Kaerella's Blog - stardate April 2010 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the new month begins here at the top!
Cariae's Reappearance Delayed - April 1st

SirDarth's new pony had levelled up six times by the end of yesterday evening - and overnight they managed another six levels without problems.  Checking the forum thread in the morning to see what events were planned as compensation, instead the other product manager, Xuse2005, had added that the poor, suffering server had been taken down again at eleven last night, "to perform further checks and maintenance".

Sure enough, even nine hours later Cariae was still down, so Galahad couldn't log in there to try and re-level his horse a bit; instead, I had to settle for ColonelScarlet over on Katar working on that pink drake of his.  Unusually these days, before long he did get ks'd, with someone killing his bandit, as I discovered when I returned after breakfast, but it was innocently done - a player called bellajade had asked "Do you need help?" and "Can I kill this thing?" and then, receiving no reply, gone ahead and "helped" me.

I was lucky to get a trouble-free overnight run for SirDarth, but I noticed, when switching the older computer off, that it was going to install new Microsoft updates... and, sure enough, checking the newer (or less old) computer, it too was poised to do the same, which would normally mean it waited until I'd fallen asleep, and then restarted. ending anything I had been running, like Last Chaos.  So, I closed down, waited for the computer to actually switch itself off, and then started up again, so that, once the updates were safely digested, I was able to start Last Chaos again for the overnight run.

I didn't have the opportunity for any daytime adventuring, beyond the afk-style pet levelling; I was able after coffee to investigate the April Fool's event over in Guild Wars, after a tip-off from my friend Elys... this year all the players, in towns, were tiny, and their miniature pets were full-size, so that Kamadan had villains and monsters strolling around, while tiny people skittered about the place.  My dragon Kuunavang was fairly big, but not his full size, unfortunately, and the same applied to siege turtles...

Galahad may have been ks'd rather innocently, but I'm afraid SirDarth was the victim of sinister forces.  I returned to the computer to find him in the middle of Merac village, and my first thought was that I'd been distracted and, while I'd teleported him to Merac from Randol, forgotten to teleport him down to the bandits and start his pet-levelling.  But no, he had been ks'd, as the "Gained 290 experience and 135 skill experience" message showed - and he'd been killed, too, presumably by someone luring the bandit he was fighting towards something nasty, such as doom slayers, which have a magical attack SirDarth has little protection against.

He has a resurrection scroll, but not long ago the function of those was modified, so that you have to use them within five minutes, or you respawn back in town anyway.  As I didn't return in time, he lost 3% of his skill point stash, which had been earmarked for upgrading the Discipline guild; curiously, he lost all 4.22% experience he had in level 35, but that doesn't matter.  52 skill points isn't much to lose, but it is annoying.   At least the pony was "unequipped" rather than killed.  Maybe he needs to find a different location for his work.

SirDarth did continue with the pet-levelling, and before the afternoon was over the pony reached level 16, which meant that it became a nice big horse.  There are still many days to go before it reaches level 37, though.

The "Parade" event with [GM]Noboru in Randol was at five o'clock, now that we are all on "summer" time, and as usual involved transforming into dire wolves, drakes, jaguars, and sasquatches, and walking around town, letting off firecrackers and generally trying to impress the NPCs, especially Lorraine.  At one point we had rather a lot of hulking great sasquatches marching together, me included - "A squash of sasquatches", I commented.

The chat afterwards did veer towards talking about events, and their timing.  I did mention that there was "no MMS this week, but at least we get a StC", unlike the other servers.  "Kaerella, I'm looking forward to including some MMS again, but this is not yet assured", [GM]Noboru replied.

I did try to log in on Cariae after that for an hour or so, but at 5:40pm UK time the dread word "Maintenance" was still set against every Cariae subserver.  Our product managers are promising us some special rewards, with double or even sextuple experience and skill exp, but first they have to get things running properly.

So, it was RedRyder on Sarissa-5 who had about an hour's work, fighting mummies and orc soldiers in Prokion Temple.  She managed to add 68.84%, going up to level 24, and 163 skill points.

The "Pharaoh's Treasure" event on Auzura-4 was a bit mixed; for a start I wasn't properly prepared for it, as Elvastar had managed to get in touch, and after trading back some lucky smelting stones and chaos smelting stones he'd borrowed we were chatting when the list of coordinates came up.  Kaerella rode past quite a few groups of sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men before the correct location for the treasure came up, and took a while to get there, but luckily [GM]Noboru was continuing to replenish the hands of loot.  [GM]Valsharyn was there too, after being away from the office for a couple of weeks, she mentioned.

We were reassured that no patriarch botises or flutons would be spawned on us - a couple of groups of the sphinx types were easily disposed of, but then a group of anubis archers were spawned, and one of them killed me with just a couple of hits.  I used a resurrection scroll - but the cost of one of those rather wipes out the gold gain from the item drop boosters, skill points boosters, and so on that I picked up.

After that, RedRyder on Sarissa swung back into action.  There were a number of quests that could be done, which gave 22.20% experience and 4 skill points - it helped that she already had some dark orbs, and SirDarth had given her five cracked axes.  Then she set out into Dratan's desert to do the quests that required killing death goddesses, also known as ramians, and clever foxes of the desert - and settled in to kill the sand golems, to get all the soft sand she needed.  Luckily Darth had been able to pass nine soft sands across, but getting another eleven took a while.  Kamira "Arrived", and then after the thirteen minutes were up "Arrived" again.  I had mentioned her in the forum shoutbox, but nobody seemed interested. 

Once the soft sand situation was seen to, RedRyder hurried on to Prokion Temple, and stayed there for a little while, so that, with the further quest rewards that were earned, she ended up adding another 130.74%, taking her into level 26, and 143 skill points, almost all of which were swiftly spent back in town on a couple of top levels of skills.  Red also transformed the +15 level 29 sword SirDarth had used into the equivalent crossbow, so she should hit a lot harder on her next outing.

As none of my other Sarissa characters is likely to reach level 31 for a while and get a free +10 armour set, it seemed a good idea to buy yet another set, since RedRyder could now wear three parts of it.  Looking through Roy's merchant mart, I found four of the five +10 pieces being sold by JuukiSakai at a million gold each, which, since they were already rogue pieces and wouldn't have to be changed by Collector Ryl, seemed good to me, so I bought them.  Their previous owner hadn't bloodsealed them, but at least they were ready for the application of their first bloodseal gems.

The shirt for the armour set proved more elusive, and I ended up paying a million and a half for a titan one, and getting it changed by Collector Ryl.  But now RedRyder is set up to do some serious levelling - when she reaches level 27, she will be ready to team up with either Kae or Kee in that back room.

The Cariae server had been supposed to come back online at nine, UK time, but [GM]Darasuum reported in the shoutbox that the estimated time of its arrival had been put back by a further ninety minutes.  That is cutting things a bit close, as the special "Pet Paradise" event is supposed to start then, at 10:30 UK time, so we will have to see how things go on that.  SirDarth can pet-level without such excitements, and after his solo party with Red ended, moved back to Sarissa-4, though not to the spot where he was killed.  The horse had reached level 18 by then.

If I do get to the pet event, well, expect a few words about it tomorrow...

Cat Fight! - April 2nd

"Pet Paradise" late last night was a bit under-organised, sadly, and perhaps over-publicised; it didn't really live up to its advance publicity.  I expect it was the delay in getting the Cariae server back online that delayed its start by about fifteen minutes.  [GM]Cara had been the driving force behind the idea, and had promised "The event will be full of Wafes which are excellent pet experience, there will also be pet merchants in the area and a Stone Statue in the middle that non P2 pets can beat on. "

Initially I sent Rage on Auzura out to investigate, on the feeling that if any slightly higher-level monsters were roaming the south-western uplands of Dratan, she might be in line for an experience boost, and she could use that Stone Statue to level her drake a bit.  There didn't seem to be any additions near the Tomb of Theos or in the general sphinx fighter/sphinx speer man area; I did come across some fellow adventurers in the wafe area, including some people below level thirty, who'd really only benefit from the Stone Statue - but where was it?

Curiously, there was no GM announcement to give the location of the Stone Statue - though the event was saved from being a total let-down by the announcement that pet experience had been doubled for the duration, which was useful for me since SirDarth was busy over on Sarissa-4 with his pale blue horse.

Since she is currently carrying my Scra-Chi pet, SkrappY, Barbarienne, my level 101 archer, logged in over on Cariae-5, and teleported to the Tomb of Theos entrance, then rode back to wafe territory.  Big extra spawnings of wafes had been added, and Barb fought some of those - sure enough, Skrappy did get 0.02% or 0.03% experience per kill, though he did get hit once, losing a few hundred health.  I met a mage who was levelling her polar bear - for her the masses of wafes were useful, as she had "area of effect" skills to kill a number at a time, but I really don't think Barb was killing that much faster than if she had just been fighting the usual gangs of wafes there.

Cariae of course had, as promised, double experience and skill exp - until it was abruptly switched off after a quarter of an hour or so, and still wasn't running this morning...  and I never did find any pet merchants or that darn Stone Statue, though apparently the statue was there somewhere.  Somewhere dangerous, in fact, as some people got killed there.  I think Skrappy did go up about 8% on the experience side, but really, was it worth all the late-night fuss?

SirDarth pet-levelled through the night and into the morning, and so did benefit from the period of double pet experience, getting his horse into level 22 by coffee time.  I was just preparing to take RedRyder back to Prokion Temple when Friend got in touch, inviting Darth to a monster combo party.

The party was of the "speedy" type, where the leader does the first four stages solo, thus only having to fight a single wight slasher per stage.  Everyone else joined in for the fifth stage, which thus had a full eight wight slashers, and a full eight reward boxes, which drop a random number of master coins.  Then the seven of us would take the "quit" option, the leader would do the next four stages, and then we'd all come back in - and so on, so that we all had to pay to enter four times, costing almost six million per player.

Friend gave us all either gold or a share of the master coins at the end; she'd advanced me ten million towards the entry costs early on, which I'd spent, and passed over another fourteen million, so I did end up ahead, but not by a particularly huge amount.  I had been expecting a lot of unwanted experience gain, but thanks to missing all those stages, SirDarth added less than 5%, and RedRyder, who wasn't in the first couple of rounds as the party was full to begin with, added 34.38%.

For the afternoon session, RedRyder did manage to go to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5, after concluding some quests that brought in 23.02% and 20 skill points.  The fighting time, generally with orc soldiers and some orc fighters, brought in 135.04% experience, and 611 skill points.  As soon as Red reached level 27, SirDarth "froze" her experience gain to 50%, so she earned her first 269 guild points for Discipline as well.  A knight called TemplarRules was close by for some of the time, and managed to beg a few small health potions off me.  He didn't start off very well, charging into the room I was using and hitting the orc soldier I'd targeted, saying "Don't KS" meanwhile, but he soon settled for a less dangerous room.

Five o'clock, UK time, brought the Auzura "Storm the Castle" event, hosted by [GM]Noboru, which was pretty well attended.  I took Rage along to Merac Castle, as usual, though I didn't join the main charge forward after we'd dealt with the initial thorny mantises and male assassinbugs - mindful of past warnings about leaving monsters outside unkilled, I set my sights on the wight slasher that spawns a little way along, protected by death mask soldiers.  Luckily there were two or three other people who got involved, as the slasher is a bit high-level for Rage - and very luckily, my Snare worked just about every time.

