Keerella's Blog - stardate December 2008 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month begins here at the top!
To the New Level - December 1st

The double experience was still on today, so I sneaked KarambA out into Juno in the late morning, and she is now up to level 11 - I had intended to freeze her on level 10, but I was teamed with a rogue, level 16 I think, who kept attacking Blood Wolves, and the experience mounted more quickly than I was noticing.  Maybe level 12 would be better for freezing, and fighting either Sasquatches or Velpist Temple's Ancient Zombies.

The afternoon was devoted to Kaerella, mainly, give or take a little shopping; she just settled in on level three of Maargadum Jail, and, with the 10% suction of life accessory and her upgraded new armour, basically didn't have to worry about healing herself, she just had to keep killing the Beast Flyers.  She is one level above them now so they give 10% less skill exp then they used to, but 58 skill points got her back over the 2000-unused mark.

Most of the evening was devoted to Keerella; the double experience didn't end promptly at half past six UK time for a wonder, it went on for 65 minutes after that, which allowed Kee to finally - drum roll, please - reach level 90!  It's a bit of a shock, though, after going up about .14% per kill, suddenly it's only 0.01% or 0.02%. There is talk of Aeria reducing the amount of experience each level from 90 to 100 takes, and increasing the amount after level 100 - I can see why they would be considering it.

Astariel, Norcaine's level 78 wizard, was there too for a while - and MAsterROgue came along to KS me again, which doesn't take much experience or skill exp per kill away from me.  She pleaded to be let into the party just for ten minutes to gain more experience, and I finally gave in and let her do that, but while it doesn't reduce the experience gain hugely, I only get about a fifth of the normal skill exp, so I was glad when the time was up and I could kick her.

As with Kae and the Beast Flyers, so with Kee and the Screaming Zombies... only the other way round, as she is now one level closer to them, so that the skill exp per zombie, when in a solo party with MistressDomina back in Randol, increased from 495 to 550 - instead of 20.2 kills per skill point, it's now 18.2 kills.   Some might say that Egeha's Cursed Weavers and Cursed Liches would give, at levels 88 and 90 respectively, up to twice as much skill exp, but they are protective of each other, so you get mobbed, and the liches have a magical attack, which means you get, well, dead, if you're not careful.  And unless you keep moving around, you may end up waiting for respawns, too, and generally tiptoeing around the edges of the group.  I'd say that the zombies were more reliable, and maybe quicker at least for soloing.

I got a bit of a "lag spike" later on, however, and then a minute or so later got a disconnection, which is unusual these days; it wasn't the type where you can't log back in for a couple of minutes, or maybe longer, because the game still thinks your character is there, so I don't know what it was.  Still, it seemed a good excuse to end the session.  Admission was rather cheaper than it used to be, at 1400 per level instead of 3000 I think, but it wasn't worth paying to get in again.

So, Enchantrella had a rare outing.  She has a level 29 +15 staff now, which when she has finished with can be transformed into a +15 crossbow for Karella perhaps; I also indulged her by increasing her armour from +4 (with one piece +5) to +6, since I have a good supply of Lucky Smelting Stones at the moment, thanks to the Upgrade Boxes and various packages.  Letting her use the +5 suction of mana and +5% suction of life Monster Combo necklaces as well made her a rather tougher character for fighting in Prokion Temple than before.

It's a while since I played Enchie, and her Friends List isn't too long anyway, so it was nice to be contacted by Carwin, a knight who is now level 31 - we must team up some time.  He'd been out fighting in Merac, for a change, and had managed to get killed when on horseback, which is always highly annoying - as I was about to log off anyway by then, I moved across to Merac village and loaned him the 200k he needed to get it unsealed.  He gave me some useful minerals and a couple of minor accessories, probably worth the best part of 200k anyway, but he promises to pay back the gold too.

After a swift trip to Strayana to buy a few potions that one can't buy in Randol, it was indeed time to log out.  Kae had gone up 13.57% in experience, and added the 58 skill points I mentioned, plus 3808 pet points; Enchie added 47 skill points in her rather shorter session, while Kee added 17.35%, a figure unlikely to be approached in future unless power levelling is involved unless they really cut back on level 90's experience total, along with 4284 pet points (thanks to the ongoing double pet experience), and 9 skill points.  Hey, another three long sessions (or a few Monster Combos) and I might finally get enough skill points for level eight of Freeze Arrow.

MistressDomina was generally just standing around in Cariae-3 Randol, providing the "solo party", and waiting to see if anyone wanted to join ForceWithin, but I suppose the person who posted in the forum about joining wasn't on this evening.  MD's highlight was to check out a merchant who was advertising "Cheap Toolaids" and find that they were actually cheap, not 100,000 each (I generally sell them for 21,500 gold).  So I bought three for only 500 gold each...

More Skill Points - December 2nd

Following Zenderfly's example, I went out relatively early into Juno and killed a fox.  Normally, that would give a high-level character just one experience and one skill exp, but today it was two skill experience, which meant that the three-hour double skill exp event they announced last night just as I was logging out, for from 11:00pm to 2:00am UK time, hadn't been switched off.

So, as soon as I could, I sent my cleric Kaerella down to level three of Maargadum Jail to take advantage of the bonus while it lasted - and by the time lunch was almost ready she had gained 102 skill points, plus 6.10% experience and enough pet points to get SirFrancis, Kae's drake, 1065 into his new level.  With Kae's top-rate armour and using the +10% suction of life necklace, she could just stand there, generally ignoring the Beast Archers, and attack the Beast Flyers as they came, without having to pause to do any self-healing.

Luckily nobody else was about, though I think someone must have passed through, luring a Beast Scythe from the side part with them, probably unintentionally.  There are no Beast Scythes in the middle part, which is just as well as they do attack pets, unlike the flyers and the archers, so finding that SirFrancis was suddenly down by 87 health points must have meant one had been brought in while I wasn't looking.

After lunch it was time for my mage Keerella to get her share of the double skill exp, so down I went into the Tomb of Theos - yesterday it was cheaper to get in as the dungeon was "unset", Renez was telling me, which also meant that the monsters were at their strongest.  I don't know if that lower entrance cost was still working today, as Renez kindly used Recall to bring me in - his card is on its final day now unfortunately.

Astarael was also brought in, and the pair of them were hoping to have a power-session in the Grave Room with the Sphinx Commanders, but the place was already taken, and the people there weren't willing to share it.  If Asta was a little higher level one solution would have been for them all to join together in a Combat party with Ren and Asta just hugging the wall, getting experience from the people fighting and boosting the fighters' take as well, assuming that everyone was inside the level limit...  Asta did mention that I had got the name wrong here yesterday, and Ren explained that he was the one who had suggested the name, which comes from the Garth Nix fantasy novel Sabriel.

I slogged away, enjoying getting 1100 skill experience instead of half that from the Screaming Zombies; MAsterROgue did turn up for a bit of KS-ing, and the titan Hellzor too - as usual MR pleaded to be allowed into the party for ten minutes or so, so I let them both in for that long, though it cuts my skill exp gain to less than a fifth of the solo party amount.  Still, the skill points did come in, slowly - I'd still needed 28 to get to my target of 500, which would normally be two or three long sessions, but I managed to get there - I even got a 501st one before leaving.  With the huge amount of experience needed to get through level 90, I only managed 2.42% experience, plus 3325 pet points and the 29 skill points.  Later, back in town, I was able to finally get level eight of Freeze Arrow.  I see level nine comes available at level 92, and requires 550 more skill points...

SirDarth had been mainly supplying the solo party and doing some mining, but Astarael passed word along that the player who had been asking about having her healer, HealerAegira, join ForceWithin had come online, so MistressDomina logged in briefly in her capacity of Guild Master to do the actual recruiting and experience-freezing, and, to be able to chat apart from the gold spammers, even added her to MD's Friends List.  Her main character is the archer AegirasHealer, and she's best known as the GameSage Snowballinhell on the forums...

But the day wasn't over yet; there was time for SirDarth to start taking a more active role, and head for Prokion Temple, followed by my rogue Karella.  The first upstairs Orc Sergeant room was free, so Karella parked herself in a corner - if I'd remembered, she should have brought Skrappy along to get some experience, but Skrappy was still being carried by Kee.   Darth set to, fighting the orcs - and by the time I did have to log off, they had each gained 135 skill points.

We were in a solo party then with ShawShankz (alias DarkPulse101, or Captianjack), who was wondering whether to invest solely in platinum super skill pills to help get through the sp-gathering stage, or to get some skill point boosters too.  I voted for the former!  Renez too is looking forward to seeing what packages appear in the Item Mall tomorrow morning, the advance announcements make them sound pretty good, with a 15% discount on all Mall items throughout the rest of the month as well.  Ren too is levelling up a rogue, MEDS, who he brought across to join Norcaine, which does help us all keep in touch, and, as he said, gives him twice the chances to recruit people to Norcaine.

