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

The visit to the Tomb of Theos for Barbarienne, under the kind levelling efforts of Zenderfly, didn't quite go as planned today.  After publishing yesterday's blog entry it finally occurred to me that on the Cariae server a morning trip anywhere expensive and dangerous isn't really a good idea, since the server tends to conk out at around 11:10am UK time, kicking out all the players who are actually doing something, such as fighting, and a few others for good measure.

I mentioned this to Zen when she logged on as arranged at ten; we could just about have fitted in a single hour, but the sensible option was to leave things to the afternoon, when there might just be time for three hours before the one-day party recall card ended... and if it ended early, I could easily send Damor a one-hour one to keep us going.  So that was what we decided to do, meeting up again at about one o'clock.

That meant I had an hour or so to spare, preferably not on the Cariae "disconnections 'R 'us" server, so JohnWellington, my level 33 sorcerer, took a trip out to the Auzura version of Prokion Temple.  It wasn't a hugely long session, but John added 8.71% and 48 skill points, while RedRider, who joined him for the Combat party boost she gives, and the general boost from lowering the average level of the party (or something), got 7.81% and 45 skill points.

RedRider reached level 25, so to celebrate she spent all but two of her skill points, which means that her passive skills are now maximised.  She still needs a bit of work on some of the general skills, though, but ought to get plenty more skill points as she progresses through the new level.  Reaching level 25 means that she can be in a Combat party with a level 35 type such as SirDarth now.

There was a little pet-levelling over the slightly early lunch; there had been some in the early part of the morning too of course, and in fact Cariae's Galahad had pulled off another successful overnight session.  And then Barbarienne and Keerella logged in for the afternoon.

We set things up much as before, with Zenderfly making the run down to the Grave Room on Cariae-3; I sent Damor a Teleport book (15 aeria points, so cheaper than sending a Summon scroll, 19 ap, to Zen), so she joined Zen down there, and used Recall to bring Kee and Barb in.

I was a bit too eager starting my platinum blessed iris and other potions for the first hour, seeing that Zenderfly had started fighting her first Sphinx Commander, so Zen didn't transfer her Scra-Chi type pet, AutumStorm, across until the break between hour one and hour two.  He started on 83.65% of the way through level 46, and did reach level 47 just before we finished, which was useful, as when Zen traded him to Kee his health was only about 2, and they regain health very slowly.  Levelling up got his health back to 100%.

Someone else in the room was asking what experience I was getting per kill, to which I answered "270 to 300 million", which confirmed his suspicions that something was wrong with his set-up, as even with a pbi and boosters he was only getting half that.  Zen had the answer, though, she suggested that his guild had set his experience gain to 50%, they probably needed guild points but it was a bit bad to do the freezing without telling him.  Luckily one of that guild's advisers was online and was able to temporarily kick him, so that he could continue his session at the full rate.

The first hour was good, using 70 experience boosters and moving Barb up by 18.08%, meaning that she reached level 101 - so, four more stat points to Dexterity, which helps a little.  The room had started to get crowded, after that, which meant Zen often had to wait and lure a Sphinx Commander down from the ceiling, and there was a bit of lag as well (meaning that sometimes Zen's Recall wasn't in time to remove her from the fight while the Sphinx Commander in question was still alive), so that only 55 experience boosters were used, meaning that Barb just added 14.75%.  On the feeling that things could only get worse, and that the one-day Recall card would run out soon anyway, Zen sensibly decided that a third hour wasn't worth trying, so we left it at that.

Well, a new level, and 32.83% experience gain, plus 3 more skill points, makes for a pretty good session, I'd say.  Zen was advising me to play as Barb more; I don't think we are likely to team up tomorrow, as places like the Tomb of Theos do get too busy at the weekend, as we found, but there may well be another session on Monday - I'd vote for six to nine or so in the evening.

Since the session had been shorter than expected, there was a little time before the food break, which I spent mainly finding a few platinum adrenaline potions in undownloaded packages, and downloading them to Barbarienne, along with some more experience boosters.  Some loot got transferred to my Cariae-based merchant MistressDomina too.  Earlier Zen had used me to help transfer some of her items between characters, and also got rid of some tool aids - she dropped so many in one go that I had to put a number of Barb's things into storage before I could actually pick them up.  So at some point I must do some mining, to use some of those.

After the break, it was time to take the Cariae incarnation of RedRackham out to Prokion Temple - the room I go for was clear, so Karella joined him in a Combat party.  I stayed quite a while, and Red got comfortably into level 34, the final level before he becomes a pet-leveller, adding 40.89% experience and 126 skill points.  Karella gained 12.06% and 123 skill points, taking her up to 42% of the way through level 27, so she won't need to get rid of that level's experience for another session or two.

I had a number of visitors - a rogue called xlBrandonlx seemed to know what she was doing, but a sorcerer called ritinha00 was a bit low for the room I think and didn't stay long - it is probably no coincidence that a rogue with the similar name of ritinaaa000 arrived soon afterwards, but even using a power potion for extra attack and defence, things didn't go too well.  And full marks to a rogue called RMZM who looked in, saw that the room was already occupied, and went away!

There was still some time left, so as a change of pace from Tombs and Temples I switched to the Katar server, and got my healer there, Kaerella again, up from level 13 to level 14, mainly on sasquatches and werewolves.  By the end she had just enough skill points for the fifth level of Heal, though there are plenty of other skills that need more levels.

CaptainScarlet had been pet-levelling while Kae was in action, and continued until log-out time, getting his horse safely into level 35.  XxGALAHADxX went out to the Cariae version of Merac once Kaerella had finished, and was busy getting his horse through the lower reaches of level 29 when last seen.

Mount-Killed - October 18th

Galahad managed another overnight pet-levelling session, and, once CaptainScarlet had also got set up to level his horse, I left them to it all morning, and indeed over lunch - otherwise the Sunday papers tend to hang around all week...

The afternoon session was pretty busy, though, but not as productive as I had hoped.  Still, it's useful to check out one's options.  The idea was to let my level 92 mage Keerella do a bit of experience-farming, so that she stays within range of Barbarienne, so they both went to the Cariae-4 Tomb of Theos, in a Combat party.

The idea was to have Keerella fighting the Screaming Zombies, with Barb just supplying the Combat party bonus, and doing a little healing when needed - and also equipping a Scra-Chi pet.  Since I'd deprived Zenderfly's AutumStorm of that first hour's experience yesterday in the grave room, it seemed a good idea to equip that one rather than SkrappY, and he did gain a useful bit of experience as the afternoon progressed.

Kee had opened some experience boxes that had been part of a package along with some experience boosters, so she was able to start a three-hour Blessed Iris and, once I'd thought of it, a three-hour Elixir too, so she got 130% extra experience with those two things active, as they do stack.  That meant approaching eleven million experience per kill, with Barbarienne getting a little under a million on average too.

A titan called hiperthunder was there when i arrived, and continued for an hour or so, reaching level 85 I think; he was helping a lower-level titan friend, xXMentemaestraXx, for much of the time.  Pixiedragoness, an archer, was around for a while, and would have taken up my invitation to join the Combat party if she hadn't been, again, helping a friend to level, in this case a weedy-looking sorcerer.  It was an afternoon for that sort of pairing, as the knight sourtis was power-levelling a lower-level knight called Bam13, who quite often asked Barb for some healing, which she cheerfully supplied.

Unfortunately just before the end someone managed to get about three or four loose Zombies onto us all, and in the confusion AutumStorm died rather quickly, I didn't see it happen at all - but he ended up at least 11% into his new level, after I'd got the Archbishop to "unseal" him.  I bought a bandage from Pet Merchant Polly to get his health back to 10%, at least...

The only trouble, basically, is that even fighting monsters eight levels above her for over three hours, with a 130% boost, didn't gain Keerella all that much - 8.39%, to be exact, plus 10 skill points - without the elixir and the blessed iris it would just have been 3.65%.  The gold drops were okay, and there was a heaven stone fairly early on, but it wasn't a huge return for the effort involved.  Barbarienne got 0.20%, less than she would have got from killing a single Sphinx Commander in the grave room (using boosters), plus the 10 skill points.  AutumStorm got about 10%, and Kee's drake, Greedo, got some pet points, but the session isn't really something I will be repeating, I think.

After the food break and some pet-levelling, it was time to take Cariae's RedRackham out to Prokion Temple for another experience-farming evening, quickly joined by Karella when I found my favourite room free, which was uneventful enough for me to pay reasonable attention to the forum shoutbox.  When the subject of the Sunday Quiz came up, I asked casually if people who sat down in the room, and thus were not expelled if they were on the wrong side for a question, got the prizes - and was quickly told by the gamesages there, predominantly b1ank, that that was a "bug exploit", and if I saw people doing that, I should take a screenshot and send in the information.

There was one visitor towards the end of my session, a knight called Krukke.  He seemed to be wearing the 30/32 armour set, so I was surprised when he got into trouble, and had to ask for my help to deal with the mob of Orcs that surrounded him, while hazed in red to show he was using health potions.  He had to ask for help a number of times, in fact, so his armour can't have been plussed much.

By the time the Quiz was approaching, RedRackham had gained 36.62%, so he should only need one more decent-length session to reach level 35.  He added 172 skill points, too: Karella added 10.88%, 167 skill points, and 55 guild points for Norcaine.

I decided to go to the Quiz on Cariae, since I do seem to have rather a lot of heaven stones on Auzura, and took Kaerella and Barbarienne, my level 48 cleric and my level 101 archer, to the quiz room on Cariae-2.  Zenderfly did get in touch, saying she was in the Cariae-5 room, but by then it was too close to the start to change.  She told me that she wouldn't be available to play tomorrow, but might be around on Tuesday; she would update the Norcaine guild message to let me know.

It was a matter of keeping a steady nerve with the Quiz, when it started - the third question asked if GM JediMike was in charge of the Old Skool Treasure Hunt, and everyone moved across to the "no" side, X...except a few brave souls, perhaps two dozen or less, including Kae and Barb.  After that it was relatively plain sailing for us survivors, except for a question about a teleporter NPC where I could only hope that the wisdom of the majority was right this time.  Both Kae and Barb earned their tool aids, moonstones and heaven stones safely... and when I came to put them away in storage, saw that I was quite as well off for heaven stones on Cariae as I was on Auzura.

As usual after that, the Zombie Invasions of Berbank Mill were soon scheduled to start, hosted by GM Kali.  Auzura was first, and Memree went along as usual; at level 31, she was always liable to die a time or two, and she did, but we emerged victorious at the end - the village was saved, and the loot was dropped generously for us. One thing I noticed was that, while Memree hit the level 100 Screaming Zombies and the boss-type level 102 Ancient Screaming Zombies for 63, her "critical" hit for the 100 types was around 543 or 552, while for the 102-ers it was still just 63.

GM Kali then moved on to Katar, and with my level 14 archer there, Kaerella, I moved across too.  Again there was a death or two, so that at one stage her experience in level 14 was right down to 0.12%, but assisting with some big kills got her up to at least 40% by the end.  And again the village was saved, and there was plenty of loot to hoover up.

Things didn't go as well on Cariae, though, and I put that down to the amount of player-killing going on.  I was a victim of that right at the start - Barbarienne mounted her horse to apply last-minute horse buffs before the first spawning, and was attacked by a red-named rogue called KamehamehA of the guild "Enraged" - a quick "deadly" hit and I was dead.  Luckily pk-type kills don't cause the victim to lose experience or skill points, but it did kill Barb's mount, which cost 243,936 gold to "unseal" to continue using.

KamehamehA did actually attack me again, just after I'd commented that the reason that we weren't doing well against the zombies was because there was too much pk-ing going on - she was lurking around for much of the time, and then going invisible, to go off and launch a new attack.  I was sorely tempted to set aside my anti-PvP principles and try to mess with her, but there were zombies that needed to be dealt with.  I killed Apes, and Screaming Zombies - with the Ancient Screaming Zombies, and their poisoning skill, I generally tried to assist by targeting ones that were already safely engrossed in fighting melee people.  There were some other red-named people in pk mode around, in Enraged and out, which isn't really the spirit of the thing, to my mind.

