Kaerella's Blog - stardate April 2010 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the new month continues here at the top!
Kill Kali! - April 16th

There was more pet-levelling done overnight, with Galahad's horse making steady progress through its final level, level 36; SirDarth did lose a couple of hours or so when yet another Microsoft security update decided to install itself, complete with a restart of the older PC, but he still got his horse into level 24 by breakfast time.

The "Simon Says" event late last night (at least for us Europeans) was just a bit of fun, with no prizes or penalties for getting things right or wrong, just a generous spawning of the usual hands of loot at the end.  [GM]Darasuum was in charge on Katar-5, though [GM]JediMike did put in an appearance too, to give him some moral support and threaten the most prolific chatterers with a silencing.

I'd taken my mage MistressDomino along there.  It was mainly a matter of having the "C" window open, which has buttons for the almost-unused "social" skills, like "sorrow", "laugh", "greeting", "taunt", "clapping", and "bow", and hitting the appropriate button when the GM said "Simon says, bow to the person next to you" or whatever... and resisting the urge to comply when, a couple of times, he left off the "Simon says" bit.

I decided that I could just about stay awake for the second event, which was on Cariae-5, and took Barbarienne along so that she could show off her newly-acquired sunglasses, which were received by linking her Aeria account with my Facebook account, which was made specially for that purpose.  I must investigate what delights Facebook has to offer, some time...

Anyway, [GM]Darasuum got a little bit more ambitious on his second outing, and used "sit", from the "actions" tab, as well, and a little bit of running around.  One thing he should remember for any future "Simon Says" events is that not every class has a "boast" emote...probably just the male ones, strangely enough!

It was about 12:30, UK time, when Galahad got his horse to level 37; he logged out, ready to trade it across to RedRideR when convenient, and after lunch ColonelScarlet over on Katar-4 was able to start a pet-levelling session for his pink, or pale mauve, drake, though as it was already well into level 38 it got through the quality stones twice as fast.  Oh well, at some point I'm sure it will make one of my characters on that server a useful pet.  It did just get into its next level by the end of the session.

For the evening, it seemed simplest to let Cariae's SirPerivale start earning his skill points.  The alternative would have been for RedRydeR to do an intensive sp-gaining session, but I didn't think that the evening would be the best time for that, since Prokion Temple can get rather busy then.

I didn't have a full hour available to begin with, so Peri just took the Elizabuff and headed for the Temple on Cariae-5, and fought in the back room for a while.  This got him up by 21.29% and 90 skill points, but before I could think of Peri upgrading the Discipline guild, or getting a few cheap levels of some passive skills, he had a more pressing concern - maximising the level 30 skill Mana Break, since he wouldn't be able to choose to become a royal knight without having its five levels, and you really need to choose your profession before you reach level 32.

That part of the evening was short  because Auzura-4 was due to host one of its regular "Pharaoh's Treasure" events at 6:30, and Kaerella always goes along to those, since the loot is pretty good.  I was riding around Juno before the announcement of all the locations came up, and indeed had passed a couple of the usual spots which were already full of sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men.  I passed quite a few more sphinxy mobs, too, before the announcement of the loot location was given, so hurried to the map's north-east corner, where there were already a few people, and, for a change, [GM]Valsharyn instead of [GM]Noboru. 

As with the "Storm the Castle" event. Val didn't seem to put quite as much into things as her co-GM does, but we got a fair amount of loot, and the monsters that showed up were a bit less lethal than some were last time - a few wight slashers were the limit.  So, it wasn't the most lucrative treasure hunt ever, but it made a nice break in the evening's activities.

Now SirPerivale did have time for using his (beginner) platinum super skill pills.  The back room on Cariae-4 was being used by someone, so I headed for its mirror, and did quite well there for an hour - without the Elizabuff SirPerivale just added 11.61%, while the 150% bonus from the b-pssp meant that 113 skill points were earned.

I needed to return to town to get some more bloodseal gems after the first hour; when I got back my favourite back room was free, so I popped a second b-pssp, and started on the orc sergeants and orc axemen there.  As Peri's armour had got some useful bloodseals for defence and evasion by then, I decided to switch from using a sword and shield to using dual swords - more attack, but less defence.

It was a bit of an experiment, since Peri lacks all the passive skills for extra defence and health regeneration, but I found that the orcs weren't managing to hurt him, thanks to the +10 armour, and continued using the dual swords...which meant that 15.28% experience was gained in that hour, along with 144 skill points.

So, back in Randol, SirPerivale was able to learn the fifth level of Mana Break, and become a royal knight.  As he's on the same account as RedRackham, who is a pet-levelling temple knight, there was no point in making him anything other than a royal knight - who knows, maybe he'll learn Concentration and be able to help a rogue increase the chance of her Snare working, one day.

SirPerivale had enough skill points, and gold, to upgrade the Cariae-server Discipline guild from level one to level three, using 90sp.  The next levels won't be as easy, as they need 120, 240 and 500sp, but Peri still has three of those beginner pssps left, at least.

At 9:30 the first of the "GM versus YOU" events was due to begin, on Katar-5, so I took my local level 31 rogue Memree along.  It was a bit of a mess, to be honest.  It was in the Randol arena rather than the Dratan "proving grounds" one, and the idea was that everyone should work together and try to kill [GM]Kali within twenty minutes.   In practice, it just meant that anyone who focussed on Kali tended to be killed by some player-killer, and, unlike a fluton, I assume Kali had access to healing potions. 

There were so many people around the GM that she was impossible to target, after the first minute - I had managed to launch Snare and Poison Capsule, but neither had any effect and I was soon pk'd.  I commented after a while that it would have been more fun to watch a team of eight top-level players trying to fight Kali, which might have worked, particularly at the Dratan arena with its viewing areas, but as it was, it was just a crowd of players, with pk'ers picking them off one by one, and not much of a spectacle.

Kali wasn't killed within the time limit, so she left, spawning some flutons for people to fight - and also spawning some loot, but it wasn't worth trying to pick any up as the flutons were walking all over that area.  So, Kali moved on to her second fight, on Cariae-5... and I didn't bother to follow.

Galahad had passed his level 37 horse across to RedRydeR earlier, who had mounted it and given it the usual "horse buffs" skills.  Gal then went off to Lorraine and Jajan and got himself a brand-new dragon hatchling, which reached level 6 by the end of the evening.

Earning Skill Points for the Guild - April 17th

I managed to get far enough ahead on my preparations for tomorrow that I could play just about fully today, which was useful.  Galahad had resumed levelling his pet dragon hatchling at breakfast time; it had just managed to reach 100% sympathy last night, so that the buffs it gives are now 100% effective.  Today it began at level 6, and had reached level 11 at lunchtime.

Conveniently, Galahad was able to give SirPerivale a solo party for his morning adventure, which involved a trip to Prokion Temple on Cariae-4, the "other" non-PvP sub-server, where people go when they don't need the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff.  Peri settled in in the back room, with the orc sergeants and orc axemen, starting one of his beginner platinum super skill pills right away; in the hour it lasted he added 16.33% experience and 157 skill points.  There was just time for a second hour's b-pssp - this time 16.03% was the experience gain, along with 152 skill points, since I did have to make a couple of swift trips to the kitchen.

Galahad continued over the lunch break; the newer computer devoted itself to updating another Aeria game, "Shaiya", since I'd had an email imploring me to try it again, and promising me a free "White Tiger Charm".  It took almost an hour to download the 32 updates since I'd last played, but I logged in briefly, and my assassin concluded a quest and reached level four.

For the afternoon, SirPerivale went back to Prokion Temple's back room on Cariae-4 and used the last of his b-pssps; as this moved him on into level 32 after half an hour or so, the experience gain percentage dropped a little to 14.82, and just 150 skill points were gained.  After that both he and Galahad moved across to Cariae-5 so that he could get the Elizabuff, and Peri spent most of the rest of the afternoon, again in that back room, going up by another 32.65%, and gaining 160 more skill points.

SirPerivale had a couple of quests to do just outside the Temple, killing the local spiders, and then returned to town, to get his accumulated quest rewards.  There were even a couple of messenger-boy quests to do in Merac.  Another 32.44% experience was gained from all that, along with 32 skill points.  Peri was able to take the Discipline guild up to level 4, but he still needs another 179 skill points before level 5 can be reached, bringing with it the ability to "freeze" a guild member's experience gain to 50%.

Galahad moved across to Cariae-4 once the solo party ended, partly because on Cariae-5 yet another pandora's box he'd opened unleashed a level 50 beast.  By the end of a slightly extended food break, he'd got his dragon hatchling up into level 14.

For the evening, Kaerella teamed up with a level 61 character at the shyer of the two elite sphinx "speer" men; I did actually log in on Cariae first to check if Elvastar was around for that sort of team-up, but, not finding him online, I moved across to Auzura-4, where Kaerella is a level 68 archer, with very slightly better armour than my Cariae cleric has.  On Auzura, I can provide my own level 61 companion - my mage MistressDomina.

So, Kaerella and MistressDomina formed an equal party, and headed out to my favourite sphinx spot.  MD had already added that location to her memory scroll, so teleported straight there, while Kaerella had to ride down from the more well-known elite sphinx speer man's campsite, which took less than a minute.

Without any boosters or generous events, the progress there wasn't outstanding, but we got a few bits of armour to sell, and a couple of heaven stones.  MistressDomina just stood safely back from the action, while Kae did the fighting.  The session didn't go on too long, since I didn't want to have a late night, as I do have to get up early tomorrow, but Kaerella added 8.92%, along with 1831 pet points for SirFrancis, her drake, while MD got 15.78%, taking her up over the 90% mark in level 61.   They also got 35 skill points each.

Staying with Auzura, various drops, such as the event rewards of large attack and defence potions, item drop boosters, and skill point boosters, were moved across from Kae and Rage to my merchant character there, MistressDomino, and I set her up for an overnight selling session in merchant mode.  She sold a couple of dozen large attack potions early on, which was a good start, and her supply of moonstone boxes vanished not long after.

Over on Cariae-4, Galahad got back into action for some pet-levelling in Merac with his bandits.  The dragon hatchling started this late-night session at level 14...who knows how far he'll go before logging out?

There was a music trivia quiz starting at ten o'clock UK time on Katar-5, and moving on through the other servers every half hour; why the European-time server, Auzura, isn't reached until midnight for me, or one o'clock for most of Europe, I don't know, you'd think it would be logical to start there.  It didn't sound like my specialist subject, so I decided to give that particular contest a miss.

Tomorrow I'll only get a short evening session, hopefully including the usual Sunday Quiz, though I suppose MistressDomino may continue in merchant mode while I'm out, if she still has stuff to sell.  If she manages to shift all of the large attack and defence potions she has on sale, we will definitely be able to start hunting for a new weapon for Rage, and maybe some armour too...

Discipline Levels Up - April 18th

MistressDomino did some useful selling overnight on Auzura, and was only left with a few heaven stones - and rather too many large attack and defence potions.  Since that wasn't a very wide range of stuff to continue to offer through the day, I logged her out after my very early Sunday breakfast.  Galahad logged out too, after getting his drake up four more levels in his session, so that it reached level 18.  Since even a pet with a level lower than its owner gets through all of its 100 hunger points in 8 hours and 20 minutes (5 minutes per point), and I was going to be out of the house for more like twelve hours, I couldn't leave him in action.

I did actually manage to get back a bit earlier than usual, and was able to get Galahad back to work at around 5:30...I then grabbed some food, and got back to the computers half an hour later.

SirPerivale made another trip to Prokion Temple on Cariae-5, in a solo party with Galahad, and found the back room empty - though it didn't stay quiet for long!  The specialist sorcerer Zezama arrived less than a minute after me, while I was still fighting the orc fighters that had followed me in.  There seemed to be enough orcs for both of us, and he did apologise for coming in, but said he would be leaving in 18 minutes.

He was true to his word, and did vanish about when he'd said - though he came back later for a while.  The place got a bit too busy, though, with a knight called SecretNameFan, and a rogue called xxsakuraxx.  And then another knight, wearing a covered costume and wielding very buzzy looking dual swords, the kind which shout "+15", ran in, rather faster than poor Peri can move.

