Kaerella's Blog - stardate April 2008 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down...so the month continues from the top!
An Expensive Purchase - April 16th

Kaerella didn't do any fighting again, but she did do some purchasing... one of my characters was doing a bit of merchant-browsing in Cariae-1 Randol and came across a level 50/52 set of Healer armour for 22 million gold, so I swiftly swapped over to Kae, and dived in.  The Grawind Circlet was only +3, but the Jerontices Shirt and Puntrys Gloves were +4, the Puntrys Boots were +6, and the Jerontices Skirt was +10, so for a full set, not something I'd seen recently, it seemed decent value.  I used 7 lucky good quality smelting stones to get it all up to +6.  I still need a level 49 scepter, though, I've not seen one of those.  Thank goodness for all those experience and effort scrolls I got during the Valentines chocolate bar event, and subsequently sold, or I'd never have been able to afford such armour.

Keerella on the other hand was busy fighting, after getting the quest reward for the ten Orc Ornaments - 380,000 experience equated to 4.09% of the way towards level 31, which was a good start.  I then went out to the extinct volcano in Merac in the afternoon, and reached level 31.  At that point the Butchers' names turned green, indicating that they no longer give as much experience as they did when I was a bit lower; well, they are only level 28!  So, after putting on the new Chaos Shirt and Chaos Skirt I'd brought with me (both +4), which I could now wear without penalty, I moved back onto the main south-westerly road, and went down to the Bandits and Berserkers.

Kae used to go there a lot when she was in the early to mid thirties, so I can be pretty sure that the Grand Red Dragon is unlikely to turn up.  It is a busier spot, so I ended up teamed with a knight and a sorcerer.  The sorc, Firefg, was pushing it a bit being there at level 16, he may get good experience but he'll miss out on the oh-so-necessary skill points.  If I'd been one level higher, he'd have been out of luck, as if the difference in levels in a team exceeds 15 then the low-level character gets no experience.  He also pushed things a bit by not doing all that much fighting, and taking some "afk" periods.  As I've been made a mug of before by leachers saying "brb" and then sitting there while other people, or just me, fought, with them taking half the loot and half the experience, I now make it my regular practice to move out of compass range when someone goes afk, so they don't get an unearned share, and I mentioned that to the knight.  Firefg then got really cheeky by going afk while "locked on" to me, so that he followed me closely but did nothing to help.  Luckily it was about time I logged out for food - I resisted the temptation to lead him somewhere dangerous before logging out. I must say that later in town I heard him being very helpful to some lower-level character, though. It was fun to be back in my old haunt, and this time to be the one supplying the horse buffs.

The evening's session was a real marathon.  Rasta's knight, Rastaknight, joined Jacqui and me at Dratan's Prokion Temple, for Orc Sergeant-bashing, as we attempted to get enough Orc Ornaments for Jacqui to complete the same quest.  After that the three of us moved over to Merac, and the same Bandits and Berserkers spot I'd been in earlier...but as Ras had a dragon, we could gather ludicrously large mobs, maybe forty or more Bandits and Berserkers, and deal with them.  It was great fun, and went on rather later than usual.  At the end I'd gone up 35%, and 3179 pet points, and 72 skill points - just enough to get me to the 151 I need to "max out" Spell Focus.  Now that I've done that, I can start saving up skill points for when I reach level 32. It doesn't matter if I can't afford level five of every new skill from the moment I reach level 32, there is a limit to the number of skills one can fit on one's bar after all, but one wants to get there fighting fit.

More Mobbing - April 17th

Just an evening session today - though I do start my evenings fairly early.  Some "afk" farming and mining had been achieved earlier, but checking on the computer every ten minutes to see if the activity needs restarting isn't exactly thrilling stuff, though it's nice to be actually playing the game while still working. It was Keerella again; Kae only made one very brief appearance to officially recruit Jacqueline into the Norcaine guild.

Kee started with a solo stint against the Bandits and Berserkers at the usual spot not too far outside Merac Caron, but when Jacqueline appeared, we teamed up - and Jacqui, being impatient to get to level 32, wanted to go for the Gnoll Soldiers, which at level 41 are ten levels ahead of us, and so give more experience but less skill exp.  So we hopped off to there, which is still where Kae at level 42 still farms for skill points.  After a while I did at least manage to move us along slightly to the level 39 Gnoll Lancers, who die more quickly and give about 10% more skill exp.  Jacqui did actually suggest a trip to a Giant Larva of her acquaintance, but I took a leaf from Rasta's book and just stuck my tongue out.

