Kaerella's Blog - stardate November 2008 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month continues here from the top!
One Year On - November 16th  

Checking my first main account, I see that November 16th 2007 was when it was created - so Happy Anniversary to me!  I may not have a hugely elite character, but I have a number of them that I enjoy playing, and Keerella, at level 87, is now just high enough to wear the top level of armour that is currently available, and use the top weapon...

A little more low-level fighting in the late morning did gain me another Fox Tail, from about the last Fox but one the character needed to reach level five.  After that, it was time to let SirDarth do some mining of course. Knights need the hard work, it keeps their muscles honed, or at least that's my story.

After lunch I found that Zenderfly was online, so asked if there was a Monster Combo party being planned.  While she said then that there wasn't, it can only have been a few minutes later when the message to register for one on Cariae-5 came through from her.

So, once a full team was recruited, including the archer Avarielle, Zen went in to solo the first four stages again, and we followed when invited.  Zen messaged me to say that, while using Sloth on the Nivas was a good idea, using it on the Wight Slashers wasn't really necessary... after all the MCs we've done together with me using it on almost every one as my first attack, sigh! So, I generally gave up using it on those, except when I did it so automatically I didn't notice.  Maybe I should update my tool bar, but Zen always used to use it on Boucu Demons and Screaming Zombies, so I think I should still use it against that sort of foe.

The Master Coin total at the end reached 235 coins, so that was another 29 for me; the price of them seems to be falling, there is a tendency to see them for sale at a million, or only slightly higher than that...perhaps because more people do the MC at weekends.

However, we weren't able to get a full team for another run after that, so I switched over to Kaerella, my level 46 cleric/healer, and took her off to Maargadum Jail again.  I chatted to Rikie, and he, admitting he was bored, actually came and visited me on floor three there, mainly to show his new armour - not that he can wear it without penalty yet, his guild master has promised to power-level him a bit, but not today.

A level 43 rogue called SilverRosE also dropped by, and suggested a party, which was fine by me - but as so often happens, before long they were suggesting moving on to a more dangerous place, which wasn't what I wanted to do, I was farming skill experience and for that, at the moment, the Beast Flyers are perfect.  SilverRosE went on down to floor four, presumably not getting too close to the Death Knight as she survived, staying as part of the solo party.

The "Sunday Teatime" event had started at 5:00; I'd taken the precaution of taking a short food break before then, so Kae was able to take advantage of the double experience for just over an hour - at which point the word came from Zen to assemble on Cariae-5 for another Monster Combo.

So, that MC was done with most of it at double experience, before they shut it off at 7:04 UK time, which meant that Kee got a bit of a boost from that too.  The number of coins was a bit low, that time, at 190, but 23 Master Coins is still a useful amount of gold.  Sometimes one does notice lower drop rates during a boosted experience or skill exp time, so it is possible that that effects the number of coins in the boxes along the way...

We followed that with another run, though as usual some people from the previous trip left.  A rogue disconnected at stage 13, and the delay meant that somebody else had to log out too, but the ever-resourceful Zen got replacements after a while.  The time spent standing waiting meant that my hour-long mana booster ran out halfway through stage 19, but I was generally able to just about maintain my attack rate to the end.  The coin total was 211, of which I got a generous 28, I think because the disconnectors and their replacements were being given just 10 each.

Well, Kae went up 10.28% experience in Maargadum Jail, with 58 skill points and 2036 pet points - Kae's pet drake, SirFrancis, reached level 42, which can't be bad!  With her Monster Combo runs, Kee added 20.11% experience, 18 skill points, and 1775 pet points.

After a short break, the 9:30 starting time for the weekly Quiz was approaching... as usual I logged out and restarted Last Chaos before that, to try to avoid any problems during the event, and noticed that a 100% rebate offer was due to start shortly - for a Lucky Smelting Stone, which is always a useful item to have plenty of...

The Quiz itself went smoothly; I partied up with DarkPulse101, who'd only recently got online, and MistressDomina.  Zenderfly and Damor were there too.  It was the same LC-type questions as last week, and just about everyone survived right to the end.  The only problem I had was that MistressDomina was carrying a lot of heavy items, and wasn't able to be given the final ten Heaven Stones, as that would have taken her weight percentage above 150, sigh.  I'll have to take a less "encumbered" character in future I guess.  Still, getting through to the end safely made a satisfactory end to my Anniversary day.

My New Scra-Chi - November 17th  

I was browsing around the merchants in Cariae-1 in the morning, and saw a mounted knight called Oden (well, "oden" to be strictly accurate) selling a level ten Scra-Chi - and the price was rather less than the previous prices I'd seen, a "mere" 300 million.  So, I changed characters, moved the necessary gold across, and my rogue Karella purchased her new pet, my feeling being that a level 25 character would find it easier to level up such a pet, and might get more use from him.

Scra-Chi was sold as a package, complete with his wooden club weapon and a skills book.  His hunger rating had reached zero, however, so I did have to visit Pet Merchant Polly and buy him some Freshly Baked Bread - at 10,900 gold a piece, it decreases his hunger by 18%, so he isn't exactly cheap to feed.

One unexpected bonus was that my pet has already got a name-tab, which saves me from having to make an Item Mall purchase - he's called SkrappY, which is fine with me, I hadn't got any firm ideas for a name anyway.  So, as an experiment, Karella and SkrappY went off fighting - Karella just equipped her herb-gathering knife, so that he could do his share of the hitting, and Berserk Wolves made a useful target, giving him an experience boost.  Unlike the older pets, the drakes and horses, he has a percentage-based experience bar, not just a tally of "pet points" to get.  Sasquatches and Werewolves were fine too, and did indeed drop items for me.

MistressDomina was busy in the morning in Cariae-1 generally; before setting up in merchant mode she browsed around, and did find a couple of people selling Master Coins (or "Coins of Master", take your choice) at 900,000 gold, so, as that is less than I give Zenderfly for hers, I grabbed those.  There were certainly enough people selling the coins, it just shows how many Monster Combo top-level parties there are at the weekend. 

Once MistressDomina went into Merchant Mode, she did manage to sell some coins, and a few other things - even at the, to my mind, rather low price of 29,500 gold only five Moonstones sold, which seems strange to me.

As lunchtime was approaching, I switched from Karella to SirDarth for some mining, but almost immediately got a message from Zenderfly, asking for a solo party set-up on Cariae-5 - so Darth moved over there, registered for a party, and began to mine.  Zen however wanted a Combat type party, which is a bit different, so I had to swiftly switch to Keerella, and join the party she was in, down in the Grave Room of the Tomb of Theos. 

Zen used Recall to get me down there, and Kee took up her position by the wall in a safe spot - just being in the area boosts Zen's experience gain slightly, while I was getting a share of the loot, and around four million experience, and maybe 60 skill exp, for each Sphinx Commander she killed, so it was a sweet deal.

Zen was telling me that I ought to farm skill points more, rather than just hang out with the Screaming Zombies - and at my level that means either the regular Wights in Lust Trum tower, or the level 88 Cursed Weavers, who tend to bring in any nearby level 90 Cursed Liches in the area too.  Generally they are best fought in a party, but of course everyone these days is busy doing the Monster Combo whenever they can...

When Zen ran low on pots, I was able to transfer the 100 Great Mana Potions she needed across, rather than one of us head back into town.  She also told me that her Friends List was now entirely full, and we needed to choose whether to keep Kee or SirDarth on it as there was no longer room for both.  I decided that SirDarth was more useful to keep on, as I quite often have him online, perhaps mining, while I'm playing a different character, such as Kaerella, on the main computer, so that I can receive messages.  So, she is more likely to find him online than Kee.  It's a shame the ability to "whisper" another character is limited to the sub-server you are on, but having Darth as my main Zen-contact does seem the best arrangement.

Zen's stint in the Tomb ended before before four, when her latest iris ran out - she'd gone up from 34% to 98%, on the way to level 96, which can't be bad, and just by being there Kee had added over 10%.  And on we went to a Monster Combo!  Zen did the first four stages solo, and then everyone else piled in; we lost somebody on the very last stage, but we still managed a pretty respectable total of 238 coins, of which my share was 29.

I left for my food break after that, and when I returned Zen had moved down into the Tomb of Theos and was mobbing zombies, she told me.  She had maxxed out her armour with the temporary +2 platinum refining stones, to fight the Commanders earlier, and was making full use of the extra protection.  No more Monster Combos for Kee, she threatens, until Kee has enough skill points for that next level of Freeze Arrow.  Which is a shame as the MCs are one of her best ways of getting skill exp, and would probably be worth using a booster on if it wasn't for Zen's habit of speeding things up by doing the first four rounds solo.