Back to Normal - December 3rd

The overnight update, after the servers came back up from their weekly maintenance, was minimal, it didn't even get blocked by Kaspersky Internet Security - it must have just been the addition of the new week's packages to the Item Mall.  They've brought the cost of the one-week Party Recall card down to 299ap instead of last week's 799ap, much to Renez's chagrin as he bought one last night.  AT the lower price, the limited quantity available were selling fast.

Generally, as a special December sale offer Mall items are 15% cheaper - to start us off, three packages were put up with a 50% rebate on them, one was just Lucky Smelting Stones which I have plenty of, but the Skills one was quite nice, and at 50% off the Runes one was just about worth getting.  There's a special "December Big Spender" incentive to spend $50 on aeria points this week as well, if you do you'll get a package of goodies later,  with experience boosters, skill exp boosters, item drop boosters, mana stealer potions, health stealer potions, and some new "big special critical potions" which multiply your current critical rate by 101 for an hour. I think most of the Norcaine people who do buy ap are being seriously tempted by that.

Well, Keerella, having reached level 90 and got her eighth level of Freeze Arrow, is really only up for Monster Combo duty at the moment, or special guild/friend parties, so she had a day off, except for a little shopping...though after my recent purchases I've not got enough gold left for anything very good.  Renez did actually suggest giving Caires an hour's levelling, but that was at nine in the evening UK time, and did mean I'd have to stay on a bit late - and judging by the time Caires had to log out during our Monster Combo a few days back (he's an hour ahead of us), he might not have been available for a whole hour anyway.  So, maybe a bit earlier tomorrow - and perhaps with a Monster Combo party thrown in if there's time.

I did carry out a "fox check" fairly early in the morning, and got 1 experience and 1 skill exp, which proved that yesterday's double skill exp had ended - the server shut-down would have put everything back to normal.  So, there was no huge rush to get online to play today, which did make a bit of a change.  My cleric Kaerella had the afternoon session, after a little shopping and setting up MistressDomina in Cariae-1 to sell some things; luckily Kae had level three of Maargadum Jail to herself again, and fought the Beast Flyers in the usual way, though of course with the new highly-plussed armour and the +10% health stealer accessory they are a lot tamer than they were a level or two ago.  The afternoon session yielded 4.79% experience, 1231 pet points, and 40 skill points. 

As MD was in Cariae-1 for selling, and I was as usual in Cariae-3, I solo-teamed with Renez for a while, until he too headed for the bright lights of Cariae-1.  After a brief gap without a party, Darkpulse101 came online, and was happy to join a solo party.  After a while he wanted to add a few of his Fraternity friends, so I gave him party leadership, and the party soon became a Fraternity PvP party, attacking members of a guild they are not too friendly with, Vendetta I suspect - fascinating to hear the instructions, mainly to get a player called "Sick" apparently.  There was a Recall which I had to ignore - I told them that they could kick me if they ran out of space in the party, as it was almost time for me to log out...and, after DP had gone away-from-keyboard and passed leadership over to someone else, they did.

After my food break it was time for SirDarth and Karella to head for Prokion Temple - and this time I made sure that Skrappy was with Karella, so he was able to reach level 22.  Darth led the way to the back upstairs room, and Karella and Darth had reached 80 and 82 more skill points respectively when they both got disconnected.  That seemed a reasonable excuse to change back to Kae, so I logged her in on the newer computer, and moved Darth over to the older one.

Kaerella was unable to recruit Darth into her party as he was, as far as the game was concerned, still in a party with Karella - but Darth was able to recruit Kae.  Karella remained (theoretically) in the party, albeit with a level of "1" - she also stayed identified as online on the guild roster.

So, SirDarth headed out into Juno for a little more mining, and Kaerella went back to Margadum, and again had the run of level three there - SwedishHealer did drop by, but left after asking if I was sp-farming, and later someone called Bangs did fight at the other end for a short while, leaving a fair amount of gold behind for my drake SirFrancis to pick up.  Renez was online for a while, and mentioned that Meds had zoomed up from a Prokion Temple level to level 59, with a little help from Renez and the skill "Dash", boosters, and a +16 weapon (using a temporary Platinum Refining Stone); all clever stuff!  Astarael was online, and did actually put out a call for some help in the arena; my initial response was that Renez had logged out, but might be on Meds, but it seemed he had me in mind. 

I had to reply that I didn't "do" the Last Chaos it just seems pointless, you don't know the level of your opponent, and they can be using expensive buffing potions from the Item Mall... and it's a small plain area, it's nothing like the sophisticated set-up that you get in Guild Wars, for example.  So Kae didn't head over there, I don't even really know the etiquette of the place, do people team up in there?  And you get no loot or experience there, as far as I know.

Besides, I had more Beast Flyers to bash... Kae ended up with another 5.37% experience, making 10.16% for the day, another 1453 pet points, making 2684 in all, and another 44 skill points, for a total of 84, which means that the evening session must have been slightly longer than the afternoon one there, I suppose.  As an experiment I logged SirDarth out slightly before Kae finished, and, thanks to Karella's ghostly presence, Kae still got the solo party bonus.  Karella was the party leader, in fact.  It's not often you get two players from the same account apparently both online at the same time...

Back to the Tomb - December 4th

After yesterday's three packages in the Item Mall on a 50% rebate, with half the aeria points one uses refunded to one's account within a fortnight, today brought another two - the people who run this game seem intent on getting all our ap used up, so that we have to buy more, it's all cunning stuff.  "Tree Baubles" wasn't particularly exciting, but "Chimney Looter" has no less than 300 item drop boosters as well as other things.  The boosters alone would sell for around 100 million.

I was a little bit busy in real life, as does sometimes happen - and will happen more over the next few days, culminating in one of those Sundays when I don't manage to log in until gone seven in the evening.  I won't even be able to have any afk things going on then, though today I did put MistressDomina up in Cariae-1 for the morning, attempting to sell Master Coins and the usual selection of other items - Moonstone Boxes, ToolAids, Large Attack and Defence Potions, Experience and Skill Boosters, Candy, Potions of Haste, that sort of thing. 

Unfortunately nobody seemed to be interested in buying much - she was a few million ahead, mainly due to Lucky Smelting Stones, but later in the day Renez alerted me to someone selling experience boosters at 515,000, roughly a third off the usual lowest price, and most of her remaining cash went on a hundred of them.  And then DarkPulse101 asked if she could sell three Master Coins, so that she would have enough cash for an Platinum Blessed Iris, so MD is now poorer than she has been in ages, though pretty well stocked.

As Kaerella's gloves are only +11, below the rest of her armour, I had the bright idea of getting them up to +12 using Heaven Stones, each one accompanied by a Rune of Protection II.  Sadly, that was a complete disaster - the first attempt failed, taking the gloves down to +10; the next three didn't make any improvement, the next one got the gloves up to +11, the one after that took them down to +10 again, then +11, no change, no change again, down to +10, the next seven didn't improve on that, and finally one more Heaven Stone and rune got the gloves back to +11, where they had started.  I would have done better to spend 40 million on a Chaos Smelting Stone and use that...really, the HS/rop2 combination only works on moving from +10 to +11, when you can only either succeed or remain unchanged, there's no possibilty of falling back.

After my food break, anyway, Kaerella headed for the Beast Flyers on level three of Maargadum Jail; there was a rogue there when I arrived, I asked if she was going to stay long, as if so I'd try a different server, but got no reply.  The majority of players don't stay long there, if you're below their level a mob of Beast Flyers gets pretty expensive on the health potion front and is rather intimidating - or perhaps people are just there for a quest to kill 30 of them, and leave.

We shared the available Beast Flyers and Beast Archers for a while, until at last she did go, and I was able to stand in the middle, and ignore the Beast Archers as long as the Flyers kept coming.  I was thinking about perhaps using a one-hour pill to boost my skill exp gain, when Renez came on, talking about his plans to help our titan Caires go up a few levels.  One idea was for him and Kae to be in a "combat party", so Kae could heal him when he was finishing off a monster which Renez had brought down to minimal health - I did go as far as getting SirDarth to freeze Kae's experience gain ready.  As Kae needs to farm skill exp, a sudden boost by a few levels would, in the long run, not be a good thing for her.

Once Caires logged in and was not afk, though, Ren decided that having Kee there was better, so he headed down to the Tomb and used Recall to get both Kee and Caires in.  He also gifted me with a 25ap, 1-hour Recall card, which was very kind, though it was for Caires' benefit rather than mine.

