Keerella's Blog - stardate January 2009 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month begins here at the top!
The Tomb and the Combo -  January1st

MistressDomina did well with her overnight sales, thankfully, so that the cash situation is much improved. SirDarth went out mining again, mainly so that I would know if Zenderfly was online - but when there was no sign of her after lunch, it seemed a good idea to take Keerella, Barbarienne, and Skrappy over to the Cariae-3 Tomb of Theos for a session - particularly as the "fox test" showed that double experience was running.

After Skrappy's recent death in the grave room, his health was still fairly low - while the "human tribe" pets do regenerate their hit points, it is a rather slow process.  So, Barbarienne had charge of him, and hugged the wall, while Kee did the actual Screaming Zonbie fighting.  I did actually have Barb on the newer computer, in case Zen did turn up and want to team, so I was fighting on the older computer, which made a change.

Luckily I wasn't fighting alone - Elvastar was online, and although he'd taken another trip to Egeha to bash Bogles, he decided to come down and join me, thanks to my still-functioning week's Recall card.  We experimented with a few kills with him in our party, and a few kills with him ks-ing from outside, and he got a lot more experience from being on the outside, "stealing" kill experience.  That suited me fine, as it meant that almost all the experience only needed to be split two ways, between Kee and Barb.

Renez and Meds were also online a bit, as a break from Ren's college work; Meds did actually take my Recall to come into the Tomb, but when Meds ran down to the depths, the spot was taken.  Lucky that Meds hadn't had to pay for entry...

Well, we managed to get Elva up to level 48 at last, and some percent beyond that, so that was good - and while Skrappy didn't go up more than about 15%, he did at least regenerate some health, though his next levelling-up, still about 10% away, will probably be needed to get him up to full health again.  Of course I could use a few Rough Bandages, but those cost money, y'know?  Keerella added 1.43% and 2 skill points, plus 2067 pet points, while Barbarienne added 13.67% and 3 skill points.  Since the actual amount of experience they got was fairly similar, it does show how much longer a level 90 is than 87! And a little cash was obtained, too.

After the food break I was at last able to contact Zenderfly - at just the right time to join a Monster Combo team!  It was Kee she wanted, so I moved her over to the newer computer, and registered, just in time to join the party. There is a general feeling that an "event", such as the double experience, does have a negative effect on the loot drops one gets - and the theory is that this can effect the number of Coins of Master that the group gets in the Monster Combo.  Certainly, we didn't break any records - the first MC run managed 198, of which I got 25, while the second run's 222 (27 for me) was still not exactly above average.

Zen herself left after the first run; someone said she'd had a disconnection, I hope there was nothing wrong, probably just a slight tiredness from her recent efforts, or something good on television.  It seemed strange to be in a MC team without her, but her influence and example kept us going.  The cleric ScaredlilGirl had to leave us after the second run, so, as we seemed unable to get any healing, I volunteered to switch to "my level 87 archer" Barbarienne, and the offer was quickly accepted.

I did warn them still to have a few pots to hand, as an archer's healing isn't up to cleric levels, but, using up my supply of festive Blue Candy Canes and also quite a few ordinary medium mana pots, I managed to keep everyone healthy, generally just with Party Heal though sometimes using the one-person Heal if somebody was getting lower than the rest.  I had to make sure to use my bow as much as possible too, as the amount of actual attack from team members is a factor in the number of coins we get, and also helped my experience score along.  With Zen not there, I wasn't "capped", and in fact got 8.82% experience and 4 skill points, plus 402 pet points for my horse.  That run got 221 Master Coins, of which i got 28.

Luckily Scared was available after that run, so for the fourth MC I was able to switch back to Kee; it's a lot simpler just attacking Wight Slashers, and not having to watch everyone's health bars!  For a change we all went in from the start, rather than someone soloing the first four rounds for speed (as they only have as many monsters as there are players present down below) - it seems ages since I last fought the Nivas!  Someone had to leave soon after the first coin round, and a replacement, PinkNova, was brought in; as 5 coins were being reserved for the leaver, out of the 231 total I got another 28.

Her three Monster Combos gave Keerella 2.30% experience, and a massive, by Kee's current standards, 16 skill points, plus 1872 more pet points for my drake Greedo, making her day's gain 3.73%, which at level 90 isn't bad, plus 18 skill points and 3939 pet points; Barbarienne's total for this first day of the New Year was 22.49% experience, and 7 skill points, plus the 402 pet points.

Happiness Delayed -  January 2nd

I didn't have MistressDomina online overnight to sell things, on the feeling that the computer and the modem deserved some time off to recover, after staying on the previous night.  I did however put MD up to sell her usual wide range of bargains for most of the morning, and I'm afraid she didn't manage to sell anything.

SirDarth, however, was able to do some more mining; Zenderfly did get in touch, wanting to sell her supply of the Master Coins from the Monster Combo at 800,000 gold each, so I switched over to Barbarienne, who was the only character of mine to be carrying a useful amount of money, and we met in Randol to make the trade - 202 coins in all.  Zen had been intending to use the coins herself generally, to make the special monster combo necklaces, but I think that she saw a bargain or two in town and needed the cash.

After lunch Barbarienne headed down into the Tomb of Theos again, and Recalled Keerella, on the second computer, in to join her.  Kee took over custodianship of Skrappy; most of the time, Barb did the fighting, so that her horse would get pet points, while Kee kept to the wall with Skrappy, who got experience from the kills.  In all Skrappy went up around 50% today, which included levelling up to level 41.

I took a rather early food break, as the European Union "Happy Hour" had been announced on the website as running from 4:00pm GMT to 6:00pm, and offered 50% extra skill exp.  However, four o'clock came and went, and the skill exp per kill stayed resolutely ordinary - 550 per Screaming Zombie for Kee if Barb was out of range to provide a "solo party".  I went along to the Last Chaos forum's shout box, and was one of the people mentioning the absence of the "Happy Hour" to the GameSage on duty, Giovanna_X.  There were of course a lot of other requests she was dealing with, but we finally managed to persuade her that, at least on Cariae and Hatzring servers, no boost had been given - and finally, at about a quarter past six i think, the "Happy Hour" started - and as an apology it was double skill exp, and double experience too.

The "Happy Hour" lasted for a third hour, too, so it was a useful boost for both Kee and Barb.  I was joined for most of it by MAsterROgue, who finally, despite three deaths, reached her new level, 37, just before I had to log out.  She came into the party for a couple of kills a couple of times, but otherwise was content to KS.  We did try to give her the "final blow" a few times, but no matter how low I got the current zombie's health, she was unable to make any impression, despite having maxxed out her attack speed.  Perhaps the monsters don't dislike healer/archers as much as they do mages, because on two occasions the zombie eventually turned on MR, and with a single blow killed her.  Her other death was just us stopping to talk too far forward, and a zombie respawning close by her.

It's always interesting keeping an eye on the Shoutbox; DawnLJ5 came on to ask about an emergency maintenance she'd been told of - what time would it be?  My response was, probably just as she got her first mob of Screaming Zombies together.  In fact, we were reassured that no emergency maintenance was planned, the removal of some old items from the Item Mall storage page would mean that the Mall itself would go offline for a few minutes, but that wouldn't do anything to the actual playing servers.

GMMoose made an appearance, and was immediately deluged with requests, for almost all of which the answer was to use the "contact us" system.  It's good that he did drop in, though, it all adds to the sense of LC being a community.  Someone had bought 7 packages from the Mall and transferred them all to their inventory, but only two packages had arrived there, as he'd reached 150% weight on his inventory, and was "encumbered" - I don't know what the GMs will manage to do about that.  Someone's friend had just been scammed out of 25 million, someone else's inventory had gone empty after server maintenance, someone else is really keen on the idea of "Star Wars" type costumes...

Elvastar was selling his mounts, feeling sure that Irina had scammed us out of my level 29 +15 weapon that he had borrowed - it's such a shame, his cash reserves are so low, but of course, being Elva, he insists it is his responsibility and that he will buy a replacement weapon.   I think he sold a couple rather too cheaply, but for another one he seems to have got a decent package of items, some of which have now been passed over to MistressDomina for her to have a go at selling.

Well, three hours of double experience and double skill exp meant that Keerella added 4.87% experience, 22 skill points, and 531 pet points for Greedo from the time when she was attacking the zombies and Barb was out of compass range - though for almost all the time she was wall-hugging with Skrappy equipped.  She was also ahead by about two million in gold, while two Heaven Stones did drop during the Tomb time.

As for Barbarienne, well, she reached level 88 safely - and is almost a quarter of the way to level 89, even, after adding in all 38.24% experience.  Her pet horse did manage to level up to level 24, and is 1989 points into his next level.  Barb added 18 skill points - and spent 300 on the newly-available level seven of Survival Training, which increases her health by 40 and her defence by 20.

So, not a complicated day, but useful progress for Barbarienne, Skrappy, Barbarienne's horse, and indeed Kee.  Now if MistressDomina can just sell those Master Coins overnight, all will be well!

