to reach maximum practical strength in a very short time. Powerleveling is not interested in maximum theoretical or numerical strength. As a rule of thumb...
If you are interested in:
- Grinding and maxing skill levels
- Brags and other cosmetics
- ERP/sexhaving/shitposting/other social play
- Pit PvP
- Long-term, non-rerolling characters (>1 real life year)
Then you should check out Nyll's Grinding Guide, which can be considered an opposing counterpart to this one.
If you are interested in:
- Practical PvP
- Helping newbies
- Learning about the game mechanics and world
- Intensive endgame PvE (Skydock, Das Kochenhammer, Cerb cycling, Nullpack cycling etc.)
- Experimental builds and rerolling characters (<6 real life months)
Then this is the guide for you. There's nothing wrong with either approach; they're just different ways of approaching the same problem.
Starting at 0 XP: Join a Corp!
Joining a corp is not required, but it makes the early game a lot easier. Assuming you do join a corp, try to see who is active and friendly, and see if they'll boost you through some stuff in future.
The rest of this guide lists tasks for you to complete in order to reach maximum XP in a hurry. This list is an "ideal world" set, and completing all tasks is completely unnecessary. Pick and choose according to your means.
The tasks are also color-coded, as follows:
- Green tasks are easy items that even the most hopeless bumblefuck should be able to achieve.
- Gold tasks are either tricky or build-specific. If you're not sure, bring a friend to these.
- Red tasks are jobs that you'll almost always need help from someone to complete at their relevant level.
If you happen to be a zombie, don't worry about this as much. Zombie is a huge crutch that makes the game way easier.
Finally, this guide assumes you are fresh out of character creation and starting at zero XP with no items - if you're not, feel free to skip ahead.
60k is your first big milestone - once you're there, a lot more PvE opens up to you. Never grind mobs at this level, it's not worth your time. Bouncing between journals and staying on top of job cooldowns should carry you up to 60k no problem.
0-60k is a huge range, so the color codes are a little vague here; the range is based on the state of mind you should follow rather than difficulty. Someone at 5k has zero chance of surviving an arachno encounter, but it should be a cakewalk by 55k.
Jobs are high-value; they are easy, quite safe and often give bonus IP in useful skills. Spam them as soon as they come off cooldown. Front-loading these is particularly important, because their XP starts to fall off after 100k. Exact guides on jobs are outside this guide's scope; see the relevant page and ask your corpmates.
- Abortionist. Get a hanger from Doctor Slepian, between Shoreline and Freedom City.
- Corpse Grinder.
- Fisherman. Learn one raw from Salty Pete before you head out, and fish in either North Beach or the Gulf of Stockton (with a float vest).
- Gambler. Spam the slots with a trigger, blackjack's a waste of time. Gives a 150 XP achievement for max completion.
- Medic. Rewards doctor's mirror (+1 medic hat) on max completion.
- Office Worker. Completing this at the same time as Abortionist is practical, since female NPCs cluster in the office.
- Orphan Exterminator. Tedious but worthwhile. Max completion awards a 150 XP journal and contributes to Satanist.
- Prank Caller. Awards a 150 XP achievement on max completion.
- Pusherman. If you scavenge one crank rock in the Crack Mansion, you can break it into a maximum of 16 chunks (three completions).
- Socializer. Some people like to keep these for free clone updates later, but front-loading it nets you 1500 XP total. Your call.
- Whore. Do this job in between doing other jobs; just use your horny whenever it's off cooldown and you're passing through the city.
- Chud Hunter + Sewer Butcher. Use the meats from the former for the latter. Wait until you're comfy taking on chuds/chobos.
- Prisoner Hunter. One step up from chuds/chobos. Watch out for powerattacks.
- Racist Hunter. Wait until about 45k or bring a tough friend if you're not sure about this; racists are much more dangerous than prisoners.
- Dexter. Like prisoners, but they have a lot of dodge. Bring 23 to-hit for consistency and on cooldown.
- Moonshiner. A little tougher than chobos. Make sure to wear armor or bring dodge.
- Ghostbuster. If you have an elemental weapon in your class, this is easy. If not, use EMP grenades, you'll just about break even. Awards Polycarbonate Goggles (+1 Science mask) when maxed out.
- Weezer Feeder. If your mobility is good enough for the Luskentyre to Weezer run, you might as well start this. It has a whopping 20 completions.
- Scam Artist. Requires about 14 persuade; bling helps a lot.
- Shyster. Requires about 17 persuade.
- Utility Worker. Requires about 12 repair.
- Chef. Requires about 12 craft. There are five staple recipes for this: wasteland curry, bacon-wrapped lobstro, cocktail wieners, shambalaya and thornberry meatpie. All the rest are more trouble than they're worth.
- Icehammer/Furrier. Rushy dodge-guns builds can start soloing ice yetis somewhere around 40k, but it's a bit dicey. Best to wait.
- Leechbane. Rock lampreys got buffed, and their damage is brutal now. It's not worth the risk at this level when there's so many other options.
- EEE Deliveryman. Depending on how good your mobility is, you may be able to start this job. Packages for Lurleen and Weezer Village are freebies. Pilot IP, good money and fair XP make this a rather high value job, and on max completions, it will give a 500 XP reward.
- Organ Repo. Requires about 20 medic, but someone else can extract the organs on your behalf. If you rush Brains, you may be able to do this alone.
- Samuel Cumming. Requires a quest completion first. If you can consistently KO the Casino Security Guard, get to Captain Khan and kill him for his .71, or source a gun from elsewhere, you can complete this.
- Oil Baron. With about 20 repair, the right materials and good knowledge of the job, beginning to solo this early is viable and worthwhile. It's a high-value job with a fast cooldown, but it's also easy for things to go wrong, so use your judgement.
- Drug Runner. Any build with musk can do this pretty consistently, though it is still risky. Builds with good early dodge can also do it, but may run into problems if a mob is lingering on Ricky's tile.
- Burglar. Technically, non-pickers can still do this by camping doors, but this job is tedious enough as it is. Worth rushing if you're a picker, and also gives a 250 XP award for max completion, but I usually skip it.
There are also some jobs that your corpmates can boost you through, though you have little hope of doing them on your own.
- Ronin. Has a soft level requirement of about 110k.
- Reactor Tech. If you can find someone to boost you through this, jump on it, but it's pretty rare.
XP "touring" is used as shorthand here for visiting a zone and reaping all of its XP rewards very quickly. These rewards come in three forms: travel journals, kill journals, and quests. Below are various sub-regions in HellMOO; these sub-regions aren't officially classified, so it's just a bunch of vague categories to work with. Team up with a booster, and you can knock them out very quickly. Wiki rules disallow spoilers on quests, so ask around for how to do the various journals.
Many of the kill journals are dangerous and will require someone to boost you through them. If you can't hit them all, don't worry, just stick to travels. The mobs aren't going anywhere. Play it safe in this section! A mob that's safe for someone at 50k is more than likely not safe for someone at 5k. There are also other mobs that could technically be targets but aren't listed here because of their massive impracticality, like chupacabras.
