Kaerella's Blog - stardate February 2010 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the new month begins here at the top!
A Junior MMS With Senior Monsters - February 1st

SirGalahad headed for Merac at breakfast time, only to be recruited into a party by a level 24 knight called Nightterror; I assumed he wanted a solo party, and indeed he went off to kill some berserkers, but I also ended up explaining the way that weapon upgrading works, and other stuff.  Still, Gal got down to level five of Maargadum Jail and settled in to level his drake, which reached level 22 during the morning.

After coffee, Rage had, after going up two levels yesterday, got some new quests to do, and I also decided to give some of her existing outstanding quests a go.  Normally I don't bother with salamander skins and tails, as they don't drop very frequently, but this time I decided to see how things would go.  The worst dropping, for frequency, turned out to be silver fox feathers, which, given their name, is hardly surprising - how many foxes with feathers have you ever seen?  As far as I could see, only the elite silver fox of the desert would drop that particular item, the surrounding regular ones just dropped a little gold.

So, it was quite a wander around Merac and Dratan Rage had, killing berserkers, gnolls, blood frenzies, and doom slayers in Merac, and then the salamanders and silver foxes.  After I'd got the final "feather", I moved across to the ravenous larva spot and tried soloing them, which was fine if Snare worked, but used up a medium red candy cane, for 500 health restoration, if it failed.  I guess Rage is still too low to get useful drops, such as those level 47 boots, from them, so that expedition wasn't crowned with success.

After all the quest rewards had been gained, Rage had gone up 50.85%, 486 pet points, and 169 skill points, so it was in fact a useful session....and had allowed SirGalahad to continue his drake-levelling work, of course.

For the afternoon, Kaerella over on Cariae-1 went back out to the ravenous larvas, joining a solo party before too long.  Kamira put in an appearance after an hour or so, so I had to leave the party, saying that I'd be back, and change across to Keerella - and she had to make the ride down from Dratan, as the location was new for her, which took five minutes or so.  Kamira dropped the usual goodies, but no rare accessory - and when I logged Kae back in, she was no longer in her party.  It took a little while to find a new solo party to join, which was mildly annoying, but eventually all was back to normal, and by the end of the afternoon Kae's experience gain had reached 10.16%, along with 1579 pet points and 120 skill points.  Kae had put a couple of pairs of level 47 boots, and two shirts, in Roy's merchant mart as they appear to be rare, and this session yielded another pair of boots, this time of the titan variety.

The Last Chaos website and its Events calendar proclaimed that there would be a special European-team pair of Mad Monster Spawns, with the low-level one down by the GHB lake at 5:30 UK time, followed by the main one an hour later in its usual spot.  And, while there wasn't the traditional ten minute warning of magical vortices being perceived, a number of people were waiting by the special Kiene Tower, which appears close to the lake when such events are due, as the witching half-hour approached. 

I rode across to the high-level location while we were waiting, as last time the low-level event was held there, but nothing was happening, so I teleported back to the Kiene Tower... and a few minutes later, an announcement came up about the magical vortices, completely contradicting the website - the low and high events were to be at the same time, and the low one was going to be at Val's other location, over by the little treants and werewolves not far from Hunter Dranore.  Starting at once!

So, knowing where the location was, I rode swiftly across, and was I think one of only two people fighting the first wave of desert spiders, salamanders, orcs, elder drakes, and butchers.  Luckily other people soon arrived, and further waves were spawned and fought, though without any rewards between waves, since I suppose [GM]Valsharyn was busier with the high-level people than with us.  It gets confusing when he makes GM announcements about waves, we never know which location it applies to. 

Unfortunately Val started to get a bit carried away, probably confusing the two locations himself; a spawning of a few elite sphinx speer men in the middle of our main group killed a few people - they are level 64, after all, and the GM had carefully made sure that almost all of us were at level 30 or below, even advising someone in their low fifties that they should move to the high-level spot.  Still, the Snare from our rogues brought the situation under control.  So then suddenly we had at least a dozen Death Knights in our midst, which may be only level 50, but, as Kaerella on Cariae recently found to her cost, are "raid boss" level and do hefty magic damage.  I didn't try to attack them, it would have been hopeless, but, with them heading in all directions, one group quickly ran me down and killed me.

I didn't want to use a resurrection scroll, and I didn't have that spot on my memory scroll, so I decided, after respawning in town, that it would be a lot safer to go to the high-level MMS, which I did have the location of memorised, and see how they were getting on.  So, that's where I teleported to - Val was making some sort of apology and promising the survivors at the Dranore spot a big loot spawning, but that would have been over by the time I got back.

The high-level people were on the boss wave by then, so I joined in helping to deal with the remaining flutons and a patriarch botis or two, trying to time my Snare to take over when the previous rogue's one expired.  Val promised extra loot if we killed them all inside the time limit, and, as we succeeded in doing that, gave us three waves of the usual hands of bravery, hands of protection, and hands of the guard...which was probably just as well, as by then it seemed that a lot of low-level people were there.  I expect the more sensible ones had been there all along.

RedRider was a bit vocal about the mess she felt things had been; [GM]Valsharyn was perhaps unwise to say that she had had fun at the low-level spot, as dropping death on the heads of level 20-30 types isn't exactly fun if you're on the receiving end.  "Looks as if the high-level MMS ran okay, except for starting before the announced time on the website... just the low-level was a Fail.  Low-level was a vicious joke   :-( "  InvisibleKnife said "Low-level was too hard", and Red asked "Why have the Kiene Tower up, if you don't use that location?  If everyone at low-level was supposed to be around level 30 or below, spawning a dozen Death Knights was - well, I guess you had 'fun' anyway."

That was about the end of the relevant dialogue; Red stayed around killing blood wolves and great horn beasts for a few minutes, to get back the skill points that the Death Knight death had cost, and was able to tell some people who had come at the website-announced time that yes, the MMS was over.  "Yup, a lack of communication between Val and the website". So, it all wasn't really Val's finest hour.  My record of the messages doesn't scroll back that far, but I think RedRider did suggest that [GM]Valsharyn should get the details of how to do a proper low-level MMS from [GM]JediMike or [GM]OgreKing...so maybe those Death Knights were aimed at her personally!

Looking back at the text messages, I see that BasheR was at the high-level event, and got 4 skill point boosters from the first of those three waves of loot alone, so he did okay - nice to have him actively playing.

For the rest of the evening, I decided that, if Rage is outgrowing Prokion Temple, then RedRyder might want to have another buddy to play alongside - so it was time to do a little work on the other rogue I had started on Tairen, Memree.  So, she formed a solo party with SirGalahad, got her Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and went out to do Healer Yabo's quests killing deer and foxes and then wolves, and continued on with berserk wolves and jaguars, as well as making a trip to the wandering zombies in Velpist Temple, followed by more jaguars, plus sasquatches.  She did get a drake egg fairly early on, so has a level 1 dragon hatchling to help with picking up the loot, and I remembered to enrol her as a padawan of SirGalahad, so she should be his fourth successful graduate of the Guardian system.

At level 12 Memree went through the first personal dungeon successfully, gaining 57% experience and picking up very nearly 2,000 gold; she reached level 13 shortly before tackling the Balrog himself.  To finish off, there was just time to take a trip to Dratan, to get the small quest reward from Bant there, and to make the run out to Prokion Temple, where, after memorising the location, she actually managed to fight a few ghouls without getting killed.

By the end of the evening, SirGalahad had got his drake past the halfway point in level 25.  There doesn't seem any great hurry to level the drake up, though, so both computers can have a nice rest overnight.

The Guild Expands - February 2nd

SirGalahad put in his usual pre-coffee stint in Maargadum Jail, and then, when Rage had just logged in and Gal had just logged out, a level 17 knight called DoubleTrouble asked if he could join the Discipline guild and have his experience gain (semi) frozen.  So, SirGalahad logged back in in town and recruited him, and then cut his experience gain to 50% as requested.  Later in the day he asked if a friend, another level 17 knight called Hazard, could join too, so, having done similar clever stuff in the past, rather than have Gal leave his pet-levelling, he temporarily made DoubleTrouble a guild advisor so that his friend just needed to click on him.  And then Gal put Hazard's experience gain to 50% as well. 

Neither of them immediately went off to do any sp-farming, but hopefully we should get some useful guild points from them, at least.  I tried to make sure they understood the benefits of Elizabeth's Enhancement, and warned them that Gamer's knowledge of English is pretty basic, so now we shall see how things go.

SirGalahad logged out again and RedRyder logged in, so that she and Rage could go to Prokion Temple on Tairen-1 in their usual way.  And things were much as usual, despite Rage's move from level 33 to 35; the orc fighters were still the best way of getting more skill exp than experience, though the skill exp was down a little, so that the speed of skill point gain went down from around 100 per hour to more like 80.  It was a fairly long session, as these morning stints go, so, while Rage went up 6.02% and RedRyder 2.90%, they still managed to grab 142 skill points each.

For the afternoon my new rogue Memree swung back into action.  This included quests to kill jaguars, sasquatches, werewolves, little treants, horn beasts, drakes, and elder werewolves, so she got to see plenty of Juno...though the Juno NPC Scroll handily means you don't need to run halfway across the map to reach Hunter Dranore or Wild Collector Kai, you can teleport right to them, and then teleport directly to the NPC of your choice back in Randol.  Memree spent a fair amount of time in Velpist Temple; when she headed for the straight-ahead (and up the stairs) room with the ancient and berserk zombies she found it already occupied by another rogue, Coeur, so had to look around a bit for her own spot.  The "left a bit" room outside the 'torn book of life' final room was also being used by at least three people, and Memree was a bit low for it anyway, but on further wanderings she encountered Couer again, so knew that the straight-ahead room was now free - and settled in there in the usual way.

Couer was also in the "left a bit" room when I'd levelled up enough to want to go there, but that room is big enough for two or three, particularly as she was more interested in the monsters that were red or orange/yellow named to me, at the far end.  My main priority was to get four cursed bones, for a quest that comes a little later, and I mentioned that - a knight called kingskinght very kindly gave me two he had spare.  I continued until I'd got all four I needed, and then went back to town, having gone up by 410.47% in all, also gaining 199 skill points and 719 pet points for Memree's dragon hatchling.

After spending all my skill points but 3, I went back to the Juno quests, some of which were repeatable, since there wasn't really time for a trip to Prokion Temple before the early evening food break, and managed to get another 128.01% experience, taking Memree well into level 18, plus 101 skill points and 323 pet points, which were just enough to get the hatchling into level 3.

As usual on a Tuesday the food break was a long one, with some emails to deal with too, but when Kaerella logged on on Cariae-1 I found that she'd sold all three pairs of level 47 boots (to heartbrake, who also bought a shirt, SpeedyDeath and BlackSonja), and two of the three shirts (to heartbrake and AproDitE) - so that was 4,510,675 gold earned from four happy customers.  It's just a shame I can't get those items across to Tairen.

Enchantrella had a 30-day card to increase that account's storage in town from 50 to 100 slots, so I decided to use it, and put away a lot of rings etc that were filling Kae's inventory - and also Enchie's collection of production manuals.  So, that meant Kaerella had a bit more inventory space when she made her trip out to the ravenous larvas on Cariae-1 for the evening session.  Which, naturally, meant that Kae didn't get to pick up any armour at all, though there were some hands, and a couple of heaven stones, so I wasn't doing badly loot-wise. 

While there were two solo parties listed when I began, when I tried to apply to join them they didn't actually exist - so after a while I found someone who was registered for a party, ArtiZ, and enlisted him, to make my own party, which grew as the evening progressed.  It seemed a bit strange that ArtiZ, a level 93 titan, should be in Dratan, but he told me that he was fighting the wafes... not exactly hard for him to beat since they are around level 60.  It turned out that he was levelling up his polar bear pet, and that it was doing most of the fighting, so that seems one way to move that sort of pet along.  After an hour or so bluray joined the party, while he was as usual farming the cube system; one time the "the item is not enough" window, which comes up for all party members when he pays for a new round or something, appeared just as I'd picked up a heaven stone, which seemed nicely inappropriate.