So, Cariae didn't manage to save the village within the time limit.  There were some hands spawned for us, possibly as many as Auzura and Katar - but the catch was that Kali also spawned a few dozen more Ancient Screaming Zombies, which was hard luck on the lower level people.  I was able to grab what I could, keeping a careful eye on my health, and then we all set to work to get rid of that final wave.  I did get some gold drops - and I also got a level 71 pair of sorcerer pants, which I sold to Merchant Geres afterwards  for almost 18,000 more than the pet unsealing had cost.

Galahad had been busily pet-levelling on Cariae while the zombies had been invading the various servers, so that his horse had moved on past halfway in level 31; for a change, instead of CaptainScarlet, on Auzura-4 I logged in SirPerivale, who quickly got his pale blue horse up to level 22.  As that's Peri's own level too, today may well be the last time he can work on that one without having to use twice as many quality stones per hour.

Haunted Halloween Deathtrap - October 19th

SirPerivale stayed online overnight to level his horse, which by breakfast time was up three levels, and definitely starting to eat its way through the quality stones more quickly.  Galahad over on Cariae logged on then as well, and they both spent the morning constructively.  Peri did get a message from Samael asking him to level a new horse for him, from 2 to 28, but he was offline by the time I got up.  He'd better have a substantial bribe to offer...

I was busy working downstairs again all morning, and went out shopping in the afternoon, so there was plenty of pet-levelling done.  There was just under an hour of the afternoon left when I got back, which didn't seem long enough for a trip to any version of Prokion Temple - so instead the Katar version of Kaerella headed out of Randol in the direction of Hunter Dranore, to do his repeatable quests to kill sasquatches and werewolves.  700 and 1000 gold a time was very useful. with Kae's cash reserves so low.

On the way there I encountered a Pandora's Box, which released a level 20 Pandora's Beast - with a little retreating I was able to kill it, but it didn't drop any gold, which was a bit of a disappointment.  Luckily I found another one a little further along, which also disgorged a Beast - and this one did drop 6,200 gold, which made Kae feel a whole lot richer.

Kaerella did both quests a few times, and levelled up to level 15, which ended the sasquatch quest, but replaced it with one to kill the little treants in that area - so it looks as if a further visit to Dranore is in Kae's future.  Back in town she sold a few drops, and used her skill points to get what skills she could including a level or two of the new level fifteen ones.  Then I set her up in Merchant Mode over the food break.

She didn't manage to sell anything while I was downstairs, but, just at the end, somebody bought the two skill point boosters she'd picked up at zombie invasions, and as they were worth over a million each, suddenly Kaerella was rich - or she will be until she tries to buy any ready-upgraded items.

But the evening session was due to begin now, and what I wanted to do, in Zenderfly's absence, was have another go at levelling Keerella, my mage, up.  My feeling was that at level 92 she is a bit low for Sphinx Commanders, but the Anubis Spear Men ought to be do-able, particularly if Barbarienne was there to provide the Combat party, some healing, and have AutumStorm equipped to get some experience,  Like the Commanders they are boss types, so take a while to kill, but give almost 19 million experience - just about 85.6% as much as the Commanders, so a useful chunk.

Barbarienne entered the Tomb of Theos and ran down to the first main square room where these indoor Spear Men are (not to be confused with their outdoor "Speer" Men brethren), along with a few aggressive Sphinx Fighters, and after checking with the duo already there that they thought there was room for me as well, I brought Keerella in too, using a Teleport book to beam her direct to Barb.  And Kee, with her level 49 drake Greedo equipped, attacked her first Anubis Spear Man, started a platinum blessed iris for an hour's treble experience gain, clicked the first experience booster - and away we went.

Zenderfly got in touch almost immediately, suggesting a 3:00 to 6:00pm, UK time, session tomorrow for Barb.  She was happy to have read that AutumStorm had levelled up, and promises to reward me with extra levelling sessions, or some of her large stock of experience boosters, if I continue to level him up.  She told me that a "Remedy", bought from the magical trader in Randol, will remove the effect of the Spear Man's shield stun skill, and very kindly brought me fifty of them, coming into the Tomb specially.  She was also advising Kee on what skills and buffs she ought to use, and indeed which potions to run to get the most out of each pbi period.

The other people using the room came and went:  Hercules27, BiTha, BlackAnGel... but the most memorable, for all the wrong reasons, was the rogue StubbornFighter, who we were all telling not to "ks", "kill steal" - when she fired her crossbow at my current Spear Man a few times, I got about twenty million experience less than usual.  She just wouldn't stop, which was a bit strange as she was a member of EpicGuild, which I think is a pretty well-regarded group.  Luckily a more responsible member of that guild, the royal knight MaGiCiaN, arrived after a while, and was able to persuade her to stop, much to my relief, and the relief of the others there too.

Kee's first hour added 16.33%, which rose in the second hour to 18.59%, and in the third hour to 20.02%, using respectively 20, 23 and 25 boosters. For much of the third hour I had the room to myself, which did speed things up a bit. A total experience gain of 55.04%, plus 4 skill points, seems pretty good to me, though it is an expensive undertaking.

Three hours was quite enough - and got me out of there in time for Cariae's version of a Halloween event, "The Haunted Jail" - as far as I could tell Auzura didn't get the event at all, though they did get a rather simpler monster-fest in the Randol Arena earlier.  Barbarienne, who'd added 0.39% for her Combat party duties in the Tomb, plus those 4 skill points, rode down to the Jail entrance a little in advance, and was sitting there when an announcement of the availability in the Web Item Mall of "three for the price of one" hundreds of experience boosters was made.  "Limited quantity!  Get 'em while you can!"  Luckily I was logged in to the website, so was able to buy one set, and then another - though the site got a bit slow when I attempted to snap up a third set, and by the time it settled down they had sold out.  Those things sell fast!

When the event began, we went in, and suddenly the first level was full of monsters, such as the good old Barren Eises, apes, dark bogles, and more.  We cleaned out that level, and most of us raced onwards - too quickly in fact, as we had to go back from level five to level two when the GMs finally spawned their stuff there.  We cleaned that out, and went to level three, but that had a lot of the cave spirits, level 130-plus versions of all six player classes, and as we know from the mad monster spawns, those can be deadly. 

Indeed, I don't have any idea what killed me, Barbarienne was suddenly dead on the ground.  I used my resurrection scroll, choosing to spawn back at the start so that I could regain full health, buff, and activate a new res scroll before returning to the fray.  It took quite a while to clear out level three, but we managed it, and ran through the small and claustrophobic level four to level five, where Sphinx Commanders, Anubis Archers, a Patriarch Botis or two, and of course Flutons awaited.  I got stunned, unable to move, with my health down to 1 single hit point, but escaped with my life, and got through the portal back onto the stairs up, where I healed myself fully before going back down.

We didn't manage to kill all the monsters inside the designated time limit, I'm sure those Flutons alone would have taken ages - but the GMs kindly spawned us plenty of rewards anyway, and removed the remaining monsters so that we could pick up the items in safety, down there on the fifth level.  Hopefully Barb picked up enough goodies to compensate for the cost of a resurrection scroll...

Galahad had been providing a solo party for Barb from his pet-levelling position not far from Maargadum Jail, and by the end of the evening had got his horse halfway through level 33.  He did get ks'd by someone who killed his Berserker, but I noticed that before long, unlike poor DeathEclipse nearby, who stood inactive for hours.  CaptainScarlet over on Auzura got ks'd too a little later, soon after his horse reached  level 36, but was back in action almost immediately.  It seems a good idea not to attempt another overnight session, though, with that sort of thing going on.

Stop press:  An email has arrived telling me that the account with Keerella on it has had a "temporary" ban put on it for "bug exploit - wall hugging", with immediate effect, which rather disrupts near-future plans...I suspect the last trip to the grave room was involved, but nobody said that Kee should stop standing where she was.  I remember than Damor ostentatiously moved away from the wall when the gamesage ADISA arrived, but I'm sure she reassured us that nobody would be reported for being near a wall.

The Day After - October 20th

I mentioned in the October 16th entry that during Barbarienne and Keerella's stint in the grave room at the far end of the Tomb of Theos "The gamesage ADISA also came in around then, but didn't stay long.  I imagine she is a little high level for that room."  I would have gone into the witness box to swear that she said something along the lines of "Don't worry, I'm not here to report anyone for wall-hugging", or words to that effect, but today Zenderfly informed me that she did in fact warn people to stop wall-hugging or they would be reported and banned, sigh.  The forum posts about wall-hugging do generally say that it is game masters rather than no-good busy-body gamesages who have to be obeyed when they give such an instruction, but if I'd read the remark correctly, Keerella would have moved to the perfectly safe new location that Damor had moved to a few feet away, and that would have been the end of it.

Here's a quote from the forums by SupermanOX, one of the senior game masters, about wall hugging: "Do we ban everyone that does it, or has done it? No. Do we even ban those that do it frequently? No. We realize that this is a game flaw, and have requested that the dev's fix it. However it has been around so long, and is so common that we basically ignore it. So how can you get banned for it? Well, if a GM shows up, and tells you to stop doing it, and then you do it again, right in front of them... well, you might get banned. So the answer is yes, you should not do it, and yes you can get banned for it... but only if you want to make an issue of it."

Why Zenderfly, seeing that Kee hadn't moved, didn't tell me to move her, I don't know, but she assures me that the ban only lasts a week, though a repeat ban would be permanent.   As you can imagine, I am a bit annoyed with her. And Barbarienne certainly won't be in any Tomb team-ups until Keerella is restored to us, that Combat party boost is just too useful.  So, a week during which I don't get to use any expensive  ap-bought items is okay from my point of view, but less good for Aeria's balance sheet.

On Cariae that particular account has almost all my best characters, except for Barb; however, on Auzura it's a pretty minor quartet, and mainly means that my low-level knight CALM, with all the spare quest items and transformation scrolls, is unavailable.

While there is a lot to like about Last Chaos, its community, and the events the game masters put on, the dark side is the "I ban because I can" attitude, and the way that any mentions of bannings in the shoutbox or the forums are quickly removed or prohibited.  My rogue Rage was in a pretty promising new guild, where the guild master and one of the advisers were good friends offline as well as on.  As it is only the guild master who can freeze or unfreeze the experience gain of members, while they farm skill points, when the guild master wasn't available he let his friend log into that account when needed to make the changes - and for that the account got permanently banned.  They don't even let a guild adviser become the new guild master, so the guild itself was left in limbo, and that was the end of that.

I suppose the job of an Aeria Games game master is a bit boring and repetitive. with all those Request Tracker tickets to deal with, and that the power to mess with the paying customers gives them some amusement, but they really ought to behave better towards the people who supply the cash for their salaries, rather than banning people for the flimsiest of reasons.  It can be heart-breaking to see in the shoutbox somebody from one of the poorer countries of Eastern Europe saying that they play in a local internet cafe, but because other people do too, the GMs thought this was "suspicious activity", and down came the Ban Hammer.  There was a mass of bannings a few months back when Aeria sent out "gift codes" to most accounts, and then banned people who had multiple accounts and dared to use what they had been sent, gifting the packages to their main account, and with the Halloween codes recently, a youngster in the shoutbox was panicking because he had quite innocently done that with the two codes he had received, and already used both the Power Potions involved.  Whatever is the point of "criminalising" one's paying customers?

Well, anyway, some pet-levelling got done this morning, and then after coffee over on Cariae-4 RedRackham headed for Prokion Temple.  The rogue Karella was, um, not available, so I couldn't do a Combat party team-up, but luckily my level 21 archer Karanne had Prokion Temple on her memory scroll and, despite weak armour, was able to run to the room with Red, assisted by the Divine Shield buff, and, in an equal party, boost Red's experience gain usefully.  She levelled up twice; while Red was still two or three percent below his new level the old computer "ran out of memory", which it tends to do after a while, but I didn't close the program, and even while in limbo, Karanne continued to provide the necessary boost - and added another 12% experience herself, I discovered when I logged her back in.