We didn't start off very well, as often happens it took a little while to get into the swing of things, and what worked best was for Kee not to be involved in the attack at all, since Ren could lure and get a zombie down to below 5% health quickly enough alone... so I generally stood and watched, putting a Recall up for Ren when necessary, and, as time passed, supplying some buffs to both of them. Caires wasn't in the party, that was just me and Ren; all he had to do was kill the zombie, once Ren beamed out, hopefully after having stunned the thing.

It worked pretty well, and we must remember that we only need the one person with Recall to make it work.  Caires did go up a few levels, and was able to start using a bigger and better weapon he had brought with him.  He did have to leave a few minutes before the end of the hour, but Ren felt that his ap had been well spent.

Renez was saying that the timer that shows the countdown for a buff or potion is different for the person affected and people who click on that person - if you have a buff on you, after the countdown reaches zero it stays a few seconds longer, or even a few minutes longer for a long-duration buff - but other people see the true countdown to zero.  Experience Boosters have a 30-second countdown too, but it doesn't mean anything, the booster remains active until its user does actually final-blow kill a monster.  Ren also mentrioned that, while he may be on a little to chat on Friday, he won't be on at all this weekend.  He does however have two or three mid to high level people he thinks he may be able to recruit for Norcaine...

As the one-hour Recall card had a few minutes left, I was able to teleport in my reserve new healer Karanne, and, once she'd arranged to have Keerella as her Guardian, I set to to level her up; Renez switched over to his rogue Meds, and I was able to Recall her in too, though she didn't stay long, and Renez came back in.  I took Karanne to level 21, to make it slightly simpler to farm skill points in Prokion Temple if I find that I do need to develop her.  The Recall card had run out well before that, but Karanne still had a "recall" window in the corner of her screen, from when Meds had been brought in; just to see if it would still work, I clicked on it - and teleported to where Kee was.  So, useful to know. And then it was about time to log out...

Well, since Kee had spent most of her time in the Tomb of Theos just standing watching, and clicking the Recall button, she only went up 0.47% on the experience front, plus 591 pet points and a skill point; Kae earlier had done a bit better, and despite her brief experience freeze had gone up 5.38%, 1623 pet points, and 47 skill points.  Oh, and Kee went up by 10 reputation points of course.

Kae's Rampage - December 5th

I didn't think to apply the "fox text" when I logged in this afternoon, killing a fox in Juno to see if it gave 1 experience and 1 skill exp or more, not as early as sometimes because I am quite busy during the run-up to the weekend; MistressDomina had been trying to sell stuff overnight and throughout the morning, but not had a whole lot of luck, so I had a little browse through the shops, which only got my rogue Karella a +8 level 29 crossbow to replace her +6 one, for ten million in gold.

It seemed like a good idea to take my cleric Kaerella back down to the Beast Flyers in Maargadum Jail; I did have a Platinum Super Skill Pill in my inventory, which would treble the skill point gain for an hour, and was thinking of using that, but before I started it, I killed a first Beast Flyer - and the skill exp gain wasn't 990, it was 1980 - double skill exp was running, and I noticed later that double pet experience was running too.  So, no need to take the blue pill. It must have been put on for the early morning "APAC Happy Hour", and nobody stayed around to switch it off.

So, that was my day sorted out.  It was probably just as well I didn't use the "pssp", as I didn't have the place to myself for much of the first hour, JohnPaul2nd from the HolyTribeOfGod guild turned up before long, which meant not quite enough flyers each to keep going, and then, after a gap, Emmy (well, "emmy") was there for a while, an archer from the same guild. It was strange, it looked to me as if she was wearing the next armour up from Kae, which would make her a bit high-level for there.

By the time I took my food break, Kae was up 5.40% in experience, 90 skill points, and 2846 pet points; and when I returned afterwards, with the bonuses still running, I continued where I left off, when I was alone there ignoring the level 43 Beast Archers and just fighting the level 46 Beast Flyers, and when someone else was there, fighting whatever I could, including the archers.   There was no announcement at any stage of an "EU Happy Hour" that I saw, the previous bonus just kept on running.

The knight JohnPaul2nd came back for another session - another knight called Arceus5000 appeared then as well, and suggested that either he took one end and someone else took the other, or he'd KS, ie attack anything even if someone else was already fighting it.  Neither JohnPaul2nd or I made any reply, and he very soon left.  If I had replied I think I'd have opted for the "KS" option, I assume I'm at least a level above them and well armoured, and more importantly I have a ranged attack...

There was another announcement of a dual 50% rebate offer - only for three hours apparently, from 8:00pm UK time.  One package, "Jolly Experience", didn't tempt me, just the usual experience boosters (175 of them), a couple of Platinum Blessed Irises, 5 health stealers, and 10 experience boxes, for 999 ap, but the other item was the "2fer" on Chaos Smelting Stones, and as they are the painless (and certain) way to get items from +6 to +12, and barely more expensive at that price than the less-than-reliable runes one would otherwise be trying to use, that was one offer I couldn't resist.

So, Kae's gloves finally went up from +11 to +12, and then, with the addition of an Extreme Stone, to +13 like the rest of her armour, and indeed her weapon.  Unless I add a wild west costume "cover", that is her sorted for quite a while.

Renez was on for a while in the afternoon, as he had a gap between his college work and the time he needed to leave to catch the train back to his family home; he also reappeared when I was about to log out, apparently he usually plays one of those console world war two games when at home, but the ps3 was busy updating itself so he came on to chat.  Astarael had appeared a little earlier, but generally the day was extremely quiet, with no sign of DarkPulse101 at all, for example.  Who is going to break to him that he missed the chance for all that double skill exp, I wonder?

Kae kept going with the Beast Flyers until she'd reached 70% of the way through level 47 - I think I am going to need to freeze her before she reaches level 48, as the availability and mobability, and relatively quick kill-time, of the flyers would be hard to match at a higher level.  Perhaps freezing a level earlier might have been better, but that wouldn't have allowed Kae to wear the whole new armour set.  With Renez around I think I can be confident of some great help in power-levelling Kae later, once she has more skill points; for that sort of thing I'd use a +2 24-hour Platinum Smelting Stone on her weapon, to make it, temporarily, a +15 type, with the extra boost that gives.

Anyway, the evening session must have been about three times as long as the afternoon one, as in total Kae went up by 19.68% experience, 10542 pet points (just over 43% of the current level for SirFrancis) - and 328 skill points, which seems a huge amount.  Just don't remind me that at Keerella's current level, just one more level of a skill can cost 500 or more points!  I guess Kae will be using a few "pssp" hour-long boosts on the Beast Flyers, in days to come.

Kee's Reputation - December 5th

The "fox test" brought up 2 experience, so I soon knew it was a double experience day today - and so, as most of my characters don't need experience at the moment, it was Keerella's turn to take the spotlight, which she did by heading for the Tomb of Theos dungeon.

Double experience makes power-levelling new characters from 1 to 20 twice as quick, so that was my focus to begin with - to boost Kee's Reputation, after she got pushed out of the Cariae server's top twenty!  In theory my efforts this afternoon should get me up from #21 to #17, but probably other people on the list have been busy too.

After that it was time to try and add to Kee's skill points a little, still with the Screaming Zombies; a level 32 healer called tila126 did some ks-ing, with permission, with me hard-heartedly refusing to let her into the party.  Being in the party she might have only got 1 skill exp per kill, but it would decrease my skill exp from 550 to around a fifth of that.

SmokeR was in touch, thinking that his knight iLLegaL had somehow got removed from Norcaine, but it was just a minor bug, and he was still on the list.  He made the trip to the Tomb, with a little Recall-type help from the titan Toogood, and KS'd a little, though he didn't stay long.

The main event though, after my food break, was power-levelling Caires, our titan, from 55 to 64, which took two hours.  Baded, a level 42 titan who was already on my Friends List, is his brother it seems, and he was able to have that character on a different computer, and buy two one-hour Recall cards.  So with Caires outside the team, my mission was to lure a Screaming Zombie, get it down to about 5% health, and then take Recall to Baded to get me clear of the fight.  It worked pretty well, as those nine levels attest, but it meant I got no experience, skill experience, or drops for two hours.  My drake Greedo still got pet points though...

Limey and Astarael were also on, though, having to keep such a close eye on the current zombie health bar to take Recall at the right moment, and generally get the timing right, meant I couldn't chat much.  I think Asta was with the Spear Men, and was considering visiting the Sphinx Commanders too, while Limey was busy farming skill points.  Asta was asking me not to kick lncognito from ForceWithin if he asks, as he still owes Asta quite a lot of gold. Once he'd reached level 64, Caires was thinking of getting some skill exp too, which would tend to mean Bogles in Egeha - a slow job, but, with the drops, rather profitable.  A bit late to be thinking about skill point farming, really, there's no substitute for Prokion Temple, for that.