Monster Combos, and Tomb Time -  January 3rd

MistressDomina did some fine work selling stuff overnight - which was lucky, really, as Zenderfly had another 237 Master Coins to sell me this afternoon.  I left MD in merchant mode for most of the morning, but the remaining items continued to, well, remain.  SirDarth, as is his habit, did a little more mining.

I had a message from Zen about a Monster Combo when I got back from lunch, but when I responded, it had already been under way for a while, Zen reported they were already on stage nine.  So I waited a few minutes, and asked how things were going, by which time they were on stage 19... but Zen wasn't sure if they would continue beyond that run.

Luckily most of them did decide to go on, Zen included - and luckily there was room for me.  It was Barbarienne that Zen wanted this time, as they didn't have a healer, so I registered for the party and joined up, with the usual advice that an archer's healing isn't as good as a cleric's, so keep a few potions handy.

So, lots of Party Heal, and some individual Heals as well when needed - I got through a whole package of the small blue candy canes from under the Randol Christmas tree, and then some of the regular mana potions.  I used my bow on the Wight Slashers as much as possible too, as it is generally held that all players must do plenty of damage if the number of coins is going to be good.

I asked Zen to put Barbarienne on her Friends List, replacing Darth, since they are on the same account so, if I'm playing Barb, I can't have Darth online too, in the way that I can with Kee or Kae.  So, it's probably Barb who'll be doing the mining if I'm playing as one of those two.  Maybe she should be promoted to Norcaine guild master?

Anyway, Enchantrella was the designated miner while Barb was in the combo; she also, as she's not dual class since she isn't level 31 yet, and so isn't affected by the mysterious health-decreasing virus there, made a quick trip to Strayana to buy some medium and large mana potions, which she delivered to Barb in Dratan after the first MC.

Luckily, ScaredlilGirl, the cleric we've partied with quite a few times before, joined the MC team after the first one, so I was able to concentrate on the archery side, using Poison Arrow and other skills - and still using plenty of mana pots.  I definitely need to get her a good "suction of mana" accessory, but it's a matter of searching the shops, and trying to judge if the price is right or not.  It seems strange that an archer should use more mana than a wizard, but it does look as if that is the case.

Scared was mentioning that she'd been in a party with some higher-level people, up to level 120, and how quickly they'd got through the MC - which Zen seemed to take as some sort of boast, but things soon calmed down.  As Barb is 17 levels beneath Zen, I was "capped" for this afternoon's outing, so got only small amounts of experience, even though the "double experience and skill exp" event had been left running, as an early "fox test" by Darth had shown me.  KIlling the actual coin-containing boxes gave two skill exp instead of their normal one - I commented that the Wight Slashers gave me twice as much skill exp as the boxes, which was generally true.

Our three runs yielded 230, 227, and 226 Master Coins each in total, so that my share was 29, 28, and 28 again.  Zen sold me the 237 that she had collected today and yesterday, at the end, and then it was time for my food break.  Other people had other things to do too, so I think that was the end of the party.

When I came back, Zenderfly was offline, so I was able to take advantage of the double event, and take Barbarienne to the Tomb of Theos.  Elvastar had been asking if he could come along with me and "KS" a bit if I did go there, so I invited him to join me - a shame I don't have Recall at the moment, as that meant he had to pay the 144,000 gold cost of admission, 3000 gold per level.  And as he got his best experience outside the party, he didn't get a share of the loot drops - not that there was anything better than a Moonstone Box and a Large Defence Potion, but still...

We slogged away at the Screaming Zombies without any great problems; the place was pretty busy, with a team and other individuals, but there was very little uninvited KS-ing.  Although her current MC-type accessory only gives Barb 5% suction of life, I very seldom needed to use Self Heal, and the Zombies were generally very little trouble.  Elva did level up, just before the end, so has reached level 49 now - level 48 lasted a much shorter time for him than level 47! 

Sheele was online this afternoon, while I was busy in the Monster Combo; I wasn't able to follow the conversation, as there was quite a lot of talk in the MC too, and I was having to concentrate on health bars rather, but Elva told me that Sheele has kindly bought a level 57 +15 weapon, which Sheele will lend to Elva - so Elva is now rather eager to get to level 53, when he'll be able to use it, and plans to be "frozen" to farm some skill points then.

The new week will mean back to college for many players, Zen included, so a lot of people will be around rather less.  Elva also is going back to his job after the Christmas break, so will only be on in his evenings; now that he has broadband at home again he won't be trying to play while at work, as that did get a bit risky, and might have been hard to explain to his boss.  Still, it got him back to us, so it has served its purpose.  Limey was online for the first time in a while, and was asking what the intriguingly-shaped and weighty Christmas present I'd been sent turned out to be - I was able to inform him that it was a Christmas hamper, so that most of the weight was from jars of jam and so on!

Barb's horse levelled up again, gaining 3759 pet points today; the experience gain was 23.51%, and I think 11 skill points got added, not that Barb is short of such things.  There was talk in the MC of further skills being added, and how a lot of classes do desperately need a good new one, since many current skills are not quite as good as they are supposed to be.  I get the impression that an archer is okay though, apart from the high mana usage.

Well, it was one of those evenings when I have to log out early, so I left Elvastar in the Tomb at about 8:15pm, UK time.  Whether he left, or joined a team, no doubt I'll find out tomorrow.  We both made solid progress today anyway.

Double Time -  January 4th

I left MistressDomina up overnight again, since I had more Master Coins to sell, and again she did very well, so, until I find a really good accessory or perhaps a piece of +15 armour, my gold reserves are pretty good now.  I did buy a Necklace of Earth with 5% suction of mana, plus 116 health points and 93 hit rate for Barbarienne, but I really need to look out for one with 10% suction - still, it would be handy to have this one around too, in case I need the extra boost.

Barbarienne did take over responsibility for some mining in the late morning and over lunch, but after that it was time, since Zenderfly wasn't around, to head for the Tomb of Theos again, as a quick "fox test" showed that the double experience and double skill exp was still running.  I brought along one of my low-level characters to host Skrappy, and set to work - soon joined again by Elvastar, who KS'd pretty productively, reaching 90% of his new level before I had to leave the keyboard for my food break.

ShawShankz was asking to borrow my level 69 +15 weapon, but I couldn't find it, it may indeed be on loan to a guildie or just in an inventory i didn't look through.  Still, the level 65 +14 one I could find seemed to satisfy him, and he returned the level 53 +14 he'd previously borrowed - and this of course was just right for Elva to borrow until he's high enough to take Sheele's level 57 +15 one on loan.  I was also able to find a 50/52 armour set he could borrow, mainly +6, so once he'd converted that from healer to sorcerer gear he was delighted to find it took his physical defence stat over 1000 for the first time.

While I was away, Elva did reach level 50 - so it won't be long before he'll be wanting to borrow my 55/57 healer set, which is +8, and indeed was bought as a sorcerer set in the first place.  Once he gets to level 53 and can use that +15 weapon of Sheele's, the plan is to freeze his experience for a good long time while he gets the skill exp he needs.

As Elva mentioned being short of the cash needed to transform the armour set to sorcerer wear, I switched over to Kaerella so that I could lend him some, but he managed to find what he needed.  I'd teamed Kae up with Barbarienne, who was again active in the Tomb by then, fighting the Screaming Zombies, and was vaguely thinking of perhaps taking her down into the Tomb too, to wall-hug and host Skrappy - or even go to Maargadum Jail and fight the Beast Flyers on level 3 there...

When Elva asked Kae if she was heading for the Jail, that rather made up my mind for me, though my initial response was that fighting two different sets of monsters on two computers at the same time was a bit complicated.  So, Kae headed for Jail, while Barb continued with the Screaming Zombies...and yes, it was a bit complicated!

Elvastar was going to come back to the Tomb in his new armour and fight alongside me some more, but he got a bug that I get sometimes, when he tried to use his memory scroll to move from Dratan to the Tomb's entrance, he just got the message that it wasn't possible to move there.  I suggested he move outside town and try again, or relog, but when he did log back on, he found that he also couldn't look at merchants' goods for sale - so, feeling that this was all a bad sign, he logged out.

Barbarienne continued to make steady progress, and reached level 89 - her horse went up a level again too, and is now level 26.  In all, Barb added 59.89% today, and 32 skill points, not that she is short of them - plus 5051 pet points.  Kaerella only had the partial evening session, but 71 skill points is a useful addition, while 1575 pet points helps SirFrancis along a bit too.

The quiz was at its usual 9:30 UK time, but they didn't open the Quiz Room until about ten minutes before, so there was quite a mob clustered around the Domain merchant when Kae arrived there.  Zenderfly logged on in time for the Quiz, she'd decided to take the day off, she said; it didn't matter to her that she'd missed double experience and skill exp time, as she has all she needs now.  She had a good number of computers active for the quiz, but FrostEXP must have become unclicked or lost her connection, as I noticed her vanish on the wrong side of the room.  She at least got the ten Toolaids first, though.  As for me, well Barb took the lead, with Kae clicked on to her, as well as ShawShankz, and we all got to the end safely, as the questions were still the usual ones - including the Thanksgiving-themed pair, turkeys being called "Tom" rather than "Larry", and Israelis eating more turkey per year than Americans.  Or maybe we can consider those Christmas-themed now?

