Wednesday, 31 March 2010

"Cariae Is In Pain!"

Looking at the latest updates on the forum this morning before breakfast, I discovered that the problems with the Cariae server were far from over. "ZOMG!! Cariae is in pain!" was how Aeria_ks1lent began his update. "
So after we have come up from maintenance we, with the help of you the players have discovered quite a large amount of missing data on Cariae including characters, inventory and the like. We are going to bring down Cariae servers while the developers investigate the issue."

Sure enough, when I downloaded the new patch and logged in, the dreaded word "Maintenance" appeared alongside every Cariae subserver, so there was no possibility of me logging in to find out if Kaerella, Barbarienne, Keerella, SirDarth, and all my other characters there still existed, along with their weapons, armour and inventories - all I could do was opt for Katar, and log ColonelScarlet in to do a little work on his pale mauve, or pink, drake, which was moving towards the top of level 37.

The "Easter Event" has started, which accounted for most of today's patch; this year we are promised that the eggs the monsters will drop for us can possibly give skill, experience, or item drop boosters, or even a chaos ball. Apparently a quest called "Invade the Missionaries" has been fixed, presumably a Mondshine-based one for people level 140 or above, while we are assured that identifying too many items without hitting the "okay" button will no longer crash our clients. Add some "changes to internal database security systems", and that's about it, apart from some new item mall packages, which unfortunately only appear in the in-game item mall, where we don't, these days, get "buy one get one free" offers.

What with one thing and another, there wasn't an opportunity for a morning session today - there won't be one tomorrow, either. However, ColonelScarlet did get his drake to level 38 at around eleven, and I did at least manage to get some quality stones on Sarissa, by sending Kaerella out to use up her supply of tool aids. MistressFelicia had three tool aids, from the drops at the arena last night, but as she hasn't reached the level at which she can do the quest to learn the first level of basic mining, she couldn't use a boosted hammer, so had to pass them over, via storage, to Kae. Boosted hammers do at least weigh less than tool aids, so cost less to put in storage.

The afternoon session was suitably productive, though, with Kaerella teaming with SirDarth in Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5; Darth fought the orc sergeants and orc axemen in my usual back room, and Kae picked up the loot. Kae did have to leave him for a few minutes, though, as Friend got in touch, assuring me that I could keep the level 29 +15 weapon for a while yet, and asked if I could help her transfer items between two of her characters. Since SirDarth could keep on fighting without her, Kae got elected to return to Dratan and help out.

There were a couple of rather nice monster combo type accessories among the items Friend wanted to be traded across to her archer happy22, as well as 11,111,111 gold, but it didn't take long, and happy22 showed me her 85/87 armour set, which was all "B5E", which means that it is blue-named, for the best defence stats, has 5 bloodseals, and that those seals are evasion-enhancing. She hasn't yet upgraded all the pieces to +13, but it is a nice set, going well with her five-sealed green-name bow.

Kaerella hurried back to SirDarth after that little trip, and by the end of the afternoon he had added 50.15%, and 490 guild points, plus 313 skill points. Kae herself added 29.87%, 74 guild points, and 303 skill points, so should be able to learn a few more levels of Resurrection now.

After the food break, SirDarth had the quests to kill bandits and pilferers, and berserkers, to do in Merac, and took RedRyder along in an equal party, to give her a little experience boost. Those quests didn't take long; Red just got 15.96% and 4 skill points, while, with his quest rewards, SirDarth got 15.74%, which was enough to take him into level 35, and 84 skill points.

SirDarth was able to learn the single level of Canid Fence 2 for just 60 skill points, further increasing his physical defence by 120 - and then it was time to finish his conversion into a pet-leveller. So, he and RedRyder switched to Sarissa-6, which is a PvP-enabled sub-server, and went to Prokion Temple - since if you die there, you respawn in its entry hall, which can be mere yards from the death point.

Darth temporarily kicked Red from the Discipline guild, as you can't kill a guild member, and then killed Red until his name went red, and his "Good/Evil" stat was on -155, which I think is the maximum. That cuts SirDarth's attack way down. Then, safely back on Sarissa-5, SirDarth was able to buy a blue pan flute from the merchant mart for 750,000 gold - and went out to do some pet-levelling with the bandits in Merac. Even with accessories that add 20 to his strength, he only hits bandits for 21 (or without them, 19), which they can easily survive... so, pet-levelling is pretty simple for him.

He was on Sarissa-5 so that he could provide a solo party for RedRyder, now back in Discipline, who, after buying the set of 25/27 armour from the armour trader in Randol, headed first of all for Velpist Temple. She didn't stay very long, just adding 33.09% and 30 skill points - but she managed to pick up four cursed bones, for a future quest.

I wanted to buy some small health potions, back in Randol, but Geres didn't seem to be selling any - the merchant in Strayana had them, though, so I stocked up there. Then RedRyder headed for Prokion Temple - and soon got to the room with just level 19 mummies in it, plus a single orc soldier.

So, I settled in there, though a rogue called DeadlyNinJa did decide to gate-crash - there really aren't enough mummies in that room for two people. She was using one of her beginner platinum super skill pills, which seemed a bit of a waste since she like me was sometimes having to wait for the mummies to respawn; eventually she moved away and left me to it, thankfully.

Red hadn't been able to wear the level 27 hood and boots to begin with, but put them on when she reached level 22; she was just using a level 25 crossbow which I'd taken up to +3, though she has now taken possession of the level 29 +15 sword Darth had been using, ready to convert it into a suitably deadly crossbow when she gets to level 25 and can use it without any penalty. It was quite a productive session, and RedRyder added 223.07% experience, since she isn't on the 50% "freeze" yet, and 323 skill points, all of which got spent on relatively useful skills afterwards.

As with most Wednesdays, I had to log out at around eight, though SirDarth continued with his pet-levelling. It seems strange not to have had any "Mad Monster Spawns" to go to, but we seem a bit light on those events this week.

The Cariae drama ended with the awful decision that the server had to be rolled back a full week, to March 23rd, as that was the last point at which they had uncorrupted data. Thankfully I've not been buying item mall stuff lately, but it means that Galahad's horse-in-training is back to early in level 31 - and my Cariae cleric Kaerella's last three lengthy grinding sessions have been wiped out, removing 5714 pet points, 146 skill points, and 69.80% experience... she is back down from a quarter of the way through level 65, to just over halfway through level 64. Ah well, I'm sure many other people have suffered a great deal more, but it is annoying. "We will be running the largest ever bonus events, present giveaways and in game events ever on Cariae starting tomorrow
" Aeria_ks1lent says, I just hope that at least some of whatever actually gets done is at a Europe-friendly time.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Cariae Crash

I went to log Galahad in over on Cariae-4 for some pet-levelling, only to be confronted by the dreaded word "Maintenance" against every Cariae subserver. So, poor Cariae's troubles were not over, and the shoutbox was busy with people being told that yes, the server was down, and no, there was no estimated time for its return. Various forum threads reported that people had lost their entire inventories, or items placed in the merchant mart, or just all their gold and rare and ultra-expensive armours. Had there been, would there be, another drastic rollback? People were resolving to try other games, or at least to move to other more reliable servers - apparently Cariae has been losing a lot of its higher-level regular players lately.

