Kaerella's Blog - stardate July 2010 (1)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so the new month begins here at the top!
A Varied Evening - July 1st

Two things happened right at the end of yesterday evening - one good, and one bad.  The bad one could have been a lot worse, though!  I suddenly noticed that the screen of SirDarth fighting a gnoll lancer on Sarissa-4 seemed to be rather fuller of gnoll fur than usual, and, zooming the view out a bit, saw that he was actually surrounded and being attacked by three gnoll soldiers, who are pet-eaters - and the drake was down to 76% health.  So, the first thing to do was un-equip the drake before it could get killed.

I saw, from the note of some experience and skill exp gained, that the gnoll lancer had been killed, or "ks'd" - and I also saw the mage serina coming back with half a dozen more gnoll soldiers for me, which she brought right up to where SirDarth was standing.  She then teleported to a few yards away, so that they forgot about her and started attacking Darth.

So, serina is still up to her evil little tricks against pet-levellers.  Oh well, Darth had succeeded in getting that drake up to a useful level, so I may not need to do any more pet-levelling work on that server for a while.  It was late in the evening, so, after standing there for a while, with even the big group of gnoll soldiers unable to do any damage to him, SirDarth logged out.

The other thing to mention was the arrival of two emails from Aeria, one from "The RT System itself" and one from "support".  The one from "The RT System itself" referred to the second sending of my request to have a weapon upgraded, after the first attempt had had a "Failed to Send Message, please try again", and was just a standard "Incorrect Submission" job, but "support" was better.  " Dear MistressDomina,  Congratulations on your Master Stone Upgrade qualification.  Your Master  Stone Upgrade is now complete.  Your Red devil Staff has been upgraded  from 15 to 17.  Enjoy!"

So, I logged in with MistressDomina on Auzura, and yes indeed, her level 85 staff had been upgraded from +15 to +17.  Now, she just needs to gain another five levels so that she can use it...and she also needs to get the 85/87 armour set, which will be expensive.

The successful upgradeled me to wonder how the new socketing system will affect Master Stone upgrades.  Since, in effect, the Game Master would have destroyed MD's old +15 staff and created a +17 one, would he or she also have taken the time to replace any sockets that had been added?  It would slow down the process of going through a whole long list of people who had qualified for upgrades.  Or do they have a way to change an item's in-game coding now?

Today there would be no actual adventuring until the evening session, but RedRackham went out to the gnoll lancers on Cariae-4 to do some more work on his drake, moving it on through level 37.  As I'd noticed at the low-level MMS last night that RedRyder on Hatzring had only a level one hatchling, it seemed a good idea to let my pet-leveller on that server, LordDarth, do some work on a hatchling.  He is actually still holding the level 37 horse that RedRyder ought to have, so a trade of two pets can be made to RedRyder before too long.

LordDarth isn't a red-named, minimum-hit type pet-leveller, so I was interested to see how he'd get on, now that the bare-handed attack speed has been raised.  His pet-levelling has always been done on level five of Maargadum Jail, sparring with a death mask lancer, which was strong enough to take his hits of 44 damage without losing health.

Well, the new situation is that the death mask lancer does lose health, even without LordDarth having any hit rate enhancing accessories equipped...but not all the time.  The health decline was slow - but if Darth wanted to reliably go for long sessions down in the Jail, he would need to get at least a slight decrease to his power, by getting a red name. For the first hour or so, the lancer's health bar went down about four times as quickly as the hatchling's hunger bar, but then it started to recover.  So, things remain a bit unpredictable.  Darth did actually get a disconnection at around 11:30, but RedRackham rode through safely - which is strange, as the Cariae server is usually the most likely to play up at that sort of time in the morning.  Darth's run back down the Jail's levels was enlivened by a mass of gold to pick up, along with a pan flute, which all helps.

On his second visit to the death mask lancer, the same thing happened - the lancer's health dropped steadily, and then rallied.  Both Darth and Red had a disconnection just before two o'clock, which was probably my modem misbehaving; by then Darth's new hatchling was near the top of level five, and up to 98% Sympathy.  RedRackham's drake had recently reached level 38.  Again after Darth's return the death mask lancer's health fell steadily, and then rallied.

By the time I was ready to actually do some playing, LordDarth's hatchling had reached level nine - while RedRackham had, out in the open, got his drake more than a quarter of the way through level 38.

MrChuckNorris had a brief session; he got the quest to kill curd hadians and twin hadians in the Forgotten Temple from the Archbishop in Dratan, and teleported to the temple's entrance.  Running past the legendary slayers, it didn't take long to get the necessary kills, and once he'd moved back to town, the Archbishop gave him his reward - and then asked him to go back and kill some jumping devils.  So, this time he ran past the slayers and the hadians, and killed the jumping devils, reaching the final room.  He still had a couple more to kill when his horse buffs ran out, but didn't encounter any problems.  The quest rewards added up to 2.77% experience and 16 skill points, the actual fighting gave only a little extra, making the totals for the whole brief session 3.39% and 19 skill points.  It's just as well Chuck doesn't need to farm in the Temple, as it would be rather slow going.

The main part of the evening saw Kaerella in action - my level 34 archer on the Katar server, that is. It seemed a good idea to get some of her quests done, though I'll wait until she is level 35, or maybe even 36, before claiming the rewards.  In Merac she already had the quest to kill some bandits and pilferers, and she was able to get the one to kill berserkers as well, so she took a trip south out of the village to get those ticked off her list.  In Dratan, she had the two salamander quests to do, one to collect their tails, and one to collect their skins.  These aren't the easy kind of quest where every kill, or about every other kill, effortlessly deposits a new quest item into the quests part of the inventory - these two quests require the items to actually be dropped by the salamanders, or the elite basilisk, and picked up into the normal inventory.

To begin with, a number of the salamander skins dropped, but no tails - but then things switched over, and Kaerella ended up with about double the number of tails needed before the tenth skin dropped.  A few of the socket-filling gemstones dropped...and the elite basilisk dropped a crossbow that already had a socket.  I commented in the forum shoutbox, and [GM]Ozymandias agreed that some drops were like that - but if you wanted a chance of more sockets, you could still run the process that adds sockets to an item.  I then asked him if items with sockets would be a problem for master stone events, but he told me that having a GM add master stone type extra +1s to an item wouldn't harm its range of sockets, so that's good to know.

Personally, I don't think I am likely to make the effort to add sockets and gemstones to items below level 73, or, in practice, level 85, it seems too much expense and hassle, particularly if Collector Ryl not only removes sockets if he changes the class of an item, he makes it impossible to socket it again.

Once the salamander quests were completed, Kaerella moved into Prokion Temple nearby, to spend some time with the orc axemen and sergeants. The back room was in use, so I ended up on the central gallery, above the central stairs, and in one of the rooms leading off it.  I checked the "parties recruiting members" window quite a few times, but whenever I applied to the one party listed, I got a "party is full" message...so if it was full, why was it still showing up on the list?

By the end of her session, Kaerella had added 10.95% experience, 149 skill points, and 107 guild points, plus, from the outdoors part,  344 pet points for her drake.  She had picked up enough tokens to be able to have a spin or two on the Lacarette wheel, but by then her inventory had got almost full.  That's one problem with all the gemstones, they do fill up one's inventory.

RedRackham had kept busy with his pet-levelling, so that his drake passed the halfway mark in level 38.  And, late in the evening, MistressDomino tried to do some shopping for her near-namesake MistressDomina's 85/87 armour set.  She managed to get "light" green-named five evasion seal gloves and circlet, both +15, for 400 and 295 million from gman69 and Totyi, and a blue-named five evasion seal +13 pair of boots for 400 million from sirLOBB4, but the only possible jacket was only b4e and unplussed for 60 million, and the only evasion-sealed pants were b6e +13, with the sixth seal being 30% protection from Stun effects...and at 1.15 billion it was slightly out of my price range.  But three reasonably good armour pieces are a start.

An Endless Carnival - July 2nd

RedRackham got back to his gnoll lancers on Cariae-4 before breakfast.  I had been thinking that, after breakfast, while I was busy downstairs again, perhaps MistressDomino could do some selling on Auzura-5, but then I noticed that the "Creature Carnival" double pet experience which had been switched on fairly late yesterday evening (an event that had been added at the last minute) was still running, the GMs having kindly forgotten to switch it off - so LordDarth hurried back to level five of Maargadum Jail on Hatzring-4, and started to spar with a death mask lancer again, so that before long his hatchling reached level 10.

Both computers had a disconnection soon after ten, but Red and Darth were soon back in action, and the double pet experience continued.  RedRackham's drake soon reached level 39, which meant it got hungry more quickly, while LordDarth's hatchling flew through level 12 - and reached level 16, becoming a drake, before the middle of the afternoon.

The double pet experience meant, in fact, that LordDarth's drake had reached level 18 by the time he logged out, at a quarter past five, having added seven levels since the morning disconnection.  The death mask lancer's health hadn't rallied this time, and was down to around 20% by then.

MistressBlaze logged in on Auzura-5, got her Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and headed for Maargadum Jail, where she had the quest to get three beast leader rings - which meant that she needed to go to the far end of level five, and fight some beast crawlers there.  On the way down I'd noticed that level three wasn't being used, so once the rings had been got, I went back there for a while.  It had taken me some time to find a solo party, as the leaders of the two parties originally listed must have been permanently afk, but I was in one now - and it was the same party as the level 46 knight XxAJxX, who arrived there.  He suggested I might try the final room of the Jail, as the Death Knight of Iris wasn't there, having been recently killed, so I tried that for a while, but it was just death mask soldiers and death mask lancers, so didn't really do much for me.

There was some excitement when XxAJxX reported that he had been joined by two speed hackers; he didn't have to just see them moving suspiciously quickly, he could tell by the way that they made him lag.  One of them, identified by XxAJxX as "dida", didn't stay around, after all there aren't really enough monsters there for two people at normal speed, but Capirossi stayed there, and I must say that when I came up to have a look, he did seem to be fighting unusually swiftly.  We had a level 82 knight, zxzx, in the party, and he came to the Jail too - I was heading upstairs at the time, so guided him back down to the third level.  I don't know if he took a video of the hacker, or just soundly admonished him.

MistressBlaze got 4.36% experience and 4 skill points as her quest reward, plus a couple of crystals of efforts, and then moved across to Dratan to try a few level 52 giants, then a couple of level 55 dragons...and then she teleported across to the sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men.  A level 37 titan called burtchachvili asked to party with me, so we fought the sphinx types for a while.  At one stage the level 82 knight zxzx turned up, which was a bit strange as he was way too high a level to get anything useful there; he stayed around for a while and did a little fighting; he also asked if his level 31 character could join the party, but at level 47 I'd have capped him... or maybe he was just suggesting a team-up with burt?

The titan's Smite skill was useful when it worked, to stop the sphinx type we were fighting in its tracks - it didn't, however, seem to last very long, or work very often, and towards the end of the session I actually checked up on it, and found that it was only level one.  I see that at the first level it only has a 30% chance of success, and only lasts 2.5 seconds - he needs to get it to level five, for a 70% success rate and twice the duration.  If he has 253 skill points, that is!