So, with 30 shiny new Heaven Stones tucked away in storage, plus a few collected by Kae and Barb today, the day ended well.  I don't think I'll make a habit of playing two different games of Last Chaos at the same time, though...doing that, plus keeping up with the guild channel and talking to a friend on Windows Live Messenger, is a bit too much!

Tombing Along -  January 5th

Well, not much to report today, really.  No great bargains in town, or any other purchases really except some more Freshly Baked Bread for Skrappy - I didn't have MistressDomina in merchant mode, though she was online briefly to have some recent loot moved across, and I didn't do any mining.  I also didn't see Zenderfly online at all today - but then, it is the first day of the college new term, semester, or whatever.

I also didn't repeat yesterday's feat of playing in two different places at once.  Instead, the plan was nice and simple, give Skrappy into the care of one of my low-level character who could do with some levelling, and take her, and Barbarienne, out to the Tomb of Theos.  With a straightforward idea like that, what could go wrong...?

Well, quite a bit, actually.  The "bug" that Elvastar encountered yesterday, making it impossible to use a memorising scroll to teleport to the Tomb, was still there... checking up in the Shout Box, it seems that it is a result of the Dratan Castle Siege, which takes place around that area, when different guilds try to wrest control of the Castle from whichever guild holds it at the moment.  So the area is "sealed off" while the Castle Siege is in progress, and our dear Game Masters forgot to unseal it afterwards.

So, Barbarienne had to mount her horse, and gallop out there, which is never as simple as it should be as many slopes that one ought to be able to gallop down are bugged with "invisible walls".  At level 33, SirDarth a few weeks back found the journey a bit dangerous, and had his health knocked pretty low a few times - for Barb at level 89 there was no such problem, but it did take up a little time.  And it meant that my low-level character would have stood no chance of getting through, even if I'd loaned her a mount, the Masters of Secret Technique would have killed her for sure.

I finally arrived at the gateway into the area, a portal at the top of some steps - and could go no further, usually one runs on down and on to the actual Tomb entrance.  Luckily, a duplicate of the usual NPC teleporter was there, and could beam me into the Tomb in the usual way, but I really should have added that spot to my scroll for future use.

Anyway, I was in, and I slogged away for the rest of the afternoon - and I could forgive the GMs for forgetting to turn of the Castle Siege containment, as they'd also left the double experience and skill exp running!  The problem with teleportation did mean that the Tomb was quieter than usual, so things were pretty peaceful, except for the Screaming Zombies of course.  I was in Cariae-4 rather than Cariae-3, as I'd changed over to see if the same situation on teleportation applied there.  I kept the Last Chaos forum "shout box" open, and made the occasional comment, which helped make life more interesting.

After my food break I continued there.  A titan called Manofwarr did, with my permission, KS for a while - and when I checked my Friends List, I saw that Jacqueline was online, Elva's healer, so was able to reassure him that his "bug" last night hadn't been directed at him personally.  Elva did ride down to join me shortly after, though it seemed to take him a little while, so I had his company for the last ninety minutes or so.  The titan stayed a little longer after Elva's arrival, but finally reached level 61, and was ready to head back to town, and also, in real life, to deal with the Christmas tree in his living room, which had begun to shed its pine needles everywhere.

Elvastar did experiment with soloing a Screaming Zombie, using his knight form - and succeeded in killing one, though as he wasn't in a solo party he got slightly under eight million experience rather than the full nine million.  He used plenty of pots, and did ask for some healing towards the end... it was interesting that me using Heal on Elva did make the zombie change his target to Barb once, which is a good reason for me not to send my cleric Kaerella into those parts for a while.  But Elva recaptured its attention, and made the kill unaided - adding about 4% experience.

Well, all my work there moved Barbarienne along nicely; her horse levelled up yet again, and is now, after gaining 5150 pet points, level 27 - I don't think he'll manage a whole level tomorrow, though, each one at this stage is about 500 points longer than the previous one.  The experience gain was a solid 64.07%, and Barb even gained 44 skill points.

Afterwards, Elva and I both carefully left via the NPC teleporter, but that got us to the usual "outside", just by the Tomb entrance, and, while we could run over to the steps and the portal, and see the other NPC teleporter, a "forcefield" stopped us from going through to him - which was a shame, as it would have been handy to have been able to add just outside the portal to one's memorising scroll!  This must mean that anyone who wants to can enter the "Castle Siege" area by entering the Tomb and then leaving it, for what good that's worth.

So, it was time to log out.  If the area is still sealed tomorrow, I must remember to get that outside spot on my memorising scroll before I go in - it's not as if Barb's scroll is full of high-level locations, unlike Keerella, Kaerella and indeed SirDarth, I don't think she has ever been to Egeha yet, so no "Boucu Demons - well back" location, or "Lust Trum Tower Entrance", a spot that Kee ought to get too, come to that, as, while she has been Recalled in there a few times, I can't say that she has ever actually fought in there.

Level Ninety -  January 6th

Barbarienne had to ride out to the Tomb of Theos again, as the area was still "sealed" - at least this time I remembered to add the outside-portal location to Barb's memorising scroll!  Sadly the double experience and skill exp had been switched off, but after a few minutes I decided to make my own "event" by using a Platinum Blessed Iris to treble my experience gain for an hour - during that time I went up 21.51%, so 14.34% was due to that PBI.  Thanks to that, I was able to reach level ninety just ahead of my food break.

After the PBI ended I did have a level 70 titan , TitanHarcos, asking to KS a bit, so that was company for a while.  After my food break I continued, but before long heard from Astarael that a MC party led by xMirRx, an archer he knew, was in need of people.  By the time we'd settled which sub-server it was, and whether Keerella or Barbarienne was wanted, they did actually get up to the full number, but Asta promised to let me know when their next run was recruiting. 

Still in the Tomb a level 30 sorcerer, Newer68, asked for some levelling help, and I did allow him to join the party, after all if you can get past the monsters and find your way in at that level, you deserve a little reward.  He was offering a million if I got him to level 32, but I had to warn him that I would probably get called away for the Monster Combo.  Besides, a million means a lot more to him than to Barb.  Hopefully his share of the loot more than refunded the price of admission to the Tomb.  I did get him up to level 31, and 20% of the way into his new level before I got the call to switch to Cariae-5, and switch to Kee, for the Monster Combo party.

There was nobody above about level 97 in the team, so that when it got going, I got some useful experience and skill exp.  The other mage in the team, TOBBE, a member of Fraternity guild, asked to see my armour and weapon in the trade window, and actually offered me five billion in gold for it all, which seemed a rather ludicrously high price.  True the weapon is G5 +15, and the armour set is B5 eva, three parts +13 and the helm and pants +15, but it can't be worth more than a third of that, surely?

ShawShankz, who as DarkPulse101 is in that guild, vouched for the mage as a decent chap, but, I don't know, sometimes when an offer is too good to be true, it's, well, too good to be true, yes?  I'm too lazy to want to restart getting all the stuff I'd need, anyway.  With that much gold he shouldn't have much trouble getting a set of his own together.

The Monster Combo itself went pretty smoothly, with the leader doing the first four stages solo - it was a bit of a surprise to get a full round of level 99 Nivas as round eight, but they didn't give us any problems.  We ended up with 228 Master Coins, of which I got 28.

There was the usual recruiting gap after the first MC, as we needed to replace three people who had to leave, so I took the chance to have Kee mount up and ride out to the Tomb of Theos, and get that outer portal onto her memorising scroll.  I was the only mage in the party when we restarted, so kept pretty busy, but the haul of coins this time was a bit on the low side, at 194, so this time I got 24.

FoxChaser had been on the second computer for almost all the afternoon and evening, testing out a forum post which had said that the Christmas Gift Boxes, if they spawned in one's Guild Hall, didn't expire, or of course get hit by passers-by...and sure enough by the end of the evening there were seven boxes in there.  Barbarienne went in to "kill" them, but there wasn't one of the five-day "lightspeed" scrolls, just a one-day merchant scroll (allowing one to sell items even if out of town), a soon-to-expire reindeer book, and assorted Santa hats.

Barbarienne's total experience gain for the day was 29.74%, 3257 pet points, and 14 skill points - though reaching level 90 meant that I could spend 700 on level six of the passive skill Force Arrow, adding 10 to my attack and 30 to my defence.  The two MCs meant that Keerella added 14 skill points too, along with 1113 pet points and 0.96% experience - so that she remains 29.04% ahead of Barb, which is equal to quite a few days of slogging.

We are promised significant changes to Last Chaos in tonight's patch - a new dungeon, new armour and weapons, bug fixes, and "The Mysterious and Awesome Phoenix System and more", whatever that is.  I think the new armour needs to be self-crafted, and is for people who are at least level 95, but it will be interesting to see how it all works.  I hope the "bug fixes" include getting the acquisition of "special skills" to work properly, Barb still needs to get the final level of armour-making.  No doubt new bugs will be introduced as well, but the new "patch notes" will be a must-read in the morning.