When I did manage to log SirDarth back in over there, I wondered, would he will still have those platinum blessed irises he won last night - and will Kaerella still be a quarter of the way through level 65? Apparently the disconnection came with no warning, so that people were running expensive pots. The server must have come up again at least once for people to know that their inventories had been ravaged, before disappearing again - it was a messy business.

Cariae was up soon after eleven, UK time, but in the shoutbox the gamesages were advising people not to log in there, until it was known if the server was stable - and two hours or so later, the advice was still that it wasn't fixed.

My morning session involved SirDarth and Keerella on Sarissa-5, and a trip to the back room of Prokion Temple. Things were nice and quiet there, so by the time lunch was approaching, SirDarth had added 42.80%, along with donating 350 more guild points to Discipline, and Keerella was 26.69% up, donating 53 guild points. They had each earned 225 fresh new skill points.

After lunch, Memree and Kaerella over on Tairen had their own session in Prokion Temple. As the place was busy on the "main" side, we ended up in the mirror-image back room. Kaerella did start out picking up the loot, but after a while the two orc soldiers got fixed on attacking her, so she just stood and ignored them, as the experience for killing them is small and the skill exp tiny, and Memree did all the work, including taking any orc axemen or orc sergeants off Kae if they attacked her. It was another useful session, with Memree going up by 10.72%, which added another 238 guild points for Discipline, and Kaerella adding 9.16%, and 35 guild points. And their skill point stashes increased by 207 each.

Aeria's joint product manager for Last Chaos, Aeria_ks1lent, got into the office a little early, as one would expect with the Cariae problems, and was able to put up an explanatory post in the forum at 8:44am, Pacific time, or 4:44pm for me. It seems that while the majority of Cariae's server hardware had been replaced, as he'd told us, they had hoped that the old hard drives would last out until tonight's regular maintenance. Unfortunately, it looks very much as if they gave up the ghost early. "Our Data Center is in the process of copying over the data from the previous HDs to the brand new HDs as I write this. The estimated ETA is about 4 hours from now,
" so hopefully the Cariae servers would be back online at around 9:00pm UK time - just four hours before the usual maintenance downtime starts. Everyone, Aeria staff included, is hoping that no new rollback will be needed, it seems.

So, there was no Cariae playing for me today. The main evening session went back to SirDarth and Keerella on Sarissa-5, who were again able to take control of the back room in Prokion Temple - not that it's the only back room, it's a big place, but it is the one I favour. I did have a visitor for a while, a knight called tonino40, who was a bit over-ambitious, as he wasn't wearing the 30/32 armour set - in fact I don't think he was wearing the full 25/27 set, I'm sure there were some 20/22 items included...and he was using dual swords, so didn't have a shield to boost his physical defence rating.

Tonino40 didn't respond to my initial "a dangerous room" warning, just kept on fighting, often choosing the orc I was targeting. Well, he did ks a lot, but one had to admire his ambition, he even had the beginner skill and experience pills, the pssp and pbi, running. I gave him the divine shield buff when I could, and attempted to take any extra orcs he attracted off him, but inevitably he did die once... he used a resurrection scroll right away and continued, but did have to run for his life a few minutes later, pursued to the doorway by angry orcs. I hope he found some orcs that were more his own level after that.

By the end of the session SirDarth had got comfortably into level 34, adding 58.95% and 531 guild points, while Keerella had reached level 27, having gone up by 39.22% and 80 guild points. They each added 236 skill points. Kee was able now to put on the vanishing boots and tiara, so she is now wearing the whole +10 set, for a physical defence stat of 702, so she ought to be able to take on the loot-gathering duties now.

A little later SirDarth went to Merac to see what quests were available; a couple of errands earned him 8.08% more experience, and he also has quests to kill pilferers and bandits, and berserkers. While I was there, since one of the errands took him to the "column of magic", Darth continued along the road and got the bandit-fighting pet-levelling spot I've been using on some other servers onto his memory scroll.

Keerella spent all but one of her latest stash of skill points at the Master Mage skills trainer - all her passive skills are maximised now, but there are still four general skills, including the personal dungeon one, that still need a little work. She too got a quest in Merac, the first one there, which will involve killing butchers; there were no new quests in Dratan, but there was just time for her to kill enough ramians, alias death goddesses, and clever foxes of the desert to complete two outstanding quests, so that she gained another 12.90% and 71 more skill points.

Kaerella had been in Randol to provide the solo party for Kee's brief desert expedition, so when a special trivia quiz was announced at the arena, hosted by [GM]Cara, she moved over there. The first ten questions Cara answered herself, as they were general information - the other ten were general Last Chaos knowledge, and if enough people didn't come up with the answer, she would spawn a fluton or a patriarch botis.

I logged Kae out, and brought in MistressFelicia, a level 2 healer on the same account who had really only been created to supply Kae with a Juno NPC scroll (as Kae's creation was before those were introduced) - a character below level 15 can go into the arena without being killed by other players, though the monsters can still kill her. Kee did attempt to help fight a fluton, but some black-hearted titan was running around killing people instead of fighting the monster, so she respawned back in the middle of town, and hurried back to watch from a safe distance.

Once the questions were over, [GM]Cara spawned some hands of loot as a general reward; MistressFelicia was already in the arena quite near to one pile, which was handy as the lag then didn't really allow her to move much. She was able to pick up some useful large attack and defence potions, skill point boosters, and item drop boosters, roughly four of each. Kee ventured into the arena to a different pile too, but got maybe less than half as much. Some little dear did kill her, but not until the loot had gone, thankfully. Afterwards, Felicia traded her acquisitions across to Keerella, so that Kee will be able to sell them some time soon. There's nothing like some free loot to bring an evening to a satisfactory conclusion...

Monday, 29 March 2010

A Science Fiction Quiz

Galahad kept busy with his Cariae-4 pet-levelling overnight, so that the horse easily reached level 35; he continued on through the morning and over lunchtime too, so that by the end of his stint level 36 was only a couple of hours away. Keerella on Sarissa-4 did well with some selling through the night, too, with almost everything sold by morning - just a few moonstone boxes were left, and a couple of hit rate enhancing rings that I must have put too high a price on.