Karella tried out the Treants for SkrappY, but, perhaps not surprisingly, when they mob, the new arrivals do attack him - so what he needed, I decided, was monsters that are not just non pet eaters, but also non protective of each other.  Such as Butchers and Berserkers in Merac.

And indeed, they worked well, in Cariae-3; and then the announcement came up that GameSage Airadella had hidden herself in Merac in Cariae-4, so, in case I happened to come across her, I moved over, and continued to attack the Butchers.  I hadn't been at the old "extinct volcano" just southwest of town long when the Grand Red Dragon arrived - but any thoughts of gathering guildies for an attempt on its life, along with ClonedDeep who arrived about then, went out of the window when Caires reported that he had found Airadella, and gave the coordinates. 

So, we formed a party so I could see where to ride to - and when I got there found that Airadella was in the Dread Garden, hiding behind a small cottage there.  The reward we each got was 5 pieces of cake, and 5 bowls of soup.  Caires did try to persuade her to hand out just a little more, and managed to get a double helping... Renez got to the location too, and ClonedDeep, complaining that a party from the Evo guild had taken the GRD, and DarkPulse101.  DP is intending to bring his level 45 royal knight Captianjack into action as a Grand Red Dragon Killer, and to that end has borrowed a +10 level 45 mage staff I had, to convert it into a suitable knightly weapon.

Killing a few of the local Berserkers got SkrappY up to level 11... and I continued a little longer with SkrappY and the Berserkers a little later, after emptying out Karella's entirely full inventory a bit.  Karella didn't get a great number of skill points as both Butchers and Berserkers are a good few levels above her, but at the end of the evening's session SkrappY was halfway through his new level.  I did try spending some of Karella's skill points on the Alchemy special skill, butm nit seems that that is still bugged, after getting the three "basic" levels, and the first "advanced" one, I couldn't get the second  as the system had forgotten that I'd got the required three "basic" levels, sigh. 

As for my new pet, well he certainly is extremely cute.  He seems to lose hunger points even in town, unlike the original pets; I'll have to check up on the skills side, and also whether fighting alongside Kee, if I can move him across, would level him faster.  Karella using her regular +6 crossbow is fine, providing she hits the target before SkrappY gets there; he does regenerate health, and mana, but very slowly. He hasn't died on me yet, anyway!

The Good & The Bad - November 18th  

That was a long report yesterday, but I think today's will be shorter.  In the latter part of the morning my rogue Karella was able to take Skrappy out and train him for half a level on the Berserkers in Merac, while MistressDomina did some selling in Cariae-1's Randol, including some Master Coins.  I didn't see anyone lower than or matching her selling price, but she only sold a couple of batches, and has rather a lot still remaining.  And then, when lunchtime approached, SirDarth took over from Karella to do some afk mining in Juno. 

After lunch, it was time for Keerella to head down into the Tomb of Theos again, in the hopes that some apprentices who hadn't yet been power-levelled might come online - they didn't, but I did get Mamma1 and CookieJar registered with me and power-levelled to 20 - and ZI3L3, a knight, power-levelled to 17, which, probably wisely, is as far as he wanted to go before starting to gather his skill points in Prokion Temple.  He joined Norcaine, too - the other two are on my Friends List, so might well join us later, or at least go into ForceWithin to get their experience frozen.

I fitted my food break in, and had another afk time as well, but did a little more zombie-bashing before the call came for a Monster Combo - it was Renez who called me, with the usual instruction to move to Cariae-5 and register for a Precedence Party.  I had a "run out of memory" error when I tried to load Dratan, which is very unusual on my newer machine - the older, XP-running one has taken to doing that quite often.  Still, I managed to get back in time, and as expected found it was a Zenderfly-led party. There were still a couple of places to fill, so both Renez and I suggested DarkPulse101 as he had recently come online - Zenderfly said to call him, so I did, with the usual instruction - and, once he'd finished current business and changed servers, was able to report that he was registered to join.  But somehow Zen had brought in someone else to fill the last spot, which greatly embarrassed Renez and me, and disappointed and annoyed DP too.

The MC itself was not without incident, our healer, Inu, got glitched on one stage and couldn't heal, and before we noticed that, all our health bars were perilously low...mine in particular, I was down to about 80 health, using a pot to try and get it back up, and frantically running about hoping to avoid any of the "area of effect" traps which, as they take 10% of one's maximum health, would have killed me instantly.  I'm so used to not worrying about the health bar in a Monster Combo that it's not something I tend to watch there all the time.

The total number of coins was pretty good, anyway, at 255 - I think perhaps Zen was in a strange mood, it wasn't just the trouble with not adding DarkPulse101, with the coins she announced that everyone would get 32 each, and she'd take the 31 left over, but when she traded with me, it was only 31 I was given.  I think she enjoys being the organizer of the MC parties, but also can sometimes resent that we leave her to do so much of the work, with messaging possible party members, setting up the combo, collecting the coins, and so on.

Around four of us continued to a second MC; I didn't dare to contact DP again, but Zen found enough new people, including one or two from the arena.  Unfortunately we couldn't find a healer, so Zen cautioned everyone to take plenty of pots along.  As soon as we started, after Zen had done the first three rounds solo, I started a Health Stealer, though I think only one or two others did that, the rest of the party relying on copious supplies of health potions.  Darnoth did, I think, die at one stage, but generally we stayed healthy, and the total this time was 261, so that five people would get 33, and the rest, which of course included me, got 32.

Anyway, 63 Master Coins from two MCs, in roughly two hours, is pretty good.  I left quickly, with the possibility of being able to use the last few minutes of the Health Stealer somewhere tomorrow.  I don't think I took a note of Kee's experience gain last night, with so much going on - I'd say it was about 25% yesterday, and about 17% today, for a total of 42.88%.  The skill point total is up by 20, and the pet points are up 3988.  As for Reputation points, well, 570 in total should move me up from #22 to, well, #21 in the Cariae rankings - things seem to stretch out a bit as one approaches the top twenty. Oh, and during the first of the two Monster Combos I did level up, so I'm now level 88, which has to be good, right? 

Zen thinks I ought to increase the attribute points I have in Intelligence, as each point increases magical hit rate and magical resistance by 1, plus magical attack by 0.5, as well as adding 10 to one's mana pool.  I'd followed the advice of the "Wet Paint" Last Chaos wiki and put some points into Dexterity (though not as many as they suggest), which does increase both close-range and long-range evasion, but added physical hit rate, long-range and close-range, is not much use for a mage. So I'll need to do something about that...

A New Accessory - November 19th  

I decided to set MistressDomina up for selling overnight, or at least until the servers went down for their weekly maintenance, and, when I checked at soon after 3:00am UK time, her entire stock of Master Coins had gone, which was a relief, and a big boost for her gold balance...which was just as well, as I'd been tempted, when browsing around, to get a rather expensive accessory, a "Necklace of Water", with as its properties a 30% increased chance of making a Critical hit, 5% Mana Suction, an extra 58 mana, and 5 + 5 magical defence.  The price was 130 million, just about a "break-even" price for that sort of thing, as it does require the use of 100 Master Coins and the purchase of a Credible Box to put them in - it is possible to get necklaces with a double 30% increased chance of a critical hit, for example, but they tend to cost a lot more, while necklaces without any suction of either life or mana, and perhaps no 30%, are comparatively cheap.

MistressDomina was in merchant mode for most of the morning, too, and, after selling hardly any Moonstones and Moonstone Boxes for the last few weeks, suddenly sold 22 million's worth of them!  Keerella did a little bit of shopping, after passing some Master Coins to MD and getting the necklace in exchange, but before long it was time to change to SirDarth for some lunchtime mining.

There was a message from Zenderfly waiting after lunch, she was already doing a Monster Combo, and wanted to arrange for me to buy her supply of Master Coins - so, after SirDarth passed a little time fighting the Poison Mists, Kee headed for Cariae-5 Dratan, and bought her latest couple of hundred.  Renez had been in the party too, and sold me his more modest total.  Unusually there weren't enough leavers between rounds for Kee to get into the next party, so, after SirDarth had discussed some Norcaine business with Renez, I switched to Karella to train her Skrappy cat-pet a bit more.

I'd not been fighting the Berserkers for five minutes before DarkPulse101 got in touch - with an invitation to join her, Delfy82 and SavedSoul to battle the Grand Gold Dragon.  So I quickly switched to Keerella and took the Recall offered... but by then, it seemed, the GRD had moved on.  Still, nice to get a free lift to Egeha!  I explored various parts of the map before finding the Cursed Weavers and Cursed Liches, and started to fight some - only to discover that SavedSoul was there too, so I could have just taken a Recall to get there.