I left when MistressBlaze's Elizabuff wore off.  By then she had added 28.22%, 67 skill points, and 2088 pet points.  It was tempting to have a short session with another character, but the double pet experience was still running, so LordDarth returned to the death head lancer on level five of Maargadum Jail, over on Hatzring-4, for the rest of the evening.  By then RedRackham had got his drake into level 40, but the length of the session had slowed the older computer down, and I had to restart the game there, which gave Red the chance to have the drake learn a couple more levels of magical defence.  So, RedRackham rejoined KiaOra and Bobthewarrior, and the pet-levelling continued.

Reading the reports in the Last Chaos forums, the combining of gems for socketing seems alarmingly random - and rather expensive "stabilizers" have to be used if you want any appreciable chance of making a level 2 gem, since generally combining two level 1 gems will just give you a different type of level 1 gem.  The upgrades to hit rate, attack, etc seem to be based on your basic stat, and don't take accessories, bloodseals, and plusses on items into account... all in all, it seems way better to sell gems than to try to do anything clever.  There's a solution for one new bug we have, though - when you get stuck trying to look at a merchant's stock, which does happen quite often since the latest patch, you just need to briefly go into merchant mode yourself.

Anyway, by the end of the evening, RedRackham had got his drake more than a third of the way through level 40, and LordDarth had got his drake comfortably into level 19.  Let's hope the double pet experience continues for a while.

Katar's Kaerella Levels Up - July 3rd

When RedRackham returned to the gnoll lancers on Cariae-4 before breakfast, I found that the Carnival was over - the pet experience was only going up one point at a time.  Still, Red continued his work on his drake, from halfway through level 40.  A little later LordDarth went back to Maargadum Jail in Merac on Hatzring-4; his drake had just reached level 20 before logging out last night, so had three hours or so to go before its next level would be reached.

My preparations for my day out tomorrow were well enough advanced for me to fit in an afternoon playing session today, although the break after it, before the evening session, looked likely to be a fairly long one.  Both LordDarth and RedRackham got disconnected over lunch, but afterwards I logged RedRackham back in, this time on Cariae-5, so that he could supply a solo party for SirKit, who logged in on the main computer.

It wasn't a long session; SirKit went out to the sphinx fighters and sphinx speer men, and only fought the elite sphinx speer man once, at the end.  He got his new level 60 gloves bloodsealed - and added 19.25% experience, 21 skill points, and 658 pet points.  The sphinx types seemed to prefer to attack Kit's drake, and a lot of green herb leaves were used up.

My level 24 rogue on Hatzring, RedRyder, then went out to Dratan, and did the "Not To Be Confused" quest, which meant killing fifteen dark goddesses, or "Ramians".  She then went on to Shuraine's oasis to try to get some soft sand - though at her level, and without horse buffs, the sand golems hit pretty hard.  There wasn't time to get all ten soft sands needed, but her hatchling got 233 pet points from the session, and she got 20 skill points - plus a little experience that will probably need to be got rid of by a few "suicide runs" eventually.

The evening session lasted the whole length of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, for Kaerella, my level 34 archer on Katar.  As the back room in Prokion Temple was in use, I went to the nearby corridor room, which has a slightly higher ratio of sergeants to axemen.  There was a "mystery event" due during the evening, but when it was finally revealed on the website, it turned out to be just a Happy Hour, starting at 8:00pm UK time...a happy hour that lasts for two whole days.  Now, that might have been good news, but all it offered was 50% extra experience, which isn't exactly ideal if one is trying to farm skill points.  The web page gave its location as Juno, which might have been a reasonable idea, to help low-level people along, but I noticed after a while that Kaerella's experience gain was increased...and Prokion Temple is part of the Dratan map.

There were only minor interruptions to Kaerella's efforts, people who came in, ks'd a bit or fought the other orcs, and then moved along.  One rogue did ask for a party, but as they were a good few levels lower than Kae, they'd have boosted Kae's experience gain too much.  A number of people were wearing the Uncle Sam top hats, even though they don't contribute any defence.  It seems that they can be socketed, though...

Kaerella did equip her drake, since the majority of her targets, the orc sergeants, were green-named, and so managed to add 2031 pet points during the evening, just enough to get the drake into level 26.  The Elizabuff was about to run out then... but it lasted long enough for Kae to reach level 35.  In all, helped along for much of the time by the Happy Hour, Kaerella added 41.29%, along with 372 guild points - and 533 skill points, taking her past the 17k mark.

The shoutbox had been moderately busy, though I'd only lurked, not got involved.  Some people were complaining about their guild master's inability to change the time of a castle siege, and getting annoyed that there were no gamesages or game masters around... eventually Liof and BelovedDude turned up, and later [GM]Yatou dropped in for a while, confirming that they were working hard on the master stones, and that they ought to finish those some time this coming week.  They seem to be hoping to cure the bug that is stopping people melding old-style costume covers to their armour during the next maintenance.

RedRackham had kept busy, levelling his drake, and by late in the evening it was almost a quarter of the way through level 41, and starting to get rather hungry.  I think that is as far as we go with that drake - I wonder which of my Cariae characters can make the best use of it?

Tomorrow I'll only be able to play, or indeed have the computers switched on, in the evening, so there won't be much more to report on than the Sunday Quiz.    Let us hope that that runs smoothly.

I Love a Parade... - July 4th

When I logged in, soon after six in the evening, my first priority was to get RedRyder and LordDarth to exchange pets on Hatzring - so Red now has her level 37 mount and a level 20 drake, which is pretty good for a level 24 rogue, and LordDarth has Red's level 1 hatchling, in case he wants to do any more levelling.

However, an announcement came up for a Fourth of July Parade over on Sarissa, so once the exchange had been made, Kaerella logged in over on Sarissa-4, and, seeing the parade through a gap between houses in Randol, joined in.  The parade ended just outside the north gate - and some of the traditional Hand-type loot was spawned, so that, as well as the almost useless small HP and MP restoration pots, and the tool aids, there were large attack and large defence potions, skill point boosters, and item drop boosters to be had...though I averaged about one of each, as there were lots of people there.

Once that parade was over, and I was getting ready just to move some loot to one of my merchants, the announcement came up that the parade was about to start on Hatzring, so Kaerella logged on there.  As before, the gamesage Faenwyn was in charge, and wearing a fine white set of high-level archer armour, nicely enhanced by the white glow that gamesages can display.

Auzura came next, and things were much as before; Faenwyn had a carnival/samba costume cover on, but someone noticed that she was only carrying a level 29 or 33 bow, and she admitted that she wasn't very high-level on Auzura.  I was starting to get the hang of things, and clicked on Fae herself to auto-follow, having adjusted my pace to "walk" rather than run.  I'd had lots of firecrackers in my inventory on Sarissa to set off, and I had plenty on Auzura too, as a legacy of the parades that our much-loved European server GMs Valsharyn and Noboru had led before they vanished.

Tairen came next, and Faenwyn confirmed it was the final server - Cariae and Katar had been before I logged on.  Faenwyn was high enough level to be using a level 87 Rainbow Bow; this time she had the western-themed costume cover.  There were a few melons dropped on the parades around town, but I didn't get any, I generally just stayed clicked on our leader and admired the show.  We ended outside the north gate again, and the hands of loot magically appeared. The loot per person wasn't enough to make the event any more profitable than ten minutes or so of farming, with probably a gemstone dropped, but it's good to have such community get-togethers.

What was interesting was that it was an event, a proper Parade on the Fourth of July, that should have been announced in advance as an event of the day, and should have been hosted by a game master, though Faenwyn did a good job as a stand-in for one.  What she couldn't do was spawn firecrackers or transformation scrolls, so for the fireworks side we had to rely on people who already had some - such as me on Sarissa and Auzura, but not on the other two servers.  I assume that she was able to contact a GM to spawn the final loot-reward outside the north gate, as it would have been hard to time it otherwise.

That does bring a possibility of a competent gamesage hosting a "storm the castle" or "mad monster spawn", being the representative of the GMs there and getting them to enter the necessary codes to bring up the monsters at the start, and put down the loot at the end...if the GMs are too busy, or don't feel competent enough to appear in person and host the event.

There wasn't much time left before the Sunday Quiz after that, but, while my local merchant Enchantra stayed in town to provide the solo party, my level 29 archer Kaerella headed out to Prokion Temple on Tairen-5.  She added 3.12% experience, 79 skill points, and 9 guild points, just fighting some orc soldiers.  There were a few other people around, but generally they moved on after a few kills in the room I was using.

The only thing different about the Quiz was that the announcements started with "30 minutes until the Quiz Room doors are closed", and continued in that vein...they didn't commit themselves to promising that the doors were open!  Still, there wasn't any problem with entering the room on Auzura-2 as usual, when MistressDomino asked the domain merchant.  Kaerella joined her there, and. once the quiz time was reached, the usual questions were rattled through nice and quickly, and the usual prizes were received.

As usual, lag was bad after the Quiz - worse than in recent weeks, I'd say.  The main thing to do when logging back in to change one's character is not to click the "okay" on the "timed out" pop-up.  If you do, and then try again, the game thinks you are logged in already, and doesn't connect you.  Just ignore the "timed out" message, and you'll connect eventually.

Initially I thought of teaming RedRider, my level 27 rogue on Auzura, with SirDarth, my level 37 temple knight, in a combat party - but I'd forgotten that Darth was on 99.98% of his level, and thus would only be able to make a combat party with Red once more.  It would be better to save that party for a nice long evening session, rather than just half an hour or so.  Instead, my level 34 specialist sorcerer JohnWellington formed the combat party with RedRider - and off they went, on Auzura-5, to Prokion Temple.

The back room was busy, but the corridor room was free; John used his demon form, and his knight form, and by the time the party ended, had added...well, it's so long ago that he last had any type of session I'm not sure, but not a great deal or experience.  Like RedRider, he gained 44 skill points; she got 6.38% experience, and 13 guild points.

And that was about it...I had an appointment in a different land, mainly to get the latest new special event headgear in Guild Wars, and all went well there.  It was strange to hear someone say they were on a guildie's account, as he was away and had asked for help in getting the special headgear - in Guild Wars it would seem account sharing is not considered a problem.

MistressDomina Levels Up - July 5th

There wasn't time for a morning session, but straight after lunch, it was my Auzura mage MistressDomina whose turn it was for a bit of levelling-up.  At level 80 she was able to form a combat party with my archer Kaerella, who is level 87, so Kae met her at the entrance to the Tomb of Theos.  One of this week's new bugs means that the "Condition" bars to show how hard or easy the Tomb is are not displaying, so it was a slight gamble, going in.  MistressDomina applied the necessary platinum refining stones to her 70/72 armour set to get it all up to +15, and also added a +1 PRS to her staff to make it +16, which is the maximum one can get to using those. 

I also bought MD the "widowmaker" western-style costume from the in-game item mall, for 75 aeria points.  This is the first of the "C2" costumes, which doesn't need to be melded to armour, it just gets equipped in a new tab.  It doesn't add any +1, as the old costume covers do if melded on with a bonus book of melding, but it gives an extra 100 health and mana per piece...and besides, the mage armours of that level are rather ugly, the 70/72 set, at least from behind, always reminds me of a beetle.  And you can change the actual armour you are wearing, while still keeping the C2 cover.

