Kaerella's Blog - stardate March 2010 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the new month begins here at the top!
Kaerella Levels Up - March 1st

I kept both computers busy pet-levelling overnight without any problems - though the older machine was getting a bit slow by coffee time, so needed to be restarted.  For a change SirGalahad on Tairen wasn't involved, instead RedRackham on Auzura and ColonelScarlet on Katar were the lucky pair.  Red hadn't been to the bandit spot that the Colonel has been using recently, so last thing last night I took him out there, and added that location to his memory scroll.

RedRackham's drake reached level 37 during the night, so started to get hungry at twice the speed, which means that it's the last time that particular drake can be levelled overnight; its hunger bar was down to 2 points when I checked, though reaching zero isn't a sudden death-like disaster.

By my calculations, the "free raffle for every level-up" event continued until noon today, UK time (4:00am PDT), so rather than send a team to Prokion temple, my Cariae cleric Kaerella went out to the sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men in Dratan, and quickly got the last 5% she needed to reach level 57.  That doesn't change the amount of experience she gets per kill, which, with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff is 385,814 per fighter and 424,394 per speer man (while in a solo party), but it means the skill exp per kill rises from 1,320 for a speer man to 1,430, and for a fighter from 1,430 to 1,540.

Since I'd worried that it might be difficult to find a solo party in the morning, I'd logged in my Cariae pet-leveller for the first time in ages - a level 35 red-named knight called XxGALAHADxX.  He went down to the gnoll lancers on Cariae-5; for some reason the drake he is working on is already level 42, I'm not entirely sure what my plan is there, but he provided Kae with a solo party, and made some useful progress through that level, while getting through quite a few quality stones.

Kaerella logged out a little earlier than planned, as, after quite a gap since her last visit, when Kae was still with the ravenous larvae, our favourite raid (or road) boss, Kamira, dropped by, so Kae was swiftly replaced by my mage Keerella, who had to ride all the way out from Dratan City to get there.  Kamira was waiting patiently when Kee arrived, and, with the only other player who'd been around, the wizard TheHolyMagE, watching, Keerella quickly killed Kamira and her hangers-on.  And I could see a glint of yellow behind some of the regular drops like moonstones, lucky scrolls, tool aids, and so on!  After Kee's drake had picked up various drops, the yellow-text item was revealed to be the most desirable of accessories, a Tears of Knight.  For once the Hero's Necklace Kami dropped was quite nice too, with 22 to long range and 33 to close range evasion, 4 each to strength and intelligence, and 2 to constitution.  The "ToK" itself gives 12 to strength, 16 to close range physical attack, and 168 to close range physical hit rate.

TheHolyMagE was suitably envious; I thought initially she was asking to be allowed to pick up some of the other drops, but she asked for a small share of the profits, which didn't seem unreasonable.  Kee wasn't carrying much gold, but I was able to drop five million, almost all Kee had, just as she suggested that very amount.  There wasn't really time for Kaerella to log back in, but she had added 11.55%, 17 skill points, and 523 pet points for her drake SirFrancis.

Over lunch, Galahad continued his Cariae work, while SirGalahad on Tairen had a couple of hours to move his drake past the halfway stage in level 32.  And then it was time for our Tairen rogue duo of xRAGEx on level 38, and RedRyder on level 30, to take their turn in Prokion Temple on Tairen-5, in my favourite back room.

It turned out to be lucky that I'd switched things around and gone to the sphinx types in the morning, as I did get a disconnection soon after three, which I think was a local problem here - as both rogues were wearing the +10 armour, there was no danger of getting killed.  A knight called zane, who generally fought outside in the corridor, had moved in to fight the orc sergeants and axemen at that time, I hope he didn't have too many orcs suddenly gang up on him.  He was back in the corridor when Rage and RedRyder returned, and I was able to continue for the rest of the session until my early evening food break without any more problems.  At her level Red doesn't get too much experience, even teamed, combat party style, with someone eight levels lower, but, with the guild 50% freeze and the Elizabuff cancelling each other out, the sergeants do still give 9,000-10,000 experience each, even if the axemen don't give much more than 1,000.

In all Rage went up by 8.44%, earning 161 guild points for Discipline, while RedRyder gained 5.26% and 25 guild points... and they each added 150 skill points.

SirGalahad was back on duty over the early evening food break, and continued for a while after that, as on Auzura-4 the European pair of Mad Monster Spawns were due to start at 5:30, UK time.  My level 27 rogue RedRider arrived at [GM]Valsharyn's special location for the low-level MMS, not far from Hunter Dranore in Juno, a few minutes early, but the GM was already there, plus quite a few people.  Following feedback about the confusion and waiting-around that having the same person in charge of the low and high events brings, [GM]Valsharyn was in charge of the low-level event, and [GM]Noboru had been brought in to do the high-level one, which started about ten minutes later I think.

I got recruited into a party, and as the leader was level 53 all the rest of us were "capped", but experience is a minor point at such events.  As I did say at one point, I do prefer the regular low-level event down by Lake Juno, as the spawn is big, and well spread out, so that people can choose appropriate targets for their level.  Val's spot is a bit cramped, by comparison - and the first wave of monsters lasted mere seconds.

The second wave was the only one that RedRider got killed on - those wane spiders from the Temple of Forgetfulness are a bit powerful for people below level thirty.  On wave three I managed to get a dragon angry, and it followed me for rather a long way before finally giving up.  With monsters in the fifties and sixties, it was just as well that we had people approaching that kind of level too.

The final boss wave was a pair of scorpionmantises, and I had plenty of opportunities to use Snare before we managed to kill them.  All in all, I think we earned the generous amounts of loot that Val spawned for us.

The high-level MMS must have been shorter than sometimes, as when I teleported over, the final fluton was already surrounded, with its health starting to decline.  It was certainly well attended, as from the hands of loot spawned I only picked up four of the top-class items, two each of the item drop and skill point boosters.

When asked if that was all, [GM]Noboru said that [GM]Valsharyn was coming to join us - but all Val spawned was a group of twenty deer, saying that as he'd accidentally spawned some at the low-level event, he ought to spawn some here too.  It puzzled me, they may have been red-named for Red but they died very easily and only gave 1 experience and 1 skill exp each, from the two I dealt with.  And that was the end...

Now that Kaerella was, on Cariae, level 57, she would be able not just to wear the 60/62 armour set, but use the level 61 weapon as well.  I still had no luck looking for any good 60/62 armour - but I did find a level 61 +15 sword in Roy's merchant mart, being sold by Hagh for 250 million.  That did seem a bit high, but I suppose it is a matter of supply and demand, and I went through more than 100 pages without finding any other +15 weapon of that level, and very few with a lower plus.  So, I paid the money, and for 660,000 gold Collector Ryl converted it into a cleric's wand.  Once I'd transferred it to Kae, her stat for magic attack went up from 743 to 800, which seems an increase well worth having.

As I was on Cariae-5, I wasted rather a long time on browsing Roy's stocks - and also attending a gamesage event in Merac being run by peaceIrene, a level 154 rogue, and a titan colleague, during which 20 questions were asked, which tended to be either so easy that everyone instantly typed in "100" or "31" or whatever, or so hard that people with the right page of the wiki open had an insurmountable advantage.  Still, it was quite entertaining, and full marks to ChadVader for asking some questions himself in the gaps between, and handing out prizes too.

After that there was time for Rage and RedRyder to return to Prokion Temple in their combat party for perhaps 90 minutes, to earn another 7.62% (and 144 guild points) and 4.73% (and 22 guild points) respectively, along with 120 more skill points each.  I did try my favourite back room first, but a rogue called Eunice was in there.  There obviously wasn't room for us both, so I headed across to the far side of the Temple, stopping just before the mirror-image back room in a pair of connected rooms with orc sergeants and axemen, and things worked okay.  It's strange that the left-hand half does seem less busy usually than the right - maybe it's the room full of sergeants people need to pass through to get there that puts off the lower level people.

SirGalahad got back into action afterwards in Maargadum Jail, and his drake reached level 33 just after ten.  He ought to switch to levelling up a new horse soon, but ideally it would be a pale blue horse, and the special blue pan flutes don't seem available at present due to some glitch or bug.  Perhaps they'll be back after maintenance tomorrow night.  ColonelScarlet also logged in, and went to the bandits of Merac.  At present his pink drake is around seven hours ahead of Gal's, around three-quarters of the way through that level.

Racing the GM - March 2nd

I was a bit ambitious last night, and left SirGalahad and ColonelScarlet both pet-levelling, in Maargadum and Merac.  Since I was busy with shopping and other stuff this morning, their sessions became a bit of a marathon, lasting roughly sixteen hours each, with both drakes gaining two "technical points" - though the Colonel's pink drake is still some hours ahead, so that he, his drake, and the bandit they are fighting are all level 35 now.  Unusually there weren't any GM spam announcements after eleven last night, UK time, when the start of the four-hour US Happy Hour, with 50% extra experience, was mentioned.

However, for the afternoon session Rage and RedRyder, my level 38 and level 30 rogues on Tairen, were back in action in Prokion Temple, in my favourite back room with the orc sergeants and orc axemen.  It was a fairly long slog, so that by the end Rage had gone up 12.73% and donated 241 guild points to Discipline, and RedRyder had added 7.93%, donating 37 guild points.  And they had each earned a very useful 229 skill points, which were just enough to get Red's unused sp total to the 6k mark.  Rage isn't far short of the 5k mark, too.

For the first part of the evening, it was Kaerella on Cariae who took the spotlight, with a trip out to the sphinx fighters in Dratan.  The specialist sorcerer danjorge, level 45 now, was there almost as soon as I arrived, and asked to team up again, so we battled the elite sphinx speer man, and between his spawnings the regular types, but the place started to get pretty busy, so I told Dan about the other elite sphinx speer man I'd found, and teleported across - he rode over to join me, since he could see my party-dot on the map.  He was a little low on health when he arrived, with a couple of speer men chasing him, but we soon got rid of them, and had the local sphinx types to ourselves.

Eventually, danjorge left, as he wanted to go to a "scrambled words" event on another subserver; I continued, though not fighting the elite, as it can hit pretty hard, and gives a smaller proportion of skill exp, come to that.  A mage called CynthiaDeLaCroix arrived, someone else who knows that spot - I assured her that I wasn't after the elite then since my team-mate had left, so she got happily to work.

By the end, Kaerella's new level 61 wand had got all five bloodseals, to improve its attack and hit rate - and Kae had added 34.07%, along with 36 skill points and 1558 pet points.  XxGALAHADxX had supplied her with a solo party, as well as pet-levelling, and, despite being ks'd a couple of times out with the gnoll lancers in Merac on Cariae-5, he made good progress - by the end of the evening his drake had reached level 43.  I think the idea is probably that Barbarienne should have this one, as at present she has a horse (which spent a year as a cute little reindeer), as well as her mount, and horses aren't as good as drakes at picking up loot without getting stuck.

At eight o'clock UK time the series of "100 meter" races with [GM]JediMike began, on Katar-5, moving on every half hour, and ending on Tairen at ten thirty.  I went along to all of them as Kaerella, with on Katar, Cariae and Auzura a pale blue mount, and as before they were fun, with a generous reward of the usual hands of loot at the end. 

Generally we raced from the west gate, via the haunted bridge, to the north gate, and then after a few minutes back again, followed a few minutes later by a third race, back to the north gate.  Sarissa however only got two races.  The turnout was generally good, though there were sometimes a few people who couldn't get into the spirit of things.  Some people who didn't find it fun headed off to the arena, on one server, and Mike made sure they had left us before he spawned the loot.

It was really only Tairen where using mounts wasn't considered fair, and indeed some people insisted that pots shouldn't be used there either - on other servers pots, including the expensive item mall "super haste" ones, were used, and there was one race that our GM didn't win.  Tairen had the distinction of being the only server with a "naked race", with just about everyone running without their armour on.

I'm not sure we really need races like that every week, a return of the zombie invasion of Berbank Mill would get my vote, but as an occasional event it's a fun way to pass the time.  By the end of the evening that drake was, well, about 4% into level 44, so it is probably about ready to be moved across to its new owner.