She moved away, though; I was joined by MAsterROgue who was hoping for a bit of power-levelling, but the teams of a lich and two weavers were rather hard - in fact, for the first time in quite a while I did die out there, while trying to kill enough liches for a local quest.  I did manage to get the required number killed in the end, and managed to complete quite a few quests in Egeha, though the quest rewards, in experience, are no more than killing a local monster or two would give.

After that it was time to move to the Tomb of Theos - just as I was logging out I got a new apprentice, HellsDeath (well, "HELLSDEATH"), who I was able to meet in Randol, and was in favour of being power-levelled.  So, she got her levels boosted in the Tomb; I took her to level 21, as she asked, but I'm afraid I declined to provide her with the mount she craved. She left rather suddenly when she'd got to 21, before I could arrange for SirDarth to teleport her to the entrance to Prokion Temple, which is how I like to end an apprenticeship.  I was going to give her a share of the value of the Heaven Stone that had dropped, come to that...

Renez and Astarael, ClonedDeep's wizard who has now zoomed to level 65, were deeper in the Tomb, and indeed Recalled me down there in the first place, and pointed me in the right direction for my run back to the start - we shared a party so that Asta would get the solo party benefit when Renez left the party so he'd get the full experience from the kill.  I killed a few zombies more after "HD" left, and then Renez Recalled me down into the Grave Room.  Just for practice, and to see how it went, he did the power levelling thing with me for a few Sphinx Commanders - I got through a few health potions, as, unlike with Zenderfly, the Commanders tended to turn their attentions from Ren to me as soon as I joined the attack, but even without the boosters one would use for an hour's worth of power levelling, it was a significant fillip to my experience. 

But then it was time for Renez to begin his proper self-levelling stint, so I switched Kee to the older computer, she joined a combat party (which ClonedDeep also joined briefly), took Recall to the Tomb, and stood by the wall, boosting Ren's experience gain while getting useful experience herself.

As Ren commented, this week's new items in the Mall do point towards the prospect of an "upgrade probability" event at the weekend, as there are special offers on Runes of Protection, "twofer" the price of one, and an "Upgrade Shinies" pack of Heaven Stones and Lucky Smelting Stones.  So, fingers crossed that that comes to pass, and I'm able to upgrade my 85/87 level armour then.  Kee ended the day with a 15.26% experience gain, plus 3 skill points and 802 pet points, while Renez did reach level 91 at the end, and to celebrate had his experience gain frozen for a little while, to add to the supply of Norcaine guild points.

A New Problem - November 20th  

I may not have been able to play Last Chaos until the early evening, but SirDarth was able to do lots of mining, anyway.  When I was finally able to log on properly at about six, heading down to the Berserkers to let Karella train up Skrappy a bit more was at the top of my agenda, after a brief stop by the Cariae-3 arena to look at the merchants there... and chat briefly to Renez, ClonedDeep, and DarkPulse101, who were all there.

Before too long, though, Zenderfly got in touch, wanting to know if I wanted to buy her Master Coins; as they continue to sell pretty well I replied in the affirmative, and sent MistressDomina over to Cariae-5's Randol to make the exchange.  I asked if Zen still had the spare pair of b5 evasion pants to sell to Kee, which I thought was the plan - but she had sold them to someone else!  She now says that the "guide prices" she gave me, which I quoted here a week or so ago, were not actual general prices to aim for, but merely what she had paid for such things herself. 

I'd assumed, based on the 50 million "guide price" for the pants she'd told me, that when she suddenly said her pair would cost me 100 million she was either teasing, or they had a few plusses already... if she'd made clear that that was a fair price, I'd have bought them.  Her going off and selling them elsewhere for 100 million to someone else leaves me with a big problem, as I really need to find and buy a pair before the expected "upgrade probability event" on Saturday... after what she had told me, if I'd seen anyone else selling them at that price in merchant mode I'd have shaken my head and moved on, thinking, "No, Zen wouldn't approve of me spending double what she advised me to spend."

Well, what else?  MistressDomina has left the Discipline guild, and gone into the ForceWithin guild that Renez had made, and got up to level six; she has been made guild master of it, Norcaine's junior guild designed for sp-farmers, on the feeling that she goes online quite a lot. Her first act was to kick the knight who'd invited her, the previous GM, Galandorius - there's no room for sentiment in these matters!  Well actually he wanted to be kicked, he's Renez's previous knight character, currently level 38, and he has a big stash of skill points that, as Ren doesn't intend to level him much further (maybe to a Grand Red Dragon killing level?), can be used for guild levelling. 

SirDarth immediately recruited Galandorius into Norcaine, and promoted him to guild master, then gave him the amount of cash needed to upgrade Norcaine to level ten, around 3.3 million.  So, using my cash, his own 712 skill points, and the guild points we had already earned, Galandorius spoke to the Royal Guard Captain, and made the upgrade, before returning the guild to Darth.

We had made a new "Norcaine is recruiting" post on the official Last Chaos forums earlier, based on a draft by Renez expanded and polished by me - so now we have a good reason to "bump" the thread.  There were no responses yet, the last time I looked, but people have other options beside replying to the forum post.

There was no sign of the mage pants that Kee needs in Cariae-1 Randol - but MistressDomina did make one purchase, an Eyes of Spirit accessory, at 250 million, which is perhaps slightly less than the current average sale price of 265 or so.  This means Karella is now using two of these, plus a Pierce of Wind, as they are great for bow-users.  If Kaerella, my healer, ever changes over from cleric to archer she'd be glad of them too.

Well, SirDarth and Karella then finished the evening with an hour or so's orc-fighting in Prokion Temple - I see Darth got 80 skill points.  Karella just stood in a corner by the statues, just venturing out occasionally to get her skill points, which don't actually register when she is back there.  I found that if Skrappy was out and by her, he did register an experience gain each time Darth killed an Orc Sergeant or Orc Axeman, so as a bonus he went up to about 80% through level 13.  The target for him is level 20, at which point, I think, he can learn his "stun" skill.

Well, hopefully I'll have a longer playing time tomorrow...

Phew... - November 21st  

Keerella did some determined shopping in search of the level 86 armour piece she still needed this morning, but the only pair of level 86 blue, five-seal evasion pants for a mage that I could find in Cariae-1 were being offered by a mage called Tow3rDropZ under the headline "Pants and More" - for 300 million in gold!  I think for that price I'd expect them to be ready-plussed all the way to fourteen or fifteen.  I had another look around straight after lunch, and found she'd dropped the price to 250,000, but still resisted.  I put the three Stone of Shadow accessories into storage so that Kaerella could take her turn to use them, and logged out.

Kaerella logged in on Cariae-3, where you don't tend to see high-level armour and weapons, and, on her way towards Storekeeper Sophia, stopped to look at the items another mage, MagicaL, was selling - and there they were, a pair of the pants I needed, this time for Zenderfly's original recommended buying price of 50 million.  Kae didn't have that much cash, so I had to make a heart-stoppingly quick change back to Kee, and dash back...someone else was looking at MagicaL's wares as I approached, but luckily they weren't interested in that particular item, so I was able to buy them.  So, panic over...

SirDarth had been busy mining again for most of the morning in Cariae-3 - he got disconnected by the usual 11:30am hiatus, but I soon got him logged back in and back at work.  Curiously, Cariae-1 didn't get the disconnection, when Kee looked there shortly afterwards all the merchants were still open.

In the morning the double experience from the APAC happy hour was still running, but when I got Kaerella down to Maargadum Jail's level three, it had ended - still, I managed to add 6.01% experience before four o'clock, plus 1473 pet points and 47 skill points.  Kae did get a Heaven Stone among her drops, and level 41 mage skirt +2 and rogue pants +3, though the mage staff that dropped was unplussed. 

I had thought the EU happy hour, with its double experience gain, would probably be from five until seven, but actually it started at four, so I had to swiftly return to Jail when the announcement came up - loot this time included another unplussed staff and a +4 rogue shirt, as well as two more Heaven Stones.  The experience gain was a bit bigger, getting Kae up to 16.04% for the day, plus 3365 pet points for SirFrancis, and 111 skill points.  And then, finally, it was time for my food break.

After that, it was time for the evening session - and what better way to spend it than with SirDarth, Karella and Skrappy, all in the upstairs back room of Prokion Temple?  Darth did the fighting, while Karella and Skrappy stood behind one of the flaming braziers.  There was one interruption fairly early on when Zenderfly got in touch to ask if I still wanted to buy the Master Coins, and if so she'd be in Dratan, for the trade, in about 15 minutes.  I agreed of course, and when she gave me the word that she was there, having, I assume, just finished a Monster Combo, I switched to MistressDomina and Cariae-5 and went to Dratan.  She did first try to trade me 12, and then 20, but swiftly corrected herself to pass over the entire 120.  She'd obviously been fighting hard down there for a few hours by then.

