Kaerella's Blog - stardate December 2009 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month begins here at the top!
Three Different Mystic Swamps - December 1st

It was lucky I'd decided not to leave ColonelScarlet at work training the current pale blue horse overnight, as the Aeria people made a last-minute decision to bring forward the weekly maintenance downtime by a day, to attempt to fix the annoying party glitches that, apparently, are now being blamed for the frequent disconnections some people, and sub-servers, have been getting.

Still, whatever they did didn't involve any actual new patch, as the newer computer got the game going without having to pause the anti-virus protection to allow such a download.  ColonelScarlet went out to the berserkers and bandits, and settled in, with the horse reaching level 28 during the morning.

Kaerella was able to have her third pssp hour in Prokion Temple on Katar-4 before lunch, although towards the end a rogue called BooodaciousChick started taking some of the orc soldiers that I'd been farming, which made things a little awkward.  Still, Kae managed to add another 303 skill points, while going up just 3.74%, so the mission can be counted as a success.

Barbarienne over on Cariae-4 did a little mining over lunch, just to increase her stock of stones, which was handy, as Zenderfly got in touch while I was just checking up, mid-lunch, that all was well with the Colonel.  She had the full 170 million gold I'd loaned her to return, now, so Barb just needed to run back into town and meet Zen there.

However, there was a shock when I attempted to sign off with a "back to the mine for me, then, cu soon" - Zen's response was "rather not - don't think I'll play Last Chaos much any more.  Too much clicking monsters, and too few fun."

"Wow, I'd hate to lose you...have a little rest, but do come and visit.  Whatever happens, do keep in touch, eh?"

"Grand Fantasia looks promising.  If you want to come with me we can play there together..."

After I'd had to leave the keyboard, Zen added that she'd talk to me again in two hours, which rather changed my plans for the afternoon, which had been, tentatively, to either take Keerella to Lust Trum Tower and check out the sp-gathering possibilities there, or take both Kee and Barbarienne to the Tomb and give Kee an hour or two levelling on the anubis spear men.

Before the main afternoon adventure started, however, the Grand Red Dragon arrived just withing sight of ColonelScarlet, which was strange as nobody else was active in the area.  I reported its arrival on the forum shoutbox, and madmancone took up the challenge; his level 51 knight Cone partied briefly with ColonelScarlet to get the location, and rode down.

It took a while for him to kill the thing; in fact, I was able to log RedRyder in and ride down, really to watch, but when he knew it was the same person, he invited me to help.  A level 25 rogue doesn't do all that much damage to a raid boss, but I think that the Snare must have been some assistance, stopping the dragon's attack for a few seconds at a time.  He warned me to run clear just before the Cerebrii appeared, so I stepped back, though was still able to help a little with them, being careful to target one he was fighting.

I saw a bit of yellow text among the descriptions of the items on the ground - Cone got an Origin of Land rare accessory, which may not be the best possible drop, but it's better than just those buggy mystery boxes that turn up sometimes recently, or no accessory at all.  Cone generously let me have the other drops - a crystal of experience (greater), a medal of honor, a hero's necklace (6 to physical prowess, 3 to long range physical defence), 10 each of the medium mana and great healing potions, 5 each of the scrolls of memorising and lucky scrolls, and a few minor cash drops.  He then asked if I had a mage, and when I said yes, passed across a level 41 mage staff he'd recently picked up, which was a kind gesture.  MistressDomino may well be glad of that at some stage, while she waits for the +15 weapon to be relinquished by Kae and Red!

RedRyder went out to Prokion Temple on Katar-1, with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff on; after yesterday's "Epic Event" and the GRD-killing she had already got 10.49% experience, but I decided that getting 332 skill points from the mummies and orc soldiers would still be possible without getting dangerously close to level 26 - and so it proved, though she was on 90.03% by the end.  The last two available levels of weaponsmithing were then learned, and then it was time for 31 "suicide runs" back in the Temple... or 32 actual deaths, as the "double death" bug with Red respawning at the place of death happened to strike then, as well as a number of times previously.  At least she didn't end up in the foundations this time.

To my relief, the "party bug" appears to have been beaten, or at least reset, and Red was able to join a solo party.  The party continues to list people who have logged out, though, with blacked out health and mana bars and "X" as the level.  After getting the skill points I'd logged out, and relogged in Randol, to find myself still in the party, so to be safe I used the "leave party" option to get myself clear then.

Zenderfly did get in touch, to talk more about Grand Fantasia, though she insists there are no workbenches that need to be dragged somehow into one's own cottage.  I did update the game client earlier, but Zen confirmed that the servers had been offline then, which with a closed beta is not that unusual, with bugs being found and corrected.  Checking the website, I found that the closed beta had in fact ended, and the open beta has yet to begin, so the servers are getting a well-deserved rest.  A chat with Zen later on confirmed that, so any team-up over there remains in limbo until the open beta gets going.

I forget if Zen has ever tried Guild Wars... there is a free trial available, though it is a bit of a download, and offers only a rather limited amount of playing time.  The various parts of the entire game are pretty cheap now, and do tend to get discounted in online stores...and of course there is nothing more to pay, once you have bought the game.

By the end of the early evening food break, the usual miniature light show signalled that ColonelScarlet had got his horse up to level 29; each level is longer than the previous one, and this level is liable to take over seven hours.

The second of the [GM]Beatrice "Epic Events", entitled "The Corruption of Merac", had its repeat outing this evening, starting again with Auzura at six o'clock, which meant a trip for Rage down to the swampy part of the Merac map on Auzura-1.  I don't know why it was on a PvP-enabled subserver, but Rage was among the first to get there, and I didn't see anyone go into PK mode at all.  The event went pretty well, and no resurrection scrolls had to be used, at least not by me, and when the loot was spawned at the end, in the middle of Mystic Swamp, Rage was able to pick up her share.

It was time to make a swift move across to Katar, then, as seven o'clock was approaching; luckily ColonelScarlet was at work there, so I was able to see the announcements that were being made, which said that Katar-4 was the subserver to use.  RedRyder, since she has nothing to lose, was my character of choice - and her Snare skill would be useful.  The ride down was easy, once one was out of Merac town and able to call up the map of the whole area, and early on I was sensible enough to get the location onto my memory scroll, so that when I died, which happened three or four times, it was simple to get back.

Things were a bit different from Auzura, though; I don't think there were quite as many people, and halfway through most of us got bogged down on a Fluton who just wouldn't die - as happens sometimes he was "bugged" so that when people used a skill like Snare, Curse or Sloth on him, he'd immediately go back up to full health.  The high-level people doing the tanking were yelling, if one can do that in the text box, for people NOT to use any skills, but there was always someone who'd add a skill, and back the Fluton went to 100% health.  RedRyder's pet hatchling went up at least 400 pet points just fighting him.  I joked that my hatchling had started at level 8 but I'd be riding him home as a dragon...

It was while I was helping to fight the Fluton, or rather pet-levelling on it, that Zenderfly got in touch again; I did hope that I had persuaded her to join in the Cariae event later, but it does seem that she is really not into playing Last Chaos at the moment.

The games masters spawned our loot just by me, which was nice - the middle of the swamp would have been a bit unhealthy for a level 25 character, with doom slayers and blood frenzies respawning.  So I stopped attacking the Fluton to pick up as much as I could, and then rejoined the battle...not that a level 25 rogue, even with a +10 crossbow, does a Fluton much harm.  And finally the GMs relented and cleared the monsters away - and gave us a second wave of goodies, which was a thoughtful gesture, especially for the people who'd been too busy fighting the Fluton to pick up anything before.  So RedRyder did extremely well for the usual star loot items, the large attack and defence potions, item drop boosters, and skill point boosters, plus a nice new supply of tool aids.

Over on Cariae-4, as had happened when the event had originally taken place, Barbarienne was first on the scene, because I knew where to go - other people had been waiting in central Merac for the coordinates to be announced.  I was there before the monsters were spawned for the event, in fact, but kept well back so that they didn't spawn on top of me.  I was halfway through my first Sphinx Commander when the first people arrived, and assisted me in finishing it; and very welcome they were too, outside the Tomb those guys tend to hit rather hard.

We were strangely low on numbers on Cariae, I don't know why; luckily we did have a few high-level types to take the lead, so that generally I was able to relax as the long-range artillery.  What was worrying though was that three times the game stopped working for me, and stayed "not responding", so that I had to close Last Chaos and then restart it, riding down from town again.  Luckily nothing attacked me while I was, presumably, just standing there in-game.

We did our best, anyway, and when the loot was spawned, it didn't have to be divided up too many ways, so Barb quickly went up over 100% for her inventory's weight, which reduced her dexterity a bit; 150% is the absolute maximum.  The GMs announced that the event was over, but that they would leave the remaining monsters for us to finish if we wanted to, while they went on to Sarissa for the fourth iteration of today's entertainment... and it took us a good half hour more, until after 9:30pm, to get rid of the remaining monsters, mainly Flutons.  All that meant that Barbarienne added 543 pet points, a skill point, and 0.10% experience; Rage had added 1.68% earlier, but then, levelling at 72 is quicker than at 101.

The older computer did run out of memory at one point, but otherwise ColonelScarlet continued with his work almost undisturbed, so that the pale blue horse was at least two-thirds of the way through level 29 by log-out time.

Death in Misty Canyon - December 2nd

ColonelScarlet had a couple of breaks overnight, but not actually from someone actively ks-ing him.  Once the "attack blocked" message came up, so a tree or something must have got in the way, and the second time, as does sometimes happen, tha bandit must have just reset itself to its regular position, something they do occasionally,  I remember the treants used to do that a lot.

We are now on the run-up to one of my busy weekends, so, while the amount of playing I did today was only slightly down, it was a lot more than I will be managing over the next few days.  There was no morning session; Zenderfly did attempt to get in touch with me over lunch, but, well, I was having lunch at the time.

The break between Grand Fantasia's closed beta and open beta was minimal; as soon as I'd posted yesterday's blog an email arrived from Aeria Games to tell me things were about to start again - at 2:00am this morning, UK time, I believe.  Luckily one didn't have to uninstall the closed beta client, it just updated itself, rather slowly, and I was able to log in for a fairly short session.  I at least managed to drag the workbench, and indeed some kind of cupboard, into the cottage where my character's sprite-companion hangs out when off duty, and by fighting not just jelly rabbits but smiling and laughing crabs, got Memree to level four.  It all seems a bit over-cute, though thankfully our toddler-types aren't sexualised as much as the Florensia ones.

At level five one gets to choose one's speciality, from the usual kind of choice - healer, ranger, warrior, wizard, necromancer, that kind of thing.  If Zen is going to get seriously into the game, I think it had better not be her main character that teams with mine, either Memree or a revived Kaerella, or I think I'd hold her back.

But then it was time to get Kaerella to fit in an hour's work with a pssp in Prokion Temple on Katar-4; I had the area to myself this time, and managed to get 307 skill points, while going up by 3.43%.  After that I switched to Katar-1, and RedRyder, after getting the buff from Elizabeth, went out to her favourite room, just along the corridor and round the corner, where she mixes orc soldiers with mummies.  The target of 332 skill points was reached, so Red has now finished the weapon and armor smithing skills, at least until she reaches level 32.  She still needs plenty of herb and energy gathering levels, though, and alchemy, and all the stone, herb and energy processing skills, so she will be staying on level 25 for a while yet.

After the food break, there was just time for RedRyder to get rid of the 84.20% experience she had got up to, by doing 29 suicide runs, as usual made less boring by finding a fair bit of unwanted loot to pick up.  I didn't end up in the foundations again, but there were plenty of "double deaths", which I guess speed things up a bit.

The reprise of the third "epic event", "The Crashing Tide", was a bit of a disaster for Rage on Auzura-4 - I really shouldn't have tried to take her there, she may be doing okay at Mad Monster Spawns and Zombie Invasions, but those allow more room, and don't have lethal local types respawning.  I teamed up with the archer kukli4kataBG, who remembered me from back in the spring, but her healing was of course no match for the Misty Canyon monsters, or the specially-spawned Patriarch Botises, Flutons, and so on.  I used two resurrection scrolls in rather quick succession - and didn't have time to activate a third one before being killed again, so that meant I lost not just 1.68% experience, but 2% of Rage's unused skill points too - which meant 164 of them.

