Kaerella's Blog - stardate May 2008 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down...so the new month starts at the top!
Crazy Treants - May 1st

Ratel was steadily pet training from breakfast time today, safely up in his hidden spot - it's lucky I visited Elvastar there when he was controlling his pet leveller, or I'd not have known how to access it. But those Treants are unpredictable, a little after 2:00pm UK time the one I'd been battling for so long decided to go back to its friends down below, and although Ratel bravely followed it, attempting to hit it all the time, it seemed to be moving just fast enough for Ratel to miss every time, and kept going until it had led Ratel right into a group of them! It was lucky that I was checking up on progress then, or I'd have come back to find Ratel down there dead, though I don't think that Treants would have attacked the horse. Anyway, I managed to hit one of the Treants, and headed back the way we had come - three Treants followed. Since yesterday's death, Ratel has some margin on the experience front without the danger of "levelling up" and thus no longer being the ideal pet levelling build, so when the other two showed no inclination to give up, I equipped a level 29 Soul Sword Ratel was carrying, and managed, rather slowly (since as he's too low-level for that sword, it only does 50% of its proper damage), to kill the two extra ones, for 0.17% experience each since they are four levels above him. And then I lured the remaining Treant back up to Ratel's private spot, and left him to continue the pet-levelling fight. Not the sort of drama one expects with pet-levelling...

Since I was relatively busy in the real world, Enchantrella had plenty of time to mine for Quality Stones, Imperfect Stones, and Flawed Stones - which is just as well, as Ratel's horse gets through them at an alarming rate! She did suffer a few disconnections though - why does one always happen just two minutes before lunch is ready...?

When in the evening I was finally able to get Kee started, and was having a look around Randol browsing the merchants, Sammotina contacted me suggesting a team-up; she is a level 27 rogue, so was able to come with me to the Bandits and Berserkers and, with my horse buffs, function pretty well, after I dropped a hint that perhaps she would increase her armour stats if she didn't wear her Uncle Sam top hat.  I gave the standard warning that I might get disconnected, but I didn't have any problems at all that way in the evening.  I also mentioned that I'd have to check on my pet leveller occasionally, and it was just as well I did, as I discovered that Ratel was Treant-less again...but there was a clue, the text "Gained 336 Experience and 95 Skill Experience" - so the Treant hadn't wandered off, some sneaky person had come up and killed it, and as I'd been fighting it too I'd got part of the experience.  So I had to leave Sammotina for five minutes or so and take Ratel back to the Treants' main hang-out, and lure another one back.  Luckily, the prankster involved didn't strike again.  I think it would be too far and too tricky to get Elder Drakes to "Elva's Eyrie", but I don't want to be proved wrong...

On the Norcaine front, I chatted with Psykore, putting forward the theory that Elva's sudden and probably lengthy absence for work meant he was probably an international Assassin, even now assembling his sniper rifle from its component parts hidden inside a laptop computer, in some South American republic's top hotel, before heading down to the Casino to meet his glamorous local contact.  Of course, I could be wrong about this!  Psykore has been less active recently because of having to spend time getting a pet leveller character up to the required level, so there may well be another knight out soloing the Treants very soon.

At one stage Sammotina was envious of my "luck" in being the one to pick up the small mana potions - to which I replied that she was the one who'd recently picked up a Heaven Stone, and from the cash selling that would bring, one could buy rather a lot of potions!  Well, Sammotina had to go after a while, and I continued in that usual spot for another ninety minutes, checking up on Ratel occasionally.  The horse is now level 31, and approaching level 32 - I'm not trying for a perfect "ten-ten" level 37, like Kae's mount, level 35 will do nicely, allowing level 9 of attack and level 10 of defence, so that when the attack buff runs out, it is a good warning that the defence buff is almost over.  But at this sort of level, a lot of stones are being used.  As for Kee, well, I levelled up to level 35, and am now wearing the first part of the new Allunin armour, the gloves.  The total experience gain for the evening was 11%, along with 1604 pet points for my drake, and 47 skill points, so still a little way to go for that top level of Anti-magic.

Extra Attack - May 2nd

The two-hour "teatime" special today was an odd one - +50% Attack. As the Last Chaos website warned us, "this means that you will hit harder, but so will the mobs"!

Ratel had been doing very well at pet levelling today until then, with only one "case of the vanishing Treant"; I had expected him to manage his adversary's augmented attack without problems as he had fought two of them before without difficulty, and the horse's armour buff was now a little higher... but when I checked up on Ratel a few minutes into the event, he was dead. Oh well, it doesn't effect his abilities, and the horse was unharmed, but it ended his activities for the day, as it was a bit hard to tell when the event had ended...and anyway, it was about time to get MistressDomino into merchant mode and sell some items.

A little earlier the GM message had come up that it was time to register on the forum for the free +1 "Upgrade Love Day" augmentation for a weapon (or piece of armour) that was already in the +8 to +10 range... this was a bit unexpected, as the website had got the sign-up scheduled for next Friday, but I went to the forum, logged in, and did manage to post in the appropriate thread, though it took quite a few attempts as I kept getting a message that a new reply had been added and I should review my post. I discussed it with Damor afterwards, who'd been one of the first to post, and we agreed it was strange. I upgraded my next mage staff from +6 to +8 using a heaven stone and a rune of protection, which failed, followed by another pair, which worked - well, the chance of success is supposed to be 50% - followed by an Extreme Stone, and moved it over to the character I'd registered as... but later I discovered that the GMs had realised that they'd got the wrong week, and deleted all the posts. So I'll have to be alert next Friday, as only 50 people per server will be allowed to register! It's worth getting done as if I do get the staff upgraded, it will come back as +9, and with its ability to use one Extreme Stone renewed... still, it is slightly annoying to be messed about like that.

Sammotina reported that she'd managed to break both her weapons attempting to upgrade them, and asked if I had a suitable replacement she could buy, but unfortunately I had nothing suitable in storage, I think the level 33 crossbow I had was probably still a little too high for her. After that she headed out into Merac (on the Cartiae-2 sub-server), and soon messaged me that she had sighted the Grand Red Dragon. I immediately alerted Damor, but she was in Egeha and unable to come, so all I could do was announce the grd's presence by the arena in C2. A couple of knights went across, including Crimsondemon - I didn't get the whole story out of Sammo afterwards, but she did say that the grd had been killed, whether by him or someone else I don't know. I'd given him her name, and vice versa, I hope they had managed to communicate.

