Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Temple and The Castle

After an hour or two of gnoll-bashing, SirGalahad was able after coffee to head for Prokion Temple on Tairen-4 and do another hour's worth of skill point farming, using the fourth beginner pssp - this brought in 169 skill points, while going up by 9.73%. Having his experience gain set to 50% means that he has now donated 426 guild points to Discipline. As usual the Tairen-4 version of the Temple was pretty quiet

Back in town, I noticed that a sorceror was cunningly using the name "IGMIMoose", which looks a lot like the genuine "[GM]Moose" if read quickly, though his "hey i gm" remarks were slightly let down by the subsequent "give me 50k plz" begging. Someone else mentioned it in the forum shoutbox, so I ended up posting a screenshot of his messages, along with my "you'll get into trouble using a name like that" response.

There is a special "100% rebate" offer on the item mall's Master Pack today - so if one pays 2500 aeria points for 200 each of the skill points, experience and item drop boosters, within a couple of weeks one should get one's ap back - it seems like a good deal to me! So I'm rather shorter of ap than I was a few hours ago, but richer in boosters on various servers.

Apart from moving items around, and doing that ap-spending, the main feature of the afternoon was the use of SirGalahad's final pssp on Tairen-4. Before going there I moved his pet's stats from Armour Increase to Power Increase, which increased his physical offence stat by about 11% - and that meant that he went up by 11.55% during the hour, and added 211 skill points, which was a useful improvement. It looks as if I'll need to keep resetting his skills fairly often, as that extra attack power seems to be killing gnoll lancers in two-thirds of the time, though the use of a couple of accessories to increase his hit rate presumably has some effect too. At least the defence stat of his armour set alone if enough to keep him safe there, so starting to level a new pet wouldn't be a problem.

For the evening, RedRider stepped up, with SirGalahad providing the solo party while he levelled the horse up to 27. Moving to Tairen-1, Gal had a slight surprise when he teleported in to the gnoll lancer spot, he found he was dangerously close to a level 50 Pandora's Beast, but moving away a little stopped any trouble. Later on, the Grand Red Dragon dropped by, but left again without offering or receiving any aggro. With Elizabeth's Enhancement, a trip to Prokion Temple on Tairen-1 was the plan for Red, and luckily the back room was free, so Red settled in there, with only one fairly brief interruption from the sorcerer XFORZETX, who, after ks-ing a little, decided that the orc sergeants and orc axemen were a bit too strong, and retreated to the corridor again.

By the end of the session RedRider had moved comfortably into level 29 - almost 90% of the way, in fact, having added 179.11% and gained 636 skill points; her hatchling went up from level 5 to 7, as well. Maximising the last available general/attack skills, Tumble Cleave, Flame Shock (a personal dungeon only skill), Swift Bash, and Dire Strike took 381 sp, and the rest of the points went on basic and advanced weaponsmith, plus starter levels of armoursmith, alchemy and mining.

And then it was time for RedRyder to get the entrance to Misty Canyon onto her memory scroll, which she did easily enough; inside, the first Introducer Camio was only too happy to kill her thirty times, to get back to the start of level 29. There seemed to be even more "double deaths" than usual, where the character respawns at the place she was killed and gets killed again, and once Red just lay on the ground dead, with no option to revive her, so I had to restart in Randol and return to finish the job.

So, Red has reached the stage at which she can "bank" skill points in the special skills, for possible future use...and she can attend any available events on the new server, too. It depends if I hear anything more from GhOsTRiDeR about her guild what I get up to next, though SirGalahad does need to reach level 35 to become a "proper" pet-leveller. And of course there are my characters on other servers to remember as well - MrChuckNorris and MistressDomina on Auzura with their substantial skill point reserves, getting Rage to level 73 so that my archer Kaerella can inherit the level 69 +15 weapon there, maybe adding a level or two to Barbarienne and Keerella on Cariae and working on my cleric version of Kaerella on that server too, or even starting a night shadow. There's plenty of choice as to what I can do, and not all of it has to take place in Prokion Temple.

Today's main US-server event was the return of "Storm the Castle", down in Merac, at ten in the evening, UK time. Sadly Katar and Cariae have their events at the same time; Hatzring and Sarissa follow half an hour later, but I don't really have suitable characters there, even if I did want to stay up that late. Since the loot is more needed by my characters on Katar, this looked like a job for my local level 31 rogue Memree.

[GM]JediMike was in charge, but it was just about the full event. "Y'all slow", he commented (as a disembodied "voice") as we fought in the Castle courtyard, but we were a fairly small group, by "Storm the Castle" standards, and did pretty well to kill the Spear Men, Anubis Archers, Zamaras, Dark Harpies, Hell-Otuu, and so on. It was a little before twenty past when the "Thanks for participating in STC!" message came up - there were still some Baals and death knights, along with a few jumping devils, at the other bridge in, but after a little frantic running around I found where the goodies had been dropped, which was in the courtyard rather than outside. I managed to grab a good few item drop and skill point boosters, so the trip had been worth it.

A mage there had been asking one guild what the minimum level was to join - the answer was level 95, but they were full at the moment, so that was one elite guild - GhostRiders, I think. One day I really must investigate the PvP side of things...

Anyway, SirGalahad had kept on working on the gnoll lancers, taking care to stay away from the aggressive gnoll soldiers in one direction, and that Pandie in the other, and by the end of the evening, that reindeer-style pet of his should be halfway through level 27.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Tairen's First Event

Maintenance last night did very little, apparently, on the positive side - two new items for upgrading weapons and armour have apparently been introduced, devil rune ore and purified rune ore, but they are only for use on items that are level 146 or above, so of no great general interest. Roy's merchant mart should apparently be less laggy, and "the remaining episode 2 bug fixes are in the pipeline", apparently, which is only slightly reassuring.

SirGalahad managed to fight a few gnoll lancers, starting at breakfast time; they each last just over 20 minutes for him at present, which isn't unreasonable I suppose, I remember when SirDarth used to get through butchers at about that rate. But now that Gal has his +10 armour, and +10 dual swords, it was time to use the first of his five "beginner" platinum super skill pills, to build up his supply of skill points, for possible future guild upgrading.

So, after coffee I headed for Prokion Temple on Tairen-4, since I didn't want to use Elizabeth's Enhancement, got into the back room with the orc sergeants and orc axemen, and started my pssp. Unfortunately, after about ten minutes the GM announcement came up, "ATTENTION: Servers will be coming down for an emergency maintenance in 30 minutes to fix some issues please logoff to prevent data loss" - so another week's patch can be classified as a bit unfortunate. There had been a mention earlier of a "death motion" glitch, or exploit, to avoid, and that if we didn't know what it was we had nothing to worry about, but it looks as if eventually our Aeria chums panicked and decided to bring the servers down quickly. "The developers hid an update in the patch that we were unaware of initially", ol' S1lent reported. It would be nice if they gave at least an hour's notice of such things, sigh, but at least I hadn't paid an admission fee for Egeha or the Tomb of Theos.

By the time I logged out, with less than five minutes left before 11:00am UK time, in 45 minutes SirGalahad had added just 6.58% (with his experience gain set to 50%), and gained 126 skill points. The servers were actually not down for much more than half an hour, but that didn't leave enough time before lunch to get back to Prokion Temple and finish off the pssp. It was a substantial patch that was added, rather bigger than the earlier "regular" one. So, RedRyder and MistressDomino just took the opportunity to use the tool aids they had in their inventories to stock up on quality stones and green herb leaves.

When SirGalahad did log in after lunch, it was a relief to see that the remaining six "hours" (15 minutes) were still there on the pssp, but it did take one of them to actually get back to where I was fighting - annoyingly, my first attempt to get into the Temple ended up with me in its foundations, so that I had to 'port back to town and back again and try again. Gal managed to add another 3.23%, and 45 skill points, though that included a bit of an overrun beyond the actual end of the pssp. A second pssp brought in 8.94% and 167 skill points, and the third added another 8.76%, and 167 skill points again, taking Gal's sp reserve back up over a thousand. There are just two more of the "beginner" pssps left now, after that I guess it will be a matter of going back to Tairen-1 with Elizabeth's Enhancement, which should help SirGalahad to move along towards level 32, and the new passive skill he can learn then. At that point, it may well be worth investigating the possibility of pet-levelling inside Maargadum Jail...