After that I hurried on to the zamoras, anubis spear men, dark harpies, and so on, and as usual gave my invaluable assistance, Snare-wise.  One spear man did focus its attention on me, and I had to use quite a few health potions, but I didn't seem in grave danger.  The courtyard was cleared quickly enough - then we charged through the inner courtyard, though by using "tab" I noticed a blood shadow invisible dragon was there, and battled the two flutons in the throne room.

We finished comfortably inside the time limit, and dashed back outside the Castle, where our favourite GM spawned plenty of the traditional tightly-packed circles of StC loot.  Some people were asking for flutons to fight, but I reminded people that there was probably still a blood shadow in the inner courtyard, so quite a few of us hurried back, and dealt with it.  Before that, Rage's experience gain had been 0.89%, but the blood shadow brought it up to a nice round 1.00%.

RedRyder had reached level 28 by the end of the afternoon session, so for the main evening slog, it seemed a good idea to start using her five "beginner" platinum super skill pills.  So, SirDarth switched back to Sarissa-4, to provide a solo party again while he pet-levelled, and Red moved there too - since the pssp doesn't stack with Elizabeth's Enhancement, it made sense to be in the less busy fourth subserver without the enhancement, and add experience half as fast, while getting 150% extra skill exp from the pssp.

So, the first hour in my favourite Prokion Temple back room added 50.99% and 524 skill points, plus 305 guild points; Red equipped her dragon hatchling, which she hadn't used before, to help pick up loot, and it got comfortably into its second level.  The second pssp's hour  added 47.88%, and got Red into level 29; 519 skill points and another 305 guild points were earned.  There was just time for a third hour, which added another 42.38%, 495 skill points, and 293 guild points - the hatchling was well advance through level four by then.  I had no visitors, so it was a pretty productive three hours.  And RedRyder has another two of the pssps to use...

At nine the first of the [GM]Cara versus [GM]Kali "Cat Fights" was scheduled to begin over on Katar-5, at the PvP arena in Dratan - it was so long since I'd been there that it took me a moment to remember which Dratan NPC offers free trips there! It's a much more elaborate set-up than the Randol arena, with viewing areas at ground level, and balconies, with the arena itself enclosed by the building.  I went upstairs to watch; as a precaution I'd gone along as a level 2 knight, SirKitBreaker, since characters below level 15 aren't able to join in with PvP, and I only wanted to watch.  The actual fight between the mage Kali and the archer Cara was brief - the fun came when they spawned masses of monsters in the arena, and, perhaps because of a glitch, some of them were spawned on a balcony too. 

Loot was spawned in the arena itself, though even if I'd managed to find a way to get down there, the flutons would probably have killed me before I managed to grab anything.  I did however manage to grab some unclaimed gold that the monsters on the balcony dropped when they were killed...

There were threats that people would be banned for entering the arena while the "Cat Fight" itself was in progress, but some people did fool about - others may have accidentally fallen off a balcony, while apparently there was a glitch that meant that one or two people who were innocently watching from upstairs appeared to be standing in the arena itself.

Cariae was the second server to host the "Cat Fight", so I took my level four healer FoxChaser along.  I was starting to get an idea of the layout of the place, so managed to watch from downstairs, by a gateway onto the arena.  It was a non-PvP area I was in, the same as standing just outside the Randol arena, so even when, after Kali had won the fight, the place filled up with flutons, we were safe there.  There was a spawning of hands of loot, and I did manage to avoid the roaming and rampaging flutons long enough to pick up some of the usual items, item drop boosters and so on, before getting killed and having to run back.

Time was moving on, but as Sarissa came next, I decided to go along, this time using a level one mage, Emraine, with absolutely no experience or skill exp.  This time [GM]Cara won, though Kali seemed to think that Cara had cheated by boosting her stats.  There were flutons and barren eises, which are a bit of a Kali trademark, but when the loot was spawned in one big heap, I think they must have been dealt with.  The lag was absolutely terrible; it always gets a bit laggy when the server has all those hundreds of individual bits of loot to deal with, but this was "seconds per frame" stuff. 

Despite the lag I managed to get to the loot pile, which was still at the "reserved for another player" stage initially... before long I started to pick things up, but it was very slow, and if a fluton had still been prowling around I'd have been killed instantly.  I think a titan or two may well have tried to kill me, but that's the beauty of taking a low-level character into the arena when loot is spawned, while monsters can kill you, other players can't.  Eventually things speeded up again, as the loot was finally cleared away.  Emraine did pretty well there - at her level, even the small mana and HP recovery potions could well be useful.

By then it was time to log out, though SirDarth continued his work levelling the pale blue horse for Kaerella, getting it more than halfway through level 24 by the end of the evening.  I had visited Cariae a few times during the day, to carry out a "fox test", killing a fox to see if it gave 1 or 2 for experience and skill exp gain, but there was no bonus double experience of skill exp running.  I thought it was supposed to be up for around 48 hours, rather than 48 minutes or less?

RedRyder's Busy Day - April 3rd

I left SirDarth pet-levelling overnight on Sarissa-4, but sadly he did lose a few hours to a ks-er, who killed his target bandit.  Still, by late morning the horse had reached level 26, so we continue to make progress there.  Galahad over on Cariae-4 started up at breakfast time for some similar work - but as 9:30, UK time, I got disconnections on both computers, probably from staying connected rather a long time.  I switched off the modem for a few minutes, before getting SirDarth back online.

The morning session wasn't long enough for RedRyder to use both her remaining "beginner" pssps, but there was ample time for a single hour in Sarissa-4's Prokion Temple.  Before that, though, I spent 474 skill points to get Red's remaining available general skills up to their top levels - and I also used her tool aids, and some knives and hammers purchased from Merchant Geres, to get her a large supply of green herb leaves and quality stones, as her hatchling was starting to get rather hungry.

RedRyder was in a solo party with SirDarth again, and had an event-free hour in the back room, with the orc sergeants and orc axemen.  In all Red added 39.33% experience, which meant that Discipline got another 299 guild points, while her dragon hatchling got most of the way through its fifth level - and 505 skill points were earned.

Over lunch, Galahad logged back in to work on his horse a bit more, while SirDarth continued his pet-levelling.  Galahad then gave way to RedRyder again for a final beginner pssp's hour in Prokion Temple on Sarissa-4; Red got to level thirty, which slowed things down a bit, but another 32.14% experience and 271 guild points were earned, the hatchling reached level six...and 453 skill points were added.  Back in town, RedRyder was able to learn the general skill Invisibility, and the passive skill Detect Weakness, which massively increases her physical hit rate,  Those cost 445 skill points - easy come, easy go.

After that RedRyder had a quest reward to claim for another 9.90% and 10 skill points, and then she teamed up with Kaerella in a combat party, back on Sarissa-5's Prokion Temple.  This time Red got 110.13%, getting into level 31, along with 548 guild points, while Kaerella, as the non-fighting party member, went up by 36.10%, along with 90 guild points.  They each gained 360 skill points. 

A knight called Moridon did come into the room for a few minutes, bringing a mob of orc soldiers and fighters he'd been battling out in the corridor with him.  "Are you okay there?" I asked, and he assured me he was, that he'd pulled them all on purpose... but a couple of minutes later he said, "Okay, maybe a little help", so I got rid of the orc sergeants and axemen that had joined his mob.  AFter that he returned to the orcs in the corridor.

After Kaerella had spent all her skill points, it was time for her first "death run", so she went to Maargadum Jail and died 24 times, to get her experience back to the start of level 27.  It seemed to me that the "double death" bug, where the character respawns at the spot where she died, with low health and unable to move for a couple of seconds, happened more often than I've previously found - almost every time, in fact, with at least one "treble death".

Following the early evening food break, RedRyder and Kaerella teamed up again; this time my favourite back room was in use, so I moved along to its mirror over in the other half of the temple.  I had to break off when RedRyder was up to 99% of the way through level 31, as she needed to choose to become a ranger, so both characters relogged, which had the advantage of letting us restart the three hours of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff.  Red had gained 63.39% by then, and 358 guild points, while Kae had reached 23.28%, with 58 guild points.  They each got 241 skill points.

RedRyder visited the Master Rogue and became a ranged-attack ranger, and then hopped across to Merac to do a couple of messenger-type quests - the 7.71% the quest rewards gave got her into level 32, and so, back in Randol, she was able to learn a couple of new skills, before she and Kaerella returned to the Temple.

This time, luckily, the back room I prefer was clear - so a nice long session got Red a further 106.80%, taking her into level 33, plus 746 guild points, while Kaerella went up 47.51%, and 119 guild points.  Red's hatchling reached level ten, and 476 skill points each were gained too, which meant that Kaerella had enough sp to finish her final general skill - and start on the special armour and weapon crafting skills as well.

At ten o'clock UK time the first of the "Monster Spawn Race" events was due to start, on Katar-4, so my local level 31 rogue Memree went along, after carefully spending 28 of her 29 skill points on the second level of epsilon wave processing.  This was to be a contest between groups at the west and north gates of Randol, for the speed with which we killed the monsters that were to be spawned in four waves; I opted for the north gate.

The monsters spawned were surely impressive, a lot more darkmind terrains, flutons, sphinx commanders, anubis occultists, anubis spear men, nivas, performer bereids, raging spirits of the sorcerer, female assassinbugs, and more than a Mad Monster Spawn would get - and we were at half strength, of course.  Initially the lag was bad from all the monsters spawned, and to begin with our task looked impossible - but we started to pick them off, and we must have had some high-level people there.  I did get killed once when a fluton turned its attention to me, and had some narrow escapes too, but was able to help out with Snare on quite a few targets.

After the field had been cleared, I commented on the "four waves" thing, and [GM]Cara quickly assured us that we had, in fact, had all four waves at once - it certainly felt like it!  The usual rewards of loot were spawned, though apparently the west gate bunch had actually won the race by clearing out all their monsters first.

It's a shame that these events seem to be getting later in the evening - The Auzura one starts at midnight, UK time, or 1:00am for mainland Europe... and it is supposed to be the European-time server?  I had been slightly tempted to go along to the Cariae event, at 10:30, but with the mass spawning and the lag, it would have been a bit risky to take Barbarienne along.  Resurrection scrolls are expensive.  Not that Memree had to use one, losing 3% of 1 skill point is not a problem...

SirDarth had been peacefully pet-levelling on a pair of bandits while the race had been going on, so that by the end of the evening the pale blue horse was steadily approaching level 27.  But today's levelling-up crown must go to RedRyder, for going from level 29 to level 33, with the 50% experience freeze on.  I doubt that she'll ever manage four levels in a day again.

A Race to the Finish - April 4th

SirDarth managed a more successful overnight session, and got his pale blue horse into level 28 by morning.  After coffee, however, he had to bow out, to allow RedRyder and Kaerella to head for Prokion Temple on Sarissa-4.

First however, after spending her skill points Kaerella had to suffer another 24 deaths in Maargadum Jail, to return to the start of level 27.  Once that was done, the combat party team-up was made, Elizabeth's Enhancement obtained, and the necessary teleportations triggered.

The back room was free, so a straightforward hour and three-quarters of orc-bashing was achieved.  RedRyder went up by 68.76%, and 563 guild points, while Kaerella added 35.20%, along with 98 guild points.  They each got 353 shiny new skill points.

