Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A Spawning of Mad Monsters

I did try to log on just before eight in the morning, UK time, to get the pet-levelling under way again, but there was no patch to be downloaded, which seemed a bit strange - and logging in just brought the "cannot connect to server" window. So, a quick trip to the forum shoutbox confirmed that the game was still down for maintenance, while the GMs, in collaboration with our chums in South Korea, tried to get the new additions to the game to work. We knew it was going to be a big patch, but this meant that American players lost all of last evening's play...and now over in Europe our morning activities were being put on hold, too.

We could at least read the new Patch Notes, to see what we would soon be getting. A number of further items are now weightless, so that scrolls, minerals and the "great" size of HP and MP potions now won't weigh one's inventory down, or cost money to put into storage - more importantly this also applies to tool aids. Apparently some titan skills have actually been "fixed", including Tyrant; the soccer event has ended, and, for one week, the "Fourth of July" event is with us, with stars, stripes, and the ringmaster-type Uncle Sam hats being dropped.

The major new things, though, are the Socketing system, adding extra bonuses to items, the Lacarette system, adding an in-game type of "Loot Wheel" to spend some new tokens that can be got as drops or bought, and the Costume 2 system, introducing a non-melding way to wear costumes and armour at the same time and get a bonus to your stats. Unfortunately this doesn't apply to our existing costumes, such as phoenix headgear or sunglasses, but only to newly-introduced next-generation costumes, which were a bit hard to find. The "wild western" outfits in the in-game mall apparently are now "C2", and thus rather tempting.

The main problem with the Socketing system seems to be the expense. The best type of scroll to add sockets to an item that one can purchase, a sublime socket scroll, costs 700 aeria points ($7.00), and warns "socket creation can fail" (though [GM]Ozymandias assured us that the item itself won't break)...and then one needs gems to actually fill the sockets. If you want to upgrade the jewel levels, another 245 ap gets you a platinum stabiliser - but "jewel upgrades can fail". So, a complex operation, and an expensive one. And apparently if Collector Ryl converts a socketed mid-level weapon or piece of armour from one class to another, not only are the sockets lost, but it will never again be possible to add sockets to it.

The servers actually went up at just after 9:15, UK time, though with warnings that we weren't to log in until we were told that it was safe. A couple of minutes later "LC is fully operational!!!! Let the Chaos begin!!!" was the announcement from [GM]Stratos, before, presumably, he headed off for a well-earned rest.

The game patched quickly on the older computer, and SirDarth logged in finally for some pet-levelling on Sarissa-4. "So far so good", he commented in Randol when he arrived, and the only other person there, LadyWaddaUWant, agreed with a "yep". RedRackham logged in on Cariae-4 as well, and, after mining some quality stones, a rather unglamorous way to start this bold new era, headed for the gnoll lancers to work on his drake.

There was a disconnection at around eleven, which isn't entirely unprecedented, but otherwise the pet-levelling went smoothly. In the shoutbox, one new bug became apparent - at the moment, the melding of the existing costume covers onto armour can no longer be done. Supraklr was overjoyed to find that his titan skills were indeed improved, as promised.

During the afternoon, my level 41 witch on Auzura, MistressSabina, had a trip out into Merac, to fight monsters around her own level in the hope that some of the new gemstones would drop. Over a little under two hours, I did get six assorted gemstones, which if put into sockets would add 1% to mana regeneration rate, hit points, mana points...things like that I also got three of the tokens for the Lacarette wheel, so was able to have a "course B" try on that - all I got was a package of ten of the greatest mana recovery potions, not something that, I think, I've seen before, but not greatly useful.

As well as fighting the elite frenzied berserkers, Sabina went far enough down the road to do her quest to kill 25 gnoll soldiers, and then spent some time on level two of Maargadum jail. By the end, helped greatly by the quest reward, she had added 17.06%, 93 skill points, and 827 pet points.

I was also doing a bit of helping out in the shoutbox, providing links to the details about the new additions to the game, and the gamesage Liof, known in-game as Waffles, seemed grateful. It was strange, I worked out an all-purpose post giving links to the pages with details about the socket system and the Lacarette wheel, and Liof's own thread giving more information about the C2 costumes and where to find them, and it worked fine... but when a little later I got over-elaborate and made "books of melding" and the Tomb's "condition" bold, then the links no longer worked...

The evening was devoted to low-level Mad Monster Spawns, which were as much fun as they used to be. As I had to log out before Tairen's turn, I only went to five of them, with suitable rogues - RedRider, level 27, on Auzura, Memree, level 31, on Katar, Karella, level 28, on Cariae, RedRyder, 39, on Sarissa, and RedRyder again, at level 24, on Hatzring. The first three were done by [GM]Darasuum, who has hosted them before; then [GM]AwesomeSauce (or in-game just [GM]Awesome) took over, and if anything gave us more of the usual monsters...but less of the usual loot. There were a lot of people at the events, since this was really the only big get-together type of event scheduled for this week, so the loot vanished very quickly.

Your reporter did ask [GM]Awesome if we could get back to having this event, and the high-level MMS, and the "Storm the Castle", every week...well, there's no harm in asking. The reply was "Well, I can't say how often they'll be, but hopefully more often!"

So, that made for an enjoyable evening, even though the fighting part of each event only took about five minutes. SirDarth kept on with his drake-levelling on Sarissa-4, and by the end of the evening, his drake was in level 23.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

All Is Well

It was slightly naughty of me not to update last night's blog entry before quickly uploading it this morning; the modem and the connection seemed to be working perfectly, it just shows the benefits of holding on waiting for technical assistance for twenty minutes or so, even if nobody actually answers the TalkTalk phone.

Anyway, imagine my happiness to find that, after various overnight system restore attempts and scans, when I switched the modem on this morning, it connected me to the internet. The first thing to do of course was start Last Chaos, and to my great relief RedRydeR's health was no lower than when I'd last seen it - she hadn't been killed, and her stash of skill points was safe.