RedRackham reached level 35 just as lunchtime approached, which was handy; Cariae may have avoided the usual server shut-down at 11:10 UK time, I can't be positive as I made sure to stop fighting for a few minutes around then, just in case my characters could stay in-game.  Red added 24.91% and, as did Karanne, 116 skill points.

After lunch Karanne spent her skill points rather easily, while RedRackham used 60 of them on Canid Fence 2 - and then they both headed for Prokion Temple on the PvP-enabled sub-server Cariae-2, where Red brutally attacked Karanne eight times, I think, to take his Good/Evil rating down to -155.  Back on friendlier territory Karanne had to do some PvE-type dying to get back to the start of level 23, so that she can earn some more skill points without levelling up - she then got about eight skill points in her own right, before logging out.  She joined Norcaine earlier, and Damor 50%-froze her experience gain.

We do actually have 50% extra experience and skill exp running for a few days at present; in many ways it would be better to have double one or the other, so that one could choose to play a character that needed either the levelling-up from experience or the skill points from skill exp.  It does speed things up, at least, though some people complain that it reduces the likelihood of getting good drops, and it certainly does cut back the amount of gold that monsters let fall.

So it seemed like a good idea to return to the Katar version of Kaerella, and do the werewolf and little treant quests for Hunter Dranore a bit more, until Kae levelled up and the werewolf quest stopped.  Kae also did the personal dungeon "Hunt the Balrog" quest a couple of times, and went out to Velpist Temple in Juno until she reached level 17.  A trip to Prokion Temple out in Dratan's desert came next, where a kindly titan called LordCashe gave her the Battle Roar buff, which was rather useful while fighting the level 17 Ghouls and the level 19 Mummies, both of which were able to do her a fair bit of damage - and tended to snack on her poor hatchling too.

For some reason Auzura's usual five o'clock UK time "Mad Monster Spawn" has been put back a couple of days, though the US-time servers are still going ahead.  They'll all be starting at ten o'clock by UK time, rather than rolling from one server to another; I doubt that it is a deliberate attempt to thwart people who like to roll along from one server to the next with it, I'm sure one game master can handle Cariae, Katar, Hatzring and Sarissa all at once, it isn't as if they do any fighting, just unleashing pre-programmed waves of monsters, or doling out similarly undemanding Hands as rewards.  Ten is a little late for me, but if I manage to get this blog finished and published before then, I suppose Barbarienne can go out there on Cariae and risk another resurrection scroll or two, before the night's final bit of pet-levelling.  RedRackham has taken over the training of the pet horse from Galahad now, and it is moving through level 34 quite well.

A Castle to Storm - October 21st

The Mad Monster Spawn on Cariae-3 on Tuesday night was a fair amount of fun, with the final wave killed off within the time limit, after which GM Kali was persuaded to do one of her special spawns - which meant lots more Barren Eises for the "light show" they give, plus plenty of blue dragons and other stuff, such as Flutons.  I'd taken Barbarienne along there, and after answering a general question or two from her, was persuaded to add a level 6 healer called Amleaay to my "party" - which was just me and RedRackham, who was busily pet-levelling over in Merac.

Amleaay, despite generally trying to stay back, unsurprisingly did die three or four times, but, with the experience gained from being in the party, went up from level 6 to level 13 - I'm sure it would have been more if she had avoided getting too close to the big guys, and remembered to keep within compass-range of me.  The party had been set up as "precedence", so what we picked up stayed our own - hopefully she got enough goodies from the hands that were spawned between waves to make the adventure worthwhile.

Generally it is not a good idea to take one's character up so fast without gaining skill exp, but I'd say that often it was a good idea to get a first character up to a useful level, with that free armour set at level 31, farm some cash, and then be able to buy a few things to make it possible for a second character to take things more slowly.

Barbarienne herself managed to avoid dying, though there were a couple of times when running like heck seemed the best option.  A little cash was picked up, which was just as well as the great healing potions she had to use are a bit expensive to buy - and on the goodies front, as well as lots of the small MP and HP recovery potions, which I think can be bought for just 180 and 240 gold respectively, Barb was able to grab 14 tool aids, 5 large attack and 8 large defence potions, 7 skill point boosters, and 9 item drop boosters, which seems a lot more than usual.

The weekly "maintenance" for the servers started at its usual 1:00am UK time - and ran for over nine hours, when three is considered to be rather longer than usual.  I had attempted to log on at 8:00am, only to get the "timed out" error message a few times, so visited the forum shoutbox and discovered the grisly truth.  It looks as if they tried to return the Merchant House system, and Trader Roy, before he was quite ready, and suffered the consequences, for the Aeria people on Pacific time they started work at 5:00pm and didn't get things running until after two in the morning.  And then they forgot to turn the scheduled 50% extra experience and skill exp back on...

When I was finally able to get back on after coffee it was just a matter of setting up some pet-levelling, so my Cariae and Auzura versions of the level 35 knight RedRackham both headed out to Merac.  Let's see, the Auzura one has the level 35 drake, and his Cariae equivalent was working on the level 34 horse...I think...

It was a big patch to download, which as usual meant that I needed to use the "pause" option on my Kaspersky Anti-Virus before my newer computer would accept it.  With Roy back, there will be a lot more items available to buy for in-game gold, albeit at prices that are a few months old - generally things have got cheaper, or gold has become more valuable.  After a patch like that, and with the notoriously crash-inducing Roy back in action, I don't think I want to do anything particularly dangerous for a day or two, in case a disconnection catches me out.  Strangely, while my visits to Roy have shown the items he has on offer to be scrambled into a random order. some other people don't report having that particular problem.

Both the drake and the horse levelled up before lunch, to levels 36 and 35 respectively; the horse went up first, so for a few minutes they were both level 35.

It turns out that the maintenance, as well as incredibly long, was incredibly bad, and the Egeha and Strayana maps seem to have some sort of problem, though some people seemed able to access them, at least.  Apparently the level cap of 145 has been moved, which will need to be fixed, and there are other issues reported..."As well as the Mobs new hit rate, the nameless Floraim monsters and the MC accessories glitch", as the gamesage dinosue2 wearily itemised in the shoutbox, before slightly losing her cool with a player who seemed to think "rebooting" a computer would reformat it entirely.

For the first part of the afternoon I was busy getting token characters made over on the Sarissa server, and downloading the small "tiered event" packages that had ended up there - so if I ever need to play there, most of my favourite character names are reserved, and I have a few lucky smelting stones and so on ready for use.

Then, since RedRider had reached level 25, it was time for her first Combat party team-up with SirDarth, on level 35, in that rather familiar back room in Prokion Temple, on Auzura-4.  Darth added 23.51%, and they got 87 skill points each, before it was time to log out and put up my pair of RedRackhams again.

The Cariae version of Red ran down to the Gnoll Lancers, just to get that alternative pet-levelling spot onto his memory scroll, and I saw what dinosue2 meant about nameless monsters - the Elite Frenzied Berserkers, and other recently-added Merac elite types, now don't have a name, just a tiny black box over their heads.

As usually happens on a Wednesday, I had to log off for a couple of hours from eight, but before that SirDarth and RedRackham were able to continue where they had left off - and thankfully GM Kali got into the office and onto the shoutbox, and we were able to ask her to turn the 50% extra experience and skill exp back on.  So for almost two hours, at least, Darth and Red had that boost, which meant that SirDarth added another 59.75% and 146 skill points, while RedRider got 31.14% and 145 skill points, as she had only joined Darth in Prokion Temple once he had found the room was clear.  So, Darth is approaching level 36 now - I assume a Combat party can continue next time after he levels up, as long as it is started when the characters are no more than ten levels apart.  We shall see.

After leaving RedRackham on Cariae-3 levelling his horse, I managed to get back on just before ten, and logged Barbarienne on in time for the "Storm the Castle" event there.  Luckily, I'd added that location to Barb's memory scroll last week, so didn't have to ride all the way down there.  It's not a long event, and the castle and its courtyards were cleared comfortably inside the twenty minute deadline.  After that everyone dashed outside to pick up the loot that Kali spawned, which in Barb's case meant 4 large attack and 3 large defence potions, 3 skill point boosters, 4 item drop boosters, and 9 tool aids, meaning that her inventory is now a bit over-full, weight-wise.  I think quite a few people were hoping that Kali would do one of her bonus spawnings of Barren Eises, Flutons and so on afterwards, but nothing happened, so we all started to leave.

As events go, a "Storm the Castle" doesn't attract a huge number of people.  You need some high-level types, and also back-up attackers of around Barb's level... but for someone above level 100 there is not a lot of experience to be got, and the value of the drops doesn't really compare with, say, half an hour drop-farming the Dark Harpies.  Still, it's a community event, and long may it continue.

RedRackham managed to get his horse past the halfway mark in level 35 by log-out time, despite the attention of a titan called THEKILER who, when Red didn't immediately reply to his "Hi" and "wat lvl you", killed Red's Berserker, and despite my slightly delayed "lvl 35" response, killed my next one.  "There are plenty of other Berserkers around, leave me my one please", didn't work, as he killed the next one I began to fight, but after "dont ks plz" he did at last go away.

The Longest MMS - October 22nd

RedRackham completed an overnight pet-levelling session successfully on Cariae-3, down with the Gnoll Lancers, and seeing him still safely in action is always a good way to start the day - as was seeing the announcement that the double experience and skill exp which we had been promised had been safely switched on.

So, as soon as possible I logged SirDarth and RedRider in on Auzura-3, with Darth heading straight for the Prokion Temple back room, followed swiftly by Red when I found that the coast was clear.  It was lucky that Darth had stopped a few percent short of levelling up yesterday, as that meant he and Red could still form a Combat party, as they were still just ten levels apart...and the party was able to continue after he reached level 36, which didn't take long.

By lunchtime SirDarth had managed to put on, at the double speed, 47.71%, and a handy 206 skill points, while RedRider was up 28.50% and 203 skill points.  Since the party, once broken, couldn't be formed again in Combat mode, they both stayed in the Temple over lunch, and I got back to them within an hour, which for me is quick.

The afternoon session only lasted until just before three, UK time, as that was the time for the rescheduled Auzura "Mad Monster Spawn", which I wanted to take Memree, my level 31 cleric, to.  By then SirDarth had added another 30.08% and 130 skill points, with RedRider adding 18.22% and 129 more skill points.

GM Xandamere was in charge of the Mad Monster Spawn, as it was still the early hours of the morning over on the Pacific coast of the USA... well, seven o'clock, anyway!  I accepted an invitation to join a party with the level 27 knight mazad, and he soon also recruited the level 29 titan exodius - plus the level 117 wizard ConstantKiller and the level 87 archer Azumy.  Luckily he knew enough to make the party the Precedent type, so we all kept what loot we picked up.

So, I was pretty busy supplying horse buffs and, when I could, healing - having to look out for the rest of the party must be why Memree died so often, I must have died at least a dozen times, it's lucky that Memree doesn't have at present any store of skill points to lose, and is also right at the start of her level, so it just meant using a memory scroll to get back, after self-healing and horse-buffing - and twice I got killed the moment I teleported in.

I think ConstantKiller eventually gave up, after being killed; the event certainly went on and on, it took us ages to deal with the final "boss" wave, and the one before took a while as well.  In all it took eighty minutes before the last Fluton was killed, and by that time, quite reasonably, Xandamere had given up and left.  It would have been good if there had been a final announcement to say "Well done guys, but unfortunately you took too long to earn any more loot spawning" - the people who were new to the event must have been left with a bit of a sense of anticlimax.

I had left RedRider in Prokion Temple, hoping to get back there, but the MMS took so long it was time for the food break - so the pet-levellers got a chance to play for a little while, at least, after missing out on the lunch break.