More experience farming with the Bandits and Berserkers ensued, though at least Damor came on the LC Messenger to chat - she was in the tower in Egeha I think, farming there, and reached level 62.  All I managed today was 12.5% experience, 1986 pet points, and 70 skill points, which allowed me to "max out" Anti-magic at least, though I'm still working my way towards the top level of Curse - another 26 points needed for that.  Being one level higher than before does seem to have slowed down the experience gain from my current playmates, it looks as if I'll need to go round the corner and start bothering the Blood Frenzies, which are quicker to kill than Gnolls, but do attack pets if one isn't careful.

A Double Apology - May 3rd

The day started off quietly, but got more complex as time went on. Ratel continued his battle with a Treant, with the horse levelling up to level 33 early in the morning; the critter did vanish at around lunchtime, so a little time was lost, but a replacement was soon enticed up to the aerie. Enchantrella was busy mining for stones, and probably not getting them as quickly as Ratel's horse was consuming them; she did get a chance to do a little fighting against the local Juno Drakes and Elder Werewolves, and was lucky enough to pick up a Heaven Stone before being sent back to the mines. It took about thirteen hours for Ratel to get the horse through that level, so a little before 9:30 in the evening, he reached level 34. Just the one more level to go, though 11,237 points will take a while to get.

Keerella was on for much of the afternoon, just fighting Bandits and Berserkers...it's difficult to gauge whether fighting the Blood Frenzies just round the corner is a better bet, as they are the next level up they ought to give slightly more experience, but they don't spawn very thickly so one spends time running from one to the next, in a circle as they respawn.

The GMs continue to have their problems - yesterday after getting the week wrong for the "Upgrade Love" thing they had to cancel the planned "Pandora Spawn" (and tonight's two-hour session of double experience is their apology for that), and then today their plans to let people help with experiments using a special tool to increase the chance of a successful Heaven Stone upgrade went wrong somehow "due to technical issues", and had to be quickly postponed. GM Superman0X was last seen selling mana potions in Cariae-1 next to Merchant Geres, presumably to make ends meet...

The special two-hour double experience event today started at 9:00pm UK time, but a little while before that they started an off-the-cuff double skill points bonus, as an apology for the delay concerning the "upgrade tool" trial. So, a double apology, letting Kee move onwards and upwards a bit faster for a while. The only problem was that my favourite corner became rather busy, with DarthRaven, Serbianwrath, FOAD, and LadyDissmay also running around in the same area, and probably one or two others leading mobs through. The witch-mage DarthRaven wasn't picking up items dropped for her - I did query this the first time I noticed her leave a piece of armour on the ground, but it was intentional. It meant I ended up with an extra Vanishing Tiara and Chaos Gloves, anyway.

The "upgrade tool" one hour trial did finally begin at 10:00pm, but as I don't have anything currently that needs upgrading, that didn't really concern me - just as well, as that's about my usual sign-off time, and what time I had left was better spent on the double experience/skill exp work. Apparently the "upgrade tool" Aeria are developing will increase the chance that using a Heaven Stone on an item will upgrade it by +1, and decrease the chance of "no change" - which presumably means the chance of it actually breaking remains the same. The GMs are trying different settings, to see how much the percentages are actually changed in practice.

The "tiered auctions" are continuing; tonight's "ticket" was buying a Heaven Stone from the mall, where they are rather over-priced at 299 aeria points, considering that they drop quite often in-game and can be bought for around 500,000 gold. When I signed out they had reached tier two (prize: a horse tendon and two Extreme Stones), and still needed 95 more to be purchased to reach tier three ("if tier 3 is reached, we have something special planned!"). And when I closed the game, I had gone up 19%, and added 2837 pet points to my drake, plus 119 skill points - of which I have 93 left after maxxing Curse out.  Damor was saying that I ought to try to max out all my skills, apart from two that I have maxxed out and Arch Enemy, a close-range staff attack.  Still a few to go!

A Tie at TeaTime - May 4th

The forum poll as to what bonus this week's Sunday TeaTime should give ended as a tie, 426 votes each; initially the GMs opted to go for double skill points, which probably got more forum posts, but after a while they decided that, as the rules had never mentioned what ought to happen if there was a tie, the best thing would be to give double experience too! In theory these events only last two hours, but in practice they usually keep running a lot longer, especially if, as today, they start a bit later than the scheduled 5:00pm UK time - and the Bandits and Berserkers were still giving double experience and skill exp well after half past nine!

The seven o'clock Quiz was followed, as they had warned us, ten minutes later by a short "upgrade event", when, following their recent experiments, they would increase the chance of a successful +1 upgrade to an item by using a Heaven Stone, and decrease the chance of there being no change. This was initially announced as a "mystery event", but as they hinted that people should have upgrading materials to hand, there wasn't any great enigma about it. The chance of a failure, decreasing the item's plus figure or breaking it, remained the same. As Kae did have an unaugmented level 49 sceptre, it seemed a good idea to try to upgrade it during the five minutes allowed, so I got six Heaven Stones out of storage, and once the start was proclaimed, started upgrading. The "result" window in every case was very slow to appear, presumably because so many people were upgrading, but the first three Heaven Stones all succeeded, so the scepter is now +3, and I could put the other three stones back into storage unused.

Today there had been some random groups of monsters spawned throughout Merac, Dratan and Juno; Ratel went pretty near to a big group, including Skeleton Soldiers, near the Great Horn Beasts and the lake, as he lured his Treant up to the eyrie at about half past eight this morning! This afternoon, just round the corner from my Bandits and Berserkers, while I was for a while teamed with Sammotina's level 36 sorcerer specialist, Zedan, we were fighting the first groups of Blood Frenzies for a change - and suddenly we could see, just along the road, some large triceratops-type beasts, and other figures. There were a few level 82 Skin Walkers - and they were guarding a pair of level 86 Endemic Demons! They all had gold-framed names, as the boss creatures do. I messaged Damor, but apparently she had already fought quite a few of the beasts, and had got tired of them - due to their heavy armour, even at her level they took around ten minutes each to kill. So, as none of us around there were high enough to wish to combat them, they were still there the last time I looked...

Today's Tiered Raffle involved buying Mana Stealers, which seem one of the less useful items in the Mall. Unless there was a rush in the last few minutes, they only managed to reach Tier One, so someone should get a +9 weapon or armour piece of their choice, and 50 Lucky Scrolls.

