Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Quieter Day

With the regular weekly server maintenance last night, there was no opportunity for overnight pet-levelling, so it was just before breakfast when CaptainScarlet and RedRackham were able to restart their endeavours. It didn't take too long for Samael's horse to reach level 33 - now I just need Samael and Lylja to appear to claim their mounts, which now are just taking up space as far as I'm concerned. Each time SirPerivale logs on, the DeathBringers guild is entirely quiet.

I didn't have a full hour to play uninterrupted after coffee, but XxGALAHADxX and Enchantrella did head for Prokion Temple on Cariae-3 again, after Enchantrella had exchanged her +6 armour set for a +10 one. A healer of mine, LadyAuzura, had earned a +10 set the same way Gal did, so this was the set Enchie gained - she had to convert it into the mage equivalent at Collector Ryu of course. Back in my old Cariae-playing days, a +6 set was all one needed, but times are more dangerous now.

By lunchtime, Galahad had added 11.61%, 42 skill points and 131 guild points, while Enchantrella was 3.52% up, plus 43 skill points and 16 guild points. I left them there over lunch, and continued afterwards, using the last of Gal's beginner-type pssps for an hour. I wasn't playing 100% flat out then, though, so it was just 116 skill points he gained then, going up 12.65% while Enchantrella added 3.83%. The whole afternoon session there added 30.38% for Gal, plus 196 skill points and 343 guild points for ForceWithin; Enchie added 18.18%, 126 skill points, and 113 guild points for Norcaine. About halfway through the session the newer computer had a "run out of memory" crash, and after that the party was Equal rather than Combat, which is why Enchantrella's experience gain for the afternoon was a bit higher. But we do need to get her to level 29, at least, before too long.

LadyAuzura had also been looking after my level 51 Scra-Chi cartoon cat-like pet SkrappY, so Enchie took him as well, and equipped him while in the Temple; unlike ordinary pets, any party experience will give them their equivalent of pet points, their actual owner doesn't have to do the killing, so some progress through level 51 was made. Being so many levels above Enchantrella, though, meant that SkrappY did tend to get hungry rather quickly, so it was an expensive undertaking.

The next item on the agenda was to do a little work back on Auzura-4 on LadyJane, my level 5 healer, so, as a relaxing change of pace, she went out and killed some foxes and wolves. A rogue called Asif did attempt to trade with me, she was offering me, as obviously a new player, some gold, which was a very kind thought, though I had to say that LadyJane wasn't my first character, so I should be okay.

Once LadyJane had reached level 7, it was time for the run out to Prokion Temple. She hadn't picked up any small health potions, so I had to buy a couple, before setting out. As usual getting past the clever foxes and the sand golems was a close thing, even using a health potion, with LJ in her starter armour, but she succeeded, and got Shuraine's oasis onto her scroll, and then ran on to the Temple, with her potion of haste running out just as she approached the finish line. She even went inside, and managed to pick up a few unwanted gold drops that were only a yard or two into the corridors leading off the safety of the lobby.

Kaerella had by that time traded her drake SirFrancis, then on 7,132 pet points out of 11,237 through level 34, to RedRackham, taking the drake he'd been working on, now level 27, in his place, temporarily - and I'd traded across a blue pan flute from storage to SirPerivale, who did the quest of taking it to Lorraine in Randol, and then on to Jajan in Dratan, to get a cute little pale blue level 1 pony. Peri also went out to Prokion Temple to get rid of the 43.24% experience he'd got in level 22, by letting the Orcs there kill him fifteen times. As usual he picked up some unwanted loot, and gave a few people the Divine Shield armour buff, while he was about it.

The evening session was one of my early-finish Wednesday types, but there was just time for LadyJane and SirPerivale to team up in Prokion Temple. I noticed, when Peri killed his first couple of Ghouls in the corridor leading to one of the octagonal rooms on the way towards the central staircases, that even with LJ in the safety of the lobby, she still got her share of the experience from the kills. But she cautiously moved into the danger area, with Peri clearing the way, and moved to a safe spot just short of that first room.

I would have stayed for at least one more level if I'd had the time, but LadyJane moved successfully from level 7 to level 17 during that session, also adding 41 skill points. And this time I remembered to get my new character a Guardian - so LJ will get the "event" bow when she reaches level twenty, and Kaerella will get 10 Reputation points, which will take her total up to 190.

Ratel had got in touch while I was there, asking first for a bit of advice, which had nothing to do with Last Chaos, but is I suppose worth mentioning just as a general warning. His wife had received an email telling her that she had won a FIFA 2010 lottery prize, which was a lot of money - though for administrative expenses and taxes, she would need to forward the sum of £330 to a London address first. My first reaction was the cliche "if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is". Ratel gave me the name of the London firm involved, and I did a Google web search for it - and the only result was headlined "419 Scam/Fake Lottery". "419" being the number of the article in the Nigerian penal code referring to that sort of deception.

So, it is good that Ratel and his wife are cautious, and felt that something was wrong and needed to be investigated. You can easily imagine some other people, probably without a large amount in the bank, to whom the sum held out to them would be a truly life-changing, magic event. They'd scrape together the money they were asked for, and send it off - only to be told that there were further expenses to be met, and if they sent more, yet further. The glittering prize would remain forever just out of reach, and the poor "prize-winners" might well sink themselves and their family deeply into debt. It's such an evil, heartless crime. Just remember, never send off cash, particularly by wire transfer, for "winnings", and don't give your bank details to widows of South American dictators who want to send tens of millions of dollars out of their country via your bank account, for which they'd "give" you 10% of the money involved.

Where was I? Ah yes. Ratel also mentioned that he'd managed to get together another 27,500,000 of Last Chaos gold to repay me for the loan to get that +15 weapon, so he is doing very well on that side. He first of all assumed that Peri was in Merac with the Berserkers, and then found that he'd removed Prokion Temple from his memory scroll... by the time I thought to offer to return to town for the exchange, he'd reached Prokion though, and passed the cash over. He mentioned that he has bought a new router for his broadband connection, which may well mean that he will be able to connect more than one computer to the internet at the same time, opening up the possibility of having his wife's account at the Sunday Quiz as well as his own, having a merchant on Auzura-1 while also fighting Bogles at the same time, or even doing a bit of pet-levelling as well as fighting.

I remember someone I knew, who perhaps ought not to be named, having a "conga line" of four characters at the Quiz, using every available computer in the household. Getting sixty heaven stones per week that way, if none of the computers crashed, must have been very handy.

RedRackham at least was able to continue levelling SirFrancis the drake through the rest of the evening, so that level 35 was reached at around eleven; Peri started work on that new blue pony later on, and it looks as if it should reach level 3 by log-out time, though its Sympathy willl take a while to reach 100%.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A Pair of Mad Monster Spawns

It was CaptainScarlet's turn to pet-level overnight with the Berserkers, and he did well, getting Samael's horse up to level 31 fairly early in the night. Before breakfast RedRackham was back in action too, working on his drake - but the pet-levelling ended earlier than usual, after I decided that I really didn't need to go on a shopping trip this morning out in the big wide world.

So, it was before coffee that I logged Galahad and Enchantrella in - although, as this was the Cariae server for a change, Galahad is actually officially "XxGALAHADxX". Gal had been power-levelled in the Tomb of Theos by one of my high-level characters, soon after the "player appreciation event" started, just to get the +10 30/32 armour set and level 33 weapons, with nothing done with him since then, so I got all his "treasure chest" goodies from Lorraine, a mixture of gold and Candy, spent what few skill points he had on the low levels of Canid Fence and the first level of Vitality Control, had MistressDomina enrol him in the ForceWithin guild of which she is guild master (and freeze his experience gain on 50%), and had him run out to Prokion Temple on Cariae-3. It's certainly an easier run at level 31 than at level 7, the Sand Golems and Clever Foxes of the Desert are no problem at all at that level.

Enchantrella, my level 27 mage, with just about all her special skills already maximised, as well as the general and passive ones, was able to use her memory scroll to teleport to the Temple entrance, and arrived just as Gal ran up. They then headed for my favourite back room - and I took my coffee break before Gal started the first of his "beginner" platinum super skill pills, giving 150% extra skill exp gain for an hour. Enchantrella, with just a +6 armour set, kept safely in a corner, offering moral support.

The first hour saw Galahad gain 104 skill points, while there was just time for a second hour too, which brought in another 110 - having just remembered to buy bloodseal gems before I left Dratan city, by the end almost all the seals were done for his armour, sword and shield, adding a little bit to attack, defence and evasion. Without the full Canid Fence and Vitality Control passive skills, though, he couldn't use the dual swords for faster killing, as his health started to drop dramatically if he hadn't got his shield equipped.

Gal gained 7.13% experience in the first hour, with his experience gain cut to 50%, and 7.39% in the second hour - 14.64 in all, plus 215 skill points, as I couldn't stay long after the second pssp expired. Enchantrella added 11.85% and 12.50%, for 24.54% in all, plus just 87 skill points as she wasn't using any boosts.