So a switch over to Memree, my level 31 healer, was called for, since she has no unused skill points to lose.  She died quiet a few times, but got almost as far as the square main room... onto the stairs down to it, anyway.

The event switched across to Katar-4 at seven, so I was back to my roguish ways with RedRyder, who had recently spent all her skill points of course.   Red seemed to be able to make a useful contribution, with Snare, and got into what seemed to be the main front group fighting their way through that square room, assisting with keeping the Flutons and Patriarch Botises under control.  She died a few times, often due to the map's local monsters respawning or wandering too near, but was able to run back from the start, avoiding the respawned locals and a couple of Flutons along the way.

My impression is that the event just petered out and ran out of time; there were no announcements, and no sign of [GM]Beatrice; [GM]Kali had been around, but must have had to move on to the next server, Cariae.  The group I was with got to the far end of that main room, and into the next lot of steps down, but there were rather a lot of Sphinx Commanders unleashed upon us, and positively hordes of cube guards, as well as the normal monsters for the Misty Canyon map.  I did get a fair way down the stairs, but the specially-spawned mobs were pretty thick there.  I don't think anyone could have got to what should have been the climax of the event, in the map's end room.

I was interested to find that the "double death" bug I've encountered in Prokion Temple also happens elsewhere; it happened to me at least twice, once with the second death happening so quickly that I'd not even realised that I had "respawned" in an unpopulated version of the map's starting point.  The other time I had been on those final stairs, and it enabled me to get a bit further - but if I'd been playing a higher-level character with skill point reserves to protect, that would have been rather annoying, Rage for example could have lost over 320 skill points in three seconds.  It seems to me that, if one is respawned back where one died, despite not having a resurrection scroll on, there is a second or two before you can move, which makes things extra dangerous.

As you can imagine it was with enormous regret that I had to log out at eight, rather than have Barbarienne go along to the Cariae version of the event and lose 93 skill points, or some multiple of that.  Going by yesterday I doubt if the attendance on that server will have been exactly stellar, so there may well be some more people mourning the loss of hard-earned experience and skill points, for no discernable reward... except for participating in what was, along the way, a fun adventure of course.

ColonelScarlet was able to keep going with his pet-levelling, anyway, though he won't be trying to go through the night.  Getting a quarter of the way through level 32 by the end of the evening is pretty good going, I think.

The Forgotten Temple - December 3rd

The pet-levelling began at breakfast time, and continued throughout the day - though there wasn't an opportunity to go overnight, again, as an "emergency maintenance" was announced in the evening, to start at 11:00pm UK time.  Still, by then the pale blue horse should be well past 80% of the way through level 33, so the progress continues.

I was busy downstairs today, so the only other thing I was able to do was some herb-gathering and mining, also on Katar, with Kaerella and then with RedRyder.  One can never have too many quality stones - or at least any surplus can be passed either to ColonelScarlet for his pet-levelling duties, or to MistressDomino to sell to people too lazy to do their own mining.

So, it was the early evening before any action was to be had, and that just involved RedRyder going out to Prokion Temple on Katar-1, and its orc soldiers and mummies, after getting the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff of course.  I didn't count up the number of skill points I wanted quite correctly, and found that the 150total  I'd managed to get was 1 short, if I wanted to get a level of zeta wave processing as well as the first five levels of Alchemy, so quickly rode out of Randol to kill a couple of blood wolves and their elder werewolf companions, until the extra point clicked up.

The reason that was a short session was that the next "epic event" was due to start at six o'clock on Auzura.   Yesterday's "Crashing Tide" was to be followed by "The Evil Shroud".  Without checking through old blog entires I'd forgotten what the location for the adventure would be - which was appropriate, as the Forgotten Temple, or Temple of Forgetfulness, was where the summoned teleporter NPCs took us, from outside Randol's north gate..

After yesterday's setback, I played it safe and just logged my level 31 healer Memree in on Auzura-4, and joined the merry throng.  The local types of monster, at around level 70, were enough to kill me rather swiftly, without the assistance of the visiting flutons, patriarch botises, cube guards of many different shapes and sizes, and many more, so care had to be taken - and when I did get killed, the runs back were a bit dangerous, particularly trying to get past the legendary slayers.  I was in a party with, among others, the level 56 archer kukli4kataBG again, and got to use Resurrection a time or two, though some people automatically respawn back at the start - and one or two just left. Colbud2, a level 30 knight, was the other one to stay around until the end

Auzura didn't do too well, in that we didn't get beyond the first of the two main boss rooms; it is just a matter of how many people attend an event like this, and how many of them are high level.  Still, we got a fair way towards clearing that area out, at least, and our goodies were spawned in the middle, where I was able to grab some, even though various cube guards, reinforced troll kings, and other bad guys were perilously close.

Next, at seven, came Katar, so RedRyder had her turn with the monsters.  Of the three servers I was on, Katar did best, and I'd say we succeeded, in that we were in the final room when the hour was up.  The reprise-events are billed as "fight alongside [GM]Beatrice", but I can't say that I saw her around; Auzura and Katar seemed to be hosted by [GM]Kali, at least she was the only GM there I noticed.  Of course, Beatrice has the distinction of being a fictitious GM...who actually plays her, I wonder?  I hope it is always the same person, as otherwise account-sharing could lead to a ban, heheh...

The runs back were pretty perilous again.  I'd go outside the Temple and get horse buffs, to increase my defence, but still I'd sometimes get killed along the way, and have to try again.  Towards the end I thought to use Snare on the first two legendary slayers, always hard to get past and deadly with their ranged magical attack, but it doesn't work every time.  In the final room, I died once again - and just then the hands of loot were spawned, so I was feeling a bit annoyed with things when I respawned back at the start, and triggered a health potion to get my health back up.  I moved... and discovered that I was under the "double death" bug I've mentioned recently, and I was suddenly respawned next to the loot.  So, for once a bug worked very much in my favour, and I was able to pick up plenty of goodies.

I decided not to risk Barbarienne or Keerella on Cariae, with all those flutons and patriarch botises involved, so it was my level 27 rogue Karella who picked up the gauntlet.  At least she is a slight improvement on RedRyder in that she wears the whole of the +10 30/32 armour set, not just the gloves, but that difference in physical defence doesn't mean much to a Performer Bereed.

This time [GM]Krash was in charge, and unlike Kali, he did get involved - it certainly helps to have a level 165 tank at the front of the attack!  I noticed he remarked at one stage "Wow my pots didn't work, at all. Lame" - so hopefully he'll be giving some feedback on that to the developers.  "Join the club, Krash", Quqleque commented.

We got very nearly to the end boss room, a place where in quieter times Rage has been known to go for an sp-farming session. But time ran out for us, so the loot was spawned a bit short of there.  I discovered that Karella's inventory was actually full, and I had to get rid of a personal dungeon ticket before I could pick up item drop boosters, so didn't pick up quite as much as I might have hoped, but there seemed plenty of stuff to go around, as of course not every player who'd started the event had got that far. 

Krash left us the remaining monsters to play with, so we continued fighting for a while - the next time I got killed, though, the run back seemed not worth attempting, so Karella logged out.

And that was the end of the excitements.  Checking back over the old blog entries, I see that the next event on the list, for tomorrow, should be defending Randol, on a PvP-enabled subserver, which isn't as exotic or different as invading more distant parts of the world.  Beatrice ought to put in an appearance then, or things won't be the same at all.  After that we move on to Juno's Velpist Temple, followed by attempting to reassemble Beatrice's soul in Prokion Temple, so there will be more outings for RedRyder and Karella yet.  Perhaps RedRider on Auzura could make it a rogue-style triple-act?  The Snare skill certainly comes in useful on these occasions.  These repeat adventures were a nice idea, and make a change from storming castles, or battling mad monster spawns, but they don't seem to be attracting quite as many people as they did originally.  All the more loot for those of us who do turn up, then.

Saving Randol - December 4th

ColonelScarlet logged out a couple of minutes before last night's extra maintenance downtime began at eleven, UK time.  "Some back end server changes to further fix the party system" were the goal, to fix the remaining disconnection issues, so let us hope all that bother can be put behind us now.

With me busy downstairs, the Colonel was my only Last Chaos enterprise for most of the day; his horse reached level 34 after an hour or so, and then started to make steady if slow progress through the new level, though the bandit he was fighting did reset himself a couple of times.   Still, the work I was doing went okay, so with any luck I will have more time tomorrow.

The epic event today did indeed involve us in defending Randol from attacks to both the west and north gates, and it was interesting to compare the way the different servers were handled.  Auzura went right to the full hour, and had a double spawning of hands of loot at the end, with [GM]Moose involved in the fighting, at least at one stage; Katar only lasted 45 minutes, but included a spawning of level 23 orc soldiers in the arena for lower level players, though the effect was slightly spoiled by dropping a level 100 blue dragon on top of us - and one or two arena regulars took the opportunity to kill a few noobs.  The loot was slightly less generous at the end, but the GM did spawn a few final dragons for people to play with.  Over on Cariae, Krash was much in evidence, chatting and generally interacting; the event was slightly shorter still, more like 35 minutes, with quite generous drops at the end - and no dragons or anything like that.  He must have decided that we weren't a particularly strong group there, as Flutons didn't turn up at all, as far as I could see.

So, the first server to get "The Clash at the Gate" was Auzura, and I made RedRider my representative there, to keep everything roguish without risking Rage's skill points or remaining resurrection scrolls.  She did have, at level 26, about 1300 skill points saved up, so I took the precaution of spending them on maximising her remaining available rogue skills, and then investing in some of the "special" ones too.  She doesn't have any +10 armour, but that really makes very little difference when one is being attacked by something 109 levels higher.

Once the action moved to Katar, RedRyder took over, and, thanks to those orc soldiers spawning in the arena and then again later outside the gate, she actually ended up with 9 skill points, as well as 24.12% experience to get rid of before long.  She has at least the +10 gloves equipped, though will have to wait until she can eventually level up before she can equip the rest of the 30/32 armour set.

At eight o'clock it was Cariae-4's turn to host the event, and I rather rashly logged in as my mage Keerella.  Her Terra Spear skill certainly did a satisfactory amount of damage to the first cube guard she attacked - but it turned its attention to her then, and gave her a rather hefty blow, so I decided that it was really a better idea to switch over to my old-established local rogue Karella, and let her do the fighting.  As usual we would fight at one gate, and then the message would come that more monsters were attacking the other one, so we'd need to hurry and kill off the remaining monsters and dash back through Randol to the other gate.

The original event had been on a PvP-enabled sub-server, as [GM]Beatrice had at that stage in the saga "gone bad", and come out and attacked people, "traitors" who'd failed to prevent the boss baddie from escaping before.  This time, though, there was no plot advancement like that, and no sign of Beatrice, so we were able to stay on the first non-PvP sub-server of each group, which after some recent reshuffling is always number four.

At nine, I decided that I might as well have a look at how the Sarissa server would handle things; so Keerella got her chance to fight after all.  My level 2 mage of that name on Sarissa, that is - who ended the hour at level 10, which can't be bad.  When the monsters arrived she only had 236 gold to her name, but she was able to qualify to pick up three nice gold drops from cube guards and other attackers, so ended up with almost 80,000, enough to buy some new armour.  Level 10 means she can go into merchant mode, though she didn't actually pick up a whole lot of goodies at the end, just ones and twos of the best items.  Still, for her even the small HP and MP recovery pots would be useful.

Sarissa's event was a longer one, running to the whole hour.  As before Krash was in quite a talkative mood, and helped with the fighting, though he mentioned that he didn't want to hit too hard, or else he wouldn't be leaving the other people very much to do.  And as on other servers, some of the monsters were "bugged", so that when some skills, particularly stun-type skills and the rogue's Snare, were used, the monster's health bar zoomed back up to 100%.  As ever it took a while to persuade some people to stop using such skills - but Sarissa has the dubious distinction of being the only one where one rogue admitted to using Snare just to annoy everyone else, and another rogue wanted a million gold to stop doing it.