- Das Kochenhammer.
- Needs a pilot. 200 XP for just walking onto a safe platform. Whoop.
- Boosting a <60k through DK sounds hilarious, but is horribly impractical for many reasons.
- The Islands: Stormfront, Refinery, Coventry Island, Exxon Valdez, Kakuri Island, Kakuri Monastery 1st Floor, Kakuri Monastery Basement, Devil's Towers.
- Kills: Devil's Towers Residents, Kakuri Islanders, Kakuri Gatekeeper, Kakuri Initiates, Roshi, Savage Michael, Small/Medium/Large Dinosaurs, Sundews.
- Nodachi is here, in the Kakuri Monastery.
- You'll need a pilot for most of these, though you can take a taxi to Kakuri and Devil's Towers.
- To access the monastery, you'll need to get past the gatekeeper.
- Savage Michael is somewhat hidden, rely on your boost buddy to find him.
- Technically, basilisks and bossilisks are eligible for this, but they are both way too unpredictable for boosting.
- The Jedocean: Shipwreck Cove, Pangu Island, Pangu Mine, Macero, Hei Zhenzhu.
- This requires a boat, which means either grabbing a float vest and stealing one or borrowing one from someone else.
- Cannon is here, on the Hei Zhenzhu.
- Don't fuck with the big crab on Shipwreck Cove.
- Watch out for drunken sailors, big cats and angry tribals on Pangu, and angry farmers and molemen on Macero.
- Unless you have a very nice booster, it's unlikely you'll hustle anyone into helping you with the mobs all the way out here. Don't worry about it, just come back later.
- Heaven and Hell.
- Both of these are spoilers, ask around.
- The Necropolis:Necropolis El, Floodplains and Heart, Southern Necropolis, Camp Benjamin.
- Get a pilot to bring you to these.
- If you've got sufficient map knowledge, testicular fortitude and a float vest, you can also hit the ruined arcade while in the floodplains.
- Boosting through mobs in this zone is way more trouble than it's worth, and you'll probably struggle to find a booster who's willing to do it; the dodge meta has everyone shit-scared of junkers. Just come back later.
- The Southern Expanse: Wasteland, Vault 4, New Clearwater, New Clearwater Sewer System, SpaceOrg HQ, Diablo Seco, Birchwood, Birchwood Heights, Suburban Home, 990 Lambda Way, Glass Mesa, Cybus Industries, Sea of Dunes, Fry's, Gas town, Crater Rim, the Decrepit Farmhouse, the Dilapidated Doublewide, Mountainside, Ashen Valley, Mount Fisty, Screaming Chasm, Maas Neotek, Maas Subway, Glowstiller.
- Kills: Juicers, Armordillos, Beefalo, Chukkas, Kittens, Rednecks, Hepcats, Chutneys, Mountain Rams, Observatory Zombies, Radscorpions, Scorpions, Rattlesnakes, Chomologists, Scavvies, Apparitions, Great Old Ones, Rompers, Deathbots, Chomo Paratroopers, Bootleggers, Flesh Golems, BONGHITZ, Thunderbirds, Lammergiers, Ash Beasts, Sandworms.
- Neutral Observer is here, on Mt. Fisty. Requires good climb or coordinated friends.
- Out of my World is here, also on Fisty. Needs a good hacker to unlock and is also very obscure; don't worry if you can't get this.
- Planetarium Tourist is also here. While it's a prerequisite for Neutral Observer, doing this without going on to do Observer is fine. The code'll probably stay good too, since hardly anyone does this.
- Demolition Man is here, in the Maas Subway. Be ready to heal afterwards. Contributes to Mad Bomber.
- Redneck Nuker is here, in Glowstiller. Newbie need not survive; clones are cheap.
- UFO Mechanic is here, in Crater Rim. Contributes to Mad Scientist.
- Apotheosis is here, in Vault 4. Grab this before you get Twitchy Nerves; watch out for rads.
- Phil's Story is here. The combination never changes once you know it, and there's no need to take the item.
- Knock all these out at once with a radiation suit and a camelback of water. Be careful of heat if it's summertime.
- Watch out for sandworms, radscorpions, turtles, rompers and deathbots.
- Cybus Industries is on the northern edge of Glass Mesa.
- 990 Lambda Way and the Suburban Home are both houses in Birchwood.
- If you're looking for doofsnakes in Death Adder Valley, they were quietly removed and no longer exist.
- Don't underestimate BONGHITZ. He's like the Mr. Bungle of the midgame.
- Killing Thunderbirds and Lammergiers is quite an ordeal and involves lots of climbing and cold gear.
- Finding an observatory zombie is a challenge, because entering the observatory is an esoteric task. Ask around and find someone who knows how.
- Killing bootleggers and flesh golems will require protection from radiation.
- Great Old Ones and apparitions must be found with a PK illuminator and then coaxed out with ghostbait.
- Greater Freedom City: Weyland-Utani Building, Weyland-Utani Building 14th Floor, V Corp Headquarters, Sweaty Palms Suite 1001, Our Dear Lady of Lust, the Sewers, the Subway Tunnels, the sub-sewers, the Cave Complex, the Watery Fissure, the Warehouse, Bradbury Basement, Sharpton Projects, Sharpton Projects Interior, The Maze, The Bombed-Out Building, the Final Rest Home, the Mall (in Gangland), the Nukem Academy, EAGLE HQ, St. God's Memorial Hospital, FUN HQ, Gangland, James Wood Plaza towers 1 and 3, Lanyard Court Fire Station, North Beach, the Triton, the Toxic Dump.
- Kills: Cultists, Slagtown Scumbags, Ganglanders, Stoners, Citizens, Crackbabies, Crackheads, Crackfiends, Hospital Patients, Hospital Nurses, Molegulls, Clowns, Carnies, Mimes, Chuds, Red Chuds, Sea Chuds, Crocodiles, Alligators, Caimans, Old People, Satanists, Stray Dogs, Giant Rats, Small Rats, Sharpton Chobos, Sewer Chobos, Slagtown Monkies, Fuck Chickens, Orphans, Bully Orphans, Otaku Orphans, Babymommas, Poltergeists, Spammers, Bradbury Zombies, Mall Zombies, Celebrity Zombies, Phagelab Zombies, Boomer Zombies, Nerds, Pregnant Teens, Mutant Babies, Mr. Bungle, Toxic Freaks, Sharpton Thugs, Firemen, Karnivores, Tankboys, Chomoninjas, Racists, Moss Monsters, Tentacle Rapers, Grindroids, Drilliacs, Jigsurgeons, Satanist Nuns, Arachno Queens, Arachnotrons, Master Vampires, Footballers, Karnivore Seniors, Lord Belding, Stranglevines, Deep Ones.
- Belly of the Beast is here, in the Bradbury basement.
- Baby Back Ribs 1 & 2 start here, beginning in the Crack Mansion.