Well, as I have to get up early tomorrow, Kee left slightly early.  The double experience more than compensated for the two hours of power-levelling Caires, so I went up 4.10%, which at level ninety is a pretty respectable amount if you're not using boosters; 3982 pet points is a pretty good total for Kee, too, and, well, 8 skill points is a step in the right direction. Just not a very big step.

While there was a raffle running from eight till ten UK time, I don't think there was any rebate offer announced.  The week will soon be over, I wonder if any more items will be offered with a rebate?  I have had some points rebated recently, which is always nice, so I could in theory afford to buy some more stuff.  With the 15% discount maybe I ought to buy a card to turn a mount back into a (non-mounted, trainable) horse - I do have a level 31 one I think, which SirDarth could level up to 37 over a week or two.  He has got plenty of recently-mined stones for the job, anyway...

So, not a long report today, and probably not much tomorrow either, but after that, well, who can tell...?

Quiz Time Again - December 7th

If there was a teatime special today I missed it, as it wasn't much before 7:00pm when I finally logged on, by UK time.  As a quick "fox test" showed that there was double experience running, it was again Keerella who got the go-ahead to start playing - and that meant going to the Tomb of Theos.

The plan was to get some more skill points; it wasn't long before MAsterROgue wanted to join me, though this time I needed to loan her the admission price, which at her level is around 100,000 gold - at my level, 90, it's back to the regular 270,000, 3,000 per level.  A bit tricky as I was already in the Tomb, but luckily SirDarth was solo-partying me from town, and was able to hand the gold across.

The situation got a little complicated by another rogue, DestyoerOfWorlds, and a specialist sorcerer, bigk1998, wanting to ks a bit too - which I don't mind, it is part of the job at the start of the Tomb, I just had to resist MR's pleas to be allowed into the party as that would cut back my skill exp drastically.  I don't mind it falling from 550 to 530 with tke ks-ing, but 130 is just too low.

However, Caires hadn't been able to find a +15 level 65 weapon, and decided he wanted another power-level so that he would be able to use a level 69 one instead.  We continued with the Screaming Zombies while he was getting ready, but when brother Baded and Caires joined us in the Tomb, and Baded joined the party, the power-level was about to begin.  "Recall please", I said, starting on a zombie...

It was around then that Caires discovered that the one-hour Recall cards had sold out in the Item Mall, so after a little half-hearted ks-ing he decided to head for Egeha instead.  Which was fine with me, he does need to get more skill points, and that's where he'll get them...and the Tomb seems my best bet for them, outside the Monster Combo.  I noticed that my skill exp had fallen to a fifth of its previous level, though - and soon found out that Caires had moved Baded up from his recall position into the compass circle, to gain a bit of experience.  When I explained what that was doing to my skill exp gain, though, he quickly logged out.

So, I was able to continue with just ordinary zombie-fighting.  MAsterROgue left before too long, as did the other rogue; bigk1998 stayed a bit longer.  At eight had been announced that there was a two-hour raffle starting, and during it we'd get not just double experience, but double skill exp and pet experience too.  The raffle item was the 999ap "Jolly Experience" package, and they had a 50% rebate on that again, though I think I've got enough of that sort of item.  The double pet experience seemed to fade out after a while, but the other two parts kept going, until it was time to log out, and move across to Cariae-5 for the weekly Quiz.

CuddlesMcGraw joined me, since MistressDomina is carrying too much stuff to be able to add more heavy items, and DarkPulse101 came into the party as well; Astarael was I think, like Cuddles, clicked onto me, which is flattering.  I can't pretend to have known all the answers, there were times when "Well I'm sure that...hang on a moment, everyone else is moving across to the other side, I'd better go too" was applicable.  Almost every time everyone went to the same side, either X or O - and unlike the past two weeks, this time we made it through to the end.  I had been waiting for the "which country eats more turkey per capita" question... but this time it was question 22, which is deliberately set to expel the people who get it right from the hall, as otherwise you can only leave there by logging out.  So we all happily respawned back in the middle of Randol with our 10 ToolAids, 10 Moonstones, and 15 Heaven Stones each, leading to the usual scrum around Storekeeper Bianca to put such heavy items into storage.

So, now that we have all sussed out the current quiz, I suppose by next week they'll have come up with a new set of questions.  Still, we have our prizes for this time...and Kee added 2.23% experience, 1996 pet points, and 10 skill points, so the two hours or so in the Tomb of Theos were pretty rewarding.  I suppose I ought to think about visiting Lust Trum tower in Egeha too, though as I've only really ever been Recalled in there to trade items,  keep someone's spot, or do a little bit of pet levelling, the whole place is a bit of a mystery to me.  There are level 91 Wight Slashers there, but they may act rather differently from in the Monster Combo, where they only appear one at a time, I suspect...

A Pleasant Surprise - December 8th

MistressDomina finally managed to sell some Master Coins today - 76 of them, in fact, which is good news, though I still have more of them in stock than I'd like.  Skill and experience boosters continue to be unusually cheap, probably some people have bought an awful lot of them at rebated prices and are trying to turn them into gold.  The same seems to be true for health & mana stealers.

The "fox test" only showed 1 experience and 1 skill exp, revealing that everything is back to normal today, so my first thought was to send Kaerella off to Maargadum Jail.  However, as soon as Kae logged in, Ratel got in touch - Elvastar's knight character.

Ratel has reached level 26 now, keeping busy when I've not been around I guess, and had wisely decided that it was time to get his experience frozen.  So, as the current leader of the rather depleted CraftersOfIris guild, Koorella (a recent addition to the pantheon) was needed, to kick Ratel from that outfit.  Then it was SirDarth's turn to swing into action; as Ratel was just by Prokion Temple, killing Harpies in the hopes of getting Harpy Feathers and Harpy Tears for a quest, it was easy for Darth to teleport over to join him, and recruit him into Norcaine.  As Ratel only needed one of each of the two quest items, I was able to switch over to HAZEL, who stores such things, transfer the two across to Darth, and teleport back and pass them over.

Astarael commented later that it would have been better for Ratel to reach level 27, so that he can fight orcs of exactly his own level for the maximum skill exp per kill, but we can fine-tune that later.  I brought Karella along too, and we set up a party, so that, soloing downstairs, Ratel would get a little more skill exp, while upstairs Darth fought the axemen and sergeants, sharing the skill exp with Karella standing in the corner behind a statue.  And Karella had brought Skrappy along, so he got a bit of experience too, getting past the halfway mark in level 22.

Elva, er Ratel, had to log out just after 3:00pm UK time, as South Africa is a few hours ahead, but it was great to be actually in a party with him.  Astarael was also saying later that he had had a message in the morning from Elva's healer, Jacqueline, for me, though as he'd had a disconnection the details were slightly fuzzy... just as well Ratel spotted Kae logging on. 

SirDarth and Karella continued until the food break, and got 59 or 60 skill points each.  Skrappy seems to only get about 0.12% or so experience per kill, but it all does help.  I ought to take him into the Tomb of Theos again, with either Darth or a home-made apprentice having charge of him while Keerella fights the zombies, and see how much quicker that is...

After my time off, it seemed a good idea to take Kaerella back to Margadum Jail, while Darth relaxed in Randol, just supplying the solo party.  First of all Kae had to take Recall into the Tomb, as Astarael was out of mana stealers, and wanted to exchange a couple of health stealers for two, which Kae happened to have - probably good to have health stealers in Kae's inventory too.  After that, it was straight to Maargadum for me.  I did actually use a couple of one-hour skill pills, but they just add 50% extra skill exp, they aren't as good as a double-sp event.  For much of the time I didn't quite have the place to myself, there was a knight up the stairs at one end who seemed to be attracting enough Beast Flyers to keep busy - this meant I did sometimes have to settle for a Beast Archer.  Still, by the end of the evening I'd picked up four +4 level 41 items, at least 5 large defence potions, a couple of Heaven Stones - and Kae had gone up 12.26%, 6986 pet points, and 133 skill points.  SirFrancis, her drake, should reach level 44 before long, now.

Renez commented that he'd forgotten how slow skill point farming after Prokion Temple was.  He reported that the people he had been hoping to bring to Norcaine had joined Prophecy instead, sigh.  He also left Norcaine briefly, as he wanted to duel with Astarael in the arena.  Asta, while a bit surprised to be attacked by someone who until seconds before had been a guildie, managed to react in time, and won the encounter.  It's just as well they are friends in real life!  Ren rejoined after that.  He has also got his "bathrobe" costume again, which is popular with knights.  I tend to think, if I'm wearing my dressing gown around the house, that I ought to be wielding two swords, for the proper effect...

