Kaerella's Blog - stardate December 2009 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month continues here at the top!

How the Glitch Stole Christmas - December 16th

I suppose it isn't entirely surprising that most of the Christmas additions to Last Chaos, introduced with last night's maintenance patch, are glitched; we don't seem to have had a very good record on beta-testing additions lately, and as basically this year's Christmas stuff is the same as last time, our chums at Aeria, and our wacky Korean developers, must have assumed that everything would work again.

There are lots of extra drops, suitable for decorating a Christmas tree with - baubles, socks, and stars, for example.  The only problem is that they vanish from your inventory if you log out.  What you are meant to do is click on the main Christmas tree in Randol, which removes all the decorations from your inventory, and brings nearer the next time when candy cane presents arrive under the tree for everyone.  A five-minute warning of gifts arriving is given.  You should also get a slightly useful buff for donating your decorations - that does not always happen, at least Memree on Katar-4 didn't get anything.  And getting the buff at the end of a playing session is less than ideal, anyway.

The special Christmas gift boxes are back, which arrive next to you after a countdown every hour.  It's easy to miss out by being somewhere they don't spawn, such as a town or the lobby at Prokion Temple, though, which trips up new players.  The best bet is to leave one's character standing in the guild hall, as the boxes do spawn there.

The prizes you get do vary - they include not the durable Santa hats from last year, but 30-day covers for existing headgear.  This would be fine, except that they are usually not for your own class, and, so far, cannot be dropped, traded, or stored, making them a waste of space.  Someone in town was saying that the books to transform a horse pet into a reindeer are glitched, and one shouldn't attempt to use them; certainly they, like the tree ornaments, have a habit of vanishing from one's inventory, and apparently that also applies to some other possible drops.  The reindeer effect is meant to vanish at the end of the event - last year it didn't, and Barbarienne's horse is still in that form, which is fine by me as it looks pretty cute.

On the face of it, the best possible drop is a "platinum drop booster"; a normal item drop booster adds 30% to one's chance of getting a drop from a single kill, and tends to sell for not much short of a million gold, depending on the server - so how much would a platinum one be worth, if it adds 2000%?  I remain to be convinced it really adds that much, but no doubt it does give an extra boost to one's chance of something good.

I did have just enough time in the morning for Memree and Kaerella to go out to Katar-4's Prokion Temple for an hour; Kae used her pssp and managed to get 396 skill points, while going up by 7.76% experience.  Memree added 36.93% and 132 skill points - and stayed a little longer, adding another 2.56%, and 19 more skill points, so that she had enough to get a few more special skill levels.  In all 1128 pet points and 446 guild points were added as well.

The afternoon session was a bit short, as I spent rather too long wrestling with a custom Christmas card-sending site that refused to work properly, but there was time for another Memree-Kaerella team-up, which brought Kae 363 more skill points and 7.06% experience.  Again Memree stayed on for a few minutes afterwards, so that 1009 pet points and 392 guild points got added, and enough skill points, 126, to get the last mining skill level.  Then Memree visited her Introducer Camio at the start of Misty Canyon, and got rid of the latest 34.71% experience.

Standing around in the guild hall seems to be replacing pet-levelling as the thing to do while not actually playing, so Kaerella did a little of that, before I logged her out and logged MistressDomino in.  It seemed to make sense to have MD and Memree doing it, as, both being in Discipline, they can share the same guild hall - and if the right type of Santa hat is dropped, the appropriate character can pick it up.  The item is "reserved" for whoever "kills" the box for a while, even if the box was summoned to the other character

Another glitch was the subject of discussion in the forum shoutbox; the battle skill book for an Ichi or Scra-Chi pet, which is an annoyingly common drop from the moon statue in Randol apparently, has suddenly become sellable to NPC merchants for around five million gold.  People have thus been getting and selling as many as they can - but the fun came to an end this evening when Aeriaks1lent announced in-game "DO NOT sell [P2] Battle skill books in game to NPCs.  Repeat offenders caught selling the item after this announcement will be considered exploiting."  That brought a number of worried people in to check they weren't about to be banned, predictably.

For the evening, RedRyder went out to the orc soldiers and mummies in Prokion Temple on Katar-1.  Unusually I did get player-killed once, by a red-named rogue called ObscuredByClouds - high enough level to come in using invisibility, snare me, and kill me in one or two hits.  That was annoying, as it meant I had to go back to Randol to get the "Elizabuff" applied again, but that was my only interruption, and I got the full 324 skill points I needed to finish maximising Red's special skills.  So that's another pretty big task ticked off the list.

Next of course came the little matter of pestering the first Introducer Camio in Misty Canyon into killing RedRyder enough times - 28 in all, as she'd added 81.54% experience.  And then, with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff re-applied, back I went to Prokion Temple, this time avoiding the orc soldiers entirely, and just hitting mummies and ghouls, since they give a better ratio, while Red is level 25, of skill exp to experience.  The place was a bit crowded, and there were a lot of Brazilian players around, who generally seemed used to a slightly "pushier" style of play, not respecting the territory of someone who was already busy in a particular room or area.

I'd noticed a lot of Brazilian players recently, and, when I asked in the shoutbox, was told that their local version of Last Chaos was closing down at the end of this year, and so they seem to be migrating to us, and forming their own guilds - and indeed their own parties, it seems if you look in the "parties recruiting members" window you are as likely to find something "Brazilieros" as "solo".  With them working hard in Prokion Temple, it isn't hard to foresee a time when Brazilian guilds will be serious contenders for castle sieges, and generally making life interesting for the older-established English-speaking top players.

As I wasn't using a pssp or anything, it didn't matter if I ran out of monsters occasionally; there was a fair bit of PK-ing going on, but the only attack I got was by mistake, and I only lost half my health before the rogue in question moved on.  She might well have been meaning to target Brazilian players, there did seem to be a bit of "needle" between factions.

Still, by the time I had to log RedRyder out, she had added 8.15% experience, and 166 skill points, which seemed a pretty good ratio to me.  It also disqualifies Red from going to dangerous events like mad monster spawns, as from now on she will have a store of unused skill points to protect.

Luckily, though, Memree, on level 31, with the +10 armour and +15 weapon, is without spare skill points, since she is still investing the sp she gets into her special skills, so she was the rogue who ran down to Merac Castle, getting it onto her memory scroll, in time for the "Storm the Castle" event on Katar-4, which was scheduled to start at ten o'clock, UK time.

It would be harder to have a bigger contrast between this STC and [GM]Valsharyn's one for Auzura; someone said that it was [GM]JediMike who was in charge, but I never saw him, and he never said anything until a single line right at the end to say that the event was over.  It just began with a spawning of thorny mantises and death knights on the bridge, without any word, and away we went.

The turnout was pretty low; we seemed to be in single figures right at the start, but people did begin to turn up, so we may have got to, oh, two dozen or more - plenty of them at around my level, but luckily we did have some people who could tank the Anubis Spear Men, Hell-Otuus, and Dark Harpies.  It was just as well that it was the old-fashioned spawning, and not the massively hard recent one where the throne room is packed full of quanians, introducers, punishers etc.  Our GM made up for his lack of attention (presumably he was managing the Cariae-4 event as well, and probably going through computer records to see who'd been selling battle books in bulk) with some generous spawnings of loot - while there were a few monsters alive at that point, luckily it was just a few remaining spear men, who aren't aggressive.

So we grabbed as much loot as we could, and then moved off and found another heap of goodies - in all Memree's inventory weight went up by over 10%. I know she got 14 large attack potions, as she wasn't carrying any before the event started, she may have done almost as well when it came to item drop boosters, skill point boosters, and large defence potions, and doubtless got plenty more tool aids.  So, quite a rewarding outing, even if two memory scrolls had to be used to get me back to the action after I got killed.  7.97% experience got added, despite the deaths.

After that, both Memree and RedRyder settled in to spend the night in the Discipline guild hall, hoping that the Christmas gift boxes accumulate as the hours pass, and have some useful items in them, such as those platinum item boosters.

How Aeria Stole Wednesday - December 17th

My cunning plan to leave two characters overnight in the Discipline guild hall came to nothing, as there was an emergency server downtime last night - I don't think that there was a patch to cure any of the many glitches, instead what we got was a "partial rollback", to undo Aeria's blunder in allowing the Battle Books to have a ludicrously high price, 5.2 million gold each, when sold to an NPC.  This was a known possible bug, as it had happened to the German version of Last Chaos some weeks ago, but Aeria were completely taken by surprise, and dithered over what to do, before deciding that they had to take all the extra gold out of the game by doing a rollback.

As the rollback was, at least, only "partial", the experience and skill points earned yesterday remain, thankfully, but loot picked up has vanished - which includes the lavish amount of goodies picked up at "Storm the Castle" last night.  I thought I was doing exceptionally well with heaven stones in Prokion Temple, picking up five of them during the day, but they all vanished too, sigh...and I'd managed to get a few of those platinum drop boosters from the gift boxes too.

Aeria_ks1lent, the product manager for Last Chaos, is trying to make it seem that it's all our fault, of course, when it's an Aeria bungle, with a little help from those useless Korean "developers".  Personally the only Battle Book I ever owned came as part of the package when I bought the Scra-Chi "human tribe" cat-like pet over on Cariae, but everyone suffers.  I spent 3599 aeria points on a "75% rebate Super Rocker" package yesterday, and of course that package has vanished, while the ap are still gone from that particular account.  It looks as if I'll get the ap back eventually, in theory, but not the bargain-priced package.  The package in on offer again - but I currently don't have enough ap in the account to buy it!  Apparently some people have lost their entire inventories, and a lot of pets have gone missing, so that people have to submit to the slow and unfriendly "request tracker" system.

So, another day of Aeria shooting itself in the foot, then.  I was busy for the morning and first half of the afternoon, so Memree and MistressSabina just stood around in the Discipline guild hall, trying to get back some of yesterday's "gifts".  And Zenderfly, back from a holiday, got in touch, suggesting a team-up in another Aeria game, Grand Fantasia.

I couldn't start playing until mid-afternoon, but once I was free and my client had updated, Zen, or Taldea, carefully and patiently shepherded me through the first seven levels of Grand Fantasia.  The level cap at present is 60 apparently, and Zen's main character, a healer, is already level 33.  What strikes me about the game is how friendly and colourful it all is, ideal for children too young for a more grown-up game like Last Chaos or Guild Wars - and yet how difficult and complicated it all is to master.  Taldea said that she had had to do a lot of reading up on the game to advance, and I'm not surprised, it doesn't strike me as intuitive at all.  Your sprite needs to go and mine some ore?  There's no hint about how that might be done.  There may well be some way of knowing how one is progressing through a level, but I never found it, and as for which icons should be dragged into which pop-up windows, well, you're on your own.  There doesn't even seem to be a figure in your inventory showing what you have equipped.

The plan is to try some more sessions, but it is definitely not something I'd wish to specialise in.  I might log in to attempt to get my sprite some more training, and maybe try to reach level 8, if killing baby dragons still gives me useful experience, but Taldea is going to have to be patient with me.  On the positive side, I found that running GF didn't harm the LC window, minimised - once I closed Grand Fantasia, I could bring the Last Chaos window back up, to see what soon-to-vanish or unusable Christmas gifts the latest boxes would give.

The evening session involved RedRyder in Katar-1's Prokion Temple, using the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff.  There's a handy room where mummies spawn along with just a single orc soldier, and nobody was using it when I arrived, so I avoided the soldier, and concentrated on the mummies.  Before long, though, I was suddenly killed, one-hit by, I assume, a single crossbow shot.  It was Suprgrl2 who did it, which rather surprised me, as previously I'd found her friendly and helpful.  I had to go back to Randol to get the "Elizabuff" applied again, and when I got back I whispered to her something along the lines of, "Sorry if I've offended you, but why did you 1-hit kill me?"  She apologised, and said that she had mistaken me for someone else - and while she was busy then, as someone she had been fighting was wall-hugging and she didn't want to let them get away, she'd come and give me something in a few minutes, to make amends.

So, all was well, and I didn't get pk'd again, though a few red-named people with the big "X" to show they were in player-killing mode did run past.  I assumed Suprgrl2 might hand over a memory scroll or two, since I'd had to use one to return, or maybe some medium health potions - but what she traded to me a bit later was a pair of resurrection scrolls, and they sell in town for at least ten million gold each.  So, a very nice gesture.  I guess it is about time that Red started to have a res scroll active, though I'll start with the "beginner" ones, which have to be used before one passes level 35.

Anyway, I kept slogging away on the mummies and a few nearby ghouls - and if I failed to avoid the orc soldier, though I can kill them easily enough, I hurried back to the lobby to break aggro.  It was a pretty long session, as I kept going until the three-hour "Elizabuff" expired; since ghouls and mummies don't give much experience, RedRyder just added 22.68% on that score, which meant 36 more guild points; however, it added a rather useful 512 skill points, so that, if I do another three similar sessions, or their equivalent, Red will have over 2000 unused skill points by the time she levels up to 26, which comes under the heading of "a good start".