- Furnace, Shoggoth Tunnels & Agnes' Secret are all here.
- BrundleCHUD is here, in the Sewers. Requires a friend to cross the bridge.
- Egg Harvest is here, in the Sewers. This chains into Brundlechud really nicely.
- Gun Dealer is here, in Corpclave. Any ranged weapon can hit the targets, it's not just guns - Throw works, as does Science with a mk1-loaded proton pack.
- Cousteau & Sealab Flooder are here, in North Beach.
- Charnold is here, in the Sewers.
- Bounty Hunter is here, in Any Port. Progressing hitman beyond this is a waste of your time unless you're doing a corpless playthrough, in which case it's a vital early source of cash. Contributes to crime boss.
- Soulthief is here, in the Reform Church of Satan. Contributes to Satanist.
- Red Chud Genocide. Wait until you can kill chuds fast. Easier than the regular genocide; they're all in one small area.
- Chud Genocide. If you don't have good Track, get a buddy to help you find them. Contributes to Satanist.
- Crack Bomber is here, in the Crack Mansion. I'm not sure how much bombs this takes; I usually just come back when I have 60 health and facetank the explosion. Contributes to Mad Bomber.
- Corporate Assassin is here. This journal is really underplayed. Talk to 15Mike in the W-U tower.
- Intern is here, in the Weyland-Utani Building.
- Bad Lieutenant is here. Strangely enough, the more active your corp, the harder it is to do this. Try checking the plead list in the courtroom to find a good target.
- Air Supply is here, usually in the Orphanage somewhere, or else scavenged in Crater Rim.
- Hitler is here. With enough patience, anyone can do this, but it's awkward to set up with certain mutations.
- Gleaming the Cube is... kind of here, I guess? Have at least 9 total science unbuffed before attempting. The Cube takes some know-how to run easily, so if you need help on specifics, ask someone who's experienced with it.
- Electrical Engineer is here. Requires about 17 repair, and contributes to Mad Scientist.
- Nerdsecution is here. This got mega-nerfed and is now much harder. Don't try it without a booster.
- Getting to the sub-sewers will require killing the bug queen. Bring your highest-DPS weapon, a pack of smokes, and a lighter.
- The warehouse is in Slagtown, visible on Ammu-Nation. ; the Maze is behind Sharpton Projects, all the way west; W-U 14th floor is reached by taking the elevator to the 12th floor and then going up the stairs; FUN HQ is the bar-type building next to
- The Cave Complex and Watery Fissure are spoilers.
- EAGLE HQ is hidden somewhere in Nukem Academy. Sweaty Palms Suite 1001 is hidden somewhere in Sweaty Palms. V Corp Headquarters isn't hidden at all; it's just northwest of Cialis Tower.
- JW towers 1 and 3 grant 75 XP each for visiting each of their floors. For whatever reason, tower 2 only grants 5 XP per floor.
- Moss monsters, tentacle rapers, and deep ones are all in spoiler locations.
- Do not underestimate Mr. Bungle. There's a reason he gives a unique 250 XP award!
- Getting tankboys, chomoninjas or racists will require that special contracts be signed.
- Chobos and Otaku Kids have associated boss mobs that spawn very rarely, so killing them is luck of the draw.
- Master Vampires can be kind of hard to find, thanks to the supremely industrious Tyrone Belmont. Keep an eye out for them; 400 XP is a big reward. You can find them in Slagtown at night.
- All sewer tiles are dark, so bring belt lights.
- Killing arachnos, arachno queens and arachnotrons will require getting past the bug queen again.
- Killing a poltergeist will require locating one or creating one and then using ghostbait.
- Killing Projects Thugs can be a challenge, because they wander all over a fairly large and labyrinthine zone. If you can't find one, don't worry about it.
- Stay away from Grindroids, Drilliacs and Jigsurgeons unless you've got a tough booster. They have an ability that can steal your weapon, and the ability has no cooldown, so they can spam your fancy gun right out of your hands.
- The Shoreline Set: Shoreline, the Bay of Freedom, the Aphotic Grotto.
- Kills: Molegulls, Mutant Sharks, Master Vampires, Grues, Monstrosities, Chimaera.
- These are the same master vampires as in Slagtown, Shoreline is just another place to look for them.
- I'm counting the Grotto as part of Shoreline here. Some tiles in there have radiation and fear and all are dark, so come prepared with alcohol, belt lights and a radsuit.
- Fighting a shark will require swimming, so grab a float vest.
- Don't wander too far into the Grotto without a booster, the monstrosities will mess you up. You'll also need to kill Gator Boy to get in.
- The Western Road: Chemical Plant, Country Road, Edith's House, the Model Home, Abandoned Highway, the Truck Stop, Lurleen, Lurleen Estates, the Remote Church, the Acres, the Impound Yard, Mountain Pass, Open Prairie, Beatrice Acres, Colossus Silo, Weezer Dam, Takotech Ruins, Cargill Beach, Forest Trail, Haaskel Dormitory, Adamant Canyon East, Canyon Depths, Adamant Canyon West, Botany Bay, Rodger Young, Dragon Hideout, Hellbore.
- Kills: Tuskers, Porcuswines, Abandoned Highway Dogs, Mountain Pass/Open Prairie Bandits, Cave Spiders, Chumans, Cave Chukkas, Cave Slugs, Giant Rats, Giant Bats, Botany Pirates, Yeti, Bunnies, Googlepedes, Beatrice Acres Residents, Apparitions, Ice Yeti, Screamers, Jiang Shi, Rock Leeches, Rock Lampreys, Takotech Freaks, Jacob Sheep, Vampire Bats, Shoggoth Spawns, Chuman Guards, Dragon Thugs, Molemen, Ripperscrubs, Grizzly Bears, Treemen, Silicate Treemen.
- WOPR is here, in the Subway Tunnels. Requires someone with Hyperimmune or a good medic; make sure you gym all your IP first.
- Missile Commander is mostly here. Requires two people, some combat strength, 14+ climb, radiation protection, and someone with 8 brains.
- Edith's Dolly is here, in the Country Road. Bring a ghost trap and three EMP grenades.
- Turing Award is here, in the Mountain Pass. Requires 10 brains to use the machine.
- Matter Compiler is here, in the Chemical Plant. Requires about 15 climb; contributes to Mad Scientist.
- Demon Killer is here, in the Remote Church.
- Basement Dweller is here. Chains into huffer and cobain well. Ironically, the most dangerous part of this is the patch of grizzlies and yetis before the trail; bring musk or dodge.
- Liberator is here. The NPC in this quest is extremely buggy. I suggest just using a portalgun if you can.
- Bring 2 bedrock shelter suits to keep you warm in the cold, and some money for a flight back to FC.
- Have at least 14 climb to get in and out of the Colossus Silo, or else you'll get stuck.
- Cargill Beach is reached by going south along the top of the weezer dam instead of jumping down into the river. Keep following the path.