Kaerella added 11.42%, 1584 pet points (taking SirFrancis past halfway through level 48), and 141 skill points, which took her sp stash past the 11k mark.  I did leave a bit promptly though, as Gamer had been in touch with SirGalahad, asking for a loan so that she can buy new armour.  Ah well, she is a guildie, and that trip to the elite sphinx fighter was fun, so I agreed, and once Kae had logged out, MistressDomino back on Tairen-1 logged in, and traded 15 million across to Gamer, "to Sunday" - I guess she intends to get the heaven stones at the Quiz again, I hope that runs smoothly.  Gamer is level 48 now, so should be able to fight those sphinx types solo without too much difficulty.  When MD traded the gold across, I saw that she had a blessed iris running again, I wish I could persuade her not to use those, until level 60, and take the free Elizabeth's Enhancement buff instead...

SirGalahad had had a reasonably productive session, and in fact his drake reached level 28 late in the evening, so it will soon be ready for Rage to take on - though she doesn't actually need such a pet until she leaves Prokion Temple.  I wonder what sort of skill exp she, and RedRyder, will get when she reaches level 36?  It may well be time for Memree to take over as Red's fighting partner then, but we shall see.

The Guild Contracts - February 3rd

There seemed to be no patch at all to download this morning, after the overnight maintenance downtime, though apparently some problem at level 162 has been fixed.  "Unfortunately the large patch fixing a number of issues, including some new events, was extremely bugged. We would have loved to release the events today as well as the fixes, but unfortunately we could not accept the patch in its current form", our product manager reports.  Things ought to happen "within the next maintenance or two, depending on the quality of the patches we get", apparently, which leaves everything a bit vague, especially as this month was supposed to celebrate the game's official third anniversary.

Still, SirGalahad was able to head for Maargadum Jail in the usual way, and then after coffee Rage and RedRyder went off to Prokion Temple again.  If ever Rage strayed out of range of Red, the skill exp fell to a mere 2 - but as long as the pair were within compass-map distance, it stayed around the 1800 mark, so that they continued to get 80 or so skill points per hour, and, over the session, added 118 skill points each.  Rage went up by 5.03% and 59 guild points, while RedRyder added 2.41% and 9 guild points.  I remember a knight running through the room using a potion of haste, but that was just about the only interruption.

Before lunch SirGalahad was back down on level five of the Jail, though his usual position was being used by another knight, meaning that he had to go to the next death mask lancer along; he was able to move back to his usual sparring partner after lunch, however.

SirGalahad kept busy during the afternoon, while Memree finished her apprenticeship to him, so that she got the rogue event weapon and he got another ten Reputation points.  It's a shame the rogues get daggers as their event weapon, and my rogues prefer to use a crossbow, that means I have three unused rogue event weapons...

Memree's afternoon was generally spent in Prokion Temple, either close to the starting hallway or just upstairs in the room that has just one orc soldier and plenty of mummies.  After gaining 191.47% and 135 skill points, and getting comfortably into level 20, she went back to Randol to get the new quests sorted out, including the special rogue "neckless" accessory.  Doing the quests that were available brought in another 65.85% and just 4 more skill points, but going back to Prokion for the rest of the afternoon added a further 170.45% and 240 skill points, taking Memree neatly into level 23.

Prokion Temple on Tairen-1 was fairly busy, I wasn't able to get into that orc soldier plus mummies room as early as I would have liked, but there were just about enough ghouls and mummies to go around.  It's handy that Elizabeth's Enhancement does halve the time you need to spend there, though it also means you are restricted to using Tairen-1.  At least Tairen's first sub-server doesn't have the drawback you get on the other servers, in that as it isn't PvP-enabled yet, nobody can go on killing sprees of all the sp-farmers.

The break for food had to be taken a little early, as Wednesday evening is the new time for the succession of Mad Monster Spawns, starting with the junior versions, with all six servers having their MMS one after another, at half-hourly intervals - and then, after a break, five of them (not Tairen) having their senior versions.

First up at five o'clock UK time was Katar, so I took my level 31 rogue Memree along to the spot where the Kiene Tower is put up, by the Great Horn Beast lake.  I was there pretty early - and so was [GM]OgreKing, so we exchanged greetings, and then I settled down to passing the time killing the GHBs.  A couple of minutes before the hour, the GM spawned the mad monsters, and I started to fight them - and it was a couple of minutes after that when the announcement came up that the event was starting.  So, starting with just me, over the next ten minutes plenty of other people joined in, killing the elite sand golems, corpse sergeants, salamanders, berserk zombies, balrogs, and many many more.  The loot got spawned afterwards, and with so many people by then I didn't manage to grab a huge amount, mainly ones and twos of the best things like item drop boosters and skill point boosters, along with eight tool aids.

On Cariae-4 it was my level 27 rogue Karella who arrived in good time; [GM]OgreKing was also suitably early, though it was only on the first two servers that he put in an actual in-game appearance.  I started off with the elite sand golems as usual, and then fought my way through the blue-named stuff towards the salamanders - soft sand from the golems and skins and tails from the salamanders are useful on any server.  I don't think the turnout on Cariae can have been as large, as my share of the loot was more along the lines of fives and sixes of the best items, along with 19 tool aids.

For Sarissa, it was my level 20 healer Kaerella who hurried along to the spot, where despite the absence of [GM]OgreKing "in the flesh", things started promptly, with me keeping generally to the lower-level monsters, a level 25 corpse sergeant was a bit of an effort with a Self Heal or two needed along the way.  Still, I survived it all; with again the announcement only going up after things had started, so that we moved from just a couple of folks up to a large war party by the end.  The loot was I think almost as good as Cariae's, anyway.

Hatzring came next, so Kaerella moved up from level 20 to 22.  I actually got a heaven stone on the way there, from an elder werewolf.  The Kiene Tower went up about a minute after 6:30, with the monsters spawning seconds later.  The corpse sergeants were a little easier to deal with now, but I still had to keep away from the higher-level monsters, which tend to appear closer to the edge of the lake.  After the last of the monsters had been killed, and I'd run around tidying the place up by grabbing any gold left on the ground, our wave of rewarding loot was spawned around the tower...and this time it was mainly threes and fours of the items I got, although somehow I managed to get nine large attack potions.

Tairen, which only has the low-level MMS as we don't have enough high-level players to do the senior event, was due next - but seven o'clock came and went, and nothing happened.  There were only four of us there, including my least favourite gamesage ADISA, who didn't say anything...but at least her presence inicated that we ought to be in the right spot.  The website actually listed Auzura above Tairen, though with a later start time, so I did wonder out loud if [GM]OgreKing had by mistake gone to Auzura first, but at 7:08 the Kiene Tower did at last appear, followed swiftly by the spawning of the monsters and the announcement that the event was now in progress. 

Soon quite a good turn-out of people were there, and we cleared the place out in around ten minutes.  I'd gone with my level 35 rogue Rage, and been recruited into a party with some people more than 15 levels below me, so I had to try to fight far enough away not to spoil their experience gain, and then gallop back across when the time came to renew the horse buffs.  Rage just went up by 0.92% and 2 skill points, I noticed.  Item drops were mainly four to six each, with thirteen tool aids.

The last of the low-level Mad Monster Spawns followed fairly swiftly on Auzura, where my representative was the level 27 rogue RedRider, not to be confused with a RedRyder on any other server.  It was only here that I noticed the semi "raid boss" level 42 Baal, a large spider best avoided by people under level 40 or so; in fact, perhaps because I was closer to the lake earlier than usual, there did seem to be some more menacing types around, and I noticed somebody being pursued by quite a crowd of elite goblin scouts and other red-named monsters.  This time I'd been recruited into a party by people higher-level than me, but, luckily, within 15 levels; I'd immediately done the full-strength horse buffs, and I noticed when another member did buffs later, after the action was over, their buffs weren't 10-10, but 8-9, indicating a level 31 mount.  The loot was rather slow in spawning, I think our GM must have gone off in search of some coffee, but finally we were able to do the big grab, which for me was 5 item drop boosters, 4 skill point boosters, 2 large attack and 3 large defence potions, and 10 tool aids, plus no doubt plenty of the health and mana recovery pots.

At nine, the first of the high-level Mad Monster Spawns began, on Katar-4, and once again my level 31 rogue Memree bravely entered the fray.  I did get killed once, I still don't know by what, but after respawning in Randol I quickly returned and continued where I'd left off, assisting with Snare on various high-level types such as anubis spear men, black puddings (similar jelly-monsters to the poison mists or masters of secret technique, but tinted dark grey), and many more.  The GM announced after ten minutes that we had ten minutes more to finish clearing the place out, which as there seemed plenty of cave spirits and other types roaming loose looked as if it might be a problem - but I think we did got rid of them all with two or three minutes to spare.  The loot was generous, which meant for me fours or fives, along with 17 tool aids - so Memree had had, in the end, a profitable evening.

Barbarienne, my level 101 archer on the Cariae server, hasn't had many outings since the GMs gave up on the Sunday "zombie invasions", so, as I'd generally managed to keep out of trouble as a lower-level rogue, I decided to go for it, and take her rather than Karella.   She hasn't room for the MMS location on her memory scroll, so I quickly rode out there, and was ready for the start.

The spawning seemed different from the Katar one, and we didn't get any deadline warnings, we just cleared the valley in about twelve minutes.  At the start I did take on a couple of wraiths, since they were green-named to me, but generally I kept to the "artillery support" role, seeking out monsters that were already being fought, and adding my attack - which is the way archers should be used, I guess.  It was nice to move up from Memree's 69 damage per hit to often around 6,900, and generally be one of the "heavy hitters" for a change - and Barb didn't get killed, which is the main thing, despite all the nivas, arch liches, ancient screaming zombies, infected grey mummies, anubis attackers, and so on that were around.  I guess it helps that we didn't have any flutons or patriarch botises wandering around.

The loot-grabbing went well, too, though the quantities varied rather, with 3 skill point boosters, 5 item drop boosters, 9 large attack and 11 large defence potions, and 14 tool aids.  As usual, it helps to look at the ground, zoom in, and keep one's finger on the "pick" button, to avoid the worst effects of the lag all those extra items spawning brings.

SirGalahad was busy in Maargadum Jail throughout the evening; during the Katar senior MMS I did manage to see that a death mask soldier had joined the fight, so I was able to unequip the drake and equip his sword, and deal with the intruder before going back to the regular routine.  Monsters do like to wander around a bit, so that does happen sometimes.  Later DoubleTrouble got in touch, asking that both he and his friend Hazard should be removed from the guild, so that was a rather brief visit; they did at least have one session earlier today, so that they contributed 479 guild points between them.

The higher-level Sarissa and Hatzring Mad Monster Spawns were at 10:00 and 10:30, and it didn't seem really practical to take either version of Kaerella along; besides, one needs to spend some time blogging, yes?  The final MMS, on Auzura, was scheduled for eleven o'clock, UK time.  Which is about the moment when SirGalahad's drake should reach level 30...

The Castle Is Stormed - Eventually - February 4th

I did manage to take RedRider along to the high-level Mad Monster Spawn on Auzura-4 at 11:00pm UK time last night, and it was pretty similar to the Cariae event earlier, with the single wave of monsters dealt with in about thirteen minutes, and then the single, but generous, spawning of the loot.  This new type of MMS is a bit of a "lite" version compared with the traditional type, with its multiple waves including the final "boss wave", with the deadline to beat if a final spawning of loot was to be earned, but people seem to be getting used to it.

