Keerella's Blog - stardate November 2008 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month begins here at the top!
Short Visits - November 1st  

I thought I'd just have time for half an hour or so in Maargadum Jail with Kae before my food break, after being busy preparing for my day out tomorrow until mid afternoon.  Rikie was there too, preparing to make another attempt on the Death Knight on the lowest level - he was telling me about it in the message window, and then I saw him sitting outside the Jail when I reached there.

I had only just reached the third level and joined a solo party, though, when an announcement came up that they were going to close down the servers in five minutes, for about half an hour, to try and get rid of lag and crash issues.  So, it was a rather short session.  Rikie had long enough for his attempt on the Death Knight, anyway - he didn't manage to kill it, but managed to leave while still alive, and had managed to at least stun it, which is progress.

The server shut-down ended MistressDomina's sales for the afternoon, too; up until then she had done pretty well, selling some of her supply of Coins of Master, plus Moonstones, Item Drop Boosters, Large Attack and Defence Potions, and even a couple of ToolAids.  Zenderfly and some friends were in the Monster Combo then - annoyingly, they had reached round 15, at the end of which the third drop of Coins would appear, but the server kicked them out just before they had finished killing the Wight Slashers.

All I'd been able to do earlier had been to transfer some items across to MistressDomina; Karella had converted her last 22 Pumpkins, and got 3 Heaven Stones from them, which was excellent.  Later in the day, after the server downtime, someone in Randol was saying that the Scarecrows were only supplying the valueless Firecrackers in exchange for the Pumpkins, no scrolls, Moonstones, or HS, but I don't know if that was true or he was just having an unlucky streak.

I got back on again after my food break, and Kaerella headed back to Maargadum Jail, this time in a party with SirDarth.  That brief earlier visit had only added 0.89% experience, 196 pet points, and 6 skill points - and the new visit looked as if it wouldn't be a lot longer, as Zen got in touch to say there'd be a new Monster Combo starting in about twenty minutes, and I was invited!

Luckily I just had time to get the further 2.04% I needed to reach exactly level 46, before the call came to switch to Kee - and 432 pet points, and 14 more skill points.  So Kae just needs to farm the Beast Flyers, now exactly her own level, for a few sessions.  Make that quite a few sessions!  Despite the server downtime, the "double-everything" event that had been running since yesterday evening wasn't continued into this evening, unfortunately, which seemed a little mean.

I think the phrase "Hurry up and wait" is an old army expression, but it does apply to the formation of MC parties.  If you don't hurry to join when invited, they'll find someone else - but if you do hurry, then you stand around for the next ten minutes or so while people try frantically to recruit a seventh and eighth member.  Usually already in the starting area, so that any horse buffs applied have entirely worn off by the time the MC actually starts.

The first MC had one player "lag out" on the second coin stage; they didn't reappear, so we had to recruit someone else, who was given an almost full portion of coins - not a very good run, due in part to missing that eighth box on round ten: 205 in all, so 26 for me.  As usual some people had to leave after that, so there was a delay - I rode out of Dratan and got as far as the Goblin Commanders before the call came to pay to get in.  This was a better teaming, really, and went pretty smoothly - the Coin total was 265, which was comfortably above average, so that this time I got 33 as my share.

Normally I'd have been tempted to stay around for a third MC; Zen had done at least three today before I joined, and was planning to do three more, to get the gold to be able to afford more boosters to advance through level 94 and beyond, but that's a pretty hardcore schedule.  But I do have to be up early tomorrow, so a late night would not be a good idea.  So, I set MistressDomina up to do some more selling, with the idea of leaving her in merchant mode overnight - however, she almost immediately sold the whole 347 Coins of Master she was offering, so it seemed a good idea to log Kee back in and transfer her recently-acquired ones across, to do a bit more selling.  That's not just the 59 I earned, but Zen's acquisitions too, since she sells hers to me at a generous discount on the market price.  After all, rather than standing around in Randol selling, she can be down in the Monster Combo earning a new batch...

Will "MD" have sold out of all the good stuff by tomorrow morning?  Only tomorrow's blog will have the answer - probably!

A Short Sunday - November 2nd  

MistressDomina did an overnight selling session, and managed to sell most of her stock of Coins of Master again; her stocks of a number of things were running low when I checked just after 6:00am, UK time, so I logged her out, and switched the computer off for the day while I was out.

I finally managed to get online at a little after 6:20 in the evening, UK time; I thought there might be a "Sunday teatime" two hour event still running, but there was no announcement on the website, the "to be announced" entry for it had vanished.  I decided to let Kaerella head for Maargadum Jail, in case there was any benefit to be had.

Rikie said hi, as he usually does to Kae - he didn't know what the bonus was either.  I'd reached the Beast Flyers, so I knew it wasn't double skill exp - the actual experience per Beast Flyer seemed a little high, though it isn't a figure I have memorised, so I speculated that that might be where the boost was.

Soon after seven o'clock the announcement came up that the bonus was over - and the experience per Beast Flyer did indeed fall by half.  Given that in 40 minutes I'd managed about 4% experience, I guess for Kae it's going to be slow going for a while.

After Kae had reached 5.26%, plus 765 pet points and 25 skill points, Zenderfly got in touch - since she doesn't have Kae on her Friends List, I'd got SirDarth out mining - and the invitation was to go and join her farming "horny manits". This puzzled me just a little, but eventually it was worked out that the quarry we were to prey on was the Thorny Mantis, a level 113 monster in Strayana which, while tough and hard-hitting, unlike the Dark Harpies isn't aggressive, or even protective of its companions. 

At level 94, Zen took the tanking role, while the archer Avarielle kept her healthy, and I was back-up damage provider.  Zen was using Lucky Scrolls and Item Drop Boosters, and to make sure they worked as well as possible, she put up Recall so that, when the health of the Thorny Mantis dropped to below 10%, Ava and I would take it, and she'd finish the kill.  Curiously, this didn't seem to make any difference to the amount of experience I got per kill, which was .08% or .09%

We didn't always manage to take Recall in time, as Zen was using Terra Spear even at that stage, which meant the death could be sudden, but generally it worked quite well.  The Thorny Mantises seemed to drop weapons, and the occasional shield, and, mainly, gloves; when the session was over we went back into town, sold the weapons, and handed Zen the (potentially) good stuff to identify, but I think there was nothing very good there, which is annoying if you're using a Golden Magnifying Glass costing a million in gold each time.  A couple of green five-seal items, but no blue five-seal evasion gloves.

So, not a good result for Zen, who'd provided the Item Drop Boosters and the Magnifying Glasses, and more.  She let Ava and I keep the 3 million each we'd made from gold drops and selling the weapons, though, which was kind.  And Kee, while unchanged on the skill point side of course, did go up 7.59% in experience, and 549 pet points.

After that it was time to get ready for the Sunday Night Quiz - no more Halloween questions, thank goodness, but some new ones about the game.  Zen was leading our conga line, with Damor, Itura, MistressDomina and me attached, and we were doing pretty well - we got the ten ToolAids, and we reached question 15, where the correct answer would have got us ten Moonstones each... but when we were asked how many oases there are in the Dratan map, the opinion in the room was fairly equally divided between 5 and 7.  We opted for 7, and found ourselves respawning back in town.

Still, an improvement on last week...

A Long Monday - November 3rd  

As Zenderfly was busy in Lust Trum tower, I had the day to myself, so I decided to work on Keerella's Reputation - you take characters at level 10 or below, become their official Guardian, and when they reach level 20, they get rewarded with the "event weapon" for their class, and you get rewarded with 10 Reputation Points.  Get 200 points and you can claim a free Extreme Stone, worth around 20 million in gold.

So, my storage characters are getting the boost, all the way from level 3, or maybe level 7, to level 20, by being invited to join Keerella as she fights Screaming Zombies in the Tomb of Theos.  As they are "capped" when in a party with a high-level character, this isn't as quick as it might be, though the first kill with them in compass range will probably change a level 2 character into a level 8 one - by the time they reach level 19 it's only about 10% experience per kill.

These characters are terribly short of skill points, of course, but that could easily be remedied by taking them to Prokion temple, and doing some sp farming there.  But there is a limit to the number of characters I want to advance in this game, so I don't think any of this batch are going to be level 90 any time soon.

