Kaerella's Blog - stardate December 2010 (2)
Unbloggishly, here we read from the top down - so our final month continues here at the top!
A Pale Blue Screen - December 17th

Cariae's Kaerella and Barbarienne, plus Auzura's MistressSabina, started the attendance half hours today, and were followed by Auzura's Kaerella plus the Twisted guild members MistressDomina and Rage, who all did a little mining to pass the time.  Then SirGalahad completed the set, also mining some stones, and CaptainScarlet was able to start his pet-levelling for the day, getting past the halfway mark in level 48 for his drake before lunch.

MistressDomina tried killing a fox at the end of her session, to see if by any chance last night's double skill exp was still running - and found that not only was it still on, but we had double experience as well.  My theory was that, instead of switching off the skill exp happy hour last night, a GM had turned the double experience on by mistake...

So, it seemed a good idea to let MistressSabina have a morning session with the giants, while RedRackham logged in on Auzura-6 to provide her solo party; he was on, in Maargadum Jail, just long enough to get his horse into level 33.

Double experience and skill exp doesn't actually add a huge amount to MistressSabina's experience and skill point gain, since she already has the doubling effect of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and the maximum, without individual boosters, is 150% extra, but it did help things along a little, and Sabina added 14.74%,  87 skill points, and 864 pet points.  Picking up 22 assorted weapons got her inventory weight up from 60.68% to 147.62%, rather too close to the 150% maximum to allow her to pick up anything else, so she had to make a trip back to Dratan City to sell things.  She went back out and got some more drops, so that in all she earned around 9.4 million, before lunchtime came along.

The plan for the afternoon was for Kaerella and Barbarienne, over on Cariae, to have another session with the ancient grey mummies, but when Kae reached the Tomb entrance and checked with Tomb Guard Atum there, the condition of the place had fallen to 60%, which would have made progress rather slow, so instead I logged in my level 44 version of Kaerella on the Katar server - only to find that the double experience and skill exp had been switched off.  A check on Auzura confirmed that it wasn't just a matter of different rates on different servers, it was entirely gone.

So, in the end RedRackham went back to Jail, and MistressSabina made the party with him again, and teleported out to the giants again.  This wasn't a very long or intense session, but Sabina got another 4 million's worth of weapons, along with 9.59% experience, 62 skill points, and 711 pet points.

After the food break, MistressSabina briefly returned to the giants, mainly to use up an ignition run, adding just 1.87%, 12 skill points, and 137 pet points - but then I wanted to check the condition of the Tomb of Theos on Cariae-4 again, so Kaerella logged in over there.

The Tomb had been reset, thankfully, and was at 80%, so Barbarienne logged in too, and my pair of healers headed for the ancient grey mummies room, in time for the last half of the five to six o'clock dungeon time hour.  We continued there - but Kaerella's computer got an error, and the entire screen went pale blue.  Luckily Barbarienne was able to heal her a bit and kill the mummy that was still attacking her in-game, but the only thing I could do was restart the new Windows 7-running computer, and have Kaerella hurry back to the Tomb.

The price of admission had been cut today from the usual 3k per level to 1.4k per level, so Kae still came out ahead, and the problem didn't recur - a web search for "pale blue screen" revealed that this was a known problem with the particular graphics card and Windows 7 64-bit, and luckily a hotfix had been made available -  at www.megaupload.com/d?=ENGNXGQ0.  So I downloaded that, and made preparations to apply it later.

By the end of the evening, thanks to double experience being our event of the day, Kaerella had earned 3.82%, 47 skill points, and 4190 pet points - enough to take Cariae's SirFrancis into level 54.  Despite having her experience gain halved by the guild freeze, Barbarienne added 3.19%, which took her into the start of level 111, and 47 skill points, with the polar bear cub reaching level 22.

The forum shoutbox had been fairly busy today; there was a special "watch advertising videos to earn aeria points" deal going on, which unfortunately didn't apply to us non-Americans, but did rather overwhelm the Aeria billing server, with all the tiny transactions it generated, so that people were unable to buy aeria points.  It's easy to be wise after the event, but someone ought to have realised that there would be a massive amount of traffic generated by that.  And now the weekend approaches - what new delights await us?

Once again, CaptainScarlet had kept going, levelling Auzura's SirFrancis; by the end of the evening the drake had passed the 80% mark in level 48, so he's still a fair way behind his Cariae namesake.  Tomorrow's event is scheduled to be some double pet experience, so that ought to help move things on to the next level.

Power Cut - December 18th

Cariae's Kaerella and Barbarienne logged in for their attendance bonus before breakfast, along with Auzura's MistressSabina... and when I checked up after breakfast, I found that Sabina had a friend request, from someone called PandemicX3.  I accepted, hoping that it wasn't an ap or password scammer, and discovered that he was a level 31 sorcerer from Germany - and would I become the guardian of his friend?

Once I'd worked out that, unlike the other two screens, I was on Auzura rather than Cariae, and amended the name of the guardian from Keerella to Kaerella, we went ahead, and the level 1 archer moriana became Kae's apprentice.  Power-levelling was required, of course - I always think of the Tomb of Theos automatically for that, but unlike when Kee was "reputation farming", now we have Strayana too, and PandemicX3 suggested we go there.

I was a little wary, as I don't have the vaccine to protect myself from the "Strayana virus", but as it turned out, once I was fighting the black puddings (and how's that for a name for monsters?) just outside the town's gate, the suction of life generally kept up with that easily enough.  Black puddings may be level 108, but Kaerella is level 102 now, so they didn't give any big problems.

I got moriana to 20, but she asked to go to 23, so we continued a while; she was using one of the beginner platinum blessed irises to boost her experience gain so it didn't take too long.  Naturally, as an apprentice, she then asked for some gold, so, back in Randol I gave her 300k and a couple of useful rings.  I assume that wanting to get to level 23 was a good sign, that she will continue, as if she'd just been after the +15 event weapons level 20 would have been enough.

PandemicX3 had asked to come along too in the party, as he wanted to get to level 32.  He was still 31 when moriana had been finished, so he suggested we go to the Tomb - but when we got to the entrance I saw that as we were in Auzura-4 he hadn't got the Elizabeth buff, and, with the Tomb on maximum hard, and the cost of getting in... well, a switch to Auzura-5, and a return to the black puddings, seemed cheaper and quicker!  So we went back to Strayana, on Auzura-5, and got him his level, so he was happy... and one black pudding dropped a piece of level 106 armour, which hopefully I can sell for about as much as I gave moriana.

The timing had been pretty good, as my first three characters had just managed to complete their attendance, and Kaerella (Auzura version) did her half hour in Strayana etc, while I did manage to log Rage and MistressDomina on for their times too.  After coffee, SirGalahad logged in to complete the set, and do a little mining - and CaptainScarlet headed for his death mask lancer in Maargadum Jail.

GerMex had been in touch with Kaerella on Cariae too; as he's in the USA, he was up rather late.  He reported that he had got his skills maximised, and 1k or so spare skill points, but was getting a bit bored; I did hope he would continue sp-farming in Prokion Temple to something approaching level 35 before he decided he just had to be power-levelled.  At that stage he had got as far as level 27, though, so was doing pretty well.  We did however have double experience still running from last night, which would have negated the 50% freeze from the guild, and explained his rapid rise.

He decided to head for the Tomb to get it on his memory scroll (his other character MexiGer was the one Keerella used her last summon book on, to power-level there), so I took SirKit out into the Dratan desert to assist, and tried to keep the dragons, etc, off him while he ran past them, and guided him along the route to the Tomb that doesn't involve sphinx fighters and "speer" men.

We moved to Cariae-6 after that, and, as GerMex was adamant that he wanted to level up a bit, Kaerella joined him, and we went into the Tomb for the last 40 minutes of the morning session.  He just ks'd Kae, that is, fought the same monster but not in the party; an attempt for him to get the final blow failed when the screaming zombie changed target and killed him, but he managed to level up from 31 to 32 at least.  Kaerella just added 0.58%, 3 skill points, and 594 pet points.

He was planning to stay around and play alongside Kaerella after lunch, but as he is on USA time (Oregon), I think he must have finally succumbed to the need for sleep, as he was offline when I got back.  So Kaerella headed deeper in, to the ancient grey mummies, and was quickly joined there by Barbarienne.

The afternoon session there went smoothly; I had expected Cariae-6 to be busier than my usual Cariae-4, but I generally had the room to myself.  Kaerella added 2.92%, 29 skill points, and 3059 pet points, while Barbarienne added 3.52% and 30 skill points.  The polar bear cub added about 80%, reaching level 23.

After the food break, things continued similarly; a titan did start fighting in the corridor and we exchanged buffs, but generally the place was far from busy.  However, we now come to our headline; perhaps because of the extremely cold weather and snow we have had today, there was a split-second loss of electricity, and all three computers went off; the old XP-running one, on which CaptainScarlet was pet-levelling, shut down, but restarted when I pushed the power button, the middle Vista-running computer restarted automatically - and the new Windows 7 machine shut down, and wouldn't start up, seeming completely, well, powerless.

It didn't take long to get CaptainScarlet back into action; the other functioning computer took a little longer, as it had been halfway through doing an itunes update when the cut came, but I logged Barbarienne and then Kaerella in, to check their totals.  That titan must have been surprised by us vanishing suddenly - not suddenly enough, though, I discovered, as, while Barbarienne was unhurt, the polar bear cub had been killed, and it cost 533,104 gold to unseal him.  Still, he had gone up another 20% or so before the cut; Barbarienne had added 1.35% by then, and 9 skill points.  Kaerella's drake was unharmed, the mummy she'd been fighting had concentrated on her, so that she'd lost around 40% of her health.  Kae had gained 1.49%, 10 skill points, and 942 pet points.

For the moment, I didn't have the heart to do any more active playing; the promised double pet experience had started, so CaptainScarlet began a one-hour platinum pet experience potion.  He'd levelled the drake up to 49 shortly before the break, and now started to make useful progress through that level.  RedRackham also headed for Maargadum Jail, to do some work on his level 33 pale blue horse.

So, my lovely new computer was sitting there dark and silent - and with the snow and ice, I was sincerely doubting if the manufacturer's "collect and return" service would be able to do anything this side of January.  I had actually started to draft the email to Palicomp when I finally thought of changing the fuse in the plug... and when I did put a new fuse in, and plugged the computer back in, this time the computer miraculously returned to life.

Before long MistressSabina was able to take a trip out to the giants, in a general solo party; all went well there, and she added 14.15%, 81 skill points and 1654 pet points.  The double pet experience, which had started relatively promptly, helped RedRackham to get his horse into level 34; CaptainScarlet used three platinum pet experience potions in all, and so managed to get his current drake past the halfway mark in level 49.  I was lucky the double experience lasted through the third hour, as it is only supposed to run for two hours at a time.  I don't think I've ever seen the fifth floor of the Jail so busy, as well as Red and Cap there were at least three other knights at work.

