Kaerella's Blog - stardate March 2010 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the month continues here at the top!
Scheduling Problems - March 17th

The patch last night was apparently a fairly large one, needing longer than the usual three hours to get up and running - though the announced fixes seem pretty minor to me.  I think Mondshine-level people were annoyed that cancelled quests couldn't be restarted, but that applies to very few people.  Apparently new level 90 night shadow characters still had the level 10 to 30 "event" treasure chests for Lorraine to open, and that has been stopped... oh, and we are assured that it will now be impossible to sit down in the Quiz Room.  A late addition was a fix for a problem with the skills of the new jaguar pets, so that using those skills is no longer a ticket to a disconnection, it seems.

So, the game continues much as before.  SirGalahad was able to log in at breakfast time, and, continuing in action all through the morning on Tairen-4, got his pale blue horse up a couple more levels, to 21.  XxGALAHADxX, over on Cariae-4, got into action soon afterwards, and got his pony up four levels, to level ten, before it was time for the afternoon session to begin.

The session wasn't very long, by afternoon standards, as I needed to eat early, to be ready for the first of the low-level mad Monster Spawns.  Still, it was longer than a morning session would have been, and featured Memree and Kaerella in the back room of Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.

I only had a single very brief visit from a sorcerer, just demonstrating that he would have used the room if I hadn't got things under control I guess.  By the end of the session, Memree had added 12.84% and 244 guild points, and Kaerella had gained 11.48% and 36 guild points.  And, more importantly, they'd both earned 237 skill points.

SirGalahad was able to log back on after that, and hurry back to level five of Maargadum Jail for some more pet-levelling.  And then, at 4:30 UK time, the first of the low-level Mad Monster Spawns was due to begin.

Katar came first, so my level 31 rogue Memree was in attendance.  The Kiene Tower appeared a few minutes before the start, and then bang on time the various spawns of monsters started popping up, and the official announcement for the MMS was given.  So, we started with just three or four people, but pretty soon we had a pretty good attendance - so good in fact that it only took five or six minutes to kill all the monsters, so that by 4:37 we were all busily picking up the loot which [GM]Darasuum spawned.

My level 27 rogue on Cariae, Karella, had her turn at five o'clock, and things went pretty similarly.  I got recruited into a party of four or five people, who were glad to find that Karella could supply horse buffs.  We were just about all that were there to begin with, but once the announcement was made, plenty more people turned up.

Sarissa was the third server to get its junior MMS, and Kaerella went along to it, going up from level 22 to 23 on the great horn beasts while I waited.  It was lucky I did level up, as at one point my health went down to just 2 hit points - someone, either accidentally or on purpose, had lured scores of elite goblin scouts, elite poison mists, and other higher-level type monsters, and ran a bit close to me, so that some of the blood leeches etc turned their attention to me.  We had a lower turn-out, so that the event ran on for more like ten minutes before the last of the monsters were subdued.  In fact the GM announced "The MMS is now over", and spawned the loot, when there were still quite a few monsters around, and one player complained afterwards that they had been killed while trying to pick up the loot, which isn't quite the idea.

On Hatzring, where Kaerella is level 24, I did manage to get killed once - I didn't think I was in danger at the time, a level 12 healer had just made a party with me and I was trying to add Party Heal to my bar.  Still, Kae wasn't carrying many skill points, so it didn't matter, and I quickly teleported back.  The turn-out must have been even lower than on Sarissa, as the event took more like twelve minutes.  Again there were still monsters around when the loot was spawned, though luckily they seemed to have other targets on their mind when they passed me.

After that, things got a bit frustrating.  The website events page for the day clearly said that Auzura came next, at 11:30 PDT, or 6:30pm UK time, so I took RedRider, my level 27 rogue, along there.  The only other person to be waiting was a higher-level rogue called TazRogue.... and wait we did.  After we'd waited at least 10 minutes past the proper starting time, I went on the forum shoutbox to ask what was happening about the Auzura low-level MMS.  There didn't seem to be a gamesage around, but [GM]Ozymandias was there.  Unfortunately, he completely ignored me, and soon vanished.

What had happened, I found out, was that Auzura had been skipped, and while I'd been waiting there, Tairen-5 had been having its MMS half an hour early...so I missed that one, which is usually the biggest and most enjoyable of the sequence, entirely.  Whether there was an Auzura low-level MMS at some other time, I have no idea.

I was able to get along to the high-level Katar MMS at 8:00pm UK time, hosted by [GM]Cara - which is an improvement over the low-level ones, which were entirely anonymous and with no GM chat, except for one apology from [GM]Darasuum for being a bit slow with spawning the prizes.  Cara was there in person, urging us on, and there were lots of high-level monsters over a wide area, which all had to be killed within twenty minutes.  At level 31 Memree can't have hurt the monsters she attacked much, but I'm sure her Snare was very welcome. Once we had succeeded, Cara spawned some of the big purple dragons, and some darkmind terrains, and finished with a couple of flutons, before providing plenty of piles of loot, also over a pretty wide area.  She also spawned some pet supplies, like thick milk, though it was another party member who picked those up.

The Auzura high-level MMS was at ten, and Rage was able to go along; she is decidedly mid-level, but again Snare was useful, as ever, and she can do substantial damage to a lot of the monsters, though less to flutons  The new-style high MMS was again over a wide area, so people were dashing from one monster to the next, judges and introducers, golems and cave spirits.  We only just managed to clear the whole valley inside the twenty minute deadline, but after that we got the same dragons, darkmind terrains, and flutons, and plenty of loot.  So at least one Auzuran MMS was successfully completed.

SirGalahad  had been busy all evening, so that his horse had got safely into level 23 before the end.

Storming Castles - March 18th

SirGalahad did stay in action overnight on Tairen-4 in Maargadum jail - and XxGALAHADxX kept busy fighting his pair of bandits in Merac on Cariae-4 too.  When moving SirGalahad back a bit from the central pathway I did manage to attack a beast crawler by mistake, and took a heavy magical hit - but I managed to run to the exit before it could hit me again, and so survived. 

After breakfast it seemed a good idea to restart SirGalahad's game, since it had been running non-stop for quite a while; the pale blue horse had gone up four levels since Gal was last in Randol, so this time I used the stat points to get four levels of magical defence for a change, instead of physical defence.

I had posted a grumble about Auzura getting missed out of the low-level MMS sequence yesterday in the "Events" part of the Last Chaos forum, and this morning I found that [GM]Cara had responded, apologising for the mistake they'd made; they did run the Auzura event as soon as they realised, but that must have been while I was elsewhere.  Since they do ask for feedback, I posted my own response:

Ah, it's good to know that Auzura did get one eventually, thanks.  :)

I was able to get along to the Katar and Auzura high-level Mad Monster Spawns that you hosted, and was very impressed with the "new look", with lots of monsters spread out across just about the whole of the valley.  The monsters seemed very well placed, so that with teamwork we could pick them off as we swept round, and it was great to have you there on the spot encouraging us.  The bonus purple dragons, darkmind terrains and flutons at the end were good too, I think everyone appreciated them.

Perhaps the low-level MMS needs a new look too.  That scheduling problem aside, it is fine that there are no advance announcements, just the "is now starting" one - I know that [GM]JediMike wants people to look at the website schedules and prepare accordingly, so people who take the trouble to be there waiting get the most out of the event.  However, if the event starts on the hour, and by seven minutes past the last of the loot is being picked up (which was about the timing on Katar and Cariae) and the "is now over" announcement appears, well, as events go that is a bit short.  Sarissa and Hatzring lasted longer, just because they had lower turn-outs I think.  Our GM must have been in a hurry to go, as at both of those events he spawned the loot before many of the more difficult monsters had been dealt with, leading to problems and people dying.

Personally I don't enjoy an event as much where there is no GM in sight, and no chat with a GM, just him pushing a few buttons for the starting announcement, the monster spawning, the prize spawning, and the closing announcement.  I do like to feel that, for a while at least, we are the most important window on his desktop.

Can't we have multiple waves at the low-level event?  Probably Tairen got multiple waves, since they don't yet get a high-level MMS, but I missed that one.  People at the other events were certainly ready for more monsters, and hung around hopefully for a few minutes. 

We seem a little short of "Pharaoh's Treasure" events outside Auzura these days, which is a shame.  I can well do without the spawnings of Pandora's Beasts, they strike me as pointless as the beasts don't drop anything better than any other monsters of a similar level, and are protective in large numbers in a small area, which can be a recipe for disaster.  Now, if it was Pandora's [i]Boxes[/i] that were spawned, that would be a bit more interesting...

Anyway, as expected, there wasn't any active LC playing for me during the day.  SirGalahad and his Cariae equivalent continued their good work, however, with the Cariae pony transforming into a level 16 horse at around nine in the morning - and reaching level 18 before Galahad had to log out, to allow Kaerella to go online for the Auzura-4 "Parade" event which, with the different timings we have for this fortnight, was scheduled for 4:00pm, UK time.

[GM]Noboru was in charge, and as usual dropped a generous number of dire wolf, jaguar, sasquatch, and drake scrolls, plus firecrackers, and led us around town in a suitably leisurely way.  She stayed for the full half hour, giving out more scrolls, and gently deflecting requests for jaguar collars.  And of course she reminded us that a "Pharaoh's Treasure" event was due to follow after a gap of ninety minutes.

As usual the transformation scrolls meant that there were one or two rather small people around, not to mention a bright scarlet cube.  The actual transformation seems to involve the player shrinking before they change, so size problems aren't too surprising.  We didn't get a tiny, or petite, GM this time, though I did notice that, on my screen at least, her sasquatch wasn't as tall as mine by a foot or so.

Kaerella, my level 67 archer, was out in Juno in time for the "Pharaoh's Treasure" event, and indeed I discovered a group of the sphinx soldiers and speer men before the list of coordinates was announced, and fought a few of those until then.  I rode north - and the third spot I found was the treasure location, with [GM]Noboru and four or five people already gathering loot.  So, I quickly dismounted, said "Hi", and joined in.

There were plenty of waves of loot, and the Pharaoh sent a couple of platoons of his fighters (and speer men) to attack us, though [GM]Noboru, mindful that some people there were low level, was always careful to spawn such things off to the side.  The Pharaoh even sent a Patriarch Botis, followed by a fluton, but luckily we had enough rogues to keep them under control, and enough high-level people to damage them relatively quickly. 

Kaerella herself only did about 124 damage, though more for a critical or deadly hit - and that is with a level 69 +15 bow.  With all the loot she was able to pick up, her inventory weight went over 100%, decreasing her dexterity - and I think the damage she did may well have dropped by a point or two.

There was time for a tiny bit of downstairs work, again, before the sequence of "Storm the Castle" events began at 7:00pm.  As usual the GMs were running them two at a time, so I opted for RAGE on Auzura-5, as opposed to a lower level character on Tairen-5...though Tairen, I could tell from SirGalahad's screen, was getting advance announcements 15 and 10 minutes before the event, and Auzura wasn't.

And then I had a bad idea - I logged out SirGalahad on the older machine, and logged in my level 41 rogue xRAGEx, who did have the Merac castle location on her memory scroll.  Partly I suppose because I wasn't giving that screen 100% attention, this version of Rage managed to die three times, losing 367 skill points and 2.42% experience.  The third time was the annoying one, as [GM]Stratos spawned some monsters back up the road where he puts down the loot, and Rage died pretty much instantly, not knowing what hit her.

Still, at least the Tairen event started on time; Rage of Auzura was able to tell JadaMarie that, since we were about the only people there.  Tairen managed just about the full range of StC monsters, and did it within the time limit.  Of course with Stratos the loot rewards were extremely puny, but I managed to pick up one skill point booster, one item drop booster, three large defence potions, and five tool aids, plus three small HP recovery potions and one small mana recovery potion.  Not much compensation for the skill points lost - but then, that particular rogue isn't intended to get to level 100 or anything, she ought just to end up as a useful mid-level character.