I think all four of my characters got killed more than once, though, even in her starter armour, Keerella didn't seem to get killed any more often than the rogues.  And if you are low enough in level, you don't get a death penalty, though Kee may have outgrown that at level 5, I'm not sure.  Anyway, some useful loot was picked up on all four servers, and it was, generally, a fun series of battles.

It was about 8:15 when ColonelScarlet got his horse into level 35, a level which should take around twelve hours or so to get through.  So the day when MistressDomino can ride around on her own horse can't be too far away now.

Clearing Out Velpist Temple - December 5th

My hard work over recent days meant that I was far enough ahead to be able to log in and play some Last Chaos in the afternoon today.  ColonelScarlet had kept busy overnight though, and during the morning his pale blue horse reached the start of its final level, 36, down with the gnoll lancers in south Merac.

The afternoon session starred RedRyder, since at the weekends I think Prokion Temple does get a little too busy to allow Kaerella all the orc soldiers she needs for her painstaking approach to skill point farming.  As Red already had 9 skill points, she headed for the Temple on Katar-1 and continued from there, even though she already had 24.12% experience.  As usual the room she goes for, with its mixture of orc soldiers and mummies, was free; there wasn't a solo party available to begin with, but before too long she was able to join one, though it ran out of members midway through the afternoon.

RedRyder's target was 233 skill points, to finish herb farming and get the first advanced level of energy gathering, and she got there after adding 55.28% experience.  So, after spending the skill points, the next item on the agenda was the "suicide runs" bit... and then there was time for a further session, so after getting the buff from Elizabeth again, back Red went - this time with a target of 277 skill points.  Though the target tends to be set as I go along, when I see how much time I have left, if the experience percentage will be okay, and what "special" skills are next on my list.

The 277 points were got, and RedRyder ended on 73.00% experience.  For a change I went to Misty Canyon in Merac for the necessary deaths, since the recent "Epic Event" there had allowed her to add the location to her memory scroll - and with an Introducer Camio monster pretty close to the start point, it was actually a lot quicker than running through Prokion Temple.  I did miss the opportunities for picking up unwanted loot, though!

As usual the reprised "Epic Event" was described on the web page as "Relive the Epic Events with [GM]Beatrice and fight by her side in the episodes leading up to the launch of Episode 2" and "This is your call to arms!  Fight at the side of a fallen GM and help her destroy evil, and snuff their plot to destroy Iris! " - and as usual that was rather a big exaggeration.  Previously we have at least had, most of the time, a GM of some sort around, but I don't think that they tend to work on Saturdays, there are usually no special events on that day, so all they had arranged was to have a starting announcement, put up the teleporters outside town, and fill Velpist Temple with the high-level monsters we've come to expect.  There was absolutely no sign of Beatrice, no GMs giving leadership or encouragement, and no rewards spawned anywhere that I came across, so "Soul Snatchers" was a bit low-kay.

As usual Auzura, as it is geared towards more European timings, led off, and was a complete disaster.  Not that just filling the place with high-level stuff doesn't have its attractions, but everyone agreed the lag was crippling.  I only got disconnected once, but I gave up on getting resurrected twice and relogged.  With the lag, it seemed that half the time RedRider, my local level 26 rogue, would try to cast Snare, she'd just stand there; chat was very slow to appear, and it seemed that everyone, monsters included, would just stop and stand around, frequently.

There were basically two groups of people fighting monsters; I think the bigger group must have disbanded, the group I was in did try to take on a convenient room full of monsters one at a time, but the lag really defeated us in the end.  Anyone with a stock of unused skill points could be excused for getting the heck out of there, the combination of deadly monsters and heavy lag was, literally, a killer.

By then the event had already started on Katar, which, thankfully, didn't have the same lag issues.  RedRyder took over the Snare-casting duties, and the server did pretty well - it wasn't a matter of ignoring side rooms to press forward, by the end we had cleared out every last monster we could find, except for one stuck in a wall.  Someone actually recognised me as the blogger here - the mage WitheredLover told me she had read every post, which must have taken a while, and added Red to her Friends list.  If you've read all through the archives at kaerella.blogspot.com, well, the archives at kaerella.com go back even further!  "You've got so many characters", WitheredLover commented, which does have a certain ring of truth about it.

Red spent about an hour there, so I was late for the start on Cariae, too, with Karella as my rogue in attendance.  At level 27 she's ahead of the other two, and is able to wear the whole +10 armour set; today's event allowed her to add three more bloodseals, at least, including one for her +15 crossbow.  Still, when the foes you are fighting are a hundred or so levels above you, the difference between a +10 and a +15 weapon, and +4 or +10 armour, is relatively unimportant.

As before I did hear some complaints about lag, but there was nothing like the problem poor Auzura had had.  I don't think the turn-out can have been as good as on Katar, as we didn't, at least by about 9:20 when I left, clean out the whole Velpist Temple; the group I was with, which was probably the last and main group, did however manage to clear out the "throne room", the place where normally the highest-level skeletons hang out, and where the "torn book of life" quest for Ichi and Scra-Chi pets gets advanced.  Anubis Occultists and Archers, Sphinx Commanders, a Black Pudding, Flutons - the final Patriarch Botis gave us a lot of trouble, he must have killed me three times at least, but I had plenty of time to run back.  We were relying on a high-level titan, HENON, to be our main tank and damage-doer, and his game froze, so that he just stood there for a while and then vanished; luckily he hurried back to us, but while he was away we did very little damage.

We had three rogues, including Karella, so managed to keep the big monster under control most of the time - but when he did get loose, mayhem ensued.  Still, once Henon was back, we gardually wore him down - and the room was clear.  We were a group rather than a party, including Dark001, EarlMcBaller, RoyalPrince, and readsonyaxx, but we mainly seemed to decide to quit then, as a natural finishing point.

ColonelScarlet had kept busy meanwhile, of course; while RedRider was lagging so badly, he had his own problems, I suddenly noticed that a level 50 Pandora Beast was attacking.  Luckily, the Beast had chosen to attack his horse first - it was hurting it, but pets only take a single damage point per blow, if it had attacked the Colonel, he would probably have died before I realised anything was wrong.  I quickly moved the Colonel across from the gnoll lancers to the bandits and berserkers - by then the horse had lost 14 health points, but when it levels up, those will instantly be regained.

However, that levelling-up, to get the horse to 37, so that it can become a suitable mount for MistressDomino, won't happen tonight; there will still be about an hour to go.  Leaving the work going overnight would be a bit of a waste, but hopefully there will be enough time tomorrow.  As usual with one of my "busy Sundays" I won't even be switching on the computers until the evening.  I see that there will be the next "epic event", so I'll miss the Auzura trip to Prokion Temple for "The Binding Process".  Katar's event will start at seven, which ought to be do-able; I see that the Cariae version, and the subsequent Sarissa and Hatzring ones, have been put back an hour to fit in the Sunday Quiz, which seems fair enough.

Mentioning the Quiz reminds me that Ratel was telling me a few days ago how he got cut off shortly before a Sunday Quiz, a fortnight back - he reached his maximum bandwidth for November, and was only able to return to us when the new month began.  I thought he had been quiet lately, but we do tend to be on different servers.  He'll need to cut back on his pet-levelling if he wants to stay with us throughout December...

Clearing Out Prokion Temple - December 6th

As expected, it was about a quarter to seven in the evening, UK time, when I was able to get the computers running, and log RedRider in on Auzura-4; the latest reprise of an Epic Event, "The Binding Process", had been under way there for about 45 minutes, but I thought I ought to look in on things, and make sure everything was going okay, so I headed out to Prokion Temple.

Luckily, yesterday's lag on Auzura wasn't repeated, and people were able to get stuck in to the many and varied monsters available, from swamp trolls to rather a lot of Patriarch Botises.  I joined in, using my Snare when I could - it doesn't always work, but it's nice that a skill like that makes even a low-level rogue useful in a group attacking something a hundred levels or so higher.

The fight continued past seven, but I had to move on - and RedRyder logged in over on Katar, and headed out of Randol's north gate, where a large number of clones of Sandra, the teleporter found just outside Prokion Temple, had appeared.

Things proceeded roughly as one would expect; Red did get recruited into a party, but my first death, and respawning, separated me from the others, and I ended up fighting different monsters for most of the rest of the time.  Still, things went on until at least 8:15, when it was time to get ready for the Sunday Quiz.

ColonelScarlet had logged on at the same time as RedRider, and done some pet-levelling - just enough to get his pale blue horse up to level 37, so his job is done now.  Transferring it across to MistressDomino will need to wait for tomorrow, when things are a bit quieter.

Kaerella and MistressDomino went to the quiz on Katar-2 - would you believe they still haven't fixed the movement bug there?  For yet another time we all had to move around by the "WSAD" keys, which basically, as far as I'm concerned, means looking in the direction you want to move, and pressing the "W" key until you get to your destination.

Everything went well, however; I thought that MD wasn't following Kae properly, before the quiz started, but once it was under way she followed perfectly, and they both got the full rewards, so next time MistressDomino has a merchanting session, she can sell some heaven stones.  Just about everyone was on the correct side for the answer every time - there were a few people sitting down, and when I had a chance I did mention that doing that was a "bug exploit", and could get a player banned.

Cariae's version of the Epic Event started at nine, and [GM]Kali did actually appear outside Randol's north gate just before the teleporters spawned, and after that was in Prokion Temple - but she just stood there, not interacting with anyone, so I don't really see the point.  For me it had been a long day, so I left before the end, when I got killed and for a change respawned down in the foundations of the Temple rather than in the starting area.

Sarissa started at ten, and I did briefly take the chance to let my level 10 mage Keerella and my level 7 healer Kaerella there use the teleporter to get to Prokion Temple, and then go outside to get the location onto their memory scrolls - well, it saves a couple of runs through the desert.  Kae did attempt to pick up a little loot, but for her even the ghouls are deadly, so she didn't stay long.

These "Epic Events" do make a change from our normal weekly happenings, the Mad Monster Spawns, the Zombie Invasions, the Storm the Castles, but it is a pity that they don't do what they say they do; they aren't a second chance to fight alongside, or against, [GM]Beatrice, in her battles, they are just the locations that were used, and the same monster spawnings, without the plot or the main actors.  Some have had GM participation, and spawnings of loot at the end to say "well done", and some, well, have just petered out.

We are back to the regular timings tomorrow for the final event, "A Shadow is Born" - that is the one that takes place in the Tomb of Theos.  If teleportation to the Tomb is offered, my rogues will probably go along, but with the "normal" monsters there being so high already, giving in effect top-level adversaries who'll keep respawning, making running back to the fight for any distance impossible. it may not keep my interest long.  If it was to be a true second chance to see the battle, and the tale's conclusion, I'd be tempted to let my level 101 archer on Cariae participate, but just filling the Tomb with some hard extra monsters, well, without the narrative there is no great point to it.

Anyway, we may not have got any generous loot drops today, but we participated in some fun fights against exotic monsters - and of course not only did we get through the Quiz safely, MistressDomino's horse is now ready for her at last.  And that's my last "busy weekend" of the year finished with.

The New Game Master - December 7th

There was no action on Last Chaos at all until lunchtime was getting relatively near, when I logged in MistressDomino and RedRyder, so that MD could get Red's recent loot for resale, and take over the white horse.  Then ColonelScarlet passed the level 37 pale blue horse over to Red, for her to mount and set up with the "horse buff" skills.  MD's hatchling was only on level 10, so it seemed like a good idea to pass it over to the Colonel so that he could train it up a few levels for her - so we did that, and then ColonelScarlet headed down into Mrerac to visit the berserkers and bandits.

So that she still has a hatchling, meanwhile, to pick up loot, MistressDomino then went to Lorraine and Jajan to get a drake egg transformed into a new hatchling, before riding down to the Colonel to pass over a few items that he is usually the holder of, such as transformation scrolls and quest items.  On the way there I noticed a group of Cerebrii in the main clearing, so someone must have killed the Grand Red Dragon there fairly recently, without bothering to tidy up afterwards.