The Day Last Chaos Stood Still - March 3rd

With the usual weekly maintenance downtime last night, there wasn't the possibility of doing any overnight pet-levelling, but XxGALAHADxX went out on Cariae-4 before breakfast, and SirGalahad went down into Maargadum Jail over on Tairen-4.  The gnoll lancer part of Merac on Cariae-4 was pretty full of pet-levellers, it seemed, but Gal found himself a spot and set to work.

Aeria_ks1lent reports that the fixes for the reported bugs that the Korean developers have supplied are "not functional", or "completely and utterly broken", so can't be released onto the live servers.  [GM]Cara does mention fixes for two issues, but "aeria_ks1lent will no longer shoot laser beams out of his eyes" really only applies to the Aeria office, I assume, though "pets will no longer eat their owners" is good news.  Seriously, those "fixes" came from a little comic she supplied to explain the benefits of the weekly maintenance downtime...  The only changes at all are some new packages that have been added to the in-game item mall, which would be interesting if we ever got "buy one get one free" offers there.

It was a bit late last night, after all those races around Juno, when I finished the day's blog, so I didn't have time to mention that [GM]JediMike had revealed another part of the hidden lore of the World of Iris.  He'd already mentioned how the bridge we cross to get from one gate to the other was haunted - now he told us of a special gym he uses to work out, located just by the storekeeper Bianca in Randol.  "It's like the rec yard in prison", he commented when I said, in a later server, that we'd all been working out there to prepare for the races.

Mike won most of the races, but he was philosophical when he didn't manage to reach the finishing line first.   "Awww.  I lost.  Maybe winners need to lose, y'know?  I don't want to have a big ego, so maybe I need to lose."

Anyway, this morning after coffee Galahad and Barbarienne traded pets - the drake, on level 43 and 3,564 out of 24,405 pet points, went across to Barb, and the horse, on level 38 and 1,459 out of 15,862 pet points, went to Gal.  Barbarienne also traded her more recent loot drops across to MistressDomina, who is my merchant character on Cariae, and MD traded Kae's old level 57 cleric-type wand across to Karanne for safe keeping, in exchange for Karanne's own assortment of loot.

After that, it was time for Rage and RedRyder over on Tairen-5 to make a combat party, get the Elizabuff, and head for that orc axemen and orc sergeant-rich back room in Prokion Temple.  I didn't get any visitors, and, while the session was a little shorter than average, Rage managed to add 5.99% and 114 guild points, while RedRyder got 3.73% and 17 guild points.  This meant that Rage has overtaken Red, and is now further through level 38 than Red is through level 30.  They each got 108 skill points, which takes Rage past the 5k mark for unused skill points, though unlike RedRyder, or Kaerella on Tairen, she doesn't have any sp "banked" in the available special skills.

Over the lunch break SirGalahad went down into Maargadum Jail for some more drake-levelling, and Galahad (or XxGALAHADxX) on Cariae-4 headed for Merac too, to move his newly-acquired horse on a bit through level 38.  Not that levels above 37 are particularly useful, but it seems a shame to waste the pet points in the new level which have already been gained.  He ran out of Merac village and across to the pair of bandits that I've been using on a couple of other servers, got that location onto his memory scroll, and settled in for a couple of hours of bandit-bashing.

One thing I've finally done is remove Kaerella on Katar from the DarkzersRoughneks guild, which seems to be entirely dead these days, I never see anyone else on.  That means Kae won't be able to join another guild for a few days - and then will be able to join the local branch of Discipline, which will be glad of any guild points she can earn, once her experience gain is set to 50%.  Kaerella had contributed 8,152 guild points to DarkzersRoughneks, which was a bit of a waste, the guild actually has 42,066 points spare, enough to upgrade the guild from level six if the leader, LordDarkzer, had had the inclination.

Since Rage and RedRyder's campaign is the most important for me on Tairen at the moment, they were back in action, in the Temple back room, in the afternoon.  The sooner Rage leaves there and starts to level up the better, which she will do once she reaches level 39 - and another priority is for RedRyder to reach level 31, so that a new freebie set of +10 30/32 armour is obtained, which will make Kaerella easier to play.

I did have an interruption fairly early on, when the knight LarryWolfsbane and the level 27 titan Chevyz dashed in and started fighting the orcs, but I wasn't too worried, as I didn't think they'd stay around very long.  The room makes you use a lot of health potions if you've not got that +10 armour set yet.  Sure enough, they both headed for the doorway after a few minutes, with a pack of friendly orcs following them, eager to wave goodbye. 

Chevyz did ask a few minutes later if there was room in our party for him, and my response was that, as Rage was level 38, that would probably cut down his experience gain too much - though it might have been better to shift the combat party leadership to RedRyder and add him, just to see how his lower level would change things.

Anyway, by the end of the afternoon Rage had added another 11.39%, and 216 guild points, while RedRyder had gained 7.09%, and 33 guild points.  And they were each up by another 200 skill points.  Over the early evening food break I just had XxGALAHADxX in action with the pair of bandits in Merac, working on the level 38 horse.

Normally, in recent weeks, Wednesday has been the day for the pan-server "Mad Monster Spawns", starting with the low-level type on all six servers, one every half hour, and then after a break, while the GM has a nice lie-down in a darkened room, the rotation of the high-level MMS on the five grown-up servers.  But today the event calendar drew a blank, something that hasn't happened for months.  There has always been some event on each and every day, except on 24th November when a scheduled MMS got cancelled... but today everything was uncannily quiet. 

So, I assumed nothing was happening, and was quietly looking through Roy's merchant mart on Cariae-5 when at six o'clock, UK time, there was a GM announcement that the low-level Mad Monster Spawn was starting.  So I quickly swapped over to my level 27 rogue Karella and teleported across, and was about the first person there.  The usual monsters were all laid out for me, so I took care of the appropriate ones for my level - and gradually other people came along, so that by ten past the last monsters were killed, the usual hands of loot were spawned, and there was a brief announcement that the event was over.

I'd missed the Katar event half an hour before, which I assume was done by the same last-minute, anonymous person; they did the Sarissa and Hatzring one too, to which Kaerella, at level 22 and level 24, went along, with no talking and no advance notice, and just the single big spawning of monsters, followed ten minutes later by the loot.  My worry is that it is [GM]Stratos, and that after all this time he is no longer interested in the game, or in interacting with the players, and may soon drift away from us entirely.

However, things were different when at 7:30 it was Auzura's turn; I'd logged RedRider, my level 27 rogue, in suitably early, and we got advance notice, and, while [GM]JediMike remained invisible, he did chat with us, and he did restock the monsters when we ran low - and he did the same with the loot too.  It was a great relief to feel that we were in his friendly, supportive presence.

The final low-level "MMS" was the Tairen one, and I took my level 38 rogue xRAGEx along - which made a change, as it meant that monsters that I was used to seeing as white-named, or even red-named, were now blue-named, so that I was able to go more for the elite poison mists.  I did have to run like heck when a boss Baal giant spider took a dislike to me, but I survived.  The event kept going nicely, with a second half after the first loot-spawning, so that we had double the chance to grab as much loot as we could.

Right at the end, after I thought that [GM]JediMike had left, I remarked, "I wonder when Tairen will get a high-level MMS...", and when I looked at the chat box again, I saw that the GM had replied.  "Soon, Rage", he said.  "High levels are pretty tough - I don't want to set you guys up for failure."

Cariae's high-level MMS was at 9:30 - due to other Wednesday evening commitments I don't usually get the chance to go to that, but this time I was free, so my archer Barbarienne was the first person to get there.  Level 101 is pretty medium-level these days, but I provided long-range artillery support - one golem did attack me, and gave me a nasty poison debuff, so that I ended up, after a brisk sprint, using Self Heal a few times until it wore off.

It took a while to get rid of all the cave spirits, and Judges and Introducers and golems and splendid tussock moths and swamp trolls, but we managed it, and rallied at the Kiene Tower for our loot.  After that, Mike seemed to be teasing us, talking about a second harder wave of monsters - but were we up to fighting them?  He didn't want us all to get killed and blame him.  We buffed up ready, and then the spawn came - of loot.  The GM had decided that what he had got planned would just have been to hard for us.  So he gave us the reward anyway, mentioning that the MMS would be changing soon, something he has been working on for a while.

It is awkward, making sure we have a challenge, and fun, but don't all wind up with multiple death penalties.  We do have players who are level 150 or more - but it is hardly worth their while to come to a spawning of monsters from about level 115 to 135.  Even Barbarienne at level 101 only gained 0.04% experience, so it has to be about fun and teamwork and a challenge, and loot.

One other thing I was doing this evening was getting my level 57 cleric Kaerella on Cariae her new armour, something I've not finished doing yet.  I was lucky enough to find the level 61 skirt, leggings or pants, at +11 for 60 million, which I thought was pretty good - so imagine how quickly I snapped up +11 boots for half that price, when I saw them on Roy's listings.  The best I could find for upper body armour though was +6 at 5 million; I'd already got +7 gloves, but I couldn't find a suitable piece of headgear, I'll have to keep looking for that.

I do have a pretty good supply of chaos smelting stones on Cariae, which can be used on items to get them as high as +12 with no risk of breakages, and I had some upgrade boxes - three of which gave me extreme stones, which can be used, once only per item, for a plus to get things up to +13.  So the boots and skirt, after spending a million or so to get Collector Ryl to convert the purchases into the healer type of armour from titan and rogue stuff, were easy, just a chaos smelting stone followed by an extreme stone, and +13, my target, was reached.  The gloves were harder, I used the chaos smelting stones, and then attempted to get from +10 to +11 using a heaven stone and a rune of protection II...but after three failures I gave up and used another CSS.

By the time I'd finished, Kae had three +13 items, and the shirt on +12... and she was still wearing the old headgear.  Still, this set-up has increased her physical defence from 1431 to 1555.  And the new "peaceful" armour, in pale purple with some green details, looks rather good, I think.  Kaerella will automatically get a free +5 set when she reaches level 60, but it is useful to have a high-grade set as early as one can.

Once Kaerella had finished her expensive upgrading, SirGalahad went back to Maargadum Jail...and got his drake to level 35 before the end of the evening.  And over on Auzura, my level 73 rogue Rage went along to the MMS at 11:00pm, and managed not to be killed, which is the main thing.  The fighting was fun, and, as ever with Mike, the loot was good, a fitting reward for all our efforts.  Checking the event calendar I see that the blank day has now been mysteriously filled in, and that Auzura had a Cluedo event earlier, as it often does.  I wonder how the square on the events calendar came to be blank for so long?

Good Loot and No Loot - March 4th

I suppose Last Chaos didn't really "stand still" yesterday, but for a while it did seem as if it was going to be that way.  I confess that I thought up that title when the event calendar was still blank, before they patched in all the usual Mad Monster Spawns, but the Aeria silence was odd while it lasted.

SirGalahad, in Maargadum Jail on Tairen-4, kept working on his drake overnight in Maargadum Jail without problems, so that by mid-morning the drake reached level 36.  Galahad over on Cariae-4 started up before breakfast, and took his horse out to the pair of bandits in Merac, so good progress was made through level 38.

Pet-levelling was all that I could do during the hours of daylight, as I was having one of my busy days downstairs.  However the event calendar was operating properly, to tell me that Auzura-4 would have a Parade at 5:00pm UK time, followed by that absent-minded old Pharaoh losing his treasure again two hours later.  And then at 8:00pm both Auzura-5 and Tairen-5 were scheduled to have their weekly "Storm the Castle" event, with Katar-5 and Cariae-5 following two hours later.  Sarissa-5 and Hatzring-5 finished the rota at 10:30, but I'm not really qualified to be of much help there.

Galahad logged out from Cariae-4 a few minutes before the Parade was due to start; that left him with less than two hours' work to get his horse to level 39.  He had had a Pandora's Box to open a little earlier, but it had only released a level 30 Beast, which was easily dealt with.  SirGalahad continued his marathon session on Tairen-4 in Maargadum Jail, though.

[GM]Noboru was in charge of the Parade on Auzura-4, which as usual involved marching around Randol, letting off firecrackers and transforming into dire wolves, sasquatches, drakes or jaguars, from the transformation scrolls provided.  There are always people who'd like the GM to give them a polar bear collar, or a +15 weapon, or a few million in gold, but Nobby dealt with them kindly but firmly.  As usual the scrolls didn't always work properly. and either some jaguars were too big or others too small - while the titan ScarFACE had the lower half of one leg replaced by the bright red cube, plus a direction arrow or two, which usually someone transforms into entirely...his toes were just peeping out of it.  And his head was entirely missing, one could look down his neck and see that he was hollow.

