Keerella's Blog - stardate January 2009 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month continues here at the top!
Resurrections in the Tomb -  January 17th

As it is the weekend, it seemed a good idea to try and fit in at least one hour of "power levelling" Barbarienne in the Tomb of Theos in the morning, before things got too busy - particularly if Cariae-1 and Cariae-3 are still off limits, making the remaining four sub-servers fuller than usual.

So, it was just about ten o'clock when I managed to get both Barbarienne and Keerella to the Tomb of Theos - and luckily the first square Anubis Spear Men room was vacant, so by ten past ten I had started the platinum blessed iris, for triple experience for an hour, and the large crit pot, to make almost every hit a "critical" one.

I managed, in fact, to fit in two hours, and didn't really hit any problems - just 33 Anubis Spear Men in the first hour, and 31 in the second hour.  Luckily the only people who weren't just running through were just after the Sphinx Fighters; Danm first, and a little later the mage Tiarne, followed by the archer xLeGoLaSx, who was a slight problem, at least for Tiarne, as she tended to "pull" the Fighters onto her, blaming lag.  Tiarne did in fact get killed once, so I had to stop, leave my party, and party with her to use Resurrection.

Being in a "combat party" with Keerella worked very well - it meant that Skrappy was able to gain experience, and Kee herself got a little experience and a half-share in the skill exp just for being there.  In a solo party, with the PBI and an experience booster for every kill, the Anubis Spear Men give 227 million experience each, but in the combat party, with Kee close by in a corner, this figure varied from 225 million up to as much as 270 million.

At the end of the two-hour session, Keerella was up 0.47% and a skill point, while Barb was up 31.74% and, again, a skill point, with her horse getting 2091 pet points.  And then it was time to go off and get some food, leaving the pair of them tucked safely in a corner.

In the afternoon, I generally settled for the Screaming Zombies at the start, allowing various people to "ks" a bit - I'm not sure why the level 75 knight SunGuardian wanted to do that, he was high enough to solo them, but I suppose it let him regain health and mana between his own kills.  He did run into trouble once when thedean13 brought back a group of Screaming Zombies and Infected Grey Mummies, and then abandoned them, by wall-hugging I think.  SunGuardian did get killed, so wasn't too happy, and I had a chance to use my Resurrection skill again.

Towards the end of the afternoon a group, including the rogue PerziaQueen, plus GoodRogueMan (level 44), Chaori (also a rogue, but level 15 I discovered later!), and the level 43 titan godofwar22, who had Recall, persuaded me to take them down to the Anubis Spear Men - and it didn't go well.  I would take the Spear Man in question down as low as I dared, so that the health bar was vanishingly small, then take Recall and leave the party, only to be asked a minute later to hit him again a few times, as the health had regenerated.  My Resurrection skill got plenty of workouts on the rogues, while I think the titan was using res scrolls, at least once he got up, hit out, and fell down dead again.  I think they did manage to finish killing a couple, but the total experience they shared would have been cut back by my late contribution after the Recall.

So, the afternoon session gave Kee, who didn't join us with the Spear Men but stayed back in the starting corridor, just 0.28% and 4 skill points (since Screaming Zombies are a few levels lower than the Spear Men they give more skill exp), and gave Barb 2.09%, 5 skill points, and 2066 pet points.  I expanded the combat party to three by including the level 90 mage GingerBeer for a while when she came back to the starting corridor to be afk for a bit, which presumably boosted my experience gain a little even if it did split the skill exp three ways.

The evening session started off well enough, especially as we were being treated to double experience, double skill exp, and double pet points - but just on seven o'clock, UK time, all the servers came down.  I'd just been fighting the Screaming Zombies, with a titan called TheBeastmaster doing some ks-ing; the Tomb was pretty busy when I got the first lag spike, I did see one of the other players get killed, presumably because the lag had stopped her defending herself, but then I got the "disconnected" window for Barb.  Keerella was just able to say "disconnection" when the older machine froze up.

Well, at least we weren't locked in/locked out - it wasn't a complete server restart as merchants and other people not doing anything remained in the game, and we were able to go back in immediately.  But it seemed like time for a change, and with the risk of another disconnection the thought of paying another 540k gold to get both characters back into the Tomb didn't appeal.  So Keerella ended her day on 0.75% experience gain and 5 skill points, and Barbarienne ended with 35.30% experience, 11 skill points, and 5789 pet points.

With the double skill experience on offer, it seemed like a good idea to take Kaerella to Maargadum Jail; on the first two sub-servers I tried, level three was occupied, but I struck lucky third time with Cariae-2, and settled in there.  I had no visitors at all, and managed to get 4410 pet points for SirFrancis, and 152 skill points - which means that Fast Heal level eight, which becomes available at level 78, is now fully provided for - Kae has over 6000 unused skill points.  She'll need another 3600 to get to Fast Heal level nine, though, which comes along at level 94, but of course she will gain some sp as she levels, once her experience gain is unfrozen.

More Double Time -  January 18th

The double experience, skill exp, pet experience, and probably gold drop rate was still continuing this morning, so I never got much of a chance to read the Sunday paper - instead, I managed to take Kaerella down to the Cariae-2 Maargadum Jail for almost an hour, and got 61 more skill points and 1780 pet points, so that was a useful start.

After lunch, I dashed back to the computer and got Barbarienne and Keerella back down into the Tomb of Theos, in Cariae-4.  The place was already busy, so busy in fact that I decided to move a little deeper - not as far as the Fighters and Spear Men, but to a long gallery with plenty of Screaming Zombies, and a flaming brazier close to the wall for Kee and Skrappy to take refuge behind.

PerziaQueen did ask to come and join me to ks a bit, but ran into trouble on the first corner, unfortunately, and got killed, so I went back to the starting corridor after that, which was by then a little emptier, and settled in, with Kee and Skrappy wall-hugging, and Perzia doing some ks-ing.

In fact, as the hours passed, there was quiet a lot of ks-ing going on, which I really don't mind there, as long as people ask, which they do tend to do.  As well as Perzia, GoodReaperMan was around again, and Newer68.  I kept going a bit longer than usual, as Newer did seem to be afk in a slightly dangerous place, but finally went off for my food break - by which time Barbarienne had gone up 4.31%, plus 11 skill points and 5776 pet points, while Keerella, as the wall-hugging half of the combat party, went up 0.96% experience and 12 skill points...and SkrappY, which she had equipped, reached level 42.

PerziaQueen and GoodRogueMan did need to go afk for a while, so I was able to do one of the special combat parties, as an experiment; that is, I changed Barb-and-Kee to an equal party, invited Perzia to join (but asked her to hold back from accepting), then changed the party back to combat before she actually joined.  Moving leadership over to her, she was able to add GoodRogueMan.  Then they wall-hugged, and, while I got less skill exp and a smaller share of the gold, I got a bit more experience, and they got some too.  So, it works nicely.  The key to changing the party type is to click on a little square on the top of the first party member's name below one's own name (assuming one is party leader), and choose the option you want on the window that pops up.  Luckily Astarael was able to tell me that!

After the break, most of the ks-ers, I found, had formed their own party, and were working together pretty well, so for most of the time it was just Barb and Kee.  After a while I did get a call from Astarael to join a Monster Combo party that Larats was putting together, so Barb left the Cariae-4 Tomb and headed for Cariae-6 Dratan City.  I did get added to the party, but within seconds Larats himself vanished, and we were left just standing there.  Asta, I found out later, wasn't in it because his meal was ready... but the party membership just faded away, much to my annoyance - so for me it was back to Cariae-4, and another 270k gold to get back into the Tomb.

Newer68 suggested after a while that we should go down to the Sphinx Fighters, so I headed off that way - but Newer himself never made it, he had his mouse freeze and had to log out.  Still, I got to the first room of Fighters, and found myself next to the team PerziaQueen and GoodRogueMan were in, along with two members of the HUNittHUNott guild, Eagle974 and Csabesz.  They decided that it was simpler to ks me a bit, so we fought some Fighters together - and for a change I actually got given some useful buffs.

They persuaded me to try a nearby boss-type, a level 103 Ancient Grey Mummy - and it very nearly killed me, I only just noticed in time that my health bar was down to about 300.  I quickly moved back, used Self Heal a few times, and used Cure Poison on myself.  I knew those Mummies had a poisoning skill, but I didn't expect it to be quite as quick!  After that we generally kept to the Fighters' side.

People tended to leave as soon as they reached their next level; the knight Csabesz was the last to go, and I continued for a little while after that, until Quiz time was approaching.  By then Kee had added another 0.81%, for a day's total of 1.77%, and doubled her skill point gain to 24.  SkrappY  was now a quarter of the way into his new level, though the "double everything" event didn't actually help him, it was still his usual 20 experience per kill for Zombies or Fighters.

Barbarienne had at last reached level 91, and invested her new stat points in Dexterity; 4.81% was the later session's experience gain, making 9.12% in all.  4774 more pet points gave a total of 10550, so not only did Barb's horse reach level 31 early in the afternoon, he reached level 32 before the end of the evening.  Another 10 skill points gave her 21 for the day, I can't think why Kee seems to have come out ahead on sp, but that's fine with me...

So, the Quiz was next, at 9:30 UK time, and I had Keerella clicked on Barbarienne to follow her.  I followed Elva's advice and used the "x" option to remove the interface and character names from Kee's screen, which helped reduce the information overload on the older computer.  All four of the functioning Cariae sub-servers were "congested", so it was not surprising that things were a bit laggy.  