Disconnection Time -  January 7th

Well, the new dungeon in Strayana got added in last night's patch, with ghostly versions of all six player classes as the foes, and the new armour and weapon drops...a level 95/97 armour set, and a level 97 weapon, so they have skipped having a level 90/92 set, and the 89 and 93 level weapons.  Oh well, if they only had one set available, probably best to make it higher like that, but it means the new stuff has no interest for me, for a while.

It was impressive how many of the new items were proudly on sale in Randol this morning - people had been busy!  Apparently there are no blue five-seal evasion drops yet, fingers crossed that there will be eventually.  It will perhaps be a chance for me to get +15 items for the level 85/87 sets Keerella and Barbarienne now wear, as people trade up... I wonder how a +15 item from the old set would compare with a +13 item from the new one...?

The Christmas event has ended, though Barb's horse is still a reindeer, surprisingly; I am told that when they do turn back into horses, they may well have lost any special colouring they had been previously given, so it's lucky that Barb's horse was uncoloured.

MistressDomina did a tiny amount of selling, though she really didn't have much to sell; with the low current prices on skill and exp boosters, health and mana stealers, item drop boosters, etc, it seems best just to hold on to that sort of thing for future personal use.  Barbarienne did a little mining over lunch.  However, when I came back afterwards, both MD and Barb had disconnected - a sign of things to come.

The Tomb of Theos was back to normal, so a level-one healer and Barb were able to teleport right to its door, and go in.  SkrappY, looked after by the healer, added just about 4% experience while the healer was levelled up to 22; each Screaming Zombie killed is worth 20 experience to my "human tribe" cat-pet, but 20,541 experience is what's needed to get through his current level, 41, so he gets just under 0.10% per kill.

Newer68 came out to keep me company, and ask a lot of questions which I hope, with a few looks at the Wet Paint Wiki, I was able to answer relatively helpfully.  He reached level 32, and went back to town to get the skill which allows a specialist-type sorcerer to change into a red, winged demon or a small-headed, floating knight, and then almost immediately tried to take on a zombie solo, in knight form.  By the time I noticed, he was dead - not that my healing would have been able to keep him alive, I'm sure.  We did manage to give him a "final blow" to kill a zombie while he was in demon form, however - not easy, as its health regenerates pretty fast, compared with the attack power of a level 32 character.

By the end of the afternoon session Barb had gone up 1.39% and 2 skill points; her reindeer-horse must be getting close to his next level by now, but he isn't quite there yet.  I left Barb safely back by the teleporter, behind a pillar wall-hugging...

...and when I got back, she had been disconnected.  The feeling in the Shoutbox was that certain Cariae sub-servers were bad, and some good, today, so I moved over to Cariae-5 instead of Cariae-3, and, since I didn't want to spend money on going into the Tomb again if disconnections were threatened, took Kaerella off to Maargadum Jail and the Beast Flyers again.  The central area was occupied when I arrived, so I began in a side room, but when I checked a few minutes later, the centre was free, so I moved on down.  It wasn't a very long session, as, due to the disconnection problems, the GMs in the office decided to close down the whole Cariae server group, with 5 minutes notice.  So, just 38 more skill points there for Kae, and 1220 pet points.  I hadn't used a platinum super skill pill as such things tend to vanish if there is a disconnection.

So, the engineers pulled out their hair, and GMs like SupermanOX, OgreKing and JediMike did what they could, but the Cariae servers couldn't be got running again, until after my logging-out time.  Strangely the problem wasn't with the new material, SupermanOX was able to tell us that it was part of the quest to get the "Ichi" "human tribe" rat-pet that was causing the problem, so why that had messed things up now was a bit of a mystery.  An NPC for that quest, "the Book of Life", has been temporarily removed. "There seems to be a problem with our database machines"...

Meanwhile, I played a bit in the game that has got Elys hooked at the moment, Florensia, getting my Mercenary character, Strayana, up to level seven by killing lots of mushrooms and dodos.  I got what may well be some useful drops, but most of them of course are for a different character class, either for a Saint or a Noble.  It all looks very cute, anyway!  I did actually see Elys down by the harbour, fishing, but that is an afk activity, so there was no point in attempting to chat.

Hopefully Last Chaos will be running smoothly on the Cariae sub-servers tomorrow - Astarael had been about to trade back an armour set and weapon he had borrowed when there was a Cariae-3 disconnection, and the account I'd been about to trade with him on just couldn't get back into the game, it was "account already logged in" for the rest of the evening, or at least until the close-down.  Asta and Renez were probably trapped that way too, they appeared on Kae's guild list as online but made no response on the guild channel.

Not a good first day for the new patch, then, but things can only get better, and with any luck as an apology we'll get some more double experience and double skill exp time.  Apparently Cariae has missed out on one of the "buy one, get one free" offers too, but those always seem more trouble than they are worth, with the "stay in-game and alert on your third sub-server for the next four hours" small print.

Another Mass Disconnection -  January 8th

It was a busy day for me in real life, I'm afraid, so all I could do before the evening session was some mining.  It seems silly to have a level 90 character just hitting big rocks with a hammer, but, well, Barbarienne does have the mining skill maxxed out, as part of her "future-proofing", so she mines faster than most of my characters.

The evening session was pretty varied, anyway.  Newer68 had been in touch while I was mining, and was eager for another team-up with Barb in the Tomb of Theos, so I headed over that way.  After a few Screaming Zombies, I got ambitious, and led the way deeper into the Tomb, past the Sphinx Fighters and other locals, to the first room with, along with some Fighters, a pair of Anubis Spear Men.  This was generally an exploration and an experiment - I was able to fight and kill the Spear Men, but not particularly quickly, and I could take a fair amount of damage doing it, while their "Shield Strike" skill, temporarily stopping me attacking or using a skill, was a bit inconvenient.  I did actually die once, I was distracted with guild and local chat and didn't notice the sudden decline of my health bar until too late - Newer68 died too.  But we did at least get him up to level 33 after a few more Spear Men and Fighters had been despatched.

Since all the corridors look rather similar, I took the wrong one when we finally left the room we'd been fighting in - which meant that Newer68 did get a look at the big room with the pool in it...a rather short look actually, as an Anubis Attacker lived up to its name and swiftly killed him again.  I did kill it, but then it seemed a good time to log out, particularly as I'd received an invitation to a more interesting party...

Astarael had been in touch suggesting a trip into the new Strayana dungeon.  Naturally enough, this dungeon is indoors, so if you get Recalled straight in, you don't need to use the expensive Strayana vaccine, as the virus is only carried by the rain - clever, yes?  Unfortunately, Asta was by that time in a Monster Combo, but Renez's rogue Meds stepped in instead, and Recalled Barb straight to the start of the dungeon. 

Within a few yards of the teleporter NPC, the monsters started, if you can call them monsters... they are in fact representations of the six player character types, with the Titans being the ones nearest the entrance.  Meds did the tanking, with Barb using her bow and also doing some healing, though I'm sure Meds was using pots too.  Sometimes, as Barb is so often just soloing, it takes a little while to remember that she can heal, if not as well as Kaerella.

We'd only killed three or four, with just some gold dropped, when Meds got called away by real life, but I was advised to use the teleporter to go outside, and add the entrance to Barb's memorising scroll, which I did.  So, at least I know where the place is, and what its start is like - the foes there are rather high level for us humble level 90 types, so more grinding is probably a good idea.

After that it seemed like a good idea to let Kaerella go off to Maargadum Jail, still on Cariae-3, and farm some skill experience, so that's what I did.  I began by using a platinum super skill pill to treble my skill exp gain for an hour, and thus got 102 skill points - I continued for about another 40 minutes, getting the total gain up to 126 skill points, so that I'm now most of the way through the major level 70 skill's required sp - another couple of sessions like that and I can move on to the level 74 sixth level of Charm.  Not that I can actually get these skills until I am the appropriate level, but at least I can get the points needed.  SirFrancis, my drake, went up 1948 pet points.  I was, actually, about to log out, when the decision was taken for me, as the Cariae-3 sub-server crashed again.

Hopefully Kaerella will have survived, the Beast Flyers do very little damage and she does have the accessory with 10% "suction of life" equipped; other people on the shoutbox were in bigger trouble, with boosters running, and monsters they were fighting that would surely kill them.  Any account that was logged in on Cariae-3 couldn't log back in and join a different sub-server because, as far as the game was concerned, "the account is already in use".  MistressDomina was on the older computer, just standing around in Randol and giving Kae her "solo party" boost, and remained there, in theory, though as she had tried to look at what Ratel was selling, she couldn't actually move around.  The place still looks pretty full on the screen, though nobody is moving about...

So, a worrying end to the day.  Maybe tomorrow I'd better avoid Cariae-3, just in case it happens again there...

A Calmer Day -  January 9th

Things seemed initially to be back to normal on the Cariae server group today, and Kaerella was able to log back in after lunch without any problems.  I see she did somehow lose 3 skill points, so perhaps there was a small "rollback", with the most recent happenings before the disconnection not fully memorised - it's the people who were in an area where they'd be killed if they didn't defend themselves, or who were using a set of expensive buffs, that one feels sorry for.

