Kaerella's Blog - stardate July 2009 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month continues here at the top!
Back in the Shadows   -  July 17th

Once again, it was a pet-leveller morning as more mundane activities kept me busy downstairs - so SirDarth and SirPerivale had plenty of time to put in some solid work, with Darth getting his horse to level 20, and Peri getting his drake more than halfway through level 33.

After lunch, however, they were both booted out, to make room for the winning team of MistressDomina and Cyborg, who quickly headed for that back room at Prokion Temple.  While there were breaks for food and for washing dishes, these were minor and didn't really break up the session, so that we must have kept ownership of that room for around seven hours.  A couple of sorcerers did visit; Alundir left as soon as he saw that I was using all the Orcs, while PrinceOfDarkn3ss only lingered a couple of minutes... a good name for a sorcerer if he intends to become a specialist, and use that red, winged demon form a lot.

As Cyborg levels up, the benefit he brings to the teaming declines, but, even though he went up from 26 to 29 today, he was still giving enough of a bonus for MistressDomina to move along nicely.  300.30% was his experience gain today, along with 509 skill points - a figure which was helped along by the Friday "Happy Hour" being a 50% extra to skill exp gain today, for a couple of hours.

It was slightly strange, the boost started on time at 3:00pm UK time, but then at around 4:10 there was an apology for its late start, and a mention of double pet experience as well to make up for that - and the event would run on an extra hour.  Maybe an announcement from last week, when they did get mixed up, somehow got repeated?  The event did actually end relatively promptly, just after 5:00pm, so we didn't get an extension - as MistressDomina doesn't get pet experience from the Orcs now, I don't know if there was any boost to the pet experience, but I slightly doubt it.

MistressDomina got 509 skill points too, of course, and went up a suitably massive 73.29%, taking her well into level 36 now.  We should be able to continue through that level tomorrow, still teamed with Cyborg, and hopefully get him at least to level 30.  It would be nice to get him to level 31, to become a warmaster like Chuck, and indeed 32, to learn the first warmaster skills...particularly all five possible levels of his stun skill, Smite (262 sp).  The level 30 skill Body Smasher, all five levels of which must be learnt before one can choose a warmaster or highlander profession, takes 228 sp...but that still leaves not far short of 300 sp to spend on trying to get his regular titan passive skills up to useful levels, at least.

Cyborg has taken charge of my spare level 37 mount; he also has a set of +6 titan armour, level 35/37, ready to use when he gets enough levels.  So, he is just about sorted out, he just needs to get to level 32.  He may need to actually do the last level or so himself, but even with poor armour, with horse buffs he ought to be able to do that.  And at level 32, he ought to be slightly more useful at a Mad Monster Spawn, at least.

While MistressDomina was busy in the Temple, I did hear from Archeon, so when I did log out from there finally, Rage was able to log in on Auzura-1, and be re-recruited to his NefariousShadows guild, the one we left when its membership was incorporated into DreamingRequiem.  So, we are back the way we were, though with some useful recruits to his guild.  His mage StormOfStress is in charge at the moment, as Archeon was a guild adviser in DreamingRequiem, and thus, with the GM not available, couldn't be kicked, but had to leave, and therefore has to wait a week before being able to join another guild.  All that trouble because the guild master arranged for his real-life friend and guild adviser to be able to log in to his account...

JadaMarie was apparently one of Jacqueline's apprentices for the Guardian system, but wasn't loaned the level 25/27 healer armour set by her, so we are a bit puzzled as to where that set came from.  The outcome was that the set would be given to me, perhaps to loan out to other guild members if needed.  We failed to meet up to transfer it to begin with, however - when I was finally free after the Prokion session she'd actually gone into the Tomb of Theos to try and level up quickly, and then when she sent a message that she was heading back to Dratan on Auzura-3, so that I logged SirPerivale out and logged LadyAuzura in to take the items, she had a computer problem, and had to do a restart.  So Peri had a brief bit of pet-levelling after I gave up, and before JM got back online... but finally the rendezvous was made, and LadyAuzura is now carrying the set.

Anyway, MistressDomina and Cyborg made good progress today.  Not that I'd intended Cyborg to be more than a carrier of surplus titan armour, but circumstances seem to have conspired to make him something more than that.

Meet Sir Galahad -  July 18th

As usual, a certain amount of pet-levelling was done in the morning, but after coffee it was time to get a bit more active.  The main thing was to get some items transferred to MistressDomino, my merchant character - and also some manuals and quest-type drops moved to my junior knight, Calm...about the only knight I've ever made who isn't a "Sir", but he's meant to be a balance for having a rogue called Rage.

However, I did fit in a little time for that newly-developed titan of mine, Cyborg, after Calm had passed over the ten packets of Soft Sand he needed for one quest, and he concluded quite a number of quests, mainly either just by visiting a different character, or taking quest items to the quest-setter.  He did get to do a little fighting though, and using horse buffs more than made up for his poor armour - the Desert Spiders went down pretty easily, as did the Butchers in Merac. 

With all the quest rewards Cyborg went up by 28.94%, as well as adding 8 skill points from the fighting which, as one quest, given in Merac Caron, entailed a trip to Shuraine at his oasis, included a few Sand Golems as well.  Back in town, I then spent some on his skill points, getting all his passive skills at least up to level four... and Chuck had an old level 35/37 +6 titan armour set to trade across, which hopefully Cy will be able to wear before too long.

Along with the loot-trading to MistressDomino, I opened twenty of the Lucky Pet Boxes - they gave fourteen assorted colouring crystals, two lots of 100 "potions of pet healing", which heal a pet for 30 health each, which Chuck in particular finds very handy, one blue pan flute, one pink drake egg, and two lots of five platinum pet experience potions, which give triple pet experience for an hour.  I only use them when a pet is level 36 or higher, but they are useful!

The afternoon session took MistressDomina and Cyborg to Prokion Temple again - but that favourite back room of mine was occupied on Auzura-4.  So, I had to try a different sub-server; curiously, Auzura-3's Temple seemed not as busy generally, and I was able to settle in to fight there.  MD had gone ahead to check, rather than take both characters there and find the place busy, and while she was in a normal "solo party", at level 36 the Orc Sergeants were giving her 1896 experience & 1650 skill exp, and the Orc Axemen were giving 1283 & 550.  Once Cyborg had arrived, though, that changed to something like 9197 experience & 1912 skill exp from the Sergeants and 4290 & 1566 from the Axemen - and on top of that of course Cyborg was getting the same skill exp, and roughly 80-85% as much experience.

The whole session did manage to get Cyborg up to level 30, so he can at least wear those new +6 gloves; he gained 74.25% experience and 188 skill points, while MistressDomina added 24.65%, and 189 skill points since she did fight a few Orcs before Cy arrived.

For the evening session, it seemed like a good idea to start work on a character who could do for MistressSabina what Cyborg did for MistressDomina - though this time I'll make sure that the lower-level character has their experience gain frozen at 50%, so that they stay lower longer, and get the chance to get more skill exp.  Not as much skill exp as actually doing the work for themselves, I'm sure, but hey it's all a bonus.

So, I trimmed down the weight of the knight armour pieces that SirGalahad was carrying, equipped him with three relatively good accessories from the ones he was also in charge of, and took him out to fight foxes, deer, and, after that, wolves of various types, and even jaguars.

SirGalahad started at level two, previously he had only fought his way through the tutorial dungeon, back in the Auzura server's early days.  So, it was a matter of doing Healer Yabo's quests, and just keeping going.  I wasn't going to extremes with the sp-farming, as with LordElpus, though I did generally aim to tackle monsters of Gal's level or below - except for three or four Sasquatch along the way to Velpist Temple, to get that location onto his memory scroll. 

My new knight ended up by fighting some Wandering Zombies inside the Temple, who dropped a pair of level 16 +4 shirts - for titans and mages, unfortunately, rather than knights, but it's the thought that counts.  When I ended the session Gal was almost 95% of the way through level ten, so, when MistressSabina has taken over Prokion Temple duties from MD, and done as much on the skill points front as possible during level 30, I'll need to sign Gal up for a Guardian (such as Kae), level him up to 16 or 17 either in Velpist Temple or fighting Butchers while Chuck supplies Battle Roar and horse buffs (quicker, but a lot less skill exp), and then team him up with Sabina in that back room.  And if he gets up to level 32, say, well, it will be time to see how pet-levelling works with Gnolls or Gnoll Lancers these days...

Although I made no efforts to keep SirGalahad's armour up to scratch, indeed he's still wearing the level 1 boots he started with, I got him up to level five on the Canid Fence passive skill, which boosts a knight's defence and is vital for a pet-leveller.  I must say that, even when attacked by three zombies at once, his health bar never seemed to diminish.  Knights are a lot tougher than some other types, it seems.

There was just time for Rage to log in for half an hour or so, and head for the Forgotten Temple's Curd Hadians, but they didn't give her any good drops, except a Stripes and a Stars or two and another rogue top hat.  An attempt to fight Legendary Slayers while the initial horse buffs lasted wasn't too successful, with their protective Spiders doing a lot of damage - I had wondered if the first rooms might be farmable if one went outside to reapply horse buffs, but it didn't look as if it would work for a solo player.  It would be fun to have a guild team there, though, with healing, protective buffs, and a tank or two, but it is level 52 people who need level 57 boosts, and for the best drops the people involved would need to be more like level 68.  Not everyone has a "next character" following on behind...

Rage just added 1.34% experience and 8 skill points - I was so used to not equipping my drake now with MD in Prokion Temple that I didn't equip Rage's drake either, so no pet points got gained...and the drake didn't get attacked and lose health, either.

Archaeon was saying that a number of DreamingRequiem people that he'd now tracked down had joined other guilds already, but as it stands NefariousShadows is almost full - he needs to level the guild up once more to be able to get the first "expension".  He talked to Aszune, apparently, who seems to recognise that she did act a bit hastily in closing down DR so abruptly by kicking everyone, but her good friend and guild master getting banned had rather stressed her out.  Still, as I said to Archie, we may not be as big as DR was, but we're certainly a new, improved NefariousShadows now.

After that SirDarth, who after his afternoon off had been back in action providing a solo party for SirGalahad and for Rage, was joined on the pet-levelling side by SirPerivale once more.  Darth's horse had already gone up two levels in the session by then, and got a useful distance into level 24 before close-down; Peri's drake is about 40% of the way through level 34, so we're not doing badly.  With the drake we're not aiming for exactly level 37 or anything, it's really just a matter of keeping going with it until Darth's horse is high enough in level to give Peri enough of an Armour Increase buff when it is transferred across, and Darth moves on to the next project.  Then the various drakes of various characters will get moved about a bit, with Cyborg getting the lowest appropriate one, though of course the drake SirFrancis will stay with Kaerella.

More Skill Points  -  July 19th

SirDarth and SirPerivale made a pretty early start for a Sunday, as they often do - and then after coffee they were able to have some time off, since it seemed like a good idea to take Cyborg and MistressDomina back to Prokion Temple.