It was going to be a shorter Wednesday evening again, as far as Last Chaos was concerned, but that still left a couple of hours for RedRyder, who, in a solo party with SirGalahad while he pet-levelled on the gnoll lancers, headed towards Prokion Temple. And by that I mean, just left the city and went out into the desert in that general direction, as she had a quest to kill seventeen of the cunning little foxes of the desert, which was quick and easy enough to do, and then had both the quests for "soft sand", which is obtained from the sand golems. That particular quest item doesn't drop very often, so it was the best part of an hour before I was finished, out at Shuraine's oasis. The game seems to think both quests are complete when you have ten soft sands, but you do need "20/10" before you are done. And then it was a matter of heading across the desert to the reward-giver for one package of ten, and then going back into town for the other quests to be completed. Still, the experience gained helped move Red on through her level.

When I was finally able to actually go to the Temple, I got a "send error report?" crash as I was running towards my back room. I allowed myself to be persuaded to actually send the report for once, and that got me to Microsoft's updates, where I discovered that, as an optional update, they had a new driver for my graphics card, so that took a few minutes to install. The good news was that it seems to have set Guild Wars right, a quick check didn't show any double-image problems... but it all meant that Red's actual time in Prokion Temple was a bit limited.

The back room was in use by then, so I ended up with those three orc axemen just by the end of the "corridor room", and an occasional orc fighter to help pass the time. Still, with the quest rewards and the sand golem fighting etc, it all added up to 91.01% experience gain, getting RedRyder into level 28, along with 183 skill points, and 717 pet points, which were enough to get Red's dragon hatchling into level 5.

While I was technically committed elsewhere from eight o'clock, with SirGalahad continuing his almost-afk pet-levelling, I did see on his screen as nine o'clock approached that Tairen's first low-level Mad Monster Spawn was about to begin, so switched from Gal across to Red, who luckily had been able to spend all 183 skill points on some attack skills, and took her down to the Great Horn Beast lake edge, where the other recent low-level MMS events have been.

With all the people, and eventually all the spawned monsters, the older computer was, not surprisingly, a bit slow and laggy. I assumed from [GM]JediMike's recent events that this would only take ten minutes or less - but in fact it was [GM]Moose who was in charge, so we got multiple waves, and a wider range of creatures, including a wight or two and barren eises - he even spawned some level 100 blue dragons at the end, but then, realising that we were a bit under-powered, cut it back down to just one. I was able to do my bit on the Snare front, and we emerged victorious.

With the faster computer and my full attention I'd have done more, but RedRyder did her share of fighting and snaring,though she only added 2.80%. The loot she picked up wasn't too dramatic, maybe around two each of the good items, but even the health recovery potions are useful at low levels.

Later, I was able to get SirGalahad back into gnoll lancer-bashing action, and the horse, cunningly disguised as a reindeer, actually reached level 25 before log-out time.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A Spending Spree

The late-morning session today, after SirGalahad had done a little pet-levelling on a couple of berserkers in Merac, involved him taking a trip to Dratan on Tairen-1, as one might expect. First of all he had a couple of quick quests to do, involving killing some desert spiders, which are conveniently to be found close to Prokion Temple - and once the necessary quest items had been obtained, it was time to go indoors there.

The back room was busy, but what I call the "corridor room" just had one sorcerer, XxChoasWizXx, working at one end, with plenty of spare orc sergeants, so I installed myself at the other end. That seemed to work well, though when another sorcer, Zitrone, also started fighting there we rather overwhelmed the orcs, so it was lucky he didn't stay around long. SirGalahad reached level 30 fairly early on, and ended the session there with a gain of 47.95% and 118 skill points - though getting quest rewards back in Dratan City and Randol added another 25.83% and 24 skill points.

SirGalahad was able to spend 228 skill points on the level 30 skill Mana Break, which is needed before one can choose whether to become a temple knight or a royal knight - and 740 skill points, plus three million in gold, to take the Discipline guild up from level 4 to level 6, which means now that it will be possible to decrease members' experience gain by 50%, which is very useful when farming skill points. The temple knight level 32 passive skill Wall of Belief will take another 327 sp, adding 155 to his physical defence stat, and then at level 35 Canid Fence 2 will need 60 sp more, adding another 120. Considering that Gal's stat at level 30 was 567, or 717 with 19 levels of Armour Increase from his pet, those will be useful additions.

The first task for SirGalahad after lunch, after some spreading around of recent armour loot drops between the appropriate characters, was to do the "Death Goddess" quest, which involved going to the middle of the desert and killing 35 death goddess monsters - half woman and half snake, and with the disconcerting habit of changing their faces from a rather pretty woman to a devilish mask every few seconds. "Death Goddesses are demonic creatures of divine and infernal origins", the quest-giver, the Royal Guard Captain in Dratan City, had explained. "They hypnotize their prey and store them to consume later, but there is never any hope for the unfortunate who fall under their spell." After that was done, the important thing was to return to the Captain, and grab the level 29 +2 beast shield, an improvement over the level 25 one Gal had been using.

That shield wasn't due to be used for long, though, as the quest reward had brought SirGalahad to within 20% of level 31. A session in Prokion Temple got us there, so that the afternoon had added 35.53% and 128 skill points - as expected, the level 30/32 armour set, plus level 33 shield and both kinds of level 33 swords, the one-handed type (used with the shield) and the duals, all appeared in Gal's inventory, all at +10.

So, SirGalahad left Prokion Temple on Tairen-1; his next few sessions should be using his "beginner" platinum super skill pills on Tairen-4, to try and get a few more skill points together while the orc sergeants still offer good amounts of skill exp. The next thing was to travel down to the south of Merac to get the gnoll lancer pet-levelling spot onto his memory scroll, which was an easy enough journey. Fighting a gnoll lancer does seem to work for him, even without a shield equipped, though his health bar was a little unsteady, since he doesn't have that level 32 passive skill yet. 945 physical defence (not using a shield) seemed just about enough - and hitting a gnoll lancer bare-handed for 32 seemed to be something it can stand, so I did think that perhaps Gal could manage without getting himself a red name to reduce his attack power. Equipping the +10 shield made his health bar a lot steadier, but making the choice to become a temple knight, while it increased his health and mana usefully, also increased his bare-handed hitting to 42, which did start to make inroads on the gnoll lancer's health, so it looks as if a red name will after all be needed. But that will have to wait for level 35.

The evening session saw SirGalahad busy in Merac with a succession of gnoll lancers, while RedRyder was hard at work in Prokion Temple. Doing a few quests first added around 32%, but the main part of the session was in the room alongside the back room, with mummies and orc soldiers, so that in all 136.90% and 79 skill points were gained. That meant Red had reached level 25 - and was able to learn the first four levels of Regain, a passive skill which speeds up health and mana regeneration. She was also able to put on level 30 gloves, and buy level 31 shirt and pants ready for level 26.

Reaching level 25 also meant she was able to use her level 29 crossbow; Gal had passed two of them over to her, which he had picked up as loot; Red had got one of them made into two smelting stones, one of which worked, so that the Gust Crossbow was +1 - but then, looking through Roy's range of items being offered for sale, I spotted a +4 level 29 sorcerer weapon being offered for only 100,000 gold by CaBoOse, so bought it, and had it converted into a Gust Crossbow for a further 9,000 gold. It's always good to have a weapon with a glow...

To start with, the room was a bit fierce, and Red seemed to be using a lot of the red candy canes to boost her health, but once she had got Regain, and was moving up to the better armour, things settled down. The second part of the session was a good long one, and I continued until Red had a total of 333 skill points (including 5 carried forward); by then she had added another 144.31%, and her dragon hatchling had at least reached level 4.