Once the trade was done, SirDarth hurried back to the Temple, and the orc-bashing continued.  In all, Darth added 84 skill points, and Karella added 83, while Skrappy reached level 14 fairly early on, and ended up with an experience gain of 82.87%.  Assuming that I don't find that trading Skrappy between characters is still a little bit bugged, I must try moving him across to one of my home-made apprentices for when Keerella is doing a bit of Screaming Zombie fighting, and seeing what sort of experience gain something like that gives him.

Well, I didn't come across Renez in-game today, things seemed pretty quiet, though not long before I ended my temple session DarkPulse101 came on for a chat; she is thinking of starting a rogue once DP herself has reached level 90.  She does in fact already have a level 2 one called BOBFOC (as in "Body of Baywatch, Face of Crimewatch"), but doesn't seem too keen on the thought that she'd then be called Bob.

So, quite a lot got done today, it does help to have fewer interruptions than usual, and Kee tends to be the one who gets interrupted.  There's no word of an "upgrade probability event" this weekend yet, but at least now I am just about ready if one is announced.

High Drama - November 22nd  

Since MistressDomina is now the guild master of a level six guild, ForceWithin, it seemed like a good idea for her to get some Reputation points too, so she enrolled in the Guardian programme today, although as she is only level 20, and not greatly endowed with skill points, she can't really offer much in the way of assistance - so it's up to Keerella to do the actual work of levelling the various characters that need to get to level 20.  If I can get her up to 100 Reputation points, then she can buy Reputation mage armour, which, while it isn't particularly protective, apparently looks good.

So, Keerella headed down to the Tomb of Theos this afternoon, and set to work on the Screaming Zombies.  With a home-made apprentice, the plan was to have them equipping my Scra-Chi pet Skrappy, to see how much experience he gained per kill that way.  Skrappy was successfully moved across to Glinda02, and initially went up by just about 1% per zombie, which is three or four times what Karella was getting with the Berserkers, or teamed with SirDarth in Prokion Temple, though the kills aren't quite as quick.  I moved Skrappy across to Kee, who was the one doing the actual zombie-fighting, and the experience gain stayed the same, though my brave little pet did run the risk of being hit by the zombies then.

Unfortunately Skrappy got stuck - to move him across to a different character again I needed to unequip his wooden club first, which meant opening the "P" pet window - but it just wouldn't open.  Feeding Skrappy some freshly baked bread, in case his hunger bar was low, didn't help - only much later, after closing the game and restarting it, did the window reappear.

Well, Kee kept grinding away, and got a couple of apprentices of her own, as well as ex-apprentices who decided they needed some more easy levelling.  DarkPulse101 was on briefly to chat, and mentioned there had been an unannounced 150% "upgrade probability event" last night starting at eleven o'clock UK time - which really made my afternoon, in a bad way, I'd been waiting for an upgrade event and I'd missed it, what was I going to do with my new armour now...?

Zenderfly did get in touch about a Monster Combo party at about 4:15, just as I was getting ready to log out for food; I would have joined her party, but she made no reply to my query as to whether it was starting right away - no reply to a number of questions along those lines in fact, which probably shows she had a great number of LC messenger windows open, and when she did respond the party was full.  As I was getting a bit hungry, no great loss, though it would have been nice to team up with her and, no doubt, some familiar faces.  No Renez there though, I think his College broadband connection must be having problems again.

After my food break, DP came down, via Recall, to join me, and we were chatting away, mainly trying to think of a good name for the rogue he wants to start playing once his mage has reached level 90.  He went down further into the Tomb at one stage, to the Sphinx Fighters - they give 5.5 million experience, compared to the Screaming Zombies and their 4.5 million, but they take longer to kill, and the area is more dangerous, no large "spawn free" area to run to.  We timed a kill of each, and I certainly killed my zombie more quickly than DP killed the fighter.

Zen did get in touch to arrange for MistressDomina to buy her latest supply of Master Coins off her between MCs - one stage actually yielded 102 coins, she said, which was extremely lucky.  No word of a space in the party for Kee then, though...a shame, as I do get more skill exp there.

I was still busy grinding away when at nine there was an announcement - the upgrade probability was being raised again to 150%!  So I quickly said farewell to my ex-apprentice, and logged out, then restarted the game and spawned in Randol.  I had managed to go up 26.59% in experience, but those apprentices and other hangers-on do hit the skill exp gain, I'd just managed 7 skill points.  That does take me to 400 spare, though, just another 100 to go for that next level of Freeze Arrow!  On the Reputation Points front, I'd got up to 610 - so I stay at #20 in the Cariae Reputation charts, the current #19 is at 670 points, so safe for a while i think.

Oh, upgrading items is nerve-wracking.  I had three of the expensive, level 85/87 armour pieces to upgrade, two from zero and one I'd already taken to +6, which is the easy part, Heaven Stones with no risk of breakage or failure to +3, and Lucky Smelting Stones to +6.  So, it was a matter of getting the other two parts to +6, and then getting all three up to +10 using Heaven Stones and Runes of Protection 1 - that armour is too rare and expensive to risk breaking.  I suppose on average slightly more than every alternate HS/rune combo worked, but it was an pricey business, with packs of two runes costing 450 aeria points each. 

As I had some spare Runes of Protection 2, I used them and Heaven Stones to take all three armour pieces to +11, which is generally all they're good for, as there is quite a significant chance of a higher-plussed item going back down to +10 even when using a RoP 2.  Then a Chaos Smelting Stone each for +12... after which I went along to Magical Shopkeeper Coen and claimed the three Extreme Stones that reaching 600 Reputation had earned me, so that the three armour pieces have now joined the other two on +13... job over!

I did actually use one more "twofer" (the price of one) of the RoP 1s, which raised my healer Kaerella's shirt and skirt from +6 to +7 - yes, both attempts were successful.   It was just after that that the GMs announced that the success rate was going up to 200%, so I transferred three mage "event weapons", Rhine Orders, to Kee, and used Heaven Stones (and three Lucky Smelting Stones) on one, to try to get it up to +10 without using Runes of Protection.  There was a chance it would break, but I got there, so that is a slight bonus.  But as usual, the lag was terrible, it took ages for the notice of success, or failure, to come up each time, not just when using the Heaven Stones but when using the Lucky Smelting Stones.

It was gone ten by then, and the success probability rate went down again... in fact the event went on for another hour, with a rise to 200% again briefly and a fall to 175%, but I'd had enough drama.  The upgrading was mighty expensive, but I did what I set out to do - and a little more.  Kee's physical defence has gone up from 2216 in her old armour set, to 2441, which is an extra 10% - that's from the level 75/77 to 85/87, and from +12 to +13.  And when I add a cover, using some of my large supply of Bonus Books of Melding, that will go up a little more.

Zombies, Flyers and Orcs - November 23rd  

SirDarth had a chance for some more mining in the morning, and after lunch there was a message from Zenderfly to rendezvous with her just outside the west gate of Cariae-1 Randol, so that she could show me something - so, so as not to disturb Darth, Keerella logged in there, and headed out to meet her.  The reason to be outside the gate was to avoid the gold spammers filling the chat channel - luckily the local fighters noticed our high level armours and didn't try to involve us in their PvP combat.

After making full use of the upgrade event yesterday, Zen has a complete +15 set of 85/87 mage evasion armour, which is very impressive, with its bonus magic defence etc, though I noticed that one part was green rather than blue evasion, so a little before the actual maximum possible.  While a pair of gloves did break, she actually has a spare pair of +15 pants from the Antistune Red Respiration set, 5-sealed blue evasion, and, well, it depended on Zen doing a little pricing research, but she offered me the opportunity to buy it, if I can afford it - and Zen mentioned that I could do a few Monster Combos to help get the cash needed.  I'd be able to sell the +13 pair of pants that I made yesterday, which I would tentatively value at 200 million.  Later she came back to suggest about 350 million for the +15 pants, which seems fair to me - though she mentioned that she might like some Item Mall packages, specialising in Experience Boosters, towards part of that.

Well, after that it was time for Keerella to head down to the Tomb of Theos, and continue to level my pet Skrappy, by letting a newly-created character equip him as they went from level 1 to level 20, gaining 10 Reputation points for MistressDomina along the way.  There was one interruption, as Cariae-3 had a "Maintenance" shut-down at 2:15, which meant another 264,000 gold to get back into the Tomb, which was slightly annoying. By the time I took my food break, Skrappy was safely level 17, though, and Kee had gone up 8.79% in experience, 1357 pet points, and a skill point.