The GM was mentioning the "Storm the Castle" event later, but got slightly mixed up between that and the "Pharaoh's Treasure" as to which subserver was involved, but me mentioning that the website put the StC on Auzura-5 was enough to get her back on the right track. 

I spent the intervening time across on Cariae, still as Kaerella but losing ten levels, to my level 57 cleric.  I bought an extreme stone on Cariae-4, and got Kae's shirt up to +13, and had another look in Roy's merchant mart for a new circlet - the only candidate is a +5 healer one at ten million, there is a +6 rogue one also available but its owner used an extreme stone to move it on from +5.

Across on Cariae-5, I got the Elizabuff and headed for the sphinx fighters, where the specialist sorcerer danjorge quickly recruited me to his party, along with the archers shyskimi, level 46, and SilverTwist, level 44.  Before long a mage called grafity came along, and while she didn't join our party, we tended to share our targets; she is in the same guild as danjorge, so I guess it wasn't really ks-ing in either direction.  It was fun to be in a party and do some healing and buffing, but Dan left after a while and the party split up, though grafity and I continued to fight the elite sphinx speer man and the others.  There were a few other people there - I actually got to use Resurrection on a rogue called IJGI, when she asked for it - I had to get her to register for a party, explaining that it isn't possible to click on a corpse.

It wasn't a long session, but Kaerella added 15.69% and 14 skill points, plus 680 pet points, and shortly before I left I got a heaven stone as well.  Since the new kind of party, while it distributes gold picked up equally, gives items to the actual person who picks an item up, I generally had been holding back, as armour drops would mean more to people ten or so levels lower than me.

Over on Auzura-4, with Kaerella back up to level 67 and a fully-qualified archer, the time for the "Pharaoh's Treasure" had arrived, so I used my Juno NPC scroll to move to the entrance to Velpist Temple, since the last couple of times I've been lucky quite close to there, and headed north.  When the announcement of the various possible locations for the treasure came up, I was quite close to one spot - but found it full of sphinx fighters.  So I rode on past the Mad Monster Spawn location, and saw that I wasn't far from a second location, so aimed my mount in just about the right direction for the coordinates - and there was [GM]Noboru, and the first spawnings of loot.  I was only the second person to get there - so, with the various spawnings over the next few minutes, I grabbed rather a lot of stuff.  The Pharaoh did send a few of his fighters after us at the end, but we beat them off easily.

I'm not sure how much stuff Kae picked up, but she certainly went over her weight - 41 tool aids will do that, but even after putting them into storekeeper Bianca's care, Kae was still over 100%

That was a bit lucky, as loot-wise the Auzura "Storm the Castle" event wasn't a success.  [GM]JediMike was in charge of it, and also of the Tairen one, and it seems that he isn't too good these days at being in two places at once.  Auzura got the usual "StC in ten minutes" GM announcement, but no other ones - and since SirGalahad was still busy on Tairen, I know that there they got a slightly more dynamic ten-minute warning - they also got a five-minute warning, and twice "The battle for Merac's Castle on T5 has started!!! All citizens of Tairen are called to battle on T5!!  Show no mercy!!"  We got none of that, so we didn't get the usual flood of players arriving as we went along - the people who were there at the start were all we had, basically.

Rage, at level 73, was close to the highest level person there, though I did glimpse a night shadow later on, who would have had to be at least level 90.  Without the usual tanks it was hard from the start, and I very nearly got killed by the death knights, who may only be level 50 but are just about raid bosses, with strong magic attacks.  We got through them and the thorny mantises, and the anubis archers, and the zamoras, but we had to take the anubis spear men one at a time, and I seemed to end up as the tank a few times, if Snare failed I was at half health instantly.

We only got two local-type messages from [GM]JediMike - the first was "do you guys need help?", and someone did answer in the affirmative, I was too busy staying alive to see it at the time.  And the second was "Tairen said hurry up, newbs" - how's that for encouragement?  And bang on twenty past, he just put up the official "The 20 minute time limit is up, sorry guys u did not complete StC" - and he wiped the remaining monsters out of the courtyard, and abandoned us.  It seemed so unlike his usual behaviour... people stayed around for a while, and got rid of a couple of remaining monsters from outside, but that was the end of things.

So, while we got a bit of experience, thanks to the lack of announcements we just didn't have enough high-level people.  It wasn't really Mike's fault, it's a shame that he is expected to run the event on two servers at once - and naturally the comparative newcomers on Tairen would have first claim on his attention.  I'd have liked to go to Tairen's event as well as Auzura's, so why wasn't only one at noon PDT, and the other half an hour earlier or later?

A similar clash came along two hours later, at ten o'clock UK time, with Katar or Cariae for me to choose from.  I opted for Barbarienne on Cariae-5, who at least can tank an anubis spear man if necessary.  I suppose it was probably [GM]stratos in charge, as he was in Randol when I set out, but whoever it was stayed anonymous.  They did at least apologise for arriving late, and put up some good "the Storm the Castle event is under way, hurry down" type messages.  We were a stronger mob this time, and cut through the regular monsters steadily.  The inner courtyard just contained a sphinx commander, which we swiftly killed - but then some barren eises flashed into sight, and when we killed them, two flutons were revealed.  Luckily, we had powerful people there by then, and both flutons swiftly fell.

The loot was out well up the road, the same as last week, though the Stratos giant statue wasn't there.  With the number of people at the event by then, the two piles of loot lasted mere seconds, so the rewards were meagre, but at least whoever it was, Stratos or someone else, did spawn a final darkmind terrain and judge ballach for us to kill.

By then SirGalahad had been in continuous action for over 24 hours, with his drake two levels higher than it had started out, and getting very near to level 37.  It was tempting to leave him to it overnight again, but I reckon the older computer really needs a rest now.

A Happier Castle-Storming - March 5th

SirGalahad gave his drake a final session in Maargadum Jail from breakfast time, but after coffee it was time to shuffle all my Tairen drakes around.  Rage got the level 37 one from Gal, while her level 35 one got passed on to Memree.  Memree's level 29 drake was moved across to RedRyder, and her old level 28 one got traded across to Kaerella - whose level 21 drake moved across to MistressDomino.  MD just had a level 2 drake, which at the moment is with SirGalahad, though after the drake-swapping party was over, he went to Lorraine and Jajan to exchange a pan flute for a pony.

All that activity cut down on the available pre-lunch playing time, but Rage and RedRyder did go to Prokion Temple on Tairen-5 for an hour or so; Rage went up by 6.05% and 122 guild points (that actually included the experience from the latest Mad Monster Spawn), while RedRyder added 3.54% and 16 guild points.  Red had added 104 skill points, and Rage had added 106.

SirGalahad started work on his new pony in Maargadum Jail at noon; Over on Cariae, XxGALAHADxX headed to Merac then to finish levelling his horse, which took about ninety minutes to reach level 39, which is as far as we need to go there.

For the afternoon, Kaerella, Cariae cleric, headed for the sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men, where before long SilverTwist, the level 44 archer, recruited me into a party.  We also got a guildie of hers, a knight, for a while, though despite my best efforts he did die occasionally - going afk near to where the elite sphinx speer man will respawn is not highly recommended as a survival strategy.  I thought he said his armour was +7, but he certainly lost health quickly when attacked.  Lostinhu, the level 42 archer, got recruited later on, and shortly before it was time for my food break, the sorcerer danjorge was added too.  They were talking of moving to the Tomb of Theos, but that's not something I am particularly up for yet.

Before I went to Dratan I checked Roy's merchant mart for the level 62 head armour Kae needed.  There wasn't anything ready-upgraded, but I at least found a +5 piece for only two million, and upgraded it myself - so the 60/62 +13 set is now complete, and gives Kaerella about the best physical defence stat possible at her level.  Very useful when the elite sphinx speer man comes calling...

During a couple of gaps in the fighting, when SilverTwist had returned to town, I managed to kill the ten wafe debirches needed for the "Sweep the Thieves" quest - I guess they'd been indulging in too much wafe debirchery.  The fighting had gained Kaerella 24.11%, and the quest reward from that added another 2.69%.  It also added 20 skill points, on top of the 19 earned while fighting.  SirFrancis had picked up 906 pet points, less than I'd have got solo, but when doing healing, one isn't doing any hitting.

I did log out slightly early, so that I'd be back in time for the European "Storm the Castle" event on Auzura-4 at five o'clock, UK time.  Rage logged in for that, and when I reached Merac Castle  with five minutes or so to spare, there were already a couple of dozen people there, and [GM]Noboru was, I think, just arriving.  She had been making GM announcements since a quarter to the hour, which certainly helps, and by the time we started, we were quite a large group.  So, Rage didn't have to do any tanking, and wasn't nearly killed by anything. 

We cut our way through the usual StC monsters, and reached the inner courtyard.  There was a Blood Shadow invisible dragon to deal with, after the sphinx commander had been killed... but a pair of flutons in the throne room required more urgent attention.  I was using Flame Arrow as much as I could, to do 6k damage or more each time, plus Snare when needed.  We were down to the last half minute, battling the final fluton, but we got it inside the distance, finished off the invisible dragon, and went outside for our reward.

[GM]Noboru was certainly generous with the piles of loot, and everyone picked up plenty of the usual goodies.  She was probably along, or watching, at yesterday's ill-fated attempt, so could this have been her way of making up for our disappointment then?  It also compensated for the tiny amount of loot at the Cariae equivalent yesterday, I suppose, though loot can't be moved between servers.

SirGalahad had kept busy on his new pony for a little over six hours, getting the little chap well into level 8, and with 100% Sympathy reached, before the older computer was needed for RedRyder, to team with Tairen's version of Rage (xRAGEx, as opposed to Auzura's RAGE) for another trip to the Temple.

As was to be expected, the place was pretty busy, and my pair of rogues ended up alongside the mirror version of my favourite back room.  On the normal side, I've often used it at around level 23 or so for its mixture of mummies and orc soldiers, but "through the looking glass" the inhabitants were orc sergeants, axemen, and the occasional fighter.

I kept going for the three hours that the Elizabuff lasted, and, as I'd hoped, managed to get Rage to level 39.  This meant that the experience and skill exp per orc sergeant...well, to my surprise things stayed roughly the same, still at least 9,000 experience (with Rage still having donated 50% of her experience to the Discipline guild) and around 2,700 skill exp, which is more than a poison mist out in the desert would give.  I was assuming that this would be Rage's last Prokion Temple trip - but apparently not.

In all, Rage went up by 14.64%, and donated 281 more guild points to Discipline, while RedRyder gained 9.21%, and donated 43 guild points.  They each added 242 skill points.  I doubt if the team-up will continue for a whole new level, but it can at least go on until RedRyder reaches level 31, which will probably mean four more morning sessions, or their equivalent.

Back in Randol, I took the opportunity to move the various useful bits of loot my Tairen characters had collected over to MistressDomino, and then sent SirGalahad back down into Maargadum Jail, to his death mask lancer on level five.  I don't know if there was a connection problem, but for much of the time Gal seemed to be going through the motions without causing any damage, as if there was a bad lag spike.  The pet's experience was stuck on 701/1195 for ages...and then suddenly went straight to 865, and there were some smaller jumps too.

A Castle Besieged - March 6th

The "lag spike" problems that SirGalahad was encountering last night in Maargadum Jail while I was writing yesterday's blog weren't a local problem, it seems.  Shortly after I "went to press", at around 10:30 UK time an announcement came up that everyone should log out, as to counter lag-related problems the servers needed to be shut down briefly for a reset.  I just got Gal out before the shutdown - and then watched as the shoutbox on the forum got pretty busy, with people who had been using masses of expensive pots and potions at the time complaining loudly.  Needless to say the servers didn't pop back up quickly, after half an hour the game still wasn't back up, so my plans to have SirGalahad pet-level overnight had to be abandoned.  I had been intending to have MistressDomina do some overnight selling on Tairen-1, too...

Anyway, things appeared to be back to normal this morning, and SirGalahad hurried back to Jail before breakfast, soon getting the pony into level 10.  Then after coffee Rage and RedRyder went to Prokion Temple, and, finding the back room free, settled in for a longer-than average morning session.  By the end, Rage had put on 7.58% and 168 guild points, which were enough to take her total guild point contribution over the ten thousand mark.  RedRyder had added 5.41% and 25 guild points, and they'd each gained 156 skill points.