Luckily this knight, braxq, didn't do any orc-fighting, he was just there to help SecretNameFan - I don't know in what way he was helping him, I didn't notice any high-level buffs.  He said that he was over level 100, with a phoenix rogue on level 35. What I did notice after braxq left was that SecretNameFan was using a beginner pssp and skill point boosters, and I cautioned him about that - they may say they give 200% extra skill exp, but the beginner ones, in my experience, only give 150% extra, so they aren't worth using with an spb.

Another knight dashed in too, KnightForLife, but he was a bit low-level, and had to be rescued from orc mobs a time or two, so he spent most of the time out in the corridor.

The Sunday Quiz wasn't announced very early, only when there was ten minutes until its start.  By then, Galahad had logged out, and MistressDomina logged in over on, for a change, Auzura-2.  As she got to the Domain Merchant at about a quarter past eight, UK time, there was a big crowd waiting for the room to open - but pretty soon the crowd started to thin, and it became possible to click on the Domain Merchant, and enter.

So, SirPerivale logged out, having added 38.99% and 210 skill points, and Kaerella logged in on Auzura-2, and went to join MD in the quiz room.  The gamesage TygerMyst was in there, and spent a while persuading a sorcerer to get rid of his elementals, since having such things in the room increases the potential lag for people on older computers.  She revealed her gamesage glow, to prove her authority - before taking off the accessory which provides that effect, since the glow might add to the lag too.

There were no pauses, surprises, or new questions in this week's quiz, and MD and Kae were able to run independently to the correct side when necessary, and, like almost everyone there, received the usual prizes at the end.  Kaerella traded her new heaven stones and moonstones across to MistressDomina, and then they both logged out.  Hopefully the items can be sold, and the proceeds put towards getting Rage that new weapon she needs.

SirPerivale now had enough skill points to upgrade the Discipline guild on Cariae to level six, so he did that, and used 28 spare skill points to get a couple of levels of Concentration, and a passive skill level or two. By a little trial and error, I discovered that Barbarienne, on that server, is my character in Norcaine with the rank of guild adviser - so she was able to kick Kaerella from the guild, after all this time.  Barb then logged out and SirPerivale logged back in, and recruited Kaerella into Discipline - he made her his successor as guild master, too.

So, that task has been completed; Discipline on Cariae is now high enough level to do the 50% experience freeze.  At present the membership is just Kaerella, SirPerivale, my merchant MistressDomino, and four more of my level 20 mages, generally just mule characters with useful stuff in their inventories, possibly: EnchantrA, Damorella, Memree, and B00TS... plus a level 10 healer called coolhealer11, I've no idea who that is.  Memree, MD and Peri have now had their experience gain set to 50%.

It would cost 550 skill points to move Discipline to level seven, but there doesn't seem any great reason to do that.  If 6,000 guild points can be got, by "frozen" characters donating experience, we could get the "guild notice" skill; another 5,000 guild points would expand the maximum membership of the guild by five, and after that another 18,000 guild points would be needed for upgrading the guild... all of which seems a bit unlikely, though we can get a few guild points, I suppose, by switching RedRydeR across from ForceWithin.

Galahad was able to get back to his pet-levelling after that.  It looks as if he ought to get his drake towards the top of level 19 before the end of the evening, and with any luck he should be able to continue his work for a while after that.

Cariae Crashes Again - April 19th

As a bit of a legacy of my early rising on Sunday, I woke at about five this morning, and padded into the front room to check on how Galahad and MistressDomina were doing, as I'd left them, pet-levelling and in merchant mode respectively, on Cariae-4 when I went to bed last night.

Galahad was still faithfully bashing away at his bandit sparring-partners - but without the usual "20" damage figure floating above their heads, which is always a Bad Sign.  Sure enough, when I logged him out and attempted to get back in, I got the "Account already logged in" error message repeatedly, and, checking on the forum shoutbox, found that there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth going on there.  Wasn't Cariae's equipment suppposed to be state-of-the-art now?  Would we get a rollback, and another 600% event as compensation?

So, I shut down Last Chaos on the older computer, and closed it down - as MistressDomina on the newer computer was, presumably, crashed too (and indeed Randol looked eerily static), I logged her out as well, and gave the newer computer, and the modem, a few hours rest as well.

Galahad had managed to get his drake up a level or two, and MD had taken in around 265 million gold, mainly from selling item drop boosters and candy, so the night wasn't a total loss - it just ended a bit early.

At breakfast time, Galahad was able to log back in, and I was relieved to see that the "rollback" had been minor, just restoring a two starvation points, and removing, probably, a couple of hundred pet points.  MD hadn't lost any of her sales..  So, Galahad was able to get back to his pet-levelling.

At coffee time, Gal took a brief break, to allow RedRackham to kick RedRydeR from ForceWithin; Kaerella then recruited Red into Discipline, and once again set her experience gain to 50%.  Then Galahad logged back on, and gave Red a solo party while he bashed his bandits.

RedRydeR found the back room in Prokion Temple on Cariae-4 deserted, and was able to use a platinum super skill pill, plus a platinum skill pill, for an hour of 250% extra skill exp.  She also used 183 skill point boosters.  For the first few minutes while she was in level 27 still, she used the spbs on orc axemen, so that they gave 7.7 skill points each.  When she moved into level 28, between the levels of the axemen (27) and sergeants (29), most of the time she just used the boosters on the orc sergeants, since they gave 7.315 skill points then, as opposed to the 6.93 skill points each orc axeman would give. 

The hour wasn't perfect; I had an interruption which cost me a few minutes, and just before the end Galahad got disconnected, so that RedRydeR lost the "solo party" bonus.  Still, Red added 45.19% experience, contributed her first 274 guild points to Discipline, and earned 1631 skill points.

MistressDomina logged on after that, and while looking at other people in merchant mode to check prices, came across a level 73 cleric wand - a bonita wand +15, blue-named with the full five seals.  Kaerella logged in briefly to compare it with her current level 69 wand, and it did improve on its attack level rather usefully, so, as Kae didn't have quite enough money to pay the 299,999.999 gold that the knight Demostone was asking, MD logged back in, and bought it for her.  This is the first "specialist" weapon that can't be converted by Collector Ryl between classes (and can't be used or equipped before the character reaches its actual level), so can be hard to find; I don't think it's a bargain price, particularly, but it's good to have things sorted out for Kae's future.

Over lunch Galahad got his drake into level 23 - and MistressDomina made some useful sales, mainly of heaven stones and item drop boosters, so that, despite her purchase, she now had more cash than she did yesterday evening.  And then it was time for RedRydeR to log in again...

The afternoon's two hours in Prokion Temple's back room were nicely productive, with no hiccups or visitors.  The first hour saw Red gain 49.77% in level 28, adding another 307 guild points; 173 skill point boosters were used on the orc sergeants, and 236 orc axemen were killed as well, on the way to getting 1674 skill points.  One thing that speeded things up was that Red acquired a brand-new dragon hatchling before going to the Temple, and so didn't have to stop to pick up loot, as the hatchling could do that for her...the hatchling started at level one of course, and was halfway through level two by the end of the hour.

After 9.55% experience gain in the first part of the second hour, and the use of 32 skill point boosters on the sergeants, RedRydeR reached level 29; she added a further 31.02% before the hour ended, using another 136 spbs, and the guild point total for this hour was 295. 1647 skill points were earned this time, since the skill exp per orc axeman fell a bit, even though the skill exp per orc sergeant rose a bit.  The dragon hatchling had just started level four when the session ended..

Using all those skill point boosters is an expensive way to get a character plenty of skill points, but I had them in stock, I didn't have to buy them specially, or the platinum super skill pills and their accompanying platinum skill pills, also known as "the blue and white training spells".  After being slow and economical on most other servers, it makes a pleasant change to be a bit of a spendthrift on Cariae.

Galahad continued his pet-training through the early evening food break, and beyond; there was a little time before [GM]Valsharyn's Auzuran "Mad Monster Spawn" at 6:30, so I took the opportunity of giving my level 34 sorcerer, JohnWellington, a brief outing,  He teleported to the entrance to Prokion Temple, but didn't go in - instead, he tried some of the local desert quests.  he got the two spider quests done easily enough; as before, I found that only the elite silver fox of desert "drops" silver fox feathers - but then, how many foxes do you know that have feathers?  Most of the time was spent hunting the basilisks, who gave the ten basilisk hides needed reasonably quickly... but at the end, John only had 4 of the 5 basilisk tails that he needs.

On Auzura RedRider is level 27, and only just started, really, on maximising all those special skills, with only armour and weaponsmith so far sorted out.  With just a single skill point, she made an ideal candidate to go to a MMS, especially Val's kind, where the death knights of iris have a habit of showing up, with their "area of effect" magical talents.  I suppose it is because Val does the low and high versions at the same time, but the low event was very stop-start, with the level 50 or so people that go there making short work of most monster spawnings.  I very much prefer the regular low-level MMS, down by the lake, to Val's version, which is a shame, as she puts a lot of work into it.

The loot was okay there, though it is annoying when more hands are laid on top of existing loot, so that you end up not being able to pick up items while other people can.  The low event took as long as the high one; I did teleport across to see what was going on, but it was all over - except for a fluton which Val conjured up when she left, which managed to give me a free trip back to town.  Red did at least end up with 3 more skill points - and was able to apply a fourth bloodseal gem to her gust crossbow, though the seal just added 1 to attack.

The rest of the evening was mainly devoted to Kaerella and MistressDomina teaming up out at the sphinx types again on Auzura-4, with Kaerella, my level 68 archer, doing most of the work.  No boosters were used, and Kae just added 6.27%, along with 1267 pet points; MistressDomina did go up to level 62 before the end, though, adding 10.73%.  And they each got 24 skill points, so things were rather slower than when that 600% event was going on.

I had put Galahad back to his pet-levelling work, with the drake moving through level 24, and was just doing a little merchant-browsing with MistressDomina, which included buying a +15 level 37 crossbow from MooMDeViL for 150 million, which hopefully RedRydeR will find useful before too long, when an announcement came up that "The Merac Run is going on NOW on C5!  Hurry on over to Merac town.  In this run you will be following the soldiers to the left (the left side of your map).  Along this path you will find monsters.  Kill all of them!  Be careful though, as you get deeper into the path the monsters will get harder!  Prizes will be spawned along the path, so fight quickly!"

So, Barbarienne logged in on Cariae-5, and headed over there.  The "soldiers" mentioned were the giant statues, which indicated the route, heading in the direction of Merac castle, but stopping off at the teleporter to Misty Canyon.  I don't know what loot was spawned along the way, I caught up with the fighting in its final stages on the approach to the Misty Canyon teleporter, and helped fight a fluton and a few other high-level monsters, and didn't see any loot - just an announcement that "The Merac Run on on C5 is now over!  Thanks for coming out <3 :)"  So, a little bit of fighting and a tiny bit of experience, and a different way to end the day.  It would have been nice to have had some advance notice - it seems to have been the winner of a vote, as a "monster spawn", as today's event.  Tomorrow there should be an "old school Mad Monster Spawn" apparently, followed by a pet-levelling Creature Carnival on Wednesday and a Zombie Invasion on Thursday...

RedRydeR and The Order of the Phoenix - April 20th

Galahad and MistressDomina went through the night safely on Cariae-4, so that Gal's drake reached level 27 soon after coffee.  MD didn't have a very busy time in merchant mode, though the session was saved from being a complete write-off by someone spending 17,800,000 gold, and during the morning someone else spending 29,000,000.  Otherwise it was mainly relatively cheap items like drake eggs, drake scrolls, pan flutes, and moonstones that sold.

I had some work to do downstairs, but I did just manage to fit in an hour for RedRydeR in my favourite back room of Prokion Temple on Cariae-4, using a pssp, a psp, and 192 spbs, before lunch.  Red went up by 39.69% - and added 1792 more skill points, so by my calculations, as well as the 192 orc sergeants, she must have killed 204 orc axemen.