Possibly because Tairen's Rage did ask about the Auzura "StC", [GM]Stratos did finally start things off at about ten past the hour there, spawning the usual monsters by the bridge and making a first announcement.  To his credit, he did make other announcements exhorting people to join us, and he did forget about the time limit.  We started off small, but grew to quite an army - though as usual things were slow to begin with, particularly on the anubis spear men.  There was an invisible blood shadow dragon, but this one was in the outer courtyard, so some people were fighting it while the rest of us were still clearing out the hell-otuu and spear men from the far end, but things went okay, and we cleared the castle out.

[GM]Stratos summoned us back to his usual spot up the road, and things were a bit more elaborate this time - a squad of wight slashers and wraiths, along with death knights, bore down on us, and had to be despatched, before the usual darkmind terrains and purple dragons spawned.  And by this particular GM's standards, the drops were almost generous, it wasn't just one thin heap he treated us to, but three or four.  I got three tool aids, three large attack potions, a large defence potion, an item drop booster, seven small HP recovery potions, and two small mana recovery potions.  Not a huge compensation for quite a lengthy fight, but I think I did pick up a little gold early on.

SirGalahad logged back in and retreated to the relative safety of Maargadum Jail, with his horse recently started on level 27; the Cariae "StC" was scheduled for nine o'clock, UK time, so I had a little time to spare before that.  Katar was also due to start then, but fighting at two events at once is definitely hazardous to my health.

After taking Sarissa's Kaerella down to Merac Castle to get the location onto her memory scroll, and getting MistressDomino on Sarissa up to level 4, it was time for Barbarienne to head for the Cariae castle-storming.  We were quite a powerful group right from the start, helped no doubt by the announcements that [GM]Stratos carefully made.  We carved our way through the regular monsters, though apart from a sphinx commander or two, I think, the inner courtyard was strangely empty. 

However, Stratos then summoned us to his favourite place back along the road towards Merac Caron, and things were more elaborate than last time, with the wight slashers, wraiths and death knights, followed by darkmind terrains and flutons, so that it was as big a battle, fighting the monster "counter-attack", as the actually storming of the castle - we fought our way back up the road far enough to reach the region's regular monsters.  The loot was if anything slightly more generous, though nothing to write home about, and as usual a few purple dragons got dropped on us just after we'd finished grabbing the loot - it seems to be the Stratos way of saying goodbye.

I was assuming that the Sarissa event, half an hour later, would be run by [GM]Stratos too, but instead we had someone who wished to remain anonymous.  This was a more basic "StC", though it had all the usual monsters for the actual storming, including the sphinx commanders and an invisible blood shadow dragon in the inner courtyard.   My level 23 archer there, Kaerella, probably didn't do an awful lot of damage to the monsters she targeted, but she did manage to stay alive.

I paused in the inner courtyard, as one is never sure with this event where the loot will be provided - and indeed that was where the clumps of loot did appear.  Again it wasn't a huge amount, I think I just got one each of the skill point and item drop boosters, a few large attack and defence potions, and so on, but the people who had hurried back outside, expecting loot or further monsters there, were rather annoyed to find that they had missed out, and that there weren't any other monsters to fight - and the GM, if it was a GM, had departed, without really a proper goodbye message.

SirGalahad, meanwhile, had managed to get his horse past the halfway mark in level 27, before he logged out for the night.  It's time to let that older computer have a rest for a few hours, I think.

A Timely Storming - March 19th

While I was busy working downstairs, the pet-levellers continued their good work.  SirGalahad on Tairen-4 got back to Maargadum Jail before breakfast, and Galahad on Cariae-4 went off to his pair of bandits shortly after that, after using the eight stat points his horse had gained on the Armour Increase buff.  Before 9:30 both pets had levelled up, reaching 28 and 19 respectively.

By late afternoon Galahad's horse had reached level 21, but it was time for him to log out - and Rage to log in over on Auzura-4 for [GM]Noboru's version of Storming the Castle in Merac.

Unlike the [GM]Stratos version yesterday, we got the proper "starting in a few minutes" announcements; we didn't actually start bang on four o'clock, UK time, as Noboru wanted to make sure everyone who wanted to come had a chance to reach us, but at around five past, the usual monsters appeared, and the fight began.  Luckily Rage didn't have to tank anything, just provide artillery fire and Snare, plus Flame Arrow - she used the last of her Christmas-time mana-providing candy canes.  Clearing the outer courtyard of its anubis spear men, and hell-otuu and dark harpies, took a while, but at last we reached the throne room where, as [GM]Noboru had warned us, a couple of flutons were waiting. 

There were a few deaths in the final room; I think a royal knight who fought the fluton I was firing on might have survived if he'd thought to give me, and one or two other rogues, the Concentration buff, to increase the chance of Snare succeeding.  I didn't get into any trouble, myself, and the GM judged that we had finished within our time limit - so we were invited back out to the starting area, where the proper traditional fatly-packed circles of loot were quickly spawned.  I'd rather have loot like that than the extra "counter-attack" monsters [GM]Stratos provided, followed by his small loot spawnings.

There's always a moment after a StC has been successfully completed when one wonders where to go next - a good GM like Noboru or Valsharyn will quickly say where the loot will be spawned, or indeed where other monsters can be found.  It can be unfortunate if we are left to guess where to go, and people can miss out, if they stay inside and the loot is outside, or rush outside not realising that the loot is even then being spawned in the inner courtyard, or even the throne room itself.

After the food break, it was a matter of deciding how to spend the evening.  The main options seemed to be either my Cariae cleric Kaerella out with the sphinx types for the duration of a blessed iris, or my Tairen healer (and archer-to-be) Kaerella tagging along with Memree to Prokion Temple, for the duration of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff.  It seemed to me that the Tairen duo was slightly more appropriate, at least if I was able to find a place for them, so I logged them both in, got the buff, and headed out to the Temple.

I was in luck, in that the back room I prefer was free, and I had the room to myself for most of the time.  A level 30 knight called JacKsen came in for a while, but didn't really slow me down much.  We chatted a bit, and he told me he had had his old account, with a character over level 70, hacked, so had just started again.  He'd got his new knight to level 30 in one day; he was using a blessed iris, which would help speed things along; he assured me that it did "stack" with the Elizabuff, which would make it useful.

Since he didn't yet have the +10 armour set, he left after a while, for a less arduous room, though he did return once just to give Memree an armour buff, which was kind.  In my last few minutes before the Elizabuff ended a rogue called Eestijaan came in and started busily fighting the orc sergeants and axemen, but she definitely wasn't wearing any sort of 30/32 armour set, so got through health potions rather quickly, and retreated to the orc soldiers outside.

I left when the buff ran out.  By then, Memree had gone up by 19.49%, so by my calculations it would take about seven more hours before she reaches level 39, as things go; she earned 369 guild points for Discipline.  Kaerella got 17.44%, so it should only take her two more hours to get to level 29 - I hope that Memree's experience gain doesn't fall too much when that happens.  Discipline gained 53 more guild points from her.  And they each got 355 skill points, so Kae's stash of unused sp is starting to grow.  Some skill points will need to be spent at levels 30, 32 and 35, of course, but Kaerella has plenty of levels of sp-farming ahead of her...sigh...

SirGalahad logged back in, and was able to have his horse learn two more levels of Magical Defence, as it had levelled up twice since his last appearance in Randol.  He headed for Maargadum Jail, as usual. The halfway point in level 29 should be reached before I go off to bed.

I think I managed to get far enough ahead with my downstairs work today to be able to have an afternoon session tomorrow, as well as the evening one.  There don't seem to be any exciting events coming up to report on, generally Tuesday to Friday are the busiest days for those.  I see that next week the main "Storm the Castle" rota moves to Tuesday, with the "Mad Monster Spawns" remaining on Wednesday.  "World Defence" moves from Friday to Thursday, but that never has its timing announced in advance, so is not something I often encounter, as if I'm on a different server I'll never hear about it.  Fighting high-level monsters at the very gates of the city is always risky stuff, anyway, and if it is [GM]Stratos in command, one just knows that any loot rewards will be minor.

Extra Concentration - March 20th

SirGalahad on Tairen-4 and his Cariae-4 equivalent both stayed busy overnight with their pet-levelling duties, so that SirGalahad got his pale blue horse to level 31, the first level at which it could be mounted, by mid-morning; level 37 is what we are aiming for though as usual, for the full-strength horse buffs.  Galahad (or XxGALAHADxX to be precise, the simpler versions of good names get snapped up quickly) on Cariae got his horse to level 24 soon after, having added three levels in his session.

One thing I'd been doing last night was to check my various characters on the different servers, to remind myself where stashes of good items and undownloaded item mall packages were, and as a consequence I was able to transfer a package of chaos smelting stones across to Rage on Auzura, to improve her armour rating before she does some Tomb of Theos work, hopefully next week.  It was interesting to see how the defence on her boots increased; +8 gave a total of an extra 71 on top of the unaugmented number, +9 and +10 each added another 12 - and then at +11 an extra 38 got added, going down again to 18 more when I got the boots to +12, making a total of 151 extra, until I can add an extreme stone.

One thing I'd discovered during my checkings-around on various characters, their inventories and so on, was that on Auzura my royal knight, GALAHAD, was level 34 - but if I could get him to level 35 he would be able to learn one more level of Concentration, which would increase the boost to the chance of success with skills like Snare from 25% to 35%, and also double its duration from ten to twenty minutes.  This particular Galahad doesn't have all his skills maximised, the main idea was for him to be able to give Concentration... he just needed a little more work.

So, this afternoon's trip to Prokion Temple wasn't on Tairen, it was on the Auzura server, and featured Galahad teamed up, in a combat party, with RedRider, my level 27 rogue who is set up to go along to low-level Mad Monster Spawns or other events, and is in the process of learning the special skills.  The back room was free, so that's where we settled down.

We did have a visitor, a daggers-wielding rogue called PLaYeR, but she didn't stay very long.  It seemed strange to be playing a knight, using dual swords, rather than a crossbow-wielding rogue - Gal would rush straight up to any orc I targeted, rather than fighting from a distance.  Still, Red picked up the loot in a helpful way, including most of PLaYeR's, since she wasn't bothering to pick things up.  The session was a reasonably long one, and Galahad did reach level 35 easily, going up by 44.60% in all and earning 500 guild points for the local branch of Discipline.  RedRider added 29.29% and 72 guild points, and they each gained 304 skill points.

Back in Randol, Galahad spent 200 of his skill points to get that new level of Concentration - and is now officially ready to team up with Rage some time, to increase the chance of her Snare skill working.  Then RedRider spent her newly-acquired skill points, plus 28 she already had, on the last two levels of expert weaponsmith.  She has plenty more special skills to learn yet, though.  She then headed for Misty Canyon, and let the first Introducer Cameo there kill her 23 times, to get her experience back down to the start of level 27 again.

For the evening session, it was time for my Cariae cleric Kaerella to head out to the sphinx types again, this time just using a blessed iris for three hours.  After a few false starts I managed to get a solo party going, including the level 122 player Quqluque, and we had a bit of a general discussion about Last Chaos, past and future.  Memories of demon parties, and hopes that the skill points cost of the higher level skills might one day be reduced to something a bit more realistic.  As it is, high-level characters, particularly night shadows, have to earn a heck of a lot of sp, fighting creatures a lot less forgiving than orcs.  "No wonder Koreans drop dead in cyber cafes", I commented...

Kaerella just basically slogged away for the three hours; luckily there was the "Turbo" event running for most of the time, without any announcements, which added an extra 50% to both experience and skill exp.  In all Kaerella went up by 34.64%, along with 70 skill points and 2466 pet points.  At that rate her next session ought to see her level up again.

SirGalahad had continued with hsi pet-levelling while Kae was out killing the elite sphinx speer man and his friends, and got his horse into level 32 about halfway through Kae's session.  There still seems a long way to go before level 37 is reached though.  Will that be the last horse I need to level on Tairen?  Time will tell, I suppose.

The Invisible Visitor - March 21st

I did leave both the currently-active pet-levellers in action last night, since I knew that the computers and the modem would be getting a rest during the hours of daylight today.  So, before my usual breakfast time, instead of logging on, they were logging off - with SirGalahad's pale blue horse on Tairen-4 an hour into level 33, and XxGALAHADxX's horse on Cariae-4 almost four hours into level 26.