After SirGalahad's lunchtime session back in Jail, Rage and RedRyder returned for the afternoon, to get things finished, and Red did indeed reach level 31.  This brought down the experience that Rage got per orc sergeant dramatically, it was about a quarter of what it had been before - but the skill exp wasn't greatly changed, so it seemed reasonable to continue to the end of the session.

The back room had been in use, so I'd moved on to what I call the corridor room, which has the advantage of slightly more level 29 orc sergeants, and less level 27 orc axemen, though the total number of orcs is a little lower.  I did well there, until a knight called  VicelorD turned up, and started to treat the room as his own.

We started off with the usual "don't ks", "well don't steal my room", "well I didn't see your name on the door", "noob", and so on, but gradually got to chatting...which had the advantage of slowing down our kill rate so that there seemed to be enough orcs for both of us.  In fact, I'd probably have left a bit earlier if we hadn't been busy chatting, and VicelorD is now on Rage's Friends list.

By the end of the session, with only a couple of "hours" (or five minutes) left on the Elizabuff, Rage had earned a further 11.68%, which meant another 258 guild points for Discipline, and RedRyder was up by 8.26%, along with 39 guild points. They had each obtained another 208 skill points, as well.

Anyway, RedRyder had reached level 31, and the new +10 set of rogue armour, and the crossbow and daggers, arrived safely, which was the main thing.  Red traded the new armour set across to Rage before logging out, and Rage put it on, instead of the +11 set she had been wearing.  The +11 set was then, back in Randol, traded across to Kaerella, so that she can enjoy the relative safety of a good set of armour at last.  When Kae in turn reaches 31, it will be MistressDomino's turn to get good armour - unless Rage outgrows the 30/32 set before then, and starts wearing an expensive higher-level armour set.

SirGalahad logged in, and before heading for Maargadum Jail, was able to spend 550 skill points, 2.5 million gold, and 18,000 guild points on moving the Discipline guild up to level 7.  The next step will be an "expension" of the maximum number of members, which will require another 5,000 guild points, and some gold.

VicelorD had mentioned that the Merac Castle Siege was due to start at seven in the evening, and would be on Tairen-1; the guild he was in, TheEmpirE, had high hopes of recapturing the castle, currently held by XxPATTONxX.  So, I decided that it would be a good idea to go along and watch - though, as PvP combat was involved, it seemed best not to complicate things by going there as a PvP-enabled player.  Players below level 15 are not able to attack other players, or be harmed by them.  My mage Enchantra was level 5, so I gave her a brief outing into Juno to do a few early quests and get some skill points, and then, at level 6, she ran down through Merac to the Castle location, and got a convenient spot onto her memory scroll.

There was time after that for Rage to catch up on her available quests, which included a bit of wedding gift movement in Merac, and quests to kill highlanders and gnoll soldiers there.  There were quests in Dratan too, involving the rough deer of the desert and the poison mists, which make ideal targets for Rage at level 39.  Once the quests were completed I stayed a little longer to kill a few more poison mists, and the elite one, but the countdown to the Castle Siege had started, so it was soon time to switch back to Enchantra.  By then Rage had added another 29.11%, much of it from quest rewards, plus 103 guild points and 76 skill points. Most of her armour had got a first bloodseal sorted out, too.

Enchantra logged in on Tairen-1, and teleported down to the approaches to Merac Castle.  Members of the DarkSociety, TheEmpirE, and UNIONxxLATINA guilds, and a few others, were congregating by the spawn points, and soon they were fighting each other.  I was in low-level armour, and had unequipped my weapon, and kept well back - but it was just as well I'd not gone as a character above level 15, as quite a few people, mainly it seemed members of the UNIONxxLATINA guild, did attempt to kill me.  It was quite funny, to see the efforts they made and the skills they used - I suppose it was fair enough to try once to check I was too low-level to be a combatant, but some people were a bit persistent.

Some people occasionally engaged PvP, or PK, mode, which is a bit naughty at a Castle Siege, as it causes glitches.  I saw VICELORD, who I assume was VicelorD's higher-level character that he had mentioned in passing, in the thick of the action - he may or may not have recognised me, the "Discipline" guild tag would have been a bit of a clue.

The battle then surged towards the Castle itself, and by the gateway to the inner courtyard were a couple of giant statues, of the type that [GM]Stratos tends to conjure up as his "signature" if he hosts a monster spawn... and while they stayed by the gateway, they were involved in the fighting.  I did think they were fighting each other, but they may just have been defending themselves from their attackers.

The attacking guild members finally managed to destroy the statues, which, with a little general fighting, led on to the final stage, in the throne room, with the current holders of the Castle, the XxPATTONxX guild, trying to protect the throne, "The Seat of Power", which, like those warrior statues, was level 100 and had a health bar.  The deadline was eight o'clock, an hour after the start, and as the throne still had at least 80% health then, the defenders retained their title, and the Castle.

So, after all this time I've finally seen a Castle Siege.  I didn't actually do much else after that, but Kaerella is now wearing the +11 "Goddess" armour set, after Collector Ryl changed the rogue items into healer ones.  That increases her physical defence from 489 to 766 - which is little more than half SirGalahad's stat, so she'd better not try to visit Maargadum Jail yet.  The +10 Pheonix bow ought to be useful too, though she can't use that without a penalty until she reaches level 29.

MistressDomino set up shop for her delayed overnight session on Tairen-1, and SirGalahad had got his pony into level 15 by the end of the evening.

A New Exploit Revealed - March 7th

MistressDomino and SirGalahad both survived successfully through the night.  Gal got the new horse up to level 19, though it was lucky that I checked at around 6:30 in the morning, as the death mask lancer, down on level five of Maargadum Jail, had moved along the room far enough to attract one of the aggressive, pet-eating death mask soldiers into the fight too.  By great good luck the soldier had concentrated its attack on Gal himself, and his pet had only lost five health points, though if things had been left that way no doubt the pet would have perished before long.  SirGalahad quickly equipped his sword, killed the soldier, and lured the lancer back to a safer area.

MistressDomino had a safer time of things, selling items overnight on Tairen-1; this meant she got a "recall" pop-up offering to take her to the spot where the Dratan Castle Siege starts, but she has had one of those before, and I've added that spot to her memory scroll, which ought to be useful when she eventually wants to visit the sphinx types or the entrance to the Tomb of Theos.  The selling went pretty well, with 47 heaven stones sold at 995,000 gold each - which must have been the right price, as they sold slowly, not all in the first two minutes like the nine skill point boosters.  The only items that didn't sell were the moonstones and moonstone boxes.

SirGalahad continued his work until after coffee, when my level 35 rogue Memree and my level 27 healer Kaerella got the Elizabuff, and headed for Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.  The back room was free - well, almost free, as on my run to it I'd somehow acquired a level 25 titan called Smasher302, who ks'd a bit in a helpful way for the first few kills.  However, all he really wanted was some help getting the ten cracked axes for a quest, so, as Memree was carrying about a hundred of them, giving him ten was no problem at all, and he left happy - if rather swiftly, pursued by orcs.

It was a productive session.  With her new +11 30/32 armour set, Kaerella could stand near the entrance without being in mortal danger, and just about shrug off the attacks of a single orc axeman.  As usual, it's the married ones you have to look out for... No, um, sorry, that's not right.  Being attacked by more than one orc at a time did lead to the loss of some hit points, but in a gradual way, so the occasional dash to the kitchen to organise lunch was no problem.

Kaerella began with 46 skill points, and ended with 263, which were enough for her to learn the final level of flawless stone processing, plus the two levels of yellow herb processing, the first two (of three) levels of herb trunk processing, and the first level of green herb processing.  So, a couple more good sessions should finish off her "special skills" learning, and let her start building up the cache of unused skill points every good character deserves.

Memree added 29.69%, and 345 guild points for Discipline, while Kaerella gained 20.77% and 52 guild points.  And they both received 217 skill points of course.  There was just time before lunch for Kaerella to head for Maargadum Jail, and die 23 times, to get her back to the start of level 27 once again.  As usual, there were two or three occasions when she respawned where she'd died instead of back by the teleporter, and once this meant that on the second death she couldn't be revived, so I had to log out, log back in, and return.  This may happen when one clicks the option to revive too quickly, I'm not sure.  Luckily it doesn't tend to happen very often.

SirGalahad was back in action over Sunday lunch, getting the horse into level 20; and he was able to continue for the afternoon, as it was time for the Cariae cleric Kaerella to have a session.  There was a special "Master Stone Massacre" event running today, with three lucky people per server being given a +1 upgrade to an item, even if it was already +15... and to enter, one needed to kill monsters one's own level or above, something Memree had not been doing.

I went straight to the other sphinx location, with the less-popular of the two elite sphinx speer men.  The level 59 witch CynthiaDeLaCroix was already there, so I suggested we make a combat party.  She left her solo party and we teamed up; we generally fought separately, unless one of us got a whole group of sphinx types annoyed, and most of the time I let Cynthia tackle the elite, unless she was busy when it respawned.

I thought Cynthia had very good "suction of life" accessories, as her health seldom dropped for long, but she was using the witch skill HP Drain, which allows her to remove, at her level, 300 health points from her foe, and heal herself with it.  Still, I was able to give her some healing occasionally, either using Quick Heal or, if I needed it too, Party Heal; we supplied each other with buffs, and whichever of us who wasn't in mid-fight would re-apply the horse buffs when they ran out.

Cynthia had already been there for a while, and did have to return to town to get the Elizabeth's Enhancement renewed after a couple of hours.  Kaerella levelled up, to 58 - and her drake SirFrancis levelled up too, to 49.  We continued for half an hour past my standard stopping time - I might have gone on a little longer, particularly as soon after four a "Sunday Teatime" bonus of an extra 75% skill exp was started, but Cynthia reached level 60, and wisely decided that she'd had enough for that session.  She opened a trading window with me before she went, and gave me a heaven stone, "Because nice people deserve nice things", which was very kind.  I'd already picked up three during the session, so I did rather well.

Reaching level 58 meant that Kaerella could learn level 6 of both Greater Heal and Encourage.  That healing skill goes up from 560 to 650 health points (or hit points), with the mana used going up from 122 to 166 - and Encourage goes from adding 40 to physical attack to 48, as well as doubling its duration to ten minutes, which explains the mana cost moving on from 67 to 150.  The next skill to look forward to is Cure Resource at level 60, a passive skill which, assuming I get all five available levels, will increase Kae's health by 400 and her mana by 100, for a total cost of 889 skill points.

Kaerella's session with the sphinx types had earned her 59.42% experience, 83 skill points, and 2159 pet points, making it a very useful step forward.  Another session that productive would be just enough to get her to level 59.

After the early evening food break, it was Rage's turn for an outing, so, on Tairen-5, she went to Dratan, and teleported to the poison mists.  Another player was already fighting the elite poison mist, so I had to move slightly away from that location, but I kept fighting the poison mists, until the Sunday Quiz was getting close.  By then, having had the 50% experience "freeze" unfrozen, Rage had gone up by 30.79%, and grabbed 116 skill points, taking her stash on unused sp above the 6k mark.  Her drake had gained 1582 pet points, as well, and most of her new armour set's bloodseals had been sorted out.

As usual Kaerella joined MistressDomino in Tairen-2's Quiz Room at around 8:20pm, UK time.  There had been the usual "doors are now open" and "GMs and gamesages will be watching for exploiters, who will be banned" - but with about five minutes to go, they mentioned that the "exploits" they were watching for were sitting down, as we know, and not the usual multi-clienting, when people run numerous copies of Last Chaos at once so that a whole group of noob characters can all get the Quiz prizes - but auto-following, something that up to now a number of people have quite innocently done.

Kaerella and MistressDomino got through the Quiz successfully, and individually, though MD's responses were generally a little slower than Kae's.  People generally, at least on Tairen-2, did okay, though there was the occasional person who stayed on the wrong side; the questions were the usual selection, though the whole thing took the full half hour again, apparently due to the GMs seeking out exploiters on the various servers.

There didn't seem time after that for any more action, so SirGalahad logged back in after his 45 minute break, and, with his horse now on level 22, headed back down into Maargadum Jail.  The only other thing I needed to do was get some more green herbs for Cariae's Kaerella, as those sphinx types do tend to nibble on SirFrancis rather a lot.  It seems a shame that we don't get those "Zombie Invasions" out at Berbank Mill in Juno any longer, they made a fun end to a Sunday evening.