So, MistressDomina was ready for action - she attacked her first screaming zombie, triggering the first crit and berserker potions, followed by one of the level-specific (61 to 90) platinum blessed irises...and all went well.  I think the Tomb must have been just about on maximum easy, MD does have 10% suction of life, and very rarely during the day needed any healing from Kaerella.

There was time for three hours of work in the afternoon; 127.47% experience in the first hour got her almost to the top of level 81, using 75 experience boosters.  A titan called thehungman was around for some of the time, and chatted a little - he made a couple of other visits during the day too.  The second hour got MD another 110.33%, getting her into the start of level 83, using a further 69 experience boosters.  For some of the time during this hour Kaerella was active too, though without boosters, killing screaming zombies, but I decided in the end that this was counter-productive, as it slowed down MD's killing speed.  A level 65 assassin called Avatari was around, but joined a friend in going down deeper into the Tomb after a while.  The archer Lylja made a first appearance too - we didn't talk until Kaerella took a second zombie she'd inadvertently attracted off her, which broke the ice.

The third and final hour of the afternoon session added another 103.36%, getting MistressDomino into level 84, using 73 more experience boosters...and then it was time for the break, so both Kae and MD retreated to stand near the teleporter, well out of harm's way.

After a shorter than average break, my duo returned to action - and MistressDomina reached level 85 before it ended, which meant that she could equip her level 85 staff - the +17 one, with the two master stones added.  This greatly improved how hard she hit her zombies, with the critical hit figure rising from around 5460 to in the region of 8090.  That was only for the last few minutes of this hour, though, so she added 94.22%, using 72 experience boosters.  The new weapon really made its mark in the fifth hour, though - 105 boosters were used, and 127.81% experience added, moving MD well into level 86.

A specialist sorcerer from the Twisted guild, loboman, was around for a while, and I asked if he had seen Ratel, who is in that guild, recently, but he himself hadn't been able to be on much lately.  So, just a "MD says hi" message was passed on...

The sixth and final "power hour", with boosters, crit pot and berserker potion, added another 114.60%, with 102 more boosters used.  Lylja had asked if anyone had ten boosters spare that they would sell her for twenty million, so I sold her ten of mine, but we can't really count those as "used", at least not by MD.  That got MistressDomina into level 87, and thus able to not only use the new staff, but the level 85 gloves and level 87 boosts and circlet. which was the object of the exercise... though actually I'd not brought the three armour pieces with me, so MD continued to use the PRS-augmented items.

There was time for another hour after that, so I changed MD and Kae's party into an equal one, and they both just used a platinum blessed iris - we continued a little over the hour, in fact, and MD added another 19.01%.  She is about 10% ahead of Kaerella now, with them both in level 87.

In all, MistressDomina went up by 696.50% today; as she levelled up the screaming zombies started to give a little skill exp, as well as experience, so she gained 13 skill points - 3 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening.  Kaerella got 14.22% from the afternoon session, 7.33% from the first three hours of the evening, and 18.78% experience from that last hour or so, for a total of 40.33% today; she too added 13 skill points.

MistressDomina's drake added 2672 pet points in the afternoon, and 3560 in the evening, while SirFrancis, Kaerella's drake, just gained 656 from Kae's afternoon activities, and 736 more during that final hour or so.

For most of the final hour I had a lowish-level rogue called BRASIL ks-ing me, after she'd ask if she could; Lylja had a knight and a sorcerer "helping" her at one stage, I think, and was having to tell them not to use skills on the zombies, as that increased their strength.  My only problem with BRASIL was that she always stood nearer to the zombies than was safe, and at least three times either MD or Kae had to act quickly to take a newly-spawned zombie's mind off attacking her...but she never moved very far, and I don't think her English was good enough for me to explain the danger.  The rogue's platinum blessed iris must still have had about 20 minutes left when I had to leave, hopefully Lylja will have taken her under her wing.

Back in Randol, MistressDomina was able to learn an eighth level of Freeze Arrow for 500 skill points, and a ninth level of Flame Field for 550 sp, on the general skills side.  On the passive skills side there was just a sixth level of Staff Mastery, for 300 skill points, increasing her magical attack power, when wielding a staff, from 2192 to 2202.  MistressDomina was also able to trade some loot across to MistressDomino, my merchant character on Auzura, and finally take delivery of the three armour pieces.  Equipping the new bits did raise MistressDomina's physical defence from 2679 to 2756, though it would be a bit more if the +13 item was temporarily raised to +15.  And of course those pieces raise MD's evasion rather usefully, so if the Tomb is still relatively easy tomorrow morning, the screaming zombies should find MD even harder to land a hit on.

Level 88, Level 38 - July 6th

The theory is that, after an afternoon and evening session on one day, I complete my full use of a character's 24-hour boost from platinum refining stones with a morning session.  In practice, since MistressDomina had already replaced her boosted weapon, gloves, boots and circlet, and her Darkpeal Jacket hadn't needed boosting because it was +15 yesterday, it was only a +1 addition to her Darkpeal Pants that was still relevant.  Still, I managed to fit in a couple of hours in the morning with MD and Kaerella back in the Tomb of Theos on Auzura-4, fighting the screaming zombies.

I was surprised to find that the place was, off and on, fairly busy.  Someone brought in a couple of lower-level friends via party recall, and when they left, I inherited the level 23 rogue xxxkillerrickiex, who I couldn't convince she ought to be sp-farming in Prokion temple... she already had 19 skill points, after all.  One slight problem was her "neckless" accessory, which randomly applied level 3 of Venom to her target, my zombie.  That may have helped her, but of course it made the zombie stronger, so I tended to take extra damage, though generally the suction of life covered it.  I gave her a couple of memory scrolls so that she could get the entrance memorised, though I didn't give her large amounts of money or my level 37 horse, sometimes I can be a bit ungenerous...

MistressDomina and Kaerella both used platinum blessed irises, but no boosters or potions.  During the first hour, plus a little overtime, MD gained 16.95% and Kaerella 0.01% less, and they each gained 3 skill points.  I took a coffee break after that - and then in the second hour MD added 13.89% and Kae gained 0.1% more, and they each got another 3 skill points.

The only high drama occurred in the second hour, when an assassin-type rogue played the little trick of luring back a big group of screaming zombies, and a mummy or two, and then using their Death Motion skill to lose aggro.  Luckily she dropped them on a specialist sorcerer called dEvil, who was helping a knight friend to level up a bit, and was well up to the task; he just happened to be fighting a little further forward in the corridor than MD.  I had been meaning to go briefly away-from-keyboard to check downstairs, it was just as well I'd not chosen that particular moment.

There were various other comings and goings; a mage called CinderellA, shortly before the end of that second hour, was using Chaos Nova on a group of screaming zombies, and the one I was luring managed to get the edge of it, and so quickly got MD's health down by about a third.  CinderellA herself didn't fare as well, she must have been killed by the ones attacking her, as she was next seen running back from the start.  If using any debuff on Tomb inhabitants makes them stronger, then Chaos Nova, which hurts foes but increases their attack anyway, is a bit of a "double whammy"...  The archer Lylja was also around for a while.

MistressDomina and Kaerella stayed in the Tomb over the lunch break; one more hour ought to get them both up to level 88, I reckoned.  During the morning. MD's drake had added 1762 pet points, and SirFrancis had added 1268, while MD and Kae had each earned 6 skill points.

The afternoon session started with another pair of pbis, and still an equal party, but then the level 94 knight DARKNIGHT85 arrived, and suggested a combat party - so we switched over.  I was slightly concerned that Kaerella might drop a little further behind, but that wouldn't matter in the long run, as she'd be more likely to team up with my rogue Rage than MD, and catch up that way.  The knight only stayed around for about half an hour, but I stuck with the combat party configuration after that.  MistressDomina had reached level 88 fairly early in the hour - and Kaerella got there too before it ended.  MD added 16.80% during that hour, and Kae added 18.91%, since progress was swifter through 87 than through 88.

We kept on with that set-up for a second hour; a level 45 rogue, Skaska, asked to ks a bit, mainly on MD's target - sometimes MD and Kae shared the same screaming zombie, and sometimes Kaerella fought her own.  By the end, MD had added another 17.11%...and Kae was up by 19.19, despite having a less powerful weapon.  Probably MD could have kept pace if she'd used Terra Spear more, but it was a surprising result.

During the afternoon MistressDomina and Kaerella each gained 9 more skill points; MD's drake got 1934 pet points, and Kae's, SirFrancis, got 1708, which shows that Kaerella was busier in the afternoon than during the morning, with not so much waiting around while MD lured a new target into range.

Reaching level 88 meant that MistressDomina was able to spend 500 skill points on the ninth and final level of Fear, not a skill I generally use.  Apparently it has a 99% chance of success, and now makes the monsters run off for 15 seconds, rather than the previous level's ten. Kaerella still had her level 86 passive skill to learn, level 3 of Vital Spot Blow 2, increasing her rate of critical hits by 10 for 350 skill points; her level 88 skill was a passive one too, Survival Training level 7, for 300 skill points, increasing her physical defence by 20.

MistressDomina transferred her old level 69 weapon over to MrChuckNorris, as it is four levels higher than the one he had been using; she transferred the gloves, circlet and boots from the 70/72 armour set as well.  The circlet is +13, the same as the one Chuck is already wearing, so won't need to be transformed by Collector Ryl, but the gloves and boots are one plus higher than the ones he had been wearing.  Once the two pieces of armour and the weapon had been changes from mage to titan types, Chuck's physical defence was raised from 2368 to 2418, and his physical attack went up from 1374 to 1445.  Both the new figures may get raised slightly more once the bloodseals come in, of course. 

The transformations cost around 1.8 million gold, which almost cleaned Chuck out, but MD was still online, and able to pass a little more gold across to him.  The older armour sets that MD and Chuck no longer use were then passed across to LordRevan, a level 2 titan I've never done anything with.  Wearing the titan armour and wielding the level 65 titan sword he looks pretty impresive, and even with the 90% penalty for wearing items well above his level, both his attack and defence are much improved over the basic new gear set-up.

After the usual food break, Auzura's RedRider logged in and spent her 55 skill points on the second level of flawless stone processing, then ran out of Randol to teleporter Elveen, and entered the Ebony Mine.  Both level 129 cursed harpy wings and level 123 degraded golien commanders were aggressive, I found, and, helped along by the usual "double deaths", Red soon got back to the start of her level.

Then it was time for SirDarth and RedRider to team up on Auzura-5 for their promised long session in Prokion Temple.  Thankfully, the back room was free, but it wasn't that long before a disagreeable specialist sorcerer called Edgesamson turned up, which made for a slight shortage of targets.  He had another sorcerer with him, D4rkSpec, but luckily he mainly sat in a corner.  Things got even more hectic when a titan, a healer and another specialist sorcerer barged in, but luckily they didn't stay long.  Edgesamson used one of the 31-60 platinum blessed irises for triple experience, which seemed a little strange, since usually in Prokion Temple the idea is to get as many skill points as you can.

By the time the three-hour Elizabeth's Enhancement buff wore off, RedRider had added 13.59& and 35 guild points; SirDarth had reached level 38 almost immediately, and in all earned 24.24%.  And they each got 223 skill points.