Ratel was actually logged in over on Cariae,, a quick check of Enchie's Friends list showed, but he must have been away from his keyboard as he didn't reply to my greeting, and had logged out the next time I tried.

After Cap and Peri did some more work over lunch on Auzura-4, it was time to return to Cariae-3, and Galahad and Enchantrella were soon back in action - though I spent 200 of Galahad's newly-gained skill points on getting Canid Fence and Vitality Control up to level five, the maximum possible at his current level, first.

This proved a sensible investment, as it meant that he could use his dual swords rather than just a sword and shield - sometimes his health would drop a little if a lot of Orcs were surrounding him, but as the size of the mob was reduced, his health bar would stabilize and I never had to actually use any health potions. So, killing more quickly, Gal gained 138 skill points during his third pssp's hour, along with 9.23% experience, followed by 130 and 8.52%.

I continued for a while after that fourth hour ended, but I switched to a Combat party, to let Enchantrella continue to gain skill exp without adding too much experience. In all, Enchantrella added 31.51% during the afternoon, and 125 more skill points, while Galahad's totals were 22.34% and 286.

Back in Randol, Galahad was able to learn all five levels of the level 30 skill Mana Break, and opt to become a Temple Knight, so that when he reaches level 32, that Wall of Belief passive skill will let him increase his physical defence stat even more. The plan is to get him up to level 35, so that, on Cariae, like RedRackham over on Auzura, he'll be a perfect pet-leveller.

Red and Cap were back in action over the early evening food break, and Cap continued for a bit after that, while Memree made her usual visit to the Auzura Mad Monster Spawn, which as ever was a bit later than its theoretical five o'clock (UK) starting time. GM Stratos was back in charge this week. Memree only died once, though in my hurry I chose the wrong option and used up one of her five "beginner" resurrection scrolls, rather than just respawning back in town with a small penalty. I think the death was because I was trying to heal someone who was being attacked by a cave spirit type - it was certainly instantaneous. A little later my health was down below 20, I may have been hit by one of the debuffs that takes one down to 1 hp, but that I managed to survive.

The final wave went "right down to the wire", with a large mob of us attempting to take down the last Patriarch Botis. We'd have been okay if its health hadn't reset from about 40% to the full 100%, presumably because the person it was focussed on had left the area. I think another large group were working on a Fluton - but at last we got reinforcements, and the Patriarch went down with less than ten seconds to spare.

That earned us a final spawning of Hands as a reward. If I understood what TinySickNinja was saying correctly, there may actually have been some Hands of the Warrior spawned, but there was nothing of that type visible when I got to where the goodies get dropped. Still, Memree did pretty well, picking up in all 7 large defence and 15 large attack potions, 6 item drop boosters, 11 skill point boosters, and quite a lot of tool aids, which meant that it seemed like a good idea to use as many as possible to mine some quality stones.

In total, Memree used 85 tool aids and healer-type mining hammers, so mined 2295 quality stones. The level 31 rogue FrOzEn got in touch while I was doing that, and suggested that we team up for a trip to find some Pandora's Boxes and Beasts - she was in favour of Dratan, but I voted for Merac, as I don't rate the drops from Dratan Beasts very highly. So we ran around most of the map really, from Berserkers down to Gnolls and as far as Merac Castle, and then back to town and out to the east, to the Mystic Swamp and so on. We did find a few Boxes - one dropped some gold, while one down by the Gnoll Lancers released a level 50 Beast - I had to use my Resurrection skill on my companion then, but in the end, when Frozen's Snare worked twice in succession, we did manage to kill it. Curiously it gave a lot less experience than a couple of level 30 types we encountered off to the east.

Frozen then was wondering where a good place for experience was, and I mentioned the Sphinx types in Dratan, though stressing that as a level 31 healer, Memree wasn't ready to go there. So I switched to my level 39 witch MistressSabina; as Frozen hadn't got the place on her memory scroll yet, I got my "friend" MistressDomina to come online briefly to use her Recall to get us out there, where we joined Frozen's friend WHITEBLACK, a level 43 rogue.

It all started fairly chaotically, we seemed always to be attracting more than one monster, and over the course of the next hour or so there were a number of deaths, though Sabina managed to stay alive. Neither of the rogues seemed to bother about getting their health bar, er, healthy again after it had been bashed down to 25%. WhiteBlack left after a while; FrOzEn briefly went back to town to buy a blessed iris and some experience boosters, so for a while it was "let me make the final blow", so that the boosters would work for her. She did manage to level up, and mentioned at the end that she was pretty close to level 33 by then. When I departed, she was going to head for Prokion Temple to finish up the rest of the double experience time from the blessed iris.

MistressSabina levelled up early on, and was able to use her next pair of gloves. By the end of the session she had added 29.16% experience, though no skill points, so that was a useful session, and it was fun to actually play Sabina rather than just have her standing at the side. I'd first met Frozen at the Zombie infestation on Sunday - she had been lying dead right at the end, asking to be resurrected, as the rewards were just about to be spawned, and, once I had persuaded her that she needed to register for a party before I could do anything, I had returned her to life just in time for the loot-grabbing.

The American servers' Mad Monster Spawns were due at ten o'clock, UK time, which is a bit late for me, but I logged Barbarienne in on Cariae-3 and rode over. GM Kali was in charge, and things proceeded at a lively pace, with plenty of rewarding hands between waves. Barb did get hit badly a couple of time, requiring running like heck, using great healing potions, and plenty of Self Heal, but I think that she made a useful contribution to the campaign. There was no sign of Zenderfly, though - again, Ratel was the only person on my Friends list to appear to be online, and he must have been afk.

I was just starting to recover from the second "near-death experience", having moved out of the front line and started to Self Heal, when the game crashed, which is very unusual these days - "send error report?" Logging back in took a while, and then I had to ride back out as Barb doesn't have room on her memory scroll for the MMS location, but I got back in time to assist with the last few Patriach Botises - and to grab plenty of loot, Kali seemed to be very generous with the Hands of Bravery, Hands of the Guard, and the defence one..,. but there weren't any Hands of the Warrior, with heaven stones. Cariae finished the final wave with plenty of time to spare, so it was only about 10:37 when Barbarienne logged out... and RedRackham logged back in to join CaptainScarlet for a little more pet-levelling. By the time we shut down tonight, Samael's horse should only be about three hours away from reaching its target level of 33, while Red's drake is safely into level 27 now.

Monday, 28 September 2009

A Threesome With Kamira

Another overnight pet-levelling session worked well, so that at around 8:20 this morning, UK time, Lylja's horse, under RedRackham's tutelage, reached level 37; I immediately switched over to the level 25 drake that Red was also carrying. CaptainScarlet had rejoined him at the Berserkers in Merac before breakfast, and the horse he is working on for Samael had gone up to level 30 about a minute before that.

Both pet-levellers lost half an hour or so to a disconnection not long after that, but then continued until after coffee, when my level 32 sorcerer JohnWellington headed for Prokion Temple for a session, followed by my level 24 rogue RedRider, in a Combat party. The back room was available, so John set to work, using his ability to transform into a small-headed floating knight. John's basic physical defence stat is 721 with his +10 armour set, but adding an Armour Increase buff from his pet, his self-buff Stone Skin, and the extra armour of the "earth invocation" knight form gets him up as high as 1430 - so why he still tends to lose a little health I have no idea. The Stone Skin buff has to be added before he turns into the knight, and only lasts ten minutes; it seems that one can't self-buff while in the knight form. The knight form itself lasts thirty minutes, though can be turned off before then, and can't be used again until five more minutes have elapsed.

JohnWellington added 28.69%, which was just enough to get him into level 33, plus 87 skill points, while RedRider, arriving slightly later and as usual using a small health potion along the way, added 22.73% and 83 skill points. John also got, apparently, a mere 261 pet points for his drake, which was only equipped for part of the time - and won't be equipped on future forays there, since after he levelled up the Axemen are now blue-named, and thus won't give any pet experience.

CaptainScarlet and RedRackham did some more work over lunch; I then briefly logged in as SirPerivale, but nobody else in the DeathBringers guild was online. So, MistressDomina took over the main computer, accompanied, in an equal party, by MistressBlaze, and headed out to the Sphinx types, for a productive afternoon session.

None of my visitors stayed very long, I must report. A mage called DarkMag3, a self-confessed "noob" who can't have been more than level 30, asked for buffs, though she wasn't very specific about which ones - I occasionally remember to give myself Haste and Chakra Shield (the second of those, of course, is the one that improves a person's movement speed), so gave her those. But when she attacked a Sphinx Fighter it moved towards her rather too quickly, so I added Curse to slow it down and helped kill it. I suggested that she should target the Sphinx types I was fighting, but she left just before my second arrival of the afternoon.