- The Forest Heart, Ants/Antos and the Ant Queen are all very bad boost targets thanks to their AoE damage and supreme unpredictability. Burninators are also bad because of how fast they swarm.
- The mobs in the mine and the Hellbore are in a dark zone; bring a belt light.
- Reaching dragon thugs will require entering the Dragon Hideout, which is hidden behind a spoiler.
- Getting to Botany Bay, the Canyon Depths and the east side of Adamant Canyon will require about 20 climb or a pilot. Watch out for leeches and specters in the canyon.
- Navigating the Crater Forest will require radiation protection.
- The Hellbore requires a spoiler journal to reach. The mobs down there are tough for this level, so play it safe.
Zone-less XP Rewards
There is a small number of XP rewards that aren't linked to any particular zone:
- Geocacher. This takes some know-how, some climb and some scavenge; ask around.
- Eureka! Requires 18ish science. Contributes to Mad Scientist.
- Hobbyist. See Trophy. There is no reward for collecting more than ten, so don't waste your time.
- Mr. Hands. This quest is a spoiler, and takes place in the dreamworld. Dumbest 150 XP you'll ever get.
- Blind Griefer, Blue Libra Resident. These are two kill journals, both in the dreamworld.
- Huffer, Cobain. Chain both of these into Redneck Nuker or Basement Dweller, since death is inevitable anyway.
- Otaku. Tamagotchis drop in the Orphanage a lot.
- Budd Dwyer. An "inevitable death" achievement for whenever you get an incurable affliction.
- He-man. Amusingly, this does not work if you don't have fists, so be sure to get this before getting any mutations that give you claws.
- Jailbreak and Mob Doc.
- Racketeer. Contributes to Crime Boss.
- Hostage. Contributes to Crime Boss.
- Freeman. You might have some trouble rustling up one of the items.
- Bully. This is very easy, but reaching the location can be a challenge.
- Neurosurgeon. Non-brainy builds have obvious trouble with this.
- Scoop of a Lifetime. This journal is notorious for being a total MF, but if you want it, you might as well get the ball rolling.
If you want to level quickly, it's critical that you're smart with your XP spending, or else your ability will very quickly fall behind the ability that your targets require. Here are the essentials:
- 10 raw weapon skill is every build's first general priority (except rifles and pistols, who can be content at 8+ until endgame/PvP time).
- Get 12 total Scavenge. You need at least this to butcher stuff consistently and find cache boxes and other hidden items. Scavenge is an extremely high value skill and is super cheap to boot; points in it are almost never wasted, though you shouldn't need more than 8 raw at this stage.
- Get 20 Climb, or rush Leapfrog. If you're getting frog anyway, you might as well rush it early in your build, though this will require some help. If you're not, make sure you get 20 climb to navigate the world. Salamander helps with this.
- Get 16 Pilot and a mosquito if you can! Some builds can't easily manage this, but early access to a plane saves you a ton of headaches and time.
- Get Fuck 1. Fuck has this weird stigma attached to it thanks to sexhavers in denial, but it's honestly a real pain to have very low Fuck. Buy the first raw to help with masturbation and the Whore job.
After those, start investing in Dodge. Dodge is an immensely powerful skill, and dodge 15 is much more important than weapon skill 15. However, if you're fists or brawny spears, focus Wrestle instead; dodge is still important for these two builds, but substantially less than with others.
Comprehensive coverage of all mutation options would be a whole guide in itself, but here are some general guidelines:
- Stat-buffing perks should be your #1 priority. If you're fists, for instance, you should be grabbing Brute Strength in a real hurry, quite possibly as your first mutation. This is front-loading your effectiveness - your combat/brainy prowess comes from these stats, and rushing them makes you stronger quickly with no penalty.
- Iron Liver should come early if you're planning on getting it. This perk is ridiculously OP, and provides a ton of mileage both in the early and late game, so you may as well get maximum value out of it.
- Get Leapfrog if it's in your build plan. It gets a ton of extra mileage if you take it early.
- Don't take Fibrocartilage. Classic noob trap. If you get hit seriously enough that your life is in danger at this level, you're either fighting something you shouldn't be or you made a misplay, and that means +5hp won't save you. Besides, clones are cheap.
- Don't get High Density. Or any soak mutations, for that matter. Even if you're getting Nimble Fingers, don't worry about taking HD to offset the weakness at this stage.
- There's an exception: Carebears should consider rushing Rubberskin and Silicone Skin, because Silicone + Carebear reduces death penalties to almost zero.
- Racials. Zombies, Chromemouths and Chuds usually take their respective racial mutation somewhere in this XP range. Freaks usually wait until a little later, and only the most frenetic rushpires take Vampire this early.
Again, this is a big topic, but try not to be robotic about it. Be smart, and judge the context of what you're doing for yourself. If you're about to run Mt. Fisty, then that would be a very poor time to take Fuck Machine; even though that's a stat-buffing perk, it gives -1 climb. Conversely, if you're planning to go Chud, you'll probably want to take that early even though its stat buffs aren't great, because it means you can rush Necropolis content safely.
Money may be tight, and you'll need to keep an eye out for armor and weapons. If you're a tanky brawn/endurance kind of build, grab some tire armor and tank up. If you're dodgy, just go naked. If you're neither, you want triple-layered leather armor. For your weapon, use the best thing you can get your hands on that you can reasonably protect; consult your weapon class's wiki page for specifics.
60k to 110k
This is where running mobs really starts to be worthwhile, so go get 'em. You may well still have some journals leftover from before, too.
Some tougher jobs open up to you now. Good candidates include:
- Dam Repairman. Requires about 17 repair.
- Weezer Feeder.
- Supply Runner. If you can't fly, don't bother with this.
- Lumberjack. See the notes on treemen below. This will require some climb or a plane to get to Botany Bay. Some builds will also need help with the fights.
- Furrier and Icehammer. See notes below on ice yetis and grizzlies.
- Leechbane. You're "supposed to" complete this in the 0-60k range, but lampreys got buffed a while ago, and these days they can one-shot newbies through sky commisar dusters. It's just not worth the risk earlier; they should be safe by this point.
- Drug Runner is good if you're confident in running past or killing the bootleggers. Gives a 500 XP achievement on max completions.
- Cluster hunt/fuck. Stay safe, and watch out for junkers. Chuds and Zombies get double credit for doing this.
- Sleeper escort. This job is a total pain in the ass, but it's worth doing. The first completion also nets a journal.
- Reactor Tech. As far as I know, you can never do this alone, but you're probably tough enough to help with the boss by now. If you're brainy, you can also buff up and do the brainy bits. If you can manage it, definitely do this, it's probably the highest-value job in the entire game right now.
- Heisenberg's Burden. Requires about 15 chemistry.
- Interceptor. Requires maybe 32-ish dodge or enough shot armor to beat up the bad guys.
- The Western Road: Ants, Antopotami, Ant guards, The Forest Heart, the Ant Queen.