Anyway, Jacqui's experience suitably boosted, we went back to a good source of Berserkers and Bandits just slightly further away from Merac down our road than the usual set, and got to mobbing them.  We didn't have Rastaknight and his dragon this time, and Jacqui did have to do a bit more healing, but again we were collecting rather large quantities of the critters, heading off in different directions and then meeting up again in the middle.  My Flame Storm as usual was rather useful, though it would be better if it hit everything, rather than just four targets.  Jacqui, who had already made her choice to become an Archer rather than a Cleric, did level up to 32, as she is still around half a level ahead of me.  We continued our round-ups, until, when I'd got at least twenty enraged Berserkers and Bandits chasing after me, Jacqui wasn't where I expected her to be - in fact, checking the "W" map, she was nowhere in the area at all.  As she handles the healing, this was a little unfortunate, but I just ran on, and managed to deal with the most persistent half-dozen bandits after the others gave up the chase, though my health went down to less than a third.  Jacqui had in fact nipped back to Randol to spend her skill points on the new skills she got access to when she levelled up...by the time she typed in that she was going to do that, I must have already been rounding the critters up, heheh.

That was almost my logging-out time, so after another couple of slightly smaller mobs in the location we met up at, it was time to call it a night.  I had managed to get 51 skill points towards the number needed for my new skills in a little over 40%'s time, which is a start, though not enough to justify starting going on trips to Egeha the minute I level up.  In all Kee went up almost 36%, and my drake went up to level 28, so steady progress.

50% Extra Free - April 18th

Whew, Keerella was busy today, spending all afternoon soloing the Berserkers and Bandits in Merac, and then spending all evening there with Jacqueline mobbing them!  I did have three disconnections, but the location is so near to Merac Caron that the annoyance is minor.  On one of my respawnings in Randol I took the opportunity to take my second profession, Wizard, and then a little later when I had gone up to level 32 I spent some skill points with the Mage Trainer in Merac on some of my new skills, going for the passive ones first.

We did try to collect a mob of as many Bandits and Berserkers as we could, while leaving a few around close to any other players, though generally they were just passing through.  Only one player, a knight called Waterblade, was a bit nasty, and, although he'd not been around when we collected that particular mob, got on his dragon and used its flame breath to "ks" us.  Jacqui has him on her list of people to remonstrate with pointedly if met in a PvP server!

The Tea-time event started almost half an hour late at 5:30 UK time, and was still going at around ten past ten when I logged out.  It was meant to be 50% extra experience, skill exp and pet points, but I think they found that they couldn't actually do that with pet experience; doubling pet exp means the counter ticks by with two points instead of one, so one-and-a-half would have been a bit tricky to arrange.  So I'm pretty sure we ended up with double pet points, which was useful.  My drake levelled up to 29, he was busy so long that he is almost starving, I think.

We are starting a special Spring Event, which means that cherry blossom petals fall like snow in Randol, and we get special drops of Compost, all nicely wrapped up in Christmas-style gift boxes.  If one takes one's supply of Compost to the Gardener in Randol (between the Moon Statue and the West Gate), he exchanges them for Cherry Boxes... and if you double-click on one of those, you may get a Heaven Stone, or a Crystal of Experience (Greater), or one of a number of less desirable items, such as a Potion of Haste.  I'm not sure if the Boxes, or the Compost, can be sold, I'll have to do some window-shopping.  The two top items must be rare, as every time somebody gets one, there is an announcement at the top of the screen, and those don't happen very often.

So, including the afternoon session I added a massive 69% experience.  I'm 26 skill points ahead on the day, but I did spend quite a few!  My drake got up around 8000 pet points...

Keeping Busy - April 19th

It was Keerella's turn to spend masses of gold today, buying a +4 Sparkles Staff at a rather high 3.8 million gold from a mage called DarthVixen - that's a level 37 weapon, so it won't be long before Kee, I, can use it, probably after adding a pair of Lucky Smelting Stones to get it up to +6.  I also spent 6.6 million gold on three pieces of the next set of armour, the Allunin outfit - I got them from Damor, actually, who I found in merchant mode in Cariae-1.  The +4 gloves and +4 robe were remarkably cheap at 800,000 each, and I'm sure, knowing Damor, that 5 million for the +6 boots is a good price, for some reason boots seem rare in the 40/42 and 45/47 sets - this being the former!

A fair amount got done in the afternoon, but it was a bit bitty; after using 60 skill points to get level of Staff Mastery (increasing my magic attack from 366 to 374) I went off to Dratan to do the quest to kill 35 Death Goddesses, which was simple enough; I had been holding it back in case Jacqueline wanted to do it with me, but she had done it one evening after I logged out.  Doing as she normally does, in an attempt (successful) to avoid Kamira, I kept moving through the area they were in, rather than farming a small number repeatedly.  I even got my first Salamander Tail, though I don't know if I have the patience to get ten of them. The reward, in experience, for that quest was 460,000, which moved me up by 3.37%.  I then did a couple of errand-boy quests in Merac, to Grand Magician Minearm and, out to the east of town, Rau - between them they added another 460,000. Then I went to the usual spot for Berserkers and Bandits, but the Grand Red Dragon showed up...over on the far side of the area from me, so that I didn't get the "Has Arrived" announcement, but it was enough to persuade me that going off and doing something else was a good idea. 