The forum shoutbox was a busy place all evening, and there weren't all that many gamesages around.  Apparently a couple of the most popular ones have been among people banned lately, so strange things are happening behind the scenes.  A lot of people were complaining about the item mall packages they bought yesterday having vanished, while the aeria points used to buy such things had not been restored; it seems that the GMs are working to get the ap back to people, but people who had had a restoration were complaining that they'd got the wrong amount.  Personally I wonder if people whose purchase of that 75% rebate package had been rolled back may actually get the rebate, of 75% of the original ap purchase price, in a week or two, which would be fun, if they have by then had the entire purchase price refunded.

Luckily there weren't any big events scheduled for today, as the GMs have their work cut out trying to sort out the fallout from that rollback.  Strangely, as I was logging out, rather early at around nine o'clock UK time, an announcement came up that the APAC happy hour was starting, with that most unwanted of boosts for sp-farmers generally, 50% extra experience.  Normally that's in the early hours of Friday morning, as far as we are concerned.  As the "read more" links for such things are still just returning us to the website's front page, it is difficult to know what is up with that.

MistressSabina had been providing a solo party from the guild hall on Katar-1, and RedRyder went back to join her.  The santa hats may not be much use at present as they can't be moved between characters, and most other things vanish from one's inventory when a character has to log out, but the platinum drop boosters are worth a little effort to acquire, and it makes a change from pet-levelling.

Out of the Invisible Vortex - December 18th

This time leaving the two character overnight in the guild hall worked, and there were 14 Christmas Gift Boxes there when I switched the monitors back on this morning.  The older computer was still running - it was the newer one that had "run out of memory", so RedRyder had to be logged back in; she hurried back to the guild hall, as her next box was almost due.  Of the 14, only one contained a platinum drop booster, but when Red's next box arrived, that increased the total to two.

ColonelScarlet being the only one with a horse of level 16 or above, I decided that he might as well use a reindeer transformation book, so he is now training a cute little reindeer.  The book was replaced in his inventory with a scroll to undo the transformation, which presumably would vanish, like the reindeer books, the next time he logged out.  The Colonel has however put it into storage, in the hope that it might last there.

I was busy downstairs all morning, so, while ColonelScarlet eventually went out to do some pet-levelling, I decided the time had come to get a bit drastic with the newer computer.  For the last couple of days on that machine the "O" pet window has refused to appear, which means that it is a little hard to keep track of a pet's exact health and hunger, and its pet points total can only be found, similarly, by opening the inventory and checking the icon there.  More importantly, it has made it impossible to supply the horse buffs for added attack and defence, ruling out my level 50 cleric's trips to fight the akane giants.

So, after downloading last night an unofficial almost up-to-date version of the Last Chaos installer from FilePlanet by a player called Ciros, as recommended by a gamesage in the forum shoutbox, I uninstalled Last Chaos (after copying the screenshots folder safely into the "pictures" folder) - and the next step was to attempt to defragment the hard disk, using a free application called "My Defrag", which I recommend most lowly - it hung at 76%, and completely froze the computer, I don't think I've ever had to use the manual restart button on the computer's case before.  Still, 76% is better than nothing!

Installation of the new client went smoothly, though, and the subsequent patching was mercifully brief - and, to my great relief, the pet window was restored.

I had a bit of luck at lunchtime.  ColonelScarlet was down fighting his gnoll lancer in south Merac, and at 1:30 UK time his next Christmas Gift Box was due, so I came upstairs and checked up - and the villainous MacroMejs, who I see is a member of a no doubt ironically named guild called "FriendsOfGame", was just luring my gnoll lancer, and me, and my pet, towards the aggressive, pet-eating monsters across beyond the other side of the clearing.  "van", MacroMejs said, whatever that means.  "hi Mac ^^" I replied, stopping my progress, to which he could only reply, thwarted, "aricn".  I teleported out of there, across to the rather safer position with the bandits and berserkers.

But the naughty little chap didn't leave things there.  A few minutes later, the next time I checked, MacroMejs had taken the trouble to find me there, and had already lured my berserker, and me, and my pet, a substantial distance east across the map - and had almost reached a group of blood frenzies.

I think there may be some sort of attitude problem with ol' Macro.  He had whispered me with "jajajaja - lady scarlet - muack muak - :) - you are friki - kerella macromejs jajaja - me la paso por el forro de los cojones - ahora apunta - tu si q eres triste y encima toj tedestrz mierds" and then in open speech "jejeje - vrn coronel - jejeje" - at which point, when I'd seen what was going on, I'd said "persistent little beggar aren't you, lol?"  An onlooker, sucin, had commented "bad style" at that point.  "jajaja - te vol a matar quand te pill - tu cabeza crak - marikon - andonde vas - forest gam - corre corre" - and then, after I was out of range, further whispers of "julandorn - hoy escriviras mucho - lady - marika".   I'm just using the hyphens for different lines of text.  All a bit strange, yes?

The afternoon session had a bit of a late start, as I was still busy with stuff downstairs initially, but eventually Kaerella went out to the akane giants and giants on Cariae-1.  I had logged MistressDomino in there too to provide the solo party while standing around in the guild hall waiting for a gift box, but before long the night shadow Oppertunity got in touch, and asked if I would help him move his mount back across to his rogue.  He had decided that he didn't enjoy playing a night shadow, and after equipping the character, was very low on gold and generally a bit disgruntled.  So I had to log MD out, and I brought in KarambA instead, a level 11 healer there who only has one pet, a level 1 pony, and thus can handle trades - you can't have more than two of the old horse and drake type pets in your inventory at the same time.

The trade was made, a level 33 mount from Oppertunity to KarambA, and then across to the rogue HarD.  As Kae had already picked up a couple of tree baubles, I went back to Randol with her too, and got the tree buffs - one of which gives extra drops for 40 minutes, apparently, though I didn't notice any lavish amounts of loot, and the other counts down for an hour with a promise of something special, and then vanishes..."When 'God Bless You' disappears, you will receive the Christmas Blessings", it says, but there isn't any special drop or buff then.

Kaerella headed back out to the giants and akane giants, with me keeping an eye on the shoutbox as well and making the occasional contribution.  The most interesting exchange came when [GM]OgreKing came in for a few minutes, and people were asking if the lock of a maximum of 50% on experience gain which a guild can apply, to help people farm skill exp before they get too high-level, could perhaps be relaxed, so that an 80% or 90% lock would be possible. "Andrew, if you kill mobs that are the same level as you, SP should not be an issue" [GM]OgreKing said, after mentioning that he personally had voted in favour of getting rid of experience locking completely, rather than leaving it at 50%.  My comment that, surely, that would have messed up the guild point system was conveniently ignored.  If Ogre truly believes that people could get all the skills they need, including the high-level ones, without any experience lock at all, or having to use potions and boosters, well, I think he needs to get out into the World of Iris a bit more.

Kaerella's session continued beyond the food break, but around six o'clock, UK time, the shoutbox was asked what an "invisible vortex" was - and it was in fact Ogre who was the first to realise that that meant that[GM]Valsharyn had been lining up a new Mad Monster Spawn, as Val tends to start off with messages about having seen a vision of an invisible vortex which was about to unleash monsters upon us.  As usual, most of the announcements must have just been on Auzura only - but, from what did get more widely broadcast, I guessed that things were going down on Auzura-4, so Kaerella logged out from Cariae-1, and RedRider, my level 26 rogue, logged in on Auzura-4.  In all Kae had just added 10.65% and 78 skill points, taking her almost to halfway through level 50 and back over the 8k mark for unused sp, plus 740 pet points.

The Mad Monster Spawn had already started when I arrived.  As usual [GM]Valsharyn kept things interesting, with plenty of encouragement and comments, and some easy "warm up" monsters between main waves.  The "boss" wave was a hard one, but we all worked together, including Val, who often seemed to be our main tank, and finally overcame the last Flutons and Patrarch Botises.  I did die quite a few times - and other people were saying that they had lost hundreds of skill points.  But the rewards were pretty good, and by the end Red was remarkably close to having an overweight inventory.

A titan called Cam1204 was getting well into the teamwork spirit, and bought a large number of health potions while he was back in Randol (having no doubt, like me, won a free trip there from a Fluton or some other big bad monster), which he passed around to people who needed them.  I assumed they were the small type, which cost 440 gold each - after the event was over he was still distributing them, I accepted his offer of fifty free ones - and was very surprised that they were actually the "great" size, which cost 5,430 gold each, so that was a nice gesture on his part, handing such valuable stuff out.

After that I switched back to Kaerella, to make up for her enforced lay-off for the last couple of days, and headed back to the giants and akane giants.  It was just after nine when Kamira teleported in, so my mage Keerella took over, and rode out to fight her, arriving within five minutes of her initial appearance.

Kamira didn't drop a rare accessory, but she dropped the usual assortment of a crystal of experience (greater), a medal of honour, tool aids, lucky scrolls, medium mana potions, moonstones, great healing potions, 58,380 gold, and a hero's necklace - 33 evasion and 4 intelligence.  So the fight was worthwhile, and again I hadn't used a lucky scroll or item drop booster.

There was just time for Kaerella to have a few more minutes out there, so she rode back.  On the way a knight called minwoo rode up.  "A question - do you want to change your pet's colour?"  My reply was "Not really, thank you", as, well, I'm used to SirFrancis being the natural drake colour.  Minwoo gave me armour and concentration buffs, and rode off towards town.  "Oh well, just giving stuff away"...

I stayed out just long enough for another Christmas Gift Box to arrive, which just dropped a Shiny Red Sorceror Santa Hat.  By then, Kae's session, before and after Kammy, had added 9.90%, 694 pet points, and 72 more skill points.  Then, well, it was time to go back to the Discipline guild hall.

Without A Clue.. - December 19th

This morning it was deja vu all over again, as the saying goes, with 14 Christmas Gift Boxes in the Discipline guild hall, one of which released a platinum drop booster; the newer computer had again recently given up the fight against a shortage of in-game memory.  The older computer was still going, though with a very slow frame rate, which made things look very strange when, after restarting the game, Barbarienne returned and began to open the boxes.  Restarting the older computer's game wasn't enough, the computer itself had to be restarted before things returned to normal.

There were a number of responses to my forum posting about MacroMej's language. PongoElite confirmed that "he is clearly cursing and using offensive language in Spanish", including "a very offensive term" - "Just ban that idiot, people like him don't even deserve the right to join a community."   The gamesage Faenwyn acknowledged the report, so very possibly something will be done, though I must check if there is anything else I need to do.

So, ColonelScarlet headed out to a different location this morning to do a little more pet-levelling - in case ol' Macro or any other ks-ers get to read this I suppose I ought to remain a bit vague about what location he has now added to his memory scroll, but it seems relatively peaceful and out of the way.

It is difficult to work out when events are going to start, as most of the links on the Last Chaos website still don't work.  It looked as if a second "Cluedo" event on Auzura-4 might start at noon, UK time, so it seemed like a good idea to be active on Auzura during the morning, to watch out for announcements.  So, RedRider, at level 26, logged in to Auzura-1, got the "Elizabuff", and went to Prokion Temple - her first attempt to get in saw her down in the foundations, but the second time saw her arrive safely in the lobby.

The room with the orc soldiers and mummies that RedRyder favoured over on Katar was free, so RedRider settled in there, and even though her armour is only the 25/27 +4 set, didn't have any great difficulties, or at least nothing that couldn't be corrected by a small HP recovery potion.  From all the Mad Monster Spawns and similar events she has attended, she had 241 of them, so using a few seemed like a good idea.  This Red doesn't have as good a weapon as the +10 level 29 crossbow RedRyder over on Katar has, but things went smoothly enough.

By the end, RedRider was 55.90% of the way through her level, and had got up to 273 skill points.  And then the "Cluedo" event - well, just didn't happen.  Checking just after twelve, UK time, the website now showed a countdown of fifty-something minutes, for a 1:00pm start - but, hurrying back after lunch, nothing was happening then either and, its countdown completed, the event vanished from the news page.

The first half of the afternoon was filled up with miscellaneous stuff, including reading a rather interesting forum thread about Last Chaos at a general mmorpg forum, which gave some background to the much-lamented departure of [GM]Krash; when I did get back in to LC actively, RedRider headed for Misty Canyon and after sneaking past the elite frenzied berserkers and elite cerberus types, got the location onto her memory scroll, before going inside and persuading a convenient Introducer Camio to help relieve her of that 55.90%.  The nineteen deaths reduced the 5 skill points she had left to 3, rather than wiping them out completely.

As RedRider is mainly designed for event-going and teaming with another character up to ten levels higher, there isn't any great hurry about maximising her special skills, it is just nice to have somewhere to "bank" skill points she does earn, so the fact that she needs another 2,760 skill points to do that isn't very important...which is just as well.

I was very good, and fitted in some more work downstairs for the rest of the afternoon - some stuff does have to be cleared out of the way before the Christmas break can start for real, after all.  Mages Blaze and MistressDomino did hang out in the Discipline guild hall, generally - whenever a Santa hat was dropped by a Christmas Gift Box, I'd try to bring in the right character to be able to wear it, which worked sometimes, though not every junior character is in the right guild.  I'd never done any levelling of Blaze, she was just level 2 - but opening a few boxes soon got her to level 5.