The third visitor was the knight Alingrecu90, whose "plz attacka" I assumed to be a request to be allowed to "ks", or do what I'd suggested DarkMag3 do. I said "fine", and lured in the next Elite Sphinx Speer Man, not using Terra Spear (hmm, very nearly spelt that "Speer" then), to give him more time, and he used his shield stun, and hopefully did get useful experience. The next target, a Sphinx Fighter, did turn on him, though, at least I saw him hazed in red as he used a health potion, and perhaps that made him remember an important appointment somewhere safer, as he then left.

In between, though, as you may have guessed from today's title, Grand Devilroad Kamira arrived - so MistressBlaze headed for a safe corner, and MistressDomina logged out, to allow my level 72 rogue Rage (or RAGE, to be exact) to come out and fight Kammy. She still had the second half of the previous lucky scroll to use, so I added horse buffs, and a level 12 magical defence mineral - looking back I'm pretty sure I forgot to use an item drop booster, however.

Kamira was nicely positioned near enough to me that none of the Sphinx Fighters or Speer Men got involved, so the fight went according to plan. A few health potions, and a mana potion or two, got used, but before too long Kamira crashed to the ground, and I could see, partly obscured by other items, a yellow bit of text, indicating that a rare accessory had been dropped. I had to kill a few Sphinx types to pick everything up, but when everything was safely gathered in, as well as the usual moonstones, medal of honour, lucky scrolls, and so on, in Rage's inventory I'd got a Pierce of Wind, a Chain of Tiger - and an Eyes of Spirit, the second most valuable accessory of all, after the Tears of Knight. A "EoS" is ideal for a bow-user, Rage already uses two plus a Stone of Shadow - it adds 168 to the long range physical hit rate, 78 to close range evasion, and 44 each to health and mana points. So, it looked as if Kaerella was liable to get that, unless Memree wants to borrow it for when she uses a bow rather than a scepter. To add compliment to assistance, if that makes a reasonable opposite to "to add insult to injury", Kamira also dropped Rage a heaven stone...

By the end of the afternoon session MistressDomina had added 13.93%, along with 1046 pet points, while MistressBlaze had gone up by 60.81%, and just reached level 47, enabling her to put on the last two parts of the 50/52 armour set. They had each gained 9 skill points, as well.

Over the early evening food break the pet-levellers were back in action, joined for a while by a sorcerer called YourUnlce of the eXtreamePlaYers guild, in a cowboy outfit, though I assumed that he wasn't entirely afk, as he was using frequent small health potions. Red gave him a Divine Shield buff a few times, which the first time made his Berserker turn its attention to Red for a few hits. It puzzled me that he didn't use Stone Skin as a self-buff, since that would have increased his defence a lot. It's a skill any sorcerer can learn at level 20, and he must have been above that, or he'd hardly have headed off to fight level 34 Berserkers bare-handed. He did eventually reply to my query saying he did have it, but was afk - possibly he has a system to use a small health potion automatically when needed.

RedRackham did get his drake up to level 26 during that hour or so - but for the evening, the plan was to do a little work on CaptainScarlet, and so instead of taking him to Merac, he went to Dratan, and to Prokion Temple. Since his red name means that he doesn't hit very hard at all, which is good for pet levelling but bad for levelling himself, he was on the older computer, teamed in an equal party with Galahad. As Gal is level 34 and Cap is level 32, they didn't get a whole lot of experience from the Orc Sergeants and Orc Axemen, but it was skill exp we wanted, as Cap hadn't had enough skill points, earlier, to get the fifth level of Wall of Belief, the passive skill, which would add another 50 to his physical defence, on top of the 105 that the first four levels had given him.

It was quite a long session, but it only gave Galahad 7.45% experience; he got 121 skill points, though, while Cap, who arrived a minute or two after him, added 120, which was enough to get him up to the 216 skill points he needed for that fifth level, with 8 to spare. The only other skill he is liable to need to learn is Canid Fencing 2, if we can get him, like RedRackham, to level 35. Luckily that only needs 60 skill points, so a slightly shorter session some time should manage that. And then MistressBlaze will attempt to level him up at the Sphinx types, I suppose.

Some general exchanging of items followed, before the pet-levellers took over; Kaerella got the Eyes of Spirit, Memree got the Pierce of Wind, and Galahad got the Chain of Tiger - and also a second Chain of Tiger, which RedRackham had been using while he was levelling, but now no longer needs. Various loot drops were transferred to MistressDomino, my merchant character, who, since she hasn't attempted to sell anything for some weeks now, is carrying rather a lot of stuff; she has also taken charge of the level 14 magical attack and defence minerals from the package I bought a few days ago. Rage seems fine with the level 12 defence ones, which add 150 to magical defence, but Kaerella, who one day ought to take over the Kamira-fighting job, has had her stock of the level 12 type replaced by the level 14 ones, which add 178. SirPerivale did log in again briefly, but again no DeathBringers members were online.

By the end of the evening, RedRackham should see his drake get about halfway through level 26; the only plan with this one is to get it high enough to work as a substitute for another character's drake while that one is worked on. Red should thus get a chance to do some work on Kaerella's drake, SirFrancis, which is currently only level 34, and perhaps also a little further work on MistressDomina's level 38 pink one, since the session with that one did come to a slightly early end. By log-out time CaptainScarlet's horse, for Samael, ought to be around 90 minutes away from level 31.

Three rare and very useful accessories, and a heaven stone? It makes one wonder what would have happened if I hadn't forgotten to use an item drop booster!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Zombie Invasions

RedRackham's first overnight pet-levelling session went well, so that we weren't very far into the morning when the horse he is working on for Lylja reached its penultimate level. Level 36 does take over thirteen hours to get through, though, so another overnight session will be needed, it's very handy that, since he is level 35, Red can handle a level 36 pet without it starting to get hungry too quickly.

It being Sunday, CaptainScarlet wasn't in action as early as usual, but he soon got into the swing of things, and, over lunch got the horse which will be going to Samael up to level 29. Since Cap is still level 32, he can handle pets up to level 33 without any problems, and that is as far as Samael wants us to go. A level 33 horse mount may not give quite as good buffs as a level 37 one, but you can crank the attack buff up to ten (nine is the maximum on a level 31 mount), and generally only be two short of the full ten-ten attack and defence buffs.

After coffee, RedRider headed for Prokion Temple, this time in a Combat party with my level 32 sorcerer JohnWellington, who may not be the quickest killer I've got, but did manage to add 19.75% experience; RedRider, at level 23, added 18.00%, since in a Combat party almost all the experience goes to the one doing the fighting, and they got 81 skill points each. About my only visitor was a rogue called CCN1, who very possibly was in my favourite room shortly before I arrived - the room was empty, but there was some recently-dropped gold on the floor to pick up. She stayed for a little while, left, then came back later but left rather quickly, perhaps suitably impressed that John was in his "Knight" transformation.

Following the usual lunchtime pet-levelling, now that MistressBlaze has reached level 46 I could team her up with MistressDomina, who was just below level 61, and head for the Sphinx types. The Auzura-4 location was too busy, as I did want access to the Elite Sphinx Speer Man or MD would have been wasting her time; so I moved across to Auzura-3, and had the area to myself for most of the time, though a healer called Velma, a phoenix character with the distinctively two-toned horse and fluorescent orange headgear, did arrive, but left when she saw that I had the Elite monopolised.

It wasn't a hugely long session, just an hour or so, as "Sunday Teatime" was due to start at three, UK time, with "Skill Point Sunday" as a title suggesting that we'd get a skill exp boost. MistressDomina added just 3.87%, plus 486 pet points, while MistressBlaze gained 16.89%; they each got 14 skill points as well.

Since my royal knight Galahad was still in level 33, he seemed a good candidate to team up with RedRider for Teatime, so a Combat party was formed - but even the Auzura-3 Prokion Temple was pretty full, and I ended up in the small room with statues at its corners, close to the central staircases and gallery. Red's first attempt at standing casually by the edge didn't work, with an Orc Axeman able to attack her, but she went into a corner and was safe. Before long a knight called Aragornn also took up residence, and there were just about enough Orcs to keep us both busy. Rogues called LightningStrike and XMRSCOLDX did little more than kill an Orc or two on their way through, but a titan called MaKid did try and horn his way in, but there really wasn't enough room for three fighters there.

After Aragornn left, MaKid returned, and was very touchy about Gal fighting near him - "Don't help me", he said more than once. But if the Orcs that had respawned were all clustered around him, I consider it fair enough to attack one or two, rather than just stand around like a lemon with nothing to fight, as long as I didn't attack the one he was actually fighting at the time.

I'm afraid the "Teatime" was as messed up as Friday's had been - there were no announcements at all, but as far as I could tell it started about 45 minutes late, did give extra skill exp to begin with, and then switched to extra experience instead, so it hadn't been worth trying to prepare for. I didn't bother to stay until its end, I just stayed long enough for RedRider to reach level 24, adding 49.92%; Galahad had added 30.07%, which had taken him to level 34 about a third of the way through, but a Combat party still works when people are more than ten levels apart, as long as they were no more than ten levels apart when the party was formed. On the skill points side, they had each gained 154, which can't be bad.