It was at about half past six that Ratel finally got the horse in his care up to level 35, so some moving of pets between characters has become necessary - which I'll do as soon as I've posted this! Thanks to the double experience etc Keerella managed to go up 31% today, and 3360 pet points, and a magnificent 176 skill points. It was quite a slog though!  And I should mention that my connection has been absolutely faultless for the last couple of days, let us hope that it stays that way...

Kee's New Mount - May 5th

After various pets were moved around late last night, Keerella now has the newly-trained level 35 horse, dyed white again, while her previous horse, the level 31 one, has moved over to my rogue, who, although only level 22, was able to fight some level 28 Butchers with her new horse buffs without any problems - though one can't do very much of that sort of thing, fighting mobs that are well above your level, or you end up rather low on skill points, and thus rather low on skills.  Following his hard work training that horse, Ratel has been allowed to retire, and the job of pet-leveller (and the +5 armour set) has passed over to a different knight of Elva's, Leo for short, who is now training the pony that my rogue used to have.  At the time of typing, Leo has already got the pony up from level 13 to level 20 - which is the easy part of course, while it's lower level than its trainer it only gets through one starvation point every five minutes.  Go on training long enough and it could get through all 100 points (the equivalent of 20 Quality Stones) in half an hour...

Anyway, the afternoon was rather bitty, with shortish outings for different characters; the evening was Keerella's, though, out with the Bandits and Berserkers.  I can report that the Endemic Demons and the Skin Walkers are still out there in Merac!  After a while Sammotina came out to join me, and before long brought some other people along, too, probably mostly also Egyptian.  Boda31 was a healer, Egymoha was a knight I think, MIDOO was a level 25 rogue, and Bederegy was a level 19 rogue... and thus 16 levels below me, so unable to get experience if we stayed in the same party.  Since we had the healer, Sammo did do some mob-gathering, and it was fun to be using Flame Storm on a fairly big group again.  After a while we split into two groups, so that Bederegy would get experience - and luckily she levelled up, so that when the others had left, she and I were able to team for a further time, and hopefully give her a good boost.

So, I kept busy.  I might well have got more experience solo, but it's good to be in a party, and nice to be the one supplying the horse buffs.  With level 9 in Offensive Hauling and level 10 in Defensive Hauling, I was expecting the attack buff to wear off just a few seconds ahead of the defence buff, but in fact they both lasted for the same length of time, so I had to keep an eye on the countdown.  I went up just over 12% in experience today, and 52 skill points... oh, and my drake levelled up to level 34, just comfortably one level behind me, earning 2094 pet points in all.  The attack skill Curse is now maximised, I suppose I ought to do the same with Sloth next.

Leo should be able to pet-level through the night, but by tomorrow the current horse should be higher in level than he is, so it will be back to daytimes only.  He did manage to lose his Treant a couple of times, I think that it is a matter of lag, as that area of the map is bad for that sort of thing.  If it gets too laggy he just doesn't land enough hits to keep the Treant's interest, and it wanders off home.  So I have to descend  and run back to the main Treant area to get a new one.  This current horse should be for Enchantrella, I guess.

Duncan's Mobile Statue - May 6th

I didn't really get a whole lot done today. I checked on Leo at just after 2:00am UK time, and he'd lost his Treant, due to lag - it was incredibly laggy, I spent quite a while getting back to Treant Central, battling lag that got me to seconds per frame rather than frames per second - I managed to lure a Treant 98% of the way back to the eyrie, and then it just vanished. So, having spent almost 20 minutes on the task, I gave up, closed Last Chaos, switched off the computer, and went back to bed!

Leo had a pretty productive day, later, though, and at the time of typing the horse is up to level 23. Keerella did manage an hour or so with the Bandits and Berserkers (and yes, the Skin Walkers and at least one Endemic Demon were still there), meaning that about 3.6% experience was added, plus 15 skill points and, in all, 611 pet points.

Enchantrella though had more time playing - and not just afk mining, to try and keep everyone supplied with stones. Soon after 4:00pm GM SilverRose announced that she was putting up some statues for pet levelling on various servers, including Cariae-1, just outside the west gate.  As Enchantrella is the one who needs to level up her pony a bit, so that Leo will be able to take it over and afk train it (which requires the pet to be level 10 or 11 so that it can supply a useful armour buff), she was the one who heeded the call and went over there.

There is the slight problem that Cariae-1 is a PvP server, so that outside Randol's west gate, where the level 90 statue was put, going afk for pet training, just hitting the statue, was a little bit risky, if there are any malicious types around.  And indeed at one stage a titan called IchigaKudasaki did attempt to kill me - either he was low level or he wasn't trying very hard, because I was able to move away to the gate and neutral territory, but I had the message that self defence had been activated (so that if I'd retaliated and killed him I'd not have gone red or blue named), and a skull and crossbones appeared alongside his nametag.  A number of people were killed, and, worse, I think some pets died, which of course take cash to "unseal".  But my pony did level up, and got a fair way through its next level, too.

After a while a high-level player called DuncanByrd turned up, and, as I think he usually does, he teleported the statue, a short distance at a time, towards the Great Horn Beasts and the lake, so that the people who had gone afk were just left standing by the gate, with a few player-killer types sidling up, while those of us who had kept an eye on things followed the statue.  Unfortunately  Enchantrella got bogged down, unable to move more than a few yards in any direction (a bug that does happen occasionally), just beyond the wooden bridge - I could see an afk healer's pony getting attacked nearby by an Elder Werewolf, but it was out of my range, but when I mentioned the situation someone kindly came back to save its life.  I logged out, and returned as Keerella, since with a mount she could get back rather more quickly, and saw a red-named character killing the healer, which I think would save the pet from being killed by the next Elder Werewold to respawn.  Not a good place to go afk!  Going into the water of the lake, following the statue ("I hope the water doesn't shrink my costume" I remarked), crashed me, but when I returned it was in the deepest part, still with a few dozen people hitting it to train their pets, and I was able to add a few pet points, to reach the above-mentioned total.  But my time ran out...

Bits and Pieces - May 7th

Leo's work last night was ended by the routine weekly server maintenance, of course, but he was back in action not long after breakfast today, and has worked tirelessly; his horse-in-training has levelled up three times, and is now level 26.  Since I remembered to open the Animal Trainer's window before using a scroll to teleport to Treant Central, I've been able to upgrade the armour buff that the horse gives without making a trip back into town.