The only trouble with the entrance area of the Tomb is that people seem to go there as soon as they've finished getting their skill points in Prokion Temple...and the only way they can get any experience is either to plead to be invited to party with a higher level character, or to "KS" high level players.  So, since I'm a bit of a soft touch for that sort of thing, I spent the afternoon and evening helping, let's see, a level 32 royal knight called Voin, a level 33 wizard called VAL6OK126, a level 44 titan called Caires, the level 40 specialist sorcerer ArabianPeaceBoy, the level 38 rogue Sekoooo, and Caires' friend BlackNage, another titan at around level 20 I think, who joined in shortly before I finally left for the evening.

As time went by, I was tending to lure (with Sloth) one zombie, get it down to half health, and then lure the next one, letting my KS-ing comrades get good experience by finishing off the first one.  It meant I got through quite a few health pots, though, as the first one would be continuing to attack me, and my evasion, while high, doesn't work every time.

I did also help Zenderfly just a little - SirDarth went to assist by keeping her place in Lust Trum among the Wraiths while she briefly logged out, then Recalling her - and then he had to go there again a few minutes later when she remembered she needed some health potions, 675,000 gold's worth of them which Darth bought in Randol for her.  She very generously paid him 675,001 for them!

Caires began by not saying a word, just KS-ing like mad - some people, I guess, if they've previously been power levelled and then farmed skill points, just don't know how things work in this game, and that if you KS people without getting their permission, they don't like it.  The wizard Val found that out the hard way - for some reason she preferred to remain in a party with me, but that didn't stop her attacking not the zombie I was fighting, but the one another solo rogue was fighting - so the rogue went off and brought back half a dozen or so zombies for her to play with.  Caires was running not just an experience-boosting Iris, but also a Platinum Super Skill Pill, which isn't much use in the Tomb, we had to explain that to get skill points you need to fight monsters at your own level - a level 44 monster would give him 1100 times as much as the single point of skill experience a Screaming Zombie gives him, or indeed gives me.  Titans, eh?

It was amusing when someone not in our "group" started to KS us - my existing KS-ers would complain loudly, even though it was exactly how they had started.  Val informed Caires that she was in administration, for example, and that his IP would be banned for 24 hours!

Anyway, I got a number of my storage characters up to level 20 - I now have 250 Reputation Points, not all of course from my own characters; another couple of long sessions like that, if I had enough spare characters, and I'd get onto the "top fifty" list for Reputation, which would be fun.  Renez also brought one of his characters, IBeStorage, for Guardianship and levelling.

Renez went down to the depths of the Tomb, rather than staying up in the comparative safety of the starting area - in fact, he reached the Sphinx Commanders, and tried to settle in for a good experience-boosting session, using I assume a Platinum Blessed Iris and various attack and defence boosters - but a team of I think four people from one guild behaved despicably, not just KS-ing him but bringing extra Commanders on to him, meaning that he died, and his expensive boosters all got anulled.  As you'd expect, that has made him very angry - he tried to get some help from the GameSages, ClonedDeep told me, but he hasn't got anywhere.  He has lots of screenshots though, so may well be posting about it on the forum.

Sometimes there is a kind of "karma effect", so maybe the people who ruined Renez's evening will themselves come a cropper soon. As for Keerella, well, she picked up a total of 5 Heaven Stones in the Tomb, which after helping the low-level types seems appropriate; the single armour drop was actually level 85 mage gloves.  Kee did level up, and is now level 84 (in a brief chat DarkPulse101 mentioned that she is now up from 74 to 82), having added 27.81% to her experience - she even went up a skill point!  5019 pet points got added, too.  300 skill points were used on the level 84 skill Staff Mastery level 6, so I need a lot more if I'm to get Freeze Arrow up a level - 259 more, I think.  A bit of skill point farming on Boucu Demons is called for perhaps, though Zen speaks highly of Weavers.  I must investigate whether they give more skill exp or something...

A New Guildie - November 4th  

Not a whole lot to report today, you'll probably be relieved to know.  After lunch Kee did a little bit of shop-browsing, and was just about to head down into the Tomb of Theos when Zenderfly logged on, and invited me to join a Monster Combo party.  It was good timing, another few seconds and SirDarth would have paid his 99,000 gold to get in there.

One of the members recruited for the MC party was a level 100 archer called Kazner - which was slightly unfortunate for me, as it meant that I was "capped" since she was more than 15 levels ahead of my 84.  The first MC went pretty smoothly, just for a change I actually used a Mana Stealer, which lasts for an hour and in theory sucks mana from one's foes, though I don't know if it reduces the amount of skills a monster can use.  It was fun, it meant I could cast as many skills as I wanted, which, apart from buffs, meant about three uses of Terra Spear per Wight Slasher, and Frozen Arrow as well. And I didn't have to convert health into mana, which was useful as Kazner was the only healer in the party, and, as an archer rather than a cleric, didn't seem to have much healing ability to spare.

The second party had SimplyM as healer, as well as Kazner, so I went back to my normal style of play.  The first MC yielded 221 Coins of Master, which meant I got 27 - the second was a bit better, with 235 in all, so that I got 29.  As I was "capped" I only gained 0.42% experience, instead of about 16%, but the cash value of the Coins is the main thing.

I logged out for my food break; I expect the team continued for a third run, but when I logged back in after about 75 minutes, Zen was offline, so things probably stopped after that.

So, it was time to revisit the Tomb, though as Renez was already in there he was able to Recall me in.  He was a little way in, so, after checking I was heading in approximately the right direction, I had to run back to the entrance hallway.  Once I got there, it was time to Recall in another character to be power-levelled.

I did three in all, bringing me up to 280 Reputation (10 per apprentice who successfully reaches level 20, from level 10 or below, within the designated period).  Renez kindly joined in for the last one, on the feeling that two party members ought to level a capped character faster than one.  I did have a KS-er or two, generally asking permission first, but none of them stayed long, until the titan Caires, from yesterday, arrived.

So, I was back to fighting one Screaming Zombie down to about 40% health, then ignoring it and attacking another, while Caires fought the original one.  It went okay - and Caires was asking about the more advanced kind of power-level, so, once my third padawan had graduated, Renez and I decided to give that a try.

On the feeling that it was more straightforward than Ren and I Recalling each other, I brought SirDarth in to stand at the back, out of compass range, and provide Recall.  Renez and I would get a Screaming Zombie down to about 5% health, with Sloth and Curse from me to reduce its attack speed and movement speed, and a Stun from Renez, and then we'd take Recall, letting Caires finish the kill and get all the experience.  It might not be as smooth as a Zen power levelling, but we got Caires up from level 48 to level 50. 

As it was approaching my logging out time by then, I suggested that Caires would probably need to get some skills, see if there were any quests, etc, and that was enough for one evening.  Caires agreed - he's looking for a level 53 titan weapon now, too, preferably +15.  I just needed to stay a little longer to finally get my pet drake up to level 46, so that he now gives me not just 30 levels of physical defence, but 15 levels of boosting my magical attack.  A useful little fellow!

3274 pet points on the day, then; no skill points, but the 30 Reputation points, and in all 12.21% experience gain.  Not that I want to fly through level 84 too quickly, I ought to do some skill exp farming on Egeha's Boucu Demons while I'm their exact level.

I remembered to convert just about all the Empty Baskets I had left into Halloween candy, as this was the final day of the Halloween theme - when the servers come back up early on Wednesday morning, the Pumpkin Scarecrows will have disappeared, and I assume Pumpkins and Empty Baskets will be entirely useless - until next year's event comes round!  It looks as if the game will get a new user interface either tomorrow, or a week later perhaps - it does have some improvements, like, as far as I can tell, an 11th and a 12th Hot Key for skills, but the character artwork alongside one's health bar (etc) at the top left looks pretty awful.  No doubt we'll get used to it, sigh. 

The new pets may appear as well, but they've been saying that for months.  The inventory-icons for them look cute, but if one is still limited to carrying only two pets/mounts at a time, what will people do with their current pets?  Will Kee have to abandon her now rather powerful drake, in order to train up Ichi and/or Scra-Chi?  Is Leo going to be out doing pet training again for the next few days?  Time, as they say, will tell.