- The Forest Heart is a boss, and should be tackled with a friend or two. He does AoE damage, traps people on his tile while in combat, and will be assisted by any surviving treemen in the forest (so kill them all first).
- Ants and antopotami are extremely dangerous mobs. Ballsy fists and brawn-spears builds can solo them early; otherwise, cling to a booster.
- Ant Guards and the Queen should be handled as part of a coordinated party; join some people who are doing ants.
- The Necropolis: Spectres, Necro Zombies, Necro Boomer Zombies, Sky Pirates, Hideous Freaks, FCEF Scouts, FCEF Commandos, Treasure Hunters, Abominations, Usagi Yojimbo, Hellboy, Sky Raiders, Junkers, Seekers.
- Junkers are brutal, and will massacre even endgame players who are improperly prepared. Requires a tough booster. Riflers and brass-balled fisters can start soloing these now if they know the right armor and strats.
- Sky Raiders and Commandos demand full bullet armor because they use guns, shoot fast, and have great to-hit.
- FCEF mobs also use guns sometimes, but a quick pow will take them down fast enough that it doesn't matter.
- Seekers are in the labyrinth, which is cold and dark and does not exist. There's several of them, all named, and each drops a 400 XP kill journal, plus 600 XP for killing any one of them for the first time. On the whole, they're not so hard, but I've marked them as red because gear dropped in the labyrinth will disappear and that's really bad.
- The Jedocean: Macero farmers, macroticks, jungle cats, Pangu pirates, Pangu islanders, macroticks, shipwreck cove small crabs.
- None of these should pose any threat to you by now, but again, try not to die out here.
- Strangely, oil rig workers on the refinery don't have a kill journal, so don't bother going there.
- Chupacabras are in the sky! Knock them out if you have Flight, but otherwise don't bother.
A few more quests are available at this stage. Again, they're all spoilers, so ask about them by name.
- Enlightenment. You might be able to do this earlier, I don't actually know what the cut-off is.
- Null's Salvation. This is really awkward to boost earlier because of spoilers, so just do it yourself.
- Glorified Errand Boy. Requires the ability to ascend Fisty. Watch out for junkers in Necro.
- BSI Admittance. It's not actually possible to complete this alone, and the journal XP has been nerfed heavily. Feel free to skip this if it's too much effort for you.
- Savager Michael. The fights required for this aren't hard, they're just rather spread out.
- Corporate Espionage/Counter-Espionage. Once you know how to do the stuff, this is very easy, but it still requires picking vox platinums. Corporate Espionage also requires a DNI.
- Borealis Crewman. Requires maybe 15 repair, 16 scavenge, and the ability to beat up the crab.
Below are some good mobs worth smacking around. Hopefully by now you'll have the mobility (either a plane or Flight) to start cycling spawns. If you can, dinosaurs to treemen to engineers is a superb way to progress in a hurry.
- Treemen in the Crater Forest scale off hard from 90k to 100k. They're a big jump in difficulty from all previous mobs, but after you get some practice and good beat soaks, they should go down easy. See here for detailed mob info. Note that these resist bleed damage, so Medic builds can't fight them.
- Ice Yetis in Weezer Village. If you can hit about 24+ dodge after your weapon's weight penalty, start killing these. They're weak to fire damage and cannot be parried, only dodged.
- Bootleggers in Glowstiller are really scary. The gunners hit hard, they can't be dodged, the zone's radioactive on top, they have no elemental weakness but lots of health, there's no job attached to them, and they only give 64 XP each. Avoid these unless you really have no other option. See here for detailed mob info.
- Dinosaurs on Stormfront Island can be started as soon as you hit 32 dodge while holding an AR-17 (28 effective dodge). Rifles-only, but this can carry from 60-70k to 150k or so. Avoid the large ones unless you want to do the cover dance (which is trivial if you have Stench), or you have high dodge. See here for detailed mob info.
- Grizzly Bears in Weezer Village are an option for anyone who can tank them with tire armor, parry them (great for spears), or dodge their PC0 attacks (28+ dodge). They're weak to burn, peter out around 110k, and give a lot of money, but are slow to kill and spawn in a very high-traffic zone.
- Diablo Seco Engineers give no money, but they're squishy and quick to cycle. Some of them wield blasters, and Marco can feint, so bring a screech, a frenzy, or a big brain.
- Molemen in the Abandoned Highway are your first gunner mob, terrifying! They're shut out almost completely by caballero armor layered with reinforced kevlar/plasteel, but they , so bring a screech or frenzy.
By the end of this segment, you want all of your critical skills to be well on their way.
- Weapon skill can remain at 10 unless your mutations are gimped somehow; if your tohit feels a bit lacking, bump it up to 12. If you're whips, don't worry about it, your damage sucks from this level on anyway.
- Dodge should be steaming towards the teens by now, but it's a very expensive skill, so don't worry if it lags a little.
- Wrestle for spears and fists is similar to dodge for the other builds, but a bit cheaper. Spearmen have the option of mixing more main weapon skill with wrestle investment, since they get extra oomph out of having good to-hit with their parries.
- Focus should remain neglected by all except focus-heavy freak builds and empath builds. If you're focus whips, start thinking about getting enough focus to use your magic well. Check the mutation pages on this wiki to get a feel for their requirements. If you're rushing empath, get 30 dodge total, drop everything else and then pump XP into focus; you're gonna need it.
- Mobility. If you don't have a mobility option by now, you need to invest in the Pilot skill and a plane; walking around takes way too long. Chuds are exempt from this thanks to their speedy sewer travel.
- Mobility mutations. These are a priority if you don't already have them. Travel mutations are some of the most powerful perks in the game; the choice is so critical that it will shape your entire playstyle, so think carefully! Review the relevant pages on the wiki for an overview on these; I'm planning to write a separate guide on the topic later.
- Freak builds usually mutate freak somewhere inside this XP range.
- Vampire. Most people seem to fall into two camps: 70k or sooner, or 170k or later. Either approach is fine; the former is much harder but much faster.
- Fibrocartilage is a must somewhere in this range, preferably earlier rather than later.
- Firewalker should be in here. It's superb for PvP, vampires, anyone who wants to run ants, and anyone who wants to run El Doggo (more on him later).
110k to 220k
The heart of the midgame. This is where your build really starts to take shape, and is one of the most instructive parts of your progression, as you learn the limits and capabilities of your character.
Jobs start to lose value in this range, sometimes quite quickly. Still, some new jobs aren't affected by fall-off and others are still worth doing:
- Herpetologist. See notes below on Turtles.
- Ronin. Anyone can get boosted through this, but you now have enough XP to do it on your own; at this level, the intsec guards will cower from you. Max out the job and then help newbies complete it themselves.
- Junker Hunter. See notes below on Junkers.
- Entomologist. See notes below on Ants.
- Hellbound Hunter. See notes below on Nullpacks.
The last of the unique kill journals are here.
- El Doggo. See notes below.
- The Guzzoline Fiend used to be here, but he's broken right now.