RedRider managed to stay alive, and assisted by using Snare with quite a few kills.  The task always seems overwhelming at the start, with so many deadly monsters suddenly appearing, but people start to attack those on the edge one by one, and the support classes join in, and the supply of monsters starts to get whittled down, so that ten minutes later one is running around trying to see if there is any odd monster that has been overlooked.  I'm sure Red managed to pick up lots of small HP and MP recovery potions at the end, but otherwise it was just a couple of each of the good items, and six more tool aids.  And then it was definitely time to log out for the night.

One strange thing yesterday that I didn't have room to mention was the mysterious appearance of an extra skill for my rogue Memree as she fought the Tairen-1 monsters in the afternoon, starting with the dark goddesses outside the city and continuing with the mummies and orc soldiers in Prokion Temple.  Sometimes the monster I was fighting would be afflicted with a skill called Venom, at level three, which was a poisoning skill, sapping a creature's health.  The skill icon for this was the same as for Poison Capsule, a skill Memree did have at that stage, but only at level two.  I did nothing special to actually cast Venom, I generally wasn't using skills at all except for Snare on the occasional orc soldier... it just, well, happened...

Anyway, the day started as usual with SirGalahad heading for level five of Maargadum Jail - and that was intended to be the only action for me in-game during the hours of daylight today, as the run-up to one of my busy weekends has now officially begun.  Still, the busy part didn't start until fairly late in the morning, so I actually had time to revisit ColonelScarlet over on Katar.  He didn't have a pet in progress for levelling, but he did have a pink drake egg in his inventory, so I took him to Lorraine and Jajan to get a cute little pink (or mauve, I would have said) dragon hatchling. 

As ColonelScarlet is like SirGalahad a level 35 temple knight with the full defence passive skills, it seemed certain that he would do okay in Maargadum Jail, like Gal, so I took him down to level five of the Jail on Katar-4, and set him up sparring with the usual death mask lancer.  His maximum-evil red name means he only hits it for 20 damage, rather than Gal's 46... which also means if he attracts the attention of a death mask soldier as he enters, the fight will be more than twice as long, I guess.  Just after eleven the hatchling reached level two, so that was a start.

The Last Chaos website's events page for today listed a double helping of the "Storm the Castle" event, with the first rotation starting at four o'clock on Katar, with the other servers, except Tairen, following at half-hourly intervals, and then another set starting at eleven, though this time with two running at once.  This seemed like a good idea to me, so I laid my plans for the evening accordingly.  Just before four, Memree, my level 31 rogue, was down by Merac Castle, ready for action - but nothing happened.  I went away and did other things, finally switching back from Memree to ColonelScarlet, but trying to check the screen reasonably often, and it was about 4:45 when I saw a GM announcement apologising for the late start, but saying that the "STC" was now under way.

So, I quickly switched to Memree again, and teleported down, arriving when the castle-stormers had just reached the first gateway, fighting zamoras and anubis spear men.  I did nearly die once when a couple of wafes attacked me, but managed to outrun them, and was able to use Snare to subdue plenty of hell-otuu, dark harpies, and anubis spear men.  We soon cleared the main courtyard, and went into the inner one, which just had the invisible Strayana dragon, the blood shadow - I was able to pass on the tip I'd heard a week or two ago, that, once the other monsters have been cleared from the area, just hitting the keyboard's "Tab" key will lock you on to the dragon, as if you'd right-clicked on it.  Then, while the creature is still invisible, it does appear on your compass-radar, and you just need to use a skill to attack.

[GM]OgreKing spawned our loot in the courtyard, and it was suitably generous.  I also picked up one of the largest cash drops I can remember seeing, 147,000 gold, dropped early on. After that I switched across to Cariae-4, which had been scheduled to follow Katar, but the GM must have run the two events at once to catch up, as the event was finished when Barbarienne arrived.  Not particularly wanting to take a relatively low-level healer along to the Sarissa or Hatzring castle-stormings, I took my early evening food break next.

For Auzura at six, my level 73 rogue Rage was a couple of minutes early - and found that [GM]OgreKing had already spawned all the monsters, and was running around at a suspiciously speedy rate.  So, as the first player there, I started the storming, by getting rid of the death mask soldiers and lancers, and then starting on the male assassinbugs, which, while they may be green-named to Rage now, are protective, so tend to fly in as a fairly big group, so that a few health potions were needed.  Luckily the GM had made the announcement for the event by then, and the first people were starting to arrive, so things started to move along in the usual way. 

Rage mainly provided artillery support and Snare, as we killed off the death knights, anubis archers, thorny mantises, anubis spear men, zamoras, hell-otuu, dark harpies, and so on.  Again there was a blood shadow in the inner courtyard - I had to wait for a few others to attack it before I could join in, as tanking a level 120 raid boss type is not something Rage is qualified to do, but, with the "Tab" tip, we soon killed it, and the loot was spawned in similarly generous amounts.  Rage did actually add 4.18% and a couple of skill points, while the loot she got included 3 item drop boosters, 6 large attack and 4 large defence potions, and 6 skill point boosters, plus a dozen tool aids.

As I still had some work to do, I put ColonelScarlet on again after that, going down to level five of Maargadum Jail again, so that by seven the pink dragon hatchling was level 8 and had 100% sympathy.  SirGalahad had kept going, though earlier his drake had been killed - the death mask soldier responsible hadn't stayed to fight him, just wandered off again, so it took a while for me to notice that something was wrong.  Unsealing a level 30 pet cost 182,700 gold, I must remember to restock Gal with some more cash for such things.  Later he somehow became the target for two death mask lancers, which was a bit strange, I can only assume that somehow the lancer in that part of the room "respawned" although the previous occupant hadn't died, but just moved a little out of position as it fought me.  Still, Gal's armour was good enough for the double attack not to worry him.

Since Barbarienne had missed out on the action at five, I resolved to take her along to the later "STC" on Cariae-4, scheduled for eleven o'clock, UK time.  As often happens I was just about the first person there, and a few minutes after the hour the monsters appeared, so I applied horse buffs, and started the battle.  A wight slasher was blue-named to me, but as a boss-type took a while to kill, and then I started on the male assassinbugs.  Luckily someone else arrived about then, as I didn't fancy trying to tank the thorny mantises solo, and, as the GM announcements had been made, a number of people were soon arriving. 

A level 96 titan asked for a combat party, and when I was finally able to click on him I supplied that. The main part of the battle was the same as earlier, though perhaps with less monsters in the outer courtyard unless I missed them, but [GM]Stratos didn't have an invisible dragon in the inner courtyard, instead a fluton was there, and then, before it was dead, a darkmind terrain... and when they were both dead, there was suddenly another fluton to deal with.

The loot spawned was less than generous, just a couple of heaps, and I just got 3 item drop boosters, a large attack and a large defence potion, no skill point boosters, and 3 tool aids.  A few judge ballachs were spawned by the gateway back to the outer courtyard... and that was it.  People hung around for a little while, but the event had finished, and was about to start on Hatzring and Sarissa.

Before he'd logged out to allow Barb on, ColonelScarlet had got his pink dragon hatchling a third of the way through level 11; SirGalahad back on Tairen kept going until log-out time, which meant his drake was pretty close to level 32 by then.

Back to The Castle - February 5th

I was still working my little socks off today downstairs - but I made sure that SirGalahad on Tairen-1 and ColonelScarlet on Katar-4 kept busy too, and checked up on them regularly.  Gal's drake reached level 32 early on, and went straight through that level, reaching 33 early in the evening, despite losing a little time to a ks-er.  And the Colonel just managed to get his pink pet up to level 16, and full drakehood, before he had to log out to allow Rage to go to the Auzura-only Merac Castle storming.

It was a bit of a contrast with the other all-server "Storm the Castle" events - when my level 73 rogue arrived, at only a couple of minutes before the hour, she wasn't the first to get there, instead there were dozens of people waiting, and [GM]Noboru was there chatting.  Obviously there had been some advance notice given, via in-game GM announcements.

The storming went pretty well, though at the hell-otuu stage I did get a "send error message" crash.  Luckily it didn't take long to get back into the game and teleport down to the start again, and join back in.  The battle had moved on to the inner courtyard by then, so I snared one of the sphinx commanders.  Time was running short, and there were two flutons in the throne room - Noboru had called it "the cathedral" earlier, warning us to look in there, and I'd gently suggested that it was in fact known as the throne room, since it does have a throne at the end...and what castle comes with its own cathedral?

We all concentrated on one of the flutons - the other fluton concentrated on one of our number, who ran like heck, very wisely, followed by the fluton... that meant we just had the one in the room to work on, until the other reset after losing touch with its target.  We killed the first fluton, and started work on the second.  Noboru told us that there was less than a minute to go - I'd switched from being one of the many people using Snare, or other stun-type skills, and concentrated on Flame Arrow, which let me hit the fluton for more than 6000 damage, as often as I could.

With seconds to go, we made it...though [GM]Noboru later did say that she had been intending to spawn three of the flutons!  There was an invisible dragon in the inner courtyard too, but as far as the deadline goes, invisible monsters don't count, right?  We killed that quickly enough, with people using the "tab" key to target it, and then dashed back outside the castle, where generous quantities of loot were spawned for us.

I did manage to mention that it would be nice to see the Zombie Invasion events again, and the GM responded that she would bring the subject up.  She also spawned another fluton, just to demonstrate her power at level 139 - I think it was more to do with being a GM than being level 139, but the fluton only lasted mere seconds.  I did enquire if she had played LC at all as a normal player, and while she didn't really commit herself, the feeling was that she had, but of course wouldn't want to give out any details.

There was to be a "Pharaoh's Treasure" hunt about 90 minutes later, so Rage logged out, and, over on Tairen, Memree logged in, and after spending her skill points, headed for Prokion Temple for an hour or so.  It was pretty busy, but I managed to take charge of the room with the mummies and a single orc soldier when someone else left, and made useful progress - 100.94%, 188 skill points and 548 pet points, so Memree reached level 24.  Back in town, a new quest added another 4.41%, and almost all the skill points quickly got spent.

I did  unravel the mystery of the level three Venom skill - one of the properties of the rogue "neckless" necklace is 3 to poisoning, so it is that particular accessory that is randomly applying that skill.  It seems a bit strange to have an accessory that applies attack skills at random, but as it is only high-level fighting where sometimes you don't want to use skills, and the "neckless" only works up to level 35, it isn't greatly important.

I was back on Auzura as Rage by about five to seven, UK time, and rode around Juno, waiting for the "Pharaoh's Treasure" event to start.  The various coordinates were announced, and I galloped across the fields on my white charger, watching the figures for my position change, and did manage to get to three locations, but they were ones that just had sphinx speer men and sphinx fighters, blue-named now for Rage.  I'm very bad at working out where on the map any coordinates given are, I just watch my own figure and try to go in a direction that gets the figure moving up or down as required, but when the spot with the loot was announced, I was actually able to get there in time, to find [GM]Noboru and a dozen or so people, and the hands of loot just being spawned.

So, I was able to grab another three or four each of the good items.  After enough people typed in a nonsense word that the GM gave us, a fluton was spawned, and, slightly slowly, we managed to kill it, and were given just one more small pile of loot - all I got from it was a large defence potion.  In a discussion of flutons I suggested how cool a fluton transformation scroll would be - think of a parade around Randol with some people in fluton form.  [GM]Noboru was rather taken with the idea, but I doubt if it is practical.

Rage was just standing around in town after that.  Ratel had got in touch while I was picking up the "Pharaoh's" loot, he was busy in Egeha trying to farm some skill points.  "My current tally is 170, and it took me one month to accumulate that", he told me. 

He reported that he was fighting cursed liches and cursed weavers, which both have magical attacks.  "My physical defence is 4k - but these weavers and liches are making me use pots like candy.  I know they use magic attack, but still, at +11 plus, my armour should offer some protection, lol."  I wondered if the mall-provided magic shields were any use.  "They help a lot, but they cost a fortune.  It's even too expensive to use level 12 magic defence minerals.  Luckily I have enough gold here to cover the costs - but I have to keep a contant watch on my hp.  It's like being in Proky with no plussed armour."

