Kaerella's Blog - stardate March 2009 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month begins here at the top!
Enter: Sir Perivale! - March 1st

It was a while before SirDarth could go out pet-levelling - well, it was Sunday morning.  And, as well as a lie-in, there was some serious redistribution of loot needed, which took quite a while.  I also checked my characters on Cariae, and also the very low-level ones that I had on the other servers, Hatzring, Sarissa and Katar, and what I'd read a while back in the forums was true, on each server I'd got the "everyperson" tier package, so I've downloaded those, as they were each taking up a slot on the records page, meaning that I have some level two, six and ten characters with high-level Item Mall goodiess now, which they may well never use.

Before he left Randol, Darth downloaded his second "Mardi Gras: Pet Lover!" pack, the free one for buying the first one.  The first package's five lucky pet draw boxes had yielded a five-pack of the one-hour, triple pet experience "platinum pet experience potions", black and green pet colouring crystals, and two lots of 100 "potions of pet healing", each of which instantly heals one's pet for 30 health points...the only drawback to that was that the pet healing potions aren't transferable, so only Darth can use them. 

So, this time Darth transferred the  five boxes across to MrChuckNorris, whose pet does seem to lose health faster than most of my characters, since as a titan he's a melee fighter.  Opening the boxes, we got yellow and dark blue colouring crystals, another five-pack of the experience potions, a blue pan flute, and as I'd hoped another 100-pack of the pet healing potions.  These Chuck kept, and the other items he traded back across to Darth.

Darth did get out to his Berserker after that, however; as he teleports to the same spot each time now, it probably is the same Berserker every time, who may well be glad of the company.  Darth set to work - and, getting through masses of quality stones, he did manage  to get the horse up to level 36 in the evening, a little while before the Quiz.

After lunch, my rogue headed out to Prokion Temple, and was able to have an uninterrupted session.  The first hour, with the usual potions, brought in 732 skill points, and the second one added a further 726, taking me to 8001 unused sp - I did stay a little longer afterwards, as usual, without the potions, and added another 26, so we must be approaching the two-thirds point on her experience-frozen stint in Prokion now.

The Sunday "Teatime" today was just an extra 50% experience gain, which, with all my main characters frozen on that front to gain skill points, didn't seem very inspiring.  But then I thought about getting a specialist pet trainer character, so that SirDarth can go on to get his skill points, become a Temple Knight, and actually level up a bit.  The extra 50% boost would help a new knight character to level up a bit more quickly, along with the continuing Blessed Rewards.  I did think of using SirGalahad, who is at present just carrying various knight armour and weapons, but he is on the same account as my merchant, MistressDomino, so that wouldn't be very convenient.

So, a new character, SirPerivale, was born, and went out to do the early quests killing deer, foxes, wolves, and indeed jaguars.  Once he'd reached level eight he returned to town; he signed up as Kaerella's apprentice in the Guardian system, MistressDomina recruited him to the Norcaine guild, and SirDarth traded the blue pan flute to him, after which he did the quest to get himself a cute little pale blue pony from Jajan in Dratan.  Once all that was done, he headed out to Velpist Temple.  I'd managed to maximise the level five skill "Canid Fence" by then, which increases defence, and he had very little trouble with the Wandering Zombies, or indeed the Ancient and Berserk ones.  The occasional level 21 Skeleton Soldier was no great problem once he reached level twelve, either. 

He went back to town at level thirteen, and, having maximised the personal dungeon skill "Fatal Divide", went through the "Straia Temple" dungeon a few times.  I see that the end boss, the Balrog, is only level 23 now; I'm sure that he used to be level 30, as the Wet Paint wiki has him.  So, a few moonstones got earned there.  In the personal dungeons you can equip your pet, but you don't get a buff from him, and he doesn't appear or pick up loot - he does gain pet points in the usual way, though, and doesn't lose health, though his starvation bar does still decrease.

So, SirPerivale ended the day on level 14, and will soon be heading for Prokion Temple I'm sure.  Once he is level 22, he can get frozen, and be ready to take over SirDarth's current armour, and the position of pet-leveller, when Darth starts to level up, and then sp-farm.  Darth will do his sp-farming at level 27, to maximise the number of guild points gained for Norcaine.

The Quiz was a few minutes late starting, as somehow the Quiz Room on Hatzring-2 wasn't opened when it should have been, but other than that things ran smoothly, with the usual set of questions; Darth followed Kaerella around faithfully, and they both got the usual booty, the tool aids, moonstones, and heaven stones.  I'd taken Darth there as Stavanic had asked if Darth could level up his sorcerer's new pet, but apparently he'll not be ready to pass that pony over until Monday.  It will mean Darth returns to the Butchers for a while, as a pet below level 11 doesn't give a big enough armour buff to keep him alive with Berserkers.  Still, the quality stone consumption will be greatly reduced.

There was an "upgrade event" after the Quiz, again, which is sensible timing since people have all those new heaven stones to try their luck at upgrading with.  Elvastar, or rather his knight Ratel, was certainly lucky, he got all his armour from +3 to +4, and got his sword to +10, with six heaven stones to spare, so he'll be able to sell those.  BasheR has currently loaned him a +15 weapon, which gives double the attack he gets from the +10, mainly due to the bonus one gets from that final level, but he'll be wanting that back tomorrow.

SirDarth went back to do some late-night pet levelling, and, as at level 36 we get through eight starvation points per five minutes, I used one of those platinum pet experience potions, so that in an hour he got 3246 pet points instead of 1082 - I must fit in a couple more of those tomorrow, or the day after if I'm busy with Stavanic's pony, as each potion saves a couple of hour's worth of quality stones, and thanks to those lucky pet boxes I've got a good supply of them.

I didn't do any upgrading myself, even when it went up to 200%.  The USA-timed "Sunday Late Tea" began an hour early, at eleven o'clock UK time - "1 hour early for breaking the record for users connected at once" apparently.  Still a bit too late in the day for me, though...

Sir Perivale's Progress  - March 2nd

SirDarth started fairly early in the morning, and, thanks to two more of the platinum pet experience potions, got his second horse to level 37 just after one o'clock, UK time - which was handy, as Stavanic1 had just arrived to pass over that new hatchling, straight from Jajan, for a bit of levelling.  At least I assume he hadn't been waiting there too long, I had been a bit away-from-keyboard for lunch, just checking back occasionally to see that all was well, and to restart Kaerella's lunchtime mining.

In the morning, I'd got SirPerivale to level 15 with a few more trips through the first personal dungeon, and then, after spending his latest skill points, he made the run to Prokion Temple.  Fighting the level 17 Ghouls and level 19 Mummies was easy enough, and I managed to get him all the way to level 20 just in time for lunch, by which time the occasional level 23 Orc Soldier was also not particularly difficult.

After Kaerella had done some lunchtime mining, SirPerivale invested his latest collection of skill points, and went back to Prokion Temple, and, concentrating now more on the Orc Soldiers and a few level 25 Orc Soldiers too, it didn't take too long to get to level 22.  So, it was time to go back to Randol.  He did a couple of Juno-area quests, one of which gave a Magical Earring as a reward, but 10 magical resistance and 2 long-range physical defence doesn't seem awfully useful for him.

Peri had got the blue pony up a level or so as he levelled, but now it seemed worth seeing if he could actually pet-level on the Butchers yet, so he went out to Dratan, and, next to Darth, gave it a try.  He is just wearing the 20/22 "Lioncub" armour, with three bits unplussed and two bits +3; the level 21 shield isn't plussed, either.  The items do have bloodseals, including a few plus ones to Attack, but he still hits for 26, the same as Darth does without such inconvenient add-ons.  His defence with a level 4 pony, and thus three levels of "Amor increase (horse)", is only 549 (so 509 without a pet), but with the Canid Fence and Vitality Control passive skills maxxed, it seems that he can keep going against Butchers indefinitely.

With the same pet buff, Darth's defence is 689, thanks to wearing the next armour set up, the "Radiant", all, including his Royal Shield, at +5, though he'll need a bigger pet buff before he can return to an ever-lasting Berserker, instead of a slowly-dying Butcher.  Darth and Peri pet-levelled side by side through my food break, and Peri's blue pony just had time to reach level six before I swung back into action.

After the food break, my rogue headed for, you guessed it, Prokion Temple.  My back room wasn't being used, but there was a knight wall-hugging at the back.  I decided to risk it, and after about ten minutes he did come to life, and fought a few of the Orcs, which did leave me with some tiny gaps waiting for respawns... but it wasn't long before he decided that there weren't enough targets for him, and logged out, luckily.

So, the first hour notched up 763 skill points, and in the second hour, which was uneventful except for someone out in the corridor occasionally taking the Orc nearest the door, I managed 693, mainly because there was a fair bit of text-typing needed, as Ikigotbanned came online, and various other Conflict guild members, including eventually our founder RIOT. Still, almost 1500 is my usual for two hours, and I stayed on afterwards for a while, getting the total gain up to 1519.

It looks as if Iki's confidence that the ban would be temporary was misplaced - I guess from their track record on such things it isn't surprising that he can get no sensible reply from the games masters, just the original statement accusing him of "hacking" with no details, and obviously no proof.  Give some people power and they feel they have to use it.  Anyway, that leaves the CONFLICT guild in a mess, though RIOT, our founder (Renez or MEDS on Cariae) has put in a rare appearance, saying he hopes to be able to use some influence to at least get the guild master position moved across to him.