I haven't as yet tried to power-gain skill points in Prokion Temple with one of my characters, the most I've done is use the very occasional 50% extra skill pill, but perhaps the time has come to develop my archer that way.  Barbarienne, after supplying Party Heal on that Monster Combo last week, is level 27, so maybe with a few platinum super skill pills, a large number of skill boosters, and an unending supply of Orc Axemen, she could get started on the road to a high level.  Ren assures me that archers don't need as many skill points as some classes, and thinks power-levelling such a character ought to be done sooner rather than later, in case the developers do find some way to make power levelling less productive. 

So, that's something I should try to sort out tomorrow.  It would be tempting to get Karella zoomed up, but Barbarienne has the advantage of being on a different account from Keerella.  The same account as SirDarth, in fact.  So if Barbarienne got up to level 80 or so she could "combat party" with Kee, with one of them wall-hugging in the Tomb while the other fought - a boost for both of them...and for Skrappy too!

A Bit of a Boost - December 9th

This was another slightly short day - well, sometimes a shopping trip becomes necessary, one can't buy everything in the Item Mall!  I was logged in before lunch, though, and was able to team up with Elvastar's knight Ratel again, just to give him a "solo party".  I did look through some inventories to see if I had a good level 49 weapon that Elva could borrow, but reached the conclusion that my only such weapon is the +13 one that Kaerella uses, and she'll not be easily parted from it.

When I actually got to play, though, there was less than an hour until the early evening food break, so while I could take Barbarienne to Prokion Temple, all I could do was experiment a bit.  As the back upstairs room there which SirDarth and Karella often go to has a good number of Orc Axemen, which like Barb are level 27, as well as some Orc Sergeants, that seemed a reasonable place to go; I must have misunderstood the way a Combat Party works, I had thought that the active member of such a team actually benefits from having other party members in the area even if they are just standing safely against a wall, providing that people are within ten levels of the party leader, but bringing Enchantrella into the same room seemed roughly to halve the experience and skill exp that Barbarienne got from killing an orc.  So Enchie went back downstairs, to just supply the regular solo party boost.

After the food break, it was time to take a deep breath, move the individual skill exp boosters onto a hotkey, and start a platinum super skill pill.  The "pssp" trebles one's skill exp gain for an hour - and each booster quadruples the skill exp for the next kill.  So, between them you get a twelve-fold increase, which meant that killing an Orc Axemen wasn't just worth 5,500 skill exp, it was worth 66,000 skill exp - or 6.6 skill points.  As the Orc Sergeants are two levels higher, they give 4,950, or 59,400, or just under 6 skill points, but it seemed worth boosting those kills too.

So, a busy hour ensued - and Barbarienne went up 1710 skill points, which meant she was able to maximise all her currently-available active and passive skills, except for the 65-sp final level of one of the personal dungeon skills.  So, a good start, or at least a reasonable start, though it probably used up at least 260 skill exp boosters, which do have a value of half a million gold each.

Renez kindly calculated the number of skill points that Barbarienne will need to get the special skills and all the future healer and archer skills - 17307, apparently, which would tend to mean another ten such hours.  He does however think that it is possible to boost that 6.6 sp per kill to  7.7 sp by using the platinum blue & white skill pills, which are supposed to add 50% to skill exp gain.  They are also supposed not to "stack" with a pssp, but he has checked it out, and it does seem that 3 times the skill exp does move up to 3.5 times, which is then quadrupled by the individual booster.  The packages that Barbarienne downloaded included some skill boxes, I'll need to open them and see if anything useful along those lines is included...

One hour of fighting the orcs with a distinctly vulnerable healer-type character was enough for one day, anyway, so after that I switched to Kaerella, who, where level three of Maargadum Jail and the Beast Flyers are concerned, is pretty much invulnerable.  I started off by using a pssp with her, too, to treble her skill point gain, since she happened to be carrying one; as soon as I'd started it I saw a rogue at the far end of the area, but luckily she didn't stay long, and by keeping busy with the flyers, and generally ignoring the Beast Archers, I managed to get exactly 100 skill points in the hour, and also level my drake, SirFrancis, up.  I continued there afterwards, probably for just over an hour and a half judging by the pet points gained, which reached a total of 5222, thanks to the double pet experience which has been on for most of this past week.  The total skill point gain reached 150, and Kae went up by 9.92% experience, so that she is now over 90% of the way through the level.  Almost time to "freeze" her experience, as she really shouldn't go beyond level 47 until the Beast Flyers have given her quite a bit more skill exp.

It's all about skill exp, isn't it?  The skill points we need to learn the skills we require, for attacking, buffing, healing, or increasing our "passive" stats - a greater chance to make a critical hit, faster mana regeneration, a faster movement speed, or whatever.  I've never done a pure "power levelling" before, with all the necessary skill points acquired from Prokion Temple, though of course Kee had a few very useful boosting sessions along her way.  There do seem a lot of characters around that have taken that course, so it is interesting to make the attempt, but even if Renez manages to work things so that Barbarienne can get that 7.7 rather than 6.6 skill points per axeman, and per booster, it does all seem just a tiny bit expensive...

The "Holiday Chaos" sale week is coming to a close now, and who knows what will appear in the Item Mall when the servers restart tomorrow morning?  No doubt there will new ways of parting us from our cash!  I never did buy a package this week that would allow us to send special little gift packages to five of our friends, but as it relied on one knowing account names rather than player names, it all seemed a bit awkward - and sending gifts to one's own other accounts was, wisely, not allowed.

It won't be long before the Christmas-themed events start, I guess... last year they had dreadful fake "snow" falling in town, just snowflakes down the screen rather than a snow-covered landscape, and it made a lot of computers crash rather often.  Have they learned their lesson, or not?  I wonder...

2000 Up - December 10th

The series of abbreviated days continues, with an early log-out tonight.  MistressDomina did manage a little selling early on, but only recently-acquired large defence potions and moonstone boxes, for 1.7 million, the market for Master Coins has definitely slowed down.  Apparently the Monster Combo has changed lately, and a lot of people are doing it rather quickly, so there are more coins being earned...

After getting Barbarienne enough skill exp boosters, it was time to do a more general search around Prokion Temple for the ideal room for a level 27 character to farm skill points in.  However, I couldn't find anywhere to beat my favourite upstairs back room; it may have a number of level 29 Orc Sergeants, but nowhere seems to have just one type of orc, and the level 25 Orc Fighters, two levels below, give rather less skill exp than the Orc Sergeants, two levels above me and the Orc Axemen.

Elva's knight Ratel was in Prokion too, though as the clocks in South Africa are two hours ahead of the UK, and he can only play at the moment using a computer at work, he had to log off just after three.  He was suitably impressed, reading this blog, with Barbarienne's progress yesterday...and also impressed to learn the current value of item drop boosters, as he had amassed 16 of them.  I bought them, and some moonstones, off him at a small discount, for MistressDomina to sell.

There wasn't enough time after that for a full boosted hour in the Temple (or "Prokion Shrine" sometimes, or even "Procyon Shrine"), and there was also the possibility that I would be interrupted, so I switched to Kaerella and headed for Maargadum Jail, and in something like 50 minutes went up 3.78% in experience, and added 879 pet points and 31 skill points.  That got Kae to 96% of the way through level 47, so she has now had her experience gain "frozen", to allow her to get some more skill points from the Beast Flyers.  And more Heaven Stones, Moonstone Boxes, ready-plussed level 41 items, and large defence potions too.  I can't think of any higher level monsters that can be killed so quickly, and come in to the attack so obligingly.

After the food break, it was time to get Barbarienne her full "power hour" in Prokion Temple, moving to Cariae-4 for slightly less people around.  The hour is not something I want to do more than once a day, generally, as I do find it a bit intense, the race to kill as many orcs as possible in the available time, the triggering of the boosters, watching Barb's health.  First of all I swapped round FoxHunter and Barbarienne, moving Foxy across to ForceWithin and Barb into the main Norcaine guild, so that I'm not out of touch when I'm playing her.  It was only a few minutes into the hour that I realised that that meant she was no longer "frozen", experience-wise, so I lost maybe four minutes logging out, logging in as SirDarth, making the necessary adjustment, logging back in as Barbarienne, and returning to the Temple and its upper room.  Just as well she wasn't already on 99%, as it is she has moved along by 17.65% and is almost two-thirds of the way through the level.  And then I had to remember to re-form the solo party I'd been in with FoxChaser.

