Credit for banner: SumO
So first of all, this isn't going to be a guide on how to speed run Tmaps. This guide will serve to show that the barrier to entry for MOST Tmapping isn't cost but simply lack of information about the system itself. By the end of this hopefully you'll feel more comfortable grabbing a friend or two and venturing out to dig up some loot and have some fun even if you're fairly new to the server.
So lets talk about the steps to completing a map starting with characters.
Suggested Character Breakdown:
Character 1: Cartographer to decipher maps. Isn't involved in the actual mapping process. You just need someone to decode the maps and stay at home.
Character 2: DPS to kill mobs, optimal to make this character dig up the chest also (imo) so he has easy access to context menu options while fighting mobs
Character 3: Picker to open chest, this character gets the chain XP and credit for the chest. I personally combined character 2 and 3 into one char using a trapper as my main form of DPS and utilizing his fortune aspect bonus for picking and the buff for extra loot from the chest. It's expensive but if you're doing a lot maps, it's worth it. This also combines all XP from mobs and from the chest into one character creating a sort of "XP hog".
One or more of your chars should have tracking!!!
Any additional chars should basically be extra PvM DPS or PK protection in my opinion.
Deciphering the map:
You don't need to, nor should you, decipher the Tmap on the same char you do the map on. The process of deciphering a Tmap and completing a Tmap are 100% separate. I would suggest having an alt character that you use for deciphering and save skillpoints on your actual Tmapping build. You need the cartography skill and a spyglass to decipher the maps. Double click the spyglass and target the map. The colour of the spyglass matters as a bonus to your effective cartography skill. Cartography is fairly cheap to train and the skill scrolls aren't very expensive so I personally took my character straight to 120 cartography and used bronze spyglasses which gave me the ability to decipher all maps level 1 through 6 to 100% accuracy. I would personally never try to find a map that wasn't deciphered to 100% accuracy.
Figuring out the location:
For a lot of people this is the most time consuming part. There's no trick to it, the more you do it the better you get. Below is a copy of my personal zone map you can save to your PC or utilize here. There are more commonly used zone maps and runebook systems that can be found online as well with very little searching. The reason I've released mine is I believe it to be the most accurate in terms of getting you to the location.
Edit: If you've never checked out the amazing map created by Manik which can be found at https://www.exploreoutlands.com now you have one more reason to! He's recently added functionality that allows you to take a snippet of the map itself and upload or paste it to the website and it will instantly show you the location and number in either my numbering system or the old system! (make sure to check which system you use on the left side to show the numbers and zones on the actual map itself)
How to snip and paste map:
One public library exists near Terran Moongate, shown below:
Finding the actual spot to dig for the chest:
This one can be slightly tricky unless you've done a lot of maps. I'll provide an example below.
In the above picture is a 100% deciphered Tmap. The chest is always JUST to the right of the X. Use empty patches of trees, water, rocks, pathways, buildings... Anything you can to help orient yourself. Below is the rough visual of this particular chest in the actual world.
Digging up the chest:
First thing to note is that the chest has two context menu options. One pulls the spawn back to the chest in case the mobs gets lost behind a wall or stuck in a weird terrain glitch and you can't get to it (this has limited uses, dont waste it). The other destroys the chest when you're done. The character that digs up the chest is the only char that can use this context menu. It's very handy to dig on a char that will be alive throughout the process of completing the map and able to use the context menu (single click the chest to access it).
Any character can dig up the map, no skills required, but as mentioned above the context menu being readily accessible is handy.
Two things need to be on your character to dig up a chest. The map and a shovel.
I personally use a bronze shovel as the cost/benefit/availability of bronze ingots is ideal in my opinion. A common misconception is that the mining skill is required for digging or increasing your dig radius. Mining, in my opinion, is useless as it pertains to Tmapping. Skills are valuable, a few extra gold for a bronze shovel vs an iron one is negligible. A higher coloured shovel will provide a larger dig radius and the opposite is true of a lower coloured shovel. It's very easy to make a macro to use a shovel every 600ms and run around digging until you find the chest, especially after you do it a few times and get better at the initial guess.