- The Kraken is a race fight: bring 3-4 people (or 2 dudes with needle rifles) and kill him as fast as possible. He does AoE damage and drops his hides, which are useful for specialized exosuits (great for El Doggo), as well as tentacles which are used for bleed damage on whips.
- FORBIDDEN ZONE mobs. Some of these can be solo'd without any real trouble, but the risk just isn't worth it. See notes below.
There are no new travel journals for this XP range, save for Blink mutants, who would do well to teleport to River Island, Martinez Hills, and Pitcairn Island. If you have great scavenge (32+) you can also do the EOD journal, which is 100% spoilers and contributes to the Mad Bomber achievement.
- Grizzly Bears and Dinosaurs are still OK here; grizzlies go up to 120k tops, and medium dinos are good until about 150k.
- Ants are the first real "party mob"; bring 3 people for your first try.
- Ants are much less of a pain in the ass if you have Firewalker.
- The trick to fighting ants is to make sure they never get to powerattack; wrestlers should grab them as soon as they try (they have very bad brawn and dodge), or else everyone should pow before the ant pow hits (it's very slow).
- If you're soloing, radsuit+leech is the classic gearset. If you're in a party and not tanking, a radsuit alone is fine. Consistently dodging ants takes about 38-40 dodge, and consistently grabbing them takes a little under 30 wrestle.
- Never engage more than one ant at a time! Ants get way, way more dangerous in groups. If you're a wrestler, grab any interfering ants and shove them out of your tile.
- Sometimes you will encounter an antopotamous; these are slower than regular ants, never powerattack, and do great beat damage. They're even less brawny than regular ants, so either grab them or just burn them down.
- The ant guards are just before the queen's room. They don't aggro unless another ant on their tile does. Either use a wrestler to grab and shove them to split them up, or carefully manage cover and powerattacks to take them down safely.
- Ants drop ant carapaces and carapace polyps; these are both used for doing the entomologist job and making some niche armors.
- Nullpacks in the Necropolis' Heart are one of HellMOO's premier XP sources. They require at least 28 dodge (or spears 13+). Armor beyond a gas mask is not necessary, though some people like to run cold gear for the gulf bites.
- No matter the strat, a null tank should have at least 38 dodge, good brains, or a reliable frenzy (Bleeder or a carefully managed scare), because Nullianacs can feint.
- The classic null strat is to focus down the null. Have 3 or 4 guys, attack the null, attack it again when the gulfs interfere, then kill all the gulfs when the null is dead. You'll probably lose some health to gulfs when they frenzy after the null dies.
- The wrestle strat is much better, but harder to pull off. You need a tank with good dodge (40+) to open the fight, and then a wrestler grab the null. Once the null is pinned, both fighters kill all the gulfs and leave the null locked in a grip. This prevents the gulfs from ever frenzying. Once all the gulfs are dead, finish off the null. If the null breaks the grab, just pow him and keep him busy until grab is off cooldown again.
- Basilisks are also great. They require a tank with 40+ dodge and at least 8 brains or a frenzy. They are weak to bleed and radiation damage; bringing an AR-17 with blacktalons makes them a lot easier.
- Duoing basilisks is very viable; a dodgy tank and an AR-wielding DPS is a good combo. Soloing them is a lot harder and will sometimes result in bullshit deaths.
- Bossilisks can one-shot you through any armor in the game, and regular basilisks will just pow, stun you, and then finish you off. Armor is a waste; just dodge or parry them, it's much safer.
- Be careful not to run into the dangerousest mob of all, who wanders around the island at night. He will fuck you up if you walk onto his tile.
- El Doggo is a massive spoiler, but so long as you have 120k XP or so, 60/60 health, and firewalker, you're ready to join a party to fight him as a DPS. He's great XP and has a mixed loot pool: some excellent endgame items and then a bit of junk.
- Joining a cerb stack requires a gas mask. The area is toxic, and the danger is very serious; unless you're a freak, toxicity will fuck you up, no matter how mean you are.
- Tanking the dangerousest mob is much more demanding, and requires good endurance (20+) and truly excellent armor. Full deathgear and a double-kraken exosuit is a good set.
- El Doggo has his own special set of mechanics and considerations; it's best to take him on with someone who's got plenty of experience with him beforehand.
- The guzzoline fiend is broken, at the time of writing, which is a shame because he used to be really good.
- Das Kochenhammer requires a good picker (30+ locksmith/hack) and some detailed knowledge; the Das is its own little dungeon with several mobs. The pirates inside will give you some supplementary XP, but the real prizes here are the bosses, which give unique XP awards and items on death. It's a spoiler to go in-depth on the place, but as soon as you have sufficient bullet soaks and a good brainy, you're ready to take this place on.
- Don't confuse the Das with the Skydock. They're both in the sky and full of sky pirates, but Skydock is way, way harder.
- Each Das boss will only give its item and unique XP reward to one player in the party, so you'll have to come back here multiple times to earn all the rewards. Most people don't bother coming back here after that unless it's to help someone else earn the rewards or just for fun.
- Vampires can run the Das during the day. There's only 3 exterior tiles, and all 3 normally have little to no combat in them.
- Turtles are a chore, but they're worth doing for the shard drops, which are used to make studded armordillo armor and fuel the herpetologist job. The best way to fight them is to wrap up in double slash armor, have good endurance, and spam them with a fast weapon. Don't bother prioritizing damage over speed; you're just fishing for a headshot. Even the beefiest vampire powerattacks can only hit them for about 20% damage through their shell.
- Junkers give great XP right up until about 220k, considering that they're one of the few solo-friendly mobs available. They do great beat damage and are very fast and accurate, but are also weak to beat damage, as well as shot damage.
- If you weren't able to source AnimaCores earlier, you can cut them from the junkers you hunt now and use them for the job.
- For wrestle builds, Junkers are shockingly vulnerable to grabs. Their dodge and brawn is unimpressive, so a strong fists or spears build can hold them in place and beat them.
- Good armor sets to tank junkers include double studded armordillo plus MK gear, or double-titanium exogear.
- Builds which have Nimble Fingers without High Density/Lithodermis and builds which have low Endurance will have excessive difficulty with Junkers, and generally shouldn't bother with them.
- Ash beasts in the Screaming Chasm are viable targets, but they have a ton of tricks up their sleeves, and are able to spew, feint (with good brains), powerattack, grab, and throw people down cliffs. In my opinion they aren't worth the trouble unless you want to be a mob hipster.
- Ashies do lots of burn damage plus some largely unsoakable suffocation damage, so leech armor with firewalker is a good choice.
- Ash beast feints are no joke, and they have focus enough to resist most people's screech, so definitely be either brainy or frenzied while fighting them.
- The Screaming Chasm itself is very hot and has lots of climbs, so bring hot gear.
- Ashies are tanky to everything except the rifles trump card, iceblox.