I wasn't sure how uninterrupted I'd be after coffee, so, after finding, by sending Cariae's Kaerella out to kill a fox, that the double experience and skill exp on that server had ended, I opted to do a little work on Sarissa with my rogue RedRyder, who hadn't even done the starter dungeon, and so was on level one. Thanks to Elizabeth's Enhancement, by lunchtime Red had reached level ten, having done all the usual low-level quests and killed plenty of foxes, deer, wolves, berserk wolves, and jaguars. The first pandora's box I encountered dropped some physical defence minerals, which are always welcome; the other one I found released a level 30 beast, so I kept my distance. Luckily by that time I'd bought RedRyder a level 13 crossbow, so she hadn't needed to get close to the box to open it.

For the afternoon, still on Sarissa-5, SirDarth and Keerella headed for Prokion Temple again. There was a titan called Rokas_Bledys in the back room, I discovered when I entered, but, given that he didn't seem to be killing all that quickly, I did wonder if there'd be room for me too. "Ah, didn't see you for a moment - are there enough orcs for both of us, do you think?" He didn't reply immediately, and I tried to add him to the combat party, but he cancelled the request. "So get lost ;)" he finally intoned. "Ah you do speak." "C'mon, find other place", he added, as I headed for the doorway. I think that a combat party, plus buffs like divine shield, would probably have helped him, though it's hard to be sure without knowing his level. "Fair enough, if you want them all - sometimes another player is useful, to keep the mobs down", I said, and headed off. Maybe I should have offered him a solo party...

Anyway, SirDarth and Keerella moved across to the mirror-image room, which as usual was free - even the couple of orc soldiers there still give useful skill experience. Keerella tucked herself in by a brazier; she did occasionally get attacked, but, thanks to her new armour, took very little damage before Darth hurried over to deal with the orc in question. By the end of the session SirDarth had added 64.59%, and 479 guild points for Discipline, while Keerella had gone up by 36.90%, adding another 74 guild points. They had each received 341 skill points.

SirDarth went up to level 33 during the session, so that the orc axemen are now blue for him, even if they do still give plenty of experience and skill experience. Back in town, Keerella spent every last skill point she had to upgrade various skills, but she still needs plenty more skill points. Once she has safely reached level 27, I guess she'll need to earn sp and experience, spend the sp and lose the experience by dying a few times, and repeat as necessary.

For the evening, the plan was to get Sarissa's RedRyder through her apprenticeship, so, once Kaerella had become her guardian, Kae stayed in town to give her a solo party while Red went off to Velpist Temple and its wandering zombies. It didn't take long to get to level 12, and then, as she had picked up a drake egg in the temple, she took a trip to Dratan, after talking to Lorraine, got her hatchling... and then headed for Prokion Temple, via Shuraine's oasis. Taking the slightly longer route meant that the trip was easy enough, none of the clever foxes or sand golems got near enough to attack her.

Once the entrance to Prokion Temple was on RedRyder's scroll of memorizing, Red logged out, and she and Kaerella swapped computers, so that Kae could take the lead, Then they both went to the Temple. The plan was for Kaerella to fight orc soldiers, plus mummies and the occasional orc fighter, within compass-range of RedRyder, while Red stayed safely in the starting hallway. I first of all went to the far end of the hall's left-hand corridor, to the start of the circular room, and fought mainly orc soldiers from there, sharing the place with a knight called SStoneColdKiller - he did offer to give me horse buffs, if I went outside with him, but joining and leaving parties seemed a bit complicated, and when entering Prokion Temple there is always the risk of ending up stuck in the foundations.

A rogue called eXistance also started using the room - as SStoneColdKiller kept leaving the room to renew his horse buffs, he couldn't really claim to have it reserved for himself. She asked if I could not attack the orc soldiers - and, when I saw that she was using a pssp (not a beginner one) plus a crit potion and some other expensive buffs, I moved across to the right-hand room, which was a bit less busy.

It didn't take that long a session to get RedRyder up to level 20 - we continued just a little longer, to get Kaerella up to level 27, so that she can now wear all of the 30/32 +10 armour set...and a little longer, to get the circlet and boots their first bloodseals. Then it was time to head back to Randol, so that Red could do the level 20 quests, including getting the "Fatal Neckless of Rogue" accessory, to be used from 20 until the end of level 35. The various quest rewards actually moved RedRyder on into level 21, which is handy, as it means she'll be moving straight from her starter armour to the 25/27 set.

So, RedRyder had gone up by eight levels in the Prokion party, while Kaerella had added 48.62%, with her experience semi-frozen, so that she donated her first 99 guild points to Discipline. They each gained 153 skill points there.

[GM]Kali's "Sci-Fi Trivia" Quiz was the main event of the evening, starting on Katar-5 at 9:30, UK time. Kaerella attended, and managed to be the first person to type in the correct answer to three of the fifteen questions - Hal as the homicidal computer in "2001", "Time Bandits" as a Terry Gilliam movie, and Flash Gordon as Dale Arden's friend. So, at the end I had to whisper [GM]Kali, who then teleported me right across Juno to the elder drakes' valley, and gave me three platinum blessed irises. I asked if the questions would be different on the other servers, and the GM assured me that they would be. She also spawned all the winners our own set of hands of loot, as we had been whisked away just after loot had been spawned for all the attendees.

So, SirDarth went to the second quiz, which was on Cariae - after all, Kaerella could do with some more PBIs there! Some of the questions turned out to be the same, and I was first with "Time Bandits" again. I also got that the characters Arthur, Agatha and Dashiell were named after mystery writers (Conan Doyle, Christie and Hammett I assume, though I only realised who Arthur was a bit later), and that the movie "Zardoz" took its title from "The WiZARD of OZ"...

It was growing late by then; SirDarth got teleported to the same spot, and got his three PBIs, though I didn't notice any general loot-spawning for us lucky winners that time. The quizzes were quite fun, though 15 was less than the "approximately 25 to 30 questions" that the events page on the website had mentioned. And I think all the questions were movie-related, with Men in Black, Star Wars, Star Trek, Spaceballs, ET, and Demolition Man also involved - the events page had said "movies, games, books etc." Still, it was an improvement over most such events, for sure.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Springing Forward

With the clocks changing, I had a slightly shorter Sunday morning lie-in than sometimes, and, after coffee, SirDarth and Keerella were able to head for Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5 in their normal combat party arrangement.

The place was pretty busy, so I wasn't able to use my favourite back room; I stopped briefly in what I call the corridor room, but Keerella nearly got killed and there didn't really seem to be a relatively quiet spot to leave her safely, so instead we ran on across to the mirror half, and ended up in the one step down, better lit version of the back room over there.