So, Ratel is going to be staying on level 90 for a while, and has no plans to take any other character of his past level 70.  "Level 73-77 stuff is rare, and besides that, the critters are simply too strong, Aeria seems to be of the opinion that when you reach these levels, you either buy ap, or are rich enough to buy the pots and stuff with coin.  I'm out of luck on both counts, lol."

When Rage (or maybe Kae) is within 15 levels, we might do an experimental team-up to see what sort of experience, and skill exp,  we got from monsters between our levels - which probably would mean boucu demons or little scorpionmantises.  But that is probably some time away.

Ratty finished his session in Egeha, and went to replenish his stocks of green herb leaves, since his pet takes a large amount of damage - and then we actually met up in town, with him looking very impressive in his best armour, and six to eight inches taller than Rage.  But it was soon time for him to log out for the night.

It was handy that Rage was just standing around in Auzura-4's Randol, as while I was chatting with Ratty, the announcement "Random prizes are falling from the sky on A4 in Randol" came up, so I joined the other inhabitants in racing around town hopefully, looking for goodies.  I didn't actually manage to pick up anything, though I did see someone picking up a berserker potion and one or two other things.  So, some people were lucky, but it doesn't seem an event worth giving up a farming session for.

Feeling a bit tired after my recent exertions, I didn't do anything more exciting than looking through some pages of Roy's merchant mart for the rest of the evening.  A death mask soldier did attack SirGalahad's drake at one stage, but I managed to notice what was going on, and unequipped the drake, equipped the sword, and gave the monster a thorough chastisement,  By the end of the evening that drake should be at least halfway through level 33, so, as there's no point in getting it to a higher level than its next owner, that particular job will be coming to an end pretty soon now.

Another Turbo Boost - February 6th

The preparations for tomorrow were just about concluded before lunch, which was useful, as it meant some playing could be indulged in in the afternoon - which is better than the last couple of days, and a lot better than tomorrow, when both computers will be off until gone six in the evening.  Ah well, it's only once a month or so.

SirGalahad on Tairen-1 and ColonelScarlet on Katar-4 were both busy levelling their drakes this morning; the pink one the Colonel is working on reached level 17 by mid-morning, while over the lunch break that one got up to level 18, and Gal's drake reached level 34.  The Colonel is actually still carrying an unmounted level 37 horse, and its Sympathy has fallen below 80% now, since it has been missing out on the pet-action lately.

The item mall has a special 150% rebate offer today - buy 10 experience boosters for 100 aeria points, and get 150 ap back in a week or two.  The catch is that you have to predict which of the two American Football teams wins their "Super Bowl", if you nominated the Saints and it's the Colts who end up marching in, then you don't get any rebate at all.  Still, if one bought ten tickets for each team, after the rebate one would end up with having paid just 500 ap for 2000 xpb.  A "Turbo" event was due to start at six in the evening, UK time, promising 50% more experience, skill exp, or pet experience for four hours.  As before, the website says that they will update the page a day in advance to tell which of the three boosts it will be, but, also as before, nobody had remembered to do that.  Auzura was also down for Hide & Seek and "Cluedo" events.

While SirGalahad kept going in Maargadum Jail, my new rogue on Tairen, Memree, had an afternoon session, and went up by 236.30%, getting comfortably into level 26.  Quite a lot of the experience gain, at least 70% I think, was from quest rewards, starting with killing 17 clever foxes of the desert; for a change I actually killed enough harpies to get 5 each of their tears and feathers, though by the time I picked up a fifth feather I'd got 4 spare tears.  It did take a while, as the harpy feathers in particular were a fairly rare drop.  Foxes and harpies naturally led me towards Prokion Temple, so I soon ended up in the room with mummies and a single orc soldier, though when I reached level 25, and was able to equip level 30 gloves and the level 29 crossbow (just a +4, but that was one better than the level 25 one), the mummies' names went blue, so, while they still gave useful skill exp, they no longer helped with pet experience.

I moved along to another room I tend to use, alongside the "back room" with its orc axemen and sergeants, which had more orc soldiers and less mummies - and used a health potion or two, since Memree's armour was basically un-plussed.

A trip back to Randol was useful for investing the latest crop of skill points - I'd gained 229 of them by then, so was able to get all five levels of the new level 25 passive skill Regain, so that Memree's health and mana regeneration increased by 5 per second.  That made things a bit easier.

It was then time to farm the sand golems, to get the 20 helpings of "soft sand" needed for two different quests, 10 each.  As usual that took a while, even if occasional generous sand golems would donate two at a time.  A titan called balkom arrived after a few minutes, but he only seemed interested in the elite sand golem, sitting to regenerate his health and mana between its spawnings.  Memree reached level 26 while I was there; once the total for the soft sand was "20/10" I made my way west across the desert to Translator Edgar, and completed the "Translator Edgar Old Document" quest - and then back in Dratan City Occultist Pianon was finally ready to give me the "Sand Golems" quest to collect the other ten, so I was able to complete that quest immediately.

The next few quests, starting with Lorraine in Randol next time Memree levels up, are Merac-oriented, but there are plenty more in Dratan yet, as Kaerella's recent adventures over on Cariae prove.  But the return to Dratan City marked the end of Memree's afternoon, during which 302 skill points had been earned, plus 691 pet points, as well as the 236.30% experience.

Talking of Kaerella, my level 54 cleric on the Cariae server, it was her turn for an evening outing today; as usual, the idea is that, on the first sub-server, where one can get the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, Prokion Temple gets too darn crowded in the evening, especially at weekends, and taking a suitable-level character there opens one up to getting killed by higher level people who go there for a killing spree.  The desert, though, is big, and one rarely sees anyone else.  Not many people farm the ravenous larvae, as is shown by the rarity of the level 47 boots that they drop sometimes.  They certainly are pretty "ravenous" when it comes to attacking pets, I often had to use a few green herbs to top up Kae's drake's health.

There wasn't a solo party available when Kae started, but EssensofElegance, the level 46 ranger, was registered for a party, so I picked her up, and launched our own solo party, which did get up to a full eight for a while.  At six, UK time, the "Turbo" boost for the next four hours was announced - an extra 50% experience and pet experience.  The experience per larva did increase, though not by 50% as it was already on 100% extra thanks to the Elizabuff; it went from 55,000 to 68.750 per kill.  I'm not entirely convinced about the extra pet experience, which is hard to pin down, it looked to me as if SirGalahad was still getting around 1000 pet points per hour.

Still, Kaerella had a good long session, and even had to travel back to Randol to renew the Elizabuff for the last half hour.  Either I've made the same mistake twice, or the countdown is slightly bugged for it, I was sure it was just running out in Dratan, so moved back to Randol to renew it - only for the clock to be set to two more "hours" (5 minutes, real time)...

In all Kaerella went up by 19.03% over the session, plus 189 skill points and 2073 pet points.  I could have moved over to Auzura for their Hide and Seek event, and then later their hard mode "Cluedo" quiz and parade, but the extra experience was too tempting, and no doubt there will be more parades over coming weeks.

SirGalahad kept going faithfully in Maargadum meanwhile - his drake should only be an hour or so away from level 35 by the time he calls it a night.

Short Time Working - February 7th

As expected, I wasn't able to start the computers until after six this evening, and get SirGalahad back down to level five of Maargadum Jail for a comparatively brief session - as of course the Sunday Quiz was looming, at 8:30pm UK time.  Gal was able to get the drake to level 35, and a little way beyond.

For the short session before the Quiz, Memree went out to Prokion Temple, and reached level 27, adding in all 56.41%, mainly fighting orc soldiers; her dragon hatchling levelled up too, reaching level six - and adding 112 skill points meant that another passive skill could be maximised.

There was time for a little trading around of stuff before the Quiz, so Rage (as in xRAGEx) has loaned her +11 rogue 30/32 armour set to Memree, getting an unplussed set in return, and passed over her level 33 +14 crossbow as well.  Memree can't use that crossbow until level 29 without a 50% decrease in its attack - but even half that weapon's full attack is better than the +4 level 29 one, so she will give it a go.

It wasn't all bad news for Rage, as she exchanged her level 10 hatchling for the level 35 drake that SirGalahad had been working on, so the buff from the drake should go some way to keeping her armour rating up - though she is at least slightly retired from active service until another +10 armour set is earned.

The quiz must have taken just about half an hour, the questions were very slow in coming - and there were some difficult ones.  On Tairen-2 we lost more than half our number on the "which item can you not feed a horse", as they can't have noticed the "not" there.  We had the "how many NPCs are there in Dratan, 27 or 29", which is, like the number of oases there, the lower figure; I think we have had that question before, but not for a long time...and "four foxes on the moon statue gives you what reward" had I think been seen before, but not for ages... for the record it was the smaller size of crystal.  Well, foxes are pretty small.

"Complaining just makes it take longer", the GM in charge commented, so people on a number of subservers must have been commenting on how slow things were.  We did have the usual "Mad Monster Spawn is on Monday or Tuesday" question, which turns up most weeks, it seems... the only problem is that recently the main MMS has actually been on a Wednesday, with the Auzura special European ones on Monday... but the correct answer is still Tuesday.

So, a dozen or so of us reached the end, and got our full share of prizes - Kaerella and MistressDomina included.  Unfortunately Gamer wasn't online for the Quiz, which presumably messes up her plans for returning the gold she borrowed, for the moment.

Rage had also passed over five cracked axes along with her armour, so Memree was able to complete the quest that required them, which led on to a visit to Shuraine to complete another quest - so Memree added another 17.16% and 6 skill points rather easily, before logging out for the night.

Instead of putting SirGalahad to work levelling up the hatchling he got from Rage, MistressDomina stayed around, and after getting loot from Rage and Memree, went into merchant mode for the night.  She took in ten million quite quickly, but who knows what the next few hours will manage?

Normal Service - February 8th

MistressDomino managed to sell everything she had on sale overnight except her item drop boosters; I have sold some previously on Tairen at 395,000 each, but I guess the price has fallen for some reason, at least temporarily..   Anyway, MD took in almost thirty million, so that was a good night's work.

At breakfast time SirGalahad took over, after I restarted the game, and took the dragon hatchling he'd got from Rage down into Maargadum Jail.  From level ten it steadily moved on, though there was one time when I checked and, perhaps because they were at the edge of a corner of the fiery pit (into which, luckily, one cannot fall), Gal's attacks were failing to make the usual "46" float up above the death mask lancer's head.  I moved him away from that spot, and the "46" came back, but I had to move him again before the actual pet points started to move on.

There was time for a session after coffee for Memree, now wearing the +11 armour.  A trio of quests, two just carrying messages and one involving killing ten butchers in Merac, added 26.23% and 12 skill points, but after that Memree moved on to Prokion Temple.  The "back room" might have been useful, but it was busy as indeed was the "corridor room", so I ended up fighting a few axemen, and rather more orc fighters, just between the two places, until level 28 was reached.  The time in the Temple added a further 54.85% and 118 skill points; on the pet point side, Merac's butchers had given Memree's hatchling 23, and the Temple's orcs 438.

Level 28's new quests, from the herbologist trainer in Dratan and Healer Yabo in Randol, both involved killing the desert spiders near Prokion Temple's entrance, to obtain "strong spider thread" and concurrently "spider poison", and the quest rewards gave Memree 14 skill points and an easy 23.95% experience.  Moving inside Prokion Temple, I found that the "back room" was busy, but its occupant left before long, and Memree was able to fight there until level 29 was safely reached.  That meant the session in total had added 97.65% and 186 skill points, most of which swiftly got spent back in town.

By then SirGalahad was just about to get his hatchling up to level 15; he was running a bit low on quality stones to feed it, though, so Memree went out and did a little mining, using the 16 tool aids she was carrying, before the early evening food break.