Other than that, well, things have been bitty, with Enchantrella getting her pony up to level 10 while fighting drakes - she still has about 15% to go before she can reach level 22 and get into the last two items of her new armour set, and finally have that fairy fluttering at her shoulder.  A number of acquired items, like Moonstones, ToolAids, and potions, were moved across to MistressDomino, who herself made a pretty good purchase, a Chaos Skirt for 2000 gold - she could have sold it to an NPC merchant right away for 14,952 gold, but is wearing it instead.  She may only be level 10, but as she tends just to stay in town, it doesn't matter if her armour has a bit of a penalty on it.  She did actually go out to fight some jaguars to get the teeth that Merchant Geres needs to make necklaces, and then spent her skill points to start learning some alchemy.

Kee was out fighting Bandits and Berserkers, and indeed Blood Frenzies; the Endemic Demons and Skin Walkers have finally vanished, probably tired of being ignored by everyone.  Even monsters have feelings, y'know!   Sammotina was in touch, but while she did solo-party for a while, didn't actually come out to Kee's spot, and vanished entirely after a while.  Levels 2, 3 & 4 of Transformation have now been learnt - it's the skill that allows a mage to gain extra mana by sacrificing health.  Best used between fights rather than during one, hopefully with an obliging healer in the party willing to top the health bar back up.  And in return the mage should use her skill for boosting mana regeneration on the healer...

Talking of healers, just for a change Kaerella herself came out for around an hour, and went to the old Gnoll Soldiers spot she's gone to so many times before.  I think she really needs to find somewhere else, as it was very slow work - just 1.3% experience gained, along with 474 pet points and 9 skill points.  Stanislav came on to chat briefly, he's on level 46 now, so it sounds as if he has been going on a few Egeha parties lately.

So, Kee doesn't have many more skills to maximise now, until the level 38 ones become available anyway!  Damor recommends that one should continue to farm skill points regularly, specially when there are double skill exp events, and park the points in some crafting skill or other, then at level 70 buy a "skill reset card" from the Item Mall and redistribute the points into the rather expensive new skills that become available then.  Today only gave Kee just under 11% experience (10.99% to be exact), 1633 pet points, and 59 skill points, but even slow progress is progress, right?

Heavenly Rewards - May 8th

Leo was busy pet training all day, and got the horse up to level 27.  The Treant did vanish a couple of times, meaning a trip down to their main hang-out became necessary - the second time I was actually checking up on progress when the Treant disappeared, it was right on the edge of a cliff and then, well, wasn't.  It did get a bit laggy around there, as it so often does, and that may well have slowed progress down a bit; when the game is running slowly like that for me, the mobs still hit me as fast as usual, but my hitting them is slowed right down.  The second time I brought two Treants back, which Leo can handle without losing health now, since his armour buff from the pet is at level 26.  I checked back later, and one of them had vanished, but I managed to tempt the other one back away from the edge of the precipice, at least for a while.  With a five-level difference between Leo (at 22) and his pet, the horse loses 3 starvation points per 5 minutes, taking 2 hours 46 minutes to get through the whole hundred, so doesn't need to be checked on very often.  He won't be able to go through the night, of course.

Enchantrella does tend to go on a trip to fight Drakes and Elder Werewolves by the river after an afk mining session, and, while she hasn't reached level 22 yet, she added a few skill points - and picked up a Heaven Stone there, which was a nice start to the afternoon.  A little later I took Jacqueline out for a spin, since I did promise to keep characters from that account active while their owner was away.  A bow-wielding level 33 healer with a level 33 horse, and thus good horse buffs, what could be simpler?  The destination was the usual Bandits & Berserkers spot, and after a while Sammotina joined me - Jacqui actually has an active 30-day Party Recall card, so it was nice to get a use out of that!  It wasn't a hugely long session, but a "Hand of the Warrior" did drop, and Jacqui was lucky enough to be the one allocated the Heaven Stone from it.  I see from the Wet Paint Last Chaos Wiki that you have a 0.06% chance of getting that particular drop, if you are fighting monsters of about your own level - it's rarer than the "Hand of the Guard" with 3 ToolAids and an Item Drop Booster (0.12%), or the "Hand of Bravery" with a Large Attack Potion, or "Hand of Protection", with a Large Defence Potion (0.21% each) - so it's always good to get one.  Shortly before I had to log off, Sammotina was having quite a conversation with Waterblade, who was gathering large groups and rather cleaning out the area - while it started off as less than friendly (I had to remind Sammo that C3 isn't a PvP server so we couldn't kill him), it is possible they went off together after I left, I don't know.

After food, it was Kee's turn; there was no sign of Sammotina or Waterblade back at the usual spot when I got there, but I settled down to slog my way onwards, and did manage to get the 108 skill points I needed to max out Transformation - in all I got 49 skill points in that session, 1356 pet points, and a little under 9% experience - enough to take me up to level 36 at last, allowing me to start wearing the Allunin skirt and top.  The different bloodseal bonuses mean I'm actually 2 points down on attack, and 1 point down on magical defence, but the better grade of armour means I'm 12 points up on regular defence, which may well prove useful.  As well as the usual Personal Dungeon Tickets (#s 3 and 4) which one automatically gets after a while if there are none in one's inventory (I always transfer them into storage - before level 35 you just get #3, and after level 40 you just get #4 as the third personal dungeon is then closed to you), I got 4 assorted level 32 headgears, 1 level 36 gauntlets, a level 36 Pants Manual, 1 ring, 2 Large Defence and 1 Large Attack Potions, 1 Pan Flute, 1 Drake Egg, 6 ToolAids, 4 Moonstones - and no less than 5 Heaven Stones, two in Hands and 3 as solo drops.  That has to be a personal record for one session!

Cariae-4, the second non-PvP server, was announced as being the place from which a "Game Sage Safari" would start at 9:00pm UK time, and sure enough GM SilverRose did appear in Randol at that time - as far as I could tell only two or three of the more vocal players in Randol at that moment got picked, after all there can only be eight people in a party and there seemed to be a number of high-ranking people already involved, including GS Airadella.  So hanging around in central Randol for a while didn't do me personally any good...an adventure led by the game masters, promising "a chance to get some cool lewts and special drops, just for them" sounds like fun, sigh...