Iki (or Astarael over on Cariae) was saying that people in Conflict who are experience-frozen, and need to be unfrozen to level up now, should leave, so maybe Kaerella at least should do that.  My rogue still needs more skill points, so can afford to stay around for a while.  It seems that Iki hadn't worked out that the rogue RAGE was me, though he had thought our ways of speaking a bit similar, so he was suitably surprised when the awful truth did dawn on him.

RIOT was suggesting that I ought to return to Cariae, which I will do part-time before too long.  He was saying that his rogue there, MEDS, is now MEDSx, as he logged in one morning, with a bit of a hangover after some unaccustomed intake of Jack Daniels, to find he was playing a character called iGoD.  "It wasn't funny, running to the arena the next morning and going 'Did I log into someone else's account?'"  So, a second name change card had to be used, returning to as close to the old name as he could get.

Things kind of petered out, with chatting about this and that.  SirDarth meanwhile was continuing to level up Stavanic1's hatchling, but didn't quite have enough time to get it high enough for an overnight session.  It did reach level ten, though, which is pretty good progress.  Once he takes it back, well, it will either be the turn of SirPerivale's blue pony to be levelled, which in the long run will be meant for Kaerella, since she has that type of horse over on Cariae, or Ratel will be passing his horse over.  I think Elva wants to be able to supply me with enough quality stones for the job first, as he knows how quickly a level 22 pet-leveller gets through them.

Hatchling & Pony  - March 3rd

I was able to set up both SirDarth and the hatchling, and SirPerivale and the blue pony, with the Butchers in Merac first thing this morning.  SirDarth has a couple of useful accessories, an Eye of the Desert which adds 37 to his close range physical hit rate and an Eye of Gust which adds 18 to hit rate, so he hits faster than Peri (a hit rate of 227, as opposed to 172), so he was wearing down his Butcher rather faster, and indeed notching up the pet points more quickly too. 

By half past ten the hatchling had reached level 12, so it was time to return to Randol, get his armour buff increased, and then, with a physical defence of 759, teleport to that long-suffering Berserker further south in Merac, which, being level 34, six levels above a Butcher, can shrug off Darth's 26 weapon-free attack, and continue the fight all day.  Peri's pony reached level 9 soon afterwards. 

Levelling two pets like this doesn't leave the option to do anything more active and adventurous in-game of course, so the morning passed very quietly.  After lunch, however, SirPerivale took a break, and my rogue hurried off to Prokion Temple, also known as Prokion Shrine... also known as Procyon Shrine, come to that, thanks to loading screens etc most of these places have more than one spelling.

Auzura-3's back room was in use, so I had to switch to Auzura-4, and, when I found, thankfully, that the back room there was free, I needed to move SirDarth over too, for a reliable solo party.  It was only after I started that I noticed that my inventory was a bit full - it had enough empty spaces, but was at about 97% for weight.  So, it wasn't long before I was getting the "dexterity reduced" message every time I picked something up.

Still, that can't have effected my kill rate too much, as the first hour brought in 737 skill points.  I quickly teleported straight back to Dratan and put some items into storage, to lighten my load, before zipping back - and during the second hour managed 744 more skill points.  I stayed around long enough to get the total up to 1510, and then it was time for my food break.

After that, it seemed like time for MistressDomina to have an outing.  She got her level 37 horse from SirDarth, and mounted it, and then set off for Prokion Temple - the  mount's horse buffs certainly made the first few minutes easy!  Over the course of the evening she got 301 skill points from the Orc Soldiers, she really doesn't gain sp very quickly at level 23, I'm hoping that when she inherits Kae's current better armour and +13 weapon and moves to level 27, she'll be able to kill a bit faster, the extra level of Flame Storm that comes available at level 25 should help as well.  By the end of the evening, her drake had just reached level 18; its buff is split equally between magical attack and physical defence at the moment, but now we can add one more level to one of them.

Since Stavanic's drake, or Stavanic1's drake to be accurate as that's the name of his sorcerer, has reached level 16 now, which I assume is as much as he could have hoped for, it seemed that the time had come for Ratel's horse to get some specialist pet-levelling, but BasheR was asking if I could help his horse to level up while he's away for the next couple of days.  Ratel graciously agreed to wait, so Darth went back to town to pick up BasheR's horse...only to have to wait a while, as BasheR used about thirty tool aids to get a good supply of quality stones. 

But eventually the trade was made, and 900 quality stones ought to be more than enough for the purpose, taking Darth's inventory wait up to over 99%.  BasheR's horse isn't far off being finished anyway, he'd got him up to level 33 and 6321 out of 10309, but at that sort of stage each level does take almost a whole day.

So, with SirPerivale and the blue pony, MistressDomina and her drake, my rogue RAGE and her horse of course, and SirDarth and both Stavanic's drake and BasheR's horse, there seems to have been a lot of pet levelling done today.  There should be a fair bit more tomorrow, too...

Sir Perivale & the Blue Pony - March 4th

The new Last Chaos week has begun, after the usual "maintenance downtime" for the servers, which runs from about 1:00 to 3:00am on Wednesday mornings, by UK time, and the only changes seem to be to the Item Mall, which has a musical theme this week, with package names like "Oldies: Power Ballad" and "Oldies: Metal".  The normal kind of items, though the draw box package, "Oldies: Juke Boxes" unusually contains twenty of the lucky pet boxes, as well as tower, recovery, and skill types.  There are no upgrade or experience ones in the mix, though.

I did happen to wake up soon after three, so logged on, and noticed that all the experience booster packs had already sold out - the 30-day party recall cards were getting low too!  I moved the blue pony across from SirPerivale to SirDarth, and sent Darth to the Berserkers to get in a few hours of pet levelling, before I went back to bed.

At breakfast time I exchanged BasheR's level 33 horse back to Darth, and my blue pony back to Peri; Darth went back to the Berserkers, and Peri headed for the Butchers.  Later on I did do a little moving around of stuff, mainly clearing out my rogue's inventory a bit, with the type of item I sell being moved across to MistressDomino - and some accessories being moved in the other direction.  MistressDomino does carry my spare accessories, rings etc, so I traded across her best three "hit rate" ones to Peri, which means that his hit rate stat has gone up to 320, rather better than Darth's 227.  Which of course means he kills Butchers a bit faster, but at least the pet levelling should be slightly accelerated.

MrChuckNorris had a not particularly long trip to Velpist Temple just before lunch.  The drops weren't very inspiring, until the very last skeleton soldier, who did manage to drop a +4 weapon.  A Coodunsion's Scythe, though, is of slightly limited use, as level 25 weapons cannot be converted into ones for different classes, for that you need level 29 or more.  And regular level 25 weapons aren't as powerful as the level 21 "event weapons" anyway.

My rogue RAGE got ready before lunch; she has actually been carrying some "hit rate" accessories, generally "long range hit rate" which works nicely with her crossbow, so for a change she equipped them instead of the ordinary dexterity, evasion etc types, and increased her physical hit rate to 478 instead of 331 - not that this means she fires her bow 44% faster I think, the calculations are more complex, but it has to be an improvement even if it decreases her other stats.  The favourite Prokion Temple back room was free, much to my relief, and I didn't get any interruptions at all.

The first hour brought in 750 skill points exactly, which is slightly better than average, despite it taking a while before I got the right kind of Blessed Reward; there was a slight gap before the second hour, but its total was 761, and as usual I kept going for a little while afterwards, and got up to a total of 1569 for the afternoon.

The gap between the two power hours was mainly because BasheR wanted me to take charge of a level 29 +15 pair of swords which he wanted to pass to Ratel, so I had to do a bit of chatting, fix him up as a party member so that he could find SirDarth easily, trade the weapon across, etc.  Ratel did come on later, and was pretty pleased to gain possession of such a good weapon - while not being able to use a shield reduced his defence from over 700 to 571, his attack went up from 230 to 465 - or, with various boosts and buffs, to 571, which ought to make sp-farming a bit quicker, though he made a small error later, and accepted a quest reward which moved him from level 27 to 28, which is slightly less suitable for farming the Orcs.

BasheR has "incentivized" SirDarth by promising me a white pet colouring crystal if I get his horse to level 37 by the time he returns, so SirDarth will be working as hard as he can, though with a full starvation bar only lasting a little over an hour, overnight work isn't on.  I might use a platinum pet experience potion or two tomorrow, though.

This was one of my early log-out Wednesdays, so after SirPerivale had done some more levelling with the blue pony, it seemed like a nice idea to take Kaerella back out to Prokion Temple, and my back room of course, for a single power hour.  As she doesn't have any super skill pills left, she used a platinum one, for triple skill exp for an hour, and gained 782 skill points, only slightly more than RAGE manages on just the super kind, plus another 27 for a few more minutes afterwards.  That takes her up to 15k of sp, so she definitely ought to get unfrozen now, one way or another.

