Keerella's Blog - stardate August 2008 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month continues here at the top!
Upgrade Day - August 16th

Karella did a little herb farming early on, and a little later MistressDomina fought lots of Berserk Wolves and Jaguars, so that she has reached level nine now - the idea is for her, as well as being a level ten merchant, to learn the pharmacy skills, so she will need to join Norcaine temporarily to freeze her experience gain while she gets the necessary skill points - just in case she ever needs to join the Guardian program to go from ten to twenty.  It would be handy to have a character who can make health and mana potions.  She got a better weapon than the wand she started life with as a drop, thankfully - and picked up a Heaven Stone too.  SirDarth did some herb farming over lunch as well - and afterwards it was Darth's turn to actually do some fighting, after all his hard work mining and farming recently.

So, his destination was as usual Prokion Temple, where the Orc Sergeants and their friends upstairs could do him very little damage - and a full afternoon's session brought him exactly 100 skill points, towards the 653 that will be needed to next upgrade the guild.  We were able, though, to expand Norcaine's size, so that we are now at 38/45 - we couldn't do this as early in the day as we'd expected, as contrary to what the Wet Paint LC Wiki says, a full 7000 guild points are needed, but we managed to get the extra points, and Darth went to the Royal Guard Captain, paid the 400,000 gold, and there we were, larger.

To my surprise Damor returned from her holiday today - from what she'd said I wasn't expecting her until next weekend, or maybe a day or so before.  So that rather messes up Kee's one-session-a-day progress to skill point farming rather, if Damor plans to do anything major in the coming days.  But Damor was saying that at least one of the sp-expensive high level skills, Chaos Nova, is not something she uses, it's an "area of effect" thing, so it mainly just aggros everything around you.  Maybe I'll skip that one, but there are plenty more new levels of existing skills to get along the way.

Damor has joined Norcaine again, I assume only temporarily as her main guild responsibility is toward Dominion, which has some rather higher level people than we do, but it's very handy to have her on the guild chat channel.   Zenderfly also rejoined, after her mission to infiltrate the Avalon guild - Itura hopefully will when she has the time to log on as that character.  Rather a long password and account name, apparently...

The "upgrade probability event" was scheduled for eight until nine in the evening, UK time, as usual; for a couple of hours before that the "2fers" of the Rune of Protection II were being offered with a 50% ap rebate (to reach one's account within 14 days, one per account), so I grabbed a couple of those, on Darth's and Kee's accounts.  Damor, LightDash and I were vowing to wait until the very end of the upgrade hour, when they usually ramp up the success chance to 200%.

Keerella wasn't just hanging around waiting, though, she had almost a full evening's session out with the Arcane Golems - she's still frozen on the experience front, but gained 584 pet points and a nice round 50 skill points, so now she is just over halfway to the 300 she'll need at level 63.  It was nice to have an active guild channel with Zenderfly and LightDash - LD picked up a Heaven Stone, and hardly had I typed in the traditional "grats" when I picked one up too.

Just to wrong-foot us, after lots of spamming announcements that the upgrade probability had been increased to 150%, so go and make those shiny new +15 weapons, suddenly they announced that the level had gone up to 200% - usually that is just at the very end, after a 175% few minutes.  So I had to use "pet return" to beam back to Dratan City right away, and then gallop down to Storekeeper Bianca's branch there.  I took 16 Heaven Stones out of storage, which I assumed, with the 1 I'd picked up, would be enough to upgrade my level 65 Augcuss Staff, which I'd already got to +6, and Darth transferred his "2fer" across, and I was all set.  I hurried across to the Royal Guard Captain to get access to the Guild Hall, where in theory one gets less lag than in town. I was in Cariae-3; Damor and LightDash had gone to Cariae-4, but I couldn't bear to try the upgrade in public.

Being generally cautious in such matters, I was using Runes of Protection - I transferred an old package including some of them, plus lucky smelting stones and an Extreme Stone, into my inventory.  I got to +10 easily enough, though not without a couple of wasted Heaven Stones despite the announced double success rate, and then, with almost as many failures as successes, I got to +13... and the next Heaven Stone, plus Rune of Protection II, knocked it back down to +10 again, so without a rune it would have been destroyed.  I got it up to +13 again - at which point I'd run out of Heaven Stones.  So, "double success rate" meant 17 HS to go up 7 levels...

Anyway, there wasn't time to go into town and visit Bianca and get some more; I had promised myself that I would have risked trying to turn a +14 item into a +15 maxxed one, even though you can't use a Rune on that step, but I never got the chance - probably just as well.  I beamed over to Randol and reported that I had at least made the staff +13... and then asked Damor if one was able to use an Extreme Stone on a +13 item (I knew you couldn't on a +14 one - and you can only use one ES per item).  Damor urged me strongly to go for it, so I did - and now am the proud owner of a Augcuss Staff +14, with Magic Attack 325 + 513... a useful improvement on Damor's level 57 Blood Shadow Staff +15, with its 262 + 460 Magic Attack (plus a bonus +50 for being maxxed), which I'll now be able to return to her for Zenderfly's future use, once Collector Ryl has changed it into a witch's wand.  And of course I have that expensive level 69 Crai Staff +15, Magic Attack 360 +633 (plus that same bonus) to look forward to using.

Damor informed me as soon as she came online that I had overpaid for that selection of future mage items yesterday - ah well, at least I beat that knight down three million!  I couldn't even think of upgrading that level 73 staff that was in the package, as until I am the correct level I can't actually equip it.  But I think I'd rather spend the money I'd otherwise spend on Runes on things I can sell as a merchant, and use the proceeds to buy a ready-plussed weapon, it's less nerve-wracking...anyone need some nice expensive Item Drop Boosters?

Progress, and a Disappointment - August 17th

SirDarth went out to farm herbs at Serel Farm, and Keerella went out to the Arcane Golems yet again, so there isn't really much to report on that - by my tea break Kee had added 47 skill points, using her new +14 level 65 staff, which means that the golems got hit rather harder than before - though with Terra Spear they tended to die immediately anyway.  No visitors, and no alarms, though the guild channel was pretty busy.

The only down side was that Galandorius had got himself into a bit of a mood, depressed with the slow progress grinding through the late thirties, and talking of trying Shaiya or returning to Runescape, where his warrior was as high as a warrior could be.  I thought I'd talked him out of it, but then he was saying he was the lowest main character in the guild, and he ought to leave, which was utter nonsense, a perfectly understandable reaction to just being back from a holiday and being hit by the more mundane regular side of life.  I thought it had passed - but then someone mentioned that he'd actually left the guild, sigh.  We'll miss him.

Well, the TeaTime bonus two hours began promptly at five UK time, and Kee went back out to the Arcane Golems - despite the occasional chat distraction, and running upstairs to let Darth freeze people's experience as needed, thanks to the 50% extra skill exp Kee added a further 62 skill points, making 109 in all on the day.  And as I unfroze Kee's experience for the two hours, since it was double experience, she went up 3.52% on that side; both sessions only yielded a total of 271 pet points, since with the better weapon I was needing to land rather less hits.  Still, level 41 for my faithful drake is starting to get a bit nearer.

Once the event had finished, within minutes of seven o'clock, it was time to swap over, and let Karella do some herb-gathering, while Darth went to Prokion Temple to farm some more skill points - and by 9:15-ish he'd added another 80, so we're making progress on that side, though the total number of sp needed to upgrade the guild is still a bit far away.  Maybe he should use one of those extra-percent pills.

There was another "upgrade probability event" from eight to nine, but I'd had enough drama yesterday, and just kept fighting - all those Heaven Stones being used made things a bit laggy at times!  Damor had some notable successes, such as a blue five seal staff going all the way to +15, and I think LightDash got a wand she'll be using later up to a healthy level too.

Soon after nine Damor summoned LightDash and me to the Norcaine Guild Hall on Cariae-2 - we were both able, with thanks, to return the +15 weapons she had lent us, the event weapon in LightDash's case and the level 57 one I'd been using.  Damor showed me her haul of +15 staffs and wands, I think it was seven or eight of them in all plus a +12 item.