ColonelScarlet did a bit more pet-levelling, and then later in the evening RedRyder went out to Prokion Temple on Katar-1, but it wasn't a very productive session - frankly, there was too much player-killing going on.  I was first killed by a rogue called Arelan, who seemed to me to be wearing pretty high-level armour; as ever, I was just busy fighting mummies and ghouls, and attacked for no reason.  I went back to Randol and got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff re-applied, but after the next killing, I didn't bother with that any more.  Another rogue called xrogueinhax killed me once, she wasn't in a guild but when she spoke later, it certainly seemed as if she was Brazilian, so that may have been part of the friction between the new nationals and the older residents.  The main killer, though, was a night shadow called BoundsWithG, and it just strikes me as pathetic that a character who is at least level 90 should want to go to a place where people from level 17 to 27 or so are busy levelling and sp-farming, and want to kill them.  What does he prove by that, other than that he is rather inadequate?

Still, getting pk'd gives no penalty, and RedRyder added 4.83%, along with a useful 108 skill points.  A level 21 rogue there, lyijykyna, whispered me when I mentioned that I thought BoundsWithG killing low-levels was slightly pathetic, and we chatted a bit, she was another victim of his - we might even have teamed up if there had been more time left to the evening, but I had to log out soon and she had some time left on her pssp.

After that it was time to keep the guild hall fully manned, so the day's adventures were over.  One thing I did ignore today was a special raffle for the upcoming new pet, the much-delayed polar bear that the German Last Chaos has had for ages.  Today GMs were exchanging raffle tickets for 10 million gold, 5 heaven stones, 2 lucky smelting stones, 100 chaos balls, or various other things - tomorrow the tickets can be bought for 199 ap each, in a package which also gives you 25 skill or experience boosters, which seems a rather cheaper option than parting with, say, 100 chaos balls, or even 5 heaven stones.  It looks as if the pets will come in with the next scheduled maintenance, it will be interesting to see how expensive they are to buy, and indeed to maintain and level.  Will they be only for the very rich ap-buyers, or will the whole place be full of them?

An Unexpected Invitation - December 20th

I did actually play a little more "Grand Fantasia" yesterday, enough to get my Kaerella character there up to level ten, and to let my faithful sprite do some more mining and gathering, plus training, which I feel is likely to be a Good Thing.  It still all feels rather unintuitive to me, though.  Overnight I decided to give the older computer a rest; the newer one did run out of memory eventually, but not before eight more Christmas Gift Boxes had been spawned.  Unlike loot drops, it doesn't matter if the boxes are left alone in the guild hall - as the one stuck in the wall proves they last forever, or at least until the next maintenance downtime.

None of the overnight boxes yielded a platinum drop booster, so generally it was soon-to-vanish scrolls and inventory-cluttering hats that were scooped up.  Still, maybe the hats will be worth something eventually, though everyone's inventories will be a bit full of them by Wednesday.

After coffee, though, it was time for Memree to head for Prokion Temple on Katar-4.  The back room was in use when I arrived - I couldn't see the actual player, but a group of angry orcs were definitely attacking someone over on the far side.  Luckily I stayed for a few seconds, edging a bit further in to see what was going on... and what I did see was an end to the fighting.  The poor player had been killed, I assume, leaving behind a couple of gold drops and a Christmas Gift Box.  I refrained from opening the box for a while, in case they returned, but eventually opened in, and picked up a reindeer pet book.

So, with the coast clear, Kaerella logged in too, and, after the Combat party had been formed, hurried to join Memree.  She started a pssp, in the usual way - and during the hour, while Memree added 37.31%, 133 skill points, 430 guild points, and 1054 pet points, for all her work killing orc axemen and orc sergeants, Kaerella went up by 7.85% and an excellent total of 400 skill points.

Kae moved away after that, back to the lobby and then on to Randol; Memree continued for a little while, so that by the end her session had reached 41.28%, 163 skill points, 466 guild points, and 1173 pet points.  Back in Randol she spent all the skill points except 1 on assorted special skill levels; I also made a careful note of the other special skills she can learn, which will soak up a total of another 1545 skill points.

There was just time for a trip to Misty Canyon to get rid of Memree's current experience.  A mage called LadyZoom was already there, fighting the first Introducer Camio properly, and seemed a bit surprised at my tactics, asking me what my level was.  "31 - just six more deaths to go", I replied.  "Oh, for sp."  "Yeah - this is a nice quick place to lose experience."

The response to that was a "lol", and soon I was able to report "All done - good hunting!" and leave her to it.  "Thank you - good sp", she replied, before I beamed out.

I was remarkably good, and, leaving Memree and BarbarellA in the guild hall for more hats, got on with some work, to try and clear the coming week a bit, during the first part of the afternoon.  And then, with the hope that the 50% extra experience for ""Sunday Teatime" would get switched on, over on Cariae-1, with, again, the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, my level 50 cleric Kaerella headed out to the akane giants.  It wasn't too long before the raid boss Kamira turned up, so Kae logged out and Keerella rode down to deal with her; there was no rare accessory dropped, but all the usual minor goodies ended up on the ground for me, including the crystal of experience (greater) and the lucky scrolls.  After that Kaerella returned, and continued her farming.  The Teatime bonus started fairly promptly at four, UK time, but I logged off for my food break soon after that, so Kaerella had just added 9.08% and 63 skill points, plus 608 pet points.

For the evening session, up until Quiz time, Kaerella went out to the akane giants for a slightly longer session, helped along by the Sunday Teatime bonus of 50% extra experience per kill continuing.  The Dratan "castle siege" was counting down to begin while Kae was out there, and for some strange reason I got a recall-type message, "Please go back to Castle War start point."  This had a yes/no option, so out of curiosity I clicked the "yes" - and it did act like a party recall, I was soon spawning not far from the Tomb of Theos, along with a lot of other people, some of them a bit surprised to be there.

I assumed it was because I was out in Dratan desert, and thus on the same map and not all that far away, that I got that glitchy message, but I noticed later that Barbarienne, who had been providing the solo party while standing around in the Norcaine guild hall, had got the message too.  At a bit after 7:30pm I clicked "yes" for her, and she in her turn spawned out there in the grassy uplands of south-west Dratan.  There were a couple of Christmas Gift Boxes left behind, and one afk knight, but the siege had long since finished.

Anyway, Kaerella had continued to fight the akane giants, and moved a little further into the north-west corner than usual.  Seeing some sort of construction visible in the distance, I continued in that direction, and found a mysterious building, with an ominously glowing portal.  Not knowing the meaning of "fear", I ran through the glow, and found myself in what announced itself to be "The Tomb of Theo" - not to be confused with "The Tomb of Theos", then...

It seemed to be a work in progress, with a not very long pathway hewn into the rock, and no monsters or things of interest.  Perhaps one day the developers will add another dungeon, or something, there, like the real Tomb, or Misty Canyon.  I left, and noticed on my way back that there was a second elite akane giant, and this one was in a less crowded area than the one I've usually fought in the past, so I stayed around, and fought it, and the regular akane giants, until Quiz time was approaching.  Kaerella went up 16.42%, and added another 84 skill points and 812 pet points.

With Barbarienne online, the rogue PerziaQueen had been chatting a bit to her; I don't think she is particularly high-level, and really knew Barb from being allowed to "ks" her a bit with the screaming zombies.  She did ask me if I had aeria points, and as usual I didn't give a straight answer, as if you start to trade people item mall things for gold, it is difficult to stop, and I've come out worst in some deals before now.  Later she told me that she had been scammed - someone saying they were "selling ap" had taken just about all the money she had, but had not supplied the promised class skill reset card, an item that sells for 850 ap.  She did have screenshots, but the gamesage she had contacted had told her that they couldn't involve themselves in that sort of thing, people entered into trading arrangements at their own risk - which is fair enough.  PerziaQueen is so sad about the whole thing that she says she'll stop playing Last Chaos... I must say I feel pretty sad about it too.  I'd been suggesting that we might team up, her and Barb, on the Introducer Camios in Misty Canyon - if Barb did try to fight those, the presence of someone with Snare would be a great help - and if necessary, it isn't far to run back to the teleporter to leave in a hurry.

The quiz seemed trickier than usual; they had the question about [GM]Racoonpd and the "Jenga" event, and I think there hasn't been such an event for many months, and that GM, who never had much to do with Last Chaos, at least in-game, is long gone.   We went for "no", but I at least had deep misgivings about it - would we all find ourselves spawning back in the middle of Randol?  They also had the "does [GM]Krash run the 'Pharaoh's Treasure?" question.  We opted to go with the usual answer, "yes", though of course Krash too is no longer with us, so if those events do continue, it will have to be with someone else in charge. 

There was also a worrying gap between questions after about nine, at least on Katar-2 - one has heard of a sub-server where the quiz never finished, so we were on tenterhooks for a few seconds.  The questions came rather more quickly after that, but we managed to keep up.  While click-and-move is working in guild halls, movement in the quiz room is still WASD only, to add to the fun, but we got to question 21 safely, losing only a very few people along the way, so just about everyone left rather richer than when they went in.  It's strange, MistressSabina accompanied Kaerella, and the "click on and follow" didn't seem to work before the quiz started when I tested it, but worked fine during the actual quiz, with her faithfully following Kae's every move.

As usual logging back in after a quiz is a bit tricky, as the servers are so busy, but it seemed like a good idea to let ColonelScarlet do a little pet-levelling, particularly as I'd be around, and able to keep an eye on things.  It was just as well I did, as the royal knight huxy showed up before long - and showed up pretty well, since he was riding a nice bright white horse.  He has ks'd me in the past, but he hadn't made any move to do so this time, so I was friendly, and, so that he'd know I wasn't afk, said "hi huxy", and "what brings you out here?"

He was just bored, he told me, which I can sympathise with, it's a bit of a dead time between the end of the quiz and the start of the zombie invasions, usually.  He asked about pet-levelling, saying that his level 34 rogue kills the target, so I explained how the red name helps, meaning that at level 35 the Colonel just hits for 20 damage bare-handed.  He went off to get his rogue a red name; I suppose with the +10 armour a rogue may well be able to pet-level, even without the useful passive skills for extra armour and health regeneration.

Still, it is slightly worrying that a spot that I thought was pretty secluded should get a visitor, like that.  It's just as well that, hopefully, not much more pet-levelling will be needed on the Katar server.  But as I remarked to huxy, "Each time I think this is the last mount, I start another character, lol"...

There were supposed to be the normal "Zombie Invasion" events tonight, according to the website, though it gave the starting time as an hour later than usual - nothing seemed to happen on Auzura or Katar though, there were no announcements that I saw, so that part of a Sunday night's LC entertainment was missing, this time.  Ah well, at least ColonelScarlet moved that next mount, currently in reindeer form, an hour or two along the way through level 32.

A Mixed Bunch - December 21st

Memree kept going most of the night in the guild hall before the memory ran out - I think there were only six Christmas Gift Boxes there when she returned at breakfast time, but two of them dropped platinum drop boosters, which is better than average.  Katar's level 10 version of Barbarienne joined her there for the morning - I didn't have time for any actual playing, unfortunately, as I had to make a trip to the local Royal Mail sorting office, and do a little shopping as well.

The afternoon however started with Memree and Kaerella going to Katar-4's Prokion Temple, for Kae to have another pssp hour; Kaerella gained 397 skill points, taking her store of unused sp above 13k now, while adding 7.72% experience. Memree gained 36.72%, as the active one in the combat party, and 133 skill points again, plus 1039 pet points and 415 guild points; she continued there briefly to get the skill points total up to 140, which added another 0.91%, 37 pet points, and 10 guild points as well, then back in town was able to get the final level of advanced farming, plus the first level of herb trunk processing.

After that, well, Memree needed a trip to Misty Canyon, and thirteen more deaths.  There was a mage at work on the first Introducer Camio, so I kept clear, and annoyed the next one along.  It's all much quicker than running around Prokion Temple to die used to be, and I don't even need to remove my armour and accessories.

The early evening food break started slightly early, so that I'd be ready in good time for one of [GM]Valsharyn's Mad Monster Spawns, which, as previously noted, aren't the regular kind of MMS, they have some thought and active participation put into them, with monsters for lower level people on one side, occasionally, while the higher level types play with a few Flutons.  So, butchers, and beast hunters and treants and blood wolves were spawned, as well as Balrogs - I think these were the ones that appear at the end of the first personal dungeon, rather than the Juno "raid boss" type, but they look suitably dramatic.

The drops were suitably generous, which make up for the deaths involved - or at least they do for RedRider, who doesn't have a mass of skill points to lose.  I still wouldn't be keen to take Rage along, level 72 would be a bit tricky, easily vulnerable to attacks from the high level Almas, Blood Terrains, Flutons, Patriarch Botises, and various cube guards, and getting nothing from the low-level monsters.

"Event is finally over, after 90 minutes and four additional waves of monsters and drops :D!!  Good hunting everyone, use your items wisely! :)"

It wasn't long after that concluded that a "hide and seek" commenced, on Auzura-1, but despite riding around Juno until RedRider's horse was pretty hungry, I didn't come across the GM - Valsharyn again.  The problem was that every time she was found, she moved - at least, I don't think she actually took up a new position for five minutes, which meant for a lot of the time she was nowhere to be found.  Still, I fought some blood wolves, and did get a pan flute as a drop...

Meanwhile, ColonelScarlet was hard at work.  I think huxy may have dropped by early in the evening, I did catch a glimpse of someone on a white horse riding away, but otherwise things were quiet, and productive, until at about 7:35, UK time, I did see huxy, and this time he immediately killed my bandits and rode off.  I guess he gets naughty when he gets bored, sigh... at least the Christmas Gift Box that spawned by ColonelScarlet a few minutes after that dropped a platinum drop booster.