It shows how close to a full hour she got before last night's disconnection that another 40 experience boosters had been used, getting her up by 158.14%, well up in level 87, which had been our target for the project. Shortly before the end her drake had levelled up too, reaching level 41. The drake already gives the full thirty levels of increased attack, this means that its increased armour buff has reached level ten. In all yesterday the drake added 8089 pet points. And, since RedRydeR got high enough in level to actually start getting a little skill exp per kill, Red added a total of four skill points.

Kaerella, just by supplying the combat party boost, went up by 11.52% in all yesterday, and the same four skill points.

On the loot side, the Tomb was not quite as parsimonious as usual; the screaming zombies had dropped two pairs of mage gloves, while the ancient grey mummies dropped a pair of healer pants, and a not particularly distinguished necklace of lightning. There was one "hand of the guard" during the day, and Red managed to pick up no less than three heaven stones, not to mention four rotting bandages, and one Hemostatic, an item which cures bleeding. Armour pieces from the Tomb tend not to have good bloodseals, so I didn't bother to identify the three pieces, I just sold them to Merchant Geres for 1,068,873 gold.

I was going to get RedRydeR's new skills, but the rogue Sillenti logged on and asked to borrow a better armour set, as she was still using her 30/32 +10 set. I checked up, and found that MistressFelicia was carrying a 50/52 +6 sorcerer armour set (leggings +10), so passed it over to her; I think it's a loan. I had to buy a couple of large attack potions off her so that she could afford to get Collector Ryl to change the set into the rogue equivalent, but it did increase her physical defence usefully.

RedRackham logged in for some pet-levelling, to find Bobthewarrior, HoneyBun and KiaOra all at work down with the gnoll lancers. And, after coffee, it was time for RedRydeR to get all the skills for the levels she had zoomed up yesterday.

On the passive skills side, Reinforce 2's second and third levels, coming up when she'd reached level 72 and 82, added 13 each to RedRydeR's physical attack for 175 and 200 sp; Mental Defence levels seven and eight increased, for 200 and 300 sp, her magical defence by 8 each. Detect Weakness's seventh and eighth levels, at 76 and 86, boosted her physical hit rate by 75 and 80, for 300 and 350 sp. And Critical Increase's sixth level, at 80, increased Red's rate of critical hits by 15 for 500 sp.

On the general/attack skill side, Hide Shot's sixth and final level (350 sp), available at level 68, increased that skill's power from 300 to 330. The big level 70 skill, Controlled Shooting, a buff which increases attack, decreases defence, and prevents you from moving while it lasts, cost 1450 skill points for its first five levels, not to mention 3,500,000 gold. Level 78 brought the eighth level of Piercing, for 500 sp, increasing its power from 350 to 410.

That meant that in all Red spent 4325 skill points, over 20% of her stash. Still, all those extra levels do mean that RedRydeR's stats are nicely improved. I suppose Controlled Shooting may be useful in certain circumstances, though my Auzura rogue, Rage, hasn't used it. At its fifth level, it lasts a minute, I see, and gives 25% more to one's attack, while decreasing one's defence by 15%. If you do need to move before it wears off, a Potion of Escape has to be used, apparently.

By the time all those skills were learnt, and I'd made careful notes and checked the Wet Paint Wiki, yesterday's platinum refining stones had just worn off, so RedRydeR logged out, and, for a lightweight session, I logged in my level 34 temple knight SirDarth on Cariae-5, a character I've not played in ages. In fact, I can't be sure that I've found the last stats for him in my notes - but I think the session only added about 7%, as he aimed more for the orc axemen than the sergeants, and a hundred or so skill points. He isn't one of my characters with a huge stash of unused sp, but at least this session got him over the 2k mark.

The sorcerer uffo recruited me into a combat party when I entered the temple, along with the level 31 sorcerer Fallender; uffo didn't stay long, but Fallender stuck around for a while and chatted. He was anxious to get to level 32 so that he could learn the specialist skills and start transforming into a pin-headed knight or a red demon, but a guildie who had planned to help him level had gone offline, so he was stuck with another Prokion session or two to get there. When he left, I joined a solo party, but, just as my session was reaching its end, and I'd just commented in party chat that I usually liked to use the "leave party" button rather than suddenly be a blank on the party internet connection failed again, mid-orc.

Luckily switching off the modem over lunch allowed it to cool down, and at the start of the afternoon I was able to get back online. RedRackham had been pet-levelling, and had got his drake into level 37; now it was SirDarth's turn on Sarissa-5 for some pet-levelling, after I used a purification gem to remove that strength bloodseal from his gloves. And he was able to provide a solo party for my level 38 rogue there, RedRyder.

After yesterday's exertions, and with the continuing heatwave, plus the risk of a disconnection, I didn't do anything intensive - Red mainly wandered around Merac. She did try the four elite frenzied berserkers, but a couple of archers turned up, and also attacked them, so I ended up heading on down the road. I went off to the south of the path that leads towards Merac Castle, and fought an elite gnoll lancer or two, as well as elite gnoll sworders, which are the beefed-up versions of the gnoll soldiers. I did visit Maargadum Jail a couple of times, and also went to the west of the main road - I don't think I'd been that way for years, but the way a whole group of highlanders would come running in if I attacked one of them seemed familiar. I think one of my characters got killed by a disconnection down there, long ago.

RedRyder just added 21.56%, and 79 skill points, as well as 780 pet points. She picked up around twenty soccer balls on her travels - as this is apparently the last day of the soccer promotion, or maybe even the last day but one, back in Randol Red set up shop to sell them, though her early sales were just a cheap accessory and three orc ornaments. The soccer balls did all sell after a while, at 40,000 each - leaving just the one gold soccer ball, even though at 350,000 it was less than ten times the price of the soccer balls. Luckily it did sell, plus another accessory or two, so that Red ended up ahead by 1,339,500 gold.