Galahad had gained 455 guild points; RedRider had gained just 65, to add to the 35 gained in the morning session. In the course of moving from the start of level 23 to the start of level 24, Red had gained 375 skill points in all, which will need to be invested in skills either right away, or when level 25 is reached.

Elvastar was on Auzura-4, so I wasn't able to team with him; he did have another 23 million gold to pass across to me, so that he has now passed the halfway mark in repaying the 320 million he borrowed. RedRackham was able to get that from him before he headed for Merac over the food break. Elva told me that he, or Ratel, wouldn't be at the Quiz on Auzura, he would be going to it on Katar instead, as he was a bit short of funds there, and owed a guildmate some cash that had been loaned to him to help him buy a level 33 unmounted horse there. "He hardly knows me, but helped me with 35 mil anyway."

As usual on a Sunday, the evening session wasn't anything very serious, since the Quiz was always going to turn up halfway through. While CaptainScarlet continued to level his horse, MistressSabina did a few outstanding quests, mainly in Merac and involving taking messages around, but also including killing Gnoll Soldiers, and a trip out to Shuraine at his oasis in the Dratan desert. Sabina also ventured into Maargadum Jail, and killed a few spiked canine types on level one and level two - at one point she went out to Dratan's Sphinx Fighters to try soloing them, but while at her level they gave 0.65% experience each, they did take a long time to kill, as Sabina, as a witch rather than a wizard, doesn't have Terra Spear to hit them with, and they also hit rather hard. Their habit of pretending to stand still for a while, and then suddenly being right on top of one and attacking, can be rather dangerous in such circumstances. As she was partied with Cap, she also changed the party to Combat and killed some of his local Berserkers and Bandits, to give him a small boost. In all Sabina added 13.42%.

The Quiz on Auzura-2 went well, there didn't seem to be any of the really awkward questions, and I think most of us safely got through to the end. Ratel told me later though that on Katar they hadn't managed to get past question ten, so I don't know what went wrong there. Ah well, there is always next week. Maybe I'll have Kaerella on Auzura as usual, but have the older computer's character over on Katar to give some moral support.

After the Quiz, there was the "Zombie Invasion" out by Berbank Mill in Juno, quite close to Randol, on Auzura-2. Memree went to that, and managed to avoid being killed. Zombies, Ancient Zombies, Apes, Screaming Zombies, Ancient Screaming Zombies, there was a lot of killing to be done, and sadly despite our best efforts, we weren't able to kill them all in the allotted time. We were still given a few Hands spawned as a reward for our hard work, I think I got a large attack potion and an item drop booster, or something like that.

Auzura's Zombie Invasion had been scheduled for 9:00pm, UK time, and after that, for 9:30, GM Kali moved over to Katar - and I decided I might as well follow. My archer there, another Kaerella, was only level 6 when we started, and despite being killed three times, and having to rush back from town using a potion of haste, ended up at level 10. Again, we didn't finish clearing the area of its zombie infestation in time, and again I just managed to get a couple of useful items.

Cariae was next, so this time I went as my level 100 archer Barbarienne. I was rather expecting Zenderfly to be there, but she wasn't around; Ratel's Cariae rogue Ahtema turned up, however, and stayed relatively close, using her Snare skill to good effect. She did die once, she told me afterwards, and I nearly did, too, the boss-type level 102 Ancient Screaming Zombies have a nasty debuff that drove my health down at an alarming rate, I'm sure it dipped below 200 despite a greater healing potion and my frantic use of Self Heal.

I did manage to get two large attack potions, two large defence potions, and a couple of tool aids, from the Hands at the end, but once again we didn't manage to clear the area inside the allowed time. It is strange that, despite the event coming along relatively soon after the Sunday Quiz, at quite a "peak time", there didn't seem to be all that many top-level players there. But then, there were a heck of a lot of the level 100 and level 102 zombies to deal with... I wonder how the last two servers, Sarissa and Hatzring, got on?

After that, RedRackham went out to Merac, back on Auzura-4, and started to pet-level on the Berserkers once more, alongside CaptainScarlet. Cap's horse should be within an hour or so of level 30 by the time he logs out tonight, while I'd say that Red's horse, for Lylja, will be about eight hours away from level 37 by then.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Mission Accomplished

CaptainScarlet did manage to keep working on Lylja's horse overnight, though it was a close-run thing. For the first four hours the horse was level 33, which, as that's only one level above Cap, was just the regular single starvation point per five minutes, so that a full yellow bar of 100 points would last over eight hours. But then the horse levelled up, and at level 34 the pet's appetite moves on to two starvation points per five minutes. So, I was relying on me waking up some time in the middle of the night - which I did, padding along to the front room and feeding a suitable supply of quality stones to the hungry beast. So, when I checked in the morning, we were still okay, with 14/100 left. Not that reaching zero is a disaster and a death, it just means, as I understand it, that the animal no longer gets any pet points, and its Sympathy starts to diminish, meaning that the armour buff it gives its owner starts to go down.

SirPerivale logged back on just before breakfast, to work on the horse that is destined for Samael, to replace the one his little brother traded away, very possibly for some magic beans - or was it a drake? At level 27 as opposed to Peri's own level of 22, this particular horse was even hungrier, getting through 3 starvation points per five minutes, which is fine during the day generally - after all, one does have to check occasionally to make sure some little dear hasn't come along and killed the Berserkers Peri and Cap have been battling.

Still, the idea has always been that RedRackham should take over Peri's pet-levelling responsibilities, leaving him just to help characters from level seven on to add a few levels quickly, so after coffee RedRackham headed for Prokion Temple, in a solo party with Cap back in Merac. Using one of his "beginner" platinum blessed irises moved his experience along by 34.65% over its hour, getting him into level 33. The new level decreased the amount of experience he got per kill - the Orc Sergeants still gave a useful amount, but the Orc Axemen, who were now blue-named to him, gave very little, so generally, after the levelling-up, I ignored the Axemen and just concentrated on the Sergeants, so that Red was followed around by the seven Axemen all the time. Continuing for a while after the pbi ended meant that in all Red went up by 43.25%, and added 110 more skill points.

Over lunch CaptainScarlet and SirPerivale were both pet-levelling, and then RedRackham went back to Prokion Temple, but this time with my level 23 rogue, RedRider, with him. Having her along meant that instead of 1283 experience, the Orc Axemen now gave about seven times that, and the Orc Sergeants were a bit more generous too. RedRackham had stopped off in Dratan to finish a couple of quests, after getting some Soft Sand and some more Orc Ornaments from my holder of such items, the knight Calm (or CALM to be strictly accurate), and the experience from the rewards added 3.55%; the time with the latest pbi brought in a further 39.46%, and I continued long enough to add a further 3.40%. That brought in another 74 skill points.

But, with one "beginner" pbi left, it was time to finish things off, so it was RedRackham's turn to go on the older computer, and head for the Sphinx types, where he teamed up with MistressBlaze. Neither of us got any skill experience there - but, with MB fighting the Sphinx Speer Men and Sphinx Fighters (I was happy to leave the Elite to the rogue MsNatashA), RedRackham soon reached level 34 - and got to our target, level 35, with about two minutes remaining on his pbi.

MistressBlaze had added 11.26% experience, and 554 pet points, over the hour, so her time had been productively spent. As for RedRackham, he returned to the newer computer (which is just about celebrating its first birthday now), spent 60 skill points on the level 35 skill Canid Fencing 2 to add another 120 to his physical defence, and met up with SirPerivale in Prokion Temple, over on the player-versus-player enabled Auzura-5 sub-server. Peri removed his armour and stood just a yard or two into the gaming area, but not near enough to the monsters to attract them, and let RedRackham kill him a few times, until RedRackham's name had gone the appropriate colour, with a good/evil rating of -155.

There was then a swapping-around of the pets-in-training; Peri passed Samael's horse to Red, and then Red traded that horse to CaptainScarlet in exchange for Lylja's horse, and the level 25 drake he was also carrying. Cap then headed out to Merac to work on Samael's horse, which as its level is lower than his, is back to only one starvation point per five minutes. Red used the thirteen tool aids he'd picked up along the way to get himself a supply of quality stones, and then headed for Merac too. While Cap hits for 17 bare-handed, at the moment Red hits for 19 - but that is partly because his gloves have a bloodseal that adds four to his strength stat, without the gloves that goes down to 18. Fine for Berserkers, or Butchers, or, I expect, Treants.

The only other thing that needed to be done in the afternoon was getting my rogue RedRider's experience down a bit, since level 23 seems such a useful one; she was almost 90% of the way through it after the session with RedRackham. First of all I managed, easily enough, to spend all her unused skill points (521 of them), on skills such as Snare, Far Seeing, Free Walk, and Innate Movement - and then it was a matter of going to Prokion Temple, again, and letting the local monsters, including the few Orc Sergeants that are usefully near to the hallway, kill her thirty times, to get her experience in level 23 down to zero again.