When I got back, Zen was asking if I had a couple each of the level 51 shirt and level 52 helm manuals; as that meant changing to Enchantrella, my time in the Tomb seemed to have reached a natural conclusion (though Zen did kindly refund an entrance fee).  After waiting a while for her to finish her current Monster Combo I passed the manuals over, and then changed to MistressDomina to buy her latest supply of Master Coins.  I did enquire about Kee joining her next MC, but she told me that, sadly, it was strictly for people who are level 90 or more.

That did overlap rather into the "Sunday Teatime", just double experience again, but after matters were concluded, I changed over to Kaerella and headed for Margadum Jail and its Beast Flyers.  The knight already in residence in the middle of level three didn't seem to mind me fighting there too, and left after a while; another one, Doko, turned up a bit later, and didn't seem to worry about attacking my mobs, so we kind of collaborated on the fighting, which made a change, a party approach without a party.  We even buffed each other a bit.

I stopped soon after the two hours of Teatime ended (well, perhaps 2 hours and 1 minute, 5:03 to 7:04 by my reckoning), by which time Kae had gone up 11.35% in experience, 1370 pet points, and 46 pet points, and decided to change over to SirDarth and Karella, and give Skrappy a bit more experience in Prokion Temple.

Well, fighting there gave Darth  77 more skill points - not quite as many for Karella, as she did have a "send error message" at one point, but Skrappy added another half level, though one orc did get his health down dangerously low.  And that took me up to the Quiz time.

Unfortunately, they had new questions this week, including Thanksgiving based ones - male turkeys are called "Tom" apparently, rather than "Larry".  Just about everyone in the Cariae-5 got the first nine questions right, it was the tenth one, about whether the new "Sm Special Critical Potion" in the Item Mall gave +50 or x50, that fooled everyone... the other types of "Sm Potion" are +50, but that one is x50, ideal for PvP people who want to, well, pay real money to cheat.

Zen got in touch to pass over the latest crop of Master Coins, and once they were paid for I asked about the +15 pants; I gave her the details of what the "Super Pack" contained (75 experience boosters, 5 health stealers, 5 mana stealers, 5 experience boxes, and 50 Chaos Balls), estimating its worth at 100 million in gold (800k for the boosters, 5m and 3m respectively for the stealers, and the other items thrown in free), but she decided that she could probably get what she needed at the same sort of price or better if she shopped around among the merchants, without depriving me of items I could probably sell for a bit more. 

So we made the trade for the amount of gold agreed - increasing my magic defence from 208 to 258, and increasing my physical defence by 149, or a further 6.8%.  Which just shows how powerful Zen's full set of five of the pieces must be! Of course, before too long the game will be adding a higher level set of armour, so it will all start over again.  But until then, well, we both have pretty good mage armour, right?

An Unexpected Visitor - November 24th

It was Enchantrella who had the afk-mining assignment at lunchtime for a change, and when I got back, slightly earlier than usual at 1:30, visible in the text box, just above two or three "picked up a flawed stone" reports was "guild member Elvastar logged on"...

So I immediately said hi - it's months since Elva has been able to get online, and those of us who've been around that long have surely missed him, the founder and heart of Norcaine.  He had actually sent me an email a couple of days back, but I don't check that address more than two or three times a week.  Thanks to a download manager he'd been able to put Last Chaos onto a work-situated computer, I gather, plus its many patch updates; he couldn't stay on for very long, but it was great to hear from him.

Last Chaos looks a bit different now, of course, with the big patch and its changes to Dratan, including the boosting, skilll exp-wise, of the inhabitants of Prokion Temple, and then there's the recent changes to the interface, and Strayana, and a whole lot more.  Providing Elva can actually get some playing time, he's probably right to think of starting a new character, as so many people have done, and getting plenty of skill points so that the new high-level skills are attainable.  It would be wonderful if he was able to return to us...

To avoid any gaps in precious chat-time, Enchie stayed on longer than planned, and killed a few orcs in Prokion Temple, but after Elva logged out, it was time for Keerella to head down to the Tomb, with the idea of getting a little bit of experience for herself, and some for Skrappy too, if he was kept clear of the action by being assigned to a low-level, specially-made party member.

As usual I acquired a few hangers-on along the way, such as MasterRogue - also a healer called Autowiel who started by joining ForceWithin to have her experience frozen at level 1, but, as she was in the party as I'd warned her that even frozen, if un-partied the single point of experience per kill would soon level her up, she eventually decided to take one of the Recalls given.  She left ForceWithin too and was unfrozen, I think she did take a Guardian but it wasn't me!  Her older brother, a level 45 sorcerer called MisterJar, came down to the Tomb too, though there can't have been much experience for him...I suppose he wanted to keep an eye on his sibling.

Zenderfly got in contact - she has a +15 b5 evasion helm to sell me.  We agreed on 400 million as the price, hopefully I can get back most of that if I sell the +13 one - the exchange has not yet been made, as I gather that Zen will receive it as part of the payment for a rather good MC necklace she has.  I did see her in merchant mode late last night, after I'd published the blog, with it, it gives a total of 15% suction of life, and Zen was asking 950 million for it, rather more than I could afford.  With a necklace like that you'd never need to use a health potion again, I suppose...

Renez and ClonedDeep, or CD's mage, were busy deep in the Tomb too, and later Ren came and joined me - before that he made a new healer of his own and applied for me to be her Guardian, I suppose I should have realised that it was him when I said, as I usually do to a new apprentice, that I assumed this wasn't his first character, and he casually mentioned he had a level 91 royal knight.  I'd not really intended to do much "Reputation farming" for Kee, but I did end the day with 30 more points, for a total of 640, which ought to keep me in 20th place on the chart.

An existing apprentice of mine that I'd not been able to help before, K0ED, got in touch, and came down, to be taken from 8 to 17 - Renez did say that probably 23 was a better sp-farming level in Prokion these days as so many people are fighting the level 17 types that they just don't respawn fast enough.  He contacted me again later, his brother may want to sign up too.  Also wanting a boost to level 17 was DarkPulse101's new rogue, ShawShankz - from his previous mention of a certain movie I did at least know who that was when they got in touch... he headed off to Prokion Temple afterwards.

Renez kindly took over the group, allowing Kee to go off and look through the shops, and generally get away from the Tomb; this meant he was responsible for levelling my last home-made apprentice of the day, Sweetandlow.  I think the levelling was a little slower than Kee manages, and Renez doesn't pick up the cash dropped, so instead of having approaching 100,000 in her purse at the end, she had a mere 7000.  After she reached level 20 she attempted to pick up some of the cash, but unfortunately a Screaming Zombie sent enough damage her way to kill her, and the (older) computer froze - Renez did what he could, but Skrappy had been following her, and he got killed too.

It was a hard freeze, an "open task manager and kill process" one, but I logged back into Last Chaos, and made my first trip to the Archbishop, close to the local arena in Randol. He sold me an "Indulgence of Equipment: Scra-Chi" for 0 gold, and all was well, though, as I'd been told, Skrappy did lose about 2% experience, and started on 1 health. It was strange, Sweetandlow hurried back to the town centre to trade him across to Kee, and as often happens Skrappy vanished from her sight - but Kee could see him standing next to her.

Ren and I were discussing some future plans involving Norcaine members and our friends, but more of that if we actually get anywhere.  Skrappy reached level 19 today, which was perhaps the main achievement of the day, while the drive to get MistressDomina up to 100 Reputation is going well, just another two apprentices needed.  Keerella went up 10.02% on the experience side, plus 1885 pet points, so level 48 for her drake is getting closer all the time.

More Purchases - November 25th

As I was out for most of the morning, SirDarth had plenty of time for mining, so my supply of quality stones should be on the increase.  The afternoon, however, was Keerella's, and she once again headed for the Tomb of Theos and its friendly neighbourhood Screaming Zombies.  Who needs "Left4Dead" when these guys come free...?

The first order of business was to get MistressDomina's Reputation up to 100, and we achieved that, with our "Reputation farming" new characters also taking it in turns to equip Skrappy, who seemed happy enough just to watch proceedings, occasionally munching a slice of freshly baked bread.  Having a low-level character partied with Kee does reduce her experience gain a little, and cuts her skill exp gain greatly, but if we can level Skrappy it is just about worth it.

Renez did log in at one point, but only to say that he'd be leaving for matters scholastic within ten minutes; hopefully he'll be on a bit tomorrow.  ClonedDeep's mage Astariel was also on around that time for a while, I see he, er she, is level 78 now, the third highest Norcaine member behind Renez and me, and ahead of the absent Zeratus, whose account may well have lapsed by now if he hasn't logged in occasionally.  Once MistressDomina had reached 100 Reputation points, it was time to add to Kee's own total, and so I continued until my food break.  One of my low-level contacts did get in touch, but the timing was not good as I was halfway through killing my very last zombie of the afternoon, so that didn't come to anything.