Life Insurance - December 19th

The double pet experience got switched off last night, a little while after CaptainScarlet's third ppep ended, which removed my temptation to keep CaptainScarlet and RedRackham at work pet-levelling in Maargadum Jail overnight.  It would have been switched on again at 1:00am UK time for the second "two hours" - the question was, would the GMs remember to switch it off again, or by 3:00am or so, 7:00pm their time, would they be in too much of a rush to leave the office?

Cariae's Kaerella and Barbarienne, plus MistressSabina, logged on in the morning for their attendance half hours; GerMex was still on, and had reached level 52, so Kaerella advised him to go and farm the giants for drops.  He was wanting to buy some experience boosters, but at a million or so each, he'll need to do some saving up first.

MistressSabina's trip out to the giants last night had had a little bonus.  Before she went out from Dratan City I noticed that there was a new quest available to her - and it asked her to go out and kill a few giants, to collect "Devil's Magic".  So, that quest was soon finished, without any extra effort, and the reward gave Sabina 3.03% experience and 8 skill points, which were included in last night's totals.

Auzura's Kaerella and MistressDomina logged on for their attendance next, while CaptainScarlet returned to Jail, started fighting his death mask lancer - and discovered that the double pet experience had indeed been left running, so before too long he started another platinum pet experience potion, so that 2 pet points per time became 6 points per time, or over six thousand per hour.  That was the last ppep he had; he had a few lucky pet boxes, and the first one I opened was indeed lucky, as it gave him five more ppeps to use.

CaptainScarlet continued his work while Rage and SirGalahad logged in on the newer computers, and did a little mining.  They did continue beyond their half hours, while I finally did some local Christmas cards - but they both got disconnected.  Luckily, CaptainScarlet wasn't effected, and by the time lunch was approaching had got the drake, Kae's SirFrancis, into level 50 - mission accomplished.  He went on to use another ppep, though.  RedRackham went to Jail too, on Auzura-6, with a view to perhaps giving MistressSabina a solo party later.

Despite the snow, which was relatively deep, pretty crisp, but not particularly even, I went out to deliver some Christmas cards and do a little shopping; when I came back, CaptainScarlet and RedRackham were still safely in action - but the newest computer had switched itself off.  As lunch was approaching, I left it like that, wondering if another new fuse would be needed for its power plug.

Over an extended lunch break, the good news was that RedRackham got his horse into level 35; the bad news was that CaptainScarlet's screen froze, and then instead of the actions resuming after a few seconds, the screen went black, except for some text at the top left, and I couldn't even get the task manager to start - some of the task bar icons went a bit strange, too.  It was a bit of a "And then there was one?" moment, but when I restarted the computer, Last Chaos loaded without any problems, and Cap was soon back fighting his death mask lancer.

After that, I dared to start the Palicomp computer again; it had obviously had a problem, but I got to a "last good" option, chose that, and things returned to life.  But for how long...?  While my two pet-levellers continued their work, I logged SirGalahad in, as any sudden disconnection while he was fighting ghouls in Prokion Temple wouldn't hurt him.  He chatted to a to-be-phoenix rogue called LilMitchyy123, mentioning he'd seen the night shadow with a similar name in the Tomb, and not mentioning the "ks-rella" circumstances.  Mitchy seems just to be aiming for 10k skill points in Prokion Temple, plus the 1,200 when the rogue becomes a phoenix and zooms to level 35... I guess that should get her to the ancient grey mummies safely.

It wasn't a long or intense session, but by the time the food break arrived, SirGalahad had earned 2.66%, and 73 skill points...and picked up some loot, gold, and tokens too.  It might have been longer if I hadn't downloaded and installed another Aeria game on the new computer, "Kitsu Saga"...it hadn't worked on the Vista machine, I'd never got as far as the character creation screen there, but this time it worked.  I just did a couple of quests, killing some pesky giant ants, but that ought to keep me on the mailing list for that game at least.

The GokSReturN guild had held on to Dratan Castle on Auzura during the castle siege last night, so when Kaerella checked, the Tomb of Theos was still on maximum hard, or 0%...I know they have a legitimate grievance, but, while this may be very inconvenient for other Auzura players, and cut down the amount of aeria points people spend, I doubt if the GMs even realise that.  And even if they did, stubborn male pride tends to win out over financial sense every time.  Luckily the Cariae Tomb was on 80% when I checked, so that Kaerella and Barbarienne (replacing RedRackham, who'd recently been ks'd anyway, on the Vista computer) were able to head for the ancient grey mummies on Cariae-4.

There was just about room for us, luckily; two players were a bit low level and helping a third, a titan, so they hardly counted as more than one active player. Kae and Barb's party has to be an equal/general one at present, as Barb is eleven levels above Kaerella, but that situation won't last forever.  In fact, an equal party does have its advantages, as it means Kae gets a larger share of the experience, helping to move her along. 

With the Sunday Quiz coming up, it wasn't a hugely long session; sadly the double pet experience got turned off early on, but Kaerella added 1.38%, 23 skill points, and 2322 pet points, while Barbarienne got 1.25%, the same 23 skill points... and the polar bear cub just managed to reach level 24 before the end, adding 80%, and helping Barb to get a few drops.

I was slightly worried that I'd get the Palicomp computer switching itself off during the quiz, but all went well.  MistressDomina was on that machine, so I was able to chat slightly more with my Twisted guildies.  Afterwards, Kaerella transferred her prizes and other recent loot to MistressDomina - who then passed it on, plus her own winnings, to my merchant, MistressDomino.  MistressSabina also took the opportunity to transfer some loot across.

MistressDomina was wearing her new western "widowmaker" costume cover today, and it hadn't cost me a penny.  The gamesage georgerav occasionally holds little quizzes in the forum shoutbox, usually to do with song lyrics, and yesterday his final question, with a reward not of 100 ap's worth of item mall goodies but five times that, was what level was his mage character.  I immediately guessed 144, as I knew he had reached Mondshine not too long ago, but then I checked the rankings for mages on the various servers, and on the fourth ranking I looked at, Hatzring, there was Fetuh19, eighteenth highest, at level 146.  "Fetuh" was the name I'd vaguely remembered and was looking for, so I quickly typed "146" into the shoutbox, and was pronounced the winner.  Considering that some song lyric winners had been using Google, I'm surprised nobody else there had known his home server and been rather quicker with the necessary web research.

As requested, I sent georgerav a private message with my item mall picks - and this morning when MD logged on, the little "gift box" icon was flashing, to show that I'd got magic attack scrolls, platinum adrenalines, and two "widowmaker" costumes waiting for me.  It probably wasn't an entirely good idea to ask for two sets of the costume pieces, as it means that, leaving the second set in the mall section as otherwise its thirty days would start to count down too, MD is stuck with that flashing "gift box" icon until the current costume runs out...

After the Quiz it was time for MistressDomino to have a small adventure of her own.  A special "Iris Life Insurance Promotion" raffle had just started, and every death you have is a free entry into the raffle, with 24 lucky players liable to win half a billion gold each.  At level 10, MistressDomino gets no death penalty, and even if she did, she has no unused skill points, and even massive death penalties can't make you go down below the start of your current level.  So MD-2 bravely headed out of Randol to the Ebony Mine, and set to work annoying the nearest degraded golien commander for ten or fifteen minutes.  With him pretty close to the respawn point, and easily one-hitting MistressDomino, that must have been quite a few raffle entries...

CaptainScarlet had continued pet-levelling, through the quiz and beyond, even with the pet experience gain back down to normal, so by the end of the evening he had really just about finished his work on SirFrancis; the drake can be returned to Kaerella tomorrow, not just in level 50 but more than halfway towards level 51.  It has taken a few days, quite a few quality stones, and a few platinum pet experience potions, but Cap has completed his task again.  He will either find another character's drake that needs to be boosted a few levels, or work on the level 37 one he already has, I'll need to do some checking tomorrow.

The Unbeatable Spawning - December 20th

The attendance half hours (or so) went through in the normal way, and CaptainScarlet was able to trade SirFrancis, the drake, back to Kaerella on Auzura, in exchange for the level 50 drake he had loaned her.  That drake went across to MistressSabina, so I now have a level 51 character with a level 50 drake.  Sabina's previous drake was level 44, so that is the one CaptainScarlet took down into Maargadum Jail; it was around halfway through that level, but by the end of the day had just managed to reach level 45.

MistressDomina restocked her supply of Remedy and headed for the Tomb of Theos on Auzura-4... but the GokSReturN guild were still refusing to set it, so it was still on maximum hard.  So, I switched across to Cariae-4, where my cleric Kaerella found that the Tomb was on 80%...though by the time Barbarienne joined her by the entrance, it had actually fallen to 70%, but compared to Auzura, that still seemed good enough.

That meant the day was mainly another booster-free marathon for Kae and Barb.  We had the room almost to ourselves until the evening, except for a Polish titan who started one hour while I was off for lunch, levelling up just before his pots ended, and returned for a second hour a little later.

The morning session was not very long, and Kaerella just added 0.79% experience, 9 skill points, and 1187 pet points, while Barbarienne managed 0.71% and  10 skill points, with the polar bear cub getting 22.76% experience in level 24.  The afternoon session was a bit longer of course, and saw Kae add 1.90%, 29 skill points, and 3113 pet points, while Barb got 1.72% and 28 skill points, with my poly gaining another 68.27%.

After the early evening food break, it wasn't long before the polar bear cub reached level 25.  Soon after, the poor thing got killed somehow, I didn't see what happened, I can only think that the screaming zombie at the edge of the room must have got too near.  However, Barbarienne was going to log out soon anyway, as the high-level Mad Monster Spawn, cancelled at the last minute last Monday, was starting on Auzura-6 at six o'clock, UK time.  Just after ten minutes before that I mentioned in the shoutbox that we'd not seen an advance announcement about it (which CaptainScarlet would have received), and a minute or so later, the announcement came up.

My Twisted guild member rogue Rage, now level 98, went along to the MMS - and for a pleasant change some other members were there too, and we formed a party, mainly initially so that, by Rage's position on the map, they could find the right spot.  SacSalop, at level 157, can't have got much experience out of it, but it was good of him to come along to spearhead our attack.  TaterTot is level 122, while munchie is 102, but I wasn't the lowest guildie there as DeathDealerZ| joined us as well, though at 64 he did die once.  Rage managed to take on and kill some anubis archers, and generally helped with sphinx commanders, and whatever the others were targeting.

[GM]Darasuum was there in charge, and the spawnings went as usual, with Rage luckily not in the middle of the arriving cave spirits or anything nasty.  I did have to run when a mage spirit targeted me, but managed to take on the rogue version successfully, with my Snare proving very useful.