So, Kee was then on the upstairs computer, and went straight over to Cariae-4, as arranged, for the Quiz at 9:30; Darth fought a little longer in the Temple, and then moved across too.  We both locked on to Damor, or so I thought - I was upstairs in case Kee had a problem.  I asked Damor to move around, just to check that everyone, other guildies included, were properly locked on, but she didn't respond.  The first question was easy, as we've mentioned Collector Ryl can only exchange weapons up to and including level 69 - but I don't know exactly what happened, Kee didn't move at all, and while I was still waiting for her to be pulled forward, well, the countdown must have been quicker than usual, I respawned back in the middle of town.  And when I rushed back to the domain merchant, she wasn't allowing people to go back in, unfortunately.

I went downstairs to Darth - and found that he was back in the middle of town too.  So, no chance of ten ToolAids, ten Moonstones, and fifteen Heaven Stones for me this weekend.  A shame, that, as the price of the "HS" seems to have soared recently, thanks to people using so many doing upgrades.  Instead of the old 625,000 price, suddenly people selling them at 1,400,000 gold were considered to be cheap - and maybe the people offering them at two million or more were making sales too, who can tell?

Anyway, it was time to log out.  I didn't see any messages from Damor, it was quite likely that she crashed, which can easily happen in the Quiz room.  I'd blame a stupid sorcerer next to us who insisted on conjuring up his spirits - other people take off their armour to try and lessen the burden on the game, but someone, it seems, almost always has to show off.

Progress, at the Double - August 18th

Well, SirDarth was hard at work mining all night.  I checked on his progress just before ten this morning and ApolloDusk had recently messaged him asking to join Norcaine, so I responded, and before long she had come out to Mudika Mine, and was duly enrolled - a level 20 mage.  A mysterious new level 20 mage, even, judging from what was later being said on the guild channel...though it wasn't long before it was revealed that this was in fact Galandorius, who'd got the new character to level 20 in about three hours.  So that was a nice boost - all we need now is to find and re-recruit Gal himself.

LightDash had messaged to say that she too, when the Quiz started, somehow was no longer locked on to Damor, and so had to act rather quickly on that first question - she did make it through to the Heaven Stones, though, as did Damor herself, though Zenderfly crashed out.  It looks as if the main problem, as Damor admitted in a message, was that she had stopped reading the guild channel while we were there - "too much spam".  I don't see that a couple of messages in the guild colour would have disturbed her zen-like concentration all that much, but still.

Damor has, it seems, "only" got six +15 weapons; she made two yesterday, a level 69 one and her pride and joy, which Zenderfly will be able to use relatively soon I suspect, a level 73 wand, blue, with five seals...items don't come any better than that!  She did break two weapons, at +10 and +11, and ran out of Heaven Stones with one more at an already-useful +12.

The Sunday US TeaTime event, with its double experience and 50% extra skill exp, didn't actually get shut off before the GMs went home for the night - not the first time that has happened!  This helped MistressDomina to get up to level ten just before lunch - and meant that I took Keerella out to the Arcane Golems as early in the afternoon as possible.

Last time they forgot to switch a Sunday event off, they finally remembered quite early in the evening, so I delayed my break for food - but even two hours later, when you'd expect the Last Chaos GM office to be open, the bonus was still running, and there were no spammy GM messages trying to sell us Item Mall packages... it was gone seven when I stopped for a sandwich, and by then I'd gone up 13.31% in experience, and 202 skill points - and my drake had finally reached level 41!  My actual evening session, still with the bonus running, was a bit shorter, adding another 3.12% and 46 skill points.  By ten I was just about ready to log out, but actually had a disconnection - luckily Keerella wasn't greatly hurt in the time between me losing control and Kee actually vanishing from the desert, while the drake lost about half his health, but survived.

Soon after I got back in there was a "Pharaoh's Treasure" event, so I switched to Cariae-4 and rode out at random, finding two of the groups of level 63/64 Sphinx Fighters and Sphinx Spearmen, and joining in with others in getting them out of the way - just under 1% more experience, and while they did tend to take more than one use of Terra Spear to get rid of, they weren't hard to handle, even the Elite versions, which is good as in theory I should move on to them, in their usual position near Dratan's Pyramid, next time I gain a level.  Just under 1% from them, and a couple of skill points.

Damor managed to sell the mage "event weapon" +15 which she had loaned to LightDash, who has now outgrown it; she sold it for thirty million.  So that's one less +15 weapon she has.  It would be no further use to her - it's a shame that it's not high enough level for Collector Ryl to be able to convert it for the use of a different class.  Enchantrella will still be using the one I bought from Damor for quite a while, I think, if she's going to store up enough skill points while fighting in Prokion temple to take her up to, eventually, a high level.  It's good to know its value, though I expect I'll hold on to it, for the use of one of my many lower-level mage characters.

Anyway, thanks to the continuation of Sunday's TeaTime Kee managed to add 17.40% experience in all, and exactly 250 skill points, getting me quite a good way along towards the points needed for the level 66 skill upgrade.  The event did seem to cut down on the amount of gold dropped per golem, and maybe the number of armour drops, but I did get five Heaven Stones in all, which can't be bad - not as many as Zenderfly got of course, but then she uses lots more of them than I do...

A Game of Three Halves - August 19th

MistressDomina had her first overnight sales time last night, and did pretty well, taking in over seventeen million in gold; I'd thought Zenderfly was saying yesterday that the experience boosters had reached a million each, but they were just about the only unsold items by the morning, with only a couple of them sold.  Later on the GMs announced that there would be further supplies in the Item Mall tomorrow - but only 325 per server, so they will probably all have sold out before I wake up.

SirDarth went out mining again, on the feeling that one can never have too many Quality Stones - and MistressDomina changed out of the high-level armour that she took over from MistressDomino and got into her working gear, and had a small exploration of Velpist Temple.

I'd not been there recently, and hadn't realised that, like its Dratan counterpart Prokion Temple, its inhabitants are now elite, giving much better experience and skill exp than they used to - new characters certainly have it a lot easier these days, though the new versions of the skeletons etc there do take longer to kill.  If Prokion had been full of elite orcs, with their generous supply of skill exp, earlier, then Keerella, and Kae, would have been able to build up a useful supply of skill points for future skills.  Older characters just weren't prepared for all the new skill levels that have been added for higher levels, which does give them a disadvantage rather.

Keerella went out to the Arcane Giants in the afternoon, but the session came to a premature end when Grand Devilroad Kamira showed up.  Luckily the direction I ran in when the announcement appeared was away from rather than towards her, one just runs and hopes - so I didn't actually see her.  So, rather than risk dying, and the expense of a new Resurrection Scroll, I headed back to town.  Still, 2.55% experience had been added, plus 255 pet points, and a round 50 skill points.

I've got enough skill points now for level 63's Flame Field level 7 (300 sp), but I still need another 82 for level 66's Fear level 7 (350 sp)... and after that comes level 68's Freeze Arrow level 7 (425 sp).  It's lucky that Damor recommends avoiding level 70's Chaos Nova, as its first five levels take 1450 skill points in all (with another 1000 at level 98), but level 72 has the passive skill Secret Study level 7 (324 sp), level 74 has Transformation level 7 (300 sp), level 76 has Mage Armor 2 level 2 (300 sp), and so on...there's always something!

After my food break, back to its more usual time, it was Kaerella's turn to go out adventuring - and at level 42, Maargadum Jail in Merac is the best place to go.  And who should I find there when I arrived but both Zenderfly and LightDash!  So, we teamed up and ventured beyond level two, where LightDash prefers to solo, down to level three, and its Beast Archers and Beast Flyers.  Cariae-3's best spot was already being used, so the two mages went across to a different server - and I followed once I'd been assured that they'd got the spot Zen wanted.  It was indeed a fine place to level, and neither of those particular monsters is a pet-eater, so Kae's drake, SirFrancis, was able to come out and help by picking loot up.  With her three Stone of Shadows accessories, Zen was taking very little damage - and as I'd moved my three Pierce of Winds over to Kae, I was doing pretty well too, but LD was taking more than her fair share of damage.  It wasn't too long, actually, before her game crashed...but Zen and I continued there for a little while longer, even though Zenderfly calculated that, even though Kae was four levels lower than her, she was gaining skill exp, and experience, a bit slower than when soloing the place.  I think she'd intended to set LD and Kae up there and move away.  Anyway, 12.24% experience gain is the largest that Kae has managed for ages, plus 886 pet points and 48 skill points.  I guess her immediate target is to get 150 skill points for the skill Rise Mana 2 level one, which will take a while longer.