The idea of having separate monster spawns for high-level and low-level players seems to be catching on, as the US server MMS tomorrow is announced as in two different locations, well apart; the usual location is for the high level people, and a completely different spot will be for lower level players.  It will be interesting to see how that works out.

Another new idea is a "scavenger hunt" - if 500 of the item in question are turned in to a GM on Friday, then there will be "several hours" of 50% extra experience and skill exp.  Nobody can start saving the items yet, as they are Christmas Balls - and, at least until some sort of patch during maintenance tomorrow puts things right, they are one of the items that vanish from one's inventory when a character logs out.

Memree logged in over on Katar to find out where the coordinates for the lower-level MMS led her - which was down to the south-west corner of the map, and the great horn beasts close to the lake there.  As the great horn beasts are level 24 and aggressive, it would be best not to be too low-level there!

And for the last active part of the evening, it was my level 50 cleric Kaerella, over on Cariae-1, who returned to action, with another shorter session with the akane giants out in the Dratan desert.  Adding 5.77% and 39 skill points, plus 376 pet points, may not seem much, but it all moves us along.  ColonelScarlet, meanwhile, had got the horse into level 33, so, once that level is completed, there are only three more to go.  Ratel's healer Jacqueline logged in, and we chatted for a while; being in South Africa, Ratel hasn't actually ever experienced snow.  He doesn't know what he's missing...

A Choice of Monster Spawns - December 22nd

There were a few Christmas Gift Boxes in the Discipline guild hall again this morning; those shiny Santa hats are starting to take up a lot of inventory space, if tonight's maintenance patch doesn't make it possible to trade them. I think some use of the "garbage disposal" option will be needed tomorrow.  There was some more standing around in the guild hall for the first part of the morning, and then after coffee Memree and Kaerella headed for that back room in Prokion Temple on Katar-4 - only to find it already in use!

Luckily the other non-PvP server, Katar-5, had room for us, so we settled in, with Kaerella standing near the doorway with a platinum super skill pill running, and Memree doing all the work.  Conditions continued to favour us, and Kaerella gained a record 420 skill points, while going up by 8.18%; that added 76 guild points to the DarkzersRoughneks guild total.  Memree meanwhile went up by 38.95%, adding 140 skill points, 439 guild points for the Discipline guild, and 1082 pet points, which were enough to move her drake up a level.  Once Kae had left, Memree continued briefly, to get up to 153 skill points, enough for her to finish learning imperfect stone processing and get the first level of advanced energy gathering; that added another 1.62%, 19 guild points, and 60 pet points.

There was just time before lunch, once Memree had spent that sp, for Memree to teleport over to Misty Canyon, and persuade an Introducer Camio to help her get rid of that 40.57% experience, which it was happy to do.

For the afternoon, ColonelScarlet went back out to his current monsters - what type they are is a secret shared only with huxy!  Meanwhile, RedRyder went to Katar-1, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and headed for Prokion Temple, and the mummies there.

My theory is that the Brazilian version of the game (which is closing down, hence their migration to Last Chaos USA) has swifter monster respawning - how else can one explain the way a Brazilian player will sweep into the room that one is already playing in, and assume there are enough monsters for them too?  I'd managed to get the room with a nice collection of mummies and a single orc soldier, but for a lot of the time I ended up involuntarily sharing it with a Brazilian, usually a rogue.  The worst one was FreeDeathLecter, who consistently ks'd me, while pretending that I was ks-ing her.  You can't argue with these guys, as they seem completely uneducated, as far as the English language goes.  FreeDeathLecter even attacked me as a final gesture, though not hitting hard enough to kill me.

Other annoyances were the rogues jowbody and HunterSky, though the latter's visits, while frequent, tended to be brief.  The mage DearthQeen and the titan ISlayerI also put in appearances.  At least the knight Knify spoke English, I didn't mind sharing the room with him for a while, and he's on Red's Friends list now.

Still, while the fighting wasn't as flat-out as it could have been, by the end RedRyder had gone up by 16.19%, and just 26 guild points, in the course of adding a very useful 376 skill points.  It might not have been as many as Kae had earned earlier, but this time no expensive pssp was involved.  I'd been looking at the prices people are charging for a pssp, and it seems that they are hard to find for below 5 million on Katar these days.  Kaerella was very nearly out of stock of them now, so in the end I paid 4.8 million each for five, bought from Nipi near the Katar-1 arena..

ColonelScarlet got the horse up to level 34 soon after six... and not long after that it was time for Cariae's Kaerella to ride out to the giants and akane giants on Cariae-1.

The session went pretty well, and Kaerella reached level 51; at that point I went back to town, and, as Kae's inventory was entirely full, transferred items across to some other characters; the manuals for making level 49-57 armour and weapons got moved across to Damorella, and some recently acquired accessories got stashed away too.

Kaerella went back out once she had some inventory space, but the session came to a slightly early end when, while she was fighting the elite akane giant near to the "Tomb of Theo" entrance, our favourite raid boss, Kamira, arrived.  So, Kae logged out, and Keerella hurriedly logged in, and rode down to visit her.  Kee didn't even have to use any health potions during the fight; the usual useful goodies were dropped, but no rare accessory, maybe it would help if one of those platinum drop boosters was used?  I've seen them on sale at wildly varying prices, from 1.2 million to more than ten times that.

So, once Kee logged out, the session was over.  Kaerella logged back in, just to put a few things into storage, and found she was still in the solo party she had spent the evening in.  One heaven stone had been picked up; also, for the first time for Kae the elite akane giant had dropped a ready-plussed item, a level 45 mage wand, Crick's Bane +1.

There was time to get email and the blog so far sorted out, before the expected "Mad Monster Spawns" on the US servers, which were due to start at 10:00pm, UK time.  I'd decided to check out the new low-level version on Katar with Memree, so was on the alert for any messages on ColonelScarlet's screen.  And, sure enough, one appeared with ten minutes to spare.

The "lowbie" event was quite fun and well-rewarded with the usual loot, but it only lasted 15 minutes.  I saw some familiar monsters, and some I'd never seen before - and I did have to run for my life when a horde of goblins charged at me.  The early finish meant that I could move across to the usual MMS spot, and help out the "highbies" - and grab some more loots of course.  I assume both events were run by [GM]JediMike, who kept a pretty low profile; the final wave for the high-levels was unusual, in that it didn't contain any Flutons or Patriarch Botises, though there were Almas, cave spirits, and other tough monsters.  We hadn't cleared them all by 10:30, but the GM spawned the loot and declared the event over, thanking us for attending, so we all paused to hoover up what we could - and then went back to finishing off the monsters.  After which, it was time for Memree to log out.

Server maintenance was, as usual, scheduled for about 1:00am, UK time, so there was no point in leaving the computers running.  Hopefully the holiday packages in the in-game item mall, which currently tell you "the item does not exist" if you try to purchase one, will become available. "Think of those packages like gifts under the tree, look but you can't touch" was how Aeria_ks1lent put it.  Probably we'll get the polar bear pets too, which do look a bit seasonal.  Let's hope that they don't bring too many bugs with them.  When ColonelScarlet finally logged out for the night, he had got the horse more than a third of the way into level 34, so he too did pretty well today.

A New Server - December 23rd

The new patch has, it seems, stopped Christmas items disappearing from one's inventory when one logs out, and also added night shadow Santa hats to the things the Christmas Gift Boxes can drop, but the hats themselves still cannot be traded, stored, or even dropped on the ground.  I suppose the problem is that they are 30-day timed items, which was a dubious change to make from last year's ordinary hats.  The new Tairen server has opened for business, too.

I knew that my morning session would be subject to interruptions, so, while ColonelScarlet continued his pet-levelling efforts out in Merac, it was RedRyder who went sp-farming, in Prokion Temple on Katar-1.  In a solo party, Red gets just 576 experience per mummy, since she is six levels higher than them, but 4400 skill exp (with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff active); it was interesting that when another solo party member, the level 20 knight NAZAKINA, was briefly within compass-map range the skill exp fell slightly to 3662, though it would vary a little from one kill to the next, while the experience ramped up to a comparatively massive 3186, more than five times as much.

Things were a bit quieter in the room I favour, with mummies and a single orc soldier, though HunterSky was around again, and did occasionally trespass; another rogue, NightBlak, was a slight nuisance too.  Still, in around 75 minutes Red did manage to add 187 skill points, while just going up 8.16% in experience.  RedRyder has just reached the 60% point in level 26, and the target of getting over 2,000 unused skill points before level 27 is reached looks pretty certain.

After lunch there was time for Memree and Kaerella to go to Prokion Temple's back room on Katar-4.  The skill point gain for Kae's pssp hour was back to a more normal level today; while Memree added 33.80% and 122 skill points, plus 1088 pet points and 381 guild points, Kae added 364 skill points, and 66 guild points, while going up by 7.11%.

Since the new Tairen server had started, it seemed like a good idea to go over there and reserve my usual main names - so Kaerella, MistressDomino, CaptainScarlet, SirDarth, RedRyder, and Memree are all suitably installed.  Just before four o'clock, UK time, back on Katar ColonelScarlet got his reindeer-type horse up to level 35, too.

For the evening session, it didn't seem a bad idea to do a bit of work on the new server, so SirGalahad joined the line-up - I did notice a Gawain and an ArthurPendragon in Randol, both knights as well, so the spirit of Camelot lives on.  The idea was to get SirGalahad up to a pet-levelling status, and, as a pet-leveller doesn't need a whole range of skills, hopefully set up the Discipline guild over there.

Unlike the move to Katar, there are no assets waiting for me on Tairen; an old "tiered spender" offer delivered its rewards to all the servers then operating, so I tend to have a few goodies in the other servers, just waiting, and my early times in Katar were greatly aided by selling a couple of lucky smelting stones and an item mall potion or two.  So cash was tight, and will remain so.

As it is a new server, cash is tight all round, there hasn't yet been a lot of gold dropped by monsters, or loot sold to the NPCs in exchange for gold.  It looks as if an item drop booster or a skill point booster would cost forty or fifty thousand, instead of around a million; some people just don't get it, though, and are trying to sell heaven stones for a million or more - and where would that money have come from, on day one?

SirGalahad operated on Tairen-1, for the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and had a fairly standard upbringing, though without my tendency to target slightly lower-level monsters to increase the ratio of skill exp to regular experience.  Foxes and deer, and then wolves, were fought to fulfil the quests from Healer Yabo, and then I quickly moved on to elder wolves, dire wolves, and berserk wolves.  Then at level 8, the quest to supply Merchant Geres with jaguar fangs for his necklace business kicked in - every 500 gold reward was very useful.  I managed to buy a level 13 sword eventually, though I had to rely on what I picked up, armour-wise, so even at the end of the session Gal was still wearing his original level 1 gloves and boots.  Still, I used the skill points I got to get the passive skill Canid Fence rolling - four levels added 80 to his defence stat, which meant that the berserk wolves just stopped doing any damage, and the more expensive fifth level added a further 20.  Even attacks by a pair of jaguars were no problem, so that was 65 skill points well spent.  Another 97 went on Uncanny Movement, since being able to run around more quickly is pretty useful; other than some first levels Gal has to have before he can get the level 30 skill, that was all that were used.

At level 10 it was time for Velpist Temple, once I'd exchanged the pan flute I'd finally picked up for a pet pony; and it was also time to find a guardian, so that SirGalahad will get that useful "event weapon" sword if he reaches level 20 quickly enough.  Looking at the list of prospective guardians, I chose Slymitor, since he was the leader of the solo party I was in.  He went up from level 19 to 26 over the course of the evening, so he was doing well.

Velpist Temple was of course busier than I've ever seen it on other servers, epic events excepted, and it was hard to find enough wandering zombies, but I got up to level 13 there eventually, with some useful +3 or +4 drops - nothing actually for a knight, but if I do decide to develop a rogue, say, for event-going there, I'll be able to supply her with a nice level 13 crossbow at least.

It seemed a good idea to add Prokion Temple to Gal's memory scroll before the end of his first session, so I made the run out through the desert without any problems; Kamira was outside the Temple, but I doubt if there is anyone on the new server yet who can deal with her, just as there can't be any people with mounts yet - or even horses of level 16 or more, able to use the reindeer transformation books.

With SirGalahad's low-level armour (helm 12, shirt and pants 6, gloves and boots level 1), despite the Canid Fence the level 17 ghouls in the Temple were a bit tricky - I found that I could kill one, but I'd be left with rather low health.  Still, I did manage to kill a few, enough for Gal to reach level 14.

Back in Juno, I killed a few Sasquatch near town, mainly to get a few more pet points.  The pony had managed to level up in Velpist Temple, the zombies were so hungry that the poor thing was down to below 20% health by the time it reached level 2.  By log-out time SirGalahad was 21.62% into level 14, with 73 unused skill points; there are plenty of skills a full-combat knight could spend sp on, but Gal has other priorities.

The Discipline guild does now officially exist on Tairen, anyway.  It is only level one, which cost SirGalahad 10 skill points and 10,000 gold; level two requires Gal to be level 15 himself, and costs 30 sp and 50,000 gold, which will be a problem.  On another server that would be easy, sell a few moonstone boxes or a heaven stone and you'd be rich, but Tairen isn't built that way, yet, and there 50,000 gold is a lot of money.