SirGalahad continued through that early evening food break - not that I have a late evening food break, I just tend to take my evening food break a bit early - and then Rage logged in...though not the Tairen version, instead it was my original Auzura level 73 rogue (RAGE to be exact).  The two European Mad Monster Spawns were due at 5:30, which just gave Rage time for some mining, and herb-gathering, too, to use up her supply of tool aids, before she needed to ride across to the MMS location.

Unfortunately, [GM]Valsharyn insists on running her high and low MMS events at the same time.  After the deadly horrors of last week, I opted not to go to the low-level one, with probably the outspoken RedRider, a level 27 rogue - surely the high-level one, with Rage, had to be safer than that?

Well, maybe it was...it was difficult to follow exactly what happened over at the low-level event from what Val said but it sounded pretty nasty, both his apologies for what had happened and his warnings about what was to come - with people there tending to be around level 30, he was going to include some level 90 monsters?  "Please recuperate and relax for the Boss wave, which will have level 90 monsters among them (only a few).  So PLEASE take a look at them from afar until you decide to attack them."

I'm afraid multi-tasking doesn't seem to be [GM]Valsharyn's strong point, as things did get confusing over which announcements were for which location, us at 453.290 or the juniors at 741.1399, and we found ourselves waiting for a while after killing off the first wave before he finally remembered us, and spawned the loot.  There were other pauses too.  Still, the actual waves of monsters were worth waiting for, Val's events are more of a traditional MMS than the current slimmed-down all-server version.  Rage is really a bit low to be a fighter there, level 73 is a bit of a limbo - does anyone want to have a mid-level MMS too?

There were at least four times when Rage did get attacked, with her health knocked right down, and had to run for her life, usually getting on her horse for extra speed, and looping round once the monster in question had given up; getting through to the end without dying seemed a major achievement.  With flutons and patriarch botises, one has to be careful, as while everyone is, wisely, concentrating on one of them, the others are wandering around, and can easily come up behind you.

At the end Val did say that the prize was double, though it seemed to get picked up just as quickly as the previous waves of loot;  I hadn't counted how many item drop boosters, skill point boosters, large attack potions, and large defence potions Rage was carrying, or indeed the small HP recovery potions and small mana recovery potions, but she gained 21 tool aids, so things generally must have been reasonable on that front.

If I'd taken up the "whisper me feedback, especially on the boss wave since this was a new one!" invitation (and Val did stay online for quite a while afterwards for that, apparently), I would have suggested that the low and high events ought to be at different times.  That may mean some high-level characters at the low-level event, but that's something a GM ought to be able to deal with, and it would avoid the waiting around, and the GM announcements which may be aimed at the other location and tend to confuse, as well as the feeling that Val wasn't actually with us but just pushing a few buttons.  Not having had the chance to see the low-level version this time (and she really ought to make sure the website gives the correct location...or that she uses the normal location as on the website), it's not easy to give a verdict on it, though last week's was nowhere near as much fun as the standard multi-server version.

The monster choices at the high event seemed reasonable to me, and it was good that Val didn't impose an arbitrary deadline we had to meet.  It didn't seem to me that we had an awful lot of high-level players there, but I don't know what would be an easy fix for that, short of changing the rewards... how about a new type of Hand, the "hand of life", with a resurrection scroll (or failing that a skill point restoration scroll), two greater healing potions, and an experience booster, to be included in MMS loot spawns...?

A little later, Memree traded her level 7 hatchling, and 400 quality stones, for Gal's drake, which was by then a little past halfway through level 16.  It was also an ideal opportunity to recruit Memree into the Discipline guild. Then they both moved across to Tairen-2, and SirGalahad took his newly-acquired hatchling down into Maargadum Jail, while providing Memree with a solo party.

Memree herself headed for Prokion Temple, and its back room, which was unoccupied - in fact the whole temple seemed deserted, since players go to Tairen-1 for the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff...or just go there because it seems like the place to go, as the first sub-server, I suppose. 

Now that Memree had her good armour, and the full use of the +14 crossbow, it seemed like the best time to use her beginner platinum super skill pills, which give 150% extra skill exp for an hour each.  Memree had got her experience gain "locked" at 50%, so each orc sergeant gave 9483 experience and 13750 skill exp, and each orc axeman gave 5777 and 11000.

There was just time for two hours; during the first hour Memree gained 34.14% and 435 skill points, and then in the second hour a further 33.39% and 424 skill points.  Memree's new drake reached level 17 just before the end of the first hour, and added 1131 more pet points in hour two - the session also got Discipline 513 guild points.

So, that was the end of the fighting.  I'm slightly surprised that, at 50% experience gain, it will take no more than three hours in that back room to go through level 29, but it helps to give Memree a stock of skill points to get all her skills to their maximum, including the new skills coming up at level 30 and level 32.  Once all five pssps have been used, she'll be able to do some teaming up with RedRyder, and hopefully move Red's supply of skill points along a bit too.

SirGalahad kept going a bit longer with his pet-levelling, so that the hatchling should reach level 10 before lights out.

Marching Onwards - February 9th

SirGalahad got into action before breakfast, and it didn't take long, down on level five of Maargadum Jail on Tairen-2, for his current hatchling to reach level 11; by lunchtime it was on level 13, in fact, so that was going well.

We were on Tairen-2 since that's where my rogue Memree was working today, using up her beginner-type platinum super skill pills.  150% extra skill exp is only a slight improvement over the 100% extra that Elizabeth's Enhancement offers, on Tairen-1, but it comes without also doubling the regular type of experience, so that levels last longer, allowing more skill points per level to be gained.

There was just time for a one-hour session for Memree before lunch; Prokion Temple's back room was free, and during the hour another 33.50% experience was gained, along with 436 skill points, 1082 pet points, and 258 guild points.  This took Memree 2% into level 30, so the experience and skill exp per kill had now fallen from 9483/13750 to 9011/12375 per orc sergeant, and from 5777/1100 to 4814/9625 per orc axeman, now green-named, so this level will be a bit slower.

Randol was deserted when Memree returned there, except for two suspiciously-named titans who looked like silenced gold-spammers to me.  Spending 757 skill points maximised all Memree's available general and passive skills, including the new level 30 ones, which are Invisibility (needed at level five before a rogue can choose to become an assassin or a ranger) and Detect Weakness, which gives a big boost to a rogue's hit rate.

For the afternoon, there was time to use the last two of the five freebie beginner pssps, again in the back room in Tairen-2's deserted Prokion Temple, after stopping off to get and immediately complete a quest in Dratan, gaining 4.95% and 5 skill points.  The first hour went well, with 26.60%, 413 skill points, 1083 pet points, and 247 guild points, but almost immediately after starting the second one I got disconnected.  Memree's drake took a little damage, but survived, but it meant that, with the relogging and returning involved, that particular hour's figures were slightly down at 25.13%, 385 skill points, 1005 pet points, and 232 guild points.

While SirGalahad continued his work, getting his drake up to level 18 before the end of the evening, over on Cariae-1 Kaerella logged in for a session out with the ravenous larvae in Dratan's desert.  There was a notification when I logged in that Roy had sold some items for me - and he did indeed have 2,354,281 gold to hand over.

I joined a solo party headed by the level 109 war master Morganic, who apparently was doing some semi-afk pet levelling in Strayana.  It must have been a pretty strong monster he was fighting, as he was using a weapon, albeit just the level 1 machete a titan starts with; apparently you keep a monster's attention better with a weapon than bare-handed, so that he was able to recall a low-level friend to his side to pet-level there too.

Before too long a level 41 titan called mcrossx flew up on his dragon to join me, and asked if he could fight there too.  I hadn't realised initially that he was actually a member of our party, but I said there were enough larvae for both of us.  It did slow me down for a while as he needed some healing, and having him "on compass" reduced my sp gain to about a third... but not surprisingly he found the larvae a bit too ravenous, and left before too long.

Morganic went entirely afk after a while, and promoted me to party leader, though that doesn't mean much except that one accepts people applying to join, saying "hi" and "yw", kicks people whose names have gone black after a bit, and has to relist the party if a full eight is reached and then someone leaves.  I just kept on with my fighting, for about 2 hours 45 minutes...and then it was time to pass the leadership over to someone else, and log out for the night.  By then Kae had added 13.39%, 159 skill points, and for SirFrancis 1826 pet points.

There had been a "Random prizes are falling from the sky in Randol" event during the evening, but I hadn't bothered to go to the appropriate sub-server for that; I'd ignored a "hide and seek" and a spawning of Pandora's Beasts on Auzura, too, since they are not terribly rewarding or exciting.  Tomorrow, though, there should be a succession of Mad Monster Spawns to attend, which will certainly make a change from solo slogs in the desert.

Two Events At Once - February 10th

There was a substantial patch to download this morning, after last night's weekly server maintenance downtime.  In fact, they apparently had to have a second downtime after the main patch removed polar bear pet equipment, nerfed Elizabeth's Enhancement, renamed the sub-servers wrongly, and got rid of the glow and fairy effects from upgraded weapons and armour.

So, the main problems seemed to have been sorted out before I logged on, leaving the intended changes, which included moving the Randol NPC Elizabeth and her Enhancement buff from the first sub-server to the fifth, which is a non-PvP one, plus bringing in the Valentine's Day event, chocolate-oriented, and the Origami event, which involves collecting different colours of paper.  We also have a new set of costumes, or costume covers, with a Mexican theme, but there is no fix yet for skill boxes, classes, the level 140 Mondshine quest, or polar bear pets vanishing if put into storage.  Since no other pets can be stored like that, the fix ought to just make it impossible to put a polar bear into the storage chest.

SirGalahad went to Maargadum Jail, this time on Tairen-5, to find a knight called Eragon surrounded by a dozen or more canines, with a titan called TearlessWarrior bringing a new group to him, and then using the teleporter to leave, thus transferring the aggro to Eragon.  Mentioning him by name, I asked the titan when he came back in if he was trying to kill Eragon, and he said "nope", so hopefully the knight will know what went on.  I shouldn't think even a big mob of canines would kill a knight if he has the +10 armour - but I assume his pet got killed pretty quickly.

There was nothing SirGalahad could do, so he went on down to level five and started pet-levelling - and an hour or so later a message came up that a period of double pet experience was ending, so presumably we got the benefit of that for a while. 

The drake had reached level 19 by coffee time, anyway, and after that Gal stood down, so that for the first time Memree, on level 30, and RedRyder, on level 29, could team up in a combat party in Prokion Temple, on Tairen-5.  Memree did the fighting, and Red did most of the picking up of the loot; generally each orc soldier killed gave around 2100 skill exp to each of them, with Memree getting 1100 or so experience and RedRyder perhaps 200.  Orc fighters tended to give around 3400 skill exp, but over 7000 experience to Memree and around 1200 to Red, so they are as yet worth avoiding when possible.

It wasn't a long session, but both rogues gained 94 skill points, with Memree going up by 5.97% (and 27 guild points) and RedRyder going up by 1.27% (and 5 guild points) - so there's plenty of potential for further team-ups, as long as the Temple doesn't get too busy.

For the afternoon, I decided that it was time that my Tairen mage, MistressDomino, moved on from level 10, so I logged her in on Tairen-5, the new "newbie" subserver, and put her heavier sales goods into storage to lighten her inventory load and make a bit of space.  Then it was a matter of persuading SirGalahad to take her on as an apprentice in the Guardian system...and then, well, the business as usual, starting with a couple more visits to the jaguars to get those fangs for the necklaces that Merchant Geres allegedly makes.  Every 500 gold quest reward helps - though admittedly MD is carrying rather a lot of gold from her merchanting sessions!  Then it was time to move to Teleporter Rian, which takes no time at all using the Juno NPC Scroll, and enter Velpist temple for a bit of serious levelling. 