Mobbing Again - May 9th

After my connection had been behaving so well, it came as quite a surprise to get a few disconnections - I even had to run Leo back to his Treant pals once late in the morning, while Enchantrella, trying to keep up with the demand for stones for the pets to devour, lost her connection when she first started mining, before getting any results.  After that things seemed to settle down, but then at around 2:30 my internet connection went, to use a technical term, kablooie.  TalkTalk's reconnection wizard kept me busy for a while, and I was trying restarts and other not particularly clever stuff, but in the end I had to phone up the experts, and they had to do something from their end while I powered off the modem, then reset it, and we finally got the connection back at around 4:15.  Which was a bit unfortunate, as to sign up for the "Upgrade Love" event I had needed to be online at 4:00pm UK time prompt. By the time I reached the forum all fifty places had gone, unsurprisingly.

Well, Enchantrella had finally reached level 22, and put on the last of her new Dark armour set, all of it +4 so that now she too has the little fairy fluttering at her shoulder.  And that was very convenient, as in the evening Damor asked if I had a fairly low-level mage set I could sell her for a friend, so I was able to find the old Night armour set, all +3 except the boots (I never did find enough level 22 pieces to turn into smelting stones), a good new home, and Enchantrella's previous staff too.  As Damor had made about 12 million today, and reached level 66, she was in a generous mood, and gave me a pretty good price.  She is currently #45 of the list of the top fifty Cariae mages, but her new level should update that tomorrow, unless the other ones have been as busy!

All the reconnection excitement delayed me rather, but after food I managed to get Keerella to the Bandits and Berserkers in time for the Friday TeaTime event, which this week was double experience.  As quite often happens, the event wasn't actually switched on until about twenty past five (UK time), but it must have run in all for almost double its theoretical two hours, so one can't complain.  I had finally realised that, with Leo busy elsewhere on the same server, Cariae-3, it was possible to "solo party" with him, and thus get slightly more experience and skill exp, so I set that up. Before I'd been there very long another mage rode up, flying on a dragon and collecting a large group of the local monsters, then using the dragon's fiery breath on them.  I've got used to such people coming by, taking just about every Berserker, and running off, but TORNADE invited me to join up with her, and so I did, quitting the solo party with Leo.  She was only level 31, so, with my better armour and probably better evasion, I was the one who rushed off to aggravate as many Bandits and Berserkers as possible, bringing them back to her.  My horse buffs kept us fairly healthy, though I did have to use a few minor health potions.  With the double experience, things moved along very nicely; TORNADE levelled up, and, as she had already chosen to be a wizard rather than a witch, quickly nipped back to town to get her new skills.  We continued, and then I went on a little longer after she had to leave, without the mobbing, so that by the end of the day I'd gone up 32% on the experience side - nearly a third of the way through level 36 already!   2457 pet points were added too, so that my drake is around two-thirds of the way through his level 34, while 91 skill points mean that I'm very nearly maxxed out now on all skills - until the new ones become available at level 38!   I just need the final level of Arch Enemy - not a very useful skill, Damor had told me, but it will be good to have the complete set of maximum-level skills.

So, I suppose the extended double experience event does compensate for the missed time in the afternoon.  It's just a shame about the "Upgrade Love" thing - last week when they announced it a week early by mistake I had no problems posting in the appropriate forum thread in time, but of course they wiped all those posts.  The mage staff I want to upgrade is all ready, let's hope another opportunity comes along at some point.

Training Day - May 10th

I did actually manage to stay up last night until the second, US timezone-aimed registration period for "Upgrade Love"; the only problem was that, although I was logged in, when the relevant forum thread was unlocked I kept getting "page unavailable" notices. Panic time! After a dozen or so of those notices, I quickly logged out, and logged back in with Elva's account, and then I managed to gain access and type in my details, using one of his characters. As usual I had to attempt to post it a number of times, as the forum has a feature that tells you if a new post has been added to the thread while you are composing your entry, but I did manage it, and was finally able to head off to bed. I'd spent almost an hour of the extra time taking my rogue into Dratan desert, as she needed one more Harpy's Tear for the "Historical verification of Jajan" quest. Needless to say it was slow going, and I picked up five of the Feathers before finally a single Tear dropped for me. The US "TeaTime" event was running by then, so I got some extra experience too. And no visit from Kamira, which is always a bonus.

In the morning, after some general moving-about of items between accounts and characters, including moving the +8 mage staff across to the right character for the evening Upgrade Love finale, Leo was sent off to the eyrie to battle a Treant of his choice - and just before noon the pet horse went up to level 30. To celebrate I double-clicked on a "pet pill", to give double pet points for three hours. In fact, he got through three pet pills, though a little time was wasted when the Treant disappeared in an attack of extreme lagginess, and when I discovered it and went off to tempt a new one back to the eyrie, it vanished just on the final slope.  I went back to Treant Central and got a couple more, and just moved them along away from the others but still down on the plain, trusting that no would-be comedians would come along.  And things went smoothly - by log-out time the horse was level 32, so should reach the target of level 33 by early afternoon tomorrow.

Meanwhile Enchantrella was busy doing some mining - and then went off to gain some skill points. After at least a week or more, she finally got the 89 points she needed to maximise Imperfect Stone Processing; next on her list will be Yellow Herb Processing. But shortly before lunch DuncanByrd came through c3 Randol announcing that a new pet-levelling statue was available in Cariae-1, deep in the depths of the GHB lake, so I went across to c1, and hurried out there, where DuncanByrd himself was levelling his horse, SendErrorReport - it's already level 50 apparently! Duncan assured me that this was a new statue spawned by [GM] Taz, not the one he teleported there a few days ago.

With Duncan there in person, people were feeling pretty safe, and the only red-named character to turn up, in PvP mode, soon got (fatally) discouraged from intervening. Enchantrella got her pony up to level 11, which should be high enough for Leo to take him on next (he needs a bit of armour buff from his pet), and then logged out, to be replaced by my rogue, with her cute little recent addition, a level one hatchling - which became, slowly but surely, a level two hatchling, and then by mid-afternoon reached level three. It probably is rather slower pet levelling than Leo manages, as, with a level 22 or 23 character fighting a level 90 Stone Statue, a lot of the time one misses rather than hits, but it doesn't demand a huge amount of attention. It was approaching six by the time level four was reached - a good time to log out, as there were a couple of people with red names around, and the atmosphere of the group did seem to be changing slightly, with at least one complaint that their pet had been killed.