- FORBIDDEN ZONE mobs are, of course, in the FORBIDDEN ZONE -- a zone that is, yes, forbidden to you! Fallout references aside, this zone is pretty well-known by now but its name is technically a spoiler, so officially this place doesn't exist. The FORBIDDEN ZONE is kind of weird because there's more than one way to run it.
- If you're not triggering security, all you really need is a little dodge, full shot armor, and a weapon with good DPS. With a little practice this can be solo'd without issue.
- The mobs here do shot damage in a few flavors, and drop buckets of XP.
- If you're triggering security and doing the dungeon "properly", you need full shot armor, and at least 30 dodge while wearing it, ideally more. At this XP range, you'll want to be in a party of 3 or 4, with one of those being a good medic.
- The mobs here are the same as above, but also include security mobs, which drop buckets more XP and also have stupidly overpowered drops (free MCM2s, among others).
- If you die in here with stars, you get sent to the Cube, so don't do that. Freaks get a trade-off; on the one hand, they can't go to the Cube, but on the other hand, they're guaranteed to trigger stars. Even after leaving this dungeon, the stars will linger, and if you die outside with the dungeon stars still on, you'll still get sent to the Cube.
- In addition to regular gun mobs, the security mobs have several varieties of melee weapon. Their damtypes are exotic/high enough that they're effectively unsoakable, they can't be parried, and there's too many to crowd-control with so it's dodge all day. Low-dodge builds are completely locked out of this dungeon's security segment, so don't bother.
- The general kill priority is to kill turrets first (they do the most dangerous damage) and kill androids last. Androids are problematic because they do AoE explosive damage on death which is unavoidable and mostly unsoakable (only Silicone Skin takes the edge off; armor does not help). Be cautious about killing androids at the wrong time or you might gib your friends.
- If you're not triggering security, all you really need is a little dodge, full shot armor, and a weapon with good DPS. With a little practice this can be solo'd without issue.
- Dodge and Wrestle. Dodge is brutal, but it must be focused all the way up to 15. Wrestle is more forgiving; wrestlers can call it quits at about 32 total. Eventually you'll want to max it out for PvP and endgame PvE, but it can wait.
- Gun builds should be done maxing dodge somewhere in this range. After dodge 15, the choice depends on your build. If you're brainy, start pumping Medic/Hack/Locksmith. If you're anything else, riflers should focus on hitting 10 for the SCAR-L, while pistols wants 15 for the Shorty and dual-wielding accuracy.
- Weapon skill. Once you've gotten the requisite dodge or wrestle skill, switch back to getting your weapon skill to 15. Some builds struggle to find teachers for this, especially fisters and spearmen. Keep a weather eye on the TV and lean on a medium or Johnny Fiveaces, and you'll get there eventually. If you're not a combat build, weapon skill is less important, so feel free to focus on focus, medic, hack, locksmith, or whatever else you want to invest in.
There are three exceptions to the above:
- Spears builds can get away with a little less wrestle (about 28) in favor of focusing on maxing weapon skill, since their parry bonus does a really good job of keeping them safe. You'll want wrestle 15 at some point, but you can afford to bounce between wrestle and weapon skill.
- Focus whippers should still be balancing dodge investment with some focus. Once you max out dodge, forget about weapon skill and put XP into focus instead. Your power comes from focus, and you can bring your weapon skill back up to speed later.
- Similarly, Empaths should just worry about focus until like 13 raw. They are the most supporty support build of them all, so there's no need to worry about weapons or dodge as much.
mid-lifemid-game crisis. Around this time in the game, bladers start to realize why everyone says blades sucks. There are a few ways around this, but this guide isn't about blades specifically, so it's just a few notes:
- BRW and BRN blades have a lot of problems with defense, and while is good, it's no replacement for not losing health in the first place, and doesn't guard from things like KOs and shock. END blades is tankier and can make better use of , but is in the unfortunate position of being an END build that can't hold . SEN blades is kinda like whips, but with a worse selection of parry classes and only one very rare weapon.
- BRW blades can kind of get by through investing in wrestle and grabbing things. Unfortunately, this means you can't use the shiny 2h blades.
- BRN blades has some cheesy strats attached to it, but outside of very particular builds, it functions just fine in a support setting. Get good Medic, etc.
- END blades makes a pretty good tank. Between and all native resistances from END, you can get stuff done.
- SEN blades is just another dodge build, so get a lot of dodge and try to avoid tanking things that aren't PC2+.
To infinity 220k and beyond!
Things will start to slow down here, but that's alright: you're probably reaching maximum strength by now anyway.
- The FORBIDDEN ZONE is the standard choice in this range now. Once you have the workflow down, no other source can compete with the inflated XP and relative lack of danger. It's also vampire-friendly! The downsides are the lingering stars and the general opinion that compared to nulls and others, it's rather dull. Most people run this place at full whack in a party of 3, but if you're doing a no-security run, soloing is perfectly viable.
- Basilisks and Nullpacks used to be the gold standard here, but their XP loses out to the FORBIDDEN ZONE these days. Their drops are also less valuable than FZ drops, despite having direct monetary value; FZ drops are more valuable in the long run. Still, they're both good to run when you've had enough of FZ.
- El Doggo never stops being good. Some setups can solo him, but three or four endgamers can stomp him with no real trouble. He gives 400 XP per solo kill, and 240 if you're part of a 4-stack. His drops never go out of style, either.
- Das Kochenhammer? Given the effort involved, the commisars give unimpressive XP, but this dungeon is also just really fun, and a great way to help noobs learn party combat.
- Ants, Turtles and Treemen give you next to nothing now, but they do have their uses if you can solo them in good time. Cutting sufficient drops from them to satisfy the job (barks for Lumberjack, carapaces for Entomologist) and giving them to your budding corpmates is a great way to help them reach max strength quickly. This isn't an entirely selfless effort: by this stage in the game, you will be starved and crying out for strong people to play with.
- Junkers are a slow-but-steady XP source in the early part of this range, making them good for soloing if you have nobody to group with. You can boost corpmates with AnimaCores, too.
- Plane crafting is a big part of the very late game. HellMOO's craft system is very simple, conspicuously powerful, almost risk-free and (frankly) a bit dull. If you aren't a brainy build, you probably haven't done any crafting before now, but it's a sufficiently OP strat that many builds go outside their normal scope to do it. Here's a quick run-down; I'm not interested enough in this to write a comprehensive guide.
- Get the schematics for what you want to make (turboprop engines, cessna skywagons, patton supa-liftas).
- Scavenge the constituent parts to make the item. Some items are broken down to get their parts, while other times this just involves visiting a zone and searching it until you get what you want. The scavenging is the only possibly-dangerous part of this.
- Put all the items in front of an aerocrafting console.
- Buff up to the requisite 20 science and 20 brains, using implants, caffeine, lab coats from the Weezer shop, carapace scrubs from J'Ink in Crater Rim, and Polycarbonate Goggles from maxing out the Ghostbuster job (may require some XP spending).