So, we did have some activity today, though from 6:30am UK time, for twelve hours or so, the computers were off while I was out.  I got Last Chaos running again at about seven in the evening, which was in good time for the Sunday Quiz - which, while the US and UK clocks are out of sequence for two weeks, was at 7:30pm for Britain, as opposed to the usual 8:30pm.

MistressDomino was first to log in, on as usual for the Quiz Tairen-2, and found that the Quiz Room was still not open, even though by then it was a couple of minutes past seven.  Normally the rooms, on each subserver, open at least half an hour before the event is due to begin, but today it was more like twenty minutes.  In case Tairen-2 had a glitch, Kaerella logged in on Tairen-4; she found that subserver's room open, and was the first to arrive in it. 

MistressDomino reported to the other people standing by the Domain Merchant that the T4 room was open - but then, when she tried to enter the T2 room again, that time she did get in, the second person to arrive.  So, Kaerella moved across to our usual Quiz subserver, and joined MD.

I didn't notice the usual plethora of announcements about the Quiz, just the one notification that the rooms were now open, just after Kae had joined MD.  No "exploiters will be handled", no "Quiz is about to start" - just the window for the first question popping up, a minute or so after half past seven.

The Quiz moved along quickly, as it did last week, so I was kept busy moving Kaerella and MistressDomino independently - I did move to the wrong side on one question, but soon realised my mistake, and both characters were able to move back to safety before the countdown got perilously low.  The questions were the ones we have come to know and love, and hardly anyone got lost along the way - the ten tool aids, ten moonstones, and five plus ten heaven stones all duly arrived in our inventories.

There were 23 questions in all, though the last prizes arrive when 20 have been successfully completed.  The last three questions were all repeats, though there are others in the database that they could have used, I'm sure.  Kaerella and MistressDomino didn't bother to get the last one wrong to leave, as they would be logging out anyway; Kae trade the newly-received heaven stones and moonstones across to MD, and then they both logged  out.

Having the Quiz early meant that there was room for a reasonably lengthy session after it, so Memree logged in on Tairen-5, and was joined by Kaerella there.  They formed a combat party, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff - and headed for Prokion Temple.  I had hoped that we would be quick enough to grab my favourite back room, but it was already being used.  The corridor room nearby was vacant, but I decided that one so often gets someone coming along and killing half the orcs that it wasn't a good place to start work, so we ran across to the mirror side, and settled into a couple of small rooms between that half's corridor and back rooms, as it seemed to have a reasonably good supply of orc axemen and orc sergeants.

Memree and Kaerella stayed there for almost two hours.  We had one visitor, a sorcerer called PILLOW, but he had the usual glitch that sorcs often get with their stone skin buff, and was invisible.  I could see his name and his spirits, but not him, and, while I assume he was ks-ing me, Rage remarked that, as he was invisible, it was impossible to her to avoid ks-ing him.

He did ask to join the party, but Rage had to say that as she was level 38, that would cut down on his experience gain too much.  So, after that he did move along to the next room, thankfully - it wasn't as if the mirror half was crowded, there were plenty of places he could solo.

By the end of the session, Memree was up by 14.01%, which meant that she had earned 266 guild points - another couple of sessions like that and she will overtake Rage (or xRAGEx) as the biggest supplier of guild points to Discipline on Tairen.  Kaerella went up by 12.29%, which was enough to get her into the start of level 29.  Now she will be able to use her level 33 +10 bow, when necessary.  Her share of the experience meant that 39 more guild points went to Discipline.  And they each gained 214 skill points, which takes Memree over the 7k mark.

Talking of skill points, there was a special raffle event today, with no purchases necessary.  To qualify for a chance to win the Grand Prize, all you have to do is use skill point boosters - the more you use, the better your chance.  There will be sixty lucky winners, with ten chosen per server.  The prize isn't master packs or master stones, instead - drum roll please - it's one hundred skill points.  Which strikes me as most peculiar, as to almost any character that's a tiny prize.  In Prokion Temple you could get that many skill points from using 13 skill point boosters, or even without boosters it would only take a few minutes, if you were fighting monsters your own level.  Even going slowly, to get skill exp without too much experience, Kae or Memree each get that in less than an hour.  So, a rather small deal.  Perhaps it is aimed more at high-level players - but at level 100-ish, new skills tend to cost around a thousand skill points per level.  So, why wasn't the prize one or two thousand?  To make such a "song and dance" about such a small prize seems weird.

Anyway, once Kaerella and Memree were safely out of the way, SirGalahad and his Cariae equivalent got back into action for a while.  Galahad's Cariae horse ought to be getting fairly close to level 27 before my rather long day comes to its close.

A Different Server - March 22nd

Since the computers had had most of the day off yesterday, they both stayed on all night, with my pair of pet-levellers hard at work; on Tairen-4 SirGalahad got the pale blue horse for Kaerella into level 34, while on Cariae-4 Galahad's horse reached 28.

After coffee Memree and Kaerella took over the computers, and headed for Prokion Temple on Tairen-5 in their usual way.  I didn't get any visitors or interruptions, so that Memree was able to earn another 8.71%, which brought in another 165 guild points, taking her total donation to over the 10k mark.  Kaerella went up by 6.49%, bringing in 25 guild points, and they both added 157 more skill points.  It all continues to be a viable if slow way to gain skill points, though it will be interesting to see what happens when Memree next levels up, reaching 39.

The pet-levellers were back in action over lunch, allowing Galahad on Cariae to get his horse into level 29.  Then it was time to log my Cariae cleric, the original Kaerella, in over on Cariae-4.

Kaerella managed to join a solo party right away - and not only did the level 137 titan meatmog join it a little later, we also had a level 151 royal knight, xDevilSoulx, in our group.  Kae went out to her elite sphinx speer man, and had two hours, using a platinum blessed iris for each, plus an experience booster for every elite.  The first hour used 38 xpbs, and brought in 43.10%, plus 18 skill points and 868 pet points; the second hour just used 32 xpbs, and brought 36.39%, along with 16 skill points and 909 pet points. 

Kae went up to level 64 during the first hour, which means she has a new quest waiting - to kill some spiders in the Temple of Forgetfulness.  There are plenty of quests in Egeha too, which Kaerella would now be eligible to take, but they can be done any time over the next dozen or so levels, and there is definitely no hurry in confronting some of the Egeha monsters involved.  I can't say that I feel any particular rush to take Kae into that particular temple either; if I wait until she is level 66 I can do another quest, to kill legendary slayers, at the same time.

Strangely, the "Sunday" special event offering 100 skill points as a prize was still being advertised today, with the last GM announcement coming a few minutes after four in the afternoon, UK time - that may only be nine in the morning on America's west coast, but that was still well into Monday.

For the evening session, it was time for a change of pace, so I decided to do some work on the Sarissa server, where Kaerella was level 23.  I'd previously got my knight there, SirDarth for a change (well, one can have too many Galahad variants around...), to level 10, and added Prokion Temple to his memory scroll, so it was just a matter of logging Kaerella in, and SirDarth, on Sarissa-5, getting the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, forming an equal party (since they were within 15 levels of each other), making Darth Kae's apprentice in the Guardian system, and heading for Prokion Temple.

As SirDarth was still in his starter armour, except for level 6 "Tigulated" shirt and pants, he just stayed in the Temple's entirely safe entry hall, and Kaerella fought ghouls and mummies close by, being careful to keep Darth's dot on her compass-map.  So, he got a half share of the skill exp, and his share of the experience too, though as he was lower in level it wasn't a full half of that.  It was plenty to keep him moving up through the levels, though, and it didn't take more than about two hours to get him to level 20, so that he completed the Guardian system and got his special "event weapon" Light of Odin sword.

They logged out and respawned back in Randol, swapping over computers so that SirDarth was on the main one now.  He had a few quests to do, for reaching level 20, which brought in some useful gold; he had a couple of Lorraine's treasure chests to open as well, for gold and candy.  The important quest though was to get the knight "neckless" from his skills trainer. 

Once he had safely obtained and identified, and equipped, the "neckless", Kaerella traded across the three level 21 weapons she had picked up during the fighting.  Converted into six smelting stones, they were just enough to get Darth's new sword up to +3.

Kaerella had reached level 25; I'll have to consider going to the Sunday Quiz on Sarissa one week to try to get some heaven stones, so that we can have a little gold there to afford new weapons and armour.  She also had a quick quest to do in Juno - and there were ones to pick up in Dratan too.

SirDarth and Kaerella returned to Prokion Temple; he'd got a relatively recent helm now as a quest reward, plus a pair of Templar boots that Kaerella had picked up in Velpist temple a while ago, and purchased a level 25 shield, so that, even though he was still wearing the Tigulated shirt and pants, his armour was much improved.  He'd also been able to learn the passive skill to increase his health regeneration, and had had just enough skill points for all five levels of the Divine Shield armour buff.

So, Kae and Darth were a fighting team now, and ventured in among the ghouls and mummies together, also taking on the occasional orc soldier.  We got fairly close to my favourite back room, though going in there would have been suicidal.  Someone was busily fighting the orc soldiers in a room and passageway close by, but not bothering to pick up the loot drops - so Darth was able to grab a pair of level 26 Radiant leggings, and, as he'd reached level 21 by then, put them on.  He still needs the matching shirt-armour though.

The level 18 rogue KRAZYkiller was fighting next to us, and asked to join the party - so we teamed up for the last part of the session, which saved her quite a few health potions I think.  She just managed to reach level 19 before she had to log out; and it was time for Kae and Darth to call it a night, too.

So, SirDarth has got up to halfway through level 21 now.  The plan is for him to be a pet-levelling guild master, like SirGalahad on Tairen, and hopefully manage to train up a pale blue horse for Kaerella, as that seems to be what she expects on whichever server she is active on.  Kaerella levelled up twice, and is now almost a third of the way through level 25, though we will soon have to get SirDarth higher than her, so that he can lead in a combat party, to build up her skill point stash.

The two current pet-levellers logged back on for the last part of the evening, and SirGalahad soon got his pale blue horse, for Tairen's Kaerella, into level 35.  That level is liable to take twelve hours or so, and the following level even longer, but the end of that particular job does seem to be in sight now.

A New Friend - March 23rd

The two pet-levellers kept busy through the night again; SirGalahad did manage to attract the attention of the nearest death mask soldier once, but luckily it confined its attacks to him, leaving the pale blue horse alone.  Curiously, when Gal equipped his sword and began attacking the soldier, it did then do a single point of damage to the horse - but after it was killed, things went back to normal.

The after-coffee session for Memree and Kaerella on Tairen-5 was rather interrupted by various things; I'd leave the computer for a couple of minutes and come back to find every orc in the room furiously attacking Memree, but luckily with her +10 armour set she can withstand such punishment.

At the end of the session Memree had gained another 6.62%, so she will still need another couple of similar sessions before reaching level 39, which will surely make her the Temple's oldest inhabitant.  Or maybe not, I have seen night shadows, who are a minimum of level 90, there, even on non-PvP subservers, just to gather souls, which they need for the use of some skills I think.  Anyway, Memree had earned 126 guild points for Discipline; Kaerella had contributed 19, while going up by 4.92%, and they had each gained 122 skill points, taking Kaerella over the 3k mark.

The pet-levellers were back in action over lunch, and SirGalahad on Tairen soon got his horse into its final level, 36. with Galahad on Cariae getting his horse into level 31 soon after.

For the afternoon, I went back to Sarissa, with SirDarth and Kaerella in, of course, Prokion Temple.  At level 25, Kaerella was able to stay clicked on to SirDarth, and follow him around as he fought mainly mummies, but also some orc soldiers when they were available.  Since it was a combat party, Kae just went up 17.37%, while Darth, who was doing the fighting, added 188.36%, moving up from level 21 to 23.  They got 146 skill points each, though Kae's target at present is to get 250, so that she can learn that expensive first level of Resurrection.