The loot spawning was very generous, perhaps to make up in part for our lack of any real event last week; Rage had managed to pick up 5 moonstones and 5 lucky scrolls dropped by a grand red dragon, and to this were added 3 skill point boosters, 7 item drop boosters, 8 large attack and 12 large defence potions, and no doubt plenty of tool aids and so on.

The Cariae event was scheduled for 7:30, UK time, so Barbarienne was able to log back in and return to Kaerella in the Tomb - happily, the price of admission had again been temporarily cut to 1.4k per level rather than the usual 3k.  While Rage had been in action, and Kaerella had been fighting only sporadically, the archer NaOmi and the specialist sorcerer XxAvatarAptxX had arrived, and the night shadow xShadowWarriorx as well - all familiar faces, joined before long by the witch XxFAYxX.

Once she was back in proper action Kaerella handed out the usual Charm and Encourage buffs.  She just managed to reach her red ignition run before the next MMS, so Barb moved out of range, and using Avatar's party recall, NaOmi helped Kae by getting a few nearby mummies down to about 10% health, so as ignition runs go, that must have been Kae's best yet.

Barbarienne herself went to the Cariae MMS, and had a slightly safer time than Rage did...those extra levels do help.  The GM seemed anonymous to begin with, and the first spawning went a little bit wrong, he must have put in the wrong code - what we got was a dozen or so of the NPC, Armor Trader Rowel, and of course NPCs like that cannot be fought.  [GM]Darasuum did arrive shortly afterwards, in the text speech if not in person, saying that the GM had got disconnected, and after that things went as before.  I didn't get any raid boss loot this time, but at the end, by getting to one of the distant loot piles first and generally staying on my toes, I did pretty well.  I didn't get any large attack potions, curiously, but I got 15 of the large defence ones, along with 8 item drop boosters and 10 skill point boosters.

Barbarienne returned to Cariae-4's Tomb, after spending 600,000 to get the poly "unsealed" and alive again, and rejoined Kaerella.  It was lucky that Kae had done her ignition run before the MMS, as now the computer, and this is the new computer, was very laggy, with the picture freezing when the view angle changed.  I managed to give everyone their buffs, but said I'd have to log out and return. 

NaOmi kindly suggested I join their party, and take XxAvatarAptxX's party recall to get back, so I did that, and Kaerella was soon back in rather smoother action.  xShadowWarriorx said he was leaving soon to sell some armour, and Barbarienne asked him if he wanted an unidentified pair of level 109 night shadow pants that she'd picked up at the MMS.  He said yes, so Barb put them in the trade window, and he traded her two of the relatively new lucky blessed irises instead, which seemed generous.  They just give 100% extra experience gain for an hour, which could be useful.

We all finished at around the same time; I think NaOmi went first, and then Avatar was going to head off to do a monster combo.  He and Kae had been working their buffs together, which needed some coordination, but if he put his buff on first and Kae then added hers, Charm or Encourage would last twice as long.  I'd assumed that xShadowWarriorx had left us, but when Kaerella headed back to the start, she found that he had moved just around the corner.  She was able to give him one last Charm buff as she passed, and buffed a few others along the way.

The evening session had given Kaerella another2.72%, along with 43 skill points and 3917 pet points, while Barbarienne had gained 2.22%, 35 skill points...and the polar bear cub had earned 69.05%, most of it in level 25.  So, we are making slow but steady progress.

MistressSabina Meets an Old Friend - December 21st

The usual attendance times were done in the morning; MistressDomina, while mining, had a chat with godofbeasts, who had been in the Auzura Tomb yesterday - I don't entirely see the point, even if you are careful enough not to get killed, your rate of killing is slowed right down, so that using pots and boosters for a "power hour" just becomes uneconomical.

Various items of loot were traded around to my merchant mages on Cariae and Auzura, and once again all available lotus seeds were used to attempt to make moon cakes - I got 9 cakes from 11 tries, which seems pretty good.  The moon cakes increase movement and attack speed for five minutes, so are rather useful to combine with a red ignition run, for example.

I had some work to get on with during the morning, so SirGalahad continued with his mining beyond his half hour, and CaptainScarlet took his level 45 drake down to the fifth floor of Maargadum Jail again.  Unsurprisingly there was a disconnection soon after ten o'clock; it is the time of day when such things tend to happen, and I'd say that Tuesday was a more likely day for it than most.  There were the usual grumbles in the shoutbox; SirGalahad disconnected at about 10:20am UK time, though luckily CaptainScarlet kept going safely.  I suppose the actual mining of a stone is an event big enough to need some connection to the server, but just fighting a death mask lancer, without killing it or using skills, doesn't produce any appreciable traffic.  Someone in the shoutbox had dropped 80 million gold, a tears of knight accessory, and G5 +15 level 85 daggers on the ground, to change accounts and rush back to pick them up, but the server lag meant he couldn't get back in time.  No wonder he said he wanted to cry...

The Palicomp computer had another problem late in the morning; the monitor goes dark after a while to save power if nothing is happening, and when I moved the mouse to bring it back to life, instead I got a bleep and a restart, with the option to choose the "last good" state.  More drivers were downloaded, and then when the message subsequently was that no graphics drivers were installed, they were installed again.  Maybe ATI are working on a new fix for all this, and things will settle down before long...

RedRackham went down to do some pet-levelling on the new computer, since sparring with a death mask lancer there is virtually risk free, if the game does close suddenly; and MistressSabina logged in on the middle machine after lunch, to visit the giants again on Auzura-6, in a general party with him.

The session was a little late starting, but had one welcome visitor - after she had neglected me for so long, Kamira, Dratan's raid boss, dropped by.  As Sabina has to run around so much, she was actually not in range to get the warning message of the "road boss" arrival, and I only spotted her in the distance when I moved back that way.  Luckily there was time for me to switch over to Kaerella and quickly ride out to the location, apply horse buffs and fast bow fixing, and attack, before she decided to leave.  There wasn't any rare accessory dropped, but the usual lucky scrolls, moonstones, tool aids, and various potions are always welcome.

After that, MistressSabina logged back on, re-made the party with RedRackham, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff again, and returned to the giants, until it was time for the food break.  Her drops took her gold reserve over the 200k mark, so she is definitely in the market for a better necklace or other accessory; on the experience side she added 13.58%, along with 89 skill points, moving things along usefully.

MistressSabina went out for the evening session too, and eventually reached level 52, which meant that she could at last wear the whole of the 55/57 set, which has three names - Prua's gloves and boots, Tenshain's circlet, and Kirnitooth's shirt and skirt.  Her new physical defence stat is 1386, up from 1264, which ought to make life easier.  She is now the same level as the giants, so will get the maximum possible skill exp from them, too.

Back in Randol, MistressSabina was able to learn the second level of Burning Flame, for just 13 skill points: "the skill to burn an opponent and then deal damage to it for a while".  It increases its power from 100 to 200, though the mana it takes goes up by 50%.  The next level, at 62, will take the power to 300, which sounds a bit more useful.  Sabina also had the ingredients to attempt to make five moon cakes; this time, we got three successes from Lorraine.

Sabina went back out to the giants for a few more minutes, and by the end of the evening had added in all 18.32%, 122 skill points (or109, taking those spent into account), and 1351 pet points.  Her skill point total is very close to the highest it ever was, in fact, just before some sp-expensive skills came along.  And her gold reserves have topped 218 million now.

RedRackham had kept busy on Auzura-6 levelling his pale blue horse, so that by the end of the evening it was approaching the midpoint in level 36; Red did get ks'd a couple of times, something which CaptainScarlet, on the less busy fourth sub-server, avoided.  Cap's drake was also a short way below the middle of its level, 45, but still has some way to go before it can be passed to MrChuckNorris.

A New Day Dawns - December 22nd

The new content arrived in last night's rather massive patch; as usual the middle computer needed its anti-virus switched off to accept the download, but otherwise things went smoothly, and at around eight, before breakfast, I was attempting to log in to the new-look Last Chaos.  The only problem was that I couldn't connect to the server - and a quick look at the forum shoutbox informed me that the servers were still, after seven hours, not up.

So, I wasn't able to start my characters doing their attendance half hours; the servers stayed down over breakfast, over shopping, and were still down at ten o'clock - 2:00am for the poor GMs over in California.

Still, the patch notes made things look very tempting.  The Christmas event had finally started of course, and the product manager boasted that three bugs had been fixed - the cap on defence in the PvP arena had been lifted, so that classes with high defence get a fair fight with classes with high attack, a drop called "golden skill book boxes" can now actually be opened to give skill books, and the problem on Katar where memory scrolls sometimes lost your saved locations, particularly if you'd used an expansion card, is apparently now over.

As for the new content, we have a new dungeon in Strayana (not that I've been to all the existing ones yet), the succubus pet has arrived (sounds expensive), there are new character appearance options, "all new class skills and guild skills", a new design for the user interface (just minor tweaks), new armour for castle siege winners, a new ranking system, new "SWAT" style police C2 costume covers, and "new monster mercenary cards".  "Check the web item mall frequently as some of the new content may go on sale very soon", we were urged.

The extended maintenance downtime seemed to be based on a problem with vanishing pets, and the GMs and other Aeria types worked on through the night.  In the shoutbox, we were being cautioned not to even attempt to log in until we had been given an official all-clear.  And we were eager to get in; some classes had new low-level skills to get and try out, including a cleric one that would boost all party members' experience and skill exp gain.  This would only for people actually within range, but still seemed rather tempting.

In the spirit of Christmas, Aeria also sent out their "use this code to get some free aeria points" emails, and this year I did get this - last year all my accounts missed out.  It's only 100 ap, but it's the thought that counts.  Three of my accounts also got a general email about the new content, though having a big "Play Now!" button was mildly annoying, when the server situation wouldn't actually allow that.

At 10:44am UK time, [GM]Ozymandias proudly announced that the pets had been saved, and they were now working to make sure the problem didn't recur; [GM]Yatou also put in a tiny back-up appearance("Yay"), just to prove she was still there at a quarter to three in the morning.  Ozy was even keeping a close enough eye on the shoutbox to caution people not to be rude, just after eleven - and by half past eleven, the servers were officially up.

When Kaerella, my Cariae cleric, logged in, she found she did indeed have two new skills to learn - and another, Soul of Cleric, which needed a special skill book and a certificate of guardianship.  Holy Bless ("Increase EXP and SP earned by nearby party members for awhile" cost 128 sp for its first level, followed by 240, and 450, with six levels in all, the fourth at 120; Mana Heal ("Recovers appointed target's MP") was 200 sp for its first level, followed by 450, with its final level also coming along when Kae reaches 120.