Well, the good news was that the questions were the same as for the last few weeks, and that both my characters got to the end safely, and deposited 15 Heaven Stones each with Storekeeper Bianca; the bad news is that a lot of people, I think including Astarael, Limey, and Elvastar, got kicked out, due I think to lag meaning that the game didn't recognise that they had moved across to the correct answer side.  It must have been a pretty close call for me...certainly the room was a lot emptier by the end, only the people who had reacted pretty quickly to some of the early questions had survived.

There was even talk in the shoutbox of there having been a mass disconnection, I just hope there isn't a "rollback" to before those Heaven Stones were won.  So, mixed fortunes there.  The game is still not running perfectly, but of course the double experience, etc, does help to sweeten the deal.

Duplicators Banned -  January 19th

Experience etc was back to normal today, so there wasn't the same huge rush to get started.  MistressDomina sold some recently-acquired drops in the way of Moonstone Boxes and Large Attack and Defence Potions over lunchtime, and managed to take in almost four million gold - I think a few Item Drop Boosters sold as well, though nobody touched the three Heaven Stones that, as an experiment, I'd put out at 3.45 million each.

Elvastar's working day must have started a little later than usual, as he was on briefly in the late morning, and was able to pass over the last of the gold for the level 29 +15 sword he'd borrowed, which he had innocently passed over to Irina who subsequently vanished.  He is using its replacement on his skill point farming knight Ratel now - when he has finished, I guess either Enchantrella or my rogue Karella will do some serious farming in Prokion Temple.

Astarael had mentioned yesterday that some people were running around Cariae-6 Randol dropping Mana and Health Stealers, sometimes even 1000 at a time - this, we find, chimes in with the two-hour downtime overnight which was needed to fix an "exploit" some people were using.  Apparently a number of people have had their accounts banned, and others may have found Stealers that they recently bought at a bargain price, or indeed picked up in Randol, removed from their inventories.

Well, luckily I had nothing to do with it, not having bought or sold any of those items for quite a while, so was able to head off for the Tomb of Theos after lunch with a clear conscience.   Later on DarkPulse101 was telling me that a friend had made billions in dealing in Stealers, I hope they don't get banned for that...

Anyway, Barbarienne and Keerella headed off to the Tomb of Theos in a combat party, as before, with Kee wall-hugging with SkrappY equipped, and Barb attacking the local residents.  The starting room's Screaming Zombies were already being used for target practice by quite a few people, so it wasn't long before I decided to head deeper in, with pets unequipped and Kee clicked on to follow Barb.  While the first square room with its two Spear Men was in use, the bend in the corridor after it was just about free, so I stopped there.

Unfortunately a knight called DannyTheBrave decided to go for the second of the two Anubis Spear Men there, so I did have to fill in some respawn time with the Sphinx Fighters - that doesn't really effect the rate of experience gain, but does increase the number of experience boosters used - well under a third of the time to kill, but less than a third of the experience, as they aren't "bosses".

Danny did leave after a while, so I continued on there for a second hour, able just to concentrate on the Anubis Spear Men.  Godofwar22 dropped by, and fought a few of the Fighters, then once the second hour-long Platinum Blessed Iris was over, was able to "ks" a bit.  Newer68 also put in an appearance, his mouse working properly again.

I left Barbarienne in the Tomb during my food break, though I logged Kee out as the older computer needs the game restarted occasionally to keep things fresh.  After the break, Barb and Kee headed back down, and after a few minutes at the start were lucky enough to find the square room free - well there was someone sitting in a safe spot, but I don't think one can really reserve a room that way, and they vanished before long.

So, again, a PBI and a large crit pot were started, and a "power hour" began.  And when it finished, I went straight on to another - and after that, even though it would take me a little way past my usual logging-out time, I went for a third, to make the most of having such a convenient room.  That made five power-slogging hours in all today, so really has got me through most of the current level.  With any luck tomorrow should see Barbarienne reach level 92, when she can get a new level of one of the passive skills, to increase her hit rate.

A knight called DRACULA1 was a little erratic in "my" room early on, mainly I think using it as a safe area to recover in.  A rogue called FatalStrikeDEAD also took up residence in the room, but generally kept to the Fighters, which is fine by me.  Towards the end, Godofwar22's main character, xXBloodSeekerXx, another rogue, turned up, and was a bit of a pain to begin with, not seeming to understand that the "owner" of the room does need both the Spear Men, one to fight while the other respawns...but settled down eventually, I think he and his lower-level companion found that the Fighters were quite tough enough.

There was one strange moment, when Keerella, who had been standing fairly close to the wall, not hugging it but in a safe area with Skrappy, was attacked by a Sphinx Fighter, which walked right across the room to get to her - very weird, but Kee was able to kill it easily enough.  Sheele logged on, and stayed online for a while, so I presume did actually do a little fighting, not just a "hello" to keep the account active.  And Elva asked me to help him transfer a sword between Ratel and LeopardKnight, which I was able to do back in Randol last thing before logging off.  Oh, and DarkPulse101 was mentioning that he wants to swap that character back over to Norcaine, and ShawShankz over to Fraternity...

Well, as the generally non-fighting half of the combat party, Kee only put on 1.42% experience today, plus 3 skill points - and Skrappy is now over halfway through level 42.  Barbarienne, however, went up 30.98% in the afternoon and 51.15% in the evening, for a total of 82.13% experience gain, with her horse gaining 2850 and 3385 pet points, for a 6235 pet point total, which is almost two-thirds of his level.  Only the same 3 skill points, though.  A shame she can't "donate" some to Kee, she could spare a few, and Kee could certainly make use of them.

Back to the Grave Room -  January 20th

Since I had just over an hour free this morning, I decided to take my level 47 cleric Kaerella down to level three of Maargadum Jail in the usual way, on Cariae-2.  The centre was deserted, so I set to work, starting a pssp "skill pill" for an hour's worth of triple skill points - but before too long Astarael came onto the guild chat channel to say she was in the Grave Room at the far end of the Tomb of Theos, fighting the Sphinx Commanders.

As Asta was just in a solo party, I suggested a combat one, and volunteered Barbarienne to go and join it, instead of just standing around providing Kae with a solo party.  So Barb switched to Asta's server, Cariae-4, and took Recall into the Grave Room, leaving Kae alone....and with no solo party advertising for members.

It wasn't long before I decided that I might as well log out as Kae, and hope that the second half of the pssp's hour would still be active next time she logged in.  So, once the 10% suction of life accessory had been traded across again, the older computer swapped over to hosting Keerella, and Barb logged onto the newer computer, so that we both joined the combat party, for some serious - well, if not wall-hugging, standing fairly close to the wall in a safe area...

Astarael had teamed up with xANG3Lx, though that player left after a while; Kee of course equipped SkrappY, who reached level 43 shortly after lunch.  Symoinias, an archer, reached the room later in the morning, someone both Asta and I knew from Monster Combo parties, but she was level 105, so outside the range for our combat party - until we were able to recruit xInUyAsHax, on level  95, for a while, to bridge the gap.  We also recruited AnoobisCon, on level 100, who I think kept busy on the Anubis Spear Men in the corridor outside, before coming inside and going afk as well, to add to our general combat party exp-boosting power.

Asta stayed in-game over lunch, as I did, but got a disconnection or something not long after; Symoinias got to 97.04% of the way through her level when all her pots ran out (crit, power, berserker, pbi...), but worked out that even without them it wouldn't take too many Commanders to get her up to 106, so continued a little.

Astarael managed to rejoin us, and at about 2:50 UK time Asta and I started to share the room.  Barbarienne took off a 5% suction of life necklace, replacing it with an Eye of Spirits accessory for its increased hit rate, and started a PBI, a large crit potion, a power potion, and a health stealer.  Very kindly, Symoinias volunteered to help me, so Keerella bought and downloaded a one-week Recall card; Symoinias would either lower a Sphinx Commander's health to about 5% or 10% and bring it across to where I was fighting, then take Kee's recall and go off to start work on another for me, or towards the end it got to working quite smoothly with her starting a Commander, and me taking it over (with her taking Recall again) from about halfway, while she went off and started the next one.

The total (solo party) experience from a Sphinx Commander is 22,089,028 - multiplying that by twelve, for the PBI and the experience booster, gets that to just over 265 million.  The boost from the combat party varied from one kill to the next, but the very first Sphinx Commander I killed gave me 341,113,608 experience. 

While Asta was also there we did have to use the corridor outside to bring in the one Commander there, and sometimes the Anubis Spear Men, to keep busy, but he had to go afk after I suppose an hour, so then we were able to concentrate on the Commanders.  It wasn't long before I reached  level 92 - in the second hour my pet reindeer-horse did manage to get killed, so I went back to Randol to get him unsealed, and got my new passive skill, the fourth and final level of Rise Focus 2, which increases Barb's hit rate by a further 44.

The end of the second hour was a slightly late time for a food break - but things were going so well that, since Symoinias was willing to go on helping me, despite it already being after midnight where she was, we actually did a third hour - and by the end of that Barb had gone up a total of 92.64%, plus 6 skill points and 2635 pet points, getting the horse to level 33, the same as Barb's current mount.  Keerella, just by standing around and providing Recall, had added 0.79% and 3 skill points, while SkrappY had reached level 43.  AnoobisCon had his "human tribe" pet, AnoobisIchi, equipped too, but I noticed that Skrappy was still getting 40 experience per Commander.  Checking the Wet Paint LC Wiki, I see that while almost all the Tomb monsters only give the new pets 20 or 21 experience, Commanders give 84, so we were sharing the experience rather than somehow doubling it.