In the afternoon I managed to give Kaerella, Katar version, a double session with the orc soldiers - two hours, each using a pssp.  The first hour I had the place to myself, and managed exactly 300 skill points, while going up by 3.37%; the second hour wasn't so easy, though, first there was a healer called pveronica who tried to use my central room a little, and then went to the next room along, so that I could no longer attack the soldiers there when I ran out of others; she stayed for perhaps half an hour.  And then a knight called GranTarian reached level 22 and decided he wanted to fight soldiers, and went to the corridor outside my axeman and sergeant "back room", which stopped me using the three of four soldiers at my end of that corridor.  And there was another knight called PaTo who took over the room pveronica had been using.  All in all, I was a bit squashed, so getting another 286 skill points, while going up by 3.19%, was the best I could have hoped for.  That got Kaerella to 60% of the way through level 29, so there ought to be room for about a dozen more one-hour pssp sessions there before level 30 is reached.

Strangely, according to the Last Chaos website Auzura was due to have both its weekly Mad Monster Spawn, and today's "Epic Event", set in Strayana, at the same time.  To keep up to date with any announcements about that, I logged on to Auzura after my food break, with Rage paying a short visit to the Temple of Forgetfulness, to try and start getting back the lost skill points from a few days ago

At about twenty to six, UK time, we got an unusual GM announcement: "The mage [GM]Valsharyn has perceived a strange magical vortex near Juno!  Gather at 453.290 on Auzura-1!  She is sure that the invisible vortex will spit out monsters in 15 minutes!  Ascertain the monsters' deaths and [GM]Valsharyn will reward you!"  ColonelScarlet, over on Katar-4, only got the second half of that, so people outside the Auzura server will generally have been a bit puzzled.  Auzura later got "The monsters will arrive near Juno at 453.290 on Auzura-1 in 10 minutes!" - so Rage logged out from the Forgotten Temple, and, in case things got a bit dangerous, RedRider, my level 26 rogue, logged in on Auzura-1, and headed for the Mad Monster Spawn location.

We soon got announcements for the Epic Event as well, but somehow the MMS seemed a better bet than wandering around Strayana, especially on the loot side,  And so it proved!  I had slight misgivings about it being held on a PvP-enabled sub-server, but there didn't seem to be anything in the way of player-killing going on, I only ever saw a couple of people with PvP switched on.  The event was slightly different from the traditional MMS, in that there were a few monsters one doesn't usually see there, but otherwise it was the business, as usual.

Since we didn't have a huge turnout, as other people will have gone to Strayana, things did go a bit slowly - and I think my character died more often than ever before, but that only cost me a few health pots, and the memory scrolls to get back to the MMS location.  It must have been gone half past seven by the time we finished off the last Patriarch Botis, but the whole thing was fun, especially because the new game master, [GM]Valsharyn, did respond to players, and jokingly interact; she did some fighting too, though not using skills - she probably doesn't actually have skills sorted out, a GM's ability to level themself up wouldn't automatically give her the skill points to go with it.

Despite really taking twice as long as we should, we did get the reward of plenty more hands of the guard, bravery, and protection, after the last Botises and Flutons had been laboriously dealt with.  And there were one or two people there who sulked rather vocally about all the experience and skill points they'd lost, and shouldn't they have a bit more loot to compensate; our hard-boiled, long-serving GMs would have dropped a few blue dragons on everyone's heads for that, but, since it was her first outing, Valsharyn was kind enough to give us an extra spawning of loot.  As a number of people had left by then, that really helped fill RedRider's inventory, which ended up seriously overweight... and a rough calculation I made suggests that Red picked up at least 50 million's worth of goodies.

People lingered even after that, and Valsharyn continued to chat to people - I do like it when a GM gets involved like that.  So, I lost any chance to go to even the second of the Strayana Epic Events, over on Katar.  I was in time for the Cariae one, though; I arrived at five past eight, UK time, and found [GM]Kali and [GM]Krash outside Randol's north gate, and hardly anyone else.  Then an announcement came up that things would start in five minutes.  I had gone along initially as Barbarienne, but, with the time to spare, decided that maybe my level 27 rogue Karella would be a better bet, or at least a less risky one.

I don't think there can have been more than a couple of dozen people who took up the challenge, and some of them, or course, were more Karella's level than the high level you really need to stay alive in Strayana.  Since just spawning extra monsters and leaving us to get on with it, as in Velpist and Prokion temples, wouldn't work with a whole outdoor map, [GM]Krash was the group leader, really; I don't think Kali did anything.  He led us along the route we needed to take, but of course we were a bit slow, and a number of people who weren't used to Strayana tended to attack the local wildlife, even though it is generally non-aggressive and would have left us in peace, and that slowed us down too.

So, I guess that Krash did slightly lose patience with us - and of course there was another server for him to move on to.  I didn't notice him logging out, but, while we were busy fighting our latest bunch of level 140 stuff, the announcement came up that the Epic Event was over, thank you for playing.  So, no drops for us, and another unfinished Event - but we kept fighting for a little while, until Karella got killed for a second time, and was back in town.

A level 102 archer called Ariania had kindly recruited Karella, and a level 25 rogue called MySurvior, into her party, along with a level 99 titan called TheBourg; she had Recall, too, which was useful when one of us died and ended up back in town.  She got called away at the end, though, so after Karella's second death, a return to where the few remaining people were still fighting didn't seem practical.  There was some cash picked up along the way, and I got a piece of armour too - "Noticeable Stinger Pants", a level 91 item for a night shadow.

ColonelScarlet had kept busy, meanwhile - a repeat ks-er, the knight "huxy", did work his mischief, but the Colonel wasn't out of action for long, and MistressDomino's hatchling zoomed up from level 10 to level 16.  Six levels in one day, starting just before lunch, can't be bad.

Into the Tomb - December 8th

ColonelScarlet did log on at breakfast time, and teleported down to south Merac to visit a gnoll lancer, but progress was already starting to slow down for MistressDomino's drake, which only went up by one level during the morning.  Still, the lunch break added another level, reaching 18, without any problems.

After coffee Kaerella headed out to Prokion Temple on Katar-4, and had a successful hour there, using a platinum super skill pill.  The knight GranTarian was in the lobby when I arrived, and soon came along to the corridor next to me; he just stood there for a while, and then kindly gave me the Divine Shield buff.  Eventually he did start to fight along there, but when I asked if he could move along a bit, as I did need the orc soldiers at my end of the corridor to keep me busy during my pssp hour, he graciously agreed.  He had slight misgivings about fighting the orc fighters which tend to be in the majority at the far end of that section, but I mentioned that there were plenty of orc soldiers just round the corner, if one didn't mind a few mummies too.

It probably just shows how the condition of Prokion Temple does vary, but in my pssp hour I added 3.96% experience - and no less than 348 skill points, when just around 300 is more usual, which more than made up for the shortfall during yesterday's second hour.  And that despite a brief incursion towards the end from a mage called Oneta.

MistressDomino had a quick browse through the merchants in Katar-1 Randol after that, and then set up in merchant mode herself over lunch.  She didn't actually sell much, just some quality stones and her whole supply of 500 green herb leaves, but every 1,925,000 helps.

The afternoon session was something I have done before, but not for a few weeks I think.  On Cariae-4, my level 92 wizard Keerella headed into the Tomb of Theos, down to the first room with the Anubis Spear Men, the level 106 boss types, and, once I'd found that only one other player was there, the level 83 sorcerer Ignominy, who agreed that there was plenty of room for both of us, Kee was swiftly joined by my level 101 archer Barbarienne.  We had a combat party, which Ignominy didn't want to join as our different levels made it almost "bridging"; Kee would do the fighting, and Barb would do the healing, and supply the combat party boost...and also have my level 52 Scra-Chi type "human tribe" pet, SkrappY, out, to gain a bit of experience.

Things didn't really run exactly smoothly - for one thing, while Kee used two hour-long platinum blessed irises, for triple experience, the individual experience boosters didn't always trigger when she killed a Spear Man.  Although she landed the killing blow every time, sometimes the Spear Man would be targeting Barb rather than Kee at the time, and that seemed to effect things.  The first hour saw her gain 15.46%, from using 18 "xpb", but the second hour just added 10.92%, off 11 xpb.  That left Kee still 0.36% short of levelling up, so I stayed long enough to kill another five Spear Men, and a few handy Sphinx Fighters, to get Keerella to level 93.

Perhaps 20 minutes into the first hour a couple of members of the xxTUGASxx guild barged in - I commented that I didn't think there was room for three parties killing Spear Men there, but they ignored me, and Ignominy decided the easiest thing to do was call them "noobs" and move on a little further.  The royal knight xXdarkassassinXx seemed to be helping a lower-level friend, RapidaHimortaL, presumably within 15 levels of him for a regular party, to level up a bit; Rapida didn't fight much, but kept near a friendly piece of wall.

In the second hour an assassin-type rogue, Shimm3r, joined the room briefly, but soon moved on; a sorcerer called GlaDIator came in and said hi, and we both fought the three Sphinx Fighters that had followed him in, though he seemed to wish to deny that they had been following him.  RapidaHimortaL left, and it seemed that his guildie xXdarkassassinXx did understand English, as he asked to join the combat party, which was fine with me.

Unfortunately he also wanted some healing from Barbarienne, which caused problems.  It was easy enough for Barbarienne to use Heal Party, to heal him and Kee, but as ever that tended to attract the attention of other monsters, so Barb tended to find herself fighting a Sphinx Fighter or two.  Using the ordinary one-person Heal was a problem, as that has a shorter range, so Barb had to come out of her safe spot.  I find it can be bugged, and lead Barb to actually want to move right up to the intended recipient - and moving out into the middle of the room, among the aggressive Sphinx Fighters, meant that poor SkrappY immediately got killed.

I asked on the forum shoutbox if the Archbishop was again able to "unseal" dead new pets, as a recent bug had glitched the process so that one ended up with a permanently 0-health pet - and Coraan, the gamesage there, told me that in fact the Archbishop shouldn't have been able to unseal dead pets in the first place, and that now only the animal trainer could be used.  Which was unfortunate - I went along there after I'd left the Tomb, and for unsealing a level 52 Scra-Chi he charged 2,123,232 gold.  At least poor SkrappY was returned to life with 40% health, the Archbishop always restarted one's pet with zero, and the new pets regenerate health awfully slowly.

xXdarkassassinXx had moved away to an earlier part of the Tomb before the end, so the last part of my session there was relatively uneventful.  By the time I left Keerella had added in all 26.75%, while her pet drake Greedo had gained 2247 pet points.  Barbarienne, from slightly under 4 million per kill as her combat party bonus plus a few Sphinx Fighters, had added 0,20%; they had each gained 2 skill points, as well.

ColonelScarlet was able to log back in over a rather extended food break, as I had some emails to attend to; the drake reached level 19 then.  And soon after nine, level 20 was reached.

The main part of the evening was really a double session for RedRyder, on Katar-1.  After getting the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff I went out to Prokion Temple, of course, and, while adding 56.26% experience to the 31.42% I'd had after Red's most recent Epic Event appearance, went up from 6 to 224 skill points, which I then promptly spent on some assorted special skills.  A quick trip to Misty Canyon, and a few tiny attacks on the first Introducer Camio there, got rid of the experience - and when I got back outside, an Elite Cerebrii killed me too, giving me a free trip back to town.

After getting the "Elizabuff" reapplied, I took the teleporter to Dratan - and saw that someone had discarded three monster combo-type necklaces on the ground.  So, I equipped my drake and used "pet item pickup", to nonchalantly pick them up - well it would be a waste if they just lay on the ground until they evaporated!  The Necklace of Wind just offered 58 hit points and 6 to all kinds of physical defence, while one Necklace of Thunder just gave a 30 "increase critical hit".  The other Necklace of Thunder gave that too, along with 56 to evasion and 8 to all types of physical attack, so that one Red is now using.  I'd admit that they aren't the best necklaces one might get, but I'm sure they are worth a few million each...

Arriving back in Prokion, I went to my usual room, not noticing that I was too close to another solo party member, whose blob appeared on my compass-map - SiLeNtHeAt was, at level 32, in my favourite back room.  As soon as he pointed this out, or at least as soon as I noticed his text, I moved a bit further along, but luckily he left the party before all that long, and I was able to move back to RedRyder's normal position.