As usual this started with the wandering zombies down the right-hand corridor, followed by the ancient and berserk types straight ahead (well a few corners, and steps down and up, are involved).  When MistressDomino had reached level 14, having put on 481.63% and just 97 skill points, it was time to go back to Randol, learn a few skills, open the level 14 "treasure chest" that Lorraine administers, sell some oddments...and then hop out to Hunter Dranore, again using the NPC Scroll, before returning to Velpist Temple, and taking the left-hand path, up to the room outside the "torn book of life" room, for more berserk zombies, plus the level 16 corpse rangers and even a few level 21 skeleton soldiers,  Both of those types are protective, not just of their own chums but the other lot too, which makes things interesting.

By the end of the afternoon MistressDomino was safely almost halfway through level 16, having added another 232.84% along with 74 more skill points, so I guess she'll be ready to head for Prokion Temple next time.

The food break had to be taken, if not early, at least promptly, as the succession of low-level Mad Monster Spawns was due to being at five o'clock, UK time, on Katar-4.  My level 31 rogue there Memree went along, and as she was a few minutes early, found the Kiene Tower and [GM]OgreKing, and nothing and nobody else, so started to keep busy killing the local great horn beasts.  It wasn't long before the GM spawned the usual mixture of beasts, from berserk zombies upwards, so I set to work.

The different servers had, generally, similar spawnings, though there were differences.  My loot-grabbing on Katar got me four each of the four best items from the loot that got laid out before us, plus 14 tool aids, but that was perhaps better than average.  On Cariae too, with Karella, my level 27 rogue, I was early, though there were a couple of other people there - a titan gave me the useful pair of bow-user buffs, and indeed briefly joined a party that a sorcerer called "exploder" put together, though for some reason the party didn't last for very long - perhaps because the titan "capped" us. 

Sarissa and Hatzring followed, with my archer Kaerella taking part, at level 20 and 22 respectively, so I had to be a bit more careful - no +10 armour for me there!  The highest monsters I could manage tended to be the level 25 corpse sergeants, from Velpist Temple, and I had to use Self Heal a time or two when I was fighting one of them.

The general strategy [GM]OgreKing was using seemed to be to spawn the monsters at about ten or eight minutes before the hour, and not actually announce that the event had started until the official time had been reached, so I tended to have almost ten minutes of just about solo action before any other people turned up.  This was certainly the case on Tairen-4, where Memree, my level 30 rogue, kept busy killing whatever she could for at least ten minutes before anyone else joined in.  Don't other people read the website - or don't they trust what it says, until there is an official in-game announcement?

Tairen was a little different, in that there is not yet a high-level MMS there, so the GMs must have decided that there would be more people, and more higher-level people, of at least level fifty, along (the stated maximum level is sixty, but people at that level wouldn't have much to do) - I think we normally may get a single boss spider Baal in the middle of the rather higher-level monster group nearest the lake, but this time there were at least three or for of them.  I must have got a bit too near one, Memree had to run for her life - I thought I was perhaps over-reacting and only down by about a third, health-wise, but by the time I was clear my health was extremely low.  For a minute or two it looked as if the Baals reigned supreme, and that nobody could challenge them - but then we saw [GM]Darasuum, a burly, muscular titan, stepping between them and us, and generally saving the day.

The final low-level MMS was also a bit different, in that the website said it was to be held on the PvP subserver, Auzura-1, rather than the fourth subserver, which the others had been on - and, while my level 27 rogue RedRider went to the location on both those options, the Kiene Tower wasn't set up on either of them.  After switching some more, finally I found the monster spawn just starting on Auzura-4, and joined in in the usual way.

As usually happens on a Wednesday evening, I was away from Last Chaos from eight to ten or so, and thus missed out on the chance to visit the high-level version of the MMS on Katar and Cariae.  I could have gone along to Sarissa at ten or soon after, and Hatzring at half past, but a junior-level healer such as Kaerella's local versions wouldn't really be much assistance...and the blog needed sorting out anyway.  Maybe I can at least send Rage along to the Auzura version at eleven, if I get the blog done and published by then.  By that time SirGalahad, on Tairen-5, will have got his drake most of the way through level 22, so it will soon be time to either switch to boosting another drake a bit, or starting a new horse, to go all the way to level 37.

Shiny Goodies - February 11th

My level 73 rogue Rage did indeed go along to the high-level Mad Monster Spawn on Auzura at eleven o'clock last night, UK time, which was a rather less risky event that [GM]Valsharyn's European one a few days earlier, and generally less substantial.  As it had been part of the rota. moving from server to server every half hour, it couldn't be too complex, and after a suitable warming, [GM]JediMike just spawned one wave of monsters for us - high-level critters from the Tomb of Theos and other places.

While he wasn't actually visible, our GM was in a slightly chatty mood.  ROCC asked "Is did da 1st round or last 1?" - and he replied "It's the only 1 - I'm going to revamp MMS soon enough", which sounds promising.  A relatively low level mage asked "Is my debuff even helping?" and he contributed "I'm buff", followed by "I got an 8 pak", which explains why he always strolls around in his underwear.  Someone called lordofallmighty asked him what his favourite event to do was, and he replied "My favorite is... probably prize drop.  I like seeing players running around in town."

I'm not sure we retained his full attention, though, as there was a slight delay before the loot was spawned - he expressed surprise that we'd finished already, and then spawned the usual generous amounts, though there were a lot of people there, meaning that I got 2 item drop boosters, 6 large attack & 5 large defence potions, 3 skill point boosters, 8 tool aids, and 16 small HP & 13 small mana recovery potions.

That all probably took no more than fifteen minutes.  Thursday itself started in the normal way with SirGalahad heading for his death mask lancer in Maargadum Jail, and then after coffee Memree and RedRyder made up their roguish combat party and, with Elizabeth's Enhancement in operation, headed for Prokion Temple on Tairen-5, since that's the subserver that Elizabeth hangs out on now.

The session went okay, though as time passed more people tended to appear.  The titan Torture I've seen before there, and he chatted a little; there was a mage called wroolm who I think was just fooling around a bit, as she came into "my" orc soldier room a few times chased by multiple orc fighters, plus sometimes ghouls and mummies too, which meant that, assuming she was in trouble, I had to kill them, when generally I avoid the fighters as much as possible since the skill exp to experience ratio isn't as good as the soldiers, with a little more skill exp but many times more experience.  And then later she used the level 32 skill Terra Spear to kill one fighter instantly, showing that she could easily deal with fighters and so on...

A healer called ChaosMonkey said "yo memree.. do you hack?" which seemed a strange thing to come out with.  "I wouldn't know how", I replied. "You just seemed to be shooting far", she continued.  "Just normal range, as far as I know", I said.  With low-level critters like orc soldiers I'd hardly need any extra unearned advantage.  I think some people just come out with that sort of accusation to make themselves appear wise in the ways of LC, which is a bit of a shame.

The session ended with Memree and RedRyder up by 149 skill points each; Memree's experience had gone up by another 8.58% (and 40 guild points), while as the non-fighting half of the combat party RedRyder had added just 1.82% (and 7 guild points).  And then, after moving some items from Red to Memree, and then trading across assorted loot to MistressDomino, SirGalahad logged back in for a return to Maargadum Jail.

For the afternoon session, MistressDomino went to Prokion Temple for the first time, on Tairen-5, and after starting at level 16 with ghouls and mummies, after a level or so managed to move on up the stairs and get to the room with a useful selection of mummies, plus the one orc soldier.  The session had been a bit late starting, but I just managed to reach level 20, gaining the mage event weapon, before logging out for food.

At five, UK time, there was a "Parade" event on Auzura-4, so I took Rage along, as I'd missed one or two recently and I wanted to check if anything had changed.  It was the same old thing, though, with [GM]Nobura in charge, dropping plenty of firecrackers and some transformation scrolls.  We wandered around the town, "to impress the NPCs", transforming into sasquatches, dire wolves, jaguars, drakes, or, indeed, little red cubes, and while the NPCs seemed unmoved, it was as usual kind of fun, though not something that one needs to do every week

I had a rogue "Fourth of July" ringmaster-type top hat, so I wore that for some of the time, and suggested that it might be a good idea if the GM wore one too, to make it easier to keep track of her in the mob of people. " Yea I'm thinking about that already Rage :)" she replied...

Over on Tairen-5 MistressDomino did her level 20 quests, which gave her 40% more experience (and her special new "neckless" accessory), and converted just about all her drops from the afternoon, level 21 and 22 items, into smelting stones to try to upgrade her new event wand, the "Rhine Order" - it reached +2 before the loot ran out, so I didn't do too well there.

After that, back on Auzura-4, Kaerella, my level 67 archer, spent some time looking through Roy's merchant mart. partly to see what price an Eyes of Spirit accessory could be bought for, and partly to see if there was a better level 72 item of headgear than her current +13 one - since her other armour pieces are +14 or, in the case of her Balsamic Shirt, +15.  But the time was approaching for the "EU Pharaoh's Treasure" event, which I was hoping might turn up some loot for me, if I wasn't too far away when the true location, as opposed to the spots that were just crawling with sphinx speer men and fighters, was announced.  I started off looping around to the southeast. and did find one set of Egyptian-style warriors, and then headed towards the GHB lake - the Kiene Tower was still there from the junior MMS.

And then I was heading along parallel to the hilly edge, heading for Velpist Temple, and noticed that my coordinates were quite close to another announced location, so edged across... and there was [GM]Noboru in the foothills, and a fine selection of the usual item drop boosters, large attack and defence potions, skill point boosters, tool aids, and of course the small HP and mana recovery potions.  So barely pausing to say hi, SirFrancis, my drake, and I started to grab stuff as quickly as possible.  It didn't take long for somebody else to turn up, and then the "winning" location was announced, and more people started to arrive, but I was able to pick up a fine amount of loot.

[GM]Noboru was generous, and kept replacing the Hands when the goodies ran out.  She then spawned a single fluton, carefully to one side, promising more loot if we could kill it, and luckily we had enough rogues to keep it Snared, and enough high-level people to inflict damage - Kae only hit it for 166, though a "Deadly" hit was ten times that.  We got some more loot, as promised, though with so many dozens of people there it vanished awfully speedily.  By then I'd gone over 100% for my inventory weight - I must have added at least 30% in all.

The description for a "Pharaoh's Treasure" event says, if I edit the spelling a bit, "The ancient reincarnation of Horus has buried treasure somewhere in the Land of Iris. At the start of the Event, the known treasure burial coordinates will be announced. But take heed, Heroes, as only one of the burial spots is actually filled with the glory that you aspire to. All other spots are guarded by a powerful Sphinx Army, forged from the souls of the fallen. If you find the burial spot with only treasures, you can take sanctuary and gather your entire inventory worth of shiny goodies!"  For once, for me they weren't far wrong...

As Kaerella was actually carrying a mage top hat, I decided I ought to offer it to our generous GM: "Since my rogue suggested it... I do have a spare mage Top Hat if you would like it?"  She was probably wise to gracefully decline the offer, as it's not a good idea for a GM to accept favours.

After a little more loot, [GM]Noboru finally left, and I went back to town too, putting 71 tool aids into storage to get Kae's inventory weight down.  I then celebrated by buying for ten million a Necklace of Wind accessory I'd seen earlier, which gives 5% suction of life, 5 defence, and a 30 increase in Critical Hit.  Equipping that instead of the previous one (similarly 5% suction of life and 5 defence, plus "increases all kinds of physical defence" 6 and 58 hit points) decreased Kaerella's total (physical) defence and hit/health points slightly, but moved the "Critical" stat from 541 to 658, which seems good to me.

There was still an hour or so of playing time left, so I decided that the Sarissa version of Kaerella could do with a little bit of improving. I logged her in, spent her current store of skill points, got the Elizabuff, and headed for Prokion Temple, and that mummies, and one orc soldier, room.  Kae started about a third of the way through level 20, and it didn't take too long to reach level 21 there.  A level 20 mage called Pravis was fighting nearby and made a point of giving me buffs, so I suggested we team up, since neither of us was in a party, and we kept the mummies on their toes.  She had to leave for supper at just before 9:15, but she added me to her Friends list, and we may well meet up at the next low-level Mad Monster Spawn...which may well be a bit different, particularly regarding its early starts, as, sadly, [GM]OgreKing is leaving Aeria tomorrow, the forum announces...