After lunch, it was time for Red's last "power hour" - but I clicked the wrong item in her inventory, activating one of the useless beginner platinum blessed irises, when I reached the back room, so had to log out and let that count down and vanish.  Barbarienne did some checking in Roy's merchant mart instead, on the feeling that it was about time she learned the level 102 skill Fatal Blow - and for that she needed to obtain a "Fatal blow H" skill book, an expensive item.  Some people had been trying to sell it for 200 million gold or more, but I'd seen it for 150; early in my search through the fifty pages of "Other" items I saw it for 80 million, which seemed good, but on page 22 NEXUShealer was asking 60 million, so that is the one I bought in the end. 

It was just as well I saved that 20 million, as that was the amount of gold that actually learning level one of the skill cost...it also took 1020 skill points.  Level two costs another 100 million, and 1100 skill points, but I don't have to worry about that until Barbarienne reaches level 110.  As it is, level one gives a guaranteed "critical" hit to one's target, giving double the usual critical damage, which sounds rather good if one isn't using an hour-long crit potion at the time.

Level 104, which is a little over 60% away for Barbarienne at the moment, brings a fifth level of Rise Focus 2, which, for 40 million gold and 1300 skill points, will increase Barb's (long-range physical) hit rate by another 44, so that sounds useful.  No other skill books are needed for an archer until level 122, when Deadline needs one.

Before heading into the Temple, RedRydeR had done the two spider-killing quests, so that the rewards could be collected later; that just added 0.16%, a skill point, a guild point, and 8 pet points.  Once the pbi had expired, and Red had sold the other four to Geres to avoid any further problems, for 4 gold each, Red headed back to that favourite back room in Prokion Temple. 

This couldn't be a full hour's session, as RedRydeR was less than 30% away from the top of level 29, and her plans would have been spoilt if she had reached level 30...so I had to go rather carefully, and it took almost exactly 45 minutes to add 29.00% experience, bringing her to 99.87% of the level.  I used an spb on each orc sergeant, on top of the pssp and psp, so got 7.7 skill points each from them, and also, since I had plenty left and this would be Red's last opportunity to use them, on almost every orc axeman, too, for 6.16 skill points per kill.  I used 255 spbs in all, adding 1867 skill points, along with getting Red's hatchling into level six and earning 219 more guild points - an average of 7.32 skill points per booster shows that I managed to kill rather more sergeants than axemen, although that meant that I usually had at least four axemen bashing me as I moved around the room to get to the next newly-respawned sergeant.

RedRydeR had been faithfully carrying around her Phoenix Ticket since she first emerged in Randol and got it out of storage, and now was the time to take it to the Phoenix Club Master, and officially enrol Red in the Phoenix system.  To qualify for that, you need to have a character at level 100 or more on the same account and server, and the Phoenix Ticket at the ready - and the character you want to make into a Phoenix has to be new.

To my relief, the Phoenix Club Master accepted RedRydeR's application - and she was suddenly level 35, with a special +4 level 50/52 armour set and two +4 level 53 weapons (daggers and crossbow), a special garishly luminous orange piece of headgear, which can be worn at any level or permanently melded to the helmet of your choice, a "resurrection of phoenix" item which lets you choose to be resurrected where you were killed rather than back in town (but doesn't ameliorate death penalties, so is mainly of interest for arena fighting), a permanent, until level 100, buff called "blessing of phoenix" which adds 5% to attack and defence, a "phoenix colour crystal" to colour your pet red-and-white...plus 30 extra stat points, and 1200 skill points.  The maximum skill points you can get when becoming a phoenix is 4,000, but each time you level up takes 100 off that, and Red had levelled up 28 times.

RedRydeR hurried back to the Temple, to use the last ten minutes of the pssp and psp, and added another 34 skill points, 0.22%, and 5 guild points.  The extra sp came in handy, since, back in town, there were a lot of skills to learn; Red hadn't previously had time to get the level 25 ones, and now the level 30, 32 and 35 skills were available too, including new armoursmith and weaponsmith levels, so 2549 skill points were rather quickly used up.  Red also opted to become a ranger rather than an assassin, before learning the level 32 and 35 skills.

There was a Parade on Auzura-4 at 6:30, and Kaerella went along to that - in fact she was just heading out to harvest some green herbs and mine some stones about twenty minutes before the scheduled start time, and [GM]Valsharyn was already chatting to some people close to the herb garden.

The Parade went much as usual, with firecrackers and transformations, though looking back Kaerella perhaps talked a bit too much, saying how she preferred the regular low-level MMS to Val's special one, and answering questions that were really aimed at Val.  Things continued for a while after the strolling-about ended, with the GM continuing to spawn the transformation scrolls and firecrackers - I had hoped that, as on a previous occasion when Valsharyn rather than Noboru had run this event, we might end up with a kind of game of tag outside town, with the GM spawning loot whenever someone got close to her, but such frivolities were not indulged in.

There was time after that for RedRydeR, back over on Cariae-4, to go back to Prokion Temple for an hour, and use one of her "beginner" pssps, the type that only give 150% extra, despite their text description, rather than 200%, and are thus not suitable for using with the individual boosters - and can't be traded, or used after level 35.

The orcs seemed a lot weaker now than they had been earlier, and were now blue-named for Red, after she'd zoomed up six levels.  In the solo party with Galahad, the orc axemen gave 642 experience and 2750 skill exp, while the orc sergeants gave 948 experience and 5500 skill exp (as opposed to 2200 before the b-pssp was started), so a whole hour just moved Red on by 1.64%, plus 38 guild points, while adding 191 skill points. 

Well, RedRydeR could do with a little more in the way of a stash of skill points, so we'll certainly use the other four b-pssps in a similar way, but after that we will at least move to Cariae-5, I think, and use the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, so that the experience gain will double, and the skill exp decline slightly to 4400 per sergeant and 2200 per axeman.

The event which had won the forum poll for today was an "Old School MMS", so I logged my level 31 rogue Memree in on Katar-5, and found that "old school" didn't mean multiple waves out at the usual high-level MMS location, it meant defending the gates of Randol itself, more a "GM Kratos World Defence" kind of deal.  Luckily Memree is still working on getting her special skills maximised, so wasn't carrying a stash of skill points - so a couple of deaths when big monsters spawned close to her didn't matter.  I also got a "send error report?" crash of the game, which wasn't entirely surprising as a heck of a lot was going on at once.

[GM]Cara was on hand to provide some loot at the end, but true to the [GM]Stratos tradition, the spawning was a bit on the skimpy side, particularly for such a large turn-out.  With high-level monsters spawning unpredictably, and bad lag problems, it didn't seem worth staying up late to go to any other server when their turn came up.  So, Galahad continued to work on that drake until the end of the evening, and MistressDomino on Auzura-1 put in some time in merchant mode, selling a good lot of item drop boosters to bolster her cash reserves nicely.

Galahad's drake should reach level 29 by closing time; there is no chance of overnight sessions, as the servers will, as usual, go down for their weekly maintenance at one in the morning, UK time.  What new stuff will this week's patch bring, I wonder?

A Double Castle-Storming - April 21st

The patch last night was minor, again, despite the maintenance downtime starting an hour early; unless you are incredibly high-level and operate in the Mondshine map, that is, which is really an entirely different game.  There some quests that were repeatable now suddenly aren't, though some other quests have apparently been added.  For the rest of us, the two in-game item mall packages added last week now actually work, they say.

Galahad started pet-levelling work on his drake nice and early in the morning, on Cariae-4, while over on Auzura-1 MistressDomino logged in to try and sell some more stuff.  While looking around before starting up her own shop, she found a level 91 night shadow shirt, a green-named "Powerful Noticeable Bent Shirt" with five defence-related seals, +6, for 20,000 gold, so bought it, as before too long I do intend to start a night shadow over on that server.  Is the item really so terrible, or did somebody forget to type in a few zeroes when they put it up for sale?

I was busy in the real world all morning, so by the end of the lunch break Galahad's drake had just reached level 30, while MistressDomino, before she logged out, had made some useful cash... not, I thought at the time, quite enough for Rage to be able to get a good level 89 crossbow yet, but I was forgetting that Kaerella too had some gold in her inventory.

With Galahad sticking around to provide the solo party, it was time for my phoenix character, RedRydeR, to head back to Prokion Temple and use a couple more of the beginner pssps, with her friends the orc sergeants and orc axemen.

It is rather a change to only get 5,500 skill exp per orc sergeant, rather than 77,000, but it is still a useful way of getting some more skill points.  The beginner platinum super skill pills can only be used up to the end of a character's 35th level, anyway, so it's now or never for them.  The first hour added 1.81%, 42 guild points, and 211 skill points, while the second hour added another 1.63%, 38 guild points, and 190 skill points.  The first hour is always likely to be slightly more productive, as I do have horse buffs on for the first few minutes, increasing Red's attack, but I guess I must have been slowing down a bit as the afternoon progressed.

There was a little time left before the usual early evening food break, so Rage (or RAGE to be strictly accurate), my level 91 ranger-type rogue, logged in, and checked Roy's merchant mart, in the hope of finding a useful level 85 or 89 crossbow.  Level 89 ones, and indeed most higher types, are pretty rare, but there were two +15 level 85 crossbows available.  Given an equal price, I might have gone for a green five-seal one, as, though it deals slightly less damage, it has a better hit rate - but the "g5" one was 800 million, while the "b5" that Eldoron was selling was only 600 million.  Since I had had a figure of about 750 million in mind, this seemed good to me.

The merchant mart was lagging a bit, so that pages were slow to load, but, after MistressDomino and Kaerella both logged on to trade cash across to Rage, we were able to buy the blue-named, five-seal Tanatos' Shadow Bow +15, which has an attack power of 430 + 633, plus a bonus of 75.  The bloodseals add another 39 attack, of various kinds, so that Rage's physical attack stat is now 1959, compared to 1513 with her old level 73 +13 Gale' Neigun Bow.

I looked at the available armour, too, but there was very little available.  A green-named, five evasion seal level 87 hood was tempting, at 450 million, but the only other really nice item was a pair of rogue leggings, blue-named, with the five evasion seals, +15 - but poor Rage, strangely enough, doesn't have the 1,000,000,000 gold needed to buy it.

There was time in the early evening for another hour in Prokion Temple for RedRydeR, and this b-pssp gave us 1.75% experience, 41 more guild points, and 206 skill points, so was pretty busy.  And then it was time for Rage to log back in on Auzura-4, and make her way to Merac Castle, for the European "Storm the Castle" event, hosted by [GM]Valsharyn, who as usual got there pretty early. 

I joined a combat party of other people in the early level nineties, and when the "StC" got under way, everything went as normal, though I found myself tanking a zamora or two, an anubis spear man, and even a dark harpy, so it was a shame I'd not managed to get any better armour yet.  As there was a good turn-out, our GM got a bit over-enthusiastic with the flutons at the end, and as well as a couple inside the throne room, with most people fighting them, there were a couple in the inner courtyard as well.  I got hit hard a couple of times by these two, and had to run for my life - and then when I did finally get past them into the throne room, since those were the flutons we had to kill first, I got hit and stunned and only the use of a couple of the great health potions kept me alive. It was an anxious few minutes...

We finally managed to dispose of the last of the flutons with less than a minute to spare, and everyone dashed back outside for the loot - but [GM]Valsharyn was nowhere to be found, she'd had a disconnection, and we stood around for at least ten minutes before the appearance of the StC monsters again tipped us off that she was back with us.  Because of the "massive" disconnection, which she seemed to think had hit other people as well as herself, Val had decided to re-run the whole event.  "Some loot would be nice", I commented, and Val did spawn generous amounts of loot outside...which was fine for those of us who were still there, but others had rushed off ahead to start fighting their way into the castle.  I did mention on the party chat that loot had been spawned outside, but I think some party members did miss out.

Luckily, Val didn't add the fluton mob to the second run, so things weren't as dangerous, and once we'd killed the sphinx commanders in the inner courtyard, the event was over... except for a new spawning of loot outside.  It seemed to me that our GM got disconnected again then, she usually hangs around and chats, but this time she vanished - though I did see her in the middle of Randol a little later.