MistressSabina also had two skills to learn, with an extra one, Soul of Witch, needing a skill book and certificate of guardianship, added to her future, since it comes in at level 90.  Parasite ("Strongly curses enemy and when the enemy dies, parasites come out by chance and detonates nearby enemies"), with four levels starting with 180 sp, and Great Curse ("Reduces appointed target's movement speed and defence"), with three levels starting with 200 sp, were the two skills Sabina could now learn.  The second level of Parasite comes when Sabina reaches 65, and the second level of Great Curse at 70.

Barbarienne of course is rather short of skill points, and had been trying to save up enough for her level 112 skill - but the points she had farmed slowly in the Tomb recently looked now as if they are now going elsewhere.  Soul of Archer is the level 90 skill needing the book and certificate, plus 450 sp, but four levels of Bless Arrow ("Fires Bless Arrow at appointed character which temporarily increases his/her max HP/MP"), for 160 and 400 skill points was do-able; the third level had become available, at 110, but Barb didn't have all the 770 sp needed for that yet.

In Randol, MistressDomina noticed a knight called xXShieldXx in merchant mode, offering "105-107 mage set Orlwin".  The gloves, boots and circlet were +13, so were no improvement, for their defence, on MD's current level 85 and 87 ones, but her level 86 jacket and pants were only +13, so level 106 versions did seem a tempting improvement.  They were both blue-named and with the five evasion seals; the skirt was even +14.  As a bonus, the armour had three level two gems, in its sockets, giving some extra magical hit rate (opal), physical constitution (topaz), and physical evasion (aquamarine), and the skirt had the opal and topaz too.

Equipping the two armour pieces increased MistressDomina's magical hit rate from 741 to 759, and her physical evasion from 1190 to 1194 - and increased her physical defence from 2641 to 2814.  And the cost?  Between them, 2.3 billion, so my merchant's cash reserves are pretty low again now.

As a wizard, MistressDomina didn't have any new medium-level skills to learn, though Soul of Wizard ("Summons ancient weapon with Wizard's spirit") will be available once she has the skill book required (from the Akan Temple raid), a certificate of guardianship, and just 450 skill points for the single level.  Visiting the skill trainer did however remind me that there were a couple of passive skills to top up: the seventh level of Mana Flow, for 1100 skill points, to increase her health/hit points and mana points, just by 10 each, and the eighth level of Staff Mastery, for 700 skill points, to increase her magical attack power, from 2537 to 2549.

GerMex has now asked to be kicked from the Discipline guild, as he has reached level 60, so I don't have any responsibility for him any more - he seems to have got off to a good start anyway, and is hoping a friend will power-level him to 73, as he has a +15 weapon to use then.  Keerella had earned one of those guardianship certificates when he reached level 50; she claimed her reward, and luckily I found that the item can be traded, so it has been passed across to Kaerella.

There was time after all these excitements and investigations for a full evening session, at least, so Kaerella and Barbarienne headed for the ancient grey mummies in the Tomb of Theos on Cariae-4, since the Auzura Tomb was still on maximum hard. There was a night shadow there when we arrived; Naomi and Fay came for a while too, but after that we had the place to ourselves, and indeed when Kaerella ran out to the exit afterwards, she didn't pass anyone.

Kaerella's new Holy Bless buff increased experience gain by 10% and skill exp gain by 15%, I found, so we used that all the time, as well as Encourage on Barb and Charm on Kae.  Naomi gave us the third-level Bless Arrow, which gave Kae 660 more health and 15% more mana; it lasted a full hour.  Barb's second level version just lasted 30 minutes, giving 379 more health and 10% more mana.

In all, Kaerella added 3.23% experience and 81 skill points, plus 4715 pet points.  Barbarienne earned 2.87% experience and 80 skill points, with the polar bear cub gaining 88.43%, getting well into level 26.

While Kae was leaving the Tomb, it was announced that presents would be appearing under the central Christmas tree in Randol in five minutes, so Kaerella went back there. The gifts this time were 30 medium-size blue candy canes, giving a mana boost; Kae quickly got rid of the two of those she had remaining from last year, as they don't stack and you can only have one package at a time, and grabbed her pressie.  Barbarienne got some too - and then, thanks to the skill points she had earned, was able to learn that third level of Bless Arrow.  SirKit was able to log in and get a pack as well.

CaptainScarlet had kept busy pet-levelling through the evening on Auzura-4, and that meant he got his drake up to the 70% mark in level 45 before the end of the evening.

There is more to say about how the Christmas event, running "from 21st December 2010 to 4th January 2010", but let's leave something for tomorrow, yes...?

Plenty of Drops - December 23rd

The attendance half hours got seen to in the normal way, with CaptainScarlet heading for Maargadum Jail after the first three had each done their thirty minutes.  However, I did have some work to get through today, so active playing didn't look like being possible until the evening.

One thing about the Christmas event that has improved is the snow.  Last Chaos doesn't let it settle on the ground, but previously in Randol an endless succession of large, two-dimensional snowflakes streamed down the screen, making older computers work hard and just looking phoney.  This year, a rather small number of natural-looking flakes drift unsteadily towards the ground.

The Christmas ornaments and the main tree in Randol seem the same.  You get the ornaments as drops from monsters, then you click on the tree and give them up (unless you think you can get people to buy them from you), and once enough people have donated ornaments, and after a five-minute warning, packs of candy canes appear beneath the tree, giving either health or mana, or perhaps both.

Every hour, a large box materialises beside you, and when you open it, you get a present - but there are problems this year.  The boxes have never appeared in towns, but this time they seem not to arrive if you are near a wall, or near a mine...it all seems a bit random.  Previously, you could leave a character in your guild hall overnight, and find the place overrun with the boxes in the morning, but I did try leaving MistressDomina in the Twisted guild hall for an hour, and found nothing.

And the "presents" are really annoying - most times it's a Santa hat, which will last for 30 days and can be used as a cover, but only the person who opens the box can ever pick it up.  Kaerella got a healer hat yesterday, which was good, but an hour or two later she got another one, so, as it cannot be traded or dropped, left it for Barbarienne to pick up...and she was unable to, right up until the moment it finally vanished.  And mage, night shadow, and knight hats have been similarly useless.  One-day merchant cards are slightly useful, allowing you to sell items as you fight, and I think platinum item drop boosters are available again this year; I have had a couple of reindeer pet change books, which can change a horse or drake ("level 16+ pets only") into a little reindeer, until the event ends, but there has been no sign of anything more interesting.

Auzura's RedRackham joined CaptainScarlet in Maargadum Jail, and then before lunch Rage, who had continued with some mining, finally logged out, to allow Cariae's RedRackham to also have a turn at pet-levelling, with his level 38 drake.

Shortly before four o'clock in the afternoon, RedRackham (on Auzura) got his pale blue horse to level 37, which completed that job.  As he had a pink drake egg, the next thing to do was for him to start a new pink hatchling, so he made the trip to Lorraine, and then on to Jajan in Dratan, before returning to the Jail.  And, as he was running down to the fifth floor, CaptainScarlet's drake levelled up too, reaching 46.

Cariae's drake got halfway through level 38 before Red had to log out, to make way for Kaerella on that server, and a bit of actual playing.  On Auzura, Red's hatchling was about halfway through level 2, and on 62% sympathy.   Unfortunately, when Kae reached the Tomb, it was down to only 30%, so plans had to be changed - and instead MistressSabina logged in on Auzura-6, for some more giant farming.  After cleaning out her inventory a little, RedRackham was able to log back in, but this time on Auzura-6 to give Sabina a solo party.

There was a couple of hours of double skill exp starting at around six o'clock, though with Sabina already having the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff and the 10% attendance bonus, she wasn't far short of the 250% (150% extra) cap anyway.  One thing did make a useful difference, though, and that was a special hour-long seasonal buff from the Randol Christmas tree, which actually quadruples the drop rate.  Given that the giants drop plenty of weapons anyway, well, let's just say that Sabina had to make frequent trips back to town.  It would have been very useful if one of the hourly gift boxes had given her a one-day merchant ticket, so that she could have sold stuff on the spot, but all she got was a succession of warehouse tickets.  That did at least mean that personal dungeon tickets and heaven stones could be deposited, as they'd stack with ones already there, but otherwise the warehouse was full.

By the end of the evening, MistressSabina had added exactly 20.00% experience, I found to my surprise, along with 166 skill points and 1689 pet points.  She had also added 61 million gold to her total, so must have picked up at least 210 weapons.

CaptainScarlet and RedRackham had kept busy too; Red did get ks'd once, but when he went to lure the respawned death mask lancer back to the side, he found that there was a Christmas gift box in the middle, which dropped a reindeer pet change book.  Those have been sellable in the past, let's hope the developers haven't changed that.  By the end of the evening, Cap's drake was almost a quarter of the way through level 46, while Red's new pink drake had reached full sympathy, and level 8.

Tomorrow's event promises extra experience, and, rather handily, on Christmas Day itself we get a couple of hours of double pet experience.  That looks set to be a day for long pet-levelling sessions, rather than particularly active adventuring...

With the Mummies - December 24th

The attendance half hours got sorted out in the usual way.  MistressDomina, by standing around outside town, managed to get a shiny red mage Santa hat, but Rage's box got opened by a passer-by before I got back to the screen, so that some hat or other was left on the ground, its actual name obscured by the long grass it had fallen in.

Rage actually made a trip out to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos, and found that its condition was on 50%, for a change - but I didn't have any time then for playing, so just sent my pet-levellers off to Maargadum Jail.  CaptainScarlet's drake got to a third of the way through level 46 by lunchtime; on Auzura-6, RedRackham was able to have his pink dragon hatchling learn six more levels of armour increase before making the trip to Merac, and soon got it into level 9.  Red's namesake on Cariae took his drake to Jail too, and soon got past the halfway point in level 38.

By two o'clock the Cariae drake was past the 70% mark in level 38, when RedRackham there had to log out.  On Auzura, Red logged out with his pink dragon hatchling almost halfway through 11.

On Cariae, Kaerella had logged in and found the Tomb of Theos to be in good condition, so Barbarienne joined her, and they went in for the slightly late-starting afternoon session, with the ancient grey mummies.  The actual main mummy room was pretty busy, with a ranger-rogue who tended to gather a whole mob, as well as the Polish titan TomasPL, so Kae and Barb used the bit of corridor mainly - and by the time the food break came up, Kaerella had added 1.46%, 45 skill points, and 1969 pet points, while Barbarienne was up by 1.32% and 46 skill points, with the polar bear cub 40.08% further into level 26.

Luckily the room was quieter after the food break, and for a while Kae and Barb had it to themselves.  The sorcerer XxAvatarAptxX arrived, though, and we shared buffs.  The mage XxFayxX eventually joined him, but only shortly before I was ready to log out for the evening.  Barbarienne investigated the new guild skills, which mainly apply to the guild master; luckily Norcaine on Cariae is level ten, so a few skills were available - a 10% increase in attack, for example, though it only lasts two minutes.  It cost some guild points to learn the skills - and they also cost guild points to use, rather than mana, which is an interesting development.  The skills are generally just for the use of the guild master, so it is handy that Barb holds that position at present.  Perhaps Kaerella will need to move back to Norcaine from Discipline, to be able to benefit from them too, but at present they seem fairly minor.