I chose Auzura-4 as the sub-server, and was relieved to find my favourite back room clear, except for the Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen of course.  I'd sent MD on ahead, so Cy hurried to join her, and took up his place in a corner.  It wasn't a hugely long session, as I wnated to have a slightly early lunch, but they each got 67 more skill points, while MD went up 6.36%, and Cy went up 20.39%.

Peri and Darth logged in again over lunch, but afterwards, it was back to Cyborg, MistressDomina, and Prokion Temple.  The "Sunday Teatime" for us Europeans was due to start at 3:00pm UK time, and I wanted to have my room firmly booked well in advance, since we were promised not just 50% extra skill exp, but 100% extra.

I did have a couple of visitors; a rogue called Aubane came in, fought a few Orcs, and I think did even attack the ones I was fighting, but left pretty soon, while a bit late a healer, in a wedding dress, called FuLingYue, did come in, kill no more than a single Orc, give me a Heal, and head out into the corridor again.  Ratel came online, and joined the party for a solo, fighting the Goblin Commanders down in the south of Dratan.

The Teatime event began promptly, and both I and Ratel were making good use of it, though after about 75 minutes Ratty said that he thought he was losing his connection, and, sure enough, he vanished seconds later, and didn't return in that session.

Not much short of two hours before the event, and a full two hours with the double skill exp, made for a nice substantial session, though at their current levels neither MistressDomina nor Cyborg gain experience very quickly.  Still, they did add 19.49% and 50.14%, and 312 and 311 skill points, respectively, which was pretty good going. 

Having Cyborg along, even at level 30, does enhance the experience and skill exp that MistressDomina gets from the Orcs, but I think this is likely to be the last level at which it makes a worthwhile difference, so soon it will be my would-be witch, MistressSabina, who takes over the mage armour she and MD currently share.  I think a little experimental team-up with SirDarth. to see if being in a party with a level 22 type while she is level 30 helps or hinders her skill exp per Orc Sergeant, will be called for.  She needs as much skill point gain as possible, so SirGalahad will be on standby to prepare to join her when needed.

SirDarth and SirPerivale were back in action for the slightly delayed early evening food break, and then I seemed to spend rather a long time sorting through the low-level knight armour that SirGalahad and SirCumpherence were carrying, getting them in order by level, selling duplicate items, and moving the higher armour over to SirCumpherence, to lighten Gal's load and make more room in his inventory - and then SirPerivale was able to trade across his old "Lioncub" set to Gal, who will need it sooner or later.

After that there was time for Cyborg to do a quest he'd been given, the last Dratan-based one, which entailed killing 35 Death Goddesses out in the Dratan desert south of the city.  They are level 35, and both aggressive (at a fairly short range) and protective, so it was probably lucky that Cy has those horse buffs.  That little expedition just added 1.61% and 3 skill points; I didn't actually claim the quest reward yet from Dratan's Royal Guard Captain, as I don't want Cyborg to level up too soon while teamed with MistressDomina; as it stands he has got maybe something approaching two hours of Prokion Temple time before he reaches level 31.

The regular Sunday evening Quiz was approaching, but there was just time for Rage to go out... and do some mining.  I'd picked up a couple of knives in Randol a few days ago, as sometimes happens somebody had just dropped them, after discovering probably that they had bought the wrong type, and I hate to see items go to waste.  As they were the rogue type, I'd transferred them to Rage - and I found today that one was a "boost knife", as it had already had a tool aid used on it.  So, buying thirty rogue-type hammers and getting enough tool aids out of storage, I first of all farmed 54 green herb leaves, and then moved across to the mine, and got 810 quality stones.

I took SirDarth to the Quiz, in the hopes that SmokeinTheKush would be there and able to take his drake back (I see its Sympathy is down to two-thirds now), but he wasn't around; Rage also went, to keep in touch with the NefariousShadows guildies, but Archeon wasn't on Auzura-2, the usual subserver.  He was urging some new recruits to get into the quiz room with him, but I don't think any of them made it in time.

The questions were generally the usual ones, though I think one about how the "Ichi and Scra-Chi" pet names are spelt was a new variation.  I was with Ratel and Stavanic, and we all got through to the end - there was really only one question where things could have gone dreadfully wrong, about the price of renting some obscure weapon, but luckily the side some few brave folks decided to move to was the correct one. 

So, we obtained all our booty; I transferred most of mine to MistressDomino, my merchant type, and then SirDarth headed back to his pet-levelling duties, after Rage traded those newly-mined quality stones across to him.  Ratel reported that he had managed to sell his fifteen heaven stones at 4.5 million each, which was pretty good - he reminded me that he'd said some weeks back that the HS price was heading for five million, so he wasn't far wrong.  Archaeon, on the other hand, told me that he had managed to buy fifteen off someone for 40 million, so he stands to make a profit of 20 million or so.

There wasn't much time left, but I took Rage out to the Forgotten Temple again, and fought the Curd Hadians in Rage's usual spot there.  They didn't drop any useful armour, but there were a couple of Hands of Protection, plus Stars and Stripes.  I must have spent about half an hour there, and just added 1.24%, 6 skill points, and 218 pet points.

After that it was time to let SirPerivale join SirDarth.  Peri's drake reached level 35 just before ten, and Darth's horse reached level 26 only a few minutes later, so, despite the time off they have been enjoying, we are still making good progress on that front.

Chuck the Dragon Killer -  July 20th

It was an early start for SirDarth and SirPerivale in their pet-levelling endeavours, and they had a quiet but productive morning.  I did at one point see a large and ominous red wing moving above Darth, but by the time I'd moved Peri and him away from that spot, the Grand Red Dragon had gone, its 14 minutes having expired.

I didn't have the opportunity to do any active playing in the morning, and indeed Peri had to take some time off while I installed the software for a new, Vista-compliant Canon scanner, which involved a restart of the computer.  Darth soldiered on, however.

I had a bit of a surprise when I returned after lunch... the grumbling corpse of Stavanic was close to SirDarth.  It seemed that he had managed to lure the Grand Red Dragon back, and that all had gone well for the first stage, as it usually does, but then the GRD moved up a gear, and managed to kill him.  Considering how close the corpse was to Darth and his horse, it was lucky they were both still alive.

Steve asked me to get MrChuckNorris, my level 54 titan, to team with him to finish the dragon, so Peri logged out and Chuck logged in, and rode down.  Stavanic had revived and returned by then, and he and Chuck teamed up.  Steve passed some defence items over, including most usefully a couple of level six magic defence minerals, and, after putting on the horse buffs and Battle Roar, and Stavanic adding the knight armour buffs, in Chuck rushed to use Smite on the big red unfriendly giant monster.

All went well with the first stage, and, with a great health potion, Chuck was holding his own until the Cerebrii spawned.  The question then is always, does one hang on and finish off the Dragon, ignoring the Cerebrii attacks, or does one run for it, and hope that not everything will follow, allowing the monsters to be picked off individually?

Chuck opted to finish the Dragon first, and managed it, though his health was going down faster than pots could restore it.  With the Cerebrii all attacking him, he then had to run for his life, and indeed his health got so low, as they do have a magic attack they continued to use, that Steve thought he was dead for sure - around 100 hit points is definitely too close for comfort.  Still, eventually the health potions started to do their job, and he was able to kill the Cerebrii, and return to where Steve had picked up what the dragon had dropped.

I returned some of the buffing items and pots I'd not used, and Steve gave me a share of the tool aids, lucky scrolls, and moonstones the Dragon had dropped, and a million in gold too, probably just for the pleasure of seeing the GRD get its come-uppance. Chuck had added about 0.08% experience, and only a fraction of a skill point I think.

All of that didn't take very much time, so MistressDomina and Cyborg had a pretty full afternoon in Prokion Temple.  My favourite back room was taken on Auzura-4, but free on Auzura-3, so that's where MD settled in, joined quickly by Cy,  They each got 119 skill points from the session, while MD added 11.15% experience, and Cy added 27.43%, which was enough to get him up to level 31.

There doesn't seem to be a big falling-off on the experience or skill exp side now that Cyborg is a level higher; the figures vary with every kill, it's not like a solo party, when the other party members are elsewhere, not on the compass map.  One would have to note down a large number of the figures, and see how they averaged out, though presumably the totals are now slightly lower.

After the traditional food break, Cyborg got his quest reward for killing all those Death Goddesses, and went up 4.08%; MistressDomina also had some easy quests to do in Merac Caron, and also the one requiring her to get ten red toenails from Gnolls down in the south of Merac - who knew that Gnolls painted their toenails?  She added 3.55%, 4 skill points, and even 48 pet points, on her travels.

I suggested that Norcaine's level 29 healer, JadaMarie, might like to try teaming up with MD in Prokion Temple; she wasn't available immediately, so SirDarth stepped in to assist me with a bit of torch-hugging in the Auzura-3 Temple, adding about 21 skill points and approaching 20% experience - once I find suitable skills for him to spend the skill points on, he may well need to die a bit to get rid of that experience gain, though he's still less than a quarter of the way through the level, so not in danger of levelling up.

JadaMarie managed to find MistressDomina, so SirDarth was able to get back to pet-levelling.  With JM actually fighting, we got some of the appropriate drops for her level, such as armour and a Hand of the Warrior.  The room wasn't easy for her, as the Orcs would tend to mob, as usual - she had a tendency to forget her health bar when typing, so she had just typed in "at least I'm not dying and losing all my sp gain" when her health bar reached zero and she slumped to the ground.

Still, that was her only death, so she did come out of things ahead. I tried to keep alert, and attack any Orcs that mobbed her.  MistressDomina had been there before she arrived for a while of course, and got 108 skill points in all, plus 10.26% experience - enough to get her up to level 37, which, again, didn't seem to make any appreciable difference to the experience and skill exp she was getting.  The level 29 Orc Sergeants certainly still gave more of both than the level 36 Gnolls...

JadaMarie left abruptly, at a suitable end point for me - her computer ran out of memory, as mine often do, particularly the old one if I don't restart the game every few hours.  She passed a couple more armour pieces she had been loaned over to me - none of us are sure who it was who lent her the armour, but hey, I'm sure I can find a use for it.

SirDarth soon got his horse up to level 28, and by log-out time it shouldn't be far short of halfway through that level, so we are approaching a time at which it can be moved across to SirPerivale, with enough Armour Increase buff to keep him healthy.  Darth's next project, before starting a pale blue horse from the special pan flute he has, will probably be to boost Ratel's drake a bit.  The drake Peri is working on shouldn't be much more than an hour away from the end of level 35, by the time he logs out tonight.

A Departure from Norcaine  -  July 21st

SirDarth and SirPerivale had a full morning's work pet-levelling, so Peri's drake reached level 36, and Darth's horse reached level 29.  Quite a few quality stones were consumed, but Darth passed a thousand of them over to Peri, who does tend to use more of them as he usually has the higher-level pet.  We seem recently to have had less Pandora's Boxes around than usual, and the only one to need tackling during the morning gave 50,000 gold, which is more convenient than a level 50 Pandora's beast who may or may not drop as much as that when killed.  A later one gave 20,000 gold.