So, Kae was able to head back to Maargadum Jail again, and, after starting a platinum super skill pill, get 117 skill points in her hour, as opposed to the 39 she'd have got without using a pssp.  An expensive 78 sp, since unlike many items the pssp seems to be holding its value at around eight million gold.  Kae also used a ten-minute, 50% extra sp scroll after that, as well as fighting a little longer to get up to the food break, and managed 136 sp in all, as well as 1440 pet points for SirFrancis.

After the food break it was time for Barbarienne to head for the Tomb of Theos.  I'd forgotten about the Friday "Happy Hour", and so, it seemed, had the GMs, as nothing much happened.  Elvastar joined me, and all was going well - until Cariae-3 had another mass disconnection.

Luckily this was a "clean" dc, and everyone was able to log straight back in again, which made for a rather crowded Randol.  This time, we decided to head for Cariae-6 instead, in case C-3 had any more little surprises up its sleeve.

It cost me another 270,000 gold to get back in, but this time all went well.  At about 6:10 pm UK time somebody remembered about the "Happy Hour", and switched on double experience, which was still running three and a half hours later when I logged out.  Very useful, when otherwise one's experience gain is being slightly nibbled by Elva's efforts - and later Newer68 did ask to come along and join us too, and at his level he still needs to be in the party, so is rather a bigger drain.

We did try to give him the "final blow" on a zombie or two - the suggestion was that I might leave the Tomb entirely, with Newer68 reimbursing me for the next 270k admittance fee, but it did seem possible for me to get the zombie down to 5% health or less and simply run away out of the area, and then leave the party...although perhaps that didn't "break aggro" in the way a Recall would, as Newer didn't get the whole experience gain.  I suppose I'll end up attempting a proper "power levelling" hour or so on him eventually, when he has the aeria points needed to have a Recall card of his own.

The evening had its interesting bits, such as when a member of the notorious "Superstars" guild tried to pull a group of zombies onto Elva.  Elva  teamed up with a mage of about his level briefly, she was waiting for her brother Larats to come and power-level her, but while they did kill a couple of zombies, it got rather expensive in pots.  Elva also teamed up, slightly unofficially, with a rogue called MrsIncredible, but that came to a sticky end when she didn't join in on one zombie, and didn't supply Snare when he asked. I was standing by, and would have helped if asked to, but Elva, in his knight form, continued to fight it solo...and died.  He only lost 3 skill points, though, and a little experience which of course was quickly replaced.

Newer68 did level up once; Elva's drake levelled up too, and, right at the end of the evening, Elvastar himself reached level 52, his second level-up of the evening I think.  So, just one more level until he is able to borrow a +15 level 57 weapon, has his experience gain frozen, and settles down to some serious skill exp farming.  At level 53 that would be Arcane/Akane Giants, which Keerella certainly spent quite a while with, and aren't hard to fight, just a slight nuisance if they respawn close enough to attack one's pet.  I wouldn't say they were particularly quick kills, though, so at 1100 skill exp each an evening's work wouldn't give a huge amount of sp.

Barbarienne added 12 skill points, a hefty 4.9% experience, and 2833 pet points, so her horse is very nearly halfway through his current level now.  To make any great impression on level 90, though, some solo power-levelling, with an assortment of one-hour pots, will be needed.  At least doing it solo means that a Recall card isn't needed...

A Delicate Condition -  January 10th

I did a "fox test" in Cariae-1 after lunch before browsing the shops, and that just showed the regular 1 experience and 1 skill exp, so after looking round, it seemed a reasonable idea to take Kaerella down to level three of Maargadum Jail on Cariae-4, just to get some more of those precious skill points.  It didn't take me all that long to notice that I was in fact getting double skill exp from the Beast Flyers...and briefly leaving my solo party with MistressDomina to check, double experience too.

However, the central area of the level was being used by SirAmanda, with all the Beast Flyers and Beast Archers tightly clustered round him, so I moved across to Cariae-3, where the space was clear, so I - hang on a minute, only single skill exp...?

So, I switched back to Cariae-4, and, doing some checking up on the forum's shoutbox, found that both Cariae-1 and Cariae-3 were in a "delicate" state, due to fan problems letting the servers get a bit over-warm.  It was likely that they'd have to be shut down at some point - it was very possible that the whole Cariae group would have to be shut down at some time, in fact.

I settled down in Cariae-4, anyway, and, after using the side-room with its slightly inadequate supply of Beast Flyers and Beast Archers, went and had a closer look at what SirAmanda was doing.  He seemed to be striking out about once every ten seconds, but without a weapon equipped - surely this wasn't a very good place to be pet levelling?

Well, he wasn't really using the Beast Flyers, and I don't think anyone afk can really have a claim to a prime fighting spot like that, so I attacked them, and got them to fight me instead, leaving him the Beast Archers and a Beast Scythe that must have followed him down.  There was no point in using an hour-long "pssp" booster, as that doesn't stack with events, but over the course of the afternoon the double skill exp meant that Kae got 102 more skill points, and 3507 pet points for SirFrancis.

When ShawShankz logged in, it took a little persuasion to get him to move out of Cariae-3 and into Cariae-4, it was almost as if I was trying to trick her.  Luckily Astarael was already clued up, while Limey quickly followed my advice and moved over.

The evening session took place in the Tomb of Theos, as Barbarienne plugged away at the Screaming Zombies in the traditional manner, accompanied by Elvastar - we got him up to level 53 by nine o'clock, UK time, and soon after he headed back to Randol, where he was able to exchange his old borrowed 50/52 armour set for a 55/57 set, and return the level 53 +14 weapon too.  I assume he already had the level 57 +15 weapon that Sheele kindly obtained for him.  So Elva changed the healer armour into its sorcerer equivalent, which just about cleaned out his cash reserves, and headed out into the Dratan desert in search of Giants, preferably of an Arcane persuasion.

Barb continued a little longer,  Elva had jokingly remarked that without him there to KS I'd be able to get the full experience - but after a couple of kills, blow me if another red devil style specialist sorcerer, XxRottweilerxX, hadn't calmly taken over.  Since he hadn't asked, I just moved a little further into the Tomb, which for a level 40 type would have been dangerous territory.

I was intending to log out at around 9:30 - and around ten minutes before that, Elvastar alerted me that the double experience and skill exp had ended.  So, I got full value out of that extra "happy hour", which I suppose was in compensation for our troubles server-wise over the last couple of days.  It was odd that it wasn't applied to Cariae-1 and Cariae-3, at least, but I suppose they were trying to encourage people to move to more stable sub-servers, and generally lighten the load.

My biggest surprise of the day, however, was checking my Friends List slightly more carefully.  Zenderfly hadn't been on at all this week, as far as I knew, which I'd assumed was to do with the new college term...but when I studied Barb's list, Zen was no longer on it, so she may actually have been playing.  It seems a little strange that she deleted me, after all we've been through together, but there may be some LC-bug type explanation.

Anyway, Barbarienne added 4.94% experience during the evening, and 30 skill points - and her horse has now reached level 29, after adding 6074 pet points.  The Cariae-4 sub-server held up okay, despite getting "congested" with the extra people - but, considering how busy things get on Sunday night when the Quiz is on, things could get a bit laggy then.  I hope the server hardware's fans can keep up...

Still No Better -  January 11th

Cariae's first and third sub-servers were still having problems, with people visiting the shoutbox to complain that they had been disconnected and couldn't log back in again.  Cariae-4 was "congested", with most of the merchants having moved there, too.

Well, Kaerella went down to Maargadum Jail for the afternoon, anyway, and used a pssp to get 118 skill points - then kept going, including using one of the ten-minute, 50% extra scrolls, until the food break, so that 164 skill points in all were bagged, along with 4810 pet points.  Rykie was in touch to say hi, and even dropped in on me, as he'd decided to visit the Death Knight of Iris on the lowest level of the jail.  He's high-level enough to be able to do that, to settle old scores.

After the food break, well, my intention was to go to the Tomb of Theos, but I found to my dismay that the place was locked down - Barbarienne couldn't use the memorising scroll to get to the entrance on the pyramid, she couldn't even use it to get to just outside the portal, and when I rode down there, this time the teleporter "tomb guard" was not to be found outside that outer portal, so there was no way to gain access.

As the "Sunday Teatime" seemed to be double experience, that rather stymied me, as none of my other characters, except for Keerella, want to gain experience, they are all stuck on skill point farming - and getting experience at level 90, for me, means the Tomb.  Egeha's high-level things are a bit far out of town, and tend even to be dangerous mobbing types, and for the time available to play, the 800,000 gold price of a journey there seemed a bit steep.  Strayana, well, for that I'd need to start a vaccine, and the things are generally a bit high.

Eventually Newer68 and I went to the Temple of Forgetfulness, just to pass the time - nothing there is above level 75, but Barb did actually go up 0.01% after killing assorted spiders, Legendary Slayers, Curd and Twin Hadians, Jumping Devils, and the two big bosses, the Barren Eise and the Blood Terrain, who did manage to get Barb's health down by a thousand or so with his attacks.  He must be a younger relative of the Darkmind Terrain who's the end boss in the Tomb, I guess.