SirDarth returned to Randol and, as he was now level 38, was able to learn all five levels of the Telekenisis skill, as LC spells it, for 293 skill points.  This means that he can teleport a monster to him from up to 20 metres away, with an 80% chance of success, which ought to be fun.   The passive skill Knighthood increases Darth's physical attack by 50, as long as he has a single sword equipped, for 310 sp, so he learned that too.

That might have been Darth's last time in Prokion Temple, since RedRider needs to stay on level 27, so that they can't make a combat party again - or perhaps we can try an equal party, though I would have to watch Red's experience gain closely to make sure it didn't get too close to 100% of her level.  Still, it was a productive three hours.

An Early End - July 7th

It doesn't look as if any of the bugs from last week, or indeed the many other bugs that Last Chaos USA players live with, were cured last night in what was apparently another extra-long maintenance, because "changes were made to the servers".  "Socket System and Mondshine Quest bugs are currently being worked on by the developers", the product manager said, with an air of quiet desperation.  "These bugs are proving more difficult to fix than previously expected", he added, gently thumping his head on his desk.  The Independence Day event has, however, been extended into a second week, which is probably not unexpected, as having an event that only lasted a single week would be pretty unusual.

The bug with people in merchant mode, particularly people offering packages, which gives a more ornate notice over their heads, is certainly still with us, though the fix, to bring up the "J" window (Actions) and press the merchant mode button, gets one out of trouble.  It probably makes people less willing to browse through what is being offered, though.

MistressDomino had a look around Randol on Auzura-5 after breakfast, and found a healer called XwarswinchX selling mage armour and other things - these included the Antistone Red Respiration Jacket +13 that MistressDomina needed.  It has actually been given two sockets, but they are empty... the main thing is that it is blue-named, and has the five evasion seals, and 350 million seemed a pretty good price to me.  XwarswinchX also had the blue-named pants from the armour set, +14, for 450 million, but sadly these pants didn't have evasion seals, instead they were defence-based, though they did have a sixth seal offering a 30% increase in HP recuperative power.  So, we are still looking for b5e pants for MD...

MistressDomino went into merchant mode herself after that, to try and sell some heaven stones, item drop boosters, moonstones, moonstone boxes, runes of protection, mana stealers, berserker potions, and other stuff - the heaven stones and item drop boosters sold within the first minute, so I added some more heaven stones at a slightly higher price.  All the moonstones and moonstone boxes then quickly vanished...so that by then we were 220 million up.

After MistressDomino had sold a rune of protection and three mana stealers, SirDarth logged in and downloaded a package of a further 150 item drop boosters, then traded them, and a few other minor bits of loot, across.  Then MistressDomina logged in, and used the tokens she'd picked up yesterday to spin the Lacarette wheel a a few times - she got a rejuvenation potion, ten greatest healing potions, a potion of haste (which seems to be the booby prize) - and then the same three prizes again, although not in the same order.

After trading with MistressDomino, MistressDomina was able to put on her new level 86 +13 jacket - while it decreased her physical defence, compared to the level 71 +15 jacket, from 2428 to 2379, it increased her physical evasion stat from 791 to 981, which seems a pretty good trade-off.

The old +15 jacket was passed across to MrChuckNorris, who got Collector Ryl to convert it into the titan equivalent. for 516,000 gold.  So, moving from a +13 to a +15 Robust Shirt moves his physical defence along from 2418 to 2567 - his physical evasion is only 277.  The old +13 shirt was moved across to LordRevan to be out of the way.

Kaerella had enough tokens for one spin of the Lacarette wheel, and got an item drop booster, which swiftly got traded across to MistressDomino.  And then my merchant went back into merchant mode, swiftly selling the rest of her heaven stones at the higher price of 3.25 million each, as well as five moonstones that RedRackham had traded across - a quest reward, I think.

Since RedRackham was logged on, he took his level 39 drake down to the gnoll lancers for a session over lunch, the first time I've done any pet-levelling for a few days.  His session continued well into the afternoon because, once MistressDomino finished her selling session, she then went on a bit of a spending spree, browsing through all fifty pages of accessories that Roy's merchant mart had on sale.

The three items MistressDomino ended up buying were an Eyes of Spirit for Kaerella (sold by hardtosay for 200 million), giving improved hit rate and evasion, and for MistressDomina a Stone of Shadow (sold unidentified by SHADOWWARRIOR for 15.5 million) for increased evasion and a Necklace of Wind (sold by xxcomanderxx for 30 million) giving 10% suction of life, 16 swiftness of reflexes (dexterity), 5 defence, and 5 physical defence. 

MistressDomina's physical evasion increased from 981 to 1093 once her new accessories were equipped; Kaerella's hit rate went from 1273 to 1441 once her new Eyes of Spirit had replaced the old Pierce of Wind.  Her physical evasion was unchanged at 1149, since an "EoS" only increases, by 78, close range evasion, but that's the most useful type.

There was still time for a bit of actual fighting in the afternoon, so it seemed a good opportunity to try out the teaming of Barbarienne, my level 105 archer, and Keerella, my level 98 wizard, in the Cariae-4 Tomb of Theos fighting the level 103 ancient grey mummies.  They give 4400 skill exp, if one is their exact level and has a solo party, so are used for some skill point farming, but are a bit slow to kill. 

The idea was to have a combat party, with Keerella just standing around with my Scra-Chi pet, SkrappY, equipped, while Barbarienne did the fighting - so Barb would get the experience, and they'd share the skill exp.  Barb used a pbi and a crit pot, and the amount of experience per kill was approaching 50 million, almost as much as a character would get from killing a screaming zombie with a pbi and an individual experience booster - but it was slow work, as each kill took a while, and at Barb's level, 50 million experience doesn't add much.  The hour before the food break brought Barbarienne 1.77% experience, plus 1001 pet points, while as the non-fighter Kee just got 0.13% - but they each got 8 skill points.

After the break, there was time for another hour, which just got Barbarienne 1.66%.  There wasn't time for a full second hour, so Barb just kept going without the pbi and the crit potion, so in all Barb ended up going up by 1.86% over approximately 90 minutes, and Keerella got another 0.18%...while more importantly they each added another 11 skill points.  Barb's drake got another 1509 pet points, so it's a pretty good spot for pet-levelling.

The ancient grey mummies give just over 16 million experience each, which is significantly less than the level 106 anubis spear men, which give almost 19 million; but the spear men don't give extra skill exp.  So, it does give Barbarienne and Keerella a couple of options, they can either grind for Barb's next level, with Barb using a pbi and experience boosters, on the anubis speer men, or they can farm a few skill points for Kee with the ancient grey mummies.

The reason that the Tomb session had to end was that a series of "Mad Monster Spawns" had been announced, starting with Auzura at 6:30 UK time.  So, my Cariae pair logged out, and my level 92 rogue Rage logged in on Auzura-5, and hurried to the traditional MMS location, where [GM]Darasuum and a few other hardy souls were waiting.

The event started on time, and lasted just over half an hour; apart from a few foxes, the first wave was an assortment of baby apes, dark bogles, darkmind terrains, barren eises, and plenty more - the harder bit came when the cave spirits appeared, in massive numbers.  As usual they seemed an overwhelming mass of enemies to begin with, but soon we began picking them off.  For some reason Rage giving some supportive fire on one silent spirit of the knight led to me being attacked by a group of four or five, so I had to make a run for it - the knight himself didn't give up, but luckily a late arrival was able to assist me in dealing with him.

The boss wave was hard, but again we wore them down, and ended up getting our second wave of the usual loot drops as a reward.  There were so many people that the amount of stuff Rage and her drake were able to grab wasn't very big, but it still made for an exciting time - I just hope they can get back to doing these events every week.

Although the web page for the event had said "levels ninety and above please", there were as usual plenty of lower level people in attendance, so I decided that I  might as well take my level 31 rogue Memree along to the next MMS, on Katar-5.  The event ran much as before, though at the end [GM]Darasuum did comment that Katar had been three minutes faster than Auzura had been in clearing away all the monsters.

Memree did get killed once, I have no idea how - I think something high-level with an "area of effect" attack had come too close behind her.  Still, she had the MMS location on her memory scroll, and so was soon back out there.  There were a couple of time when running away was the only option, but, while her attack on something like a sphinx commander, fluton, or patriarch botis was pretty negligible, hopefully her Snare made it easier for her allies.  The loot seemed slightly more generous on Katar...but Cariae was next in the rota, for 8:30, so Barbarienne logged back in over on Cariae-5, ready.

Unfortunately, while I was still in Randol, at about 8:15 UK time, my modem decided to go on strike again, and I had a disconnection, losing contact with the internet entirely.  Shutting down the modem for a few minutes and then switching it on didn't do any good...so Cariae's warriors had to manage without my assistance.

Back In Touch - July 8th

After her last session, RedRider on Auzura had got 223 skill points - and these, I found, were just enough for her to learn the final two levels of Expert Alchemy.  That does still leave quite a few special skills to learn to "max out" that tab, on the mining and processing side, though.

RedRider and SirDarth teamed up again on Auzura-5 for a slightly short morning session, as the modem, or some part of the system, gave up again just after 11:15, UK time.  This is getting irritating.  Still, by then they'd each gained 81 skill points; Darth had gone up by 6.18%, while Red had added 18.20% and 45 guild points, which shows that even in an equal party, since SirDarth is eleven levels ahead, her experience gain isn't too speedy.  While the skill exp was shared equally, Red was getting roughly 40% as much experience per kill as Darth, which at least partially compensated for level 27 needing rather less experience to finish than level 38 does.  Part of that was due to her guild cutting her experience gain to 50%, but the little bit extra is useful too.

Prokion Temple was rather busy; Auzura is home to many European players, so it's not as quiet a time during the UK morning as it is elsewhere.  SirDarth and RedRider ended up fighting orc sergeants and orc axemen over in the "mirror" half, close to the equivalent to the back room I always head for first.  To begin with, Darth did the fighting, but after a while Red took over, letting Darth do the picking up of the loot.  After all, for Red the orcs there are white-named, and thus drop some useful items, including the level one gemstones... for Darth they are blue-named and drop very little, except a little gold.

I had been intending to leave at least one merchant online, while I went out for the afternoon, but the connectivity problem rather ruled that out.  Other general plans are for my characters that have only recently reached level 87 or so to have trips to the Egeha map, as there are quite a few quests there that they ought to be able to do.  And of course, once MistressDomina gets that last piece of the 85/87 armour set it will be time to think of getting MrChuckNorris up to that sort of level, though I don't know when I would be able to afford to get him that armour set and a good level 85 titan sword as well.

MistressDomina did have some time on Cariae-4 after the early evening food break, going through all 48 pages of accessories, in search of a necklace for Barbarienne with 10% suction of life plus other useful bonuses.  In the end, I spent 52 million gold on a Necklace of Wind being sold by leonora - as well as helping keep Barb's health up, it adds 5 to magical defence, 16 to dexterity, and 30 to her critical hit stat.  I did find another necklace 35 pages later at the same price and with the same properties...there were some better ones, but they were a bit out of my price range.

This meant that my best accessory, a Necklace of Earth with 10% suction of life, 5% suction of mana, 93 hit rate, and 58 hit points could be returned to Keerella, who had loaned it to Barb while they'd been in the ancient grey mummies room.  That necklace had cost a bit, when I bought it ages ago, but there are a lot more accessories around now, so it probably isn't as valuable as it once was.