My new friend was actually a rogue called xxxXfriendXxxx, who guessed that I was using two computers to play both SirDarth and Kaerella.  I was explaining that SirDarth would probably become a pet-leveller, with his spare skill points used to level up the Discipline guild - she was saying that I should just buy a horse.  And then she made a remarkable offer, she wanted both my characters to join her level 95 healer (who I think may be called ooiceoo) in a monster combo party, fighting the nivas and wight slashers.  She would not only pay the admission costs, she would pay us 25 million gold per character per hour-long session, though of course she would keep all the master coins earned.

I rather assumed that she wanted to do that right away, but, after going back to town, she said that it was late in the evening in her part of the world, so I'm on call for a near-future occasion I guess.  She has loaned us a level 29 +15 weapon.  She seems to have a good collection of +15 weapons of various levels.  She has given us some effort scrolls and health pots... and also given us four bits of the 30/32 armour set, three at the usual +10 and one at +9, which will be very handy for Darth before long.  We were asked to pass on a similar kind of favour to someone else when we, or Kae at least, reaches a high level, which seems a nice idea.

After the break in Dratan and Randol, Kae and Darth returned to complete the session - another rogue was rather friendly too, TreTa, dropping a couple of useful rings; she asked to join our party, saying she was level 20, but when, after failing to add her to the combat party, I changed it to an equal type of party, she was revealed to be level 43, so she didn't stay long.

Later it occurred to me that, on past experience, taking a low-level person into a monster combo does tend to boost their experience rather a lot, even if they are "capped" by higher-level team members.  That wouldn't matter for SirDarth, but would rather mess up Kaerella's skill point gain - so it seemed like a good idea to develop a substitute character on Sarissa.  Start a new healer or a new rogue from level 1?  In the end I decided that a mage in their twenties would be useful for buffs... and Keerella on Sarissa was already level 10.

So, after the early evening food break, Keerella and Kaerella logged in - though Kae just stayed around long enough to recruit Kee into the Guardian system, so that reaching level 20 would get Keerella the special "event weapon".  Then SirDarth logged on, formed an equal party with Kee, they both got the Elizabuff...and off they went to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5.

With Kee still in her starter armour, the policy was for her to stay safely in the corner of the entry hallway, while SirDarth fought mummies, ghouls, and, if he could reach them, the occasional orc soldier, while carefully making sure that Kee's orange dot remained fully visible in his compass-map.

The session wasn't hugely long, as there was a "Storm the Castle" event scheduled for Auzura at seven o'clock, UK time, but I managed to get Keerella safely into level 18, while SirDarth himself added another 80.94%, getting him into level 24.  They both gained 124 skill points.

[GM]JediMike was in charge of the "StC" event on Auzura-5, and started the announcements 15 minutes before the event, which helped bring in plenty of people - as did his announcement of a BBQ afterwards, heheh.  I logged Rage in a little early, as I wanted to finish upgrading her armour, and for that I needed two extreme stones.  Luckily Rage had, in storage, plenty of upgrade boxes; I only needed to open six of them to get what I needed, along with two runes of protection 1, a heaven stone, and a package of 5 platinum refining stones, used to, temporarily but without risk, upgrade an item by +1, +2 or +3.  I hope that one or two of them will be +2 at least, so that Rage's +13 crossbow can function in the Tomb of Theos as a +15 one for a session or two...

Rage's boots had given 121 + 151 defence while at +12, but making them +13 moved the bonus on by another 19; similarly, her gloves had given 118 + 147 defence, but also added 19 more.  That just leaves the matter of getting a set of bonus books of melding, and sending across a cover-costume for Rage, so that the +13s become, for a month, +14s... and then she will be ready for the Tomb.

When Rage arrived outside Merac Castle, there were at least a couple of dozen people there, including [GM]JediMike himself - what a change from the usual start!  I got recruited into a party by the archer XxHelenaxX, which was a great luxury as she did some healing when necessary.  Mike had made plenty of announcements, so people kept on arriving - and then it was time to start, and in we surged, to battle the usual monsters. 

Male assassinbugs, thorny mantises, anubis archers, jumping devils, barren eises, zamaras, hell-otuu, anubis spear men, dark harpies - they were all present and correct, and we battled our way through them.  There was one of the Strayana invisible "blood shadow" raid boss dragons to fight in the inner courtyard - I don't think there was anything hostile in the throne room itself, unless our vanguard killed them while the blood shadow was being dealt with.  We were well inside the time limit, I think it all only took us ten minutes - and then the announcement came up that the loot was to be spawned back outside, so we all hurried back, and as usual we were all generously rewarded by the most generous of GMs.

The Cariae "StC" wasn't due until nine, so I had time to get Keerella and SirDarth back online for a while first.  Kee spent her skill points, mainly on passive skills to increase her defence and hit points, after checking out the quests she had open - they got her 5.11% experience and 16 skill points.   She finally got herself some up-to-date mage armour too.  Back in Prokion Temple, this time, after taking Keerella clicked on to SirDarth into the middle of the action proved a bit dangerous, Darth tried one of the rooms at the end of the hall, and was able, in a round room, to fight quite a few orc soldiers, if he could get them into the half of the room nearest to Kee.

The place did get a bit busy, mainly with healers and rogues it seemed - annoyingly there was some ks-ing, and when an orc soldier I'd been fighting was pulled away by a ks-er, when it dropped a hand of the warrior the heaven stone was allocated to the ks-er since they had the aggro when it died.  Still, Keerella managed to get up to level 20, finishing her apprenticeship; she gained 227.61% and 80 skill points.  I just had time to get SirDarth into level 25, adding 72.15% (and 83 skill points - I guess three or four kills must have been out of range of Kee), before it was time for the Cariae  storming of the castle.

This particular "StC" was quite a contrast to the Auzura one.  For a start, though Barbarienne was no earlier arriving that Rage had been, she was the first person there.  The first announcement came up at 5 minutes before the start, which made it pretty tight timing for people who had to ride or run down from town.  Really it was only four of us that were there at the start; I asked for a party, and the level 111 titan BaronOfSweden added me, and gave me the useful titan warmaster buffs.

I found myself tanking a thorny mantis, when things started, but luckily someone managed to use Snare on it successfully before it hit my health too badly.  An anubis spear man came for me too, and, as they tend to do when out of the Tomb, did a lot of damage, but he got dealt with as well.  As the Baron was in the thick of the fighting, I was able to re-supply the horse buffs.  Things were going well; more people arrived, including [GM]Cara... and then, just as we were finishing clearing the main courtyard, the monsters counter-attacked, with flutons, squads of death knights, wight slashers, and more.  [GM]Stratos had arrived by then, too.

Still, we carved our way through this new threat - but then, once the castle was cleansed, rather than be told where the loot was to be spawned, we were told that there was a new threat to deal with, and we were given coordinates quite a distance across the map - which, when we got there, we found to be the Dread Garden, with its doom slayers and blood frenzies augmented by a mass of huge darkmind terrains and flutons.

We had enough high-level people to overcome them, and the loot was spawned there - but it was in Stratos-type amounts, so I ended up with about one of everything, though I did pick up two small chocolates too.  And that was the end of the festivities.

Some people were not happy; if you didn't have a mount you'd have had difficulty reaching the Dread Garden in time, and our lower-level people would have been in mortal peril if they'd tried to pick up loot, with doom slayers and blood frenzies respawning there.  The unexpected death knights back in the main courtyard would have been a nasty and probably fatal shock, too.

Sarissa's event was starting at half past nine; I had been intending to go to it, but taking either Kaerella or SirDarth along would have been pretty suicidal if Cara and Stratos were planning the same extra entertainments again, so I decided to pass on that. 

The weekly server maintenance was scheduled for the early hours of the morning, UK time, so there was no question of any overnight pet-levelling.  Still, by the time SirGalahad logs out that pale blue horse destined for Tairen's Kaerella should be at least a third of the way into level 36.

An Eventful Day - March 24th

I logged on unusually early this morning, so SirGalahad arrived in Randol on Tairen-4 at least an hour earlier than the usual "before breakfast" time.  The only problem was, an announcement immediately appeared, to say that the servers were coming down in five minutes, to solve "stability issues", brought on no doubt by last night's maintenance and new patch.

So, I had to log out without doing anything; a swift check of the Last Chaos forum shoutbox showed that as usual people weren't happy with the short notice, especially if they had been using hour-length potions, though as one person said, doing anything expensive like that soon after maintenance is always a bit risky. 

The patch itself only offered a "fix to the special characters in character names issue ", the forum's patch thread informed us, though we are promised that the "Easter Egg" event will start next week.  "We are waiting on a number of bug fixes for everything ranging from pets to titans ", the post ended.  How true...

An hour or so later all the servers except Cariae were up and running - apparently it was Cariae's problems that had led to the downtime, so that "A number of the Cariae gameservers are getting hardware makeovers again ".  So, SirGalahad was able to log in on Tairen-4, and head for Maargadum Jail to resume his pet-levelling, slightly later than usual - but any Cariae pet-levelling wouldn't be possible for a while.

Cariae was still listed as "maintenance" after ten, so instead of Galahad and his horse there, ColonelScarlet and his level 37 pink drake made a trip to Merac's bandits on Katar-4.  I had work to do downstairs - and my work continued into the afternoon, so that I had only an hour's playing time, in the end - for which SirDarth and Keerella went to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5 again.

After a while a level 24 healer, lostuno, came into the circular room Darth was battling orc soldiers in, and asked to join the party, so that worked okay - not that Darth needed any healing, with his armour, unplussed though it is, and rate of healing.  Before the time was up she reached level 25; I think it was her lunchtime then, so she had to go, but SirDarth continued a little longer, with Keerella remaining out in the hallway.  In all SirDarth added 75.22% and 98 skill points, while Keerella levelled up twice, adding 169.50% and 89 skill points - Kee must have been out of range for some of Darth's kills, when he and lostuno were fighting at the far end of the room.

The food break had to be taken early, as the first of the low-level Mad Monster Spawns was at 4:30, UK time, on Katar-5.  My level 31 rogue Memree went along, and was about the only person there when things began.  [GM]Darasuum, as he has tended to do recently, didn't really get involved personally, but he spawned the monsters, along with the announcement for people to come out and join in, and he spawned the loot, about 9 minutes later.

Cariae was scheduled to run second, at 5:00 - but when I tried to log Karella on, I discovered that the Cariae server was still offline.  Apparently there were times when people managed to log in there, but they found many items missing from their inventories, and empty warehouse storage... hopefully the the whole server would be rolled back to before the last maintenance.  So, there was a gap in the MMS schedule, until 5:30, when it was Sarissa's turn.  While I was waiting, I logged Kaerella in over on Sarissa-5, did a few quests, and farmed the sand golems for soft sand, so that she went up by 72.45%, reaching level 26, and adding 50 skill points.  It was a surprise how quickly I killed things - but then, I was using that borrowed level 29 +15 bow.

The Sarissa MMS was very similar to the Katar one, taking roughly as long and being pretty much by the book.  Hatzring was at 6:00, so that was a job for Kaerella again, this time at level 24, and with a much less effective bow, so I had to be a bit less ambitious, and, if tackling an elite sand golem, Self Heal had to be used a time or two.  I'd say the turn-out wasn't as high on Hatzring; it took longer to get rid of all the monsters, and Kaerella managed, with less competition, to pick up more loot.

The low-level MMS on Auzura at 6:30 was a really strange one.  When my level 27 rogue RedRider arrived two or three minutes before the starting time there weren't just one or two other people - the place was packed with a very colourful crowd.  [GM]JediMike presumably had issued advance notices for people to get there, and can't have stressed the "low-level" bit, as there were many high-level people there.  We had multiple waves, which was good, but the high-level types killed them so fast that the rest of us hardly had time to kill more than one or two salamanders, or whatever.

Egged on by some of the people there, Mike spawned a wave of screaming zombies and flutons; if Red had been carrying more than 1 skill point I'd have been rather annoyed, as the flutons killed me twice.  Still, the loot was fairly generous, when it arrived.  But to kill flutons, there must have been quite a few exceptionally high level players there.

For Tairen, RedRyder, on level 31, got there in good time, and teamed up with the other two early arrivals - the level 40 mage Aztecka, and the level 5 titan Exlibiris, whose main characters were unavailable to him on Cariae, so was just there for fun.  While Aztecka and I both capped him, we spent the next few minutes killing the great horn beasts, and managed at least to get him to level 6.  But where was the MMS?  Exlibiris and I both enquired in the shoutbox, and the gamesage there promised to check up, as it was already ten minutes past the 7:00pm start time.