After that, well, SirDarth, RedRider, Prokion Temple - what more is there to say?  I had to start off with an Equal type party, while Red got the 9% she needed to level up, and then it was back to the Combat party arrangement.  I continued until Darth was near the top of level 36, so that it will be possible next time they go out to Prokion Temple to start with a Combat party, since more experience for Darth and less for Red is the most convenient set-up.  SirDarth added another 24.69% and 115 skill points, while RedRider added 19.65% and 114 skill points.  So, SirDarth went up by just over a level today, with a significant boost to his skill point reserves.

Before the "Parade day" event, which again Auzura missed out on, there was time for my archer over on Katar, Kaerella, to do a little bit of levelling, so after a quick trip through the first personal dungeon, to level up her drake, she headed to, yes, Prokion Temple. 

I started fighting the ghouls and mummies, with plenty of use of Self Heal, and then a mage a couple of levels above me, EvilsMa, asked me to party with her, so I did - she did most of the fighting, and I supplied the healing.  I'd said early on that I had very few mana potions, and she kindly went back to town and brought 100 back for me.

Things did get a bit hectic, as the presence of a healer seemed to inspire EvilsMa to bring in mobs of Orcs, but we did both stay alive, just.  Kaerella actually reached level 20 before the end, having used about half those mana potions.  EvilsMa is on Kae's Friends list, so future mad trips into danger are possible.

But at nine, it was time for Katar's Parade, so I logged Kae back in Randol, and eventually found where they were.  For some reason, perhaps due to lag from all the people and the firecrackers, I couldn't use the skill bar, so completely failed to pick up any of the firecrackers being liberally dropped, except for a couple later on which I was able to pick up by hand.  And then to end with there was a "moat race", with Kae among those who got so stuck in the narrow bit of the moat that, if any prizes were dropped, they were all gone by the time Kaerella finally reached the end.

Cariae's Parade started at 9:45 UK time, again hosted by GM Krash -  he walked slowly around the town, dropping a few single firecrackers - and that is a word you can't type into chat, as "crackers" is a rude word apparently.  I think in all, Kaerella's drake, SirFrancis, managed to pick up four, or perhaps five, which shows that Krash's largesse was a bit limited.  They aren't items that can be traded, anyway - when I checked my inventory, I saw that Kae still had over 500 left over from last year, when they were one possible reward for opening a pumpkin box.

I skipped the moat race, just riding round on the grass outside it; this time there were some hands spawned just inside the moat, mainly on its steep side, and nothing got grabbed by me.  GM Kali put in a brief appearance at the end, though I don't think she did anything; Krash got into the spirit of things by threatening a permanent ban for the next person to "friend request" him, and then, once the race was over, departed to prepare himself for the next server.  So, not a patch on a similar "parade" type of thing that the now-departed GM Racoon once did, culminating in a monster spawn in the Arena, but it makes a change from the usual kind of event.

As for tomorrow's "Epic Event", it looks as if there will be an all-out monster attack on Randol itself.  So be there - or be safe, er, square!

The Epic Continues... - October 23rd

My Cariae-based pet-leveller Galahad (or XxGALAHADxX, if we are being formal) went almost all the way through the night before the computer decided to run out of memory, so that his new pony went up from level 2 to level 11 - and, after a pre-breakfast restart of the game, by coffee time the pony was level 13.  RedRackham had joined him out in Merac at breakfast time, to continue his horse's slow progress through level 36.

The announcement was made in-game of the continuing double experience and skill exp, reminding me that it would be a good idea to log in a character who could do with a speeded-up boost, so Kaerella logged on on Cariae-3, and headed for Maargadum Jail and its Beast Flyers; she used to go there a lot before I switched my attentions to Auzura.  The only trouble was, I soon discovered, that the skill exp was only up by 50%, not 100%, so that a level 46 Beast Flyer gave 1320 skill exp instead of 880.  I'm not sure that the regular experience figure was even up by that much, and someone in the forum shoutbox later reported that the Sarissa server wasn't even getting the 50% extra skill exp, so a bit of a mess there, I'm afraid.

Still, before getting reminded that we were getting dangerously close to the usual Friday server reset/crash time, Kaerella did manage to add 2.38%, and 43 skill points, while SirFrancis moved on by 942 pet points.  After that Kae headed for Cariae-4 Randol for some nice safe shopping, and spent 25,000,000 gold on a Necklace of Earth giving 8 defence, 93 hit rate, and, more importantly, 5% suction of life, which ought to go some way towards counteracting the damage that the Beast Flyers do to her.  It's very handy to have the "Merchant House" trader Roy back to make finding such items easier.

Galahad had kept busy, as well as supplying the solo party Kae needed, so his pony reached level 14 before lunch.  Sadly both he and RedRackham got ks'd over lunch, losing possibly as much as an hour's worth of training - I suspect a character called "blueboy", just because he apparently said "hey", and some of the sneaky little rascals do like to check that they don't get a response before rushing in and killing the Berserker a pet-leveller is working on.

For the afternoon, RedRider teamed with JohnWellington for a change - still in Prokion Temple, though.  The room on Auzura-4 was in use, so John had to move across to Auzura-3 before settling in.  Sadly, the promised 100% extra experience and skill exp was still not with us - but Aeriaks1lent came into the office, and the shoutbox, at about 3:15pm UK time, which would be 7:15am way out west, and I lost no time in asking him to turn the full event on, which he swiftly did.

So, John had about an hour of the double stuff before it was time for my food break, which helped him get up to level 34, adding in all 35.34% and 188 skill points, while RedRider got 22.22% experience and 184 skill points.  In theory there was an event in Juno in the afternoon on Auzura, "The Cleansing of Randol", but I never saw any announcements about it.

Over the food break, RedRackham got his horse to level 37, so was able to switch over to working on his level 8 hatchling, which reached level 9 before he had to log out.  Galahad meanwhile got his pony up to level 15.

After the break it was time for my level 48 cleric Kaerella to go back down to the third floor of Maargadum Jail and fight the Beast Flyers on Cariae-3, with her new necklace equipped to give 5% suction of life.  This did certainly stop her having to use Self Heal so often, though it was still needed sometimes.  Luckily she had a good excuse not to spend the entire evening there, as this week's "Epic Event" had been announced, so she logged off a little before eight, UK time, having gone up another 7.29% - and 129 skill points.  Still, if about two hours at double speed only gives 7% or so, it's going to be a long level, if we continue there in the Jail.  Kae did pick up three heaven stones during her time there, which was nice.

It doesn't look as if, again, Auzura is getting this chapter of the "Epic Event", though the "Cleansing of Randol" thing earlier may have been similar.  Katar was the first server to host the event, and it was on Katar-2, a PvP-enabled server, for reasons that became obvious later concerning the ongoing story.  My level 20 archer version of Kaerella there allowed herself to be recruited into a party, and indeed her guild DarkzerRoughneks, by LordDarkzer, a level 42 archer; Arrowfighter, level 26, was also in the guild party. 

There were various spawnings of monsters, including many varieties of Cube Guards, outside both the west and north gates of Randol, and we all got to die a few times - Kae here had spent all her skill points, though, and the experience from the monsters we had a hand in killing must have just about compensated for losing the occasional 3%.  Actually, about half my deaths were due to pk-ing, which seems to me to go against the spirit of such events - the mages BegForMercy and IXIXIXIXIXIXI, and the rogue SilaciouS, were the ones who killed me.

After a while GM Beatrice appeared, the heroine of the saga, ready to save the day - or not, as she swiftly went into pk mode, and darted around the area, shouting about "traitors", and killing people - mainly the red-named ones, I think.  The saga will continue next week, while we at least got the satisfaction of killing all the monsters, and picking up some useful drops from the hands that were spawned.

Cariae-2 was the next venue for the event; I did start off as Barbarienne, but, after managing to run back into town at a little below 50% health, I decided that it would just cost too many resurrection scrolls, so the later part of the event I left in the hands of a convenient level 23 archer of mine there, Karanne, who doesn't carry any spare skill points, and was right at the bottom of her level too.

There was some pk-ing going on, but less, it seemed, than on Katar; I did notice some members of the pk-happy "Enraged" guild speeding around, though.  They of course couldn't speed around as fast as GM Beatrice, when she arrived.  The event ran a similar course to its Katar version; as a chapter of the "epic" it was a bit inconclusive, but we can hope for better things in times to come.  Karanne got to pick up some useful items at the end, anyway.

After that, well, Galahad, who had been pet-levelling on the older computer all evening, continued, so that the horse he is working on reached level 17 before it was time to shut down for the night.

Across Three Servers - October 24th

Galahad went safely through the night again, with RedRackham joining him at breakfast time - at least, Galahad was down south with the Gnoll Lancers, while Red was closer to town with the Berserkers.  By morning, Gal had gained the companionship of Ribena and SirMoe, knights who seem to be regulars down there.  Ribena does it without a red name, which is rather clever of him.

I had considered after coffee taking Kaerella on Cariae down into Maargadum Jail again, but the likelihood of a disconnection on that server at 11:10am or so, UK time, rather put me off, as she could easily die if that happened while she was surrounded by Beast Flyers.  So instead, over on Auzura-4, my level 34 specialist sorcerer JohnWellington headed for Prokion Temple, followed by my level 26 rogue RedRider for that Combat party boost.

Double experience and skill exp was safely running, so before the lunchtime log-out John added 27.56% and 173 skill points, while Red gained 19.86% and 166 skill points.  A Combat party is useful as it stops Red from levelling up too quickly, and helps John to move on, but I assume the skill exp gained is the same as in an Equal one.  Without the other party member being in compass range John would have got a consistent 5500 skill exp per Orc Sergeant, with the double event running; with Red close by he tended to get slightly less (from 4710 to 5692), but Red got the same too.  John got usefully more experience, anyway.

After lunch Kaerella went shopping over on Cariae, since Roy seems to have settled down a bit now.  Things are still in pretty random order, but I did find a level 29 +15 weapon for 95 million, which seemed like a very good price to me.  It was a sorcerer's scythe, but it only cost another 20,000 to convert it into a rogue's crossbow.  I passed it across to Karella, and found that while her old +8 Gust Crossbow gave 80 + 47 attack, this +15 one gives 80 + 140, +75, which can't be bad, increasing her physical offence stat from 315 to to 479.  A little later I also found a Necklace of Wind giving 116 hit points, 5 magical defence, and 10% suction of life, and passed that across to Karella too, though Enchantrella may also want to use it.  15 million seemed pretty good, more of a price for one with just 5% suction of life I'd have thought.

After spending all but the last 16 skill points she had on the last special skills currently available to her, Karella made a trip out to Prokion Temple and, by dying eighteen times, got her experience back down to the bottom of level 27.  A brief experiment afterwards, with her armour back on, seems to show that even the +10 30/32 armour set she is wearing isn't enough to save her from taking damage from Orc Axemen and Sergeants... ah well, maybe that will improve when the set is bloodsealed.

Kaerella took a trip out to Maargadum Jail, and fought the Beast Flyers for long enough to get 5.56% experience and 98 skill points, plus 1389 pet points.  There was one visitor, a knight called SirKrackhead, who kindly gave Kae the divine shield buff before disappearing.

After the early evening food break, and its associated pet-levelling, I tried a bit of shopping, this time on Auzura, but failed to find any useful parts of Rage's next armour set.  I did see two or three different pieces of it, but only one shirt was even +2, and I'd really like to spend a bit extra and get ready-plussed items.  I'd had a message that Zenderfly, or Damor, would be on at about seven, and would like a chat; as I had about an hour before then, I went over to the Katar server, and logged the local version of Kaerella on.  The first thing to do was check the Merchant House system for a relatively cheap level 21 "event weapon" bow, and, as the pages did each take a while to load, and things were still in a random order, that took ten minutes or so.  I finally found the bow I wanted for 750,000, compared to most other sellers wanting a million or more; I bought a few regular level 21 weapons from the Weapons Trader, made smelting stones, and got the bow to +3, then used three lucky smelting stones from my supply to get the bow to +6.