As far as the afternoon goes, we did have a bit of a problem.  When the stocks of Item Mall "platinum" items were in the in-game version of the store, Auzura had its own supply of such things, and as it is a bit less busy than the other servers, they tended not to run out - but now it's the web version that carries such things, so all the servers try to buy the same stock.  Which means that the blue-and-white platinum skill pills are sold out, and as usual there isn't any package containing them.

And that means that MistressSabina is a bit stuck, as she needs a psp or two, to stack with the platinum super skill pills that she does have, so that she can go mad and use skill exp boosters on each Orc Sergeant she kills in the appropriate hour.  The scheme isn't perfect, as she's a level above the Sergeants, but it's her best chance to get at least some reserve of skill points before becoming a witch.

Hopefully the "platinum" section will get restocked overnight to go with the weekly maintenance, and hopefully the pills won't sell out too quickly.  They may even appear in a new package, but one needs to be careful as the 100%-extra super skill pills are sometimes referred to as platinum skill pills, too.

So, if MistressSabina had to wait, then MistressDomina got another chance to team in Prokion Temple with Cyborg.  We went for Auzura-3, as one particular member of the German "DieElite" guild does seem to be spending a lot of time in the Auzura-4 version of my favourite room, and were lucky enough to have the room to ourselves.

They have both really slowed down now, and MD is only getting maybe 5800-6000 experience and 1300-1500 skill exp per Sergeant, and 800-900 of each per Axeman, so getting 79 (Cy, who again arrived a couple of minutes after MD) or 80 (MD) skill points was pretty good going.  MistressDomina added 6.44%, while Cyborg added 16.00%, so that he is now a quarter of the way through level 31. 

It will be useful when he reaches level 32, and can wear the whole of his +6 35/37 armour set.  Before going to Prokion, I was looking through the items up for sale in Randol on Auzura-1, and about the only full armour set I saw for sale was an identical titan one, +6, for 200 million.  The one thing I did buy was an Extreme Stone for 15 million; one usually sees them for 25 million or more, but 20 million is as much as I'd want to pay.  It means I can upgrade some armour item from +12 to +13, which may well be useful; that would probably only add around 6 to SirDarth's physical defence, but might help Rage's set, or indeed Chuck's, a bit more.

The food break saw Darth and Peri back at work, with Peri passing the halfway mark in level 36 for his drake.  At the end of the break, Stavanic got in touch, wanting to form a party with SirDarth, so that he could register as a "party recruiting members" - his cunning plan being that if somebody high-level joined, he could ask them to help him level up a bit.

Stavanic's plan did work, somebody level 84 called IceCat joined, and did let him join him in the Tomb of Theos.  As Steve was well and truly capped he didn't get a huge amount of experience, I think he said about 65k per kill, but the system worked.  He really ought to get some more skill points though, he admitted that his Concentration buff was only level three...and as far as Tomb parties are concerned, a good Concentration is a royal knight's biggest asset.

I spent most of the evening gently getting LadyAuzura up from level seven to level ten, on berserk wolves and jaguars, and towards the end on wandering zombies in Velpist Temple.  When she was level nine I even took her out into Dratan Desert, and managed to get to Shuraine's oasis, and then on to Prokion Temple, so I added both those spots to her memory scroll. 

The party did actually get up to the maximum size of eight members at one stage; Ratel joined it, and soon realised or remembered that LadyAuzura was me.  He was out with the Goblin Commanders mainly, but had a disconnection eventually, and while he did get back to us, soon realised that his connection was starting to go down again.  Stavanic had made Ratty the leader of the party when he had to go, but leadership soon devolved to Darth, and rejoined as another character of his, Forbbiden, for some mainly afk pet-levelling.

JadaMarie got in touch a bit later.  The main reason she plays on the Auzura server, as well as on Sarissa, is to keep in touch with a friend from Portugal, as she had previously mentioned.  While his main character is in a specifically Portuguese guild, he has more recently made a "Phoenix" character (which one can do when one character on the account has reached level 100 - they get a boost to their levelling, a special colour for their horse, and a special headgear cover to help mark them out), and this one is in a new guild - one that he was able to invite JM to join.

So, I had to log Kaerella, as a Norcaine guild adviser, in, and "kick" JadaMarie from Norcaine, which is a pity as she has been one of our most active members.  "I did like this guild, and thank you all so very very much", she said...

Since LadyAuzura had added Prokion Temple to her memory scroll, it made sense to get my other level ten healer, in theory a cleric-to-be, Barbarienne, out there too - she has the advantage of having the appropriate armour set, while Lady A hadn't bought or upgraded anything.  She had a slightly more eventful run, getting followed by a pack of "clever foxes of desert" briefly, but managed to get clear, and add Shuraine's oasis, and the entrance to the Temple, to her memory scroll too.

As Barbarienne was carrying some other bits of healer armour, she passed some older and spare items across to LadyAuzura, so at last Lady A has both an improved attack and defence.  I must say that, before that, she did find the wandering zombies in Velpist Temple quite formidable opponents, easily capable of taking her down to less than half her health.  Quite a different story to when SirGalahad, my level ten knight, was there, he hardly noticed their attacks.  It shows that healers are at rather a disadvantage when soloing, these days, as Jacqueline and JadaMarie have mentioned.  And getting a supply of skill points does tend to involve a lot of soloing...  Still, LadyAuzura did at least manage to get her pony up to level two there.

Which leads us back neatly to my two expert pet-levellers, who as usual were both in action by the end of the evening.  SirDarth's horse should be around halfway through level 30 by log-out time, and SirPerivale should have got his drake two-thirds of the way through level 36 by then.  I need to work out which drakes to swap around to match them up best with their owners, once this new one enters the mix.

A Special Deal -  July 22nd

It was another relatively full morning of pet levelling for SirDarth and SirPerivale.  Darth's horse reached level 31 within minutes of Peri's drake reaching level 37, so that triggered the expected swapping-around of pets.  Chuck upgraded from a level 35 drake to the new level 37 one, and MistressDomina upgraded from her level 33 one to the level 35 one - and Cyborg inherited the level 33 drake.

So, the level 31 horse was moved over to Peri, and Darth, after simplifying matters by putting the drake eggs and ordinary pan flutes he was carrying into storage, took his blue pan flute to Lorraine, and then took it on to Jajan in Dratan City, obtaining a cute little pale blue pony.

The only problem was that, now that the school uniform type "cover" for his armour, with its extra +1 to the four armour pieces, has expired, Darth didn't have quite enough physical defence to be safe fighting Berserkers without any pet Armour Increase buff, while using just the +5 shield, so for the later part of the morning, and over lunch, he had to make do with fighting Butchers, while Peri fought a Berserker in the usual way, for which he needed the +13 shield.  Butchers don't last forever when hit for 26 damage, so I did have to keep checking up, and moving Darth from one Butcher to another.  Forbbiden was at the Butchers too for a while, training one of his pets.

Today's new patch makes it possible to save one's log-in name from one session to the next; it also fixed a bug with the merchant card (which allows one to sell things whenever and wherever), ended the "Independence Day" event with its Stars, Stripes and top hats, did something about "dead spaces" in one's item records apparently... and introduced a new "Ignore" feature, which sadly is still a bit buggy, but rather useful.  Just type in the name of a gold spammer, and you no longer see his spam - type in the name of a second gold spammer, and, well, you'll probably just add the first name to your "ignore" list again, but it's a step in the right direction.  It seemed a fairly large download, as patches go, but that's about all I noticed initially.

However, fellow pet leveller Koolyo pointed me towards the Events section of the forum, which says that, for a while at least, as a "Player Appreciation Event" characters will get a free set of armour and a weapon when they reach level 31, and another free set at level 60.  That only started after maintenance of course, so poor Cyborg has just missed out as he is already level 31.  MistressSabina is level 30, though, so ought to qualify in a few days.  Newly created characters get some hour-long skill and experience boosters, too, but they can't be traded across to a different character or sold.

What we didn't get overnight was a restocking of the Platinum items in the web mall, to which they have all now moved, so I am thwarted in my desire to buy a couple of the platinum skill pills.  Annoyingly they use that pill's blue-and-white graphic to illustrate a special half-price offer on the platinum super skill pills, of which limitless numbers are available.

I opened ten skill boxes for MistressSabina; for some reason they don't offer the 50% psps as a possible reward, but I did get one more pssp, one effort scroll, two skill pills (aka training spells, for 15% extra), and six super skill pills, for double skill exp, which ought to come in handy.

As Sabina was only 12.96% of the way into level 30, and on the 50% donation of experience "freeze", I thought that it ought to be safe to take her to Prokion Temple for the afternoon.  I solo-teamed her with SirDarth, who, as Peri was off duty, was able to borrow back his +13 shield, and was thus able to tackle the Berserkers once more.

I used a 200% pssp and a 15% sp, so that the Orc Axemen gave 4814 experience and 12127 skill exp, and the Orc Sergeants gave 9011 and, instead of their regular 4950, 15592 skill exp... and after one hour Sabina had added 466 skill points, and 24.20% experience.  This was nice on the skill exp side, but a bit high on the regular experience side - I had intended to do a second hour, but I would like two hours in level 30 with the 350% skill exp gain, when I can get hold of two psps, so I had to stop for today at that point.

So for the remainder of the afternoon Cyborg took Sabina's place in that back room, though as his armour isn't as good, he did have to be a bit more cautious, and used the occasional small health potion.  Still, he added 14.45% experience, and 58 skill points, so it was a trip worth making.

Ratel was on for a short while, though he seems to be coming down with the flu or something, he reported.  I suggested he might like to wait a day or two before passing his drake across for a levelling boost, so that when I lend him the blue pony in its place, it has a few more levels than it has at the moment, so that he gets a reasonable pet buff.  Apparently he killed the Grand Red Dragon again, after Stavanic had lured it.

Thinking over the "Player Appreciation" deal, it seemed like a good idea to rush through a brand-new mage, and try to get her to level 31 relatively quickly, so I created MistressBlaze, and sure enough she had five each of special newbie versions of resurrection scrolls, platinum super skill pills, and platinum blessed irises in her inventory right from the start.  I took her through the tutorial dungeon, and then on to fighting foxes, deer and wolves for Healer Yabo's early quests, and, moving on to dire wolves and berserk wolves, it didn't take very long to get her to level seven.  This was high enough to team with SirDarth, so we went to the Butchers for a while, though the arrival of the Grand Red Dragon prompted us to move on to the Berserkers before too long.  By the end of the evening Darth had added about 20%, so is still safely well inside level 22, while MistressBlaze is level 15.  Lorraine's treasure chests gave her some gold, and some candy; before teaming with SirDarth, MistressSabina recruited her into the Discipline guild, and Kaerella took her on as an apprentice in the Guardian system.