Back in town, all those skill points got spent to maximise Regain, plus the attack skills Poison Capsule and Hawk Strike. I was going to buy the level 32 hood and boots from the armour trader, but decided to see what people were selling, or attempting to sell, through Roy's merchant house - and saw a pair of level 32 knight boots, +10, for only 750,000 gold. Red didn't have the cash for that, so I quickly switched to MistressDomino, and after buying the boots, checked out the headgear on offer - and found eventually that KTrioKO had put up all five pieces of knight armour at 750,000 each. MD had enough money to buy them all, plus the 144,000 to get Collector Ryl to convert them to their rogue equivalents, so, now that they've been traded across to RedRyder, she is wearing, at level 27, the full 30/32 +10 armour set. It's lucky I didn't need to buy a +10 weapon as well - Red will need to be level 29 before she can use one. and the plan is for one of SirGalahad's two level 33 weapons to be converted for her.

MistressDomina was able to go back into merchant mode for a while after that, and managed to sell some more heaven stones, now at 495,000 each, plus moonstones and moonstone boxes and a few other minor items, so that her cash reserves have been entirely replenished. When Red reaches level 31 she should get given a further +10 armour set and both rogue weapons - so they will probably end up getting converted for Kaerella's use.

At ten o'clock, UK time, I had an appointment over on Katar-4 with the Mad Monster Spawns, presided over now by [GM]JediMike. For the second week, the MMS was in two parts, one for lower levels and one for higher levels. At level 31, Memree qualifies for the lower group I think, so I went to the lakeside location, and joined in with the enthusiastic slaying of a wide variety of junior monsters, only a few of which were red for her. I'm sure there are monsters conjured up there which are seen nowhere else in Last Chaos USA - but when we swing into action, they don't last long. Mike spawned a generous helping of the usual Hands... and the event was over after no more than eight minutes.

I used a memory scroll to move over to the normal MMS spot - and could only see monsters, and three or four people watching from nearby. It looked as if the monsters had taken control, but I managed to edge along a bit, and found that people were actually fighting - I took a shot or two at an anubis archer. And then I saw the Hands being spawned a little further down the slope, even though there were still plenty of monsters about, so made my way over there, and was ready to grab stuff as soon as it became available - there is always a delay after a Hand is spawned by a GM before anyone else can pick up the goodies. There was plenty of stuff to pick up, and [GM]JediMike spawned some more for us when the first drops were all done - but the event was over before a quarter past ten.

That does seem to be Mike's way of handling events recently; he cuts down on the amount of action, but compensates by being generous with the loot. Still, there were some people at the Katar MMS, at least, who felt let down by not having the usual four or so waves, and boss monsters; if they'd started hour-long potions, they'd not be getting full value from them by any means.

Still, it was past my usual log-out time, so I didn't mind the event's early finish. SirGalahad was able to do some more work with the gnoll lancers while I worked on the blog; the reindeer-style horse should be past the halfway mark in level 22 by log-out time. There will be the usual weekly maintenance shut-down of the Last Chaos servers later tonight; what tomorrow will bring I don't know, perhaps the polar bear pets? I've seen one of them around, presumably owned by a raffle winner, and he looks a cute little fellow, rather more realistic than Ichi and Scra-Chi, thankfully. And maybe the Tairen server will start to get its own events?

Monday, 28 December 2009

MistressDomino Strikes It Rich

After coffee I was able to fit in a short session - not too short, though, as my aim was to get MistressDomino (Tairen server version) from level 2 to level 10, so that over lunch she could go into merchant mode, and do a bit of selling. As they float in the air, in a generally standing-up position, mages make better merchants than the other classes, who just sit on the ground; rogues in particular hug their knees and look extremely small and unimportant.

So, there was limited time available. MistressDomino, in Tairen-1, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff and started off with the usual fox, deer and wolf quests; as sometimes happens, a Pandora's Box turned up at just the wrong moment, so that the experience gained from opening it meant she skipped one level entirely, and was thus unable to do the quest in which Lorraine hands out a memory scroll. As the scroll costs 1000 gold to buy, about six times the gold MD had at that stage, that was a little annoying, but the Box dropped five level 12 physical defence minerals, which ought to be quite valuable.

MD didn't take long to get up to the berserk wolves; as I put all her skill points into the passive skill Casting Guard, to improve her physical defence, despite the usual mixture of starter armour and what I could pick up she took negligible damage from them, or from the jaguars. Merchant Geres had his necklaces of jaguar teeth a few times, and I finished by fighting a few level 12 sasquatches, to get up to my target. There was just time to set MD up to sell heaven stones and some other assorted items, like moonstones and moonstone boxes, and then I had to vanish for lunch.

SirGalahad had been indulging in a bit more pet-levelling with the butchers in Merac, as well as supplying the solo party bonus for MD, and after lunch it was his turn to be the centre of attention. I had got a level 29 +4 sword from one of Lorraine's treasure chests, so his attack was slightly improved, but as he doesn't have the passive skill that would improve his number of deadly/critical hits, he is still not the fastest killer, and generally the three orc axemen just beyond the "corridor room" in Prokion Temple were enough to keep him busy. Luckily the 50% extra skill exp from yesterday's last "Sunday Teatime" had been left running, so at level 27 each orc axeman gave 13,750 skill experience instead of the basic 5500, though when he reached level 28 this went down to 12375.

A level 27 sorcerer called XFORZETX took up position in the corridor room itself for a time, after two people there had had a bit of a disagreement over which targets were whose - "you come to the arena on Hatzing, noob" being met with "no, you come to Sarissa". Forzet did get into trouble with too big a mob, though, and ran for it, bringing them on to me, though I didn't have any difficulty with them. On his return he suggested we team up, so I added him to the party for a while, which worked okay, but he left a little while before I did. By the end of the afternoon session SirGalahad was up 114.72%, and had added 295 more skill points.

The early evening food break was taken a bit early, as over on Auzura-4 one of [GM]Valsharyn's "Mad Monster Spawns" was scheduled for 5:00pm, UK time. As usual I didn't risk Rage's supply of skill points, or expensive resurrection scrolls, so instead RedRider, on level 26, went along - after spending the odd 7 skill points she'd picked up previously on zeta wave processing. The event didn't start very promptly, but as usual Val perceived the invisible vortex that was due to spit out some monsters at us - no wonder they were mad!

RedRider did die a couple of times, and neither time did I see what hit me, but as ever it was a fun battle, and I think Red's Snare came in useful, even if the 50 she hits monsters for, generally, doesn't actually worry them much. Luckily there were no cave spirits involved, but we still ended with flutons and patriarch botises. Val puts so much more thought and interaction into these events than any other GM does; she seems to have been granted a fair degree of autonomy for what she does on the European server, which is great.

I kept a note of my supplies, before and after picking up the various loot drops, and can report that Red got 22 HP and 21 MP recovery potions, 10 large attack and 8 large defence ones, and 8 each of the item drop and skill point boosters, plus 17 tool aids, so it was a profitable outing.

Profits had also been made on Tairen over lunch and during the afternoon, with, after about half a million over lunch, three million during the afternoon getting into MistressDomino's coffers. She did well during the evening, after a long period when only a few tree ornaments got sold, at 95 gold each, taking in almost another five million, so, while most of the heaven stones from the Sunday Quiz have now vanished, we are now officially not poverty-stricken; the Discipline guild will be able to get its next upgrades tomorrow.

The main evening session was more slogging in the Temple for SirGalahad, but this time I decided to try my favourite back room there. Gal still has basically an un-upgraded level 25/27 armour set - the gloves now are level 30, and the leggings, since they were a quest reward, are +1, but none of the items are bloodsealed, and that applies to the level 25 shield too. But, with fifteen levels of the Armour Increase buff from his faithful horse, he had absolutely no problems in there, even when attacked by half a dozen level 27 orc axemen and level 29 orc sergeants. The extra health regeneration he has, courtesy of the special knight "neckless", must help, but it just shows how resilient knights are, as long as there is no magic attack involved.