Over on Katar, ColonelScarlet kept busy through the evening.  I'd been so busy on Tairen that I'd forgotten about the scheduled "Storm the Castle" event scheduled for ten on Katar (and also, indeed, on Cariae) - but luckily it had been postponed until 30 minutes later, so that it ran at the same time as the Hatzring and Sarissa versions, and, while I missed the start, Memree was able to join in for the main part, against sphinx commanders and the Tomb's spear men, plus dark harpies and hell-otuu.  Merac Castle was cleaned out in time, and we got our rewards spawned - I seemed to do lots of picking up, but of course a lot of it is the minor health and mana recovery potions; 8 item drop boosters, 5 skill point boosters, 9 large attack potions, and 11 large defence potions ought to make a little cash to buy a pssp or two I hope.  Attendance seemed pretty low again, probably not helped by the delay in starting.

By the time he logs out, ColonelScarlet will have got his horse well past the halfway mark in level 35.  He ought to be on for most of tomorrow, too; I will be busy with other things for most of Christmas Eve, but will hope to have an evening session, at least.

A Free Trip  - December 24th

As expected, I was busy all day long, but ColonelScarlet managed an overnight pet-levelling session - he wasn't interrupted, though someone passing by must have decided to open a few Christmas Gift Boxes, as he didn't have the full number in the morning, by any means.  Unlike what has been happening when someone is standing around in the guild hall, the computer didn't run out of memory overnight, and things lasted well into the morning before I needed to relog him.

It was just around four in the afternoon when the horse, in reindeer guise, finally reached level 37, so that's another job that can be ticked off the list. 

Over on Cariae-4 Enchantrella did a bit of standing around in the Norcaine guild hall, and managed to get herself a mage shiny Santa hat; as the next hour's box dropped a healer-type one, a minor character of mine there, Karanne, logged in, and was able to get into the guild hall and grab it.

Ratel got in touch, and Christmas greetings were exchanged.  He mentioned that he had made a Night Shadow, and not been very impressed - so that means that Ratel, the stalwart temple knight, must have reached level 90... I think that would be the Auzura version, but I'm not entirely certain.  Honestly, these people who have characters with similar or identical names on various different servers do make life complicated, don't they?  Heheheh...

After the early evening food break, though, I was able to swing into action for a while.  Our friendly GMs had announced that they were offering free trips to Egeha's Lust Trum Tower on the four US servers' fourth sub-servers, so it seemed a good idea to take advantage of saving the 800,000 gold teleportation cost.  Thus it was that Rage went over to the tower, using a special teleporter NPC, Suran, spawned outside Randol's north gate, similar to the way masses of teleporters got spawned there for some of the "epic events".

Rage fought a few level 87 wights on the ground floor, but the place seemed a bit cramped and busy, and so a "return to village" scroll got us to Egeha village.  My titan MrChuckNorris soon joined her; at level 62 to her 72, a combat party seemed the way to go.  Having a slightly lower-level member in the party means that monsters between their levels give better experience and skill exp, so it was worthwhile to quickly "farm" bogles (level 65) and dark bogles (67), before we settled in with the apes and baby apes.  The apes themselves may only be level 74, but they are boss monsters, and give good experience, though they take a while to kill.  We settled into a routine of killing the nearest ape, and then a nearby baby ape, with a few nearby bogles and dark bogles to fill up any time waiting for respawns. 

Chuck would use Smite, the titan stun skill, between Rage's Snare effects, or more quickly if Snare failed to work - a system they have used before now against Screaming Zombies in the Tomb of Theos.  We didn't stay a huge amount of time, though, as Rage had a few Egeha quests to sort out.  After that, Chuck just remained safely in town, to provide the solo party boost; in all he had earned himself 7.09% by then, and a couple of skill points.

Rage's solo activities included reaching an NPC quest-giver, Assistant Rouin, quite close to Lust Trum Tower; the Skinwalkers are passive, so not a problem on their own, but they are protective of the boucu demons (and the triceratops-type endemic demons), so Rage just had to run past those and ignore any damage they inflicted.  There's a bug that has been going on for a while which sees the boucu demons half stuck in the ground in some places, which I think restricts their mobility usefully.  I got to Rouin safely, but he himself was surrounded by the ghostly level 88 cursed weavers and level 90 cursed liches, which are aggressive, protective of each other, and have magical attacks, so the new quest he gave, to harvest some "counteracting poison of the leaf" locally, will have to wait a while.

It would have been shorter as the crow flies to go from Rouin (who, with a name like that, appears to be involved in archaeology, naturally enough) to another local pair of quest-givers, Battle Leader Koon and Patrol Leader Zen, but those weavers and liches are bad news, so I teleported into Lust Trum Tower again, and hurried down the road from there, avoiding the boucu demons as much as possible, and took a hard right turn to head for the arena - not a place where players fight, as in Randol or Dratan, but just part of the map.

There was a quest to go back to town and return, so I did that, coming back the same way as before; a new quest required Rage to kill ten boucu demons and ten skinwalkers.  After killing a couple of boucu demons there, I moved across to the old boucu demon spot, where parties used to fight, and continued there.  I got the ten boucu demons easily enough - but my attempt to kill a skinwalker there ended in failure.  The trouble is that, as bosses, they take an age to kill, so it's no use killing the nearby boucu demon and then attacking the skinnie, the boucu demon will respawn well before the skinwalker is down to 50% health.

In fact, things got very dangerous, with the skinwalker's debuff slowing my attempt to escape, and my health getting extremely low - however, he didn't chase me into the rocks, and I was able to use "pet return to village" to get the heck out of there.  Rage can kill skinwalkers - but not if they have friends joining in!  That was the end of the adventure; Rage had picked up a couple of level 72 helms, and a "Crystal of efforts", which would halve the skill exp loss from getting killed, for eight hours, plus a useful amount of gold.

It had made a change to wander around Egeha, especially without having to pay to get there, and, while the skill point gain was minor, including various quest rewards Rage went up by 13.26%, taking her past the three-quarters mark in level 72, so it can't be too long before she can start using her new level 73 crossbow, and let Auzura's version of Kaerella have the level 69 +15 weapon.  With no pet-levelling currently under way, things reached a natural conclusion.  It looks as if teleporter Suran will vanish at breakfast time tomorrow, in theory - if by any wild chance Suran should happen to remain longer than that, maybe my Cariae mage Keerella, currently level 93, might hop over to Lust Trum Tower tomorrow, if food and television and present-unwrapping and so on allow such activities.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all our readers; if page view statistics are to be believed, quite a few people looked in at GuildPortal, but sadly their system seems nerfed at present, and new posts just haven't been uploading.  Ah well, there's still blogger, and kaerella.com...

The Christmas Spirit - December 25th

I did manage to do a fair bit of playing today, starting with a morning session over on the new Tairen server with SirGalahad; he killed little treants and werewolves for Hunter Dranore, and killed quite a few drakes, which was handy for a bit of pet-levelling, and the green orbs they dropped were useful for a quest later - there's nothing like being given a quest to get things, and being able to get the reward immediately.

I had a bit of luck on my way to Velpist Temple - I saw a Pandora's Box, and when I opened it, it dropped 50,000 gold, which was what I needed for guild upgrading.  With prices the way they are on the new server, that is a lot of money.

In the temple, Gal graduated to what I think of as the anteroom to the main "book of life" room, and levelled up there.  A rogue called Dre1 was fighting in that room too, and very kindly gave me a knight helm, level 12 +4, she had picked up, not wanting any gold for it - and a little later gave me a new drop she'd had, a level 17 sword of glory +2, which was a nice improvement over the level 13 sword I'd been using - the only item of equipment Galahad had actually bought!  Sadly, I didn't get any rogue-type drops that I could offer her.

An afternoon session for SirGalahad was mainly spent in Prokion Temple; having gone up 157.08% in the morning, plus 71 skill points, Galahad was only about 20% short of level 17, so it didn't take many ghouls to get up to their level.  Before long, I was able to move on to that mummy room, with just the single orc soldier to avoid, but I had a bit of trouble with a couple of members of a guild called DestructioN.  Well, the healer was quiet and just got on with the job, but the rogue, called "youtrustingbud", suddenly and theatrically ks'd me for no reason, and when I asked "why the ks?" accused me of ks-ing them, and pretended that they owned the whole server.  When that provoked a "lol" from me, "see my gm sword in your mouth" was the response.

It was interesting to be a silent witness to an exchange that happened not long after:

FightForLife > hey noob
FightForLife > poser...
youtrustingbud > what
FightForLife > u gonna die... everytime i see u just watch
FightForLife > change ur name
youtrustingbud > no
FightForLife > change ur name....
FightForLife > yes
FightForLife > ill always kill u noob
FightForLife > tht is my fking name on hatz... no1 coulda thought of it
FightForLife > ur not the real me
FightForLife > if u wanna play wiht tht name so be it just rember ur on my kos
youtrustingbud > why am i
FightForLife > >>>>>>
FightForLife > tht why ur on my kos
FightForLife > Ive had tht name on hatz for all my 90 lvls...
youtrustingbud > lol its me lumper dude chill i know your mom chill i wanted to represent you on lc
FightForLife > i dont want anyone to take it
FightForLife > thts not funny bud...

High drama, eh?  But if false-bud knows real-bud's Mom, that may well avoid murder being done (?).  Strangely, when after fighting some other ghouls and mummies I returned to that room, the DestructioN duo had disappeared...

But anyway, I managed to get SirGalahad to level 20, before logging out for the early evening food break, so another 318.57% had been safely added, as well as 191 more skill points... and Gal's pet pony was safely into level 4.

We were promised a celebratory parade at 5:00pm, UK time, on Katar-4, but it was a bit of a disappointment - I didn't see any marching around town or handing out of transformation scrolls and firecrackers, though after an announcement that Santa had dropped some goodies around town, I was lucky enough to be the first on the scene for one drop of about six items, next to Merchant Geres - mainly just "hand" items, but including two "great MP boost potions", which increase one's total mana by 30% for 24 hours.  Not as useful as the HP equivalent, but maybe someone might buy them.

Unfortunately  trying to trade the Christmas balls to [GM]OgreKing was impossible; I assume it isn't just me who, if one attempts to trade with someone and they are already trading, and thus fails, continues to get a "you are already trading with" message on all future attempts?  The mob around Oggy was thick, as people were hoping for some goody in exchange for the balls they handed in.  Maybe they did get something, I don't know.  The idea was that if 500 of the balls were handed in, then the server would get a few hours of 50% extra experience and skill exp.  Whether the GM deliberately disconnected the people nearest him, or the crush of people caused it, I don't know, but it's not the first time a crush around a GM has been temporarily solved that way.

A level 17 knight called "yougetown" applied to be added to Memree's Friends List, and I allowed him on - and to my relief it wasn't someone wanting my password, for a change.  He wanted to team up to help him level up a bit, and, it being Christmas, I decided that I could help; being less than 15 levels ahead, a regular party in Prokion Temple, in my back room, would do him a power of good.  I had been thinking of going to the "Parade" on other servers, but had rather lost interest in that.

He told me that he has a level 138 character on another account, but wants to get yougetown to level 90 just so that he can make a night shadow on a different account to his main character, which sounds reasonable; I noticed that his guild was "GHOSTRIDERS2". and GhostRiders are one of the top Katar guilds.

I had to persuade him to get the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff; I'd assumed that it was why he'd wanted to be on Katar-1, but apparently not.  He went back to town on level 18, and again on level 20, to get the new accessory and other quests, and boy did he take his time returning, leaving Memree just standing around.  He was hoping to get to level 27, or 25, but had to go soon after reaching level 21.  Memree just got about 4 more skill points, to reach 117, then went back to town, spent them, and went to Misty Canyon to get rid of the 22.78% experience.

Talking of that special accessory, after that I logged SirGalahad back in over on Tairen-1, and grabbed the level 20 quests myself, so that I too became the proud owner of a "Dash Neckless of Knight", which is kind of like a necklace I suppose, but with less neck.  It adds 16 to strength, 8 to (close range physical) attack, 20% to health recovery rate, and 10 to magical defence, so is rather better than anything else Gal has.  One quest gave a level 17 metal shield +1, which was useful as I'd been looking for a new shield, or at least hoping one would drop, as my thrifty knight was still using a level 1 one until then.  72 + 4 defence is a nice improvement on 24! 

SirGalahad was also able to learn all five levels of Vitality Control at level 20, increasing HP regeneration rate, so is a much improved character.  The various quest rewards, doubled by the Elizabuff, moved him on by not much short of 60% experience, too.  However, a final hour or so at Prokion got him moved along a bit further; he started still fighting the mummies, but by the end was fighting orc soldiers, often three or four at a time.  By the end of the evening Gal had reached level 23, which seemed a good stopping point.  That was an experience gain of 300.67%, along with 230 skill points; he hardly equipped his pony at all, as the mummies and orcs seemed a bit too hungry, but every 18 pet points helps, yes?  The gain had been helped by us gaining that extra 50% on both experience and skill exp. so [GM]OgreKing must have been able to get the 500 Christmas balls he needed.