The evening was another team-up with Jacqui; we met at the usual Berserker/Bandit place, now dragonless, and after she applied the horse buffs and I added Mana Shield to boost our running speed, I ran off and collected the usual huge mob - only to find that Jacqui had moved off along the road half a mile.  So I had to navigate via the "W" map, with the Berserkers and Bandits pounding along at my heels, passing a few other players, to link up again.  It all adds to the interest!  We settled down and owned quite a few mobs, though Jacqui had to take a couple of leaves of absence; sadly though she lost her connection after a while, and wasn't able to get back.  I hope the laptop didn't overheat too badly...or maybe a power cut?  I kept going, anyway.

Level five of Staff Mastery will take 216 skill points; I ended the day with 58 of them.  Hopefully Sunday teatime will give double skill points, I'll need a boost.  I voted for it on the Last Chaos website - and got a bonus of 50 aeria points for so doing, which apparently happens sometimes at random, to encourage voting.  I think I'll put them towards a 30-day increase in the size of warehouse storage, my inventories seem to have a lot of spare bits of armour that might come in handy for smelts eventually...

I went up by over 31% in all today, so that Keerella is 60% of the way to the next level, level 33, with 2931 more pet points, but it's getting skill points that matters.  I haven't even started on the Stone Spear attack skill, used to great effect by mage-wizards in Egeha parties, as I'm working on my passive skills first.  It all means a heck of a lot of skill point farming, but what else is new?

Double, No Trouble - April 20th

Keerella went up 10% in experience in the afternoon, soloing the Bandits and Berserkers... and then in the early evening Jacqueline came online, using her rather more reliable desktop PC rather than the laptop, which seems to overheat after about 90 minutes now.  I was slowed down on my way to the teleporter in Randol when I met Damor, the mage Kaerella has partied with in the past and who I bought the three armour parts off yesterday.  I really just meant to admire her new costume - she is level 58 now and hopes to reach level 60 this coming week, but she added me to her Friends list and I mentioned that I'd bought the armour pieces, and luckily she still had the skirt (+4) to go with them, so sold me that at the same very reasonable 800,000 gold price.  Apparently the circlet has vanished, but she may be able to come up with one...

When I got to Jacqui, we started to mob the Bandits and Berserkers again, at a spot a little further along the road just short of the Blood Frenzies, and, well, we've got rather good at it!  The Teatime event started late at 5:30 UK time, which was handy, and while they announced its end at 9:00pm prompt, which would have been rather mean considering the late kickoff, in fact it was still going strong 75 minutes later when Jacqui at last got enough skill points for a skill she'd been working towards, and I logged off.  It was double skill experience, and double pet points too, very nice.

A new friend of Jacqui's called Sammotina, a level 26 (and then later level 27) rogue joined us for much of the time, and hopes to join Norcaine; she has just left her old guild, so it will be a week before she can actually be enrolled.  Apparently she has played Last Chaos quite a while, and had a level 36 specialist-type Sorcerer, but was inactive for so long that she lost her account and had to start again.  She wore one of those stars-and-stripes "Uncle Sam" type hats while fighting, surely that reduces a character's armour and defence rating?  I've seen other people do that too.  Well, they are rather cooler than santa hats!

We had competition in the mobbing from another rogue, this one called RABOB; Jacqui was starting to think it would come to a fight, as we were in the PvP-allowing Cariae-6, and RABOB gathered her mob a few times by running past us, collecting all the spare critters.  I got up to the 216 skill points needed for level five of Staff Mastery just before I levelled up to level 33, so I was sent back to town to cash in my skill points, both in case I got killed and had a death penalty (carrying a lot of unused skill points increases the number you lose when killed) and to increase my hitting power - 9 more points to Magic Attack.  The new level meant I could now use my new Sparkle Staff, which I upgraded to +6 hurriedly.  I even had enough skill points for level one of the attack skill Terra Spear.

But as it happens, there was no clash; we were nearly finished by then anyway, it was a little past my usual logging-out time.  Still, it adds to the drama!  And testing out Terra Spear confirmed that it was the mage skill Kae has seen Damor and other mages use in Egeha, even at level one it hit Bandits and Berserkers hard enough to halve their health-bars instantly.  So that is sure to be very useful - once I've done some more maxxing-out of the passives.

In all I went up almost 46% in experience, and I make it 199 skill points, 32 of which I have left now.  I levelled up, and my drake levelled up too; he is already 5000 points on his way towards level 31 now.  So, a very productive time.