A sorcerer called CROCKSTAR came in and shared the room for a while, and then later a titan called Xaen - I'm sure that he was relatively high-level, with at least a +10 weapon, as he did kill the orcs remarkably quickly, though luckily there were still enough for me too. When my pony had reached level 16 earlier today, and become a horse, I'd used a reindeer transformation book on it, so my pet was now a "Rudolf" - it doesn't seem quite as responsive to the "pet item pickup" button as before, but it generally responds eventually. Xaen wasn't picking up any loot, except armour or moonstone boxes, so my poor pet tended to wander most of the room, trying to pick up stuff, when all I really wanted it to do was pick up what my own orcs had dropped. Still, I gained a bit more cash that way I guess.

At the end of the session SirGalahad was approaching the top of level 29, having added another 109.41% experience; the extra skill exp did get switched off during the session, unfortunately, but Gal still managed to add a further 258 skill points - and Rudolf went up by two levels, reaching level 18. It shouldn't take too long tomorrow to get Gal up to level 30, when he has to learn a new skill (without which he wouldn't be allowed to become a temple knight, once he is level 31) - and will be able to upgrade the Discipline guild. MistressDomino transferred enough gold for that to him, so it should all be plain sailing.

While I was working on the blog entry, Gal went out to Merac for a little more pet-levelling. This time, with 17 levels of Armour Increase, for a total physical defence stat of 704, I decided to try him on the level 34 berserkers, instead of the butchers, and while his health bar did fluctuate a little, it seldom went down very much. He is hitting berserkers for 31 now bare-handed, which is very slightly more than they can stand, but they do tend to last rather longer than the butchers did. Once he reaches level 31 and has the +10 armour set, we will be able to try the gnoll lancers, down to the south of Merac. Before log-out time, the horse, or reindeer, did level up, so is now level 19.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Temple Business

Once again SirGalahad went to Tairen-1's Prokion Temple for an hour or so after coffee in the morning, and fought the orc soldiers and orc fighters, before a level 27 healer called GhOsTRiDeR came along and suggested we team up, and move along to the level 27 orc axemen, which seemed a good idea to me, though she was very much an archer rather than a cleric-type, and didn't give healing a very high priority. When I queried why she didn't have the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, she said that she had died a little earlier.

She talked to a mage who was in the Trio guild, and, although she was currently in Tairen's version of uberguild Vendetta, it seems her task is to manage Trio here, an offshoot of a major Cariae guild. It all gets complicated! She seems to want SirGalahad, or some active character of mine, to join, when it is properly set up, which could be interesting. Gal might well have enough skill points left over to help with the guild upgrading.

By lunchtime, SirGalahad had gone up by 104.69%, taking him into level 27, and added 135 skill points; he had spent 60 upgrading the Discipline guild to level 3 before setting out, having managed to scrape together the 250,000 gold needed. Gal's finances received a boost when GhOsTRiDeR bought his three heaven stones at 100,000 gold each - people are trying to sell them for a lot more than that in Randol, but at the time Ghost's declaration that that was a reasonable price seemed, well, reasonable.

SirGalahad stayed in Prokion Temple over lunch, and then finished off the remainder of the three-hour "Elizabuff", before logging out. That shorter session, mainly against orc axemen, added another 31.55% and 66 skill points, plus a few pet points as he also equipped the pony to help increase his defence. Back in Randol, after selling the loot drops, he was just able, thanks to the 300,000 from GhostRider, to scrape together the 500,000 gold needed to get Discipline to level four; the 120 skill points needed were no problem. The next level for the guild will need a whole million, plus 240 skill points; Gal will also need to be level 30 at least to do it.

Aftre a little moving around of armours between characters, SirGalahad switched to the older computer, and went out into Merac for the first time, to hunt level 28 butchers - bare-handed of course, why rush these things? Conveniently, he got a quest to kill those particular creatures, and deliver 10 Orders of Beradben to Great Magician Minearm, but the main thing was to level up his pony a bit more.

Over on the newer computer, RedRyder was able to head for Prokion Temple, in a solo party with Gal, where it didn't take all that long to move up from level 17 to level 20. The "Sunday teatime" started promptly at four o'clock, UK time, and was extra skill exp - either 50% more or 75% more, the website is a bit schizophrenic about that. So, for the last half hour of the session I had that useful extra boost, and while adding 344.97% experience Red got 204 skill points.

I got back from my food break before the end of the teatime bonus, so got a bit more of a boost for the evening session. I soon graduated to the room with just mummies and one orc soldier, but the tendency in Prokion, at least on Tairen-1, is for people to burst on in and make themselves at home, so I generally had to share the place with another rogue or two - mainly OhMyGod, who is getting all her skills maxxed at level 20, she told me. I recommended Misty Canyon as a good place to die quickly! When she returned from her suicide runs, having before that finished learning mining, I remarked, "As in 'OhMyGod not you again'?" We saw a mage called Jesus, in a guild called Heaven - would she be the GM of it, I wonder?

One skill I had been able to learn in Randol before setting out was all five levels of Snare, which came in handy with the orc soldier, who did tend to do me a bit of damage on those occasions when it didn't work. I'd also gone on a spending spree - well, I'd bought Red level 27 rogue pants, to add to the shirt, hood and boots that had been picked up as loot, mainly by SirGalahad. So, when RedRyder levelled up to 21 she was able to start wearing the level 26 Guardian shirt and pants, followed at level 22 by the level 27 hood and boots. She's still wearing the level 15 gloves, but at least they are +4. The shirt replaced the level 6 one she had been wearing until then - she is still using the level 13 castle crossbow +4. Well, cash was tight...

It was a substantial session, and by the time I logged out there was only about 20 minutes left of the three-hour "Elizabuff"...and SirGalahad had been busy in Merac with the butchers too. Red went up another 371.23%, moving well into level 24, and 616 skill points, all but one of which got spent back in town on skills, mainly the passive ones. She is still not at maximum on quite a few skills, with the level 25 ones soon becoming available, but that's what happens when you can't do that "50% of experience donated to your guild as guild points" deal. Once she is level 31, we'll sort out the sp shortage, involving a few trips to Misty Canyon.

RedRyder also equipped her dragon hatchling for the later part of that evening session, so that the little fellow is level 2 now. But time had moved on, and the Sunday evening quiz was looming.

I decided to go to the quiz on Tairen, as the heaven stones would make the gold situation for SirGalahad a bit easier - and the tool aids would be useful too, to help keep the pony fed. Out of habit, I went to the second sub-server, which was remarkably empty, so I didn't feel the need for MistressDomino and Kaerella to take off their armour to reduce lag. We might have had as many as thirty people there by the time the quiz actually started - or a few more if you count the "conga lines" of one or two people who were apparently running multiple clients of the game, leading to weird groupings of identical titans and healers.

Kaerella was one of the first people to move when the questions were asked, and I think a number of people did end up following my lead - thankfully we didn't have any of the harder questions this time, so just about everyone survived to the end, and got their rewards.

I noticed that the price of the "buying all your HS at the moon statue" people was 300,000 gold, so obviously prices had moved on since mid-day. SirGalahad did go into merchant mode for a few minutes, and sold three heaven stones at 400,000 each, which means that we will be okay for upgrading the Discipline guild to level five...though we can't do that until Gal hits level thirty.

After that, Gal went back to the butchers in Merac for a while, so that the pony moved on into level 14. Once again there don't seem to be any zombie invasions going on, so that was the end of my activities in the Land of Iris for the day. All the GMs seemed to be involved in was a second raffle for polar bear pets, involving buying a pack of either 25 experience or skill boosters for 199 aeria points as your raffle ticket. Perhaps the bears will appear for sale directly, after the next maintenance, or maybe they figure that they can do another raffle or two first...

Anyway, SirGalahad reached level 27 today, and RedRider reached level 24 - it may well soon be time for them to do some teaming up in Prokion Temple, though to do that I probably ought to concentrate first on getting Gal to level 31. It is a shame that rogues don't have any buffs they can give people; they don't seem to even have any buffs they can give themselves, which makes playing them nice and simple.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

RedRyder Steps Out

SirGalahad on the new Tairen server had a session in the morning, getting a quest reward or two and then heading out into the Dratan desert, first of all to kill some "Ramians", or dark goddesses as they are now called. There was a level 50 Pandora's Beast around, which my fellow knight ArthurPendragon had a go at, before very wisely running back into town - he did suggest after that that we might team up to fight it, but I declined the offer, those things hit hard and don't usually drop anything useful.