The good news was that Renez's advice worked, and the blue & white platinum skill pill, in addition to the platinum super skill pill, did indeed move the full boosted skill exp per Orc Axeman up from 6.6 skill points to 7.7.  It's lucky it did work, as I'd bought 11 of them first thing in the morning - they are an Item Mall thing that is available each week in strictly limited quantities, fortunately fairly cheaply.  2077 was the final skill point score, which by my calculations would have been 1780 without the extra skill pill, so I ended up slightly ahead of yesterday's score - and roughly 280 skill exp boosters used, the equivalent in value to a +15 weapon per day then.  All those skill points have been invested in the special skills - mining, energy absorption, herbalism, armorsmithing, and all but the final level of weaponsmithing.  It's possible to "invest" an awful lot of points there before one goes forward to saving up points for the future general and passive skills, but, with further levels of some skills coming soon, apparently, it's no use skimping, one does have to try to "future-proof" the character.

More good news was hearing from Zenderfly, who logged in as Norcaine guild member Itura for a while, and chatted with me and Astarael.  It seems she has been busy with exams lately, but those should be over after Saturday, so we should see her around more.  She invited Asta to join her Friends List, for possible future Monster Combo parties, after Asta was complaining that the MC party she'd just been in hadn't been set up properly, so they only got Management Coins rather than the Master variety.  When she logged out, she was switching back to Zen to dominate the Cariae-3 arena.

After the high tension of Barbarienne's "power hour" it was a relief to switch back to Kaerella, and go to the Beast Flyers again - only for about forty minutes, though, as, as quite often happens on a Wednesday, I had to log out at eight.  That visit didn't add any experience of course, as Kae is now frozen, but another 22 skill points got her up to 53 for the day, a round 2900 unused ones, and she also got 604 more pet points, for 1483 in all.

The new week seems much like the old week, Mall and event-wise, though with only a 25% rebate on a single package to start off with.  A check on the website shows that after I logged out a 50% rebate on the "Super Upgrader" package began, but I'm pretty well off for Heaven Stones, Lucky Smelting Stones, and Extreme Stones, which just leaves a single Chaos Smelting Stone as something I could use, and even at half the regular 799ap that wouldn't be much of a bargain - so no point in logging back in just to buy one.  That offer ties in with an "Upgrade Probability Event" from nine until eleven, but there isn't really anything I'm keen on upgrading at present.  It ought to make +15 weapons more widely available tomorrow, though probably not any cheaper...

Announced for Saturday is a special PvP event, with the winning five-person team from the November PvP events taking on a team from the Japanese version of Last Chaos - unfortunately that will start at around 4:00am on Sunday morning, UK time, but it should be an interesting match for those of us who are around at that sort of time...

3000 Up - December 11th

I managed to fit in some playing time in the late morning, but I decided that, as 11:30am UK time can bring a mass disconnection, particularly late in the week, gearing up to have Barbarienne  do a "power hour" in Prokion Temple might not be the best idea - so it was better to leave her until the afternoon.

MistressDomina did manage to sell a few items overnight, including the things I got from Elvastar yesterday, but at some point the computer decided it needed to restart, I think probably a Windows update thought that was a good idea, so instead of finding MD still selling this morning, I had the usual start-up windows, and even that useless sidebar to get rid of once again.  Still, looking around the other merchants I did see someone selling skill point boosters for only 400,000 each.  I know prices of such things have been a bit lower lately, probably due to people going for the special "spend 10k aeria points this month and get a free package of goodies", but that's a third off a more usual price.  So, after taking a deep breath, 500 of the skill point boosters were duly purchased, and moved across to Barbarienne.

Kaerella headed out to the Beast Flyers in Maargadum Jail instead, and popped a platinum super skill pill of her own; she stayed for its hour, without a disconnection, and added 1023 pet points and 113 skill points, taking her to over 3000 in reserve.  She did actually get a skill point booster among her drops, I must move that across to Barb some time.

After lunch, Barbarienne logged in.  Ratel was already in the Cariae-3 Prokion Temple, and warned me that he was in my "back room", so I moved across to Cariae-4 - but when I got upstairs and ran to the back, the room was taken.  I hung around in the corridor outside and the other nearby rooms, and did actually get  100 skill points that way, but after an hour or so Ratel was about to log out, and was partied with a young mage who would continue to need a solo party, so I moved across to Cariae-3, headed for my back room to take over - and Ratel wasn't there, he was in some completely different room he'd assumed was the one I wanted.

Well, I was only ever going to do a single "power hour" there, so that didn't matter.  This time I had decided to pull out all the stops, and as well as the platinum super skill pill and the plat skill pill, I used a health stealer and a platinum adrenaline, which increases attack speed and movement.  In the course of the hour I used 372 skill point boosters, killing, by my calculations, 243 Orc Axemen and 129 Orc Sergeants - and gaining 2765 skill points. With the 100 I'd got earlier, and the ones left over from yesterday, that got me up to 3002 points.

Back in Randol I found that the bug with the special skills still hasn't been solved, I was unable to get the final level of Expert Weaponsmith, but 447 sp got me maxxed in Alchemy, while stone, herb and wave (energy) processing took 407 each.  So that leaves Barbarienne with 1334 skill points.  When she eventually gets "unfrozen", that will be enough for the level 30 skill Double Stingshot to be maxxed, the one a healer has to have before being allowed to choose whether they want to become either a cleric or an archer, plus a trio of skills at level 32, and a level 35 one, but at level 38 almost 900 points are needed, and I don't have enough to get very far with those - yet!

DarkPulse101 returned the +6 level 70/72 mage armour set she'd borrowed, which is now being worn by a storage character called MistressFelicia, who, at level two, is a bit under-qualified.  It's the armour which, while it looks quite impressive from the front, has a rear view which reminds me of some kind of beetle.  DP mentioned having a spare Dragon Brain if anyone wants to buy it...apparently Zenderfly has offered to exchange it for 50 Master Coins, but DP is hoping for slightly more, as you can't really value those coins at above 800k at the moment.

Since Renez had been talking about a possible Norcaine-based Monster Combo, I didn't want to do anything too complex, so Kaerella headed back to the Beast Flyers.  Again Kae had the place to herself - a knight called Kalrak did approach, and kill one of the flyers that was attacking me, but it's just as well I'm not one of those people who says "don't ks" at once, as he said "hi", asked if I needed any help, and when I assured him I was fine, gave me a Divine Shield buff and left.

Renez enquired if Barbarienne had done her "power hour", and I told him the point score, which seemed to meet with his approval, though he thinks that a critical potion might be better than the adrenaline.  I have 5 of the 10-minute Large Crit Potions handy ("increase the chance of a critical hit by 25 for 10 minutes"), so I'll probably try those next time.

Kae added a further 64 skill points, making 177 today in all, and took the pet point gain for the day up to 2910, before I decided that it was time for a change - and so Barb handed her three accessories back to my level 25 rogue Karella, who went to Merac and the Berserkers to gain a few skill points, but mainly to get her crazy cat pet, SkrappY, some more experience.  It was only 0.15% per kill for him, but while adding 7 skill points, SkrappY did at least go up 18.55%.  Not exactly a long session.

Soon after half past nine a period of double success rate using Heaven Stones was announced, but I couldn't think of anything at the moment that I need to upgrade that way.  There was a raffle going on, with the "Player Choice: Rune of Protect" package (5 each of RoP I and II) as the item to buy - plus a 50% rebate on it, which tempted me to spend my 999ap, 500 of which I should get back by Christmas.  100ap per RoP I isn't bad, and, well, a RoP II (and a Heaven Stone) can be cheaper than a Chaos Smelting Stone for getting from +10 to +11, after all.  Just don't try going beyond that with them...

Skill Points Galore - December 12th

I was going to attempt to fit in a whole hour of pssp-boosted skill point farming in the morning today, but time was very tight, as I would have had to arrange things to finish before the usual Friday 11:30am disconnection.  Jacqueline was on, and had found Norcaine a new recruit, a knight called Mercian, so SirDarth had to be logged in - Mercian had been out at Prokion Temple I think, and met Jacqui there. Pretty adventurous for a level 13 type!  Jacqui did say he needed his skill experience frozen, but later amended that to say he'd need it once he was at a more suitable level for skill farming there.  By the time he logged out (Mercian is on Australian time, so 11:30am here was, I think, 10:30pm there) he'd reached level 15, so it looks as if he will be a successful apprentice, in the Guardian system, for Jacqui.

Unfortunately, the third level of Maargadum Jail was occupied when Kaerella arrived, so instead, to pass the time until the disconnection, Barbarienne went out to the Treants, equipped her pet horse, and did enough fighting to get a few pet points - 236 to be exact - and get his degree of sympathy up a bit.  The disconnection was one of those annoying ones where attempts to reconnect get messages that the account is already logged in, that the account is already in use, that the operation timed out, and so on, but eventually I managed to respawn in town.

MistressDomino meanwhile had been in town as the other part of the solo party, and, as she wasn't actually doing anything, she survived the disconnection.  Overnight she had done well on the selling front, and managed to sell the stock of Master Coins, though many of them were at the price I'd paid for them.  This did at least mean that she had enough cash to buy the last 382 skill point boosters from the same sorcerer as yesterday, at 400k each, which were passed over to Barbarienne.