The main evening session just continued things from the morning - and this time on Auzura-5, RedRider fully took the lead on the newer computer, with SirDarth only fighting very occasionally, and generally picking up the loot.  The back room was available, for a change; the titan PERSEUS did join us for much of the session, but there were just about enough orcs to go round.  He did ask a question or two, and I tried to explain Red's strategy of learning all the special skills before levelling up, and how the +10 armour set was obtained.

RedRider did return to town once she'd got 267 skill points (including the 81 from the morning), and was able to learn all three levels of advanced mining, along with the last level of yellow herb processing.  Then she rode out to Ebony Mine, and quickly died the necessary 23 times - I think the degraded golien commander even threw in an extra couple of deaths for free.  After that, she hurried back to the temple, where SirDarth was waiting, after remembering to get the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, removed by her deaths, applied again.  PERSEUS left soon after that, so I had the place to myself for the last part of the evening, during which Red gained another 76 skill points, while getting 14.19% experience again.

SirDarth's "Elizabuff" did run out a few minutes before the end, but he managed to add 17.00%, so is approaching halfway through level 38 now; he gained 257 skill points.  He isn't one of my characters with maximised skills, but at least his sp stash is back over the 4.5k mark.  He is my highest-level temple knight now, and the only one to be able to use that teleportation skill, which to me seems more useful for taking a monster off another party member, rather than plucking one from a mob just for one's own use.  I remember Ratel using it a few times that way when we were partied against the outdoor sphinx speer men. And Ratel was online this evening too, and chatted a little, though he reports that he is still having problems with his main computer, which tends to freeze solid after about half an hour of Last Chaos.

Well, at least the internet connection stayed working long enough for a full session.  As for the afternoon, well, I went to see a movie, and can report that the fourth Shrek outing is pretty good.

A Cancellation and a Crash - July 9th

It's lucky that I wasn't attempting any merchant activity, or pet-levelling, overnight, as there was a "quick one hour unscheduled maintenance" at some point. "We noticed some instability with a few of the game servers and made some small backend changes to fix the issues " Aeria_ks1lent reported.  They also managed to speed up the process of buying stuff from the in-game item mall, apparently.

For the morning session, my level 98 wizard Keerella headed for the Tomb of Theos on Cariae-5 - and SirKit, my level 55 royal knight, went along too, though not in the same party, as his experience gain would be severely "capped" if he was partied with someone more than fifteen levels above him.

The Condition bar bug was still in effect, so going in was a bit of a gamble - but things seemed okay, and generally things worked smoothly, with Keerella attacking a screaming zombie, luring it back to a safe distance down the corridor, and then standing up to it and just hitting normally, while SirKit also attacked.  Kit had the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff to double his experience and skill exp gain and increase his attack a little; there were some rare occasions when a second zombie got involved too, and a couple of time Kit did take damage, but he was never in any immediate danger.

There were two solo parties available, so for the solo party boost Keerella joined one, and SirKit joined the other - and eventually they both became party leader, leaving the whole of the subserver's solo party goodness in my hands.  Kee gave up leadership over the lunch break, but nobody seemed interested in taking the responsibility in Kit's party, which was full anyway, so he just kept the position while I was afk.  With the usual party member turnover, Kee regained her party's leadership later.

By the end of the morning, Keerella had only added 0.49%, but she had gained 10 skill points, and 1696 pet points; SirKit, on the other hand, had gone up 119.30%, and so moved into level 56, so that he could wear the mail and leggings from the 60/62 armour set.  He didn't get any skill exp, but his drake got 1328 pet points.

My duo stayed in the Tomb over lunch, but SirKit did have to return to Randol at the start of the afternoon session, to get the Elizabuff renewed.  We had a pretty long afternoon session, so that Kit's buff did run out shortly before the end.  I had quite a number of people besides Kit ks-ing Kee; curiously the only person who actually asked permission to do that didn't stay long.  EgyptMage was around for most of the afternoon, and the temple knight xTALICx was a constant part of the team, except when he went back to town to learn his new skills when he reached level 38.  He used teleportation a few times, but I had to ask him not to, as it really was simpler for Kee to get and maintain aggro by just using her ranged attack.  Bringing an aggressive level 100 zombie in next to a level 38 character could mean a sticky end was on the cards.

There were plenty more "unofficial helpers", mainly rogues and an archer or two; the titan THor  arrived mid-afternoon and didn't object to their "helping" him, luckily.  I did try to convince one low-level rogue, around level 22, that she really ought to have more than 500 skill points saved up before trying to power-level, but I don't think I got very far. When I finally left, the remaining people were xTALICx, an assassin and an archer; I don't know if they were able to continue, but it may well have got a bit dangerous.

During the afternoon Keerella added another 0.79%, plus 15 more skill points, and 2719 pet points; SirKit went up by 153.47%, and 1958 pet points.  Kit reached level 58, so was able to wear the whole 60/62 armour set, which is a strange one - for knights the gloves and boots are "Nation", the shirt and pants are "Drun", and the helm is "Juellepac".  He was also using the level 61 Torain dual swords +15, and by the end of the afternoon all the bloodseals had been applied.

Back in town, SirKit was able to learn the sixth and final level of Vitality Control, increasing his rate of health regeneration, so that's useful.  Keerella had finally got enough skill points for the fifth and final level of Spell Focus again, which increases magical attack hit rate for five minutes - 151 sp may not seem much, but at her level raising her stash from 62 had taken quite a few sessions.  The next target I suppose would be level nine of Freeze Arrow, but that will need 550 sp.  Ah well, she has 12 sp left over, just another 538 to go...

After the food break, in Dratan City SirKit got quests to deal severely with some akane golems and wafe debirches, which involved teleporting to the sphinx fighters and backtracking a bit, and then, after the wafe debirches were dealt with, he got another quest to kill "wafe thieves", which seemed to mean wafe debirch leaders and wafe revertins. The quest rewards came to 8.84% and 51 skill points, while the totals for the session, including fighting, were 9.64%, 63 skill points, and 116 pet points.

At 6:30 UK time an announcement came up, "All Hide and Seek events today have been cancelled, enjoy 175% SP gain for the next 4 hours!"  That was then extended to "Enjoy 175% SP gain until 3pm PDT!"  So, it seemed a good idea to switch over to a skill exp farmer.  I opted for my level 35 version of Kaerella over on Katar - so she logged in over there, as did my local pet-leveller ColonelScarlet, to supply the solo party boost and do a few hours of work on his level 39 pink drake.

The back room of Katar-5's Prokion Temple was actually free, so Kaerella settled in there, and was almost uninterrupted - there were a few people who looked in and then tiptoed away, and as often happens a couple of people who ran in, found that the room was a dead end, and hurried out again. Kae stayed there until the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff had just counted down to zero - by which time she'd added just 7.75% experience and 90 guild points for Discipline, and earned a very useful 447 skill points.

It was just as well I'd chosen Katar, as at around nine, UK time, there was a server crash - this time involving Tairen.  As usual the forum shoutbox got rather busy rather quickly, and a number of GMs appeared to reassure people... [GM]Darasuum admitted that he had eaten the server cords, though he may have been bluffing.  I even did a small bit of assistance, reassuring people that "account already logged in" messages were just a symptom of the Tairen server problem, and shouldn't be taken seriously.

ColonelScarlet managed a useful pet-levelling session, though, as he currently hits a gnoll lancer for 20 damage at a time bare-handed, the lancer in question's health did fall over time, and after three hours or so was below 50%.  Still, the pink drake got past the 40% mark in level 39 - once Kaerella starts adding a few levels, she will have a useful buff from that pet.

SirKit at Sixty - July 10th

The weekend has brought a new "tiered spender event", though without any master stone element - since the game masters were still working through the previous event's list two weeks on, that is probably a sensible idea.  Yesterday a GM said that the list had reached 90%, and today the gamesage georgerav mentioned to me that they had reached the last hundred.  This time, we have a "seven days of summer" theme, and the event will actually stay open for a week - the only rewards are experience boosters, but anyone who spends 10,000 aeria points would get 1315 of them, worth by my reckoning 3,000 ap or so...and spending 30,000 would get you another 7000 on top of that, for a total value of 1,950 ap I'd say, if we take the cost when they are "BOGO" of 470 ap for 200 experience boosters as our measure.

There is also a "Socket to Ya" raffle, with prizes of legendary scrolls, forbidden stabilizers, and packages of eight random level 3 jewels.  Spinning the Loot Wheel is the way to get a theoretical raffle ticket, though using a heaven stone could also earn one a minor prize.  My policy, though, is to ignore sockets, with the possibility of selling the gems that tend to accumulate in one's inventory.

Anyway, Keerella and SirKit formed their non-team again after coffee this morning, and, once Kit had got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, they headed for the Tomb of Theos on Cariae-5, and went in.

Things progressed much as they did yesterday; it wasn't long before Kee's Beloved two rogues turned up ("Beloved" being their guild name), XxXSlayerXxX and D3athRoguE.  They started the day at levels 41 and 47 respectively, and I think by the end of the afternoon had each added three levels, at least.  By lunch Keerella had added 0.44%, 1521 pet points, and 9 skill points, while SirKit had reached level 59, adding 82.39% and 1290 pet points.

Kee and Kit both stayed in the Tomb over the lunch break, and Kit still had about a quarter of an hour's worth of the Elizabuff left when the afternoon session began.  He carried on without the buff for a while, and then for the last two hours, used a pair of the level 31-60 platinum blessed irises.  The number of the ks-ers that Keerella was supporting tended to rise as the afternoon progressed, with an archer and a couple of knights, plus a specialist sorcerer - though at times D3athRoguE did lead a party attacking their own screaming zombies, with me on the alert if more than one zombie should get involved.  The titan THor was around too, assisted by an archer and picking his own targets, though I'm sure he died a time or two.

By the time I logged out for the early evening food break, Keerella had added another 0.78%, getting her halfway through level 98, plus 2876 pet points for her drake Greedo, and 15 more skill points.  SirKit had reached level 60, adding in all 128.42% experience and 2188 pet points.  Reaching 60 means that he can't get the Elizabuff any more - he received the free +5 armour set, shield, and dual swords, but his inventory was just too full for there to be room for the single sword.

Back in Randol after the food break, SirKit transferred various old armour sets and weapons, plus accessories, across to SirCumpherence for storage.  Reaching level 60 meant that Kit could now learn both levels of the rather minor passive skill Royal Resistance, for an extra 10 physical defence; that cost just 108 skill points.  There are no new quests in Dratan until level 61 for Kit to try; there are plenty in Egeha, but they generally stay open until level 78 or so, and are better suited to a higher level character, so they can wait awhile.  My feeling is that Kit could probably go solo in the Tomb of Theos now, if his armour was boosted with the 24-hour platinum refining stones.  With caution and a good supply of health potions, he could probably do it without the PRS boost, but those screaming zombies can be a bit sneaky, and a knight lacks the luxury of a ranged attack to bring in one adversary at a time.

SirKit also got the 70/72 armour set from RedRydeR, ready for when he can use it, and a few items to pass on to my merchant on Cariae, MistressDomina.  RedRydeR however is still using the level 69 crossbow, as MistressDomina doesn't have enough gold at present to buy her a level 85 one, so Kit will have to make do with his current level 61 dual swords for a while yet.