SirDarth on Sarissa-5 continued the work on his drake over the food break, and throughout the evening, so that it had added four levels, getting well into level 19, by the end. The main evening session, though, involved Kaerella - this time the level 29 version on the Tairen server. She is in need of plenty more skill points, though she does at least have all her skills, including the special skills, maximised. So, another trip to Prokion Temple was needed, as usual on the fifth sub-server with the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff active.

With Kae on level 29, the level 23 orc soldiers gave not much over 1000 experience, and four times as much skill exp... 4400 once I finally found a solo party. So, I settled down in a rather familiar room, close to my favourite orc axeman and orc sergeant room, and concentrated on the soldiers. Occasionally someone else would come in and kill a few, but they usually moved on. One knight did settle in in one corner, but he had a disconnection before long - luckily I noticed that in time to protect his poor pony from a couple of orcs, so that it was still alive when he finally vanished. I got a disconnection myself not long after, but to my relief it was just the traditional kind, not my modem going on strike, so I was quickly back in action.

Towards the end I was chatting with a rogue called TwoMoons, and giving her the occasional heal - she was a couple of levels below the orc soldiers. She had asked for a party, but I explained that I was sp-farming, and that teaming up that way would give me too much experience per kill. I tried to give her the idea that fighting Prokion mobs below her own level, while slower, would get her more skill points...

The Elizabuff, which I'd renewed when I logged back in after the disconnection, ran out as my usual log-out time approached, so that seemed a good reason to call it a day. I ran back to the starting hallway, as usual picking up any abandoned loot - I'm used to the occasional tool aid, or even a few moonstone boxes, but I actually got an item drop booster this time. Even if someone was using a platinum super skill pill, I'd have thought that it would have been worthwhile to stop long enough to pick something like that up.

Kaerella only added 10.15% during her session, along with 37 guild points, but added 303 skill points, which makes her total start to look a bit healthier. Once she had logged off, RedRackham was able to log in on Cariae-4 for a little work on his drake, now starting its trip through level 37. I see that Red is almost out of quality stones, so that's something to attend to soon. One of my "busy weekends" is starting to loom on the horizon now, which means more pet-levelling and less fighting as the weekend approaches.

Ending on a Cliff-Hanger

Today's adventuring came to a slightly premature end, but it started in the normal way, with RedRackham going out to the gnoll lancers before breakfast, on Cariae-4. My plan was to take one of my characters out to the Tomb of Theos after coffee - but which one depended on the Condition of the Tomb, on Cariae, or, if necessary, on Auzura.

If Auzura had got the nod, it would have been MistressDomina who had Tomb time today, but as it was, when RedRydeR got to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos on Cariae-4 the Condition of the Tomb was shown as just about 90% or so Easy, which seemed pretty good to me. With RedRackham continuing his drake-levelling and providing a solo party, RedRydeR went in, and added the necessary 24-hour platinum refining stones to get her armour to +15 a piece...and as she was short of one +2 prs, used a +3 one to get her jacket to +16. She also used a +1 prs on her +15 level 69 crossbow, for good luck, and to add a bit of extra physical attack.

With this set-up, the screaming zombies were, even while on level 100 33 levels ahead of Red, not a problem. The fighting started at 10:15, UK time, and the first hour saw Red adding four levels, or 423.93%, using no less than 105 experience boosters, plus a crit potion, a berserker potion, and one of the level-specific 61-90 platinum blessed irises. So, that was level 71 reached.

The titan Sc0t was around, but it looks as if he doesn't like rogues - he ks'd me twice. The first time, we'd both attacked the same screaming zombie, but I'd let him have it, ignoring it when it ran at me with him in pursuit. He wasn't using any potions, buffs or boosters, so I can't see that there was any problem for him - and I didn't particularly want to kill a zombie that he had also attacked, as it would have meant less experience to be multiplied by twelve.

So that would have been no problem... but why did he take a couple of swipes at the different zombie that I was fighting instead, afterwards? And why a little later did he deliberately come across to where I was fighting, and hit that zombie a few times, so that I lost almost a quarter of the boosted experience from that one, a loss of over twelve million experience?

Anyway, he moved off after that, thankfully. During the second hour I was keeping an eye on the forum shoutbox, which was back to normal after last night's massive spamming, and saw Supraklr, the friendly level 77 titan, asking if there was anyone around of about his level on Cariae. My first attempt to reply didn't work, as the shoutbox decided that I needed to relog, but luckily he asked again, and I was able to tell him that I was in the Cariae-4 Tomb at level 74. The response was that he was on his way.

He talked about moving down deeper into the Tomb, which at RedRydeR's then-current level seemed a bit ambitious. Maybe after my lunch break, I said. Staying with the screaming zombies, and helped along by the combat party bonus, my second hour of the morning added 336.01%, moving Red on to level 74. I'd used a platinum adrenalin as well as the other potions this time, and got through 113 experience boosters, which shows that a rogue is rather better at attacking monsters than a cleric is, Kaerella's figures when she did this were much lower.

I stayed in the combat party over a swift lunch break, with Supraklr promising to watch out for any wandering zombies in the corridor where I was, and got a free 0.69% from that. Then after I'd started with killing a few more screaming zombies, Supraklr insisted that he hated to see me "wasting" experience boosters like that, and led me to a room of ancient grey mummies.

This was a room very like the room with the anubis spear men, one just needed to turn left rather than right after the first long, wide corridor of screaming zombies. I knew that these level 103 mummies were bosses, and gave good skill exp to people around their own level - I also knew they had a "bleeding" skill, so that one steadily lost health, but Supra assured me that it has a long recharge time, so they only were able to use it once. He also told me that, with my pbi and xpbs, I ought to get at least 190 million experience per kill, compared to around 58 million from a screaming zombie.