Rage has put her old level 73 +13 crossbow into Roy's merchant mart, in the hope that someone will want to buy it, certainly there weren't any other well-upgraded crossbows of that level  for sale when I checked.  Unfortunately, I suspect that most people power-level past that point, and never bother with a level 73 weapon, any more than Rage bothered with a 77 or 81 level one.  The main reason I bought it originally was so that the level 69 +15 weapon could get passed across to Kaerella.  Still, it's only 1000 gold we stand to lose if the item doesn't sell within five days.

Over on Katar-5, Kaerella, at level 32 there, had a session in Prokion Temple, while my local pet-leveller ColonelScarlet provided the solo party while working on his pink drake.  Kae wanted mainly to kill orc fighters, since they now don't give much experience, but still, with the Elizabuff, give 3300 skill exp each.  The mirror-side corridor room, which has fighters plus one axeman, was in use, so I had to wander around a bit until I found another room with the same line-up of occupants, and settled in.

The session ended a little early, when Kae had gained 100 skill points, along with 3.38% experience and 23 guild points, as ColonelScarlet had run out of quality stones, and the drake was starting to get a bit hungry.  So, Kaerella, who had a good supply of tool aids, went back to Randol, bought 27 healer hammers, and went out to do some mining.  Using the tool aids, she got 729 quality stones, and was able to trade them across to ColonelScarlet before they both logged out.

Galahad logged back in on Cariae-5 to work on his drake, which should reach level 31 before the end of the evening, and SirDarth logged in on Sarissa-5.  He too was running low on quality stones, so as he had 15 tool aids, bought some pick-axes from Geres and went out to do his own bit of mining.  Once his supplies were replenished, he too headed for Merac.  The chosen event for today was to be a "Creature Carnival", so having two pet-levellers online for the hour or so when pet experience is doubled seemed like a good idea.  The Carnival itself takes place on the fifth subserver, so it seemed sensible to be on that subserver too, albeit on a different map, to make sure that the pet points went up two by two.

The announcements for the event mentioned the location in Dratan for the pet statue, 714,2150, but as even the first server didn't start its hour until ten, UK time, actually going there wasn't really possible, and anyway I prefer my bandits.  SirDarth's horse was moving through level 26, so we still have quite a few days to go before another of my Sarissa characters can ride around on horseback.

Maximum Hard - April 22nd

Galahad got through the night safely, so that his drake was comfortably into level 32 by the morning, but SirDarth over on Sarissa-5 wasn't as lucky.  He got most of the way, but then some little dear came along and pulled his bandit towards Mystic Swamp - while Darth himself wasn't harmed, a blood frenzy or something must have been induced to kill his horse, which, at level 27, cost 132,678 gold to unseal.

Galahad continued his pet-levelling into the morning, but MistressDomino on Auzura-1 took over the newer computer to try to do some selling.  They both got disconnected after breakfast, but I logged them both back in - until coffee time.

The plan was to have Barbarienne and Keerella, over on Cariae-4, go to the Tomb of Theos in their combat party configuration, with this time Barbarienne in the lead, using potions, a platinum blessed iris, and an experience booster on every anubis spear man, while Keerella passed the time killing nearby sphinx fighters.  I did check the condition of the dungeon before entering, which gave both the condition-bars at 0% - but didn't pay too much attention, as in theory while that increases the monsters' abilities, it increases one's own abilities as well.

So, in Barb and Kee went, and Barb led the way down to the first spear man room, which was not being used by anyone else.  I should have taken warning from the fact that somehow the trip down had reduced Barbarienne's health to about a seventh, but I just used Self Heal a few times, started the power, berserker, crit, and platinum adrenaline potions, and had Barb attack the nearest anubis spear man, while Keerella targeted the single sphinx fighter which had followed us in.

Boy did those sphinx types hit hard - Barbarienne seemed to be healing herself, or Kee, almost as often as she was able to hit her adversary, and it took ages to kill it.  Luckily I hadn't started the platinum blessed iris, to give triple experience gain for an hour - it was obvious that, with the Tomb set the way it was, there was no way we could get any useful experience down there, and while Barb's healing skills would have kept us alive, hopefully, things would just have been too slow.

So, we returned to the start of the Tomb, and its screaming zombies, where a level 93 night shadow called KinGDooM was fighting.  For a little while Kee just equipped SkrappY and watched as Barb fought a zombie at a time, but then I changed over to Kee having her drake Greedo equipped, and joining in on the fighting.  I'm afraid KinGDooM did die once - previously I'd helped when he'd been attacked by multiple zombies, but this time it seemed to me that he'd deliberately lured three at once, so I just fought my own one, not wanting to spoil some clever "area of effect" night shadow skill.

A rogue came along after that, and did ks on a couple of my kills, not that it mattered; they didn't stay long.  Then a level 100 healer, LoveToHeal69, arrived.  I commented that "The Tomb seems a bit hard at the moment", and she told me, "It is day two now - Outlaws won't set the Tomb to easy."

She was still wearing her 85/87 armour set too, though her set was +15, she said...and she was still being hit for 300-600 damage by the zombies.  Barbarienne is three levels above the zombies, so they are green-named for her, but, when her evasion didn't work, around 512 seemed to be an average hit.  "Lucky those guys didn't own the Tomb during the 600% week", I commented, and she agreed.

I continued fighting the screaming zombies for the rest of the hour that my four expensive potions lasted, and, rather more slowly, for 15 to 20 minutes afterwards.  Any plan for a marathon session had vanished, and can only be reinstated when the Tomb on Cariae is set at a more tolerable level of difficulty.  Barbarienne only added 0.71% experience, and 1065 pet points, while Keerella added 0.14%, and 400 pet points - they also got a couple of skill points each.  Luckily we did get a couple of heaven stones as drops, and probably enough gold to cover the cost of admission, but it wasn't a very productive way to pass the morning.

SirDarth logged in on Sarissa-4 over lunchtime, and got his horse into level 28, which conveniently returned its health to 100% - unsealed pets only come back with 30% health, which looks a bit untidy.  MistressDomino on Auzura-1 went back into merchant mode, and managed to sell her supply of item drop boosters, plus a single moonstone box.  This meant she had just enough gold to pass to Rage to get Rage's total over the (American) billion mark - so Rage swiftly blew the lot on the level 86 Antistune Chaser pants, b5, +15, that SuperMedic had been offering for sale via Roy's merchant mart.  Wearing these, instead of level 71 +13 Pillager Pants, increases Rage's physical defence from 2301 to 2575, and more importantly her physical evasion from 460 to 639, though the "miniskirt and fishnets" look does seem a little strange with the rest of the old "brown boiler suit" armour set.

For the main part of the afternoon, a trip to good old reliable Prokion Temple seemed called for - so over on Sarissa-5, my level 37 rogue RedRyder formed a combat party with my level 27 healer Kaerella, and they headed off to my favourite back room.  Things went smoothly, with Red killing the orcs and Kae picking up the loot, and by the end of the session RedRyder had earned 25.26%, along with 408 guild points, and Kaerella was up by 23.73% and 59 guild points.  They'd each earned 268 skill points, which meant that Kaerella was able to learn the final levels of green herb processing and epsilon wave processing, and the first level of gamma wave processing - so another 269 skill points were safely "banked".

After the early evening food break I continued with Red and Kae.  The "teatime" bonus was due to start at five o'clock, UK time, and we were promised an extra 75% skill exp for two hours - and that is what we got, though they seem to have given up announcing the start and end of such events.  Since it is added on top of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, it just meant that an orc axeman that otherwise would have given around 2700 skill exp now gave about 3700, so it was useful, but not dramatically so.

Kaerella needed another 194 skill points, to be able to learn the last two levels of gamma wave processing and complete her special skills, so once she had got those skill points, she teleported back to Randol, got the skills, and then went to Maargadum Jail to die 27 times, and get herself back to the start of level 27 for the last time.  And then, she rejoined RedRyder... well, she initially forgot to get the Elizabuff again, which her deaths had removed, and had to return to Randol for that, but soon everything was sorted out.

I did have a visitor in the back room during the evening session, a level 26 knight called Gwintor, but, very wisely, he didn't stay around very long.  He kindly provided both of us with divine shield, a suitably chivalrous gesture.

RedRyder did continue for a little while after the three-hour Elizabuff ended; she is getting close to the top of level 37 now, so there will only be one more combat-style team up with Kaerella possible, until Kae too levels up.  In all, RedRyder went up by 43.99%, earning another 739 guild points for Discipline, and got 538 skill points, while Kaerella had got 14.54% experience before her return to town and Maargadum runs, and then, restarting from the start of level 27, a new 19.13%, earning 107 guild points in all.  She ended up with 275 new skill points.

Today's special event, voted for on the forum, was to be a "Zombie Invasion", but, just as the "MMS" turned out to be a "World Defence" in disguise, this was a bit more along those lines too.  Instead of sleepy Berbank Mill in Juno getting invaded by all sorts of zombies, plus apes for good measure, the zombies appeared in Dratan's desert, out by Shuraine's oasis, and then outside the city's south gate.

Katar led off the rota at nine o'clock, UK time, so I took my level 31 rogue Memree along, and, while I don't do a heck of a lot of damage, hopefully people appreciate the Snare.  I generally kept at a ranged-attack distance, and avoided getting killed, though I did get pounced on by one ancient screaming zombie, and had to retreat swiftly to the safety of the city's no-fight zone, which conveniently extends a few yards outside the walls.

The game master handling the event was [GM]Embla, who seemed to do a pretty good job with the announcements and the monster spawnings, though so many zombies did make the place rather laggy.  He however hasn't yet learnt how to handle the spawning of the loot to reward people for their efforts, and there was one very sparse spawning of loot which a lot of people weren't close enough to to see.  I got one item drop booster, one large attack potion, and one large defence potion, which made me one of the lucky ones.  Further zombies were spawned after the loot, more as a farewell gesture than anything else - people were hanging around afterwards hoping for some decent loot, but by then the 45 minutes was up, and the GM must have moved on to the next server, Cariae.

One set of zombies was enough for me, however.  I'd already put MistressDomino up in merchant mode on Auzura-5, and now I was able to log SirDarth in on Sarissa-4, to see how far he could move his horse on through level 28.  The special event for tomorrow may well be a "Storm the Castle", if enough people vote for it on the forum.  Only time, it seems, will tell.

A Guild Is Born - April 23rd

SirDarth attempted another overnight pet-levelling session, on Sarissa-4.  I tucked him away in a secluded corner of Merac with a bandit or two, with some berserkers close by, but when I checked later he had been ks'd, so probably lost a couple of hours just standing there.  So, I moved him across to the north-east, and his pair of bandits there, and he went through the rest of the night safely and productively, with the horse reaching level 29 before breakfast time.

After breakfast I was sitting in the same room as the computers, reading the newspaper, when I noticed that the computer screen seemed to be a bit livelier than it should have been - and an "elite bloody outlaw", the boss version of a blood frenzy, was fighting Darth and his horse, with the horse's health already down to 37%.  While I'd not been looking, some little rascal had lured Darth's bandit in the direction of Mystic Swamp, with Darth and his pet automatically following, and then brought in the boss monster.

So, I unequipped the horse and equipped SirDarth's sword, and made relatively short work of the elite bloody outlaw, even though it was a couple of levels higher than him...and then went the short distance back to his fighting spot, unequipped the sword and re-equipped the horse, and got back to work.

MistressDomino had a quieter time of it, in merchant mode in Randol on Auzura-5.  People seem willing to buy Hallowe'en candy for 395,000 gold, I see, which seems strange to me, I wish I had more of it left; the main sales were of experience boosters, someone bought a hundred at 1,740,000 each, which is quite an investment to make, I hope they go up a few levels.  Before coffee, someone bought fifty skill point boosters too, though it still leaves me a long way short of getting any more new armour for Rage, if I want it to be "b5e" and highly-plussed.

While I did have a few interruptions, there was just time for RedRydeR to use the last of her beginner pssps in Prokion Temple on Cariae-4 before lunch.  1.69% experience was got, along with 39 guild points - and 197 skill points, which takes Red back over the 15k mark.