A fairly short trip to Prokion Temple followed - just long enough to get Kae up to level 21. The guild chat channel of the DarkzerRoughneks was quiet; the guild master wasn't on, though two other members were. Galahad was still pet-levelling on Cariae-3, and I noticed that he was being attacked by a Gnoll Soldier, as well as his Gnoll Lancer.  I suspect that some little dear had lured it on to me - I was able to equip my sword and kill it, but it had already killed my horse.  Still, getting a level 23 pet "unsealed" doesn't cost much, so I got that seen to, and Gal went back out - this time to the Berserkers.  And a little later Kae swiftly logged out, and I logged in Barbarienne over on Cariae-3, ready for Zen's arrival.

Zen did log on as Damor, so I could have been on any of my Norcaine characters, and we chatted about the upcoming "episode two" - Zen suggested that, assuming that like other characters in Last Chaos the Night Shadows have two different career paths after level 31, if we both decided to make NS phoenix characters we could choose the two different types.  She also gave me some links to a German forum which had pictures of the new monsters, armour sets, etc, which made for some interesting browsing.  Night Shadows have wings that seem to grow larger at higher levels... are they just decoration, or what...?

Zenderfly seemed to think that 95 million for the +15 level 29 weapon had been a good buy; she had bought one for 19 million recently, but that was just because the seller had left a final zero off.  She has been busy playing the aeria games facebook poker application, which awards aeria points for winning games and for attracting new players, so she is building up a useful reserve of ap for use in Last Chaos.

As Barb couldn't really do anything while chatting, I switched across to the Cariae, original Kaerella, and headed back to Maargadum Jail, after asking Damor to unfreeze Kae's experience gain.  Kae may need more skill points, but, really, she does need more experience too.  Zen was suitably impressed that Kae had a full set of +13 armour, but did some checking and discovered that Kae would need a fair amount of further skill points to go all the way to level 100.  First of all she said 8,965, which, as Kaerella was about 75% of the way there, wasn't too bad, but after further research she increased her estimate, including the level 100 skill itself, to 11,742.  Still, apparently there are some skills which aren't actually useful, so maybe Kae can get by with slightly less.

SirKrackhead appeared again; I assured him that I hadn't been there the whole time.  He went to one of the side rooms, after again giving me the divine shield buff, and asked to be told when I was finished so that he could take over.  Apparently he pet-levels overnight with the Death Mask Lancers on level five there sometimes.  It's good to know that the Jail is still being used a bit, and not everyone power-levels from 35 to 90 or so.

Kaerella added another 5.54% experience...hmm, maybe Damor/Zen reapplied the experience freeze!  Kae also got 101 skill points, and 1381 pet points, so the duration of that second visit must have been pretty similar to the earlier one.  I tipped SirKrackhead off that I was leaving, and stayed just long enough to give him the Encourage buff before logging out.

Galahad got his horse up to level 24 soon after that, and it looks as if RedRackham, also fighting the Cariae Berserkers, will get his hatchling up to level 13 before it is time to log out tonight.  The double experience and skill exp gain continues tomorrow, before falling back slightly to 75% for the first four days of next week.

A Quiet Day - October 25th

The newer computer, though it is over a year old, decided to install Vista Service Pack 2 this morning, which seemed to go smoothly, if of course slowly - the only trouble was, I discovered a few restarts later, that it had completely nerfed the computer's sound.  What with trying to update drivers, and Microsoft deciding to install another "important" update in the afternoon, there wasn't as much Last Chaos playing as usual today.

Another reason for less Last Chaos was that Aeria had sent me a code-key for some goodies in another game of theirs, DragonSky, so I downloaded and installed that in the morning; I had been listening to the radio, so at that stage didn't know that the computer was an area that had been ks'd into silence, or something.  I really ought to have made a note of some of the hotkeys needed; the game looked good, with a better character creation set-up than LC, I must check it out again at some point to make sure that the goodies, whatever they were, have arrived safely.

Still, some pet-levelling was going on; in my general enthusiasm for updating drivers I actually updated the ones for the graphics card on the older computer, so I'm hoping that that may stop its tendency to bleep plaintively in some parts of the Last Chaos maps.  We shall see,

Kaerella headed for Maargadum Jail in the afternoon, though the session was curtailed by my discovery of the lack of sound, and SirKrackhead took over the middle of level three there while I was checking up on things.  Still, Kae had added 3.50% by then, plus 65 skill points and 749 pet points.

After the early evening food break Kaerella went out there again, and fought the Beast Flyers for rather longer - that session added 7.45%, 135 skill points, and 1699 pet points.  Kae is still 50% frozen on her experience gain, which is fair enough, though, looking at the guild points donated, Keerella's total is so large that I have this dreadful suspicion that Damor may have got her on a 50% freeze too, which, with Kee using platinum blessed irises and experience boosters in the Tomb recently, would not be funny.

A sorcerer called Rirol dropped by to try and share the Beast Flyers, but didn't stay long; later the level 35 knight TheSithLord turned up too for a while, and from what he said was apparently using experience boosters.  My feeling was that the Merac elite types on the road on down towards the Castle might give him more experience that way.  Just as I was finishing, the rogue killthemasses arrived, and I soon left her to it,

There was enough time before the Quiz, which, with UK & European clocks wound back an hour last night, and the US not due to make the change until next weekend, was in theory an hour early for us, for the Katar incarnation of Kaerella to log in for a little while, and buy some new armour before heading for Prokion Temple for a short session.  But then, it was time to log out, restart the game, and head for the Quiz room on Cariae-5, which was where Zenderfly had said she would be. 

Zen was trying to get Damor there on her second computer, but the game crashed twice, and she ran out of time, so it was just Zenderfly who was in the room, partying with Barbarienne - who had Karanne following her around.  But in the end, it didn't matter that Zen only had one character in the room, as she, and almost everyone else, got an early question wrong - and suddenly there were only eight of us left in!  For some reason people keep getting confused about which GM does the "Old Skool Treasure Hunt" (JediMike), and which GM does the "Pharaoh's Treasure" (Krash) - it caught me out one week, I absent-mindedly went across the room with everyone else, but since then I have tried to remember which was which.

There were complaints in the forum shoutbox that people had been kicked on a correct answer in some rooms; I must say that I was slightly surprised to respawn in town after question 21, but by then I'd got all my goodies.  But, soon after the Quiz ended, it was time for the zombie invasions.

I'm not sure if Auzura had this event this time, but Katar was first up after the Quiz, with GM Kali in control as usual.  My level 21 Kaerella there teamed up with some guildies, including DarkzerRoughneks guild master LordDarkzer, and, after waiting till the last moment, as Katar-2 is a PvP-enabled sub-server, out we ran to Berbank Mill.  It was only after we got there that I remembered I was carrying 205 skill points, so was in line to lose 4 per death, but luckily I didn't get the attentions of any of the Apes or Ancient Screaming Zombies, or any or the regular Screaming Zombies either, and got a little experience, plus a little loot from the drops at the end.  Two of our five party members vanished during the battle, apparently they got disconnected, I must say that the chat channel did get a bit laggy.

Barbarienne logged on for the Cariae version, and went out to the Cariae-2 location.  I got recruited into a rather miscellaneous party, with a 90-ish rogue, a 70-ish knight, and a level 6 leader.  I managed to kill a few Apes, and Screaming Zombies, and pick up some gold etc; I contributed to the demise of some others, and some of the Ancient ones, and I also gave a few Party Heals, though luckily somebody else provided the horse buffs.

I did get pk'd, player-killed, right at the end of the battle by a player called Karess, but was able to get back in time for the spawning of the goodies.  The party was just an equal one, so the loot got distributed randomly between us.  As with Katar, we did managed to defeat the hordes within the deadline, which was an improvement on last week.  Probably Kali had scaled back the "invasion" a little, which was kind.

And then it was time for RedRackham, who by then had got his Cariae hatchling into level 16, turning it into a drake, to be joined at the pet-levelling by Galahad, whose horse was then about halfway through level 26.  Gal went down to the Gnoll Lancers again, but this time was taking care to be as far away from the nearest Gnoll Soldier as possible, next to a pet-levelling mage called HoneyBun, with her guildie the knight Ribena also close by.

Pumping Up the Volume - October 26th

The older computer stayed on for a few hours last night for RedRackham to continue his pet-levelling, while the newer machine, with Galahad, kept going all the way through, though Gal did lose his Gnoll Lancer for a couple of hours, I think.  It was strange, nobody ks'd, as he didn't get a small share of experience and skill exp, and there wasn't an "attack blocked" message either, as would happen if a tree got in the way.  I guess the Gnoll Lancer in question just reset itself back to its normal position, something the Treants used to do sometimes.

I did manage to find and install the up-to-date drivers for the newer machine's sound card, so no more "quiet day" problems.  It looks as if I may not have got entirely the right drivers for the video side of things, though; Last Chaos is fine, but I tried Guild Wars briefly, and got a rather colourful "double vision" effect, as the drivers are 3D...so to play Guild Wars I will need to wear old-fashioned red and blue-lensed glasses, I think, unless I find an option somewhere to switch the effect off.  There was yet another new "important" update from Microsoft, meaning that the computer needed to be switched off yet again for that to be processed.

Anyway, there was time in the morning for the level 21 healer version of Kaerella over on the Katar server to take a trip out to Prokion Temple to fight Ghouls, Mummies, and even the level 23 Orc Soldiers.  The double experience and skill exp event was still running, so Kaerella managed to earn 71.74% experience and 155 skill points, which got her up to level 22, and allowed her to max out Party Heal and get Mana Shield up to level four.  She bought her level 27 circlet and boots, so is now wearing the complete 25/27 armour set; I put one of her supply of lucky smelting stones into the merchant mart system at 16 million gold, it would be useful if she could get enough cash to buy a +10 30/32 armour set, and indeed the level 33 bow to go with it.

For the afternoon the Kaerella in question was the original one over on Cariae, my level 48 cleric.  First of all I went to the Cariae-3 Maargadum Jail, but the rogue killthemasses was busy in the central area of level three; she did suggest a Combat party, but I don't think we could have found enough critters to keep both of us busy.  Kae went down to level five and killed some death mask soldiers, death mask lancers, and even the two beast crawlers at the far end, but while they gave slightly more skill exp per kill, the kill rate was slower, so I switched across to Cariae-4, and had level three to myself.  Damor had "unfrozen" Kae now, so she added 14.52%, meaning she is almost halfway through her level; 130 more skill points were earned, and 1613 pet points.

Back in town, browsing the merchant mart I found a level 53 +15 titan sword on sale for 170 million, which while not exactly cheap, is perhaps slightly below average.  Barbarienne had to log on to buy it, as she has most of the gold, and she spent another 500,000 to convert it into the level 53 cleric wand.  She then traded it across to MistressDomina, my Cariae merchant mage, along with recent loot, and then MD traded it across to Kae, in exchange for her recent drops - except the two heaven stones she had picked up in the Jail, which went into storage.  Once Kae reaches level 49 she will be able to use that wand, and she also has a level 57 one, also +15, in her inventory.  As her current armour set is +13 I doubt if I'll attempt to replace that with the 55/57 set, though it might gain a cover for 30 days, to add +1 to each part, if I continue to play her enough to make that worthwhile.

The evening session starred SirDarth, my temple knight.  After finding the back room of Prokion temple busy on both Auzura-3 and Auzura-4, I went across to Cariae instead - Darth is there too, the original one, though not quite as far advanced, level-wise.  Still, he was near the top of level 33, and I had a level 23 character available to form a Combat party with him, Karanne, so things proceeeded on Cariae much as they would have on Auzura.