It took a while, but finally there was an in-game announcement: "Sorry for the missed Low Level MMS, in return, meet at coords 223 1123 in Juno on Tairen 5 to talk to the GM's and get special prizes!"

So, quite a lot of people joined us, and [GM]JediMike turned up, apologising.  There had been a meeting, apparently, and the MMS had slipped everyone's mind.  Mike seemed distracted, not replying to very much that was said and vanishing for a while.  The first spawning of loot came eventually - with all the people there I don't know why we didn't have a belated Mad Monster Spawn, but we didn't.  The loot was snatched up so fast that hardly anyone got anything; I guess Mike must have been in a bad mood, for moments after commenting that waiting twenty minutes and just getting a tool aid wasn't much fun, I got disconnected, presumably by him - and disconnected again after a few seconds, back in Randol, before my second re-logging got me back in safely.

I gather that a few individual effort scrolls were dropped, to live up to the "special prizes" billing, and we did eventually get some more drops, of the regular kind, so that in the end I guess we all ended up with roughly what we'd have got from a proper MMS.  And Exlibiris invited Aztecka and me to look him up some time, when Cariae is working.

That had actually run so long and so late that it overlapped severely with the first of the high-level MMS events, on Katar - but I had to log out for a while, as usual on a Wednesday evening.  I did however manage to get along to the Auzura high-level event at 10:00pm, taking Rage, my level 73 rogue, along.  It was the new-style throughout-the-valley style version, and [GM]Kali, returned to us after a lengthy exile in another Aeria game, Shaiya, was in charge.

It all seemed pretty scary to start with, and Rage did have to run for her life a time or two - something that had to be done carefully, since the whole valley was dotted with high-level monsters that would attack if one got too close.  Finally I was able to fall in with a group clearing one particular part... it must have been the last part to be cleared, in fact, as we missed out on the first wave of drops because we were still fighting at the time.

A lot of people seemed unhappy not to get anything, or very little, and Kali did spawn some more goodies for us, luckily.  So, Rage survived, and managed to grab a few goodies, so it all ended happily.

The Cariae servers did finally come online at about 9:00pm, according to the forum, too late for the scheduled high-level MMS there.  "Cariae servers are now up and functioning properly. To fix the problem we replaced the majority of the hardware on Cariae, and Cariae is now running the most advanced hardware of all the LC servers. We will be updating hardware on all the servers in the next month or so to prevent future issues such as this."

SirGalahad on Tairen did manage to get the pale blue horse up to level 37 fairly early in the evening, and in one of the gaps between the low-level events, he and Kaerella traded horses, so that she, like Kae on Cariae, Auzura and Katar, is now able to ride around on a rare blue mount.  Her previous mount has now been passed across to MistressDomino, at least for the moment.

A Vengeful Pharaoh - March 25th

After servers missing in action, forgotten mad monster spawns, being disconnected by a tetchy game master, getting that pale blue horse on Tairen up to mount level, and all the other stuff yesterday, today looked like being a welcome return to normal life in Last Chaos.

So, Galahad took his level 31 horse out into Merac to his usual pair of bandits on Cariae-4, before breakfast, for some nice gentle pet-levelling.  It was good to see that, despite all yesterday's downtime, Randol was as full of people as usual - Cariae-4 is the main subserver for merchants there.  After a while a pandora's box put in an appearance, and Galahad opened it.  It released a level 50 pandora's beast, rather than any useful drop or a harmless level 30 one, so Galahad needed to retreat quickly, and continued his bandit-bashing at a relatively safe distance from where the beast prowled.

However, since this was happening on Cariae, it was possible for me to send another higher-level character to deal with the beast.  The options on Auzura would have been wider, but as it was, my level 64 cleric Kaerella logged in, moved to Merac, and rode down to slay the beast, getting very little experience and no drop.  Still, it made the area safe for Gal again - those beasts can start to wander about a bit too much.

After coffee, it was time for a bit more work on Sarissa, so SirDarth got up-to-date on his quests, gaining 28.14% and 4 skill points, enough to get him into level 26.  Kaerella was then able to trade across the four pieces of +9/+10 rogue armour that Friend had so generously given me; Darth could just afford to get Collector Ryl to convert them into their knightly equivalents, after some gold from the quests, so was now able to put on the gloves, mail and leggings.  Keerella did some easy quests too, enough to add 23.88% experience though no skill points, and then she and SirDarth teamed up in Dratan.

SirDarth did the fighting, so only he completed the quests to kill "ramians" and clever foxes of the desert.  Moving east, they naturally enough reached Shuraine's oasis, so SirDarth spent the remainder of the morning killing the sand golems, to get as many portions of soft sand as possible.  A lot of drops have no use at all, but there are two quests that each need 10 of those, and they don't drop all that often, but Darth managed to get over the 20 mark before lunchtime - 24 in fact.

The raid boss, Grand Devilroad Kamira, "Arrived" after a while; like the other maps' raid bosses she tends to stay for 13 or 14 minutes, and then vanish, though if your spot on the map continues to be the busiest, she immediately "Arrives" again.  She spent four 13-minute sessions just hanging in mid-air, and only left after that, I think, because when the session's time expired I was briefly away from the keyboard.  I did ask in the forum shoutbox if anyone wanted to come and visit Kamira, but nobody from Sarissa was around.

Keerella was within compass range, so shared the experience and skill points.  Towards the end a mage called Fashionate came along, but didn't say anything, just fought a few sand golems, including the elite one when I wasn't quick enough to get to it.  She then must have disconnected or gone afk, as she stood in the water not defending herself for a few minutes.  Whenever I noticed that she was being attacked, I'd go and kill the sand golems in question, so I think that both she and her pony survived, and finally vanished.

SirDarth's experience gain was 48.65%, while Keerella added 85.50%, reaching level 23.  Sand golems give only the normal amount of skill exp, so they only got 33 skill points each.  Friend did get in touch just before lunch, and assured me that I could hold on to the +15 weapon until SirDarth was past level 30 - which, as he'll get two +10 weapons when he reaches 31, fits together nicely.

For the afternoon session, SirDarth and Keerella headed to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5 for some more serious levelling and skill point farming.  As Kee needs to get some skill points, and Darth needs to level up a bit, this time we made a combat-type party, so that, while skill exp is equally split, the actual fighter gets most of the experience.

We started with the room of orc soldiers and mummies close to my "back room", with Keerella clicked on to Darth to follow him, and occasionally taking the odd hit, but not taking much damage.  Darth's new armour pieces gradually got their assorted bloodseals, and before long he reached level 27, which meant he could put on the +9 boots, further boosting his armour rating.  He might still be using a level 22 helm and a level 25 shield, but the orcs weren't able to damage him at all - a physical defence stat of 812, plus a knight's health regeneration, coped admirably.

Soon after reaching level 27 I decided to see if the back room itself was free - and it was.  So, with Keerella prudently staying by the doorway, SirDarth found that he could manage a whole mob of orc sergeants and orc axemen.  Of course, using the +3 event weapon meant that he didn't actually kill them very quickly, but you can't have everything!

Before very long a rogue called LoveMyReputation arrived, and I assured her that there was room for both of us as I wasn't killing very quickly.  I soon suggested that she joined our combat party, and she found that it helped her experience gain nicely; she was using the beginner platinum blessed iris, so, while she started at level 24, she reached level 27 before I left.  I had intended to leave just before four o'clock, UK time, for the Parade event on Auzura-4, but her pbi had another quarter of an hour to run, so I stayed around until it was about to run out.  By then Keerella had reached level 24, going up in all by 78.55%, and SirDarth had reached level 28, adding 129.64%.  They each added 160 skill points, which meant that later Kee was able to learn both levels of Haste, which should be useful if Friend decides to take us into the monster combo.

Kaerella was a bit late for the Parade on Auzura-4 after that, and [GM]Noboru and the group had finished marching around town, and had ended up at the arena, where she was demonstrating her skills, and much dying was going on. To show willing I transformed into a sasquatch and entered the arena - and so I can confirm that scroll-transformed people can be killed there.  It looked as if I was killed by someone transformed into a jaguar, but maybe it was somebody else.  I hurried back, after carefully not using an expensive resurrection scroll (since there is no death penalty in the arena), and watched from safety.  There was a bit of chat, and we resolved to meet up at the "Pharaoh's Treasure" event at six.

That left time for my food break, and for Keerella to spend her skill points and do a few minor messenger-type quests, gaining another 18.77% - and for SirDarth to get his quest rewards for getting five cracked axes from the orc axemen, and a few other minor quests, which got him 13.85% and 6 skill points.

I didn't get to the correct location for the "Pharaoh's Treasure" very quickly this time, as the spot which had loot, and [GM]Noboru. was off to one side, close to the eastern edge of the map, and I rode past on my search.  Still, when the GM told us the treasure trove was to the east, I got near enough that the final announcement of the correct coordinates led me pretty quickly to the spot, where perhaps less than a dozen people were already picking up the loots.

Luckily the Pharaoh had been fairly generous, or his security had been poor.  Noboru assured us that only a single minion was tracking her - but when it arrived, it turned out to be a fluton, and she told us that we needed to kill it to earn further drops.  We must have had less high-level people than usual - we didn't even seem to have enough rogues to keep it Snared all the time.  I commented that I only did 128 damage to it at a time, though my critical and deadly hits were a bit better.  We did get its health down by around 20 to 25%, but I think that our GM, fearing for our safety, cancelled it then - and we got some fresh spawnings of hands.

I commented on there not being an Auzura European Mad Monster Spawn this week, and [GM]Noboru promised that she would try to squeeze one in next week.  She also confirmed that she would be in charge of the "Storm the Castle" EU event tomorrow, with the warning that we would need to kill all the monsters within the deadline to get any rewards there.

SirDarth was back in Randol on Sarissa-5 when a level 7 mage called Budhi asked if I'd become her Guardian.  I switched to Kaerella, as she'd done the previous two guardianships, and enrolled her, then added her to my friends list; I had to switch back to SirDarth, as Kae didn't have any drake eggs or pan flutes and it seemed a good idea to offer her a pet.  She chose the pony option, so I traded a pan flute across, escorted her to Lorraine and then on to Jajan in Dratan, a city which impressed her greatly, and why not.  I tried to pass on suitable tips - though at this stage I've not parted with any money, just that pan flute and later a tool aid when showing her how mining worked.

After that there was still time for about an hour and a half's worth of adventuring, so it seemed a good idea to hop back to Tairen-5, so that Memree and Kaerella there wouldn't start to feel neglected.  The back room in Prokion Temple was available, luckily, so Memree did the fighting, as usual, and Kaerella picked up the loot.  I did have one visitor, a rogue called Rajetar, but after a minute or two, when we had between us killed every orc and had stood around waiting for respawns, she kindly took the hint and left.

By the time I logged out, Memree had gone up by 9.98%, donating another 189 guild points (bringing her to only 4 behind Rage's total), and Kaerella had added 7.43%, donating 28 guild points.  They had each gained 185 skill points, which takes Memree over the 7.5k mark, so she should have no trouble getting her skills as she levels up, for a while at least.

The 100 Meters Dash - March 26th

I set Galahad up on Cariae-4 for some overnight pet-levelling, but when I checked progress about five hours later, the "disconnected" window had popped up, and, while I didn't stop to read the details, the text box showed that the Cariae server, at least, had been taken down for maintenance for a while.  Logging back in, I noticed that the horse's hunger bar was rather fuller than before, so some degree of "rollback" had been involved - and, sure enough, this morning the forum shoutbox was busy with people reporting lost items and other problems.  Let us hope that things settle down now.

Galahad did at least get his horse about two-thirds of the way through level 31 by coffee time - but then it was time for a little more work on Sarissa.  First of all, Kaerella passed that +15 weapon loaned from Friend across to SirDarth, as he is the busiest, fighting-est, character there at the moment - and then, after converting the bow into a sword and with Elizabeth's Enhancement safely obtained, SirDarth and Keerella headed back to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5.