Galahad provided the solo party while working on the drake, and SirDarth was able to join in too, on Sarissa-4, during lunch.  Darth did get ks'd a couple more times. I saw the second time, a titan arrived on a purple dragon, killed the two bandits, and hurried off - at least I got the 563 gold the bandits dropped, as he didn't stick around.  "Evil little richard", I commented...

One server where I don't do much is Hatzring, so I decided that it was about time I got myself a pet-leveller over there.  To that end, I logged in my level 2 knight LordDarth on Hatzring-5, and, once I'd joined a solo party, proceeded to do the early deer, fox and wolf quests.  At level 7 I teleported to Dratan, and, as I'd got a pan flute as a drop, and talked to Lorraine, Archaeologist Jajan was happy to give me my own little pony.  I made the run out to Prokion Temple, and added the location of its entrance to LordDarth's memory scroll (as well as, en route, Shuraine's oasis); going inside, I didn't really feel up to fighting level 17 ghouls in my starter armour, but I managed to pick up  some unwanted gold drops close to the starting hallway - plus, at great personal risk, a drake egg and a tool aid.

Once LordDarth had reached level 8, back fighting the berserk wolves, and then the jaguars, in Juno, I switched from him to a level 8 mage over on Hatzring, Enchantra, and, doing the "Necklace of Geres" repeatable quest to collect jaguar claws, managed to reach level 10 just before the early evening food break.  This means that she will be able to go into merchant mode and sell items, which is useful - and it also meant, as she had managed to acquire just over 10,000 gold, helped along by the 500 reward each time from the Geres quest, that she was able to officially start the Discipline guild on Hatzring.  It's only level one, but hey, it's a start...

After the food break, I had time to get LordDarth to level 10 as well, mainly on the jaguar-killing quest, before 6:30pm, UK time, approached, when a "Pharaoh's Treasure" event was scheduled to start on Auzura-4.  Kaerella logged in over there, and headed out into Juno ready.

I actually started my ride around very close to where the treasure turned out to be. But as it was, I passed half a dozen spots full of sphinx fighters and their friends before the announcement of the correct location came up - the place not to far from Hunter Dranore, close to where [GM]Valsharyn holds her low-level Mad Monster Spawns.  So, I used my Juno NPC scroll to teleport to Dranore, and quickly rode to where the loot was.

It was [GM]Valsharyn in charge; she vanished for some weeks so that every event was conducted by [GM]Noboru, and now it seems the situation has been reversed.  The loot was generous, but the Pharaoh, as he has tended to do recently, sent some fairly tough monsters to us.  If things go on like that, I think Rage may have to replace Kaerella as my representative, since she'd be less vulnerable, and more of a help in the fights.

Still, the danger of the monsters was reflected in the generosity of the loot drops, so we did pretty well for the usual items. As Val commented, she was careful to spawn the monsters far enough away from where we all were that people who were low level could choose whether or not to wade in. And when things ended there and Val left, it was time for me to think of which lucky characters were going to have the main evening session...

So, rather than teaming up my level 27 Kaerella with my level 37 rogue on Sarissa, for a change I teamed up my level 29 Kaerella with my level 39 rogue, Memree, over on Tairen-5.  The usual procedure was followed, with a combat party, the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and a trip to Prokion Temple, where I was again lucky, finding the back room free.

At level 39, the reward that my rogue gets is a bit lower than it was a level or two earlier, but it is still a useful way to add to Memree's skill points.  Over two and a half hours Memree added 10.48% and 232 guild points for Discipline, while Kaerella added 8.95% and 34 guild points - and they each gained 227 skill points.

The special event tonight, voted for on the forum, was apparently going to be "GM Versus the Players", which got 60% of the vote - or nine votes, compared to five for a Storm the Castle (including mine), and just a single vote for "Race to the Finish"...so not a huge number of people found that forum thread, it seems.  I suppose the announcements about the event were only made on the appropriate server, whenever the event was held, so I missed it, which, given that "GM Versus the Players" is just a confusing melee in the arena followed by a loot spawn under the feet of some flutons, is no big deal.

MistressDomino logged in on Auzura-5, to do some overnight selling; Kaerella traded across her newly-acquired loot, and then SirDarth logged in on Sarissa-4, with the hope of getting his horse to level 30 before bedtime.

Changing the Lightbulb - April 24th

SirDarth's overnight session went well, with his horse reaching level 31 soon after breakfast this morning without any incidents.  MistressDomino sold a nice lot of stuff on Auzura too, though she still has rather a lot of the large attack and defence potions...when I have time, she needs to browse Roy's merchant mart stock, in case any other suitable armour pieces for Rage are available, though someone in the forum shoutbox did mention later that +15 b5e rogue armour pieces aren't usually less than 1.5 billion each, sigh.

There seems an awful lot going on this weekend.  The website mentions a Dratan raffle, in which each time you drop 1000 gold on the ground in that map, and don't pick it up, you are entered in a raffle with a chance to win one of 30 "variety packs"; there's a 30% bonus on buying any amount of aeria points; there's a "tiered spender event"; there's a first time buyer event... and, while those are all announced in detail on the website, hidden away in a forum post called "While You Wait For Mondshine", we are told, if we find it, that, running from 1:00am today, UK time, for two days, the experience and Skill exp cap will be raised to 600%, and the base XP/SP experience will be raised to 200%, with thousands of 3 for 1 packs on sale in the Web Mall.

So, I just had time for one hour's worth of platinum blessed iris out in Dratan on Auzura-4 for Kaerella, in a combat party with MistressDomina, before lunch, using an experience booster on the elite sphinx speer man - which got the experience from that critter up to 15 to 17 million a go.  Kaerella reached level 69 before too long, and added 75.66% in all, along with 706 pet points (the sphinx fighters went blue-named when she levelled up, cutting the pet point gain); as well as the hour in the combat party, we then switched to an equal party for another quarter of an hour, so MistressDomina managed to add 6.15%.  And they each got 34 skill points.

I'd checked with the forum shoutbox about the extra experience and skill experience initially, logged in as Memree since I'd been doing level one of the tiered spender event on that account, mainly buying the 3 for 1 experience booster packs, and kept an eye on it afterwards.  The conversation came round to the shortcomings of the Korean developers of the game, and Aeria_ks1lent's valiant trip to Korea to attempt to sort them out, and I posted "How many Korean devs does it take to change a light bulb?" followed by the answer, "We don't know, they are working on it.  Please be patient."  This appealed to some people, and forum regular lukaviljevac used it as the basis for a cartoon, which he posted in the forum's creative area.

Over on Cariae-4, Barbarienne and Keerella headed for the Tomb of Theos after lunch, having been assured in the shoutbox that it was set to easy now - and indeed it was.  This was Barbarienne's turn to lead, with Kee on the older computer; with it being the weekend, with the special experience (and skill exp) running, I expected the place to be busy, and I wasn't disappointed - the opening area with its screaming zombies looked pretty hectic as I ran through, and the room with the anubis spear men, plus sphinx fighters, was in use.  CombineHarvester was, er, farming, on one side, and a pair from the major guilds Vendetta and Trio were across from him, I think doing power-levelling as there seemed plenty of use of Party Recall going on.

So, Barbarienne settled in just to fight the sphinx fighters, without using any potions, hoping that a vacancy would occur; Keerella ran in to join her, but at this stage just stood in a safe place with SkrappY equipped.  Before long I noticed that the power-leveller had about twenty minutes left on the platinum blessed iris, so kept my fingers crossed - and the pair did indeed disappear when the time expired.

So, Barbarienne was able to take on the far side of the room, my favourite levelling spot, and began her first power potion, berserker potion, crit pot, platinum adrenaline, and platinum blessed iris hour... and after a few minutes Keerella put SkrappY away, equipped her level 50 drake Greedo instead, and began fighting the sphinx fighters.

At some points the room was busy, and sometimes I had the place to myself.  There were times when Barb had to wait for an anubis spear man to respawn, but generally I was pretty lucky.  CombineHarvester moved on deeper at a time the room was crowded, which was kind; a temple knight called tristram666 actually used his Teleportation skill a few times, and I commented on it.  He wondered if it could be called "telekinesis", but I said that that would involve the monster floating through the air, rather than instantaneously being moved from one spot to another - we agreed that would be a cool effect.  I shared the room with a warmaster titan called BusDriver, but he didn't say anything... and other people came and went, I don't think the titan who was there when I finished understood English.

Barbarienne's experience gain varied between 22% and 24% per hour - and over the five-hour session, she went up 113.38%, reaching level 104.  Her drake went up by 5692 pet points.  Barb used 264 experience boosters, an average of around 53 per hour, so that was a pretty expensive level to get, but speedy.  Keerella wasn't using any potions or boosters, and just went up by 5.57%, but her drake added 4789 pet points - and they each gained 49 skill points.

Going on for so long, I just had some milk and biscuits at the desk for my "food break", but once the session was over I did the washing up, on the feeling that I couldn't really leave it all for Monday.  Then Barbarienne logged in and got the fifth level of Rise Focus 2, for 40 million gold and 1300 skill points, increasing her hit rate by 44.  That took her stash of skill points down to 3,118, but if necessary she has a few thousand "banked" in the special skills too.

The remaining part of the evening was just long enough for Kaerella and MistressDomina to team up on Auzura-4 again.  Before we left Randol, a Vendetta member called ENKIL opened a trade window with Kaerella, and displayed a "Crest of Rainbow" accessory, which gives 12 each to strength, intelligence and dexterity, and 6 to constitution.  As I couldn't see that Kae would actually prefer that to her current three accessories, I gracefully declined, and Kae headed for the teleporter to Dratan. 

MistressDomina was by Storekeeper Bianca still, though, and ENKIL opened the trade window with her, and displayed the accessory again.  "How much?" I asked, and when he assured me it was free, gratefully accepted it.   With her 60/62 armour MD is obviously no noob, any more than Kae is... it was a very nice gesture, and much appreciated.

The location of the second elite sphinx "speer" man was, as usual, quiet, so, in their combat party, MD just stood and watched as Kae fought the locals.  For an hour Kae used a platinum blessed iris, for triple experience, stacking with the event - and she used 40 experience boosters, on the elite, killing the regular types in between.  There was a slight hiatus, though - the roadboss (or indeed raid boss) Kamira arrived. 

Not feeling particularly lucky, and since it doesn't seem to matter if the person fighting the boss is higher in level, Kaerella logged out, and Rage logged in, teleporting to the other elite sphinx speer man's location and quickly riding across.  Just using horse buffs, Rage did need to use a medium health potion to stop her MP getting a bit low, but Kamira didn't last long - and, along with the usual goodies, on the ground was a Tears of Knight, that most desirable of accessories.  It looks as if my temple knight on Auzura, SirDarth (not a pet-leveller), is in for a treat...

Kaerella returned after that, and finished the pbi's hour - changing the party to an equal one after that, she continued for another twenty minutes, to get MistressDomina a bit more experience.  In all, Kaerella added 63.82% - plus only 279 pet points, as after she reached level 70, both the local kinds of monster were blue-named.  MistressDomina added 7.67%, and they both got 35 skill points.

Back in town, Kaerella found she still had level 7 of Poison Arrow to learn, from level 68, as well as the five levels of the level 70 skill,  Paralyzing Arrows - the last new attack skill until the one Barbarienne has recently learnt at level 102, Fatal Blow.  So, that was 1850 skill points used...

The winning event for today was apparently a "Dungeon Run".  I did ask in the forum shoutbox what that might be, but our resident gamesage didn't know. "Not sure.  Maybe you have to kill mobs in the different dungeons?" That was the suggestion from  ants3107, anyway.  I did later see a post on Sarissa saying it was taking place in Maargadum Jail, but that was a bit late in the evening for me. There was a forum post calling for votes for an event tomorrow, but sadly, while it said it was "open", [GM]Kali had absent-mindedly locked it.  The candidates were Race to the Finish, Hide and Seek, and Storm the Castle...the last of which would get my vote, if I could cast it.