SirDarth had a further chance at pet-levelling over lunch, but afterwards it was time to get back to Kae and Red.  Kae spent all her skill points, and then we had a bit of luck - someone in Randol was dropping items they no longer needed.  I never like to leave stuff lying on the ground, so picked it all up - it was all healer stuff, and while the armour pieces were not plussed, the booty included both the freebie level 33 +10 healer weapons, the bow and the scepter, and a level 29 jungle bow +9, which Kaerella can use - it's a great improvement over the level 21 +4 bow she had been equipped with.

The back room at Prokion Temple was available, so that is where RedRyder and Kaerella spent the afternoon.  Now that the orc axemen are blue-named, it wasn't worth Red equipping her dragon hatchling, so Kaerella was in charge of picking up the  gold and other minor items dropped by the orcs.  RedRyder went up by 84.54%, and 799 guild points, reaching level 34 fairly early on, while Kaerella added 49.20%, and 122 guild points.  They each got 504 skill points.

Back in town, Kaerella was able to use that sp to get all but the final level of expert armoursmith, the first two levels of advanced alchemy, and both levels of basic mining - and there was just time before the food break to go down to Maargadum Jail again, and die 29 times, to get back to the start of level 27 again.

Kaerella did have a small outing last night after the blog "went to press", when I noticed from the web page that the "Monster Spawn Race" on Sarissa had just started.  So, she logged in, and assisted in a small way at the north gate, managing not to get killed.  She did manage to pick up just a few items when the rewards were spawned, but I think that the people at the west gate had won the race again.

After the Sunday early evening food break, with SirDarth taking the opportunity for a little more pet-levelling, I was thinking of having yet another Sarissa-5 session with RedRyder and Kaerella.  If my Cariae cleric of that name seems to have been neglected since that server returned, it is because we are promised some rather large experience and skill exp boosts there - but not until Wednesday, after the next maintenance, so it isn't really worth playing over there until then.  And it won't be worth starting my Auzura rogue Rage's campaign to add a few levels until after Cariae's "apology week", particularly as that will involve adding a cover to her armour, which will only last for a set period of time.

In the end I decided to leave SirDarth to his pet-levelling, and bring my Katar level 32 archer, Kaerella of course, out for a session.  It seemed a good idea to add to her skill point stash a little, so, when I reached Prokion Temple, I headed for the "mirror" corridor room, with its level 25 orc fighters and single level 27 orc axeman.  With the 50% experience freeze and the Elizabuff, and a solo party, each orc fighter yielded just 1198 experience, and 3300 skill exp, which seemed pretty useful to me. 

Unusually for the "Mirror universe" I did have a few visitors, including a friendly Portuguese sorcerer called Phabio2, and  the occasional knight or titan who seemed to feel it was a point of honour to "ks" a fighter or two on their way through.  There hadn't been any "Sunday teatime" bonus, but by the time I had to relog for the Quiz, Kae had added just 10.34%, along with 70 guild points, and earned 292 skill points.

The Quiz was much as ever, on Tairen-2, though a lot of people got kicked for getting the number of eyes a Barren Eise has wrong.  The doors had been left open, though, and many of them hurried back in.  Kaerella and MistressDomino got through without any such excitements, and got their usual rewards - Kae traded her moonstones and heaven stones across to MD before logging out.

SirDarth went back to Merac and his bandits, and after a few tries, Kaerella on Katar was able to log back in and return to the same room in Prokion Temple, for a further 3.06% experience, 21 more guild points for Discipline, and another 85 skill points - taking her stash up to a nice round 14,000.

Kaerella was on the right subserver for the first "Race to the Finish" event, hosted by [GM]Kali, so moved across to Randol's north gate, and got ready.  Unlike the JediMike races, this was a serious race, kind of.  No mounts were allowed - which just meant that anyone with an expensive super haste potion was liable to win, especially if they had special extra-speedy boots.  Or a night shadow would have been a strong contender, as they have a speed skill to make up for not being able to ride a horse.

Once Kali had persuaded everyone to dismount, and to get behind her, just about, the race began - and of course it was the "super haste" people who sped off first, I just used an ordinary 200 gold haste potion, so there was a crowd at the finish by the time I got there.  Minutes later, we were racing back the way we had come - and then there was a third race, back to the west gate again.  I was only just in time for the spawning of the hands of loot - apparently the winning three people did get special prizes, or have been promised some shortly.

I went along on Cariae too, which was the next server on the rotation, this time with my rogue Karella, and things were much the same.  The supply of loot, given the number of people there, was not exactly generous, but hey, we didn't have to do much to earn it.

By the end of the evening, SirDarth had got his pale blue horse halfway through level 29...so it will still be a while before Sarissa's Kaerella is able to ride about on it.

SirDarth at the Movies - April 5th

SirDarth got through the night again safely, and continued all morning, as I wasn't able to do any actual Last Chaos fighting until after lunch.  By then the pale blue horse had reached level 31, and so was technically able to be turned into a mount - though as usual I want the maximum possible attack and defence "horse buffs", which means continuing all the way to level 37.

The afternoon session saw RedRyder and Kaerella heading for the back room in Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5 again; we passed the knight TemplarRules fighting orc soldiers on the way to our room, and before long he reported that he'd reached level 24.  He doesn't use spaces in his messages, he uses full stops ("periods") instead, which.can.be.hard.to.get.used.to.

We just managed to reach our target of 541 skill points each with the three-hour Elizabeth's Enhancement counting down its final seconds; by then RedRyder was almost halfway into level 35, having gone up 80.26% and donated 873 more guild points.  Kaerella had added 52.89% and 132 guild points.  And then it was time to log SirDarth back in for a little more pet-levelling.

After the food break, Kaerella spent all her skill points on the final available level of expert armoursmith, the last level of advanced alchemy, and all three levels of expert alchemy - so she just had the gathering and processing skills to work on now.  Then it was time to "die off" her 52.89% experience, and get back to the start of level 27 again, so she went to Maargadum Jail, and let the dire spike canines do the job.  It was mainly "double deaths", including, as sometimes happens, a death from which she couldn't be revived - but by then the experience was down to 0%, so I just needed to log her out.

RedRyder was able to learn the level 32 passive skill Mind Training now, since she had the necessary 12 stat points in Constitution.  Spending 276 skill points increased her magical resistance (evasion from magical attacks) by 25; she also spent 150 skill points on Reinforce 2, increasing her physical attack by 62, which is useful.  SirDarth had a pandora's box by him at around that time - this time no beast was unleashed, the box just yielded 50,000 gold.

The main evening session involved RedRyder and Kaerella again.  The back room was in use when I arrived, so I moved around a bit, including visiting its mirror equivalent, but it seemed hard to find enough orc axemen and orc sergeants close enough together to keep busy, and after about sixty skill points I arrived back where I'd started, and was relieved to find the back room vacant.  A titan who had been fighting in the corridor did follow me in, but pretty soon decided that either the place was a bit high for him, or that there was only room for me, so things proceeded smoothly after that.  I managed to get Red and Kae 376 skill points each; RedRyder went up by another 51.67%, and 600 guild points, while Kaerella added 36.15% and got 90 guild points.

Kaerella spent her skill points on the three levels of advanced mining, plus all the levels of herbalism except the third advanced one, and both levels of basic absorption. That experience gain gets RedRyder pretty close to level 36, so this particular team-up won't be able to continue for all that much longer, as they need to be within ten levels of each other for a combat party and Kae can't go beyond level 27 until all the special skills are done... though work on Sarissa will be "on hiatus" when the Cariae server has its special extra experience and skill exp event.  I'll be rather busy over there with Kaerella, Barbarienne, and Keerella I guess, especially if experience boosters work properly with the event's extra experience gain.

There was another trivia quiz tonight, in the same vein as the "Sci-Fi" one last week, so SirDarth went along to the Cariae quiz at 9:30 UK time.  This was to be a general movie quiz, and I wanted to get at least one question right, so that I'd have a chance to mention that the three PBIs Darth won last time had been lost in the roll-back.  As things went, I did better than that; some questions were so hard that nobody managed an answer, others were a matter of being the fastest typist, and I managed to be the first to fill in the ".... and the Temple of Doom" blank with "Indiana Jones", got the remake of "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" just from the basic plot description, from a half-remembered trailer got that Paul Blart was the main character in "Mall Cop", guessed "Summer Rental"... I was actually the first person to type in "The Mask", but Kali allowed the person who'd quickly just typed "Mask" to win that one.

So, when the winners were teleported to a far corner of the Juno map, with the elder drakes close by, I did get a chance to say that I'd won three PBIs last week, but had lost them to the roll-back - and another winner, Vimto, mentioned that he'd won some then, and of course lost them, too.  We didn't get any "refund", though, but winning four platinum blessed irises is a pretty good reward anyway.  Comparing notes afterwards, Vimto only got his winnings for tonight, too.  Kali didn't spawn any hands of loot for everyone this time, I assume she could only have done that before moving to the drakes...all the spamming of "comedy" answers and other remarks had probably given her a bit of a headache.  And she still had another four servers to go, poor girl...

Meanwhile, of course, SirDarth's namesake over on Sarissa had been busy with a bit of pet-levelling, and by the end of the evening had got Kaerella's mount-to-be past the halfway mark in level 31.

We seem, sadly, rather short of "proper" events this week, like Mad Monster Spawns and Storm the Castle; the best tomorrow can offer is spectating at another GM versus GM battle at the Dratan arena, when two male GMs will face off against two of our fighting females.  Oh well, if the lag doesn't get too bad it could be fun for a few minutes.  Wednesday just has a small number of people playing "rock paper scissors", by whispering their choice to a GM, so that can, I think, be safely ignored.  There was a slight chance of either a MMS or StC on Friday, but only if people voted for that option on the forum... when I looked, a pet experience event was well in the lead.

A Power Cut - April 6th

There was another successful overnight pet-levelling session for SirDarth on Sarissa-4, getting his pale blue horse safely into level 32.  Darth continued his good work until after coffee, when RedRyder and Kaerella took over, for another trip to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5.

The back room was already in use when I arrived, so I settled for the "corridor room", which, while slightly more sparsely populated with orcs, has a better ratio of the sergeants to the axemen.  I didn't have a hugely long session, but it was enough to see RedRyder well into level 36, with 21.93% experience and 300 guild points gained; Kaerella went up by 17.74% and 44 guild points, and they both added 162 skill points.

Back in town, Kaerella was able to learn the final level of advanced herbalism, so that if she goes out farming herbs without using a tool aid, she'll gather them at the maximum possible speed.  She also learned the first level of advanced absorption, so soon it would only be the skills for processing the nine kinds of energies, herbs and stones that were left.  Then Kae headed for Maargadum Jail, and by dying there eighteen times got back to the start of level 27 once more.

After lunch, it was time for RedRyder and Kaerella to return to Prokion Temple for a more substantial session.  TemplarRules did turn up during the afternoon, and managed to cadge a couple of accessories and some green herbs for his blue hatchling; he did say at one point that he had "120k" skill points, but he had already mentioned that he was suffering from a bit of a fever, which probably explains it.