So, I logged out early on the main computer, but SirDarth kept going.  The last thing I did before logging out there was take MistressDomino out to him, and trade across my best three remaining "hit rate" accessories; close range hit rate ones don't seem as generous with their numbers as the long range variety, but it still increased his hit rate stat from  227 to 283, which should increase his attack speed a little.  Maybe he and SirPerivale will swap over their accessories, as at least at the moment Darth's work has priority.  By the end of the evening, the horse had at last reached level 35, so, we are making good progress there.  After the current level, just one more to go...

Chuck Goes Up  - March 5th

My obsession with pet levelling continues.  SirDarth was out early to continue working on BasheR's horse; some passer-by did attempt a bit of sabotage after an hour or so, by killing my Berserker, something I probably discovered after only wasting ten minutes or so.  First of all I thought that Darth's increased hit rate meant that he'd worn down the Berserker himself, but he was just credited with 132 skill exp, and when I later killed one on purpose, I got 400, so the first time I was definitely "sharing" the experience.

SirPerivale logged on a bit later, and did run down to Darth's spot to exchange his best accessory, an Eye of Gust with a 56 hit rate, for Darth's least good one, an Invincible Cord with an 18 hit rate.  So, Darth's physical hit rate is now 321, and Peri's is 282.

Peri opened a Pandora Box that appeared close to him when he was fighting the Butchers - and a level 50 Beast leapt out!  A bit of running got him back to town safely with about 70 health, and after that I headed for an entirely different group of Butchers.  Later I was again tempted to open a box, and again a level 50 Beast spawned, but I managed to avoid aggravating this one, and just left the area.  Other Boxes appearing close to either Peri or Darth have been ignored.

My rogue RAGE did take the opportunity to sell her recent loot, and mine some quality stones using tool aids, and after that MrChuckNorris headed out to Juno's Great Horn Beasts and got the final Horn Beast Eye he needed for a quest, before going into Velpist Temple and getting his reserve of skill points up to 400 - a pair of +3 level 30 gloves were a useful drop, too.

Over lunch, SirPerivale was able to work on the blue pony for a while, but afterwards it was time for my rogue to head for Prokion Temple.  It wasn't an ideal afternoon session, though, my back room was occupied on both Auzura-3 and Auzura-4, the two non-PvP sub-servers (and who wants the possibility of being killed while using expensive pots?), so I ended up in the smaller square room with the statues, close to the top of the stairs, and sometimes there was a slight hiatus while I waited for the Orcs to respawn.  Worse than that, I got a disconnection, and had to hurry back from town with the pots still counting down - my horse did take some damage, but luckily not enough to kill him.  So, 713 wasn't a bad total number of skill points for that hour, in the circumstances.

After that hour ended, I checked the back room again, and, while it wasn't in use, two members of the FILARAKIA guild, Lionheart and JackSparrow, were wall-hugging in a corner.  So, I decided to stay there and fight the Orcs, but without using the expensive pots, on the feeling that they might return from being afk and crowd me out.  So, I got some skill points without using the pots, all I used was a very occasional small healing potion, and by the end of the afternoon the session's total had reached 1041, which seemed reasonable.  RAGE is out of the super skill pills now, but one more afternoon in Prokion, with the use of that back room and a couple of the platinum super skill pills, and she should be ready to start levelling up.

After the food break, and a little more work from SirPerivale, it was time for my titan, MrChuckNorris, to have his experience gain unfrozen, something which Ratel can do as Chuck is in Norcaine.  So, Chuck went off to Prokion Temple, and gradually over the course of the evening worked his way through Orc Soldiers, Fighters and Axemen.  With the skill points he was already carrying, plus the new ones earned, he was able to go back to Dratan when he'd added two levels and reached 25, and learn all three of the new skills - Focus Eye (a buff to increase his hit rate by 20), Charge (which with any luck cancels its target's special skills usage), and Improved Mana (which increased his supply of mana by 426, so that he now has 860).

Continuing after that, Chuck safely reached level 27 by the end of the evening, adding another 277 skill points, enough to get him started on the "special skills"... so he's now got Basic and Advanced Armoursmith, but not the Expert variety yet.

Ratel was also active in Prokion Temple, farming a good number of skill points, though he stopped playing pretty early, so that he could set up as a merchant back in Randol.  It wasn't long before he was able to report that he'd sold almost everything, taking in 3.5 million.  A shame I wasn't able to get back to Randol to check out his shop, it sounds as if there might have been some bargains.

So, Chuck went up four levels, and will now need to be frozen again, so that he can start getting his supply of skill points.  As one character comes towards an end of that, another begins, but it is interesting to play as a titan seriously for the first time - there is a MrChuckNorris over on Cariae, but just as a mule character, power-levelled to 20 and without any useful skills.  I knew titans had a lot of health, when there's a party heal on a group including a titan it's easy to spot what a small percentage increase to his health bar 200 or so health points are; Chuck has 1621 health points already, what the total will be like after he takes his secondary profession I can't imagine.

BasheR's horse reached level 36 at around lunchtime, and thanks to SirDarth using a couple of the platinum pet experience potions, finished the day around 75% through his final level, so when he returns BasheR ought to be pretty happy with the progress.  And then Ratel has asked to have his horse worked on, so Darth, or maybe SirPerivale, will certainly be keeping busy.

No Longer Recommended  - March 6th

SirDarth got BasheR's horse to level 37 by the end of the morning - so, after an hour or two with the blue horse that SirPerivale had previously been working on, I was able to take Ratel's level 22 horse and start work on that one - Elva passed over 837 quality stones, which should be more than enough.  By my calculations BasheR's horse consumed the equivalent of 518 of them, though he started at a higher level.  I lent Ratel the blue horse, so that he still has the horse-type armour and/or attack buff over the next few days.

Sadly, the new Auzura server no longer has the "Recommended" status, with the handy little "Blessed Reward" drops for us... as a gesture to the other servers, it looks as if they'll all get a rather shorter turn as that.  Today Hatzring had the special status, so in the late morning I took my level six mage there out for a bit of levelling, and got her up to level nine.

After lunch, back on Auzura my rogue RAGE went out to Prokion Temple; the Auzura-3 back room was occupied, but luckily Auzura-4 was clear.  As RAGE is just about out of crit potions, this time along with a platinum super skill pill and a power potion I used an adrenalin one and a berserker one, for increased hit rate and a 10% chance per hit of doing double damage.  The lack of the extra-damage Blessed Reward makes it hard to compare the results, but hour one gave 756 skill points, and hour two gave 732.  It looks as if I ought to try to get a few more crit potions!  But the afternoon's total of 1517 sp does take RAGE's total skill points to over fifteen thousand now, so I guess she is ready to start levelling up now.

Kaerella had a fairly short session in the same room after that, to take advantage of the first part of the Friday afternoon "Happy Hour" and its 50% extra skill exp, just adding 75 skill points, before I got a bit sidetracked by a special offer that was to run for only two hours - spend 100 aeria points or more and get an "uber upgrade package", whatever that is...hopefully, having posted in the relevant forum thread, I'll find out what the pack contains before too long.

BasheR reclaimed his horse, and kindly passed over the white pet colouring crystal he'd promised - he also very kindly let me keep the remaining quality stones from the  900 he originally supplied.  He mounted the horse, and headed out into Dratan desert  to do some levelling on the level 53 Arcane Giants (or are they "Akane"?), so the full horse buffs should be rather useful.  He was wondering whether or not to use a black pet colouring crystal, the only trouble with them is that they don't give a solid, glossy black, it's more of a dark, stormy grey.

Ratel logged out very early today.  "The kids kept us up all night last night and this morning - so I'm kinda seeing two screens at the moment..."  Hopefully he'll have better luck tonight.  He did manage to re-freeze MrChuckNorris's experience now that Chuck has reached level 27, so Chuck made an exploratory trip through the higher-level areas of Prokion Temple, but I'll need to get all his new level 30/32 armour set up to +3, and get him something better than a +6 weapon, before doing any serious skill point farming with him there.

Chuck did at least get enough skill points for the first level of Expert Armoursmithing, and enough cracked axes (five) to finish a quest.  Getting the reward for that one triggered a new quest, so Chuck has now got both the quests that require ten "soft sand" from the Sand Golems, it's strange that so many quest item-type drops don't have any use, but that item is needed for two different quests.

Some browsing of the various merchants didn't offer very much, there seem very few +15 weapons on sale, but then Auzura is still a relatively new server.  There was a +11 level 29 weapon, but the vendor didn't mention whether or not an Extreme Stone had been used, and if one had, then 22 million was perhaps a little too high.  If the "ES" had already been used (and one can only be used once per item), then it would be hard to get the weapon above +12.

Well, the evening's adventuring rather ran out of steam, though SirDarth kept busy, and Ratel's horse reached level 23 by mid-evening.  I got seduced by a bit of web browsing, I must admit, although it was Last Chaos related!

Kaerella Comes Home  - March 7th

One nice thing with free-to-play games like Last Chaos is that you can have more than one account without paying for multiple subscriptions, and when one has more than one computer that's capable of playing games, it does come in very handy to be able to have more than one character active at the same time.  My older computer may be over four years old now, but, like most mmorpgs, LC isn't particularly demanding, though for some reason there are a few places where the older computer starts to bleep if I'm facing in a particular direction.