Well, there was still about 90 minutes of playing time left for me, so I decided to move my three accessories over to Enchantrella, and take her out to Prokion Temple - so that's where I finished the evening, despite two "send error report" crashes while fighting, and one more when re-entering.  It's a lot easier to get skill points there than at Maargadum Jail, if one is the appropriate level, so it wasn't difficult to add 102 before I logged out, after chatting to LightDash about this and that once she'd returned from some real-life commitments.  It was good to be able to chat, the guild channel had had a very quiet day otherwise.

Early Rising - August 20th

I happened to wake up with the alarm clock radio showing 3:08am, either by coincidence or because I had been thinking that that was the time by which the servers would be back up, and managed to shuffle to the upstairs computer, which had been left on as SirDarth had been mining up until the server maintenance; I closed the game and restarted it, to get the new patch, and logged in.  There were plenty of the packs of 100 experience boosters left at that time, and they'd generously priced them at the "pocket lint" price of 899ap, which I could just about afford.  I grabbed a couple of half-price platinum skill pills (75ap instead of 149ap) too, since I don't usually get the chance to get them cheap - an hour's worth of 50% extra skill point gain will help SirDarth and Enchantrella nicely.

LightDash was actually online then, still, five hours on - she is on US time, after all.  I didn't feel up to starting a conversation, though, or sending Darth back out to Mudika Mine, so once I'd spent my ap I logged out, and switched off the computer.

SirDarth got through a good deal of mining during the day - and Karella got some farming done too, as I was busy out shopping during the afternoon, and I don't mean in-game in Randol.  After my food break, I swapped the three Pierce of Wind accessories back to Keerella, and headed for the Arcane Golems again.

After only ten minutes, Kamira arrived - and the good news was that I was able to run away and not get noticed by her.  I told people on the guild channel that she was available - and Zenderfly (level 46) and LightDash (level 47) came out to join me (level 61).  Which was a bit of a surprise, as I'd expected Damor to come, or maybe Itura, but I assumed that she knew what she was doing.  Zen gave me a Lucky Scroll and an Item Drop Booster to use, and I triggered them, and handed round level 12 magical defence minerals, and then she attempted to lure Kamira - but Kamira wasn't having it, and killed Zen, which she later said had lost her around 60 skill points, as she'd not had a skill point restoration scroll active.  I don't think either I or LD had done anything wrong, we were meant to hold back, it was just bad luck.  The next attempt, well, we fought Kamira this time, but whatever witchy hexes my two companions cast, probably including Sloth, while I was using Terra Spear mainly, they weren't enough, and despite my having used that magical defence mineral, plus some health pots, I got killed. A shame Itura hadn't been able to join us!  All I lost was the resurrection scroll, so ap rather than skill points, which was fine with me, as I was carrying 570 or so skill points by that time.

For the third attempt, Zenderfly changed to Damor (level 82) - but only after she'd engaged Kamira did she remember that my dying had cancelled out the Lucky Scroll and Item Drop Booster from before, and called me forward to trade - with me thinking it was a resurrection scroll or something she wanted.  In the general muddle I attacked the weakened Kamira, seeing she was down to below 10% health, and Damor didn't "beam out" in the usual "power levelling" way.  Kamira died, but LightDash and I didn't get any great quantity of experience (not that it would have been a very large amount)...and there was no high-powered accessory like a Pierce of Wind or a Stone of Shadow dropped.  My share of the loot was ten Great Healing Potions and an accessory, a Hero's Necklace, but its only property is "Magical Defence: 1", but I think LightDash and Damor shared some Lucky Scrolls, some Moonstones, and a Crystal of Experience (Greater), so that is probably not much below the average for a Kamira-kill, though our chances of something good would have been a lot better if Damor had been able to leave, since she is so high-level that Kamira is blue to her, and I had had the Lucky Scroll and IDB active.  Still, the deaths and general failure of our telepathic abilities meant that Damor was not happy, and decided to go off and do some cycling instead.

At least it meant that Kamira wasn't going to reappear for a while, so I got back to bashing those Arcane Golems; I had to vanish for a little while, but in all the evening session did add 1.62% experience, 130 pet points, and 34 skill points, which takes Kee over the 600 mark for unused skill points.  I'm afraid Kee is not now a good pet leveller, using Terra Spear to one-hit the golems means that pet points are few and far between, it's only with the Elite Akane Golem that she uses a regular magical staff attack too, since Terra Spear usually only gets him down to around 35% health...or when Terra Spear misses a golem.  I'm sure Kae got almost 900 points in a shorter session, using her scepter to attack Beast Flyers etc.

Thursday will be another less-than-full day for me, LC-wise, but that at least means some more farming will be done, and I'll be able to play in the evening.

Smooth Running - August 21st

Today was one of my busier real-life days, so I only had an evening session for actual playing, though MistressDomina did some selling in merchant mode - she took in about 21 million too, including selling a few of the experience boosters, and the last of her stock of Item Drop Boosters.

SirDarth meanwhile was faithfully mining away at Dratan's Mudika Mine.  Either Leo is going to have to do some more pet-levelling soon (the general idea would probably be to take the level 31 mount, buy a card (for 250 ap) to reset him to pet status, and level him up to 37), or MistressDomina is going to be selling stones before too long.

Anyway, Kee headed out to the Arcane Golems as usual, for their 880 skill exp each.  It was after approaching an hour that Kamira put in an appearance, and as usual the old reflexes took over and I ran for it, I didn't catch a sight of her until I crept back a few minutes later to check her position, the announcement at the top of the screen that "The Grand Devilroad Kamira has arrived" is quite enough for me.  I announced the arrival on the guild channel, and this time Damor came as herself (if you see what I mean) right away, without LightDash.

Now that we both knew what to do, things went pretty smoothly; Damor handed over a Lucky Scroll and an Item Drop Booster, and then attacked Kamira, using some health potions I'm sure but not in any danger.  I'd been warned not to use horse buffs, as if Damor was buffed by me it would effect the drop chances apparently, so wasn't as fully protected as I'd have liked, but I joined in with just normal staff attacks when Kamira was down to about 50% health - and then when Kamira was nearly dead and Damor had left the scene, I used Terra Spear, and as Damor had timed it perfectly, after only a couple of attacks Kamira was dead.

We didn't get a high-value accessory like a Tears of Knight or anything, but Damor got 5 scrolls of memorizing, 5 Moonstones, and 10 medium mana pots, while I got 5 Lucky Scrolls, 5 ToolAids, and a Crystal of Experience (Greater), so the total drop was worth at least slightly more than the IDB and Lucky Scroll used.  Damor prompted me to make use of the remaining time on the activated Lucky Scroll, I hadn't realised that it's not a single-kill item like an IDB, it does actually last 10 minutes, doubling the drop rate.

One other thing I hadn't realised until then was that Kamira is apparently no longer aggressive - Damor tested that out, and it seems that she no longer attacks any people within range, she just responds to being attacked.  So maybe her arrival now doesn't lead to instant death if you are unlucky enough to be too close, if so that makes the Dratan desert a much friendlier place than it used to be.

Damor logged out for a while soon after, but said she'd be back at five past nine - just before the two hours during which Kamira isn't able to respawn would finish.  She was hoping that Kamira would return for a rematch, so I slogged away for the two hours, and then teamed up with her and LightDash ready.  However, though I killed the golems as quickly as I could, she wasn't tempted to come and join us again.  LightDash killed a few golems too, she may at level 47 be 12 levels beneath them, but she seemed not to have any problems.  I doubt if they gave her much in the way of skill exp, though - and after a while she headed for Maargadum Jail, and critters around her own level which would give skill exp.

I'd given Damor a resurrection scroll earlier as a "free sample", and later she very kindly passed me over four pieces of level 75/77 armour which are rather better than the ones I bought off that knight a few days ago.  The yellow Lucky Serphin Glove has precisely the same seals as the green "Light" one , but I assume that the "lucky" prefix does actually do something.  The yellow Lucky Rilit Shirt, well, it's +6 for a start, and while its seals are similar, the quantities are improved, 45 instead of 33 evasion, both close and long range evasion 56 rather than 45, and swiftness of reflexes (dexterity) 12 rather than 8 - the same as the new gloves. The white Quick Rilit Pants are +5, and give 33 evasion and "increases long range evasion" 45, so are different from the yellow Shape Rilit Pants, which had 4 or 5 of each of the four kinds of defence, while the Lucky Grife Circlet +1 has the same nice seals as the gloves and the new shirt.  A few HS and lucky smelts and I'll have a very nice set of armour waiting for me to get up that high, if I can find some boots!