By the time my duo logged out, and SirDarth logged in again, RedRyder had gained another 58.30%, along with 801 guild points, while Kaerella was up by 47.36%, and 118 guild points.  They had each got 496 skill points; that took Red over the 4k mark, and meant that Kae could learn the last two levels of advanced absorption, both levels of flawed stone processing, all three levels of imperfect stone processing, the first two levels of flawless stone processing, and both levels of yellow herb processing.  Only another 922 skill points to go, and Kaerella will have all her special skills learnt - except for the ones that only become available when she reaches level 32 and level 42, that is.

After another sixteen deaths in Maargadum Jail, Kaerella logged off for the early evening food break, while SirDarth continued his pet-levelling campaign, just managing to get the horse into level 33 before he had to log out again.

For a change, the evening session was over on the Auzura server.  I started by moving the "sphinx fighter" location on their memory scrolls from the old camp fire position to the new position, near the shyer of the two elite sphinx "speer" men, for MrChuckNorris, MistressDomina, and Rage, which just meant fighting my way along the route between the two spots. Then, with Rage there on the newer computer, MistressDomina, my level 61 mage, logged back in on the older machine, and joined her there in an equal party.

Rage certainly got a lot more experience and skill exp when MD was within compass-range than when MD was still back in town just supplying the solo party boost, since the sphinx types are blue to her - roughly three times as much, in fact.  But within minutes of MistressDomina arriving, an old friend turned up too - the raid boss Kamira!  Rage didn't even bother with a magic defence mineral, she just added horse buffs and attacked, so she did use two or three medium health potions, but it didn't take long to defeat the monster, and, while she didn't drop any rare accessories, the usual goodies like lucky scrolls, moonstones, and a crystal of experience (greater) were swiftly gathered up.

Rage didn't make all that much experience, though it was better than a couple of "Storm the Castle" events for that.  By the time she logged out she had added 2.46%, and 15 skill points.  I decided to try replacing her in the team with my level 67 archer, Kaerella, for the last part of the session, to whom the sphinx types are still green-named, and, while she needed horse buffs to avoid taking much damage, she worked well there, and in rather less time went up 2.19%, and added 8 skill points.

MistressDomina had generally stayed back at a safe distance, though she quite often helped fight the elite speer man.  By the end of her session there, she had gone up by 10.06%, and gained 23 skill points.  Still, there is plenty of potential for her and Chuck to do some levelling there in the future.  Chuck and Kae would make a good team too, as Chuck can give an archer a pair of useful buffs.

By about a quarter to nine, UK time, the sphinx-fighting was over.  The evening's special event was due to start on Katar-5 at nine; it was another "Cat Fight" style event at the PvP arena in Dratan, but this time the two female game masters would be working as a team, fighting a pair of male GMs.  The Cariae event was to follow at 9:30, so it seemed as if it would be fun to go along to at least those two battles, particularly if any loot got spawned at the end.

So, I logged SirDarth in on Sarissa-4, with a view to sending him back to Merac for a little more pet-levelling (though the weekly maintenance meant he'd not be able to continue overnight), and chose my level 10 archer Barbarienne on Katar-5.  She was just heading for the teleporter to get to Dratan, when all the lights, the radio, and the computers went off...

Yes, it was a power cut, so that brought an abrupt end to my adventuring for the day.  It lasted from 8:50pm to about 1:10am, and covered quite a large part of the town apparently.  So, I had a slightly early night, going to bed by the light of a candle.  I wonder which GMs fought, and who won?

A Day of Rage - April 7th

The overnight maintenance didn't add any fixes or changes, other than the start of Cariae's week of 600% experience and skill exp... and one day of the same bonus for the other servers too, it was announced.  So, my plans to do some heavy work over on Cariae got postponed for a day, and I brought forward my project to level up my ranger rogue Rage (or RAGE to be accurate) on Auzura a bit.

Opening some upgrade boxes in search of extreme stones, when I was getting all her 70/72 armour pieces up to +13, had given me five platinum refining stones, which upgrade an item, risk-free, by +1, +2 or +3 - the only catch is that the effect only lasts for a day, when applied.  So, I opened the five stones, and found I had two each of the +1 and +2 type, and a +3.  I used a +2 "prs" on Rage's +13 crossbow, to make it temporarily into a +15 one - and then headed for the Forgotten Temple.

I knew that during the morning I would have a lot of interruptions, so that seemed the best place to go - the end room has just enough Jumping Devils, and some safe areas off to the side where I could easily leave Rage when I got called away.  I got her a solo party with my royal knight Galahad... he did actually go to Prokion Temple, but only did a very little fighting, and at level 35 didn't really get much experience and skill exp, as he didn't have a lower-level party member within compass range.

Keeping clear of the end boss Blood Terrain, I fought the jumping devils when I could, and, thanks to the boosted experience, added 33.78% by lunch time.  The skill exp was quite good, at six times what it normally is, so I actually used the 18 skill point boosters Rage was carrying, picked up at events over recent weeks - and that helped me to add 190 skill points in all.

After lunch it was "all systems go", and Rage and Galahad both went to the Tomb of Theos.  The idea was that Galahad would stay well back, out of compass range, and provide the solo party - but Rage would visit him when his Concentration buff, which improves the chance of her Snare working, needed renewing.  Rage used platinum adrenaline, berserker, power, and crit potions, which all lasted for an hour.

That was how the first hour went, and Rage went up by 505.92%, fighting the screaming zombies and using the experience point boosters each time - from level 73, where she had been stuck for many months, to level 78.  Her drake got 919 pet points, too. But it didn't seem to me that Gal's buff really helped all that much, and Rage was having to use a few health potions, so I decided after that first hour to switch from him to my level 67 archer Kaerella.

Rage and Kaerella started in a general party, as they were now eleven levels apart, but, by Rage not using an "xpb" per kill for a while, I managed to get Kae into level 68 before Rage reached the top of 78, and so they were able to change to a combat party, which meant that, while skill exp was equally shared (and it was just 6 skill exp per kill at that stage), Rage would get a slight boost on average to her experience gain, and Kae would get some free experience.

By the end of the second hour, 347.69% more had been gained by Rage, and 900 pet points; there was time for a third hour before the food break, and that, using an xpb every time, added another 329.86%, and 995 pet points.  I did invite the titan D1ablo into the combat party for a while, which was useful for both of us.

The Tomb of Theos hadn't been very busy on Auzura-4 during the afternoon.  Rage and Kaerella stayed down there during my food break, in the safe area back by the teleporter, and when they returned to the screaming zombies, things were a bit busier - and as the evening progressed, they got busier still.  The level 97 rogue GIZMO might normally be expected to go rather further into the Tomb than the starting area, but she was getting some skill experience, and levelling her polar bear pet, which, she told us, tended to die if she took it further in.  So, she was busy in the middle of the first room, which made things a little awkward for the rest of us.

Kaerella did give the odd healing, and was able to resurrect a cleric called eLdeRyna666, who registered for a combat party so that we could temporarily add her to our team.  Sadly, the party she was down there with didn't have very good luck, and when she died again, she left.  She was a similar level to my Cariae-based cleric, so that rather suggests that my cleric ought to level up a bit more before she dares to go to the Tomb.

The first hour of the evening session saw Rage go up from level 85 to 88, adding 254.88% and 910 pet points.  The number of xpbs used was about average, at 110.  Each new level is a little longer, so hour two added 209.82%, moving Rage into level 90, and bringing another 903 pet points, with 109 xpbs used - Rage had even added 9 skill points by then, as the screaming zombies started to give a small amount of skill exp each.  The final hour brought in another 109.50%, so Rage finished in level 91, plus 869 pet points and another 11 skill points, so that, briefly, Rage's skill point stash reached the 8k mark.

I think perhaps there may be a limit to the difference in levels in a combat party.  Normally when it starts, you have to be a maximum of ten levels apart, and it doesn't matter if one character levels up, but perhaps Rage and Kae ending up 23 levels apart was pushing things - I noticed that, while Rage still seemed to be getting as much experience per kill as one would expect, around 120 million per kill, Kaerella ended up getting very little, and she wasn't getting the same skill exp... when Rage got 942 from a kill, Kae just got 42.  Still, we did get her up from level 67 to 68, adding 94.06% experience and a couple of skill points, which, considering that she just stood around watching and doing the occasional Party Heal, doesn't seem unreasonable.

Back in Randol, Rage was able to learn levels 7 and 8 of Mental Defence, to increase her magical defence by 8 per level;  levels 7 and 8 of Detect Weakness, to increase her hit rate by 75 and 80; level 6 of Critical Increase, increasing her rate of critical hits by 15; Reinforce 2 level 3, to increase her physical attack by 12; Fatal Attack level 6, to increase her physical attack while wielding a crossbow by 50; and, as an attack skill, levels 8 and 9 of Piercing, increasing its power from 350% of a normal hit to 470%.  Between them, they used up 3450 skill points.  There's a further level of Reinforce 2 to get at level 92, for 300 skill points, but after that, skills tend to get a bit sp-expensive, at 1000 or so sp each, so Rage's future skill=learning may be a bit limited.

So, instead of my Auzura character being led by a level 73 rogue, now Rage is level 91.  Of course she is still wearing the level 70/72 armour set, and using a level 73 weapon, so it looks as if it will be rather expensive to get her set up properly again.  A level 90/92 set would be nice, if Rage at some point, after the next week, can get the further 80% that needs, but I suspect that, if plussed a bit and with good seals, that will be awfully rare and costly.  Her reaching level 90 means that there is the possibility of starting a level 90 night shadow on Auzura.  The other three character slots are just used for storage characters, so finding space would not be a problem.

Still, the focus, after this one day featuring Rage, must now move from Auzura to Cariae.  Barbarienne, Keerella and SkrappY (archer, wizard and cute cat-like pet) may well do some skill point farming and pet-levelling in the Tomb of Theos themselves... and as for my Cariae cleric Kaerella, well, she needs to work off that rollback deficit with the elite sphinx speer man, and maybe move on to visit the Forgotten Temple herself before the week is up.

Anyway, like many people, I suspect, I have totally ignored the "rock paper scissors" event today, where twenty applicants per server whisper a GM which their choice is, which seems a slightly clumsy way of playing.  With all the bonus experience and skill exp on offer, perhaps it is just as well that we don't have our usual events to divert us.

And, when last seen, SirDarth had just got his pale blue horse a third of the way through level 33, with a little help from the local bandits.

Over to Cariae - April 8th

SirDarth was able to pet-level through the night successfully again, so that his horse had started on level 34 by morning.  The sextuple experience over on the other servers had ended now - Rage made a quick "fox test" to confirm that, and the fox just gave 1 experience and 1 skill exp, not six of each.

Looking in Roy's merchant mart, there seemed absolutely no level 89 crossbows available, and very few at higher levels than that, so it looks as if Rage will need to get a level 85 one.  There was a rather nice green-named, five-sealed +15 crossbow for sale, but it would have cost rather more than all the gold I currently have on that server...

One thing I did do was cancel a character on Rage's account, a level 2 mage called LadyFelicia I had never done anything with.  So, in 24 hours there ought to be room to start a night shadow there, though any experiments will have to wait until Cariae too loses the bonus event.

For the morning session, my level 101 archer Barbarienne and my level 93 (just, by 0.02%) wizard Keerella went to the Tomb of Theos, in an equal party, with a view to doing a bit of pet-levelling on Barb's drake and SkrappY, which Keerella took charge of.  And if we could get a little experience and skill exp, well, all the better.  After all those boosters I used yesterday, a little less expensive work seemed in order.