There were some ominous messages from the Game Masters - people who bought the health and mana stealers at "too good to be true" prices, or picked them up if somebody just dropped them on the ground in Randol, were being urged to "hand them in", or they'd be liable to find their accounts temporarily blocked while the GMs took them away electronically.  I don't know what they'll do about people who had already bought them cheaply and sold them on, I'm just glad I've not bought any, despite the bargain prices, since I've got more than enough of my own from various Item Mall packages.  It will be interesting to see what prices they get sold at in the future.

After my rather late food break it was difficult to settle down to anything again.  The first thing to do was to have Keerella use her Recall card to bring guildies Jacqueline, Limey and HealerHand to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos, so that they could add that location to their memorising scrolls; I also got some of the low-level characters that I may want to power-level to 20 there too, including the knights Orc5ergeant and Orc4xeman - well, I might want to try and get a knight "event weapon" to +15 one day, so the more I have to start out with, the better.

HealerHand did go inside the Tomb, though I had suggested she wait for me, the idea being that Kee could Recall her in; Barbarienne at least did make use of that Recall to enter, for a change.   As usual recently, with the two Cariae sub-servers closed the opening area was extremely busy.  HH tried being in the party, and also tried ks-ing from outside, but wasn't very impressed either way with the experience she got, so left before too long.  Kee ran on down to the square room with the first two Spear Men, and Recalled Barb to join her.  Barb started attacking the Sphinx Fighters, carefully reassuring the player battling a Spear Man that she was only there for the Fighters...but the other player left before long.  A shame that by then I only had about half an hour left, it wasn't worth taking on the Spear Men unless I did a full hour, with PBI and boosters.

I can't really say that my little evening expedition yielded much at all, without a Platinum Blessed Iris and boosters once you're over level 90 you make very little progress at all - for Barb a further 0.81% in fact, 762 pet points, and 2 skill points, with Kee getting 0.18% more and a skill point.  Skrappy ended up over 40% of the way into level 43, though towards the end a Fighter made a beeline straight for him, and I only just managed to unequip him in time.  Yet again his health is rather low, and will take ages to regenerate, but at least he survived. 

So, Barbarienne reached level 92, and then some, with a total experience gain on the day of 93.45%.  That did take 149 experience boosters, but hey, that's what I bought them for, in their original mall packages. 

More Commanders -  January 21st

Astarael wasn't able to head for the Sphinx Commanders in the Grave Room of the Tomb of Theos as early as he'd planned, and indeed was in Cariae-4's Randol in merchant mode for a while, so Kaerella was able to head for Maargadum Jail, and finish using the pssp "skill pill" she started yesterday.

Its first half had yielded 48 skill points, while SirFrancis had gained 440 pet points - after a few minutes wasted hurrying back to the Jail, the remainder gave 51 and 455.  I continued after that for a few minutes, so the entire two-part session gave Kae 108 skill points and 1179 pet points.

The end came when Asta sent the message to register for a combat party, as he'd reached the Cariae-4 Grave Kae logged out, and then reappeared in Randol to hand the precious 10% suction of life necklace over to Barbarienne, after which Keerella was able to log in.  Unfortunately Asta was also visible on the mini-map as a blue dot in Randol, as he'd had a disconnection.  Checking the shoutbox, it seemed that there had been a quite widespread disconnection, though I hadn't noticed it as I'd been changing characters - the second such dc since the servers came up after maintenance apparently.

There was no huge new patch today, just changes to the Item Mall; some items, such as the 1-week Party Recall card, had gone up in price a little - and a new package, for 999ap, actually includes our old favourite the 30-Day Party Recall card.  As it has a few other useful things in it, I guess I'll be getting that for Barb once Kee's current 7-day one expires.

It didn't take Asta long to get back to the depths of the Tomb, though, and soon both Barb and Kee were in the combat party.  As Asta doesn't have Recall at the moment, Kee used one of her teleport books to move to him - its failure to work the first time revealed that the "Astarael" name doesn't in fact end with an "L", someone else had already taken that, he uses a capital "i" instead.  Once Kee was there, she used her Recall card to bring Barb down to join them, equipped SkrappY, and left Asta to do all the hard work.

We were able before too long to Recall Symoinias, though we had to briefly change to an equal party to do that as she is more than ten levels ahead of us - luckily AnoobisCon was able to join us for a while before too long to "bridge that gap" and we were all able to be in a combat party together.  Asta and the others settled in to do some Sphinx Commander bashing...and I went off to have my lunch.

My return coincided neatly with the end of Asta's then-current set of pots, so I was able to start up sharing the room with Symoinias, using the PBI, health stealer, large crit pot, and power potion combination again.  It wasn't flat-out action as quite often one had to walk around in the middle close to where a dot appeared on the mini-map to lure a Commander down from its hiding place on the ceiling - and their liking for one's pet meant that a lot of green herbs got used to keep my horse's health up.

I see from my notes that in the first hour I used 28 boosters for 28 kills (getting 17.23% experience from those, and from my little boosts from other people's kills), then in the second hour it was 29 (17.75%), letting me reach level 93, and in the third hour it was 31 (19.16%) - and after that of course it was time for my early evening food break.

Asta was back in action by then, though when I returned after an hour he was just finishing, and a couple of new people, both knights, SirWorthTK and KUKI, were taking up residence.  Luckily, the corridor leading to the grave room has some Anubis Spear Men, at least one Sphinx Fighter to keep things interesting, and a couple of Sphinx Commanders, one of them fairly near the doorway into the grave room - so I could get pretty reasonable experience by alternating between the nearer Commander and any handy Spear Man.  Another player, called Moonshifter, arrived, but was happy to keep with the far end of the corridor

Since Spear Men die more quickly and give slightly less experience, I got through 35 boosters in that hour (20.66%).  After a while SirWorth got a disconnection, and wasn't able to remember how to spell Barbarienne's name to get in touch - by the time I noticed he was gone he'd already headed for Strayana instead.  And eventually KUKI finished his slog and departed.

So, I went for another hour, my fifth one of the day, starting with sharing the grave room with KUKI, but ending with me having it all to myself (except for Kee), as Moonshifter decided to stay outside.  It was nice to not have to wait for the Commanders, generally, to leap down from the ceiling.  Instead of a power potion I used a platinum adrenalin, which speeds up one's attack - with that and the Fast Bow casting skill I'm sure some people would have thought a "speed hack" was involved!

That final hour used 38 experience boosters, and gave me 21.71%.  Including the times when I'd just been part of the "supporting cast" standing by the wall, I went up 97.06% today, and added 6 skill points and 4749 pet points.  Keerella, who of course only had a supporting role, went up 1.56%, and 2 skill points.  SkrappY did pretty well, as except for AnoobisCon's fairly brief stay, he was the only "human tribe" pet around, so got the full 84 experience for each Commander killed...he went up just over one and a half levels, and is now right at the top of level 44.

It was one of the Wednesdays when I had to log out a bit early, but after Kae's brief excursion and Barb's five "power hours", I think I managed to pack quite a lot in.

A Full Working Day -  January 22nd

When I logged in Astarael had already bagged the Grave Room in Cariae-4's Tomb of Theos for us, so Keerella and Barbarienne quickly signed up to join him over there, accepting his Recall.  We were soon joined by Symoinias, while her friends Jaci and AnoobisCon also took Recall to us, though I think they were generally just away-from-keyboard boosters, and Con's connection didn't last very long.  Boda31 got there the hard way, and, luckily, there was room for her too, so she joined the combat party.

So, I managed to fit in two hour-long sessions in the morning, with suitable potions and a PBI - the first one added 22.45%, using 39 experience boosters, and the second hour added 21.86% from 38 of them - both times I was generally using the Sphinx Commander in the corridor leading on to the Grave Room, alternating with a convenient Anubis Spear Man there.  That second hour got me up to level 94.

In the afternoon I managed to fit in three hours - 22.90% experience from another 38, 22.30% from 35, and 19.14% from 31.  I think that last one was a little lower on both figures because I was sharing the Grave Room itself, and sometimes it took a little while to tempt a new Commander to put in an appearance, running across the inner area as close to the dots on the compass mini-map as possible.  We might well have been a slightly smaller party by then too.

After the food break, well, my sixth hour may have only got me 16.93% from 33 experience boosters, but it would have been very similar to the previous one, percentage-wise - if I hadn't levelled up again, reaching level 95, which requires twice as many experience points as the previous few levels.  So it's not surprising that my seventh hour "only" gave 11.27%, with me generally having the run of the whole place and thus not having to wait for Commanders to ripen and drop, from 39 boosters.

Unfortunately, as Keerella was now being left behind, five levels lower than Barb now, her experience and skill exp gain from just being there started to get cut back drastically.  She added 0.72% experience and 2 skill points up to my food break, but those last two hours added only 0.03% more.  Still, SkrappY, my cat-like "human tribe" pet which Kee was looking after, easily got the last small bit of experience in the first hour to reach level 44 - and had just reached level 45 at the end of the day.