Someone in the party had asked when the MMS was, and I stopped to type in "about 70 minute I think" - and when I looked back at the screen, a titan with a red name, and the big "X" alongside it to indicate that he was in player versus player mode, was standing beside me.  He moved off without attempting to kill me, though.  I mentioned it on the party chat, and the level 73 mage "slili" was interested enough to ask me to say if I saw him again.  Some people do like hunting down the red-named types...

That session got me 286 skill points, while I went up by 80.40% - a slightly higher percentage than normal, as moving along a bit had meant I fought some orc fighters, who give a bit more skill exp but a lot more experience, at Red's level.  I also picked up a couple of heaven stones, which is always good, and Red's dragon hatchling went up by 899 pet points.  It is still only level 10 though, so I think Red will be asking ColonelScarlet for some assistance on that front.  Spending the skill points means that now Red has all but the final level of stone processing, and both levels of zeta wave processing.  Just another 922 skill points, I think, and all the special skills she can learn now will be at their maximum.

All the US servers (Cariae, Katar, Sarissa, and Hatzring) were scheduled to have their Mad Monster Spawns at ten, so I made sure to have this blog as up-to-date as possible before then, and resolved to go along to the Katar one with RedRyder, since I'm more in need of loot there, and Red is reasonably well prepared - "MMS" is the first location on her memory scroll.

[GM]Krash was in charge for us, and managed to drop the first two waves right on my head without any warning - but, including those, I think Red only died six or seven times, and ended up with a new 20.10% of experience.  We didn't manage to kill the final boss wave inside the deadline, so Krash left us the monsters to finish off.  There were still a few Flutons and Patriarch Botises left when I had to log out for the night.  The loot spawnings that we did get were generous, anyway, and I managed to grab a healthy share.  As it happens, I was quite often fighting alongside the mage slili, who I assume was doing rather more damage than I was.  Still, all my Snare prowess was generally useful, I hope.

ColonelScarlet had got the drake well into level 20 by then, so he did pretty well today too, despite taking the afternoon off.

[GM]Valsharyn Strikes Again - December 9th

The weekly maintenance patch last night doesn't seem to have done much, and there was indeed nothing new to download this morning.  Apparently some further work has been done on the messy situation with parties and/or fellowships - and at the last minute they managed to get the night shadow situation to what Aeria had originally assumed they'd got, with the requirement for already having a level 100 character on the account (and same server) moved down to level 90.

So, presumably there are a lot more night shadows running around Egeha today, wondering how they can farm thousands of skill points.  ColonelScarlet, however, had more mundane tasks to see to, and spent most of the morning getting that drake he was working on well into level 21.

After coffee, though, it was time for Kaerella to put in her hour in Katar-4's Prokion Temple, generally terrorising the local orc soldiers.  Things were back to normal after yesterday, and, without any interruptions, Kae managed to get 307 skill points while adding 3.63%, which equates to not far short of eight kills a minute.

Following that, there was time for RedRyder to exchange her level 10 dragon hatchling for the level 21 drake that the Colonel had been busy with.  And, as the time isn't far away when Red will have finished maximising her special skills, and will start to accumulate a reserve of unused skill points as she levels up, it seemed like a good idea to start a new rogue who won't farm excess skill points, and will thus be able to take over the event-going duties.

On the Cariae server, Memree is a mage, though a pretty inactive one; on Auzura she is a level 31 healer, and has been known to go to a few events in her time.  And now on Katar she completes the trio by becoming a rogue, which makes sense, in a way (the word is apparently something to do with a child's imaginary friend).  There was just time before the lunch break for her to go through the introductory dungeon, and emerge in Randol at level 2, where RedRyder was able to trade across her old armour sets, and a little cash for expenses.

After lunch, Memree went out on Katar-1 with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff - and, starting with foxes and deer, followed by ordinary wolves, and then dire and berserk wolves, followed by jaguars, began her double-speed elevation to higher levels.  At level 9 she headed for Velpist Temple, stopping off en route to get the Mad Monster Spawn location onto her memory scroll; at level 14 she went to Dratan for the "Bant in Dratan" quest, and to get her own pony since she had finally picked up a pan flute - and made the run out to Prokion Temple, staying there long enough to reach level 15, killing a few ghouls and mummies, with recovery periods in between.  Then it was back to Velpist Temple - and by the end of the afternoon, in less than three hours she had reached level 17.

Luckily I did remember to get her into the Guardian system while she was still level 10, so Kaerella logged in, added her name to the Guardians list, accepted Memree's application, and left the list, before logging out so that ColonelScarlet could get back to work.  Not that Mem is likely to use the rogue event weapon, which is a pair of daggers, she is strictly a crossbow-using ranger type.  Reaching level 17 meant she was able to wear the whole 20/22 "Silver/Silent" armour set by the end, and use Red's old level 21 crossbow.  She had used level 17, 13 and 9 crossbows before that, but hadn't bothered much with new armour sets, though a pair of level 17 boots did conveniently drop for her in Velpist Temple.

For the first part of the evening, I switched across to RedRyder, and added 42.14% and 164 skill points in Katar-1's Prokion Temple.  A healer called "thebesthealer2" was in Kaerella's spot as I passed, and I remember thinking the name was a slight contradiction in terms - wouldn't "thebesthealer1", or just "thebesthealer", be the, er, best healer?  Once I was in position I applied to join the only solo party on offer - and found its leader was tbh2, so it was lucky I was just far enough along to be out of compass range.

Memree had seen a red-named rogue called EliteRipper earlier - and RedRyder saw her too, this time with PvP enabled, coming into Red's room.  As she didn't attack immediately I said "hi", and she said "hi" back, and pointedly used the Hawk Strike jump-and-double-attack skill on the orc soldier nearest me...before moving off.  Perhaps I should have warned tbh2, but by the time I'd typed in a message it would have just been a distraction.  EliteRipper did say "I want to kill you" to someone along that way, but I don't know who.

But at about 6:15 UK time my session was interrupted by an announcement from [GM]Valsharyn, who had apparently perceived, through her mystical abilities as a mage, another energy vortex that was liable to spit out some dangerous monsters in, oh, about fifteen minutes.  As before, part of the message was sent out to all servers, but the part about which server was involved wasn't broadcast far and wide, so I had to ask in the shoutbox, where I was told that Auzura-4 was the place to be.

So, RedRyder logged out on Katar-1, and RedRider logged in on Auzura-4, and teleported out to the usual MMS location.  I didn't have long to wait, and the first two waves were pretty much the normal Mad Monster Spawn material.  We carved through the apes and death knights and wights and almas pretty well - as ever the wave of cave spirits took its time, though, with the mob of lost spirits of the titan, silent spirits of the knight, roamng spirits of the archer, destructive spirits of the mage, hovering spirits of the rogue, and raging spirits of the sorcerer having to be whittled down gradually.  The titan types are level 119, and they go up 3 levels per type in that order, so can be pretty formidable.

The loot drops were pretty good again; I was a bit glad to get killed for a third time, as it gave me a chance to put some more tool aids into storage before I teleported back, I'd gone over 100% for my inventory weight once more.  The GM got involved, both in chat and in fighting, and at one point "Our Val" ran for it, chased by the best part of a dozen monsters, shouting for help, so people broke off and piled in, which added to the fun.

This wasn't a whole official scheduled MMS, though, so [GM]Valsharyn cautioned us that the portal was about to spit out more monsters, in a steady stream - and if we couldn't keep up we'd be overwhelmed.  Luckily it wasn't Flutons and Patriarch Botises that came through, it was level 65 Cursed Spiders, and we managed to deal with them pretty quickly.  That was followed by one of the smaller-type central spawnings of loot, as opposed to the more usual long line along the hillside, so more good stuff got grabbed.

And that was about the end of things, though the GM stayed and chatted, explaining that, as a non-scheduled bonus event, we had really had all the monsters, and loot, that was possible.  I did try to suggest that a few dragons were a traditional way of concluding things, but eventually Our Val left - and people started to head back to town.

As with most Wednesdays I had to log out soon after that too, though ColonelScarlet kept going of course - soon after nine the dragon hatchling reached level 16, becoming the larger, sleeker drake type of pet.  How quickly they grow up...

It seems that the Christmas event will start in a week, with "cool buffs, gifts and quests... For all you old time LC'ers the event will be very similar to last year's.  Yes, you will be able to turn your pet into a Reindeer."  So, lots of Christmas trees, and a hokey "snowstorm" effect in Randol?  Christmas is starting to get near, all right.  And Barbarienne's reindeer pet will no longer be a rarity - I wonder if this year the effect will vanish in January?

The Big Parade - December 10th

When I switched off the older, XP-running computer last night, it had assorted updates to install - but the newer, Vista-running one didn't at that stage have anything listed, so I left MistressDomino in merchant mode in Katar-1 Randol.  However, by morning the newer machine too had succumbed to updates, and installed them, and, as it tends to do, restarted, so MD had been unceremoniously booted out at some point.  She only brought in about 3.8 million - which came from selling 55 Candies at 69,500 gold that I'd earlier bought from someone else at just 7,500 each.

There was no time for a morning playing session, as it was time for a supermarket "big shop", which, by including a few Christmas items, got a bit more expensive than usual.  Still, ColonelScarlet was able to do some pet-levelling from breakfast time onwards, down with the gnoll lancers, and despite his chosen adversary resetting at some point, good progress was made.

Yesterday afternoon my new rogue Memree went from level 2 to level 17; and for today's afternoon session, in less than three hours, she went on to halfway through level 24, in Prokion Temple on Katar-1, again making use of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff.  At level 22 I returned to Randol to spend some skill points, get Mem's pet pony its first couple of buff levels, and buy some more bloodseal gems... and after that, when I was back in the Temple, for some reason Memree was a little bit glitched.

While I could still use attack skills like Snare and Poison Capsule from the task bar, to equip or unequip the pony I had to double-click on it in the inventory - and I found that using a health potion also would only work like that.  As for picking up loot, well, the "pick" and "(pet) item pickup" hotkeys wouldn't work - and neither would the icons in the skills window, so the only way I could pick up stuff was by actually left-clicking on it.

Memree had started near the lobby on the level 17 ghouls and level 19 mummies, and then moved on to the top of the stairs and a landing area with a better concentration of mummies - before ending up in the room that RedRyder uses, with a mixture of mummies and orc soldiers, though she got through a few small health potions there.  The solo party I was in included some other people in Prokion, so sometimes early on I didn't get much reward from mummy-killing in the first area; a level 29 character was doing "suicide runs", as RedRyder has been doing, and would often respawn in the lobby, in range, halfway through a kill, before dashing off again.

While I had learned the first four levels of Snare back in Randol, unfortunately I hadn't yet added its icon to my task bar, so when a homicidal titan called "alandyr" attacked me, and inflicted some sort of debuff, all I could do was run for the lobby.  If the skill he used was Charge, it was probably just as well I didn't try to fight, as that would stop me from using skills like Snare anyway.

By the end of the afternoon Memree had gained in all a devilish 666 skill points, and gone up by 732.13%.  And after the food break it was time for her to exchange her level 4 pony for the level 19 drake ColonelScarlet had got, and take charge of the rogue +10 30/32 armour set from RedRyder, and, temporarily, the previous set too, as well as the level 29 +10 crossbow.  When Memree reaches level 31 she should get her own +10 30/32 armour set, so that one of the sets can be passed back across to Red.

With the improved armour, Memree had an easier time in the room with the orc soldiers and mummies, and by the time an announcement came up for the scheduled Parade over on the Auzura server at 6:30, UK time, Memree had added another 157.16% and 284 skill points, plus 629 pet points; level 26 meant that she could wear not just the +10 gloves, but the shirt and pants too.

My level 67 archer Kaerella attended the Grand Parade over on Auzura-2, which was presided over by [GM}Valsharyn.  Plenty of transformation scrolls were dropped, though the ones I picked up were mainly sasquatch ones; I used one of those, and after that a dire wolf one.  We all paraded around town, letting off firecrackers and picking up anything else that got dropped, mainly single gold coins. Greengem was there, as her gamesage Indria alter ego - she's a bit of a transformation scroll addict, so it was the perfect event for her.  I took a screenshot of her, after the scrolls had ended, looking about 18 inches tall, and posted it on the forum.  Indria had said that to her I'd seemed to be the small one, and posted a screenshot in her reply to prove it.  Weird things happen with transformation scrolls...