A lot of people are looking for level six guilds on Tairen, but there must be a bit of a shortage of them as yet.  A level 35 guild master must be possible, even yesterday someone mentioned they were level 37, and getting the necessary 960 skill points by then wouldn't be difficult, it's the 3,810,000 gold that is the problem.  On the other servers that's the equivalent of a couple of heaven stones, but on Tairen, at the last price I saw, it's the equivalent of more than fifty.  Gold is rare - but still it seems that half the people fighting in Prokion Temple don't bother to pick it up.

RedRyder Steps Out - December 26th

SirGalahad on the new Tairen server had a session in the morning, getting a quest reward or two and then heading out into the Dratan desert, first of all to kill some "Ramians", or dark goddesses as they are now called.  There was a level 50 Pandora's Beast around, which my fellow knight ArthurPendragon had a go at, before very wisely running back into town - he did suggest after that that we might team up to fight it, but I declined the offer, those things hit hard and don't usually drop anything useful.

I moved on to Shuraine's oasis after killing the 15 dark goddesses, and set about killing the sand golems there, without any trouble even though they were five levels above Gal; the elite version was made of sterner stuff, though, and would get me down to below half my health before it died, so I'd only fight him when, fighting the others, my health had had time to regenerate.

Kamira turned up before too long, and I didn't do anything about it, figuring that nobody online on Tairen would be high enough level to deal with a level 70 raid boss, but another knight, TestFyre, lower level than me, judging from the way he had to run from sand golems, contacted a friend, Tiernan of the BritishBulldogs guild.  Luckily when Kamira left she immediately "re-arrived", so Tiernan, a level 61 rogue, arrived in time to deal with her.  I don't think a rare accessory was dropped, I saw a couple of "special item boxes" so probably she was teamed with TestFyre.  They kindly left me the 10 great healing potions, at least I assume it was intentional.

My main reason for fighting sand golems was to get "soft sand" for a quest, but they also drop level 27 helms; sadly I didn't get a knight one, though the elite sand golem did drop a +4 healer one.  A sand golem also dropped me a new level 25 shield; I got a heaven stone and a couple of the "hands of the guard", with skill point booster, item drop booster, and a couple of tool aids, so the session wasn't bad on the loot side - and right at the end SirGalahad reached level 24, having gone up 100.50%, and added 48 skill points and 65 pet points - I soon discovered that the sand golems were very keen on pet-eating, it seemed that just about every one I targeted would take at least one bite from my poor pony.

Lunch had to be slightly early, as [GM]Valsharyn had scheduled a "storm the castle" event on Auzura-5 for 1:00pm, UK time.  When Rage, my level 72 rogue, got there, only about five of us had arrived, and it looked as if we'd have our work cut out.  Val herself did join our party, so we could see that she is only a level 141 mage, not the 165 most GMs go for.  She left though when the party was full, to leave room for someone else.

Luckily more people did arrive, and we progressed through Baals, Death Knights, wafes, jumping devils, anubis spear men, anubis archers, sphinx commanders, hell-otuu, dark harpies, zamoras, and more.  There was even a blue dragon at the end, but only people who had "shadow powder" active could see and fight it.  The rest of us went into the throne room, where [GM]Valsharyn spawned some of the usual piles of loot for us.  I think she generously spawned three separate piles, to reward us for our valour, but by then there seemed to be more people around than usual, so things got snapped up pretty fast, making it not the most rewarding of castle-stormings.

As usual Val stayed around to chat and hear suggestions, and as usual a number of people requested an upgrade event.  I commented that one always heard complaints after such an event about all the breakages, but Val promised to bring the matter up. I'd earlier asked if she was in the Aeria office, or able to work from home for this, and was told that it always had to be done from the office.  More experimenting with different level challenges at Mad Monster Spawns seems to be on the cards...

After that, the main afternoon session was held back over on Tairen-1, with SirGalahad now able to take on orc soldiers and orc fighters in Prokion Temple.  Some of the time I was teamed with a level 20 rogue called Ninjaki, who seemed to operate on around 10% health most of the time - some people just don't bother with health potions. This time the experience gain was 163.20%, plus 189 skill points, taking us into level 25, before the early evening food break; I left Gal in the lobby there while I was away from the keyboard, and continued afterwards, in the corridor outside my favourite back room, until the three hours of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff was just ending, so that another 54.05% got added, plus 86 skill points.

After that it was time to get a bit cunning, and do two things at once.  SirGalahad switched to the older computer, and went out to the treants, not far from Velpist Temple. to level up his pony a bit.  Generally he would have two or three treants attacking him, and failing to do any damage; hitting bare-handed for 29 he did damage them, though, so I needed to switch targets occasionally, to let the old target recuperate.  A titan did kill the treants once, but went off when my pony picked up the loot and I went back to treant-fighting; a low-level knight called jesus wanted to add me as a friend, but also attacked my current treant, which started to chase him - it turned its attention back to me eventually, after giving him a scare, but I'd been moved out of position, and a great horn beast came in after a little while, and attacked the pony.  Luckily I saw what was happening in time, killed the GHB, and moved back into the proper position.

Meanwhile, on the newer computer, it was time for the Tairen version of my rogue RedRyder to venture forth.  She had reached level 5 before today, but that was just from being in the Discipline guild hall and opening Christmas Gift Boxes, which like Pandora's Boxes give a disproportionate amount of experience for a low-level character.  Being three levels ahead meant that Healer Yabo's quest to kill deer was no longer available, but he gave Red the fox and wolf quests, so she started with those, and, helped along by the "Elizabuff", went from foxes and wolves on to dire wolves and berserk wolves, and then on to jaguars, including getting their fangs for Merchant Geres to make into necklaces.  There was a knight called Sizzlin, a member of the "Addicted" guild, also killing jaguars - he was moving suspiciously fast, I casually mentioned that a friend of mine had once tried a speed hack, but found it led to a lot of disconnections.  Sizzlin made no reply...

I had thought of letting SirGalahad power-level RedRyder a bit, but in the end I just traded a couple of pan flutes across to Gal, and Red went along to Velpist Temple.  After starting with the usual wandering zombies off to the right, I continued with the room with the ancient and berserk types, ahead and up the stairs, carefully avoiding the red-named skeleton soldiers.  And then I went off to the left from the starting area, to the anteroom to the "Torn Book of Life" quest room, with its berserk zombies, corpse rangers, and skeleton soldiers.

A level 15 pair, the healer lamuerte2026 and the rogue Warhammer, invited me to party with them, so Red ditched the solo party with SirGalahad, and joined up; we also added the level 10 knight Kight.  I think everyone levelled up at least once during the session, though Warhammer, usually a level ahead of me, was a bit more impetuous and did die a couple of times.  It was fun to party, anyway, though I don't think Kight or lamuerte2026 spoke much English.  Another healer, natth, was also in the room - I think we helped her out of a scrape or too, at least I hope she didn't think we were ks-ing.

The party ended eventually, and RedRyder's three-hour Elizabuff was ending too, so Red logged back in in town, spent her skill points, and then, as towards the end she had managed to grab a drake egg, headed for Dratan to get herself a hatchling.  And while she was there she made the run out to Prokion Temple to get that location onto her memory scroll.  At that stage Red was about 60% of the way through level 16, but it didn't take long, fighting some handy ghouls and mummies, to reach level 17 there, which made a good end to her first evening of adventuring. I noticed a rogue in the DestructioN guild there called "Oppsie", and wondered if the rogue from yesterday with the disputed name had bought herself a character renaming card...

Adding it up, in all RedRyder went up 1,195.94%, which can't be bad, and exactly 300 skill points; and meanwhile SirGalahad's pony, which had reached level 6 during his more active adventures, moved on to level 9 - and, continuing on afterwards, was well into level 10 by the time the older computer was switched off.  Gal may not be able to afk-level a pet yet, but this was the next best thing.

Temple Business - December 27th

Once again SirGalahad went to Tairen-1's Prokion Temple for an hour or so after coffee in the morning, and fought the orc soldiers and orc fighters, before a level 27 healer called GhOsTRiDeR came along and suggested we team up, and move along to the level 27 orc axemen, which seemed a good idea to me, though she was very much an archer rather than a cleric-type, and didn't give healing a very high priority.  When I queried why she didn't have the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, she said that she had died a little earlier.

She talked to a mage who was in the Trio guild, and, although she was currently in Tairen's version of uberguild Vendetta, it seems her task is to manage Trio here, an offshoot of a major Cariae guild.  It all gets complicated!  She seems to want SirGalahad, or some active character of mine, to join, when it is properly set up, which could be interesting.  Gal might well have enough skill points left over to help with the guild upgrading.

By lunchtime, SirGalahad had gone up by 104.69%, taking him into level 27, and added 135 skill points; he had spent 60 upgrading the Discipline guild to level 3 before setting out, having managed to scrape together the 250,000 gold needed.  Gal's finances received a boost when GhOsTRiDeR bought his three heaven stones at 100,000 gold each - people are trying to sell them for a lot more than that in Randol, but at the time Ghost's declaration that that was a reasonable price seemed, well, reasonable.

SirGalahad stayed in Prokion Temple over lunch, and then finished off the remainder of the three-hour "Elizabuff", before logging out.  That shorter session, mainly against orc axemen, added another 31.55% and 66 skill points, plus a few pet points as he also equipped the pony to help increase his defence.  Back in Randol, after selling the loot drops, he was just able, thanks to the 300,000 from GhostRider, to scrape together the 500,000 gold needed to get Discipline to level four; the 120 skill points needed were no problem.  The next level for the guild will need a whole million, plus 240 skill points; Gal will also need to be level 30 at least to do it.

Aftre a little moving around of armours between characters, SirGalahad switched to the older computer, and went out into Merac for the first time, to hunt level 28 butchers - bare-handed of course, why rush these things?  Conveniently, he got a quest to kill those particular creatures, and deliver 10 Orders of Beradben to Great Magician Minearm, but the main thing was to level up his pony a bit more.

Over on the newer computer, RedRyder was able to head for Prokion Temple, in a solo party with Gal, where it didn't take all that long to move up from level 17 to level 20.  The "Sunday teatime" started promptly at four o'clock, UK time, and was extra skill exp - either 50% more or 75% more, the website is a bit schizophrenic about that.  So, for the last half hour of the session I had that useful extra boost, and while adding 344.97% experience Red got 204 skill points.

I got back from my food break before the end of the teatime bonus, so got a bit more of a boost for the evening session.  I soon graduated to the room with just mummies and one orc soldier, but the tendency in Prokion, at least on Tairen-1, is for people to burst on in and make themselves at home, so I generally had to share the place with another rogue or two - mainly OhMyGod, who is getting all her skills maxxed at level 20, she told me.  I recommended Misty Canyon as a good place to die quickly!  When she returned from her suicide runs, having before that finished learning mining, I remarked, "As in 'OhMyGod not you again'?"  We saw a mage called Jesus, in a guild called Heaven - would she be the GM of it, I wonder?

One skill I had been able to learn in Randol before setting out was all five levels of Snare, which came in handy with the orc soldier, who did tend to do me a bit of damage on those occasions when it didn't work.  I'd also gone on a spending spree - well, I'd bought Red level 27 rogue pants, to add to the shirt, hood and boots that had been picked up as loot, mainly by SirGalahad.  So, when RedRyder levelled up to 21 she was able to start wearing the level 26 Guardian shirt and pants, followed at level 22 by the level 27 hood and boots.  She's still wearing the level 15 gloves, but at least they are +4.  The shirt replaced the level 6 one she had been wearing until then - she is still using the level 13 castle crossbow +4.  Well, cash was tight...

It was a substantial session, and by the time I logged out there was only about 20 minutes left of the three-hour "Elizabuff"...and SirGalahad had been busy in Merac with the butchers too.  Red went up another 371.23%, moving well into level 24, and 616 skill points, all but one of which got spent back in town on skills, mainly the passive ones.  She is still not at maximum on quite a few skills, with the level 25 ones soon becoming available, but that's what happens when you can't do that "50% of experience donated to your guild as guild points" deal.  Once she is level 31, we'll sort out the sp shortage, involving a few trips to Misty Canyon.

RedRyder also equipped her dragon hatchling for the later part of that evening session, so that the little fellow is level 2 now.  But time had moved on, and the Sunday evening quiz was looming.

I decided to go to the quiz on Tairen, as the heaven stones would make the gold situation for SirGalahad a bit easier - and the tool aids would be useful too, to help keep the pony fed.  Out of habit, I went to the second sub-server, which was remarkably empty, so I didn't feel the need for MistressDomino and Kaerella to take off their armour to reduce lag.  We might have had as many as thirty people there by the time the quiz actually started - or a few more if you count the "conga lines" of one or two people who were apparently running multiple clients of the game, leading to weird groupings of identical titans and healers.

Kaerella was one of the first people to move when the questions were asked, and I think a number of people did end up following my lead - thankfully we didn't have any of the harder questions this time, so just about everyone survived to the end, and got their rewards.

I noticed that the price of the "buying all your HS at the moon statue" people was 300,000 gold, so obviously prices had moved on since mid-day.  SirGalahad did go into merchant mode for a few minutes, and sold three heaven stones at 400,000 each, which means that we will be okay for upgrading the Discipline guild to level five...though we can't do that until Gal hits level thirty.