A Big Update - November 5th  

The new user interface and the new pets made their debut today - though this morning I was more concerned with trying to update Last Chaos on my newer computer.  I must have removed LC three or four times, reinstalled a different version, and tried to update it before finally things went all the way to the end - I recommend the FilePlanet version of the download!

The new pets, Ichi and Scra-Chi, look awfully expensive and complicated to acquire - Zenderfly has embarked on the quest for Scra-Chi, paying a fortune for the necessary Book to start things off.  I was able to help a little by giving her the 14 Dark Orbs and the 17 Eyes of Myst that are needed - as I don't think I've ever fought Dratan's Poison Mists, I think those Eyes must have come from Zen in the first place, one time when she was clearing out her inventory to make room for loot drops.

I have lots of Dark Orbs, though I haven't got a full set of 17 Eyes of Myst left now.  Ichi's quest involves getting 14 Fox Tails and 17 Horn Beast Eyes - the latter are fairly common, I think, but I'm a bit low on Fox Tails.  I did make a new level 1 healer, and sent her out, with her experience frozen, to hunt foxes for a while, but she didn't get any Fox Tails dropped at all.  I must try again at a different spot.

Zen was out in Lust Trum tower with the level 94 Wraiths, and was able to give me a recall to Egeha, though asking me to head for town as quickly as possible as she was using a Platinum Super Skill Pill.  SirDarth went first, and then Recalled Keerella to town.

The Boucu Demon spot I use was taken, unfortunately, so I rode around a bit - I fought one Skinwalker, who dropped both healer level 69 weapons, a Violeta Wand +1 and an Eblin Bow +2.  After maybe twenty minutes I tried the Demon spot again, and found it empty, so I settled in to do a bit of skill point farming.  I was there perhaps a little over an hour, with a couple of knights sitting watching and waiting for the last 30 minutes or so - slightly worrying initially, as I was on a PvP-enabled server, Cariae-5, but they seemed happy enough to wait. 

I only got three drops, unplussed and +2 mage Darkpeal Pants and a rogue Pillager Shirt some cash and a few small healing potions.  I ended up with 10 more skill points, which is less than earth-shattering, maybe I should use a "pssp" too, though the Demons don't spawn quite quickly enough, one usually has to wait a few seconds for the next one.  3.55% experience, 412 pet points - not exactly a marathon session.

The worst obvious feature of the new user interface is the large portrait of the character next to the health and mana bars at top left, which is a waste of space, and is just a generic painting for each of the six types, rather than a picture of your exact character.  More subtle is the way the inventory has been split into four tabbed pages of 25 slots each - the tabs are too sensitive, move the cursor over tab three after double-clicking a health potion, and you find that you suddenly have page three open!  It is good to have  hotkeys for an eleventh and twelfth skill, though, which at the moment Kee is using for Curse and "pet return to village".

Zen went off to get her pet after her pssp ran out, and SirDarth moved into her spot to keep it ready for her - though the pet quest was so complex that in the end Zen bequeathed the spot to Darnoth, a knight we've teamed with in the Monster Combo many times.  Besides those quest item type drops, the pet quest requires a Torn Book of Life to start it off (Chapter 2 for Ichi, Chapter 1 for Scra-Chi), 3 Perfect Moonstones, and then 100 Cotton Cloths , a Dragon Heart, and a Dragon Brain (for Ichi) or 77 Black Diamonds, a Horse Mane and a Horse Skin (for Scra-Chi), and finally 10 Coins of Master.  Those dragon and horse items can only be got by sacrificing young pet drakes and ponies (unless you buy them at rather high prices from the Item Mall) and seeing what if anything you get; Black Diamonds are made from 6 Quality Stones each by someone who has the skill needed to process them, while Cotton Fabric requires 2 Green Herb Leaves.  In both cases, there is a "failure rate", so you'd need to try rather more than 100, or 77, times. 

So it looks as if Drake Eggs and Pan Flutes have gone up in price (so that they can be exchanged for young pets and sacrificed), Zen reports, while I suspect ToolAids, to get all those stones and herb leaves, will become more valuable too.  And Dark Orbs, Fox Tails, Horn Beast Eyes, Eyes of Myst, Perfect Moonstones, and of course Coins of Master, which are already comfortably over a million gold each.  I may try for one of the new pets eventually, but even after you've got one, you need to buy it armour and a weapon from the Item Mall, and feed it, and of course train it up - will many people decide it is worth all the effort?

The "T" window of a character's stats has been augmented, so I now know that Kee's Physical (and Magical) stats are offence 145 (1662), defence 2021 (194), hit rate 413 (413), evasion 1488 (784), critical 387 (deadly 258), and moving speed 6.0 (offence speed 14) - equipping her drake adds 250 to physical defence, for a full 30 levels of that, and 15 to magic attack, for 15 levels there.

I was just generally riding around Egeha, looking for any Boucu Demons who weren't standing right next to a Skinwalker, and not having much luck - but I noticed a Dragon Scale, which I needed for a quest.  It was right by a Demon/Skin duo, so I had to kill them can't just grab the Dragon Scales, they have to be, well, almost "harvested", though luckily you don't need to equip a special tool. I took "pet return to village" after that, and got my quest reward - 25,098,610 experience (plus 836,635 gold) seems a massive amount to be given, but in fact it only moved my experience on by 0.57%!

Zen was saying a little later that the best way to get one of the new pet Books is to fight critters of one's own level - which was handy, as I'd got tired of Egeha and taken my cleric Kaerella to Maargadum Jail for half an hour or so before my usual early Wednesday sign-out, and was fighting Beast Flyers, which are indeed Kae's level now, 46.  No good drops, though - and as I spent a fair amount of time, all told, on monsters of my own exact level, from Foxes to Boucu Demons, it shows that these aren't going to be common drops.  Kae just moved up 1.61% from that visit, plus 435 pet points and 13 skill points, compared with Kee's 4.41%, 485, and 11, from a rather longer time.

A Matter of Reputation - November 6th  

The first item of business was to try and get some Fox Tails, so I logged in with my level 1 healer, FoxChaser, and teamed her up with another character, and then headed out of the west gate of Randol to try the foxes there.  It took quite a while, but I did eventually get the 5 Fox Tails I needed to get my total up to the 14 the new pet quest requires... and I got two of the Torn Book of Life Chapter 2, the one needed for the Ichi (rat-style) pet!  Whether I actually go ahead and get such a pet depends on the availability of Dragon Hearts and Dragon Brains.

At the end of that session, Zenderfly announced that she had got her Scra-Chi (cat-style) pet, and invited me to the west gate of Randol, on Cariae-5, to see him.  Boy is he so cute...

The afternoon main session was Kaerella versus the Beast Flyers, while Zenderfly was busy farming skill exp on the Wraiths; SirDarth was farming herbs, since a lot of green herb leaves are needed for the cotton cloths also needed.  There was the occasional time during the day when either he or Kee had to go and stand in for Zen to keep the spot in Lust Trum tower, as the poor pet did tend to die rather often, so that Zen had to head for the Animal Trainer in Randol to get him unsealed.

Kae's session was suitably busy, and did include a couple of Heaven Stones as drops, as well as a couple of ready-plussed armour items.  The experience gain was only 7.31%, but 1695 pet points and 58 skill points mean it was a worthwhile session.  Kae is only a seventh of the way into level 46 now, but before too long I'll need to get the next armour set, the 50/52 set, back from the character who borrowed it.. and who, come to think of it, ought really to be wearing the 55/57 set by now.

After the food break my intention was to take Darth to Prokion Temple, use Recall to get Karella to join him, and settle in for some relatively relaxing and risk-free dual skill point farming, perhaps using a skill pill, but first of all Zen needed a stand-in in the tower, so Karella had to log out and be replaced by Kee - and then ArabianPeaceBoy really, really wanted to do some levelling in the Tomb of Theos, and heck, he is only 12 years old.  So Karella never got to Prokion, and while Darth did reach his favourite upstairs back room, he was only there about 30 seconds.