Tomorrow, MistressBlaze will probably hang out with Chuck for a little while, though before that I'll need to see what mage armour I've got in stock for her... I mean, a level 15 character still in the starter armour, and still with the level one weapon?  Chuck can give her horse buffs and then leave the party, while she fights something suitable - Treants or Great Horn Beast perhaps.  Once she has added enough levels, team-ups with Cyborg, and indeed MistressDomina, become possible.  She did only get 49 skill points from her evening, most of which I've now spent on appropriate passive skills

So, to get a good armour set, it may be worth doing this with a knight as well.  It seems just to be the level 30/32 armour set that one automatically receives, rather than the level 35/37 one, which is a bit of a shame; I see that the special newbie platinum super skill pills, platinum blessed irises, and resurrection scrolls have to be used "when under level 35" too, so it's no use saving them for later.  Still, it is a nice change of pace, and ought to fit in quite well with the idea of teaming a character a bit too high for Orcs with a lower-level type in Prokion.  I just hope the event lasts longer than a week, it would be nice if Chuck, currently level 54, got to level 60 and got the armour reward for that, but that's not something he's likely to do for a few weeks yet

SirPerivale has got his horse well over halfway through level 31 now, while SirDarth, who was still levelling his pony while he was levelling MistressBlaze, albeit not quite as quickly, got the little blue fellow into level 11 by the end of the evening.  Stavanic was opening some lucky pet boxes and experience boxes, with mixed results - if you pay five million for a box and get a colouring crystal worth one million or less, that is a bit of a downer, but he got some nicely valuable platinum blessed irises.  He got some pet experience pills from one box, but not the platinum, triple experience for an hour type - they were the regular, double experience for three hours ones, which I didn't even know could be got from those boxes.  Sadly, they couldn't be traded across to Darth, he'll have to use them himself.

He was asking me what tower boxes could give, but a Google search for "tower boxes" + "last chaos" wasn't much help.  This blog actually turned up on the first page of the results, though!

A Day for Levelling -  July 23rd

I risked keeping SirDarth busy pet-levelling through the night, and luckily nobody came along and killed his cute little blue pony, so by the time I checked before breakfast the message "Your pet leveled up" (well, that's how they spell it) appeared four times.  And by the time I'd finished breakfast, the line appeared for a fifth time - and my pony was now a big, strapping level 16 horse.

The operation to level up my new mage MistressBlaze continued today, though not without a rather obvious setback that I'd not counted on.  First of all I got her up one more level, to 16, with Chuck providing horse buffs and then leaving the party while Blaze fought Treants - and then the idea was to team up with Cyborg, at level 31, in Prokion Temple.

So, Rage logged in, and partied up with MistressBlaze before using a memory scroll to move to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos, and then on to the location of the Sphinx Fighters and Sphinx Speer Men... MB accepted the Party Recall, and got both those places onto her memory scroll, to join the "Mad Monster Spawn" location she'd added earlier, since she was in the vicinity.  Rage had lost Prokion Temple from her scroll, but rode out there and added it back instead of the Egeha "Male Assassinbug" spot.

MistressBlaze got a Party Recall to the Temple's entrance, and added that to her scroll too, and then Rage went in, and ran to the back room.  Unfortunately on that particular sub-server it was in use, so we moved across to Auzura-3, where we had better luck - and Rage used the Party Recall again, to fit Blaze neatly behind the torch in that back room.

The only problem was that Cyborg is actually on the same account as MistressBlaze, so a team-up between the two characters isn't possible, however many computers one logs in to the game.  So, instead, it was up to SirDarth to take over from Rage, and join the party.

Darth wasn't really prepared, in that he didn't have the better shield, which was still with SirPerivale, and his "Light of Odin" event weapon sword was only +3, but his armour was still good enough for around there.  I settled for fighting the Orc Soldiers and Orc Fighters out in the corridor, though; they did tend to nibble at Darth's horse a bit, but we still made progress.

By lunchtime Darth must have gone up by about 45% - and added some useful skill points, which he was easily able to spend on various skills.  MistressBlaze, meanwhile, had added a further three levels, taking her comfortably into level nineteen - 409.53% in all during the morning!  She gained 51 more skill points as well.

Darth was able to level his horse during that session as well, though not as quickly as he would when fighting a Berserker.  Over lunch he returned to the traditional way in Merac, along with Peri, and then after lunch he exchanged shields, and got his sword up to +6, and headed back to the Temple.

To start with, since he'd spent all his skill points, I decided to bring down his experience a bit, which is easy there; he just removed his armour, and kept running to fight the nearest group of Orc Sergeants.  He died pretty quickly, losing about 2% experience every time, and respawning only yards away, so it was a pretty quick way to lose 43.55% experience.

After that, he and MistressBlaze, fortified by horse buffs (Darth has now acquired his own level 37 horse, which MistressDomino had been holding), ran back to where they'd been in the morning, and continued.  The target was to get MB another three levels, and we managed that just in time for the early evening food break.  She added 275.63% during the afternoon, along with 97 skill points.

I decided to allow SirDarth to level up, rather than spend his skill points and do some more suicide runs, so he went up 80.73%, taking him into level 23.  This does increase his bare-knuckle hit on critters like Berserkers and Orcs from 26 to 27, but I knew that Berserkers can stand up to 28 at least, so it doesn't at the moment stop him from pet-levelling there.  He got another 99 skill points, and spent all but two of them on skills.

The evening session was different, in that reaching level 22 meant that MistressBlaze could now team up with MistressDomina - MB meets MD!  So, I moved the best mage armour set, and accessories, back to MD, and they headed for that favourite back room.

It took well over three hours, but in the end I did get MB up a further three levels, 300.88%, so that back in town she was able to learn some level 25 skills, with the 208 skill points she had received.  I was going to say "earned", but all MB did was stand by the brazier/torch and let MistressDomina do all the work.  MD was glad to have her there, of course, at level 37 you don't get useful experience from Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen unless you are teamed with someone a good few levels lower.  She earned  208 skill points, anyway, and went up by 26.34%, so that was useful.

Jacqueline was online for much of the evening, also hard at work in Prokion Temple, and managed to reach level 30, and maximise all her skills, so she did well, though I think she said that she only had 263 spare skill points left over.  But she has a few more levels during which she can fight in Prokion to add to that, though I've promised to have Rage use Recall to get her to the Tomb of Theos tomorrow, assuming that the 30-day card doesn't suddenly run out.  I hope she doesn't intend to do any power-levelling in there yet, or she'll be short of skill points from now on.  I'd told her earlier about the special "Player Appreciation Event" armour she should get at level 31, only casually mentioning at the end that it would be, apparently, all plus ten.  People will have to be careful that they have at least seven empty inventory spots when they level up.

Anyway, SirDarth gained a level, his blue horse gained plenty of levels, and MistressBlaze went up ten levels.  By the end of the day, despite having time off, and having a couple of fighting sessions himself, Darth had got the blue horse to level 19, so that it is now ready to be loaned to Ratel while I level up his drake a bit.  And Peri's horse is more than a third of the way into level 32, at least.  With Cyborg and SirDarth both claiming level 37 mounts lately, another one will be very welcome.

A Busy Day -  July 24th

SirDarth attempted to pet-level through the night again, but the computer eventually ran out of memory.  Still, by the time I lent the pale blue horse to Ratel, so that I could level up his dark blue drake a bit, the horse had reached level 21.  The drake itself was level 17, on 1787/2596, but did go up to level 18, at least, late in the early evening food break

While SirDarth and SirPerivale did manage some pet levelling in the morning, after coffee it was time for them to be stood down, and for MistressDomina and MistressBlaze to head for Prokion Temple on Auzura-4.  As he's off work with a nasty case of the flu, Ratel was on for most of the day, and, after we exchanged the pets, he switched to Jacqueline, and asked to join our party.

When I got to my favourite back room, however, it was already being used - by Jacqui!  I'd not thought that she would have been there, as it is a rather dangerous place to farm sp unless you have really top-grade armour...still, I headed back to the "corridor room" which is second best, though wall-hugging there, for MB, isn't as safe as being in a corner by one of those torch-braziers.

Jacqui quickly called me back, though, and had to leave for a little while - she went off to get a three-hour, double-experience Blessed Iris, in fact.  With her as the party leader we were able to change to a "combat party", which, while it divides up loot and skill exp equally, gives afk players like MB a small experience boost for every kill, and rewards active players in line with their contribution to the fight, again with a little extra.  With any luck this increased Jacqui's experience gain; she had one disconnection just before my lunchtime, but otherwise managed to hang in there for the whole time.  When I did go afk for lunch, both MD and MB were getting useful skill exp and experience, and giving Jacqui's experience gain a boost too.

Jacqueline had hoped to reach level 31 by the time the Blessed Iris ended, but was still 12% short.  She decided to go to a different Prokion room to finish the job, so we reverted to a regular "equal party", so that MistressBlaze could go back to levelling up a bit more quickly.  Jacqui reached level 31 safely there, and reported that, yes, the level 30/32 armour set, +10, had arrived in her inventory as promised, as well as both the level 33 healer weapons, the bow and the scepter.  As she had a spare weapon (the scepter could be converted into a bow by Collector Ryu), she risked the bow breaking by using a heaven stone on it, and was lucky enough to get it straight to +11.

I'd taken a rather short lunch break, and generally kept going...and then at three o'clock, UK time, there came the announcement of the EU "happy hour" starting - two hours of double experience gain.  So, as MD in particular does need more levels, I kept going.  Stavanic joined the party with MD and MB, asked to be made leader, and added a couple of other people, probably by putting us up as a solo party seeking members.  He then asked if I could change to Rage and use Party Recall to get them to the Prokion Temple entrance, so I did that, then changed back to MD, rejoined the party, and continued with the Orcs.

By the time I finally logged out for the food break, just before the end of the two hours, MistressBlaze had gone up in total 270.43%, taking her quite a long way into level 27 - and MistressDomina had added 60.13%, just taking her into level 38 at last.  They both added 360 skill points, too,  Sadly, the amount of experience MD was getting from the Orc Axemen went down with a bump after she reached the new level - Orc Sergeants gave less, too.  Stavanic had asked if I could team MB up with him on Monday so that he could benefit from the boost, but as he's already level 38, it may not be as useful for him as I'd led him to believe.  He had come within range of the MB/MD team for a minute or two earlier, and that really killed my experience and skill exp gain.

When Peri and Darth arrived in Merac for their pet-levelling session, the Grand Red Dragon was already right over our heads... so both my knights moved away a bit.  The next time I checked, the GRD had left, without anyone coming in and annoying it, so no harm had been done.

MistressDomina had some level 38 skills to check out - and a level 35 one, Secret Study 6, increasing her magical attack power, that I'd omitted to get previously.  Robe Mastery increases physical defence, so I was able to get all the levels of that, to increase MD's defence by 125; however Flame Field I can't get until I have some more stat points in Intelligence, so that will come at level 41, and Fear needs some more Dexterity, so I won't learn that until level 47 apparently...