A Death in Dratan - March 8th

MistressDomino and SirGalahad both survived successfully through the night again, though this time my merchant was the MistressDomino on Katar.  Heaven stones seem to have gone up in price over there recently; the last time I sold them, a few weeks back, my impression was that they were holding steady at 1.95 million, but MD had a quick look round and didn't see anyone offering them for less than 2.4 million.  She put her supply up at 2.35 million, and they sold very quickly.  By the end of the night everything had sold, in fact, except her supply of moonstone boxes, so that the Katar cash situation is much improved.

SirGalahad, on Tairen-4, managed to avoid any death mask soldiers this time, which meant that his horse was level 25 by coffee, when he finally logged out, so that Kaerella and Memree could head for Tairen-5's Prokion Temple, and its back room.  The session moved along nicely and uneventfully, so that by the time lunch was approaching, Memree, as the active fighter, was up by 31.00%, and 360 guild points, while Kaerella had added 21.69% and 54 guild points.  They had each got 227 skill points, which meant that Kae was now able to learn the last level of herb trunk processing, the second level of green herb processing, both levels of zeta wave processing, and the first two levels of epsilon wave processing.  Kae just needs another 473 skill points to finish off all the special skills, and then she will be able to start getting her own stash of unused sp.

Over lunch SirGalahad was back in action, and he continued through the afternoon, while over on Cariae-5 my level 58 cleric Kaerella went back to the hidden-away elite sphinx speer man, and the local sphinx fighters and regular sphinx speer men.  I had the place to myself, so didn't have the benefit of a combat party, just a solo one, so was moving along a bit slower.  The elite sphinx speer man still hit me pretty hard sometimes.

By the end of the afternoon Kaerella had gone up by 41.57%, and gained 69 skill points; SirFrancis, Kae's drake, had gained 1958 pet points.

I did get a disconnection during the food break, which was good timing - much better then than when Kae was among the sphinx fighters.  I took the opportunity to check up on my characters over on the Katar server, which is really fourth in my priorities after, in no particular order, Cariae, Tairen and Auzura.  Kaerella, my level 32 archer there, was able to join the Discipline guild, as the actual time after leaving one guild before one can join another is apparently not the whole week that the pop-up message says.  ColonelScarlet, the guild master for Discipline, logged on briefly to set her experience gain to the usual 50% freeze, and Kae also transferred loot across to MistressDomino, for her next selling session.

Back on Tairen, SirGalahad logged back in, but this time on subserver 5, so that he could give a solo party to Rage, my level 39 ranger-type rogue, while he continued to work on the horse.

Rage teleported out to the poison mists, and had the elite one to herself for a change; there were a couple of other people who turned up there, but they saw that Rage had that area staked out and stayed clear.  A level 39 specialist sorcerer called DarKLorD, though, did try to muscle in, and took a few swipes, in knight form, at the elite when I was fighting it.

A 42.02% experience increase had taken Rage safely into level 40, which meant that it seemed about time to try out the sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men.  So, after buying a few of the medium-size health potions, I teleported out there.  As always with rogues, it depended on whether Snare worked or not, and I did take a few heavy hits, it was a bit different from the earlier Cariae session.  To my surprise DarKLorD was there, and I said something along the lines of "this elite you are welcome to." 

We did team up, which was a bit rocky as we seemed to end up sometimes attracting different targets, which at our kind of level wasn't a good idea.  We added the level 32 mage Wolfyn to the party, but she was one of those people who never bother to top up their health bar, and seemed permanently to be on around 30% health, and not much mana either.  Still, the Curse skill to slow down a monster is always useful, as is Terra Spear to hit it hard.

The adventure came to a rather annoying end for me; DarKLorD had gone afk for a while, so I'd changed the party type to combat so that having him on the compass-map was an asset rather than a leaching.  Wolfyn attacked the elite sphinx speer man, but didn't stick around to kill it, so I was trying to solo it, and, after one too many failures of Snare, got killed, with its health down to around 10%.  So I used the "beginner" resurrection scroll, and opted to respawn where I'd died, thinking that the monster had moved away far enough, and I could easily outrun it anyway.  Unfortunately, when I was alive again I was "bogged down" in the ground, and unable to run away, and I got killed again, without a res scroll on.

So, that was a penalty of 125 skill points, and a little bit of experience lost as well.  For the remaining few minutes, I headed back to the poison mists, to try and get at least a few of those skill points back.  Why are people, even at level 40 or below, so keen to attack the elite sphinx speer man all the time?  He may give three times the experience, but he is so hard to kill, compared with his non-elite friends, that he surely takes three times as long to get rid of.

Still, the greater experience that killing the sphinx types gives means that the second half of the evening added a further 45.84% - and as the earlier half had added 140 skill points, and the bit at the end another 14, Rage did end up 29 skill points ahead.

By the end of the evening, SirGalahad had got the horse into level 27.  I think the older computer has earned some down-time tonight, so there won't be any pet-levelling, or merchanting, going on while I'm asleep this time.

Three Level-Ups - March 9th

SirGalahad got back to work before breakfast in Maargadum Jail on Tairen-4, getting his horse steadily through level 27 - and over on Katar-4, Discipline's guild master there, ColonelScarlet, was also in action, out in Merac fighting a brace of bandits to work on his level 35 pink, or more accurately mauve, drake.  For another day there were no worthwhile events scheduled, just the no-advance-notice "World Defence" spawnings of monsters outside the city gates by [GM]Stratos, and on Auzura a PvP-enabled "Hide and Seek Plus" as well as a later spawning of Pandora's Beasts, which is relatively pointless as there are plenty of other monsters of the same level one can kill without getting mobbed.

After coffee Memree and Kaerella headed for Prokion Temple on Tairen-5, where as usual at that time of day the back room was free. By the end of the session Memree had added 35.31% and donated 422 guild points to the Discipline guild, while Kaerella had gone up by 25.38% and got 63 guild points.  They each had earned 269 skill points.

On the skill point front, this meant that Kaerella had now got enough sp to learn all the special skills available, except the final two levels of gamma wave processing, for which another 204 sp will be needed.  Her experience gain meant that Memree had now reached level 36, which meant that her special rogue "neckless" accessory automatically unequipped itself and can't be used again, and her remaining "beginner" resurrection scrolls and platinum blessed irises are now useless. 

Over lunch SirGalahad and ColonelScarlet were both back in action, and then after that, MistressDomino had a bit of a spending spree on Tairen-1, starting with spending 50,000,000 gold on a +15 level 33 crossbow from xXxHunteRxXx, who was on his horse in merchant mode in town.  Roy's merchant mart yielded two useful accessories: a Necklace of Earth, giving 5 to defence and 5% suction of life, sold by R3Deyes for 11,111,111 gold, and a Stone of Shadow, which gives 12 to dexterity, 112 to close range evasion, and 93 to long range evasion, sold by Orckus for 21,000,000 - though as it hadn't been identified, the golden magnifying glass to identify/activate it cost another million.

That shopping delayed the start of the main afternoon session, which again involved my Cariae-based cleric, Kaerella, who teleported out to the location of the shyer of the two elite sphinx speer men, and spent a couple of hours with him and his hangers-on.  Kae reached level 59 about halfway through my time out there, and in all went up by 29.03%, gaining 52 skill points and, for her drake SirFrancis, 1444 pet points, which takes him to 10% of the way through his current level.

The evening session started with a little trading-around of items between characters, so that over on Cariae SirDarth, my level 34 temple knight, received a Chain of Tiger and a Tears of Knight accessory from Keerella, to add to the one "CoT" he already had - so between the three he gets 44 to strength, 32 to close range physical attack, and 168 to close range physical hit rate.  Back on Tairen, MistressDomino passed the newly-bought +15 level 33 crossbow and the two accessories she bought across to Rage, who in return passed some recent sellable loot over.

SirGalahad logged back in, but this time on Tairen-5, so that he could give a solo party to Rage, who had quite a varied evening, starting with a session out with the poison mists, where she stayed long enough to reach level 41.  This reduced the skill exp that they gave, so it was time to move on, once a couple more myst eyes had been obtained.  I could tell from looking at the map that there were no new quests in Dratan...but it seemed likely that there would be something in Merac now.

The Border Guard Captain, on the road leading towards the Jail and the Castle, did indeed have a quest for Rage, which just involved killing 25 gnoll soldiers, which are now Rage's own level.  Once I'd ridden down to the gnolls, and killed 25 of the soldiers, I returned to Merac Village and got the quest reward, which was an unusually generous 50 skill points and what worked out as 6.19% experience - and then headed for Maargadum Jail.  The dire spike canines are also Rage's current level, so I fought some on the ground floor, and then, since it is quieter and with better defined respawn areas, went down to level two. And there I stayed until the three-hour Elizabuff wore off.

There was still half an hour or so's playing time, so I headed back to Randol, and got a new application of the Elizabuff - and then Rage headed back to Dratan, and teleported to the sphinx fighters and speer men at the usual campsite location.  The place was pretty busy, but, with occasional rests to top up my health and mana, I was able to fight assorted fighters and speer men solo without getting killed.  There were a couple of parties going on, I think, but as I wasn't intending to stay long, I kept separate, and added about 25% to my experience relatively quickly.

Rage gained 77.11% experience in all this evening, plus 101 skill points and 1984 pet points, while SirGalahad got his horse up to level 29 at about the time she logged out, replaced by ColonelScarlet over on Katar-4, doing a little more work on his pink drake.  With the weekly maintenance downtime approaching, there was no question of them continuing overnight, but with three characters levelling up, plus Gal's drake, it had certainly been a useful day's work.

Mad Monster Spawns - March 10th

The patch that had to be downloaded this morning seemed promisingly substantial, but in effect all we got were a few new in-game item mall packages, and a fix for the "quiz move bug", which I assume means that we won't have to use the WASD keys in the Quiz Room to move in future (though we'll have to wait for Sunday to be sure), plus "back-end security changes".  I noticed that the forum announcement wasn't made by Aeria_ks1lent, but by his new co-product manager, Xuse2005.

SirGalahad and ColonelScarlet were able to set to work pet-levelling at breakfast time, and, despite a disconnection the Colonel soon got his pink drake into level 36.  And then after coffee there was just time for a trip out to Prokion Temple's back room for Memree and Kaerella, on Tairen-5.

The target was 204 skill points each, and we reached that with time to spare; Memree went up by 23.44%, adding 322 guild points to Discipline's total, while Kaerella added 19.04%, and 48 guild points.  So, after they logged out from there, and SirGalahad returned to Maargadum Jail, Kaerella was able to spend her 204 skill points on the final two levels of gamma wave processing, concluding her acquisition of all the available "special skills".  Then she too headed for Maargadum Jail, and quickly managed to die 23 times, to get her experience in level 27 back down to zero.  There were only two appearances of the "double death" bug during that, which seemed better than average.

ColonelScarlet went online over lunch, and then, while SirGalahad continued in Tairen-4's Maargadum Jail, my Cariae cleric Kaerella headed out to those sphinx types, and the hidden-away elite sphinx speer man.  The session, with a solo party, was uneventful, and lasted a little over two-and-a-half hours; by the end Kae had earned 41.17% experience, along with 70 skill points and, for SirFrancis, 2022 pet points.  So, Kaerella has reached the halfway point in level 59, which is pretty good progress.  At level 60, the passive skill Cure Resource will use up 889 skill points, so the more we can get before then the better.

SirGalahad got his horse up to level 30 during the afternoon, and continued his efforts through the evening.  Like many Wednesdays, I knew I'd have to log out from soon after eight - but that still left time for the low-level Mad Monster Spawns, running from 5:30pm, UK time, at half-hourly intervals.

Katar came first, so my level 31 rogue Memree went along.  The Kiene Tower appeared with two or three minutes to spare, and, along with the GM announcement, the monsters started (madly) spawning right on time.  It was an anonymous deal, there was no interaction with whichever Aeria employee was pressing the keys; the usual monsters spawned, and after six minutes they had all been killed, and a fairly generous amount of loot was provided for us.  While we were picking it up, the announcement that the event was over appeared...so that was that.