Due to interruptions in real life when I was starting, the session was not a long one, but we got into the back room safely.  After a while an assassin-type rogue called Fatalism came in too, but there were enough orcs for both of us.  She mentioned that the guild she was a guild adviser of, ChaosFiends, was just about dead, and she'd not seen anyone else in it online for weeks - guilds do tend to end up that way.

SirDarth did reach level 29, just as Friend got in touch to see how I was doing, and went up 98.41% in all; Keerella, standing back towards the doorway, added 40.79%, and they each got 100 fresh new skill points.

For the afternoon session, Keerella stayed out in the lobby of Prokion Temple, just giving SirDarth a solo party, while he used the first couple of "beginner" platinum super skill pills.  They give 150% extra skill exp for an hour each, but they don't stack with the Elizabuff, so just mean 250% instead of 200%, so aren't really a big deal.  With other characters I wouldn't have taken the buff at the same time, but Darth was in a hurry to level up.

The first hour saw SirDarth go up by 102.63%, taking him into level 30 and adding 345 skill points; the second hour added 84.49% and 313 skill points.  For much of the second hour I was teamed up with a level 29 titan, kalama5552. which may have cut back my experience gain slightly, though the higher the level, the more experience you need to get through it.

The European "Storm the Castle" event was due at four o'clock, UK time, so Rage logged in over on Auzura-4 just in time for the "in ten minutes" notification, and headed down to Merac Castle.  Luckily we had a reasonable turn-out, with quite a few people ready and waiting by the time [GM]Noboru arrived - and more people kept on coming, as time went by.

The event started a minute or two past the hour, with the usual monsters appearing.  I joined in on the attack on the first thorny mantis, then killed a few of the male assassinbugs, and joined the general surge forward.  The anubis archers were already taking heavy damage, and the jumping devils didn't last long at all.  As usual the zamoras at the gateway went down fairly quickly, but the anubis spear men took precious time, as our GM warned us that we were in danger of falling behind schedule.

Other people dealt with the hell-otuu, while I helped with the dark harpies, and the further anubis spear men in the far corners.  [GM]Noboru urged us on, and told us not to forget the throne room itself...and sure enough, once we defeated the sphinx commanders in the inner courtyard, we found that the throne room contained two flutons.

We still had seven minutes or so of our twenty left, but the flutons do take a while to kill.  I'd been using Flame Arrow a lot, as it deals quite a bit more damage than my normal shots, and had to keep topping up my mana.  When other rogues managed to keep the fluton we were fighting Snared, I concentrated on using Flame Arrow as often as I could, but I used Snare a few times when needed.

The second fluton went down during minute nineteen, I think, though Noboru did caution us that we'd be in trouble if there were any monsters we'd missed along the way - but then she announced that we had, indeed, cleared out the castle, and that our rewards would be spawned outside.

So, a desperate fight, and a generous reward...and then it was time for my food break.

That was about all the fighting I did; the evening was dominated by the "Hundred Meter Dash" events, hosted of course by our speediest GM, [GM]JediMike, which started at seven on Katar-5. I did manage to sort out some quests before that on Sarissa - Kaerella went up 33.78% just from quest rewards, and added 54 skill points, which were just the number she needed to be able to get the first level of the Resurrection skill.  Various recent loot acquisitions were passed across to Keerella, my mage, and she went into merchant mode on Sarissa-4, to try and get some money.

Kaerella went to all six of the racing events.  Katar raced from the west gate to the north gate, and then back again, before a third race, back to the north gate.  JediMike had been working out, he assured us, and had bought a special pair of "speedies" - he won just about every race, except when he spotted a wounded baby fox and had to pause to nurse it back to health.  The event ended, as one would expect with Mike, with a generous spawning of loot.

Cariae came second on the schedule, starting half an hour after Katar; this time we only got two races, to the north gate, via of course the haunted bridge, and back again to the west gate, but Mike generally hung out with us and chatted, and the loot got spawned at the end.  Sarissa only got the one race, from the west gate to the north gate; for some reason there seemed to be people asking for money and weapons and so on, which must get very boring for a game master.  "What a greedy server", I commented.  I'd say that the loot spawned at the end was rather less generous, which perhaps was well deserved.

Hatzring too only got a single trip from the west gate to the north one, but that was because Mike declared that he'd hurt his leg while winning the race.  The gamesage Faenwyn was there, looking very smart in her high-level healer costume (though she was saying that the armour's seals weren't very good) - I feel that she ought to have been able to cure him, but the one race was all we got.  Still, Mike hung around and chatted, and the loot, when the time came for him to leave us, was suitably abundant.

Mike got a second wind on Auzura, though, and we got our three races there.  before the start Razva125 whispered to me, saying that a Google search for his name plus Last Chaos would bring up some mentions of him in this blog, and I do indeed remember teaming with him a few times on Auzura, back when he was around level 53.  He's a leading member of the uber-guild Vendetta now, and doing the search revealed that he's the second or third-highest level titan on the server, at level 130, so he has made some impressive progress.

The final server for the event was Tairen as usual, at 9:30, and we got three races again.  Mike hung out a bit longer afterwards, telling us that he had recently been to Las Vegas... given that he doesn't wear armour in the game, I asked if he'd lost his shirt there.  He was chatting about the games he plays on his XBox 360, such as Halo 3 - his gamer tag, apparently, is soapskid, and one or two people seemed to have seen that name fairly high up the online rankings.  As there was no new server awaiting his arrival, Mike probably stuck around a bit longer, before he ended the event with the usual nice big spawning of loot.

By then Keerella had sold the large attack potions, large defence potions, skill point boosters, and moonstones that I'd put up for sale, and so was able to trade fifteen million gold across to SirDarth.  That meant he was able to upgrade the guild twice more, getting Discipline to level six...which means that at last he could "freeze" his, Kae's and Kee's experience gain to 50%, to get a few guild points, and slow down their rise through the levels, to give them more time to gain skill points.  So, that's another landmark reached.  He has also become a Temple Knight, which increases his health and mana supplies usefully.  There's still some way to go before he can start to level a mount or two, though.

Turbo and Beyond - March 27th

Galahad did manage an overnight session with the bandits on Cariae-4, so he got his horse up to level 33 by coffee time, which was a good start to the day.  There was one pandora's box to deal with, but it only spawned a level 30 bandit-style beast, which Gal was easily able to deal with.

After coffee, SirDarth and Keerella logged in over on Sarissa-5, and set out for Prokion Temple.  Unfortunately, it being a Saturday morning, the place was a bit busy, and my favourite back room was already in use, so I ended up in its mirror image over on the far side.  With Kee clicked on to Darth, it was slightly tricky, as she doesn't run as fast as him, and took some damage along the way, but we finally got safely into that room, and, while I kept a careful eye on Kee's health bar as she stood off to one side in a quiet spot, Darth set to work orc-bashing.

Both characters have now had their experience gain set to 50%, to allow them to gain more skill points per level and donate guild points to the local branch of Discipline; by the end of the session SirDarth had added 53.52%, staying in level 31, while donating his first 302 guild points.  Keerella went up, as the non-fighter in a combat-type party, by 36.28%, just enough to get her into level 25, and donated 45 guild points.  They each earned 212 skill points.

There was a little time left before lunch, so Keerella was able to claim some quest rewards; she didn't do any fighting, but she did have to run out to Shuraine's oasis in the Dratan desert, as I'd not previously added that location to her memory scroll.  Another 31.79% experience was gained from the rewards, plus 4 skill points, a better pair of gloves, and some moonstones.

The afternoon session started a bit late, as a friend came round, but while I was waiting SirDarth was able to browse through Roy's merchant mart, and buy a level 32 +10 helm to complete his armour set.  The cheapest one I could find, offered by CAMALEAO, cost 1.5 million gold; Collector Ryl converted it from the sorcerer type into a knight's helm for a further 36,000.  Wearing the new helm increased Darth's physical defence from 935 to 1010...it might, I thought, make it possible for him to fight with dual blades instead of a sword and shield, though removing the shield put the physical defence stat back down to 796 at that stage.

SirDarth used a beginner platinum super skill pill for his first hour in Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5; this time my favourite back room was available. Kaerella provided a solo party for a while, and then I switched over to Keerella instead, back in Randol.  As the hour approached its end, Kee headed for the Temple to join Darth in the back room, and, since there wasn't time for a second hour's worth of pssp, just stayed there in the combat party.  SirDarth had added 29.62% in the pssp's hour, and 267 skill points; after that he added another 22.41%, while Kee gained 14.16%, and they each earned 92 skill points.  Darth earned in all 307 guild points during the afternoon, and Kee contributed 23.

SirDarth had managed to reach level 32 towards the end of the session, so, once he was back in Randol, he was able to learn the five available levels of the Temple Knight's passive skill Wall of Belief, for 327 skill points, which permanently increases his defence by 155.  Once he reaches level 35 there's Canid Fence 2 to learn too, which adds a further 120, after which he could pet-level down in Maargadum Jail with a death mask lancer for sure... though really it will be simpler to get him a red name, and decrease his bare-handed attack enough for him to pet-level on bandits in Merac, like Galahad on Cariae-4.

The "Turbo" event was due to start at five, UK time.  In theory the GMs are supposed to announce on the website what the bonus will be a day in advance, but there wasn't even an in-game announcement when it started.  I took my food break a little early so that I could make the most of whatever it was going to be, and logged in my level 64 Cariae cleric Kaerella - and also logged Galahad in to do some pet-levelling and provide a solo party for her.

Kaerella went out to the shyer of the two elite sphinx speer men in Dratan, and I soon discovered that the "Turbo" was 50% extra experience, which stacked nicely with the three-hour blessed iris I'd begun, which itself gives double experience gain.  I checked the party listings and saw that there wasn't a solo party available for people to join, so I registered mine - and it steadily filled up, so that I had to kick Galahad to make more room for people.  Most of them were pretty high-level, and tended to know each other - the level 137 royal knight meatmog for example, while Duinhir was level 129 and RafaeltheKING level 121.

As usual I had that particular sphinx spot to myself; a night shadow did hurry past at one stage, I don't know why he was down my way, but things generally ran smoothly.  When the blessed iris ran out, Kaerella had added 35.59% and 47 skill points, but the Turbo event still had a little while to run.  When the event ended, for some strange and, again, unannounced reason the experience bonus didn't go down to normal, it went up to 100% extra, and skill exp went to double as well - though I couldn't stay around too long, with the clocks in Britain "springing" forward by an hour tonight, a late finish isn't too bright an idea.

My extra playing time after the blessed iris was probably a little over an hour, half Turbo time and half double - and Kaerella just managed to reach level 65 before the end, adding another 9.76% and 18 skill points.  I should also mention that SirFrancis, Kae's drake, added 3343 pet points during the evening, as well.  At level 65 Kaerella could move on to farming the bogles in Egeha, which probably drop better stuff than the sphinx types do - though Egeha costs 800,000 gold to teleport to, and bogles give only the same experience as the sphinx speer men.  And there isn't an elite bogle to farm...

Galahad kept on with his pet-levelling through the evening, getting his horse more than three-quarters of the way through level 33 by the time he logged out for the night.  After the UK and European clocks change to summer time, we will be back with our usual lead over the USA again, with an eight hour time difference for Britain, so the Sunday Quiz will be back to 8:30pm for us, and events generally won't be as early as they have been for the last couple of weeks.  It has made a change, but it's good to be back to normal there.

Springing Forward - March 28th

With the clocks changing, I had a slightly shorter Sunday morning lie-in than sometimes, and, after coffee, SirDarth and Keerella were able to head for Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5 in their normal combat party arrangement.

The place was pretty busy, so I wasn't able to use my favourite back room; I stopped briefly in what I call the corridor room, but Keerella nearly got killed and there didn't really seem to be a relatively quiet spot to leave her safely, so instead we ran on across to the mirror half, and ended up in the one step down, better lit version of the back room over there.