While I was typing the whole group, led by Our Val, headed off in a direction I didn't know, so I lost contact with them - some sort of race to some freshly-spawned loot in the mountains was involved.  Luckily they returned to just outside the north gate, and there was another loot spawning there - I think I picked up one of each of the item drop boosters, skill point boosters, and large attack and defence potions.

Ratel got in touch; he had been away from Last Chaos for over a week.  Not voluntarily, of course!  He'd had an internet outage, and also router problems, which means he won't be able to run the game on more than two computers now...which may be just as well, given his limited bandwidth.  I was able to tip him off about Elizabeth's Enhancement, and hopefully we'll be able to get together on Katar too some time.

After that, Memree returned to Prokion Temple on Katar-1, and this time went for the room that my level 29 Kaerella on that server has been using, only happily targeting the nearby orc fighters as well as the orc soldiers.  ColonelScarlet had recruited her into the Discipline guild earlier, so once she reached level 27, and was able to wear the whole 30/32 armour set, he set her experience gain to 50%.  She may not be aiming to have a large reserve of skill points, but the more she can get in Prokion Temple the better.  This session added another 138.77%, and 389 more skill points, along with 1327 pet points - and the whole armour set had got its full allocation of bloodseals.

Memree now has her passive skills, up to level 25, at maximum, but there are still some general, attack-type skills that need further work.  The next priority must be to get her to level 31, for that second rogue armour +10 set.  After that there are some interesting possibilities for a combat party arrangement with Kaerella or RedRyder, in my favourite back room, coming up, but some experimentation will be needed to see what works best for them there.

The special Holiday Giveaway, in association with GoCash, has now begun, with each hour a player is online today counting as a kind of raffle entry for some Logitech gaming speakers.  So far, so innocent, but tomorrow's way to get in the draw for a gaming keyboard and mouse is to go around killing people, though wisely only one time per victim counts.  I suspect I'll be avoiding the PvP servers if a lot of people are trying to improve their chances by running around killing everyone!

By the end of the evening ColonelScarlet's pony had moved on to level 9, so here we go again.  Well, Kaerella and MistressDomino and RedRyder all have horses to ride, so I guess Memree will need one too.

Level 29 In Three Days - December 11th

The Vista-running computer managed to catch me out again with an Update-related restart during the night, so ColonelScarlet only had half a night's pet-levelling.  Still, he went back to the gnoll lancers at breakfast time, and during the lunch break the pony reached level 15, its last level before it grew up into a relatively full-size horse.  It will still be quite a while before it can be transformed into a mount and rode about on, though.

I had coffee slightly early, to get Kaerella to her usual part of Prokion Temple on Katar-4 before things started to get busy; the hour went smoothly enough, pveronica passed through once, and a rogue called Blackhawk did start to kill in the same room until I said "please, I am on a pssp here".  I ended up doing what I've done in the back room with orc sergeants sometimes, and ignored a couple of orc fighters who followed me around, to concentrate on the orc soldiers.  Exactly 300 skill points were gained in the pssp hour, and just 3.39% experience.

There wasn't quite time for a second hour there, so instead I switched over to Cariae-1, and my original level 49 cleric version of Kaerella.  Even with today being a mad pk-ing free-for-all in the PvP sub-servers, as people attempt to get "raffle entries" for today's prize, I decided that Dratan desert was quiet enough for me to be unlikely to meet anyone roaming with evil intent.  So I rode out to the giants and akane giants, with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff applied (the reason to be on Cariae-1, rather than a non-PvP sub-server), and set to work.

Previously I've tended to forget to bloodseal Kae's level 53 +15 Peaceglory Wand, but this time I stayed alert and managed to add the last three seals, so that it now adds 4 to intelligence, 18 to hit rate, 10 to magical hit rate, 3 to attack, and 2 to magical attack.  And we passed the two-thirds point in level 49 at last, with 7.29% experience gained, along with 45 skill points, which means that Kae has over 8,000 unused skill points at present.  I see that the passive skill Magic Research, which she can learn all five levels of at level 50, will take 573 skill points - but will increase Kae's attack by 70 and her defence by 130, which sounds useful - not far short of 10% more of each.  Kae's drake, SirFrancis, added 649 pet points, as well.

I was just approaching the end of the session when the raid boss, or road boss, Kamira arrived, so I announced that on the forum shoutbox, and ValentinaR said she would come on down.  It took her a few minutes to get there, but her assassin-type rogue SiousieR rode up, and immediately attacked Kamira.  I commented "mmm, going down quickly", watching Kamira's health bar, and she replied "I'm 92, lol", which rather explained it.

Even with SiousieR being 22 levels above Kammy, the usual minor drops appeared when the monster was vanquished.  There was no rare accessory, however.  "Nothing good.  And yeah, I will keep killing it on this character till I get drops, lol."  She kindly let me have the minor items: 10 great healing potions, 5 lucky scrolls, 33,180 gold, a medal of honor, 10 medium mana potions, 5 scroll of memorising, 5 moon stones, a crystal of experience (greater), 5 tool aids, and the usual relatively lame Hero's Necklace - this time offering 10 to magical resistance and 1 to magical defence.

So, perhaps next time Kamira shows up over Kaerella on Cariae, I'll swap over to my mage Keerella, and see if I get any drops.

During the afternoon Memree managed to fit in two one-hour "beginner pssp" sessions in my favourite back room in Prokion Temple on Katar-4.  The first one added 46.37% and 418 skill points, plus 1114 pet points;  Unlike the true pssps, which give 200% extra skill exp for an hour, the five "beginner" ones a new character gets just add 150%, but they are still useful - more useful than the "beginner" platinum blessed irises, giving 150% extra experience gain for an hour, as really up to level 35 one is focussed on gaining skill points, not zooming up the levels.  Like the "beginner" resurrection scrolls, they can't be used after level 35.

The second hour gave a further 38.43% - a smaller percentage, as Memree had levelled up, reaching 28, early on.  411 skill points were earned, so that, back in town, Memree was able to maximise the last of her pre-level thirty general and passive skills.  1105 pet points were just enough to get Memree's drake into level 21.  It was strange, after the session, running back to the Temple's starting area, I didn't see anyone else fighting, and the entrance hall itself was empty too; perhaps everyone was off on the PvP-enabled servers, indulging in a bit of pk-ing.

After the food break, a third similar hour added 36.81% and 398 skill points, along with 1081 pet points.  There was an announcement of a "Pharaoh's Treasure" event on Auzura-4, but I didn't really fancy riding around Juno trying to find which spots (with their coordinates announced) had got masses of sphinx warriors, and which spot had had some hands of loot spawned, so I stayed with Memree. After the pssp ended I noticed that the "happy hour" with 50% extra skill points was finally under way, and that kept going for just about an hour, which was just long enough to get Memree finally to level 29.  So, now she would be able to use a level 33 crossbow...

I logged ColonelScarlet out, on the older computer, and Kaerella logged in instead.  She got Collector Ryl to convert her +15 level 33 archer's bow into a crossbow, and remembered to buy 5 bloodseal gems; she registered to join a Combat party, and Memree picked her up.  Kae headed for Prokion Temple, to meet up with Memree in that back room, and trade the crossbow, and bloodseal gems, across.  Memree equipped her new weapon, and we had a little look at what a Combat party between two level 29 character would do, with Memree doing the fighting, and Kaerella standing near the doorway.  As Kae didn't have a weapon now, she relied on Memree to pick off any orcs that spawned far enough back to attack her.

It wasn't quite as good a ratio of skill exp to experience as Kaerella had been getting fighting the orc soldiers solo, but it was simpler to set up, and didn't rely on having access not just to a central room but three ways leading off it.  Kaerella triggered a pssp, and over its hour, plus the brief experimentation beforehand, she went up 8.57%, while adding 359 skill points.  So, slightly more skill points per hour, with a little over twice as much experience gain.  I think we can live with that! 

Memree's hour while the "happy hour" continued, plus the brief bit while Kaerella was in Randol, and the hour of Kae's pssp, added 82.35% experience, and another 341 skill points.  The two level 30 skills she can learn will take 445 skill points; I suppose the surplus skill points can be "banked" in special skills like weapon-crafting and mining, though I don't know if I will want to maximise all Memree's special skills.  The priority is to get her to level 31, anyway, and then as a ranger on to level 32, when three passive skills will need 879 skill points between them.  She has certainly come on well since she started on Wednesday; reaching level 29 on her third day can't be bad.

So, ColonelScarlet was able to log back in, and before long the horse reached level 18, with the Colonel fighting a gnoll lancer down in south Merac.  And tomorrow Memree and Kaerella may well team up again, if there is room in Prokion Temple.  I see that a "Storm the Castle" event is scheduled for Auzura-3 after lunch, though; with those "epic event" reprises, it has been a while since we've been able to do one of those.  We never did get a repeat of the final event, though, the one in the Tomb of Theos.  Given that it would involve fighting one's way deep into that place, with extra nasties added on top of the regular inhabitants, which start at level 100 anyway, that is probably just as well.

A Desert Marathon - December 12th

I had ColonelScarlet of the older computer overnight, for a change; he did lose some time to a ks-er, but the horse reached level 20 - and by lunchtime reached level 21.  On the newer computer MistressDomino was in Katar-1's Randol, selling our loot - and with the heaven stones selling at 1,950,000 gold, including a restock, item drop boosters selling at 895,000, large attack potions at 450,000, and a few other assorted items, MD managed to take in 169 million, which ought to be rather useful.

Memree transferred her recent loot over to MistressDomino, and returned the 25/27 rogue armour set to RedRyder, who also got back her +10 level 29 weapon, so she is now back in fighting condition again, except that she no longer has those level 30 +10 gloves to wear, until Memree earns that new +10 set.  We happened to meet Ratel in town on Katar-4; he is only level 22 on Katar, which must seem strange after playing at 86 or 87 on Auzura.  Ratty is now on Kaerella's Friends list, and on the Colonel's too; as ColonelScarlet was just on his way back to the gnoll lancers, he was able to give him a solo party for the morning.

I had tipped Ratel off about Elizabeth's Enhancement, the double experience and skill exp, plus a boost to attack, buff that is only available currently in the first sub-server of each server - but he had been less than impressed, since as soon as he'd got to Prokion Temple with it active he'd become a target for pk-ers.  If that had been yesterday, that would have been explained by it being the "pk raffle day", rather than people having an aversion to people with the buff active.

The solo party continued after coffee, with Memree being added before she made her trip to Prokion Temple, and then Kaerella replacing the Colonel.  The way to change a party's type has changed, but I managed to sort it out, and Memree and Kaerella were able to have their Combat party hour, with Kae using a pssp, in the back room there.  Very neatly, Memree reached level 30 just as the pssp ended, having added 49.91% and earned 123 skill points, plus 1074 pet points, which were enough to get her drake into level 22.  Back in town she learned her level 30 skills, and opened the last of Lorraine's "treasure chests", for a nice supply of 40 pieces of Candy.

Kaerella went up by 8.81%, which meant that Memree overtook her towards the end of the session; still, Kae has had her experience gain halved for rather longer than Mem, and has accrued 6858 guild points for DarkzersRoughneks, compared to Memree's 1758 so far for Discipline.  Kaerella gained another 369 skill points, since her pssp ensures she gains skill exp three times as fast while it lasts.

There was time for Kaerella to do a little mining before and after lunch, and some herb-gathering too. ColonelScarlet was on during the food break - and then in the afternoon Memree went back to Prokion Temple, found that the room was clear, and was soon joined by Kaerella.

During the first pssp hour, Memree added another 42.89% - being in the new level slowed things down a bit - and 129 skill points, plus 1101 pet points.  Kaerella, just for standing by the entrance to the room, added 9.06% and 386 skill points.  The second hour brought Memree another 39.16% and 119 skill points, plus 1111 pet points, and it was Kaerella's turn to reach level 30, while adding another 7.33% and 356 skill points, which took her total temporarily over 10,000 - though the level 30 skill Double Stingshot cost 228 sp, which took us below that figure again.