I have very occasionally actually "played" different characters simultaneously, where 100% attention wasn't needed and there wasn't any risk of dying, but generally the older computer will be hosting someone mining, or levelling a pet, or in "merchant mode" back in town trying to sell some loot.  And if they are in a "solo party" with the more active character, that gives a slight boost to that character's experience and skill exp gain.

On the still-fairly-new Auzura server my main characters are my healer Kaerella and my rogue RAGE, both of whom at level 27 have now finished farming the necessary skill points for higher-level skills.  Unfortunately the guild master of CONFLICT got (quite unfairly) banned for alleged "hacking", so Kaerella this afternoon had to leave that guild, and Rage (no point in writing it all in capitals every time) may well need to follow suit. 

Kae has now joined Norcaine, where really she should have been from the start; my level 23 mage MistressDomina and my level 27 titan MrChuckNorris are both there already.  "MD" is still getting her special skills sorted out, and will be in line to inherit Kae's level 30/32 armour and level 29 +13 weapon once Kae has moved on to a higher-level set, while this morning I did get Chuck's armour set up to +4, using a large number of smelting stones to get it to +3 and then the expensive lucky smelting stones to get it to +4.

The only thing that stopped Chuck from starting to farm skill points in earnest was his weapon, which at just +6 only gave 147 attack; I spent an hour this afternoon in Prokion Temple, which is the place to go to farm sp, and he only managed around 90  skill points.  So, some serious shopping was needed, and the only +15 level 29 weapon I could find wasn't exactly cheap.  I noticed a titan asking for a +15 weapon for 30-40 million, and 40 was what I had to pay - or 39,999,000 gold to be exact.  The great thing about a level 29 weapon, as opposed to a level 21 "event weapon", is that for a small fee it can be converted into the equivalent weapon for a different class, so it looks as if MistressDomina may well benefit from this one later, instead of the +13 wepon.  As a titan sword, its attack is 361, which by my calculations is 145% better than the one Chuck was using earlier.

SirDarth is my main knight, though he has stopped to do some "pet levelling", on level 22 - with their good armour/defence and health regeneration skills knights are best at this, you unequip their sword and leave them to fight a monster a few levels higher than them, with the pet equipped, and every few hits, the pet gains a pet experience point, with a horse or dragon type pet it doesn't matter if the monster doesn't die.  So SirDarth spent most of the day levelling up a horse; not one for me, but for my friend the Norcaine guild master Ratel, whose online playing, or away-from-keyboard, time is limited by quite a low monthly bandwidth limit on his broadband contract.

So that Darth can soon start to level up, I have created a second knight as a specialist pet leveller, SirPerivale, but at the moment it is handy to have two pet levellers available, and, when I'm away for shopping or food or whatever, he is now working to level up a new dragon hatchling.  Meanwhile, my main merchant character is MistressDomino, a level 10 mage who sells loot, and spare stuff bought from the Item Mall, and is the reason why I could afford to buy that +15 weapon.

Anyway, after Chuck's afternoon session, in the evening it was time at last for Kaerella to start her levelling, in my favoutite Prokion Temple upstairs back room well-stocked with level 27 Orc Axemen and level 29 Orc Sergeants.  For the first hour I used a power potion, which increases one's attack and defence, and a crit potion, which increases greatly the number of one's hits that go "critical" and inflict double damage.  That did get me up by 129.00% on the experience front, and 255 skill points.  After that I did without such expensive items, and a rather longer part of the session added another 108.33%, and 274 skill points...  as one levels up, more experience is needed per level.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite have time before logging off to get to level thirty, but going up by 237.33% during the evening session was pretty good I think.  Adding 529 skill points was a bonus, by my calculations that means Kaerella can get all the archer skills to level 100, with 50 to spare.  A few more will get added along the way, but as BasheR found today, a single death when you are carrying large amounts of sp can easily rob you of 400 or more points.  A resurrection scroll can protect you, but not if the death comes from a disconnection, which can happen.

After that, before I logged out SirDarth, who'd been working on Ratel's horse, traded it over to Kae, and took her drake, which she'd levelled up to level 18 tonight - and Kae traded the horse on to SirPerivale, in exchange for the new hatchling he'd been working on earlier.  The idea is that, while Darth wouldn't have been able to level the horse overnight as it is a few levels above him now and is starting to get through more stones per hour, the drake is a few levels below him, and should take slightly over eight hours to get through the whole 100-point starvation bar.

A Tale of Two Clocks  - March 8th

SirDarth worked through the night to level up Kaerella's drake, and had managed to add four levels, taking him up to level 22, by mid-morning, when the drake, now with the same "SirFrancis" name as his equivalent on the Cariae server, was handed back over to Kaerella.

By then, SirPerivale had restarted the levelling of Ratel's horse, which now gets hungry too quickly to be levelled overnight.  I had to ignore a couple of tempting "Pandora Boxes" very close by, while they could if opened disgorge some gold, it seems in my experience more likely that a level 50 Pandora Beast will appear, and they are bad news for pet levellers.  The horse didn't take long to reach level 27, so just another ten levels to go.

Kaerella headed out for Prokion Temple, with the intention of getting the 10% experience she needed to reach level thirty, but at 11:30 (UK time) she got a disconnection, after adding only about 5%.  It didn't seem to be a full "mass disconnection", but it is suspicious that it happened at that particular time, which is when, usually on a Friday, servers get a restart.  The fact that SirFrancis didn't get hurt does point towards a sharp break, rather than the slow departure, sometimes involving death, of a solo disconnection.

For the lunch break, SirDarth came back on, and joined Peri down among the Berserkers, with the new level 4 hatchling.  As Peri had been carrying this youngster for an hour or two while having the horse equipped, his "sympathy" had dropped down to 73%, so that the buff from three levels of "increased armour (dragon) was also reduced, making fighting a level 34 Berserker very much a touch-and-go affair, and Darth's healthbar did tend to fluctuate.  But as his defence rating crept up from 678 to 680 (78%), and on to 684 (89%), things did become a bit less dangerous.  Someone did come along and kill his Berserker over lunch though, which was annoying, though at least SirPerivale's target Berserker was left alone.

In the afternoon Kaerella returned to Prokion Temple to try and level up a bit, and this she did.  The Sunday "teatime" was scheduled to start at 3:00pm UK time, according to the main Last Chaos website, but of course with our dozy GMs nothing happened - nothing happened at 4:00pm either, but I guess at about half past someone finally remembered to switch on the 50% extra experience gain - it was running when I got back from my food break, and continued until just after half past six.

I continued with Kae until about seven, to get her drake, SirFrancis, up to level 23; the Temple was pretty crowded, but I finally found a room with mainly Orc Sergeants and Axemen.  When I reached level 31 the other types went blue-named for me, so while they still give some experience and skill exp, they don't give pet points.  After that I had to take SirDarth out to where SirPerivale was busy, as Peri was running low on quality stones to feed Ratel's greedy horse, and Darth was the one who was carrying most of the supply of such things, the remainder of the 900 BasheR had supplied as well as Elva's contribution.

Kaerella chose her new class, back at the Master Healer in Randol - she is now an Archer, unlike her Cariae server counterpart who's a Cleric.  There is I suppose the chance that Kae here may change later, but it is the general feeling that an Archer is a lot easier to level up than a Cleric, these days.  Just taking the new profession increased her health from 724 to 1036, and her mana from 951 to 1160, so it is worth doing the change fairly early in level 31, though the first new Archery-related skills don't become available until level 32 has been reached.

Once Kae had allocated her stat points (18 to dexterity and 12 to intelligence), I headed for Auzura-1 in case there was any useful armour on sale there.  I didn't find anything like that, but what I did find was a "Pierce of Wind" accessory for 22 million, which seemed like a good idea to me - it gives 16 to dexterity, and adds 78 to close range evasion, which can come in useful when one is being attacked.

MrChuckNorris headed out to Dratan, and, since he had a quest that involved visiting Shuraine out at his desert oasis, ended up farming the Sand Golems there, to get the Soft Sand for two quests.  At around 7:30 the first announcement for the evening Quiz came up, saying it would start in an hour - which was strange, as the website's page showed the countdown at the two hours point then for the normal 9:30 UK time. 

In the end we discovered that the US has moved its clocks forward today for Daylight Saving Time, three weeks ahead of Britain and, indeed, most of the rest of the world, and the Quiz was indeed, as far as we were concerned, an hour early.  This was a great disappointment for many people, as the shoutbox afterwards attested.  Ratel had had to log out after playing a bit, but was planning to be back in good time for the Quiz, as he really needs those 15 heaven stones to upgrade his armour...as it was, he logged back in just after the quiz finished.

I was online of course, so got to the Quiz safely; the questions were unchanged and all went smoothly, with RAGE and BasheR following me as I moved from one side to the other as appropriate - BasheR did change to following someone else at one stage, but returned for the later questions.

Afterwards, Chuck headed back to Dratan to hand in the Soft Sand, as he'd just managed to get all 20 he needed before the Quiz; one of the quest reward givers was out in the desert, so he killed various foxes and spiders and so on, and then ended up at Prokion Temple again for a while... until I noticed that it was time to log out for the night.

A Tale of the Desert - March 9th

SirDarth again worked overnight to level up that dragon hatchling, though a disconnection meant he lost an hour or so in the early morning.  At breakfast time SirPerivale logged on too, and started to do some work on Ratel's horse, so that it reached level 29 before too long, and by the evening was well into level 30.