I kept going a little longer, and got about a third of the way into level 22 before heading back to Randol - with 145 new skill points to spend.  After using up every last one of them, I then bought the rest of the required level 25/27 armour set, using up about half of Kaerella's cash reserve.  And then it was about time to log out, though SirGalahad had kept working through all the excitements, and got his drake past halfway through level 25 well before his computer closed down for the day.

A Farewell to Oggy - February 12th

SirGalahad was back at work in Maargadum Jail from breakfast to coffee time, and then it was time for Memree and RedRyder to team up again in Prokion Temple.  We did have a third member of the combat party early on, another rogue called vero, but she found that she had to be out of compass-range much of the time just to find enough orcs to kill, and it wasn't long before she reached level 32, and so went back to town to learn her new skills.

A little later a level 25 healer called MoonLightz did ask to join the party, but my feeling was that being with people four or five levels higher wouldn't do her any good, or us either.  She tended to stay in the same room as Red and Memree, but sadly died in the end.

It was quite a long morning session, allowing my two rogues to each gain 186 skill points - enough to take RedRyder above the 4,000 mark for unused sp..  Memree went up by 12.09%, as more orc fighters than usual were involved, and 56 guild points, while RedRyder added 2.68% and 10 guild points.

For the main afternoon session, it seemed like a good idea to work on the Hatzring version of Kaerella a bit - so that's what I did.  First of all I made a new character just to get a Juno NPC Scroll, which was transferred via the warehouse storage to Kaerella - that was probably quicker than running out to Velpist Temple.  Once Kae had the scroll, she was able to use it to move straight to Teleporter Rian just outside the Temple - and then she went in, and off to the left to the room just outside the "torn book of life" quest chamber.  Actually, she fought more in the doorway to that main room, fighting skeleton soldiers and skeleton lancers.  The main object was to get four "cursed bones" for a quest from Jajan, which didn't take too long...it helped that there was an unclaimed one on the floor when I got there.

Kaerella took the four quest items to Jajan in Dratan, who, once he handed over the reward, promptly gave me another quest, which needed five each of the harpy tears and feathers.  So, I teleported to Prokion Temple, and fought the harpies there until I got enough drops...for a change I got more feathers than tears.  And once that quest was completed, I moved inside the Temple.

I quickly got to the room with the mummies and single orc soldier; I find it a useful place, so it's surprising how many times recently I've found it empty, on various servers.  I settled in there, and kept fighting the mummies until I was just short of level 24 - a quick look at the quest reward for the harpy tears and feathers assured me that that would be enough to get me the rest of the way.  So, I moved back to Dratan City on about 95% of the way through level 23, and got the reward from Jajan, which safely took me into level 24.  There was just time to spend all but 5 of the 199 skill points acquired on the fifth levels of a couple of passive skills - and then it was time to switch across to the Katar server.

A rotation of "Storm the Castle" events was due to start at 4:00pm UK time, on Katar-4 in Merac, so I logged my level 31 rogue Memree in, and teleported down to just outside Merac Castle, down in the southeast of the Merac map.  Thankfully there were already four people waiting, which makes a change.  [GM]OgreKing kept us waiting until about seven minutes past, which was a great deal better than last week, and then spawned all the monsters, before making the usual announcement exhorting all heroes to join us.

At least two of our number were pretty high-level, so we made a good start, and other people rolled up as the minutes passed.  It went pretty well, in fact, and, aided of course by Memree's use of Snare, the usual monsters got their usual dirt naps.  There was a level 120 Blood Shadow invisible dragon in the inner courtyard to finish on, and with the usual exhortations for people to use the [tab] key, we managed to take that down too within the time limit - the Castle was cleansed.  Unfortunately Memree, along with most other people, raced back outside then, expecting the rewards to be spawned there - so we missed out, and the few people who stayed in the courtyard long enough for the loot to appear must have done rather well.

Cariae-4 was the venue for the next "StC", so it was Barbarienne's turn to log in, and teleport down to the Castle.  I arrived just in time, and was able to assist another early arrival with the wight slasher, and quickly get rid of the death mask lancers it hangs out with.  The thorny mantises are level 113, and have a nasty poisoning skill - but they are passive, so we left them, hoping for some higher-level arrivals, and concentrated on clearing out the male assassinbugs, anubis attackers, jumping devils, and zamaras.

The anubis spear men were a bit of a problem; I could just about tank one of them, but it took almost an entire horse buff to do it.  Luckily people were arriving by then, and what had seemed an impossible deadline started to look a bit more practical - the mob of spear men thinned out, and other people were already dealing with the hell-otuu (or hell-otaku, as I tend to think of them), dark harpies, and further supplies of spear men in the far corners.

So, we made it into the inner courtyard, and again there was a Blood Shadow to deal with, which we did, with minutes to spare, and were declared victorious.  And this time I stayed around in the inner courtyard, and got my share of the loot drops.

At five o'clock the rota reached Sarissa, so I decided that that was a good point at which to have my food break - which is a shame really, as I hadn't read down to the bottom of the website page to see that the European version, hosted by either [GM]Valsharyn or [GM]Noboru, was also due to start then, on Auzura-4 - so I could have gone to that, and skipped Hatzring as well to make time for a break.

My Hatzring archer Kaerella, newly level 24, did however go along to Merac Castle on Hatzring-4, and sit down outside to wait for other people to arrive.  The problem was that nobody else did show up - and when the monsters spawned, I was the only person there.  Even the death mask lancers would have been too much for me, so there was nothing I could do, until the titan wwDarkMothww arrived, who was at least able to handle the lancers - so I could give a bit of archer-style support.

Other people did start to come along, but Kaerella managed to get killed three times, twice by either death knights or baal... low-level to Barbarienne, a slight annoyance to Rage, but deadly to a low-level character.  The third time it was an anubis spear man, who must have lost his original target - and there were other occasions when a bit of strategic withdrawal was needed.  It was lucky that Kae was only 5% into her new level, and carrying 5 unused skill points.

Sadly, at a quarter to six [GM]OgreKing announced that the heroes had failed to retake the castle.  We did continue to fight until we had cleaned the place out, but as the deadline had passed, we didn't receive any drops.  I think I did manage to pick up at least one gold drop from one of the monsters, which at least more than covered the cost of the memory scrolls.

It took until six o'clock to finish clearing the Castle out on Hatzring, so I was not too prompt getting to Auzura-4, which the website hadn't mentioned as having a "10:00am PST" castle-storming, but when Rage arrived in Merac people were heading for it, so I teleported down and joined in.  As usual the gateway to the main outer courtyard had been reached, so I added my "heavy artillery" and Snare to the team effort.  despite there having been the "European" version only an hour before, the turn-out was pretty good, and we got to the inner courtyard, with a couple of sphinx commanders, in good time.  Once those were killed, we were able to target the Blood Shadow - and soon the announcement came up that we had succeeded, followed by the loot drop.

I'm afraid I underestimate the Blood Shadow dragon, because I can't see it - I was very lucky, it was only when we'd moved on to picking up the loot that I noticed that my health was perilously low.  So, I nearly had to use a resurrection scroll there, but not quite.  So, a useful but not outstanding amount of loot was picked up - probably about a tenth of what Kaerella had picked up yesterday, but still worth having.

And so one "StC" rotation had ended.  For people on different timezones, a second go-through was due to start at 11:00pm UK time, two at a time, with Katar and Cariae...I don't think I'll try for Auzura again at midnight though.

So, that was probably the last we'll see of [GM]OgreKing, as today was his last day with Aeria Games.  We did at least get our chance to thank him for what he did and wish him luck, which was good...will he find another job that "just involves playing games all day"?  Well of course there's a lot more to it than that, but I suspect he has heard people make that assumption.

The regular evening session was a chance for Tairen's Kaerella to avoid getting left behind by the Hatzring and Sarissa versions.  I started with a few last Juno quests, including killing thirty drakes and ten horn beasts - and then I needed one more horn beast eye, so I fought the great horn beasts out at the senior "Mad Monster Spawn" point and along towards Velpist Temple, until it finally dropped for me.

After that I headed for Prokion Temple; the room with the mummies and a single orc soldier was in use when I got there, but before long I found the mage had gone, so took over.  For the last half hour or so I shared it with a chatty young rogue (well, level 19) called KateNash, who has her main characters over on the Katar server.  We added each other to our Friends lists, and will no doubt meet up again.  I think I have seen her in town, a "normal" name like that is, well, unusual in-game...

Kaerella has had her experience gain cut to 50%, so just went up 86.38%, taking her comfortably into level 23 and giving Discipline 58 guild points; her hatchling gained 877 pet points, taking it on to level 5, and 214 skill points were earned.  Kae's medium-term target must be to reach level 27, so that, when there is a spare 30/32 +10 armour set available, she will be able to wear it, but there isn't any hurry for that

The later sequence of "Storm the Castle" events begins at 11:00pm UK time.  I do intend to take Barbarienne along to that, but a report on that particular event will have to wait until tomorrow.  By then SirGalahad's drake will be well past halfway through level 27, so it is just a matter of finding a convenient time to trade it across to a different Tairen character.

Kaerella Levels Up - February 13th

Last night's eleven o'clock (UK time) Cariae "Storm the Castle" event was a bit different from the earlier one.  Cmom2 and I were both there waiting at the start - but so were plenty of other people, and when the event began, the monsters got a thorough, sound and swift thrashing, with the whole place cleared out within six minutes, never mind twenty.  [GM]Stratos was in charge, and didn't really add any frills or thrills - I can't say that the loot seemed all that generous, I mainly managed to grab two of each item (and an extra couple of large attack potions), but that was mainly because of the number of people there.  At least one level 130 type was grumbling that he hadn't had anything worth fighting at all, which shows how hard it is to balance these things.  [GM]Stratos was also running the Katar StC at the same time, perhaps if he'd been able to give us his full attention he would at least have added a fluton or two in the throne room to make the high-level types feel wanted.

Saturday is a quieter day, with mainly the "Turbo" event, scheduled for six to ten in the evening.  As usual the web description said "Today's event is called turbo because it's a combination of either 150% XP, SP and/or Pet XP. The day before the event, we will update this page with what may be coming your way! " - and as usual the page hadn't been updated, so that the bonus remained a mystery until the last moment.  We also have the introduction of the new Jaguar pets, with a raffle, and today this raffle doesn't require people to actually part with cash - each hour, up to five, that they are online in Last Chaos is a raffle entry, which is a nice touch.  Tomorrow the raffle gets a bit more commercial, with the purchase of "special offer" item mall packages required.

SirGalahad took his drake down to Maargadum Jail for one last session until coffee, so that it ended its time with him 249 pet points into level 28, which seemed a convenient point at which to stop.  After he logged out, RedRyder and Memree headed for Prokion Temple, and found their usual spot free, so settled in, in their usual way, with Memree doing the fighting, and Red doing most of the picking up of the loot.

A level 23 rogue called RangerNL did ask to join our combat party, but it boosted our experience gain way too much, and probably cut hers back too.  She did ask about joining our guild, but I was diverted into answering someone else's questions at the time, so didn't reply before she left the area.  I think the titan zamir must have been about that level too, he tended to have to sit in a corner for a while after every few kills to regain his health.  I did give him a few of the small HP recovery potions to help speed that up a little.

Anyway, we made good progress, and both my rogues ended up with 162 more skill points.  Memree had added 10.73% and 50 guild points, while RedRyder was up 2.23% and 9 guild points.

There was just time before lunch for RedRyder and SirGalahad to exchange pets, so that Red got the level 28 drake, and Gal took charge of a level 12 hatchling, which was ready for a bit of levelling - which it got, for the rest of the day, turning it from a cute little dragon hatchling into an experienced level 17 drake.