I moved on to Shuraine's oasis after killing the 15 dark goddesses, and set about killing the sand golems there, without any trouble even though they were five levels above Gal; the elite version was made of sterner stuff, though, and would get me down to below half my health before it died, so I'd only fight him when, fighting the others, my health had had time to regenerate.

Kamira turned up before too long, and I didn't do anything about it, figuring that nobody online on Tairen would be high enough level to deal with a level 70 raid boss, but another knight, TestFyre, lower level than me, judging from the way he had to run from sand golems, contacted a friend, Tiernan of the BritishBulldogs guild. Luckily when Kamira left she immediately "re-arrived", so Tiernan, a level 61 rogue, arrived in time to deal with her. I don't think a rare accessory was dropped, I saw a couple of "special item boxes" so probably she was teamed with TestFyre. They kindly left me the 10 great healing potions, at least I assume it was intentional.

My main reason for fighting sand golems was to get "soft sand" for a quest, but they also drop level 27 helms; sadly I didn't get a knight one, though the elite sand golem did drop a +4 healer one. A sand golem also dropped me a new level 25 shield; I got a heaven stone and a couple of the "hands of the guard", with skill point booster, item drop booster, and a couple of tool aids, so the session wasn't bad on the loot side - and right at the end SirGalahad reached level 24, having gone up 100.50%, and added 48 skill points and 65 pet points - I soon discovered that the sand golems were very keen on pet-eating, it seemed that just about every one I targeted would take at least one bite from my poor pony.

Lunch had to be slightly early, as [GM]Valsharyn had scheduled a "storm the castle" event on Auzura-5 for 1:00pm, UK time. When Rage, my level 72 rogue, got there, only about five of us had arrived, and it looked as if we'd have our work cut out. Val herself did join our party, so we could see that she is only a level 141 mage, not the 165 most GMs go for. She left though when the party was full, to leave room for someone else.

Luckily more people did arrive, and we progressed through Baals, Death Knights, wafes, jumping devils, anubis spear men, anubis archers, sphinx commanders, hell-otuu, dark harpies, zamoras, and more. There was even a blue dragon at the end, but only people who had "shadow powder" active could see and fight it. The rest of us went into the throne room, where [GM]Valsharyn spawned some of the usual piles of loot for us. I think she generously spawned three separate piles, to reward us for our valour, but by then there seemed to be more people around than usual, so things got snapped up pretty fast, making it not the most rewarding of castle-stormings.

As usual Val stayed around to chat and hear suggestions, and as usual a number of people requested an upgrade event. I commented that one always heard complaints after such an event about all the breakages, but Val promised to bring the matter up. I'd earlier asked if she was in the Aeria office, or able to work from home for this, and was told that it always had to be done from the office. More experimenting with different level challenges at Mad Monster Spawns seems to be on the cards...

After that, the main afternoon session was held back over on Tairen-1, with SirGalahad now able to take on orc soldiers and orc fighters in Prokion Temple. Some of the time I was teamed with a level 20 rogue called Ninjaki, who seemed to operate on around 10% health most of the time - some people just don't bother with health potions. This time the experience gain was 163.20%, plus 189 skill points, taking us into level 25, before the early evening food break; I left Gal in the lobby there while I was away from the keyboard, and continued afterwards, in the corridor outside my favourite back room, until the three hours of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff was just ending, so that another 54.05% got added, plus 86 skill points.

After that it was time to get a bit cunning, and do two things at once. SirGalahad switched to the older computer, and went out to the treants, not far from Velpist Temple. to level up his pony a bit. Generally he would have two or three treants attacking him, and failing to do any damage; hitting bare-handed for 29 he did damage them, though, so I needed to switch targets occasionally, to let the old target recuperate. A titan did kill the treants once, but went off when my pony picked up the loot and I went back to treant-fighting; a low-level knight called jesus wanted to add me as a friend, but also attacked my current treant, which started to chase him - it turned its attention back to me eventually, after giving him a scare, but I'd been moved out of position, and a great horn beast came in after a little while, and attacked the pony. Luckily I saw what was happening in time, killed the GHB, and moved back into the proper position.

Meanwhile, on the newer computer, it was time for the Tairen version of my rogue RedRyder to venture forth. She had reached level 5 before today, but that was just from being in the Discipline guild hall and opening Christmas Gift Boxes, which like Pandora's Boxes give a disproportionate amount of experience for a low-level character. Being three levels ahead meant that Healer Yabo's quest to kill deer was no longer available, but he gave Red the fox and wolf quests, so she started with those, and, helped along by the "Elizabuff", went from foxes and wolves on to dire wolves and berserk wolves, and then on to jaguars, including getting their fangs for Merchant Geres to make into necklaces. There was a knight called Sizzlin, a member of the "Addicted" guild, also killing jaguars - he was moving suspiciously fast, I casually mentioned that a friend of mine had once tried a speed hack, but found it led to a lot of disconnections. Sizzlin made no reply...

I had thought of letting SirGalahad power-level RedRyder a bit, but in the end I just traded a couple of pan flutes across to Gal, and Red went along to Velpist Temple. After starting with the usual wandering zombies off to the right, I continued with the room with the ancient and berserk types, ahead and up the stairs, carefully avoiding the red-named skeleton soldiers. And then I went off to the left from the starting area, to the anteroom to the "Torn Book of Life" quest room, with its berserk zombies, corpse rangers, and skeleton soldiers.

A level 15 pair, the healer lamuerte2026 and the rogue Warhammer, invited me to party with them, so Red ditched the solo party with SirGalahad, and joined up; we also added the level 10 knight Kight. I think everyone levelled up at least once during the session, though Warhammer, usually a level ahead of me, was a bit more impetuous and did die a couple of times. It was fun to party, anyway, though I don't think Kight or lamuerte2026 spoke much English. Another healer, natth, was also in the room - I think we helped her out of a scrape or too, at least I hope she didn't think we were ks-ing.

The party ended eventually, and RedRyder's three-hour Elizabuff was ending too, so Red logged back in in town, spent her skill points, and then, as towards the end she had managed to grab a drake egg, headed for Dratan to get herself a hatchling. And while she was there she made the run out to Prokion Temple to get that location onto her memory scroll. At that stage Red was about 60% of the way through level 16, but it didn't take long, fighting some handy ghouls and mummies, to reach level 17 there, which made a good end to her first evening of adventuring. I noticed a rogue in the DestructioN guild there called "Oppsie", and wondered if the rogue from yesterday with the disputed name had bought herself a character renaming card...

Adding it up, in all RedRyder went up 1,195.94%, which can't be bad, and exactly 300 skill points; and meanwhile SirGalahad's pony, which had reached level 6 during his more active adventures, moved on to level 9 - and, continuing on afterwards, was well into level 10 by the time the older computer was switched off. Gal may not be able to afk-level a pet yet, but this was the next best thing.

Friday, 25 December 2009

The Christmas Spirit

I did manage to do a fair bit of playing today, starting with a morning session over on the new Tairen server with SirGalahad; he killed little treants and werewolves for Hunter Dranore, and killed quite a few drakes, which was handy for a bit of pet-levelling, and the green orbs they dropped were useful for a quest later - there's nothing like being given a quest to get things, and being able to get the reward immediately.

I had a bit of luck on my way to Velpist Temple - I saw a Pandora's Box, and when I opened it, it dropped 50,000 gold, which was what I needed for guild upgrading. With prices the way they are on the new server, that is a lot of money.

In the temple, Gal graduated to what I think of as the anteroom to the main "book of life" room, and levelled up there. A rogue called Dre1 was fighting in that room too, and very kindly gave me a knight helm, level 12 +4, she had picked up, not wanting any gold for it - and a little later gave me a new drop she'd had, a level 17 sword of glory +2, which was a nice improvement over the level 13 sword I'd been using - the only item of equipment Galahad had actually bought! Sadly, I didn't get any rogue-type drops that I could offer her.