On Cariae, my rogue Karella, still on level 27, went along to the usual spot.  Things went pretty much the same as on Katar, with the whole event over by seven minutes past, but at least the loot was good.  Then came Sarissa, where my healer Kaerella is only level 22 - this time the event did last twice as long, but I think that was mainly due to a lower turn-out.  I seemed to have the place to myself for the first few minutes, and was relieved to see that Baal was reacting to someone's attacks, as it showed I was no longer alone.  [GM]Darasuum was in charge this time, and did chat a little, and put in an appearance next to the tower.  He assured us that the night shadow glowing sphere he was carrying was not just a globe, it was a skull called Horatio...

[GM]Darasuum conducted the event on Hatzring too, and that also took about twelve minutes; Kaerella was the first person there, other than the GM himself..  "Hi, I see you brought Horatio along", was my greeting, to which he replied "indeed".  On Sarissa he'd made a tiny typo in announcing the event, saying it was "not" happening instead of "now" - on Sarissa he got a bit closer with "no" happening.  "Lame", he commented, and then did a follow-up to get things right.

Hatzring went pretty similarly to Sarissa, with a small but plucky band gradually being reinforced, so that Kaerella had the green and white-named monsters on her bit of the countryside mainly to herself.

Sadly, the European-style MMS on Auzura, hosted I assume by either [GM]Valsharyn or [GM]Noboru, clashed with the regular low-level event on Tairen at 7:30pm.  I had hoped that the Tairen one would be over quickly and I'd be in time for later part of the Auzura one, but when I moved across I didn't find any traces of anything still going on.  Still, my need for loot is greater on Tairen.

The low-level Mad Monster Spawn on Tairen was in the capable (if invisible) hands of [GM]JediMike; I assume that he had done some advance announcements for it, as when I arrived at the Kiene Tower, instead of being the only person there, at least thirty people were there waiting for things to happen.  This meant that, when the monsters appeared, they all got killed with amazing rapidity.  Mike gave us a second wave, and a third, and we steamed through them all - so that Tairen managed three waves in the time Sarissa or Hatzring had taken for a single spawning.

As ever with [GM]JediMike, the loot supplied was pretty generous, though there were so many people there that it too vanished pretty quickly.  And that was about the end of my adventures for a while, as other commitments were about to come up. 

The good news was that I was able to get back online in time for the high-level Cariae Mad Monster Spawn, which was scheduled for 9:30, so Barbarienne, my level 101 archer, rode on down to the location in Juno, and was one of the earlier arrivals, as was my least favourite gamesage, Adisa.  The bad news was that the Aeria offices had got a problem - no game masters were able to get online. From some messages in the forum shoutbox I got the impression that the Katar event, which had started half an hour before, had been left unfinished - and the Cariae one was unstarted.  The gamesages in the shoutbox couldn't do anything about gold spammers, or other scammers, reported, as the GMs weren't online. 

[GM]SupermanOX did get a message into the shoutbox about the problems, but of course he didn't know how long their downtime would last.  I relayed that to our little gathering, saying that it was a good sign that he had been able to get online, but Adisa pointed out that it didn't mean he was in the office.  "True", I replied, and, knowing that gamesages and GMs can communicate via Yahoo Instant Messenger, I added "He doesn't show up on YIM?"  Adisa's reply was priceless, "I won't confirm nor deny anyone I have on my YIM."

So, we hung around for a while, but in the end, after about 45 minutes in my case, it was time to log out for the night.  At least SirGalahad had been spending his time productively, and his horse actually reached level 31, the first level at which it would be possible to turn it into a mount, at the end of the evening.

A Constellation of Prizes - March 11th

I almost called yesterday's post "Please Stand By...", but just waiting for the Mad Monster Spawns wouldn't have done any good - scrolling back through the GM-spam that SirGalahad and ColonelScarlet received overnight was the message "We apologise for the missed events today, for the inconvenience, expect a special event tomorrow."  This new event was to be announced in the feedback thread for this week's events.

SirGalahad didn't have a perfect overnight levelling session, as the death mask lancer managed to move so that a supporting pillar got in the way, leading to an "attack blocked" message.  He lost a few hours to that, though, presumably because he was so close to the pillar, the horse didn't get hungry during that time.  ColonelScarlet got his pink drake to level 37, though, at breakfast time, so it is just about ready for Kaerella to take it over.  She's not that level yet herself, but should be by the time she leaves Prokion Temple behind.

The morning session in Prokion Temple, on Tairen-5, starred Memree and Kaerella again, with Kae beginning her gathering of an unused skill point stash from the start of level 27.  Memree added 29.12% in level 36, earning 403 guild points for Discipline, while Kaerella gained 23.49%, and 58 guild points.  They each got 250 skill points, on top of, for Memree, a couple from the low-level Mad Monster Spawn yesterday.  So, Kae can expect just over a thousand sp from her current level, with subsequent levels hopefully giving slightly more.

Over lunch, SirGalahad got his horse into level 32 at last; ColonelScarlet did a little bit more work on his pet pink drake too, before logging out to let Kaerella's Cariae cleric incarnation come online.

I suppose I had to try, before the quest expires, which I assume it will do when Kae reaches 60 - but it turned out to be a mistake.  "Seal Death Knight" proved to be just as deadly for Kaerella at level 59 as it had been at around 50, despite horse buffs and mana shield.  Down she ran through Maargadum Jail, past where SirGalahad would have been if she was on the same server - and even though he is only level 52, the Death Knight just hit too hard, too fast, so that even constant applications of Great Healing potions couldn't keep up.

Probably if I'd used level 12 or 14 magic attack and defence minerals as well, I might have just squeaked through, but as it was, the Death Knight ended up with about 30% health, and Kaerella ended up using a resurrection scroll, and very wisely respawning back upstairs rather than down in his lair.

So, after that it was time for more sensible work, which meant that Kaerella headed for Dratan, and her semi-private spot with the "other" elite sphinx speer man and his friends.  Over the next two and a quarter hours, she earned 37.21% experience, and 62 skill points, taking her stash back over the 11.5k mark.  Her drake SirFrancis gained 1770 pet points, too.

The food break had to be taken slightly early, so that I'd be back in action for the Parade on Auzura-4, at five o'clock UK time, hosted by [GM]Noboru.  One of the transformation scrolls she used didn't, as far as those watching were concerned, transform her into a savage-looking beastie, instead she retained her usual shape, but was only about ten inches tall.  She jokingly took exception to Kaerella (who around those parts is a level 67 archer) calling her "tiny", so I changed the description to "petite".  As usual plenty of firecrackers were grabbed and let off, and lots of transformation scrolls grabbed too.  I used a sasquatch one, and then a jaguar one, both of which I think worked normally - there were a couple of people moving around as red cubes with little arrow-lines coming out, though.

[GM]Noboru was also hosting a "Pharaoh's Treasure" event two hours later; I used the intervening ninety minutes mainly to move loot across from my event-attenders to my merchants, which always takes a surprisingly long time, though Memree on Tairen did have to quickly use 20 tool aids and hammers to mine some more quality stones for SirGalahad, who, not surprisingly after all his recent work, was running low.  I just managed to get him back fighting his death mask lancer in Tairen-4's Maargadum Jail before the various coordinates for the "Pharaoh's Treasure" were announced on Auzura-4.  With a little bit of teleporting around using the Juno NPC scroll I managed to check out four or so of the locations, but found only sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men - but I wasn't too far away from the winning location when [GM]Noboru announced it, and got there in time for quite a few waves of loot to be grabbed.

While [GM]Noboru was generous with what she had filched from the Pharaoh, there was such a good turn-out that I didn't actually end up with all that much stuff - just 2 skill point boosters, for example, though a bit more of the other items.  She had said earlier that she'd try to discover what the "special event" to compensate for those missing MMS monster-fests would be, but didn't have anything to report.  And, as last week, she hinted that she would see us at the "Storm the Castle" later, even if we didn't see, or recognise, her!

The Auzura "StC" was due to start at eight, so there wasn't any time to do anything else, really.  Elfnastysfriend, a mage who I think I have teamed up with a time or two at Mad Monster Spawns, is now a gamesage, and at about 7:45 began an "unjumble the words" mini-event on Auzura-5 in Merac Village, and since Rage was there, on the way to the Castle, I got involved.  The first phrase to unjumble was "Niosctu of file", and while I did say "Suction of life" first, I'd not noticed that the answer had to be whispered, so Gemmatria got the prize.

The second phrase Elfnastysfriend gave us was "Krma fo Perdsia", and I got in first with "Mark of despair", and as my reward got 5 Chicken Noodle Soup (increases experience earned by 20% for 5 minutes), 5 red chocolate (increases physical and magical attack power and moving speed), and 5 Watermelon (150% experience for 10 minutes).  Third came "Ravian bore", which stumped us all.  It was some sort of robe, obviously.  Eventually Elfy gave us the hint that the first letter was "A" - and I was able to jump in with "Arvina robe".  This time I got 6 experience scrolls (which also give 150% experience for 10 minutes), and a super skill pill, which gives double skill exp for an hour.

That would have been enough anyway, one doesn't want to hog that sort of event, but it was almost eight, so after thanking Elfnastysfriend again, I said "Time I headed for the Castle - I hope other people will be coming", and teleported down, with a couple of minutes to spare.

There were, thankfully, rather more people there than last week, including a few from the main Auzura guilds, but we were still short of enough high-level players.  We just had an anonymous and invisible Aeria employee in charge, but whoever it was did a better job of things than last week.  I started off by attacking the male assassinbugs, which are green-named for Rage, but there were so many of them that, as well as using medium healing potions, I did have to run for it a time or two, before some other people helped to pick a few off.  The group steamed ahead, and got through the thorny mantises, anubis archers, barren eises, and jumping devils quickly enough, but the anubis spear men (as they are higher level, they know how to spell "spear") were rather slow to go down.  I did tank a zamara, but luckily my evasion stats kept me safe just long enough.

I was using a lot of mana, with Snare and plenty of Flame Arrow, and we were getting through the anubis spear men, hell-otuu, and dark harpies, but not fast enough.  We had a ten-minute warning... and then, with still a few anubis spear men and hell-otuu left, and probably one ot two sphinx commanders in the inner courtyard, our time was up, and the monsters immediately vanished, including the ones we were actually fighting at that moment.

Luckily, the GM decided that our efforts should be rewarded.  "You didn't finish, but there's a constellation prize outside the castle! Thanks to those who participated in StC!"  And a starry consolation prize it was, those lovely thickly-packed circles of the usual Hands-loot, so that Rage was able to grab 20 small HP recovery and 18 small mana recovery potions, 5 large defence and 8 large attack potions, 6 item drop and 4 skill point boosters, and 10 tool aids.  And, thanks to occasionally clicking on the "pet item pickup" button I did pick up a little cash along the way, and level 71 knight Pormudus Pants.

"Welll, a better turn-out than last week, but we need more high-levels", I said, and a few people agreed.  There was a proper advance announcement - but the scheduling of Elfnastysfriend's event was a little unfortunate, we could have done with her, and some of her audience, down at Merac Castle helping us.  Still, at five tomorrow there's the European version of StC, also on Auzura, with either [GM]Noboru or [GM]Valsharyn, and the turn-out should be better then.

Auzura's StC had clashed with the Tairen one - and at ten o'clock both Cariae and Katar were scheduled.  So, I opted for Cariae, and Barbarienne, after being disappointed yesterday after turning up for the high-level MMS, got her chance for some action.  When she arrived outside the Castle at eight minutes to, there were a number of people already waiting - including [GM]Stratos.  It was quite a contrast with Auzura - there, Rage, at level 73, was a top gun, but here Barb, at level 101, was just a bit player, these were obviously high-level people - and, with plenty of announcements of the upcoming event, more people kept arriving.

The Castle-storming was incredibly speedy, and I concentrated on artillery support, though I tanked a zamara, which again didn't land any significant hits.  It took us about six minutes to reach the inner courtyard, I think at least one sphinx commander had been there but it was just a stain on the cobbles when I arrived.  Stratos spawned three darkmind terrains, though - but once they had been downed, the event was over, and soon the announcement came to rendezvous back where the road from Merac starts to widen out.

Knowing this particular GM's tricks, I re-applied horse buffs when I arrived.  The loot-spawn was as small as the number of people was large, and I was pretty lucky to get both an item drop booster and a large attack potion.  And then three purple dragons were spawned, to finish the festivities... and by a quarter past, the event was over.