Still, it was probably a good idea, to go to the Tomb, and I had got some new low-level characters ready to be "power levelled" to level 20... so I settled in there fighting the level 100 Screaming Zombies, and stayed there until the end of the evening.  I even had one out-of-the-blue request to be a player's Guardian, so he was happy to be Recalled into the Tomb, and just stand and watch for, what, 30-45 minutes while he went straight to level 20.  As he was given a share of the loot, he probably went away with around 120,000 gold, which should help him buy new armour.  It wasn't his first character, so he didn't need any actual guidance, apart from a few brief words about the merits of wizards or witches, temple knights or royal knights.

I was fighting the zombies fairly slowly, not using Terra Spear much, to allow ArabianPeaceBoy to "KS" fully - he used an iris of some sort, though at least after the party grew in size he found that he wasn't getting a huge amount of experience - and, I think after his booster hour was over, he did die once when either a zombie changed its target, or just spawned too near him, the first I knew was when i saw his body there.  We did get him into the party so that Itura could resurrect him, so hopefully he didn't lose too much experience.

Yes, Itura joined us, though not for long - and Zenderfly, and Avarielle before the lure of the tv proved too much, and Damor got Recalled in too, and Renez, and ClonedDeep, and DarkPulse101 as well.  Caires I think arrived the old-fashioned way rather than being Recalled in - VAL6OK126 was there for a while, today she managed to apply for the right type of party, but for some reason she said she wasn't getting any experience at all by KS-ing, we could only think that her guild master might have frozen her experience gain.

After a while Renez headed down to the Commanders, and began some boosted power levelling, assisted by Damor - I guess it was that "combat party" deal when extra people in the party, in the area, mean extra experience.  Zen was bringing groups of zombies back up to us to increase the levelling speed, for the current apprentices and her pet - though she did have to leave rather often to unseal him, we certainly reached the 17th time he had died... he did I think reach level 5, though he was still doing only 1 damage per hit.  I assume Zen hasn't bought him a weapon to use yet - at the moment such things are only available in the Item Mall.

Her Scra-Chi might do better on a lower level character, fighting less fearsome monsters... but Zen had thought of that, and been unable to transfer him across, although one is supposed in theory to be able to do that providing any items, such as armour or a weapon, have been unequipped.   Earlier she'd been planning to do some Monster Combos tomorrow, and at the weekend, but this evening she reported that the MC system was "broken" at present, attempts to edit the menu lead to sudden it looks as if that's out for now.  A bit awkward, since Coins of Master are needed in the pet-obtaining quests.  Will the prices of those sky-rocket, like Dark Orbs, Eyes of Myst, Fox Tails, and Horn Beast Eyes, to say nothing of Black Diamonds, Cotton Cloths, and the relevant pet parts?  I still think someone was being a bit over-optimistic in trying to sell a Drake Egg for 2.5 million, compared with the 7,500 they've been selling for before this week.

Towards the end of my Tomb evening, when everyone else had gone, either down to Renez or out again, one zombie was kind enough to drop a Torn Book of Life Chapter 1 for me - so I have a choice now, if I can get the pet parts do I start an Ichi or a Scra-Chi? 

Well, by the end of the evening Kee had added 13.30% experience, 2 skill points from somewhere, 2097 pet points - and enough reputation points to take me up to 330, which ought to get me onto the Cariae server's "top fifty" for Reputation at around number 46 next time they update that page on the website.  Fame at last...

A Slog for Skill Points - November 7th  

The day started with a disappointment - I found, from the Last Chaos website, that I'd logged out last night just before one of their Item Mall packages was offered with a 50% rebate.  The rebate offer only lasted for a few hours, so I missed out on that, and a chance to get some cheap Item Drop Boosters, completely.  But I did manage to get on as FoxChaser for a while before lunch, and got two or three more Fox Tails and another one of the pet quest starter books... I did consider the name TailChaser when I was making that character, but decided against it!  I moved some of her assorted loot across to MistressDomina, and shifted some gold in the opposite direction, so now FoxChaser has better armour - still the starter circlet and boots (at level 1 she can't wear level 7 items without an armour penalty), but level 5 gloves and a level 6 skirt to go with the originally provided shirt.

After lunch I thought I'd take my rogue Karella down to the Great Horn Beasts, to get a few Horn Beast Eyes, but I quickly noticed that double skill exp had been turned on, without any announcement that I'd been aware of - so it seemed like a good idea to change to my healer/cleric Kaerella and head for Maargadum Jail once again.

The Last Chaos website was indicating that the Friday "Happy Hour" was going to start at about 3:00pm, UK time, though what the bonus would actually be was still "to be announced" - so it looked as if I'd be having a slightly delayed food break. Anyway, Kae settled in with the Beast Flyers, and had the usual hectic time - nobody else was on level 3 for almost all the time, though a couple of people did try fighting there for a short time before thinking better of it. 

It seems that double skill exp was the "Happy Hour", as there was no change at 3:00 - and no change at 4:00 either, when there was an in-game announcement that it had officially begun, and was double skill exp.  So, the whole double skill exp deal continued for two hours from then, finally ending at 6:03 - my delayed food break was put back by an extra hour.  Still, as Kae went up 13.49% in experience during that four hours, added 3445 pet points, picked about half a million in gold and a few ready-plussed level 41 items, and gained a massive 209 skill points, it was all worth the effort.

Keerella has indeed appeared on the Cariae server's "top fifty" list for Reputation at #46, it looks as if they tend to update the listing at around lunchtime, UK time.  I might try another few power-levels in a day or two, but I definitely won't be trying to get to the top part of the list, that would be taking things to extremes.

I did think of taking SirDarth out to Prokion Temple to do some skill point farming of his own there, joined by Karella in his favourite upstairs back room - but looking at the map, I noticed that there was a group of Poison Mists not very far south of the temple entrance - ones that might drop Eyes of Myst, needed for one of the pet quests.  To get there I had to pass quite a lot of level 33 Silver Foxes of the Desert - in my solo party they didn't give the expected 1100 skill exp, as other monsters my level would - they gave 1375, which, curiously, is what the ordinary Foxes that FoxChaser has been fighting just outside Randol give...

At level 39 the Poison Mists were six levels ahead of Darth, and red-named, so I carefully buffed myself with Divine Shield and Protection, and added small health potions to my skills bar in one of the extra two spaces.  They certainly look impressive, semi-transparent green amoeba types that can stretch to lash out at one. The precautions weren't necessary, though, even fighting two of them at once didn't harm Darth's health even after the buffs had worn off.

Sadly, they only dropped one Eye of Myst, but I have the location on Darth's memory scroll now.  They dropped three Thick Liquid, which I don't think has any use - and they did drop a Heaven Stone, though an Eye would probably be more valuable at the moment.

And promptly at 9:30, both Darth, fighting a Poison Mist at the time, and Karella, busily farming herbs, got disconnected - Cariae-3 was closed briefly for "maintenance", though it would have been nice if they'd given some warning.  Tough luck on people anywhere that is expensive or difficult to get to, like Egeha or the Tomb, but the swift way the disconnection was handled would mean, I think, that our characters weren't left standing helplessly, attacked by monsters, for a minute or two, leading to people dying.  I was able to log back in on a different sub-server immediately, there was no "account already in use" nonsense.

Ah well, at least I was able to get today's 50% rebate item, the "One Step Ahead" package - I only bought one of it, as it seemed a bit overpriced, by recent standards, at 999 aeria points - better at half that, but I do have a fair number of such packages already.  50 experience boosters, 50 skill exp boosters, a platinum blessed iris, a platinum super skill pill, 5 experience boxes, 5 skill exp boxes, and 5 perfect moonstones.  Looking at the Mall I see a number of people have bought the Dragon Brain and Dragon Heart - only 31 and 49, respectively, out of 200 left, for Cariae. As they cost 999 ap each, that is serious money to spend on a pet...which still needs armour and other items once you have got it.  Curiously, nobody on Cariae seems to have bought the Horse Mane and Horse Tail - while on the Hatzring server they have more Dragon items left (127 and 129 at the moment), but have also sold almost as many horse items (139 and 156).

The "One Step Ahead" package was the basis for a raffle, too, but I'd have to stay up, alert and online until gone midnight to discover if I'd won it - they might get more people to participate in their raffles if they didn't insist that the winner had to be online when they made the draw... after all, the raffles last 4 hours, which is quite a while to stay available.