After the break, RedRackham ran down to the south of Merac, to where the Gnoll Lancers are, and spent a little while pet-levelling on them for a change. With a high-level pet giving all thirty levels of Armour Increase, RedRackham's physical defence stat now is 1551; without a pet it is 1301, which still seems enough to keep Red's health bar full against a Gnoll Lancer. I was chatting to another pet-leveller down there, WeaponHand, who warned me that someone called Majormed has been known to come along and kill one's Gnoll Lancer, and even lure a Pandora's Beast onto an afk pet-leveller. "Not frequent, but it happens." WeaponHand is white-named, so his Gnoll Lancer does die eventually, but at level 32 he hits for 33, so they last a good long time.

After the break, RedRider logged back on, and headed for Prokion temple, where she was joined by SirDarth. Luckily Elvastar was also around, and at level 26 fitted neatly in-between, so was able to change the party into a Combat type, meaning that, while Elva as he was out of compass range just got the usual "solo party" effect, Darth got a slightly boosted experience gain from the Combat effect, and a further boost from RedRider's comparatively low level. Red got a small amount of experience, and a full share of the skill exp, so it worked rather nicely. At level 34 Darth was getting around 21,000 experience from an Orc Sergeant, and 12,000 from an Orc Axeman; later in the evening he went up to level 35, so that even the Sergeants were blue-named, but they still gave him about 18,000 experience, with the Axemen giving about 11,000.

A level 31 titan called Healthpack (or indeed HEALTHPACK) dropped by for a while, and later in the evening a rogue of a similar level called MasterDsStudent also paid me a visit - and was apparently the same person, though playing as an assassin-type rogue did seem to increase her urge to "ks" a bit, not that I minded. They both got added to Darth's Friends List, and I may well see them in that back room again before long.

SirDarth went up by 43.26%, and added 138 skill points; since it was a Combat party, RedRider only went up by 32.10%, but got 140 skill points. Where she got the extra 2 from I'm not sure, but possibly she was in range of Elvastar's fighting occasionally.

Elvastar did leave us for a while, so that Ratel could go out for a rendezvous with Kamira. As Ratty is ten levels lower than the "roadboss", it was a pretty dangerous encounter, though Ratel emerged triumphant. He didn't get a rare accessory, just the usual lucky scrolls, crystal of experience (greater), and so on, which meant that, as he had had to use 6 Candy and 17 greater health potions, he probably didn't make a profit on the encounter, but killing Kammy at level 60 is quite an achievement - "one to tell the grandchildren about", as I phrased it. He mentioned that he had seen a sorcerer manage the feat at level 49, but that one had had a full set of +15 armour, and so a very high magic defence.

And so it was time for CaptainScarlet to head for his Berserker, and for RedRackham to go down to the Gnoll Lancers again, where WeaponHand was still busy - and a knight called xXMeTaKnightXx wasn't busy at all, I think his Gnoll Lancer had managed to get behind a tree, breaking the aggro. Cap's horse, or Samael's, was well into level 28 by log-out time, while Red's, or Lylja's, was a couple of hours into level 35.

This blog does appear in a number of places; on GuildPortal I'm always surprised by the way the number of readers for a new day's post apparently fluctuates between 4 and 80, particularly as I've never managed to find where they keep the blogs, to look at anyone else's. On Blogger there are absolutely no followers, though if you happen to do a web search for a Last Chaos player I've mentioned, or even a general bit of Last Chaos lore, its results are usually higher than any others. And on, well, that's "home"... and does include, as well as archives in reading order (from the top, rather than the usual blog format of the newest on top), a few pages of screenshot galleries. I've sadly neglected those in recent months, but I did add three screenshots of the "Epic Event" last night, since Zenderfly urged me to. It was certainly a busy time, with a lot of people there.

Friday, 25 September 2009

With the Heroine

CaptainScarlet did manage to keep levelling Lylja's smart stormy-grey horse overnight without problems, so that by mid-morning it had reached level 33; SirPerivale logged back in before breakfast and continued work on the horse that will be heading Samael's way when it reaches that level, so that it reached level 26 fairly early on. Our characters may not make a whole lot of progress, but our horses do...

RedRackham made the trip out to Prokion Temple on Auzura-4 after coffee, with Cap providing the solo party while continuing his pet-levelling in Merac. Red added 22.10% before lunch, and another 106 skill points. After Peri had returned to the pet-levelling over the lunch break, RedRackham was able to put in some more time in my favourite back room at the Temple, and used the first of his beginner-type platinum blessed irises, for an hour's worth of an extra 150% experience - so that 38.79% got added in the hour, or 39.88% in the session, which continued for only a few minutes after the pbi expired. 84 more skill points rolled in, too.

The main reason the session ended then was that three o'clock, UK time, was approaching, and the "Events" calendar promised that this Friday "Happy Hour" would give a bonus of 50% experience - so that it seemed like a good idea to take MistressBlaze and MistressSabina out to the Sphinx types. However, as soon as I arrived there, the announcement came up that the "Happy Hour" was to be an extra 50% skill exp. Indeed, the first Sphinx Fighter I killed just gave the normal amount of experience, so I hurriedly logged out my witch and wizard, and logged in SirDarth and the level 23 rogue RedRider to take advantage of this. They rushed to Prokion Temple, and settled in; Ratel was in our party, for the solo boost, by now, and he was heading to Egeha to do some farming of the Bogles there, where the extra 50% skill exp would also come in handy.

After perhaps twenty minutes, though, we noticed that the skill exp had been silently changed back to normal, and the regular experience had received the 50% boost it should have had all along; as Ratel had paid 800,000 gold to get to Egeha he was stuck there, and had a decently long session, making enough gold for his next "ticket", plus a useful profit, but, with SirDarth having added 9.05% and 46 skill points, I logged my Prokion pair out, and logged MistressSabina and MistressBlaze back in.

So, it was a bit of a bungle to put on the wrong 50% bonus at the start, and then panic and switch things over - a bit cowardly too not to say anything, perhaps. But finally MB and Sabina were able to get out to the Sphinx Fighters and Sphinx Speer Men, and have about ninety minutes of quality time with them.

I did see PolishLady there when I arrived, but she was just sitting there, not fighting, and left after a while. I had thought about having a Combat party, so that MB would get the full experience rather than sharing it with Sabina, but that wasn't really necessary, or indeed possible with Ratty in the party too. Sabina did level up, so that she is now level 39; she added 51.91% in all. MistressBlaze added 22.04%, and 631 pet points.

Towards the end of the two "Happy Hour" hours notices came up for a second chapter of the "Epic Event" being run by GMBeatrice, apparently taking place in the swampy region of Merac, but I was thinking more in terms of food by then, and didn't really have an appropriate character to take there. The local inhabitants are a bit rich for Memree, at least, and that's before you add the more lethal kinds of dragons and zombies, and who knew what else, to the mix. The Cariae version of the event was scheduled for ten tonight, I noticed...

After Cap and Peri had done more good work, with Peri's horse just reaching level 27, it was time to get back into action. MistressSabina and MistressBlaze went back to the Sphinx types, for a good long session; Elvastar, Ratel's level 22 sorcerer, was in the party from early on, so we had to switch from Combat to Equal mode; he was in Prokion Temple, though logged off a bit early. mike000mike got in touch, and came out to join MB and Sabina, so we were able to take on the Elite Speer Man. Things went smoothly this time, though there are always going to be times when one or two uninvited Sphinx Speer Men insist on joining in.

MistressBlaze managed to reach level 46, which was the main objective; she went up by 36.77% in all, and got 1144 pet points for her drake. MistressSabina added 71.11%, so it won't be long before she can wear the gloves, at least, of MB's old costume. The level 46 shirt and skirt have also been passed across to here by MB, as she has switched to wearing the level 51 ones now.

SirPerivale headed out to the Berserkers, but CaptainScarlet had to wait a while - over on Cariae-3, Barbarienne logged in for the Epic Event, down in Merac's swamp.

I was slightly early getting there, as I had been on the edge of town, knew from the website's photo-comic that the event took place at the swamp, and rode down. Actually I think Merac has two swampy areas, but I knew I had found the right one when I saw a few Endemic Demons, as well as some Screaming Zombies, already there. I used my horse buffs, and opened fire on one of the Demons - so of course the whole lot, triceratops-types with riders on their backs, thundered towards me. They may only be level 84 but they are bosses, so I ran, and luckily all but the one I had targeted gave up eventually. It took a while, but I managed to kill it, and it dropped a +1 level 71 healer shirt.

People began arriving then, and soon there were plenty of players, fighting a great many monsters, including ones I'd never come across before - Almas and Cube Guards, for example. Before long I read a text message saying "take off your horse", and in case it was a warning aimed at me that my reindeer-style pet was in danger, I quickly did that - it was Zenderfly, wanting to add me to her party. Well, the party was just the two of us initially, but before long Zen added a third - at level 145 she capped us, but it was GM Beatrice herself, so I became responsible for healing and horse-buffing the heroine of the "Epic Event" tale herself.