Darth logged out for a while to allow MistressDomino to do a little shopping; she did find three heaven stones at 250k each, which she bought either for resale at about double that, or to sell on cheaply to any guildie who is short of them after last night, and she also found a "Stone of Shadow" accessory, which gives 12 dexterity, 112 close range evasion, and 93 long range evasion, for 25 million which, since they are usually closer to 35, seemed like a good deal, even though she had to pay another million to the NPC scroll trader to get a "golden magnifying glass" to identify it and unlock its properties.

MistressDomino headed out towards SirPerivale in Merac to pass the "SoS" across to him, so that Kaerella could go to take it in turn; the Grand Red Dragon had been killed around there fairly recently, as the Cerebrii it spawns during its death-battle were there, but she avoided them, and was just approaching Peri when the older computer "ran out of memory".  Still, it wasn't an entirely wasted journey as someone had just killed some Berserkers around there, leaving cash for her to pick up before she logged out.

Some general swapping-around of items in Randol followed, involving Kaerella, MrChuckNorris, and various loot-carrying characters, until it was too close to lunch for any actual adventuring, so SirPerivale and SirDarth both headed for the Berserkers.  Darth's hatchling was level 14 by now.

BasheR had suggested, rather early in the morning, that Kae should team up with him in the Tomb of Theos against the level 100 Screaming Zombies, but as I was only set up for afk mode then, I was able to decline - Bash can be rather ambitious in the monsters he takes on, at level 31 I think Kae was still rather low for that kind of thing.  Perhaps once the level 38 skill Slow Shot has been learnt, which would slow down the zombies...but that seems a while away as yet.  Later in the day he brought up the subject again, but mentioned that there would be a larger team, and Kae's responsibility would mainly be healing, so that does sound a bit more viable.

In the afternoon Kaerella headed for our favourite upstairs back room in Prokion temple, and used adrenalin and berserker potions for two one-hour sessions, each of which took Kae up around 34% in experience and gave around 130 skill points.  Keeping going for a while after the second hour got the session up to a little over 80%, enough to reach level 32 - and added 314 skill points, which took Kae's total up over the 16,000 mark.

Back in town, Kae spent 1099 skill points on the general (attack) skill Rapid Arrow, the passive skill Bow Mastery (getting her physical attack up from 369 to 439), and the first levels of the "Master" grades of armour and weapon making (the second and third levels come along when Kae reaches level 42 and 52).  She can't learn the other level 32 passive skill, Mind Training, yet as that requires 12 stat points in Constitution, but that only increases long-range physical evasion by 25, and there aren't that many monster bow-users around.

For the evening session, Kaerella teleported to just outside Prokion Temple, but then rode down south from there to the Poison Mists, level 39 types, for a change.  At around12,600 experience they only give about two-thirds of the experience of an Orc Sergeant, but they die quickly, and it's good to be out in the open, and able to use horse buffs.  before too long I managed to track down the one Elite Poison Mist, which gives a useful 38,000 experience, and was soon happily killing it, then four or five of the regular kind until it respawned, and so on. 

The "grand roadboss" Kamira dropped by, but as she isn't aggressive these days, I was able to keep on farming the Mists, even going almost directly underneath where she floated. There can't of been much else happening in Dratan desert to attract her, as twice when she teleported out after the 14 minutes she stays, she immediately reappeared in the same place.

I kept going, ending up with 104.11% more experience, so that Kaerella levelled up again, reaching level 33 by the end of the evening, and, although the skill exp from the Mists was rather low, getting 66 more skill points to take Kae's total of unused sp back over 15,000.  Kae got a couple of heaven stones, and six Myst Eyes, which are rather valuable drops as they're needed for one of the "new pets" quests.

SirDarth was just looking at the Auzura-3 merchants, and found that a healer called "ewrrcsdfg" was selling a level 37 bow, +10, for 20 million - which seemed a reasonable price.  I had to switch to MistressDomino to find just enough cash after my other recent purchases, but I bought it, and found, thankfully, that no Extreme Stone has been used, so that I'll easily be able to increase it to +13.  And its bloodseals are quite nice, with in total 4 added to attack and 93 to hit rate.  So, a good purchase, I thought, though BasheR said he'd seen a +15 level 37 weapon for only 30 million earlier.

After that diversion, Darth did get the hatchling out to the Berserkers, with another overnight session in mind.  The plan is to get MistressDomino up in Auzura-1 to sell stuff as well, since our gold reserves are getting a bit low now...

Under the Wings of Kamira  - March 10th

MistressDomino had a successful night of it, selling large attack and defence potions, item drop boosters, moonstones, moonstone boxes, tool aids, and even a few heaven stones, so I guess we are back in the market for accessories... though it would take a few more nights (and the items to sell then) to get enough gold for a really good one. An "Eyes of Spirit" is the best one for an archer, but usually costs 200 million or more.

SirDarth's overnight pet-levelling went smoothly, so that the hatchling became a drake (which happens at level 16), and indeed reached level 19, with level 20 being reached later in the morning.  As I had to go off on a shopping trip, I couldn't do any actual adventuring, so MD (or MD-2, as I tend to use "MD" for my active mage, MistressDomina, and this is my merchant mage, MistressDomino, we're talking about) and Darth continued their work for a few more hours.

After lunch, Kaerella got her new level 37 bow from MistressDomino; at +10 it actually did less damage than the level 29 +13 one, but at +11 it overtook it, and at +13 the damage figure stood at just over 10% more.

Suitably equipped now, Kae headed back to the Poison Mists in Dratan desert - BasheR was shocked to learn I'd gone there, he thought I'd be unable to handle them, but he was confusing them (level 39) with the similar-looking Masters of Secret Technique (level 57), which would indeed be a bit too much at this stage.  I used a platinum adrenaline to speed up my hit rate, and by the end of the afternoon session I'd gone up 52.77% and 40 skill points.  After my food break, I settled in for a long session, using a Blessed Iris which I think I'd got from a skill box - it gives double experience for three hours, so combining that with three platinum adrenalines in succession moved things along nicely.  I continued on for a bit afterwards, too.

Yesterday, the only level 36 armour I got was three pairs of sorcerer pants, but today I did rather better, with I think almost all the types of pants or skirts - and, thanks to the Elite Poison Mist being a fully-qualified boss-type, the rogue and healer ones were already +4, which is very nice.  I noticed that the +4 healer skirt gives exactly the same defence as Kae's existing +7 level 31 skirt, so, as I didn't have any bloodseal gems with me anyway, didn't bother changing.  As before, masses of manuals for the making of level 41 shields dropped, and plenty of the "thick liquid" item, which as far as I know is completely useless.  I do now have enough Myst Eyes, if I ever decide to do the appropriate quest for a "human tribe" type new pet on Auzura, too.  And there were I think three level 37 weapon drops, a healer bow like the one Kae is using (though without the +13), and a pair of rogue crossbows.

Especially with Kae pumped up on adrenaline and killing quickly, this was again the place in the desert where the action was, and it wasn't too long into the afternoon before Grand Devilroad Kamira, the level 70 raid boss, turned up.  It's lucky that they changed her from aggressive to passive when they changed the Dratan map, her arrival used to mean almost instant death if one was within her range, but now she just floats there, wings gently flapping, seeming a little bored with the whole proceedings.  After the 14 minutes of her first visit, she disappeared, only to "arrive" again a second later, as she'd found nowhere else busy enough to be worth moving to.  She also put in multiple appearances during the evening session.

So, Kamira was entirely harmless, but of course still menacing, it's a little off-putting to be fighting almost directly under her, knowing that if one accidentally clicked on her and attacked her instead of a Poison Mist, one would be dead in seconds.  As it was, she did me no harm - the only time I was in danger was when I opened a Pandora Box and released a level 50 Pandora Beast.  For a while I just avoided it, which was awkward - when I decided to try to kill it, well, I was lucky to survive, it certainly hit me hard, and running away wasn't easy with all the Poison Mists around.  But I did manage to kill it, and things returned to normal.  It might not have been such a narrow squeak if I'd used health potions, which can be triggered while running, but playing a healer I never think of using them, as Kae has her own healing skills.

It would have been nice to have had the Elite Poison Mist to myself, but the sorcerer Dobby was also around for much of the time, it seemed, and though he worked a different side of the area, we were often in competition for the Elite, both I suppose for the possibility of a better drop, and the triple experience.  He gave up before I did... although he may well be back there even now, I guess.

Anyway, with the double experience gain for three hours the evening session was pretty productive for me; 125 skill points were gained, and a whole two levels - 206.50% to be exact, making a total for Kae's day of 259.27%, so that she is well into level 35 now.  The total skill point gain of 165 more than covered the cost of the one level 35 skill, which I got when Kae returned to town - Rise Focus 2 level 1 (further levels come at levels 72, 82 & 92), which permanently increases an archer's hit rate by 264, boosting Kae's current stat for that from 623 to 857, which sounds very, very useful.

SirPerivale was levelling Ratel's horse, and providing Kae with a "solo party", for most of the afternoon and evening; the horse is now well into level 31, so could be made into a mount, though the idea is to go on to level 37 for the best possible horse buffs.  Stavanic is asking about having another dragon hatchling levelled up a bit, but that will have to wait.  There wasn't any sign of Ratel today, I hope his connection is working okay and that his kids are allowing him to get some sleep...