Miserly Salamanders - April 21st

I spent rather a long time browsing the shops in the afternoon, mainly an unsuccessful search for Kaerella's next scepter - there seemed plenty of bows around for archers, but no scepters of the right level for a cleric.  Looking round like that does mean one stumbles across the occasional bargain, like a Pan Flute or two for 12,000 gold that one is relatively confident one can re-sell for 17,500, but I found my biggest bargain ever when I checked out hamid12's selection, and was able to buy a Heaven Stone for 950 gold.  I assume he is a rich eccentric or something...  Other than that, well, I did get a Gust Crossbow +6 (level 29) that my rogue ought to be able to use eventually for two million, while I'm not sure whether 50,000 for a Level 49 Weapon Manual is a bargain or not, the prices of all manuals vary so widely.  And then I, that is Kee, went off to Merac.  Magician Louis had a quest for me, "Request of Louis", which simply involved going off and killing 10 Pilferers and 10 Bandits, so that was easily done - 410,000 experience translated as 2.51%.  And then I went off to the Bandits and Berserkers.

Our friendly pet trainer Ratel messaged me to complain about a strange knight called Saphria, who had found Ratel doing his usual afk pet-levelling against a Treant, and brought another eight Treants over to attack him - "that'll teach you to go afk!" or words to that effect.  That was on the non-PvP Cariae-3 server, Ratel invited Saphria to join him on a PvP server to discuss matters further, but Saphria chickened out apparently.  "What an ass", he commented, which is strong language for Ratel.

Later Jacqueline came online, and we decided, for a change, to attack the Salamanders in Dratan desert, in the hopes of getting the Salamander Skins and Salamander Tails we both need for a couple of quests.  Jacqui did rather better than me, and has nearly enough Tails now...the brutes were awfully miserly with their drops though.  We kept moving, which is Jacqui's strategy to avoid calling down the wrath of Kamira on our heads - Salamanders are so widely spread out that it was quite a change from mobbing in Merac.  I used Terra Spear on them when I could, which Jacqui found most impressive; I'd earlier increased it to level 2, I'm sure I'll need level 5 to do well in Egeha.  I also started off the skill Scud with the first two levels, it's a buff to increase attack speed, which ought to be generally useful.

It was not as intense a day as yesterday, with no mobbing to speed things up, or double points; so a 20% gain in experience overall is about right, along with 1881 pet points, and 59 skill points.  I'm now saving up for the fifth level of Mana Barrier, which needs 183 skill points.  Given that I probably won't be in Last Chaos for very long tomorrow, it will be Thursday before I get near to that total.  And there are plenty more skills to max out too before I can think about going to Egeha as a wizard-mage damage-dealer.

Kee's First Trip to Egeha - April 22nd

I was called away from my shopping in Randol this afternoon by Elvastar, who was in Egeha with Damor and Itura - he invited Zeratus and me to join them   Since Damor is at least level 58 by now, and as Kee I'm 25 levels lower than that, the plan was that I would be outside the party and "ks" ("kill steal"), getting experience from the damage that I dealt the Boucu Demons we fought, being careful to wait until Damor had started the attack each time.  And it worked excellently, though the experience I gained varied a lot from one demon to the next, depending on how much damage I did.  With me being so much lower level than theirlevel  84, quite often they could dodge my attacks.  Sometimes I got about 26,000, sometimes I got, well, 126,938 was the highest I noticed.  Elva had to leave after a while, his dinner needed to be washed and his kids put in the oven, or something like that, but we continued, and it worked very well, as Damor has pretty high evasion.  Itura, as healer, didn't do any attacking, and said nothing - probably because the characters Damor and Itura belong to two separate accounts, which in turn belong to the same person, so she was having to quickly move from one computer keyboard to its neighbour.  All very clever stuff, and good experience and loot for them both - being outside the party I didn't get loot, except for one box of Compost, but my experience went up by 26.53% during the afternoon, which is rather useful.  Not something to do every day, as I need skill points, but a nice boost, and it was kind of Damor to allow me to be there.

After tea, Jacqueline came online, and we went off to fight the Salamanders in the Dratan Desert again.  Jacqui got enough of their drops to complete one of their quests, but I had almost no luck at all on that front, and indeed the Salamander Tails quest seemed to have vanished from my list, though the Skins one remains... however, I did get a Heaven Stone, which always cheers me up.  In the end there were a number of other people also fighting the Salamanders close to Prokion Temple there, and Jacqui felt that Kamira was likely to turn up soon, so we headed over to Merac, and, yes, began to mob the Berserkers and Bandits in ludicrously large numbers again.  Sadly Jacqui got called away after the first couple of mobs - not that I'd have expected her to stay late after her early start to the day - so I just continued there in the more conventional one-at-a-time way.

Between Dratan and Merac Jacqui nipped back to Randol for her quest reward, and luckily I went along too - to find someone in merchant mode who was "clearing out" their store of manuals.  I noticed that among the five items in the "package" slots was a level 47 Boots Manual, which usually goes for 1.5 million as boots of that level are hard to get (as previously noted), but the seller only wanted 450,000 gold for the lot - so I splashed out.  It was only when putting the manuals in storage that I noticed that I had multiple copies of the other ones: 3 of the level 46 Shirt Manual, 5 of the level 47 Helm Manual, 13 of the level 42 Boots Manual, and 8 of the level 49 Weapons Manual.  So, more of a bargain than I'd realised!