Experience Time - November 8th  

Since it was a wet Saturday morning with no shopping needed, I was able to send SirDarth out to his newly-memorised Poison Mists location in Dratan in the morning and, while chatting on the Last Chaos forum's "shout box", try to get a few more Myst Eyes.  GMAractan turned up before long and said hello - luckily a GameSage noticed his arrival, and told him off for impersonating a Game Master, saying that that sort of thing could get him a permanent ban.  Of course the real GM is Aracton with an "o", and would have his rank mentioned after his name too.

One of the chatters, or shouters, suggested that I should use Lucky Scrolls - and indeed Lucky Spell Books, in fact one person had been using Item Drop Boosters there which, given the price that Myst Eyes have been selling for lately, might even be worth doing, in the short term. So I Recalled MistressDomina to the spot to transfer across a few Lucky Scrolls, since, after the Halloween bonanza, I do have over 600 of them - and they did seem to help.  I have now officially got enough Myst Eyes for the pet quest that needs them, though getting the horse and dragon parts is the complicated bit.

In the afternoon, it seemed like a good idea to head for the Tomb of Theos, and get Keerella a bit further towards her important new level, after her day off yesterday.  Zenderfly was down in what I call the Commandery (well, I used to take holidays in Worcester sometimes), but which, she informs me, is the Grave Room.  I suppose somebody decided that "Tomb Room" would just not work, as a name...

So, Kee settled in - and later Zen joined me.  Some suitable slogging went on, and I got three more characters up to level 20, getting my Reputation up to 360 now, which I think ought to move me on to #37 on the Cariae rankings next time the "top fifty" is updated.  Zen got a couple of her characters up to level 20 too... VAL6OK126 did a little ks-ing, and, although her English isn't always very straightforward, I think it was a couple of her characters (or maybe her friends?) who we also got there, GRAFFITI and MasterROgue.  And then it was time for my food break.

I had been trying to find out when the 24-hour special "double experience and pet experience" event was due to start, which was what lead me to the Shout Box in the first place.  The deal was that if more people bought a small Item Mall package named after the US Presidential Election winner than one named after the loser, we'd get this treat - and Barack Obama did come out ahead.  Last time we had that sort of event it began about 6:30, uk time, but this time it began at 5:05 - after all, they do have to fit in the Euro "Sunday Teatime" tomorrow as well.  I got back soon after that, and settled in again with the Screaming Zombies.

DarkPulse101 joined me, suggesting a Combat party, and before too long Zen came back too.  Her Scra-Chi new pet, level 22 I think she said, is now using the name tag (only 99 ap, Zen pledges to pay me 3 million in gold for it once she has the money) - "AutumStorm" is the name, which, while not particularly feline, sounds rather good I think.  The poor thing was still dying regularly, so that Zen had to go back to town to get it unsealed, which was now, at that level, costing around 400,000 gold a time.  After a few of Zen's trips back to Randol I decided that I'd better get the high-level "Sophia" armour set from the mall for it, in the hopes that that would cut down the number of deaths.  That was 599 ap, so I'll be hoping for some more gold from Zen once she is rich again.

Of course, if the Monster Combo was working properly, we would have been playing there, and earning lots of Coins of Master, so that Zen would have been a lot better off, gold-wise... while buying the items she needed to obtain the pet in the first place, plus the food and the unsealings, had been a big cash drain.  It is always expensive, being an "early acquirer" of anything new.

Looking at the Item Mall just now, I see that the dragon brain and dragon heart have now sold out, and the horse manes are down to 58 - still 128 horse tails though.  People have even been buying the black diamonds and cotton cloths, production items that can be made in-game for a lot less than the equivalent of the 599 ap that the Mall is charging.  It looks as if Aeria Games is making a useful profit on these new pets.

It was strange, usually I'm sure the level 100 Screaming Zombies give me almost no skill exp, even if they do give about nine million of the ordinary experience - but when I was just solo partying with SirDarth, I noticed that I was getting 440 skill exp.  This was cut down rather  when I was partying with DP and Zen in the compass area of course, but hopefully multiplied by three if they were killing the zombies at a similar rate.

Caires got Recalled in later in the evening, and I tried to do the "get a zombie down to 5% health and leave" thing so that he could use boosters, relying on Zenderfly to Recall me away - but it was awkward, the corridor got a bit crowded with other people so that, when I was attempting to lure a single zombie all the way back to Caires, out of compass range of DP and Zen, sometimes the zombie got distracted (or stolen), or Caires got ks'd.  We did it a few times, which I hope helped, but things just got a bit too busy.

Anyway, Kee's slog was well rewarded - not that the drops were any good in the Tomb, but, with the double experience and pet experience active for around two-thirds of her playing time, she got 7179 pet points, and 53.60% experience gain.  All that, and 15 skill points too!

Double Time in the Tomb - November 9th  

So, it was all Tomb time today for Keerella, starting before lunch, to make full use of the double experience and double pet experience - and Kee did pretty well, getting the 10% she needed to level up before the lunch break.  Level 85 means I can now use the shiny, expensive green 5-seal +15 level 85 Judgement Red Devil Staff, which increases my magic attack from 1683 to 1973 - an extra 290, or 17%, can't be bad!

Zenderfly informed me that we were also getting double skill exp, which was news to me - the website announcements hadn't mentioned that!  If I'd known I might not have  farmed some more Reputation points, taking me to around #34 in the Cariae Top Fifty I think with a total of 420, as being teamed with a low-level character spoilt the skill exp gain.  I was able to tell Zen something she didn't know - at least, some people on the forums say that you can get your new pet unsealed, if it dies, for free by asking the Archbishop rather than the Animal Trainer...

Zen was rather quiet today - she told me she has a new hobby, being in a combat party in the Grave Room (or "Commandery") in a safe place by the wall, while someone else is power-levelling themselves.  This benefits the other person, as the more people are in a Combat Party, the better the experience - and Zen gets experience too, a share of the drops, and, more importantly, pet experience.  Meanwhile, Zen can do some homework.

Personally I was working a bit harder than that, at least in-game.  I did get an apprentice actually applying through the regular channels - xMageMasterx, who I got up to level 20 just before my usual early evening food break.  I also let SirDarth recall her to the entrance to Prokion Temple, to get that onto her memorising scroll, after supplying her with a couple of the scrolls.

The special 24-hour "Presidential" event ended at five - and was replaced by our regular Sunday "TeaTime" for two hours, which meant that, although we lost the double pet experience and the double skill exp, the double (regular) experience continued until seven, which was useful, though I had to take some time off to eat.

I teamed up with Renez, ClonedDeep and DarkPulse101, though Ren and CD soon headed down to the Sphinx Commanders themselves, and borrowed SirDarth to add the necessary solo party boost; Ren was helping CD to level, so he'd be getting a Commander almost dead and then leaving the party, in the usual cunning way.

So, it was mainly just me and DarkPulse101 at the Screaming Zombies opening area, plus a few other people - VAL6OK126 did take recall a few times to come in, and was going to try a different character who needed levelling from 2 to 20, but I just couldn't persuade her to take a Guardian (me), to get the free event weapon, so that didn't happen.  Rikie, the sorcerer who often chats with Kae, was there too for a while.  Everything went relatively smoothly, except when, in the evening, a rogue did try to pull zombies onto us and then use the "Death Motion" rogue assassin skill to lose their aggro, which of course transferred to us.  Still, we don't die easily.  DP did reach level 84, so is close behind me; as a newer character, she has a lot more skill points than I do, of course.

Towards the end of the evening, DP suggested that we should go down to the level 104 Sphinx Fighters for a change - they give about 20% more experience, but take longer to kill, and, with that extra level difference, don't give any useful amount of skill exp.  DP was confident that she knew the way to get there, but it took a few tries to reach the place where Zen, Itura, Kee, and a few others used to team up on the zombies and other types.  We did take on a few Sphinx Fighters, and managed to stay alive until DP's Iris ran out... at which point, we ran out too.

By then it was time to prepare for the regular weekly Quiz.  I headed for Cariae-5 as ever, but Zen didn't put in her usual appearance.  So it was Kee, MistressDomina and DP together, "flying solo" - though afterwards DP mentioned that she'd been listening to her new guild's people on a talk channel, to get tips on the right answers.