MistressDomina and MistressBlaze met up in Randol to exchange the armour, weapon and accessories, so that MD could log off (allowing SirDarth the opportunity to level Ratel's drake a bit), and for MistressBlaze to take control of her own fate for a change.  After spending all the skill points she had earned, it was time to head for, well, Prokion Temple of course.  I did use that Extreme Stone that MD had bought recently, on the feeling that at level 27 MB could do with any extra defence I could get her.

My favourite back room was in use, but, for a change, I thought I'd try a different rather similar room which is, well, in a diagonally different direction from the middle.  I managed to find it; it has less Orc Axemen and Orc Sergeants, and a couple of lower-level Orc Soldiers too for some reason, while the Orcs in the corridor outside are higher-level than the ones near "my" room.  It all seemed suitable for MB, anyway, so after the usual trial kill, I started one of the special "beginner" platinum super skill pills that a character created since Tuesday night's maintenance starts life with, and settled in.

One surprise was that this wasn't a "proper" pssp - instead of 300% skill exp gain, it gave 250%, so that at level 27, a level 27 Orc Axeman gave 13,750 skill exp, rather than 16,500.  Still, it was a useful boost, and in the first hour MistressBlaze gained 385 skill points; in the second hour, another 368 rolled in, and the whole session added 761...751 of which promptly got spent on getting all the available passive skills maxxed, and starting on the higher levels of skills like Curse and Sloth.  I was surprised how quickly MB levelled up, she went from level 27 to 29, adding a further 143.51%.  The aim will be to use the other three "beginner" pssps, and then see if the "beginner" platinum blessed irises give the full 300%, or 250%, though once MB reaches level 31 safely, there won't be any great hurry to continue with her.  Not knowing how long this special deal with +10 armour lasts, getting another character or two up there would seem to be a priority.

And then it was time for SirDarth and SirPerivale to both be in Merac.  Darth got Ratel's drake levelled up to 19, while Peri's horse, well, it shouldn't be too long tomorrow morning before level 32 is finished.  Ratel got in touch to report that he had got his Cariae namesake up to level 31, despite his experience there being half-frozen, and been awarded his armour, weapons and shield.  I must check out my characters there, I think my rogue Karella is level 29 - if so, I really ought to get her up to 31 as soon as possible.

A New Knight -  July 25th

SirDarth had a successful overnight session levelling Ratel's blue drake, so that it had reached level 22 by breakfast time; I did manage to keep going last night just long enough for SirPerivale's horse to reach level 33.  Darth won't be doing any more overnighters for a while, as the drake will be too hungry to last for around eight hours without being fed some quality stones.  When Ratel gets his drake back, though, the pale blue horse I loaned him might just be able to have one more overnight session.

I managed to fit two hours of levelling for MistressBlaze into the morning, using two of the special newbie 250%-only platinum super skill pills; she was fighting in my favourite back room, in a solo party with SirDarth, who kept on pet-levelling.  Halfway through the first hour I decided to use the first of my five newbie platinum blessed irises as well, and soon discovered that it too was 250% rather than the Real Deal's 300% - strange.  I just hope there's not some strange missing bit in the newbie resurrection scrolls!

The first hour added 363 skill points, and, reflecting the fact that you get less skill exp from monsters as you get another level above them, the second hour added 349 more - the whole session added 729, all of which I later spent back in town.  It was very neat, when I had 82 of them left, the next skill level I wanted to get required, yes, 82 skill points.  But lunchtime arrived when I was just 2.60% below level 31, having gone up by 182.00%.

After Peri had joined Darth in Merac over lunch, MistressBlaze returned, to get a quest reward, and to do a couple of quests involving the Desert Spiders near Prokion Temple.  Level 31 came up halfway through that, so in all MB just added 3.21% and 4 skill points.  The level 30/32 armour set, and the level 33 mage staff and wand, all duly arrived in MB's inventory, all +10, so that particular campaign had been happily concluded.

I logged in over on Cariae briefly, and apparently my rogue Karella is only level 25 - my mage Enchantrella, on level 27, would seem the ideal candidate to take up to level 31 for the reward... though perhaps it might be just as easy, given that Enchantrella's experience gain is 50% frozen, to start a brand-new character, and thus have the newbie pssps and pbis to help progress along.

Stavanic had dropped in on SirDarth, and after a few minutes I noticed a new line of speech from him, "fk fk fk fk" - what I hadn't seen up until then was that he had managed to lure the Grand Red Dragon, and had fought it valiantly, only to be overwhelmed when the Cerebrii spawned.  It was time that Darth logged out anyway, so I switched to Rage, and rode down to at least take care of the Cerebrii.  Steve of course returned to attack the Grand Red Dragon, as I and another rogue watched, carefully not getting involved lest we spoil his chances of a good drop... and, while there wasn't a Tears of Knight or any madly valuable accessory dropped, he got the usual assortment of minor items.

My next project was to make a new knight, and try to get him to level 31 - after all, knights don't just get the armour and the two weapons, they get their shield as well!  While I already had a low-level knight called SirGalahad, for the newbie extras I needed to start from scratch... so as, not surprisingly, the name "Galahad" was taken, I made a new knight called "GALAHAD" - though, as with "RAGE" and "CALM", I will tend not to bother with all those capital letters here.

So, after getting some low-level armour from his near-namesake, getting three useful accessories from a storage character, being recruited into the Discipline guild by MistressSabina, getting Recalled to useful locations by Rage, and choosing Kaerella as his Guardian, Galahad set out into Juno.  The first stage was entirely normal, with the usual fighting of foxes, wolves of various kinds, and jaguars, and it didn't take very long to get to level eight.  Then it was a matter of exchanging computers with Darth - and the pair of them set out for Prokion Temple.

First of all SirDarth got rid of the 30% experience he'd gained in level 23, by taking his armour off and rushing at the nearest Orc Sergeants a few times.  Then he and Galahad teamed up outside, Darth added horse buffs and divine shield, and in they went, to run to the back room, with Galahad hot on Darth's heels...though as Galahad doesn't have the Uncanny Movement passive skill to increase his speed, Darth did have to stop and wait for him to catch up a few times.

The corridor outside the room was busy, but the room itself wasn't, so once Galahad was behind the torch/brazier, Darth just kept attacking the local Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen, who, thanks to his excellent armour, couldn't hurt him at all. A mage called Sierra did try to help a little, but I warned her that it was a dangerous room, and she was last seen running for her life, pursued by Orcs, despite my best efforts to keep them focussed on me.  By the time I had to log out for the early evening food break, Darth's mission had been accomplished: while he himself had added 26.07%, Galahad had zoomed up to level 16.

After the break, the next step was to team Galahad up with MistressBlaze, and, helped along by the first of the five "beginner" pbis and pssps, we got him all the way to level 24.  In fact, it would probably have been a good idea to continue that team-up, with MB doing the work and Galahad just watching, but it seemed time for Gal to get back into action himself - so SirDarth lent him the good knight armour, and the +6 event weapon, and, partied with SirPerivale just for the solo party bonus, Galahad headed back to Prokion to do some fighting on his own behalf.

Things did go smoothly enough; Gal had acquired his own dragon hatchling, and by the end of two hours, using the second and third each of the pbis and pssps, the hatchling had just reached level four.  The only problem was that, well, a +6 weapon hits nowhere near as hard as a +15 one, so the Orc Soldiers, Orc Fighters and Orc Axemen all took quite a few hits to kill.  That said, Galahad did manage to reach level 27, which was the prime objective, adding 324.22% and 475 skill points.

Ratel had got in touch to say that his junior knight over on the Cariae server, who'd done us such good service as a pet-leveller back in the old days, Leo, had now reached level 28.44 - and he was suitably impressed when I said that my new knight was already 26.42, at that moment.  It does help when one can use two computers at once, and team up appropriate characters to help one another - and let's face it, starting a character a little while after lunch, and getting them to level 27 by the end of the evening, is pretty speedy.  I wouldn't call it exactly power-levelling, as everyone was within the normal party range, but we do seem to be well on our way to getting the new knight his own set of +10 armour, plus weapons and shield.

Darth got his armour back after the Prokion session, and was able to join Peri for the late-night pet levelling session.  Peri definitely won't get his horse to level 34 tonight, but the new level is getting relatively close; Darth is a similar distance away from level 25 for Ratel's dark blue drake.  It seems that Lilwonderer may well join the ranks of Merac pet-levellers soon, the knight under preparation for the job is level 17 already, it seems.

Another Set of Armour -  July 26th

There was the usual bit of pet-levelling for SirDarth and SirPerivale to start the day, with as expected Ratty's blue drake, in Darth's care, reaching level 25, and Peri's horse getting into level 34.  But, after a slightly early cup of coffee, assuming that it was a mid-morning one rather than a breakfast substitute, it was time for Darth to loan his armour to Galahad again, and for Gal to head for Prokion Temple on Auzura-4, accompanied by MistressBlaze.

Using the "beginner" pssp and pbi, in the first hour Galahad added 150.57% and 243 skill points, getting well into level 28.  The second hour added 108.71% and 210 skill points - I did miss a few minutes when the older computer ran out of memory, so Gal had to log back in, and hurry back to the Temple, but each level is longer than the previous one anyway. The target was to try to get to level 30, and I did just manage that by staying on a bit longer than I intended, so that lunch was slightly better cooked than had been planned.  The whole session, then, added 270.65% and 495 skill points.

MistressBlaze added 79.56% experience in the first hour, and 60.58% in the second, since her experience gain per kill went down once she reached level 32; she got 246 skill points in the first hour, but, as that used up her last newbie-type pssp, only 87 in the second - her totals for the session were 151.77% on the experience side, and 376 skill points.  And of course we got various bits of armour and other loot.

Unlike the usual sessions, I did actually have both Galahad and MB fighting, even if perhaps Gal did appear to think things over between kills.  I have been in parties with people who react just as slowly, though! He kept the Divine Shield buff on MB, and was responsible for picking up most of the loot, but he did his share of the fighting as well.

Ratel had got in touch very early in the morning, at least by Sunday standards, and he was also online just after lunch.  I had thought we might take advantage of the afternoon's "Sunday teatime" 50% bonus experience to have Barbarienne and Elvastar over on the Cariae server fight together in the Tomb of Theos, but unfortunately, and unsurprisingly I guess since he does have a family including young children, he was going to be otherwise engaged then... so the team-up, with Elva attempting to get to level 60 for that freebie set of armour by doing some dedicated ks-ing, is pencilled in for tomorrow evening instead.  I was able to let him know that his drake had reached level 25, anyway, so arrangements were made to trade it back later.