Kaerella took some time off during the evening, while I watched the original "Tron" movie on dvd - I kept Barbarienne going, though, and Kae emerged to re-apply the Charm and Encourage buffs.  In all during the evening, Kaerella added another 5.35%, 48 skill points, and 2669 pet points, while Barbarienne earned 4.84%, and 47 skill points, with the polar bear cub gaining 70.82%, taking it well into level 27.  There was double experience for at least a couple of hours, which fitted nicely with the dungeon time boost for a while.

CaptainScarlet had kept busy in Maargadum Jail, so that his drake moved safely past two-thirds of the way through 46; RedRackham joined him there, on Auzura-4, for an hour at the end of the evening, after the pink dragon hatchling earned three more levels of the armour increase buff; before he logged out, another level had been gained, taking it into 12.

[GM]Yatou appeared in the forum shoutbox a few times, mentioning that she, plus GMs Super and Stratos, would be in the office tomorrow.  I imagine things will be relatively quiet, though there is a "tiered spender" event starting overnight, and the contents of the reward packages have not yet been revealed, except to say they are "cumulative".  The master stones are back in the lootforge, the new bat-type pet is on the lootwheel...will I be tempted to spend lots of aeria points tomorrow, I wonder...?

Three Drakes for Christmas - December 25th

Cariae's Kaerella and Barbarienne did their half hours to keep the attendance bonus going, along with MistressSabina, and then MistressDomina, Rage and Auzura's Kaerella logged in.  The Twisted guild master, spazz, was saying that he had got the guild to level twenty now, for some great guild buffs - and was planning to go further.  At that guild level, any character has to be level fifty to become GM and upgrade the guild, with the skill point cost approaching 2000 per guild level, so raising a special sp character would take a while - but luckily players in Mondshine can get extra skill points relatively easily, and the guild does have a few people who are there.

SirGalahad completed the attendance seven, doing a little mining once a Christmas gift box had deposited another shining titan Santa hat.  Auzura's Kaerella managed to get a healer hat, though, which might be worth melding to her headgear for a month, as her circlet is actually +14.

CaptainScarlet headed for Maargadum Jail on Auzura-4, to get back to his pet-levelling duties; RedRackham went to Maargadum Jail too, on Auzura-6.  He did actually hit a beast flyer as he ran through level four, which is a definite no-no as the magic-using beast crawlers are protective of the flyers, but he kept running and managed to escape, with less than half his health left.

MistressSabina was able to take a trip out to the giants before lunch; seeing there wasn't a solo party available, once she'd partied up with RedRackham she made it open to all, with the title "Merry Solo", and it did reach a full eight players before fading off as lunch approached.

The giants' plateau was generally being used by a titan, who had an hour-long super haste potion active, so MistressSabina had to make do with the main path  heading west, but she still had to make gratifyingly frequent trips back to town to sell the loot, and ended up topping the 300 million gold mark.  It wasn't a hugely long session, as today's lunch needed a bit more preparation than average, but Sabina still managed to add 7.95 %, helped along slightly by the GMs leaving last night's double experience event running, along with 48 skill points and 505 pet points.

Cariae's RedRackham joined in the pet-levelling over lunch, and after an extended break MistressSabina returned - only to find the titan still busy with his high-speed giant-killing.  Sabina killed a few giants, and then Zenderfly got in touch.  She was asking to borrow any +15 mid-level weapons I had on Cariae, so I logged on to SirCumference on Cariae-4, and loaned her three +15 swords, the level 37, 45 and 53 ones...at her suggestion, she passed across 900 experience boosters as security.  She also traded a mount across, from Zenderfly to her new mage Cinetic; that slightly complicated things as Cinetic already had two pets, but she sacrificed a level 3 pony, gaining a horse's molar, to make room.

The titan StuartLittle was still busy in the afternoon, but MistressSabina added another 7.30%, 45 skill points, 515 pet points, and 21 million.  Once when Sabina teleported back out, after selling her loot, Kamira was there, being ignored by Stuart - so I quickly switched to my archer Kaerella, and rode out.  Kamira was still there, and was reasonably quickly despatched - there wasn't any rare accessory dropped, but I picked up all the usual useful stuff, before Kae logged out, and Sabina returned.

I had just started on an evening session when, just after a half hour's "150% upgrade event" had started, Zenderfly reported that heaven stones were selling for 5 million each on Cariae, and that I should go over and sell some.  So, RedRackham logged out, with his pink dragon hatchling now just into level 16, and thus a drake, and MistressDomina, who is on Cariae my merchant mage, logged in.  Zen did nicely, selling heaven stones ten at a time - "Why did I waste my previous upgrade events with upgrading?"  MD found things a bit slower, however....in fact, she didn't sell anything.  After the second upgrade event, a 200% one, had finished, I gave up on that idea, and brought Auzura's RedRackham back into service.

[GM]Stratos had been the person handling the special upgrading events, and he rather complicated things by changing his mind.  originally there were going to be three 30 minute events, starting three hours apart, with 150% first, then 200%, then 175%... but the first event actually lasted 45 minutes, with the forum post changed to say the second would only last a mere 5 minutes... though that got changed again, to 10.  The last I heard, the 175% event was going to be 15 minutes.  Some people were exulting about what they'd managed to get to +15 or even +16 now, while others had broken very expensive things, as usually happens.  And others were complaining about terrible lag and not being able to do any upgrading using items they'd bought specially - the castle siege on Cariae was badly affected too, apparently.

The first person to join Sabina's party in the morning had been the level 15 archer Testounet, who'd reached level 17 before leaving; after RedRackham logged out in the evening, Sabina was party-less until a level 81 player, AmazoneS, invited her into a party... and said that she was Testounet.  She did offer to help Sabina level, but I said that I needed to farm for a while yet.  Testounet as a character had only been made this week, and so had the new hair and face option for an archer, looking rather striking.

The evening session continued, though perhaps not at full speed, until just about the usual end time, and by then MistressSabina had reached the halfway point in level 52, adding another 16.53%, 102 skill points, and 2099 pet points, plus 47.6 million gold.  Kamira didn't make any further appearances out among the giants - actually, when Sabina had been back in Dratan City, she had had to ride out of the city briefly so that a Christmas present could arrive (another useless wrong-class Santa hat), and had been able to watch a knight fight Kamira there; I think he must have been fighting the harpies just by the gate to attract her.

RedRackham on Cariae was able to join the pet-levelling line-up for an hour after MistressSabina had logged out; I usually forecast the end figure in advance, and providing the double pet experience continued to the end, his drake should have just reached level 39 by the end of the evening.  Similarly, his Auzura namesake should have got his drake into level 18 by then, and, thanks to a number of the platinum pet experience potions, CaptainScarlet's drake should be around the 80% mark in level 47.  Let us hope they leave the double pet experience running tomorrow...

Evening With The Giants - December 26th

Sadly, the double experience and pet experience had been turned off last night.  My usual characters put in their attendance time this morning in the normal way, and CaptainScarlet headed down to Maargadum Jail before nine.  As sometimes happens, he got disconnected soon after ten o'clock, UK time, but was soon back in action, joined later by RedRackham.

Apart from my pet-levellers sparring with their death mask lancers I did absolutely no fighting this morning, unless you count the two foxes killed to check if the double experience was still on.  There is more to a game like this than killing monsters, after all.  MistressSabina made more space in her inventory by passing some accessories and two of her old armour sets across to FoxChaser, who also took some minor items from my merchant mage, to give her a bit more inventory space.  Sabina also got my level 57 +15 weapon, although she can't use it for another half level, and had it transformed by Collector Ryl from a mage staff to a mage wand, for 580,000 gold.

MistressSabina had a long look through Roy's merchant mart for a new accessory, but in the end gave up, and just had a stone of shadow moved across to her.  She traded her recent loot, and 300 million gold, across to my merchant, MistressDomino... who spent all that and another 200 million on a pair of level 107 blue-named, +15 mage Orlwin boots, with the five evasion seals, being sold via Roy by Calimera.  500 million seemed like a good deal to me, I noticed someone else trying to sell a +13 pair for 900 million - moving up from the level 87 pair only added 56 to MD's defence, though, when the boots had been traded across.  MistressBlaze already had a pair of +13 level 87 boots; replacing them with the +15 pair added 133 to her physical defence, though she'd have been able to borrow the +15 pair when needed, anyway.

Rage checked the Auzura Tomb of Theos, and found its condition was down to 20%; apparently the Cariae one was suffering from a glitch, due to a disconnection during the Dratan castle siege last night - not only could members of the guilds involved there not look in shops or do other similar things, such as using warehouse storage, but nobody could enter the Tomb as the siege was "still on", except on one of the PvP sub-servers, which was presumably a bit crowded.

RedRackham's pink drake moved into level 19 over lunch - and CaptainScarlet's drake was closing in on level 48 by then.  Apparently the platinum pet experience potions are a bit rare at the moment, as they are among the many, many items not available from the web item mall, and there are no packages including the lucky pet boxes currently available.  Cap still has ten unopened boxes, and a dozen ppeps remaining, which should be enough for another double pet experience event or two.  I don't think we will actually need to "top up" another drake after this one, but time will tell.

I had some work to do in the afternoon - well, not exactly paying work, just a favour for a friend.  So, about all I managed to do on the Last Chaos front was get some mining done, with SirGalahad using 34 pick-axes and 34 tool aids.  CaptainScarlet logged out, with his drake in level 48 by then, as his game was starting to get a little laggy - and when he logged back in in Randol, Gal traded 1,000 quality stones across to him before he returned to his death mask lancer.

After the food break, SirGalahad did a repeat mining performance, 34 being the number of open slots in his inventory, and then went down into the Jail on Auzura-6 to pass 750 of them over to RedRackham, since he was running a little low too.  SirGalahad then logged out - and MistressSabina logged in, and made a party with RedRackham.

MistressSabina went out into the desert to the giants, and thankfully had the plateau to herself - though a visit from Kamira would have been nice.  The extra space in her inventory was useful, but it gradually filled up, as the time passed...and by the time the usual Sunday Quiz was approaching, Sabina had added 15.50%, 120 skill points, and 1291 pet points, as well as getting loot she sold for 52.8 million gold.

There was a server crash shortly before the quiz, but luckily for me it was confined to Auzura-3 and Tairen-6.  People were disconnected, and unable to log back in - and they missed the quiz, though as usual they were urged to send in a ticket to get compensation for that.  [GM]Yatou had put in a few appearances in the shoutbox through the day, probably the LC office was a bit quiet, and after the quiz [GM]Stratos dropped in too, though mainly to comment that people ought to be happier during the holiday season than the people who were at that point commenting about missing the quiz.