We were actually on double skill exp, probably left over from the APAC Happy Hour early in the morning, so Barbarienne headed for Prokion Temple next, and her favourite back room.  It was approaching lunch time by then, so it was just a matter of doing some unboosted fighting while chatting to Mercian - by the time Barb took up a position of safety behind one of the torches in the room she'd added in all 147 skill points.

It is a shame that a platinum super skill pill doesn't "stack" with a double-experience "event", but after lunch I launched into a "power hour" - and the good news is that the "large crit potion" that advertised itself as lasting for ten minutes did actually last for the full hour, and things went very smoothly, so that today Barb used 419 skill point boosters, or seven per minute!  I also managed a slightly better ratio of Orc Axemen to Orc Sergeants, so that the skill point gain for the hour was a massive 3158.

Luckily I did have the room to myself, until about a minute from the end, when a level 31 healer called Tweed arrived.  I continued there for the rest of the afternoon unboosted, with Tweed there much of the time, and the end of the session, thanks to the double skill exp my total gain for the day had reached 3875 skill points, meaning that Barbarienne now has 5209 in reserve for future skills, which is more than a quarter of the way there.  I doubt if my supply of, or ability to buy, skill point boosters will last out until the end, but even just using a pssp and a (non-super) psp, for a 3.5 times boost instead of a 14 times boost, an hour's session would still yield at least 750 skill points.

I'd been tempted to switch to Keerella or Kaerella, for the Tomb of Theos or Maargadum Jail, but since I did have free run of my favourite Prokion Temple room it did seem best to stay there until my food break.  After that, though, it was time for Kaerella to head for the Beast Flyers again.  The double skill exp got switched off roughly when one would have expected the normal Friday Happy Hour to end, though there were no announcements, so shortly after that I started a pssp for Kae.  I didn't get full value from it, in a way, though, as when it was at about the "8 hours left" bit of the countdown in game time (ie 40 minutes in, in real time) a new special bonus event was announced, with double experience, skill exp, and pet points, so that overlapped for 20 minutes with the triple skill exp of the pssp.  Still, by the time I logged out, Kae had gone up by 242 skill points, and 5084 pet points, so she did well.

I was chatting to ShawShankz (alias DarkPulse101), and we established, by me searching the Wet paint LC Wiki, that the reason that DP couldn't gain access to Personal Dungeon 4 was that it is only for levels 35 to 60... I've never tried that one, maybe Kae ought to give it a go, she conquered PD 3 a few times.  Not for a few levels though, as it includes the dreaded magic-attack Beast Crawlers.  But one thing that did occur to me while comparing our skill point farming progress was that, if Kae is short of sp and Barb can farm as many as she likes in Prokion Temple, while archers need less skill points to maximise everything than clerics, perhaps at some future point, with the use of skill reset cards, it may be Kae who plays the archer, and Barb the cleric...

Anyway, the evening's raffle was chiefly notable for having a "real" prize if tier three was reached, a 19" widescreen monitor.  The "super leveller" package needed for entry didn't appeal greatly, however, even with a 50% rebate, I already have plenty of experience boosters etc...two other packages are also on 24 hour 50% rebate, the "super chance" one is just boxes with mystery rewards when clicked, but the "pvp survival" one is interesting, with a few items that could make a "power hour" move along nicely...and at only 299ap, before the rebate, who could resist...?

Another Power Hour - December 13th

There was time in the late morning for Kaerella to head out to Margadum Jail, after a swift "fox test" had reassured me that the double experience and skill exp were still running.  This meant that the skill point gain wasn't as swift as it would have been if I'd used a platinum super skill pill, as that gives triple skill exp, but the double event is free, so one does try to make the most of it.

It took Kae a little over an hour to get 71 skill points, and 949 pet points, so it was a trip worth taking - and then it was time for lunch, something nice and hot and filling on a cold, wet, miserable December day.

After lunch it was time to take Barbarienne to Prokion Temple for her usual "power hour" - I found that my favourite room on Cariae-3 was already in use, so I went to Cariae-4 instead, which is usually a bit less busy and still non-PvP.   Luckily my room there was empty, so I popped the pssp, plus the psp, the crit potion, and a health stealer, and settled in, as before trying to kill more Orc Axemen, at my level, than Orc Sergeants, two levels above me.  A rogue did come into the room at one point, but either my "please, I'm using a pssp, there's no room for two" plea was headed, or she just decided that with me in action there she'd not do very well anyway.

The ratio of axemen to sergeants wasn't, in the end, quite as good as on Friday, though still better than Thursday. I used 462 skill point boosters, which means less than 8 seconds per kill - 324 Orc Axemen, and 138 Orc Sergeants, for a total of 3450 skill points in the hour.  Including the few orcs killed on her way through the Cariae-3 Temple, and spending the rest of the afternoon just taking advantage of the double skill exp, the day's skill point gain came to 3704.

After the usual food break, Kaerella went back to the Jail - again, Cariae-3's Maargadum Jail level three was in use, so I hopped over to Cariae-4 and settled in there.  I did at one stage have a specialist sorcerer, MAGICNIKKO of the Triumverate (sic) guild, pop up - almost literally!  I didn't see him arrive, and suddenly SirFrancis, my drake, couldn't pick up some of the gold drops, and there was this sorcerer, in his demon form, right next to me, not saying a word.  Well, I kept going, targeting every Beast Flyer I could and when necessary keeping busy on the Beast Archers, and it wasn't too long before he went away again.

Kae's progress is comparatively slow, of course, as she's not using skill point boosters, and the Beast Flyers give 990 skill experience rather than the 5,500 an orc can give, so the evening session adding 121 sp, for a total today of 192 skill points, is pretty good - and Kae gets pet points too, 3557 in all today, so that SirFrancis is now more than halfway through his current level.  If he reaches Kae's own level the plan will be to swap him over with another character's pet and level that one up a bit.  The double experience and skill exp bonus ended at around seven o'clock, having run for about a day.  Ah well, there's still the "Sunday teatime" to look forward to, whatever that is, I must do a "fox test" in the morning in case the APAC version of it has been left running.

There was an announcement from GM Moose, mainly to say he was back with us for the winter holidays, and also saying that he was setting the Heaven Stone "upgrade probability" chance to 175% - there was no further announcement for quite a while after that, until one said that, while the probability was back to normal at present, further boosts might well be offered later.

One pleasant surprise today was an email from Aeria Games, "Aeria Games wishes you a happy holiday!"  The email included a key to enter on a special page of the Last Chaos website - and doing so added 200 aeria points to the account in question.  Now, all I need is the key for the "spend $50 on aeria points and get a special package of goodies" offer, which surely must be due about now.

Another Quiz - December 14th

I wasn't able to get online in the morning today - the computers connected okay at nine-ish, but a little while later everything went pear-shaped, and when I checked the telephone, that was dead too, so it was definitely "circumstances beyond my control".  The dialling tone returned just before lunch, but it took a few minutes after lunch to get the broadband working again, using TalkTalk's trusty wizard.

Keerella made a quick visit to Cariae-1 after lunch, and did the "fox test", which showed that things were normal.  A browse around the merchants showed that the same sorcerer merchant, BoomShakaLaka1, had another 377 skill point boosters at 400k each, so, as I had just about enough cash, I bought them.  Then they needed transferring across to Barbarienne, as did the 3 that Kaerella picked up yesterday evening.

And then it was time for Barb's "power hour" - I switched to Cariae-4, and headed out to Prokion Temple, which luckily didn't seem too busy - there was nobody at all in the back area of the upper floor, and my hour passed uninterrupted.  I used exactly 450 skill point boosters, which means I was killing an orc every eight seconds - by my calculations, that was 350 Orc Axemen and 100 Orc Sergeants, for a total of 3389 skill a cost of about 5600 gold per point!

By the time Barbarienne finished, her total skill point gain for the day was 3453, so she has 12,366 unused skill points at the moment, for use on skills from level 30 up - still another "power hour" session will be needed I think, plus maybe some hours with just the pssp, and then she can be unfrozen, and gain a few more by levelling up in the Temple to 33 or so.

Kaerella had about 50 minutes in Maargadum Jail after the usual food break, and added 22 skill points and 598 pet points, but by that time the Sunday teatime bonus time should have started, and there was no sign of any skill exp boost, so it seemed a good idea to switch to Keerella, who hasn't been doing much lately, and head for the Tomb of Theos.  If there was a boost to regular experience, she is about my only character at the moment who would make use of it.