Someone was saying that another "upgrade probability event" was being mentioned on the website, that will be a perfect time to apply Heaven Stones.  There's also another "top spender" bonus this weekend, if one buys $50's worth of aeria points, one gets that "$80 dollar value" package of assorted items again.  Hmm, I am getting a bit low on ap...

Anyway, Kee may only have gone up 3.31% today, and 351 pet points, but 67 skill points is a pretty good haul, I think.  That means that the level 63 and level 66 skills are sorted, at least.

Cut Off In My Prime - August 22nd

Well SirDarth continued with his stone-collecting activities at Mudika Mine, and Karella joined in with some herb-gathering at Serel Farm - they both got disconnected at around 11:30, which is a fairly normal occurence, but went back out and continued their efforts.

After lunch Enchantrella took over from Karella, and headed for Prokion Temple, though the first attempt to teleport to Dratan got a "send error report" crash.  Once safely inside the Temple, she joined up with Darth for a solo party, and started to battle the ground floor orcs.  It was a couple of minutes to two, UK time, and on the hour I started one of the skill pills that boost one's skill exp gain by 50% for one hour.  It was just as well that I got it for half the usual price, as after exactly half an hour, my connection died on me completely.  If that happens at a random time, there could be some sort of accident, but it happening at 2:30pm exactly does make one suspicious.  So, that was the rest of the afternoon spoilt - there was a very brief slight reconnection which in the end came to nothing, but what with wrestling with system restores, and the broadband supplier's "connect and go" system which confidently announced that it had solved the problem a couple of times when it hadn't, it was a frustrating time.

Phoning up the connection's support line led to much dashing up and down stairs and cunning reboots and form-filling to alter the modem's set-up, but the "first line" admitted defeat and referred me to the UK-based "second line", which had their "hold" music way too loud.  Things got a bit more technical, but the modem and the computer still wouldn't talk to each other.  In the end, the matter got referred to the engineers, and while they do work at weekends, I'm assured, it can take up to 72 hours to sort things out.  So, I am to await a phone call.

Well, not only do I miss tonight's two hours of double skill exp and 50% extra experience, which Keerella was going to make full use of against the Arcane Golems, it looks rather likely that I'll miss Damor's planned lengthy levelling stint tomorrow, which I think would have helped me along nicely, and power levelled Zenderfly.  And on Sunday there's another two hours or so of double skill exp, and the Quiz - while if I can't get online I can't buy aeria points to qualify for that "top spender" offer either.  Why do these things always happen at Bank Holiday weekends?

Oh well, Enchantrella must have gone up by approximately 80 skill points in all - I hope that the second half hour of that pill gets carried forward, so that a few minutes of it will remain when she next logs in.  Darth had been intending to try a bit of energy farming for a change when he finished the pickaxe he was using, but who knows when that will be possible...?

New Boots - August 23rd

After the night's closedown, the old upstairs computer managed to connect itself to the internet when it was switched on, though with frequent warnings about a network cable being disconnected - so I did the more pressing internet business then, including getting some new aeria points for the "top spender" deal.  And then it was a matter of doing a "system restore" with fingers crossed, to see if that would get the downstairs computer connected, by some strange alchemy.

And it worked - the "already signed in on another computer" Messenger message popped up!  So SirDarth was able to go out to try his hand at energy gathering at Hizal Energy Cluster.  They charge 30 gold for every piece you get, as does Serel Farm, but it is a bit speedier than at the regular energy stones, unless you have maxxed out the appropriate gathering skills.  Taking the route out of the west gate of town was slightly dangerous, Darth took a fair amount of damage as he passed the Drakes, but he has the location on his scroll now.  Perhaps if other characters need to go there, the route from the south gate might be safer.

One thing I had been able to do last night was uninstall Last Chaos from the downstairs computer, clean the disc, and run the defragmenter even though its report said that a defrag wasn't needed, so now was the time to install the new client which I'd downloaded yesterday before lunch from FileFront.  It took a little while - another defrag and a restart is recommended, but they'll have to wait until last thing tonight, defragging can take a few hours.  So it was that Karella was able to appear on the clean new install, once it had updated, and head out for Serel Farm.

After lunch Enchantrella replaced Karella, and went back to Prokion Temple.  The skill pill or "platinum training spell level one", was still active, though with the involuntary log-out and the trip back I'd lost almost 3 "hours", game time, the equivalent of 7 or 8 minutes.  137 skill points were gained while the skill pill was active, anyway, and the whole two-part adventure there added 203 skill points, as I continued on after the bonus ended, since I was there and things were going well.

It looked for a while as if Damor's planned trip to the Tomb of Theos would be delayed, as she had a new customer for "power levelling" who wanted to be taken from level 90 to level 92 - 110 thousand million experience, I think Damor said.  Why a level 90 player needs a level 82 character to do that for them I don't know, but they were willing to pay 70 million gold, or about 10 million per hour.

However, after a while that got put to one side, and I got the call to change to Keerella and move to Cariae-4, then head out to the Pyramid's entrance, which I have on my memory scroll, and activate my one-month Recall card, then party with Zenderfly and Damor, and head on inside.  The cost of entry now, at level 61 (from what Damor said I gather it goes up, the higher your level), was 183,000 gold, but of course I could Recall Zen and Damor in.

So, we settled into a routine against the level 100 Screaming Zombies - Damor would attract one's attention, I'd click on her to add her to the party, then when she accepted I'd activate Recall - then I'd carefully target the particular zombie she was fighting, and use Curse on it, and then just general staff attacks until it was down to below 10% health - at which point Damor would teleport to me and leave the party, and I'd use Freeze Arrow on it, plus if necessary Terra Spear.  One zombie down, and for me roughly three million experience - around a 0.40 to 0.45% increase in my experience.  I reached level 62 before the tea break - we must have played by over three hours by then, and I'd gone up almost 85% (plus 1051 pet points).  Unfortunately I'd left my new boots back in storage in town, so couldn't change over to wearing them, and as the one with Recall had to stay in the Tomb over the food break, but it was great to level up after all the recent, slow skill point farming.

After the break we got right back into it, though Damor was called away for ten minutes to deal with the Great Golden Dragon in Egeha - she came back very happy, as the GGD had dropped a Tears of Knight accessory for her.  There was a later break for her to take a shower, too.  The speed she works, no wonder she'd got a bit warm... I'd still be applying that last couple of hits to one zombie, and she'd already be rushing off to apply Sloth to the next one!  It meant that the new zombie would always be below 50% health when I started to target it, and sometimes, if Damor had been hard to click on (her horse does get in the way a bit), it would be below 20%, even, but generally things worked smoothly for us.  That shower break was slightly ap-expensive for me though, as when I checked back, despite leaving Kee against the wall, somehow I'd got killed - maybe someone had led a zombie on to me?  That's another resurrection scroll used up.

Zenderfly just stood against the wall throughout of course, being power levelled.  I imagine that when she is a bit closer to my level, we might team up for real, perhaps with Itura as well if she feels like actively playing two at once.  Until, in due course, Zen gets past me and reaches Damor's level...

There were generally very few useful drops - as Damor was usually out of the party when things were picked up, cash and items were shared 50/50 with Zenderfly.  I got over a million in gold, and two Heaven Stones, but otherwise it was just a few green and red origami papers, three cheap scrolls of recall (which just teleport one back to the map's main town), and three haste potions - worth 200 gold each!  No armour drops at all, as far as I noticed.   But who's compaining, when I went up to level 63, a total of 191% up on the day?  We kept going a bit too long probably, but Damor wanted to get Zenderfly to level 53, so we went on until then.  It was a long day's fight, but well worth it.

New Circlet - August 24th

The only trouble with Damor saying that I'd be able to wear my new boots now, which are indeed much better-looking than the "ugh" boots effect before, and suggesting that I call yesterday's post "New Boots", was that it meant I entirely forgot to search out the new circlet I'd also got in storage - though, as it's +6 instead of the previous one's +7, the difference it makes is tiny.  Still, it's good to be wearing the complete set.

MistressDomina was the star performer today, selling a great mass of stuff - Kee now is carrying almost twice as much gold as she was yesterday, and can think in terms of a shopping spree in c1.  She got recharged a time or two, and Damor sold her some pan flutes, drake eggs, and ToolAids at a discount, which sold nicely...oh, and some Large Attack & Defence Potions as well.  MD's mark-up on selling them wasn't huge, but it was a quick turnover.