The compensatory "special event" turned out to be two hours of 50% extra skill exp - starting at midnight, UK time, so of no use to me.  SirGalahad is going to be offline by then, the computers and modem need their beauty sleep occasionally, but his horse did manage to reach level 33 before logging out time.

A Farewell to Elizabeth... - March 12th

SirGalahad and ColonelScarlet got into pet-levelling action at breakfast time as usual, and kept busy for a couple of hours, until after coffee it was time for Memree and Kaerella to head out to Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.  Unusually my favourite back room was in use, so I had to settle for the "corridor room" not far away.  Things moved along nicely for the first hour, but one problem with that room is that it is on a main route, and other people sometimes come in and start fighting the limited supply of orcs.

And so it was today, with a knight called EternaTemplarKnt settling in, where there is really only enough respawnings for one player, at least if they have a +14 crossbow like Memree's.  After a while Memree went and checked if the back room had been vacated - it had, so Kaerella ran to join her there, and we got back up to full speed.

The corridor room has a higher proportion of orc sergeants to orc axemen - and the sergeants give twice as much experience, but only around 20-25% more skill exp.  So, Kaerella gained experience a bit more quickly this time, and in an only slightly longer session than yesterday's added 28.42%, with Discipline getting 71 guild points, taking her past the halfway mark in level 27.  Memree, in level 36, added 34.98%, and donated 480 guild points.  And they each gained 267 skill points.

The pet-levellers were back in action over lunch, and SirGalahad continued afterwards, while on the main computer my level 59 Cariae-based cleric Kaerella headed for Dratan.  I had a couple of quests to finish, so rode west out of town, past the giants and the masters of secret technique, to the arcane golems - the "Managing Golems" quest just required me to kill nine of them.  I then rode on to where the wafe bands hang out, as "Disband the Mob" needed me to " Collect 10 Covenants of Secessions from Wafe Thieves ".  So, I killed the different types of wafes, such as Wafe Leaders, Wafe Debirches and Wafe Peelers - and found that generally it was Wafe Revertins that supplied the necessary quest item.

Once both quests were concluded, I moved across, using a memory scroll, to the shyer of the two elite sphinx speer men, and settled in.  One slight problem was that there was no solo party I could join, so I wasn't getting the maximum possible experience, and skill exp, per kill.  Before too long I reached level 60, and the +5 armour set and weapons arrived automatically.  Someone recently had assured me that the "Elizabuff" lasted through level 60, and only expired when a character reached 61, but sadly this was not the case - while the icon remained on the screen among my buffs, the effect was no longer active. 

I was tempted to start a platinum blessed iris, but didn't want to do that without the "solo party" boost.  Luckily before too long when I checked a party had been formed, so I joined up.  There was still just over an hour's playing time left, so I started a pbi, which got me through just about 25% of the new level.  Kaerella's total experience gain for the session was 34.23%, plus 46 skill points and 1613 pet points; getting the rewards for the two quests back in Dratan City added another 2.62% and 14 skill points.

Kaerella was also able to learn the Cure Resource passive skill now, adding 400 to her total health and 100 to her total mana - and subtracting a total of 889 skill points.  Kae does have enough skill points now for all her skills up to level 100, though should she ever wish to go beyond that, there are some rather sp-expensive skills to learn.

The food break was a little earlier than average, so that Rage would be in time for the European-style "Storm the Castle" event on Auzura-4.  I stopped in Merac village for a few minutes, so that I could advise people which road to take, and "once you are out of town, the M map will show you the route".  And then I teleported down, with a couple of minutes to spare, to find a few people waiting, including JadaMarie, now in the  "Trusted" guild, who is a regular at this sort of thing.

[GM]Noboru arrived soon after me, and put up the first of a number of "about to begin" announcements.  She warned us that she wouldn't be as generous with the drops as yesterday's anonymous GM had been if we didn't beat the deadline...

The group when I joined it hadn't looked much more impressive than yesterday's, except for a night shadow in the Vendetta guild, but to my relief our ranks were soon swelled, and I didn't have to deal with a whole swarm of male assassinbugs, just one or two at a time.  We pressed forward, overwhelming the thorny mantises, anubis archers, jumping devils, barren eises, zamaras... and the anubis spear men went down pretty quickly, while other people were already working on the hell-otuu and the dark harpies.  More people must have been arriving, as our progress was pretty swift.

[GM]Noboru added a herd of Cerebril to the courtyard, and I found myself in the middle of them, but luckily they are passive, so let me finish helping to kill a dark harpy before I turned my attention to them.  There were also a group of the level 50 blood frenzy-type pandora's beasts, which were, luckily, spawned off to one side.  The inner courtyard did have a couple of sphinx commanders, and Rage paused there, after they were killed, to assist with the invisible blood shadow dragon from Egeha - it's always good to, er, "see" it there.

Other people had moved on into the throne room, and were battling a pair of flutons, so the rest of us joined them - and soon the Castle had been cleared of all monsters, with a good five minutes to spare.  The GM announced that our reward for the impressive performance would be spawned outside, and soon the tightly-packed circles of loot were appearing in their usual spots.  There were so many people there that the circles were picked up at high speed, but Noboru kept spawning more.  I doubt if anyone got a huge amount of loot, maybe four or six of each of the goodies, but we felt well rewarded.  And Rage mentioned that Kaerella had posted the screenshot of a diminutive [GM]Noboru in the "Hilarious Screenshots" thread of "General Discussion", so she promised to check it out - and later she had indeed posted a comment in that thread, her first LC forum post.

For the rest of the evening I was pretty low-key.  SirGalahad got his horse safely into level 34, while I played my level 2 knight SirDarth on Sarissa, getting him up to level 10 by the end of the session.  As usual foxes, deer, wolves, berserk wolves, and jaguars were involved - he even took a brief trip out to Velpist Temple to fight a few wandering zombies.

The treasure chest Lorraine allowed him to open at level 10 gave 30,000 gold, so he was able to spend a third of it, along with 10 skill points, to start the Discipline guild there.  The idea, if I go through with it, would be to get him up to pet-leveller status, which would also allow him to get the guild to level six.  But the next stage would be for Kaerella there to take him on in the Guardian system as an apprentice, and move Darth up to level 20 fairly swiftly.  At least he's all set up for that, now, though he is still using his level 1 sword and shield, and most of the starter armour.

SirGalahad had managed to get his horse at least a quarter of the way through level 34 by the end of the evening, so it shouldn't be too long now before Memree can have a mount of her own.

Turbo Charged - March 13th

MistressDomino on Auzura didn't have a very busy night in merchant mode, close to the arena on Auzura-1, but still managed to take in about 25 million in gold; with all the events I attend on that server, she has rather a lot of large attack and defence potions to try to get rid of.  On Tairen-4, SirGalahad had kept busy pet-levelling, so he had another marathon session, which lasted until coffee time.  I did find, getting up a little early, that he had managed to attract the nearest death mask soldier as well as his usual death mask lancer, but luckily, again, it hadn't attacked the horse at all, but concentrated on Gal himself, so all was well.  I equipped Gal's sword, killed the soldier, and then SirGalahad went back to the normal pet-levelling...and I went back to bed for a while.

After coffee it was time for Memree and Kaerella to go off to Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.  Luckily the back room was free, so my Discipline duo settled in.  Before long Memree reached level 37, and that reduced the experience and skill exp per kill a bit - but by the time lunch was looming Memree had gone up by 24.31%, plus 378 guild points, and Kaerella was up by 22.02% and 55 guild points.  They had each earned 250 skill points, which took Memree's stash over the 5.5k mark.  Another four or five sessions and she will have a pair of level 38 skills to learn.  And soon after that she will be able to leave the Temple behind, and ride off into the desert.

SirGalahad was back in action over lunch, and then after that I needed to do some moving around of things, though I must admit the start was slightly delayed while I investigated another Aeria game, Shin Megami Tensei, aka "MegaTen".  The moving-around included moving the freebie +5 armour set Kaerella on Cariae had got for reaching level 60 to one of my storage characters, Telzey, passing various items to my merchant, and moving a horse from XxGALAHADxX so that he had room to start a new pony.  After all, it is handy to have a pet-leveller on Cariae who can provide Kae with a solo party when needed.

MistressDomino happened to see someone called Valtrese selling some useful accessories, and bought one with 5% suction of mana, plus some intelligence and defence, for just a million, which seemed cheap; she also bought an Eyes of Spirit from her for Karella for 100 million.  A titan called BeL4 had level 31 pants +13, with no extreme stone used, for 30 million, so MD bought those too, and transformed them into the mage equivalent for Enchantrella, since mages are one of the classes for whom the +10 armour set isn't quite enough to entirely thwart orc attacks.

The actual afternoon fighting session was just an hour for my Cariae cleric Kaerella, using a platinum blessed iris ("pbi") - and using an experience booster for each elite sphinx speer man I killed during that hour, which worked out at 31 of them.  The experience gain was 52.98%, plus 15 skill points and 893 pet points.  The raid boss Kamira put in an appearance just as the pbi was ending, which was very good timing, as I was able to kill the last few sphinx types as the pbi ran out, and then log out as Kaerella, and log back in with my level 93 mage Keerella.

Keerella had the more popular elite sphinx speer man's location on her memory scroll, so was able to teleport out to that spot and quickly ride across to Kamira, who went down pretty easily, though her magic attacks can still do some damage if they hit.  She didn't drop any rare accessory this time, but the moonstones, tool aids, lucky scrolls, crystal of experience etc are always worth getting.

XxGALAHADxX had been supplying the solo party while he worked on his new pony with the bandits in Merac.  He continued this task for the start of the evening session, but I noticed that there weren't any solo parties available for people to join on Cariae-4, so opened the party up for new members.  I soon had a pretty full list, generally of rather high-level types - including for a while the mage Monarch2Luv, who goes along to Mad Monster Spawns - I see she is level 116 now.

The four-hour "Turbo" event started at six, announced as being 50% extra experience gain, and 50% extra pet experience too.  I managed to get Kaerella, still on Cariae, out to the sphinx types soon after ten past, and settled in, continuing until just about ten o'clock.  Without any potions or boosters Kae earned another 36.37%, plus 48 skill points and 3038 pet points.  I always distrust the announced "50% extra pet experience" times, they never seem to be any improvement, unlike "100% extra" ones, where the points click up two at a time.  Still, the extra experience gain was useful.  Kaerella reached level 61, and now has 100 stat points in intelligence, which means that now she can switch to putting the newly-gained points into dexterity, which ought to help her physical evasion.

I had logged out Cariae's Galahad fairly early in the evening, once the party had gained a good number of members, and logged in Tairen's SirGalahad instead, so that the more important business of getting his horse levelled up could be resumed.  By the end of the evening, there were roughly another two hours to go before level 36 would be reached, so useful progress was made, even if it wasn't 50% faster than usual.

Two Level-Ups for Kaerella - March 14th

SirGalahad got back into Maargadum Jail for some more pet-levelling from breakfast time today, and managed to get his horse into level 36 by coffee time, which is when Sunday tends to get started properly.  Then it was time for Memree and Kaerella to head for Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.

The back room was in use, so I had to settle for the corridor room nearby, but as usual that had the disadvantage that some selfish player might come along and try to hijack it, or at least take half the orcs and thus slow me down a lot.  And so it was that a rogue called "olay" came in and without a word started killing orcs.

Olay did leave after a while; she had been using daggers, but returned a few minutes later with a crossbow, perhaps having decided that Memree's way of fighting was better.  She was still there when I left for lunch.  Memree added 23.48% and 379 guild points by then, while Kaerella had gained 22.06% and 55 guild points.  They had each added 229 skill points.

Kaerella was right at the top end of level 27 now, so that gave me the choice of doing what I have done once before, and dying enough times to get back to the start of the level.  I'd worked out that, if I used a special crystal to halve the rate of skill exp loss, dying the necessary 32 times would take off almost 40% of her skill points, but what I didn't realise until I tried later in the day was that the first death would remove the crystal of effort's "lasts eight hours" buff - and using 32 of them would get a bit expensive.  So much for that idea...