The session was usefully productive, and SirDarth added 42.77%, on top of a 6.75% (and 10 skill points) quest reward he'd got in Dratan on the way to the Temple, earning 291 guild points for Discipline. Keerella had got a couple of quest rewards too, including another visit to Shuraine, and gained 26.94% and 6 skill points before entering the Temple. The session in there got her another 27.62%, just enough to get her into level 26, and earned 44 guild points. Darth and Kee each gained 203 skill points in Prokion Temple.

Over lunch, Galahad over on Cariae-4 did some pet-levelling, and Keerella went into merchant mode on Sarissa-5, selling twenty item drop boosters, forty candies, and, at the usual NPC price of 200 each, 50 haste potions. This all got almost fourteen million gold - enough to get her her own +10 30/32 armour set, rather than wait until either she or Kae reached level 31.

Prices in Roy's merchant mart varied wildly, as usual, but luckily EvanHartz was selling all five piece of the 30/32 +10 titan armour set for 999,999 gold each - other people were charging more than that for +3 or +4 items, and without Evan I'd have ended up paying 1.5 million for some pieces, perhaps more for others. So, I spent just under five million, and then paid Collector Ryl 144,000 gold to convert the armour into the mage equivalents. Kee can't wear the vanishing circlet and vanishing boots yet, but the other three pieces of armour increase her physical defence from 438 to 605, so next time the orcs should find her a bit harder to hurt.

The main afternoon session took place over on Tairen-5, so that Memree and Kaerella there shouldn't feel neglected. Kaerella there is level 29, with good armour, so. once they'd taken possession of my favourite back room, she concentrated on picking up the loot, and Memree did the fighting, as usual. During the session Memree reached level 39, but the experience and skill exp continued to be worthwhile. So, there may well be further sessions for this duo fighting Prokion's orcs.

The fighting there lasted just under two and a quarter hours, and Memree went up by 10.91%, earning 232 guild points for Discipline. Kaerella added 9.00%, along with 34 guild points. And they each got 231 more skill points.

Galahad had got his horse into level 34 at the end of the lunch break, and returned to action during the early evening food break. He stayed on afterwards, too, as my Cariae cleric Kaerella logged in on the same subserver, Cariae-4, and made a solo party with him - I checked the lists and there were already three solo parties recruiting members, so I didn't bother to list it there.

Kaerella went out to the sphinx types and their elite sphinx speer man, and found that the double experience and skill exp was still on, presumably to compensate Cariae players for the server's recent downtime and rollback. So, by the time the Sunday Quiz approached, back to its normal UK time of 8:30pm, Kae had gone up by 18.87% and 62 skill points, while SirFrancis had gained 1833 pet points.

The game master running the quiz was a bit chattier than last week's, and gave announcements with a half hour to go, and at the twenty, ten and five minute marks, urging people to hurry to the Quiz Rooms. There were no announcements about exploiters being "handled", or auto-following being naughty, though.

The Quiz itself went along at speed, again, with a selection of the usual questions. On Tairen-2 I don't think we lost any significant number of people along the way, so just about everyone got their rewards. I did see what looked suspiciously like a "conga line" of about five characters in auto-follow mode, I hope there wasn't any multi-clienting involved! I didn't bother to get question 21 or 22 wrong, the usual way to leave the room; it is perhaps lucky that "Are the Mad Monster Spawns on Monday or Tuesday?" only came in as question 22, after all the prizes had been awarded, since in recent months they have tended to be on Wednesday...

Tairen's Kaerella traded her new heaven stones and moonstones across to MistressDomino, and then they both logged out - to be replaced with Galahad (XxGALAHADxX) and my clerical Kaerella on Cariae-4 again. Gal was well on the way to getting his horse past the midway point in level 34 by the end of the evening, and Kaerella added another 5.88%, 19 skill points, and 538 pet points out at her special sphinx spot, before it was time for her to log out. Over on Sarissa-4, Keerella then went into merchant mode, and soon sold ten skill point boosters and ten item drop boosters, bringing in another fourteen million gold or so. I think we can start to investigate what prices useful accessories like a pierce of wind or a stone of shadow can be bought for, though I suspect that an eyes of spirit is a bit too expensive for me as yet.

A special "Stat Gem Giveaway" event has been running today, and anyone who has been playing Last Chaos may win two of these newly-discovered items. "Applying a gem involves placing it gently on the character's body and then pressing upon it with incredible force until the skin is pierced and the gem dissolves into the blood stream
" apparently, which sounds painful. Each Stat Gem permanently adds one stat point to a character, which is, well, slightly useful I guess.

[GM]JediMike was talking at the 100 Meter Dash of a special "Spring Break" series of events upcoming, but while the events for the coming week seem different from usual, there aren't any on view with that particular theme. There seem to be plenty of quizzes and suchlike, but no Mad Monster Spawns at all, and only the European "Storm the Castle" event in Merac. The pet experience event may be interesting, on Thursday, though.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Turbo and Beyond

Galahad did manage an overnight session with the bandits on Cariae-4, so he got his horse up to level 33 by coffee time, which was a good start to the day. There was one pandora's box to deal with, but it only spawned a level 30 bandit-style beast, which Gal was easily able to deal with.

After coffee, SirDarth and Keerella logged in over on Sarissa-5, and set out for Prokion Temple. Unfortunately, it being a Saturday morning, the place was a bit busy, and my favourite back room was already in use, so I ended up in its mirror image over on the far side. With Kee clicked on to Darth, it was slightly tricky, as she doesn't run as fast as him, and took some damage along the way, but we finally got safely into that room, and, while I kept a careful eye on Kee's health bar as she stood off to one side in a quiet spot, Darth set to work orc-bashing.

Both characters have now had their experience gain set to 50%, to allow them to gain more skill points per level and donate guild points to the local branch of Discipline; by the end of the session SirDarth had added 53.52%, staying in level 31, while donating his first 302 guild points. Keerella went up, as the non-fighter in a combat-type party, by 36.28%, just enough to get her into level 25, and donated 45 guild points. They each earned 212 skill points.

There was a little time left before lunch, so Keerella was able to claim some quest rewards; she didn't do any fighting, but she did have to run out to Shuraine's oasis in the Dratan desert, as I'd not previously added that location to her memory scroll. Another 31.79% experience was gained from the rewards, plus 4 skill points, a better pair of gloves, and some moonstones.