It wasn't like fighting a zombie, and I took a lot of damage, and used quite a few health potions early on, with my health sometimes dipping dangerously low. Supraklr commented that the use of Flame Arrow was making them hit harder, as it has a debuffing side to it - it only decreases a target's mana supply rather than health, but I stopped using it, and things were indeed easier. I got into a more rogue-style way of fighting, rather than just going head-to-head - all types of mummy in Last Chaos move rather slowly, so if my health went down, I'd retreat, then turn and fire my crossbow.

Things got easier after that; RedRydeR does have an accessory with 10% suction of life, and generally, if I was willing to run and fight, that kept me healthy. By the end of the first hour after lunch, Red had gone up to level 77, adding 279.80% while using just 34 experience boosters.

Reaching level 77 meant that RedRackham could log out from his pet-levelling, and be replaced by Kaerella, since, at level 87, she was just ten levels above RedRydeR, and could join the combat party. So, Kae headed for the Tomb's entrance, and ran down to join. I'd made Supraklr the party leader, so he added Kae to the party as soon as he realised she was standing in the room, having just given him the Encourage buff.

Sadly Supa wasn't able to stay much longer - it seems that he is an early riser, and it was finally time for his breakfast! As the room only held ancient grey mummies, and they are passive, as well as being non-protective of each other and the type of creature that doesn't attack pets, Kaerella was able to stand in the middle of the room, providing the combat party bonus, renewing Red's Encourage buff when needed, and healing her too, preferably only between fights so that there was no chance of a mummy leaving its original target and heading for Kae instead.

Reaching level 77 also meant that RedRydeR could put on the pair of level 77 boots MEDSx had given me, which, at +13, may not have given as much physical defence as the level 72 (temporarily) +15 ones, but they had useful evasion, so were probably an improvement.

The second afternoon hour again added three levels, taking Red to 80, with 259.51% earned from 36 experience boosters. The next hour got Red to 82, with 225.97% added from 38 xpbs, and then, after a food break with Red and Kae safely settled in a corner of the room, the first evening hour got RedRydeR into level 84 with 186.98% from 37 xpbs.

The room had had other people in it most of the time, but there were generally plenty of ancient grey mummies to go round; some people were after experience, like me, and some higher-level players were after skill points, since if you are their level, the mummies give 4400 skill exp each. I assume the night shadow Margadus came in the latter category; he tended to round up five or six mummies at a time, and took a while to kill them, which meant a slight shortage of mummies for the rest of us sometimes.

The second hour of the evening got Red into level 86, so we were making excellent progress. Each level needs more experience than the previous one, so this time Red just got 181.04%, even though she managed to use 41 of the experience boosters.

During the third evening hour level 87 was reached, which was the target - now RedRydeR, who had put on her new gloves at level 85 and her +13 b5e jacket and leggings when she reached 86, was able to put on her new hood too. The only item with a temporary boost from a platinum refining stone that she was still using was her crossbow.

The hour was just ending, and I'd decided to change the party to an equal one, with both Red and Kae just using a platinum blessed iris, for a final Tomb hour, before a slightly early finish which would allow Red plenty of time to get her new skills and check out new quests etc, when, while Red was fighting an ancient grey mummy, and had taken some damage, I got the "disconnected" pop-up. As Kaerella was just standing there, it took a minute longer, but eventually she got that pop-up too, and I closed the game.

Usually this just means that one has to reload the game, but I found that my internet connection had gone entirely - maybe the hot weather had finally done for my modem? So, I was left wondering, had Red managed to vanish from the room before the ancient grey mummy could kill her? If not, she stood to lose 2% of a level, but, much more importantly, she also stood to lose 2% of her stash of unused skill points, and that would mean a loss of over 400 sp...

My broadband provider's helpline could only provide twenty minutes or so of "Neon Rainbow", plus occasional reminders that one could find modem set-up details online, so I guess I will need to see what's going on in the morning. As ever on such occasions, it feels very strange to be without internet access!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sending in a Ticket

There was some more drake-levelling for RedRackham in the morning, starting from breakfast time. After coffee I started by buying up some of the level-specific platinum blessed irises on the various servers, on the feeling that this week's special offer making them just a single aeria point each is a pretty unbeatable deal, so that my characters all across the game ought to have a supply ready. There is a "tiered spender" event going on this weekend, with a master stone available for every 5,000 aeria points spent; how far I would go with that rather depended on whether or not there were any good "buy one, get one" BOGO offers later in the day, I decided.

If I did get a master stone, which is an imaginary item, a bit of a "tooth fairy" deal, you leave the weapon under your pillow and a GM sneaks in while you are asleep and replaces it with a weapon with a higher plus, what would I have it applied to? It can boost a +15 item, such as Keerella's mage staff on Cariae...or it could boost a +14 item such as Kaerella's recently-bought bow on Auzura...

There was time for a rather short morning session after spending 150 aeria points one by one, so Kaerella logged in - in this case, my level 29 archer on the Tairen server. After getting the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, Kae headed, of course, for Prokion Temple. The "corridor room" in the mirror half with the level 25 orc fighters might, I thought, be useful, but I found that they gave roughly as much experience as skill exp, which meant that Kae's experience rose a bit more quickly than I'd like, so I moved on to an orc soldier place. Since they are just level 23, Kae, while getting less skill exp per kill, got around four times as much skill exp as experience, which seemed like a good deal.

By the end of the session, Kaerella had just added 3.54% experience, along with 13 guild points for the local branch of Discipline. plus 94 skill points. Her sp-farming is in its early stages as yet, unless I start using platinum super skill pills and skill point boosters it will be many many hours before she can leave Prokion Temple behind her.