Actually, there are differences; as an old character, Cariae's SirDarth doesn't have the 30/32 +10 armour set; instead he wears the 35/37 set, though it, and the shield, were only +4.  However, I had some spare lucky smelting stones, so boosted all the bits up to +6.  I'm sure that still isn't as good an armour rating as the +10 sets, but it was good enough to thwart the Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen, at least with a shield equipped.  Darth had been carrying a +15 level 37 weapon, a crossbow, so I converted that into a single sword - so while his armour may not be as strong as over on Auzura, he has a pretty good physical attack.

After a while a mage called NiGhTWiSH barged into the room, and started fighting the Orcs, which was a bit annoying.  I don't see why she wanted to share the room, she was using a crit potion, and both a beginner pbi and beginner pssp, plus some minerals etc, so I'd have thought she would have wanted the room to herself, on some sub-server.

When her boosters ran out she left - but a few minutes later she returned, still not saying anything.  She had changed her costume, previously it had had a "gang" type cover - and she had also left the EternalDawn guild.  Luckily this time she didn't stay very long.  My only other visitor was JustRoguin, a rogue, who only stayed around long enough to ask if I wanted to sell my level 37 weapon.  I wonder if she knew it was +15?  The glow for a +15 weapon is different from, say, a +12 one, not as solid a blur but a more electric effect.

Soon after SirDarth started his session Damor logged in for a chat, but didn't stay very long - the lure of Aeria's online poker application perhaps.  Zen seemed a little puzzled by the way the experience donation of Kaerella had changed, it seems that that was a trifle buggy, though I don't know if that means it was slow in reacting to a change.  She kindly 50%-locked Darth's experience gain, to give him a bit more time to gather skill points, which he sorely needs.

By the end of the session SirDarth had added 78.81%; he had gone up from level 33 to 34 within minutes of starting, though the Combat party remained in place.  435 skill points made a rather substantial addition to his sp reserves.  I'd stayed on just long enough for Karanne to reach level 24, so that a new Combat party will be possible next time; she had gone up by 97.25%, plus 431 skill points, so ought to be able to learn a new skill or two. 

There was just time to head over to Katar-5 for a "trick or treat" event which involved searching for game masters or game sages scattered, apparently, throughout Juno...though I didn't find any of them!  Perhaps it was just as well, the deal was that when you found one you had to say "trick or treat", after which you'd either be given a treat - or some nasty monsters would be spawned on you as a trick.  So, prizes - or death.  Kaerella did actually manage to do one very minor quest she had outstanding, along the way, though just as she approached the reward-giver, Border Guard Tamon, the sub-server crashed.  To quote GM Krash in the shoutbox, "ARRGH!"

It took a couple of minutes for the sub-server to come out of "maintenance" mode, but some more hurrying around once Kae had logged back in didn't find me any reward-givers. After that it was time to hand over to the pet-levellers.  Galahad's horse is a couple of hours away from the top of level 28 now, while RedRackham's drake has powered its way into level 22.

Nearly Hallowe'en... - October 27th

It wasn't a very successful night for pet-levelling.  As well as having RedRackham on the new computer I'd left the older machine on, with Galahad and his horse, expecting to be able to switch it off halfway through the night, but I didn't happen to wake up, so it was almost breakfast time when I next checked what was going on - to find that Galahad had been killed, along with Leopardknight who was also pet-levelling at the Berserkers on Cariae-3.  And both my computers had the "disconnected" pop-up window, too.

The disconnection meant that I had missed the option of Galahad using a resurrection scroll, but as he only had 4 unused skill points that didn't matter, and, more importantly, the Pandora's Beast which, I assume, had killed us had attacked Gal first rather than his horse, so that my pet was still fit and healthy, with no expensive "unsealing" needed.  RedRackham had been down with the Gnoll Lancers, so hadn't been in danger from that particular beast.

Anyway, by coffee time Gal's horse was nicely into level 29, and Red's drake had reached level 23, so some progress had been made.

After coffee, it was time for the Auzura version of SirDarth to head for Prokion Temple on A4; when he found the back room free, RedRider logged in to join him.  Red was level 26, and Darth was right at the top of level 36, so a Combat party was quickly made.  Before Red was in compass range Darth was getting 3,792 experience and 3,300 skill exp per Orc Sergeant, and 2,566/1,100 per Orc Axeman; once Red had arrived this changed to about 38,000/4,750 and 16,500/3300, so Red was a very welcome visitor.  There was an extra 75% experience and skill exp running at the time, so the figures wouldn't usually be as high.  They did go down a little when Darth reached level 37, but around 33,500/4,000 and 13,000/2,700 was still well worth having, and by lunchtime SirDarth was up by 26.47% and 145 skill points, with RedRider up 14.92% and 142 skill points.

Since the team couldn't be made again, unless as an Equal party until Red reached 27, they both stayed together in the Temple over lunchtime, and resumed work afterwards; the sorcerer DarkCronos was fighting there, but there did seem to be enough Orcs for both of us; he didn't stay long, but did return later.  A level 30 mage called MOLLY asked to join the party, but didn't find it as good as soloing so soon left.  She too returned a little later, and we continued to exchange buffs.  She left rather suddenly in the end, I didn't see what happened but I hope she wasn't killed.

The Auzura version of Zenderfly logged in, which slightly confused me as, since I'd been playing both the Cariae and Auzura versions of SirDarth, I wasn't too sure where I actually was - on Cariae, Zenderfly isn't in the Norcaine guild but in a high-level one called SafeHaven.  I reported the good news that level 37 characters got useful skill exp in Prokion Temple; she has kindly offered Barbarienne some more power-levelling, though it seems sensible to wait until the free bonus experience and skill exp event is over, as for power-levelling one would be wasting it since it doesn't "stack" with a platinum blessed iris.

Zen had supplied me with a link to the German equivalent of the Last Chaos Wet Paint Wiki, which had some screenshots of horses and dragons emblazoned with a heart, skull & crossbones, or card-suite insignia.  I can't say I think much of the decorations, but no doubt some people will buy the appropriate card from the Item Mall.

At around mid-afternoon RedRider's older computer decided to run out of memory.  Red remained theoretically in the game and in the party for a while, but finally left, so that meant the session was over.  SirDarth had added another 24.46%, so is very nearly halfway through level 37, and 132 skill points; RedRider had moved on by another 13.87% and 129 skill points.  Darth then headed for Merac to catch up on the local quests, and rode down to the Gnolls to get ten of their red toenails, for a new quest.

After the food break, it was the Katar Kaerella's turn to do a bit of work.  I headed, of course, for Prokion Temple; first of all I went to Katar-5, the first of the two non-PvP sub-servers, but I found that I was just getting the normal amount of skill exp, not the extra 75%, so I left the party I was in there, and moved to Katar-6, where I did get the extra.  I reported the lack of the event bonus in Katar-5 in the forum shoutbox, but it seems possible that this wasn't a problem with the server, it could just have been a bug for me, and that relogging back to the same sub-server, instead of a different one, might have cured it.  So, that's something new I learnt today...

One of Kae's guildies in DarkzerRoughneks, WOOTHOOT, was asking how he could get his weapon sealed - once I'd made sure he wasn't talking about bloodseals, but the kind of sealing that renders an item almost useless until the Archbishop is paid to unseal it, I told him that he would have to get a red name, and then be killed - each time he was killed while deeply enough red, there was a chance of an equipped item being sealed.

So, he asked me to help him; I moved across to the PvP sub-server he was on, Katar-4, again in Prokion Temple, and allowed him to kill me.  There was a slight delay until we remembered that he'd have to leave the guild to do that, but then he got into the swing of things.  I had spent my skill points before going out, in case of accidents, but I don't think I had any problems.

Once Woot had got up to a suitably high evil rating, it was my turn to kill him - he took off his armour, as I had done, and revenge was sweet, or something - killing him repeatedly Kae quickly got a blue name, and ended up with a 105 rating on the "good" side.  Another player there kindly changed to her red-named archer, SUPRGRL, and allowed Woot to complete his return to the good side, and go blue-named too, though he took a long time to kill her, particularly the first time when she was on full health.

Woot did manage to get his weapon sealed, which explained the slowness with which he killed Suprgrl.  I gather that there is a theory that you can upgrade a sealed weapon with heaven stones in the usual way, and that it being sealed means it won't break, or at least is less likely to break.  We'll have to see how Woot gets on.

Including a few ghouls and mummies killed at the end, Kaerella went up by 105.60%, and added 300 skill points, all but one of which have been easily spent.  But then it was time to change servers, to move to Cariae-3, and change from a level 23 archer to my level 101 one, Barbarienne - ready for the Mad Monster Spawn.

The "MMS", conducted by GM Kali, went pretty well.  I got recruited into a party by a level 69 rogue, ChefDuPain (I wonder if her real name is Ms Baker?), along with the level 34 rogue Rikosi, and Galinde (65), Hark3n (94), and Tirranus (91).  We didn't always work as a team, but I did some healing, including managing to keep our Chef alive, and, by keeping to the policy of not picking a fight with anything high-level that wasn't already fighting someone, stayed alive, though there were a couple of times I got attacked and debuffed.

The drops were okay, from the Hands and a little cash picked up; it was an Equal party, so that all the loot got distributed, which made me feel better about ignoring a Fluton when the final Hands were spawned, and concentrating on picking up the loot.  After all, Flutons take an age to kill, it was still there when everything had been picked up.

I'm not sure if we succeeded in "winning" the MMS or not - probably not, as those Hands were kindly spawned when there were still a few Flutons and a Patriarch Botis or two still active.  Still, it was fun.  A shame that Katar's event was held at the same time, but if it had followed on, I'd have had a very late night.

There was time for Galahad to be joined by RedRackham for a little pet-levelling while I worked on the blog; Gal's horse had reached level 30 while I was Fluton-fighting, and Red's drake might reach level 24 before the computers get switched off.  Maintenance tonight is at midnight, UK time, so, with the servers switched off then, there's no chance of any overnight pet work.

We are promised that the Hallowe'en event proper will begin after maintenance, with candies, pumpkins, and everything else we had last year.  There are also a few new hats, or other items of headgear, to be bought in the item mall apparently, while the missing maps and the missing names of some elite monsters will also be fixed.  "Be on the lookout for an exciting announcement before the next maintenance", the patch notes post concludes...

Hallowe'en Arrives - October 28th

There was a substantial patch to download this morning after the weekly maintenance, and it brought in the traditional Hallowe'en goodies, with plenty of sinister-looking scarecrows dotted around the place, at which one could get a free "devil wings hair band", one per character, which has slightly more defence than low-level armour headgear, and also exchange a special drop called "empty baskets" for one of six Hallowe'en-themed candies, or exchange a collection of all six types of candy for a pumpkin head, or exchange a pumpkin for various random gifts.

RedRackham and Galahad went out pet-levelling at breakfast time, anyway, but a bit later Red bowed out, enabling the Katar version of Kaerella to get online and head for Dratan, where she got the quest that needs ten helpings of soft sand.  So, she teleported out to Shuraine's oasis, and slogged away on the Sand Golems, and the Elite Sand Golem, until she finally had all ten, and enough of the Hallowe'en-type empty baskets to get a good number of candies - including one of each of the six types.  That meant she could get a pumpkin head, which does in fact give more armour protection than Kae's current circlet.

So, Kae went out into Juno, and headed for the place where last year Karella did rather a lot of pumpkin-farming, among the Treants not far from Velpist Temple.  With the pumpkin head on one is able to see, and fight, the level 20 Pumpkin Ghosts - and roughly half the time, they'll drop a pumpkin.

Take your pumpkin to a scarecrow and you'll get either 10 firecrackers (which have no value as they can't be traded, but give a brief light-show when double-clicked), 5 effort scrolls (10 minutes of 50% extra skilll exp), 5 lucky scrolls, 5 moonstones, or a heaven stone.  I didn't get any heaven stones, but I got the moonstones three times, the lucky scrolls four times, and the effort scrolls once, plus five lots of firecrackers.  But by then it was time to log out for lunch; Kae had added 64.56% and 112 skill points by then, thanks to the continuing extra 75% experience and skill exp.