A Small Expansion  - March 11th

SirDarth had the night off, since anyway the servers were going down at midnight last night for the weekly maintenance downtime - and this morning, after the new patch had been downloaded, there were a few changes, though to call it an "Expansion" along the lines of "Wrath of the Lich King", "Mines of Moria", or Eye of the North" is a bit cheeky.

Some in-game confirmation pop-up windows have been modernised, a "merchant house" system has been initiated, like an "auction house" but with only the "buy it now" option, which ought to be useful, the level cap has been pushed up by a further twenty to 140, just to entice high-levels to buy more experience boosters to slog there way on up, with some new level 100+ skills, weapons and armour, there's a "monster combo" competitor to do with cubes somehow, and the second and third personal dungeons, the "Rescue the Princess" mine and Ajaka Canyon, are being re-used, re-populated with high-end critters, as new high level instances.

Of course any big patch would be somewhat lacking if it didn't have a few bugs - choose your "cube" colour with care, as some colours may not work apparently (and the possibility of your party meeting another party in there and having to battle them to continue isn't yet working), people were complaining that they'd lost huge amounts of gold due to glitches in the merchant house - oh yes, and switching directly from horse mount to drake pet brings up a "Send Error Report?" window.

The mention of the Ajaka Canyon personal dungeon reminded me that it is many months since I went there, so, after checking the level requirement (25 to 40) I decided to take my level 27 titan MrChuckNorris in there, mainly because he isn't carrying large amounts of skill points, since I was uncertain whether deaths there carried a death penalty, like deaths on the normal maps caused by monsters.

One thing that hadn't changed was that the second door won't open if there's a single Cave Troll still alive, which, after a tedious run back on my first attempt, meant I had to stay by the first gate waiting while the last of the trolls finally spawned.  The first time, I got killed by a Beast Crawler, not entirely surprising as they have a magic attack and Chuck's magic defence is 14; the second time it was the end boss, a toned-down version of Dratan's raid boss, Blood Mistress Kamira, who got me, again with a magic attack.  As far as I could see there was no death penalty, though, his experience and skill point totals didn't go down at all.

I wasn't really intending to try a third time, I was mainly checking to see if one really needed a "personal dungeon 3 ticket" to get into the instance, but I did get in - and Chuck managed to go all the way, vanquish Kamira, and clear out the final room, winning, um, a single moonstone and 10,000 gold.  But at least I got some skill exp, and Chuck's pony, which had been a bit low on health, levelled up safely (a pet can be equipped, and gets experience, in a persoanl dungeon, but it doen't actually appear, or give its buff, or take damage), and it was fun to go somewhere different.

One other change from this morning's expansion-patch was that the experience needed for levels 90 to 100 has been reduced, with a slight increase instead on levels after that - and, after reading on the forum about that, I went over to the Cariae server, and started up my level 98 archer there, Barbarienne, finding that she was apparently on level 98 and 249.08%.  Running out of Randol and killing a fox, for 1 experience and 1 skill exp, immediately changed Barb's stats to level 100 and 31.07% - so, what a way to reach level 100, by killing a fox!

After lunch, distributing Kaerella's loot from yesterday between characters took a while, but then Kae headed for Dratan, and the Poison Mists again.  As I only had two hours, I used a pair of platinum adrenaline potions to increase my attack speed, and a pair of platinum blessed irises, which give triple experience for an hour each.  My first hour gave 74.34% (and 38 skill points), taking me comfortably into level 36; the second hour, plus a few minutes between, managed 67.22% (and 39 skill points), and moved Kae into level 37.

The lower score in the second hour was probably mainly because the new level is a bit longer, so any kill is a smaller percentage of it.  I did have one of the "Send Error Report?" game closures, I can't have clicked the button to unequip my mount hard enough before clicking the button to equip my drake.  Still, it didn't take me long to get back, the horse buff I'd given myself was less than half finished.  Initially I thought I'd lost the 20 minutes of so remaining of the platinum blessed iris, as I didn't see its icon, just the platinum adrenaline, but a few minutes later it was visible, so all was well.

There was no sign of Dobby or anyone else, though Kamira arrived fairly soon - luckily she only stayed for the one 14-minute period, and I didn't see her again.  Highlights of Kae's loot included a +2 level 37 (sorcerer) weapon, a heaven stone, +1 level 36 (knight) leggings, 8 moonstone boxes, 5 large defence potions, 13 level 41 shield production manuals, and 6 more Myst Eyes.

Apparently there have been a number of mass disconnections, and it looks as if this is being caused by the new "merchant house", so we are being asked not to use it, if we want to stay in-game.  Oh well, these big new patches always bring pain with their gain.

My evening session was a short one, as it often is on a Wednesday; Kaerella did have time to go out to the Poison Mists again, and started a platinum blessed iris and a platinum adrenaline.  But a bit after halfway, there was a mass disconnection; one bad thing about a pbi is that it keeps counting down even when one isn't in-game, unlike ordinary potions, so, after reconnecting, and setting SirPerivale back up, and getting a second mass disconnection, and reconnecting again and getting Peri working, there was about a 15 minute (6 game hours) difference between the two expiry countdowns.  I managed to get 45.60% experience by the time the pbi ran out, and, still attacking speedily, got it up to 51.09 when the adrenaline finished - so I really should have got 62.07% if the pbi had lasted until then too.

Dobby was around again, but didn't try to attack the Elite Poison Mist, contenting himself with the regular ones over on his side.  If I'd had time I ought to have asked him if he had meant to sell a level 29 +8 weapon for 700,000 gold, which seemed a zero short to me, but once the adrenaline wore off, it was time for Kaerella to log out.

SirPerivale did continue, though, and after those two disconnections in quick succession things did quieten down.  Ratel's horse reached level 33 today, and by the close of play should be a good third of the way through that level, so Peri is doing a good job.  A mage called AvengingAngel did actually kill the Berserker he was battling, it seems her fighting of other monsters just got a bit close, but I did manage to notice that as it happened and was able to target a new Berserker, without losing any time.

A Small Remedy  - March 12th

SirDarth and SirPerivale both started pet levelling after breakfast, and generally continued that was all morning and all afternoon, since I had stuff to do away from the computer... I get these "busy weeks" every month or so, culminating in a "busy weekend", which ends with me only managing to start up the computer at about seven in the evening on Sunday.

So, SirDarth got the drake up to level 23, which is about all we could ask, as the idea is to let MrChuckNorris have a better level of pet to supply a bit of attack and defence passive buffs.  After the evening food break Darth traded the drake across to Chuck, who passed over his pony, which had just reached level 14 - so that is Darth's next project.

It was strange, though, in recent days Darth, with his +5 Radiant armour set and shield, has been okay to fight a Berserker even with only four or five levels of "Armour Increase" from a pet, but today with 21 levels of it, meaning he should have been in absolutely no danger, I noticed that the Berserker had got Darth's health bar down to about a third.  I used his own five-minute "Divine Shield" buff, and that allowed his health to regenerate and get him out of danger, but it really shouldn't have happened.

In the late evening, with the pony just giving 13 levels of the Armour Increase buff, I did notice a tendency for his health to decline, again.  If the new patch/expansion has changed monster attack or a character's defence or health regeneration, that could be a problem for pet levellers; even SirPerivale's health bar, with all 30 levels of Armour Increase (though only +3 armour and shield), did fluctuate a little.

Anyway, after Chuck and Darth had made their trade, Kaerella disposed of her recent loot to the appropriate storage characters, and then used a Scroll of Memorizing to beam out to the Poison Mists, after checking to see if Aeria had solved the "Send Error Message?" crash we were getting yesterday when switching directly from a mount to a different pet.  I switched just outside Randol, and got the message, so that crash bug is still active.

Apparently an unscheduled downtime last night enabled Aeria to sort out the "Merchant House" mass disconnections, and disconnects from the "Cube" system too, at least.  Hopefully this mount/pet thing will get resolved soon.

Kae used a platinum blessed iris and a platinum adrenaline again, and added 58.32%, plus 43 skill points, which took her up to level 38, so a trip back to town was called for to get the two new attack skills,  Arrow of Silence and Slow Shot. Both do extra damage; also, Arrow of Silence disables the target's attack skills for ten seconds, if it hits, while Slow Shot halves their movement speed for the same length of time.  There are a couple of passive skills, Mind Training and Survival Training, that I have enough levels for, but they require stat points in Constitution, and I won't have enough spare points for them until levels 41 and 43, respectively.

A second hour added another 52.66% and 45 skill points; with a little bit of fighting after the boosts ran out, the evening's total was 114.33%, so Kaerella is nearly three-quarters of the way through level 38 now.  And her drake, SirFrancis, levelled up too, and is now level 26.

Ratel was on for a while, after taking rather a long time, on his limited connection, to download the new patch, but left fairly early, after temporarily promoting Kae to guild master in case JadaMarie reached level 25 in Prokion Temple and needed her experience frozen.  She did get to over 90% I think, but then headed out to farm the sand golems near Shuraine's oasis.  Kae only got Kamira's appearance once today, but Jada got visited by her twice out there, though she couldn't find anyone who wanted to try to kill her.