In all I went up by 40% today, two-thirds of it thanks to Damor; the evening session managed 51 skill points, though, so hopefully tomorrow may get me to that fifth level of Mana Barrier.  My faithful emerald green drake is now level 31, having added 1792 pet points today; he could in theory be transformed into a dragon to ride about on now, but he is much more useful for his armour buff as he is.

Bandits, Berserkers & Blood Frenzies - April 23rd

A rather quiet day.  It was mid-afternoon before I got on, and I spent too much time shopping - though I did pay 1 million for an unaugmented level 49 Sainningpollars Wand for Kae (I would still be interested in a well-plussed one, but this is a bit of an insurance policy since I've not seen many healer wands of that sort of level around), and 6 million for a level 41 Hatties Staff +6 for Kee...I'd seen one earlier for 8 million, so I'm glad I waited.

So, I, that is Kee, slogged away at the Berserkers and Bandits, and then later for a change I moved along to where the Bandits are replaced by Blood Frenzies, who as well as being a couple of levels higher are also, unfortunately, liable to attack pets, so you have to be careful not to stand in an area where they respawn.  I might do better to move along to Kae's old friends the Gnolls.

For most of the time Zeratus was the only other guild member online; Stanislav has apparently left, and Captianjack is having to devote most of his time to schoolwork.  Zeratus was just saying that he had some bad news when, I think, he lost his connection.  Luckily Rastatitan came online soon after that, and moved his knight to Cariae-3 so that we could solo party for a while, which speeded up progress a little.  I was saying that, of the special packages concocted by the GMs, I thought Krash's was the best, as for slightly less than the cost in aeria points of the six lucky smelting stones it contains, you also get the bonus of an Extreme Stone...not to mention a "Bonus Book of Melding" to attach a special cover (for 30 days) to a weapon or armour and also give it for that time a plus of 1, 2 or 3.  But Ras isn't buying points at the moment, he says, since he is playing so little.

I had to explain the new Compost drops to Ras - how you take them to the Gardener character between the Moon Statue and Randol's West Gate to exchange them for Cherry Boxes, which you can either double-click for a random gift, anything from a Potion of Haste to a Heaven Stone, or try to sell.  The price they go for seems to be falling, which is hardly surprising as in a good long session I can pick up a dozen or more.  I have sold them for 125,000 recently, but my merchant character now is hoping for 95,000 each.

Rastaknight moved away from Cariae-3 after a while, as there was too much ks-ing going on as he attempted his skill point farming.  I know how he feels, a titan called Mimme ks'd me for a while earlier, reducing the amount of experience I got from my kills; it was strange, he just took a swipe or two at almost every Berserker or Bandit I attacked, for about five minutes.  I assume he was low level, and that the experience he gained from that would be useful, but too much of that sort of thing could get annoying.

Anyway, I reached my target for skill points by signing-out time - the fifth and final level of Mana Barrier requires 183 of them, and by getting 69 today I got there.  I went up 19.5% on the general experience front too, so hopefully tomorrow I ought to reach level 34, unless of course Kaerella is needed instead of Kee.  2071 pet points mean that my drake is a third of the way to level 32 now, his armour buff will soon be maxxed out.  And I remembered to add bloodseals to the final parts of my Chaos armour, so that is all as good as it is going to get.

Another Departure - April 24th

Here we go again - Elvastar came online in mid-evening, and asked me to change to Kaerella and appear on Cariae-3.  It seems that his work is taking him away for at least one month, and possibly as long as three months, and he won't be able to get on to Last Chaos during that time.  He has asked me to log onto his account occasionally so that it doesn't appear as inactive and get deleted. He didn't stay on long, as he had to get packed... not to my surprise when I checked afterwards he'd promoted me to Guild Master again. 

Well, Norcaine has been very quiet lately, so it looks as if it will be quieter still.  I don't think I'll be spending two million in gold and 500 skill points to advance us to level six.  It will really be up to our existing members what we do, if they become a bit more active and actually recruit a few people, we could give Elva a nice surprise when he gets back, but that doesn't seem all that likely.

I had spent a fair amount of time shopping again in the afternoon, picking up a few cheap items for resale mainly; it's amazing how much the prices of even the most common items vary, and I don't just mean people selling Bloodseal Gems for 25,000 or 30,000 gold when they must have originally bought them from Merchant Geres for a mere 1000.  A "Medal of Honour" can be 10,000, or it can be 100,000; item drop boosters, which I usually sell at 120,000, can sometimes be picked up at 80,000, while other people are hoping for 250,000 for them.