The bonus to experience gain made today a good time to start a new character going, so I decided to work up a knight for Katar, to perhaps be able to pet-level there eventually if the offer of the free +10 30/32 armour set continues long enough.  I'd set up a level 2 knight called ColonelScarlet, so he it was who went out to fight deer, foxes, wolves, berserk wolves, and jaguars - and since he wasn't too bothered about fighting stuff a level or two above him, things did indeed move along swiftly, and it wasn't very long before he reached level 8.

At that point, it was time for ColonelScarlet to make the run out to Prokion Temple, to get the location onto his memory scroll, and he did that without using a potion of haste or any health potions, just taking a single blow from a Sand Golem as he ran past.  Then he moved over to the older computer, and Kaerella came back on the newer one, and a party was made for a joint trip out to the Temple.

Before that Kae had been in Randol, just giving the Colonel the solo party boost, and doing a little selling.  While Kae was in town a knight called RainDropZz asked if he could buy her pumpkin helm - and as he offered half a million, and I had a set of all six candies in my inventory again, I agreed.  After that Kae went into merchant mode for a while, selling spare candies at 95,000 gold each, and they sold quickly, which considering how many one does acquire when out fighting seems strange.  No doubt the price will fall over the next week or three, but people don't just need a set for the pumpkin helm, if they double-click and use enough of them they will randomly get a "certificate of good taste" and a "certificate of bad taste" - and that will qualify them to get a witch-style hat.

Kaerella didn't go very far into Prokion Temple, so that ColonelScarlet didn't have to get past many ghouls and mummies to stay near.  Fighting Orc Soldiers and Orc Fighters wasn't easy, as they are protective of each other, so if I fired on one, as many as four others would charge straight at me.  Rather a lot of Self Heal was used.

Still, the session got Kaerella another 46.82%, taking her into level 24, plus 97 new skill points - and it moved ColonelScarlet up to level 18.  Hopefully a future team-up, when Kae has got some more levels, will get him further, but there is no hurry to do that, it could well wait until Kae reaches level 31.

There were a number of disconnections today, including Katar getting a mass disconnection at 11:10 UK time - a rather usual time for such events, though one would have expected the servers to run on US time, and this week the US hasn't yet moved back to winter time, although Europe has.   I did have a few later minor problems with lag and a disconnection or two, but I think that was because the computer and modem have been on without a break for a while - I kept things running last night, even without Last Chaos in action, to help the Carbonite back-up process catch up.  So, the modem had a little rest over the early evening food break, before the pet-levelling recommenced.

The US and Europe being out of synch by an hour, sadly, means I missed the "Storm the Castle" event on Cariae, as it was at nine instead of ten UK time, and my usual Wednesday evening two hours away still runs from eight to ten.  As they were running a little late I did manage to get my level 10 mage version of Barbarienne on Hatzring down to Merac Castle, but by the time I arrived the action was over, and all the drops had been picked up.  GM Krash was holding a quiz, but it was one with very easy answers so it was really a speed-typing contest, and there was only one winner, being first with the answer to a single question didn't win me anything...

But before my evening gap, I did at least have time to take the Katar Kaerella back to Prokion Temple; really, when there are desirable drops like the empty baskets, it isn't a good idea to play a high-level character, as they tend to kill high-level mobs slowly, and most of my regular sloggers in Prokion Temple are too high to get much in the way of drops there, so Kae has an edge... not that she did actually manage to pick up many empty baskets, as it happens.  Still, she found a room pretty close to my favourite back room with a few Orc Soldiers, and some Mummies, and kept busy there - busy enough to reach level 25, and get her hatchling up to level 9.  In all she added 72.23% and 167 skill points - skill points she won't spend just yet, as it seems a good idea to get up to a total of 250, so that the rather sp-expensive first level of Resurrection can be learnt.

Galahad had been busy pet-levelling for quite a while on the older computer, so his horse is now well past halfway through level 31; RedRackham went down to the Gnoll Lancers late in the evening, determined to get his drake at least part of the way through level 25 before log-out time.  There may well be a fair amount of pet-levelling over the next few days, as I'll tend to be rather busy downstairs as one of my "busy weekends" approaches.  Still, I should be able to play in the evenings, at least.

The Haunted Jail - October 29th

There was indeed a whole lot of pet-levelling going on today, which meant that by the evening Galahad's horse got into level 33, and RedRackham's drake reached level 28.  It's useful to have relatively high-level pet-trainers, so that the quality stones last a good long time; it was sensible to check up on progress every half hour or so, though, in case some little dear had been along to kill Gal's Berserker, or Red's Gnoll Lancer.

Zenderfly did attempt to contact me, on RedRackham, and even tried to get Red added to Damor's Friends List, but we didn't manage to link up, though I tried to be by the screen on the hour a couple of times, as suggested.  The German Last Chaos had had an update we've not received yet...

After my early evening food break I was finally able to log on and play, so Red bowed out, and the Katar incarnation (inpixelation?) of Kaerella quickly headed out to Prokion Temple on Katar-5.  Being on a different server from the active pet-leveller meant that I was at the mercy of random parties, to get my "solo party" boost - the first party I joined, I got kicked a minute later when I'd run past the party leader, though she'd not actually been fighting then; when another party became available I got into that, but immediately afterwards a knight joined who was also in Prokion Temple, and in range of my new favourite spot - he was in fact in what, when I reach level 27 or so, is my favourite back room.  And for most of the evening he just sat behind a torch there, doing nothing, which meant I had to move out of range, or he'd have leached half my experience, skill exp, and loot.

It was strange, I was fighting green and white-named monsters, some of Kae's own level, 25, others on 23 and 19, but the whole time I was there I didn't pick up any "empty baskets" - a reasonable amount of other loot, including a few moonstones boxes and two Hands of the Warrior, which are chiefly notable for the heaven stone they include.  The only empty basket I picked up came from someone who passed by where I was fighting, and stopped to fight an Orc Soldier that had been following him - but didn't stay to pick up his drop.

Still, I easily reached my initial target, which was to get enough skill points for the first, and most expensive, level of Resurrection; by the end of the session I'd added 204 of them, which on top of the 178 I'd brought forward meant that I was able to learn that first level, and the second level too (a mere 100 sp), plus level 4 of Cure Poison.  I'd also gone up by 71.55% on the experience side, and 1153 pet points.

After leaving the Temple and learning my skills, I headed down into Merac, to Maargadum Jail.  Not the ideal place for a level 25 healer with armour that is just +2 or +3, since the monsters in there start at level 40, but that was where the "Haunted Jail" Hallowe'en event was to be held, starting on the Katar-5 sub-server at 8:00pm UK time - which, with our clocks having fallen back an hour, while the US clocks don't change until this coming weekend, meant that it's an earlier start to such things than usual.

There was no in-game announcement until a couple of minutes before the start time, but GM Kali arrived, and GM Krash was there too.  I noticed that Kali is a rogue on Katar, as opposed to a mage on Cariae and an archer on Auzura.  And suddenly the first big room on level one of the Jail was full of Barren Eises, and Dark Bogles, and more.  Kae did her best to assist with the despatching of this assemblage, and afterwards there were some Hands dropped, so, with a careful eye on the respawning local dire spike canines, Kae did manage to pick up some loot.

The monsters on the second level were harder, with Wight Slashers and Scorpionmantises, plus Assassinbugs - but level three had the cave spirits, the level 119 to 130-plus versions of our six classes, and they are hard for me on any server.  It wasn't long before Kaerella died - I managed to run back down and rejoin the battle, but after a second death, there weren't enough other people running back to let me get past the canines.  Still, I'd picked up some loot, and only lost 1 of the 2 remaining skill points I was carrying, plus 0.5% experience.

Zenderfly did manage to get in touch while I was down on level three, with a new Katar character - she was still in the starter dungeon at the time, seeing how far past the "final" doorway she could get, using Self Heal to provide some light.

What the German version of Last Chaos has got is a new pet, a kind of bear - like the hatchling/drake/dragon and the pony/horse/mount it does apparently change as it levels up, but like Ichi and Scrachi it cannot be "mounted", and can attack your enemies.  For Germany at least the pet is bought from the Item mall - at a price one could buy a video-playing ipod for!  And it can only be healed with potions from the Mall, while like Ichi and Scra-Chi its armour and weapon are mall items that need to be renewed every 30 days.  Apparently the German mall is a lot more expensive than the Last Chaos USA one, so hopefully prices will be more reasonable, when the bear arrives for us.

There was also a sign that "episode two" with the Night Shadow class is getting near, as the German item mall has seven new Hallowe'en/pirate-themed costumes in its mall now... and the seventh is for a Night Shadow character.

The "Haunted Jail" event moved on to Cariae next, at 8:45, and I moved too, meeting up with Zenderfly there - I'd changed from a level 25 archer to a level 101 one, Barbarienne.  The ground floor monsters were all blue-named to us, and absolutely no trouble - the same could be said for level two, and we happily helped rid the Jail of these spooky usurpers.

I had warned Zen that level three would be full of cave spirits, but we joined the general charge onwards.  Zen went down the stairs into the middle section, but attracted the attention of a whole mob of spirit titans.  I was healing as much as I could - but she was losing health fast, and knew that if she logged out they would all rush me as I'd been healing her.  So she made sure I was well on my way to the stairs up before saving herself by logging out.

Zen logged back in and returned, rejoining the party, and after we'd cleared out level three, was asking me where the action was now.  I'd run on ahead, so just replied "5".

And pretty intense action it was, too, with Flutons and a Patriarch Botis or two, plus Anubis Archers and other tricky beasts.  I thought Zen had died, but she had been hit by one of the "bleed" effects that takes one down to 1 health point - so that even the slightest hit would finish one off.  So, she logged out from the Jail safely again, and, as it was getting late, said goodnight from town, and logged out for the night.

Barbarienne nearly died too, hit hard by something big, and then I couldn't stop targetting it as it was too close to the exit... at last I got past it, but there was a Fluton up the stairs, and how I got past that one with still some health left I don't know, it wasn't easy.  Once I'd used Self Heal enough times I headed back down, and was one of the team making good inroads on the Fluton's health when suddenly all the visiting monsters vanished - the haunting had been exorcised.

Kali was wearing the new pirate-style mage costume, which looks fun, with the appropriate hat, though it's basically a mage black costume with some red frills added.  Krash, as a titan there, sported a red mohican hairstyle, which makes a change...

Generous amount of hands were spawned then, and as there weren't a huge number of people down on level five, there seemed a lot of goodies to pick up - it probably averaged out at about five each of the large attack and defence potions, item drop boosters, and skill point boosters - plus the minor items.

And then it was time to log Barb out, and let RedRackham return for some more pet-levelling.  By the end of the evening Galahad's horse was at least a third of the way through level 33, while Red's drake was two-thirds of the way through 28.  They should get a fair bit of time to continue tomorrow, though I'm hopeful that I ought to be able to have some sort of afternoon playing session.  Zen did mention in a guild message being on at six in the evening tomorrow, perhaps there will be more news from that other Last Chaos version then.

The Death of Beatrice - October 30th

In theory double pet experience, along with an increase of the experience and skill exp gain back from 75% to 100% extra, was supposed to come in at breakfast time or before, but it was quite a few hours later that things were adjusted.  Still, that meant a few hours of double-speed pet-levelling, so that by the evening RedRackham had got his drake up to level 32, and Galahad's horse was moving up nicely through level 34.

I did manage to get online more adventurously at around three o'clock, UK time - a session of just ninety minutes seemed about right for Kaerella (the original variety, the Cariae level 48 cleric), and a trip to Maargadum Jail.  The level three central area was not in use on C3, to my relief, so, with Galahad providing the solo party boost while levelling his horse down with the Gnoll Lancers, Kae settled in.