At 17:53, UK time, there was an announcement apologising for the delay to the Teatime bonus hours, and bringing on double experience and double skill exp to compensate, so when Kee reached the Tomb, that was already running.  The first order of business was to level up Kee's latest apprentice, MistressFelicia, and that was achieved in double-quick time; after that the idea was to get some experience, and more importantly a few skill points. 

The titan Gwalyan got in touch, and came to join me, Ks-ing; I don't mind that, it comes with the territory in the first part of the Tomb, and Gwal is always polite and friendly, so I cut down my use of Terra Spear, to give him a larger share of the experience - which helps on the pet point side too.  A rogue called Driv3r started to KS without asking, and I made no objections - she didn't confine herself to KS-ing me (ie attacking the zombie I was fighting, thus taking some of the experience without any of the risk), she KS'd other people too, and some of those were less happy with the idea.

Things seemed to get a bit complex, as apparently somebody had been spotted running a speed-hack - I don't know if TygerMyst really is a GameSage, or whether that was just said to get them, and Driv3r, worried.  AssasinOfIris was one of the most vocal about the KS-ing anyway, and brought a really big mob of Screaming Zombies and other creatures back.  It is difficult to get an assassin-type rogue like Driv3r killed if they can use the Death Motion skill to lie down and play dead, but the idea was to keep the mob over her until she gave up and logged out.

Zenderfly was on today and playing Monster Combos - I didn't get any invitations, but Astarael did, and, as Asta wasn't able to join herself, she suggested DarkPulse101, who was certainly glad of the chance to get some valuable coins.  Not that the Master Coins are as valuable as they used to be; I've seen them on sale for as little as 750k now, so that is what I offered DP when she asked if she could sell some as she was very low on cash; since Kee was busy in the Tomb, it was SirDarth, back in Randol supplying the solo party, who bought ten coins off her.

The Tomb was certainly busy -  DawnLJ5 was bringing large mobs up, as she often does, and various other parties and singletons were active.  Gwalyan had a disconnection 6% below level 39, but came back to finish the job; he plans to do some skill point farming next.  There was an announcement, ten minutes before, that the bonus experience and skill exp would end at 8:30, but it didn't, it was still going at ten past nine, when I was just thinking about logging out and getting ready for the quiz.  I hit the "enter" button for what seemed a good reason at the time - and the game vanished immediately from my desktop!

I commented on that, into SirDarth's chat window, but after a few seconds he got the "disconnected" pop-up window, so I logged him out, and restarted the game ready for the Quiz.  Asta said it was a mass disconnection, so the "disconnected" window must have come up on Kee's window at the very second I hit enter, so I in effect hit the "okay" option on it without knowing.

The quiz, luckily, had the same questions as in recent weeks, so almost everyone made it through to the end safely - they kept the questions about turkeys back for #s 21 and 22, which come up after the prizes of ToolAids, Moonstones, and Heaven Stones have already been awarded.  Unfortunately Barbarienne came unhitched from following Kee right at the start, so it was only one set of prizes I went away with, though Zenderfly and Itura were both there, and probably Damor as well, so Zen made up for missing a quiz or two.  I was partied with Itura, DarkPulse101 and Astarael, but there is never much time to say anything between questions.

Progress at level 90 is slow for Keerella, but before that disconnection she did manage 2.98% experience - I'd probably have logged out anyway when 3% was reached.  2417 pet points helps Kee's drake Greedo along nicely, another couple of sessions and he should reach level 49.  And 17 skill points, well, that just shows that it is easier to get them at Barb's level than at Kee's...

Powering Through - December 15th

MistressDomina made some useful sales overnight, and downloading a "November Rain" package and selling some of its items, such as draw boxes and Chaos Balls, made for a profitable morning too.  While BoomShakaLaka1 had run out of skill point boosters, a quick browse of my fellow merchants between selling sessions showed that a healer called Makoo had got 309 of them at only 390k each, so those were swiftly bought, along with some bargain-priced item drop boosters for resale.

After Barbarienne had those spbs traded across to her, after lunch, it was time for her to head for Prokion Temple for another expensive "power hour" - and this time, perhaps partly because I was using the hot key to start a new spb instead of clicking on its on-screen representation, I managed to get through 467 of the boosters, to gain 3501 skill points in the hour.  My calculations tell me that that involved the deaths of 344 Orc Axemen, and 123 Orc Sergeants.  I may have also ignored a little bit of guild chat, but scrolling back later people understood what I had been doing.

Tweed did arrive when I was about 20 minutes into the hour, but kindly left when I explained that I was on a pssp etc; otherwise, it was entirely plain sailing.   According to the Wet Paint-hosted Last Chaos Wiki, the level 30 healer skill Double Stingshot takes 228 sp,  while the Archer general and passive skills take 5425 and 7853 sp respectively, for a total of 13506 skill points, so I'm there with more than a couple of thousand to spare - but more high-level skills are due to be added shortly, apparently.  I should turn my sights to levelling up a bit, probably, now, which, if done naturally in Prokion Temple, should add a useful extra store of skill points anyway.

A reserve is needed, also, because getting killed without having a resurrection scroll, or skill point restoration scroll, active and being able to use it would be disastrous with so many unallocated points.  Someone in the Tomb of Theos yesterday, attempting to level up, was complaining that their deaths there had cost them 2000 skill points...well, they did seem to go rather a long way forward into the zombies' spawning area...

I finally got around to using the "pet mount retraining card", after SirDarth downloaded it; he passed his level 33 mount over to Enchantrella, who passed her level 31 white mount to him.  Darth then "retrained" the white mount, making it a horse once again instead of a "Knight Mare", and headed off to the Gnoll Lancers for a bit of old-fashioned pet training.  If I'm busy at the newer computer, I just need to look at the older screen every few minutes, and switch from one Gnoll Lancer to another. or, if I'm not quick enough for that, pick up any loot dropped, and then target a new one.

I was thinking of moving my best Necklace of Earth, with 5% suction of mana, 93 hit rate, 58 hit points, and 10% suction of life, across from Keerella to Kae, but as soon as I logged in as Kee Caires was in touch, asking to meet up with Kee at the Tomb of Theos - and MAsterROgue also sent similar messages.  So, bowing to popular demand, off I went to the Tomb.

Caires, with his two computers, also brought along his level 31 healer Magh; he started with a little bit of KS-ing, as arranged, since the one-hour recall cards have again sold out in the Mall for this week, but as he is level 64 now, I suggested that it was worth him trying taking on the Screaming Zombies himself, with Magh supplying the necessary healing.  That seemed to work pretty well, he used a Platinum Blessed Iris and a potion to increase his health, I only rarely had to get involved if he attracted more than one zombie at a time.

MAsterROgue wanted to come into the party, rather than KS, and I allowed that for 65 minutes, which was long enough for her to get the final 30% of the way to level 36.  It meant not much in the way of skill experience for me for that time, of course.  I continued for a while after that, getting Kee up to a grand total of 1% experience, 1643 pet points, and 4 skill points.  Caires did get in touch later, after I'd left the Tomb, with the idea of buying a one-day recall card, as that is the only kind left, but by that time I'd have only been able to go back down for an hour.  So, either tomorrow, or Wednesday, when the one-hour cards are back in stock... not that he really needs me if he can kill the zombies himself now, but I guess it would be quicker.

A look around Cariae-1 found that Makoo was selling items again, so I was able to buy another 215 skill point boosters at 390k; they've not been moved to Barbarienne, though, it will probably be either Karella or Enchantrella who use them, once Barbarienne has outgrown her level 29 +15 bow, and it can be converted into either a rogue crossbow or a mage staff.  It will be interesting to see if one of them can kill as quickly as Barb could.

I had time for a bit less than an hour with Kaerella down with the Beast Flyers, and got 25 skill points for her, plus 806 pet points, not to mention a +4 weapon, a +3 piece of level 41 armour, and a skill point booster.  DarkPulse101 was chatting about a decision to mainly level that character from 88 to 90 by Monster Combos, and concentrate otherwise on getting ShawShankz her skill points in Prokion when she could afford the necessary pssp.  DP checked up in the Last Chaos site's profile, and found that it dated back to 31st October last year, so, longer than I've been around, while Astarael commented that their account dated back to last June, though three or four months were spent with the first character stuck on level 26, so DP may have been an active player longer.  DP's knight was certainly introduced to me by Elvastar as a grizzled old-timer, way back when.

After that, it was time for SirDarth to finish his pet-levelling stint, after getting the white horse a little over halfway through level 31. He froze the experience of a couple more new members, Astarael is certainly finding Norcaine a lot of new recruits - and he also unfroze Barbarienne, so that she can now level up a bit when next she visits Prokion Temple.  Looking at the Guild details, I see she donated 5528 cumulative points while she had her experience gain stopped, not that Norcaine is exactly short of guild points at the moment.