The afternoon session started a bit late, as a friend came round, but while I was waiting SirDarth was able to browse through Roy's merchant mart, and buy a level 32 +10 helm to complete his armour set. The cheapest one I could find, offered by CAMALEAO, cost 1.5 million gold; Collector Ryl converted it from the sorcerer type into a knight's helm for a further 36,000. Wearing the new helm increased Darth's physical defence from 935 to might, I thought, make it possible for him to fight with dual blades instead of a sword and shield, though removing the shield put the physical defence stat back down to 796 at that stage.

SirDarth used a beginner platinum super skill pill for his first hour in Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5; this time my favourite back room was available. Kaerella provided a solo party for a while, and then I switched over to Keerella instead, back in Randol. As the hour approached its end, Kee headed for the Temple to join Darth in the back room, and, since there wasn't time for a second hour's worth of pssp, just stayed there in the combat party. SirDarth had added 29.62% in the pssp's hour, and 267 skill points; after that he added another 22.41%, while Kee gained 14.16%, and they each earned 92 skill points. Darth earned in all 307 guild points during the afternoon, and Kee contributed 23.

SirDarth had managed to reach level 32 towards the end of the session, so, once he was back in Randol, he was able to learn the five available levels of the Temple Knight's passive skill Wall of Belief, for 327 skill points, which permanently increases his defence by 155. Once he reaches level 35 there's Canid Fence 2 to learn too, which adds a further 120, after which he could pet-level down in Maargadum Jail with a death mask lancer for sure... though really it will be simpler to get him a red name, and decrease his bare-handed attack enough for him to pet-level on bandits in Merac, like Galahad on Cariae-4.

The "Turbo" event was due to start at five, UK time. In theory the GMs are supposed to announce on the website what the bonus will be a day in advance, but there wasn't even an in-game announcement when it started. I took my food break a little early so that I could make the most of whatever it was going to be, and logged in my level 64 Cariae cleric Kaerella - and also logged Galahad in to do some pet-levelling and provide a solo party for her.

Kaerella went out to the shyer of the two elite sphinx speer men in Dratan, and I soon discovered that the "Turbo" was 50% extra experience, which stacked nicely with the three-hour blessed iris I'd begun, which itself gives double experience gain. I checked the party listings and saw that there wasn't a solo party available for people to join, so I registered mine - and it steadily filled up, so that I had to kick Galahad to make more room for people. Most of them were pretty high-level, and tended to know each other - the level 137 royal knight meatmog for example, while Duinhir was level 129 and RafaeltheKING level 121.

As usual I had that particular sphinx spot to myself; a night shadow did hurry past at one stage, I don't know why he was down my way, but things generally ran smoothly. When the blessed iris ran out, Kaerella had added 35.59% and 47 skill points, but the Turbo event still had a little while to run. When the event ended, for some strange and, again, unannounced reason the experience bonus didn't go down to normal, it went up to 100% extra, and skill exp went to double as well - though I couldn't stay around too long, with the clocks in Britain "springing" forward by an hour tonight, a late finish isn't too bright an idea.

My extra playing time after the blessed iris was probably a little over an hour, half Turbo time and half double - and Kaerella just managed to reach level 65 before the end, adding another 9.76% and 18 skill points. I should also mention that SirFrancis, Kae's drake, added 3343 pet points during the evening, as well. At level 65 Kaerella could move on to farming the bogles in Egeha, which probably drop better stuff than the sphinx types do - though Egeha costs 800,000 gold to teleport to, and bogles give only the same experience as the sphinx speer men. And there isn't an elite bogle to farm...

Galahad kept on with his pet-levelling through the evening, getting his horse more than three-quarters of the way through level 33 by the time he logged out for the night. After the UK and European clocks change to summer time, we will be back with our usual lead over the USA again, with an eight hour time difference for Britain, so the Sunday Quiz will be back to 8:30pm for us, and events generally won't be as early as they have been for the last couple of weeks. It has made a change, but it's good to be back to normal there.

Friday, 26 March 2010

The 100 Meters Dash

I set Galahad up on Cariae-4 for some overnight pet-levelling, but when I checked progress about five hours later, the "disconnected" window had popped up, and, while I didn't stop to read the details, the text box showed that the Cariae server, at least, had been taken down for maintenance for a while. Logging back in, I noticed that the horse's hunger bar was rather fuller than before, so some degree of "rollback" had been involved - and, sure enough, this morning the forum shoutbox was busy with people reporting lost items and other problems. Let us hope that things settle down now.

Galahad did at least get his horse about two-thirds of the way through level 31 by coffee time - but then it was time for a little more work on Sarissa. First of all, Kaerella passed that +15 weapon loaned from Friend across to SirDarth, as he is the busiest, fighting-est, character there at the moment - and then, after converting the bow into a sword and with Elizabeth's Enhancement safely obtained, SirDarth and Keerella headed back to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5.

Due to interruptions in real life when I was starting, the session was not a long one, but we got into the back room safely. After a while an assassin-type rogue called Fatalism came in too, but there were enough orcs for both of us. She mentioned that the guild she was a guild adviser of, ChaosFiends, was just about dead, and she'd not seen anyone else in it online for weeks - guilds do tend to end up that way.

SirDarth did reach level 29, just as Friend got in touch to see how I was doing, and went up 98.41% in all; Keerella, standing back towards the doorway, added 40.79%, and they each got 100 fresh new skill points.

For the afternoon session, Keerella stayed out in the lobby of Prokion Temple, just giving SirDarth a solo party, while he used the first couple of "beginner" platinum super skill pills. They give 150% extra skill exp for an hour each, but they don't stack with the Elizabuff, so just mean 250% instead of 200%, so aren't really a big deal. With other characters I wouldn't have taken the buff at the same time, but Darth was in a hurry to level up.

The first hour saw SirDarth go up by 102.63%, taking him into level 30 and adding 345 skill points; the second hour added 84.49% and 313 skill points. For much of the second hour I was teamed up with a level 29 titan, kalama5552. which may have cut back my experience gain slightly, though the higher the level, the more experience you need to get through it.

The European "Storm the Castle" event was due at four o'clock, UK time, so Rage logged in over on Auzura-4 just in time for the "in ten minutes" notification, and headed down to Merac Castle. Luckily we had a reasonable turn-out, with quite a few people ready and waiting by the time [GM]Noboru arrived - and more people kept on coming, as time went by.

The event started a minute or two past the hour, with the usual monsters appearing. I joined in on the attack on the first thorny mantis, then killed a few of the male assassinbugs, and joined the general surge forward. The anubis archers were already taking heavy damage, and the jumping devils didn't last long at all. As usual the zamoras at the gateway went down fairly quickly, but the anubis spear men took precious time, as our GM warned us that we were in danger of falling behind schedule.