I was slightly tempted to try an eighth hour, but just as the PBI and the potions were running out, a couple of new people arrived, asking how long I'd be, and it didn't seem fair to hog the place any longer.  So Kee and Barb left them to it.  Including some small amounts of experience gained during my two food breaks, Barbarienne went up a total of 137.24% today, which is assuredly the last time she will ever manage more than a single level in one day; she also gained 8 skill points, and no less than 7117 pet points, which got her horse up to level 34 during the afternoon session, so that he is now actually a level higher than the mount she currently has.

So, I had to move some items around after that, including moving selling items like Moonstone boxes across to MistressDomina, and also getting some Item Mall packages that I'd been saving across to Barb, to restock her with experience boosters.  Astarael also asked for my assistance to transfer 200 experience boosters across from a different character, which involved me moving to Cariae-3, which was now open for business again.

And then, as there was just about an hour's playing time left, and Cariae-3 seemed guaranteed to be pretty empty, I decided to let Kaerella have an hour with the Beast Flyers in Maargadum Jail.  There were actually people on the first two floors, but my favourite spot was ready for me, and I settled in, cracked open a pssp "skill pill"...and gained 120 skill points, and 1069 pet points for SirFrancis.  Just another 100 skill points to go now to be able to tick off the level 80 passive Magic Research skill (level six)...

Afterwards, I transferred the 10% "suction of life" necklace back to Barb - and also found that Kae had five Adrenalin potions in her inventory, so passed them across too.

Unlike a cleric, an archer doesn't actually have any new skill level to learn at level 94, so Barb hasn't had the chance to spend any skill points today - there are two at level 96 though, adding 10% each to the chance of getting critical and deadly hits, but even if I slogged away in the Grave Room tomorrow as long as I did today, I'm afraid I wouldn't quite get there.

More Hard Grinding -  January 23rd

Astarael had grabbed the Grave Room again this morning, choosing the newly-restored Cariae-3 subserver as it was liable to be emptier, so it was just about a quarter past ten in the morning, UK time, when I began my first "power hour" down there.

Symoinias joined us before long, assisted by Falronn who acted as a "bridge" to make sure we were all within ten levels of the combat party's leader, before leaving, and my first hour did pretty well, with 37 experience boosters used to move me up 11.05%; however we had all forgotten that 11:30 on a Friday is when the servers briefly go down, so we all got booted out again.  Symoinias got us back in, and we soon got back into our stride - curiously some of my hour-long (or 24 hours in game time) potions seemed to have been extended by three "hours" or so, but this didn't apply to the Platinum Blessed Iris.  I was just thinking that I could at least get some use out of the remaining bit of potion power before lunch by starting a ten-minute scroll for 50% extra experience... when at about 12:05 we had another disconnection.

We got back again, this time choosing Cariae-4, as apparently it was only Cariae-3 that had had the second mass disconnection, but by that time the PBI had just about expired, and lunch was nearly ready - so while I used 15 experience boosters, I only had 3.95% in experience gain to show for that hour.  I think some sort of minor "rollback" effect must have cut that down a bit, which was annoying.

Astarael wasn't able to stay all that long today, but Symoinias kept busy while Keerella and Barbarienne just stood and watched over my lunch break.  Soon after 1:30 I swung back into action, and my third hour got 11.38% from 37 experience boosters.  Symonias then very kindly devoted almost the whole of the next hour to helping me, by starting to kill a Sphinx Commander, getting its health well down, and then taking Kee's Recall to disassociate herself from the process, leaving me to make the kill and take the experience.  This speeded things up nicely, so that 15.40% experience came in from 53 boosters. 

I think she might have gone on a few minutes longer with that, but PerziaQueen had been in touch, wanting to sell a +15 level 37 weapon cheaply as she needed the gold; things got complicated as originally she wanted 70 million, and then changed her mind and said 90 - I offered 85, which she didn't think much of, but she came back later to agree to that, and I arranged to go back to Randol after that hour was up to buy it.

However, when the time came PQ was offline - so after waiting a few minutes, after thanking Symoinias and saying goodnight to her (Singapore is quite a few hours ahead of the UK), I started up my potions for another hour.

Of course, before long PerziaQueen came on again, and I agreed to move back to Randol for the exchange, making it clear that things had to be quick as I had expensive pots counting down - but when I arrived, she wasn't there, and after a minute or two, muttering darkly that if it was supposed to be a joke it wasn't funny, I took Kee's Recall back down to the Tomb, and started fighting another Commander.  PQ then apologised, and promised to be there - and this time she was in the spawning area, and the exchange was made.

That hour was slightly interrupted, then, but I still managed to use 34 boosters, for 9.90% experience.  And then it was time for my late afternoon, or indeed early evening, food break.  We had been joined in the Grave Room by a rogue called "dr12" while Symoinias was still playing, and she'd not said a word for ages, and then it was "don't ks", to which Symoinias had hotly replied that she hadn't, and referred to an earlier incident when one of the Commanders she had been fighting had mysteriously had some rogue skills applied to it.

So, we were not on the best of terms - but after going downstairs once, I returned and asked dr12 what level she was, as we had a combat party she could join, for a boost to her experience gain (if having to share out her loot).  She told me she was level 92, which was fine, so after a minute she registered to join the party, and I added her, mentioning that Keerella had Recall if needed.  I checked on the situation occasionally, and was able to add the level 92 knight KUKI we'd partied with a day or so back at dr12's request - luckily he seemed to prefer the corridor to the actual Grave Room.

After my break, Barbarienne left the wall and I asked if it was okay for me to start a "power hour", not wanting to double-click some expensive potions and then find there weren't enough Commanders to go round - but I didn't get a reply, and when I started to attack a convenient Commander, dr12 ks'd me, although there were two others standing around.  She then asked Keerella for the Heaven Stone that had just dropped, which had happened to be allocated to Kee.  Well, I have plenty of those, so I traded it across.

And then dr12 checked that I had Recall, so Kee put one up - and she then helped me to power-level for an hour, even though her own PBI hadn't yet expired.  Unlike Symoinias, she didn't start any attacks, she let me choose or lure each Commander, but then she joined in enthusiastically, with Poison, Snare, etc, before taking Recall to Kee when the health got low.  So, that hour gave me 15.31%, off 51 boosters, which was a great, er, boost.

I then offered, naturally enough, to do the same for her for an hour, but she declined the offer, and soon left for the night...though not before I'd added her to my Friends List.  I hope I do have a chance to return the favour.  So, it was pretty much a solo hour for me after that, with Kee still there of course - and Symoinias was still in the party, though not in the Tomb, probably in Merchant Mode in Randol.  KUKI was still around, though sometimes out of range.  That solo hour gave me 10.75% from 38 boosters, and, well, suddenly it looked as if it might be possible to reach the magic level 96 before I logged out of Last Chaos for the night. 

Poor PerziaQueen persuaded me to send her a one-hour Recall card so that she could do a bit of power levelling (she agreed to pay me for it later), but decided not to use it immediately, although I did try to warn her as clearly as I could that the time began as soon as the item was downloaded.  She did download it, rather than leave it in "gifts received", however, as later she messaged me to say that it had "vanished"...

KUKI said goodnight and left - and after about 40 minutes Kee got a "send error report" window, with the game freezing, so it was lucky Symoinias was still able to at least supply the "solo party" boost.  It took about 5 minutes for Kee to actually leave the game. but the last quarter of an hour didn't have any Combat Party boost.  Still, the total at the end was another 10.92% experience off 38 boosters, and that was enough to let me reach level 96, with 2% to spare.

Keerella seemed to do a bit better today than she did off the last session - she even got 52,700 gold, and 0.73% experience for SkrappY, after the game froze, as for that five minutes as far as LC was concerned she was still "in the game".  Her experience gain for the day was 2.11%, and a skill point - while SkrappY addded 140.78%, which means he is now well into level 47.

Barbarienne added in all 88.86% over her eight hour-long stints (not to mention a little bit of Combat Party bonus coming her way between them), plus 8 skill points, and 7346 pet points.  Her new level meant that 950 skill points could be spent on those two passive level 96 skills, so her rate of "critical" and "deadly" hits should now improve a little.  There are skills to get at levels 98 and 100 as well, but those must be a few days away still!

Can They Fix It? -  January 24th

We opted for Cariae-3 again today, since, with the weekend, the Cariae-4 subserver was sure to be "congested" not just in Randol, but in the Tomb of Theos too.  I could have been persuaded either way, but Astarael was willing to take the gamble that, since Cariae-3 had been re-opened for business, and wasn't being used by many people, it ought to remain stable.

So, off we went - Renez was back online after his hardware problems, and his rogue Meds and Astarael had a race to see who could get to the Grave Room first.  As for me, well Barbarienne and Keerella were happy just to take Recall, and then stand near the wall of the circular Grave Room chamber while I went off and had a cup of coffee.

Suitably refreshed, it was almost a quarter past ten, UK time, when I began a "power hour", using the platinum adrenalin potion, health stealer, large crit potion, platinum blessed iris, and 35 experience boosters...with the three of us in action, one did sometimes have to wait a little while a new Sphinx Commander could be tempted down to join us.  At level 96, 10.80% was, for me, pretty respectable, anyway.

I asked Meds about berserker potions, as they'd been in a number of packages so I had a few in my inventory, and I wasn't sure if they "stacked" with the crit potions, and he assured me that their "plus 10% chance to do double damage on each attack" did work okay, so I resolved to use them on future "power hours" - starting with my second morning session, which used 36 experience boosters to move me along by 10.81%.