As I'd expected, the place was generally fairly quiet on Cariae-4 at that time, and by the end of the morning, just fighting the level 100 screaming zombies in the first room, with the six-fold experience and skill exp running, Barbarienne was up by 2.82%, and Keerella was up by 7.23% - and they'd each gained 49 skill points, which is nice going at their levels.  Barb's drake had added 1660 pet points in level 43, and SkrappY had gained 6.81%.

Both characters stayed in the Tomb, back by the teleporter, over lunch, and then continued, adding another 4.51% for Barbarienne and 11.73% for Keerella, along with 81 skill points each.  Barb's drake got 2825 pet points, and SkrappY, our cartoony feline "human tribe" pet, added another 9.39%.

There were other people around, coming and going, getting in the way or helping.  A level 70 sorcerer who got to level 73 fairly quickly, and another one below level 40 who was rather surprised to find that he could solo the screaming zombies, and added a good few levels.  The knight Alfurin was only level 30, and waiting for a friend to power-level him; he showed me the level 85/87 armour he had bought ready.  He joined our party for a while, to get into level 31, and didn't reduce our experience gain by a very big amount.

An archer, probably around level 60, seemed to have various team-ups as the day went on, and as usual plenty of people hurried off towards the deeper parts of the Tomb, sometimes giving a buff as they passed.  One low-level team-up must have come to grief, as a victorious screaming zombie edged back from down the corridor, and unfortunately attacked SkrappY - if it had attacked Kee I'd have probably noticed in good time, but poor SkrappY died, and Keerella had to go back to Randol to get him "unsealed", which at level 52 cost 2,123,232 gold... but I had picked up a couple of heaven stones by then, and plenty of gold drops, along with a few moonstone boxes, so could afford it.  Kee returned, and the fighting continued.

One "correct" answer in the Sunday Quiz is that it is possible to level without boosters, and I guess with 7.23% over roughly four hours or so, with the six-fold boost, Barbarienne showed that it can be done... without the event that would have been, what, 0.30% per hour?  Still, the skill points were very useful, and the pet-levelling always helps.

My feeling was that the Tomb of Theos would get a bit busy in the evening, so that would be the best time for my level 64 cleric Kaerella to have her turn, going to the sphinx fighters, sphinx speer men, and elite sphinx speer man out in Dratan's south-west uplands.  So, out I went, and had only killed half a dozen sphinx types when Kamira arrived to greet me.  Kae logged out and Keerella, who had added the location to her scroll for this purpose, logged in.  Kamira did do some damage, so Kee did have to use a couple of health potions, but soon it was just a matter of collecting the loot up, though it didn't include any rare accessory, just the usual items.

I had made a solo party with MistressDomina, my merchant character, but she was just standing around in Randol.  When my old friend Elvastar got in touch, I invited him to join the party if he was on Cariae-4, and he did so - not just as his level 60 sorcerer, but with his level 31 pet-leveller Leopardknight as well.  That meant that MD was able to log out, and SirDarth over on Sarissa-4 was able to get a bit more of his pet-levelling done.

We chatted, and time passed; I was using not just experience boosters on the elite sphinx speer man, so that he gave about 14.5 million experience per kill, but skill point boosters too, as MD had had some in stock, which meant that I was getting a little over 3 skill points per kill.  The ordinary fighters and speer men donated some useful experience and skill exp too, helped on by the event's boost.  Apparently the 600% had failed for a while, but been restored just in time for my evening session, which was good timing on my part.

At around a quarter to seven, UK time, it was announced that a "Storm the Castle" event was due to start on the hour on Cariae; further announcements were made, so, when the hour was almost upon us, Kaerella temporarily left the party, and instead Barbarienne logged in, and headed for Merac Castle.

I timed it just right, and things started mere seconds after I teleported in.  [GM]Darasuum was in charge, and was there in person and chatting, which always improves such events.  We didn't seem a very strong group initially, and I ended up tanking one of the thorny mantises, and a couple of the anubis spear men too, but the higher people seem to have gone on ahead and concentrated on the dark harpies, probably because of the drops they can give, so that when the rest of us fought our way to the outer courtyard, there was not a lot left to do... in fact, I think the whole storming was over by twelve minutes past.

The GM spawned the loot in the inner courtyard - and then we all went outside.  There were as usual some requests for further monsters - and [GM]Darasuum offered to run the whole StC again if we wanted.  So, we took him up on that offer.  Things were easier this time, as we had more people right from the start - Barb didn't have to use any Christmas candies to keep her health up!  This time I did actually get to see the hell-otuu and the dark harpies, and we probably swept through even more quickly than before.  And a second spawning of loot rounded things off nicely.

And then, another GM announcement came up, for a low-level Mad Monster Spawn, about to start, so Barb logged out and my level 27 rogue Karella logged in, and teleported to the appropriate spot in Juno, arriving just as the first wave of monsters was spawning.  The elite sand golems dropped a few more soft sand for her, and generally she killed the monsters my rogues generally aim for, like salamanders, elite spiders of the desert, elder drakes, and anything else that gets in the way.

As with the StC, people asked for more - and, after we grabbed our loot, [GM]Darasuum repeated the event for us, ending with a second spawning of loot.  He did mention that we should watch out for future special announcements of surprise events this week - people did ask about a high-level MMS, but he said that the high-level people had had the StC, which was true enough.

So, Karella logged out, and Kaerella logged back in, automatically rejoining the party with Elvastar and Leopardknight. She returned to the sphinx types, and continued her levelling. 

It wasn't long before Elvastar reported that Kamira had arrived on top of him.  He invited Kae to join him to kill her, but, knowing her area of effect magic attacks, I was very much in favour of logging Keerella in again to handle the job... and Elvastar came round to my way of thinking rather quickly, after attacking Kamira and, despite magic defence minerals and health stealing, dying rather quickly.  It was nail-biting stuff watching his health bar from a mile or two away...

So, Kae logged out again, and Kee logged in again, and joined the party, so that she could see Elva's dot on the map to show her where to ride to.  She, as usual recently, didn't use any magic defence mineral, and no lucky scroll or item drop booster either... but this time, along with the usual lucky scrolls, crystal of experience (greater), moonstones, tool aids, potions, and so on, she dropped two accessories, a Rage of Demon and a Pierce of Wind.  Neither of them is hugely valuable these days, but it was thoughtful of Kammy to provide the two - we agreed that Kee should take the PoW, and Elva should have the RoD, and Keerella logged out, leaving the other items on the ground for Elva to collect.

Kaerella continued her levelling until my log out time, leaving Elvastar still taking advantage of the event a little longer.  In all Kae had gone up by 187.31%, getting back into level 65, from which she had been "rolled back", and on into level 66... she used 102 experience boosters on the elite sphinx speer man. moving things along nicely.  She also used 74 skill point boosters, though I gave up on them once she reached level 66, as the skill exp did go down a bit then, from 8580 in level 64 to 6864.  402 skill points were gained in all - back in town 350 of them were used to learn level 7 of Fast Heal, so we still came out ahead.  And Kae's drake, SirFrancis, added 2258 pet points.

SirDarth continued his pet-levelling on Sarissa a little longer, and got his horse three-quarters of the way through level 34 before logging out for the night.

Seven Hours in the Tomb - April 9th

There was the usual bit of pet-levelling with SirDarth from breakfast time, but I intended to make full use of the sextuple experience and skill exp on the Cariae server today.  Before coffee I checked around, and was able to transfer some more experience boosters over to Barbarienne and Kaerella, to boost their stocks - I found that Barb does have quite a few in her storage chest, too.  One other item she had in storage was her old level 69 +15 bow, so I traded that across to Kae.

Barbarienne also restocked her supply of Remedy, at 5,000 gold each in Randol - that would be very useful, as it negates the effect of Stun, a skill that the anubis spear men in the Tomb of Theos use quite often.  I topped her supply up to 75, but I really should have bought more; luckily Keerella had some too, and was able to transfer them across later.

I had my coffee early, so that Barbarienne and Keerella, level 101 archer and level 93 wizard, arrived at the Tomb of Theos at about ten in the morning, UK time.  Once inside, paying the usual 3,000 gold per character level entry fee, we didn't stop at the screaming zombies - instead we headed forward and to the right, to the first big room with the level 106 boss-type anubis spear men, plus level 104 sphinx fighters.

Luckily, nobody was already using the room, which can really only support two people killing the anubis spear men at a time, so Keerella took up a safe position at one side, and equipped SkrappY.  The expedition almost took a disastrous turn right away when three sphinx fighters followed us in, and attacked SkrappY, but Kee was able to unequip him just in time, and Barb dealt with them.  Kee used a "bandage" to boost SkrappY's health a bit, and he, and Kee, spent the rest of the session on the sidelines, watching while Barb did the fighting, normally just targeting the anubis spear men.

There were various people who shared the room during the day - most of them seemed to be assassin-type rogues, for some reason.  Sometimes people piled in and started to fight, and had to be persuaded to move on. which generally people did... though, once she was safely around the next corner, Lettibaby vented her displeasure with shouts of "NOOB" and "FK". 

Early on it was a rogue called rxQueen who shared the room; she started at level 82, and when she reached level 83 joined the combat party, only to find that her experience gain then was tiny.  That puzzled me, but it seems that the way combat parties work has been changed, and that being within 10 levels of the leader is no longer enough, you need a total range of no more than 10...or perhaps 15, like a normal "equal" party.  Back when Barb and Kee would be in a combat party with Zenderfly and a few others in the Commander room, I'm sure we had a wider range than that...

A rogue called JustMe7 reacted to my "There is really only room for 2 people to fight spear men here..." with just a "lol", so, while generally I helped out people who attracted too many of the aggressive sphinx fighters at once, her "pick fighters plz" a few minutes later just got a "lol" from me - including the inverted commas.

Well, I started with the idea of fitting in two hours before lunch, with Barbarienne using the hour-long berserker, power, crit, and platinum adrenaline potions, but since I had the good position, it was tempting to keep going... so I actually had a hastily-assembled cold lunch at the desk while still playing, something I've never done before, and kept going with further hours through the afternoon.  And I even delayed my usual early evening food break by an hour, so that in all I used seven sets of hour-long potions, which, with the little bit of bonus time at the end of each hour, and small gaps, plus getting there in the first place, must have meant a session of seven and a half hours in the Tomb of Theos.

As the non-fighting partner, my mage Keerella just went up 19.09%, but that can't be bad for doing nothing - and like Barb, she got 73 skill points.  My Scra-Chi pet SkrappY gained 15.22%.  Barbarienne herself was adding just over 20% per hour, and reached level 102 before the halfway point... her total gain for the session was 157.86%, on top of the 0.49% (and 3 skill points) she gained at yesterday evening's "Storm the Castle" event.  Her drake added 7591 pet points, which shows how busy we were... and 358 experience boosters got used, showing that each anubis spear man took something over 70 seconds to kill.

So, that was quite a marathon.  The level 109 sphinx commanders in the grave room, end room, or commie room do give about a sixth more experience per kill, but they take longer to kill, with almost half as many hitpoints again, and the room can get too crowded, so that you are walking around the middle waiting for a "commie" to drop down on you from the ceiling, as is their habit.  I would have used less experience boosters there, I'm sure, but I don't think I would have gained as much experience...with the limited-time availability of the 600% experience and skill exp boost, I think I made a reasonable decision.