So, it was time for Keerella to put in a belated appearance.  Bandits and Berserkers were on the menu, and, well, almost 5% experience was gained, plus 776 pet points and 26 skill points.  But at 8 o'clock, UK time, I had to switch over to Jacqueline, as that was the character I registered with; I teamed up with my new friend TORNADE again (who in future I think I will call Tornade), and we headed for the Highlanders for a change - they were red for both of us at level 33, so Jacqui's healing skills came in useful!  As they tend to rush in mob-handed it was a relief when Tornade decided that the Bandits and Berserkers would be better, as they are less unfriendly, to pets especially, and as they are around our level they give more skill exp.  So we mobbed them, bringing massive groups together for her Flame Storm and my arrows; sadly Tornade had sold her dragon, so no Fiery Breath to immolate them, but it was still good experience and loot.  She had to leave after a while; she had set the party up as a solo one, open to all, so various other faraway people, from level 8 to 30 or so, joined up over time, though most of them didn't stay long.  When would the Upgrade call come?  Zeratus said that I'd know it when it came, he himself had been transported to the depths of the Juno lake to get his upgrade.  Oh the suspense!

And then suddenly I had the loading screen for Dratan - and there was [GM] Krash himself standing close to the entrance to Prokion Temple.  I had to put away my drake to let him trade with me, as it was in the way; I traded the +8 mage staff to him, and a few seconds later he traded me back the new, improved +9 one.  It doesn't have bloodseals yet of course, but it once again has the ability to use an Extreme Stone on it, which should be very handy.  So I thanked him, wandered off to kill a couple of Salamanders just to check that it was the actual regular map, and then, as it was approaching 10:30, signed off for the day.

What Do Points Make? - May 11th

Leo got his latest horse up to level 33 this afternoon, after the use of one more three-hour pet pill, and so some shuffling around of pets was needed. Enchantrella contributed her level 11 pony as the next candidate for levelling, and took over the level 31 white horse that my rogue had recently been given, and the rogue got the new level 33 one, which has been dyed purple - Kaerella had the purple pet colouring crystal, so as it was a non-tradeable version, she took the horse briefly to apply the colouring, before passing it on. Kae's own horse is still uncoloured, but is the level 37 one of the group. Since Kee's mount is level 35, it's a complete set now, levels 31, 33, 35, and 37... Anyway, after all the shuffling about, Leo started to level his new pony, which at the time of typing has already reached level 14.

Enchantrella did some afk mining, and also fought enough Drakes and Elder Werewolves to get enough skill points for the second level of Yellow Herb Processing - the first level is free!  Later in the afternoon, just after I'd logged on as Kee, Tornade got in touch - she wanted me to buy something in the Item Mall for her. For her rogue FireMans, actually - a Class Skills Reset Card, costing 850 aeria points, as she had decided to change the rogue's secondary profession. This is the sort of transaction that relies on trust; as such items cannot be traded, I have to buy them and then send them as gifts, with the money traded to me separately. FireMans had opened the trading window and put the agreed amount of gold up, but seconds after I sent the card, she logged out, which certainly gave me a scare - I've only known Tornade a few days, but she has been a very good partner in adventure. Luckily she soon reappeared on my Friends list, explaining that she had had a "Send Error Report?" crash at just the wrong moment, and quickly came and transferred the cash across. And by the time that was done, it was time to get some food, before the Sunday TeaTime Event was due to start.

The forum poll had decided on double skill exp today - it certainly got my vote!  So Kee headed for the usual gang of Berserkers and Bandits, and started bashing away. It wasn't long before my other relatively new friend, Sammotina, got in touch, asking if she could come and be afk for a while, to take advantage of the event. Well, I'm a soft touch, I admit it, so I agreed, with the proviso that if she got a HS as a drop while just sitting there, it ought to be transferred to me - and after only about 15 minutes sitting close by she came to life, and we attacked the local inhabitants together for quite a while. And then she wanted me to get her some Item Mall items too!  "Gange Coustem" had me puzzled for a while, but she told me to look under Packages in the mall lists, and it turned out it was a rogue Gang Costume she wanted, for 99ap, as well as a dark blue pet colouring crystal. So I sent them, and she paid me the agreed amount of gold with no problems. It may well be possible to actually trade those things, or at least the crystal, but the "send as gift" option and paying me via Trade seemed to be the best way to do it. She also decided she wanted a purple pet colouring crystal, which was transferred and paid for, and there was talk of a third colouring crystal, this time red, in exchange for a couple of Heaven Stones, but she had to sign out fairly hurriedly before we got around to that. I must say that the rogue Gang Costume is really rather smart...

It was after nine when Rastatitan signed in - it was very good to hear from him after a bit of a gap, he promises to be around rather more in future, and was chatting and planning with Zeratus and Itura about possible Egeha adventures.  Now all we need is for Sheele to return to us, and for Elva's exile to end sooner rather than later, and all will be well.  Captianjack had signed off by then, but his exams are over so he is playing again, which means the guild channel is a bit livelier than i t has been recently.

The double skill exp went on until around 9:30 UK time, so I made pretty good use of it; Kee was up 124 skill points on the day, as well as 12% experience, and 2157 pet points.  My gold reserves got a bit of a boost, though I can't say that I wanted my cache of aeria points to take so big a hit.

Gnolls With Red Toenails - May 12th

I seemed to get rather caught up in Sammotina's problems this afternoon, which took a little time away from fighting; she wanted me to get a few more items from the Item Mall for her and her friends, which was okay as they were generally minor items such as pet colouring crystals and another Gang Costume, but such things do take time to work out. Sammo did have a dragon, which we used on some Berserker & Bandit mobs, but then she decided that, given the amount of stones and mana it used, she'd be better off selling it to a friend for 15 million. Unfortunately, when I saw her a little later, she had lost the dragon, the chance of the 15 million, and the friend - isn't it evil the way people steal things like that? She was also having problems getting the agreed cash out of another friend for at least one of the Mall items, and was starting to go off her whole Friends list... except sweet innocent little me of course.

We went back to the Berserkers and Bandits, not mobbing this time just taking them as they came, and luckily she did get a Heaven Stone dropped, which is something. She left the party a little while later, while I was swiftly checking on Leo, but I continued alone, and then found a couple of quests back in Merac village - one of them was just to carry a bouquet or something from one NPC trader to another, but the other involved going off to fight the Gnolls, and gathering ten of their Red Toe Nails. Do they paint them, do you think? It took a while before a Gnoll finally dropped the first of this quest item, but eventually I got ten, and went back for my reward - 460,000 experience points, 100,000 gold, and 10 Physical Attack Potions.  I could have had a magical accessory instead of those potions, but I've got too many of them in my inventory already.