Symoinias had been doing some other stuff, including some drop farming, but was able to join us just as I was finishing my last Sphinx Commander before my lunch break.  That hour had seen Barb's horse reach level 35, so there are now only two more levels to go before Barb can upgrade to a fully-buffing mount instead of her current level 33 one.

As Symoinias had an ordinary three-hour iris running, she wasn't set up to do any levelling herself, so went back to some drop farming after a while.  I got back from lunch as quickly as I could, and was able to settle into another "power hour" without any delays, as things were a bit quieter - from 1:15, I got through 39 experience boosters, getting myself up a further 12.38%.  And after about twenty minutes SkrappY, as usual being looked after by Kee, went up to level 48.

Symoinias was able to help me on the next hour, though with two other players also active there, LadyOrchid and PfRouge (well, "PFROUGE"), who I've been in a few monster combo parties with when she's been playing as PfBabe, we did tend to have little gaps between fights, again.  It was lucky Symoinias was there, as her efforts saved the hour from being a total disaster like that second morning hour yesterday - at 2:51 UK time Cariae-3 had a mass disconnection, leaving us all respawning in Randol with all our expensive potions counting down.

So, were we to trust Cariae-3 to stay up, or were we to hope that, despite its "congestion", Cariae-4 might have room for us in its Grave Room?  Symoinias went off to Cariae-4, but found that the room was indeed in use, while PfRouge ran back to our place on Cariae-3, and Recalled Astarael, Kee and Barb in.

I think the time lost then was about 13 minutes, but PfRouge and I settled back into action - only to get a second disconnection at 3:16.  Well, that was annoying, but my pots were just about to run out then, so it seemed a good idea just to call it a day, grinding-wise, at that point.  Thanks to Symoinias, I had managed to get through 39 boosters in the time available, and gone up 11.33%, making a total gain in the Grave Room of 45.42% thus far today for Barb, plus 3 skill points and 3583 pet points.

Keerella went up 2.58% and 3 skill points, due to having some people around at a similar level to her, while SkrappY went up 84.54%.

So, I didn't do anything much else before my food break, except draft the first part of this blog, and after that, well, it seemed like a good idea to head back to the Tomb - but the early part, rather than the hard stuff!  So Keerella paid her 270k admission fee, and recalled Barbarienne in.  For Barb the names of the Screaming Zombies aren't red any longer, they're yellow, as they are now only four levels ahead of her.  PerziaQueen was there, but happily in a party with someone, and none of my other regular ks-ers were around.

So, aided by Kee's Recall, we went a bit further in - that first square room with the two Anubis Spear Men was occupied, but the first corner after that wasn't.  There was a double experience bonus going on, and I wasn't seriously levelling, so I didn't use any boosters, and didn't use both Spear Men; while Kee alternated between Spear Men and Sphinx Fighters, Barb generally concentrated on Fighters.  Kee actually decided to trigger a health booster - Barb, with the 10% suction of life accessory, didn't need one.

A level 77 rogue called xBringerofDeathx took up position next to us, using that other Spear Man, and Barb gave her some help occasionally, taking on any Fighters that attacked her while she was fighting her Spear Man, and generally keeping the Fighters under control - I think she probably levelled up before leaving.

When the health stealer's hour ended, we decided to try and get further into the Tomb; Kee would run on ahead, and if she got attacked, she'd use Recall to bring in Barb for a team attack on the Anubis Attackers and Anubis Archers, whose immobilising attack Dark Arrow didn't work very often, luckily.  It was that which had stopped me on previous occasions - the Curse of Darkness hex that the Anubis Occultists use is worse, but luckily they are not aggressive, so if you don't attack them, they leave you alone.

I got into areas I'd never seen before - and also to places that I had seen briefly when Zenderfly had used a stage-by-stage strategy to get through, Recalling me a bit at a time, and having my Recall so she could retreat if there was a problem.  I passed quite a few people fighting Sphinx Commanders and other local monsters, and was glad to be able to follow another faster runner when I wasn't sure which direction was which - but at last, after running underneath the big Darkmind Terrain boss (and hitting him once as I tried to click past him... but that had the effect of moving him out from the doorway and letting me past), I reached the Grave Room itself, the first time I'd got there under my own power.

Luckily the room was only being used by two members of the GUARDIAN guild, KAOTIC and Zypha; I think KAOTIC was power-levelling her guildie, as they were only using half the room.  I did ask if it was okay to start fighting there, and mentioned the Combat Party I had as an option - but if Zypha was lower level, that wouldn't have worked.  They never said anything to me, anyway.

So, thus began one last unexpected "power hour" for Barbarienne today - in which I used 38 more experience boosters, and went up 10.57%.  When my hour was in its closing stages, Astarael got in touch to say she was planning to level ShawShankz up from 86 to 87, so that she'd be able to wear the full 85/87 armour set and in future be able to power level herself.  So, when the GUARDIAN pair vanished, I was able to invite them to take Kee's Recall and join me.

Meds, Renez's rogue, joined us too; as we were in a Combat party, we were able to give Shaw her power-level pretty easily, with Kee providing the Recall for Asta, Meds and I to use once the current Commander's health got suitably low, without having to bother with leaving the party or anything.  It didn't take long to get Shaw to level 87 - at that point Meds asked if she could use the back half of the room herself for an hour's power-level, which was of course fine.  Asta and I (well, Barb and Kee) continued to power-level Shaw while her pbi lasted, to get the full hour's value, and, sure enough, Shaw managed to reach level 88 before the end.  Meds reached her new level, 91, as well.

So, it was very nice that my first successful "run" to the Grave Room was so useful for us all.  Thanks partly to her hour with the Spear Men and Fighters Kee went up 5.72% today in experience, and added 7 skill points.  Her drake Greedo was used during that hour, so he added 915 pet points, his first for a while - in all, before and after that, SkrappY went up 112.15% today, reaching level 48.

Barbarienne's total experience gain for the day was 59.17%, with 9 skill points added and 6529 pet points.  With the Combat Party, even power-levelling ShawShankz had made a small contribution to that, which is better than the usual "power level", where leaving the party just before the kill means not just zero experience gain, but zero share of the loot, too...

Another Trip to the Grave Room -  January 25th

There wasn't any activity in the morning, which after recent exertions suited me fine.  I did look around Cariae-4's multitude of merchants, but I didn't see anything very tempting - no level 97 bows at all, so I don't know how they compare with my current level 85 one.

I set MistressDomina up in merchant mode over lunch, and she did sell some items, so that was a useful little boost for my cash.  As for Barbarienne, well, I bought five herb-farming knives, got some tool aids out of storage, and went out to the nearest herb field. Four of the knives I immediately "boosted" with a tool aid, to get 27 green leaves - the fifth knife I used over lunchtime to get a few assorted herbs, and then "boosted" for the 27.

Well, after lunch there wasn't anything exciting and different going on, so Keerella headed for the Tomb of Theos again, on the older computer, and made a run for the Grave Room again.  I did take a wrong turning in the later stages of the run, or rather missed a right side turning, so ended looping round and coming out on the "swimming pool" room again, but, after using plenty of health pots when stopped from moving for 25 seconds at a time by the Anubis Archers, I managed to head for the right area.  The big boss Darkmind Terrain must have been slightly further forward than yesterday, as I slipped past him easily - and reached the nice, quiet Grave Room.

Astarael joined me via Recall, as of course did Barbarienne, but Asta only stayed for one hour; Boda31 arrived, and joined the party just as he was finishing, which was convenient.

My first hour began just before half past two - I got 10.14% experience, using only 34 experience boosters, I don't know what slowed me down I'm sure, probably some gaps between killing one Commander and the next one being lured into sight.  After a short rest to let the Sphinx Commanders all respawn properly, the second hour was a bit better, at 11.51% from 39 boosters.

Leaving Boda31 hard at work, I went off for my food break then, after making her party leader, but when I got back she had gone away-from-keyboard and was standing by the wall.  This complicated matters when Symoinias arrived, as only Boda was high enough to add her to our party - in the end Symoinias managed to get Falronn to briefly join us to act as "bridge", so Kee and Barb left Boda, who after a while vanished, and teamed with Symoinias.

Having Symoinias in the party certainly seemed to inspire me to greater speed, and of course I got a little extra boost from her kills - the first evening hour gave me 12.23% off no less than 40 boosters, while somehow I managed to get through 44 boosters on the next hour, for 13.69%.  I think I probably, as the place was busy, had to kill a few Anubis Spear Men from the corridor, who, while they give a little less experience, do die more quickly.  That hour actually got me up to level 97 at last - so now I could wear the whole new 95/97 armour set if I wanted to, and use the level 97 bow, if I can find a good +15 one for sale.

The evening's third hour got me another 12.76%, from another 40 experience boosters; Symoinias didn't stay around for most of it, though, since Singapore is eight hours ahead, it must have been about 4:00am by the time she headed off for bed.  Boda31 did make it back to us, explaining that she had had a disconnection while she was afk, and shared the room in her place, continuing on for a few minutes after my potions ran out.  And then, well, it wasn't a huge amount of time until the regular Sunday evening Quiz, so the place began to empty.