Other people dealt with the hell-otuu, while I helped with the dark harpies, and the further anubis spear men in the far corners. [GM]Noboru urged us on, and told us not to forget the throne room itself...and sure enough, once we defeated the sphinx commanders in the inner courtyard, we found that the throne room contained two flutons.

We still had seven minutes or so of our twenty left, but the flutons do take a while to kill. I'd been using Flame Arrow a lot, as it deals quite a bit more damage than my normal shots, and had to keep topping up my mana. When other rogues managed to keep the fluton we were fighting Snared, I concentrated on using Flame Arrow as often as I could, but I used Snare a few times when needed.

The second fluton went down during minute nineteen, I think, though Noboru did caution us that we'd be in trouble if there were any monsters we'd missed along the way - but then she announced that we had, indeed, cleared out the castle, and that our rewards would be spawned outside.

So, a desperate fight, and a generous reward...and then it was time for my food break.

That was about all the fighting I did; the evening was dominated by the "Hundred Meter Dash" events, hosted of course by our speediest GM, [GM]JediMike, which started at seven on Katar-5. I did manage to sort out some quests before that on Sarissa - Kaerella went up 33.78% just from quest rewards, and added 54 skill points, which were just the number she needed to be able to get the first level of the Resurrection skill. Various recent loot acquisitions were passed across to Keerella, my mage, and she went into merchant mode on Sarissa-4, to try and get some money.

Kaerella went to all six of the racing events. Katar raced from the west gate to the north gate, and then back again, before a third race, back to the north gate. JediMike had been working out, he assured us, and had bought a special pair of "speedies" - he won just about every race, except when he spotted a wounded baby fox and had to pause to nurse it back to health. The event ended, as one would expect with Mike, with a generous spawning of loot.

Cariae came second on the schedule, starting half an hour after Katar; this time we only got two races, to the north gate, via of course the haunted bridge, and back again to the west gate, but Mike generally hung out with us and chatted, and the loot got spawned at the end. Sarissa only got the one race, from the west gate to the north gate; for some reason there seemed to be people asking for money and weapons and so on, which must get very boring for a game master. "What a greedy server", I commented. I'd say that the loot spawned at the end was rather less generous, which perhaps was well deserved.

Hatzring too only got a single trip from the west gate to the north one, but that was because Mike declared that he'd hurt his leg while winning the race. The gamesage Faenwyn was there, looking very smart in her high-level healer costume (though she was saying that the armour's seals weren't very good) - I feel that she ought to have been able to cure him, but the one race was all we got. Still, Mike hung around and chatted, and the loot, when the time came for him to leave us, was suitably abundant.

Mike got a second wind on Auzura, though, and we got our three races there. before the start Razva125 whispered to me, saying that a Google search for his name plus Last Chaos would bring up some mentions of him in this blog, and I do indeed remember teaming with him a few times on Auzura, back when he was around level 53. He's a leading member of the uber-guild Vendetta now, and doing the search revealed that he's the second or third-highest level titan on the server, at level 130, so he has made some impressive progress.

The final server for the event was Tairen as usual, at 9:30, and we got three races again. Mike hung out a bit longer afterwards, telling us that he had recently been to Las Vegas... given that he doesn't wear armour in the game, I asked if he'd lost his shirt there. He was chatting about the games he plays on his XBox 360, such as Halo 3 - his gamer tag, apparently, is soapskid, and one or two people seemed to have seen that name fairly high up the online rankings. As there was no new server awaiting his arrival, Mike probably stuck around a bit longer, before he ended the event with the usual nice big spawning of loot.

By then Keerella had sold the large attack potions, large defence potions, skill point boosters, and moonstones that I'd put up for sale, and so was able to trade fifteen million gold across to SirDarth. That meant he was able to upgrade the guild twice more, getting Discipline to level six...which means that at last he could "freeze" his, Kae's and Kee's experience gain to 50%, to get a few guild points, and slow down their rise through the levels, to give them more time to gain skill points. So, that's another landmark reached. He has also become a Temple Knight, which increases his health and mana supplies usefully. There's still some way to go before he can start to level a mount or two, though.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

A Vengeful Pharaoh

After servers missing in action, forgotten mad monster spawns, being disconnected by a tetchy game master, getting that pale blue horse on Tairen up to mount level, and all the other stuff yesterday, today looked like being a welcome return to normal life in Last Chaos.

So, Galahad took his level 31 horse out into Merac to his usual pair of bandits on Cariae-4, before breakfast, for some nice gentle pet-levelling. It was good to see that, despite all yesterday's downtime, Randol was as full of people as usual - Cariae-4 is the main subserver for merchants there. After a while a pandora's box put in an appearance, and Galahad opened it. It released a level 50 pandora's beast, rather than any useful drop or a harmless level 30 one, so Galahad needed to retreat quickly, and continued his bandit-bashing at a relatively safe distance from where the beast prowled.

However, since this was happening on Cariae, it was possible for me to send another higher-level character to deal with the beast. The options on Auzura would have been wider, but as it was, my level 64 cleric Kaerella logged in, moved to Merac, and rode down to slay the beast, getting very little experience and no drop. Still, it made the area safe for Gal again - those beasts can start to wander about a bit too much.

After coffee, it was time for a bit more work on Sarissa, so SirDarth got up-to-date on his quests, gaining 28.14% and 4 skill points, enough to get him into level 26. Kaerella was then able to trade across the four pieces of +9/+10 rogue armour that Friend had so generously given me; Darth could just afford to get Collector Ryl to convert them into their knightly equivalents, after some gold from the quests, so was now able to put on the gloves, mail and leggings. Keerella did some easy quests too, enough to add 23.88% experience though no skill points, and then she and SirDarth teamed up in Dratan.

SirDarth did the fighting, so only he completed the quests to kill "ramians" and clever foxes of the desert. Moving east, they naturally enough reached Shuraine's oasis, so SirDarth spent the remainder of the morning killing the sand golems, to get as many portions of soft sand as possible. A lot of drops have no use at all, but there are two quests that each need 10 of those, and they don't drop all that often, but Darth managed to get over the 20 mark before lunchtime - 24 in fact.

The raid boss, Grand Devilroad Kamira, "Arrived" after a while; like the other maps' raid bosses she tends to stay for 13 or 14 minutes, and then vanish, though if your spot on the map continues to be the busiest, she immediately "Arrives" again. She spent four 13-minute sessions just hanging in mid-air, and only left after that, I think, because when the session's time expired I was briefly away from the keyboard. I did ask in the forum shoutbox if anyone wanted to come and visit Kamira, but nobody from Sarissa was around.