I am not sure if Zenderfly managed to stay alive all the time, her health bar got incredibly low a time or two - I did end up saying "Zen, health potions are available, I'm an archer not a cleric". My health took some hits, particularly when a Fluton decided it didn't like me and chased me along the muddy beach. But it was all great fun, and a fine way to end the day.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Further Adventures

The pet-levelling plans I had got overtaken by events rather late last night, when FemeiaVraci, the level 33 cleric in the DeathBringers guild that SirPerivale belongs to, contacted Peri and asked him to level up her horse for her, from level 29 to 37. Peri went back to Randol, and traded her horse for his level 24 one, so that she still has a pet to give her buffs; she then changed over to her main DeathBringers character, the level 55 archer Lylja, and traded 350 tool aids across, in three instalments as otherwise Peri would have been just too overweight to accept them.

So, CaptainScarlet went back to Randol too, and traded his level 24 horse across to Peri in exchange for the 29-er, meaning that Peri is back where he was, just about, but Cap has FemeiaVraci's level 29 one to work on, which means that the pink drake was either going to be neglected for a week or so, or passed across to MistressDomina without any further levelling.

The latter choice seemed best, for the time being, so after coffee this morning MistressDomina exchanged her ordinary-colour level 38 drake for the pink one, and then Cap exchanged that one with MistressBlaze for her level 27 one, after which SirDarth traded in his level 25 drake for the one two levels higher, so that everyone was happy.

One priority now seemed to be to get that new would-be pet-leveller of mine, RedRackham, up to level 35. At level 31, he still gets good experience and skill exp in a solo party, so CaptainScarlet was able to continue work on Lylja's horse, while Red went to Prokion Temple in a solo party with him.

Apart from an archer who, seeing Red surrounded by a mob of six or more Orcs, helpfully killed most of them and then left, the morning's session in "my" back room was uneventful. RedRackham ended the session up by 35.46% and 133 skill points; I could go faster by using his "beginner" platinum blessed irises, for 150% more experience gain per hour, but it seems best to wait until he is getting less skill exp before I use those. Depending on how his stock of unused skill points goes, he could always end up teaming with MistressBlaze out with the Sphinx Fighters and Speer Men for the final stretch of getting to level 35, I guess.

When RedRackham was adding CaptainScarlet to his party, I noticed Elvastar, in Prokion Temple, was registered as seeking a party, so I invited him to join - but he must have been afk, as I got no response to that or to a whispered greeting. I assume he moved across to the Cariae server, as planned, later.

At lunchtime Samael got in touch, with a tale of woe. Unwisely he had allowed his younger brother access to that level 33 pale blue horse Peri (and Cap) worked on for him, and the little brat had swapped it for a drake! I had to say that Lylja's horse has priority at the moment, but that I was working on another horse as well, currently level 25, and would be in touch with him when it reached level 33. At least, with heaven stones and that Stone of Shadow, he is more generous with his rewards for pet-levelling labour than most of Peri's guildies....

For the afternoon session, RedRackham went back to Prokion Temple, and in a generally uneventful few hours went up by 42.91%, and 177 skill points. That took him into level 32. On the downside that meant that instead of 17,072 experience & 4,400 skill exp from the Sergeants and 7,702 experience & 3,300 skill exp from the Axemen, he now got 14,227 & 3,850 from the Sergeants, and 5,776 & 2,750 from the Axemen; the Orc Sergeants were no longer white-named, like the Orc Axemen they were now green-named. The upside, however, was that back in Randol he was able to learn all five levels of the Temple Knight passive skill Wall of Belief, increasing his physical defence stat, without a shield equipped, from 800 to 955. That took 327 skill points, so Red ended the day with only 17 less unused skill points than when he began.

SirPerivale joined Cap for a little pet-levelling over the early evening food break, and then went and did some mining, using up a hundred of the tool aids that Lylja had traded across to me, which meant, as pickaxes don't stack, making three trips out to the mine north of Randol. 2,700 quality stones weight less than 100 tool aids, so he's not as close to 100% of his weight allowance now.

That was followed by MistressBlaze and MistressSabina taking another trip out into Dratan's sunny, grassy uplands, where the Sphinx Fighters and Sphinx Speer Men roam. A rogue called MsNatashA was already busy there, daringly taking on the Elite Sphinx Speer Man single-handed. Before too long MistressSabina reached level 38, and was able to go back to town to learn both Decay and HP Drain, for a total of 586 skill points. Decay reduces the enemy's chance of a skill succeeding apparently, while HP Drain removes, at level five (further levels come available at 53 and 63), 230 health points from one's foe, healing one by that amount, which sounds rather useful in some circumstances. Sabina won't be able to learn the skill Blind until level 43, as she doesn't yet have enough stat points in Intelligence. "In PvE, this skill seems to decrease the monster's evasion and thus increases your hit rate" apparently, while in Player versus Player your opponent's screen goes black, and they have to find and re-select you before they can continue their attack.

Soon after MsNatashA left, a level 41 titan called mike000mike arrived, and suggested a party; he didn't mind Sabina just standing at the side offering moral support, so we settled into a routine of killing the Elite, then a couple of the regular types, and so on, though we did get chased by more than one Sphinx type a few times. Sadly we did end with the Elite taking its revenge on Mike, but the team-up did make a nice change from the soloing there. A melee character in that location does really need to team with someone who has a ranged attack, unless he is pretty high level, as running forward to attack one Sphinx type does tend to attract the attention of a few others.

I had a brief glimpse of a sorcerer called H0ll0W, who managed to kill a Sphinx Fighter while in his red demon form, but generally the place was quiet for a while. A little later a rogue called sheila was in action, but she generally kept to the meadow just round the corner, so we didn't overlap.

By the end of the session MistressBlaze had added 26.23%, along with 979 pet points for her level 38 new drake, while MistressSabina had gone up by 64.30%, so that she is now more than halfway through level 38. As the main priority there is to get MB up into level 46, perhaps their next party there should be of the Combat type, with some sort of experience boost for her. I'll have to get her some experience-type boxes to open.

And then it was time for SirPerivale and CaptainScarlet to head back to Merac. Peri should get his horse (or, eventually, Samael's) into level 26 before he logs out tonight, but Cap's horse (or Lylja's) will still be about an hour short of level 32 then. Lylja was hoping that getting her horse to level 37 could be done within a week - somehow I think it may take a bit longer.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Orcs & Sphinxes

The pet-levelling duo swung into action just before breakfast, and again I didn't have the opportunity to actually play the game in the morning, so CaptainScarlet and SirPerivale made good progress, down with the Berserkers in Merac. Cap got the pink drake up to level 38, but having a pet six or seven levels above the pet-leveller is nothing compared to when SirDarth or Peri would have a horse fourteen levels above them, so maybe we can go a little further before MistressDomina is presented with her new drake, though these higher levels do get awfully long.

After lunch, well, one would hate to think that Prokion Temple was feeling neglected, so it seemed only polite to despatch SirDarth there. The back room on Auzura-4 was free, as it usually has been recently, unless Jacqueline has been there already, so Darth set to work, and my level 21 rogue RedRider hurried to join him.

I had wondered how easy she would find getting to that back room solo, past other Orc Sergeants, Orc Axemen, Orc Fighters, and Orc Soldiers, all above her in level, without SirDarth's horse buffs, but she managed pretty well, though I did crack open one small health potion along the way.

The session itself went pretty smoothly; I did have one visitor, a knight called beule; I assumed he was high enough level from the confident way he started, so I didn't give my usual caution about it being a dangerous room - perhaps I should have, because after a couple of minutes he was running for the doorway with three or four Orcs in hot pursuit, hazed in red to show that he was using some sort of health potion. He didn't manage to get away from them, and slumped to the ground, dead. I don't know why people head straight in if the Orcs in the room are red-named to them, to have got that far they must know they are protective and aggressive.

By the end of the afternoon RedRider, despite the 50% experience freeze, had gone up 147.15%, which got her to the start of level 23, and added 136 skill points; she had also contributed 207 more guild points to Discipline. SirDarth had moved on by 34.59%, and got 139 skill points.

Back in town Scarlet traded over the correct pair of +4 gloves to complete RedRider's Guardian 25/27 set, rather than the +2 ones I'd previously equipped her with, so she is now a bit better equipped for her next run - earlier she hadn't been high enough to wear the hood and boots from that set either. And then it was time for Cap and Peri to take over again. As Ratel had come online by then and joined the party for a solo boost, I had to change over one by one, to keep the party going.

Ratel reported that his Katar character had been at that server's Mad Monster Spawn last night, which had been hosted by GM Krash, so Kali wasn't multi-tasking across four different computers. He had died twice, and not managed to pick up much loot, so hadn't had too good a time there.

This was going to be one of my early log out Wednesdays, but there was still time for a visit to the Sphinx Fighters, Sphinx Speer Men, and the Elite Sphinx Speer Man. My first idea was to team MistressDomina with MistressBlaze, but although they are only fifteen levels apart, so could start a party without MB being "capped", MD is actually so close to the top of level 60 that a couple of kills would take her to level 61, and then she would cap MB.