- Buff up on both Peyote and Psilocybin mushrooms for a 10% XP bonus (the Iron Liver perk has a hidden, very high resistance to psilocybin, so IL mutants can stick to peyote alone for 5%).
- Craft the engine/plane and then sell it, either to Bosco in Corpclave or on tradenet.
- Skydock! You can do this earlier, really, but chances are you won't have enough armor and contacts to do it until now. Skydock is a dungeon in the sky, which awards several unique rewards, plus a deathsuit.
- Much like the Das, the Skydock's rewards only drop once per person per kill, so you'll need to return several times for everyone to get the rewards.
- Skydock has tough armor requirements: both beat and shot soak are a must. I'm still working on nailing down the specifics of some top-tier compositions, so watch this space. Opportunities to run this dungeon don't come up very often. For now, here's a couple sets I've tested and confirmed:
- Triple MK I tac vests and jorts, double plasteel greaves, double studded armordillo gauntlets and galoshes, turtle shredding helm, Lithodermis.
- Caballero jacket and pants, studded armordillo doublet and trousers, studded armordillo gauntlets and galoshes, reinforced kevlar gloves and boots, double-ceramic exohelm.
- Skydock requires a Flight mutant to enter practically; the mutant must land on the skydock, check the FoF indicators for the FoF code and then relay that to everyone else, who can fly in and dock with the skydock using that code to avoid the flak.
- Bringing 5 endgame people to Skydock is totally reasonable. So many guns in one place, each dealing unsoakable, undodgeable damage, is very scary! Take it slow.
- The final boss fight is one of HellMOO's toughest fights, and it's significantly tougher for anyone who took Nimble Fingers without going HD/Lithodermis, so be careful. The lead guy is pretty mean with his crime sticks.
- The tube taxi thing in Skydock is dubiously coded, so be careful with it. It's possible to both start an infinite nausea chain with it and to get stuck in its transition tile indefinitely.
The game is almost completely open by this stage, and you should have your weapon and defence skill (dodge or wrestle) pretty much cleaned up by now. What you invest in now is up to you: what do you want?
- Spears builds may want to invest in Dodge now. This makes parrying easier by subtracting from your enemy's to-hit, but don't worry about maxing it out. About 10-12 raw is fine.
- Focus is a big one for PvP builds. You want about 20 Focus for Screech, Clairvoyance, Fuck Machine, Salamander and Writhing Smoke, 26ish for Carrie, 17 for Phaser and 32+ for Blink. Medium and to a lesser extent Clairvoyance never stop getting additional value from high focus. Even builds that are not Focus-oriented should still invest in Focus, because having Focus helps resist the effects of Focus mutations used against you.
- Torture is a sorely underrated skill. Crits are so, so good and Torture is super cheap. Whips, Spears, Blades and possibly Fists should max out Torture for the crit bonus. Rifles, Pistols, Medic and Clubs get no real value out of Torture.
- Medic should be a priority for brainy builds, but everyone wants to hit 15 total medic eventually for defibbing and general doctoring. Brainy builds should seriously consider getting 15 raw. My heart melts every time I meet a maxed-out medic with a medigun. Some builds, notably brain-dump zombies and vampires with Ripper, have such hopelessly bad medic that they can justify giving up on this skill entirely.
- Locksmith and Hack are key for brainy builds. This is even good for carebears, who can use the skills to get into the Das, Ricardo's pad, Cialis and the chatsubo. For PvP builds, having the threat of an active picker in your corp is enough to make a good 70% of the HellMOO player base shit itself at the sight of a yellow zone.
- Teach is always a good one to have. If you're not brainy, you'll want to get this to 15. You still probably won't be able to teach fists 15, but hey, you tried.
- Scavenge is a good investment for any build that has good focus, since they rely on the same stats. If you can hit 32+ scavenge, it's a good time; you can do EOD, scavenge with extreme efficiency, and just about anything.
By this stage, you should have all of your really important mutations. If you haven't gotten your soak mutations by now, you might as well get those. Most PvP builds will want to grab Focus mutations if they haven't already: Screech, Writhing Smoke and Carrie, if not for the abilities themselves, then for the focus skill boosts they grant. Beyond that, it's just minor bonus mutations like Xray Vision and Plant Whisperer.
Nice going. Hit 220k and you're ready to go, for the most part. After that, it's a matter of gaining as much XP as you want to max out accessory skills or whatever else you want to invest in. From here on, the game's your oyster. Check out the Scoreboard if you want to fish for brags, hit up some yellow/red zones to fish for PvP, explore the game world and its plethora of fascinating content and fascinating bugs, spend obsessive and unhealthy amounts of time writing guides for other players, or just sit around ERPing and talking about how very experienced and strong and good you are. Have fun!
Since this guide was written, some aspects of the game have changed, with some of those changes being quite important. The good news is that most of these changes aren't relevant to the specific topic of power-leveling, so they don't affect this guide too much. However, some topics are relevant:
Nobody needs to buy endocrines anymore, and HP rises to 45 automatically (+5 from Fibrocartilage). This makes leveling easier because it removes the money-sink that endocrines were, leaving that cash to be spent on implants and gear. The downside is that the last 10 HP, from 50 to 60, is nonexistent for most players. It requires a weird recipe that only dedicated crafters will really make, which keeps the +10 in control of brainy players... Who, ironically, are the ones least in need of extra health, since they get exposed to less danger than any other build. In theory, this should be balanced out by brainies crafting endos to sell them. In practice, money is very common and endos are very rare, so nobody sells and everybody hoards.
The upshot of this is that most of the MOO in 2021 just walks around with 10 less HP than they used to, except for elite players at the very top of the economy (mega-crafters and their immediate friends). This is an "it is what it is" kind of problem, but for power-leveling, it doesn't matter too much; 50 is enough to get by.
The crafting system got reworked, and now has a sort of equivalent of kill journals; your first time crafting a given item will award an extra XP reward. I haven't really discussed this in the main guide because it's a pretty cut-and-dried issue: For the specific purpose of powerleveling, scavenging and crafting is still usually slower than killing until endgame, and also produces less consistent resource gains. The extra XP also isn't all that necessary because brainy builds require substantially less skill investment than combat builds (thanks in large part to Brainslug).
Rifle Elemental Nerfs
Obviously this is only relevant to Rifles builds, but the short version here is that this affects powerleveling progression less than you might think. Here's a few pointers from my post-nerf Rifles experience:
- Thumpers and tsap don't do much to ghosts now, so swap to a KSG loaded with incendiary shells, it chews 'em up.
- Since most rifles got nerfed and the ectoblast EMP shotgun did not, its relative power level has gone up, once you get the ammo workflow down. In particular, it's excellent at grabbing antopotami with one hand and shooting them with the other, and excels against El Doggo.
- Grinding turtles down takes slightly longer now because iceblox don't chip away at them as easily, so you're more or less fishing for headshots like everyone else. SCAR-L all day.
- Generally speaking, the standard before was "use iceblox for everything"; now it's "use handloads for everything". They're a bit less effective but they still do the job.