I went skill point farming with the Berserkers and Bandits, and did manage to reach level 34 - a bit of an anticlimax as it's one of those levels where you don't qualify to wear a new piece of armour, or equip a new weapon, without penalty.  It closed off the second Sand Golem quest to acquire a second set of Soft Sand (it really is about time Rastatitan returned the six of those he borrowed), and the only new quest that popped up, "Bersekers attack" (sic), just involved killing twenty Berserkers.  A quest for a level 34 character involving killing level 34 monsters can hardly be called challenging - a lot of the Last Chaos quests would benefit from being triggered quite a few levels earlier.  Usually when there is a piece of armour as a reward item, it's from the set before last anyway!  The quest reward was 80,000 gold and 390,000 experience, which translated as 1.99%, so that my total experience gain for the day was 17.3%;  I got 61 more skill points, I think, though I still need plenty more, and 1610 pet points.

Friday's tea-time special will be double pet points plus double drops - not as useful as double skill points, but worth having.  As to Sunday's offer - well, a poll is to be taken about that apparently.   By the way, the host of the www.kaerella.com website, Homestead, seems to have been offline for most of the day, so don't be surprised if this only appears in a timely manner at GuildPortal's blog.  I hope they get their servers back up soon!

Chosen By The Gods - April 25th

I was "chosen by the gods" today, but don't worry, that didn't fast-track me to a fluffy cloud and a quick course in harp-twanging, as it meant I got "to receive divine gifts"... at the moment the Cariae group of servers are "Recommended", which means that players under level 31 get to pick up special items that immediately give various buffs, while a few lucky players over level 31 are at random awarded ten Moonstones.  So, a great honour, or a great bit of luck.  I picked up three Heaven Stones today, each of which is worth double what ten Moonstones sell for, but having the Keerella name as the top of everyone's screens as the gift was announced, well, that was something special.

Rather a bitty day, all in all.  With the "Recommended" status, I played a couple of my lower level characters to take advantage of the random buffs - 50% extra experience or skill exp for the next few minutes, better drops from the next kill, armour and attack buffs, that sort of thing.  Unfortunately my connection wasn't very reliable, so things tended to get broken up into fairly small chunks.  A couple of attempts to get Elva's pet trainer to work ended just about as soon as I reached a Treant!  He does have another knight, currently at level 21, and I played him for a few minutes, just out of interest, getting a few percent experience and some skill exp from the drakes - he has a mount, so the horse buffs made that easy.

The two-hour tea-time event was double pet experience and double drops, so for the first half I played my rogue, who's also around that level but so far without a horse; eventually I noticed that the drakes, great horn beasts, and treants were dropping more of their own special drops - horn beast hides, green orbs, that sort of thing.  So I switched over to Kee, and headed for the Salamanders near Prokion Temple in Dratan desert, hoping to get a few Salamander Skins... one dropped almost at once, but no others.  It is starting to look like one of those quests that just isn't going to get done before I get too high-level for it, but maybe my next character to go through will be able to get the ten skins needed, with a few already in the warehouse.

So, over to Merac, and the Berserkers and Bandits, who were pretty generous with the boxes of Compost... though I did have to respawn in town a few times when I got disconnected.  Still, it all adds to my stock of tickets for the third Personal Dungeon - one of those tickets automatically appears in one's inventory after a few minutes fighting, when you're Kee's level, so if you pop it into storage in town before heading back and getting another, they start to add up.  Not that they are very valuable, but still.  When Kaerella was a few levels higher than Kee is now, she tended to get tickets for Personal Dungeons three and four that way, but now that she is too high-level to enter the third one, she just receives ticket number four.

I got level four of the attack skill Terra Spear, for 48 skill points (level five will cost 173), and also level three of the speed-up skill Scud, for 15 (the final two cost 36 and 129); since I ended the day with 2 more skill points than I started with, I must have earned 65 of them.  I went up over 13% on the experience side too, and the teatime boost meant I managed 2535 pet points - another 1429 to go before my drake reaches level 32.  The armour buff he gives me is maximised now at level 30, so the next level point he gets will go on starting to boost my magic defence.

A Busy Night - April 26th

For the first time last night I kept both my computers on; the six-year-old one upstairs played host to my merchant, and the three-year-old one that I usually play on allowed Elva's pet levelling knight Ratel to battle a Treant, right on the edge of the map, right through the hours of darkness. Luckily I found that just fighting a single monster, withour using any active skills, isn't prone to disconnection, as nothing complicated has to be communicated to the server - unlike mining, which does lead to disconnections, but is at least closer to town. Anyway, Ratel fought valiantly through the night, until mid-morning when he got transferred upstairs. He started off with a level 14 pony, and as I type the horse has reached level 22. Things get a little trickier once the pet is higher-level than its owner, as its appetite increases, and of course each level needs more points than the one before, but it's a good start. And MistressDomino sold every item in her store, including Moonstones and Cherry Boxes, taking in around 4.7 million in gold.