The afternoon session started with a brief visit to Cariae to set things up for tomorrow - I now have a new level four knight over there, XxGALAHADxX, who is Kaerella's apprentice in the Guardian system, and has got my cat-style "human tribe" pet SkrappY in his inventory.  Barbarienne does have some "Summon" books, so should be able to take him to the Tomb when needed.  Back on Auzura, Galahad  started by doing a few odd quests - and was about halfway through killing the 35 Death Goddesses when the announcement for the two hour "Sunday teatime" event came up.  It had been advertised on the website as just 50% extra experience, but the announcement said that it was to be double skill experience...

So, the best thing to do seemed to be to get MistressBlaze and Galahad teamed again, and back into Prokion Temple - though when I looked at the experience and skill exp figures afterwards, it looked more like the 50% experience gain to me.  Ratel, however, assures me that it was extra skill exp - but whatever it was, it came in useful.  MistressBlaze added 42.48% experience and 205 skill points, while Galahad added 68.33% and 210 skill points, those extra ones being due to the bit of Death Goddess-fighting beforehand.

My food break was a bit rushed, and I left MB and Gal in the Temple room - so the session basically continued there.  Gal still needed another 30% to get to level 31, so we just kept busy, and at last we got there, and the new armour set and weapons arrived.  Gal had already started using a level 33 sword, it had seemed a good idea to get him one as soon as possible, so MB had donated her spare weapon, the witch-type wand, which Collector Ryu had converted into a knight sword for just 75,000 gold.  I kept going slightly beyond the actual levelling-up to get the sword all five of its bloodseals, which were a good selection of small attack bonuses and extra hit rate.

Anyway, MistressBlaze added another 26.37% and 118 skill points, while Galahad added 40.71% and 114 skill points - he missed out on the other four due to another "run out of memory" error and another dash back from town.  There was still an hour or so until the quiz, so there seemed to be time to do some minor quests - MistressBlaze's turn to kill 35 Death Goddesses, I must say the trip from Prokion Temple to their area seemed a bit simpler than getting there from Dratan city.  Then both MB and Gal had quests in Merac, though as she's two levels ahead she had more of them.  They both had to kill Butchers until they'd accumulated 10 "remnants of Berabden" - MB got to carry some messages around too, and slaughter 10 Pilferers and 10 Bandits.

That was another 10.17% experience for MB, mainly from quest rewards, and 8 skill points, while Gal added 7.29% and just 2 skill points.  But by then the Quiz was getting near.

Luckily they left the doors open at the Quiz, so that people who got kicked out for getting a question wrong could run back and get back in; it's a few weeks since they did that, but it makes all the difference.  More than half the people in the Auzura-2 quiz room got kicked out early on for thinking that the "Quanian's Cave" dungeon was in Egeha rather than Strayana, but we soon saw people running back in to rejoin us.

It was about question 16 that I got wrong, along with about half the other people, but Kaerella was able to get back in in time for question 18, and thus got the 5 heaven stones, as well as the 10 for getting question 20 right - Rage was a little slower to get back in and missed out on the 5 heaven stone question, but got the 10 safely.  And we both had got 10 tool aids and 10 moonstones earlier, of course.

After the quiz, SirDarth traded Ratel's dark blue drake back to him, now at level 25, and got his level 21 pale blue horse back; Ratel kindly gave him a hundred quality stones too.  Darth also acted as middle man so that Ratel could pass some items between his characters, so Thabitha is now set up with Jacqueline's old set of armour.  I assume the plan is for one healer to become a cleric, and the other one an archer.  Ratel worked on Thabitha for a while, with Darth providing the "solo party"; he had hoped to get her to level 17, but decided to log out at 16.5.  If he has to go back to work tomorrow, after his sick leave for the flu, that was probably sensible.

All this teaming of two active characters has rather cut down on the pet-levelling lately, but by the end of the evening Peri's horse should be around 40% of the way into level 34.  I think that, at halfway through level 21, Darth's horse should be just low enough to level through the night one more time, so fingers crossed that that works okay...

Old Haunts -  July 27th

The morning and afternoon sessions were pretty lightweight, for a change.  SirPerivale joined SirDarth, who had successfully pet-levelled his pale blue horse throughout the night, and continued the good work.  Darth had got his horse to level 24 - and after lunch Peri's horse reached level 35, so we are making good progress.

There was no big Prokion Temple session in the morning, instead I concentrated on moving all the sellable loot that various characters had accumulated over to MistressDomino, who is now pretty well off for Candy, Moonstones, Moonstone Boxes, Stars, Stripes, and indeed Heaven Stones.  I do need to check the current prices for that sort of thing, and set MistressDomino up in merchant mode...but on the other hand, prices are more likely to go up than down, so it may be better to have them in my inventory, rather than more gold.

SirPerivale was able to continue pet-levelling for most of the afternoon, as, first of all, Stavanic wanted Darth's help in getting a blue name.  Not being experts at that sort of thing, we rather assumed that if Darth killed him often enough, Darth would get a red name - and if he killed Darth a few times, he would get a blue name.  But it wasn't that simple, and while Darth was able to get a red name easily enough, however many times Steve killed him, Steve's name remained resolutely white.  The reason, we discovered eventually, was because SirDarth is quite a few levels lower than Stavanic.  He did ask if MistressDomina could get involved, as at level 38 she is the same level as him, but with her carrying over 28k now of unused skill points, I wasn't too happy with that idea.

We'd gone to Auzura-6, as a fairly empty PvP-enabled sub-server, and I'd suggested that Prokion Temple was the best place, as rather than respawn back in town when you die, you respawn just a few yards back in the main hall, so that no time is lost in continuing the campaign.  There were two or three other people there who gladly helped, asking politely before joining in.  Darth went all the way up to -100 on the Evil scale, though being repeatedly killed in turn got him down to about -5, before he ended up at -20, with a "PK value", whatever that is, of -5.

So, SirDarth currently has a red name, and that -20 means that, rather than hitting a Berserker, bare-handed, for 27 at a time, he is currently hitting them for 25.  My understanding is that being active in a non-PvP sub-server should mean that the red wears off after a while, but at present it is handy not to be hitting Berserkers quite as hard.  Lots of pet-levellers do have red names for that purpose, after all.

It seemed a good idea to create a couple of new characters, to take advantage of the "Player Appreciation Event" beginner pssps and pbis they get in their inventory to start off with; as well as Doing that on Auzura, I also made a second new character over on Cariae, another healer-type LadyAuzura, in case she would be needed later, and got her up to level five so that she would be able to do a small amount of healing if needed.  The version of Galahad I made over there had Kaerella as his guardian, but this time I gave Keerella, my level 100 mage, the honour.

So, after the food break, off I went to Cariae-3, logging in as my level 100 archer Barbarienne.  I  used a memory scroll to move to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos, and then used a Summon book/scroll to bring Galahad to me, so that he could get the entrance onto his memory scroll too - that way, although it cost 11,600 gold to get him in at level 4, if he got disconnected he could get in again easily, and I wouldn't need to use another Summon on him.  Barb entered too, it cost her a bit more as it is "per level", 290,000 gold in fact.  Usually it's 3,000 per level, but they must be having a slight discount at the moment.

So, this Cariae version of Gal equipped my level 50 "human tribe" Scra-Chi pet, SkrappY, got safely close to the wall, and started one of his beginner-type platinum blessed irises... and Barbarienne started to kill the local level 100 Screaming Zonbies.  It didn't take much more than twenty minutes to get Gal to level 20, completing the guardian system, but it took three hours, all with a newbie pbi so the equivalent of 7.5 hours, to get him all the way to level 31, so that he got his special +10 30/32 armour, shield and the two level 33 weapons, the single sword to use with the shield and the dual blades to use alone.  And very impressive he looked, too, even though he only has a total of 30 skill points so far!

As arranged Elvastar arrived before long; he was glad I'd chosen Cariae-3, as Cariae-4, which tends to be busier these days after Cariae-3 went through a period of being unreliable, often has a rather cliquish bunch in its Tomb apparently.  He's a level 56 specialist sorcerer there, and would rather like to get to reach level 60 before the special armour deal ends...whenever that is...

So, I stopped using Fast Bow Fixing to increase my hit rate, and Elva settled down to ks-ing, that is, attacking my target from outside the party.  He'd have been "capped" if he was inside the party - he was generally getting more experience than Gal, even taking Gal's pbi into account, though at a lower level you need much less experience to complete a level.

Still, he found it slow going, and while he had been hoping to get to level 57, he had to settle for 80% of the way.  That was better progress than Barb made, over four hours she added just about 1% I think, though of course adding experience wasn't the object of the exercise for her.

Once Galahad had finished, and traded SkrappY back to Barb, Elva asked if he could finish a Zonbie or two, but I'm afraid that didn't work out.  Trying to be clever, I unequipped my bow after luring the next Zonbie, which meant that I only did 72 damage per hit, though a "critical" hit was still over a thousand.  Unfortunately, after a while the Zonbie turned its attack from me onto Elva, and he didn't manage to get to the wall quickly enough.  I suppose in retrospect he should have waited for me to finish the kill and resurrect him, thus saving him some portion of the experience loss, but, eager to get back in action and have his revenge, he respawned at the back and rushed back into the fray.

He then asked if he could "finish" a Zonbie or two, but that didn't do anything miraculous for his experience gain.  And soon it was time for him to log out.  So, it wasn't as big a boost for the character as he had hoped, but it was great to fight alongside the original Elvastar again - and the other people there were friendly too, no doubt influenced by Elva... Kalrak in particular was chatting about sf shows and things like that, on his way to finishing level 77.  I did see Krokignon a little later, a familiar name from the old days, I was a bit surprised that he was still fighting the Screaming Zombies and not something deeper in the Tomb by now, or maybe he was just farming some skill points.

LadyAuzura was summoned to join me, to replace Galahad, and I passed SkrappY across, and again it only took twenty minutes to get her to level 20, completing the Guardian system.  That takes Keerella's Reputation to 920, which keeps her at number 23 in the Cariae Reputation rankings I see.  By the end of the pbi hour she was around 20% into level 26, so that's pretty good progress; she left the Tomb courtesy of the teleporter, and added the location to her memory scroll, so the option exists to continue her progress there for two more hours if I have the time.

Barbarienne has as a pet a horse, though if it didn't have a label saying "Barbarienne's horse" you'd think it was a cute little reindeer, as "temporarily" transformed last Christmas.  Four hours of shooting arrows at Zonbies gave it a good few pet points, so it is moving nicely through level 36.  The main news, however, is that SkrappY, my cat-like "human tribe" pet, currently in LadyAuzura's custody, levelled up, and is now level 51, which is pretty good for a pet of any type I think.

Still, once the fourth pbi had ended, LadyA's first, it was time to leave the Tomb, and Cariae.  SirPerivale had logged in to Auzura-4's Merac while Barb killed a final few Zonbies without having to share the experience with anyone, and reach that 1% gain... and then Barb logged out, and SirDarth logged in, to join SirPerivale.  Peri should get his horse a quarter of the way through level 35 before he logs out, while Darth's pale blue horse soon reached level 25, and ought to be at least a quarter of the way through that level by the time he retires for the night.