Barbarienne went up in total today by 60.47%,  including the little bits of experience from other people's kills between my hours, which means I've been averaging 12% per hour, just about; Boda mentioned that she was getting 11%, but she is level 100 now, and that level is 10% longer, 110 billion instead of 100 billion experience.  7 skill points got added, too, while Barb's horse went up 4974 points, so is getting fairly close to level 36 now.

At the moment, the plan is for Barb to take over Kaerella's drake, SirFrancis, when the horse has reached level 37 and been converted into a mount - otherwise, that drake will soon overtake Kae, while her experience remains frozen.  It shouldn't take Kae long to train up a replacement drake to a useful level with the Beast Flyers.

Keerella was doing fairly well for experience gain, for a non-combatant party member, until Symoinias came along - even in a Combat Party, your gain does get "capped" if you are more than 15 levels behind another member.  Still, she added 1.97%, taking her to halfway through level 90, and 2 skill points.  SkrappY did well today, anyway, and reached level 49, adding 86.16%.  He now has rather more health than either Kee or Barb, though his lack of armour does make him vulnerable.

The plan with Kee has got to be to get her a few more skill points, and then use a "skill reset card", and try to redistribute the skill points she has in a way that allows her to have Chaos Nova.  Without changing the passive skills, it would be easy enough to reclaim about 800 skill points from general mage skills, and the wizard skills Fear and Flame Field are ones I just don't have room for on Kee's skill bar.  But a little skill point farming first, I think...and it would be nice to get her to level 92, for the ninth level of Freeze Arrow, if I can also scrape together the 550 skill points that needs.

The Quiz itself went okay, but unfortunately my character on the older computer, Kaerella, got "lagged out" on the very first question.  On her screen, she was right behind Barb, and on the correct side of the room - but on Barbarienne's screen, she didn't move across fast enough.  There did seem to be rather a lot of other disappointed people respawning in the middle of Cariae-5 Randol alongside her - but at least Barb herself made it through to the end, along with a few other Norcaine people, and got her 10 Tool Aids, 10 Moonstones, and 15 Heaven Stones.  I think Barb will probably be using those Tool Aids herself, since her pet gets through so many herbs when she's fighting the Sphinx Commanders.  270 Green Leaves might last a day or so...

Back Again -  January 26th

After moving some sellable items across to MistressDomina late in the morning, and topping up Barbarienne's supply of experience boosters and platinum adrenaline potions, Barb went out to farm some green herb leaves, using some of last night's tool aids.

I'd used four tool aids to "boost" harvesting knives, and was setting Barb to make use of a fifth knife to do some random harvesting, when Symoinias got in touch to say hi - and when asked admitted that she and Boda31 were already hard at work in the Grave Room.  So it seemed only polite to offer to join them there - I quickly boosted and used that fifth knife, and registered for the combat party, then got Keerella online too and registered her.

So I was able to give them some moral support over lunchtime - and since I was there, and Symoinias was stopping, at twenty past two it seemed a good idea to take advantage of the situation and start a "power hour" - this time using a large crit potion,  platinum adrenaline, berserker potion, and a power potion, as well as the platinum blessed iris and the experience boosters.  One more potion than usual, so my buffs (including the resurrection scroll and Fast Bow Fixing) ran onto a second line.

That hour got me 12.99% experience from 42 boosters, so I went straight on to another hour, though without a power potion, and got 11.26% from 39 boosters, as I didn't have the room all to myself, and did have to take time to lure a next Sphinx Commander down from the ceiling sometimes.  Symoinias did leave after a while, but ANoobIsCon, afk as ever, did stay around, which was a useful boost to the experience side, though he did have his Ichi "human tribe" pet equipped, so he and SkrappY had to share the 84 experience per Commander they get.

After my food break I did do one more hour, and got 12.53% from 43 boosters; Rougy2, who happens to be on Kee's Friends List, did arrive, along with xm4ki1erx, to use the other half of the room.  I assume they are a little low-level for there, Rougy2 did die once, she said, and the pair of them certainly didn't kill any more quickly than the usual single other player.  KUKI turned up, and joined the combat party, mainly going for the corridor critters.

But that was enough grave room action for me today, and when IroseI (or some such name) came in, disappointed to find the place full, I happily let her take over, getting her into the party so that she'd get the boost from ANoobIsCon (and he and his pet would get the boost from her), and logged out.

I changed Keerella over to the main computer, and went off to Egeha, as I'd been meaning to use her Recall to get Barbarienne to the entrance to Lust Trum Tower there.  Even arriving close to the teleporter npc, one Boucu Demon was close enough to attack me - and retaliating brought the local Skinwalkers in too, so it's lucky one can use the teleporter to escape them, they hit fairly hard and take a long time to kill.

PerziaQueen and ShawShankz took advantage of my offer to Recall them there to get the spot on their memory scrolls, and we did fight a few of the Wights in the first passage on the ground floor - PQ was really a bit low-level for that, and did die once, but Barb was able to resurrect her.

After a little while there, Kee went back to town, courtesy of "pet return to village", took the teleporter to Dratan, and went into the Tomb of Theos, recalling the others in. ShawShankz went off to the grave room, but I declined an invitation to go there too, one can have enough of Commanders dropping on one from the ceiling.  Shaw did okay there, anyway, despite some trouble with an assassin apparently, and reached level 90.

Barb and Kee started fighting a Screaming Zombie or two at the beginning, but Kee quickly ran off down to the Sphinx Fighters just past the first square room with the Spear Men, and Barb joined her by Recall, as did PerziaQueen, though she soon left us.  So, we settled into just some low-intensity Fighter farming.

There was an "upgrade event" announced, but there were so few announcements that, going by the forum shoutbox, people knew very little about what was happening.  It was initially announced for 8:30 to 9:00pm UK time, but actually started 20 minutes before that, with a 150% success rate.  People assumed that that stopped at 9:00, leaving people who'd been waiting in the hope of a few minutes of a 200% success rate disappointed - and then at 9:20 there was a brief announcement that the event was over.

As usual the upgrading led to lag, with some people being unable to log into the game; right at its start they somehow managed to mess up the experience and skill exp, so that when I killed one Anubis Spear Man I just got "you have earned 0 skill experience", but they soon put that right.  Lucky I wasn't in the grave room using boosters then...

Well, despite her starring role in the second half of the evening, Keerella only went up by 1.49% today, plus 5 skill points.  Her drake Greedo went up 1079 pet points, though, while SkrappY went up 39.79%, so is in a strong position to reach level 50 before very long now.

Barbarienne's total experience gain for the day was 37.26%, almost all of it from the three "power hours" of course, and she also added 5 skill points and 3008 pet points, which saw her horse reach level 36 late in the afternoon.  So, just one final level before that horse can become her mount.

Into the Tomb -  January 27th

Barbarienne used a few more harvesting knives and tool aids to restock her supply of green herb leaves, and then did a little random harvesting while Keerella made the Tomb run - as usual a run with a lot of pauses along the way, courtesy of the Anubis Archers, while mobs of Anubis Attackers attacked. 

The first Screaming Zombie area had been completely deserted, but there were quite a number of people along the way, and the Grave Room itself was being used by HonamiAmbler of the Bastion guild, and xcon - Honami wasn't able to join a combat party as she was power-levelling a guildie, Abrion, while xcon didn't seem interested either.

Xcon was a bit of a puzzle, and didn't seem to be using any potions or making much use of her half of the room, and before long went away for five minutes to have a smoke.  At that point, I decided to go out to the real-life shops.  When I came back she was nowhere around, but by then it was too close to lunch to start a "power hour".

Keerella's one-week Recall card was due to expire at "Year 41, Month 5, Day 13, Time 19", which may mean something to some experts - they really ought to supply a countdown function.  In fact, it ran out a little before 4:30 this afternoon, UK time, or at least that was the first time at which I noticed the blank spot on Kee's shortcut bar.

I came back up after lunch as early as possible, to see what the situation was, and was able to start my first "power hour" at about ten past one.  Xcon was having another short break, this time for coffee, so I used the corridor outside instead. I only managed 9.83% off 33 experience boosters, which means 33 kills, alternating between Sphinx Commanders and Anubis Spear Men in the corridor opening onto the Grave Room, and that was because I didn't have a large crit potion to use - running a power potion, along with my usual berserker potion and platinum adrenaline, just wasn't the same, it seems.  My second hour, which did include one after I downloaded a package that contained four of them, shows that very clearly, as I then managed to get 12.11% off 43 kills.

HonamiAmbler continued in the main room, slogging her way through level 99, often taking on three Commanders at once and, as a wizard, using Chaos Nova on them probably - she did rather want to keep the room for herself, for optimum speed, and did go so far as to tell one person who arrived hopefully that Keerella was on a short break, by the wall, and would be back using half the room in a few minutes!  We got to chatting about armours and crafting and so on, and eventually added each other to our Friends Lists. 

Barb's third hour added 13.46% off 49 kills, so perhaps the condition of the "dungeon" had improved.  It was just approaching my usual food break time, but one more hour would get me up to level 98 - so, rather than come back and find no room for more grinding, I continued, and got another 13.63% off another 49 boosters and kills.  I mentioned that I'd seen a level 96 healer shirt for sale in Randol, and its basic defence was lower than my level 86 one.  "It must have been a white one", was Honami's response.  I'd only recently realised that the different colours for the armour names mean a different actual defence, I'd assumed it just reflected the quality of the seals.  Honami agreed that it wasn't really worth upgrading from one's present set until they introduce blue, five-seal evasion armour for the 95/97 seems possible that it may need to be crafted using new skills and items, so we'll need to see what happens.