The afternoon session was still on Tairen, with Kaerella, who did her bit of harpy-hunting just outside Prokion Temple, collecting 5 harpy tears, 7 harpy feathers... and Kamira turned up too, but we agreed to ignore each other.

I went into the Temple after that.  I'd been chatting with KateNash, and she warned me of an assassin-type rogue called List who had nearly killed her by luring some high-level orcs up to her, and then using the assassin "Death Motion" skill to play dead, so that the aggro was transferred from List to the nearest other player, Kate.  It was useful to know what was going on, and I played it safe whenever I saw List and a few orcs, and kept well clear.  Curiously, she seemed to be leading a mass of orcs onto a couple of her guildmates, as well as other people.

The mummies and orc soldier room was generally in use, so I tended to be on the stairs and in the room at their top, fighting mummies and ghouls and the occasional orc soldier, so that my ratio of skill exp to experience was pretty good.  Kae left the Temple soon after reaching level 24, and just after getting her hatchling to level 7, having added 72.30%, 316 skill points, and  1259 pet points.

There were some quests to sort out after that, not just giving Jajan his harpy tears and feathers, but carrying messages around, as well - including one to Shuraine at his oasis.  It was around my early evening food break time by then, so Kae rested in Shuraine's tent for a few minutes, before fighting the sand golems at the oasis to get some soft sand.  The Elizabeth's Enhancement buff ran out while I was fighting, so I just continued until I had ten soft sands rather than twenty, and then returned to town, renewed the buff in Randol, and then hurried down to the other oasis where this first ten of the soft sand was required.  That all had added another 67.76%, but just 32 skill points.

After that, it was my level 54 cleric Kaerella who was due some quality time over on Cariae-5, and the session started well with a notice of a couple of sales via Roy's merchant mart, bringing in 494,134 gold.  I put replacement items up for sale, grabbed the "Elizabuff", and headed out to the ravenous larvae once more.  I'd only just arrived when, at about a quarter past six, the "Turbo" event began, with 50% extra experience and skill exp, which helped speed things along a bit.

I got the 10% I needed to get Kae into level 55, and then went back to Randol to put a few more things in the merchant mart, as my inventory was pretty full.  There's no new skill to learn until level 56, but this does at least mean that Kae can wear level 60 gloves, so I searched through Roy's stock to see what he had on offer - and ended up buying a +7 pair for 15 million, put up for sale by Eedward.  It cost another 230,400 to convert them from the titan to the healer "Peaceful" variety, but they will need some further augmentation before they give more defence than Kaerella's current level 50 +13 pair.  It was surprising that more pairs weren't available, since they are part of the freebie +5 set people get when their character reaches level 60.  Call me impatient, wanting to wear the gloves earlier, but the extra +2, not involving the one-off use of an extreme stone, seems worth the gold involved.

It was time to farm the dragons next, at the spot not far out of Dratan City on the way west, since they are the convenient level 55 monsters; they seemed to damage Kae less than the larvae had done, and definitely nibbled at her drake, SirFrancis, less.  I settled in to farm a group of six in a circle, adding another 5% before the Elizabuff finally ended, after three hours.  In all Kaerella had gone up by 15.83% and 205 skill points, while SirFrancis had gained 1780 pet points - which works out as 4.74% of his current level.  Apart from a few hands and a heaven stone, plus from the current events chocolates and origami paper, the only drop of interest was a level 46 shirt, which is the same sort of thing the larvae were dropping.

In Dratan City, the Magician had a new quest for Kae, since she had levelled up.  "Collect 8 Fog Samples of Master of Secret Techaniques (sic), and give to Magician" - for which the reward will be 519,000 experience and 4 skill points, both hopefully doubled if I remember to have the Elizabuff on when I claim it.  "This study is about the magic composed of minute particles. Master of Secret Techniques may help my study...but I don't know how to get them.  These are the monsters that are made with staid fogs which can have very strong magical defence power.  If I find out the origin of this strong defence power, I might be able to give a great report.  Please, get me some samples!!"

The Masters of Secret Technique are level 57 - aggressive pet-eaters with long-range magical and physical attacks.  They're just beyond the Akane Giants on the road towards the southwest highlands; well, I don't have to do the quest straight away, just when convenient.

So, that was the end of the entertainment for the evening, except for, once SirGalahad had finished, arranging for some overnight selling.

Parade Time - February 14th

I left MistressDomino on both Tairen-1 and Auzura-1 in merchant mode overnight - handy that they were on different accounts, though on some servers they do clash.  On Tairen MD took in a respectable 38 million in gold - as I had rather large stocks of some goodies, over on Auzura she took in almost six times as much.

SirGalahad took over at breakfast time on Tairen, though, and got a couple of hours work done in Maargadum Jail before it was time for Memree and RedRyder to head for Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.  It may be the weekend, but it was also Sunday morning, and the place was pretty quiet.  It took less than a quarter of an hour for Memree to reach level 31, and get her own +10 30/32 armour set, and level 33 weapons; that part of the session was exclusively on orc fighters, giving on average 2400 skill exp each, to both my rogues, but once Memree had levelled up that fell to about 1700 skill exp - less than one would get from an ordinary monster of one's own level, assuming the Elizabeth's Enhancement was in operation.

For a while, perhaps twenty minutes, Memree and RedRyder moved into the back room nearby to fight orc axemen and orc sergeants, which certainly gave a lot more experience, even to Red as the non-fighting member of the combat party.  The skill exp was increased too, but that must have been counterbalanced to some extent by the longer time it took to kill each one.  After that we went back out to the orc soldiers, and a few orc fighters, as Memree's experience gain had been surprisingly swift.  By the end of the session Memree had gone up 21.19% (giving the Discipline guild 118 guild points), and Red had added 5.32% (20 guild points) - they had each gained 176 skill points.

There was just time after that for Memree to give back the +11 30/32 armour set she had borrowed to Rage, who will thus now be able to play again, before SirGalahad reported for duty at lunch time.

For the afternoon, Tairen's Kaerella had another session, starting with killing 17 clever foxes of the desert for an outstanding quest - which led me along to Shuraine's oasis, so I took the opportunity to farm the second ten soft sands Kae should need, though she hasn't got that quest yet, from the sand golems there.  After that, Kae moved on to Prokion Temple - and went for the room a little further in, with its mix of orc soldiers and mummies, which seemed about right for her at level 24.  The mummies went blue-named when she reached level 25, but still gave useful skill exp, and so the session continued.  I wanted to get 250 skill points, so that Kae could learn the first and most sp-expensive level of the Resurrection skill - and I did manage that before the end.  In all Kaerella added 95.65% and 268 skill points, plus 155 guild points and 1797 pet points.

After the food break, it was time for the succession of Valentine's Day parades, to celebrate three years since Last Chaos came out of its initial Beta period... one parade per server, at 30 minute intervals, starting at five o'clock UK time on Katar-4.

The parades were a bit of a mixed bunch.  [GM]Stratos appeared punctually for the first one, and led us around town before spawning some anti-love monsters outside the north gate, which we despatched, earning a modest loot drop - I think Kaerella got a couple of item drop boosters and a skill point booster.  I think he did make a single drop of cake and watermelon items right at the start, but they vanished so quickly that I didn't get a chance to grab any.

I had been thinking of taking Kaerella along to every parade, but, given that some of the monsters spawned by [GM]Stratos had been pretty high level, it seemed sensible to let my level 101 archer Barbarienne be my representative for the Cariae parade.  This time one of the newbie game masters, [GM]Embla, was in charge.  One downside to this was that she doesn't have a red name, which made her more difficult to spot and to track, so that sometimes a few people would head off in a new direction and people would assume the GM was in the group and follow.  But she was a lot more generous with her drops, with plenty of firecrackers and transformation scrolls appearing on the ground in front of her as she walked around town - and small chocolates, cake and watermelons as well.  There were so many people trying to grab these things that even keeping one's finger on the "pick" button got me very few, though later on I tried to adopt a strategy of keeping up with her, or even slightly ahead, so that when a new set of items appeared, I could "pick" one or two.  Again there was a spawning of monsters outside the gates of Randol, plus proper spawnings of hands and further groupings of chocolate and cake etc - all in all, a crazy and enjoyable half hour.

[GM]Stratos was back in charge for Sarissa, and followed [GM]Embla's example in dropping cake, small chocolates and watermelon as he led the parade around town.  Kaerella, being only level 22, was content just to watch while a "cursed forest" of high-level treants was spawned in the Arena in town - I think I noticed the odd fluton peeping out through the foliage too. I got a disconnection while that was going on, I think a lot of people suffered from that sort of thing since there was just so much going on, with so many people in one place.

For Hatzring, I turned up as my local level 8 mage Enchantra, for a change, and managed to grab quite a few of the drops [GM]Embla bestowed upon us as she led us around town, since I was getting the hang of how things worked.  Outside there was another mass spawning of monsters - "Don't worry, I'll take care of the foxes", I vowed, keeping well clear of the aptly-named death knights, as well as the wight slashers and other bad guys.

The final two parades didn't go too well for me, really.  [GM]Stratos led us around Randol dropping the goodies on Auzura-4, but when it came to the monster spawn outside town, my level 73 rogue Rage suddenly found herself dead, so had to use a resurrection scroll, which is a relatively expensive piece of kit.  I'd assumed that at her level death knights wouldn't do much damage, but either something else sneaked up, or I got hit by a whole group of them at once. Still, I suppose the value of the small chocolates etc, and the regular hand-type drops like item drop boosters and so on, probably mean I came out ahead....it didn't help that I noticed around then that SirGalahad's drake had got killed by a death mask soldier which had got involved in his fight, though at level 20 it only cost 53,200 gold to "unseal" it.

Memree on Tairen got killed too; I really should have used her resurrection scroll, but I guess I'm so used to taking characters with no skill points to lose to a Mad Monster Spawn that I almost automatically opted not to use it, and thus Memree ended her parade session down by 2.62% experience and 63 skill points.  Still, half an hour or so's work will soon put that right.

The Tairen parade somehow didn't work as smoothly for [GM]Embla as her previous parades had, and people were complaining about lag, and not having been able to pick anything up, and generally feeling that they had wasted their time.  Memree herself contributed an ungracious "pffff" at the end, after a message that some farewell goodies were being dropped on the launching pad, after the loot spawned outside, after some (fatal) monster-slaying, had added up to about two tool aids and a large defence potion each.  I think she just got a transformation scroll or so at the spawning point in the middle of Randol.

[GM]Stratos was there too by then, and quickly announced a special "Mad Monster Spawn" outside the gate.  After the earlier death. Memree kept at the edge of that fight - she really didn't want the "empty" experience, without any skill exp, that contributing to the death of a high-level monster would bring.  But Tairen people did manage to kill what the GM spawned, including a fluton and a patriarch botis, so this was a strong message that the new server was ready to host a weekly high-level MMS, as well as the low-level one.

That added bonus meant that we were starting to get messages about the Quiz Room being open before the end, so that was the next item on the evening's agenda.  SirGalahad logged out, and Memree, to be replaced by MistressDomino and Kaerella, on Tairen-2 as usual.  The quiz is in theory 12:30 PST (8:30 UK time) to 12:45, but again there were quite long gaps between questions, so it took us almost half an hour to get to the end.  We didn't lose many people along the way, everyone seemed to remember that the number of NPCs in Dratan City is 27 rather than 29, and the desert only has 5 rather than 7 oases.  Some of the easier questions have had to be withdrawn as they no longer apply - though the number of (sub) servers question still offers 24 or 30, with 30 correct, although with Tairen running Last Chaos now has 36.

So, we got to the end safely, and Kaerella's new goodies were moved across to MistressDomino.  Memree and RedRyder also traded their saleable stuff across to MD, so that she'll be ready for another selling session soon, and then SirGalahad logged back on, and returned to his death mask lancer.  By the end of the evening, his drake had started on level 21, so is probably just about ready to be exchanged for a lower-level one, such as Kae's.