Easy come, easy go - I was browsing the shops when I discovered a level 14 dragonlet for sale for 4 million, which seemed a pretty fair price, all too often people try for about half the value of a full-grown mount...and it was dyed black. Or a stormy dark grey, anyway!  So my mage/weaponsmith Enchantrella now has a level 14 little helper... though of course Ratel may volunteer to train him up a bit in a few days, if I can collect enough stones to prevent him fainting from hunger. Enchantrella will be a witch one day (the alternative profession to a wizard, for a mage), so a drake "familiar" seems like a good idea.

After Enchantrella gained a bit more experience, enough to learn the first level of Imperfect Stone processing, the main business of the day involved Keerella and those friendly neighbourhood Bandits and Berserkers.  If they didn't hand out any Heaven Stones today, at least the gift-wrapped boxes of Compost continued to drop, and 15% experience was added, despite a disconnection or two.  I am getting a bit cleverer about disconnections, leading on from the way that Ratel stayed connected - if when things stop happening I avoid doing anything new and just try to wait things out, often things snap back to normal after a minute or less.  But trying to use new skills or generally input new instructions can lead straight to the pesky "disconnected" window. 

Anyway, Kee's drake went up to level 32, gaining 2115 pet points in all, and I gained 75 skill points - 50 of which were invested in the two (and only) levels of Mana Recovery.  That may be quite a useful skill, as it increases the rate of (you've guessed it) mana recovery for the target character, though not for very long - +6 per second for 30 seconds, a quick look at the Last Chaos wiki on "Wet Paint" tells me, though it costs me 70 mana to cast.  My next target for skill point farming ought to be the fifth level of Terra Spear I guess, which costs 173 points, increasing the mana cost of the spell from 78 to 86 and increasing its power from 490 to 550.  It does seem to be the best shot in a wizard-mage's arsenal, at least for now.

A Bad Connection - April 27th

I'm afraid that even pet-levelling and being in merchant mode were no protection from being disconnected today. I did manage to do some skill point farming with Keerella, but it I don't think any session lasted as much as half an hour without a disconnection... and usually there were a few "near misses" before that, with Bandits or Berserkers just standing there unharmed as I apparently hit them, or a pile of coins on the ground resisting all attempts to pick them up.

It is difficult to know where the problem lies... but I went off and played Guild Wars for an hour, and didn't have any hint of a problem there, no lag and no disconnections - though Guild Wars has a set-up that allows you to reconnect to your party within a certain time if you do get cut off, no brusque window and game closing for them!

Back into Merac I went, and after twenty minutes another disconnection. Presumably GW and LC servers are reached via different routes, but it does make a return to that other game rather tempting on days like this...

So, I didn't really make full use of the four-hour teatime event, which, after a poll on the LC Forum, was double pet points and double experience - I'd have preferred one of the other options, double pet points plus double skill exp, but any boost is useful.

They had one of their four-hour "raffles" running at the same time - to have a chance of winning, people had to buy an Extreme Stone from the mall. It costs 795 aeria points, so people are actually parting with up to eight dollars for a small chance, maybe 1 in 500, at being the winner. If more items are purchased, the prize gets better; at tier one it is a +9 weapon and 50 Lucky Scrolls, at tier two it would be a "horse tendon" and 2 Extreme Stones - tier four is a Pierce of Wind accessory, and tier five's prize would be a Stone of Shadow, the most desirable accessory in the game. As such electronically-created bits of computer code cost nothing to make, it all seems a bit grudging to me. And who would be silly enough to buy an Extreme Stone for 795 ap when one of the special "GM Choice" packs can be bought for 672 ap, and includes not just an Extreme Stone but a Lucky Smelting Stone and a Platinum Iris too? If they must do these raffles, they ought at least to do them for an item people would be tempted to buy anyway... Not that encouraging young people to gamble their savings away is really all that good an idea to begin with.

Well, despite the interruptions I did manage to add 17% experience, and 2926 pet points... 46 skill points too! I just hope the connection from here to the LC servers gets itself sorted out soon.

Short Time Working - April 28th

My playing time was a bit limited today, and indeed part of the time I wasn't able to give the Last Chaos window my full attention.  There was some skill point farming time for Kee, and some shop-browsing time...rather too much of that perhaps, but a few cheap items were acquired for resale by MistressDomino!

I chatted with Damor, who has indeed reached level 60 now, and is able to solo the Grand Red Dragon she says.  She told me that, if somebody tips her off as to where the "grd" is and she is able to get there to kill it, she splits the value of any rare item 50/50 with the informer.  It's tempting to go to some more dangerous places to farm, spots that the dragon is known to appear at.  But only when Damor is online of course...

The raffle today was for Heaven Stones, another peculiar choice of an item to exhort people to buy.  It is useful, I admit, but it costs 299 aeria points from the Item Mall, while they are a relatively frequent drop in-game and can be bought from other players for 500k, or slightly more.  Pet colouring crystals cost less, aa do lucky smelting stones, and sell for about four times as much in-game.