For the afternoon, SirKit logged on, got his Elizabeth's Enhancement buff on Cariae-5, and headed for Dratan. He had quests to kill ravenous larvae and masters of secret technique, so teleported down to the larvae's headquarters, which he'd cunningly added to his memory scroll when visiting the rough jaguars of the desert. It wasn't very far from there to where some of the gelatinous "masters" hang out (I imagine they must be very popular at parties, with their secret technique), so it didn't take long to get the necessary quest items from them. The reward for the two quests added up to 5.20% and 28 skill points.

Then it was a matter of heading for the sphinx types. The regular camp site location was fairly busy, so I moved along a bit. Kit was able now to wear his new level 60 gloves, but he still could take some fairly heavy damage, particularly from the sphinx speer men, who must be the monster with just about the longest-range aggro in the game. The location with the second of the elite sphinx speer men was a bit dominated by the elite himself, front and centre, so Kit spent most of the afternoon based at the other end of the cut-through. By the time the early evening food break loomed, the totals for the afternoon were 31.69%, getting to just halfway through the level, plus 63 skill points and 1044 pet points...which got his drake into level 34.

For the evening, I logged in with RedRyder - this time the Sarissa version, who was on level 38. She doesn't have masses of skill points, so, like SirKit, she'll need to be choosy about the skills she gets. Previously she had been teamed in Prokion Temple with Kaerella, but it seemed time that she got out of there, so she went out and about, doing the available quests. So, in Merac she she fought gnolls and gnoll lancers, and highlanders, and blood frenzies and doom slayers, and then after she levelled up there was a quest to kill gnoll soldiers too. In Merac, she had to run down to the poison mists, and their neighbours, the brutal deer of desert...all in all, it made for a pretty varied session. While RedRyder didn't have a horse, I saw to my relief that my Sarissa pet-leveller, SirDarth, did have a level 37 horse ready for her.

So, RedRyder reached level 39, and added 50.89%, plus 72 skill points, 42 pet points and...40 guild points? It was time for Discipline's guild master on Sarissa, SirDarth, to "unfreeze" her experience gain, so he did that, and then traded her horse across to her, which she immediately made into a level 37 mount.

On Auzura, MistressDomino checked Roy's merchant mart, looking for a good level 85 mage staff for MistressDomina. It being Sunday, the pages were rather slow to load, but I found a Judgement' Red Devil Staff +15, a green-named, five-seal one, for 750 million, being sold by MistressWarlady. So, that weapon now has a new Mistress! This weekend's special "master stone" event means that, as I stocked up mainly on two-for-the-price-of-one packs of experience boosters (the offer returned today), I qualified for two master stones... and in the end I decided that MistressDomina's new weapon would be the ideal recipient of the extra upgrading.

The Quiz was approaching, by then. There had been the regulation 30-minute notice, but now, at a quarter past the hour, with just 15 minutes to go...the doors to the quiz rooms weren't open. Our poor overworked GMs can't remember everything, i guess, but Pimorez, the gamesage in the shoutbox, managed to pass the message, from numerous people before I got there, along, and the rooms were opened just in time. Kaerella on Auzura-2 was able to tell the assembled throng around the domain merchant that the message had been passed to the GMs, and, when MistressDomino managed to be one of the first to enter, Kae could tell everyone that the doors were now truly open.

The questions were the usual set, so just about everyone got through to the end safely, as long as the event's relatively prompt start didn't take them unawares. Kae passed her prizes across to MD, and then they both logged out, with their job now done. It was nice to attend as Kaerella in the 85/87 armour set, though to reduce lag we always remove our armour during the quiz itself.

Afterwards, I logged in on the website with the MistressDomina account, and filled in my "contact us" details, to ask the GMs to do their master stone magic on MistressDomina's J
udgement' Red Devil Staff G5 +15, copying the example given so that I said "
I qualified for 2 Master Stone +1 upgrades, please apply them both to my staff". The first time I sent it I got a red "failed to send message - please try again at a later time" advisory, so I filled the form in again, after checking to see that I hadn't received an email acknowledgement, and sent it again, with a note at the end that I had already tried to send it once, but got the "failed" message. That was probably the best thing to do, as while I did after a few minutes get two auto-responses, I only got one proper email with the details I'd given. Even though the auto-replies were only five minutes apart, the ticket number had gone up by 28, so the tickets are flowing in pretty quickly at the moment.

There wasn't time for any more fighting action, and in this heat I am not at my most dynamic, but RedRackham got back into drake-levelling action for the final part of the evening, with his drake now starting to move through level 36. On the newer computer, I logged SirDarth back in, over on Sarissa-4, since he had got a level 15 hatchling under training, I'd noticed when he traded the horse across to RedRyder. As he'd done his pet-levelling before the change to a character's unarmed attack speed, he hadn't been to the gnoll lancers before, just bandits and berserkers, and Maargadum Jail, known on the Merac map as "Evil Dungeon". So, Darth ran down the road to the gnoll area, stopping to kill any triangle balls that presented themselves, and got that location onto his memory scroll. He was hitting too hard, until I unequipped the accessories that added to his strength, or "physical prowess", and his gloves, which had a bloodseal adding four to that. That meant he really was attacking bare-handed, but it got his attack down to 18. I wonder if the old nemesis of pet-levellers is still prowling on Sarissa? I'll have to be careful to keep an eye on things if Darth does any more regular sessions down there.