The main session for the evening though was, again, RedRider on Auzura, accompanied by SirDarth in an equal party, since they are eleven levels apart now. As might have been expected, Prokion Temple on Auzura-5 was pretty full, but, mainly in the mirror half, we found enough orc sergeants and axemen most of the time to keep us going.  Darth went up by 12.55% while adding 155 skill points; Red got the same sp, taking her total to 233, and went up by 37.43%.

Back in Randol, RedRider spent her points to learn all three levels of advanced herbalism, so that she is now a top-grade herb farmer as well as stone miner.  Then she made a quick trip out to the Ebony Mine, and this time attempted to get some distance into it, rather than just attacking the first monster she encountered.  It does seem a different layout to the second personal dungeon, though it uses the same textures.  Eighteen deaths later, RedRider was back to the start of level 27 again.

Various loot was passed over to MistressDomino; SirDarth had also got a number of Lacarette tokens, so I decided it was time to use them, as they can't be traded. The rewards for "course B" of the Lacarette wheel that Darth got were an item drop booster, a potion of haste, a skill point booster, five heaven stones, a potion of haste again, and again, and again, and finally ten greatest healing potions.  A mixed selection, but it's good to get five heaven stones like that.  The top prize is in theory a gold Lacarette token, and when someone wins one of those there's an in-game announcement, so they must be pretty rare as a prize, though they can be bought from the item mall.

So, that ended the day's entertainment.  I'd been keeping an eye on the forum shoutbox for much of the time, and it had been unusually quiet, which was lucky as there were few gamesages around.  Perhaps most of them are beta testing the new "hardcore" version of the Juno map, which is supposed to be with us soon?

Combat Party Time - July 11th

There was time before lunch for an hour's worth of fighting in the Tomb of Theos, so for this session Keerella was on the older computer, in a combat party with Barbarienne, my level 105 archer.  We went to Cariae-4, since that ought to be less crowded than C-5, and entered the Tomb.

Barbarienne fought a single screaming zombie, now green-named for her, at the start, just to see what the condition of the place was like - and it dropped a heaven stone.  After that, with Kee following Barb, the duo ran down to the anubis spear man room, and found only one person fighting there - a knight who kept right in a corner fighting a spear man, I never actually saw them move from there so eventually decided they were pet-levelling.

Barbarienne began a platinum blessed iris, plus a crit potion and a berserker potion, and started to fight the anubis spear men - and Keerella, without any pots, started to fight the sphinx fighters that are also in that room, which give slightly more experience than the screaming zombies.

The only incident was when a ks-ing night shadow called HellAeoN came in, attracted all the sphinx fighters, and used his area of effect skills on them.  This meant Keerella had to target a more distant sphinx fighter - though whatever skills a night shadow has meant it was attracted to HellAeoN too, who then objected to Kee "ks-ing" him, which seemed a bit rich.  Before he left, he gratuitously attacked Barbarienne's current spear man with some vivid green skill, which meant that Barb got about 70 or 80 million less experience when she finally killed it.  I do hope I get an opportunity to return the favour some time...

Anubis spear men take a while to kill, so during the hour Barbarienne just used 26 experience boosters; she added just 5.46%, and 1039 pet points, while Keerella added 0.40% and 989 pet points.  They each earned 4 new skill points.  I got the feeling that the "Condition" of the Tomb was a bit middling, both Barb and Kee quite often took quite a bit of damage.

I managed to fit in four hours of spear man farming in the afternoon; the Tomb's Condition seemed much improved, with no more healing needed, and rather faster killing.  For the first hour, Barbarienne used 38 experience boosters, and added 8.04%, using the crit and berserker potions again.  After that I added a platinum adrenalin potion as well, which acted to speed up Barb's attack, so that during the second hour of the afternoon 47 experience boosters were used, and 9.82% experience was added.  The third hour disposed of another 46 boosters, for 9.70%, and the final hour saw Barb crack open a last 51 boosters, for 10.52%.  I had the room entirely to myself for that last hour; previously for an hour or so the night shadow AIRON had been in the room too, and we were able to chat a bit.  Generally he only went for the one anubis spear man on the other side of the room that the pet-levelling knight Dyonysos wasn't using, but occasionally a swapping of spear men did cause a very slight pause in Barb's battling.

I did ask in the shoutbox about people pet-levelling on anubis spear men, and Supraklr said that temple knights do do that sometimes.  It does seem a little selfish to clog up the spear man room like that, but it's a slight risk - people who disapproved, or just wanted that spear man as one of the two they could grind on, could kill it, and then use it as normal every time it respawned.

Given that each anubis spear man killed, with a pbi running and an xpb used, helped along by the combat party boost, gave very slightly over 0.20% experience, the whole 105th level looks like using 500 experience boosters, as well as ten each of the relevant potions.  So, levelling is starting to get expensive.  Reaching level 106 will mean that Barbarienne can wear her new leggings, and thus the old +15 ones can be moved across to Kaerella.  Reaching level 107 should have a similar effect on new boots, though I don't yet have a level 107 helm for Barb... and level 109 would allow the purchase of a new more powerful bow.  That seems a long way off!

After an extended Sunday early evening food break, it was Kaerella on Katar who logged in, joined by RedRyder there.  Kaerella is level 35, and RedRyder 26, so another combat party was the idea.  Perhaps due to a certain Association Football match in South Africa, Prokion Temple on Katar-5 wasn't very busy, and I was able to claim the back room, with the orc sergeants and orc axemen.  Although she can't wear the +10 hood and boots yet, the other three armour pieces meant that RedRyder didn't have any trouble as she stood watching, letting Kaerella do all the work.

By the time the Sunday Quiz was approaching, Kaerella had added 44.09%, and RedRyder had added 37.56% - and they'd each got 322 skill points.  Red will have to start her main sp-farming when she reaches level 27...but Kae now has over 18,000 skill points saved up, which ought to be just about all she needs for a while.

The Quiz itself didn't run smoothly - there was a glitch which meant that some questions got replaced by other questions while they were counting down the remaining time.  That meant some quick moves across to the other side had to be made, and sadly on the twentieth question itself, MistressDomino wasn't fast enough, so she only got the five heaven stones, not the full fifteen.  Kaerella was in time, though... she had been having problems along the way, even though she wasn't accidentally clicked on anyone else, often when I used "W" to move her to the other side of the room, when I let go of the key she'd immediately try to run back the way she'd come, until I clicked her onto someone else who'd got there.

So, twenty instead of thirty heaven stones; the forum shoutbox was a little busy with people who'd been kicked out that way, and the game masters were wondering what the glitch had been.  Some players from Hatzring were there too, as, with advance warning, right after the quiz they'd briefly taken that server down to put right an instability with Hatzring-3.  Hatzring was soon back in business, however.

Over on Cariae-4, it was time for a little selling, so MistressDomina logged in, and went into merchant mode, while Kaerella just stood around chatting with Elvastar, alias Ratel, who on Auzura is just level 32 at the moment, a specialist sorcerer.  He had lost his connection during the quiz, sadly. He was now using a platinum super skill pill and a stock of skill point boosters, to get Elva a stock of skill poinst for future use, and it didn't take very long to get over a thousand sp - though the skill point boosters vanished with frightening rapidity.  In the end he used 408 over the pssp's hour, for 1561 skill points.

MistressDomina didn't do badly, selling out of moonstones, physical attack potions, mana stealers, chaos balls, and berserker potions, plus a few item drop boosters.  The moonstone boxes, large attack potions, damage boosters, and lucky smelting stones didn't want to go, it seemed, but a useful 230 million came in, which may mean a bit of shopping for armour becomes possible again on Cariae.

One Long Party - July 12th

I didn't do any adventuring in the morning - instead, MistressDomina on Cariae managed to do some selling.  She didn't actually sell a huge amount, but her finances are gradually improving - which is good, as my shopping list seems to be growing.

After lunch, however, I resolved to take Barbarienne back into the Tomb of Theos - and, if possible, get her to the Sphinx Commanders in the final "grave room", as Zenderfly used to refer to it.  I'd got 50 "Escape" potions, or perhaps they qualify as scrolls, and I put them on my skills bar... and, after getting horse buffs and entering the Tomb itself, started to run in what I hoped was the right direction.

It is many months since I attempted to run to the "Commies", and I must have taken a wrong turning or two after the "swimming pool" room which is about halfway.  In fact, I decided that I might as well head back to the usual anubis spear man room...but my sense of direction had got a bit shaken up by then, and I found myself approaching not the spear man room, but approaching the final area, which always seems to me to be a cross between the entrance area of a railway station, and the bit between the car park and the shops and cinema at a local shopping mall.

So Barbarienne arrived breathless in the final room, to find two people fighting there - the level 100 titan Myvi and the level 103 sorcerer InVictus.  There was also a non-fighting night shadow there, IncubuS, with a first-stage jaguar pet equipped.  After checking that there was room for me there too, I started my potions.  Barb had used 38 of her Escape items - Myvi commented later that he usually used around 10.

There was a little friction at the start, until we sorted out which sphinx commanders were whose - Myvi never commented, but InVictus wanted to reserve the two "commies" on the outside ring, to the right and left of the doorway, for himself, and showed his displeasure when i attacked one of them with a token, skill-less "ks".  But once I understood which ones he meant, and got oriented, things quickly settled down, and I joined the combat party...as did Keerella, who used a teleport book to move directly to me.

The spot I initially put Keerella in wasn't a safe one, and poor SkrappY, my level 52 Scra-Chi pet, died very quickly.  It wasn't long before Kee had a "send error report?" LC crash too, but at least that gave her the opportunity to get SkrappY unsealed, at a cost of over two million, before teleporting in again.

Keerella settled in next to IncubuS after that, and all went well.  SkrappY levelled up, reaching 53, though while IncubuS and his jaguar were there the two pets shared the pet experience from the sphinx commanders.  Once they left, things speeded up, and SkrappY ended the session two-thirds of the way through his new level.

It was a long session, and I didn't take the usual early evening food break, just getting some water and cereal bars instead.  The first hour saw Barb use 37 experience boosters, and going up 9.31%, but as I got used to things, and space opened up, things moved along a little quicker.  The second hour used 38 of the boosters, for 9.94% experience.  It was around then that I had my first sighting of the knight ZiPe, but he didn't stay long, and may have had an error, like Kee - he returned though and joined the combat party, after InVictus had left - and returned a third time later.

The third hour saw me crack open 39 boosters, for another 9.94%; the fourth hour used up another 39, adding 9.90%.  With the place almost to myself, concentrating on the two sphinx commanders InVictus had preferred, during the fifth hour I used 43 boosters for 11.01%, taking Barbarienne into level 106; I used 44 in the sixth hour, for 11.00%, and, during the seventh and final hour, another 43 boosters were used, adding another 10.75%.  Reaching level 106 had meant that Barb could put on her new leggings, and that increased her physical defence from 3350 to 3433.  That minor increase rather backs up my strategy of keeping with the level 86 pair, rather than going to the 91, 96 and 101 types, if I could have found them.

Myvi had been a non-fighter for a few hours in the middle, but was back in action later on, and we finished at just about the same time.  He had done six fighting hours, he said, for around 90% of a level. While we were recovering from our exertions, a new knight arrived, but he was a little low-level for a combat party with Myvi or Barb, and by the time he decided that, after all, maybe a combat party with Keerella would be better than a solo party, Kee had already logged out...though it took a few minutes for the older computer to actually close down the game.