SirDarth logged in for a hour or so of pet-levelling on Sarissa-4 before the older computer closes down for the night, getting his horse past the 25% mark in level 31; over on Auzura-5 MistressDomino did a little selling, too.  She had increased the price slightly on skill point boosters and experience boosters, since there ought to be a high demand for them at the moment, but there didn't seem to be any takers.

Outside With the Sphinx Fighters - April 25th

MistressDomino had a pretty good overnight selling session, though the experience boosters didn't sell at the higher price; the skill point boosters did, however.  The selling came to a slightly early end, with a "send error report?" message waiting for me when I checked in the morning.

This was the second day of the double experience and skill exp, stacking with pssps, pbis, and the two kinds of booster, but I really didn't feel like a marathon Tomb session again... which was just as well, as the forum shoutbox had people reporting that Cariae had suffered its regular crash just after 11:00am UK time.  It seems to be the point at which data is gathered for rankings, though why that should kick almost everyone out, I don't know.

Luckily I was over on Auzura-4 at the time, fighting the outdoor sphinx fighters (the ones in the Tomb ought really to be called anubis fighters), sphinx speer men, and the elite sphinx speer man.  My level 62 wizard MistressDomina was taking the lead in a combat party; I started by teaming her with my similar-level titan MrChuckNorris, but as she took quite a lot of damage, particularly from the elite, Chuck bowed out, and Kaerella took over. 

Kaerella could heal MD, though her higher level, 70, may have reduced the experience gain slightly.  Chuck is well off for skill points, while Kae is glad to get some extra ones - she only got 19 from the session, but it all helps.  MD used a platinum blessed iris, to triple her experience gain, and also used 32 experience boosters.  She reached level 63 before the end of the hour, and added 90.02% in all, as well as 721 pet points and 24 skill points.  We did continue for a few minutes after the hour, with the party changed from combat to equal, and Kae doing the fighting, so Kaerella added 2.87%.

Reaching level 63 meant that MistressDomina was able, back in Randol, to learn level 7 of Flame Field, for 300 skill points, increasing that skill's power from 210 to 250.  Useful if there is a group of monsters, though the level 70 skill is generally held to be better.

After lunch we followed a slightly different scheme, with Kaerella not in a party with MistressDomina - instead, MD was just in a solo party.  Kaerella stood nearby still, and supplied healing when needed.  MD managed to add 93.54% in the first hour, which was just enough to get her into level 64, plus 38 skill points and 911 pet points, while using 38 experience boosters.  There was a slight interruption from a royal knight, who took the elite twice, but he soon moved on, perhaps to the nearby elite sphinx fighter as I suggested.

The second hour used up another 37 experience boosters, with MistressDomina moving on by another 80.71%, and adding another 33 skill points and 837 pet points.  After that, there were a few minutes left, so MD left the solo party and made an equal party with Kaerella, so that MD got another 1.58%, and Kae, doing the work, got 1.02%, with 5 skill points each.

For the evening session, we went back to Kaerella leading a combat party, still out at the same spot; 49.23% was Kae's experience gain in the first hour, plus 20 skill points, from 43 experience boosters, while the second hour brought another 53.44%, and 23 skill points, from 49 boosters, taking Kaerella into level 71.  Approaching half an hour after that of an equal party gave Kae 2.16% more and 11 skill points... MistressDomina added 4.46% during the two hours, along with the 43 skill points, and another 3.67%, and the 11 skill points, from the final bit, so she's still almost 10% away from reaching level 65.

We did have a visit from Kamira during the first hour, so Rage temporarily logged in instead of Kae, and quickly dealt with her, getting the usual drops, but no rare accessory this time.  Kaerella then hurried back, and continued her session.

Over on Tairen-2, the Sunday Quiz went smoothly, with no tricky or out-of-date questions, so MistressDomino and Kaerella both got their tool aids, moonstones, and heaven stones; Kae passed her moonstones and heaven stones across to MD before they both logged out.

Two Tairen characters I've not logged in as for a while got a chance after the Quiz - SirGalahad, who used to pet-level so assiduously in Maargadum Jail, and my level 41 rogue xRAGEx.  They made a solo party, and Gal headed back to level five of the Jail; all he had on the pet front was a level 2 dragon hatchling, which soon reached level 3, as Gal fought his usual death mask lancer.

I wonder whatever happened to GAMER, Discpline's Ukrainian level 50 mage on Tairen?  The character is still in the guild, but doesn't seem to be playing Last Chaos any more.  She lead Rage to the elite sphinx fighter's location ages ago, which I added to Rage's memory scroll.  Now that I know that area a bit better, it seemed a good idea to move from that spot to the "elite sphinx speer man number two" location, which I now knew to be close by.

So, I teleported to the spot, which was right at the side of the open area, and managed to work out which way I needed to move - and got to my favourite sphinx spot without having to do any fighting.  Someone was there, but they left almost at once, just leaving some gold on the ground for me to pick up...I hate to leave a place looking untidy, so quickly grabbed it.

At level 41, my Tauren version of Rage did have to be pretty careful, and left the elite sphinx speer man strictly alone.  When Snare worked things were simple enough, and when it failed, well, quite a bit of health got lost.  It wasn't a long session, Rage doesn't have any pbis or boosters, but she added 22.87% and 214 pet points, getting to the three-quarters mark in her level.

But that was the end of today's action - not as intense a slog as yesterday's Tomb of Theos session, but Auzura's Kaerella and MistressDomina got moved along nicely.  The main idea has got to be to get Kaerella back within fifteen levels of Rage, who is level 91, so Kae needs another five levels, while Rage concentrates on "Storm the Castle" events and similar excitements, and trying to get a high-quality level 85/87 armour set.  Talking of "StC", the forum poll for Sunday's event still seems level at zero votes each, as [GM]Kali never did unlock the thread to allow people to vote.

SirDarth logged in on Sarissa-4 for a little bit of work levelling his horse, while at the end of the evening, SirGalahad's short session in Maargadum Jail finished with the hatchling safely into level four.  Running all the way through the Jail takes time, but it's good to have a pet-leveller who doesn't need to get a red name.

Ten Levels in One Evening - April 26th

There was an overnight selling session for MistressDomino on Auzura-5 again, which lasted safely into the new day, but she didn't manage to sell all that much, other than her supply of transformation scrolls from all the Parade events Kaerella there has attended.  SirDarth on Sarissa-4 was able to pet-level through until coffee time, too, and got his horse more than halfway through level 32 without any problems.

What I'd have liked to do during the morning session of an hour or so would have been to take my phoenix rogue RedRydeR along to Prokion Temple on Cariae-5 and farm the orcs for a few more skill points, but since Cariae has reverted recently to its old habit of kicking people out at around eleven, UK time, that rather ruled out that option.

On Auzura, then, MistressDomina came out of merchant mode to get some recent loot from other characters; Rage traded the recently-acquired gift from Kamira, the Tears of Knight accessory, across too.  Rather than buy a golden magnifying glass, to "identify" and activate the ToK, from the NPC merchant for a million, MD found someone selling ten glasses for 8.5 million via Roy, so is now well stocked to identify future goodies.

SirDarth, now at level 37 on Auzura and a non pet-levelling temple knight, had the ToK traded across to him, and he traded the Pierce of Wind he had been using across to MistressDomino in return.  Darth now has two Tears of Knight accessories, which is pretty good.

RedRider logged in too, since at level 27 she is ideally placed to team with SirDarth in Prokion Temple on Auzura-5; they got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, made a combat party, and headed for Dratan.  Luckily my favourite back room in the temple was available, so they settled in there, with, initially, Red picking up the loot, and Darth handling the fighting.

RedRider is at the "getting all the special skills sorted" stage, and so intends to stay on level 27 for a while yet, being available for low-level events like the Junior Mad Monster Spawns.  After a while Red started to fight a few orcs herself, since she has a level 29 +15 crossbow... and then it occurred to me that it would be more useful for her to take the lead in the fighting.  Her better weapon means she probably kills faster, being the right level for orcs she gets good loot drops including heaven stones (two, from hands of the warrior, in quick succession), she can level her dragon hatchling... and while Darth gets as much skill exp as he would if he did the fighting, he gets less experience, and so will level up more slowly, adding more skill points.

RedRider doesn't get as much skill exp as she would in a solo party, but it seems like a good idea to me, as she is really in no hurry.  The session wasn't a long one, but she got enough skill points for a couple of levels of alchemy, 135, on top of 4 she already had.  Her hatchling levelled up, reaching level 3; Red went up by 51.90% experience, while SirDarth, also getting 135 skill points, went up by rather less.

Over lunch, the pet-levelling SirDarth on Sarissa-4 took over, moving his horse along for about ninety minutes.  Then after the break, once RedRider had got rid of that 51.90% experience by "suicide runs" in Misty Canyon, it was time for Cariae's RedRydeR to have her turn in Prokion Temple, in just a solo party with MistressDomina, who managed to sell about 25 million's worth of goods back in Randol. 

Since RedRydeR had finished her supply of beginner pssps now, she was in Cariae-5, with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, which meant that her skill point gain was slightly slower, and her experience gain twice as fast; by the end of the afternoon she had gone up by 7.31% and 85 guild points, while adding 340 skill points, so by the time she reaches level 36 her stash of sp should be nicely boosted.

A rogue (in more senses than one) called adonis99 had applied to be added to Red's friends list back in Randol, and when I'd reached the temple opened the chatting window with "hey lol GM is online", to which I innocently replied "which one?"  There was no text alongside her name on the next line, but the following line had [GM]Krash saying "Hello RedRydeR and adonis99" followed by "You need 200 mill and 35 Heaven Stone, RedRydeR?"

Yes, it was the old scam of counting the spaces, so that you start a new line, with whatever name you type in as the "speaker"... haven't those people realised that Krash has left the building?  It didn't get as far as "him" asking for my log-in details, as I just said that adonis99 was lower than me, and would appreciate such a gift more, and he gave up after that.

The main action during the evening session was over on Hatzring.  LordDarth was ready for a bit of quick levelling now, since he'd reached level 10 and had Prokion Temple on his memory scroll, so he teamed up with my level 24 healer Kaerella, who accepted him into the Guardian system, and we did the usual trick of having Darth safely in the temple's starting area, while, within compass-map range, Kaerella fought ghouls, mummies, and occasionally orc soldiers, and even an orc fighter or two that insisted on getting involved.

There were various people recruiting for their guilds, and a friendly cleric called Fyrwenn tried to recruit both of us, but I explained my whimsical plan of wanting to have Kaerella on all servers in the same guild and riding a pale blue horse, and she was suitably impressed.

I'd carefully not given Kaerella the Elizabuff, so that she didn't go up too fast, but she did go up a little over half a level, reaching level 25, before the end of the session - I didn't spend any of her skill points, as she needs to save up for that first level of Resurrection.  LordDarth did have the buff, though - and managed to go from level 10 to level 20 just standing in the hallway, except for very rare battles with a ghoul at the end of Kae's corridor, when she was busy at the far end.  So, Kaerella got 10 Reputation points for being Darth's Guardian, and Darth got the "event weapon" sword.

I had been surprised that LordDarth wasn't in the Discipline guild, but of course it was my local level 10 mage Enchantra who had formed the guild on Hatzring.  Back in Randol, LordDarth applied to join, and was accepted, and then was made guild master - at level 20, with some cash passed over by Kae, he was able to upgrade the guild twice, to make it level three, using some of his skill points.  He also got his special "neckless" and did the other level 20 quests...he even borrowed Kae's Juno NPC scroll and went out to Wild Collector Kai, to complete one quest, and did the repeatable "kill 30 drakes" quest for him while he was there.  The quests gave him 46.59% more experience, and 14 more skill points, allowing him to get the fifth level of Vitality Control, increasing his health regeneration.

That took me just past nine o'clock, so I was late for the "gaming trivia quiz" [GM]Kali was hosting in Merac on Katar-5.  I rushed over, staying with the same account so that it was a level 2 SirDarth who was my representative there, and luckily it was late starting.  There were ten questions in all, most of them so tricky and Atari 2600-based that it was "nice try guys" and on to the next question, but a few were Aeria-related, and when Kali asked "Which game lets you have a Sprite as a pet?" I was the first person to type in "Grand Fantasia", so I won that round.