While digging up the chest you are paralyzed, can't recall/gate/teleport/use adventurer's rope etc and 100% vulnerable. Due to this, you are easy pickings for spawn native to the location of the chest. I personally have a water elemental (no summoning required) guard me and draw all the aggro. You can also simply kill the spawn before you dig. The actual spawn that the Tmap itself spawns will spring into existence when the chest is fully out of the ground and at this point you are free to move again.
Killing the spawn from the chest:
To do this you need some form of DPS. That can be a trapper for AOE damage, a dexxer, a tamer, a summoner etc etc. Whatever you choose, just know that the longer you spend between digging and recalling out with the loot in hand the higher your chances of being raided are. Pick the quickest method that is also within your price range at the time. For example trapping becomes really effective with high tier fortune armour, 120 tinkering/Detect Hidden and a few damage links in your chain but that's a hefty chunk of change depending on your bank account. If you don't do a lot of maps that build might not be worth the investment to you.
The number of mobs/difficulty of the overall spawn seems to rise with the map level but you can spawn any mob from any level of chest. Although rare, a spectral terror can spawn from a level 1 chest. Having someone to call in or being able to handle even the toughest mobs will make life a lot easier.
Removing Traps and Picking the chest:
Note: you cannot start to remove traps or lockpick the chest until all Tmap mobs are dead. Can't skip them, have to kill them all.
Below is a guide to what values you need for both Remove Trap and Lockpicking at each Tmap level 1 through 6. Above level 6 maps are created using research materials, spawn a boss level mob and are not practical to do solo or even as a small group of 2-3 players. If you're running T8s you should probably have a decent sized guild behind you and know what you are doing.
The above grid on the left shows success percentages for the various map chest levels using NON-GM store bought iron tools. Add up all your bonuses from the right side, including fortune bonus, GM or non GM tools and colour of the tools used and subtract that from the number you need in the lefthand grid and that's the actual skill your char needs to have in their skills gump for that percentage of success.
1) you have a 100% success rate to both remove traps and lockpick on a lvl 4 Tmap chest with 100 Remove Trap and 100 Lockpicking while using NPC bought tools. No bonuses needed.
2) Now let's say you want to save skill points on that template and you spring for GM iron tools.
100 - 10 = 90 required skill. You will now only need 90 in both remove trap and lockpicking. You just saved yourself 20 skill points on your build (10 from lockpicking, 10 from remove trap).
Let's say you can afford fortune aspect and you've previously leveled it to tier 13. You have +10 from GM iron tools and +16 from tier 13 fortune for a total of 26 effective bonus.
100 - 26 = 74 required skill. You will now only need 74 in both remove trap and lockingpicking for a savings of 52 skill points.
Training remove trap and lockpicking is incredibly easy and cheap up to 100 skill. Above 100 skill the only real cost is in the skill scrolls. If you mess around with the numbers you'll see that you can make a tmapper to run lvl 4 and below TMaps for almost no cost. This is what I meant when I said the barrier to entry really isn't cost and more just understanding how it all works and being confident to go do the map. You'll also quickly realize that in order to complete a lvl 6 map for example you need at LEAST 20 effective skill bonus from the right side of my picture to get 100% success even with 120 skill in both remove trap and lockpicking (I wouldn't be doing maps regularly with less than 100% success chance as you'll fall prey to traps while using tools, but that's up to you).
The majority of the maps in the market are lvl 4 and below. Making a picker that uses iron store bought tools, no skill scrolls and no aspect is perfectly viable for beginning players.
Fortune aspect not only boosts your effective skill for both lockpicking and remove traps but it also increases the amount of gold in the chest and loot item drop rates. If you're going to do a lot of Tmaps it's worth investing in Fortune Aspect in my opinion.