For just standing around, Keerella had got herself 1.70% experience, and the same number of skill points as Barbarienne - 13.  In all, Barb went up by 71.91%, using seven pbis, crit pots, platinum adrenalin, and berserker potions, along with 283 experience boosters.  So, if one can get there, it may be a little cheaper on the boosters than the anubis spear men.  I hadn't equipped Barb's drake early on, as each time I tried it immediately took damage, but eventually I got used to it getting hit just about every time I attacked a new sphinx commander, and put the green herb leaves on the skills bar, to keep topping up its health.  The drake added 5047 pet points, so is pretty near the top of level 44 now.

The Tomb's condition must have been pretty easy, as generally Barbarienne's 10% suction of life accessory was all that was needed to keep her healthy.  A few times she did have to use Self Heal, but nothing seemed particularly dangerous, even when two sphinx commanders came in together on her.  Good evasion helps of course, if they can't hit, they can't hurt me.

Back in Randol, Barbarienne was able to pass her old level 86 +15 leggings across to Kaerella, who in return passed some gold across, and some green herb leaves.  Wearing the +15 pair instead of her +13 pair increased Kae's physical defence from 2655 to 2798.  Barb then went to the Master Healer to learn the new seventh level of Enchant Arrow, a passive skill which increases her physical attack by 35 - at a cost of 700 skill points, and 60 million gold, hence the need for some cash from Kae.

Barbarienne did actually have a quest to kill three sphinx commanders, so that got completed early on.  There's a quest for spear men that she hasn't claimed a reward for yet, I must try to time my visits to the quest-givers for when an event has raised the amount of experience on offer, as both the rewards seemed reasonably generous.

The one armour item picked up during the session was a level 86 sorcerer shirt, Mother Earth Armour +2, with two sockets.  Normally I just sell Tomb armour drops to the npc merchant, who would give 433,900 gold, but the +2 and the sockets would make it worth selling via the merchant mart... though due to a glitch, or lack of forethought, items with sockets can't be sold via Roy yet.  So I guess I hold on to it for a while.  The commies weren't particularly generous with their drops otherwise, though there was a heaven stone, some stars, stripes, and tokens, a ring or two, and a couple of hands of protection, which give a large defence potion.  After Barb levelled up, the "hands" are now blue-named for her - I wondered what was happening when the first one appeared.

Back in the Tomb - July 13th

Once again there wasn't a morning Last Chaos session for me, as I had some work that needed to be done, but after lunch, Keerella headed back to the Tomb of Theos on Cariae-4.  This time, however, she was accompanied by SirKit, and just fought the screaming zombies at the start, with Kit "ks-ing" her.

SirKit started at level 60, so was able to use a last 31-60 platinum blessed iris, before moving on to using the 61-90 type, which should keep him going for a while. During the afternoon, SirKit was, after a while, in a solo party, while Keerella had a combat party with a level 90 night shadow, SHADOWWARRIOR, which helped gain a tiny bit of extra experience for both of us I guess, and ought to have helped his skill point farming along slightly, since Kee was higher level, closer to the zombies' 100.  He left fairly early in my food break, though... and later xShadowWarriorx was in the party SirKit joined, so I was able to guess the name of the night shadow of his he referred to.

SirKit's attacks did give him a useful proportion of the experience from each screaming zombie Keerella attacked; he got around 60% of a level from the first pbi, though that figure did tend to fall a bit as time passed, since each level tends to need more experience than the previous one.  56%, 52%, 50%, 48%, 45%...and finally 44%.

During the afternoon part of the session, Keerella added 1.01% and 14 skill points, plus 2746 pet points, over three hours, while SirKit got 167.92% and 2235 pet points. Over the four hours of the evening, Kee gained a further 1.09%, 20 skill points, and 3570 pet points, and Kit added 187.68% and 2871 pet points, which were enough to get his drake into level 35.  These small amounts of experience for Kee, and the small numbers of skill points, are starting to add up, though she will need to be the star of some sessions of her own, with a pbi and boosters, to make any real levelling-up progress.

I had expected a rogue or two to get in touch to ask to ks, but generally SirKit and Keerella were able to carry on alone, though there did tend to be a few other people around fighting the screamies.  An archer and a mage were teamed up for a while, and I saw Myvi a couple of times, no doubt heading for the end room again.  An assassin-type rogue was pretty high level I think, judging from the large groups of screaming zombies, plus a few mummies, she brought into the room to fight.  She had to bring them there because she was levelling a friend's pet-leveller type knight, who would have been in big trouble if he'd tried to go any further in.

The assassin had to leave before the job was completed, so I let him join Kee's party for a while - things are slow for that kind of levelling at 29, but I think he got fairly close to 30 before he had to leave.  I don't think he can have too high a level main character, he didn't seem to know about the details of pet-levelling, like getting a red name to decrease your attack.

The conversation in Kee's solo party got on to what we listened to, or indeed watched, while playing the game, and it seems I'm not the only one to listen to old radio shows... the name "Hancock", he of the old "Half Hour" shows, doesn't get past the chat filter of course, sigh, having to type "Hanc0ck" is just silly.

But that's really all there is to report on today.  The headline "event" for today was, um, the Server Maintenance, due at 1:00am tomorrow morning as far as the UK is concerned.  Will it make it possible to meld costume covers onto armour again, restore the "Condition" bars to the chart that the teleporter outside the Tomb of Theos shows us, end the July 4th event with its stars, stripes and top hats, make skill exp farming easier, solve many of the bugs we live with, open up a bugged side of "the chapel" in Mondshine, bring us the new-look version of Juno, restore missing items to the item mall, and generally make everyone exceedingly happy?  Around the world, thousands of Last Chaos players are holding their breath...possibly.

Two New Investments - July 14th

The changes from last night's regular weekly maintenance are as usual disappointingly minor.  The July 4th event has ended, as expected, and a couple of Mondshine quests have been made repeatable rather than just once a day, while the "giant skill pill" now works as it should, instead of apparently just adding to one's physical offence, and an exploit which let people wear higher-level armour if it was melded has, they say, been fixed.

Talking about melding, there was also news about that bug which meant that people have for the last two weeks been unable to meld costume covers onto their armour.  A week ago we were led to believe that the developers were apparently "still working on it", but it was "trickier to fix than had been expected", or words to that effect.  And now this time, the Aeria people have had to shame-facedly admit that the change was in fact deliberate.  " Costumes CANNOT be melded to socketed gear, this is AS INTENDED by the developers. We are unhappy with this as well and are working on getting it changed. "  It just shows how terrible the communication is between Aeria's California branch and the developers in South Korea, despite product manager Aeria_ks1lent's trip out to meet them.

MistressDomina went into merchant mode for the morning on Cariae-4, and managed to sell some item drop boosters.  SirKit logged on briefly too, and found a couple of new quests in Dratan City.  The Herbologist Trainer there had "The First Class Spiderweb Collection", the first quest needing a trip into the Temple of Forgetfulness, while Occultist Pianon offered "Sphinx's Wicked Intention", which meant that Kit needed to take a trip out to the sphinx fighters and speer men, and kill five of each.

There was no great point in heading to the Temple of Forgetfulness until Kit has at least the quest to kill the legendary slayers as well, but a quick trip out to the sphinx types was easy enough to fit in.  Even staying around until a second set of horse buffs ran out only got the experience gain up by 0.41%, but Kit did add a couple of skill points, as well as 67 pet points for his drake.

Back in Randol, a visit to the Master Knight skills trainer revealed that level eight of Concentration was now available, for 200 skill points, so Kit got that - it increases the skill's "power" from 55 to 70, which ought to mean that it improves the chance of someone's skill, such as Snare or Shield Strike, succeeding.

I then switched across to RedRydeR, my level 87 phoenix rogue, and had a look through Roy's merchant mart, hoping to find a good level 85 crossbow at a reasonable price - and I found a level 85 Darkness Shadow Bow being sold by RedMind for 450 million, which seemed good to me.  It is a blue-named one, with all five bloodseals - which means that on top of its 430 basic attack, and the 633 + 75 for the +15, it increases its long range physical attack by 9 + 9, all types of physical attack by 8 + 8, and attack by 5.  So, it's a more powerful beast than a green-named crossbow - though a green-named one does have useful hit rate extras.  RedRydeR's old level 69 Pillgrip Bow +15 meant that her physical offence stat was 1685 (with a 1239 stat for her physical hit rate); now her physical offence has moved up to 2085, even if her hit rate stat has dropped by 74.  That just left Red needing level 87 boots, to replace the level 77 ones she has been wearing, one of the armour items kindly given to her by MEDSx.

After helping transfer RedRydeR's old weapon across to SirKit, MistressDomina went back into merchant mode.  SirKit then visited Collector Ryl to transform the level 69 crossbow (for 820,000 gold)  into Eglain dual swords +15.   Kit is on level 64 at the moment, so can't use the new weapon without penalty until he levels up, but when he does reach 65, his physical offence stat will, in turn, rise from 1312 with his level 61 Torain dual swords to 1448.  He also took the opportunity to change Red's old 70/72 armour set into its knightly equivalent; when he can wear it all, at level 67, his physical defence will rise from 2337 to 2916, it seems.

After lunch RedRyder did some green herb leaf farming, and then passed over the results to MistressDomina, along with some other items that had been in storage on her account; MD then went back into merchant mode, and the herbs sold rather quickly, so that was a relatively quick five million or so earned.  She stayed in merchant mode for the rest of the afternoon, and into the evening, though sales were a bit slow.

RedRyder had seen a pair of fine b5e level 87 boots for sale via Roy's merchant mart; the problem was that they were rather expensive, as +15 items do tend to be, so I was hoping that MistressDomina would take in enough gold to cover their cost.  Customers, however, seemed few and far between, though MD's gold reserves did gradually increase over time.

The main afternoon session, however, involved Kaerella on Katar, who, after her recent big move forward, adding 44% in level 35, needed to move a little more slowly, just in a solo party.  The back room of Prokion Temple on Katar-5 was available, so Kaerella settled in there.

I did have one visitor, a rogue called lOrD, a name that looks rather strange until one decides that it starts with a lower-case "L".  She did stay for a few minutes, trying to kill everything before I could, but I rode it out, and, since I was killing enough orcs to make the place not really attractive for her, she eventually backed down and left, though she did look in again later to check that I was still in charge there.

The session just added 5.46% and 53 guild points for Discipline, along with 254 skill points - and of course the skill points were the main object of the exercise. At that rate, doing the whole of level 35 in a solo party, in that back room, would have brought in 4,650 skill points.

For the evening session, while MistressDomina continued to try to sell some goodies on Cariae-4, my level 41 rogue over on Tairen, xRAGEx, logged in, and headed for Maargadum Jail to get a few skill points, and some experience, from the spike canines, dire spike canines, and their two-headed friends.  As this was to be one of my early-finishing Wednesday evenings, I only spent about two hours there, almost entirely on the second level.  Rage did reach level 42, while adding 29.58%, 147 skill points, and 1224 pet points for her level 37 drake.