At the end, [GM]Kali traded a platinum blessed iris across to me, and apparently someone who got two or three answers right also just got the one pbi.  The web page this time made clear that one shouldn't participate in more than one server's quiz, so I don't know if any of the other servers got more of the answers right, but you would have to be a student of early Atari games to get some of them.  One question had been "Which was the first first-person shooter", and while most people had tried "Doom", I typed in "Wolfenstein", but that wasn't the right answer, apparently.  "Maze War" perhaps, but who, without checking Wikipedia, would think of that one?

Enchantra on Hatzring-5 went into merchant mode after that, starting with 548 gold, and doing rather well early on, quickly selling all the skill point boosters that I'd put up, gained from attending various Hatzring events, like junior Mad Monster Spawns, over recent months.  MistressDomino on Auzura-5 logged in too, and had a look to see if there was any +15 armour suitable for Rage available.  The nearest was a +13 piece of "b5e" at 895 million, but I think we'll hold out a while in the hope that a +15 piece or two turns up.  MD then went into merchant mode as well, so we shall see if the night ahead is a prosperous one for the two merchant mages.

Keeping Busy on Hatzring - April 27th

MistressDomino on Auzura-5 had another crashy end to her overnight selling session, with the "send error report?" window popping up, but she managed to sell around 35 million's worth of stuff before that... not a lot, when things one is hoping to buy may be on offer for a billion or so.  I did get her back into selling action for the morning, as I had to go out shopping and so wouldn't be able to do anything more active in Last Chaos, but another 297.500 gold wasn't much when the items one is offering have a total value of approaching 500 million.  I guess it's a quiet time of day, with the US asleep and Europe just waking up, and at least there were a few more purchases during the lunch break.

Enchantra over on Hatzring-5 did a lot better, however, starting with 548 gold and reaching 138 million by morning; I restocked her as much as I could for the morning, and she managed to bring in almost 23 million more, selling everything except some item drop boosters.  So, the gold for upgrading the Discipline guild will be no problem, and some sort of shopping spree for good armour for LordDarth and Kaerella beckoned.

After lunch the first thing to do was start spending all that gold.  I got a bit of a bargain in a level 29 Jungle Bow +4 for only 50,000 gold, being sold by Alvultra, but that rather encouraged me to try to get a good 30/32 armour set - and by good, I do mean expensive.

It was strange, looking through the available armour listings in Roy's merchant mart on Hatzring; it is one of the oldest servers, and this was reflected in a lot of high-level stuff being for sale, level 120 or so, and very little low-level material at all.  Eventually I did find a few pieces from the 30/32 armour sets, but they were very rare, and quite often the price reflected this rarity.

Luckily, persistence paid off, and I finally found +10 gloves for just 1 million, headgear for 1.2 million, and boots for 2 million.  I had seen a +14 shirt for 60 million, which, considering the items and risks needed to get that high seemed pretty reasonable to me, and +13 leggings for just 15 million, so, since I could afford them, I bought them, and then changed all the pieces into the healer versions of the armour, for Kaerella.

So, the afternoon session involved Kaerella and LordDarth on Hatzring-5 going to Prokion Temple.  As Kae was level 25, she could wear the new +10 gloves, and later in the session the shirt and skirt from the new armour set became available when she reached level 26, which gave her a pretty good defence rating; as a knight LordDarth has pretty good defence anyway, and Kae was able to heal him if necessary.  Our main base of operations soon became the room alongside my favourite back room, where a few mummies share the area with orc soldiers - generally Kae would attract the orcs' attention with a few well-placed arrows, and Darth would attack them once they had come near.

By the end of the session, Kaerella had gone up by 147.93%, and was past the halfway mark in level 26; she had earned 162 skill points on top of the 140 she already had, so was able to learn the first, big level of Resurrection, costing 250 sp, and boost her Party Heal too.  SirDarth had gone up from 20 to 23, adding 307.84% and 158 skill points.

As we still had some gold left, before the evening session some more shopping took place, and as well as a +10 level 33 sword, which Darth will be able to use when he reaches level 29, for just a million, we replaced his unplussed "Light of Odin" sword with a +8 one for 20 million, and got Kaerella a +9 version of her bow, for 35 million - so those better weapons speeded up the evening's work somewhat.

As well as some further work alongside the back room, and indeed in the corridor outside it, which has level 23 orc soldiers mixed with a few level 25 orc fighters, Kaerella and LordDarth were able to venture into the back room itself, though being careful not to go too far into the middle.  A level 23 sorcerer called Socerer121 came in and asked to join our party, so we let him in, and, while he was slightly difficult to keep alive as he did like to run into the depths of the room, things went okay.  I noticed early on that he didn't have the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff on, so he went back to town to get it, and later reached level 24.  Kaerella reached level 27, too, and so was able to wear the whole of her deluxe 30/32 armour set.

After a while Socerer121 decided that we ought to move to a different spot - so we ended up in the central area of the temple, on the gallery at the top of the stairs, still killing axemen and sergeants, until he had to leave - and then I returned to my back room.  Before long I had another new recruit to the party, a level 18 French knight called cavalier.  He needed a bit more effort to keep alive, as he did seem to like to run around the room gathering an orc posse.  It was lucky Kae had upgraded her Party Heal.  He did reach level 19, and soon after that had to leave.

Kaerella reached 97.67% of the way through level 27, meaning she had gone up 141.00%; as she doesn't want to go above level 27 until her skills are maximised, and even the non-special ones are far from complete yet, she went back to Randol, spent all but one of the 158 skill points she'd earned, and then went to Maargadum Jail for her first set of "suicide runs", to get her back to the start of level 27.  LordDarth continued some fighting while she was away, mainly out in the corridor.  After the necessary 33 deaths, Kae returned to Randol, got the Elizabuff again, and rejoined LordDarth in the back room.

We kept going until Kae had got another 100 skill points; she'd gone up 65.12% by then, so, after learning the second level of Resurrection, taking all 100 sp, there was just time for 22 more suicide runs in Maargadum Jail.

By the end of the evening, SirDarth was halfway through level 26, having added 342.45% and 276 skill points.  He is likely to go solo for his next few sessions, so has borrowed Kae's armour set, converting it into the knight equivalent - when he reaches level 31 and gets his own free +10 set, Kae can have the better set back.  Darth upgraded the guild to level four, which used 120 of his skill points - the next two guild levels come available when he reaches level 30, costing 240 and 500 skill points, along with 1 and 2 million gold; after that, Kaerella can have her experience gain frozen on 50%, so that she can go twice as long between "suicide run" outings.

After the active time, SirDarth, my pet-leveller, logged in on Sarissa-4 and went out to the bandits in Merac.  A Pandora's Box he opened disgorged a level 50 pandora's beast, so he moved a little way away from his normal spot.  After a few minutes, I noticed a rogue called Tayunari there - she had killed the beast, and was now fighting the bandit I wasn't sparring with, and the local butchers, which were a bit low-level for somebody who could get rid of a level 50 critter.  So, it seemed likely that she was trying to persuade the Grand Red Dragon, Merac's raid boss, to appear.

And indeed, it didn't take long for the "GRD" to arrive.  "Ah, your luring worked - good luck", I said.  She just answered with a "?", so I went on "I was assuming that you were trying to lure the GRD".  "Yeah, lol", she said, and, after the GRD was vanquished, "Best spot for spawning I found."

She didn't stay to get rid of the Cerebri that the GRD spawns when its health gets low - I noticed she didn't bother to pick up the "hero's necklace", either, but then, that particular item is usually rubbish.  Still, the Cerebri won't still be there tomorrow, as tonight we have the usual maintenance downtime for the servers, which wipes away any anomalies like that.  Whatever else it wipes away, or brings in, we will have to wait to find out.

There was a special event this evening, though a bit late, on most servers, for me - a special class versus class PvP event at the "proving grounds" arena in Dratan.  Such events are usually a recipe for chaos, let's hope things worked more smoothly tonight.  [GM]Moose was making a special appearance for this, lured back from his new responsibilities on another Aeria fantasy mmorpg, Shaiya, which is a nice touch.  Tomorrow, it will be time for another "Creature Carnival".  Sadly, Auzura doesn't seem to be getting its usual European events this week, let us hope that normal service will soon be resumed.

As the Wheel Spins... - April 28th

It was another tiny patch to download, to start the new Last Chaos week - just a couple of item mall packages and a promise that the Mondshine quests ought to be improved next week. The recent changes there, imposed by the Korean developers, seem to have caused a bit of a mutiny there. SirDarth was able to log in at breakfast time and do some work on his horse, but otherwise all was quiet.

However, there was a news item on the website that looked rather interesting - "Unlimited Free Spins (100% Rebate)".  The LC "Loot Wheel" had been updated again, it seems, and to celebrate we could all have as many goes on it as we wanted, for twelve hours finishing at 3:30pm UK time... we had to spend the usual 99 aeria points per go, but were promised a full rebate, which on past experience happens within a couple of weeks, and is rounded up to the full 100 ap.

So, I had a lot of work to do, as my various accounts all had amounts of ap I could temporarily invest.  I might not have been able to do a normal morning session after coffee anyway, but this obviously took precedence.

One thing that became obvious is that while the Loot Wheel may look like a roulette wheel, with twenty or so equal segments offering fifteen different possible prizes plus a jackpot, the wheel is "weighted", so that the chance of receiving the top prize, a "jaguar collar" that enables the winner to get a pet jaguar, is vanishingly small.  "I ended up just buying a jag off someone, because I wasted like $200 trying to get one", someone in Randol on Cariae-5 said, and I don't think it was bad luck, just the result of very long odds.

Still, the other prizes vary between "very nice" and a bit minor - and if I'm going to get my ap back, I don't mind the occasional single heaven stone or strong medicine.  Curiously, a single platinum blessed iris is hyped up as the next best thing you can get, but I'd put 50 chaos balls, 25 experience boosters, 25 skill point boosters, 10 experience boxes, 10 skill boxes, and probably 2 health stealers ahead of a pbi for value, plus maybe the 10 heaven stones and the 2 berserker potions.  I'm not sure about the 10 tower boxes or the 2 mana stealers, they may be a worth a bit less.

Sadly, they seem to have removed chaos smelting stones and resurrection scrolls from the prizes.  There is also a "free spin" result, which just means you have to try again... I also found a few times that if the wheel goes crazy, and you get a "cannot connect to server" error message, you lose the 99 ap you had wagered, but after you reload the page don't get any prize.  I just hope I get the rebate for those ones safely.

Most of my accounts already have a lot of purchases in the "records" section of the in-game item mall, so I was slowed down by the need to claim my prize after every spin, choose the server, and, in the game, have my character download the item into their inventory.  Still, we made good progress, and a number of my characters are now rather overweight, thanks to all the experience boosters and other similarly weighty items they are now carrying.  My supply of the platinum blessed irises is much enhanced too, which is lucky as I got through quite a few over the weekend.

I was still hard at work on the wheel when the end of the time arrived - I see from MistressDomina's records that I stopped with a minute to spare, but with enough ap left for another twelve spins.  And still no jaguar collar - but it may be handy to have a few aeria points left, until the rebates come through.

Anyway, particularly on Cariae and Auzura, I am a lot better off for goodies now, so it was all time well spent.  I wonder if the prices of experience, skill point, and item drop boosters will fall a bit, at least temporarily?  It could effect heaven stones too if there is a sudden massive influx of them into the game.

SirDarth was keeping busy on the older computer, and indeed downloaded some items when it was his account's turn to spin that wheel.  His horse did level up to 33... but a little later, while I was paying too much attention to the Loot Wheel to notice, some little dear (or, I believe the technical term is "nasty little scrote") lured Darth's bandit, followed helplessly by Darth, a long way from where he'd been working, to a dangerous area with blood frenzies and elite bloody outlaws.  Poor Darth was killed.