After that, Gal went back to the butchers in Merac for a while, so that the pony moved on into level 14.  Once again there don't seem to be any zombie invasions going on, so that was the end of my activities in the Land of Iris for the day.  All the GMs seemed to be involved in was a second raffle for polar bear pets, involving buying a pack of either 25 experience or skill boosters for 199 aeria points as your raffle ticket.  Perhaps the bears will appear for sale directly, after the next maintenance, or maybe they figure that they can do another raffle or two first...

Anyway, SirGalahad reached level 27 today, and RedRider reached level 24 - it may well soon be time for them to do some teaming up in Prokion Temple, though to do that I probably ought to concentrate first on getting Gal to level 31.  It is a shame that rogues don't have any buffs they can give people; they don't seem to even have any buffs they can give themselves, which makes playing them nice and simple.

MistressDomino Strikes It Rich - December 28th

After coffee I was able to fit in a short session - not too short, though, as my aim was to get MistressDomino (Tairen server version) from level 2 to level 10, so that over lunch she could go into merchant mode, and do a bit of selling.  As they float in the air, in a generally standing-up position, mages make better merchants than the other classes, who just sit on the ground; rogues in particular hug their knees and look extremely small and unimportant.

So, there was limited time available.  MistressDomino, in Tairen-1, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff and started off with the usual fox, deer and wolf quests; as sometimes happens, a Pandora's Box turned up at just the wrong moment, so that the experience gained from opening it meant she skipped one level entirely, and was thus unable to do the quest in which Lorraine hands out a memory scroll.  As the scroll costs 1000 gold to buy, about six times the gold MD had at that stage, that was a little annoying, but the Box dropped five level 12 physical defence minerals, which ought to be quite valuable.

MD didn't take long to get up to the berserk wolves; as I put all her skill points into the passive skill Casting Guard, to improve her physical defence, despite the usual mixture of starter armour and what I could pick up she took negligible damage from them, or from the jaguars.  Merchant Geres had his necklaces of jaguar teeth a few times, and I finished by fighting a few level 12 sasquatches, to get up to my target.  There was just time to set MD up to sell heaven stones and some other assorted items, like moonstones and moonstone boxes, and then I had to vanish for lunch.

SirGalahad had been indulging in a bit more pet-levelling with the butchers in Merac, as well as supplying the solo party bonus for MD, and after lunch it was his turn to be the centre of attention.  I had got a level 29 +4 sword from one of Lorraine's treasure chests, so his attack was slightly improved, but as he doesn't have the passive skill that would improve his number of deadly/critical hits, he is still not the fastest killer, and generally the three orc axemen just beyond the "corridor room" in Prokion Temple were enough to keep him busy.  Luckily the 50% extra skill exp from yesterday's last "Sunday Teatime" had been left running, so at level 27 each orc axeman gave 13,750 skill experience instead of the basic 5500, though when he reached level 28 this went down to 12375.

A level 27 sorcerer called XFORZETX took up position in the corridor room itself for a time, after two people there had had a bit of a disagreement over which targets were whose - "you come to the arena on Hatzing, noob" being met with "no, you come to Sarissa".  Forzet did get into trouble with too big a mob, though, and ran for it, bringing them on to me, though I didn't have any difficulty with them.  On his return he suggested we team up, so I added him to the party for a while, which worked okay, but he left a little while before I did.  By the end of the afternoon session SirGalahad was up 114.72%, and had added 295 more skill points.

The early evening food break was taken a bit early, as over on Auzura-4 one of [GM]Valsharyn's "Mad Monster Spawns" was scheduled for 5:00pm, UK time.  As usual I didn't risk Rage's supply of skill points, or expensive resurrection scrolls, so instead RedRider, on level 26, went along - after spending the odd 7 skill points she'd picked up previously on zeta wave processing.  The event didn't start very promptly, but as usual Val perceived the invisible vortex that was due to spit out some monsters at us - no wonder they were mad!

RedRider did die a couple of times, and neither time did I see what hit me, but as ever it was a fun battle, and I think Red's Snare came in useful, even if the 50 she hits monsters for, generally, doesn't actually worry them much.  Luckily there were no cave spirits involved, but we still ended with flutons and patriarch botises.  Val puts so much more thought and interaction into these events than any other GM does; she seems to have been granted a fair degree of autonomy for what she does on the European server, which is great.

I kept a note of my supplies, before and after picking up the various loot drops, and can report that Red got 22 HP and 21 MP recovery potions, 10 large attack and 8 large defence ones, and 8 each of the item drop and skill point boosters, plus 17 tool aids, so it was a profitable outing.

Profits had also been made on Tairen over lunch and during the afternoon, with, after about half a million over lunch, three million during the afternoon getting into MistressDomino's coffers.  She did well during the evening, after a long period when only a few tree ornaments got sold, at 95 gold each, taking in almost another five million, so, while most of the heaven stones from the Sunday Quiz have now vanished, we are now officially not poverty-stricken; the Discipline guild will be able to get its next upgrades tomorrow.

The main evening session was more slogging in the Temple for SirGalahad, but this time I decided to try my favourite back room there.  Gal still has basically an un-upgraded level 25/27 armour set - the gloves now are level 30, and the leggings, since they were a quest reward, are +1, but none of the items are bloodsealed, and that applies to the level 25 shield too.  But, with fifteen levels of the Armour Increase buff from his faithful horse, he had absolutely no problems in there, even when attacked by half a dozen level 27 orc axemen and level 29 orc sergeants.  The extra health regeneration he has, courtesy of the special knight "neckless", must help, but it just shows how resilient knights are, as long as there is no magic attack involved.

A sorcerer called CROCKSTAR came in and shared the room for a while, and then later a titan called Xaen - I'm sure that he was relatively high-level, with at least a +10 weapon, as he did kill the orcs remarkably quickly, though luckily there were still enough for me too.  When my pony had reached level 16 earlier today, and become a horse, I'd used a reindeer transformation book on it, so my pet was now a "Rudolf" - it doesn't seem quite as responsive to the "pet item pickup" button as before, but it generally responds eventually.  Xaen wasn't picking up any loot, except armour or moonstone boxes, so my poor pet tended to wander most of the room, trying to pick up stuff, when all I really wanted it to do was pick up what my own orcs had dropped.  Still, I gained a bit more cash that way I guess.

At the end of the session SirGalahad was approaching the top of level 29, having added another 109.41% experience; the extra skill exp did get switched off during the session, unfortunately, but Gal still managed to add a further 258 skill points - and Rudolf went up by two levels, reaching level 18.  It shouldn't take too long tomorrow to get Gal up to level 30, when he has to learn a new skill (without which he wouldn't be allowed to become a temple knight, once he is level 31) - and will be able to upgrade the Discipline guild.  MistressDomino transferred enough gold for that to him, so it should all be plain sailing.

While I was working on the blog entry, Gal went out to Merac for a little more pet-levelling.  This time, with 17 levels of Armour Increase, for a total physical defence stat of 704, I decided to try him on the level 34 berserkers, instead of the butchers, and while his health bar did fluctuate a little, it seldom went down very much.  He is hitting berserkers for 31 now bare-handed, which is very slightly more than they can stand, but they do tend to last rather longer than the butchers did.  Once he reaches level 31 and has the +10 armour set, we will be able to try the gnoll lancers, down to the south of Merac.  Before log-out time, the horse, or reindeer, did level up, so is now level 19.

A Spending Spree - December 29th

The late-morning session today, after SirGalahad had done a little pet-levelling on a couple of berserkers in Merac, involved him taking a trip to Dratan on Tairen-1, as one might expect.  First of all he had a couple of quick quests to do, involving killing some desert spiders, which are conveniently to be found close to Prokion Temple - and once the necessary quest items had been obtained, it was time to go indoors there.

The back room was busy, but what I call the "corridor room" just had one sorcerer, XxChoasWizXx, working at one end, with plenty of spare orc sergeants, so I installed myself at the other end.  That seemed to work well, though when another sorcer, Zitrone, also started fighting there we rather overwhelmed the orcs, so it was lucky he didn't stay around long.  SirGalahad reached level 30 fairly early on, and ended the session there with a gain of 47.95% and 118 skill points - though getting quest rewards back in Dratan City and Randol added another 25.83% and 24 skill points.

SirGalahad was able to spend 228 skill points on the level 30 skill Mana Break, which is needed before one can choose whether to become a temple knight or a royal knight - and 740 skill points, plus three million in gold, to take the Discipline guild up from level 4 to level 6, which means now that it will be possible to decrease members' experience gain by 50%, which is very useful when farming skill points.  The temple knight level 32 passive skill Wall of Belief will take another 327 sp, adding 155 to his physical defence stat, and then at level 35 Canid Fence 2 will need 60 sp more, adding another 120.  Considering that Gal's stat at level 30 was 567, or 717 with 19 levels of Armour Increase from his pet, those will be useful additions.

The first task for SirGalahad after lunch, after some spreading around of recent armour loot drops between the appropriate characters, was to do the "Death Goddess" quest, which involved going to the middle of the desert and killing 35 death goddess monsters - half woman and half snake, and with the disconcerting habit of changing their faces from a rather pretty woman to a devilish mask every few seconds. "Death Goddesses are demonic creatures of divine and infernal origins", the quest-giver, the Royal Guard Captain in Dratan City, had explained.  "They hypnotize their prey and store them to consume later, but there is never any hope for the unfortunate who fall under their spell." After that was done, the important thing was to return to the Captain, and grab the level 29 +2 beast shield, an improvement over the level 25 one Gal had been using.

That shield wasn't due to be used for long, though, as the quest reward had brought SirGalahad to within 20% of level 31.  A session in Prokion Temple got us there, so that the afternoon had added 35.53% and 128 skill points - as expected, the level 30/32 armour set, plus level 33 shield and both kinds of level 33 swords, the one-handed type (used with the shield) and the duals, all appeared in Gal's inventory, all at +10.

So, SirGalahad left Prokion Temple on Tairen-1; his next few sessions should be using his "beginner" platinum super skill pills on Tairen-4, to try and get a few more skill points together while the orc sergeants still offer good amounts of skill exp.  The next thing was to travel down to the south of Merac to get the gnoll lancer pet-levelling spot onto his memory scroll, which was an easy enough journey.  Fighting a gnoll lancer does seem to work for him, even without a shield equipped, though his health bar was a little unsteady, since he doesn't have that level 32 passive skill yet.  945 physical defence (not using a shield) seemed just about enough - and hitting a gnoll lancer bare-handed for 32 seemed to be something it can stand, so I did think that perhaps Gal could manage without getting himself a red name to reduce his attack power.  Equipping the +10 shield made his health bar a lot steadier, but making the choice to become a temple knight, while it increased his health and mana usefully, also increased his bare-handed hitting to 42, which did start to make inroads on the gnoll lancer's health, so it looks as if a red name will after all be needed.  But that will have to wait for level 35.

The evening session saw SirGalahad busy in Merac with a succession of gnoll lancers, while RedRyder was hard at work in Prokion Temple.  Doing a few quests first added around 32%, but the main part of the session was in the room alongside the back room, with mummies and orc soldiers, so that in all 136.90% and 79 skill points were gained.  That meant Red had reached level 25 - and was able to learn the first four levels of Regain, a passive skill which speeds up health and mana regeneration.  She was also able to put on level 30 gloves, and buy level 31 shirt and pants ready for level 26. 

Reaching level 25 also meant she was able to use her level 29 crossbow; Gal had passed two of them over to her, which he had picked up as loot; Red had got one of them made into two smelting stones, one of which worked, so that the Gust Crossbow was +1 - but then, looking through Roy's range of items being offered for sale, I spotted a +4 level 29 sorcerer weapon being offered for only 100,000 gold by CaBoOse, so bought it, and had it converted into a Gust Crossbow for a further 9,000 gold.  It's always good to have a weapon with a glow...

To start with, the room was a bit fierce, and Red seemed to be using a lot of the red candy canes to boost her health, but once she had got Regain, and was moving up to the better armour, things settled down.  The second part of the session was a good long one, and I continued until Red had a total of 333 skill points (including 5 carried forward); by then she had added another 144.31%, and her dragon hatchling had at least reached level 4.

Back in town, all those skill points got spent to maximise Regain, plus the attack skills Poison Capsule and Hawk Strike.  I was going to buy the level 32 hood and boots from the armour trader, but decided to see what people were selling, or attempting to sell, through Roy's merchant house - and saw a pair of level 32 knight boots, +10, for only 750,000 gold.  Red didn't have the cash for that, so I quickly switched to MistressDomino, and after buying the boots, checked out the headgear on offer - and found eventually that KTrioKO had put up all five pieces of knight armour at 750,000 each.  MD had enough money to buy them all, plus the 144,000 to get Collector Ryl to convert them to their rogue equivalents, so, now that they've been traded across to RedRyder, she is wearing, at level 27, the full 30/32 +10 armour set.  It's lucky I didn't need to buy a +10 weapon as well - Red will need to be level 29 before she can use one. and the plan is for one of SirGalahad's two level 33 weapons to be converted for her.

MistressDomina was able to go back into merchant mode for a while after that, and managed to sell some more heaven stones, now at 495,000 each, plus moonstones and moonstone boxes and a few other minor items, so that her cash reserves have been entirely replenished.  When Red reaches level 31 she should get given a further +10 armour set and both rogue weapons - so they will probably end up getting converted for Kaerella's use.