I don't think Newer68 got any useful experience from the visit, but it is an intriguing place to look around, I think.  After I showed him where to find the the Poison Mists, as a suitable monster for him to solo now, I logged out for a while, and did a little questing in Florensia, which is quite fun as mmorpgs go, though so new that they haven't managed to implement a warehouse/storage function yet.

People on the shoutbox were still complaining about being booted from Cariae-1 and Cariae-3, but at least there were gamesages around now - it was strange that for almost three hours in the afternoon, UK time, none of them were seen.  It seemed that there was a possible remedy for the "account already logged in" problem - disconnect your modem for five or ten minutes, and with any luck the server would afterwards recognise that you weren't actually logged in.

Well, for want of anything better to do, Kaerella had another visit to Maargadum Jail, for maybe 45 minues - and when I started killing stuff on level three there, I discovered that the "Sunday Teatime" event was also giving 50% extra skill I'd wasted a bit of that.  The central part was busy when I got there, so I headed for the upper room on the far side that does at least have three or four Beast Flyers - only to find that in use too! Luckily when I went back to the middle, its previous occupant had just left, and I was able to step in.

This extra session meant that, by the time I logged out at 9:20, Kae's score for the day had reached 205 skill points and 5541 pet points, so she has finished acquiring the skill points needed for the level 70 skill Mark of Despair (levels 1-5), and is well into level 74's Charm, level 6.  So Kae's future as a properly functioning cleric is starting to look rather better than it used to, with over five thousand unused skill points, as compared to the not much more than one thousand she had not too long ago at level 45.

But the logging out was because of the usual Sunday evening Quiz - I think 9:30, as we have it in the UK, is just right, on the US west coast it's 1:30 in the afternoon, which seems a bit early in the day for that sort of thing.  Astarael and ShawShankz were there, and Elva too, back from some sp farming with the Arcane Giants, as well as Limey's new healer, Lemoneey.  Some people were even clicked onto me, so it was a relief that the questions were the ones we've come to know and love.  I don't think the "which day did the Halloween event end on?" one was included, but we still had the two turkey questions, we will no doubt miss them when they are gone.  I was generally one of the first people to race across to the right-answer side, I think.

So, some newly-won Tool Aids, Moonstones, and Heaven Stones made a fine ending to a rather variable day.  Hopefully the technical people will be able to replace the malfunctioning fan soon, and get the Cariae sub-servers all working properly again before too long, and the Tomb will be open again, and things will return to normal...

The Chaos Lasts -  January 12th

Apparently Cariae-1 and Cariae-3 were still "no go" areas today - as the UK is eight hours ahead of the American west coast, any repair work for the servers would hopefully come later.  What was more annoying was that the Tomb of Theos was still, apparently, "locked".

Still, the double experience and 50% extra skill exp was still running, so if I couldn't go to the Tomb to make use of the former, at least Kaerella could head for Merac's Maargadum Jail for the afternoon, and slog away getting 109 skill points, plus 2240 pet points.  Things were relatively quiet, my only visitor of interest was a knight called Clue, who wanted to exchange his Heaven Stone for six Tool Aids.  I only had three, which I offered to sell him for 70,000 gold, but he insisted on trading his HS... I put a million gold up in the trade window along with the TAs, but he insisted that he had no use for money, so we ended up with just the three Tool Aids being traded for the Heaven Stone.  A good deal for me, particularly as it lightened Kae's inventory a little, which after a couple of shields and other armour drops was over the 100% mark.

Rykie was in touch, and seemed suitably impressed that Kae had now got all her sp for the level 70 skill, and the level 74 sixth level of Charm, too.  I'm working on level 76's third level of Party Heal 2 now, which needs 380 points.  Kae is still frozen on level 47, stockpiling sp for the future.  Rykie confirmed that the Temple of Forgetfulness's Blood Terrain looks the same as the Tomb of Theos's Darkmind Terrain, though the Tomb boss is larger.

I kept an eye on the forum shoutbox, occasionally contributing; there are some discontented people around, particularly those of us who play on the Cariae server group.  There was a mention of the Carnage guild, so I mentioned how Zenderfly had removed me from her friends list... and Racingbrett told me that Zen had been so disgusted with the new patch that she'd given up on Last Chaos entirely.  I don't know if she just cleaned out her friends list, or actually deleted her level 105 character, which would seem a dreadful waste after all the effort getting there - some of it my effort, helping her to power-level!

While I was briefly browsing the merchants, most of whom seem now to have relocated to Cariae-4, I found WyteDiablo selling a level 29 +15 Soul Sword for 125 million, which seemed slightly below the average price, so I bought it.  It is now loaned to Ratel, Elva's knight, who promises solemnly not to lend it on to anyone.  Elva insists on paying for the one that he "lent" to Irina, so he passed 50 million over, on top of the 30 million's worth of boosters and some odd items he'd passed across before.

After the food break, Barbarienne checked all four functioning sub-servers, but the Tomb of Theos was still sealed tight.  Newer68 was around, and even rode out to the Tomb on one sub-server, but it was impossible to gain entry.  Newer suggested we go to Egeha; there was a possibility of a friend of his, a rogue, coming too, but their connection was a bit laggy, so spending 800,000 gold and then getting disconnected didn't seem like a good deal for them.  I decided to switch over to Keerella for a change, and because Egeha-level monsters are likely to give some useful skill exp, which Kee needs and Barb doesn't.

So, Newer68 and Kee went to Egeha, and I decided to do what I ought to have done before with Kee - get the entrance to Lust Trum Tower onto her memorising scroll.  We headed out in that direction, past Assassinbugs and Azers, Scorpionmantises and Skinwalkers and Boucu Demons - Newer did die at least once along the way.  On the final approach to the Tower I ended up fighting Boucu Demons and four Skinwalkers, with them respawning faster than I could kill them, so in the end I just ran across to the teleporter, and went inside... then waited a few seconds for them to lose interest and went out again, to add the location to the memory scroll.  I advised Newer to do that too, not a lot of level 34 people have that location sorted.

While I've been inside the Tower a number of times, it has always been by Recall to a particular floor, a few times to level a pet on the Stone Statues, or just to keep Zen's place on floor eight with the passive boss Wraiths while she went to town.  So the entrance area was new to me - luckily the Wights there were not too overwhelming.  Newer did get to die again more than once, and finally stayed back right at the start, which was on my compass-map, while I fought the Wights and the occasional Wight Flair.

Even though at level 87 the Wights are a lot lower than the Screaming Zombies, they seemed able to hurt Kee more, and a number of health potions were used in the course of the evening.  Newer68 did have to log out after a while, but I kept going - with the 50% extra skill exp, the level 87 Wights gave 1155 skill exp, while somehow the level 89 Wight Flairs managed to give 2227, so would presumably give 1485 usually, or 1550 if one was their exact level.

Kee got back her ticket money, and that much again, and also got four assorted pairs of level 77 boots.  She also added 1.66% experience, plus 11 pet points before it became clear that the Wights were avid pet-eaters, and no less than 30 skill points - a nice step towards Kee being able to afford a new skill level before too long, perhaps.

Elva and Limey reported problems in the Cariae-6 Prokion Temple, with a high-level, low-morals knight called UnCommonValor going on a killing spree there, one-hit killing people who had a reason to be there.  What a cowardly thing to do, it's hardly an equal fight to have someone of over level 90 picking on level 17 people.  We spotted him back in town later, and annoyingly he has a blue name.  Barb stood over him on her horse for a while, so two horse's bottoms were in close proximity.  I was able to tip off Astarael when he headed for the arena, but then it was time for me to log out.

The End of an Eventful Week -  January 13th

Since I had to go out shopping in the early afternoon, I managed to fit in a trip for Kaerella to the Beast Flyers in the morning; the 50% extra skill exp event was still running, I suppose that may well have got "stuck", the same way that the Tomb of Theos has been closed to us.  The place does seem a bit buggy this week, I'll be glad when the fan is fixed, the usual server maintenance shut-down is over, and a new week starts.

So, Kae was bashing the Beast Flyers for a while.  Rykie was online too, contemplating a huge amount of skill farming at level 70, so that he can get that level's skill, and no doubt subsequent skills.  I was suggesting the monsters in the Temple of Forgetfulness, alias the Forgotten Temple, which does have level 69 and level 71 monsters, and is easier to get to than Egeha...or at least cheaper.

Kae ended the morning with 67 more skill points, and 1426 pet points.  And I just had time after the shopping for a further hour there in the afternoon, which yielded another 54 skill points  and 991 pet points.  Kae still needs a couple of hundred points more for level 76's Party Heal 2 level 3, but by slogging away we are getting there.  In some ways, Kae is ahead of Rykie, even though she is 23 levels behind him, as she has all those skill points available.

Astarael was on in the morning too, though mainly as a merchant - when I checked, she'd sold everything but a Monster Combo necklace giving 93 hit rate, which perhaps, as that was its sole property, was a bit high at 70 million.  Useful for PvP though, I was assured.  Compared to that I think I got a good deal in buying a Necklace of Earth giving 5% suction of mana, 5 defence, and 24 physical fortitude for 20 million - probably!  I'm not sure which character of mine it will be right for, though.  At the end of the day I saw one with 5% suction of life, and 5 physical defence, for 10 million, so maybe prices are falling.  As Limey commented, there is a recession on after all!