The evening session started a bit later than usual.  As Elvastar wasn't around at the time, I logged Galahad in to do some work on his horse in Merac with the bandits on Cariae-4, so that he could give my level 66, now, cleric Kaerella a solo party.  Elva had actually contacted me earlier to see if I was interested in Kamira, but with the space booked and the potions running, I couldn't really leave the Tomb then.

Kaerella did briefly experiment with using the level 69 +15 eblin bow on the outdoor sphinx types, but it didn't seem, for her, to do any more damage than her then-current cleric wand, so Collector Ryl converted it into the level 69 wand, I bought some bloodseal gems for it, and Kae went back out.

Kaerella did level up, getting to 67 about halfway through the session, and adding 117.40% experience, along with 178 skill points and 1921 pet points for SirFrancis.  But then, after a brief chat with Elvastar, it was time to log out; Galahad logged out too, having got his horse into level 32, and was replaced by SirDarth over on Sarissa, who began his horse's long journey through level 35 in earnest.

More New Levels on Cariae - April 10th

SirDarth had a successful overnight pet-levelling session, but it wasn't enough to get his horse to its next level - that had to wait until the early evening food break, when the horse finally reached level 36.  After coffee, Darth had once again to make way for Keerella and Barbarienne, over on Cariae-4.

This time, Keerella was taking the lead, while Barbarienne would look after SkrappY.  I was just arranging the exchange, in Dratan city, soon after ten o'clock when things went a bit strange - the final "trade" button wouldn't work.  I logged Keerella out, and it took a few minutes to get her back online, with "account is already in use" and other random messages.  The shoutbox was pretty busy, with people reporting that they had been killed...it seems to have been a massive lag spike, which can be unfortunate if you are fighting something dangerous at the time.

Still, Kee did get back, and made the trade with Barb, and they both headed for the Tomb of Theos - where, luckily, there were no more such spikes, at least nothing that affected us.

This time Keerella led Barbarienne down to that first room with the anubis spear men.  Normally Last Chaos on the older computer is a bit dark, which makes places that are under-lit already a bit hard to navigate there - but by changing from a window to full screen, I was able to turn up the brightness a bit, which made things easier.

There was a mage fighting in the far corner when we reached the room, XoXo, but the nearer corner was free, so Barb settled back a few feet from the wall and equipped SkrappY, and Keerella started fighting, just using her staff on the spear men, and Terra Spear - not Curse to slow their approach down, as debuffs like that apparently increase their stats in some way.  When XoXo left, I moved across.

The plan was for six rather than seven hours, which was just as well, given the delay at the start - I also got a disconnection on both computers at about ten past two, but it didn't take long to get back, and it seemed actually to happen at a non-perilous moment...just as I was chatting to another player about disconnections, in fact.

By the end, Keerella had used 203 experience boosters, as well as six each of the berserker, power, crit and platinum adrenaline potions - and she'd gone up by 205.12%, from level 93 to 95.  Her drake, Greedo, had added 6017 pet points, which meant that Greedo had reached level 50.  The old-style pets are capped at level 60, but it will take many months to get that far I'm sure.  Kee also gained 50 skill points.

Barbarienne had added 4.63% just from being in the combat party, so stayed on, still in a combat party with one remaining night shadow, and killed a couple of anubis spear men herself, using experience boosters, and that raised her experience gain to a total of 5.58% - which was just enough to take her into level 103.  She also got 78 pet points from that, and increased her skill point gain to 52 for the day.  Her custodianship of SkrappY had got him up by another 11.49%.

Various people from the previous day had reappeared, during my hours in the Tomb, plus some new faces; occasionally I had the place to myself, sometimes I was sharing the four spear men with one other player, either with nobody else around or with some people fighting the sphinx fighters.  There was one rogue who was based further along the corridor, but would sometimes come and "steal" the spear men, and a selection of fighters, luring them back to her spot, which was annoying, as they wouldn't respawn for us until she'd killed them.  And sometimes the competition for the spear men was a bit fierce - but people generally moved on before too long.

Elvastar had been available to chat with, and Kee logged out rather quickly, once her last set of pots ended, rather than staying while Barb killed her two spear men, so that Kaerella would be able to log in and form a party with Elva (and LeopardKnight) before he vanished for a while. Once Barb had levelled up, she logged out too, and SirDarth was able to continue with his pet-levelling.

After my early evening food break, Kae had some shopping to do; she needed to get her level 70/72 set of armour, the last set that can be converted between classes, can be worn five levels before its stated level, and can be bloodsealed in use.  Looking through Roy's merchant mart stock took quite a while, but I ended up buying the +14 helm for 180 million, +13 pants for 145 million, a +10 jacket for 65 million, +10 gloves for 86 million, and +8 boots for 45 million.  So, that was 521 million gold spent, plus another couple of million to convert them to healer items.  Kae's physical defence from her previous set had been 1814 - now with these items it was 1810.  I had an item mall package that included ten chaos smelting stones available, so I downloaded that, and used eight chaos smelting stones to get the three lower pieces up to +12, which moved the physical defence on to 1969...and then was able to buy three extreme stones from a rogue called TradeMe for 4,999,999 each, to finish off the upgrading, making the physical defence total 2017.

Kaerella went out to the outdoor sphinx types as usual, though as she levels up, they start to give less experience.  When she reached level 68, the experience from the elite sphinx speer man fell from 11.45 million, using an experience booster, to below 10 million.  Elvastar, level 60, was in action now, fighting, I think, the arcane golems, including the elite one, to earn skill points, and I suggested that he ought to come and do a combat party with me at some point when he had to be afk anyway.  I'd get more experience, and he'd get a little experience and some free skill exp.

After a while, Elva did ride up to where I was, and went afk just in the safe area there, and I must say it boosted my experience gain considerably - the elite went to giving at least 16 million on average, and the others increased their experience figures nicely too.  The skill exp was hardly reduced at all, and it just shows how having someone a bit lower than the monsters can compensate for you yourself being higher than them.

So, I continued on rather longer than I'd planned, which meant that, using 90 experience boosters, Kae added 125.06% experience, and 173 skill points, as well as 2226 pet points.  She did, however, spend 750 skill points on new levels of Greater Heal and Encourage, which came available when she reached level 68.  While Elvastar was quietly sitting there, he reached level 61 - although he may only get around a sixth or a seventh as much experience per kill as the active party member, the sphinx types actually give almost eight times as much experience as the arcane golems to begin with, so my promise of "free skill points with just a little experience" wasn't entirely accurate

SirDarth was able to continue his pet-levelling, though there was what seemed to be a general disconnection, at least on Sarissa-4, at around 10:30pm, UK time, which meant that a few minutes were lost.  Level 36 is a long one, but once it is ended, the horse will be able to be made into a level 37 mount, and Kaerella on Sarissa will be able to ride her pale blue horse, as on most other servers.

More Levels Gained - April 11th

The overnight pet-levelling didn't entirely work out, as a disconnection came up at around the three hour mark.  Rather than restart the game, it seemed like a good idea to give the computers, modem, and connection a rest until morning - and SirDarth duly restarted his work at around breakfast time, with still perhaps six hours of work to do before the pale blue horse reached level 37.

After coffee, Keerella and Barbarienne headed for the Tomb of Theos again, for another six-hour session.  Like yesterday, Keerella took the lead, on the newer computer, but today the strategy was different, and Barb didn't just stand in the corner with SkrappY equipped, occasionally doing a Heal if needed - she fought too, with her drake equipped.

This could have slowed down Kee a little, certainly there were times when I didn't keep using Terra Spear as much as usual; Kee was on the newer computer, using the four potions and experience boosters, but she must have been killing just about as quickly as 208 xpbs got used.  That probably means that there were less people competing for the anubis spear men today; certainly there were times when the room was busy and I did have to wait for a respawn, or even kill a sphinx fighter, without an xpb, just to keep busy, but there were times when I had the room to myself, or was only sharing it with one other spear man killer.

Barbarienne concentrated on the sphinx fighters, without using boosters or potions - I don't know if it was a fluke, but the one time she did fight a spear man, early on, she came very close to getting killed, which shows that the potions are useful, with the extra armour from the power potion, as well as boosts to attack power and speed.  It was sometimes handy to have Barb able to take on a sphinx fighter that had decided to attack Kee while she was battling a spear man, but generally she kept busy, though with little pauses when the sphinx fighter died.  Over the six hours Barb just added 18.40%, but at level 101 that can't be bad for a freebie.  Barb's drake gained 5257 pet points, and her activities helped to boost the amount of skill experience gained, so that both she and Kee added 161 skill points.

Keerella does now actually have enough skill points for the first four levels of the level 70 skill, Chaos Nova, which she has previously passed on...or maybe some more recent skill levels would be more useful, I must investigate. Kee went up by 158.45%, with her drake adding 6078 pet points.  It was a close thing as to whether she'd reach level 97 or not, her potions had ended their countdowns when she was on the 99% mark, but their "overtime" lasted just long enough, which made a satisfactory end to another marathon session.  Well, we do need to take full advantage of the 600% experience and skill exp running on the Cariae server while it lasts, right?

The level 103 knight elijah had been around before, and kindly given me a few magical attack minerals and Remedies; and today she had a combat party going, so Kee and Barb gave up their own one, and joined, well, hers, since elijah made plain in the party chat that she was a female, based in Japan.  Some of our combat party were in the commander room, with the rest of us with the anubis spear men.  I got the impression that the commander room was pretty busy - I still think the spear men are better for me, for quicker levelling... and if I do use more xpbs per hour, well, I don't have to use a health stealer, which probably costs as much as five boosters.  And I don't have to walk nonchalantly around the middle of the room, trying to tempt a sphinx commander to drop down on me from the ceiling...

After the eventual early evening food break, it was time for Kaerella to have her turn, outdoors in sunny Dratan's uplands with the sphinx speer men and (outdoor) sphinx fighters.  But first Kaerella had three quests to do - two of which she had got the openings of before, but they had been "rolled back".  So Kae rode down from Dratan City, past Prokion Temple, to the Temple of Forgetfulness, or Forgotten Temple, carefully getting its entrance onto her memory scroll, since, as with Prokion, it is possible that the teleportation inside may misfire, leaving you only with the options of logging out or using a return-to-town scroll.

I took things pretty carefully; legendary slayers have a strong magical attack, and the local spiders are protective of them, so I did them in two goes, moving back outside to re-apply horse buffs when necessary.  So that was the legendary slayer quest done, with seven heads gathered - and also the quest to gather spider webs completed, as well.  I had to re-buff then and run further in, to "slay 5 hadian brothers", which turned out to mean that I had to kill five curd hadians, and five twin hadians as well.  By not hurrying, and waiting for ones in less dangerous positions to respawn, I managed to complete that quest too - though I don't want to get the quest rewards until just before the end of the current event.

Elvastar was providing my solo party, and had already moved to the sphinx types, so that when I arrived he was fighting them, though even in his knight-type sorcerer form he was avoiding the elite.  He soon had to go afk to help get his children ready for bed, though, so, in our combat arrangement, just sat in a safe position, at level 61 boosting the experience I got per kill nicely.  Even after Kaerella levelled up to level 69, each elite sphinx speer man still averaged more than 4 million experience, or 16 million or so with an xpb used.