At ten o'clock, UK time, I had an appointment over on Katar-4 with the Mad Monster Spawns, presided over now by [GM]JediMike.  For the second week, the MMS was in two parts, one for lower levels and one for higher levels.  At level 31, Memree qualifies for the lower group I think, so I went to the lakeside location, and joined in with the enthusiastic slaying of a wide variety of junior monsters, only a few of which were red for her.  I'm sure there are monsters conjured up there which are seen nowhere else in Last Chaos USA - but when we swing into action, they don't last long.  Mike spawned a generous helping of the usual Hands... and the event was over after no more than eight minutes.

I used a memory scroll to move over to the normal MMS spot - and could only see monsters, and three or four people watching from nearby.  It looked as if the monsters had taken control, but I managed to edge along a bit, and found that people were actually fighting - I took a shot or two at an anubis archer.  And then I saw the Hands being spawned a little further down the slope, even though there were still plenty of monsters about, so made my way over there, and was ready to grab stuff as soon as it became available - there is always a delay after a Hand is spawned by a GM before anyone else can pick up the goodies.  There was plenty of stuff to pick up, and [GM]JediMike spawned some more for us when the first drops were all done - but the event was over before a quarter past ten.

That does seem to be Mike's way of handling events recently; he cuts down on the amount of action, but compensates by being generous with the loot.  Still, there were some people at the Katar MMS, at least, who felt let down by not having the usual four or so waves, and boss monsters; if they'd started hour-long potions, they'd not be getting full value from them by any means.

Still, it was past my usual log-out time, so I didn't mind the event's early finish.  SirGalahad was able to do some more work with the gnoll lancers while I worked on the blog; the reindeer-style horse should be past the halfway mark in level 22 by log-out time.  There will be the usual weekly maintenance shut-down of the Last Chaos servers later tonight; what tomorrow will bring I don't know, perhaps the polar bear pets?  I've seen one of them around, presumably owned by a raffle winner, and he looks a cute little fellow, rather more realistic than Ichi and Scra-Chi, thankfully.  And maybe the Tairen server will start to get its own events?

Tairen's First Event - December 30th

Maintenance last night did very little, apparently, on the positive side - two new items for upgrading weapons and armour have apparently been introduced, devil rune ore and purified rune ore, but they are only for use on items that are level 146 or above, so of no great general interest.  Roy's merchant mart should apparently be less laggy, and "the remaining episode 2 bug fixes are in the pipeline", apparently, which is only slightly reassuring.

SirGalahad managed to fight a few gnoll lancers, starting at breakfast time; they each last just over 20 minutes for him at present, which isn't unreasonable I suppose, I remember when SirDarth used to get through butchers at about that rate.  But now that Gal has his +10 armour, and +10 dual swords, it was time to use the first of his five "beginner" platinum super skill pills, to build up his supply of skill points, for possible future guild upgrading.

So, after coffee I headed for Prokion Temple on Tairen-4, since I didn't want to use Elizabeth's Enhancement, got into the back room with the orc sergeants and orc axemen, and started my pssp.  Unfortunately, after about ten minutes the GM announcement came up, "ATTENTION: Servers will be coming down for an emergency maintenance in 30 minutes to fix some issues please logoff to prevent data loss" - so another week's patch can be classified as a bit unfortunate.  There had been a mention earlier of a "death motion" glitch, or exploit, to avoid, and that if we didn't know what it was we had nothing to worry about, but it looks as if eventually our Aeria chums panicked and decided to bring the servers down quickly.  "The developers hid an update in the patch that we were unaware of initially", ol' S1lent reported.  It would be nice if they gave at least an hour's notice of such things, sigh, but at least I hadn't paid an admission fee for Egeha or the Tomb of Theos.

By the time I logged out, with less than five minutes left before 11:00am UK time, in 45 minutes SirGalahad had added just 6.58% (with his experience gain set to 50%), and gained 126 skill points.  The servers were actually not down for much more than half an hour, but that didn't leave enough time before lunch to get back to Prokion Temple and finish off the pssp.  It was a substantial patch that was added, rather bigger than the earlier "regular" one. So, RedRyder and MistressDomino just took the opportunity to use the tool aids they had in their inventories to stock up on quality stones and green herb leaves.

When SirGalahad did log in after lunch, it was a relief to see that the remaining six "hours" (15 minutes) were still there on the pssp, but it did take one of them to actually get back to where I was fighting - annoyingly, my first attempt to get into the Temple ended up with me in its foundations, so that I had to 'port back to town and back again and try again.  Gal managed to add another 3.23%, and 45 skill points, though that included a bit of an overrun beyond the actual end of the pssp.  A second pssp brought in 8.94% and 167 skill points, and the third added another 8.76%, and 167 skill points again, taking Gal's sp reserve back up over a thousand.  There are just two more of the "beginner" pssps left now, after that I guess it will be a matter of going back to Tairen-1 with Elizabeth's Enhancement, which should help SirGalahad to move along towards level 32, and the new passive skill he can learn then.  At that point, it may well be worth investigating the possibility of pet-levelling inside Maargadum Jail...

It was going to be a shorter Wednesday evening again, as far as Last Chaos was concerned, but that still left a couple of hours for RedRyder, who, in a solo party with SirGalahad while he pet-levelled on the gnoll lancers, headed towards Prokion Temple. And by that I mean, just left the city and went out into the desert in that general direction, as she had a quest to kill seventeen of the cunning little foxes of the desert, which was quick and easy enough to do, and then had both the quests for "soft sand", which is obtained from the sand golems.  That particular quest item doesn't drop very often, so it was the best part of an hour before I was finished, out at Shuraine's oasis.  The game seems to think both quests are complete when you have ten soft sands, but you do need "20/10" before you are done.  And then it was a matter of heading across the desert to the reward-giver for one package of ten, and then going back into town for the other quests to be completed.  Still, the experience gained helped move Red on through her level.

When I was finally able to actually go to the Temple, I got a "send error report?" crash as I was running towards my back room.  I allowed myself to be persuaded to actually send the report for once, and that got me to Microsoft's updates, where I discovered that, as an optional update, they had a new driver for my graphics card, so that took a few minutes to install.  The good news was that it seems to have set Guild Wars right, a quick check didn't show any double-image problems... but it all meant that Red's actual time in Prokion Temple was a bit limited.

The back room was in use by then, so I ended up with those three orc axemen just by the end of the "corridor room", and an occasional orc fighter to help pass the time.  Still, with the quest rewards and the sand golem fighting etc, it all added up to 91.01% experience gain, getting RedRyder into level 28, along with 183 skill points, and 717 pet points, which were enough to get Red's dragon hatchling into level 5.

While I was technically committed elsewhere from eight o'clock, with SirGalahad continuing his almost-afk pet-levelling, I did see on his screen as nine o'clock approached that Tairen's first low-level Mad Monster Spawn was about to begin, so switched from Gal across to Red, who luckily had been able to spend all 183 skill points on some attack skills, and took her down to the Great Horn Beast lake edge, where the other recent low-level MMS events have been.

With all the people, and eventually all the spawned monsters, the older computer was, not surprisingly, a bit slow and laggy.  I assumed from [GM]JediMike's recent events that this would only take ten minutes or less - but in fact it was [GM]Moose who was in charge, so we got multiple waves, and a wider range of creatures, including a wight or two and barren eises - he even spawned some level 100 blue dragons at the end, but then, realising that we were a bit under-powered, cut it back down to just one.  I was able to do my bit on the Snare front, and we emerged victorious.

With the faster computer and my full attention I'd have done more, but RedRyder did her share of fighting and snaring,though she only added 2.80%.  The loot she picked up wasn't too dramatic, maybe around two each of the good items, but even the health recovery potions are useful at low levels.

Later, I was able to get SirGalahad back into gnoll lancer-bashing action, and the horse, cunningly disguised as a reindeer, actually reached level 25 before log-out time.

The Temple and The Castle - December 31st

After an hour or two of gnoll-bashing, SirGalahad was able after coffee to head for Prokion Temple on Tairen-4 and do another hour's worth of skill point farming, using the fourth beginner pssp - this brought in 169 skill points, while going up by 9.73%.  Having his experience gain set to 50% means that he has now donated 426 guild points to Discipline.  As usual the Tairen-4 version of the Temple was pretty quiet

Back in town, I noticed that a sorceror was cunningly using the name "IGMIMoose", which looks a lot like the genuine "[GM]Moose" if read quickly, though his "hey i gm" remarks were slightly let down by the subsequent "give me 50k plz" begging.  Someone else mentioned it in the forum shoutbox, so I ended up posting a screenshot of his messages, along with my "you'll get into trouble using a name like that" response.

There is a special "100% rebate" offer on the item mall's Master Pack today - so if one pays 2500 aeria points for 200 each of the skill points, experience and item drop boosters, within a couple of weeks one should get one's ap back - it seems like a good deal to me!  So I'm rather shorter of ap than I was a few hours ago, but richer in boosters on various servers.

Apart from moving items around, and doing that ap-spending, the main feature of the afternoon was the use of SirGalahad's final pssp on Tairen-4.  Before going there I moved his pet's stats from Armour Increase to Power Increase, which increased his physical offence stat by about 11% - and that meant that he went up by 11.55% during the hour, and added 211 skill points, which was a useful improvement.  It looks as if I'll need to keep resetting his skills fairly often, as that extra attack power seems to be killing gnoll lancers in two-thirds of the time, though the use of a couple of accessories to increase his hit rate presumably has some effect too.  At least the defence stat of his armour set alone if enough to keep him safe there, so starting to level a new pet wouldn't be a problem.

For the evening, RedRider stepped up, with SirGalahad providing the solo party while he levelled the horse up to 27.  Moving to Tairen-1, Gal had a slight surprise when he teleported in to the gnoll lancer spot, he found he was dangerously close to a level 50 Pandora's Beast, but moving away a little stopped any trouble.  Later on, the Grand Red Dragon dropped by, but left again without offering or receiving any aggro. With Elizabeth's Enhancement, a trip to Prokion Temple on Tairen-1 was the plan for Red, and luckily the back room was free, so Red settled in there, with only one fairly brief interruption from the sorcerer XFORZETX, who, after ks-ing a little, decided that the orc sergeants and orc axemen were a bit too strong, and retreated to the corridor again.

By the end of the session RedRider had moved comfortably into level 29 - almost 90% of the way, in fact, having added 179.11% and gained 636 skill points; her hatchling went up from level 5 to 7, as well.  Maximising the last available general/attack skills, Tumble Cleave, Flame Shock (a personal dungeon only skill), Swift Bash, and Dire Strike took 381 sp, and the rest of the points went on basic and advanced weaponsmith, plus starter levels of armoursmith, alchemy and mining.

And then it was time for RedRyder to get the entrance to Misty Canyon onto her memory scroll, which she did easily enough; inside, the first Introducer Camio was only too happy to kill her thirty times, to get back to the start of level 29.  There seemed to be even more "double deaths" than usual, where the character respawns at the place she was killed and gets killed again, and once Red just lay on the ground dead, with no option to revive her, so I had to restart in Randol and return to finish the job.

So, Red has reached the stage at which she can "bank" skill points in the special skills, for possible future use...and she can attend any available events on the new server, too.  It depends if I hear anything more from GhOsTRiDeR about her guild what I get up to next, though SirGalahad does need to reach level 35 to become a "proper" pet-leveller.  And of course there are my characters on other servers to remember as well - MrChuckNorris and MistressDomina on Auzura with their substantial skill point reserves, getting Rage to level 73 so that my archer Kaerella can inherit the level 69 +15 weapon there, maybe adding a level or two to Barbarienne and Keerella on Cariae and working on my cleric version of Kaerella on that server too, or even starting a night shadow.  There's plenty of choice as to what I can do, and not all of it has to take place in Prokion Temple.

Today's main US-server event was the return of "Storm the Castle", down in Merac, at ten in the evening, UK time.  Sadly Katar and Cariae have their events at the same time; Hatzring and Sarissa follow half an hour later, but I don't really have suitable characters there, even if I did want to stay up that late.  Since the loot is more needed by my characters on Katar, this looked like a job for my local level 31 rogue Memree.

[GM]JediMike was in charge, but it was just about the full event.  "Y'all slow", he commented (as a disembodied "voice") as we fought in the Castle courtyard, but we were a fairly small group, by "Storm the Castle" standards, and did pretty well to kill the Spear Men, Anubis Archers, Zamaras, Dark Harpies, Hell-Otuu, and so on.  It was a little before twenty past when the "Thanks for participating in STC!" message came up - there were still some Baals and death knights, along with a few jumping devils, at the other bridge in, but after a little frantic running around I found where the goodies had been dropped, which was in the courtyard rather than outside.  I managed to grab a good few item drop and skill point boosters, so the trip had been worth it. 

A mage there had been asking one guild what the minimum level was to join - the answer was level 95, but they were full at the moment, so that was one elite guild - GhostRiders, I think.  One day I really must investigate the PvP side of things...

Anyway, SirGalahad had kept on working on the gnoll lancers, taking care to stay away from the aggressive gnoll soldiers in one direction, and that Pandie in the other, and by the end of the evening, that reindeer-style pet of his should be halfway through level 27.