An afternoon session for SirGalahad was mainly spent in Prokion Temple; having gone up 157.08% in the morning, plus 71 skill points, Galahad was only about 20% short of level 17, so it didn't take many ghouls to get up to their level. Before long, I was able to move on to that mummy room, with just the single orc soldier to avoid, but I had a bit of trouble with a couple of members of a guild called DestructioN. Well, the healer was quiet and just got on with the job, but the rogue, called "youtrustingbud", suddenly and theatrically ks'd me for no reason, and when I asked "why the ks?" accused me of ks-ing them, and pretended that they owned the whole server. When that provoked a "lol" from me, "see my gm sword in your mouth" was the response.

It was interesting to be a silent witness to an exchange that happened not long after:

FightForLife > hey noob
FightForLife > poser...
youtrustingbud > what
FightForLife > u gonna die... everytime i see u just watch
FightForLife > change ur name
youtrustingbud > no
FightForLife > change ur name....
FightForLife > yes
FightForLife > ill always kill u noob
FightForLife > tht is my fking name on hatz... no1 coulda thought of it
FightForLife > ur not the real me
FightForLife > if u wanna play wiht tht name so be it just rember ur on my kos
youtrustingbud > why am i
FightForLife > >>>>>>
FightForLife > tht why ur on my kos
FightForLife > Ive had tht name on hatz for all my 90 lvls...
youtrustingbud > lol its me lumper dude chill i know your mom chill i wanted to represent you on lc
FightForLife > i dont want anyone to take it
FightForLife > thts not funny bud...

High drama, eh? But if false-bud knows real-bud's Mom, that may well avoid murder being done (?). Strangely, when after fighting some other ghouls and mummies I returned to that room, the DestructioN duo had disappeared...

But anyway, I managed to get SirGalahad to level 20, before logging out for the early evening food break, so another 318.57% had been safely added, as well as 191 more skill points... and Gal's pet pony was safely into level 4.

We were promised a celebratory parade at 5:00pm, UK time, on Katar-4, but it was a bit of a disappointment - I didn't see any marching around town or handing out of transformation scrolls and firecrackers, though after an announcement that Santa had dropped some goodies around town, I was lucky enough to be the first on the scene for one drop of about six items, next to Merchant Geres - mainly just "hand" items, but including two "great MP boost potions", which increase one's total mana by 30% for 24 hours. Not as useful as the HP equivalent, but maybe someone might buy them.

Unfortunately trying to trade the Christmas balls to [GM]OgreKing was impossible; I assume it isn't just me who, if one attempts to trade with someone and they are already trading, and thus fails, continues to get a "you are already trading with" message on all future attempts? The mob around Oggy was thick, as people were hoping for some goody in exchange for the balls they handed in. Maybe they did get something, I don't know. The idea was that if 500 of the balls were handed in, then the server would get a few hours of 50% extra experience and skill exp. Whether the GM deliberately disconnected the people nearest him, or the crush of people caused it, I don't know, but it's not the first time a crush around a GM has been temporarily solved that way.

A level 17 knight called "yougetown" applied to be added to Memree's Friends List, and I allowed him on - and to my relief it wasn't someone wanting my password, for a change. He wanted to team up to help him level up a bit, and, it being Christmas, I decided that I could help; being less than 15 levels ahead, a regular party in Prokion Temple, in my back room, would do him a power of good. I had been thinking of going to the "Parade" on other servers, but had rather lost interest in that.

He told me that he has a level 138 character on another account, but wants to get yougetown to level 90 just so that he can make a night shadow on a different account to his main character, which sounds reasonable; I noticed that his guild was "GHOSTRIDERS2". and GhostRiders are one of the top Katar guilds.

I had to persuade him to get the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff; I'd assumed that it was why he'd wanted to be on Katar-1, but apparently not. He went back to town on level 18, and again on level 20, to get the new accessory and other quests, and boy did he take his time returning, leaving Memree just standing around. He was hoping to get to level 27, or 25, but had to go soon after reaching level 21. Memree just got about 4 more skill points, to reach 117, then went back to town, spent them, and went to Misty Canyon to get rid of the 22.78% experience.

Talking of that special accessory, after that I logged SirGalahad back in over on Tairen-1, and grabbed the level 20 quests myself, so that I too became the proud owner of a "Dash Neckless of Knight", which is kind of like a necklace I suppose, but with less neck. It adds 16 to strength, 8 to (close range physical) attack, 20% to health recovery rate, and 10 to magical defence, so is rather better than anything else Gal has. One quest gave a level 17 metal shield +1, which was useful as I'd been looking for a new shield, or at least hoping one would drop, as my thrifty knight was still using a level 1 one until then. 72 + 4 defence is a nice improvement on 24!

SirGalahad was also able to learn all five levels of Vitality Control at level 20, increasing HP regeneration rate, so is a much improved character. The various quest rewards, doubled by the Elizabuff, moved him on by not much short of 60% experience, too. However, a final hour or so at Prokion got him moved along a bit further; he started still fighting the mummies, but by the end was fighting orc soldiers, often three or four at a time. By the end of the evening Gal had reached level 23, which seemed a good stopping point. That was an experience gain of 300.67%, along with 230 skill points; he hardly equipped his pony at all, as the mummies and orcs seemed a bit too hungry, but every 18 pet points helps, yes? The gain had been helped by us gaining that extra 50% on both experience and skill exp. so [GM]OgreKing must have been able to get the 500 Christmas balls he needed.

A lot of people are looking for level six guilds on Tairen, but there must be a bit of a shortage of them as yet. A level 35 guild master must be possible, even yesterday someone mentioned they were level 37, and getting the necessary 960 skill points by then wouldn't be difficult, it's the 3,810,000 gold that is the problem. On the other servers that's the equivalent of a couple of heaven stones, but on Tairen, at the last price I saw, it's the equivalent of more than fifty. Gold is rare - but still it seems that half the people fighting in Prokion Temple don't bother to pick it up.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Free Trip

As expected, I was busy all day long, but ColonelScarlet managed an overnight pet-levelling session - he wasn't interrupted, though someone passing by must have decided to open a few Christmas Gift Boxes, as he didn't have the full number in the morning, by any means. Unlike what has been happening when someone is standing around in the guild hall, the computer didn't run out of memory overnight, and things lasted well into the morning before I needed to relog him.

It was just around four in the afternoon when the horse, in reindeer guise, finally reached level 37, so that's another job that can be ticked off the list.

Over on Cariae-4 Enchantrella did a bit of standing around in the Norcaine guild hall, and managed to get herself a mage shiny Santa hat; as the next hour's box dropped a healer-type one, a minor character of mine there, Karanne, logged in, and was able to get into the guild hall and grab it.

Ratel got in touch, and Christmas greetings were exchanged. He mentioned that he had made a Night Shadow, and not been very impressed - so that means that Ratel, the stalwart temple knight, must have reached level 90... I think that would be the Auzura version, but I'm not entirely certain. Honestly, these people who have characters with similar or identical names on various different servers do make life complicated, don't they? Heheheh...

After the early evening food break, though, I was able to swing into action for a while. Our friendly GMs had announced that they were offering free trips to Egeha's Lust Trum Tower on the four US servers' fourth sub-servers, so it seemed a good idea to take advantage of saving the 800,000 gold teleportation cost. Thus it was that Rage went over to the tower, using a special teleporter NPC, Suran, spawned outside Randol's north gate, similar to the way masses of teleporters got spawned there for some of the "epic events".

Rage fought a few level 87 wights on the ground floor, but the place seemed a bit cramped and busy, and so a "return to village" scroll got us to Egeha village. My titan MrChuckNorris soon joined her; at level 62 to her 72, a combat party seemed the way to go. Having a slightly lower-level member in the party means that monsters between their levels give better experience and skill exp, so it was worthwhile to quickly "farm" bogles (level 65) and dark bogles (67), before we settled in with the apes and baby apes. The apes themselves may only be level 74, but they are boss monsters, and give good experience, though they take a while to kill. We settled into a routine of killing the nearest ape, and then a nearby baby ape, with a few nearby bogles and dark bogles to fill up any time waiting for respawns.