SirDarth did a little mining over lunch - and then it was his turn to go to Prokion Temple and use a "skill pill" for an hour's 50% extra skill exp.  It was slightly tempting fate after what happened in the middle of Enchantrella's hour, and indeed what happened halfway through an Iris for Kee with Damor against Boucu Demons some weeks ago, but luckily Darth didn't encounter any problems.  At level 33 he doesn't get the points as quickly as Enchantrella though - if she hadn't been interrupted she'd have got at least 150 skill points in the augmented hour, but Darth just managed 107.  Still, it moves us along towards Norcaine's next levelling-up, I think we very nearly have enough guild points for it, so it's his skill points we need.  Unless Galandorius's mage ApolloDusk is sighted, and repeats the kind offer to donate the points...though she would need to go up to level 30 of course to become, temporarily, guild master, which would be a bit of an imposition.

Zenderfly offered to show Keerella the best route from the entrance to the Tomb of Theos to the Sphinx Fighters, so I went to the Tomb using the memory scroll, Recalled her there, and then we mounted up and rode west and north, and east as well, and got there without any great problem - it's great to have a guide!  I added the spot to the scroll, replacing the Akane Giants. My skillbar was still set up for Screaming Zombies, I hadn't realised that Zen actually wanted to fight a few of the sphinx types, but we managed okay, just long enough for her to test out how she fared against them.

After that, we went to Egeha, thanks to Escadalia and a friend of hers - though Zen changed to Damor for added firepower there.  I got a quest to hunt ten Bogles, and also a quest to get five "accessories of the gods", which despite the fancy name are just quest items, like fox tails or orc ornaments, and of no other use.  While I hunted level 65 Bogles, which are nice and unaggressive, Damor kindly went on ahead and killed enough critters to get the "accessories" I needed.  I also got a quest to kill the Bogles' more aggressive relatives, Dark Bogles.  Damor led us on further west across Egeha towards another quest-giver who was shown on the map - but this was more dangerous territory, and, falling a bit behind, I got attacked by some kind of red-named giant insect, and found myself running towards other unfriendly looking things - maybe I should have mounted my horse and used the "return to village" option, but my first impulse was to log out, and respawn safely in Randol.  Ah well, it was time for my food break anyway, I can get the two quest rewards next time I pass that way.

After the break, it was Happy Hour time - the European "Sunday teatime".  I attempted to use the memory scroll to go direct to the sphinx fighters - and got a red error message that the memory scroll couldn't take me there, presumably the message one would get if trying to enter a dungeon from outside by scroll.  And then I got the same message when I tried to reach the Tomb entrance again - but was okay when I went to the good old Arcane Golems, who are not that far away.  I rode back from them until I found a few sphinx fighters, but frankly solo they may only have been a level or so above me, but they took a while to kill, hit me hard, and had a nasty habit of coming in two at a time.  It wasn't long before I decided that the Arcane Golems were a better bet - they may be green-named now and give perhaps half as much skill exp, but I could killl them at least five or six times as fast!

With all those diversions and so on, the "happy hour", plus the earlier bit and its aftermath, only yielded  5.46% experience, and 58 skill points...which would have been pretty good for a regular session before my two levels gain, but not so good for a bonus event.  I did manage 1188 pet points, though, by using the regular staff attack more.

The Quiz was at 9:30 UK time, and posed the same questions as in recent weeks, about Collector Ryl, the Monster Combo, Chaos Balls, and so on; as a treat for her outstanding sales success I took MistressDomina along as well as Kee, though I got there only just in time after the upstairs computer needed a reboot.  It was us two plus Damor and LightDash, all clicked onto Zenderfly in a conga line - five mages in their underwear, since not wearing elaborate armour helps to reduce lag, with so many people in the room.  Kee seemed to be paler than the others, strangely, you'd have thought all her time in Dratan desert would have given her more of a tan.

Nobody in our team crashed, and Zen led us all to victory - so that's thirty Heaven Stones for me, 15 for Kee to keep in storage and 15 for MistressDomina to sell, plus the Moonstones and ToolAids.  Afterwards I managed to find a set of 55/57 armour, minus boots, in Memree's inventory for Zen to borrow...wasn't that the set when Enchantrella had two failures attempting to make boots? Both Zen and LightDash took the opportunity to return some borrowed items.  Zen is going to make a pair of the missing boots, she says, though it will be up to me to "plus" them.  She also passed over her stash of a hundred Moonstones and a hundred more ToolAids, for MD to sell at a small but useful mark-up.

MistressDomina has joined the Discipline guild now, set up for mage traders.  Instead of freezing her on level 10 to sp-farm, the idea, if I have the time, will be for her to become Kee's apprentice in the Guardian system, and level up to level 20 within 10 days, which ought to be easier now with the enhanced Velpist Temple.  That way she should get enough skill points for the top levels of Pharmacy, and also be available for teamings-up at an early-twenties level if anyone in the guild needs a party in Juno.

Murder in the Tomb - August 25th

Damor tells me that the "accessories of the gods" quest items aren't actually regular drops, they are a bit more like herb harvesting, though without a special knife being used - you click on the appropriate spot and after a few seconds get one, with no monsters being harmed.  "Scales of dragon" are obtained in the same way, it seems.  All interesting stuff, though it makes the people who try to sell them at high prices a bit naughty.

Well, MistressDomina did very well again, so more gold has been moved across to Kee.  I did a bit of trading around between my characters, which always takes more time than one expects, and then after lunch it was time for Kee to team up with Damor and Zenderfly for more Screaming Zombies - we went to Cariae-2, one of the PvP servers, probably because the Tomb of Theos would be less busy there.  The afternoon session went pretty well; I sold Zen an Egeha Package at a (relatively) bargain price, on the condition that I got the 50 each of the large attack & defence potions back, but she had a crash of some sort trying to enter the Tomb, so I ended up having to pay the guard the 189,000 gold he demanded for admittance; 30,000 per level, I assume.  Luckily the memory scroll was working properly again, so we had got there easily enough.

The afternoon session was as before, and I reached level 64 - to be able to add 3 more to my intelligence stats is nice, but that's the only thing, though I'm looking forward to level 65 when I'll be able to use my expensive level 69 +15 Crai Staff.  The only tricky thing most times was managing to click on Damor, rather than her horse, to be able to invite her back into the party, before triggering Recall...though as usual there was the occasional time when more than one Screaming Zombie got involved, and some running around became necessary.

After the break, almost at once LightDash was able to join us, so Damor left, and Zenderfly was actually playing, rather than standing in the background being levelled - and Itura joined us, and was locked on to me, as I was the Terra Spear-wielding main wizard "tank", with the witches Zenderfly and LightDash providing support, and using hexes like Stone on the zombies.  After a while, though, a red-named rogue called "project 123" turned up, and went into player-killer mode - so Damor, not convinced by the "oops, how did that happen?", replaced Zen, and killed her.  This seemed to annoy this unpleasant person, and her equally unpleasant guildie friends, and she started killing Itura, and LightDash I think, and me - Damor reassured us that if we weren't in PvP mode we wouldn't lose experience or skill points from such deaths, so I avoided using my resurrection scroll, and just let the creep get on with it, and generally add to her evil rating.  "Bloodslayer will kill him, an youre whole guild...and his mates will too."  So that's some more creeps to look out for, though we hadn't the heart to mention that we're generally a c3 guild, so active on a server on which player-killing is impossible...

Luckily the rogue and her bullyboys didn't stay long, they probably went off to mug some grannies in real life, and we continued with me tanking against the zombies.  I did die once, but that just meant using a resurrection scroll, and I have plenty of those at the moment - it was probably one of the "100% rebate" ones from a few weeks ago anyway.  It was fun to be fighting in a more straightforward manner, without all the Recalls and re-partying, and by the time we finished, at around 9:30, my total experience gain for the day had reached 108.22%, which is pretty good - and Zen and LD got levelled up too I'm sure, going up faster than me as they're still some levels behind.  2585 pet points gets my drake to about a third of the way through level 41.

There was a "Pharaoh's Treasure" event at ten, and I had a little ride around Juno but didn't find any great piles of treasure I'm afraid.  I really must research the coordinate system they use to identify the spawn points, whenever I investigate I never find more than two or three of the ten locations, so where the others are hidden I can't imagine.