The session was usefully productive, and SirDarth added 42.77%, on top of a 6.75% (and 10 skill points) quest reward he'd got in Dratan on the way to the Temple, earning 291 guild points for Discipline.  Keerella had got a couple of quest rewards too, including another visit to Shuraine, and gained 26.94% and 6 skill points before entering the Temple.  The session in there got her another 27.62%, just enough to get her into level 26, and earned 44 guild points.  Darth and Kee each gained 203 skill points in Prokion Temple.

Over lunch, Galahad over on Cariae-4 did some pet-levelling, and Keerella went into merchant mode on Sarissa-5, selling twenty item drop boosters, forty candies, and, at the usual NPC price of 200 each, 50 haste potions.  This all got almost fourteen million gold - enough to get her her own +10 30/32 armour set, rather than wait until either she or Kae reached level 31.

Prices in Roy's merchant mart varied wildly, as usual, but luckily EvanHartz was selling all five piece of the 30/32 +10 titan armour set for 999,999 gold each - other people were charging more than that for +3 or +4 items, and without Evan I'd have ended up paying 1.5 million for some pieces, perhaps more for others.  So, I spent just under five million, and then paid Collector Ryl 144,000 gold to convert the armour into the mage equivalents.  Kee can't wear the vanishing circlet and vanishing boots yet, but the other three pieces of armour increase her physical defence from 438 to 605, so next time the orcs should find her a bit harder to hurt.

The main afternoon session took place over on Tairen-5, so that Memree and Kaerella there shouldn't feel neglected.  Kaerella there is level 29, with good armour, so. once they'd taken possession of my favourite back room, she concentrated on picking up the loot, and Memree did the fighting, as usual.  During the session Memree reached level 39, but the experience and skill exp continued to be worthwhile.  So, there may well be further sessions for this duo fighting Prokion's orcs.

The fighting there lasted just under two and a quarter hours, and Memree went up by 10.91%, earning 232 guild points for Discipline.  Kaerella added 9.00%, along with 34 guild points.  And they each got 231 more skill points.

Galahad had got his horse into level 34 at the end of the lunch break, and returned to action during the early evening food break.  He stayed on afterwards, too, as my Cariae cleric Kaerella logged in on the same subserver, Cariae-4, and made a solo party with him - I checked the lists and there were already three solo parties recruiting members, so I didn't bother to list it there.

Kaerella went out to the sphinx types and their elite sphinx speer man, and found that the double experience and skill exp was still on, presumably to compensate Cariae players for the server's recent downtime and rollback.  So, by the time the Sunday Quiz approached, back to its normal UK time of 8:30pm,  Kae had gone up by 18.87% and 62 skill points, while SirFrancis had gained 1833 pet points.

The game master running the quiz was a bit chattier than last week's, and gave announcements with a half hour to go, and at the twenty, ten and five minute marks, urging people to hurry to the Quiz Rooms.  There were no announcements about exploiters being "handled", or auto-following being naughty, though. 

The Quiz itself went along at speed, again, with a selection of the usual questions.  On Tairen-2 I don't think we lost any significant number of people along the way, so just about everyone got their rewards.  I did see what looked suspiciously like a "conga line" of about five characters in auto-follow mode, I hope there wasn't any multi-clienting involved!  I didn't bother to get question 21 or 22 wrong, the usual way to leave the room; it is perhaps lucky that "Are the Mad Monster Spawns on Monday or Tuesday?" only came in as question 22, after all the prizes had been awarded, since in recent months they have tended to be on Wednesday...

Tairen's Kaerella traded her new heaven stones and moonstones across to MistressDomino, and then they both logged out - to be replaced with Galahad (XxGALAHADxX) and my clerical Kaerella on Cariae-4 again.  Gal was well on the way to getting his horse past the midway point in level 34 by the end of the evening, and Kaerella added another 5.88%, 19 skill points, and 538 pet points out at her special sphinx spot, before it was time for her to log out.  Over on Sarissa-4, Keerella then went into merchant mode, and soon sold ten skill point boosters and ten item drop boosters, bringing in another fourteen million gold or so.  I think we can start to investigate what prices useful accessories like a pierce of wind or a stone of shadow can be bought for, though I suspect that an eyes of spirit is a bit too expensive for me as yet.

A special "Stat Gem Giveaway" event has been running today, and anyone who has been playing Last Chaos may win two of these newly-discovered items.  "Applying a gem involves placing it gently on the character's body and then pressing upon it with incredible force until the skin is pierced and the gem dissolves into the blood stream" apparently, which sounds painful.  Each Stat Gem permanently adds one stat point to a character, which is, well, slightly useful I guess. 

[GM]JediMike was talking at the 100 Meter Dash of a special "Spring Break" series of events upcoming, but while the events for the coming week seem different from usual, there aren't any on view with that particular theme.  There seem to be plenty of quizzes and suchlike, but no Mad Monster Spawns at all, and only the European "Storm the Castle" event in Merac.  The pet experience event may be interesting, on Thursday, though.

A Science Fiction Quiz - March 29th

Galahad kept busy with his Cariae-4 pet-levelling overnight, so that the horse easily reached level 35; he continued on through the morning and over lunchtime too, so that by the end of his stint level 36 was only a couple of hours away.  Keerella on Sarissa-4 did well with some selling through the night, too, with almost everything sold by morning - just a few moonstone boxes were left, and a couple of hit rate enhancing rings that I must have put too high a price on.

I wasn't sure how uninterrupted I'd be after coffee, so, after finding, by sending Cariae's Kaerella out to kill a fox, that the double experience and skill exp on that server had ended, I opted to do a little work on Sarissa with my rogue RedRyder, who hadn't even done the starter dungeon, and so was on level one.  Thanks to Elizabeth's Enhancement, by lunchtime Red had reached level ten, having done all the usual low-level quests and killed plenty of foxes, deer, wolves, berserk wolves, and jaguars.  The first pandora's box I encountered dropped some physical defence minerals, which are always welcome; the other one I found released a level 30 beast, so I kept my distance.  Luckily by that time I'd bought RedRyder a level 13 crossbow, so she hadn't needed to get close to the box to open it.

For the afternoon, still on Sarissa-5, SirDarth and Keerella headed for Prokion Temple again.  There was a titan called Rokas_Bledys in the back room, I discovered when I entered, but, given that he didn't seem to be killing all that quickly, I did wonder if there'd be room for me too.  "Ah, didn't see you for a moment - are there enough orcs for both of us, do you think?"  He didn't reply immediately, and I tried to add him to the combat party, but he cancelled the request.  "So get lost ;)" he finally intoned.  "Ah you do speak."  "C'mon, find other place", he added, as I headed for the doorway.  I think that a combat party, plus buffs like divine shield, would probably have helped him, though it's hard to be sure without knowing his level.  "Fair enough, if you want them all - sometimes another player is useful, to keep the mobs down", I said, and headed off.  Maybe I should have offered him a solo party...

Anyway, SirDarth and Keerella moved across to the mirror-image room, which as usual was free - even the couple of orc soldiers there still give useful skill experience.  Keerella tucked herself in by a brazier; she did occasionally get attacked, but, thanks to her new armour, took very little damage before Darth hurried over to deal with the orc in question.  By the end of the session SirDarth had added 64.59%, and 479 guild points for Discipline, while Keerella had gone up by 36.90%, adding another 74 guild points.  They had each received 341 skill points.

SirDarth went up to level 33 during the session, so that the orc axemen are now blue for him, even if they do still give plenty of experience and skill experience.  Back in town, Keerella spent every last skill point she had to upgrade various skills, but she still needs plenty more skill points.  Once she has safely reached level 27, I guess she'll need to earn sp and experience, spend the sp and lose the experience by dying a few times, and repeat as necessary.

For the evening, the plan was to get Sarissa's RedRyder through her apprenticeship, so, once Kaerella had become her guardian, Kae stayed in town to give her a solo party while Red went off to Velpist Temple and its wandering zombies.  It didn't take long to get to level 12, and then, as she had picked up a drake egg in the temple, she took a trip to Dratan, after talking to Lorraine, got her hatchling... and then headed for Prokion Temple, via Shuraine's oasis.  Taking the slightly longer route meant that the trip was easy enough, none of the clever foxes or sand golems got near enough to attack her.

Once the entrance to Prokion Temple was on RedRyder's scroll of memorizing, Red logged out, and she and Kaerella swapped computers, so that Kae could take the lead,  Then they both went to the Temple.  The plan was for Kaerella to fight orc soldiers, plus mummies and the occasional orc fighter, within compass-range of RedRyder, while Red stayed safely in the starting hallway.  I first of all went to the far end of the hall's left-hand corridor, to the start of the circular room, and fought mainly orc soldiers from there, sharing the place with a knight called SStoneColdKiller - he did offer to give me horse buffs, if I went outside with him, but joining and leaving parties seemed a bit complicated, and when entering Prokion Temple there is always the risk of ending up stuck in the foundations.

A rogue called eXistance also started using the room - as SStoneColdKiller kept leaving the room to renew his horse buffs, he couldn't really claim to have it reserved for himself.  She asked if I could not attack the orc soldiers - and, when I saw that she was using a pssp (not a beginner one) plus a crit potion and some other expensive buffs, I moved across to the right-hand room, which was a bit less busy.

It didn't take that long a session to get RedRyder up to level 20 - we continued just a little longer, to get Kaerella up to level 27, so that she can now wear all of the 30/32 +10 armour set...and a little longer, to get the circlet and boots their first bloodseals.  Then it was time to head back to Randol, so that Red could do the level 20 quests, including getting the "Fatal Neckless of Rogue" accessory, to be used from 20 until the end of level 35.  The various quest rewards actually moved RedRyder on into level 21, which is handy, as it means she'll be moving straight from her starter armour to the 25/27 set.

So, RedRyder had gone up by eight levels in the Prokion party, while Kaerella had added 48.62%, with her experience semi-frozen, so that she donated her first 99 guild points to Discipline.  They each gained 153 skill points there.

[GM]Kali's "Sci-Fi Trivia" Quiz was the main event of the evening, starting on Katar-5 at 9:30, UK time.  Kaerella attended, and managed to be the first person to type in the correct answer to three of the fifteen questions - Hal as the homicidal computer in "2001", "Time Bandits" as a Terry Gilliam movie, and Flash Gordon as Dale Arden's friend.  So, at the end I had to whisper [GM]Kali, who then teleported me right across Juno to the elder drakes' valley, and gave me three platinum blessed irises.  I asked if the questions would be different on the other servers, and the GM assured me that they would be.  She also spawned all the winners our own set of hands of loot, as we had been whisked away just after loot had been spawned for all the attendees.

So, SirDarth went to the second quiz, which was on Cariae - after all, Kaerella could do with some more PBIs there!  Some of the questions turned out to be the same, and I was first with "Time Bandits" again.  I also got that the characters Arthur, Agatha and Dashiell were named after mystery writers (Conan Doyle, Christie and Hammett I assume, though I only realised who Arthur was a bit later), and that the movie "Zardoz" took its title from "The WiZARD of OZ"...

It was growing late by then; SirDarth got teleported to the same spot, and got his three PBIs, though I didn't notice any general loot-spawning for us lucky winners that time.  The quizzes were quite fun, though 15 was less than the "approximately 25 to 30 questions" that the events page on the website had mentioned.  And I think all the questions were movie-related, with Men in Black, Star Wars, Star Trek, Spaceballs, ET, and Demolition Man also involved - the events page had said "movies, games, books etc."  Still, it was an improvement over most such events, for sure.

Cariae Crash - March 30th

I went to log Galahad in over on Cariae-4 for some pet-levelling, only to be confronted by the dreaded word "Maintenance" against every Cariae subserver.  So, poor Cariae's troubles were not over, and the shoutbox was busy with people being told that yes, the server was down, and no, there was no estimated time for its return.  Various forum threads reported that people had lost their entire inventories, or items placed in the merchant mart, or just all their gold and rare and ultra-expensive armours.  Had there been, would there be, another drastic rollback?  People were resolving to try other games, or at least to move to other more reliable servers - apparently Cariae has been losing a lot of its higher-level regular players lately.

When I did manage to log SirDarth back in over there, I wondered, would he will still have those platinum blessed irises he won last night - and will Kaerella still be a quarter of the way through level 65?  Apparently the disconnection came with no warning, so that people were running expensive pots.  The server must have come up again at least once for people to know that their inventories had been ravaged, before disappearing again - it was a messy business.