Chuck would use Smite, the titan stun skill, between Rage's Snare effects, or more quickly if Snare failed to work - a system they have used before now against Screaming Zombies in the Tomb of Theos. We didn't stay a huge amount of time, though, as Rage had a few Egeha quests to sort out. After that, Chuck just remained safely in town, to provide the solo party boost; in all he had earned himself 7.09% by then, and a couple of skill points.

Rage's solo activities included reaching an NPC quest-giver, Assistant Rouin, quite close to Lust Trum Tower; the Skinwalkers are passive, so not a problem on their own, but they are protective of the boucu demons (and the triceratops-type endemic demons), so Rage just had to run past those and ignore any damage they inflicted. There's a bug that has been going on for a while which sees the boucu demons half stuck in the ground in some places, which I think restricts their mobility usefully. I got to Rouin safely, but he himself was surrounded by the ghostly level 88 cursed weavers and level 90 cursed liches, which are aggressive, protective of each other, and have magical attacks, so the new quest he gave, to harvest some "counteracting poison of the leaf" locally, will have to wait a while.

It would have been shorter as the crow flies to go from Rouin (who, with a name like that, appears to be involved in archaeology, naturally enough) to another local pair of quest-givers, Battle Leader Koon and Patrol Leader Zen, but those weavers and liches are bad news, so I teleported into Lust Trum Tower again, and hurried down the road from there, avoiding the boucu demons as much as possible, and took a hard right turn to head for the arena - not a place where players fight, as in Randol or Dratan, but just part of the map.

There was a quest to go back to town and return, so I did that, coming back the same way as before; a new quest required Rage to kill ten boucu demons and ten skinwalkers. After killing a couple of boucu demons there, I moved across to the old boucu demon spot, where parties used to fight, and continued there. I got the ten boucu demons easily enough - but my attempt to kill a skinwalker there ended in failure. The trouble is that, as bosses, they take an age to kill, so it's no use killing the nearby boucu demon and then attacking the skinnie, the boucu demon will respawn well before the skinwalker is down to 50% health.

In fact, things got very dangerous, with the skinwalker's debuff slowing my attempt to escape, and my health getting extremely low - however, he didn't chase me into the rocks, and I was able to use "pet return to village" to get the heck out of there. Rage can kill skinwalkers - but not if they have friends joining in! That was the end of the adventure; Rage had picked up a couple of level 72 helms, and a "Crystal of efforts", which would halve the skill exp loss from getting killed, for eight hours, plus a useful amount of gold.

It had made a change to wander around Egeha, especially without having to pay to get there, and, while the skill point gain was minor, including various quest rewards Rage went up by 13.26%, taking her past the three-quarters mark in level 72, so it can't be too long before she can start using her new level 73 crossbow, and let Auzura's version of Kaerella have the level 69 +15 weapon. With no pet-levelling currently under way, things reached a natural conclusion. It looks as if teleporter Suran will vanish at breakfast time tomorrow, in theory - if by any wild chance Suran should happen to remain longer than that, maybe my Cariae mage Keerella, currently level 93, might hop over to Lust Trum Tower tomorrow, if food and television and present-unwrapping and so on allow such activities.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all our readers; if page view statistics are to be believed, quite a few people looked in at GuildPortal, but sadly their system seems nerfed at present, and new posts just haven't been uploading. Ah well, there's still blogger, and

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A New Server

The new patch has, it seems, stopped Christmas items disappearing from one's inventory when one logs out, and also added night shadow Santa hats to the things the Christmas Gift Boxes can drop, but the hats themselves still cannot be traded, stored, or even dropped on the ground. I suppose the problem is that they are 30-day timed items, which was a dubious change to make from last year's ordinary hats. The new Tairen server has opened for business, too.

I knew that my morning session would be subject to interruptions, so, while ColonelScarlet continued his pet-levelling efforts out in Merac, it was RedRyder who went sp-farming, in Prokion Temple on Katar-1. In a solo party, Red gets just 576 experience per mummy, since she is six levels higher than them, but 4400 skill exp (with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff active); it was interesting that when another solo party member, the level 20 knight NAZAKINA, was briefly within compass-map range the skill exp fell slightly to 3662, though it would vary a little from one kill to the next, while the experience ramped up to a comparatively massive 3186, more than five times as much.

Things were a bit quieter in the room I favour, with mummies and a single orc soldier, though HunterSky was around again, and did occasionally trespass; another rogue, NightBlak, was a slight nuisance too. Still, in around 75 minutes Red did manage to add 187 skill points, while just going up 8.16% in experience. RedRyder has just reached the 60% point in level 26, and the target of getting over 2,000 unused skill points before level 27 is reached looks pretty certain.

After lunch there was time for Memree and Kaerella to go to Prokion Temple's back room on Katar-4. The skill point gain for Kae's pssp hour was back to a more normal level today; while Memree added 33.80% and 122 skill points, plus 1088 pet points and 381 guild points, Kae added 364 skill points, and 66 guild points, while going up by 7.11%.

Since the new Tairen server had started, it seemed like a good idea to go over there and reserve my usual main names - so Kaerella, MistressDomino, CaptainScarlet, SirDarth, RedRyder, and Memree are all suitably installed. Just before four o'clock, UK time, back on Katar ColonelScarlet got his reindeer-type horse up to level 35, too.

For the evening session, it didn't seem a bad idea to do a bit of work on the new server, so SirGalahad joined the line-up - I did notice a Gawain and an ArthurPendragon in Randol, both knights as well, so the spirit of Camelot lives on. The idea was to get SirGalahad up to a pet-levelling status, and, as a pet-leveller doesn't need a whole range of skills, hopefully set up the Discipline guild over there.

Unlike the move to Katar, there are no assets waiting for me on Tairen; an old "tiered spender" offer delivered its rewards to all the servers then operating, so I tend to have a few goodies in the other servers, just waiting, and my early times in Katar were greatly aided by selling a couple of lucky smelting stones and an item mall potion or two. So cash was tight, and will remain so.

As it is a new server, cash is tight all round, there hasn't yet been a lot of gold dropped by monsters, or loot sold to the NPCs in exchange for gold. It looks as if an item drop booster or a skill point booster would cost forty or fifty thousand, instead of around a million; some people just don't get it, though, and are trying to sell heaven stones for a million or more - and where would that money have come from, on day one?

SirGalahad operated on Tairen-1, for the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and had a fairly standard upbringing, though without my tendency to target slightly lower-level monsters to increase the ratio of skill exp to regular experience. Foxes and deer, and then wolves, were fought to fulfil the quests from Healer Yabo, and then I quickly moved on to elder wolves, dire wolves, and berserk wolves. Then at level 8, the quest to supply Merchant Geres with jaguar fangs for his necklace business kicked in - every 500 gold reward was very useful. I managed to buy a level 13 sword eventually, though I had to rely on what I picked up, armour-wise, so even at the end of the session Gal was still wearing his original level 1 gloves and boots. Still, I used the skill points I got to get the passive skill Canid Fence rolling - four levels added 80 to his defence stat, which meant that the berserk wolves just stopped doing any damage, and the more expensive fifth level added a further 20. Even attacks by a pair of jaguars were no problem, so that was 65 skill points well spent. Another 97 went on Uncanny Movement, since being able to run around more quickly is pretty useful; other than some first levels Gal has to have before he can get the level 30 skill, that was all that were used.

At level 10 it was time for Velpist Temple, once I'd exchanged the pan flute I'd finally picked up for a pet pony; and it was also time to find a guardian, so that SirGalahad will get that useful "event weapon" sword if he reaches level 20 quickly enough. Looking at the list of prospective guardians, I chose Slymitor, since he was the leader of the solo party I was in. He went up from level 19 to 26 over the course of the evening, so he was doing well.

Velpist Temple was of course busier than I've ever seen it on other servers, epic events excepted, and it was hard to find enough wandering zombies, but I got up to level 13 there eventually, with some useful +3 or +4 drops - nothing actually for a knight, but if I do decide to develop a rogue, say, for event-going there, I'll be able to supply her with a nice level 13 crossbow at least.