The shoutbox had a bit of a crisis as ten o'clock, UK time, approached, with someone spamming extremely long copied-and-pasted messages into it, usually of the various player ranking lists, using names like "youcantbanme" and "GMsuckmy--", but [GM]Stratos intervened quickly. The attack came back with two more accounts with similar names, and the last time I looked "lmaogayboygabe" was spamming, let's hope that something can be done to stop people messing up what is, really, a rather important channel of communication for us.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

A Voice From The Past

I had thought that the email address that I'd associated with this blog had expired, it certainly didn't want to log me in when I tried a few weeks ago, but checking the spam folder in my main email account, I found a "we've missed you" type email from When I logged in, which took an attempt or two but did work finally, there were a couple of "your guest book has been signed" notices. A suggestion of using the dungeon in Juno, the Ebony Mine, for "suicide runs" seems good to me, particularly as one can get there easily using the Juno NPC scroll...that entry was a bit old, I see, as it included Christmas greetings...

More recent was a message from Zenderfly, alias Damor, alias Itura... not quite recent enough, as it suggested meeting up on Cariae last night. As it happens, that's where I was, on Cariae-5, but not on characters that Zen would be aware of. Ah well, I'll be sure to check the Guest Book at every day for a few days in hopes of a new message. It would have been great to have linked up with Zen yesterday as well as Meds. Oh, and the email address I referred to is kaerella, plus the usual sign for "at", swiftly followed by the name of the provider, which would be gmx, with a dot and a com. The Guest Book is only on the "home" version of this blog, though I think the more blog-style versions do have a commenting option.

While RedRackham took the night off, MistressDomina was in merchant mode on Cariae-4. She hadn't got a great variety of things to sell this time however, so just managed to take in 126 million, which means that she remains unable to buy any more new armour or weapons for the moment. Her session was brought to a premature end, just before I went out for some early morning shopping before the heat closed in, with the old "send error report?" question. Luckily this tends only to happen while attempting to sell stuff, but it cut an hour or so off MD's session.

RedRackham did go back out to the gnoll lancers with his drake before breakfast, and so started to make progress through level 34. He seems to have had that spot to himself lately, without any of the other knight or mage regulars putting in an appearance, I thought to myself...

RedRydeR logged in to do her two quests, which meant riding down from Dratan City to the Temple of Forgetfulness, and getting its entrance onto her memory scroll. It didn't take long to kill enough of the local spiders to get the necessary spider webs - and seven of the legendary slayers also got killed before the horse buffs ran out. Back in the city, Red claimed her reward, which worked out at 2.55% and 9 skill points, making the whole mini-session 2.93%, 11 sp, and 52 pet points, getting RedRydeR's stash of skill points back over the 20k mark. And Red was able to add a bloodseal to her boots - 22 close range evasion this time.

SirKit had the majority of the morning session, starting with killing enough dragons in Dratan to get seven angry dragon eggs. Apparently Archaeologist Jajan hasn't always been successful in changing drake eggs into dragon hatchling pets, and the wild dragons are a result of this...but if I "put to sleep" some dragons, they revert to eggs again, and he can make fresh attempts. Look, I don't invent these quests, I just do them, okay?

SirKit moved along to the giants after that, since they were nearby, and ended up near the "Tomb of Theo" non-working entrance in the north-west corner of the map, fighting the akane giants there, and the elite akane giant. Still, they were one level below Kit, and the experience gain was rather minor, so I used a memory scroll to teleport across to the sphinx types instead.

The healer ThunderStorms joined the solo party I was in, and we chatted; she may only be level 44, but she manages to kill the grand red dragon, she told me, though it doesn't drop anything rare very often. She was out with the highlanders to lure it, though may move on to the giant larvae soon. Her 38k skill point stash ought to last her to around level 137 apparently, though we agreed that the thought of slogging through the sphinx commanders, and spirit cave sorcerers, for months to get that high didn't appeal greatly.

By the time lunch was approaching, Kit had moved back to town to get his quest reward from Jajan - 2.74% and 8 skill points. In all his session gave him 19.42% and 48 skill points, plus 690 pet points, though his drake took a lot of damage from the various monsters, so that quite a few green herb leaves were used. His drake is now lower in level than the one RedRackham is working on, so an exchange may well be made in a few days.

After lunch, after the talk yesterday with MEDSx about Katar, I was checking on my level 25 rogue there RedRyder, and saw that she does have all her special skills maximised, and is basically ready to start work as a serious sp-farmer. Her skills bar also had, instead of her horse, "pick", to pick up loot, on [F12], which suggested that she had been teaming up with other characters of mine...which didn't seem a bad idea.

So, RedRackham logged out, and RedRyder switched to the older computer, while Kaerella, my level 33 archer, logged in, got the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, and headed for Prokion Temple. Katar-5 had the "congested" flag up, but the temple wasn't too busy, and my favourite back room was free, so Kae settled in, going more for the orc axemen than the sergeants when there was a choice. RedRyder quickly joined her there, just standing back near the doorway into the room. It wasn't long before RedRyder levelled up, and was able to wear the +10 level 31 jacket and pants, which made her almost orc-proof. Kae levelled up too, not long after.

The afternoon passed in its usual way; a titan did run in, fight and kill one orc, and run out again, but otherwise all was quiet. By the end, Kaerella had added 60.19%, 569 guild points, and 382 skill points, while RedRyder was up by 43.35% and 364 skill points. That was great for Kae, and not too bad for Red, though I think Red will need to get a better gain of skill points per level than that once she hits level 27.

RedRackham did some more pet-levelling over the food break, and found the mage KiaOra also there, working on her pale blue horse. RedRackham's drake reached level 35 during that session; there is no automatic cut-off point for a drake, unlike a horse, which I'd normally stop right at the beginning of level 37, so Red may continue with this drake for a while. I don't think he'll be pulling any more overnight sessions though, in this heatwave I can do without the warmth from leaving the older computer running all the time.

There was an interesting moment in the forum shoutbox; I came in halfway through, but the gamesage Sababth was telling people that a GS doesn't automatically get 20k of aeria points per month just for being a gamesage, they have to do forty things per month to qualify - events, and forum duty mainly. They do get free prizes to hand out at events they run like "hide and seek" and trivia quizzes, though.