Apparently Renez is having hardware problems, and won't be able to join us until the weekend at the earliest - maybe he employs the same technical guys that Aeria games do...

The knight iLLegaL is also at quite a decent level now, but was asking for me to change to Keerella and try a bit of power-levelling.  He has started a one-day Recall card, which seemed a bit impatient with the Tomb locked up, and had the bright idea of getting power-levelled on Strayana's Dark Harpies, which while they are level 118, only give half the experience of a level 106 Anubis Spear Man -  instead of 18,918,740 experience they give 9,319,378, as they are not boss types.

However, he didn't appear online at the starting time I thought we'd agreed, 6:00 UK time, so eventually I changed to Kaerella and headed for the Beast Flyers again. The main central part was busy, but the side room I sometimes use did at least get me another 10 skill points and 260 pet points before I did hear from him.

Well, I changed to Kaerella on Cariae-5, registered for a party, agreed to party with him, accepted recall - and found myself in the middle of the arena!  If that was a joke, it was a strange one.  The next Recall, after he'd bought a new weapon, did take me to Strayana, where I quickly started a 24-hour Vaccine against the virus that decreases one's health there.  There were plenty of Dark Harpies close by - but it wasn't the area where I'd teamed with Zen against them a few times, instead there were rather a lot, rather close together.  So, I chose one on the edge, and managed to attract only that one, got it down to about 5%, accepted Recall, and iLLegaL finished it off, after leaving the party.

So far so good - but when I was attacking the second Dark Harpy, he vanished - if it was a disconnection it was a long one, because I stayed around for half an hour or so.  I killed two or three more Dark Harpies there, and then, looking at the map, saw that I was actually just outside the new "Spirit Cave" dungeon, so crossed the bridge and got that location on my memorising scroll.  I did go inside and kill one of the Titan spirits, but he was a definite heavy hitter, so that seemed a bit of a perilous occupation, to solo there.

I moved to Zen's old Dark Harpy spot, where they are spread out rather more sensibly, and killed a few more; as I wasn't using Item Drop Boosters and Lucky Scrolls I only got one "harpy drop", a sorcerer weapon which will be sold unidentified, but I did get some cash and, towards the end, a Heaven Stone.  There wasn't any skill exp in it for me, but thanks to the continuing double experience event, in all Kee went up 0.74%.

So, strange. I must try to log in tomorrow morning, in case iLLegaL is around with tales of a local disconnection and the need for another proper hour's worth before the Recall card runs out.

Just for a change, my level 25 rogue Karella had a brief outing after that, going to Cariae-5's Prokion Temple.  There was some talk of possible PK-ing guilds running amok there, but nothing dangerous happened while I was fighting the Orc Soldiers on the ground floor.  I was just thinking of logging out when Lemoneey mentioned that a friend of his, ArtemisiaOfCarie, wanted to join us, so I logged out, having added 150 skill points to Karella's total, and briefly appeared in Cariae-6 Randol as Barbarienne to make the recruitment, and freeze Artie's experience.  She is a level 27 healer; Astarael had earlier recruited a level 5 sorcerer called Nevon, who had played the game before, but not recently.

Apparently Nevon's old account had got banned when a relative managed to get into it a few months ago, so he knows his way around, we just had to tip him off about the boosted monsters in Velpist and Prokion temples, and what a useful chap Collector Ryl is.

Kaerella's total skill point gain today was 131, with 2677 pet points - which may not seem a huge number, but another total like that would finally see SirFrancis level up.  28,996 is the total needed for that level; when he does reach level 46, that one will take 31,606, so will take a while.  No imminent danger of him overtaking Kae's level, anyway.

And that was the end of today's excitements - not being able to get into the Tomb has certainly made for some different types of adventure, with yesterday's trip to Lust Trum and its Wights, and today's time in Strayana with the Dark Harpies.  Apparently, people on Cariae-1 were able to access the Tomb - before the server crashed and their accounts got trapped, leaving them unable to log back in. Let's hope that everything is back to normal after tonight's downtime.

Return to the Tomb -  January 14th

I logged in as Kaerella in mid-morning, and found that iLLegaL was online - he told me that he had had dreadful internet problems yesterday evening, every attempt to log back in to the game "timed out".  Why does that sort of thing only happen when one has an expensive limited-time thing, like an Iris or a Recall card, I wonder?

I offered to change to Keerella and do an hour's power-level, though with a risk of an interruption along the way, but luckily his new Guild Master, level 120 apparently, was with him and was about to attend to his needs - he went up from level 70 to 76 at least, he reported later.  He did wonder if I had any appropriate knight items to gift him with, but, you know, I couldn't think of a single thing...

So, I just had time to take Kaerella off to Maargadum Jail, and use a platinum super skill pill - I got 114 skill points from that, not quite as many as sometimes as I did get interrupted by a phone call, and also was chatting to both iLLegaL and Rikie a bit.  Kae's total skill point gain, including a little while before and after the hour, was 124, plus 1321 pet points.

After lunch, it was time for Barbarienne to go to the Tomb of Theos; Newer68 contacted me, and assured me that it was open, though he himself was heading for Egeha with a friend, in the hope that between them they could kill the level 65 Bogles near town.  So, it was a good opportunity for me to try to give Barb a solo "power hour" with a platinum blessed iris and the individual experience boosters, which between them boost the experience one gets from a kill by twelve.

The first room with a couple of Anubis Spear Men in it was being used, so I continued to a bend in the corridor which had a couple more, and set to work.  I'd borrowed the necklace that Kee and Kae usually share, with 10% suction of life, and equipped that as well as a 5% one, taking off one of Barb's two Eye of Spirits accessories to make room for it.  The Spear Men do take a while to kill - in the hour the PBI lasted I killed 33 of them, and one Sphinx Fighter who got involved.  Without boosters that would have been 535,226,030 experience, with them it was 6,422,712,300 - or 15.12%.  Level 90 sure is a long one. And beyond that level, they get longer still.

Newer68's trip to Egeha didn't actually last very long; he died three times, and then came straight to me and spent about 50 minutes in the Tomb just watching me use the boosters.  After that we teamed up to fight some more Spear Men, and mainly Sphinx Fighters as they are a lot quicker to kill, so hopefully by the time I took my usual food break, having reached 16.01%, he had at least got back the experience lost from those deaths.

As Newer had finished his between-guilds seven days, he was able to join Norcaine today.  And after my break, he was also able to switch from party-member to ks-er, which is easier on me - once you reach a certain level, you get more experience that way.  I did just kill Screaming Zombies near the entrance for a while, so that the level 37 rogue Retaj could. by ks-ing, get the most out of the last part of a PBI - and she did manage to level up.  The level 63 titan Manofwarr was also able to ks a bit.  While Newer was back in town, after my ks-ers had left, I headed back to the bend in the corridor, and started on the Sphinx Fighters there again, and Newer rejoined me there.  Later he went back to town again, for someone without much gold he doesn't seem to mind paying the admission fee multiple times, and I was able to pass across some of the +4 level 41 items the Beast Flyers had dropped for Kae recently which LordElpus had been storing -  sorcerer pants, a titan shirt that Collector Ryl could change into a sorcerer one, and a sorcerer fallarm - though as a specialist, again, Ryu would need to change it to a Riverquakes Scythe.

Within minutes of Newer getting back into the Tomb, an announcement came up that the Cariae servers would be closing in 15 minutes - considering the admission fee, bad timing!  Elvastra logged on just after the announcement, and the three of us made plans to meet on the Katar servers, where Elva has a character called Thabitha.  Unfortunately, when I logged out, the shoutbox was soon full of people saying that all the servers, not just Cariae, had been taken down...

It was only the Cariae group that stayed down for "maintenance" though, so after a few minutes I was able to log in to Katar, and choose one of my two level two characters - I went for the healer, Kaerella, and got her up to level six, finishing with a trip out to Velpist Temple to get that on her memorising scroll.   Teleporter Rumble wouldn't let her go out again, into "the Courtyard of Endrashil"... I mentioned this to Elvastar's  character there, who is now level 20 apparently, and he told me that that does happen sometimes.

An announcement on the website said that the Cariae server group would be offline for two hours from 7:30 UK time, but when last seen they were running over that a bit.  Ah well, at least the Tomb was open again - until the server closed down, that is.

In all, Barbarienne had managed to go up 17.36% today, plus 3706 pet points - and 7 skill points too, mainly due to the Screaming Zombies I think.  Tomorrow, with any luck, with its new cooling system installed all the servers will be working flawlessly, fingers crossed.

Barb Overtakes Kee -  January 15th

I did very nearly get to take Kaerella down to Maargadum Jail this morning, but just as I was about to transfer the 10% suction of life necklace back across, the real world intervened.  So, no skill points for Kae then.

The Cariae sub-servers have been a bit crowded today after last night's downtime, with Cariae-5 and Cariae-6 still flagged up as "maintenance".  Given that we are still a bit wary of Cariae-1 and Cariae-3, that means that the other two sub-servers have been pretty full, and indeed Cariae-4 has generally been "congested".