There were still a number of disconnections, but Ratel has been able to do some horse levelling, though as the horse is now higher in level than he is, the animal's starvation bar goes down too quickly for any more attempts at an overnight session.  Last night went okay actually, though the bar did reach zero...and the horse's degree of sympathy had started to decline, reaching 90%, by the time I checked up and quickly fed him.

Ah well, Keerella may have only gone up less than 7% in experience today, plus 1148 pet points, and 33 skill points, but it is still progress.

Further Progress - April 29th

As you may have gathered from the title, not that exciting a day.  The connection was reasonably reliable, though the old "get Enchantrella out to do some mining, then get disconnected after two stones" scenario did play itself out again - but it's not far to run back, and she did get a useful number of stones in the time available after that.

Apparently the "UBER Raffles" with their five levels are only going during April, which is a relief as they are rather a "hard sell".  It sounds to me as if the last couple have not brought in very many punters, which is encouraging.

Anyway, Ratel has been doing some fine work on the pet levelling front, and his horse is now halfway through level 28; I have to keep checking the upstairs computer every half hour or so, in case some evil little rotter comes along and kills my current Treant, or anything strange happens...or a disconnection, or the game deciding it needs to close, and would I kindly tell Bill Gates about the problem?  Once I was luring a Treant away from the group, and had it nearly to the slope of the hills, when it just vanished - I guess the computer suddenly decided that it hadn't been lured and was thus back at the beginning.  As they tend to bunch together rather closely, it is difficult to lure one without a couple more following, but if Ratel runs off, and they drop off the edge of the compass-map, with any luck the ones that weren't actually hit will lose interest.

As for Keerella on the main machine, well, despite me not being on Last Chaos in the evening, I managed to go up by 15% experience, 2168 pet points, and 73 skill points, so that was good progress, as usual attacking the Bandits and Berserkers, with fellow mage DarthRaven close by - sometimes a bit too close by, as she moves from one side to the other.  The fifth and final level of Terra Spear has now been attained, and the fourth level of the passive skill Anti-magic.  I still need quite a few more points!  I wonder if the Compost boxes will continue to drop after the server maintenance?

Ratel Meets a Rat - April 30th

The good thing about having the servers go offline at 1:00am UK time early this morning was that Ratel could be set up to do a little pet levelling from my bedtime on, with the knowledge that the session would be ended before his horse starved itself down to zero... and so it was.  And he did pretty good work through most of the day today - but one time when I went to check on him, he was dead, and the chat box had these messages from a rat called SkellyTon: "hahahaha", "noobs!", "lol", and "hahaha I did this".  I don't think Ratel was his only victim; Cariae-3 is a non-PvP server, but what he had done was aggro a group of Elder Drakes and bring them over from outside the temple to where we were pet levelling, then set them on the pet levellers back along the edge of the lowlands.  I must remember the name, in the hope of paying him back some time - a loss of 3% experience and half an hour or less of pet levelling isn't a problem, but he killed the horse too, and getting the Animal Trainer to unseal it cost 164,836 gold.  This happened shortly before the horse was due to reach level 30, which probably kept the cost lower than it would have otherwise been - and reaching that level restored him to full health.

So, after that Ratel changed to Cariae-4, and took the trouble to get himself and his Treant up out of sight.  A little later another check revealed that the Treant had vanished, which was weird - there was no note of any experience gained, which would have happened if it had died, or even if someone else had climbed up and killed it.  A couple of other pet-levelling knights were also standing around without anything to fight, too, so I suppose that the game had just "reset" the Treants back to their normal area.  But Ratel did pretty well today; while I had disconnections while mining and fighting downstairs, he carried on.

The Compost boxes are no longer being dropped, and the Gardener character in Randol who exchanged them for Cherry Boxes has vanished; luckily I don't have any great stocks of Compost, which is as useless now as the bars of wrapped chocolate one still sometimes sees on sale.  The theme now is for the "Cinqo de Mayo" festivities, which a quick look at its Wikipedia entry informs me is a Mexican thing mainly, a holiday observed in the United States and other locations around the world "as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride".  So there are some "pinata" style packages in the Item Mall, and 25 aeria points can even buy you ten fireworks.

Anyway, Keerella did some serious grinding on the Bandits and Berserkers, and even went along to the Gnolls once, but, next to where Kaerella used to go for Gnoll Lancers and then Gnoll Soldiers, there aren't really quite enough easily reachable level 36 Gnolls to farm on - the Gnoll Soldiers, still red to Kee and aggressive, get in the way a bit.  Kee's drake has now reached level 33, which is good, while the experience gained was over 19%, the pet points added were 2623 (the next level requires 10309 of them), and 86 skill points gets us a good long way towards the 151 that level five of Anti-magic needs.  One Heaven Stone did drop, which does take away the sting of that pet unsealing cost a bit, but it is still annoying to be the victim of a little pest like that.