For the evening session, I had to take into account a "Happy Hour" event, due to run from six until ten, UK time, with 50% extra experience and skill exp, so decided that it was a good opportunity for RedRydeR and SirKit to team up once again, with the elite sphinx speer man and his chums. So, soon after six I was out there in Dratan on Cariae-5; being below level sixty still, SirKit can use the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff for double experience and skill exp, so I could tell that the event hadn't been switched on, as Kit was getting twice as much skill exp per kill...when the event was running, he'd get 2.5 times normal skill exp, and Red would get 1.5 times, so Red would get more than half what he was getting.

So, it was a matter of convincing the gamesages in the shoutbox that it was a general not-switched-on and not a personal bug, so that SirKit had to log out and log back in again, and then log out, with me closing and restarting the game, and log back in again. Once PurpleFlame and the other current gamesages were convinced, the message was sent, and [GM]Stratos made a fleeting appearance in the shoutbox to announce that the event was switched on....which, with a glance at the latest skill exp figures, I could confirm. But that meant the event started 43 minutes late - hopefully it will have run on for at least a full four hours, but that takes us beyond my log-out time.

I did have a couple of visitors, one of whom did manage to kill the elite sphinx speer man once, but generally the evening passed smoothly; I was a bit active in the shoutbox, helping with a few of the simpler queries. By the time my duo logged out, RedRydeR had gone up by just 16.65% in level 67, which, with her plans for some "power hours" in the Tomb soon isn't important, and a more useful 57 skill points, as well as 2055 pet points. SirKit added 84.22%, taking him into level 55, so that he will now be able to wear his next pair of gloves, and gained 94 skill points.

RedRackham logged back in for a little more pet-levelling while I finished preparing this blog entry - level 35 is now under way.

Friday, 25 June 2010

An Old Friend

I had to do some moving around of items first, to make sure that Kaerella had enough experience boosters and crit potions, but a lengthy morning session started for her with a trip out to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos fairly soon after breakfast.

The "Condition" bars showed the Tomb to have deteriorated to about 70% easy, but, fearlessly, Kae went in anyway, with RedRackham back online and pet-levelling to supply a solo party. Her platinum refining stones, boosting the remaining parts of the 70/72 armour set that she was still wearing to +15, wouldn't run out until after lunch, so this seemed the best time for at least one more "power hour", with Kaerella using a crit and a power potion, as well as a 61-90 platinum blessed iris and experience boosters.

The level 93 titan Sc0t was there too, and suggested a combat party, which seemed good to me, so I left the solo party, and joined up with him, supplying the full-strength Encourage boost when possible, and some Greater Heal...though such interventions did sometimes mean that a screaming zombie he was fighting would make a run for Kae instead. Titans have so much health that there's seldom any urgency about healing them.

During the hour, Kaerella used just 72 experience boosters, and went up by 80.30%, which got her safely into level 87. After that, Sc0t vanished, and I brought RedRydeR in to "ks", fighting Kae's zombie while not being in a party with her. Kaerella didn't use any boosts or potions over the next two hours, but Red used a couple of the 61-90 pbis, and did go up from level 65 to halfway through 66.

After that it was time for lunch; Kae's total experience gain for the session was 85.53%, plus 2710 pet points and 6 skill points, while RedRydeR added 74.09% and 1606 pet points, but no skill points as she's still way too low to get more than 1 skill exp per kill from the level 100 types. I'd shared the area with two rogues and a healer for a while, but they left before Kae and Red did. Kae had been starting to take some damage from the zombies, and, when I left the Tomb, I checked the Condition again, and it had fallen to around 40%, closer to the hard end than the easy.

Over an extended lunch break, RedRackham got his drake into level 34. The platinum refining stones expired on the 70/72 armour set, so Kaerella was now able to trade her old "Balsamic" set across to RedRydeR, along with her level 69 weapon - Collector Ryl worked his usual magic, turning them into their rogue equivalents for a fee.

The afternoon became a no-fighting affair, when an old friend from Norcaine got in touch - I had actually noticed a rogue called MEDSx in Randol, and thought how much it reminded me of MEDS without the little "x"...but apparently a name-change had been needed at some point, and this was the genuine article, on a rare visit from the "Aion" mmorpg, where he plays on a North American server for only around $8.00 a month, I think he said. It was nice to think that the people who had moved to that game remembered me, and even had thought "oh, Kee would have liked that" sometimes.

Most of MEDSx's best items are over on the Katar server apparently, but, as he doesn't use his Cariae character, MEDSx very kindly transferred across to me some stuff he didn't need - which ties in nicely with RedRydeR's progress, as it included a couple of expensive armour items I'd have needed to buy in the next few days: parts of the 85/87 rogue "Chaser" armour set. being given a b5e +13 Anti-Stone Chaser Jacket and Antistune Chaser pants save me a small fortune. The boots he had now were only the level 77 ones, but at +13 and b5e will be a help for a while...he didn't have the headgear, and only g5e +10 gloves, but it was a great start. After he left, MistressDomina was able to buy from Roy's merchant mart a pair of g5e +15 Light Chaser Gloves, put up for sale by clerica at 770 million - that extra boost from being +15 more than makes up for the slightly lower armour and evasion you get from a green-named rather than a blue-named item, I think. And Cloriform had put a Casting Up Chaser Hood +15, which was b5e, up for sale at a comparatively cheap 679 million, so MD grabbed that too. That only leaves her with 50 million gold at present, so a newer pair of boots will have to wait a while.

MEDSx also traded across 2 platinum adrenalin, 2 large crit, and 4 power potions, plus 23 mana stealers and 22 health stealers, along with 20 heaven stones, 100 million gold, and three of the "eyes of spirit" accessory, so was very generous. I showed her Red's special phoenix armour and coloured horse, and Barbarienne showed off her new armour pieces, but MEDSx seems set on staying with Aion, though promises to keep in touch.