Darth and Domina - August 26th

As Zenderfly wasn't around for most of the afternoon, SirDarth, after some energy gathering at Hizal Energy Cluster, was able to teleport across to Prokion Temple, and spend the afternoon fighting the Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen - the loot was fairly minor, though right at the end he did finally get a ToolAid, which came in useful when he hopped back over to Hizal for the food break.  What he did get was 120 skill points - so two more long sessions should get us up to the 653 we need to upgrade the guild, after which perhaps he can get some points to use on his own skills.

Meanwhile, MistressDomina had been doing some great work on the selling side.  First of all I set her up in Cariae-3 Randol, and didn't really sell much - perhaps just as well, as I absent-mindedly priced the Experience Boosters at 795,000 gold instead of the 895,000 which is more of the market price at the moment.  It is a bit of a gamble with them, as Zenderfly agreed - if they are in the Item Mall tomorrow after maintenance the price will come down, but if there aren't any new supplies, the price can only rise.

Anyway, I moved across to Cariae-1, the busiest sub-server, and set up shop there, selling Moonstones, Item Drop Boosters, Large Attack & Defence Potions, Skill and Experience Boosters, and even a couple of the Golden Magnifying Glasses used to identify the properties of some high-level drops - and when I checked back later, everything, except a couple of accessories, had been sold, so that Mistress D is now almost as rich as Kee, from that one session.

It was convenient that she had almost sold out, as Zenderfly had been asking to have "MD" sell some items for her - and she'd got them all together, and worked out the prices, so was eager to get things moving.  What she had got was a fine assortment of Physical Defence, Physical Attack, and Magical Defence Minerals, in each case the level 3, 6 and 12 varieties, plus sixteen Crystals of Experience (Greater); I had no idea what these were worth, except the Crystals, which Zen had suggested 50k for, but which I increased to my usual 99,500 gold each.

There were 916 minerals in all - and by late in the evening 421 of them had been sold, though most of the remaining 495 were the cheaper ones, so that the cash brought in was over seven million, of which Zen is kindly letting me keep 30%.  So she has more than paid the five million for that Egeha Package I passed to her, and now I owe her money...

High finance aside,  the evening's main business was another trip to the Tomb of Theos for Keerella, who got Recalled there by Zen straight from Prokion Temple, where she'd gone to try to help a pair of guildies who were reporting a problem getting in there (getting in by Recall can be less crash-prone than using the teleporter at the door, for some strange reason).  Damor wasn't involved today, it was Kee and Zen, with Itura for the majority of the time, though a cleric from the DelighfulHealers guild, ENVYXX, teamed up with us for quite a while.  A rogue called xSoldier was with us early on, but had to vanish for food, and a titan called anthonyj was also on board for a while - but Zeratus came online, and came to join us, and as he was more than 15 levels ahead of anthonyj's level 50, the titan had to leave us.

We were safely in Cariae-3, so there weren't any player-killer worries.  Zenderfly did level up to 56, and went back to town to spend some of her vast store of skill points on upgrading the Stone skill so that it lasted longer, 15 seconds instead of 10 - very useful, as 80% of the time it means the target just stands there doing nothing while we attack it, so the longer the better.  The most productive time was probably with Zeratus, as he used a Mana Stealer for an hour, and was a rather speedier lurer than I am.  We continued for a little while after he left - indeed, Zen was just getting LightDash to join when I had to log out, so they may well have continued late into the evening, especially if they were able to recruit a new damage dealer.

Keerella went up over half a level, which was pretty good - 52.28%, in fact, plus 1931 pet points.  The next session there should see her levelled up and able to use that +15 staff she bought!

Tomb Raiding - August 27th

In the end, MistressDomina sold everything except the lowest-level magical defence minerals - all 346 of those, at a mere 1500 gold, went unsold while everything else eventually sold out.  Damor wanted me to continue to try to sell them, I suggested trying 995 gold, but she wanted 30% off, so the slightly less enticing price of 1050 was what they got put up at, along with some newly-bought items.

I didn't have any time for farming today.  I was busy in the morning, and then after lunch, just as SirDarth was getting ready to head to Dratan, Zenderfly came on, and suggested another trip to the Tomb of Theos.  Luckily, just after I'd changed to Kee and was at the storekeeper, I saw Galandorius, asked if he was ready to rejoin Norcaine yet - and he was!  Zen had already entered the Tomb, and as she was the active Guild Advisor Gal had to take a Recall to there to be re-recruited, and at level 38 it is a pretty scary place... well, I remember the first time I was Recalled there by Damor to do a trade, and that wasn't long ago!  He stayed to watch a couple of the Screaming Zombies get despatched, but as we were both more than 15 levels above him, he only got about 80,000 experience rather than a million or two.  Still, it all helps.

The party started with just Zenderfly, Itura and Kee, but various other people joined at some point, as Zen advertised the party - despite her saying it was the Tombs and specifying the level range, a number of lower level people tried to join and treat it as a "solo party", and were promptly kicked by Zen.  The healer from last time, ENVYXX, was with us for a little while, but she must have had some sort of problem - Zenderfly died, and the healer left, probably a disconnection.  Zen hadn't got a resurrection scroll active, and so lost 60 skill points (since she is carrying so many) - the entire morning's work.

Another member of DelighfulHealers, Whoslady2, took over for a while, but before too long we were back to the ever-reliable Itura, who has the advantage, since she is another of Zenderfly/Damor's characters on a different computer, of availability, and not wishing to be in the party and take a share the experience.  The disadvantage is that she can only be "locked" onto one character to heal them, so if a Screaming Zombie changed its target, some brisk running was needed.

A little later Zen decided that, with a number of other people also luring the zombies from that first hallway, things were getting too crowded, so she ran ahead, and used Recall to get us down to a more perilous place, a small hallway with Sphinx Fighters on one side, level 103 Ancient Grey Mummies on the other side, and level 101 Infected Grey Mummies and more Screaming Zombies straight ahead.  A titan called Moonshifter had joined us, someone called Pakerska1 was with us briefly - the level 64 knight ARCANGEL was with us for a while, overlapping a bit with the level 59 Krokignon, someone I've seen around and chatted to before, I remember him back at the Akane Giants.  It's great, most people get a "Hi" when they join, but for him almost everyone would say "Hi Krok"...

Anyway, I reached level 65, and was able to increase my magical attack by 197 by equipping my expensive level 69 Craic Staff +15 - and very cool and bright it looks too, though, going by the "electric marshmallow" effect on +15 mage event weapons, it may not look quite as impressive to other players.  Unusually for me, I'd remembered to bring along five bloodseal gems, and was able to add the seals one by one as the spaces became available.

By the time I took my food break, I'd gone up very nearly 40% - and nearly 1600 pet points too, though no skill points of course.  The party continued into the evening, I got Recalled back to find Zen and Moonshifter still hard at work.  However Zen had, as Damor, promised to power-level Zeratus this evening, so eventually the party came to an end, at least as far as we were concerned.  As the main lurer, Zen had actually died three times, though on the later two occasions she was protected by a resurrection scroll, so didn't lose any more skill points or experience.  She came pretty close another couple of times that I saw, as did I, though I did avoid having to use a scroll.

At the end, Kee's experience gain for the day had reached an excellent 72.28%, plus 2757 pet points.

After that I changed to Kaerella, my level 42 cleric, but didn't actually do much - I moved to the c4 server as Damor and Zeratus were there and wanted another person in their party so that Zer's experience boosts would have the "solo party" bonus, but after a while they found that a "combat party" arrangement would work just as well.  A shame, as hearing their dialogue was interesting, as usual going after top-level boss types can be tricky.  I think they generally did pretty well, though.  Kae herself went to Maargadum Jail; it seems to me that going down to the second level is easier than staying in the first main room, you still get the canine types, but more spread out and less inclined to mob you.  But it wasn't long before I got a disconnection, so only 7 skill points and just over 1% experience gain there.

And finally, I checked out the new "Strayana" map, using my rogue Karella as she is low enough to be immune to the Strayana Virus which can otherwise reduce your health to 1 every few minutes, unless you purchase a special vaccine costing 650,000 gold.  It was a shame that she got the "up to her knees in the ground" bug almost immediately (cured by using 'pet return to village' while mounted), but otherwise it all looks, well, rainy - and watch out for the dread Black Puddings just outside town, heheheh...

Prokion and Egeha - August 28th

MistressDomina has now managed to sell all those remaining minerals, and so, after deducting her percentage, owed Zenderfly just over 2.5 million gold, so everyone should be happy.  That may well be enough selling of items for now, we shall see what else she and I have in stock.