A New Witch -  July 28th

SirDarth and SirPerivale started their work nice and early, as you probably already suspected; with all these new characters at level 31 or so, I suddenly find myself in need of a lot more mounts, so that is an incentive to keep them busy when I can.

For the last week I have been checking up on the Last Chaos web Item Mall's "Platinum" section every few hours, each time hoping to find that it had been restocked, but the 50%, blue-and-white capsule type platinum skill pills have always been "sold out".  So, with MistressSabina on level thirty, and with the possibility of the "Player Appreciation" free +10 armour deal ending with maintenance tonight, I had just about resigned myself to just using the 15% red-and-white non-platinum variety instead.

So, I was greatly surprised to check the "Platinum" section at 7:20 this morning, UK time, and find that there were actually 25 psps in stock - I don't know how large the quantity of the restock had been, but they had obviously been going fast.  So, I quickly grabbed three.

After coffee, Peri and Darth logged out, and MistressSabina got the top-graded mage armour set back, along with a couple of good accessories - and from MistressDomino she got some extra skill point boosters.  I had reckoned that 200 spbs would probably be enough for two hours, as I'd only be using them on the Orc Sergeants, and not the Orc Axemen, but it seemed like a good idea to have an extra 100 along.

So, in a solo party with SirDarth, who kept busy pet-levelling, Sabina headed for Prokion Temple, and that back room.  The first hour added 21.95% experience, and the second hour 21.65%, so progress was relatively smooth.  129 Orc Sergeants were killed in the first hour; I gained 1139 skill points, so by my calculations that means I killed 182 Orc Axemen too.  In the second hour, the figures work out at 124 Orc Sergeants and 181 Orc Axemen, for 1103 more skill points.

SirDarth's pale blue horse had reached level 26 during the morning, and SirPerivale came on again over lunch, too,  And after that, it was time for MistressSabina to return to Prokion Temple...

As there was almost 20% of level 30 left for Sabina, a third "power sp farming" hour was possible, so I went straight on to that, and got through 141 Orc Sergeants and 164 Orc Axemen, so was managing to get a better proportion of Sergeants into the mix then.   1182 skill points got added, despite the final few minutes being after Sabina reached level 31, so the skill exp per kill did go down slightly.  Reaching that level meant the arrival of the special "Player Appreciation Event" +10 armour and weapons, though Sabina was already wearing my better-plussed armour set, and a +15 mage wand.

There was time for another hour after that, but I didn't use the ten skill point boosters I had left, I just used another pssp and, since I'd run out of the 50% pills, an ordinary 15% skill pill to add just a little more.  That fourth hour added another 419 skill points, and was a lot less expensive to set up.

So, in all MistressSabina had added 3843 skill points, while adding 83.01% experience; she will never have as many skill points as MistressDomina, but at least she can continue to gain skills for a useful time.  And her drake levelled up too, adding 3947 pet points and reaching level 29.  Once she was back in Randol, a visit to the Mage Trainer meant that she is now officially a witch, unlike my other main mages who have always been wizards.  She has to reach level 32 before she can learn the first witchy skills, though.  Still, it's good to make the change reasonably early in the level, as it does increase the health and mana points of a character.

Stavanic was asking if Rage still had the 30-day Party Recall card active, as he wanted to get an apprentice of his to the Sphinx Fighters, and I had to tell him that it expired yesterday.  I should start a new one before too long, but I'm not playing Rage much until I can get a new armour set lined up.  I advised him to use a Dratan monster transformation scroll, such as a Sand Golem one, along with a potion of haste, and I think that was what he did.  And lilwonderer was asking if SirDarth just helped guildies with pet levelling, to which the answer was basically "yes".  As lil's father has a pet leveller, I think it is best if they keep it in the family, though if he has SirRenDippity pet-levelling on the PC, and is actively playing LC on his laptop, that doesn't leave lil with a chance to play then.

As some of my characters have quests to obtain "Soft Sand", it seemed like a good idea to send one of thems out to farm some from the Sand Golems.  The Sand Golems are level 28, but a level 31 character seemed to be close enough for farming purposes, so it was my new knight Galahad (or "GALAHAD") who got the mission, though, presumably because he was busy in Prokion Temple at the appropriate level to be given a quest or two, he has no need of the quest item himself.

So, he used his memory scroll to teleport to Shuraine's oasis, and settled in, to fight the Sand Golems, level up his dragon hatchling, and get his shiny new armour bloodsealed.   As his single sword does have all five of its seals now, since he used it in Prokion (it's not the one he earned by reaching level 31, it was earned as a mage wand and then changed by Collector Ryu), this was also a chance to try out fighting with dual swords, and get a bloodseal or two on them.

However, the farming was interrupted before very long, by the arrival of the raid boss Kamira, so Gal quickly logged out - and Rage logged in, and rode across from town.  Just as she was adding horse buffs another player appeared, a knight called Warblades flying on a blue dragon, but he didn't try to claim the fight for himself, he asked if I was going to fight Kamira, and when I said yes, that she had been lured by a lower-level character of mine, he kindly moved away.

As well as the horse buffs, I applied the level 12 magical defence mineral, and cracked open a lucky scroll and an item drop booster, as well as moving the "greatest" size of health potion onto my skill bar, in case of problems.  But all went smoothly, Snare worked a number of times, and before long my adversary was lying dead on the ground.  Kamira dropped ten medium mana potions, a medal of honour, five lucky scrolls, five moonstones, 39,060 gold, five tool aids, a crystal of experience (greater), a Hero's Necklace (just 4 to Intelligence and 1 to all types of physical defence) - and both a Chain of Tiger and a Pierce of Wind, both rare and highly desirable accessories. 

Back in town I bought two of the golden magnifying glasses to "identify" the properties of my two new accessories - a Chain of Tiger adds 16 to Strength and 8 to close range physical attack, and a Pierce of Wind adds 16 to Dexterity and 78 to close range evasion.  So, the pair of them sound just what Galahad could do with...

Rage had some time left on both the magical defence mineral and the lucky scroll, so teleported to the entrance to the Forgotten Temple, and killed a few Legendary Slayers, and their accompanying spiders, and Curd Hadians.  Presumably they all dropped more gold than they otherwise would have, but there weren't any useful armour drops.  So, once the lucky scroll finished, Rage logged out, having added 0.35% experience, 2 skill points, and 83 pet points.

Galahad continued fighting the Sand Golems for the rest of the evening, ending up with around 42 Soft Sand drops, and a few Sand Golem transformation scrolls too, not to mention a couple of moonstone boxes.  Athema joined the party; she is Ratel's mage character, level 21 now.  She reported that she'd managed to get her "Dark" armour set up to the "fairy" level, +4, just by using smelting stones.  "It cost me 1.1 million... 58 smelts and 4 ruins, but the set is complete."  We agreed that after she outgrows it she ought to be able to sell it for 5 million or more, so doing that sort of thing could be a profitable little sideline.

After the fighting, it was back to pet-levelling, so SirDarth was joined by SirPerivale again.  Darth had been ks'd earlier by a rogue called xxechoxx, who was trying to lure the Grand Red Dragon.  I did threaten to ruin her drop chances by applying a buff during her fight, if she lured the GRD, but in the end Darth moved a little further along, so I don't know if the luring worked.  The pale blue horse levelled up a couple of times, and had made a good start on level 28 by late evening; Peri's horse will still be around an hour away from finishing level 35 then, I think.

Making a New Pet-Leveller -  July 29th

My pair of pet-levellers set to work early, as usual.  SirPerivale was on his horse's final level before it will become a mount, so the horse is getting through quality stones rather quickly - SirDarth transferred 400 of them across, though as his pale blue horse was on level 28 by then, it was starting to get a bit hungry too.

I decided that, while Galahad's main purpose, at least in the short term, may be to supply the Concentration buff that increases the success rate of titan stuns and the rogue Snare skill, and so on, it would be rather convenient to have another new knight, while the special "Player Appreciation Event" continues - and it does continue at least for this week, last night's maintenance didn't have even a minor new patch attached.  If the knight had to be level 31, well, I'd just have to see how far getting a red name would cut his bare-fisted attack back.  And if this new knight was eight or nine levels above Darth and Peri, that would mean that pets wouldn't get anything like as hungry, and there would be more scope for overnight levelling.

So, before lunch I managed to create a new knight, sharing Chuck's account.  I was surprised that the name hadn't been taken, but I moved away from the world of chivalry for a change and, bearing in mind his future red name, dubbed him CaptainScarlet.  Gerry Anderson's creation couldn't be killed, and was indeed indestructible - he might appear to die, but would mysteriously resurrect.

Well, CaptainScarlet went out into Juno and did the usual quests for Healer Yabo, killing foxes, deer, various kinds of wolf, and finishing with jaguars.  I got him a little way into level eight before the lunch break, just far enough to get enough skill points for the final level of Canid Fence, the passive skill that improves a knight's defence.  "Canny Defence"?  Who can tell with those wacky Korean translators.

Reaching level eight meant that Cap would be able to team up with SirDarth after lunch, since they would only be fifteen levels apart.  I got a disconnection at 12:15, so just switched over to double pet-levelling for an hour or so.  While Cap had been fighting the wolves and their chums, it had been Peri rather than Darth I'd kept at work - and, as I could keep tabs on that screen, I used a platinum pet pill, for triple pet experience for an hour.  It's always nice to see the pet experience clicking up three at a time, but I only ever do it on that final level.

Cap got some knight armour from one of my storage types, and also enlisted in the Guardian system with Kaerella; he also ran out from Dratan City to Prokion Temple, adding both that location and Shuraine's oasis to his memory scroll.  Then he switched over to the older computer, and teamed up with SirDarth, who, once they'd both teleported to the temple entrance, led him, protected by Darth's Divine Shield buff and horse buffs, to my favourite back room.

The Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen are a bit high-level for Darth, but with his armour they don't give him any problems, and the session took CaptainScarlet up to level 18.  It got him up to 28 skill points, too.  Darth added 44% experience, which can easily be unloaded by some no-armour deaths in Prokion Temple, once he has spent the 28 skill points gained.

After Darth had given him those ten levels, Cap stayed behind his torch in that room, and Galahad came to take his place - and, with a little help from one of the "beginner" platinum blessed irises, by the time I logged off for food, level 23 had been reached, with a total of 101 new skill points in the kitty.  Gal kills rather more quickly than Darth, especially if he uses double blades rather than a sword and shield.

For the evening session, it seemed like a good idea to team CaptainScarlet up with MistressDomina - and I suppose it did work out okay, though it was comparatively slow going, and I was tempted to take Cap down with MD to get the Poison Mists on his scroll, and see if his progress was faster down there.  However, if we had moved down south like that, there wouldn't have been as many skill points gained; by the end of the session Cap had got his total up another 139 to 240, which when we got back to town was enough for the other necessary pet-leveller skill, Vitality Control, increasing the speed at which his health regenerates, and most of the levels of Uncanny Movement, for increased running speed, and Divine Shield.