The cash was welcome, as indeed the cash from the Item Mall things was welcome - as I paid out 56 million for a Pierce of Wind accessory this morning. They usually sell for 60 million, and I'd decided that if I saw one for 57 million or less I'd grab it. A "PoW" increases one's Dexterity by 16, and gives 7 close range evasion. I'd already got one as a very lucky drop when Sheele and Kae killed the Grand Red Dragon, so with two of them equipped, I should be pretty dexterous and, at close range, evasive! And as Sophia only charges 1 gold to store that kind of item, I can easily switch them both to Kae when needed... or to my rogue, even, who ought to find them very useful.

Leo toiled all through the night most productively, and has been working hard all day levelling the current horse, which is now level 20. The Treant did vanish once, but a new one was quickly led back to the eyrie, and when I check up, I make sure to tempt it away from the edge, as it does have a slight tendency to move the fight in that direction. Pet levelling is nice and easy for the first couple of days, it's when the pet is higher in level than Leo's 22 that I have to start feeding it stones rather often - tonight will be the last night Leo can stay online for levelling. Until his next candidate, which will probably just involve levelling up Enchantrella's stormy hatchling to around her level, to boost the armour buff he gives.  Who knows, if Elva is away much longer I may even level up a horse to sell...

Anyway, today's experience gain was a respectable 12.5%, with 1694 pet points getting my drake up to level 35; 53 skill points got added, though they've almost all been used now.  I got the final level of Arch Enemy, just to complete the set and be fully "maxxed out", so now it's a matter of investing points in the "special skills".  So I've got all three levels of basic Armorsmith, and the first level of Advanced Armorsmith.  It will take exactly 600 more skill points to get to the top level of Expert Armorsmith, I see, so that will be a useful sink for points for quite a while.

Oddments - May 13th

Leo's current pet horse had reached level 23 by this morning; the game actually closed with an "insufficient memory" window last night, which wasn't entirely surprising as it had been running nonstop on that computer for quite a while. I was able to restart the game and get Leo set up again with a Treant before bedtime, luckily. MistressDomino had been busy overnight too, selling items, but interestingly she didn't manage to sell any Large Attack Potions, though her price is slightly lower than average. I'd say that the people who use those pots must be taking advantage of their sale price in the Item Mall at the moment - 50 pots for 99 aeria points.

A swift look through the merchant-mode people in Cariae-3 found someone selling Quality Stones at 800 gold, which seemed a bit of a bargain to me - if using a Tool Aid for mining gets you 27 of the stones, with a hammer used each time that is the equivalent of buying Tool Aids for 20,600 gold each, which is a bit lower than the average selling price. And getting them ready-mined saves time too. So, Leo's supply of such stones has been topped up with another 500, which should keep him going for a while.

I really ought to check the email I set up to go with this blog more often, "kaerella" followed by the traditional "at" sign, and then "gmx.com", but it's not a very intuitive or easy place to navigate. I can report the arrival of a message from Elvastar himself, assuring us that he is still alive, but that my guess that he was on a top secret assassination mission somewhere in South America was in fact incorrect. Let us hope that he gets back home to his computer before too long! I kept getting spurious error messages when I typed in my reply, maybe their system doesn't like one's computer to be playing Last Chaos at the same time?

Kee went out to the Bandits & Berserkers in the afternoon, but Sammotina got in touch to say that she'd started a new rogue, Phinix, and already got her to level 7... so I changed to my seldom-used level 8 knight, and we teamed for a while, against the Berserk Wolves and Jaguars. We both reached level 10 before it was time to log out for food. I don't really want to take my knight any further at the moment, it would be a matter of setting up a Guardian arrangement, and getting to level 20 within 10 days, and with one of my busy weekends coming up, now is not the time for such a commitment.

Kee was able to put in a slightly longer session in the early evening, before the usual early Tuesday night finish...though the early finish doesn't apply to Leo, who has got the horse up to level 25 now. He can't continue through the night because (a) the horse would starve, and (b) the servers will go down for an hour or so for their usual weekly maintenance. He can though continue until that downtime, which works out pretty well...  But Kee added 6.5% experience today, so that she's two-thirds of the way to her next level, plus 1161 pet points and 41 skill points - not enough yet for the second level of Advanced Armorsmith, but getting close!

My Strong Wizard - May 14th

Well Enchantrella did some mining, and Leo kept busy all day with his horse, so that it looks as if he should reach level 28 before logging-off time upstairs, but Kee was the star of the show of course.  She has managed to buy a pair of level 47 boots, +4, for two million, which seemed like a good buy to me as they do tend to be rare, though it will be a while before she can use them, but a trip out to the Berserkers and Bandits for an hour or so added just over 3% experience and 18 skill points, which were enough to get me to Advanced Armoursmith level two.

But then Damor got in touch, and, when I assured her that I had maxxed all my skills and invested some spare points in Armoursmithing, she invited me to join her fighting the level 84 Boucu Demons in Egeha.  This was just as the start of the "sorry the new patch was a big download" double experience and skill points event was announced, which was excellent timing. 

Damor had bagged the best place for Boucu Demon farming in Egeha, on Cariae-3, and quickly used Recall to get me to her.  She actually solos the Demons, really, with her other main character, Itura the cleric-healer, locked on her to provide the healing, but not in the party now.  A laptop and a desktop PC close together make this possible, but it's all clever and complicated stuff.  I was invited to "ks", to attack the Boucu Demons myself and thus get part of the experience... only a small proportion of it, but at level 36 a small bit is all you need to make remarkably swift progress.

It all went pretty smoothly - I did die a couple of times, but with so few spare skill points I hardly lost anything on that front, and any experience loss was quickly regained.  I reached level 37, and was able to put on my new boots (though I don't yet have the circlet - Damor promises to check her various mule-type characters in case she has one), and also equip my new +9 staff, as lovingly upgraded  by [GM] Krash last Saturday.  I didn't have any bloodseal gems with me, and so had to nip back to town to get them, and used a couple, though the first two seals are less than inspiring.  We both had our laggy moments, as usually happens with Egeha - we both had disconnections, even, but Itura managed to keep the spot for us.