Since Rage had levelled up, there was a new quest waiting in Merac Village, "Spike Canines Skin", requiring Rage to kill a few of the Jail's canines to get five skins.  This shouldn't be a problem... it's slightly strange to have a quest to kill creatures that are a level or two below one's own level, but it's all good experience.

MistressDomina's sales did continue through the evening, and finally, when I was able to check up on things again, she had just taken in enough money to buy RedRydeR her boots - Ebade Chaser Boots +15, with the full five evasion seals and the blue name, sold via Roy's merchant mart by Cloroform for 899 million gold.  So, Red is now pretty well equipped for her next adventures, or will be when the boots are passed over to her tomorrow.

I did think about leaving MistressDomina selling overnight, to get a bit of gold together again...but both computers are eager to download some new Windows updates, so would tend to switch themselves off automatically as soon as I turned my back.

The Gloves Are On... - July 15th

MistressDomina logged in after breakfast, and, after moving across some more sellable items to her from another couple of characters, RedRydeR came online, and exchanged the new level 87 Ebade Chaser Boots +15 for some lucky smelting stones.  Equipping these new boots, instead of the level 77 Ebade Forceful Boots +13, moved her physical defence up from 2905 to 3101 - and added 50 to her magical defence as well.

After that, MistressDomina went into merchant mode.  This was to be one of the Thursdays when I'm kept busy downstairs almost all day, so she was able to stay that way until after the early evening food break, which gave her a chance to sell a useful amount of stuff, slowly but steadily.  The Runes of Protection II sold, and a useful number of heaven stones, and some other items as well - item drop boosters, chaos balls, and lucky smelting stones.

Enchantrella was able to do some farming and mining, too, with me checking up occasionally, and using a few tool aids - later she transferred a nice large quantity of green herb leaves across to MistressDomina.  They may not make a huge lot of gold, but having hundreds of tool aids in storage is a bit of a waste.

So, that just left an evening session, which tied in quite well, time-wise, with a "happy hour" of double pet experience.  The main Cariae priority at the moment is to get SirKit up a few more levels, so Keerella and SirKit went out to the Tomb of Theos on Cariae-4 again.  Since they are both able to equip their drakes, that meant double use of the "happy hour".

It was no surprise to see that the bars that indicate the "Condition" of the Tomb were still missing, so one doesn't know what one is letting oneself in for when one starts fighting in there.  Luckily, Keerella is pretty well armoured now, for a mage, and so can probably withstand the level 100 screaming zombies, at least, even if the place is set more towards the hard end of the spectrum.

Keerella and SirKit entered, and started fighting, with as usual Kee luring a zombie back into the corridor, and then Kit joining in the attack.  There were occasionally people who ran through, heading for the depths of the Tomb, but generally I had the starting area to myself, which was handy.  A level 90 night shadow called Hasenko arrived and attacked a screaming zombie, so I suggested a combat party, knowing he had to be at least level 90 as that's where night shadows start.  He agreed - but after losing quite a lot of health on the next zombie or two, decided not to continue, and left without a word.

So, Keerella was without a party; there was only one solo party available, and SirKit had joined it.  Things proceeded much as before; Kit used three of the level 61-90 platinum blessed irises, going up by 41%, 42%, and 41%.  Kit reached level 65 just before the end of the second hour, and so was able to start using the level 69 dual swords and the level 70 gloves, which got the usual sort of bloodseals all sorted out before the end.  We did continue for a little while after the third pbi ended, but there wasn't time for a fourth one.

Keerella went up by 0.81%, 16 skill points, and, thanks to the double pet experience, 6184 pet points, while SirKit went up by 127.87%, and 5042 pet points. With any luck, another four hours ought to get Kit into level 67, so that he can wear the whole of the 70/72 armour set.  That's when the strategy can change, and he can try soloing the screaming zombies himself - it might well be possible before that with enough health potions, but with the special pbis so cheap, this is a relatively economical way to move him up.

Early on, the Tomb did seem a bit hostile, and when SirKit did become the target of a second zombie's attacks, his health did fall ominously quickly.  Initially Keerella's health did fall too, faster, it seemed, than her 10% suction of life accessory could cope with... but that was only in the opening minutes, things did seem to settle down nicely after that.

Afterwards, MistressDomina logged back in, and, as she had taken in a useful amount of gold by then, after moving some loot across, Keerella had a quick look at Roy's merchant mart stocks.  The first thing to do was see if there were any b5e +15 mage gloves for her.  Over recent months I must have looked many dozens of times, without any luck - but this time AngelRogu3 had put up a pair of the gloves Kee needed, at 635 million...so it was just as well MistressDomina had had so much time to sell stuff today.  MD transferred the gold across to Kee, who bought the gloves.  Wearing those instead of her old +13 ones increases her physical defence from 2785 to 2918, and also increases her magic defence from 408 to 458, since an extra 50 magic defence is a bonus you get from wearing a piece of +15 armour.  And, since Kee's set is now all b5e +15, she has a much bigger Tinkerbell style "fairy" hovering at her shoulder.

MistressDomina went back into merchant mode after that, for the rest of the evening, and managed to get back a little of that cash splurge, mainly on sales of heaven stones.  After all, if I generally buy items that have already been upgraded to +13 or +15, I don't have much use for large quantities of heaven stones myself...

SirKit Reaches His Target - July 16th

I logged MistressDomina in after breakfast again on Cariae-4, to attempt to sell some stuff, and she did rather well, with 100 item drop boosters making a good start - and then somebody came along and spent 587 million in one go, which I think was mainly lucky smelting stones.  So, it wasn't long before the money spent on Keerella's new gloves last night was regained.

SirKit logged on to see if there were any new quests in Dratan, now that he was level 65, but there wasn't anything new.  he got the reward for killing the sphinx types from Occultist Pianon, and then rode out to the Temple of Forgetfulness, to get the location onto his memory scroll.  Since he was there, he went in and killed a few Cursed Spiders, to get enough spider webs for his quest from the Herbologist Trainer - that didn't take long, but he stayed until his horse buffs ended, before returning to town for his reward.  The actual fighting added 0.35%, 2 skill points, and 64 pet points, but adding in the quest rewards meant that his brief session added 2.70%, 14 skill points, and the 64 pet points.

Looking through Roy's merchant mart stock, there was no sign of a good level 107 circlet for Barbarienne, or indeed any improved level 85/86 armour pieces for RedRydeR, so the gold that MistressDomina was stocking up on looked likely to end up paying for SirKit's next armour and weapon.  There was quite a good pair of dual swords, level 85, on sale for 400 million, I noticed... but I suspect the armour pieces of the knight's 85/87 set will tend to be a bit more expensive.

During the afternoon, Keerella and SirKit were able to fit in three more hours in the Tomb of Theos, with Kit using three more pbis - he added 39, 40, and 37% experience, for a total of 116.26% in all, plus 2222 pet points.  Keerella, meanwhile, added 0.71%, 12 skill points, and 2767 pet points.

Hasenko put in another appearance, staying a bit longer this time, again in a combat party, though his armour doesn't seem particularly sturdy.  Towards the end of the session, after he'd gone, the level 84 royal knight ThegoD turned up, and asked to party with Keerella.  Since it didn't matter if Kee's experience gain got cut back a bit, I agreed, but it wasn't long before he asked if it was okay for him to go afk for "ten minutes"... while he did reappear briefly within that deadline, and moved slightly further back out of the zombie spawning area, he spent the rest of the session, another twenty minutes, away from his keyboard again.  He was still sitting there when I got back to the computer after my early evening food break, but, since Kee too had just been standing around doing nothing for the last half hour or so, he finally left the party.

In fact, looking at the chat from that period, I see that he asked to party with RitaBalou, as well as Lornea, who were also active there at the time, and managed to annoy Rita.  "ThegoD, people don't appreciate it if you kill their mobs here, okay?"  That was followed by "And you can be reported for that - which I will do now, cuz I took a screenshot."  Which rather overstates things, assuming that he was just doing a little ks-ing, but still.

As soon as he saw that Keerella was back in action, he reformed the party, but after the first screaming zombie we killed together, he went back to sit by the wall, so after getting no response to "Are you back in action now, ThegoD?" I left the party... and soon after that he logged out.  I don't mind helping people, but he was taking "leaching" a bit far.

One more pbi-using hour got SirKit into level 67, which was the object of the exercise - that was another 39%.  Kee and Kit did continue for another half hour, approximately, so that in all Kit added 44.61% and 1059 pet points, while Keerella added 0.34%, 7 skill points, and 1337 pet points.  SirKit was now able to wear the whole of the 70/72 armour set, which was the object of the exercise.

It seemed a good idea for Keerella to check out the ancient grey mummies, a little further into the Tomb, so Kit recruited her into the solo party that, by now, he was leader of, gave her the Divine Shield buff, and retreated to the area by the teleporter.  Kee then ran to the mummies' room, and tried out a few.

Even using the Haste and Spell Focus buffs to speed up her attack, it tended to take about two minutes to kill an ancient grey mummy - time for them to use their "rotten bandage bleeding" skill twice.  While Kee's suction of life was pretty useful, some small health potions, at least, had to be used.  Each mummy gave 16,014,237 experience and 3,300 skill exp, at Kee's current level, though that will increase as she levels up, reaching 4,400 skill exp when she is their own level, 103.  At present a third of a skill point every two minutes doesn't sound too wonderful, or 10 sp per hour; a platinum super skill pill would get that up to 30 skill points, while using thirty skill point boosters would get it up to 120...though that seems a pretty expensive way of gaining sp.  Perhaps when level 103 is reached it will be just about worth it, though it is entirely possible that skill exp in-game may have been tweaked a bit by then.

Back in Randol, SirKit was able to learn, for 200 sp, level one of Upgrade Mana 2, which, as the name suggests, increased his maximum mana points from 1784 to 2432, even if the skill description did talk about health points.  In Dratan, the Magician gave him the "Magician's Rest" quest to kill seven legendary slayers in the Forgotten Temple.  If that got left for a level or two, Kit would have the quest for the curd hadians and twin hadians too...but Kit is now poised on the edge of the big power-level, so may never be in Dratan at the right level for that one. or indeed for the jumping devils there.

Keerella ended up getting just 0.39% and 7 skill points from the ancient grey mummies, plus 871 pet points.  But there was about an hour left to the evening, and I fancied a change, so Kee logged out.  SirKit had passed the solo party leadership over to Kee - and she now passed it on to MistressDomina, who'd logged in to try a bit more selling, before logging out.

Kaerella, my level 35 archer, logged in on Katar-5 for an hour's worth of skill point farming, but the back room in Prokion Temple was taken, as was the corridor room nearby, so Kae ended up on the central gallery.  She got recruited into a party, which, with its other two members, a rogue and another archer, a few levels lower, I hoped might boost my skill exp gain, but I think it was an old-fashioned precedence party...whatever it was, the skill exp gain didn't seem too good, and while Kae added 5.61% experience, she only added 37 skill points, along with 65 guild points.  However, Kaerella did reach the 18.5k mark on the sp side, which can't be bad.

I chatted a bit with a level 35 rogue there, cookieman1234, who seemed to have missed out on getting the freebie +10 armour set and weapons, presumably from having a full inventory, and was suitably envious of Kae's +15 level 33 weapon, which, as far as I can remember, cost me about 50 million, a while ago.  But then it was time to log out for the night.