So, it was MistressBlaze who took the lead, teamed up with MistressSabina - they are just eight levels apart, so can team up for an Equal party, or a Combat one. For a change they did actually have some visitors out there; the first was a level 26 knight called Alingrecu90, who, again, would have been capped in a party, but fought alongside MB for a while, with the shield-based stun proving useful. The rogue HeroRogue then arrived, and they teamed up a little, with or without me, before, as far as I could tell, not speaking a language they seemed to share, they decided to head for the Tomb of Theos. I did see HeroRogue briefly about half an hour later, though, just passing through and pausing to use Snare to assist me.

A little later two members of the EternityofSins guild arrived, the assassin-rogue xELCTRAx and the archer xXGabbieXx, inquiring if I'd seen Kamira recently; I had to say that I'd not seen her today. Judging by the way they dealt quickly and easily with the local monsters, including the elite, I think that between them they might well have been a match for Kamira. They did politely ask if they could kill over on the Elite's side, which was fine with me, but they didn't stay very long, judging by their chat they had decided to look for the Grand Red Dragon in Merac instead.

Ratel had continued to be a member of the party, but, after farming the Arcane Golems for a while, including the Elite, which kindly dropped a +4 weapon for him, he had to return to town, as he had visitors at his house. He mentioned that the last disconnection he had had cost him 3 skill points, from his 120, but I'm not sure when the d/c was. He is likely to be across on the Cariae server tomorrow.

Last night's server maintenance had included, well, nothing really, except for a few new packages in the in-game Item Mall, but apparently something had gone slightly wrong with that, and some people were unable to buy anything - which must have been slightly annoying, as some of the new packages included level 14 physical and magical attack and defence minerals, which haven't been around for a while I think, and unlike the level 3, 6 and 12 versions are only available from the Mall. I did manage to buy a package of 100 each of the magical ones - Rage will have an easier time against Kamira if she has the defence type, or before too long Chuck or MD may take over the Kamira-killing, and would also need such things, while MistressDomina may be glad of the attack variety for general use.

As not everyone could buy the packages, getting a "the item does not exist" error, the servers were brought down at 10:00pm UK time to reset things - and they actually got them running again ten minutes later. CaptainScarlet had logged off just before ten, as advised, with the drake just past 20% of the way through level 38; he was able to return after his brief break, joined by SirPerivale, whose horse should be at least halfway through level 24 by the time he logs out tonight.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Two Mad Monster Spawns

I wanted to give both computers a little rest, so didn't try any overnight pet-levelling. CaptainScarlet got to work on the pink drake bright and early, though without a companion - after the fan-noises from the older computer recently I didn't switch it on until after lunch.

There was some busy-ness to take care of downstairs in the morning, so Prokion Temple had to get along without the presence of SirDarth, RedRider, JohnWellington, or RedRackham, for a change. Still, this did mean that Cap was able to get the pink drake up to level 37; this level takes 14,552 pet points to get through, but I would like to get this drake to level 38, so that I can substitute it for MistressDomina's current one without her losing any buff, since her current neutral-coloured one is that level.

After lunch, since things have been behaving themselves lately, I took MistressBlaze and MistressSabina out to the Sphinx Fighters and Sphinx Speer Men, in the sunny grasslands of south-west Dratan. The place does definitely seem quieter than it used to be, there were no rogues at all around. The mage Francesca001 did show up briefly, and towards the end of my stint two members of the GadiRLatinoS guild, the mage patanegra and the archer matadora, arrived.

From the way patanegra gathered a mob of Sphinx types and then killed them with only one or two area-of-effect spells, it was immediately apparent that she was a bit high level for the place - she was certainly using the level 70 skill Chaos Nova, which hits up to ten monsters and has a 560% power rating. She may have been trying to attract Kamira, but didn't try for long, and was soon just attacking the Elite Sphinx Speer Man, getting its health down as far as she could, accepting Recall from matadora, and letting her guildie deliver the killing blow. I checked, and matadora was using a platinum blessed iris and an experience booster, so it was a traditional bit of "power levelling". Sadly the second or third kill went wrong, and matadora died; they did at least one more kill after that, but soon left. I hope they weren't going to waste the rest of the pbi time...

Anyway, soon after that it was time for me to log out for the early evening food break. MistressBlaze had added 11.22% and 401 pet points, while MistressSabina had added a useful 31.21%. I must admit I hadn't been fighting very intensively, doing a few other things on the computer as well.

Generally the Auzura Mad Monster Spawn is scheduled for 9:00am Pacific Time, or five o'clock in the afternoon for Britain, and usually it actually gets started at around 5:20pm, UK time. The website as usual said "9:00am", but it also said "TBA", so perhaps it wasn't entirely surprising when GM Kali didn't start things rolling until just after six. Memree went along, and avoided any deaths, though I did have to run for it when a group of Death Knights glided after me, and an Anubis Archer knocked my health right down at one point. The final wave was a close-run thing, we managed to kill the last Patriarch Botis with about four minutes to go - and that left a Fluton, which we only just managed to kill, with everyone attacking it, by the deadline, thus earning another wave of goodies. There weren't any heaven stones, again, though, I don't know what has to be done to earn a spawning of those.

Memree did pretty well at the loot picking up, and while I'm not quite sure what Memree had in her inventory already, it certainly felt like a lot of stuff - 10 item drop boosters and 6 skill point boosters for a start, as well as large attack and defence potions, tool aids, and so on.

One high-level titan, Ownage4U, was a bit grumpy afterwards. He did pick up some items, but in reply to someone else said "It's not free, I had to use a crit and a mp stealer just so we could win for you noobs - and for what, 8 boosters of each kind and 15 tool aids and some hp and mp regens. Let's see what you win next week when none of us high levels show up."

I had a bit of work to do for a while after that, but noticed on Cap's screen an announcement that the Mad Monster Spawns on the other servers were going to be earlier than usual - at eight by UK time, in fact, or about five minutes from when I noticed the message. So, I logged Barbarienne, my level 100 archer, in on Cariae-3, and rode out to the usual location.

I noticed that Zenderfly was there - and after a little while she invited me into her party. She is level 113 now; she mentioned that she had gone up 30% this morning, and I think she said that another 50% was planned for tomorrow, so she is keeping busy. Rather a lot of experience boosters are involved, not surprisingly.

GM Kali was in charge of this MMS too, though over on Cariae she wears a different armour, as she is a mage rather than an archer. It is possible that she was also hosting the MMS on Katar, Sarissa and Hatzring, there is a fair amount of time between the announcements and the spawnings etc, so "playing" on multiple computers would be possible.

While my level 31 cleric had got through the fighting on Auzura unscathed, not only did I get my health set down to 1 once by the Fluton's "Flame Thrower" debuff, I did actually die once, so had to use my resurrection scroll, and hurriedly activate another one. I don't know what killed me, Zen mentioned later that all the Spirits, the high-level images of all six character types, are protective, "attack one, get ten free", so maybe that had something to do with it. Memree hits for 58, but Barbarienne, 69 levels higher, manages, um, 218... but at least her critical and deadly hits are three or four thousand or so. Zen at least managed to avoid any deaths, leaping on her horse and using "pet return to village" when needed. She did have Recall too, which was useful. I spent a bit of time healing her, and a level 50-ish character who was also in the party, so didn't attack as much as usual, but I noticed on at least one occasion I got more than four million experience from a kill.

It was great to team with Zen again after all this time, and hopefully we'll do so at future MMS events on Cariae, at least until she gets more than fifteen levels ahead. It's fun to play as a (relatively) high level character sometimes! Sadly she is too high-level now for Barb to be in a Combat party in the Tomb of Theos with her, unless there was a party leader at a level somewhere between us.

The Cariae people managed to finish the final wave a little more quickly than the Auzura players; looking back I'm surprised that Zen hadn't brought a full team of high-level players from her guild, but perhaps the change in time had thwarted any such plans. It was approaching nine by the time the MMS ended, and Kali did take the trouble to say that it was over, which is an improvement over the GM Stratos approach. So all I needed after that was a wind-down for half an hour, which was achieved back on Auzura with a level two healer of mine, LadyJane, who, by killing deer, foxes and wolves, ended the brief session 3.48% of the way through level 5, with 36 skill points ready to be invested.

CaptainScarlet had been busy levelling the pink drake since the start of the food break, so by log-out time he'd got it more than halfway through level 37. SirPerivale was able to log on for a while too, and by the time he too logs out, his horse should have reached level 23. As the usual maintenance down-time for the servers is scheduled for 1:00am, UK time, there is no point in leaving Peri or Cap pet-levelling overnight, but hopefully they'll manage a fairly early start tomorrow.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Back to the Temple

Overnight pet-levelling worked well, I'm glad to report, though the hours spent getting Samael's pale blue horse through most of level 33 were a bit of a waste - when he came online later, he definitely wanted the horse back, and didn't want to wait any longer, so getting it to 9083 out of 10309 pet points through that level hadn't been necessary. He traded five heaven stones across to me, as well as the level 24 horse I'd loaned him, which was a nice bonus. By now he is, I assume, happily riding around on his level 33 mount. Having that horse out of the way meant CaptainScarlet could go back to working on his level 36 pink drake, while SirPerivale continued to work on his horse.