Anyway, we got through to the end safely - ten ToolAids, ten Moonstones, and the ever-desirable fifteen Heaven Stones ended up in our inventories.  The questions were back to normal... I did know most of the answers, I think there was only one that I'd have definitely got wrong if I hadn't decided to follow everyone else, though there were a few that I wasn't sure of.  I think almost everyone made it through to the end, even the healer who seemed to make it a matter of pride only to run over to the correct side at the very last second.

Well, thanks to all that double experience Keerella managed a very respectable 76.98% experience gain today; she may only have got 12 skill points, but 9590 pet points - well, that's just over 30% of my drake's level in one day.

Into the Tomb Again - November 10th  

The afternoon was spent in the Tomb of Theos again, mainly - though before Keerella went down I did have a message from Zenderfly to register for a party on cariae-5. When she Recalled me in, there was our old friend Kamira close by - Zen traded an Item Drop Booster and a Lucky Scroll over to me, instructed me to use them, did most of the fighting, and then went back to town, leaving me to finish the job.

Unfortunately, while I may be 9 levels below Zen, I am 15 levels above Kamira, and she dropped precisely nothing.  Still, it was worth trying, as nobody closer to Kammy's level on Zen's Friends List was on at the time.

Anyway, on to the Tomb... and not a whole lot to report, almost no ks-ing, and no attempts to draw other zombie hordes on to us.  The afternoon passed productively enough, in fact.

Later Zenderfly and Renez were down in the Tomb Room, Commandery, er, Grave Room - I think they were probably just solo levelling, getting a boost from being in a Combat Party together, all these different types of party get confusing.

DarkPulse101 and I were upstairs with the Screaming Zombies - also in the Combat Party, though as far as I could see it did very little for us, giving me slightly more experience than in an Equal Party when I killed a Screaming Zombie, but a heck of a lot less when DP killed one.

DP had to go afk, and stayed afk for longer than he had planned - not really a good idea when you have an iris running, but I think it was the cheaper, '3 hours at double experience' type.  Zen had to leave the Tomb at one stage, and, as that made DP the leader, we had to break up the party or we'd have been unable to bring her back in - which was handy for me, as it meant I could just do a Solo Party with SirDarth, and thus get the full ration of experience.

There was talk of changes to some main guilds - Vendetta breaking up, a combined "FraternityRose" guild... all a bit over my head.  I was watching the forum chat box too, and there seems to be strong hope that the Monster Combo will be mended in this week's server maintenance downtime tomorrow night.

Zen told me that the armour I bought for her feline companion AutumStorm had to be identified before use, and, like an armour cover, will only last one month - at the price it cost in aeria points, that is some racket!  Kee's own cover for her armour wore off this morning, so no longer does she have the western-style "widowmaker" outfit, just the regular high-shouldered dress like something out of "Dallas".  I could put a new cover on, but hopefully I'll be moving on to the top-level armour set before too long.

I did actually buy two pieces for that before setting out for the Tomb, the boots at 75 million and the shirt at 25 million, both five-seal blue evasion types - so I still need the gloves and the pants, which are liable to cost at least 150 million between them.  A whole new outfit for less than the price of one of the new pets...

Anyway, I kept slogging away; DarkPulse101 did finally return, and came back into the regular Equal party that I'd set up with Darth.  And I went on slightly beyond my usual finishing time, to get all the way up to level 86!  So, that meant I managed, without any boosters or event bonuses, to get 33.34% experience, and another 7 skill points, and exactly 9000 pet points - only another 3177 to go for my drake's next level.

Well, getting up to level 87, to be able to wear the whole of the top-level armour, will take slightly longer than getting up to 86, though as I'm one level nearer the zombies now I should get slightly more skill exp as I go along.  Not a lot more, true, but it all helps, and assuming the Monster Combo does start working again, the level 91 Wight Slashers there should give quite a nice amount of skill exp now.

Into the Grave Room - November 11th  

SirDarth was able to visit the Poison Mists for a little while before lunch - I used three Lucky Scrolls and got one Myst Eye, which seems a reasonable return on the investment.  After that I set him up for some away-from-keyboard mining, and went in search of some food... by which I don't just mean lunch, I mean a shopping trip to Watford as well.

So, it was mid-afternoon before Keerella was able to log in.  Zenderfly was asking for a solo party in Cariae-5, so I moved over there, and headed for the Tomb as usual.  As it is a PvP server, probably there are rather fewer low-level people going there to gain experience by ks-ing...

Darth went in, and recalled Kee in... well, I'd rather pay 99,000 gold to get in than 258,000.  Zen wasn't yet available, she sent a hasty message that she was with the GGD, Egeha's level 95 boss raid monster the Grand Gold Dragon.  I found that I was still getting about 0.09% per zombie, and now 330 skill experience each while in a solo party - so about1100 zombies to kill for my next level, which would tend to bring in, er, 36 skill points? After leaving a suitable gap, I started to ask how Zen had got on - and at that point she ran past me to the Screaming Zombies. 

Zen, after assuring me that she had defeated the GGD safely, soon headed down to the the Grave Room and its Sphinx Commanders; she changed the party to Combat, so Darth was left out, and then instructed me to take Recall.  After a few more Recalls from both of us, to throw off the more aggressive Sphinx Commanders, I was safely settled in against the wall, and Zen was able to get to work.

I can see why Zen said that being in a Combat party in the grave room, and wall-hugging while generally afk, was a great new hobby - even better for her as it helps her cat-style pet, AutumStorm, level too.  Standing there, I get about four million experience each time Zen kills a Sphinx Commander - around 0.08%, plus a tiny bit of skill experience (27-ish), and I even get a share of the loot.

There was no point in SirDarth staying down in the Tomb, so he went back outside into Dratan, and used a memorising scroll to hop across to the Poison Mists.  Before too long, Zen suggested that SirDarth should add a new acquaintance of hers, Iway (well, "iway" actually) to his Friends List, so I did so, and used Recall to get her to me, taking care to be well away from any respawning Poison Mists when I did that.

As she is new to the game, things took a bit of explaining, starting with the "party auto matching" system, moving on to the "apply to join guild" option... luckily, we got that bit accomplished before she had to log out, so she, now a level 12 healer, is Norcaine's newest member.

Soon after that it was time for my evening food break, while Zen continued to fight the Sphinx Commanders - a distraction in real life meant that she wasn't able to use the final quarter hour of a blessed iris, mana stealer, and health stealer, though. Still, Kee was boosted by a little over 8% experience from her time down there.

Darth had some more time as the focus of attention, and was able to visit Prokion Temple and its Orc Sergeants for a while.  He now has plenty of skill points to learn Expert Alchemy level 2, since he already has level 1 of that - but the Pharmacist doesn't want to teach it, the window comes up that Advanced Alchemy level 3 is required - which he has already got, sigh...

Anyway, once the party with Zen ended, Kee headed back to the Screaming Zombies on Cariae-3, and spent the rest of the evening on them. And just before the end, her drake levelled up at last. So, in all she went up 20.50% today, gained 4 skill points, and gained 3634 pet points.

Tonight the servers shut down for their weekly maintenance, and hopefully when they come up again the problem with the Monster Combo will have been sorted out - we may have some new stuff in the Item Mall too.  What I'd like to see would be some bargain packs of Runes of Protection 1, which would be useful for upgrading Kee's next armour set.  And if Runes and other items like that do appear, it is usually a sign that an "upgrade probability event" is on its way for the weekend...

When Zombies Attack - November 12th  

A slightly short day to report here, but my early activities did at least get me a couple of Fox Tails.  As with last week, I had problems getting my shiny new Vista computer to download the update - but in the end using the "pause protection" mode on my Kaspersky Internet Protection (100 days free trial) got it to run properly.  It was strange, attempting to get the update seemed to spoil my internet connection almost entirely, but an application that needed iTunes was still able to get that to connect.