The quiz itself ran smoothly, and afterwards, once MistressDomina had transferred her winnings across to Kaerella, RedRackham returned to his death mask lancer, and MistressSabina returned to the giants for another forty minutes or so.  She added just another 5.61%, getting her through to three-quarters of the way through level 52, plus 51 skill points, 544 pet points, and another 19.5 million gold.  I think her store of unused skill points is now at an all-time high, for her, and ought to be enough to get her to level 100 at least.

RedRackham's pink drake had reached level 21 before the quiz, and reached level 22 before the end of the evening; CaptainScarlet was close to a quarter of the way through his drake's level 48 by then too.

A Flock of Kamiras - December 27th

My characters started their attendance half hours in the usual way - and, in the usual way, reports came in of another Cariae server crash shortly before 10:00am UK time.  These reports were followed by the usual disconnections on other servers a little after ten - my characters lasted until almost 10:30 before they too were kicked out.

CaptainScarlet hurried back to his death mask lancer; I noticed that he didn't lose any pet points, all he lost was a few minutes working time.  By then Cap's drake was just approaching 30% of the way through level 48, and by lunchtime he'd got to a third.  RedRackham logged in too, to level his pink drake, and managed to move it a bit further through level 22.

Rage checked before lunch, and found that the Auzura Tomb of Theos was set to 100% easy, for a pleasant change.  So, after lunch MrChuckNorris, Kaerella and Rage headed over there, in a combat party.  It was Rage I wanted to give a "power hour" to, so we headed for the anubis spear men, and the first corner after their main room.  Luckily, while the earlier parts we passed through were busy, that area was quiet, so we were able to settle in, and Rage was able to use the two spear men on that corner, and the next one along too, just about uninterrupted.  The skill Controlled Shooting is very useful, even if it does mean that Rage can't move while it is active, and so has to make sure that her next target is within crossbow range.  A typical critical hit without that buff dealt 7317 damage; with it active, it moved up to around 9587.

The two to three o'clock dungeon time hour (by UK time) saw Rage use 59 experience boosters, and add 36.48% experience, which took Rage well into level 99.  The spear men are seven levels above her now, which means they have started to give ignition...they don't give much skill exp though, only 4 skill points were gained, though Kaerella and Chuck got those too.  Kaerella kept busy fighting the sphinx fighters, while Chuck generally just gave his two buffs.

Once the hour was over, my trio ran across to the ancient grey mummies, and spent just about an hour there, so that by the time I took a slightly early break, Rage had added 37.78% in all, plus 12 skill points and 2299 pet points.  Kaerella had earned 2.48%, the same 12 skill points, and 1756 pet points, while Chuck, who doesn't have the 10% attendance bonus, got 1.34% and 11 skill points.

My trio headed back to my spear man corner, which was still vacant, and took up possession a few minutes ahead of the next dungeon time hour, the five to six o'clock one.  The day's special event, the "Low Level" Mad Monster Spawn for level 46 to 90 characters was due to start at six, so I made sure to begin promptly, hoping that I'd be able to switch characters and ride there in time for at least the main waves.  Rage had earned an ignition run, which she took fairly early in the hour, and that helped her to get through 63 boosters this time, to add 35.62% in level 99 - and 4 skill points again.

The Auzura "Low Level" Mad Monster Spawn was a couple of minutes late starting, luckily, which gave MistressBlaze time to get there.  The first wave was pretty minor, with nothing above arcane golems, but the second wave included a big flock of Kamiras.  I'd taken up my position at the lake end of things, where the slightly sunken village is now, so was able to concentrate on the Kamiras to start with - I wasn't the only person doing that of course, but I killed a few.  As a wave of other monsters came across and I had to temporarily retreat and use a couple of health potions, I didn't get a chance to pick up much, only about a single Kamira's worth of the regular items, but it was good, if brief, fun.  There was a third wave with the wight flairs, mimic crods, endemic demons - and I even saw a boucu witch, I don't know where they come from!  After that, some loot was spawned for us, but it wasn't very generous, and we got the single announcement "Low Level MMS is over."  Which it was... still, MB got a couple of item drop boosters, a skill point booster, two large attack pots, and 3 large defence pots, as well as the moonstones, lucky scrolls, and crystal of experience (greater) etc from Kamira.

Zenderfly had been in touch just as the MMS was starting, asking if I could help per new money-farmer mage Cinetic, who is level 37 now, to level up.  We agreed to meet after the MMS; I logged Cariae's Kaerella in, and we tried fighting a black pudding in Strayana, but there must have been some misunderstanding, I thought she wanted me to use "pet return to village" to leave her to do the actual kill... really, level 37 is a bit low for that deal.  She could just have ks'd, but decided in the end that just fighting the Dratan desert deer solo was a faster way to level.  At least, unlike the Tomb, we didn't have to pay to get in there, so no harm was done.  I helped her transfer a drake from Zenderfly to Cinetic; Cinetic returned the level 53 weapon as she'd managed to buy one of her own, so I traded back 300 of the experience boosters.

Kaerella had got up to a red ignition run, so she and MrChuckNorris headed back across to the ancient grey mummies.  With Chuck's buffs, and him safely out of compass range, Kae did her run, getting 10,450 skill exp per kill and managing to add 11 skill points before the ignition buff ended.  So, for that early evening session, Rage had gained 35.89%, 5 skill points in all, and 1339 pet points - which took her drake into level 51.  Kaerella gained 1.95%, 16 skill points, and 1056 pet points, while Chuck added 0.98% and 5 skill points.

CaptainScarlet returned to his death mask lancer in Maargadum jail once the excitement was over; and it was time for my Auzura archer Kaerella to get the first two levels of the Bless Arrow skill, to increase people's maximum health and mana, for 160 and 400 skill points.  When eight o'clock was approaching I logged Rage in to ask in the guild chat if anyone, preferably with party recall, needed a "sitter" for dungeon time, and Dropkick, our guild adviser and level 114 temple knight, took me up on the offer, so I changed over to MistressDomina, to be within ten levels of him.

Dropkick's first couple of spots were taken, but eventually he recalled me to a place in the Tomb of Theos, outside the final section, where a couple of sphinx commanders spawned - they did not respawn quite quickly enough to be ideal, but Dropkick seemed happy with the experience they gave him, with someone seven levels lower than him in a combat party.  I spent the hour fighting the sphinx fighters, anubis spear men, and anubis archers that were close by; I picked up a couple of heaven stones along the way, and MistressDomina ended up adding 0.82%, 5 skill points, and 842 pet points.  With his running around to find a spot that wasn't in use, he'd started his power hour a few minutes late; he didn't finish the pbi etc, stopping when the dungeon time ended, but must have added 25% or so I think.

CaptainScarlet kept working through that hour, and by the end of the evening had just reached the 45% point in level 48.  The platinum pet experience potions put in a triumphant, if temporary, return to the item mall today, with two packs of 25 for the price of one as one of the day's "BOGO" offers, which must be a relief to pet-levellers everywhere.

It was a shame that the Mad Monster Spawn today was a little lacking in character; I did hear someone mentioning [GM]Darasuum's name, but if it was him, he was rather more subdued than usual.  I don't have suitable characters currently for that event on any other server besides Auzura... but, wonder of wonders, I see that we get a second GM-hosted event this week, with "Storm the Castle" tomorrow, so I have high hopes for multiple adventures then.

As you may know if you have seen the "archive" section of this blog at kaerella.com, December is the last month for this endeavour...which means only four more reports to go.  Given the relatively low response, I think it's time I tried making a different use of my writing time, but I'll still be in-game, or lurking around the Last Chaos forum shoutbox, and may make occasional minor updates to the kaerella.com front page.  So you've not seen the last of me, don't worry!

It's A Lock-Out - December 28th

The usual characters made their half-hour appearances, with after the first three CaptainScarlet taking over the oldest computer for his pet-levelling duties.  A little casual mining was done; characters who possess a Juno NPC Scroll are able to teleport direct to Elveen, at the entrance to Ebony Mine, and use the ore veins there.

Zenderfly got in touch, using the Meebo messenger built into the Last Chaos website.  "Hey - no more blog from you?"  I said that it can take up a lot of time, and Zen did admit that "I'm not really reading it much - though I was almost daily overflying it to see if there was any news in the world of LC."

Visitors to the forum shoutbox reported that Caraie had had its usual crash at around ten o'clock UK time - and Auzura at least had the disconnection at 10:30.  A level 32 titan called Jamam was planning to use a teleport book, so Rage was standing by Tomb Guard Atum at the time - Jamam had just said "Just wait there", but my "yup" reply never appeared, since at 10:30, again, the rest of Last Chaos got a disconnection.  Luckily Jamam hadn't triggered his teleport book, as he didn't get my reply, and once we were logged back in, he was able to teleport to Rage at the Tomb entrance.  I had actually warned him that a disconnection was likely to happen at around that time.

Jamam did go in with Rage, plus Kaerella and MrChuckNorris, but his attempt to run with us towards the anubis spear men ended rather abruptly, despite his use of a haste potion, and he died, which put him off the idea.  Luckily he found a more sensible helper, and reported later that he had reached level 53, including soloing some of the outdoor sphinx types.

My trio went down to the first corner after the spear man room, and started fighting there - well as usual Rage went for the anubis spear men, Kaerella went for the sphinx fighters, and Chuck just supplied his pair of useful buffs.  When the dungeon time hour began at eleven, Rage started her small crit, platinum adrenaline, and berserker potions, plus a platinum blessed iris - and got through 61 experience boosters in the hour, gaining 33.74% in level 99, along with 4 skill points.  Including the few kills before that, Rage added just 33.77% in the morning session, plus 5 skill points and 1118 pet points; Kaerella earned 1.71% (including the quest reward as she went in, for killing fifty fighters), 5 skill points and 868 pet points, while Chuck got 0.92% and 4 skill points.

Rage, Kae and Chuck stayed at the corner over lunch, but as soon as I was back, Rage returned to the start of the Tomb and killed screaming zombies, partly to get her ignition bar moving along, partly because she needed to kill a few for a quest, and partly to help out the lower-level types there; after the link-up with Jamam, we were on Auzura-5 rather than our usual Auzura-4, so, with the Elizabeth buff available, there were a few more low-level types around.

Kaerella did actually kill a few anubis spear men during that period, to make sure the corner looked occupied; and then when the two o'clock dungeon time was approaching, Rage bade farewell to the other zombie-fighters, and headed back to the spear men.  This time her "power hour" used 64 boosters, thanks to two first-grade ignition runs, and she reached level 100 as planned, adding 34.55%, plus of course 4 skill points.