Just at the end of the early evening food break the creepy knight "huxy" came up and killed ColonelScarlet's gnoll lancer.  I was at least able to say "oh you again" before he ran off, leaving the 210 gold for me to pick up.  It was an eventful few minutes, as just after that two lower-level knights appeared, neither above level 20 I'm sure and one below 15, and attacked my new gnoll lancer.  One of them was Joker28, I didn't see the other's name, though Joker28 called him "cj".

The idea isn't, as with huxy, sheer malice, it's an attempt to get a lot of experience from killing a relatively high-level monster, while the pet-leveller takes the damage; it happens sometimes when pet-levelling on butchers or berserkers, but it is unusual for people to come so far south on the map.  I immediately said "it may turn on you - so be careful", as they do change target sometimes when that sort of thing happens, especially as even low-level fighters are liable to be doing more damage than a bare-fisted pet-leveller, but they took no notice, and one of them soon slumped to the ground dead - the other made a run for it, followed by my gnoll lancer, and I think probably logged out.  After that, the gnoll lancer calmly followed me back to our original position, and, with its health regenerating, we went back to our normal routine, and it wasn't long before the horse reached level 22.

For the evening session, Memree headed for Prokion Temple on Katar-4, but, unsurprisingly for a weekend evening, the back room was already in use; I moved across to the other non-PvP sub-server, Katar-5, which I noticed has rather more people in Randol selling stuff, but the back room in the Temple was busy there, too.  Oh well, maybe three hours there was enough for one day!  Instead, ColonelScarlet logged back in for some more pet-levelling down in south Merac - and over on Cariae-1, my level 49 cleric Kaerella, the original bearer of the name, logged in.

So, with Elizabeth's Enhancement active, Kaerella headed out to the giants and akane giants in the Dratan desert's north-west corner, and stayed there, in a solo party with mainly German players, it seemed, for not much short of three hours.  Kamira didn't show up this time, which probably shows that even the desert was relatively busy, but I didn't see any other players while I was out there.  Good progress was made, and by the time I logged out, Kae had gone up by 21.59% experience, 133 skill points, and 1798 pet points.  I'd kept going for one more horse buff duration than I'd been intending, and was rewarded by the session's second heaven stone from the last giant but three.  It won't take as long a session to finally get Kae to level 50, and her new skill, thankfully, so that is something to look forward to.

The Auzura "storm the castle" event seems to have been shifted to Sunday afternoon, so it will be interesting to see what the attendance is like.  Having it at 6:00am by US west coast time seems a little unusual, but I suppose they want to get it finished before "Sunday teatime", which ought to be 50% extra skill exp for a couple of hours.  And then later there will be the Quiz - there's no scheduled "zombie invasion" for Berbank Mill listed, though.  The website is a little glitched currently, with a number of links just returning one to the main page, so we will need to watch out for in-game announcements.

Oh well, one thing we can be sure of is that ColonelScarlet will get his horse to level 23 tonight.  Beyond that, well, who knows?

The Zombies Return - December 13th

There was one disconnection overnight for ColonelScarlet, but I set him back up in business, and he managed to make pretty good progress, so that by coffee time the horse was halfway through level 25.  After his visitors yesterday evening, it was good to go through so many hours without someone killing his gnoll lancer.

After coffee there was time for Memree and Kaerella to do an hour's sp-farming in Prokion Temple on Katar-4, though about five minutes from the end they both had a disconnection, which may well have been a problem at or near this end, as nobody else was complaining when I logged back in.  They both rushed back to make use of the final minutes, but the gain was still less than it would have been for a full hour.

Memree reached level 31 during the hour, anyway, and was rewarded with the new set of 30/32 +10 armour, plus the level 33 +10 crossbow and daggers weapons.  She switched to wearing the new set until each piece gained the possibility to take its first bloodseal, and then switched back to the ready-bloodsealed pieces, since I hadn't thought to buy her the 15 bloodseal gems that would be needed to give all five new armour pieces all their seals.

Memree's gain during the interrupted hour was 30.40%, plus 100 skill points and 967 pet points; Kaerella went up by just 5.78% and 288 skill points.  I think the disconnection didn't just waste about five minutes of pssp time, it had a bit of a "rollback" too, which is annoying.  Still, it took Kae's total of unused skill points up over ten thousand again.

Back in Randol, Memree transferred the ready-bloodsealed +10 rogue armour set over to RedRyder, so that she is again able to wear the +10 gloves at least; Red also has the new +10 level 33 crossbow, though she can't use it yet.  Various bits of loot were transferred to MistressDomino too.  Memree spent all her skill points but 2 on starting to learn her special skills, which meant that she could start doing "suicide runs" to stay on level 31 for a while, which ought to give Kaerella more skill points than if she levels up a time or two.

I switched the modem off over lunch as it had been on non-stop for a few days, which may explain the disconnections last night and this morning; ColonelScarlet did get back into action a little later though.  Memree headed down into Merac, and sneaked past the Elite Cerberi to get the entrance to Misty Canyon onto her memory scroll, and then took the opportunity to get the first Introducer Camio to kill her five times, getting her experience down to 0%.  Then, back in Randol, she officially became a ranger.  "A ranger is an expect (sic) archer and can also make traps", the Master Rogue said. Traps?  In Guild Wars, yes, but I haven't come across anything like that in Last Chaos.  Memree's health was immediately increased from 988 to 1295, and her mana moved up from 334 to 595.  Once her stat points had been distributed as advised on the LC Wet Paint Wiki, with 18 to dexterity and 12 to intelligence, her physical offence had moved up from 532 to 542 as well.

For the afternoon, I ignored the scheduled "Storm the Castle" over on Auzura, since the Prokion Temple back room on Katar-4 was still free.  Memree set to work there again, with Kaerella in the Combat-type party, but both hours were slightly marred by the older computer, with Kaerella, running out of memory with 5-10 minutes to go.  While the older computer's LC window freezes when the memory message comes up, the party continues for a while - but eventually the party disbands, so Kae has to be logged in again, and hurried back, for the last few minutes.  It's strange that the memory error comes up so quickly, usually a two-hour team-up is no problem, and something undemanding like pet-levelling or merchanting can with any luck last the whole night.

Still, Memree added 32.33% and 31.05%, plus 121 and 122 skill points, along with 1072 and 1056 pet points; she also added 364 and 351 guild points, which took the Discipline guild's total to over 6000 - enough for the "guild message" skill to be learned.  Since this time I'd brought bloodseal gems along, the armour ended up with its full set of seals, too. Kaerella added 6.70% and 6.52%, plus 345 and 337 skill points - and 62 and 61 guild points for the DarkzersRoughneks guild.

Back in town Memree passed a million in gold across to ColonelScarlet, since he is the guild master, and that's the amount of gold needed for the "guild message" skill, along with the 6000 guild points, and the skill was duly gained.  The next thing will be "expension of the guild", for an extra 5 player slots, costing just 2000 guild points and 200,000 gold; taking the guild to level 7 will need a massive 18,000 more guild points, and 2.5 million in gold, along with 550 of the Colonel's reserve of skill points, so getting that many guild points may take quite a while.

Kaerella bought some more herb-gathering knives and mining hammers, and used her collection of tool aids to boost her supply of green herb leaves and quality stones, while the Colonel got the horse just into level 26.  Then it was time to move over to Cariae for a while, where Kaerella, my level 49 cleric, had an entirely full inventory, and thus needed to transfer some loot across to my Cariae merchant character, MistressDomina.  Her inventory was just about full, so assorted accessories had to be moved to CuddlesMcGraw, who also helped ferry various manuals across to Enchantrella.  It was surprising how long it took to get all Enchie's newly-augmented supply of such things into order, but in the end all 25 different volumes, from level 36 to level 72, in quantities varying from 1 to 47, were suitably sorted out, and Kaerella was able to reappear, with 42 empty inventory slots, to get her Elizabeth's Enhancement buff.

Kaerella went out to the west of Dratan, to the giants and akane giants, and set to work; there wasn't a solo party to join right away, but before too long xxxnexusxxx formed a party, which I joined - he was in charge of yesterday's party too.  The afternoon "Sunday Teatime" was actually on, I assume as usual it started rather late, and it was good to find that it did "stack" with the Elizabuff, so that, with Kae on level 49 each giant gave 2337 skill exp, and each akane giant, a level higher, gave 2200.  It wasn't too long before Kae finally levelled up, reaching the big five-oh; since I was now closer to their level, the giants now gave 2475 skill exp each (a basic 990, plus 990 more from the Elizabuff and 495 from the teatime event), and it was the akane giants' turn to give 2337.  I used "pet return to village", and invested 573 skill points in my new skill Magic Research, which as promised increased my physical defence by 130 (10%), and my magical attack by 84 (just over 11%).  There was still time for a little further fighting, so I rode back out, and by the end Kaerella had gone up by 11.78% and earned 97 skill points, though spending so much sp meant my total was now down to 7,700.  Kae's drake SirFrancis got 980 pet points, too, which works out at around 2.8% of his current level.

The session drew to a close, because the Sunday Quiz was almost upon us.  The party disbanded, ColonelScarlet logged out and, with LC restarted, RedRyder logged in on Katar-2; three of the six Katar sub-servers were "congested", I noticed, which just shows what a busy time that is.  Kaerella logged out of Cariae-1, and her level 30 namesake logged in on Katar-2, and headed to join Red in the quiz room.

They still haven't sorted out the WSAD-only glitch in there, of course, but people seem to be getting used to it.  We lost a few people along the way, but almost everyone made it to the end safely, and got their tool aids, moonstones and heaven stones - including Kae and Red.  The GMs managed to avoid using the question about [GM]Krash hosting the "Pharaoh's Treasure" event, which was just as well, as there was a forum announcement yesterday that he was no longer working for Aeria.  That's rather sad, as he was in many ways the most human and responsive GM at his events; the phrasing of the announcement leads us to suppose that leaving was not entirely his own idea. Kae traded the heaven stones and moonstones across to Red, and got Red's tool aids in return, for her next mining session.

There was a bit of a glitch then, which other people mentioned in the forum shoutbox; attempting to log MistressDomino in, the first attempt timed out, and subsequent attempts failed because "the account is already logged in".  I tried with a couple of other accounts, with the same result, but eventually ColonelScarlet was able to return to his gnoll lancers, and Memree had time to spend almost all her skill points before heading out to the traditional Sunday "Zombie Invasion" of the sleepy little village of Berbank Mill.

There was no mention of the event on the website, so it was a relief when the in-game announcement had come up.  Next Sunday has it listed on the events calendar, though the link for details is among those glitched, and just returns one to the front page.  [GM]Kali was in charge as usual, and as usual didn't really have any interaction with people - her avatar was glimpsed before the Invasion was started, but that was all.  Still, she very wisely decided that the turn-out was not particularly strong, so while we had masses of apes to deal with, she didn't hit us with the Screaming Zombie and boss Ancient Screaming Zombie wave.  Memree did get killed once when a gang of apes hit her from behind, but otherwise things went okay - and we got a generous double spawning of loot at the end.

Given the lack of information, I had to ask in the shoutbox, and was assured that Cariae was the next server for the Invasion - I suppose Auzura's earlier castle-storming was instead of having zombies to deal with.  So Barbarienne headed out to Berbank Mill, and was ready and waiting when the first monsters spawned.

Once again there were a heck of a lot of apes, with a relatively small number, along with the junior-level zombies, quickly followed by a veritable horde.  I found myself solo-tanking about twenty of the brutes, so did use a few health potions.  Luckily things settled down after that, and I was able to tank a screaming zombie or two, and then move to a more "artillery" type role to assist other fighters in the area.  And it wasn't too long before we were congratulated on our win, and the loot appeared.  I seemed to pick up a useful amount, though it was actually just two skill point boosters and two item drop boosters, plus four large attack potions and the usual minor stuff.

And that ended the excitement for the day.  ColonelScarlet continued for a while, getting the horse more than halfway through level 26, but it was soon time for him, too, to log out.

More Mad Monsters - December 14th

After giving the computers and modem an overnight rest, ColonelScarlet made a fairly early start on his pet-levelling duties, and the horse reached level 27 before coffee, down with the gnoll lancers in south Merac.

Once the coffee break was over, Memree logged in, and, after spending a few remaining skill points, headed for Misty Canyon and its first Introducer Camio to get rid of her current experience percentage, which didn't take very long at all - and then she, followed by Kaerella once ColonelScarlet had logged out, headed for Prokion Temple on Katar-4.