SirDarth managed to get on before lunch, and went off to Prokion Temple for some skill point farming - he earned 40 sp before the food break, when he headed over to Hizal Energy Cluster to keep busy.  Zenderfly came on, to say that she thought both she and Keerella should concentrate on skill point farming too for the next couple of days.  "If you need Eggy lift tell me, as Bogles are your mob of choice", she said, to which I replied "Great."  But before I could actually take her up on that offer, she decided to log out, sigh, so it was Darth who went back to skill point farming, rather than Kee.  Strangely, when he was teleported into the Temple the first time, he ended up stuck in the wall there and unable to move, but the second time, after logging back in, things worked properly.

Zenderfly was back from her time off after only 10 more skill points, though, so it was time to change to Kee, register, and get that free trip to Egeha.  We teamed up on the Bogles and Dark Bogles for a few minutes, before she went off again, and I continued with them, doing various minor quests with rewards of 8,430,370 experience, which sounds impressive but which only added 0.89%, and less.  By the time of my tea break Kee was up a useful 7.60% on the experience front, though only up 19 skill points - and 543 pet points.

I left Kee in Egeha village over tea, and then re-registered the party, carefully calling it "solo", as one does - and I Recalled people to Egeha, even if they were a bit low for it - like, a level 10 mage?  I hope some of them only wanted to visit the local merchant.  Unfortunately, with some of them it was a case of "what part of 'solo' don't you understand?" - they tended to follow me around, taking a full share of the loot (such as a Heaven Stone), and while getting very little experience themselves, since they were way more than 15 levels below me, making sure that I lost out on that share.  Oh, and suggesting I go and fight Demons for them, but return to town when it was down to minimal health so that they could land the killing blow and get the experience.  Not something I'd care to do without a good healer on hand, or for the benefit of somebody I didn't know from Adam...

When I finally managed to shake the last of those off, resisting the temptation to lead the group somewhere really dangerous and then use "pet return to village" while mounted, I slogged away on the Bogles, and the Dark Bogles - the Bogles are my own level now, so give 1100 skill exp, which is about as much as anything gives once one has outgrown Prokion Temple.  They dropped some useful items.  Towards the end I found a pretty good spot west of town, up a side path that reached the top of a cliff looking down on an area with Devil Graves and Hadeis; once one got past a single Dark Bogles on the incline, there were just enough regular Bogles near the top to keep one person busy.

By the time I logged out Kee had gone up 14.55% in experience, plus 1415 pet points, and a less-than-massive 47 skill points.  We were talking on the guild channel about how ungenerous the awarding of skill points is, outside Velpist and Prokion Temples - why hasn't Maargadum Jail in Merac, for example, been given the same boosting of its inhabitants?  With all the extra skill points needed for the additional skills and skill levels added in the "big patch", any character who at that time had already outgrown those temples was a bit, well, I think "stuffed" was the term used.  Kee is going to struggle to get higher-level skills, for sure, while I really don't know if it will be possible for Kaerella to farm enough points to become viable again.

Damor and Zeratus went off exploring Shayana, I think they were trying to use Itura's "Dispel" skill to cure them of the local virus... though later I gather they had located and used the expensive antivirus injections.  They got a few useful drops between them, the place certainly seems more generous with that sort of thing than, say, the Tomb.  They even had the privilege of meeting the local boss monster, a larger-than-ever dragon - but that sort of privilege has to be paid for...

Red Dragon - August 29th

Looking through various inventories I found that Karella was actually carrying a couple of the "skill pills" that give 50% extra skill exp gain for an hour, so I transferred them over to SirDarth, and after lunch he headed for Prokion Temple, and started an hour rolling.  However, it wasn't long before Galandorius and his friend Darkstorm44 reported that the Grand Red Dragon had been sighted.

My feeling was that Keerella was probably too high a level to get good drops off her, so it was my rather under-used cleric Kaerella who answered the call - at level 42 she was slightly ahead of Gal (38) and DS (36), but it would be up to them to do most of the work, as clerics aren't known for their firepower or armour.

Poor Kae is a bit out of practice - it's possible that she could have prevented Gal dying I guess, though the GRD hits hard with its fiery, magical breath, so even with more time to prepare it would have been hard to keep up with that plunging health bar. He wasn't expecting all those Cerebrii to spawn, he said afterwards. And Kae herself died, too.  I'd been using a resurrection scroll, so was able to hop up off the ground without any loss of skill points or experience...I quickly bought another one from the Mall and double-clicked it, and I'm glad I did, as I soon attracted the GRD's attention and was running through groups of Blood Frenzies trying to get clear, occasionally stopping for a group heal.

This at least had the effect of separating the dragon from its Cerebrii, and we did manage to kill it, at last.  I don't think Gal or DS were using item drop boosters or lucky scrolls - we didn't get a rare and valuable accessory like a Pierce of Wind or something, but we got some useful oddments, like crystals of greater experience, a Medal of Honour (well, "useful" is perhaps an exaggeration, they sometimes sell for 10,000 gold, but you sometimes see them in town just dropped on the ground), five lucky scrolls, I think some moonstones and memorising scrolls - I got five toolaids and that medal, and Gal kindly passed over two crystals, and a skill point booster, to equalise things out.

After that, and killing a few more Blood Frenzies just to stop them from telling their friends about our novel fighting tactics, Kae logged out, and SirDarth hurried back to Prokion Temple - but it wasn't long before he got a "send error message?" crash.  So, another dash back; I had been partied with Zenderfly, who had kindly moved to the Temple entrance to be able to Recall me, though I didn't know that, and so arrived there by memory scroll, to be rather surprised to see her there, before rejoining the party.  Still, it was a nice thought.

I'd got our favourite room of Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen to myself now - someone else had been there before, and I'd gone to the room next to it which is less useful as it has lower-grade orcs in it too.  However, after a while a rude mage called MagicalBingo3 barged in - and had the cheek to accuse me of KS-ing when she hit and attracted orcs I was already fighting.  Which led to "Oh you mean like this?" and a general bad atmosphere, which is unusual in LC.  With their ranged attacks, mages do have the advantage in attracting mobs, but I managed to keep busy, and by the time the "skill pill" ended, had brought in 100 skill points.  I continued for another 28 beyond that, and actually got a couple of Heaven Stones, before it was time for me to leave.  On the feeling that nasty people don't like one to be nice to them, I gave her a Divine Shield defence buff as I left.

Darth had finally got enough skill points to upgrade Norcaine to level 9 - so after moving over some gold from MistressDomina, Darth spoke to the Royal Guard Captain, and for 653 skill points, 2,920,250 gold, and 21,385 guild points, the upgrade was made.  We even had enough guild points (10,000, and 500,000 gold) for the next level of "expension of the number of guild member", so we now have a maximum membership of 50.  There was a bug, reported on the Wet Paint Wiki, which gave a level 9 guild a maximum size of 90 members, but it looks as if that has been corrected.

After the food break, it was soon time for Keerella to head for Egeha - thanks to Zenderfly and Escadalia, the arrangements were quickly made, and before long Kee was bashing Bogles on her hill, in the Cariae-6 sub-server.  The drops were pretty frequent, and I had to make a trip back to town to sell the Titan armour pieces to the NPC merchant, on the general feeling that they were probably the heaviest, after exceeding 100% weight in my inventory.

One nice surprise was to hear from our guild member CaptianJack, who hadn't been on for quite a while - we assumed we had lost him to the sophisticated temptationss of another Aeria game, Shaiya, but apparently he'd given up on that fairly quickly - the main absence had been caused by a holiday.  He wanted to know all about the patch changes, and, given that older characters above level 33 (his royal knight is level 45) rather miss out after the additional skills, is trying out a new mage now,  DarkPulse101, who will be recruited into the guild if he decides to persist with her.

The "Happy Hour" was for double skill exp and 50% extra experience, which was very useful; it started at 7:30 UK time, and actually ran over by about 45 minutes, which was rather generous.  I did get a disconnection at around 9:10, but was able to get Recalled back fairly quickly.  The other party members were rather higher level than me, and at least one was doing risky runs through the Tower itself.

Anyway, thanks to the bonus time Kee went up 13.58%, and 86 skill points - if Zen doesn't want to do any more joint power levelling for a few days, it may well be best for Kee to freeze her experience just below level 66 and keep skill exp farming those Bogles.  And the experience donated to the guild will help us towards the next level of guild expansion, with any luck!