Keerella was within compass range, so shared the experience and skill points. Towards the end a mage called Fashionate came along, but didn't say anything, just fought a few sand golems, including the elite one when I wasn't quick enough to get to it. She then must have disconnected or gone afk, as she stood in the water not defending herself for a few minutes. Whenever I noticed that she was being attacked, I'd go and kill the sand golems in question, so I think that both she and her pony survived, and finally vanished.

SirDarth's experience gain was 48.65%, while Keerella added 85.50%, reaching level 23. Sand golems give only the normal amount of skill exp, so they only got 33 skill points each. Friend did get in touch just before lunch, and assured me that I could hold on to the +15 weapon until SirDarth was past level 30 - which, as he'll get two +10 weapons when he reaches 31, fits together nicely.

For the afternoon session, SirDarth and Keerella headed to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5 for some more serious levelling and skill point farming. As Kee needs to get some skill points, and Darth needs to level up a bit, this time we made a combat-type party, so that, while skill exp is equally split, the actual fighter gets most of the experience.

We started with the room of orc soldiers and mummies close to my "back room", with Keerella clicked on to Darth to follow him, and occasionally taking the odd hit, but not taking much damage. Darth's new armour pieces gradually got their assorted bloodseals, and before long he reached level 27, which meant he could put on the +9 boots, further boosting his armour rating. He might still be using a level 22 helm and a level 25 shield, but the orcs weren't able to damage him at all - a physical defence stat of 812, plus a knight's health regeneration, coped admirably.

Soon after reaching level 27 I decided to see if the back room itself was free - and it was. So, with Keerella prudently staying by the doorway, SirDarth found that he could manage a whole mob of orc sergeants and orc axemen. Of course, using the +3 event weapon meant that he didn't actually kill them very quickly, but you can't have everything!

Before very long a rogue called LoveMyReputation arrived, and I assured her that there was room for both of us as I wasn't killing very quickly. I soon suggested that she joined our combat party, and she found that it helped her experience gain nicely; she was using the beginner platinum blessed iris, so, while she started at level 24, she reached level 27 before I left. I had intended to leave just before four o'clock, UK time, for the Parade event on Auzura-4, but her pbi had another quarter of an hour to run, so I stayed around until it was about to run out. By then Keerella had reached level 24, going up in all by 78.55%, and SirDarth had reached level 28, adding 129.64%. They each added 160 skill points, which meant that later Kee was able to learn both levels of Haste, which should be useful if Friend decides to take us into the monster combo.

Kaerella was a bit late for the Parade on Auzura-4 after that, and [GM]Noboru and the group had finished marching around town, and had ended up at the arena, where she was demonstrating her skills, and much dying was going on. To show willing I transformed into a sasquatch and entered the arena - and so I can confirm that scroll-transformed people can be killed there. It looked as if I was killed by someone transformed into a jaguar, but maybe it was somebody else. I hurried back, after carefully not using an expensive resurrection scroll (since there is no death penalty in the arena), and watched from safety. There was a bit of chat, and we resolved to meet up at the "Pharaoh's Treasure" event at six.

That left time for my food break, and for Keerella to spend her skill points and do a few minor messenger-type quests, gaining another 18.77% - and for SirDarth to get his quest rewards for getting five cracked axes from the orc axemen, and a few other minor quests, which got him 13.85% and 6 skill points.

I didn't get to the correct location for the "Pharaoh's Treasure" very quickly this time, as the spot which had loot, and [GM]Noboru. was off to one side, close to the eastern edge of the map, and I rode past on my search. Still, when the GM told us the treasure trove was to the east, I got near enough that the final announcement of the correct coordinates led me pretty quickly to the spot, where perhaps less than a dozen people were already picking up the loots.

Luckily the Pharaoh had been fairly generous, or his security had been poor. Noboru assured us that only a single minion was tracking her - but when it arrived, it turned out to be a fluton, and she told us that we needed to kill it to earn further drops. We must have had less high-level people than usual - we didn't even seem to have enough rogues to keep it Snared all the time. I commented that I only did 128 damage to it at a time, though my critical and deadly hits were a bit better. We did get its health down by around 20 to 25%, but I think that our GM, fearing for our safety, cancelled it then - and we got some fresh spawnings of hands.

I commented on there not being an Auzura European Mad Monster Spawn this week, and [GM]Noboru promised that she would try to squeeze one in next week. She also confirmed that she would be in charge of the "Storm the Castle" EU event tomorrow, with the warning that we would need to kill all the monsters within the deadline to get any rewards there.

SirDarth was back in Randol on Sarissa-5 when a level 7 mage called Budhi asked if I'd become her Guardian. I switched to Kaerella, as she'd done the previous two guardianships, and enrolled her, then added her to my friends list; I had to switch back to SirDarth, as Kae didn't have any drake eggs or pan flutes and it seemed a good idea to offer her a pet. She chose the pony option, so I traded a pan flute across, escorted her to Lorraine and then on to Jajan in Dratan, a city which impressed her greatly, and why not. I tried to pass on suitable tips - though at this stage I've not parted with any money, just that pan flute and later a tool aid when showing her how mining worked.

After that there was still time for about an hour and a half's worth of adventuring, so it seemed a good idea to hop back to Tairen-5, so that Memree and Kaerella there wouldn't start to feel neglected. The back room in Prokion Temple was available, luckily, so Memree did the fighting, as usual, and Kaerella picked up the loot. I did have one visitor, a rogue called Rajetar, but after a minute or two, when we had between us killed every orc and had stood around waiting for respawns, she kindly took the hint and left.

By the time I logged out, Memree had gone up by 9.98%, donating another 189 guild points (bringing her to only 4 behind Rage's total), and Kaerella had added 7.43%, donating 28 guild points. They had each gained 185 skill points, which takes Memree over the 7.5k mark, so she should have no trouble getting her skills as she levels up, for a while at least.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

An Eventful Day

I logged on unusually early this morning, so SirGalahad arrived in Randol on Tairen-4 at least an hour earlier than the usual "before breakfast" time. The only problem was, an announcement immediately appeared, to say that the servers were coming down in five minutes, to solve "stability issues", brought on no doubt by last night's maintenance and new patch.

So, I had to log out without doing anything; a swift check of the Last Chaos forum shoutbox showed that as usual people weren't happy with the short notice, especially if they had been using hour-length potions, though as one person said, doing anything expensive like that soon after maintenance is always a bit risky.

The patch itself only offered a "fix to the special characters in character names issue
", the forum's patch thread informed us, though we are promised that the "Easter Egg" event will start next week. "We are waiting on a number of bug fixes for everything ranging from pets to titans
", the post ended. How true...