It seemed a good idea to add Prokion Temple to Gal's memory scroll before the end of his first session, so I made the run out through the desert without any problems; Kamira was outside the Temple, but I doubt if there is anyone on the new server yet who can deal with her, just as there can't be any people with mounts yet - or even horses of level 16 or more, able to use the reindeer transformation books.

With SirGalahad's low-level armour (helm 12, shirt and pants 6, gloves and boots level 1), despite the Canid Fence the level 17 ghouls in the Temple were a bit tricky - I found that I could kill one, but I'd be left with rather low health. Still, I did manage to kill a few, enough for Gal to reach level 14.

Back in Juno, I killed a few Sasquatch near town, mainly to get a few more pet points. The pony had managed to level up in Velpist Temple, the zombies were so hungry that the poor thing was down to below 20% health by the time it reached level 2. By log-out time SirGalahad was 21.62% into level 14, with 73 unused skill points; there are plenty of skills a full-combat knight could spend sp on, but Gal has other priorities.

The Discipline guild does now officially exist on Tairen, anyway. It is only level one, which cost SirGalahad 10 skill points and 10,000 gold; level two requires Gal to be level 15 himself, and costs 30 sp and 50,000 gold, which will be a problem. On another server that would be easy, sell a few moonstone boxes or a heaven stone and you'd be rich, but Tairen isn't built that way, yet, and there 50,000 gold is a lot of money.

Over on Katar, ColonelScarlet kept busy through the evening. I'd been so busy on Tairen that I'd forgotten about the scheduled "Storm the Castle" event scheduled for ten on Katar (and also, indeed, on Cariae) - but luckily it had been postponed until 30 minutes later, so that it ran at the same time as the Hatzring and Sarissa versions, and, while I missed the start, Memree was able to join in for the main part, against sphinx commanders and the Tomb's spear men, plus dark harpies and hell-otuu. Merac Castle was cleaned out in time, and we got our rewards spawned - I seemed to do lots of picking up, but of course a lot of it is the minor health and mana recovery potions; 8 item drop boosters, 5 skill point boosters, 9 large attack potions, and 11 large defence potions ought to make a little cash to buy a pssp or two I hope. Attendance seemed pretty low again, probably not helped by the delay in starting.

By the time he logs out, ColonelScarlet will have got his horse well past the halfway mark in level 35. He ought to be on for most of tomorrow, too; I will be busy with other things for most of Christmas Eve, but will hope to have an evening session, at least.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A Choice of Monster Spawns

There were a few Christmas Gift Boxes in the Discipline guild hall again this morning; those shiny Santa hats are starting to take up a lot of inventory space, if tonight's maintenance patch doesn't make it possible to trade them. I think some use of the "garbage disposal" option will be needed tomorrow. There was some more standing around in the guild hall for the first part of the morning, and then after coffee Memree and Kaerella headed for that back room in Prokion Temple on Katar-4 - only to find it already in use!

Luckily the other non-PvP server, Katar-5, had room for us, so we settled in, with Kaerella standing near the doorway with a platinum super skill pill running, and Memree doing all the work. Conditions continued to favour us, and Kaerella gained a record 420 skill points, while going up by 8.18%; that added 76 guild points to the DarkzersRoughneks guild total. Memree meanwhile went up by 38.95%, adding 140 skill points, 439 guild points for the Discipline guild, and 1082 pet points, which were enough to move her drake up a level. Once Kae had left, Memree continued briefly, to get up to 153 skill points, enough for her to finish learning imperfect stone processing and get the first level of advanced energy gathering; that added another 1.62%, 19 guild points, and 60 pet points.

There was just time before lunch, once Memree had spent that sp, for Memree to teleport over to Misty Canyon, and persuade an Introducer Camio to help her get rid of that 40.57% experience, which it was happy to do.

For the afternoon, ColonelScarlet went back out to his current monsters - what type they are is a secret shared only with huxy! Meanwhile, RedRyder went to Katar-1, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and headed for Prokion Temple, and the mummies there.

My theory is that the Brazilian version of the game (which is closing down, hence their migration to Last Chaos USA) has swifter monster respawning - how else can one explain the way a Brazilian player will sweep into the room that one is already playing in, and assume there are enough monsters for them too? I'd managed to get the room with a nice collection of mummies and a single orc soldier, but for a lot of the time I ended up involuntarily sharing it with a Brazilian, usually a rogue. The worst one was FreeDeathLecter, who consistently ks'd me, while pretending that I was ks-ing her. You can't argue with these guys, as they seem completely uneducated, as far as the English language goes. FreeDeathLecter even attacked me as a final gesture, though not hitting hard enough to kill me.

Other annoyances were the rogues jowbody and HunterSky, though the latter's visits, while frequent, tended to be brief. The mage DearthQeen and the titan ISlayerI also put in appearances. At least the knight Knify spoke English, I didn't mind sharing the room with him for a while, and he's on Red's Friends list now.

Still, while the fighting wasn't as flat-out as it could have been, by the end RedRyder had gone up by 16.19%, and just 26 guild points, in the course of adding a very useful 376 skill points. It might not have been as many as Kae had earned earlier, but this time no expensive pssp was involved. I'd been looking at the prices people are charging for a pssp, and it seems that they are hard to find for below 5 million on Katar these days. Kaerella was very nearly out of stock of them now, so in the end I paid 4.8 million each for five, bought from Nipi near the Katar-1 arena..

ColonelScarlet got the horse up to level 34 soon after six... and not long after that it was time for Cariae's Kaerella to ride out to the giants and akane giants on Cariae-1.

The session went pretty well, and Kaerella reached level 51; at that point I went back to town, and, as Kae's inventory was entirely full, transferred items across to some other characters; the manuals for making level 49-57 armour and weapons got moved across to Damorella, and some recently acquired accessories got stashed away too.

Kaerella went back out once she had some inventory space, but the session came to a slightly early end when, while she was fighting the elite akane giant near to the "Tomb of Theo" entrance, our favourite raid boss, Kamira, arrived. So, Kae logged out, and Keerella hurriedly logged in, and rode down to visit her. Kee didn't even have to use any health potions during the fight; the usual useful goodies were dropped, but no rare accessory, maybe it would help if one of those platinum drop boosters was used? I've seen them on sale at wildly varying prices, from 1.2 million to more than ten times that.

So, once Kee logged out, the session was over. Kaerella logged back in, just to put a few things into storage, and found she was still in the solo party she had spent the evening in. One heaven stone had been picked up; also, for the first time for Kae the elite akane giant had dropped a ready-plussed item, a level 45 mage wand, Crick's Bane +1.

There was time to get email and the blog so far sorted out, before the expected "Mad Monster Spawns" on the US servers, which were due to start at 10:00pm, UK time. I'd decided to check out the new low-level version on Katar with Memree, so was on the alert for any messages on ColonelScarlet's screen. And, sure enough, one appeared with ten minutes to spare.

The "lowbie" event was quite fun and well-rewarded with the usual loot, but it only lasted 15 minutes. I saw some familiar monsters, and some I'd never seen before - and I did have to run for my life when a horde of goblins charged at me. The early finish meant that I could move across to the usual MMS spot, and help out the "highbies" - and grab some more loots of course. I assume both events were run by [GM]JediMike, who kept a pretty low profile; the final wave for the high-levels was unusual, in that it didn't contain any Flutons or Patriarch Botises, though there were Almas, cave spirits, and other tough monsters. We hadn't cleared them all by 10:30, but the GM spawned the loot and declared the event over, thanking us for attending, so we all paused to hoover up what we could - and then went back to finishing off the monsters. After which, it was time for Memree to log out.

Server maintenance was, as usual, scheduled for about 1:00am, UK time, so there was no point in leaving the computers running. Hopefully the holiday packages in the in-game item mall, which currently tell you "the item does not exist" if you try to purchase one, will become available. "Think of those packages like gifts under the tree, look but you can't touch" was how Aeria_ks1lent put it. Probably we'll get the polar bear pets too, which do look a bit seasonal. Let's hope that they don't bring too many bugs with them. When ColonelScarlet finally logged out for the night, he had got the horse more than a third of the way into level 34, so he too did pretty well today.