One reason for playing as Kae there with the event bonus running was that she hits very speedily, and with the Beast Flyers coming in from all directions, there's very little wasted time, so the pet-levelling there is pretty good anyway - and today it was twice as good.  In all Kaerella added 9.92% experience, 89 skill points, and 3064 pet points.

I did have one visitor towards the end, of the "charge in and start fighting everything" variety, a titan called JessPark - though as he was only level 35, he didn't kill very quickly, so didn't harm my progress greatly.  We did chat, and I strongly advised him when I left to go to one of the side rooms, since they only have four Beast Flyers in - if he was solo in the central area he could easily get overwhelmed, and I'd already seen him dash to the wall to recover health a few times.

Looking through my screenshots folder a little later, I noticed that Kaerella was fighting the Beast Flyers there exactly a year ago, three levels lower and in different armour. Damor did get in touch at around four, and though I did respond, probably not very quickly, but before she logged out, perhaps some lag got in the way.  Still, our online chat time was scheduled for six, and then we did talk,

By then, I'd had my food break, and my (Cariae) rogue Karella had gone out into Merac.  I'd worked out that "empty baskets" would only drop if one killed critters that were a higher level than one's character, so at level 27 Karella was perfectly poised to fight the level 28 Butchers there - and, sure enough, plenty of the baskets dropped for her.  I didn't get a full set of six different candies from the first 28 I gathered and exchanged, but another 18 got me to two full sets, so Karella now has the necessary headgear to fight the pumpkin ghosts, as she did last year; the remaining candies were put in storage for transfer to another character, though I don't really need another pumpkin ghost hunter, and, judging by last year, the pumpkin helm is stolen from one's inventory by Aeria at the end of the Hallowe'en event.

Damor gave me lots more information about the new bear-type pet - the "bear facts", you might say.  They have a skill to heal themselves, but each time it is cast, it costs you gold, which vanishes from your inventory.  The other skills just take mana. There's a poison skill, a defence buff, which lasts 30 minutes, and a buff which makes their owner regenerate health and mana at 100 per second for five minutes.  The last skill of the bear's initial stage makes an enemy unable to use skills for 3 minutes.  Then, when the pet reaches level 50, everything resets.  This time, there's an attack skill, a hit rate debuff, an attack and hit rate buff for the pet's owner, and a skill to blind one's foe for 20 seconds.  Then for the third and final evolutionary stage, there's an attack with a chance to stun for 5 seconds, attack and defence buffs for the pet, a sloth skill, and one called "raising hp and mp by paying money", which looks like another way to take gold out of the owner's inventory.  There are a couple of skill books needed, apparently, which like the Ichi and Scra-Chi one can be obtained from the moonstone statue.  The German LC had a bug where NPCs would buy them for 100 million gold each, so some people got rich rather quickly, on the first day.

The forums over at the German Last Chaos aren't very happy about all this, as the pet can only be bought from the item mall, and these rather heavy-duty skills make a big difference, especially to PvP.  They say it unbalances the game, as well as giving an unfair advantage to people who are prepared to part with real-life cash.  You can see their point - will this polar bear type of pet, which looks a lot more animal-like than the cute and cartoony Ichi and Scra-Chi, come to Last Chaos USA soon?  Probably, but we will have to see how Aeria have managed to tweak things.  Taking on one of these fluffy companions seems a major undertaking, with the levelling to 50, in the same way that Ichi and Scra-Chi level, not being all that quick an operation... and then the animal resets, and you have to level them again in their second, bigger configuration, and then it resets again...

But I just had time to take notes of what Zen, or Damor, had told me, before Karella logged out, and over on Katar Kaerella logged in - as the time for this week's "Epic Event", "The Evil Shroud", was near.

We were on a PvP sub-server again, Katar-2; Kae teamed up with LordDarkzer and another healer,Arrowfighter,  and we all used the teleporters spawned outside the north gate of Randol to beam directly to Velpist temple, where the action was to take place.  The whole temple had a lot of high-level monsters in it, unsurprisingly, including ones I'd never seen before.  I did actually get killed by monsters once, but that was on purpose, I was very close to levelling up, and I wanted to keep the option open of doing some more sp-farming in Prokion Temple first.  Otherwise, the deaths were of the pk'd type, with SuperKillRogue and a mage called This IsNotAmerica the culprits.

Being only level 25, Kae was a bit on the periphery of things - as indeed was LordDarkzer, at level 43, who got pk'd rather more frequently I think.  Still, the final stages cunningly took place close to the entrance hall, where GM Beatrice was finally killed... but is this the end of the story?  I think not.

It wasn't the end for me, as Cariae was next on the rota for the event, so Barbarienne logged on, got recruited into a party with a few others of similar levels by Hercules37, and teleported to Velpist Temple.  She was able to roam around more freely, and do a lot more damage to the monsters - though there were so many "cube guard" and other types of monster I'd never seen before that it was difficult to know just how dangerous various rooms and corridors were.  A level 115 "cube guard" version of Kamira seemed a bit nasty, for sure, and there were cave spirits around - I got stunned a few times, but luckily triggering the great healing pots kept me alive in such circumstances.

I did get rather trapped in a far corner of the place, so followed Zenderfly's example from yesterday and just logged out, then logged back in, horse-buffed, used the teleporter, and got back into slightly safer action. ChefOfPain recruited me that time, as she had at the recent Mad Monster Spawn (assuming she is also ChefDuPain), and I was able to provide some healing, though she got pk'd a time or two.  Barbarienne got pk'd once, by a rogue called Beasthunter, who I last saw running into a group of monsters in her underwear repeatedly.  No wonder the guild she is in is called "Suicidal"...  "If people are too scared to fight the high-level monsters, they can always just pk the people who are doing so", I remarked brightly.

Well, in the end Beatrice was killed.  As GM Stratos said, "My thanks.  Beatrice had grown too powerful and had to be put down.  We had no choice."  Apart from the one pk-ing, Barb did keep alive, and was even able to grab some loot from the Hands that Stratos spawned, though as there were still some Scissorfist Golems around at the time, I had to keep a wary eye on my health while I grabbed stuff.

It was then time for Galahad to join RedRackham at the Gnoll Lancers for some quiet pet-levelling, but before too long a wandering level 50 Pandora's Beast took Red by surprise, and killed him.  Red was able to use his "beginner" resurrection scroll to avoid losing any skill points, opting to respawn back in town - he went back to the Berserkers and, with the Beast perilously close to him too, Galahad used a memory scroll to move there too.  I'd been wondering if those "beginner" scrolls worked during level 35, and they do - Red was able to activate a new one.

Leopardknight was around and said hi; he reported that his original sorcerer Elvastar has reached level 60, while Ratel has got his hands on a Tears of Knight accessory - though with the mc accessories he has, giving 60% to critical hits, plus 10% suction of life and suction of mana, he isn't actually using it. Nice to have, though. With the double pet experience running he was hoping to pet-level overnight, let us hope that nobody comes by to kill the Berserkers that are being fought there.

Farming Pumpkins  - October 31st

Our double experience, skill exp, and pet experience was running throughout the day, which meant that Galahad got his horse to level 37 by mid-afternoon; he then had to get a new pan flute from RedRackham, whose drake was in level 34 by then, and take it to Lorraine and Jajan to get himself a brand-new pony.  It didn't take that one long to get through its initial levels, though the increase in Sympathy was no quicker than usual.  The overnight pet-levelling had worked reasonably well, with perhaps about an hour lost to a ks-er coming along and killing the Berserker.

I managed to get my preparations for tomorrow just about complete by mid-morning, so that the original Cariae-based Kaerella was able to fit in about an hour in Maargadum Jail, on level three, without any interruptions, except for turning the oven on for lunch.  Experience gain isn't very quick there, so 6.64%, at double speed, was all Kae managed, plus 59 skill points - and 2020 pet points.

Both pet-levellers were on duty over lunch of course, but then, with Galahad continuing, to finish that last level for his horse, it was time for some Katar-server action with my level 25 archer, that server's Kaerella.

Kae had added 24% experience at the "Epic Event" last night, so was on 98.50% of the way through her level - so the first thing to do was to go to Prokion Temple on Katar-5 and die 33 times, losing 3% experience each time, to get her back to the start of the level again.  Then, it was a matter of running to a room with some Orc Soldiers, and settling in to kill them, plus the local Mummies when there was nothing else to target.

I joined a solo party, and when conversation turned to prices of weapons etc, I mentioned that I was on the lookout for a 30/32 +10 armour set; one of the high-level members, SweetAngeL, did volunteer to give me her old set once she had finished her Tomb session, but sadly when she left the party a couple of hours later, she'd forgotten that particular idea.

Anyway, my second journey through level 25 brought me in 330 more skill points, meaning that I could get the final three 100-sp levels of Resurrection; any level will bring a party member back to life, but higher levels reduce the experience loss from the death.  By the time I logged out, Kae had gone up by 106.82%, and added 356 skill points, of which I spent all but 2.  With the double pet experience, Kae's dragon hatchling had added three levels, reaching level 12, so next time would be able to offer a usefully increased armour buff.

After the early evening food break, I decided that the Katar Kaerella ought to earn some gold, so went out into Juno hoping to do some pumpkin-farming.  My favourite spot a little south of Velpist Temple was already being used by someone, unsurprisingly, but I found a place a little north of the Temple, on the way towards the "Mad Monster Spawn" location, and settled in there - and the people wearing the pumpkin headgear who came by were all polite and didn't try to take over.  Towards the end of my session a rogue did stay within sight, just fighting the local Treants, and when I finally got my fiftieth pumpkin, I announced that that was my lot, and presumably she took over.

Strangely enough, although while I was level 25 in Prokion Temple the Orc Fighters, also that level, refused to drop Empty Baskets, and Zenderfly confirmed my feeling that you had to fight monsters above your level to get them dropped, the Treants, at level 26 now the same level as Kae, dropped them quite generously, and I ended up with almost as many of them as of the pumpkins.  Experience and skill exp gain was a lot slower than in Prokion, with Kae moving up by 22.22% and 76 skill points, but at least the hatchling added another level, to reach 13.

I had a quick look around Katar-1's Randol merchants, and found that the pumpkins seemed to be selling more cheaply than I had expected, given the chance of getting five lucky scrolls, five effort scrolls, or five moonstones from them, or a heaven stone.  One seller had almost 200 of them at 390,000 gold each, and someone else was selling them at 300,000 - I would have expected them to be worth at least half a million.  The best price for the Hallowe'en candies I saw was 150,000 each, which seemed a little high, given that, if you get the levels right, the necessary empty baskets are an easy enough drop to get.

LordDarkzer, guild master of the guild Kae is in there, DarkzerRoughneks, is planning to get the guild involved with guild wars, preferably a straightforward battle at the Dratan arena.  We'll have to see what is arranged, though if it happens tomorrow I'll probably miss it.  The guilds we are allied with are Tuathadadennon, heresy, and armyofwarriors; I did suggest we should have a "friendly" battle against one of them to start us off, but apparently two of them are too small, and the other, I think heresy, is a bit too large, though there would be nothing to stop them fielding a similar-level teaming there.

Another Maargadum "Haunted Jail" event was announced for today; it ought in theory to have started at 8:00pm UK time, probably on Katar, but for some reason it got delayed until 9:30, with the four US servers (Katar, Cariae, Hatzring, and Sarissa - not Auzura) all running it at the same time.  Given that I have to get up rather early tomorrow, I decided that I ought to pass up the chance of a few more deaths.

So, it's a "busy Sunday" for me tomorrow outside Last Chaos, with only an evening session, which will be mainly perhaps an hour or so before the Quiz, and then a couple of Zombie Invasions out at Berbank Mill.  I can't even take advantage of the continuing, I assume, double pet experience, as pets, even when lower in level than their trainer, do run out of food reserves after 8 hours and 20 minutes, and I'll be away about 50% longer than that.  By the end of this evening though RedRackham had got his drake safely into level 35, while that new pony of Galahad's was at about 80% Sympathy, and moving bravely through level 7.