Well, the afternoon saw me making the usual trip down to the Screaming Zombies in the Tomb of Theos, as Zenderfly wasn't around - I did pick up a new apprentice, Beshu, a new knight, who despite being from Poland did at least try to speak English.   He went along with the idea of being power levelled, but unfortunately at around level 14 he tried to help by attacking the zombie I was fighting, and died - and that was enough to make his computer play up, so he had to log out.  He got some useful cash, plus a Heaven Stone.  He did, to his credit, ask if I wanted it, but I do have plenty tucked away in storage, after all.

Zen did come online and get in touch at 4:20, UK time, but that was just as I was saying my farewells, with my food break firmly in mind, so I was unable to join that particular Monster Combo team.  The following team didn't have room for a newcomer either, but during the first stage somebody dropped out, and Zen was able to bring me in. So, I missed the Nivas, but fought all the Wight Slashers; I used a mana stealer, so I was able to use my skills freely, mainly self-buffs and Terra Spear plus Freeze Arrow.  Another mage was using Haste on the healer, who was having difficulty keeping up, our health bars did tend to drop a bit low sometimes.  I did have to use a few health pots, but nobody died, and there weren't any more disconnections.

I stayed around in the hopes of a second teaming, but attempting to get enough replacements for the people who left took an awfully long time, and finally Zen gave up.  Still, I got about 5.6% experience from the one combo, and the 231 Coins of Master total meant that I got 29 of them, my first for over a week, and it was great to see the Wight Slashers again... While we were waiting around, Zen got access to the new PvP arena site, and offered Recall - it looks rather good, and Renez was later saying he became its "ruler" for a while, though he had to kill four Fraternity members to keep it.

The failure to get a new Monster Combo meant I had time to return to the Tomb, where I'd cunningly left Darth in case I needed to go back.  Happily, it was just about then that Beshu got back in touch, so I was able to Recall him in, and finish getting him to level 20.  I sold him a pan flute at the old-fashioned price of 7500 gold, and Darth went across to Prokion Temple and Recalled him to the entrance there, so that he could get it on his memorising scroll; he is on my friends list still, so can get in touch if he needs any further help.  I used Recall to bring DarkPulse101 in, and also gave a level 42 titan called Baded (well, "baded") a little help by letting him, and his pet Ichi-type rat, "KS" a little.  It turned out that he is the brother of Caires - there was some talk of him also joining Norcaine, though he hasn't yet done so.

There was a second new apprentice added while I was down in the MC, StreeTThief, but of course I couldn't do anything for him at that stage.  I've got him added to my friends list, though, so hopefully something will get done tomorrow. 

The new week's Item Mall was less than sensational - no Rune of Protection bargains. so no hope of any "upgrade probability event" for a while.  Renez and I have been working on a recruitment post to put on the forum, to try to get some new people for the guild, we'll have to see how that goes.  The next thing to decide is who posts it, KaerellaBlaise, Renex, or indeed SirDarth...

Well, Kee went up by a total of 19.45% today, got 8 more skill points, and added 2270 pet points.  Her Reputation stands at 470 now, which should move me up a couple of places from my current #28... a long way behind Monster Combo teammate Darnoth, who's #3 with 1180!

More Zombies & A Combo - November 13th  

So, more of the same today - SirDarth was able to do a fair bit of mining, and MistressDomina did do some selling, mainly of the fresh supplies of Coins of Master from the Monster Combo.  Some people were still trying to sell them for two million or more each, as their use in the new pet quests does make them more desirable to more people - I sold a batch at 1,350,000 each fairly quickly, but trying 1,450,000 after that didn't tempt anyone.

Zenderfly messaged me to alert me that there was some good mage armour for sale in Cariae-1 just before lunch - I may have missed out on one or two items, but once I found the seller, "pigspit", I was able to grab blue, five-seal evasion Ebade Red Respiration Gloves, ready plussed to +13, for 240 million (Zen had estimated that unplussed ones would be 100 million, they are the rarest part of the set), and matching ready-plussed Ebade Red Respiration Boots for 200 million.  I had already bought unplussed boots, but I can probably sell them for the 75 million I paid...

I still need the skirt, or "pants" I think, for the set - I do have the Casting Up Red Respiration Circlet and the Antistune Red Respiration Jacket, unplussed as yet.  Zen mentioned that she has a spare skirt, though, which she might well sell me for the 50 million she mentioned as a guide price; I am not sure if her mention of twice that figure was a joke, or means that the skirt is already plussed a bit.

Anyway, I am now able to wear the new gloves, which adds 37 to my physical defence rating.  I also added 44 to my current physical evasion by being tempted to buy the level 77 Casting Up Grife Circlet, +12 and b5 eva, for 100 million, meaning that I do now have the entire 75/77 blue, five-sealed evasion set - previously, as the b5 eva circlet is so rare, I'd been making do with a Light Grife Circlet, still with five seals but only green rather than blue, so with slightly lower stats. Now with an entire b5 eva set and using three Stone of Shadows accessories, my physical evasion figure of 1536 must be pretty near to as high as one can get.

Keerella headed for the Tomb of Theos in the afternoon, you won't be surprised to hear, and added another 10 Reputation points to her total.  Beshu has enrolled a new character, Beshuniu, a mage, as an apprentice, with the idea of just making the first character a pet trainer, but the timing wasn't right for a levelling-up for her today.

I did get a call from Zenderfly not long after the food break, for a Monster Combo party - but by the time I'd moved across to Cariae-5 and registered, they'd filled their list.  Zen seemed to think I was well out of it, as they didn't have a healer... and luckily I'd left SirDarth down at the back of the Tomb, so it was easy for him to recall Kee back.

I teamed up, at her suggestion, with a level 78 archer, STORMSTRIKE, on the general feeling that a little bit of free healing would make a nice change; she seemed pleasant, though it is possible that her being in SheryBlair's guild, RoyalGangsters, might cause problems in getting her into a monster combo, I don't know the politics of the high-level, big guilds.  She mentioned that her boyfriend plays a cleric, too.  I described the monster combo set-up, anyway, and added her to my Friends List.

Soon after Stormstrike's mana stealer ran out, and just as DarkPulse101 was about to be Recalled into the Tomb, I got another call from Zen, and this time there was plenty of room for me in the Monster Combo party.  I was thinking that DP could take my place in the party, once SirDarth handled the Recall part, but Stormstrike logged out around then.

The party began with only seven of us, and none of us were healers.  I started a mana stealer, and popped open a small HP recovery potion at once - and used plenty of healing potions too, though mainly the small ones.  For once, I had to watch where the MC's "traps" were springing up, and try to avoid the 10% health loss they give when possible.  We did manage to recruit an archer in time for the first Coin Stage, stage five - she was level 101, and soon had the healing well in hand.  My first reaction was, well, gladness that we had some healing going for us now, but my second reaction was dismay that I'd be "capped", and not get much experience, but hey, I'm level 86 now so level 101 doesn't cap me.  I think her presence did reduce the amount of skill exp I got, though, just as teaming with Stormstrike had done.

One of our party, a rogue, lost her connection not once but twice, and didn't return the second time, so the Coins of Master only had to be split seven ways at the end, which meant that 224 only needed to be divided by 7 - so I got 32 coins, which was pretty good. We were fast, too, we must have done it all in an hour, once we got started, as the mana booster that I used lasted right to the end.

Zen told us that she had a long day coming up tomorrow, and that her bed was calling her - and the party split up, nobody even suggesting another trip, so it was back to Cariae-3 for me, a Recall from Darth, and back into the Tomb.

So, I did a little bit more slogging, and by the time I logged out, Kee had gone up a total of 23.56% on the day, added 8 skill points, and 3416 pet points.  Kee's total cash is down rather a lot of course, but let's hope MistressDomina can get some of that back soon.

New Boots, and Parties - November 14th  

Well, SirDarth was able to do a fair amount of mining, and my rogue Karella did some herb gathering - but after lunch it was time for Keerella to head for the Tomb of Theos, and I went down as soon as I could because I'd noticed that double experience was running - presumably left on after the APAC Happy Hour, which takes place in the early hours of Friday morning.

I had the forum "shout box" open alongside the main game window, just out of interest, really, though I was occasionally able to give helpful advice - someone found that using "pause" on their Kaspersky protection was what they needed to update their game!  You do hear some sad stories of people who have lost access to their accounts, and you do get a feeling of what a wonderful thing Last Chaos is for someone who can only afford a few hours access at a time on a computer in an internet cafe somewhere well east of our shores.  Various GameSages dealt with things as well as they could, and the GM OgreKing put in a couple of appearances, trying to sort out queries.