My trio ran across to the ancient grey mummies for an hour after that, which was just long enough get Kaerella up to a red ignition run, gaining her about 8 skill points.  That meant the total for the afternoon for Rage reached 36.14% plus 23 skill points and 2580 pet points, while Kaerella got another 2.74%, 21 skill points and 1886 pet points, and Chuck got 1.26% and 13 skill points.

After the food break, MistressDomina volunteered for a combat party in guild chat, and Dropkick took up the offer.  We actually started at the same place as last time, and MD fought a couple of sphinx fighters and spear men, but our guild master spazz had been checking out the final grave room on other sub-servers, and found there was plenty of room on Auzura-4 - so we moved over there, formed a party, and spazz recalled us in.  I just stood on the side, at about the "eight o'clock" position (if the entrance is noon), and only got attacked once.

Rage went along to the Auzura "Storm the Castle" event in Merac on Auzura-6 at six o'clock; there were no other guildies there, but Aszune turned up, not in any guild at the moment and with a red name.  I think [GM]Darasuum respawned some of the mobs, but our force battered our way through, and cleaned the place out within fifteen minutes.  The usual hands of loot were dropped in the inner courtyard - Rage managed to get five skill point boosters, three item drop boosters, four large attack pots, and six large defence pots, which was pretty good going.

[GM]Darasuum was waiting outside the castle on Katar-6 well before the start, and tried some of his riddles on us.  The level 31 rogue Memree was my representative there, and did give three of the answers - a man without arms and legs at your front door is called Matt (I used Google to find that one), in a swimming pool he's called Bob, and you can only run into a forest "halfway" - after that, you are running out...

The GM asked us if we wanted double mobs, and everyone said yes; it still only took us eleven minutes to clear the place out, though.  My suggestion of double loot must have gone unheard, though, as I only managed to grab two each of the boosters, a single large attack potion, and two large defence potions.  No doubt I got masses of the small health and mana recovery pots though, as well as six tool aids.

The Cariae event was a little different; I took my level 111 archer Barbarienne along there, and managed, just about, to give people the Bless Arrow buff for extra health and mana as they arrived, until things started.  It all went in the usual way outside the castle - the only trouble was, the doors to the outer courtyard were closed, and [GM]Darasuum was unable to open them - some by-product of the problems Cariae has been having lately, though I thought it was the Dratan castle siege that got messed up by a disconnection, not the Merac one.  So, Dara put the loot down outside the gates, and left, not taking up the suggestion to spawn some more monsters, such as Kamiras, outside.  My share of the loot was slightly underwhelming; I managed five large defence pots, but just two skill point boosters and one each of the other two.

Some people managed to get a few monsters through the doors, and I got a drop of a level 86 jacket from one of them, but it was a bit frustrating to edge up to the door and be able to see through it at an angle, and look at all the spear men, dark harpies, hell-otuus, and so on that we couldn't get to.  Zenderfly did turn up, but was a bit late for what action there was, as far as I could tell.

On Sarissa RedRyder is a level 40 rogue; I mentioned before the start the problem Cariae had had, and while he wasn't then visible, Dara said "I'll hunt you down, Red".  Things proceeded smoothly, anyway; I had to run for it a time or two, when I'd attracted the attention of male assassinbugs, but I lived through to the end, and here I got three of the skill point boosters, and a generous five each of the other three main goodies.  And a pair of level 107 healer boots as a drop!

On Hatzring, RedRyder went along again, though there she is only level 24.  She did actually have to ride down to Merac Castle, to get it onto her memory scroll; it was lucky she had a mount. [GM]Darasuum was there, but this time I didn't mention Cariae's problem.  I mean, how many times does one want to be hunted down?  The event played out in the usual way, and Red assisted mainly with Snare, since her attack damage on high-level monsters was not very great.  This time I avoided trouble entirely; I was lucky at the end, as most of the group I'd been with headed outside again to finish off any monsters there, but I headed for the inner courtyard - and found that Dara had already spawned the loot!  I managed to pick up four large defence potions, and two each of the other goodies, so I was okay, but late arrivals in there were a bit disappointed.

MistressDomina had spent the evening in the Tomb, though very little happened between the two dungeon time hours; for eight to nine the party was just MD and Dropkick, who does need someone of around MD's level in a combat party to get good experience from the sphinx commanders.  I had fought the one commie that attacked me, and, since I'd gained a full ignition level just from standing around while other party members fought, did battle three commies with it running, but otherwise, I let the others get on with it, and MD just added 1.06%, 8 skill points, and 93 pet points from her evening's adventure.

Tairen, as the newest server, always comes last, so its event started at 9:30, UK time.  I moved the level 45 +15 crossbow I'd bought, which my level 40 assassin Memree was carrying, across to my level 42 ranger xRAGEx, as she is the one who can use it.  Rage was the first arrival - or maybe Dara beat me to it, I'm not sure.  After we'd exchanged greetings he said "Watch this", moved a couple of times, said "Like my pet?" - and Zuney appeared, the local mage incarnation of fellow Twisted member Aszune, and a fairly high-level member of the local branch of the Vendetta guild.  I assume Dara used some sort of recall to get her there.  "Did I not just pull you out like a dragon?"  Zuney, when she knew who I was, explained that the red name and guildlessness on Auzura had been for her "capture the murderess" event.

Maybe I was getting careless, but Rage almost died when a big mob of death knights and baals attacked; I didn't realise I was in any danger, until I noticed that my health was very low.  And then, when fighting some wafes, I got slightly overwhelmed - and the one skill point restoration scroll Rage was carrying got used.  Still, I kept alive after that, and assisted with the anubis spear men, hell-otuu, dark harpies, and so on.  My share of the loot didn't include any large defence potions, which are usually the most common of the four main drops, and the least valuable; I got two item drop boosters and four each of the skill point boosters and large attack potions, though, so the cost of the scroll I'd used was more than covered.

Tairen seems to have some drama, as afterwards people were complaining about the Tomb there not being set, and the person who could set it was saying they should try to take the castle from him and set it themselves... so all in all I'm glad that I am not trying to get to a high level there at the moment.  [GM]Darasuum did linger a little, though I am not sure how keen he was on Zuney calling him "Blondie"...

Throughout it all CaptainScarlet had kept busy on Auzura-4 in Maargadum Jail, which meant that by the end of the evening his drake was past the two-thirds mark in 48.  The next day with a couple of hours or so of double pet experience is scheduled to be Saturday again, and that takes us into the New Year, so you probably won't read about this particular drake reaching level fifty here...

The Sighting of the Succubus - December 29th

If it's Wednesday, there must be a new post-maintenance patch, goes the theory.  And there was indeed a patch, though a very small one.  A stability issue with the new succubus pet/companion has been sorted out, apparently, and bugs with a couple of night shadow and titan skills have been fixed.  Due to the high demand for Akan Temple raid parties, as they are the only way to get skill books for the new "soul of" skills each class has gained, very sensibly the raids will now be reset daily, we are told - and the Facebook link for getting one of your characters a pair of sunglasses is back.  There is still no news of a return to a full web item mall, though, and the police costumes announced as "here" last week are still not available.  This also applies to an item necessary if you want to change a character's appearance, and cards to summon a mercenary assistant.

My team put in their half hour appearances safely.  Jamam got in touch with Rage, having decided to join Twisted if we'll have him; I mentioned this in guild chat and Ridlick revealed that he was the one who'd been levelling him for the last day or two.  At level 80 now, apparently Jamam still finds that the outdoor level 63 sphinx fighters give good drops, which is surprising; he showed me a level 85 +14 titan sword he was going to buy, having talked its seller down from 500 to 320 million, which, as a green-named, five-seal weapon with a couple of useful gems, looked like a bargain to me.

As far as I could tell, Cariae didn't get a crash this morning, and there was no disconnection on Auzura either, which made a pleasant change.  I'd waited so long, expecting a disconnection, that Rage and Kaerella were a bit late entering the Tomb of Theos on Auzura-4 - and that first corner after the spear man room was already being used.  The third corner, though, was free - and it has a slight advantage in that its three anubis spear man spawn points are a little closer together, and closer to the corner.  A bigger disadvantage, however, is that the aggressive, pet-attacking sphinx fighters also spawn closer in, sometimes right in the corner.  MrChuckNorris then logged in, replacing CaptainScarlet, and hurried to join them.  The more people there are in a combat party, the bigger the experience boost.

After a few minutes, Kaerella had to unequip her drake, as it was taking too much damage from sphinx fighters spawning right on top of her.  She managed to get through the fifty fighters needed for the "15 Years of Lost Memories" quest, but for a fair amount of the time was not fighting, but waiting to target the next fighter to respawn and head straight for Rage.  It's a useful spot, certainly, but if you want to concentrate on killing spear men, you definitely need someone else on hand to deal with the fighters. Or maybe you could just ignore them if your armour was good enough, but you'd not be able to have your pet equipped.

Thanks to Kae's fighter-killing, Rage was able to kill 62 anubis spear men during her power hour, adding 32.13% experience, 5 skill points, and 1025 pet points; the whole session was only slightly more, at 32.27%.  Kaerella got 1.31%, the 5 skill points, and 333 pet points, while Chuck added 0.76% and, due to his slightly late arrival, 3 skill points.

My trio ran across to the ancient grey mummies room as a "safe haven" over lunch, but then returned to the spear man side as soon as I was back, rather than fighting the mummies for a while, to make sure I was able to take possession of the first corner, for the two to three o'clock dungeon time.  They settled in there in the usual way, waiting for the hour to start - and it all went pretty smoothly, without too many sphinx fighters getting involved.  Kaerella is still useful there to clear fighters away from around the third spear man, a little further along, but it was much less hectic than the other corner.  Again, 62 boosters were used by Rage, and this time 32.26% was the experience gained, along with 4 skill points.

My trio headed straight across to the ancient grey mummies after that, though the main room there was pretty busy; we set up in the corridor instead with, come to think of it, Rage based at its first corner.  Nothing there is aggressive, so things were simple enough, and we continued for around an hour, long enough for Kaerella to reach her red ignition run again, for about 90 seconds of speedy killing and extra skill exp.  Luckily one of the main room's inhabitants had left by then, so there were a few spare mummies in there for her to target.

For the whole afternoon, Rage's total experience rose to 33.92%, plus 14 skill points and 2738 pet points; Kaerella earned 2.75%, 25 skill points and 1591 pet points, while Chuck added 1.45% and 14 skill points.  There seemed to be a guild party for Akan Temple forming up when I logged out, but those raids take a while, and I had dishes to wash, and food to prepare.  CaptainScarlet headed for Maargadum Jail again, and was soon past the 80% mark in his drake's 48th level.