Kae's brief outing to the Forgotten Temple had brought in 3.69% experience and 18 skill points; the main evening session provided another 106.22%, plus 97 skill points and 1306 pet points, with 71 experience boosters used.  But at 8:15pm, UK time, it was time to get ready for the Sunday Quiz.

SirDarth had been at work pet-levelling on Sarissa-4 while Kae had been on; they were replaced by MistressDomino, and the local Kaerella, on Tairen-2, while Elvastar and LeopardKnight went to Cariae-2's quiz room.  The quiz had the usual questions, though there was a glitch just before halfway, which Elva confirmed afterwards was the same on his server.  One question came up, and two seconds later was replaced by a different question, the now-obsolete one about [GM]Krash being in charge of the "Pharaoh's Treasure" event.  We all went along with the "yes" answer, since that used to be true, and survived (though the doors were open, with latecomers and people who'd been kicked out running back in)... and then there was a gap of a couple of minutes before the questions resumed.

Anyway, we all got through to the end, and received our usual rewards, with [GM]Kali apologising for the glitch.  Kae traded her moonstones and heaven stones to MD, and then they both logged out, with SirDarth logging back in and returning to Merac on Sarissa-4, and my Cariae cleric Kaerella going back to Cariae-4.

Luckily Elvastar was available for a combat party again, and quickly joined me at the sphinx spot, while on his other computer LeopardKnight was trying to get the best possible price for his newly-acquired heaven stones.  This wasn't a very long session, as I needed to log out at around 9:40, but Kaerella added a further 40.40%, which was enough to get her into level 70, and 42 more skill points, while using another 29 xpbs.  Back in town, she was able to spend 1450 skill points on her level 70 skill, Mark of Despair, which acts like a mall-bought damage booster in that it doubles the damage of the next attack.  So, despite adding 157 skill points this evening, she ended the day down by 1293.  Still, it is an interesting skill to get, and makes a change from all the healing ones.

Right at the end of the session, SirDarth got the pale blue horse to level 37, so once Kae had logged out on Cariae, her namesake on Sarissa was able to log in, and get the horse traded across from Darth.  She then mounted it, so is yet another Kaerella who rides a pale blue horse... After that, Darth went to Lorraine and Jajan with a pan flute, and got himself a brand-new pony to start training.

The Tomb And The Temple - April 12th

SirDarth got his new pony up to level ten by soon after breakfast time, having worked through the night, which seemed good to me.  As coffee time approached, though, as usual recently he had to relinquish his spot, to allow Keerella and Barbarienne to head for the Tomb of Theos.

The team-up was very much the same as yesterday, with Keerella in the lead, using the four hour-long potions and experience boosters while she fought the anubis spear men, and Barbarienne, not using potions, fighting the sphinx fighters.  The difference was that, this being a Monday and not the weekend, the place was quieter, and occasionally we had the place to ourselves - while there were times when Kee did have to wait for the spear men to respawn, it didn't happen very often.

The knight elijah did arrive in the morning, and joined the combat party, but ran out of experience boosters before very long, and so had to go off and farm swamp trolls, to earn some more money.  She stayed in the party while doing that for a few minutes, but then had to log out.  Apparently she isn't just based in Japan, she is Japanese; she prefers the Aeria version of Last Chaos to the local one though.  The rogue JustMe7 was around later, and a team of a night shadow and a knight got in the way for both of us a bit.

My duo managed their six hours safely; Barbarienne added 19.51% for her efforts, along with 5263 pet points, which got her drake into level 44.  Keerella, using all her valuable boosts, including 221 xpbs, added 135.43%, along with 6057 pet points for her drake, Greedo, and so ended the session comfortably into level 98... and they each added 181 skill points, which was pretty good going.

I had bought a "phoenix ticket" from Roy's merchant mart for ten million gold, which was less than I had been expecting, though elijah assured me later that that was the standard Cariae price now.  Barbarienne then put it away in her storage chest... and after the early evening food break, I used the empty slot on Barb's account to make a new rogue, RedRydeR.  It seems that "RedRyder" as a name has already been used by someone, as has "RedRider", but making the final letter a capital got me close enough.

This seemed the perfect time to start a new character who, with any luck, can be made into a "phoenix" type.  Red levelled up a couple of times in the starter dungeon, which with the 600% experience gain was hardly surprising.  Once she was out in Randol, she took the phoenix ticket out of storage, to keep in her inventory - as I understand it, she needs to speak to the phoenix NPC before she reaches level 30, to become the special kind of character, but before then I need to farm as many skill points as I can.

RedRackham, a pet-leveller knight of mine and the guild master of ForceWithin, recruited RedRyder into that guild, and immediately froze her experience gain to 50%, to allow her to get a start on amassing the necessary skill points.  As I expected, the "Elizabeth's Enhancement" buff didn't seem to stack with the 600%, but no doubt its boost to one's attack power was still working.  Keerella logged back in to become Red's Guardian... and once all that was sorted out, Kaerella logged in on the older computer. 

We ended up with Kae and Elvastar out with the sphinx types, as on previous evenings, but Kae only did some sporadic fighting there, and only did one full-on horse buff session, using three experience boosters while killing the elite sphinx speer man, which she otherwise left alone.  Despite the low level of activity generally, Kamira did show up - but I wasn't able to deal with her, as a surprise "Storm the Castle" event had been announced by [GM]Darasuum, and Barbarienne was about to get rather busy down at Merac Castle.

This "StC" wasn't a double event, like the other one recently on Cariae, though at the end the GM did say that he had doubled up the monsters for us, and that I believe - there were even two of the invisible blue dragons, blood shadows, in the inner courtyard.  I don't think he doubled up the loot, but there did seem a satisfying amount to pick up in the inner courtyard at the end...probably because there weren't a huge number of people there.

RedRyder had been doing her early levels before Barb took over, in a solo party with another of Elva's characters, Thabitha - they were in Cariae-5, while Kae and Elva were in Cariae-4.  Red returned to action after the StC was over - but it wasn't long before the other half of the double bill was announced, a low-level mad Monster Spawn, so, as level 9 was perhaps a bit too low-level, Red bowed out, and Karella, my level 27 rogue, teleported down to the usual location. Thabitha was there too, and agreed afterwards that the loot had been good, at the end; the fighting had followed the usual pattern, and Karella actually levelled up.

RedRyder continued after that, going to Velpist Temple at level 10 to fight the wandering zombies, and then at level 13 heading out into Dratan to get Prokion Temple onto her memory scroll.

Despite only having a level 13 crossbow, and still wearing the level 1 starter gloves, boots and pants, Red stayed at Prokion Temple, fighting the level 17 ghouls and level 19 mummies - and by the time I logged out had reached level twenty, with 524 skill points to spend the next time she logs on.

RedRydeR has now completed the Guardian system, which means that she gets the "event weapon", though that is daggers rather than a crossbow.  Keerella gets ten more reputation points, which should move her up to number 31 on Cariae's Reputation rankings - unless the healer alisa, a level 165 member of the Outlaws guild, has another success today...

So, how far can RedRyder get tomorrow, the final day of the 600% experience and skill exp event on Cariae?  If I take her to Prokion Temple, instead of Kee and Barb to the Tomb, I'll need to maximise all her skills, at either level 20 or 21, which is sure to involve a lot of "suicide runs" to get rid of unwanted experience, once earned skill points are spent.  Just how far can one get in one day, I wonder?

Kaerella added just 19.13% out with Elvastar and the sphinx types, along with 58 skill points, and a little gold

SirDarth logged on for a little more pet-levelling in the late evening on Sarissa-4, though he isn't doing an overnight session - for one thing, the last two pandora's boxes he has opened there have released a pair of level 50 pandora's beasts, so he's a little way off to the side from his usual position, with the two beasts prowling around uncomfortably close by.  Still, the pony is on course to reach level 13 before Darth logs out, which is good progress.

A Day in Prokion Temple - April 13th

SirDarth logged on for a little pet-levelling at breakfast time, but after coffee the pet-levelling responsibilities shifted across to Galahad on Cariae-5 - because RedRydeR needed him there for the solo party arrangement.  And Gal did pretty well, his horse reached level 33 during his session, and passed the halfway mark in that level before the end of the evening, despite having his bandit killed once by some passer-by.

It was RedRider's day, though.  Yesterday I'd got her to level 20; I was wondering if I'd need to move her up to level 21, so that she could use a level 25 crossbow, but when Barbarienne looked through Roy's stock of crossbows for sale, there was only one possibility, and that was a level 21 crossbow, +15, being sold by Magesil for 150 million, which isn't exactly cheap, but must be the average price for that sort of thing.  A level 21 weapon can't be converted into a different class's weapon by Collector Ryl. Magesil must have upgraded this one just to sell it, as it had never been used - it had no bloodseals, and wasn't even ready to have its first seal applied.

The crossbow was transferred across to RedRider, courtesy of Storekeeper Bianca; Red also bought level 25 rogue gloves, level 21 shirt and pants, and level 22 hood and boots, plus enough bloodseal gems for everything.  She converted appropriate armour drops during the day, on her many visits to Randol, and got the armour all to +3 - with her accessories giving her plenty of dexterity and evasion, and 10% suction of life, that was all she needed to keep safe.

The first stage for RedRyder was to get all her skills maximised, including the passive ones.  At level 20, the most skill points she could get at a time without levelling up was 268, fighting the ghouls, since, at level 17, they gave a better ratio of skill exp to experience than the level 19 mummies.  Luckily the biggest amount of skill points that has to be spent in one go, for the third levels of both expert armoursmith and expert weaponsmith, is 179 sp, so this limitation was no problem. Usually I do this at level 27, which allows for rather more skill points at a time - but level 20 gives more time to farm skill points afterwards, and has the added bonus that, on "suicide runs" to get rid of the experience gained in the level, each death counts for 5% rather than 3%, which speeds things up.

Well, by my records RedRyder had to do eighteen of the "suicide run" sessions to get rid of experience after the skill points had been invested; the first one got rid of various quest rewards, and the rest were straightforwardly getting rid of the 99% or so earned from the ghouls.  The sextuple experience & skill experience event meant that the actual fighting parts were a lot quicker than they would otherwise have been, so we did save a lot of time.  A level 31 knight, HunterRose, was doing suicide runs at the same time, though he didn't do as many sessions as I did.

It still took a while, of course, but by the evening, all RedRyder's skills were at their maximum for her level, so the next time Red killed enough ghouls to approach level 21, she kept going.   As she'd had a few points left from the previous session (although the total had been reduced by the death penalties), her skill point total stood at 283 when she levelled up.  She kept with the ghouls through the next level, which brought her total up to 661; there were a few mummies killed too on the way to level 23, but the total moved on to 1151.

Now that Red was level 23, she could fight the orc soldiers, since they are that level, so that each kill would bring in .55 of a skill point, 5500 skill experience.  Though if one multiplied that by six for the event, and by a further four by using a skill point booster, then each kill was worth 13.2 skill points.

I'd moved to the room which mixes mummies and orc soldiers, close alongside my favourite Prokion Temple back room, so killed a few mummies as well as, using an spb each time, the orc soldiers, so by the end of that level 47 spbs had been used, and another 706 skill points added.  Red stayed there for level 24 too, getting 973 skill points and using 72 more spbs.