The fortune bonus for gold/item drop as well as mastery chain bonus for gold/item drop of the person who performs the LAST LOCKPICK are applied to the chest loot. This character also gets a signifcant amount of fortune aspect exp, gets credit for the chest completion via server rankings and receives mastery chain xp for the gold inside the chest.
There are two methods to remove traps and lockpick a chest:
First method: Double click the chest and a gump will open with gump options. This method reveals you if you are hidden when you double click the chest to access the gump but otherwise is simpler to create a macro for and easier to do without a macro
Second method: Double click your tools and target the chest. This method does NOT reveal you if you are hidden while doing it and allows you to stay hidden all the way through the picking process. Much harder to create a macro for but I went this route as it didnt require another cast of invis or use of hiding which saved me more than once while fighting off PKs and having my picker go full steam ahead on the chest without them even knowing he was there.
Looting and loot amounts per map level:
Note: Anyone who interacts with the chest in any way (removes traps, lockpicks, double clicks, or loots an item) that is not in the digging characters party or guild will flag as criminal
To loot the chest you have two options. Manually loot it or add all the possible items to a restock agent and use it to target the chest. I prefer the second as it's automated and you can precast recall and hold the targeting cursor up while the restock agent loots the items making for a much more successful getaway if getting raided. A character that suddenly pops out of invis and instantly pre casts recall while simultaneously initiating a restock agent is MUCH harder to stop than someone who has to cast recall after being visible for the duration of looting the chest.
Certain loot amounts within the chest are fixed and other loot varies depending on the character's bonuses (fortune, chain links, wilderness region bonuses) who performed the LAST PICK.
Core and skill scrolls are random and to my knowledge are not weighted. Meaning you have 13 core types (currently) so you have a 1 in 13 chance it will be any particular type of core in your chest. Same for skill scrolls except 1 in 32 chance (currently).
Loot per map level:
lvl 1 map - 1 aspect core, 1 skill scroll, 1 arcane scroll, 1k gold, assorted unidentified magic items, special and rare loot chance
lvl 2 map - 1 aspect core, 1 skill scroll, 2 arcane scrolls, 2k gold, assorted unidentified magic items, special and rare loot chance
lvl 3 map - 2 aspect cores, 2 skill scrolls, 3 arcane scrolls, 3k gold, assorted unidentified magic items, special and rare loot chance
lvl 4 map - 2 aspect cores, 2 skill scrolls, 4 arcane scrolls, 4k gold, assorted unidentified magic items, special and rare loot chance
lvl 5 map - 3 aspect cores, 3 skill scrolls, 5 arcane scrolls, 5k gold, assorted unidentified magic items, special and rare loot chance
lvl 6 map - 3 aspect cores, 3 skill scrolls, 6 arcane scrolls, 6k gold, assorted unidentified magic items, special and rare loot chance
You have a CHANCE to find items like wilderness lanterns, cloth, rare coloured footwear, chest antiquities, skillballs, extracts, research materials, mcds, wilderness spell hue deeds, hair dyes, beard dyes, carpet dyes, shield dyes etc etc etc
You will make money running Tmaps. How much depends on how much you sell the loot for, whether you buy or find the maps, how many you lose to PKs etc.
Hopefully this guide, although long and in depth, has given you all the info and courage you need to stop selling every map you find and start enjoying this portion of the server's content.
Feedback and constructive criticism more than welcome below
I have decided to release my scripts along with a foolproof instructional video explaining exactly how to get them off the ground and working for you. I am not offering script support for these scripts. The video shows exactly how and where to put the files and how to do the very minimal setup required to have the razor profile off the ground in minutes and ready to map. Watch the video in its entirety and enjoy!
I'm also including my skills, aspect level and chain used in the video and in my day to day mapping. The lockpicking links are to take me from 95 to 110 effective skill which is then bolstered by t13 fortune to 126 effective skill and then again increased by using bronze GM tools to a total effective skill of 140 for both lockpicking and remove trap which is the required amount to have 100% success chance on lvl 6 maps and below. Trap damage links are self explanatory.
Please download the zip folder attached to this post and watch the video explaining it all here:
Click here for video
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