Luckily, I noticed this within the five minute (ahem) "deadline" to use one of his beginner resurrection scrolls, so he didn't lose any skill points from his stash, and when he revived back in Merac Caron, he was able to equip his horse again, which hadn't been killed.  So, he moved across to the other location he uses, with just the two bandits and the disinterested butchers, and continued his work.

There was just time before the early evening food break for RedRydeR to have almost an hour's worth of orc-fighting in Prokion Temple; SirDarth logged out on Sarissa-4, and Galahad logged in on Cariae-5 to give Red the solo party boost.  Gal went out to the bandits, and put in some work on his level 33 drake.

RedRydeR's hour passed easily enough, and another 2.71% experience was gained, along with 31 guild points for Discipline - and, more importantly, 127 more skill points. 

Like most Wednesdays, I had an early finish tonight, but LordDarth had a reasonably long session first on Hatzring-5, starting off with a few quest rewards, including one involving a trip to Shuraine at his oasis in Dratan's desert.  While I was there I farmed ten soft sands from the sand golems, and then headed on to Prokion Temple, in a solo party. My first attempt to enter saw me end up in the foundations instead - which meant I had to use a scroll of recall, as the only way out of that, short of logging out of the game.  Back in the city I got the reward for the ten soft sands, and that took LordDarth into level 27, so that he was able to wear the whole of the 30/32 armour set.

That made Prokion Temple's orc attacks rather tolerable, once I'd successfully got in.  Compared with other servers, Hatzring's temple does seem quiet, I think the server must be "top-heavy" with more high-level players than newer ones.  The back room was free, and so Darth got busy there - his only problem is that his +8 event weapon doesn't kill all that quickly, but things will improve at level 29 when he can use the +10 level 33 dual blades.

Still, by the end of the session LordDarth had gone up by a total of 173.53%, reaching level 28.  He added 253 skill points, and, as he did equip his level 1 pony for a little while towards the end, it gained 449 pet points.

Once he reaches level 29 and can use the better weapon, we can start to use his five hour-long beginner pssps, for extra skill exp.  He got enough sp today for the next guild upgrade, but there's the one after that, and he needs to learn the level 30 skill Mana Break before he'll be allowed to become a temple knight.  And there are a couple of skills after that which add to his defence rating, so are worth learning, particularly if he wants to be able to pet-level on gnoll lancers, as well as bandits and berserkers.

Galahad continued his work on his drake, on Cariae-5, during the evening, and later SirDarth on Sarissa-4 logged back in for a little more bandit-bashing.  He missed the start of the "Creature Carnival", but was in time for most of the double pet experience.  It may only last an hour or so, but is useful.  Gal's drake must have reached level 34 shortly before the event started, so is currently a few hours ahead of Darth's horse.

The Treasure Goes Missing - April 29th

Both Galahad on Cariae-5 and SirDarth on Sarissa-4 had successful overnight pet-levelling sessions, so that by morning Gal's drake had reached 35, and Darth's horse was halfway through level 34, so that was a satisfactory result to wake up to.

SirDarth's horse had reached 66% of the way through that level when it was time to log off from that server, and restart over on Hatzring-5 - so that LordDarth there could have a morning session.

LordDarth started by getting some quality stones, which he'll need when he reaches pet-leveller status.  He had acquired 42 tool aids, so he bought 40 knight-type pickaxes from Geres, and went out to the mine north-east of town, where 41 pickaxes, including his original one, yielded him a useful 1,107 quality stones.  He used his one knife to gather 27 green herbs, as well.

Having remembered to get the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, Darth teleported to Randol, where the quest reward for getting five cracked axes added around 9% experience.  As he'd now got both the quests that involve killing desert spiders, he teleported to Prokion Temple, and then killed a few spiders nearby, to get those quests done, before going in.

LordDarth had managed to join a solo party, but when he approached my favourite back room in the temple, he found it was occupied - by another party member, GregoryHouse.  So I quickly got off his radar, and went to the nearby corridor room, where the orc sergeants, and a few axemen, were ready and waiting.

The idea was to get Darth to level 29, so that he'd be able to equip his level 33 +10 dual swords - and we got there safely.  Darth had added 74.86% in all, and gone up by 127 skill points.

There was a little time left before lunch, so MistressDomino over on Auzura had a look through Roy's new merchant mart stock, in case someone was selling a "b5e" +15 piece of the 85/87 rogue armour set that I could afford.  I was a little bit tempted by a hood, selling for 450 million... it didn't have evasion bloodseals, instead it had four offering a little extra defence, plus a fifth that apparently decreases mana consumption by 30%.

Galahad continued the drake-levelling on Cariae-5, and as lunchtime approached, SirDarth on Sarissa-4 got back to work too, until it was time to begin an afternoon session.

My phoenix rogue on Cariae-5, RedRydeR, was able to form a solo party with Galahad and, while he continued to work on levelling his drake, Red headed back to Prokion Temple.  The session was a slightly short one, but Red still managed to add 6.81% and 79 guild points, plus 317 skill points.  Red was now a quarter of the way through level 35, so this bit of sp-farming is slow going, but teaming her with a lower-level character once we reach level 36 should speed things up.

The reason for the afternoon session's slightly early end was that I wanted to be back on for 5:00pm after the food break, as the "tea time" bonus of an extra 50% skill experience for two hours was due to start then.  It seemed to me that RedRydeR was best placed to benefit from that, so she returned to Prokion Temple.  This time the place was rather busier, and the back room and corridor room were both in use.  With Red's level 37 +15 crossbow, the "mirror" back room didn't seem to respawn its orcs fast enough, so I ended up in an axemen and sergeants room just off the central upstairs gallery, so that, if I ran out of orcs there, I could get a few from outside. 

The "tea time" started a few minutes late, and I think it ended a bit early, but the extra 50% skill exp, adding on to the extra 100% from the Elizabuff, did mean that for ninety minutes or so the orc sergeants gave 5500 skill exp instead of 4400 (on a base of 2200), and the orc axemen half that, so it was useful.  I continued on for a while after the event ended, and RedRydeR ended up with another 8.56%, moving her on from a quarter to a third of the level, 100 guild points, and 488 skill points, making it a pretty worthwhile session.

After that, Galahad finally logged off, with his drake three levels higher than when he logged on yesterday, and, over on Auzura-4, my level 71 archer Kaerella and my level 64 wizard MistressDomina made an equal party, and spent some time, unboosted, with the elite sphinx speer man and his cohorts.  Kae added 2.23% and MD added 3.83%, and they each added 11 skill points, so that was a bit minor, and shows that Kae has rather outgrown  that particular spot.  Next time MistressDomina goes there, she'll be back to doing her own fighting and using health potions, with MrChuckNorris to assist.

I would have stayed longer, but a "hide and seek" event was due on Katar-5.  SirDarth took the opportunity to log in on the older computer, on Sarissa-4, and do a little more work on his horse, which ought to reach level 35 before close-down tonight, while, on Katar-5, Kaerella, who is level 32 there now, logged in.

The "event" was very peculiar.  It was announced on time, and the announcement was repeated a few minutes later: "Is everyone ready to hunt for treasure? There are 12 spots on the Juno map. 11 of these spots have monsters and 1 of the spots has monsters and treasures!  Be sure to look carefully everywhere you go. Don't waste time though, the treasure" ... and the message was left uncompleted, though I assume the treasure would vanish if not picked up.

So, I rode around Juno for thirty minutes, but only ever saw one monster, a fluton, which I avoided.  If there were eleven other spots, well, I didn't find them, and neither did the two people that I was, after a while, in a party with.  On the feeling that the GM involved would have moved on to Cariae-5 by 9:30, UK time, I logged out.  There had been no announcements of the location coordinates, or that the treasure had been found, making it all a bit of, well, a non-event, not in the same class as a "Pharaoh's Treasure" adventure.

Oh well, at least Kaerella had a chance to open a few Pandora's Boxes as she rode around.  One dropped ten small health potions, and another dropped 20,000 gold, so things weren't a total loss - and it is quite fun to gallop around Juno, even if one has no idea where one should be going.

Three Sessions in One - April 30th

SirDarth managed a little bit more pet-levelling this morning before coffee, but then, staying with the Sarissa server, it seemed like a good idea to have one of RedRyder's team-ups with Kaerella, with Prokion Temple's back room as the location.

Since RedRyder was within 4% of reaching level 38, this was the last time the two characters would be able to form a combat-type party, with skill exp equally shared but Red getting around seven times more experience, until Kae too levelled up, to reach level 28.

Luckily the back room was available, and we didn't have any interruptions or problems, so that by lunchtime RedRyder had added 14.75% and 269 guild points, while Kaerella was up by 15.41% and 38 guild points.  They had each earned 233 skill points.

Since RedRyder had reached level 38, back in Randol over the lunch break she was able to learn the two levels of the passive skill Defence Guard, increasing her physical defence from 761 to 861, and all five levels of the very useful attack skill Flame Arrow - so 585 skill points were used.  The distribution of Red's stat points isn't quite what the Wet Paint LC Wiki suggests, they'd have me putting more points into dexterity, and not learning Defence Guard, which needs 17 stat points in constitution, until level 47, and Mind Training, which increases magical evasion, a level earlier - but I reckon I can do without the attack skills Piercing and Hyde Shot for a while, until I get enough dexterity for them.  Neither of those skills are ones my other rogues ever use.

Since the combat party, once broken, couldn't be reformed, with Kae and Red now eleven levels apart, they stayed in the party over lunch, just standing around in Randol, and then, once the three-hour Elizabuff had expired, they were able to get it again, and head back to the Temple.

The afternoon session lasted for almost the entire three hours of the buff, and saw RedRyder add 23.22% and 440 guild points, while Kaerella went up by 25.14%, and 63 guild points.  They got 406 more skill points each, too, which is the main thing.

The party went on into the evening session.  I continued to have the back room to myself, luckily - an occasional person would come in, see the room was busy, and go out again, but the only person who attempted to stay was a mage who arrived just as my three-hour "Elizabuff" was about to wear off.  When the buff had vanished from both Red and Kae, I did say "brb" before they each used a scroll of recall... I don't know if all the orcs were just too much for her, but when I, or we, returned with fresh buffs, she had gone, leaving a little gold and a dark orb on the floor.

I continued for half an hour or so beyond my theoretical log-out time, as Kaerella was actually approaching the end of level 27 - and if she got into level 28, she would be able to form a new combat party with RedRyder, as they'd be back to just ten levels apart.  So, on I slogged, so that the evening session ended just after ten, UK time, with RedRyder up by a further 37.27% and 706 guild points, and Kaerella up by another 40.32%, and 100 guild points.  And they had each earned another 662 skill points...

So, that was a job well done, with RedRyder ending up with over 6k of skill points in her stash, and Kaerella's first level since maximising all her skills yielding her 1576 skill points in all.  I had had no idea at the start of the day that I would manage to get all that way, but, well, we made it.

The day's event was to be a "Dratan Run", a route through Dratan's desert with giant warrior statues as markers, and plenty of high-grade monsters to despatch...and hopefully some loot spawned along the way, which might not run out of its time and vanish before we got to it.  Cariae was scheduled for 10:30, UK time, so I took Barbarienne along there ready.  And SirDarth went out to the bandits on Sarissa-4, to do some more pet-levelling.

The map provided on the website saw the path starting out from the west gate, but the route actually must have started from the south gate - which explains why I started out running and riding off in the wrong direction, assuming everyone else was just in front of me.  I did find the path eventually, but it was crammed with extremely high-level monsters - surely our main fighting force ought to have reached this part by now?  I met up with a level 98 knight called Davies038, and we rode past some of the monsters... and then he used a memory scroll to go to the Tomb of Theos entrance, where he found the end of the Run... nothing like the route on the website. 

I used "pet return to village", and headed out from the south gate, following the trail of giant statues until I caught up with our fighting force, but our group was not a particularly large one, so progress, against flutons, patriarch botises, and other nasties was extremely slow and a bit risky.  Davies moved over, since he could see my dot on the map, and joined in... but by then things had been going on for 45 minutes, and we can't have been past the quarter way mark... any loot spawns must have long vanished.

So, I had to log out, and how long the other people would take to finish the Run, I can't imagine...