Frozen in the Tomb - August 30th

I was busy moving items around before lunch - I also used Keerella's Recall ability to get my level 21 healer Barbarienne out to Hizal Energy Cluster to add it to her scroll of memorising, and then into Prokion Temple.  She did already have the entrance to that place on her scroll, but as I couldn't remember any of my characters going inside there while on the older, upstairs computer it seemed like a good idea to try to get that machine acquainted with the place, so that if Enchnatrella or Karella go there to team with SirDarth, they stand a better chance of teleporting in without crashing out.

Placing Barbarienne in my favourite Orc Sergeants and Axemen room there, safely in a corner behind one of the big statues, Kee killed a few orcs, getting small amounts of experience.  And, checking the other screen, Barbarienne was getting a little bit of experience too.  If Darth goes there instead of Kee, and teams up, then hopefully some useful experience, and skill exp, will be shared out.

However, that won't be possible right away, as Zenderfly came on to ask if Kee would join her in the Tomb of Theos.  I can't say that I was too keen on the idea, as Kee really needs to do some skill point farming with the Bogles in Egeha, so going up above level 65 at the moment isn't an option - but Darth froze her experience at the current 86% mark, so, while a trip to the Tomb didn't directly benefit Kee beyond the gold dropped and the very occasional item drop, it did give Norcaine a useful amount of guild points, something that Zen had suggested.

So the afternoon passed productively in the Tomb of Theos, with Zenderfly, a knight, and a rogue or two in their mid to late level fifties - with most of them levelling up, since we got through quite a few zombies in the time.  And the party was still going on when I logged out for food.  I did actually get a Heaven Stone dropped, but apart from cash the only other item I got was a Necklace of Air, and its stats were pretty ordinary.

With the other players, Zen was able again to continue without me, so, courtesy again of Escadalia, I was able to get Recalled to Egeha for the evening, and head for my favourite Bogle hill.  Zen asked me to check to see if Damor's usual Boucu Demon spot was clear, so I used a memorising scroll to hop over there, but a party was busy fighting there.  Zenderfly did say something about checking there every half hour, as she was getting bored with the Screaming Zombies, but I said she'd have to remind me when appropriate, and luckily she didn't, so I was able to just keep slogging away with the Bogles.

With my experience gain frozen, I was able to earn plenty of guild points for Norcaine, both on the zombies and the Bogles, and that meant that SirDarth was able to upgrade the guild expansion skill twice - the first time was the usual 5 extra spaces, 50 to 55, but the second one was from 55 to 63, so maybe it is possible to get up to 90 or so members without actually upgrading the guild to level ten.  Handy, as while upgrading the guild's level takes guild points, gold, and the GM's skill points, just expanding the potential membership just takes guild points and gold.  So we ought to be able to go on a recruiting spree soon...

I can report that Kee's lengthy Bogle slog did add an impressive 3062 pet points, and in all 67 skill points.  Not the sort of speed of skill point gain that one gets in Prokion Temple these days, even Darth, at rather a high level for the place, could get that many in an hour, but for level 65 it's pretty reasonable, and better than allowing an extra level or two to be gained and having to start on Assassinbugs or Apes, which are both aggressive and pet-eating.  So, with her large stock of skill points, it looks as if Zen will be overtaking me pretty soon. 

Skill Point Farming - August 31st

Barbarienne did some more energy gathering at the Hizal Energy Cluster, and then after lunch it was time to try out teaming SirDarth and Enchantrella in Prokion Temple.  Enchie got in okay on the upstairs computer, though the place seems so dark on that machine (the options to change the brightness are greyed out) that it's just as well I know the way pretty well.  So she nipped up to the square room with the statues and the Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen, and stood in a corner behind a statue, where the orcs never go.

Darth rushed to join her, and made a "combat" party, then set to work.  I wasn't entirely sure that, as Enchie was up a few steps from the main floor area, that she would get a share of the skill exp (both characters are frozen for experience), but I checked, and the "Earned xxxx skill experience" lines were piling up in the text box.  However, when I checked again after a few minutes on the "T" window, her skill points total was unchanged.  I then took her down the steps onto the main floor, and put her close to the wall...and immediately she gained 20 skill points!  She stayed there while Darth continued to slaughter the orcs, getting her skill points in a more regular way, though I think her total did jump by five when I moved her away from the wall briefly once.

Darth added 57 skill points, so probably about half his normal rate - Enchie got 56.  I suspect that Enchantrella would probably have got more than double that over the time taken if she had been in a solo party downstairs, but hey it makes a change.

By taking my food break slightly early, I was able to be back on as Keerella for the start of the European "teatime" event at 5:00, uk time - and Escadalia was able kindly to give me another lift to Egeha, on the Cariae-5 PvP subserver.  What the teatime bonus was to be had been a mystery, but it was just double experience and 50% extra skill exp, so I don't know why they decided to keep it a secret like that. I headed straight for my friends the Bogles, and settled down to spend the next couple of hours or so there, just skill exp farming.  I stayed in the solo party with Esca, and was soon joined by LadyMedussa and one or two others, including a rogue in their early forties, StoneofShadow.

Someone said they were stuck, so I activated Recall - and immediately StoneofShadow used it to appear close to me, and asked for buffs, then just stood around fairly close, well inside my compass range.  I said on the party channel, so that she could hear, "Stone is leaching from me, please kick her" - but nobody did.  She left me after a few minutes, but I heard other party chat messages asking her to move away, saying that she was leaching and taking other people's drops - and in the end not only was she kicked, but LadyMedussa PK'd her.  Apparently she has a higher-level other character, who actually asked Escadalia for a lift a few minutes later, with revenge very possibly in mind.  I think Esca was unable to help her with that...

The teatime over-ran by almost 40 minutes, which was nice.  There was a rebate deal on two of the special Item Mall packs, the Lucky Rune Combo and the Heavenly Rune Combo, 948 ap between them, so I had to make sure I bought them before the hour was up, on as many of my accounts as could afford that.  It's brought Kee's ap balance down to 191, so I hope they get the rebates out to us well within the 14 days.

From eight to nine it was an "upgrade probability event" - I did very little really, which was probably wise, I spent much of the time adding lucky smelting stones to Kee's next armour, getting it up from +3 to +5 generally.  I'd thought that some of it was less than +3, and that I'd be using a few Heaven Stones to get it to that, but no.  Zenderfly had been asking if anyone had some weapons she could try upgrading, so I gave her three level 65 weapons the Bogles had dropped for me, and a set of healer armour they'd also contributed - and she paid five million, which was nice, plus the boots to complete the level 75/77 set - a "lucky" pair even.  I can't do any upgrading on those items until I am actually qualified to wear them.

The only actual HS-based upgrading I did try was on Kaerella's level 45 +10 scepter, and I just took three Heaven Stones and three Runes of Protection II into the guild hall for that.  I waited until they declared, after 175% and 150% periods, that the chance of success was now up to 200%, and pounced - the first attempt was a failure, sending the scepter back to +10 (so it would have broken, I think, without the rune - and yes it was only +10 anyway), the second attempt was "no change", and the third, after an agonisingly laggy long wait for the announcement, was a success, so the scepter is now +11.  Other Norcaine people seemed unhappy with their results, I think Zen didn't do too well though she did get a couple of weapons up to a respectable level.

The quiz had been scheduled for 9:30, but due to the lag, still an aftereffect of the upgrade event no doubt, they postponed it by half an hour - well it gave me time for some blog-drafting, and it was a bit lucky really as both Kee and MistressDomina were unable to click on to people, or look at merchants, so I had to restart LC on both computers to put that right.  After that, thankfully, we were both able to click onto Zenderfly and follow her around.  The questions were the same as they had been for the past few weeks, and almost everyone made it through to the end I think, with the full reward of ToolAids, Moonstones, and Heaven Stones.  Zen led our group very well as usual, though she did seem to hesitate over whether a Blessed Iris was more valuable than a Chaos Smelting Stone, which briefly got me onto the edge of my seat...

Anyway, the quiz prizes probably went some way towards making up for most of the Heaven Stones Zenderfly had used on unsuccessful weapon-upgrading attempts, and, since I only used the three HS and did get a +1 out of it, I'm happy.  Next time there's an event, if I can get some Runes I together, maybe I'll just upgrade some armour a little, rather than going into the dangerous territory above +10!