That certainly applied to the Tomb of Theos.  I took Barbarienne along there for a "power hour", but the first few good places with a couple of Spear Men to fight were all taken, and I ended up in a loop of corridor off the "swimming pool", with the required pair of Spear Men, but also with Anubis Attackers and Anubis Archers which had the nasty habit of straying into range, so I ended up fighting a number of them, often at the same time as a Spear Man.  My poor horse, still in its reindeer form, got attacked quite a lot by these, but did manage to level up, and is now level 30 - one away from being mountable, though the plan would be to take him up to level 37 for maximum horse buffs before turning him into a mount.  Or "her" I suppose, as a mount is called a "knight mare".

So, the hour didn't produce quite as much experience as the last one, but 14.85% isn't bad - plus a skill point and 958 pet points.  I did intend to explore a little further after the Iris expired, but there were so many Anubis Occultists about, and the Attackers, that I had to log out - the Occultist "Curse of Darkness" stun skill removes one's buffs, stops one from fighting, stops one from using health potions, and also stops one running to safety, so when you have a mob of aggressive Attackers on you, and can't move, things could easily go fatally wrong.

That 14.85% did mean that Barbarienne has now overtaken Keerella as my most experienced character - they are both on level 90, but Barb is now a few percent ahead.  It all depends what one means by "experience" of course - Keerella has certainly fought more, and been to just about every part of Egeha and some parts of Strayana, but her stint sp-farming in Prokion Temple means that Barb has maximum skills, and enough points for future skills too, at level 92, 94, 100, and anywhere else the people in charge decide to add extra skills.  For actual playing time my cleric/healer Kaerella, although she is only level 47, probably doesn't lag too far behind Kee, as her only "power levelling" has been from being in parties way back fighting Boucu Demons, and she has had quite a bit of time with her experience gain frozen.

After the food break, Barbarienne went back into the Tomb, and found the first large room with its two Anubis Spear Men free - so another PBI got started, and more experience boosters got used.  I only had two interruptions - KimLynn fought one of the Spear Men but, when I said that I was on a PBI, apologised and said she hadn't noticed me in the corner fighting the other one, before quickly moving on, but a knight called Metelica wanted us to have one Spear Man each, though after calling me a "baby" for saying that people really needed two, one to fight while the other respawned, he did at last move on.  This second PBI hour added only 13.27% - only 31 boosters were used, I see, so about two minutes per Spear Man.

When the hour ended, I did attempt to explore further ahead, but ran into even worse trouble with the Anubis Occultists, whose aggro range seems rather long - being frozen for 20 seconds while six or more Anubis Attackers pound one is not nice, especially if one is frozen again after a few yards.  I wasn't able to get to the corridor I wanted - in fact, I had to log out quickly again, getting out with my health dangerously low at around 392.  I must buy a good stock of Remedy, which I think releases one from "Curse of Darkness", before I try to get any further along.

So, Barb's total experience gain for the day was 28.12%, getting her past halfway through level 90 - and the amount of experience needed to get that far is already around four times as much as was needed for the whole of level 89!  2 skill points were also gained, and 1980 pet points.

After that relatively close call it seemed like a good idea to do something a bit less risky, so Kaerella stepped forward, and headed for Maargadum Jail, after reclaiming the top-grade necklace.  I tried Cariae-2 this time in the hope that it would be less busy, and I did find level three free, so popped a platinum super skill pill to treble my skill exp gain, and set to work. 

When the pssp's hour ended, with 115 sp gained, I continued for a few minutes, and then, as I still had the place to myself, started a second one - so that by the end of the evening I'd added 233 skill points... and 2475 pet points, which was enough to take SirFrancis up to level 46.  My only interruption was from a knight called Farouk (Or "FAROUK"), but after killing a few Flyers at one end, he soon left, maybe because all the Flyers continued to concentrate on me in the middle.

Anyway, both Kae's and Barb's pets levelled up, there was good experience gain for Barb and nice skill exp for Kae, and death was narrowly avoided - and while the Cariae servers were going to have to come down for maintenance, that wasn't timed to happen until midnight UK time, so no inconvenience for us.  The hope is that after the downtime all six sub-servers will be up again, and life can return to normal.

Another Crash -  January 16th

The afternoon was devoted to Kaerella, heading, yes, for Maargadum Jail in Merac to fight the Beast Flyers on level three.  I tried Cariae-4 first, and when I found someone was already there, switched to Cariae-3, on the assumption that the announcement that all six Cariae sub-servers were up again meant that the problems had been resolved.

Randol in that sub-server was spookily empty, but there were a few people in the other levels of the Jail as I ran through.  The third level was empty, though, and I settled in for a pssp-using hour, during which I got 117 skill points.  I continued on after that, and used one of the ten-minute, 50% extra scrolls, though a royal knight called Madmutt2, from the guild ClanMeatmog, did come in and make a royal pain of himself, ks-ing and generally attracting away some of the Flyers.  I managed to keep busy, though, until it was time to log out for food, by which time my sp count had risen to 139, and a total of 1619 pet points had been got.

When I was browsing the merchants, I found a level 57 +15 healer wand for 125 million being sold by Rockle, which seemed a reasonable investment in Kae's future, so I grabbed that.  She is using the level 49 weapon at present, I must see what I have in the way of a level 53 one for when she is first unfrozen.    I do have a +10 level 57 weapon in storage, but +15 will be a lot better. As her current armour is +13, I don't think there is any need to think about changing over to a new set for a while.

After the break, it seemed like a good idea to experiment with a "combat party" in the Cariae-3 Tomb of Theos with Keerella and Barbarienne, since they are both the same level.  I was just using the Screaming Zombies at the start, and instead of their normal 4.5 million experience, they gave Kae anything from 10% to not far short of 20% more experience while Barb hugged the wall close by... and Barb got perhaps 20% of the normal amount just for being there.  Not bad!  They shared the skill exp equally, though.

I did swap them over eventually, so that Kee took charge of Skrappy and wall-hugged, while Barb got her pet reindeer/horse out for some pet points, and did the attacking.  Things were going pretty smoothly, until suddenly the Screaming Zombie I started to attack just ignored me.  yes, another server crash, with me unable to log back into either of those accounts because they were "in use", sigh...

Luckily before the evening was over they did at least manage to "disconnect" the people who were trapped, so I can give the figures for that relatively short stint:  Barb went up 0.42%, 3 skill points, and 302 pet points, while Kee, who had the longer session as fighter, went up 0.89%, 4 skill points, and 1166 pet points. And we did at least get back the cost of getting in there, 270k each, in loot drops.

Since my main two accounts were out of action for a while, it was a chance for my low-level knight, with his experience frozen on level 10, to head out to Belfist Temple in Juno for a session - so instead of the level 100 Screaming Zombies, now I was fighting the level 10 Wandering Zombies!  My knight got about 90 skill points, most of which (65) went on getting the final level of Armor Break, which decreases a foe's defence by 100 for up to 20 minutes, apparently.   He still needs some more points to finish getting some other level 5 and 10 skills, though.

Game Master SupermanOX came on the shoutbox and asked if people there could check what they saw when they logged in to Cariae-1, and, as MistressDomina was just standing in town providing my knight with his "solo party", I was among those people who were able to report a "cannot connect to game server" message.  Having checked that what he'd done had worked, the GM was then able to post a forum message that those two sub-servers had now been locked, to prevent people going there and getting their accounts trapped when a crash happened.  So, the rest of Cariae is going to continue to be a bit crowded - Cariae-4 Randol seems to have as many merchants now as C1 and C3 usually have put together.

Strange prices continue, with merchants; I thought 30 to 40 million each for Chaos Smelting Stones was high, but they seem to have doubled in price, if people are actually buying them - and the same for the  slightly cheaper Extreme Stones, and Heaven Stones too, which some people seem to think are worth 4 million each now.  Coins of Master seem to have also gone up a lot - while experience, skill, and item drop boosters are still way down, along with mana and health stealers.  I suppose I can understand a fall in price for the stealers, as more and more people get Monster Combo necklaces with 5% or 10% suction of life/mana - if you get up to 15% suction, that is the permanent equivalent of using a one-hour stealer, apparently.

MistressDomina did actually do some selling while providing Kae with her solo party, and, just selling the Moonstone Boxes, Moonstones (from the last Quiz), Tool Aids, and minor things like that did manage to take in six million.  A shame I didn't have any Master Coins to sell - the shortage is probably not just because Zenderfly is no longer leading parties into the Monster Combo, but it may well be a slight contributing factor.

Talking of names now, sadly, from the past, I did spot a sorcerer in C4 Randol in merchant mode, hoping to sell an unmounted level 37 horse for 350 million: "RastaSorcerer", a member of a guild called EternalLoyalty.  Can he be any relation to Norcaine's old GA, RastaTitan, who also had minor characters back then called RastaRogue and RastaKnight, and left us in mysterious circumstances...?

Anyway, while the crash, showing that the server problems remain, was unfortunate, Keerella and Barbarienne's joint time in the Tomb does show that a combat party, with Kee wall-hugging, may well be a good thing to have the next time Barb ventures down to the Anubis Spear Men for a "power hour".  If, with the overcrowding, I can find a good space, that is...