Cariae was up soon after eleven, UK time, but in the shoutbox the gamesages were advising people not to log in there, until it was known if the server was stable - and two hours or so later, the advice was still that it wasn't fixed.

My morning session involved SirDarth and Keerella on Sarissa-5, and a trip to the back room of Prokion Temple.  Things were nice and quiet there, so by the time lunch was approaching, SirDarth had added 42.80%, along with donating 350 more guild points to Discipline, and Keerella was 26.69% up, donating 53 guild points.  They had each earned 225 fresh new skill points. 

After lunch, Memree and Kaerella over on Tairen had their own session in Prokion Temple.  As the place was busy on the "main" side, we ended up in the mirror-image back room.  Kaerella did start out picking up the loot, but after a while the two orc soldiers got fixed on attacking her, so she just stood and ignored them, as the experience for killing them is small and the skill exp tiny, and Memree did all the work, including taking any orc axemen or orc sergeants off Kae if they attacked her.  It was another useful session, with Memree going up by 10.72%, which added another 238 guild points for Discipline, and Kaerella adding 9.16%, and 35 guild points.  And their skill point stashes increased by 207 each.

Aeria's joint product manager for Last Chaos, Aeria_ks1lent, got into the office a little early, as one would expect with the Cariae problems, and was able to put up an explanatory post in the forum at 8:44am, Pacific time, or 4:44pm for me.  It seems that while the majority of Cariae's server hardware had been replaced, as he'd told us, they had hoped that the old hard drives would last out until tonight's regular maintenance.  Unfortunately, it looks very much as if they gave up the ghost early.  "Our Data Center is in the process of copying over the data from the previous HDs to the brand new HDs as I write this. The estimated ETA is about 4 hours from now, " so hopefully the Cariae servers would be back online at around 9:00pm UK time - just four hours before the usual maintenance downtime starts.  Everyone, Aeria staff included, is hoping that no new rollback will be needed, it seems.

So, there was no Cariae playing for me today.  The main evening session went back to SirDarth and Keerella on Sarissa-5, who were again able to take control of the back room in Prokion Temple - not that it's the only back room, it's a big place, but it is the one I favour.  I did have a visitor for a while, a knight called tonino40, who was a bit over-ambitious, as he wasn't wearing the 30/32 armour set - in fact I don't think he was wearing the full 25/27 set, I'm sure there were some 20/22 items included...and he was using dual swords, so didn't have a shield to boost his physical defence rating.

Tonino40 didn't respond to my initial "a dangerous room" warning, just kept on fighting, often choosing the orc I was targeting.   Well, he did ks a lot, but one had to admire his ambition, he even had the beginner skill and experience pills, the pssp and pbi, running.  I gave him the divine shield buff when I could, and attempted to take any extra orcs he attracted off him, but inevitably he did die once... he used a resurrection scroll right away and continued, but did have to run for his life a few minutes later, pursued to the doorway by angry orcs.  I hope he found some orcs that were more his own level after that.

By the end of the session SirDarth had got comfortably into level 34, adding 58.95% and 531 guild points, while Keerella had reached level 27, having gone up by 39.22% and 80 guild points.  They each added 236 skill points. Kee was able now to put on the vanishing boots and tiara, so she is now wearing the whole +10 set, for a physical defence stat of 702, so she ought to be able to take on the loot-gathering duties now.

A little later SirDarth went to Merac to see what quests were available; a couple of errands earned him 8.08% more experience, and he also has quests to kill pilferers and bandits, and berserkers.  While I was there, since one of the errands took him to the "column of magic", Darth continued along the road and got the bandit-fighting pet-levelling spot I've been using on some other servers onto his memory scroll.

Keerella spent all but one of her latest stash of skill points at the Master Mage skills trainer - all her passive skills are maximised now, but there are still four general skills, including the personal dungeon one, that still need a little work.  She too got a quest in Merac, the first one there, which will involve killing butchers; there were no new quests in Dratan, but there was just time for her to kill enough ramians, alias death goddesses, and clever foxes of the desert to complete two outstanding quests, so that she gained another 12.90% and 71 more skill points.

Kaerella had been in Randol to provide the solo party for Kee's brief desert expedition, so when a special trivia quiz was announced at the arena, hosted by [GM]Cara, she moved over there.  The first ten questions Cara answered herself, as they were general information - the other ten were general Last Chaos knowledge, and if enough people didn't come up with the answer, she would spawn a fluton or a patriarch botis.

I logged Kae out, and brought in MistressFelicia, a level 2 healer on the same account who had really only been created to supply Kae with a Juno NPC scroll (as Kae's creation was before those were introduced) - a character below level 15 can go into the arena without being killed by other players, though the monsters can still kill her.  Kee did attempt to help fight a fluton, but some black-hearted titan was running around killing people instead of fighting the monster, so she respawned back in the middle of town, and hurried back to watch from a safe distance.

Once the questions were over, [GM]Cara spawned some hands of loot as a general reward; MistressFelicia was already in the arena quite near to one pile, which was handy as the lag then didn't really allow her to move much.  She was able to pick up some useful large attack and defence potions, skill point boosters, and item drop boosters, roughly four of each.  Kee ventured into the arena to a different pile too, but got maybe less than half as much.  Some little dear did kill her, but not until the loot had gone, thankfully.  Afterwards, Felicia traded her acquisitions across to Keerella, so that Kee will be able to sell them some time soon.  There's nothing like some free loot to bring an evening to a satisfactory conclusion...

"Cariae Is In Pain!" - March 31st

Looking at the latest updates on the forum this morning before breakfast, I discovered that the problems with the Cariae server were far from over.   "ZOMG!! Cariae is in pain!" was how Aeria_ks1lent began his update. "So after we have come up from maintenance we, with the help of you the players have discovered quite a large amount of missing data on Cariae including characters, inventory and the like. We are going to bring down Cariae servers while the developers investigate the issue."

Sure enough, when I downloaded the new patch and logged in, the dreaded word "Maintenance" appeared alongside every Cariae subserver, so there was no possibility of me logging in to find out if Kaerella, Barbarienne, Keerella, SirDarth, and all my other characters there still existed, along with their weapons, armour and inventories - all I could do was opt for Katar, and log ColonelScarlet in to do a little work on his pale mauve, or pink, drake, which was moving towards the top of level 37.  

The "Easter Event" has started, which accounted for most of today's patch; this year we are promised that the eggs the monsters will drop for us can possibly give skill, experience, or item drop boosters, or even a chaos ball.  Apparently a quest called "Invade the Missionaries" has been fixed, presumably a Mondshine-based one for people level 140 or above, while we are assured that identifying too many items without hitting the "okay" button will no longer crash our clients.  Add some "changes to internal database security systems", and that's about it, apart from some new item mall packages, which unfortunately only appear in the in-game item mall, where we don't, these days, get "buy one get one free" offers.

What with one thing and another, there wasn't an opportunity for a morning session today - there won't be one tomorrow, either.  However, ColonelScarlet did get his drake to level 38 at around eleven, and I did at least manage to get some quality stones on Sarissa, by sending Kaerella out to use up her supply of tool aids.  MistressFelicia had three tool aids, from the drops at the arena last night, but as she hasn't reached the level at which she can do the quest to learn the first level of basic mining, she couldn't use a boosted hammer, so had to pass them over, via storage, to Kae.  Boosted hammers do at least weigh less than tool aids, so cost less to put in storage.

The afternoon session was suitably productive, though, with Kaerella teaming with SirDarth in Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5; Darth fought the orc sergeants and orc axemen in my usual back room, and Kae picked up the loot.  Kae did have to leave him for a few minutes, though, as Friend got in touch, assuring me that I could keep the level 29 +15 weapon for a while yet, and asked if I could help her transfer items between two of her characters.  Since SirDarth could keep on fighting without her, Kae got elected to return to Dratan and help out.

There were a couple of rather nice monster combo type accessories among the items Friend wanted to be traded across to her archer happy22, as well as 11,111,111 gold, but it didn't take long, and happy22 showed me her 85/87 armour set, which was all "B5E", which means that it is blue-named, for the best defence stats, has 5 bloodseals, and that those seals are evasion-enhancing.  She hasn't yet upgraded all the pieces to +13, but it is a nice set, going well with her five-sealed green-name bow.

Kaerella hurried back to SirDarth after that little trip, and by the end of the afternoon he had added 50.15%, and 490 guild points, plus 313 skill points.  Kae herself added 29.87%, 74 guild points, and 303 skill points, so should be able to learn a few more levels of Resurrection now.

After the food break, SirDarth had the quests to kill bandits and pilferers, and berserkers, to do in Merac, and took RedRyder along in an equal party, to give her a little experience boost.  Those quests didn't take long; Red just got 15.96% and 4 skill points, while, with his quest rewards, SirDarth got 15.74%, which was enough to take him into level 35, and 84 skill points.

SirDarth was able to learn the single level of Canid Fence 2 for just 60 skill points, further increasing his physical defence by 120 - and then it was time to finish his conversion into a pet-leveller.  So, he and RedRyder switched to Sarissa-6, which is a PvP-enabled sub-server, and went to Prokion Temple - since if you die there, you respawn in its entry hall, which can be mere yards from the death point.

Darth temporarily kicked Red from the Discipline guild, as you can't kill a guild member, and then killed Red until his name went red, and his "Good/Evil" stat was on -155, which I think is the maximum.  That cuts SirDarth's attack way down.  Then, safely back on Sarissa-5, SirDarth was able to buy a blue pan flute from the merchant mart for 750,000 gold - and went out to do some pet-levelling with the bandits in Merac.  Even with accessories that add 20 to his strength, he only hits bandits for 21 (or without them, 19), which they can easily survive... so, pet-levelling is pretty simple for him.

He was on Sarissa-5 so that he could provide a solo party for RedRyder, now back in Discipline, who, after buying the set of 25/27 armour from the armour trader in Randol, headed first of all for Velpist Temple.  She didn't stay very long, just adding 33.09% and 30 skill points - but she managed to pick up four cursed bones, for a future quest. 

I wanted to buy some small health potions, back in Randol, but Geres didn't seem to be selling any - the merchant in Strayana had them, though, so I stocked up there.  Then RedRyder headed for Prokion Temple - and soon got to the room with just level 19 mummies in it, plus a single orc soldier.

So, I settled in there, though a rogue called DeadlyNinJa did decide to gate-crash - there really aren't enough mummies in that room for two people.  She was using one of her beginner platinum super skill pills, which seemed a bit of a waste since she like me was sometimes having to wait for the mummies to respawn; eventually she moved away and left me to it, thankfully. 

Red hadn't been able to wear the level 27 hood and boots to begin with, but put them on when she reached level 22; she was just using a level 25 crossbow which I'd taken up to +3, though she has now taken possession of the level 29 +15 sword Darth had been using, ready to convert it into a suitably deadly crossbow when she gets to level 25 and can use it without any penalty.  It was quite a productive session, and RedRyder added 223.07% experience, since she isn't on the 50% "freeze" yet, and 323 skill points, all of which got spent on relatively useful skills afterwards.

As with most Wednesdays, I had to log out at around eight, though SirDarth continued with his pet-levelling.  It seems strange not to have had any "Mad Monster Spawns" to go to, but we seem a bit light on those events this week.

The Cariae drama ended with the awful decision that the server had to be rolled back a full week, to March 23rd, as that was the last point at which they had uncorrupted data.  Thankfully I've not been buying item mall stuff lately, but it means that Galahad's horse-in-training is back to early in level 31 - and my Cariae cleric Kaerella's last three lengthy grinding sessions have been wiped out, removing 5714 pet points, 146 skill points, and 69.80% experience... she is back down from a quarter of the way through level 65, to just over halfway through level 64.  Ah well, I'm sure many other people have suffered a great deal more, but it is annoying.  "We will be running the largest ever bonus events, present giveaways and in game events ever on Cariae starting tomorrow" Aeria_ks1lent says, I just hope that at least some of whatever actually gets done is at a Europe-friendly time.