SirGalahad went back to his pet-levelling over lunch, and then for the main afternoon session Kaerella, in her Cariae cleric version, went out to the shyer of the two elite sphinx speer men and his buddies.  I managed to join a solo party before I left Dratan City; my application was a bit slow to be accepted, and I was immediately promoted to leader, as the player who had held that post was generally afk, away from his keyboard.  The party grew nicely as the afternoon progressed, though of course there are not very many low-level players on Tairen-4, as Elizabeth doesn't offer her Enhancement buff there.

I used a pair of platinum blessed irises, plus experience boosters for each elite kill; the first hour added 51.52%, plus 19 skill points and 916 pet points, with the use of 34 xpbs.  The second hour saw Kaerella reach level 62, so the percentage gain fell a little to 48.41%, along with 26 skill points and 883 pet points, again using 34 of the experience boosters.  At her new level Kae could wear the whole of the next armour set, the 65/67 red and orange "Serenity" set instead of her current mauve and pale purple "Peaceful" outfit, but the set she has is so well upgraded that we can easily skip the next one.

After the food break, over on Tairen my level 27 archer Kaerella tried the "dying with a crystal buff" idea mentioned earlier; imagine my surprise when the second death took away twice the skill points I'd expected.  Sigh, I'd always assumed the crystals of experience, and effort, did last eight hours, as described, and weren't the kind of buffs that expire upon the death of a character.  Some buffs do, and some don't.

The Sunday Quiz was going to be an hour earlier than usual, at 7:30pm UK time, as the US clocks went forward an hour last night, but UK and European clocks don't "spring forward" for another two weeks.  There was just time for Memree and Kaerella to team up again on Tairen-5, and go to Prokion Temple, where the back room was free, for a shorter session.  Kae did come out of her experimental deaths ahead, as this time, having regained the 6% experience she'd shed, she had 34 more skill points than at the end of the previous session there.  By the time the Quiz was getting close, Memree had gained 10.65% and 173 guild points, while Kaerella had added 10.01%, taking her to the very start of level 28, plus 25 guild points... and they had each gained 125 skill points.  A mage called DyKa had come in at one stage and asked for a party, but she wasn't wearing the 30/32 armour set, so can't have been very high level.  I warned her that it was a dangerous room, and within two minutes she was running for her life, while I tried to pick off the angry orcs following her.

The Quiz had the usual advance warnings about exploiters being "handled" by GMs and gamesages; there was no announcement about clicking on another character to auto-follow being an exploit this time, though someone asked in the forum shoutbox and was told not to do it.  Kaerella and MistressDomino were in the Tairen-2 Quiz Room as usual; the announced fix for the "quiz move bug" proved to be so much hot air, as click-and-run still didn't work, so WSAD remained the way to move in that room.

The questions were the usual bunch, and we lost very few people along the way - people even noticed the "not" in "which item can you not feed a pet horse or drake", and just about everyone scrambled to the correct side in time.  So, both Kae and MD got their prizes; Kaerella passed her heaven stones and moonstones across to MistressDomino once they were back outside in Randol.

The Quiz was really quick this time, and things zoomed along at twice the pace of recent weeks, so that it was all over within a quarter of an hour - and by ten to eight Memree and Kaerella were back in that favourite room in Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.  Making the most of the room, I continued until a little after my theoretically usual log-out time - until Memree had added 25.76% and 416 guild points, and Kaerella had gone up by 20.01% and 62 guild points.  They had each added 281 skill points, so it looks as if Kaerella is likely to gain around 1400 sp as she goes through level 28.

After that, it was time to log out, and send SirGalahad back to level five of Maargadum Jail to fight his death mask lancer for the rest of the evening - by which time his horse ought to be 60% of the way through the last level before it becomes Memree's level 37 mount.

Memree's Turn to Level Up - March 15th

SirGalahad began his pet horse's final day of training bright and early, though he had to log out after coffee so that the usual team of Memree and Kaerella could go to Tairen-5's Prokion Temple for their session.

The back room was in use again; I could have stopped in the corridor room, but opted to run through the Temple to the mirror half, and go into the subtly different mirror version of the back room, which has a couple of orc soldiers in it as well as the axemen and sergeants.  After a while I just ignored those two, as they don't give much experience or skill exp now.  Towards the end they both settled on attacking Kaerella, so she just stood in a corner and let them attack, while Memree got on with the fighting.

We continued on just long enough to get Memree into level 38; she went up by 22.35% and 362 guild points, while Kaerella added 17.37% and 54 guild points.  They both earned 235 skill points, though when she was back in Randol, Memree had some skills to learn, which used up 518 sp.  She ought to have grabbed the first level of Coup de Gras 2 at level 35, a passive skill which increases her chance of a critical strike by 60, but hadn't spoken to the skills trainer lately.  For 38, the new skills available were the first five levels of Double Strike, a dagger attack with an extra 130% power, and my favourite, Death Motion, which lets the character fall to the ground and lie there, apparently dead, for up to 100 minutes, ignored by monsters - though it doesn't work in PvP apparently.  Very useful if you need to go afk, though I found that daggers do have to be equipped for it to work.

For the afternoon I decided to continue with Memree and Kaerella, which was handy as I was also chatting with a friend, Elys, on Windows Live Messenger, so not giving the game my full attention.  "You're kind of a persistent player", she remarked, "With lots of characters, whatever game you play.  And not only many characters, but play a lot of all of them."  That's true, I have lots of Guild Wars characters, and played a lot of different types with Dungeon Siege too... we were discussing Guild Wars 2, and the possibility of reuniting a number of our friends in a guild there, but that game probably won't be around until next year, even in its beta stage.

So, it was useful to be playing in a non-risky environment; with the +10 or higher armours, Memree and Kae aren't in much danger from any orcs.  This time my favourite back room was available, as I'd hoped.  I did have one visitor, the level 29 mage kickazz, but she soon realised that the place was too dangerous for her without the +10 armour.  She mainly needed some cracked axes for a quest, so I gave her the five she needed, and she beat a hasty retreat.

By the end of the afternoon, Memree had gone up by another 10.19% and 183 guild points, and Kaerella had moved on by 9.12% and 28 guild points.  Memree being in level 38 now did cut back the experience gain per kill from the orc sergeants a little, and from the axemen very substantially, though the skill exp wasn't hit as badly, so they still managed to grab 194 skill points each.

Over the early evening food break SirGalahad finally got his horse to level 37, so once I was back in action, trading it across to Memree was top of the agenda.  Memree swiftly turned it into a mount; using Death Motion while mounted is rather impressive, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to work in town.

I'd checked Roy's merchant mart again, and found a slightly cheaper blue pan flute - 1.8 million instead of a full 2 million!  So SirGalahad spent just about all his gold on that, got it transformed into a cute little blue pony, and took his new charge down to meet the death mask lancer in Maargadum Jail.

On the main computer, Kaerella on Cariae, my cleric, logged in, got into a solo party with the level 136 titan meatmog and others, and headed for her usual bunch of sphinx types.  This time the plan was just to use a blessed iris, which gives double experience gain for three hours, and with the aid of various old radio shows, I made it all the way through.  The first hour added just over 11% experience, and the whole session added 36.12%, plus 47 skill points and 2623 pet points for SirFrancis.

There seemed to be a number of minor "lag spikes" where I'd still be hitting my target sphinx fighter, but without any result; that sort of thing makes me wary, as it could lead to a disconnection, with my character left standing helpless and possibly getting killed - 216 skill points would be a lot to lose.  So, I was relieved to reach the end of the session, and return to town.  I do get the impression that even now the Cariae server isn't as reliable as some of the newer ones, for that sort of thing.

SirGalahad kept going, levelling his rare pale blue pony - Kaerella rides a pale blue horse on Cariae and Auzura, so it will be nice if she can ride one on Tairen too.  I wouldn't usually pay that much for a blue pan flute, to start such a pony, but they do seem very rare on Tairen at present, and a horse raised from one is generally considered more valuable than an ordinary one.   It took till about ten o'clock, UK time, for the pony's Sympathy to reach 100%... and by bedtime it ought to be comfortably into level 7, which is a useful start.

Three Kaerellas in Action - March 16th

SirGalahad managed to pet-level his pale blue pony through the night successfully, while, also on the Tairen server, MistressDomino was in merchant mode.  Although she didn't have a huge amount of stuff to sell, mainly some heaven stones and fifty skill point boosters that came from one of those free spins of the Aeria "loot wheel" a week or two back, everything sold except some moonstone boxes, so we ended up about 87 million richer.

By coffee time the pony had reached level 14, which seemed pretty good progress.  But then SirGalahad had to log out for a couple of hours, while Memree and Kaerella made their usual trip to Prokion Temple - and found the back room free.  I think the player who has been in there the last couple of mornings did look in around an hour later, but went away when she saw the room in use.

I did have a couple of rogues drop in; the first one, RogueZ, wisely didn't stay long at all, she didn't have the level 30/32 armour and the orcs are sticklers for the dress code in that room.  The second rogue did have 30/32 armour, but it wasn't the +10 set; she mentioned that she was actually a friend of the account owner, helping to level the character, so I had to mention that Aeria takes a dim view of account sharing.

One of my "busy weekends" is approaching, so today will have to be my last morning session until next Monday probably; there won't be many more afternoon sessions until then, either.  Still, Memree did manage to gain 15.13%, while earning 229 guild points for Discipline, while Kaerella, who as usual didn't do any fighting, but helped move things along by picking up the loot, added 13.54%, with 33 guild points.  And they got 219 skill points each, which gets Kae over the 2k mark.

When SirGalahad logged back on for the lunchtime pet-levelling session, his horse was able to learn the first thirteen levels of Armour Increase, as that was Gal's first chance to visit the animal trainer since he started to train the pony.  It didn't take long for the pony to reach level 15 - and as Gal was left to get on with things all afternoon, the horse moved on to levels 16 and 17 as well.

My Cariae cleric Kaerella logged on, and headed for her elite sphinx speer man and his colleagues.  There wasn't a solo party available, so I invited one of the people registered for a party, and then put the party up for more members.  It grew nicely, though when I finally left it went down to two again.

Since I had two hours available, I used two platinum blessed irises, for an hour each of triple experience gain, and used experience boosters for every elite - which worked out as 66 xpbs in all, 33 per hour.  By the end of the session Kaerella had reached level 63, so that she was able to learn the second level of Party Heal 2, for 240 skill points.  That increases the health party members are healed for by 50, to 350, so it is pretty powerful...it's just a shame that using it does tend to attract the monsters to its caster.  Anyway, Kae added 86.57%, along with 33 skill points and 1810 pet points.

For the evening session it seemed about time that Kaerella on the Katar server had an outing.  She is a level 32 archer now, with a pretty good stock of skill points; I used quite a few platinum super skill pills on her, a while ago.  Still, a few more skill points seemed like a good idea, so as usual Prokion Temple was the destination, on subserver 5, so that Elizabeth's Enhancement was available.

I headed for the mirror half of the Temple's corridor room, which has one orc axeman and a good number of orc fighters, who don't give much experience now, since they are seven levels below Kae, but do give a third of a skill point a time.  I kept going for the whole duration of the three-hour Elizabuff; I generally had the room to myself to begin with, as the mirror half is always less busy, but a friendly level 24 titan, VezosAek, kind of adopted me later on.  I was in a solo party, and had inherited its lead by then; he did come into it briefly, but when I reported that it gave me a lot more experience per kill, which wasn't what I was there for, he swiftly left.  Having me there probably cut back his experience gain per kill, too.

VezosAek had to go when he reached level 25, so my last few minutes were solo again.  In all, Kaerella had gone up by just 12.49%, earning her first 85 guild points for Discipline on Katar - and added 349 skill points.

SirGalahad had been able to continue levelling his pale blue horse, back on Tairen-4; it reached level 19 just before ten o'clock, so there will be another five levels of Armour Increase to learn next time Gal logs in in Randol.  With the usual maintenance scheduled for later tonight, there isn't the option to keep going overnight, however.

Tomorrow won't have a morning session, except for SirGalahad of course,  What it will definitely have, assuming nothing goes drastically wrong with whatever new patch we get to download, is a series of Mad Monster Spawns, starting earlier than usual due to the shorter time difference between the US and UK this week and next.  So, that should be fun, for my local representatives on all six servers for the low-level MMS, and maybe I'll be able to get to a high-level event or two as well.  It looks as if the European MMS on Auzura, usually run in addition to the main MMS in the rotation, is being discontinued, but at least Auzura seems still to be getting its own "Storm the Castle" event on Fridays.