Keerella stayed in the Tomb through the food break, and then did a brief "solo party", with Darth back in town, but then VAL6OK126 came on messenger, asking for a bit more levelling for MasterRogue and a friend as well - who turned out to be a level 34 royal knight called Voin (or "voin" actually - and "MAsterROgue").  So I brought in my last available new character for levelling to 20, GlindaO2, and let them get some experience for as long as it took to get Glinda to level 20.  Glinda took charge of Skrappy too, of course.

MasterRogue and Voin did leave the party briefly to see if they could finish killing a Screaming Zombie, but a level 31 rogue and a level 34 royal knight were no match for one, it tended to gain rather than lose health whatever they did.  We did get KS'd a bit by a titan called 1VOYAKA1, which I didn't mind, though that always annoys MasterRogue and accusations of noobishness were soon flying in both directions.  The titan did try to get another player there to help him level, but, as he only had 200k, apparently, his financial inducements didn't do the trick.

I left once Glinda had been awarded her mage event weapon, and MistressDomina was able to log in and buy her Reputation mage costume for a mere 58,815 gold from the appropriate NPC.  It does look rather good, like some of the earlier black mage costumes but with gold highlighting.  As Zenderfly had demonstrated a few days ago though, the headgear is badly bugged, it removes the top of its wearer's head, which as bugs go is understandable, and attaches one of the small wooden chests in which most drops are found to one of the wearer's boots, which is rather more weird.  As it is level 1 armour, plussing it just needs level 1 smelting stones, of which I can get plenty, though its defence rating is pretty low.

Keerella did some more shop-browsing in Cariae-1's Randol - and saw a rather tempting Necklace of Wind accessory on offer for 200 million... 16 + 16 dexterity, 6 + 6 physical defence, and 5% suction of life.  Considering that 32 dexterity gives 1 close-range and 1 long-range evasion to a rogue per point, plus 1 close-range and 1 long-range physical hit rate, plus .67 physical attack, it's all rather nice for a rogue, while 5% suction of life might well save a few health pots along the way.  Anyway, an "Eyes of Spirit" costs at least 250 million, so, well, I bought it, and moved it across to my rogue Karella.

After that, for a change of scene, just about, SirDarth took over the lead, and he and Karella headed for Prokion Temple, for a bit of skill point farming, and also experience-farming for Skrappy, while Karella stays out of trouble behind a statue in the corner and Darth does the orc-fighting.  Karella did do a little fighting on the way to the upstairs room, someone who was sitting back in the entrance hall had managed to leave his pony in an orc-infested room and she valiantly defended it for a while.  Darth joined her and they were both fighting at once, but while Karella solo gets great skill exp off level 23 orcs, with Darth there too it really falls away.

It's a different story upstairs with the higher-level orcs, though Darth's 64 skill points don't really leave him all that much closer to the day he has enough points to leave the place and be unfrozen, experience-wise.  Thanks to her solo fighting Karella did a bit better, with 81 skill points; Skrappy's experience gain per orc is going down now as he levels, he was only getting around 0.16% per kill - still, down in the Tomb he had reached level 20, so should be eligible to learn his "stun" skill, and he added almost half a level after that.

Renez did unexpectedly log back in again at approaching half past nine, but by then it was very nearly time for me to log out.  So, after a few more orcs had become swiftly-disappearing red stains on the Temple floor, I did.

Bad Timing - November 26th

The people who run the Aeria Games version of Last Chaos can be a bit muddle-headed sometimes - and their latest move to discourage "power levelling" doesn't hit the skill boosters and experience boosters that they are so eager to sell us in large amounts, or the various potions people use to boost their attack, defence, and stats for the hour in question.  It doesn't even hit the 1-hour Party Recall cards that the person being levelled needs to use, except by making it more expensive - what it does hit is the 30-day Party Recall card.

The trouble with that is that it is the 30-day Party Recall card that we rely on for making parties and recalling people to the necessary location; I've been buying it in the 599ap "Egeha Package", which is now 499ap and without the card, which was the main point of it.  To remove it from the game (there is still a 7-day card available in the Item Mall, but it costs almost double the amount of ap the 30-day one used to) just kills the idea of making a team to fight.

And, wouldn't you know it, Keerella's Recall Card had just run out when I logged in today?  SirDarth usually has one too, but I'd been trying to save money by leaving a gap between the last one and his new one, which now he'll never get.  I used a memory scroll to get Kee to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos, and then I used one of the Teleport books to get my junior healer Barbarienne there, so that she could add it to her memorising scroll.

Darth didn't have that location on his scroll either, but rather than use up one of the now rather precious Teleport or Summon books (which can't be traded, only obtained from the Item Mall), Darth rode out there, which was in fact a bit risky - a number of times his health got pretty low due to Giants, Masters of Secret Technique, Sphinx Fighters, and other undesirables.  But he finally got there, and added the spot to his scroll.

Zenderfly got in touch, with some more Master Coins to sell - but she too had bad news, the +15 mage headgear she'd been confident of obtaining for me didn't, in the end, get traded to her.  We'd agreed a price of 400 million in gold for it, but the person who was after her 950 million necklace had refused to go below valuing it at 450 million, offering only 500 million in gold plus the headgear, and Zen had in effect refused to drop her price to 900 million.

After all the hassle and disappointments, I didn't feel like sending Kee down into the Tomb in the afternoon; in the end, after some shopping around in Cariae-1's Randol, I moved over to my cleric Kaerella, and took her down into Maargadum Jail for not a lot more than 40 minutes, until food break time.  She did at least add 2.45% experience, 558 pet points, and 19 skill points, which took her above 2000 unused points.  When she reaches level 47, Mana Barrier will take 292 of those, and Mana Shield 2 will take 216; at level 50 Magic Research will take 573, then at level 53 the first level of Party Heal 2 will take 150.  At level 56 a new level of Fast Heal will take 260, while at level 58 new levels of Encourage and Greater Heal come in, needing 250 and 300 points respectively.  That's 2041 skill points in all, before we reach level 60 and Cure Resource, which needs 889 for its five levels, while there's a second level of Party Heal 2 at level 63, for 240 points - and a lot more above that.

Logging back on for the evening, I spotted an announcement that today was going to be a specially "awesome" double skill exp day - which, as they tend to start Last Chaos days when the GMs begin work on the USA's sunny West Coast, means 6:00 or 6:30pm, UK time, so it seemed a good idea to continue with Kae - I was back down on level three of Maargadum Jail with the Beast Flyers with plenty of time to spare, and as the double skill exp did indeed start at 6:30, got to use a little over three hours of the bonus time, which, with the way Beast Flyers and Beast Archers attack, is quite a marathon session.  There weren't all that many useful drops, but there was a +4 level 41 sorcerer's weapon.

As I mentioned while chatting to Rikie, who reports that he is level 65 now, I'd been browsing the shops, or the people in merchant mode, and had looked at one player with quite an assortment of ready-plussed items.  And then I noticed that they were all level 41, so I knew where he'd been spending his playing time lately!  I did chat briefly to DarkPulse101, before he changed over to his new level 17 rogue ShawShankz - Renez was on too, Rikie reported that he was fighting in the arena, but there may have been too many gold-spamming messages for my "hi there" to get through.

Another change after last night's patch is that the foe one has targeted is now surrounded by a large, bright pink circle, which does rather make the place look strange; given the choice I'd say scrap it, though the way the monster's name is framed in a thicker box with a red edge is useful as it helps you to tell which Flyer in the mob you are actually damaging.  Friendly characters you target get a yellow circle.  They were supposed to have solved the bug with special skills that has stopped Darth investing points in the higher levels of skills like Alchemy, but it still seems to be the same as before the patch.

Well, Kae's marathon evening session means that in total today she went up 13.16%, 3371 pet points, and 182 skill points...so, another 11 points and I'll have got enough for level 3 of Cure Resource!   We make progress, then; Kae may well get some more double skill exp time tomorrow, though I think Darth and Karella ought to have some quality time over in Prokion Temple too.  And after 6:30 tomorrow evening, the bonus switches over to the rather less exciting double pet experience.

A Busy Day - November 27th

I did manage to take Barbarienne to Prokion Temple in the late morning for half an hour or so, to take advantage of the continuing double skill exp - I ended up in the same solo party as MasterRogue, who also eventually arrived there.  But soon it was time to log off for lunch.