After coffee, it was time for my level 17 rogue RedRider to start her supporting role in Prokion Temple. As SirDarth was just a level too high to team up with her at that point, RedRackham got an opportunity to fight there, and add some bloodseals to his armour and weapon, but it didn't take very long for RedRider to reach level 18, so then RedRackham logged out, and SirDarth hurried to the Temple to take over.

RedRider's first trip to the back room was not without incident - she was still in the starter armour and didn't have any health potions, while RedRackham didn't have a mount to provide the horse buffs, all he could provide was the Divine Shield armour buff. We did almost get to our destination, but RedRider died just one room short. Before the second try, RedRackham traded across some small health potions, and using one of those was enough to get RedRider to our destination safely.

The back room was free, anyway, as it usually has been recently; Ratel was saying that he thinks people are not bothering to sp-farm in Prokion Temple as long recently, and feel that perhaps 4000 skill points, if they pick and choose the skills to get along the way, is enough.

By lunchtime SirDarth had gone up 11.48%, and added 57 skill points - having a low-level companion there really boosts the experience gain. While in a solo party, killing an Orc Axeman brought in 1,283 experience and 1,650 skill exp, but with RedRider there, Darth's gain, while it varied from one kill to the next, was usually in the region of 8,000 or so experience and perhaps 2,450 skill exp.

After the lunchtime pet-levelling, the RedRider/SirDarth team returned to Prokion Temple, and added a healthy 26.26% for SirDarth, and 102 skill points, over the course of the afternoon. Everything went smoothly, so that's about all that I can say about it.

Ratel had decided to level Liezl some more, and I volunteered my services to help, assuming he wanted to go at least some of the way at a reasonable speed. Liezl was level 17, so again I called RedRackham in to get her through that first level; I then switched back to SirDarth, and over the session he added 28.15% more, which took him up to level 34, making a low-level companion even more important for getting that last bit of skill exp out of his Prokion Temple time. 112 more skill points will come in useful, too.

Liezl reached level 22, which was a good stopping point as it means she can wear the whole new armour set now, the 25/27 set, so Ratel needs to get a set suitably upgraded for her, do the newly-available quests, and contemplate some regular-speed skill point farming. He then switched across to Elvastar and rejoined the party for the solo boost. Elva too is level 22, and carefully farming skill points, then investing them in skills before returning to the Temple and dying a few times to get back to the bottom of the level.

RedRider got some better armour from a character of mine with my stock of such rogue items, and so was in a better state to run back to the back room - and SirDarth can provide horse buffs, too, so the run was pretty easy. So for the rest of the evening it was RedRider and SirDarth in the back room, with Darth adding another 17.62% and 121 skill points, so that in all his efforts today had moved him on by 72%, which can't be bad.

As for RedRider, well, she had joined the Discipline guild before her trips to Prokion Temple, and been put on the 50% experience freeze, but even so she had just passed the 50% mark in level 21. Each level takes a little longer, though, so she should be able to continue as the "junior partner" for Darth until he graduates from the Temple and heads out into the wider world, and hopefully provide a similar service for Galahad and JohnWellington too when required. So far, she has earned her guild 296 guild points; she doesn't have many skill points yet, all she's spent them on has been a second level of the first attack skill, and four levels of one passive skill, but she still only has 265 of them to her name.

Ratel was wondering what I would do with all my characters at level 31-35. JohnWellington is really just to see what playing as a specialist sorcerer is like, if I find it congenial I can always continue with him; Galahad, as a royal knight, is mainly to supply the Concentration buff, which can come in handy when it increases the chance of a stun or a snare working. RedRackham is intended to be a pet-leveller, set to level 35 to be less expensive in the use of quality stones than Peri is, and thus more often able to pet-level overnight. If Memree is going to be a useful healer-cleric she will need some substantial farming in Prokion Temple once she inherits the +13 armour set - while MistressSabina is going to see what the life of a witch is like.

I couldn't really see much future for RedRider once she reaches level 31, but it is possible that she might, after perhaps donating some skill points to the guild, be a useful character to take to Mad Monster Spawns and similar events, once Memree moves on and starts acquiring a store of skill points.

Memree may well have to follow Elvastar's example, and SirPerivale's, and use multiple deaths to get down to the bottom of her current level, then farm skill points, spend them on skills, and go and die some more. Or maybe I'll be too busy playing my higher level characters for a change, if the servers remain reassuringly stable?

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Better Luck in the Quiz

I did set up CaptainScarlet and SirPerivale to pet-level overnight; Peri's computer ran out of memory about halfway through, so that was just about four hours of progress, but Cap kept going until I had to close the game, as I was going to be out for about twelve hours, which is a bit too long to leave a pet-leveller. It seemed slightly strange to be logging out at about the time I might normally be logging in, but it makes a change.

So, that was that until around six in the evening, UK time, when I was able to put Cap and Peri back up - and at about ten to seven, Peri stood aside to let SirDarth head for Prokion Temple, where the back room was, on Auzura-4, free. Darth may not kill as quickly as a mage, at least while he is only using the freebie level 33 +10 dual swords, but he made quite good progress. Ratel's mage Athema came online before long, and I was able to relay the good news that our friendly GMs had left the Sunday Teatime bonus of 50% extra skill exp running.

Since we tend to go to the Quiz on Auzura-2, Athema was over there already, so we didn't team up, though she was doing similar work over there. Probably having the two of us fighting the Orcs together wouldn't be a good idea, I don't think there would be enough Orcs to go around.

By the time the Quiz was approaching, SirDarth had added 9.89%, since the Orc Axemen, at least, don't give him much experience now he's level 33, and 125 skill points. For some minutes he had had to share the room with three other people - they can't have been that high-level, as there never seemed to be a shortage of Orcs to fight. The healer Bambolina and the knight Allevatore were members of the ItalianParty guild, while the rogue HateKay, who seemed to be using Invisibility a lot, was unguilded. They left before I did, though.

Kaerella and MistressBlaze joined Ratel in the Auzura-2 Quiz Room, and this time we survived right to the end. I remembered that of the two prices offered for buying a particular weapon, the one with the comma in it (1,231 as opposed to 1417, or whatever) was correct, and guessed that the higher price of the two quoted for the hire of a certain +6 weapon was the correct one. Again there was a run of at least seven "X" answers, rather than "O", while this time there weren't any questions at all about Phoenix characters.

So, we got the ten tool aids, ten moonstones, and fifteen heaven stones each. Ratel intends to sell his heaven stones overnight, either today or tomorrow, along with six he has picked up while fighting, for three million or so each, as he wants to keep repaying me for the gold I loaned him to buy that +15 weapon he wanted - I did assure him that there was no screaming rush, that perhaps he might want to wait until there was an "upgrade event" announced, to drive HS prices higher, but he wants to sell them right away.

He has put up a guild message for Norcaine, regretting that the guild now only has two active members, and saying that anyone else who doesn't get in touch soon, and show a bit of activity, will get kicked. Adrina, a level 15 member, did log on briefly after the quiz, but didn't say anything. It's a shame, people join with the best of intentions, but drift away or get stuck on a different character, leaving the guild full of people who never appear.

SirDarth went back to Prokion Temple. A "zombie invasion" at Burbank Mill in Juno was announced for Auzura-2, but I wasn't greatly tempted. Ratel did consider going, but I mentioned that the 50% extra skill exp was still running, so Athema headed for Auzura-2's Prokion Temple again instead. She was a bit nervous to find a number of high-level characters there, in case they were, for fun, going to scour the place for lower-level types and kill them all, but it turned out that they were there for a wedding. At least with an in-game wedding the photographs don't take as long afterwards! There was always a chance that the wedding guests would go on a killing spree once the ceremony was over, Auzura-2 is PvP-enabled after all, but if that did happen, Athema hoped that the back room was far enough away for her not to get involved. Still, a pk-death doesn't give a penalty to experience and skill exp, the way getting killed by a monster does, it just wastes a little bit of time.

Safe over on Auzura-4, SirDarth didn't stay long, and just added another 3.79% and 48 skill points, but it is all useful progress. Will the GMs remember to switch off the event's 50% extra skill exp after the last of the three "Sunday teatime" scheduled two hours, the US one? We will find out tomorrow.

CaptainScarlet and SirPerivale set up for a little more pet-levelling; Samael's pale blue horse is approaching two-thirds of the way through level 32 now, so with any luck Cap will be able to go back to working on our level 36 pink drake soon; Peri has now got his horse well into level 18, so it will be ready to be moved over to Cap before too long, when there is a space.