For the evening, MistressSabina went out to the giants again, and managed to get another 30.4 million in gold from a not very long session.  RedRackham went to Maargadum Jail, providing the solo party on Auzura-6. A specialist sorcerer called 1REAPER1 arrived in the Dratan desert before very long, but generally didn't kill very quickly so there was room for both of us.  On one return to sell my loot to the NPC merchant, just as I'd reached ignition again, I saw he was there too, so, thinking that was rather convenient, I quickly buffed up, teleported back, and started the ignition run - only to find, after a couple of kills, that Kamira was there!  I finished the ignition run, and then, to ensure that she didn't vanish too quickly, gave her a quick attack... her response took almost half Sabina's health, but I was able to mount up and use "pet return to village" safely.

MistressSabina logged out, and Kaerella logged in, quickly selling a few armour drops to make some room in her inventory.  She teleported to Dratan, rode out to the giants, gave herself horse buffs and fast bow fixing, and soon dealt with Kammy, though she did lose 25% or so of her health to the fiery flame field that Kamira projects.  The loot didn't include any rare accessory, but as usual the lucky scrolls, crystal of experience (greater), moonstones, and other minor items are very welcome.

MistressSabina had just added 11.62% by then, helped along by a little "Turbo" boost to experience gain, plus 72 skill points and 778 pet points.  As often happens on a Wednesday, I needed to log out early... I did log Rage in briefly to ask in guild chat if anyone wanted a "sitter" in a combat party for the eight to nine o'clock dungeon time, but very few Twisted guildies were online, and the only responder, Ridlick, thought I was asking for sitters, and kindly volunteered... so that didn't lead anywhere. 

Someone in Dratan had managed to level up their "strange bat" pet to mount status, and had it equipped in Dratan, where MistressSabina saw it whenever she returned to sell her loot.  Just as the strange bat looks like a slightly different drake, but flying lower and visible in towns, the mount looks much like a misshapen dragon - but when it isn't being used as a mount, it appears as the sexy succubus - this particular one had taken the name Vampirella, but the comics heroine of that name wears rather more clothing, this succubus's scrap of cloth barely stretched up to cover her nipples, and was remarkably scanty lower down.  I thought this was a PG-13 game?

RedRackham continued his work levelling his pale pink drake; he got it to level 23 before too long, and a fair way through that level by the end of the evening, although a passing knight did kill his lancer once.  CaptainScarlet, meanwhile, kept working in Auzura-4's Jail, and by the time he logged out, had got his drake to within a couple of hours of  level 49.

Two to 101 - December 30th

I added an eighth character to my attendance roster this morning, since he has been quite active lately - my level 95 titan on Auzura, MrChuckNorris.  So CaptainScarlet, on the same account, was slightly later beginning his morning session in Maargadum Jail - but before long he got his current drake into level 49.

After coffee, the plan was to take Rage, Kaerella and Chuck to the Auzura-4 Tomb of Theos, but when Rage got to the entrance, in good time for the eleven to twelve o'clock dungeon, I found that the condition was right down at 50% - not exactly deadly, but it would have slowed down progress, and, when using expensive potions, the more kills you make in an hour the better.

So, Rage logged out, and my Cariae cleric Kaerella checked out the Tomb over on Cariae-4.  It was on 70%, which would have been a bit marginal for a "power hour", but good enough for the gentle sp-farming I had in mind.  So, Barbarienne logged in and joined her, while CaptainScarlet was able to continue with his pet-levelling.

There was plenty of space for Kaerella and Barbarienne in the ancient grey mummies room, so that is where we spent the rest of the morning, finishing just as the dungeon time hour ended, at noon.  By then Kae had added 1.25%, 15 skill points, and 1271 pet points, while Barb was up by 1.06%, 16 skill points - and the polar bear cub had added 24.73% in level 27.  But the main thing is that the 1.25% was enough to get Kaerella into level 101, which means that she is once again ten levels behind Barb, and thus able to be in a combat party with her.

The afternoon was shaping up to be more of the same, but I decided to check to see if the Auzura Tomb had been reset - so CaptainScarlet logged out on the oldest computer, and MrChuckNorris logged in on Auzura-4, and teleported out there...and found the condition was right up to a nice and easy 100%.

That meant that my Cariae duo, after spending lunchtime in the mummies room, logged out, and Rage and my Auzura archer Kaerella hurriedly logged in.  Rage was ahead of Kaerella, so Rage and Chuck hurried down to the anubis spear men, with Kae following a couple of minutes later.  That first corner in the corridor was free, thankfully, so we installed ourselves there, with a couple of minutes to spare before the start of the dungeon time hour.

Rage got through 63 experience boosters, plus the usual potions, during the hour, and added 32.34% - and that took her, too, into level 101.  Kaerella killed the local sphinx fighters, and Chuck provided his pair of buffs, and did fight a fighter a couple of times.  Once the hour was over, Rage lead the other two across to the mummies, and they spent an hour or so there.  The room was reasonably busy, but there was room for us - all three of us in fact, as, while Rage and Kae mainly used the first bit of corridor, Chuck fought the mummies in the room itself.  By the time I stopped for the usual early evening food break, Rage's total experience gain had reached 33.41%, plus 17 skill points and 2163 pet points.  Kaerella was up by 2.51%, including the 0.4% fighter-killing quest reward as she came in, plus 16 skill points and 1824 pet points, while Chuck had added 2.05%, 15 skill points, and 947 pet points.

We headed back to the spear men when the five to six o'clock dungeon time hour was approaching, but that first corner of the corridor was already in use - so we went to the third corner, despite all the aggressive sphinx fighters there.  Kaerella didn't bother to try equipping her drake, and generally just took on sphinx fighters that were dangerously close, or actually attacking Rage...they generally seemed to make a beeline for Rage's drake, so Rage did get through quite a few green herb leaves to keep it healthy.  One experience booster was a bit wasted, as Rage was unable to de-target one of the sphinx fighters in time - having the Controlled Shooting buff active stopped her from moving, so the usual "click on ground and move away" didn't work.

With a couple of ignition runs, Rage did manage to kill 65 anubis spear men during the hour, and went up by 33.07% in level 101.  Once the hour was over, once again my trio sped across to the ancient grey mummies, where they were all able to do some fighting - so that by the end of the session, Rage had added 34.47%, 33 skill points, and 2327 pet points, Kaerella was up by 2.39%, 43 skill points (including a red ignition run), and 1174 pet points, and Chuck had managed 2.43%, 31 skill points, and 1147 pet points.

MistressDomina did volunteer to sit for Dropkick in a combat party for the eight to nine dungeon time hour, but he checked a number of the sub-servers and was unable to find any sphinx commanders that weren't taken.  He is level 115 now, so probably won't get the full experience gain from them, even with MD in the party, but my feeling is that it would still beat the next options in the Strayana cave complex.

CaptainScarlet had logged in for pet-levelling as soon as Chuck logged out, and managed to get his drake moving through level 49, so that by the end of the evening he was perhaps a sixth of the way through it; a little later, once we knew that MistressDomina wouldn't be needed, RedRackham went to Maargadum too - and recorded yet another levelling-up for the day, with his pink drake moving into level 24.  I had been thinking there might be time for MistressSabina to head out to the giants for half an hour, but what with getting the day's blog updated, and chatting on the guild channel, with subjects including "Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines" and "Dungeon Siege", before I knew it it was time to log out.

The End of the Line - December 31st

For the 45th consecutive day, my assorted characters claimed their attendance bonus; Cariae's Kaerella and Barbarienne, plus MistressSabina, followed by Auzura's Kaerella, along with MistressDomina and MrChuckNorris, and then Rage and SirGalahad, while CaptainScarlet, who also qualifies for the 10% skill exp boost if he happens to kill something, took his level 49 drake down to the fifth floor of Maargadum Jail on Auzura-4 to spar with his death mask lancer.

Chuck had killed a fox on the way to the mine to get a few quality, imperfect and flawed stones, and while it gave the single point of experience, it gave two of skill exp - so last night's double skill exp was still running.  While that is quite useful for, say, SirGalahad or MistressSabina, they have the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, so the extra amount of skill exp is fairly minor - Kaerella and Barbarienne, however, fighting ancient grey mummies, would get the full benefit.

The benefit from the morning session wasn't, actually, huge, with Kae and Barb each gaining 22 skill points; Kaerella got 1.47% experience and 1902 pet points, while Barbarienne added 1.34%.  The polar bear cub's 32.58% was enough to get him into level 28, so that was useful progress.

The afternoon session was basically more of the same; Kaerella added 1.95% and 3053 pet points, and Barbarienne got 1.79% experience, while they each gained 31 more skill points, and the polar bear cub gained 46.27% in level 28.  I stayed for a little while into the evening, as Kae was starting to get close to a red ignition run, but it only gave her an extra 4 skill points so wasn't really worth the extra time.  Anyway, Kaerella earned another 1.88%, 23 skill points, and 1725 pet points, and Barbarienne got 1.51% and 19 skill points, with the polar bear cub adding another 27.46%, before we finished.  A knight had just arrived then, only the second player I'd seen since we arrived, and Kae gave him the Encourage buff, and briefly joined in a party with him to give him the experience and skill exp increasing buff too, before heading for the exit.

There was time for MistressSabina to head out to the giants, so RedRackham teleported to Maargadum Jail on Auzura-6 to give her a solo party, and Sabina went to the Dratan desert.  Thanks to the "Christmas Cheer" buff from the main tree in Randol, the giants were again pretty generous with their level 61 weapon drops (plus the 61 temple knight shield), and by the time she finished, Sabina had got 51.8 million just from selling those items to the NPC merchant back in the city.  16.36% experience was enough to get MistressSabina into level 53 at last, so that she was able to equip the level 57 +15 mage wand, instead of the level 45 one she had been using, increasing her magical attack from 979 to 1211.  112 skill points were earned too, along with 1193 pet points.

CaptainScarlet had continued with his pet-levelling, and by the end of the evening had got his drake comfortably past the halfway point in level 49; he did get disconnected at one point during the evening, but was able to log back in and hurry back without any problems.  RedRackham got his pink drake up into level 25, so that achievement, plus the polar bear cub and MistressSabina's levellings-up, means that it was another pretty productive day.

And so our saga here draws to a close, in a not very dramatic way.  Tomorrow, after I'm sure a rather later start than average, there should be some double pet experience, while Monday promises a high-level Mad Monster Spawn for Rage on Auzura, and Barbarienne on Cariae, to go to.  I'm going to have to get along to some more "raids" on Akan Temple in January, both with Twisted guildies on Auzura and arranged by Zenderfly on Cariae.  SirKit on Cariae needs if possible to move on from level 92 to 100, if only so that a phoenix character can be started on his account, while MistressSabina should finish her giant-farming after her current level, and then farm the outdoor sphinx "speer" men and sphinx fighters a bit.  MistressDomina is poised to do some serious levelling-up, while both the Cariae and Auzura Kaerellas need to farm the ancient grey mummies for skill points...

There is still lots to be done, and over the coming year, I intend to be doing it.