Honami finally reached level 100 a little way into my food break; she had planned to continue until her potions ran out, but a friend needed her help, and so she left.  I tried to keep my break relatively short, but it was an hour in all before I was able to start a new "power hour", this time moving into the Grave Room itself.  Fighting all Sphinx Commanders now, I managed to get 13.53% from 46 kills.  I  teamed up with a rogue called Docmarten, who took the back half of the room; KUKI also arrived and joined the combat party, though kept to the corridor, and didn't come up to the gateway much in the way I had done, so for most of the time wasn't actually contributing to and sharing in the party boost.

We did have an interloper, a Fraternity guild archer called Magh, who just ran into the room and started fighting Commanders - just to complicate matters Doc had a disconnection just after telling her to stop, so while I was trying to make her feel unwelcome, Doc's disappearance did kind of take the wind out of my ks-ing sails.  As she wasn't able to remember how to spell Barbarienne's name, I didn't hear from Doc until she managed to run back to us, so I was asking Magh if she had come to some arrangement to take over Doc's spot, a concept which seemed only to puzzle her.

Well, Doc reclaimed her spot, and Magh did eventually retreat from the Grave Room, only to begin annoying KUKI by taking his targets in the corridor!  She did eventually leave the area; IRosEI arrived with a knight when I had about 10-15 minutes left, and I did tell her that, but she didn't stay around this time.  Due to the little bit of ks-ing, and general disruption from Magh, plus a couple of occasions when the experience booster didn't, for some reason, "go off", my sixth hour just added 12.51%, from the use of 42 boosters.  I added Docmarten to my Friends List too, and we hope we'll see each other on a Monster Combo or two before too long.

That was quite enough for me - and I'd run out of the platinum adrenaline potions, a vital part of my "power hour", anyway.  So Barbarienne ended her day in the Grave Room with a gain of 75.10% experience in total, along with 8 skill points and 6174 pet points.  I invited KUKI into the Grave Room itself - and just after that had what for the newer computer is a rather rare thing, thankfully, a "send error report?" message.  It was nice timing!

Keerella stayed in the party with KUKI, though unfortunately the next arrival, Gurrom, was level 110 and so couldn't be added to the combat party.  Still, Kee continued to get some free experience, as did SkrappY, who had reached level 50 while HonamiAmbler had been on, and was now two-thirds of the way through that level.  Kee did get a Heaven Stone, too.  By the time KUKI finished his hour, Kee's experience gain for the day had reached 2.55%, plus 5 skill points, while SkrappY was up 90.45%.

Barbarienne spent 900 skill points on level six of Paralyzing Arrows, not that it's a skill she uses greatly - apparently if you target one monster with it, other nearby ones also become involved, which can be a problem.  You don't usually expect firing an arrow to give an "area of effect" result.  Attempts to log in to Cariae-1 and -3 were ineffective, with the "failed to connect to server" message that means they are closed off still.

Elvastar had asked me to check in on two recently-added apprentices he'd taken on but been unable to actually meet - the titan HeNrY and the mage TheDeveil.  Elva has, unfortunately, exceeded his broadband contract's allowed downloading for the month, so won't be back with us until next week.  I tried whispering both names tonight on all four operating sub-servers, but without any luck.  He has asked me to log in on his account to seek them out, which I may need to do in a day or so, though multiple people accessing the same account is something the game's administrators aren't too keen on.

So, good progress again, on probably the last day until next week when I'll be able to play for such a large number of hours.  Somehow, slogging away in the Grave Room is addictive, but I'll try to stop doing quite so much of just the one thing - soon!

The Big Titan -  January 28th

It had been 6:30 when I woke up this morning, and, as usual for a Wednesday morning, made straight for the PC.  There wasn't any big new Last Chaos patch to download, just the new week's worth of item mall packages.  Annoyingly, the offer of ten Chaos Smelting Stones for 2500ap had already sold out, otherwise it would have been a bit tempting.

What was new was the new European-oriented server, Auzura - it is now visible on the server-choice menu, although so far it hasn't actually been opened up for us, the sub-servers all say "maintenance".  Renez in particular is eagerly looking forward to starting new characters there, and it looks as if the main Norcaine people may well team up over there.  I've assured Ren that it's his turn to be the Guild Master...

I was a bit busy this morning (I like to do my tax returns before the final deadline), so Karella and Barbarienne were just harvesting some more green herb leaves etc, outside Randol.  Guild member Napollion, a level 30 knight, did actually track me down there, and got his new level 7 healer Potencial added to our guild roster.

After lunch, well, it seemed time to let Keerella be the star, so she went off to the first part of the Tomb of Theos to do some Reputation farming, power-levelling new characters up to 20.  She has, in fact, now reached a Reputation figure of 910, which moves her up from 17 to 15 on the Cariae rankings.  It's a long way to go to reach #14, though...

Meds dropped by to say hello, looking sweetly roguish, or roguishly sweet, in the special bridal costume, while I was doing the power-levelling, and also letting some of the familiar people there do a little ks-ing.  Norcaine's own Newer68 didn't stay long; MAsterROgue was with me up to the food break, but I think did actually join a party of people who were ganging up on the Screaming Zombies after that. 

I had a new apprentice apply while I was levelling Orc4xeman, and allowing GoodRogueMan to do a bit of ks-ing - this was a new character called IBigTitan, whose English wasn't perfect, but was able to assure me that this wasn't his first character, so  Kee used one of her remaining Summon books to bring him along for a power-level to 20, which he seemed to think was a good idea.  Immediately on arrival, at level 1, he rushed forward to attack his own Screaming Zombie, and perhaps not surprisingly died rather quickly.

He managed to annoy GoodRogueMan with talk of crushing puny little rogues, in fact his talk was rather reminiscent of the Incredible Hulk in his old comics, but after the first Zombie he did at least allow me to take the lead.  I was wondering how I should bring up the idea of farming for skill experience in Prokion Temple (or should one perhaps not try to burden the average Titan with such a concept?), when he mentioned having three "Tears of Knight" accessories on a different character, a knight, and I finally realised that IBigTitan was in fact a previously rather bored Renez having a bit of fun.  And it was indeed laugh-out-loud funny to see him exaggerating the Titan approach to life and fighting, and generally annoying the other people there.

Ren did give me the titan "event weapon" that getting to level 20 as Kee's apprentice won him, afterwards; I was advising him to be sure to visit Lorraine to get the three event boxes open, some candy, or physical attack potions, would come in handy I'm sure.  It would be a waste not to, before he deletes the character.

It was one of the Wednesdays when I have to make an early exit, so after killing a few more Screaming Zombies, it was time to log out.  Kee had gone up 2.17%, and added 5 skill points - all those odd fives, ones, threes etc are starting to add up, soon she'll have a whole 250!  Her drake Greedo managed to get 3039 pet points, which takes him past the halfway mark in level 49.  I don't think more than one piece of armour was dropped, a pair of gloves, but Kee more than got back the 270k price of entry, even sharing the gold drops with the apprentices.

So, a nice inconsequential day after all that earnest grinding.  I wonder how soon the Auzura-EU server will be ready for us?  I won't be able to play a whole lot, except the evenings, until Monday, so in a way I'd be happy if it isn't ready for a few days, but one will need to log in fairly quickly to try and get a good name before all the best ones are taken, when it does open up...

Waiting for Auzura -  January 29th

When was the new EU server for Last Chaos going to open?  That must have been the most-asked question in the forum shoutbox today, and the GameSages there didn't have an easy answer.  It seems likely that the new server, designed to have its events at Europe-friendly times, is liable to throw open its doors to us in the wee small hours of tomorrow morning, sigh...

I was busy until after my evening food break today, which meant that Karella and Barbarienne were just harvesting herbs and mining stones from before lunch until late afternoon, though when Barb finished her hammer, she moved across to the nearby henge and used her energy collector for a's not that I have any great need for the energy, but it would get rid of that collector and clear the slot it takes up.

Keerella was the star of the show after that, with MistressFelicia providing her "solo party" boost - it was going to be Barb doing that, but ShawShankz had finished with the weapon she had borrowed, and MistressFelicia seems to be the one who holds onto such things, both weapons and armour sets.

Kee didn't really settle down and do anything for long.  She went to Egeha, and used the memory scroll to go straight to Lust Trum tower, where she went far enough into the second level to fight a few Wight Slashers, as seen in the Monster Combo, as well as the ordinary Wights and the archer-type Wight Flairs.  The Slashers are boss types, and passive, but at least where I was the aggressive regular Wights and Wight Flairs wanted to get involved as well, so a few health potions were used.

After a little while there, I decided to ride around a bit, and see if I could find a reasonable place to fight Cursed Weavers and Cursed Liches, and, if rather close to Endemic Demons (also known as Inkitomi), Skin Walkers and Boucu Demons, I did find one spot - but they do hit hard, and they are aggressive and protective, and seem to run in from quite a distance when one of them is attacked.

To get there I had to kill a couple of the Endemic Demons, and that meant that I completed an old quest I'd had for a while, "Kill the Inkitomi" - so a little later I rode down to visit Battle Leader Kun, and received my reward for that quest, and another, which seems to complete Kee's Egeha quests.  Looking at the page for high-level quests on the Wet Paint wiki for Last Chaos, I see that a number of the Egeha ones do still work up to level 100, so Barbarienne could try a few if I wanted to...not that the experience reward is any more than killing a single Sphinx Commander, and without the option to boost it!