For levels 25 and 26, I moved to the mirror half's corridor room, which has the level 25 orc fighters and a single level 27 orc axeman.  96 spbs brought in a further 1270 skill points during level 25, with 1152 more sp from 98 more boosters during the following level.  Red was already carrying Karella's +10 30/32 armour set in her inventory, so was able to equip the gloves when she reached level 25, and add the shirt and pants at level 26 - and when she reached level 27, she could wear the whole set, making her pretty much invulnerable.

My remaining supply of 118 skill point boosters didn't quite last out till the end of level 27, which I spent fighting orc axemen.  I roamed about the Temple for a while, but I ended up in that favourite back room of mine, ignoring the sergeants and a few soldiers and fighters that followed me in, and just concentrating on the orc axemen.  At the end of the session RedRyder was 95.49% of the way through level 27, with 6826 skill points... though some of those will have to be used to get the level 25 skills, something she hasn't had the opportunity to do yet.

So, full use was made of the event bonus today.  I remembered to log Kaerella in afterwards, to get her quest rewards from killing those spiders, legendary slayers, and hadians in the Forgotten Temple while the quest reward experience and skill exp was still boosted six-fold, so Kaerella ended the day up 19.27% and 102 skill points.  The archbishop in Dratan gave her a new quest, too, which will involve another trip to the Forgotten Temple, going far enough in to fight the jumping devils...

While RedRyder had been in Proki, I'd seem various GM messages about a zombie attack on Dratan, mainly out in the north-east corner, around Shuraine's oasis... but when Kaerella was in Dratan for those quest rewards, the battle was raging just outside the city gates.  Kae is a bit low to tackle ancient screaming zombies, but she went far enough outside to give the Charm and Encourage buffs to the people fighting - retreating hurriedly when a zombie headed for her.  The battle was still raging when I logged out, but I expect the place will still be standing, the next time we visit.

Tonight's maintenance will end the 600% event, which, while it has been fun and very productive, is a bit of a relief - it will be good to settle back into a normal routine, rather than playing every possible hour in marathon sessions.

A More Normal Day - April 14th

The pressure is off.  The Cariae server is now, after the usual overnight maintenance downtime, back to normal, though the forum "patch notes" entry for this week does say "We have received a great deal of positive feedback so look forward to similar events in the future."  The new patch ended the Easter event too, so no more Easter Eggs will drop.  I'd say that about half the eggs I opened yielded 10,000 gold, which was an improvement over last year's 50 gold but still not very stellar, but I also got heaven stones, large attack potions, large defence potions, medicines, candies, item drop boosters, mana stealers, and a power potion.

There were no fixes for existing bugs, or other game improvements, in the patch this week, apparently; just a couple more packages for the in-game item mall, which would perhaps be mildly tempting if they ever did a "buy one get one free" offer on them. So, no drama to report there.

SirDarth started some pet-levelling at breakfast time, on Sarissa-4, and was joined a little later by Galahad (or XxGALAHADxX to be strictly correct) on Cariae-4.  Darth's pony started the day at level 14; Gal's horse was moving steadily through level 33.  They would both get fairly long sessions, as I was not going to be able to fit in a morning session.  The 600% event was extraordinarily well-timed, from my point of view, as we are now starting the approach to one of my "busy weekends", so if it had been run a week later, I would have been lucky to get half its value.

After enjoying the luxury of a cooked, hot lunch, after five days of just eating something cold while busy at the computer desk, it was time for some relatively mundane Last Chaos activities.  SirDarth had got his pony to level 16 by then, which meant that it had grown up to being a larger-size horse; Gal had got his horse into level 34, too. So, Sariisa-5 was the sub-server, where RedRyder and Kaerella headed for Prokion Temple in their combat party, with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff on.

My favourite back room was free, and we had an uninterrupted afternoon, except for a single titan who came in, didn't respond to my "hi", attacked a group of orcs - and was soon running for the exit, orcs in hot pursuit.  So, RedRyder reached level 37 in the course of adding 47.31%, with 715 guild points gained for Discipline too; Kaerella, who was down to the start of level 27 again, added 41.85%, along with 105 guild points.

Both Kae and Red earned 460 skill points; that took Red's reserve over the 4,500 mark, and meant that Kae could spend 449 sp on various special skills, including the last level of flawless stone processing, all of herb trunk and zeta wave processing, and the first two levels of green herb and epsilon wave processing.  Another 462 skill points, in a similar length of session, will finish this stage of Kaerella's evolution, after which she can start to level up, and keep the skill points she earns - after one last set of suicide runs in Maargadum Jail, to take her back to the start of her level, that is.

SirDarth did some further pet-levelling over the early evening food break, and just managed to get his horse into level 17.  After that I did a little bit of moving stuff around on the Cariae server, giving MistressDomina there some of the recently-acquired loot - but time passes quickly when one is doing that, and it was soon time for Rage to log in over on Auzura-4, for the European "Storm the Castle" event.

For a change, [GM]Valsharyn was in charge, though she relayed [GM]Noburu's good wishes.  Val arrived just after I did, and there were already a dozen or so people waiting, so people are starting to plan ahead, or have been so short of this sort of event recently that they were careful not to miss their opportunity to storm Merac Castle.

It was very much a "by the book" storming, with no surprises, just the regular monsters.  We didn't get a blood shadow dragon in the inner courtyard, but there were a pair of flutons in the throne room.  The GM did mention the possibility of doing another run, but didn't follow through on the idea - I may have been out of range of any responses to the suggestion, or maybe everyone was concentrating on the idea of grabbing their share of the loot.

In the end, all we got was one more "late arriving" fluton, and the loot spawned outside.  It's always a dodgy minute or two after the end of the storming itself, when people don't know where the loot would be spawned - guess wrong and, if the GM doesn't make an announcement, you can miss out entirely.  For some reason Val didn't do the standard tightly-packed circles outside the castle - we got a fair amount of loot in piles out there, but not all at once, so it was a matter of grabbing, waiting, running to the new site, and grabbing again.

Once Val vanished, Rage logged out too, and I went back to moving items around, including getting potions, platinum blessed irises, and experience boosters loaded up on Keerella, so that she is ready for future Tomb of Theos sessions...and I was able to trade some platinum super skill pills and more skill point boosters across to RedRydeR too.  Since I've got them, I may as well use them!

Since the Norcaine guild on Cariae is really about finished, since Zenderfly was made its guild master so that she could keep in touch via its message system and then vanished completely, it looks as if most of my characters will move out - some to ForceWithin, but, with Kaerella at least, it would be fun to get her into the Discipline guild, since that's her guild on the other servers.  A level 20 mage called Memree was the GM there, but I've transferred the position across to SirPerivale, after Memree recruited him.  He had the advantage of being high enough level to upgrade the guild from its current first level, and also wasn't in another guild, which simplified things.

SirPerivale does have disadvantages too; he was created, on Cariae, really just to get a spare set of the 30/32 +10 armour, and was power-levelled in the Tomb of Theos, so, while he is level 31, he came with only 4 skill points, and absolutely no skills except the level 1 of knuckle spear he arrived with.  So, he moves slowly, regenerates health slowly, has a lower attack speed, doesn't have any enhancement to his physical defence, and has less chances of deadly or critical hits.

As usual on most Wednesday evenings I had to log out soon after eight, UK time, but I just had time to take SirPerivale through the Dratan desert to Prokion Temple, to get its location onto his memory scroll, which until then only had the entrance to the Tomb of Theos on it.  He got the seven silver fox "feathers" needed for a quest en route, and fought a few orc sergeants when he got there, but only ended up with eight more skill points.  At least it showed that the +10 armour was enough to stop the orc sergeants hurting him, even without any passive skills.

That's another thing for my "to do" list, then - farm enough skill points with SirPerivale to allow him to get the Discipline guild on Cariae up to level six.  And if he is going to keep that armour set, I guess I may need to power-level another character in the Tomb.  A rogue, perhaps?

The pet-levelling event, now called "Creature Carnival" was scheduled for this evening, but unfortunately the start times for these events do seem to be drifting .later in the day, and the first server to get the event, Auzura, didn't start until 9:40pm, UK time, with other servers following along every ten minutes, since it takes a while for [GM]Cara to spawn all the wafes involved.  The timing meant that I couldn't get actively involved, but Galahad and SirDarth both got double pet experience for an hour or two, which meant that Gal's horse reached the halfway point in level 34 before the end of the evening, and Darth's horse was moving swiftly through level 17 when last seen.

A Long Evening - April 15th

On Sarissa, SirDarth got the benefit of an hour's double pet experience during last night's Creature Carnival, without having to go to Dratan's grassy uplands, while, over on Cariae, Galahad got the double pet experience for two hours.  However, their overnight work wasn't all plain sailing.

The older computer decided to install some new Microsoft security updates, and then restart, so that put Galahad out of action for a couple of hours.  SirDarth got a disconnection a little later - and then, when I checked before breakfast, some little darling hadn't just ks'd him, killing the bandit he was sparring with - he'd lured in a level 37 boss-type "elite bloody outlaw", which was attacking Darth.  These creatures are pet-eaters, apparently, but luckily this one had only attacked Darth, whose armour was quite good enough to protect him, so that, while some time had been lost, Darth didn't have to return to town and spend good money to revive a dead level 20 horse.

By breakfast Galahad's horse had started on level 35, with plenty more hours to go, as today I would be too busy downstairs to play actively until the evening.  The intention was to start slightly before five if possible, since a bonus 75% skill exp was promised from then, for two hours.  By then SirDarth's horse had reached level 22 - Galahad's horse was still moving through level 35.

The combat party teamed my level 39 rogue Memree with my level 29 healer Kaerella, on Tairen-5, and, after getting the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, we headed for Prokion Temple, and were able to get into the back room safely.  And there we stayed, with only the occasional knight running in, getting attacked, and running out again.

The only problem was that they forgot to switch on the boost to the skill exp - and there were no gamesages in the forum shoutbox for ages, either, so there was nothing that could be done about it.  The "event" finally started around 90 minutes late, though it did go on for an hour beyond the scheduled ending time.  Actually, the increase in skill exp wasn't hugely dramatic, as the extra 75% only adds on to the extra 100% from the Elizabuff, so if an orc sergeant was normally giving around 1400 skill exp, the Elizabuff would make it 2800, and the event would move it on to 3850.

With the delayed start, plans to switch to a different scenario after a couple of hours were slightly scuppered, so Memree and Kae spent the whole evening session there, except for briefly logging out, respawning in Randol, and getting another three hours' worth of Elizabuff before rushing back to the temple.  By the end, Memree had gone up by 17.56%, and earned 388 guild points, while Kaerella had gone up by 15.00%, and got 57 guild points.  More importantly, they had each added 406 skill points, taking Memree above the 8,000 mark, and Kae above 4,000.

As far as active GM-hosted events went, today was a bit quiet, although a "Simon Says" event was scheduled.  Unfortunately, it was scheduled a bit late in the evening for those of us on European time, with Katar setting the ball rolling at 11:00pm.  If I do stay awake long enough to investigate, you may well read about it tomorrow.  Galahad's horse may just reach level 36 before that, but it will be a close-run thing.

These events do seem to be drifting later in the evening - but at least tomorrow's event, which involves everyone piling in and attempting to kill two GMs within 20 minutes, to win prizes, should start its rotation an hour earlier.