In the afternoon, the main order of business was to continue to take full advantage of the double skill exp, which was set to run until 6:30 UK time, so SirDarth and Karella made their way to Prokion Temple, with of course Skrappy, and settled in in the big room towards the back on the upper floor.  Things ran pretty smoothly, and during the course of the afternoon Darth and Karella gained 202 skill points each.

After 6:30, the bonus was supposed to be pet experience, so it seemed a good idea to spread the bonus skill exp around while it lasted - so after a slightly early (and hurried) food break, It was Kaerella's turn to get to work, which involved the usual trip to Maargadum Jail, and a nice long battle with the Beast Flyers on level three there.  I was in a solo party with SirDarth busy mining most of the time, though I did have to change from him to MistressDomina when Zenderfly had some Master Coins to sell me. I generally had the place to myself, though a knight called Clue came in for a while, tending to say things like "Clue feel sad"... but 6:30 eventually arrived...

...with the announcement that, as a Thanksgiving Special, it wasn't just double pet experience for the next 24 hours, it was double experience, and a continuation of the double skill exp, too!  So Kaerella battled on for another couple of hours or so, and finally reached level 47 - so, level with Elvastar at last!  Kae can now get those two skills I was talking about, and has put on the new headgear - she hasn't changed to the boots of the new set as, at +6, they don't give as much defence as the old +10 ones.  I must give some serious thought to upgrading her armour set a little, and perhaps adding a cover to it.

Kae in all went up 17.54%, plus 179 skill points and 4594 pet points, so that was a rewarding session.  And just as I was thinking of getting the blog sorted out, Renez came on with a suggestion that it would be a good time to try out a Norcaine Master Combo team!

So, it was Renez, Astariel, Caires, and me as Keerella from Norcaine, plus my level 22 healer from ForceWithin, our "feeder" guild, and DarkPulse101 from Fraternity - though he has got Captianjack and Shawshankz in Norcaine of course.  Renez set up the usual 19 rounds of Wight Slashers and 1 round of Nivas, and we got stuck in.  Renez was I think using a health stealer, and very possibly a mana stealer - Barbarienne being only level 22 couldn't do wonders on the healing side, generally just a 275-strong Heal Party though she sometimes healed Renez individually, but at least she was able to negate the effect of all the "traps".

I don't know how Zenderfly manages it with Zen and Itura, I certainly found it a bit complicated with the two screens to watch and the two keyboards; but we all survived.  Kee did use a few health potions, though not a great number, while Barbarienne used a few small mana potions.  Caires did have to leave just after halfway, we must try to start these things earlier; I suggested we give him 12 Master Coins, so at least he made a profit on the entrance fee, and got a bit of experience.  I had been intending to freeze Barbarienne's experience at level 23, but she levelled up to 27 over the course of the MC.  Renez thinks that 27, or even 29, is a better level for her to farm skill points at, anyway.

There were 114 coins to share out at the end, and I couldn't argue with Renez saying that both Barbarienne and Keerella deserved full shares - so I got 46 Master Coins, the most I've ever got from a Monster Combo, though with the smaller team, even with the number of Wight Slashers and Nivas per round reduced, it did take rather longer than usual, probably approaching 90 minutes.  But Kee got 11.63% experience out of it, and a useful 14 skill points, making it a useful end to the evening.

Unhappy Hour - November 28th

With the double experience, double skill exp, and double pet points going on, I managed to get logged in a bit earlier than usual - mid-morning, to be slightly more exact.  The first order of business was to check the merchants in Cariae-1; I saw a Necklace of Fire with 5 physical defence,  16 physical prowess, and 5% suction of life, which seemed a rather useful item, and, at 45 million, it was irresistable.  I was tempted by a ToK, Tears of Knight, accessory for 420 million for Darth, but before I reached a decision on that I came across a Necklace of Earth which offered hit rate 93, hit points 58, suction of mana 5%, and suction of life 10%.  This was 600 million, but, comparing it with the 950 million one with 15% suction of life that Zenderfly had sold, it seemed like a good deal, and I gave in and bought it, which rather cleans me out for the time being.

Following that brief shopping spree, I was able to give my cleric Kaerella another outing, and after getting her two new skills, Mana Barrier and Mana Shield 2, it was a matter of heading for Merac. And who did I find in the village there but Jacqueline, Elvastar's level 33 healer.

Jacqui reported that Elvastar had been doing a quest with the Beast Flyers, and had barely escaped with his life despite using quite a lot of candy... and that reminded me that, with her new level, Kae might have some new quests.  I checked the map, and yes, "Q" was visible in a couple of locations nearby... one was to gather hearts from the Maargadum Beast Scythes, Archers and Flyers, and the other was to kill thirty of the Beast Flyers.  So, as I was heading there anyway, no problem.  Jacqui had to sign out, as things were getting a bit busy in South Africa.

The time went smoothly down on level 3, helped by the use of that expensive new Necklace of Earth, which Kae was trying out; she did have to heal herself occasionally, but not anything like as often as before even when surrounded by a mob of the flyers.  I was taken by surprise by the usual 11:30 Friday disconnection, but Renez, who'd come online for a while as he didn't have a lecture to go to, kindly beat me to it in getting back to the Jail, and Recalled me right into place on level three there.  He was going to pay a visit to the Death Knight boss down below, just to talk over old times I assume. He was saying that the kind of Necklace I should now look out for for Kee was one with double 93 hit rate, so that's something to look out for. By the time I had to log out for lunch, Kae was up 11.63% experience, 102 skill points, and 3226 pet points.

After the break, it was time for Keerella to head for the Tomb of Theos, in a solo party with SirDarth who was again doing some mining.  With the double skill exp, the Screaming Zombies were giving 990 skill exp each, menaing just over ten of them per skill point, so it seemed like a good time to add a bit to Kee's skill point total.  I had to tell one or two of my usual hangers-on that I didn't have recall now, so couldn't bring them to the Tomb; VAL6OK126 however had had the foresight to add the entrance to the Tomb to her memorising scroll, so was able to join me for a while, luckily she was happy to stay outside the party and "KS", so didn't cut back my points by any great amount, and got enough herself to level up.  And Kee levelled up at last too, reaching level 89 - only one more level to become a 90-er, generally considered the elite.  The extra four stat points have been put into Intelligence, and mean that Kee's magic attack has reached 2001.

I did get one first-timer apprentice taking Keerella as guardian - Shalomer64, a knight. So, not a matter of power-levelling, he did ask for a pony so I was able to change from Darth to Barbarienne, who had a pan flute, and give him that, a few quality stones, and 25,000 gold, enough for some early-level armour.  I got a few reports on his progress, he reached level 5 safely, despite a predatory Jaguar stalking him.  His name was inspired by a book he read in which people said "Shalom" a lot, apparently.

Zenderfly was in touch, mentioning that it was some weeks since she'd had to use Itura for Monster Combo healing as her friends list was now so full of good MC people.  I changed from Darth to MistressDomina to buy her latest supply of Master Coins, though it got MD's gold supply a bit low.

At 4:00pm UK time the announcement came up of the start of the EU Happy Hour, which was to be double experience - the only trouble with that was that for the whole 24 hours, running until 6:30, we were supposed to continue to get that anyway, plus double skill exp and double pet experience.  We didn't get any change to the experience rate, or the pet rate, but they did manage to turn off the double skill exp - though when I returned after my food break they had, at least, put that right.  But at 6:04 we had the "EU Happy Hour in now over!  We hope you all enjoyed it!" message, and, wouldn't you know it, they took off the double experience and double skill exp, just leaving the double pet points running.

Things continued to be a bit strange, in that at 6:30, when the "new day" began, the double experience and double skill experience were restored, along with the double pet experience... which was what the website had led us to expect, another 24 hours of the triple double, as well as an "upgrade probability event".  But at some point a bit later the experience and skill exp were again switched off...

Anyway, Keerella kept busy in the Tomb; the start of the upgrade probability time was announced at 8:30, but that just turned out to be 125%   - later it was raised to 175%, and then at 9:30 it was announced that we were going to get a whole hour of 200%.  So, Kee left the Tomb; MAsterROgue had been along, but left a little earlier, so it was just the titan Gwalyan that I left behind, who'd been doing a little KS-ing, after asking first.

Kaerella was the one who needed her armour upgraded, so I transferred all my available Runes of Protection across to her. My luck wasn't too good, on at least three occasions I got the "upgrade failed - item reduced by one" message, which was I'm sure more often than the usual "failed - unchanged" message.  As the very last attempt went wrong that way, I'm left with a +9 set except for the boots, which are only +7 - which means that the boots from the previous set, which were +10, are still better armour, I guess. 

Well, Kee went up to level 89, as I mentioned, and her faithful drake levelled up too.  The experience gain for the day was 33.47%, and I make the pet point gain to be 7106 - there were even 21 skill points added, which can't be bad.  So, another busy and productive day.