So, from looking to reach level 37 fairly soon, I am suddenly looking to reach level 38 very soon, when new skills become available to learn - my total experience gain on the day was 127%!  1554 pet points were gained too... and I even got some loot, Damor very kindly let me pick up some of the cash drops, and passed a level 71 Sorcerer tunic over to me, which apparently I should be able to sell for around a quarter of a million.  It looks as if I will need the cash, she advises me that I should start looking for a level 45 staff with at least +10, costing around 15 million.  My playing time is going to be a bit limited over the next few days, which is a pity, but I'll need to farm some more skill exp, so that I will be able to at least start to learn those new level 38 skills when I get there.

This And That - May 15th

Kee got up to level 38 easily enough today, even though I wasn't able to play until the evening - annoying, with the double experience and double skill exp going on!  I did manage to log in with an hour or so of the event left, which helped me get up relatively quickly, against the Bandits and an occasional Berserker, but when I did level up, they were both green for me, so I needed to move round to the Blood Frenzies. I also tried the Gnoll Lancers, which were as ever rather slow to be killed as they have a high armour rating; I even tried the Dratan Jail, but those Canines do tend to attack one's poor pet drake, and I wouldn't care to go beyond the first room - which got a bit crowded.

At level 38, new skills do become available - I have been following the recommended profile on the Wet Paint Wiki for a wizard, which meant that I had enough attribute points in Constitution to be able to learn Robe Mastery, a passive skill boosting defence; I got the first three levels of that. But I need another 10 attribute points in Intelligence before I qualify to learn Flame Field, and another 5 points in Dexterity before I can learn Fear, so I won't be able to get those for a while.  So the levelling-up was a bit of an anticlimax, no wonder even high-level mages seem to use Terra Spear still.

I don't know, after yesterday's achievements today seemed a bit of a let-down. The two people I'd bought Mall items for were nagging me to get them more stuff, which I can't really afford to do, and one of them was even wanting me to log in to his account and spend my cash to buy him aeria points. I suppose it is a matter of a different view of life, and that he'd do favours for other people like that is he was in a position to, but heck, I've only known him less than a week!

I was just about to have a final look through the merchants on Cariae-1's Randol when Damor came on, and invited me to join her party to explore the new version of Dratan - wow has it changed, it's not just a few amped-up monsters, the geography of the place seems almost entirely different. Damor encountered Kamira when she was off exploring ahead, I am not sure if she died or not, but after getting some reinforcements, including Zeratus, she killed Kamira, though no rare items were dropped.

There are bigger and tougher versions of old familiar Juno animals like jaguars, deer and foxes - in fact, farming the deer would be a tempting way to gain experience and skill points for me, if Kamira was out of the picture.  The boss Baal, a giant spider at the bottom of a spiral-sided shallow pit, seemed to be a mere level 29 now, which was strange, and reappeared within a minute, unlike the previous version which took quite a long time to reappear when killed.

Damor used Recall to teleport me to a desert building by which a large group of Death Knights and other high-level critters were milling about; I don't know if they are always there, or if it was a special gathering.  I thought we were a safe distance from them, but just after I applied horse buffs, suddenly I was dead.  I think Damor was bringing in some stronger people to get experience on them, but I made my excuses, and left.  It was getting a bit late for me, and after all if I am in an actual party with Damor I don't get much experience at all at my level.

I'd gone up 10.5% in experience today, even after losing some to that death; pet points were up 1339, and  67 skill points were earned, so the day wasn't a total loss, while Enchantrella did plenty of afk mining, and Leo has got his current horse more than halfway through level 29 now.  So progress has been made - just not as much progress as I would have liked...

Double Attack - May 16th

I was hard at work on mundane matters all day, and so Keerella didn't log in until after seven UK time, just as the Event was ending.  And since the special TeaTime bonus was Double Attack, both for players and monsters, I really didn't mind missing it, though I'd have liked to have had the time to have played more today.  I got a lot of exercise, though, as I had Leo training his horse on the old upstairs computer, and Enchantrella mining downstairs.  The horse went up to level 30 in the morning, so is starting to get through the stones fairly quickly, a quality stone every five minutes, so I was up and down those stairs pretty frequently.

What had me going up and down stairs most often though was the two hours or so of double attack, which luckily didn't overrun much.  While Leo doing double damage to the Treant didn't seem to hurt it, it doing double damage to him certainly did.  Last time there was an event like this my pet trainer died, but this time, by using a few small HP regeneration potions, which last ten minutes, and Leo's level 4 self-buff of Divine Shield to increase his defence, which lasts five minutes, we managed to get through it.  Luckily the horse reached level 31 halfway through, so I was able to increase the armour buff he gives Leo - that is the maximum for that buff, 30 levels.  I've not entirely decided how far this horse is going to go before being mounted, we'll see how my patience, and Leo's supply of stones to keep it fed, goes.

While Bandits and Berserkers are now green to me, Blood Frenzies are still white, so Kee farmed on them for two hours or so - a short farming session!  I did pick up one Heaven Stone, which is always useful.  Their price in Randol, at least on the Cariae group of servers, seems to have gone up, though of course it's only the ones that haven't been snapped up that one sees while browsing the merchants.  Do people ever actually pay as much as 700k for them?  On MistressDomino's most recent overnight session we sold some at 595k, but whether someone snapped them all up within minutes, or people gradually bought them one by one over eight hours or so, I don't know.  I tend to think of them as worth 500k.  For a second time, MistressDomino didn't sell any of the Large Attack Potions at 39,500, though I've not seen them on sale any cheaper than that.

Sammotina got in touch during the event (talking to Enchantrella) to say that she'd sighted Kamira, but unfortunately Damor wasn't on then.  I was wondering if Kamira would have been killable when she was dealing double damage, but, chatting later, Damor was saying that high level characters tend to evade monster attacks anyway, so they do benefit from dealing twice the hitting power, without the downside of getting hit hard themselves.  So they at least benefit from this strange sort of event.  Damor said that she'd killed Kamira I think three times recently, and the Egeha-based Great Gold Dragon once, but without getting any better drops than a couple of Medals of Honour, and some scrolls and medium potions.  In the Cariae "Top Fifty" listing for mages, Damor is now #42, at level 69, though it seems likely that academic work will soon be cutting down the number of hours she can stay online.

Well, I got enough skill points today to get level 4 of Robe Mastery, for 57 skill points - the final level will need 205 points, so may take a few days!  Anything that improves my defence has to be worth getting, of course.  I went up 5% in experience, gained 37 skill points in all, and added 964 pet points for my faithful emerald-green drake.  Leo, of course, added rather more points for his horse, which is now about 40% of the way into level 31.