An hour or so later all the servers except Cariae were up and running - apparently it was Cariae's problems that had led to the downtime, so that "A number of the Cariae gameservers are getting hardware makeovers again
". So, SirGalahad was able to log in on Tairen-4, and head for Maargadum Jail to resume his pet-levelling, slightly later than usual - but any Cariae pet-levelling wouldn't be possible for a while.

Cariae was still listed as "maintenance" after ten, so instead of Galahad and his horse there, ColonelScarlet and his level 37 pink drake made a trip to Merac's bandits on Katar-4. I had work to do downstairs - and my work continued into the afternoon, so that I had only an hour's playing time, in the end - for which SirDarth and Keerella went to Prokion Temple on Sarissa-5 again.

After a while a level 24 healer, lostuno, came into the circular room Darth was battling orc soldiers in, and asked to join the party, so that worked okay - not that Darth needed any healing, with his armour, unplussed though it is, and rate of healing. Before the time was up she reached level 25; I think it was her lunchtime then, so she had to go, but SirDarth continued a little longer, with Keerella remaining out in the hallway. In all SirDarth added 75.22% and 98 skill points, while Keerella levelled up twice, adding 169.50% and 89 skill points - Kee must have been out of range for some of Darth's kills, when he and lostuno were fighting at the far end of the room.

The food break had to be taken early, as the first of the low-level Mad Monster Spawns was at 4:30, UK time, on Katar-5. My level 31 rogue Memree went along, and was about the only person there when things began. [GM]Darasuum, as he has tended to do recently, didn't really get involved personally, but he spawned the monsters, along with the announcement for people to come out and join in, and he spawned the loot, about 9 minutes later.

Cariae was scheduled to run second, at 5:00 - but when I tried to log Karella on, I discovered that the Cariae server was still offline. Apparently there were times when people managed to log in there, but they found many items missing from their inventories, and empty warehouse storage... hopefully the the whole server would be rolled back to before the last maintenance. So, there was a gap in the MMS schedule, until 5:30, when it was Sarissa's turn. While I was waiting, I logged Kaerella in over on Sarissa-5, did a few quests, and farmed the sand golems for soft sand, so that she went up by 72.45%, reaching level 26, and adding 50 skill points. It was a surprise how quickly I killed things - but then, I was using that borrowed level 29 +15 bow.

The Sarissa MMS was very similar to the Katar one, taking roughly as long and being pretty much by the book. Hatzring was at 6:00, so that was a job for Kaerella again, this time at level 24, and with a much less effective bow, so I had to be a bit less ambitious, and, if tackling an elite sand golem, Self Heal had to be used a time or two. I'd say the turn-out wasn't as high on Hatzring; it took longer to get rid of all the monsters, and Kaerella managed, with less competition, to pick up more loot.

The low-level MMS on Auzura at 6:30 was a really strange one. When my level 27 rogue RedRider arrived two or three minutes before the starting time there weren't just one or two other people - the place was packed with a very colourful crowd. [GM]JediMike presumably had issued advance notices for people to get there, and can't have stressed the "low-level" bit, as there were many high-level people there. We had multiple waves, which was good, but the high-level types killed them so fast that the rest of us hardly had time to kill more than one or two salamanders, or whatever.

Egged on by some of the people there, Mike spawned a wave of screaming zombies and flutons; if Red had been carrying more than 1 skill point I'd have been rather annoyed, as the flutons killed me twice. Still, the loot was fairly generous, when it arrived. But to kill flutons, there must have been quite a few exceptionally high level players there.

For Tairen, RedRyder, on level 31, got there in good time, and teamed up with the other two early arrivals - the level 40 mage Aztecka, and the level 5 titan Exlibiris, whose main characters were unavailable to him on Cariae, so was just there for fun. While Aztecka and I both capped him, we spent the next few minutes killing the great horn beasts, and managed at least to get him to level 6. But where was the MMS? Exlibiris and I both enquired in the shoutbox, and the gamesage there promised to check up, as it was already ten minutes past the 7:00pm start time.

It took a while, but finally there was an in-game announcement: "Sorry for the missed Low Level MMS, in return, meet at coords 223 1123 in Juno on Tairen 5 to talk to the GM's and get special prizes!"

So, quite a lot of people joined us, and [GM]JediMike turned up, apologising. There had been a meeting, apparently, and the MMS had slipped everyone's mind. Mike seemed distracted, not replying to very much that was said and vanishing for a while. The first spawning of loot came eventually - with all the people there I don't know why we didn't have a belated Mad Monster Spawn, but we didn't. The loot was snatched up so fast that hardly anyone got anything; I guess Mike must have been in a bad mood, for moments after commenting that waiting twenty minutes and just getting a tool aid wasn't much fun, I got disconnected, presumably by him - and disconnected again after a few seconds, back in Randol, before my second re-logging got me back in safely.

I gather that a few individual effort scrolls were dropped, to live up to the "special prizes" billing, and we did eventually get some more drops, of the regular kind, so that in the end I guess we all ended up with roughly what we'd have got from a proper MMS. And Exlibiris invited Aztecka and me to look him up some time, when Cariae is working.

That had actually run so long and so late that it overlapped severely with the first of the high-level MMS events, on Katar - but I had to log out for a while, as usual on a Wednesday evening. I did however manage to get along to the Auzura high-level event at 10:00pm, taking Rage, my level 73 rogue, along. It was the new-style throughout-the-valley style version, and [GM]Kali, returned to us after a lengthy exile in another Aeria game, Shaiya, was in charge.

It all seemed pretty scary to start with, and Rage did have to run for her life a time or two - something that had to be done carefully, since the whole valley was dotted with high-level monsters that would attack if one got too close. Finally I was able to fall in with a group clearing one particular part... it must have been the last part to be cleared, in fact, as we missed out on the first wave of drops because we were still fighting at the time.

A lot of people seemed unhappy not to get anything, or very little, and Kali did spawn some more goodies for us, luckily. So, Rage survived, and managed to grab a few goodies, so it all ended happily.

The Cariae servers did finally come online at about 9:00pm, according to the forum, too late for the scheduled high-level MMS there. "Cariae servers are now up and functioning properly. To fix the problem we replaced the majority of the hardware on Cariae, and Cariae is now running the most advanced hardware of all the LC servers. We will be updating hardware on all the servers in the next month or so to prevent future issues such as this.

SirGalahad on Tairen did manage to get the pale blue horse up to level 37 fairly early in the evening, and in one of the gaps between the low-level events, he and Kaerella traded horses, so that she, like Kae on Cariae, Auzura and Katar, is now able to ride around on a rare blue mount. Her previous mount has now been passed across to MistressDomino, at least for the moment.