By the end of the day Ratel's horse was about two-thirds of the way through level 34, and gobbling up quality stones at an alarming rate.  Darth got the pony more than halfway through level 14, but it looks as if he may need to move back to the Butchers next time, or he could end up dead.  But if death is on the agenda, I'd rather it was the Butchers who are on the receiving end, rather than my favourite knight.

Levelling Up  - March 13th

Checking the Last Chaos forums, it does seem that other people have been noticing that some monsters, at least, are hitting harder - some pet levellers have been found killed by critters that previously didn't give any trouble, whether in Juno, Merac, or Strayana, and people playing in the regular way have been finding that sometimes monsters that used to only send a red "1" floating up from their heads now can hit for a "300".  So, a rather sneaky in-game change, that.

SirDarth put in some time with the less hard-hitting Butchers, while I was otherwise engaged, and the pet pony he got from MrChuckNorris, my titan, went up a level or so; Butchers do tend to lose health though, and die after perhaps twenty minutes if I don't redirect my attack.  One good thing is that if one Butcher's health bar is getting a bit short, and I switch to hitting a different one, the first Butcher loses all interest in attacking me after a few seconds.

SirPerivale spent very nearly the whole day with his Berserker, anyway, since the full 30 levels of Armour Increase mean his physical defence (848) is enough to keep him healthy...the horse needs feeding fairly often though, as he went up to level 35 during the morning - by the time Peri logs out tonight the horse should be about 85% of the way through that penultimate level, I think.

I did manage to start playing at about mid-afternoon.  The Friday "Happy Hour" was, the website had informed us, going to be double skill exp, and, since the USA moving to "daylight saving time" three weeks before the UK goes to "British Summer Time" cuts an hour off the usual time difference, it was scheduled to begin at 3:00pm UK time.  So, it seemed a good idea to give Chuck the titan a trip to Prokion Temple, as extra skill experience would be a better thing for him than for Kae.

Unfortunately, the Aeria crew really messed up the "Happy Hour".  It wasn't surprising that it started late, as it presumably relies on somebody getting into their office fairly early in the morning - but they also put on 50% extra experience instead of the double skill exp.  There were no Game Sages in the forum shoutbox, which was pretty busy with exasperated players, but eventually the Game Master SupermanOX showed up.  He did switch the bonus to skill exp - but after having it briefly at the correct 100% extra, it got put back down to 50% extra... and then finally up to the proper 100% again.  By the time "Happy Hour" got switched off just after 6:30 I suppose we'd just about had the equivalent of two hours of double skill exp, but honestly, what a way to run things.

I'd given up on Chuck after a while, since he, with his experience gain frozen, wasn't getting anything from the initial experience boost - but by then he'd had a reasonable session with Orc Axemen and Sergeants, without losing any great amount of health.  He'd gained 170 skill points, so he had enough to get the final level of Expert Armoursmith, anyway.

So, Kaerella teleported out to the desert, and the Poison Mists, and seeing the Elite one ready and waiting, started a platinum blessed iris and an adrenaline.  It was only after that that I saw that there was a mage around too, who went for the Elite Poison Mist as often as she could, so for that hour my experience gain, 41.98%, probably wasn't quite as much as it could have been.  The "Happy Hour" had got changed to the skill exp fairly early in the hour, so 67 skill points got added.  Still, I got up to level 39, which was good.

After the food break, Kae went back, and got 42.55% experience from the first hour (plus 44 sp), and 43.63% (plus 46 sp) from the second, so level 40 was reached - a bit of a milestone, though there are no new skills to learn; there's one at level 41 though.  In all, including a little while continuing on after the potions had ended, Kae managed 137.61% experience today, and 188 skill points, so that it's possible her unused sp may go back above fifteen thousand briefly before level 41 is reached.

Kamira only appeared once - or twice, as after the first 14 minutes she "arrived" again, but after that she went elsewhere, which suits me, I'm always worried that in trying to click on a Poison Mist just underneath her, I'll attack her instead, which would not be a good idea at my level at all.

I changed the level 45 +15 weapon I bought a few days ago into a healer's bow, Collector Ryu only charged 340,000 gold to do that, so it's now an Anger Strike, waiting for Kae to reach level 41 so that it can be used without penalty; however, it's more than time Kae replaced her old level 30/32 armour with a new set, and I just can't find any 45/47 items at all.  Looking through the "Merchant House" listings for armour, there's page after page of level 17, level 21, and so on, but absolutely no 45/47 items at all, except a couple of knight shields.

It's possible that Kae's current armour, with its plusses, is almost the equal of an unplussed 45/47 set, but if I'm going to go indoors, where one can't apply a mount's buffs, I'll need to do something.  Some research is going to be needed, and probably more gold than I currently possess... maybe I'll need to sell some of the Myst Eyes that I've been accumulating.  At 40 I am a level higher than the Poison Mists, so the experience they give is slightly reduced, but I should think I could continue through this level at least, and still get good drops.  Maybe the level after, too, but by then Maargadum Jail in Merac may be better, if I can get my defence up a bit.

Downtime  - March 14th

SirPerivale got Ratel's horse to level 36 fairly early in the morning, so that it now started to get through eight hunger points every five minutes - that means 62 minutes from 100 to zero.  I had finally got a response from the Aeria staff on Thursday that the "Man's Best Friend" package I lost in a mass disconnection a Sunday or two back had been restored to me, so I transferred that to SirPerivale, so that he was able to use its two platinum pet potions to speed up the final level a bit.

SirDarth was also busy in the morning; with his horse-in-training now at level 18, it seemed worth seeing how well he could get along with the Berserkers again, but they were still hitting him a bit too hard, so he retreated to the Butchers, after a while when using Divine Shield occasionally kept the health bar from getting too low.

The afternoon session saw Kaerella heading out to the Poison Mists again; I did use platinum adrenalines, but for some reason double experience was running, perhaps left over from last nights US-timed "Happy Hour", along with 50% extra skill exp, so I didn't need to use any platinum blessed irises.  The afternoon session in all added 61.14%, not as much as it would have with the triple-experience rate pbis, but a very useful amount.

The session did end very slightly early, as the GMs announced that they would be taking the servers offline soon, to attempt to fix a problem with the Merchant House - the main problem being, I think, that some miscreants had figured out a way to use its systems to duplicate items.  In the end, it was about 50 minutes before the servers actually went off, and they stayed off for a little over an hour, so I had a longer time than usual for my food break.

When things did finally restart, it didn't take SirPerivale very long to get Ratel's horse to level 37, at last - but Ratel never appeared online today.  SirDarth took over with his horse, which reached level 19; a titan named Tryedge did mess him around a little, luring away his butcher a time or two, but gave up when he saw that Darth was not entirely "afk".  He did give Darth the "Battle Roar" buff, but although it "increases target's physical attack", Darth continued to hit the Butcher for just 26.

In the hope of increasing my knights' defence, I had decided earlier to add bloodseals to their armour - Darth's is fine, even with small boosts to physical attack his weapon-less attack stayed at 26, and he gained some evasion and defence, but SirPerivale did get his bare-handed attack figure increased to 28, due to adding 4 to his total strength.  The Berserkers can just about stand that, though.

The restart lost us the double experience, and 50% extra skill exp, unfortunately, which does rather show that it was an accident rather than a deliberate compensation for the troubles we've been having.  Kaerella continued with the Poison Mists, without any potions, and over three hours or so added 27.41%, and 91 skill points - enough to finally get her to level 41.  I immediately equipped the new level 45 +15 Anger Strike bow - boy did it make a difference, increasing Kae's "Physical Offense" by 36%.  But it was time to get back to town, and get the Mind Training level 41 skill, increasing Kae's magical resistance, as well as the level 32 single level of Deadly Shot 2, increasing the rate of "Deadly" hits.  Between them, 476 skill points well spent.  I couldn't get Deadly Shot 2 until now, as it required 12 stat points in Constitution, which I've only now managed to get together.

I kept an eye on the forum shoutbox while grinding away, and there seem a lot of people worried about the way the Merchant House has been removed from the game temporarily - as they have lots of expensive stuff deposited in the system!  Hopefully the NPC involved will return before too long.

At level 41, Kae has probably done her last Poison Mists session now - whether, with her current armour, she can fight level 52 Giants in Merac, or survive the mobs of canines and other types in Maargadum Jail, we will soon, I guess, find out.

Short Time  - March 15th

It wasn't all that long before seven in the evening, as expected, when I finally logged in to Last Chaos - just after I'd uploaded the blog last night, and was about to log out, the announcement came up that they were giving double experience for 24 hours as an apology for the problems and downtimes we'd been having, so I missed rather a lot of that.

SirDarth went out to do a bit more training of his level 20 horse, after I'd moved Kaerella's recent loot across to a different character to get it out of the way; Kaerella then did a bit of exploring, starting with the level 52 Giants not far west of Dratan City. Kaerella's low armour rating made them a bit tricky, I'd certainly have been in big trouble without the buffs from my mount.  At level 41, I have exactly the same defence as the knight Ratel, who's at level 30, apparently, if the pet buff (Armour Increase) from SirFrancis is included.  Using Slow Shot makes things easier, but that gets through a lot of mana, so to farm there properly I'd need some larger mana potions.