Anyway, I settled in with the double experience, and slogged away, just on the Screaming Zombies as usual.  At four o'clock it was announced that the EU Happy Hour was starting, and there were one or two shout box complaints that they weren't getting anything extra, so I was able to assure them that, while there was no change from before the announcement, that was because the bonus had already been running.

So, it looked like a late food break for me, if I was to take full advantage of the double experience - and a few minutes before its end Beshuniu was in touch, so it seemed a good time to do her apprenticeship power-levelling.  The Happy Hour didn't run over, unfortunately, so getting her to level 20 took a while; she did ask to be taken to level 21 but I had to decline, I was getting too hungry.  I did sell her some Quality Stones, help her move a pet drake between characters, and Recall her to Prokion Temple though...

One thing I did manage to do, thanks to the double experience, was level Kee up - she is level 87 now, so I was able to equip the ready-plussed boots I bought yesterday, as well as the gloves.  I still need to "plus up" the shirt and circlet though, and get hold of the skirt/pants for the set.  At the moment the 85/87 sets are the highest level armour in the game, though, since it is now possible for players to reach level 120, further sets are in development.

Zenderfly had joined me for a little while in the afternoon, and brought along her own newly-created character for power-levelling, but she got called away for a Monster Combo... and later reported that, at level 95, she was the lowest-level character in that particular party.   No wonder I'd not been invited along to that one.  I also helped VAL6OK126 to get her rogue, MAsterROgue, up to level 25, allowed a lowish-level titan to "KS" for a while, and did the same with Caires as well, though he did tend to "kill-steal" anyone else nearby too.

It's difficult as his command of English isn't too good, but I hope I've persuaded him only to "KS" people who agree to it...though he is so keen to level his new-style pet, like many other people, that any target is tempting.  I never get a chance to use Recall to bring him in, he pays for his own admission, I must try to explain how the Recall system works.

So, a rather late food break was followed by more time in the Tomb; I used Recall to bring DarkPulse101 in, and he was among those annoyed by Caires, and I think some other KS-ers, which the Tomb's starting area does attract.  It's easy to get to, once you've got there once and added its entrance to your memorising scroll, and it's a lot cheaper to get into than Egeha if your level is low.

It was about 8:20 when I got a call from Zen to join a just-forming Monster Combo party, now moved over from Cariae-5 to Cariae-6 - some people were trying to hold out for a second healer-type, but Zen stood up for me; I was her friend, and was in, no argument.  There was a small problem at the start, apparently it had happened to Zen once before, we paid our cash and got into the waiting area, but we couldn't actually trigger the start.  After a few tries, we had to disband the party, which automatically put us back out in Dratan again, then form up again.  To avoid us all possibly losing a second 1.5 million, Zen went in almost alone (one other person happened to hit "enter" at the wrong moment, and also accepted the invitation) to make sure things would work, and did the first round, after which the rest of us paid up and went in to join her.

The MC went very swiftly; we got an excellent total of Master Coins, 270, or 34 each.  I think only Zen,  Avarielle and I stayed on, everyone else left afterwards, but we managed to recruit new people - I told Zen that DarkPulse was on, she told me to invite her, and she was able to join us, which was good.  Again we were pretty swift going through. I used a mana stealer each time, which lasts an hour, and there was very nearly two in-game "hours" of it left at the end, which would mean 55 minutes of actual playing time.  The total was another good one, 268, so this time I got 33.

I'm coming to like using mana stealers in there, it means I can use as many skills as I have time for, rather than slightly rationing them, and using Transformation to top up my mana bar when my health is high enough to allow that.  Terra Spear, Freeze Arrow, even Fire Storm!  I just wish I had enough skill points to get Freeze Arrow up to level 8, but I'll get them eventually.

So, a late food break was followed by a late ending - by which time Kee had gone up 61.40%, so I'm actually a quarter of the way into my new level.  Add to that 5193 pet points and 23 skill points, and you can tell what a busy time I had.  Gaining that level means that the level 100 Screaming Zombies now give 385 rather than 330 skill experience when I'm in a solo party - the level 91 Wight Slashers in the MC give anything from about 400 to over 500 each, which should mean at least 7 skill points per trip, by my calculations.

Back to Prokion Temple - November 15th  

Some junior-level playing in the morning did get me a pair of Fox Tails, which, since they seem to be offered for anything up to 1.5 million each by merchants, are always a welcome drop these days.  Meanwhile, MistressDomina was hard at work selling items in Cariae-1 Randol - as her sales for the morning included most of my stock of Master Coins, her gold reserves went up very nicely.

For a change, it seemed to be a nice idea to let SirDarth head for Prokion Temple, and his favourite upstairs back room, and then use Recall to bring in my rogue Karella.  So that's what I did, and they had gained  59 skill points each when Zenderfly got in touch, to invite Keerella to a Monster Combo party.  Darth was sharing the room with a sorcerer, SparkZ I think; it was slightly strange, he asked me to deal with all the Orc Sergeants, and would call me over to help when they attacked why did he choose that room, rather than an earlier one that didn't have such high-level orcs in it?

So Darth and Karella logged out, and Keerella moved across to Cariae-5, registered for a Precedence Party, and was enlisted into the team. The party went well, and I used a mana stealer again so was able to spam attacks, with a total of 261 Master Coins, so that I gained 32; I left afterwards, to have my usual food break, back to something like its normal time, and when I contacted Zen about 45 minutes later to see how the next round was coming along, I was immediately invited to join up, just in time for the second coin round.  So in I jumped, replacing a disconnection I think, and when we reached the end I got a full share from the 264 coin total - 33.

I stayed around for the next one, of course, though we had the slight problem of no healer in the team.  Zen warned people, in particular the titans, to stock up on health potions, and offered to sell people health stealers for four coins each, which seemed like a good idea.  I didn't need to do that as I was carrying a few already.

Strangely enough, I'd never used a health stealer before... well, it's only recently that I've started using mana stealers!  I knew they were pretty strong, a lot better than the "small HP recovery potions" we sometimes use - in the Tomb the other day Renez had been using one while soloing the Sphinx Commanders, and hadn't noticed when it ended after an hour, and had rather quickly died.  Despite all the area-effect "traps" in the MC, and the occasional attack from a Wight Slasher when my Sloth happened to be the first thing to hit it, I didn't have to use any regular health pots at all, and was able to use Transformation when I needed to to convert health into mana.  It didn't mean I had an unending supply of health, but it did just about keep up.

So, the final score was 236 coins, which meant another 29 for me - I do tend to be one of the lower level members of the team, so more often than not my number gets rounded down rather than up! Zen had started the first few rounds solo, not including the first coin stage of course, and she did that again on the next monster combo as well...we did have a healer this time, though not a very experienced one and with a laptop that did struggle a bit against lag, so I did have to use a few potions along the way.  There was a slight temptation to use a mana stealer again, but as Zen had done the first 20% of the MC already, the time remaining wouldn't have been quite enough to make full use of it.

I have made a few preparations for upgrading a piece of armour - mainly downloading a few packages with Upgrade Boxes in them to Kee, and opening the boxes.  Rather too many Bonus Books of Melding, Crystals of Blood & Sweat, Heaven Stones, and Platinum Refining Stones, from the 45 I opened, but 5 Extreme Stones, a few Lucky Good Quality Smelting Stones, and two or three Runes of Protection 1, which were what I was really looking for.

The Platinum Refining Stones are something I've never had much time for, as they only last 24 hours, but apparently people do find them useful to get a plussed weapon to +15 or even +16 - and while 24 hours isn't very long, well, they are a lot cheaper than a permanent plus, and if you only play that character for an hour or two a day that could last you a fortnight.

Kee went up 16.85% on the experience front, so a full Monster Combo is giving her a little over 4% now.  More importantly 21 skill points got added, so that's around 6 per full combo, and as I level up the next three or four times, that can only improve.  It's still a long way to go until I get that next level of Freeze Arrow though... As for the 124 Master Coins today, well, they've got to be worth at least 150 million in gold!