A Quiet Day - November 29th

Those fine folks at Aeria had still forgotten that today, up to 6:30 in the evening UK time, was supposed to have double experience, skill exp, and pet points - only the pet points were up.  After that time, "Game Sage Events/GM Treasure Hunts" were promised.  Which seems to mean - well, a Raffle, actually, starting at 8:00.

So, no pressure to pack as much playing in as possible.  My cleric Kaerella went to Merac and got her rewards for the two Margadum Jail quests she had done, and got a new one, involving Beast Leaders - or Beast Crawlers, a little research informed me, who hang out on the Jail's fourth level.  So, down there my intrepid healer ventured, and, sad to report, she didn't return alive.  Those Beast Crawlers have a powerful magic attack, and they also attack through walls, so the attempt to run for the exit was unsuccessful.

I did manage to kill a few of them, but every visit to that level was dangerous, and I didn't get any of the three "rings" I needed for the quest.  Ah well, at least my pet drake stayed alive!  Kae did kill a few Beast Flyers while she was there - and back in town, before and afterwards, did give her armour some further upgrading, this time using Chaos Smelting Stones, which in theory are very expensive - but in practice, well, I had some relatively cheap 5-packs of them from an old Item Mall special offer.  I just need to find someone selling one more at a reasonable price, by which I mean less than 20 million as opposed to the ones at 35 million I saw today.

MistressDomina spent most of the morning in merchant mode, and managed to sell a couple of hundred Master Coins - I had to match the price that other people were selling them at, a million each, so didn't actually make a profit on the ones from Zenderfly, but at least it means I'll have enough gold to buy her next batch.

After lunch I worked on a new healer, Karamba, and teamed up with my first-timer apprentice Shalomer64 - he was level 7, and I was level 5, though I did go up to level 6.  With my healing we did manage to take on the werewolf by the western herb garden - well I think Shal would have managed without the healing, he'd just have needed to sit down for a while afterwards.  It makes a change to do the Wolf Tooth quest again, and do minor quests for which the main reward is a potion of haste.

But Shal didn't stay too long, and after that I went over to Keerella, and the Tomb of Theos.  I took one of my home-made apprentices along, using a precious Summon Book from an old Egeha Package, and gave her Skrappy to level up a bit while Kee did the fighting.  GlindaO3 ended up at level 23, so she'll be able to open four treasure chests when she visits Lorraine, while Skrappy went up 57.30%. 

The knight Krokignon is level 67 now, and he was there for quite a while, along with the archer Zova; Krok did tend to die, though, especially if more than one zombie took an interest in him.  We tried having the two of them partied with me and Glinda, but he got very little experience that way, about 80,000 I think he said.  I let them KS me for a while, though Krok ended up teaming with someone else who didn't "cap" him, so hopefully did rather better then.  I even let Zova pick up the gold drops for a while, at her request, so that she could get back the price of admission... and was rewarded with a Heaven Stone drop, which Zova quickly emphasized that I should take for myself.

I didn't get much skill exp with Glinda in the party, but after the food break it was Darth who took her place, but back in Juno, just providing a solo party, and passing the time doing some mining.  That meant I was getting 495 skill exp per kill, as well as 4501053 experience - a skill point every twenty kills or so.  My only KS-er was Gwalyan for about 40 minutes, who asked first; AssasinOfIris checked to make sure he was doing it with permission, she doesn't care for KS-ers generally.  There were other people who turned up and generally chatted, it was like a big party without a party really - and generally went on until my logging out time.

Apparently, as well as the Raffle, today was "double drops", which just means double gold amounts I think; I can believe that, as Kee's cash went up by 4.4 million today despite the Tomb's 267,000 admission fee (3000 per level).  I ended up with three Heaven Stones in all, though when asked what my best drop was, I went for the 10 Rough Bandages someone had cleared out of their inventory, as they'd sold their new pet (each bandage heals a new pet's health for 10%).  I think it was the specialist sorcerer RetroPacman who dropped them, he certainly was the one who laughed at that. 

Kee ended the day 23.10% up, plus 7402 pet points thanks to the double pet experience, and 12 skill points.  Which was rather more than Kaerella got from her brief trip to Maargadum, which was 1.49% experience (mainly from quest rewards), 210 pet points, and 3 skill points.  But it all helps, right?

More Double Experience - November 30th

Keerella kept battling through the Screaming Zombies today, for much of the time with SirDarth providing a solo party while he did a little recreational mining.  And that's about it, really.

I took my food break a little early, after letting Gwalyan KS a bit again.  He was able to tell me that the Romanian equivalent of "bon appetite" was "pofta buna", which I guess sounds better than the British equivalent, "enjoy your meal".  He's another person who has had an account hacked into in the past, one does hear scary stories of that happening rather too often.

I got a new apprentice, who wanted to be power levelled - luckily the "Sunday Teatime" of double experience had started by then, and luckily for Hellgirl111 the old day's double drops were still running, so she got rather more gold than most apprentices, particularly as she wanted to be taken all the way to level 23. Well in fact she wanted level 25, but enough was enough.  Later she sent her titan, Hellzor, to get levelled up a bit, too...

The two-hour Teatime ended at 18:07 - but at 18:30 the new "day" began, the last of the bonus-effect days, and we went back up to double experience again, which should with any luck last throughout tomorrow, up to 6:30 in the evening UK time.

Earlier Zenderfly had been in touch to say that she had managed to get the +15 mage helm for me, at the previously-discussed higher price of 450 million - so it was lucky that MistressDomina had done some power selling last night!  So MD went across to Dratan in the next break between Zen's Monster Combo runs, and bought it off her...not that Kee was able to get hold of it until much later, as she was busy down with the zombies.

The mage helm replaces the +13 one I'd previously bought, and increases my defence by just over 5%, which is pretty nice; increasing her magic defence by 20% is even better.  So, we progress...

I mentioned to Zen that the Master Coins weren't selling too well, and she has decided, since she is pretty rich now with all the Monster Combos she has done, that in future she will use them herself, to make the Necklace accessories - maybe she'll get another +15% suction of life one, and be able to sell it for 950 million again.

There seemed a number of times I was busy in two places at once - with Kee's own 10% suction of life she doesn't need constant supervision when fighting the Screaming Zombies, so as well as MistressDomina's trip to Dratan, SirDarth was able to lead Hellgirl111 all the way from Dratan City to Prokion Temple, and make sure she got the location onto her memorising scroll, while after earlier on it was the level 6 healer KarambA who joined Shalomer64 in fooling around in Randol's moat, later it was a minor storage healer of mine, Telzey, who showed him where to see fish swimming about.  After he left she even fought a few of the local Drakes and Elder Werewolves before getting back to town, doing a few local quests, and spending her small number of skill points, so that at least she can now do a little healing.

Zen reported later that the run of Monster Combos had come to an end - everyone doing them was suffering from disconnection problems.  I don't know if that was limited to Cariae-5, but it must have been very annoying.

I was talking to Caires about possible power-levelling, and I find that he doesn't actually have ap of his own, which Renez and I had assumed he did have, since he is pretty rich and has been known to sell Mall-type items such as Experience Boosters - I bought a hundred off him once for resale.  I suppose he must have bought them even cheaper.  I said that for a proper one-hour power levelling session hosted by Renez and with me along too to speed things up (plus probably SirDarth in the party too for the "solo party" boost), he would need a Platinum Blessed Iris, around 50 experience boosters, and a 1-hour Recall card, which now costs 125ap and cannot be traded.  He is definitely thinking of buying some ap, though I suggested he should wait until the Last Chaos website has a special offer for first-time buyers, something which happens pretty often these days.

DarkPulse101 also came down into the Tomb, and fought the zombies alongside me - she also bought three more resurrection scrolls, she gets through them rather faster than I do.  We also went to the 9:30 quiz together, where Astariel also put in an appearance, but almost everyone, DP and I included, got kicked out on question six.  Researching online I see that it is indeed true that Israel consumes more turkey meat per year than the USA, 11.5kg rather than 7.7kg - France is on 5.9kg, and the UK on 4.8kg.  I suppose I ought to have, if not known that, at least been able to guess it, but hey, Americans eat a lot of meat, and a lot of turkey...

Well, leaving aside any small gains made by KarambA and Telzey, I can report that Keerella went up by a very useful 34.71% experience, 7396 pet points (so I guess that the double pet experience is still running), and 12 skill points again... it would have been more if I hadn't power-levelled Hellgirl111 and her titan; I do try to emphasize the importance of skill points, but it can be hard to get the concept across. Still, she got Kee up to a nice round 700 Reputation points, keeping her comfortably at #20 on the Cariae top fifty.