After general riding-around and exploration, and not dying despite some determined attacks by the local monsters, Kee had had enough of Egeha; I must say that the village itself was a lot quieter than it used to be, but of course now we have the Tomb, and Strayana and its cave, and so the higher level people have generally moved on.

So, Kee went off to the Tomb of Theos, and just settled down to kill a few Screaming Zombies - they may be level 100, but are a lot easier to deal with than level 91 Wight Slashers, or level 86 Endemic Demons, so things down there were relatively trouble-free.  One Zombie did drop a Heaven Stone, so that more than covers Kee's travelling expenses.

So, Kee went up 1.05%, and added 965 pet points - and 10 skill points, which actually brought her up to 250 unused sp.  Unfortunately there aren't any outstanding skills she can get with that number, the nearest thing would be to get the first three levels of Chaos Nova with 290 skill points.  Maybe I'll aim at that; it would be possible to power level Kee to level 92 pretty simply, using a platinum blessed iris and experience boosters, but if I take it slowly, hopefully more skill points will accrue.  And the more Kee has, the easier it will be to reset her skills to include the next level of Freeze Arrow, and Chaos Nova.

Tomorrow will be another short day for me, Last Chaos-wise, but assuming that the new server is open, I must at least claim a few names if I can!

Back to Basics -  January 30th

I had a fairly busy day, but I logged on to the new Auzura-EU-1 sub-server to make a few characters and reserve my usual names fairly early in the morning; SirDarth actually got a pan flute in his fight through the starter dungeon, so a pony was obtained from Jajan in Dratan.  Other familiar names include Barbarienne, Keerella, and MistressDomina, just in case we do decide to take advancing on the new server seriously.

It was Kaerella, a healer of course, who was busy later on, though, with an hour or so in the afternoon and the whole of the evening session, during which she finally reached level 16, though level 20 is the target.  I may have made a bad choice of guardian, a knight called FelixJaeger, he accepted me as an apprentice but refused to add me to his Friends List, and didn't say a word.  Seeing him in town later, I see he is already a member of the Vendetta guild...

So Kae's progress started with foxes, deer and wolves, doing the early quests for Healer Yabo, and moved on to getting those jaguar teeth for Merchant Geres a number of times.  At an early level, without any access to existing reserves of gold, the 500 gold per necklace comes in very handy, and after a few trips Kae could afford the 2,836 gold that a level 13 bow costs.

SirDarth transferred the pony across to Kae, and Kae gave him the rogue, mage and knight drops she'd picked up, which should help other characters to have a slightly easier start - as it is, Kaerella is still wearing most of the items of armour she started off with, though she did pick up slightly better headgear along the way.  She has also spent very few skill points, just a level of Heal and a level of Mining.

This is in case she needs to donate skill points to the new guild that Renez is arranging; though really she wouldn't be too keen on donating the 240 to reach level 5, as she herself would have to be level 30 to do that, which would make later skill point farming in Prokion Temple a bit difficult.  But earlier levels, for 10, 30, 60 and 120 skill points, would be no problem, though the last of those needs her to reach level 25.  The cash needed (10k, 50k, 250k, and 500k) seems a little daunting at this stage, though it is easy enough for other guild members to pass gold across.

Kae did some mining over the food break, and so was able to feed the pony up a bit; he only comes with 50% on the starvation bar, which seems a little mean of Jajan.  The place was certainly busy, it was difficult to find jaguars someone else wasn't already targeting.  Once she reached level 10, she went off and got Velpist Temple onto her memory scroll, and did some farming in there.

Velpist was busy too, but there were just enough Wandering Zombies and Ancient Zombies to go around, and I did get a few ready-plussed drops, though nothing for a healer.  There's a level 16 rogue shirt +3, and level 13 +1 weapons for a knight and a rogue, but the only +4 weapon was for a titan.

As usual, the teleporter to leave Velpist was bugged - you can't get out of there except by logging out, basically.  But that just makes one's return to town a bit quicker.  Captain Leon had a quest for me to visit Hunter Dranore south of town, and he in turn had repeatable quests that involved killing the local sasquatches, werewolves, and little treants, so that was a good way to build up the cash reserves.

Characters start with a treasure chest to be opened by Lorraine at level 10 - that one just gave Kae 5 pieces of candy, but the next one along, at level 14, gave her 50,000 gold, which is a very useful boost.  level 18's can give 80,000, or 15 pieces of candy, or a level 21 +4 weapon, so I must wait until then before I do anything drastic - though the "event weapon" one gets at level 20 for completing one's apprenticeship is better, even without any plussing.

I did check the Cariae-4 sub-server a few times, but nothing at all was happening in Norcaine there, I guess everyone else was trying the new European server too.  A shame we don't yet know each other's names etc, it made for a rather solo experience...

Kae is rather weak for her level, with no passive skills yet, low-grade armour, and an unplussed level 13 weapon, so maybe a trip to Dratan and Prokion Temple there will have to wait, at least until I know if I can spend some skill points.  I doubt if I'll have much playing time tomorrow, but we'll see what happens.

Life on Auzura -  January 31st

It was another busy day for me today out in the real world, though at least I could add to my exertions by rushing upstairs every ten minutes to get young Kaerella restarted on her mining duties.  A large supply of stones seems like a good idea for keeping my pony plump, though if Kae is going to be spending time in Prokion Temple, well, the monsters there are all so keen on "pet-eating" that I don't usually equip a pet there.

Velpist Temple's monsters can be a bit hungry too, so a trip out there didn't involve the pony.  At her current level it was time for a trip upstairs; I teamed up with a level 16 titan called Tyrand, but he hardly ever seemed to need healing, though I was using Self Heal quite a lot.

Later, Kaerella made the run from Dratan City out to Prokion Temple successfully, none of the red-named monsters along the route seemed to take an interest in her, and got the entrance onto her memory scroll.  At level 16 she was a little low to go in, but since she was there, it seemed a good idea to check the place out, and try a few of the level 17 ghouls.  I did in fact get recruited into a party along with Wanted, IMeinMyI, and IamAlwaysHelpful, but things got pretty hectic because as usual someone got a bit ambitious and headed for the orcs.  There were a few deaths, but I made some great last-minute saves - however my skills were so low that I felt I needed to increase them, so I made my farewells and left.

Since the making of a guild requires a level 35 character to donate 500 skill points, which rather means that, unless you take ages in Prokion Temple first getting a superabundance of sp, you can end up with a "dead-end" character, it seemed like a good idea to get my mage merchant character MistressDomina started on the new Europe-orientated Auzura server too, in case she gets allocated that role.

After the early foxes, deer, wolves, and jaguars, she went off to Juno's own Velpist Temple, where the low-level wandering zombies helped her to reach level ten.  That means she could now go into merchant mode, so she will stop there for a little while; at 98.50% of the way through that level, she needs to get a Guardian before she kills any thing else, if she is intending to reach level 20 in the near future.  Maybe Kae will be that Guardian, who can say, once she gets to 20?

Kaerella got her available skills up to level 3, which used up a fair number of points, though it is usually the fourth, and especially the fifth, levels of skills that are expensive, sp-wise.  This toughened her up, and increased her healing power, as well as giving her the Fast Bow Fixing skill to increase her rate of attack, so after that a return trip to Prokion Temple was called for.

Nobody recruited me into a party this time.  The place was still very busy, and there were people with red names about, particularly a "mad dog" type of killer, a mage called FROST - she did manage to sneak up while I was fighting a ghoul and kill me, though her subsequent attempts were less successful.  I moved across to a different room, and managed to end the day with two more skill points than I started it with, despite all the ones used.

It is strange, the other servers all have a couple of "non-PvP" sub-servers, but all the six Auzura sub-servers are ordinary run-of-the-mill PvP ones, so if you don't want to get killed by other players occasionally, Auzura isn't for you.  Ah well, at least the powers that be have cunningly made it "special" at the moment, with "Blessed Rewards" dropped quite often by monsters, automatically activated when you pick them up, some of which give 20 minutes of 50% extra experience, or 10 minutes of 50% extra skill exp, or extra defence, attack, or chance of a good drop, so that does speed up things usefully.

Kae did manage to go up by 224.57% today, and those 2 skill points.  And right at the end, since she had reached level 18, she was able to open the latest "treasure chest" from Lorraine, which gave her the level 21 +4 scepter, rather than just candy or gold, so that was a good note to end the day on.  I've not been trying hard to keep up to date with armour sets on my Auzura characters, one outgrows the low-level sets so quickly that it is hardly worth it - and not really worth plussing items at all, in fact at low levels even using bloodseal gems isn't worth doing.  At a low level, their 1000 gold cost is enough to put one off, anyway, though I am now getting seals onto Kae's current "Heavenly" set.  I've not spent any aeria points to buy items or packages on Auzura, I've plenty of stuff on Cariae, which unfortunately can't be moved over, so Auzura will probably be a diversion rather than my main focus.  It did, after all, take rather a lot of time, and boosters, to get my mage and archer to levels 90 and 98, after all, so sticking with them seems sensible.

There'll be no playing Last Chaos for me until after seven tomorrow evening, the computers won't even be switched on until then - oh well, it only happens once every month or so!