After a little while I moved across to Merac, where there was a new quest flashed up - so that involved riding out to Owl Village, and then going off to fight Gnoll Soldiers down in the south of the map.

I stopped off at Maargadum Jail; running through level one with horse buffs was easy, and level two was trauma-free, as there are plenty of safe spots, and as an archer one can generally just pick off the canines, or the Beast Scythes, one by one.  Even a side room on level three was a bit dodgy, though, as the level 46 Beast Flyers come in en masse, supported by the Beast Archers.  Easy enough over on the Cariae server, but there Kae is six levels higher, and with extremely good armour!

Running out through level one without horse buffs was also traumatic, with a lot of damage taken, but I made it, and headed on down towards the Gnoll Soldiers.  I discovered, however, on a part of the road which previously had been utterly devoid of opponents, level 37 Elite Bloody Outlaws, a new version of the Blood Frenzies, and also level 40 Elite Frenzied Berserkers - which aren't a new version of the level 34 Berserkers, but of the level 40 Highlanders.  And just along the side-path that I assume leads to one of the new high-level dungeons, I saw level 51 Elite Cerebrii.

I had two quests with the Gnoll Soldiers, and just managed to complete them both, killing 25 of them and collecting three hearts, before it was time for the Sunday Quiz.

SirDarth had logged out, and SirPerivale came on, to pass Ratel's fully-trained horse over to him - Ratty returned my blue horse, and 300 or so quality stones as a thank-you.  My rogue RAGE then logged in to Auzura-2 for the Quiz - but she, and everyone else who was in there in good time, got disconnected at about 9:15 UK time, and when they logged back in, weren't allowed to go back into the Quiz Room.  As Kae in Auzura-3 hadn't been disconnected, I guessed that the problem only affected Auzura-2, which had been the sub-server that had crashed during Auzura's first weekly Quiz... so RAGE moved over to Auzura-3, while Ratel plumped for Auzura-6.  And Kae joined RAGE of course.

The Quiz itself ran smoothly, and we all got our full rewards; Ratel used his 15 heaven stones to get a spare level 29 weapon up to +8, while I just put mine away in storage.  I do have rather a lot of them now.

Kaerella headed back to where the new elite types were. I should definitely have left those Elite Cerebrii alone - although the Wet Paint Last Chaos Wiki doesn't say so, they are protective of one another, so when I used Slow Shot on one of them, another, a bit too near, charged me at full speed, and seconds later I was ready to use my Skill Point Restoration Scroll, to return to life back in town, a couple of experience points down, but with my skill point total unaffected.

Still, the Elite Frenzied Berserkers, just one level below Kae, gave good experience, so I stayed with them for a while, killing a few Highlanders if there was a gap between respawns.  I checked up on the Elite Cerebrii - and, seeing one without any others near it, used Slow Shot again, and some running, and a health pot - and managed to kill it.  The experience gain was suitably large, but it just dropped a little cash.

Well, there wasn't time for a long session, but it was eventful at least!  One of the Elite Frenzied Berserkers dropped a level 37 +4 titan axe, which was nice.  An upgrade event was announced; Ratel reckons that, while he might have got less failures if he'd upgraded his weapon then, it would have been more likely to break, so he was happy to have done his upgrading before the event was announced.  If the Giants, or anything else, had dropped any armour Kae could have used I'd have upgraded it, but I hadn't picked up anything suitable.  It looks as if Kaerella is stuck with her old armour set for a while yet...

Kae went up 26.19% this evening, and added 32 skill points, so that wasn't bad, given the limited playing time.  Now that my "busy weekend" is over, hopefully things can go back to normal.

Monday Explorations  - March 16th

After getting rid of Kaerella's heavier pieces of loot, some shopping was indulged in - and I found a 40/42 armour set being offered for sale for 10,222,000 gold by a knight called NoGiveFace.  It was quite a mixture, with sorcerer, titan, knight, rogue and healer parts, with a +3 and a +1 piece, so it was no huge bargain, but it seemed like a good idea to get it anyway - while Kae may not use it for long, there should be other characters following after who'll make better use of it.

After getting Collector Ryu to make it all into the healer Dawn set, I used twelve heaven stones to get it all up to +3 - at that point Kae's defence, with SirFrancis not equipped, was 550, 4 less than her old "Goddess" 30/32 set, though of course that is generally +7, with one +8 piece, the shirt.  Moving the new armour up to +4 got the total up to 570, which is at least a slight improvement; I've so far resisted the temptation to take it to +5 or +6, as that would rather deplete my stock of lucky smelting stones.

The only other character on the same account, on the Auzura server, as Kaerella is a mage called Hazel; as she wouldn't be affected by the Strayana virus, she went over there to buy some larger mana potions for Kae - but I noticed after that that she still had some time left on old "Blessed Rewards" from when Auzura was the "Recommended" server, so I quickly took her out of Randol to make use of the extra skill and experience they offered.  Hazel was level 2 - the first thing I attacked was actually a Pandora's Box, and "killing" that immediately put her up by two levels.  A level 20 Pandora Beast was released, which I avoided fighting, I just killed some foxes and wolves, and had reached level six by the time the boosts ran out.

In the late morning Kae went out to those Elite Frenzied Berserkers in Merac again, and went up about 9% in experience.   The two groups of two fairly close together do just about respawn in time to keep a player busy; having the horse buffs is definitely a good idea, as they are protective, so that sometimes two rush in together, or a nearby Highlander joins in.

After lunch, Kae tried level two of the Jail again, but didn't get any good drops, and, after finding that there were other people trying to farm the EFBs, headed to Dratan and the Giants instead, using quite a few of the medium-size mana pots Hazel had purchased, so that she could use Slow Shot most of the time.  This added around 12% in all, with again no useful drops.  Since it was the right direction, I did take the opportunity to ride over to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos.  Luckily I do know the way pretty well now, having taken quite a few characters there over on the Cariae server; while Giants and Golems may hit out at a rider as she passes, the only dangerous bit is riding through the Masters of Secret Technique, who as well as a physical attack do have magical skills.  It's best to have a health potion of two ready for that part.

So, the afternoon was fairly varied, adding about 12% and another 31 skill points, though not, it must be admitted, hugely productive.

I had switched the blue horse over to SirDarth, and at level 22 it gave him enough of a buff to be able to fight the Berserkers without his health bar fluctuating too wildly, most of the time - acccessories giving defence, dexterity and evasion helped, too.  I used a "purification gem" to clear the bloodseals from SirPerivale's gauntlets, which with a "four strength" seal had increased his unarmed attack by two, and gingerly used a new set of bloodseal gems.  However, the second bloodseal gem added a six strength seal, so once the third seal is used I'll have to use another purification gem and try again...

The evening was, generally, Kae versus the Elite Frenzied Berserkers, adding 20.46% without any boosts.  I do have a three-hour, double experience Blessed Iris in stock, maybe I should think about using that before too long.  Another 46 skill points got added too.

I did do a bit more window-shopping, but there isn't a whole lot of stuff around, partly because a lot of items had been put into the Merchant House system, which has been temporarily removed, so that the items are just not available, to buyers or sellers.  Ratel did ask me to return to town at one stage because he had spotted a bargain, a level 35/37 +4 mage set for two million, and wanted to borrow the money.  I teleported back, and, as he was changing characters rather slowly, bought the armour, and traded it across to him when he got there.  Hopefully he had enough gold to get Collector Ryu to convert it for knightly use.

It seems that he isn't too keen on carrying large amounts of skill points out of Prokion Temple, and would rather have mini-freezes every time he needs skill points for a new skill.  I do hope that he will compromise a bit, and at least let his healer character, Jacqueline, collect her sp in Prokion...

The Aeria people seem to have been a bit low-profile today; there was something wrong with the website in the morning, all I could get was Google's cache of it, and the "news" part of the start-up screen was on its default ("Last Chaos beta launched")...but at least the game was working!  There was apparently a demonstration last night on the Katar server, with people using their "merchant mode" signs to protest about recent changes and problems.  I wondered why there were in-game announcements asking them to move to an out-of-the-way location "to avoid lag" - in the end the GMs kicked them all from the server, the in-game equivalent of using tear gas and not exactly a tactful way to address the game's difficulties and the grievances some people have.

By the end of the evening Kaerella had gone up from a quarter of the way into level 41 to two-thirds of the way through; her drake SirFrancis ought to level up tomorrow to level 28, with any luck.  SirDarth did good work on the blue horse, getting it to level 24 by the end of the evening.  Even at level 23, though, with 22 levels of Armour Increase, the health bar did go down a bit sometimes.  It just shows how much harder the monsters are hitting now... and means no more overnight pet levelling, as now by the time that the horse has enough levels to allow SirDarth to work with a Berserker without the risk of dying, the horse is starting to get through quality stones too quickly for 100 starvation points to last for the eight hours needed.

Ratel thinks that may be deliberate, and it is certainly likely to drive up the price of horses, for people who buy them rather than train up their own.  Maybe I'll eventually make one for sale, if the price gets tempting enough, and spend the proceeds on upgrading Darth's armour a bit.  Hmm, I wonder if anyone will be selling a level 25 Royal Shield +15 then...?