Luckily, there were no disconnections or error messages this time, and the hour passed uneventfully.  Another rogue arrived just before the end, but just stood there; I did say "nearly finished", followed a couple of minutes later by "they're all yours now", but I didn't see any reaction.

Kaerella had gone up by 6.83% and 353 skill points, also getting DarkzerRoughneks 63 guild points; when Kae's pssp ran out Memree had got up to 177 skill points, so she stayed just long enough to reach 179, enough for the final level of armoursmithing she can currently learn.  She had gone up 32.64%, but a quick visit to the Introducer Camio soon got rid of that.  1073 pet points, and 388 guild points, were also earned.

After transferring Memree's recently-gained loot across to MistressDomino, ColonelScarlet logged back in for the lunch break - and indeed for the afternoon, too, as Memree's added skill exp gain had shown that yesterday's "Sunday Teatime" bonus of 50% extra skill exp had been left running.  It seemed to me that Kaerella over on Cariae was the one most in need of that skill point boost - so she it was who logged in for the afternoon session.

Kaerella got the Elizabuff, and headed out towards the giants and akane giants.  I managed to get into a solo party, but it ran out of members and ended before too long.  After a short gap I decided to take the initiative; the only person registered for a potential party was in Prokion Temple, so would almost certainly want a solo party rather than expect to fight in a group, so I applied to recruit him, and then, once he had accepted, registered the party as accepting applications, with the normal "solo" title.  Things were a bit hand-to-mouth to begin with, with us sometimes dropping back to just 2 online members, but later we got up to a full eight.

With Kaerella's newly-augmented attack and defence I moved into the main akane giant area, and even fought the elite akane giant pretty regularly - who gives triple experience, but only 30% more skill exp.  Towards the end a mage called xXxDeviLxXx came along and fought the akane giants too, I gave her the cleric's magical attack enhancing buff, Charm, and she gave me Haste.  But the afternoon session finally came to an end; Kae had gone up by 19.84%, plus 168 skill points, so the continuing Teatime bonus had given her 34 more sp than otherwise would have been earned.  1594 pet points have moved SirFrancis past the halfway mark in level 47, too.

At 5:45pm, UK time, the message appeared "The mage [GM]Valsharyn has perceived a strange magical vortex near Juno!  Gather at 453.290 on Auzura-4!  She is sure that the invisible vortex will spill out monsters in 15 minutes!  Ascertain the monsters' deaths and [GM]Valsharyn will reward you!"

So, RedRider, my friendly local level 26 rogue, went out to the usual Mad Monster Spawn spot, partied with CaptainScarlet, my level 32 pet-levelling knight; since she was asking for a party, I recruited a level 25 mage called Elfnastysfriend, who had the advantage of a mount, and so was able to supply horse buffs.

[GM]Valsharyn provided her usual clever, slightly different kind of monster spawn, including Velpist-type zombies, and masses of butchers, as well as that over-fed spider Baal and the usual high-level things like cube guards of various types, plus Darkmind Terrains and Patriarch Botises.  She said afterwards that she was still experimenting, to try and get things right, but it all seemed to work pretty well.  She was inviting our comments, and generally chatting away.  She wondered about the possibility of arranging different events for different levels, but my feeling is that every level will turn up to any of them.  I suggested having spawns of butchers, apes and flutons, or those sorts of levels, slightly separate, so that people could choose which spot they'd do best at; as it was, the spawning of butchers hadn't lasted long, as high-level mages used Chaos Nova on them.

Anyway, generous amounts of loot were picked up, even if the spawning of the hands did tend to cause heavy lag, and the hour or so flew by.  There were plenty of free trips back to town, Red had to buy more memory scrolls and health potions, and the loot picked up on the first wave or two had put her overweight, so it was handy to be able to put some more tool aids into storage.

CaptainScarlet had spent his hour or so pet-levelling a level 36 horse - RedRider will be glad to get that when it reaches 37!  As he is only level 32, the horse did get through rather more quality stones than usual, so afterwards I traded it across to RedRackham, who is level 35, so that next time I am over that way, he can take over that job.

There was just time for RedRyder (with a "y") to have a session on Katar-1, so off Red went to Misty Canyon to lose her current 62.24% experience, before going back to Randol to get the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and moving on to Prokion Temple, and her usual room of orc soldiers and mummies.  Thanks to the continuing extra skill exp, on top of the Elizabuff, Red managed to get 435 skill points, along with 676 pet points, which were enough to get her drake into level 22.  The experience gain was 91.31%, so, once the remaining energy processing skills had been learned, plus some of the herb processing ones, so that RedRyder's unused skill points fell to zero, another trip to the first Introducer Camio in Misty Canyon was made - and Red ended the evening back at the start of level 25 again.

ColonelScarlet continued levelling up his horse, though it will still be a couple of hours away from level 29 when he logs out tonight. The forum shoutbox got a little strange late in the evening, with Isador024 proclaiming that she was about to be banned - apparently she had been a gamesage, but had objected to what had happened to, er, well, someone she knew and respected, who is no longer with us.  Tomorrow will be our last normal day before the Christmas event starts - let us hope the extra skill exp is left switched on until the servers close down tomorrow evening for their regular maintenance.  And let's hope the new patch manages to squish a few more of our current bugs.

The Rage of the Demon - December 15th

I wasn't able to do any active playing in the morning today, but both ColonelScarlet on Katar-4 and RedRackham on Auzura-4 were able to head down to south Merac for some useful pet-levelling before breakfast.  It wasn't too long before the Colonel's horse reached level 29; Red's level is almost twice as long though, so while steady progress was made, by lunch there was still almost three hours of work left before the horse would be ready for RedRider to have as a level 37 mount.

I suspected that the 50% extra skill exp might still be running, so after lunch my level 50 cleric Kaerella logged in on Cariae-1, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and headed out into Dratan desert, where the skill exp was indeed nicely boosted above its normal level.  There wasn't a solo party I could join, but before too long someone farming in Prokion Temple registered as wanting a party, so I recruited them, and, now that we had a two-person party, was able to register it, and gain further members - indeed, we got up to a full eight a time or two.

Before very long, though, while I was merrily fighting the Akane Giants, Grand Devilroad Kamira turned up, which meant that I had to transfer leadership to someone else, and log out, so that my level 93 mage Keerella could log in and ride down.  After all, if that level 92 rogue the other day could get the usual drops, albeit without an actual rare accessory, it seemed worth seeing what Kee could get.

Kamira was waiting patiently, and, while I gave myself horse buffs, I didn't bother with a magic defence mineral or an item drop booster, I just attacked.  I did have to use a medium health potion, but Kamira died pretty quickly, and a quick Flame Storm got rid of the level 35 death goddesses. Kamira dropped 10 great healing potions, 54,600 gold, 5 scrolls of memorising, a hero's necklace (8 intelligence and 4 dexterity), 10 medium mana potions, a medal of honor of course, 5 lucky scrolls, 5 moon stones, a crystal of experience (greater), 5 tool aids - and a Rage of Demon rare accessory.  Of the ten possible rare drops, I'd say it ranks about number four or five, which can't be bad - it adds 12 to intelligence, 18 to magical attack, and 100 to health.  It's something I had been thinking of buying...albeit on a different server.

Kaerella logged back in, and was automatically back in the same party as before; it wasn't a hugely long session, in all ninety minutes or so, but Kae added 14.54%, 119 skill points, and, for SirFrancis, 1164 pet points.  RedRackham got his horse up to 37, too.  The reason I had to leave a bit early was that, as far as one could tell from the still-glitched links on the website, Auzura-4 was due to play host to a "Storm the Castle" event at 4:00pm, UK time.

So, I logged my level 72 rogue Rage in, and teleported down, arriving at about a couple of minutes before the hour - and was almost the first person there, as [GM]Valsharyn only then started making GM announcements for it.  So, it was about ten past before we actually got going, with not a huge number of people.  It wasn't your normal kind of castle storming; in fact, while as far as we could tell from the dots on the compass-map the usual monsters were inside, the gates were never opened, so only a very few of the flying types ever got out to face us.  Instead, "mad monster spawn" style, monsters were spawned outside for us to fight.  These included akane golems, skeleton soldiers, the bouncing-type cube guards, Terrain type cube guards, and Flutons, so the level of difficulty, and peril, did vary wildly.  I did get caught by a Fluton's "flamethrower" once, but using a large health potion, and subsequently some medium ones, kept me alive.  I was in a party of eight people, from the mid-twenties to level 115 I think, but this obviously wasn't what they were expecting, and people gradually logged out, until the party completely disbanded.

Meanwhile, "Our Val" was doing her best to make things exciting. "Stall them! Be brave!  REINFORCEMENTS !!  The enemy seems to be aware of me being of leading assistance!"  Her comments interspersed the other dialogue.  "They summon the enemies to my spot!  I'll cast invisibility, hopefully the ruse will knock the enemy off guard!  It seems that the enemy deems XAurorax as new Leader, defend him!  The enemy sends his mighty general Commander Agaress and his bodyguards Agaress 1 and 2!!" 

"(Agaress)  TASTE MY SWORD SCUM!!!!!  (Agaress) How could...I ...be ...def...eated???!!!!  (Agaress) Cur... ye shall be   Cast Manifest!"  This led me to comment "I'm thinking Val loves playing with toy soldiers..." as I could imagine a young child with a toy castle and small toy figures coming up with a similar scenario.  But we finally got on to "&summon 10 311", which, when it didn't appear as speech, probably had something to do with the loot spawning. "Thanks for attending the Storm the Castle and then kill the besiegers Event!!"  My response was "Well we know you are experimenting and trying out new things - keep up the good work ^^". And later the last announcement from Our Val was "Thank you for attending the siege Event! I will work on this event too :)"  She had mentioned early on the usual "kill everything within 20 minutes" rule, but in fact we'd kept going for closer to an hour.  I had asked if the other servers would have a castle-storming later, before we started, and Val said not.

So my food break was slightly delayed, and I was only just back in time for Val's other EU-only experiment, where she was joined by [GM]Noboru.  While it was billed as a "Cluedo" quiz, it was mainly another firecracker and transformation scroll parade about town, with occasional pauses while various clues were given about famous people.  The first answer wasn't my guess of Michelangelo, or other people's Leonardo da Vinci or Elvis - I was just too slow to whisper [GM]Noboru with Marilyn Monroe, someone else got in there first.  I was baffled by the next two, who turned out to be Alfred Nobel and Santa Claus (people send him demands?), but Val added a fourth, with the first clue "My works got translated in many, many languages", so that I immediately whispered "Shakespear?" - so quickly that the GM's next comment was "...unbelievable...already done", followed by "congratulations RedRider."

So, a few minutes later, [GM]Noboru traded my prize across - a large crit potion, which is a nice, and valuable, thing to have.  Probably it will get moved across to Rage at some point, for an hour's worth of lots more critical hits against screaming zombies.  Some people did consider the event a bit of a waste of time, but not me!

By the time I'd got the blog drafted thus far and dealt with an email or two, there wasn't a great deal of evening left - but there was time for Kaerella on Katar to have an hour's worth of Combat party with Memree in Prokion Temple.  I did have an intruder for ten minutes or so, a knight called XxTomrobdarxXPL, who ks'd and took a few orcs that I really needed, to keep going flat out, but he went away, and by the end of the hour Memree was up 32.27% and 175 skill points, plus 1072 pet points and 364 guild points.  More importantly Kae had added 349 skill points thanks to her pssp, plus 6.78% and 63 guild points.

Once Kaerella had moved out of range back to the lobby, Memree continued a bit longer, adding another 7.57% and 84 skill points (since she didn't have to share the sp), along with 86 guild points, and 314 more pet points - just enough for her drake to level up.  Then Kae logged out and ColonelScarlet logged in for a little more pet-levelling, while Memree moved to town and spent most of her skill points on the first two levels of Expert Alchemy.  When she logged out, the Colonel continued, and should get the horse about halfway through level 30 tonight.  With the weekly maintenance downtime approaching, there is no chance of overnight pet-levelling, though. And tomorrow, Christmas begins in Last Chaos...