CaptainScarlet went up by 129.22% with MD as well, and then, back in Randol and Dratan, including using a memory scroll to visit Shuraine at his oasis, added another 17.79% from rather a lot of quest rewards.  Although in an equal party MistressDomina does, at a higher level, get slightly more experience, her total experience gain from the session was only 10.37%, as level 38 is rather longer than level 23 or 24, but 135 more skill points are always welcome.

Ratel's mage Athema was in our party for most of the evening; in fact, she was in that favourite back room of mine when MD and Cap arrived there, though with MistressDomina in range she was "capped", and kindly yielded the room to us.  At level 21 that room is a bit dangerous for her anyway, even staying close to the doorway.  Ratel hasn't fully recovered from his bout of flu yet, and got sleepy a bit early, which was probably a contributory factor in Athema getting killed at the end of her session.

MistressDomina passed the good mage armour, and +15 staff, across to MistressBlaze, who at level 33 should get more experience from the Orcs when teamed with the Captain, so sending them to Prokion Temple tomorrow will be our plan.  However, one of my "busy weekends", and the preparations for it, means that it is probable that I will only have an evening playing session on Thursday...and hopefully a slightly earlier start on Friday, at least, so that I can take advantage of the Happy Hour then.

SirPerivale went back out to Merac, and I quickly started a second platinum pet pill, which added 3117 pet points in the hour it lasted, so that it shouldn't take too long tomorrow morning for his horse to reach level 37 at last.  It will take a few hours longer for SirDarth's pale blue horse to reach level 30, but at that point it ought to be possible to transfer it over to Peri.  Perhaps Darth will do a little work on Galahad's dragon hatchling, to get it up at least to drake status, then.

More Levels for CaptainScarlet -  July 30th

SirPerivale finished the job of getting his horse to level 37 before breakfast, and, after returning to Randol and getting its skills reset, was able to log out.  SirDarth continued his work though, moving the pale blue horse along through level 29.  Pale blue horses are a bit special, any other colour can be obtained just by using a colouring crystal, but with them you have to raise your pet from a blue pan flute.  Kaerella's mount is pale blue (both here on the Auzura server, and over on Cariae), I'm not sure who willl get this new one.

With one computer space free, MistressDomina was able to log on, and, after getting some tool aids out of storage, and buying 25 mage-type mining hammers from Geres, headed out to do some serious replenishing of our quality stone stocks, stopping occasionally to do ten minutes of "random" mining to pick up a few imperfect stones and flawed stones too.  And then, seeing that, after keeping a few for herself, MD would only have around 500 stones to pass over to the pet-levellers, a further 30 tool aids were removed from Storekeeper Bianca's chest, and 30 more hammers bought from Geres, and the mining continued.

After that I was able to pass 1400 quality stones across to SirDarth, plus some imperfect and flawed ones too.  So, while I continued to be busy downstairs, Darth and Peri were able to concentrate on some pet-levelling.  Unfortunately, I did get a number of disconnections during the day...so it was lucky I wasn't doing anything dangerous, important or expensive.  Things did settle down before the evening, luckily, after I restarted the modem.

My knight Galahad was given the level 37 horse, which he immediately converted into a mount; he then traded his level five dragon hatchling over to Darth, for a bit of levelling.  As it was able to give four levels of Armour Increase, and had reached 100% Sympathy, Darth was able to plunge straight in with his usual Berserker, and by the time that I was able to start playing actively, he'd got the hatchling up to level ten.  With a level thirty horse, giving 29 levels of Armour Increase, and using his hit rate type accessories rather than the defence-orientated ones, Peri's physical defence weighs in at 981, which seems just about enough to keep him healthy.

Well, after all the pet levelling, it was good to do some more active work in the evening, involving, as expected, CaptainScarlet and my recently-created, and now level 33, junior wizard MistressBlaze.  As she is now a guild adviser in Discipline, she was able to recruit Cap, which may come in handy if he needs his experience half-frozen when he tries pet-levelling.

In the first hour, using a "beginner" pbi, Captain Scarlet went up from level 24 to 27, a total of 255.69%; I did use a second pbi after that, but Ratel's level 23 mage, Athema, came along and joined us, and was in favour of making it a "Combat" party halfway through the hour, so, as Cap was just there in a supporting role, his experience gain fell to 102.91%.  I did change the party back to "Equal" a bit later, feeling that both he and Athema would get more experience that way, while MistressBlaze isn't really focussed on wanting to level up all that much.  Cap's third period, then, without a pbi, added another 58.50%.  As for skill points, well, it was 102 in the first hour, 87 in the second, and 129 after that, so Cap was able later to add quite a few new skill levels.

MistressBlaze didn't do badly either, adding 89.36%, taking her into level 34, plus 317 skill points, so that she too was able to round out her skills a bit.  There are a number of attack skills that there just aren't room for on one's skill bar, so she won't be "maxxing out" everything, but it is good to be able to make her relatively effective.

At level 23, Athema is really taking a bit of a risk in fighting in the back room at Prokion Temple; if she doesn't have the skill points she needs yet, then she would have done better to fight the level 23 variety of Orc in a solo party style... but that's Ratel, he does like to level first and worry about skill exp later.  And  he has a +13 weapon he can use at level 25, while of course there's the promise of that +10 armour if he can get if Athema gets to 31 before the event ends...  Athema was getting through a lot of health potions, and did die once, right at the end.  Still, with any luck a good few skill points had been gained, as well as the experience.

When SirDarth was logging back in, for a bit more pet-levelling, he was hailed by a titan called "hercules2" - who turned out to be Stavanic, starting a new character alongside a local friend of his.  He borrowed some cash, and also seems to think it would be a good idea if I levelled up pets for him and his friend, holding out the promise of ten tool aids for my trouble.  Once he manages to get aeria points again, though, I think I'm in line for one of the pet packages in the item mall.

Luckily it looks as if lilwonderer's mount problems are solved, with the loan  of a level 38 black horse from lil's father, until SirRenDippety can finish levelling up one specifically for lil...who very kindly traded across to me a tool aid, an item drop booster, a blue pan flute, and a platinum pet pill, having opened a number of the pet draw boxes.  So it's likely that a third pale blue horse may get to join my ever-growing stable, before too long.

By the end of the evening, the current horse of that hue should be about two-thirds of the way through level 30, I think, for Peri, while the drake that Darth is boosting for Galahad ought to have reached level 11 by then.  There should be plenty more pet levelling tomorrow, but I'll hope to be heading for the Temple by mid-afternoon, at least.

The Captain Gets There -  July 31st

It was only as I was about to close down the game at the end of yesterday evening's session that I decided to keep SirDarth levelling his drake overnight.  This worked pretty well, though the computer did eventually "run out of memory", so that, continuing through the morning, the dragon hatchling did reach level 16 and become a drake.  SirPerivale joined in in the morning, though he didn't start as early as sometimes, and the pale blue horse managed to reach level 31.

I was pretty busy downstairs, as I had expected, so pet-levelling was the only game in town.  I suppose I ought to have done some further work in the early afternoon, but it seemed a good idea to get the Prokion Temple back room "booked", with the Friday "Happy Hour" from three to five promising to give us an extra 50% skill exp.

Some of my characters wouldn't find just 50% extra very useful, as they need to use rather stronger boosts, but for CaptainScarlet and MistressBlaze it seemed something worth taking advantage of, so they were the ones to head that way.  Cap did borrow SirDarth's armour before setting out, as Galahad had done before him, and this meant that he didn't have to stay stuck in a corner, he could do some fighting, and also collect up the loot.

As usual I tried Auzura-4 first, but the back room was being used - luckily, however, over on Auzura-3 it was available, in fact if anything the Auzura-4 Temple seemed busier than the Auzura-3 one, even though 3 is generally a rather busier sub-server.

So, Cap and MB settled in, and thanks to still having a couple of the "beginner" platinum blessed irises to use, progress was pretty good for Cap, though once they had run out, things did slow down drastically.   It was a bit of a marathon, but by mid-evening, level 31 was at last reached, and the +10 30/32 armour set, plus weapons and shield, duly appeared.  As well as the experience gain, a total of 225.54%, Cap had gained 376 skill points, which were more than enough to get the level thirty skill maxxed out, and a few other things.

The food break was a relatively short one, and I was able to keep an eye on the room, with my characters still there.  I saw a knight called EssenceofDefense come in, do some fighting, and die; he came back later when I was back at work, and shared the room for a while, to get the skill points he needed for the level 30 skill.  While I suppose he did "ks" slightly, he did it in a friendly way, and supplied MB with the Divine Shield buff when Cap forgot to.  He did manage to die again, but finally got the points he needed and left me to it.

MistressBlaze herself added 72.80%, which was helped along by her using a "beginner" pbi as she approached level 35.  It looks as if the newbie items still work during that level, presumably expiring when one reaches level 36, as her last such pbi, and the unused resurrection scrolls, are still in her inventory.  She gained 383 skill points... seven more than Cap as the older computer did manage to play its "run out of memory" trick twice, meaning that Cap had to log back in and return to the Temple while MB kept busy.  MistressBlaze was, now that she had reached the new level, able to spend 150 skill points on the sixth level of Secret Study, increasing her magic attack by 6.

CaptainScarlet had one new quest in Dratan; luckily he had picked up enough Orc Ornaments to be able to complete it right away.  He went down into Merac just to see how he'd do at pet levelling, but at the moment he, not surprisingly given his higher level, hits the Berserkers too hard, at 32 bare-fisted, so he wouldn't take very long to kill one.  Running down to the Gnolls, which are only two levels higher than Berserkers, well they hit him too hard, though a mid-level pet with the Armour Increase buff might change that.  We will definitely have to experiment with getting Cap a red name, and reducing his hitting power.  If necessary we can plus up his armour a bit more, or perhaps move SirDarth on to level 27, which would allow him to wear the new armour set. though he too would need to go a bit redder, name-wise, by killing some people on a PvP-enabled sub-server.  Presumably SirPerivale could volunteer for that, especially if he got to kill Darth a time or two as well, and got himself a blue name.

Anyway, it looks as if CaptainScarlet is now where we wanted to take him, with MistressBlaze getting a boost along the way.  They are both relatively minor characters, though; characters that actually need to level up a bit include MistressDomina my wizard, MrChuckNorris my warmaster titan, Rage my ranger rogue, and of course my archer Kaerella.  MD in particular could team with Chuck if she gained one more level, and level up in much the way that Chuck gained a few levels by teaming with Rage.  And I think that, if Chuck goes up by a level, then he could profitably team up with Rage again, though that had better wait until  MistressDomina has moved on a bit.  The problem will be getting her through her current level, 38...the Orcs aren't much help, so a few trips to the Poison Mists may be needed.

SirDarth and SirPerivale went back out pet-levelling slightly earlier than usual.  Peri should get his pale blue horse past the halfway mark in level 31, while as for Darth, well, maybe he has another night's work coming up...