After trading various accumulations of loot across to MistressDomina, and otherwise redistributing stuff (the three EoS have at least a temporary home now with AmityBlaise), it was time for the food break, so RedRackham hurried back to the gnoll lancers, until I was ready to swing back into action.

The evening's adventuring saw RedRydeR and SirKit heading out to the elite sphinx speer man and his cohorts again. Red used three pbis; Kit just used one to start off with, and then just relied on the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff for the other two hours. Red was able to use the gloves, shirt and pants from the 70/72 set, and the level 69 +15 Pillgrip Bow, so found the sphinx types a lot tamer. Over the three hours, they got all their bloodseals added - and just before the end, RedRydeR reached level 67, and was able to put on the hood and boots from the set as well. So, she's ready for higher-level action now.

SirKit reached level 53 quite early in the session, and then reached level 54, a little while before RedRydeR levelled up; in all Kit added 129.33% and 90 skill points, while Red earned 46.18% and 47 skill points, plus 2629 pet points for her drake. Red has passed over the level 61 weapon and 60/62 armour set to Kit now, but he'll need another level before he can wear the gloves, a level after that for the mail and leggings, and a third level before he can wear the helmet and boots, and wield new dual swords.

Back in Dratan City, SirKit got a quest to slay some dragons, and, conveniently, RedRydeR got the quest to kill the legendary slayers in the Forgotten Temple. She'd already got the quest to kill some spiders there, and you can't kill those slayers without the spiders getting involved, so doing the two quests together makes sense, and will be a bit easier in her new armour set.

On the skills front, SirKit was able to invest 200 skill points in the seventh level of his Concentration buff. The passive skill Two Hand Control's first five levels, for 573 skill points, increased his physical attack by 120, with dual swords, so that was worth getting. RedRydeR's earlier level-up had made the seventh level of Piercing available, for 400 skill points; it's not a skill I normally use, as it can aggravate multiple monsters into attacking, but Red's going for maxxed-out skills, so the points were spent, taking her stash down to just below 20k. I suppose it would be a useful skill in the monster combo, and at other times when there's definitely only a single monster around.

RedRackham went out for a little more pet-levelling before the end of the evening - and MistressDomina set up shop on Cariae-4, to try and raise some more gold overnight.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Kaerella's New Clerical Weapon

RedRackham got back into pet-levelling action before breakfast, and I left him hard at work while I went out on a shopping trip, taking most of the morning - but he got disconnected soon after I left. Still, he got back on at lunchtime... and later provided a solo party on Cariae-4 for my cleric, Kaerella.

Usually in recent weeks I've managed to fit in a major session for one of my characters in the Tomb of Theos over Monday and Tuesday, but I decided that I could fit in a similar marathon for Kaerella today, and tomorrow morning. It was a shame not to have a character within ten levels of her to provide a combat party boost, but if I could get Kae up high enough to wear the 85/87 healer armour she inherited from Barbarienne, then her previous armour, the 70/72 set, can then be passed across to RedRydeR, along with the level 69 +15 weapon.

So, Kaerella bought a suitable stock of the cheap level 61-90 platinum blessed irises from the in-game item mall, stocked up on experience boosters and platinum refining stones courtesy of MistressDomina...and headed for the Tomb's entrance. The "Condition" there was back to maximum easy, so the solo party was formed with RedRackham, and Kaerella entered the Tomb of Theos, and applied the necessary platinum refining stones to make her armour set all +15 for 24 hours.

Things ran pretty smoothly. The first hour moved Kae on from level 77 to 79, adding 152.79% while using 79 experience boosters. Hour two added 127.77% while using 74 xpbs; the third hour added 124.44%, taking Kae into level 81 and using 77 xpbs.

Towards the end of the afternoon the level 75 sorcerer danjorge dropped by, and we formed a combat party. He may have slowed me down a little as he needed healing sometimes, but hopefully the boost from being in a combat party made up for that. He doesn't have very good armour, so has to be pretty alert with the use of healing potions. And of course healing potions cost a lot of gold, meaning he can't really afford to do any upgrading. He kept fighting while I had a quick food break, but had to leave soon after that.

I'd give buffs, either Charm for magical attackers or Encourage for more physical fighters, if people entering the Tomb stood still long enough. Sometimes people would comment on how nice it was to see a cleric there. The level 64 knight ERAGOON (to give his name the proper capitalisation) came in for a while, but he too had difficulty fighting there - it took him so long to kill a screaming zombie, with so many potions, that really I think he would have earned more experience, and some skill exp too, if he'd gone to the elite sphinx speer man in the great outdoors. I even gave the Encourage buff to the titan Sc0t, who fought the zombies for a little while.

Kaerella's fourth hour gave 128.19%, which was just enough to get her into level 83; we managed to use 88 xpbs, probably because this time as well as the crit and power potions, Kae was using a platinum adrenalin, which speeds up her attack. 123.72% came in during the fifth hour, ending with Kae in level 84 after managing to use 94 boosters. 117.19% more, and 98 xpbs, got Kae into level 85 - which meant that she could use her new Rainbow Wand, boosting her attack rather usefully. She could also wear the +15 level 85 gloves inherited from Barbarienne... they are b4e rather than b5e, but still rather nice.

The final hour of the evening added another 117.34%, which meant that Kaerella reached level 86, and was able to wear the shirt and leggings from the 85/87 set too. With the platinum adrenalin and the better weapon, Kae managed to use 107 more experience boosters, leaving her with just 8 left in stock.

A rogue called SombraNegra had come through the Tomb's entrance area a time or two, and really liked the Encourage buff, particularly as it took her critical hit above 10,000. She stayed a while in the first area fighting the screamies to talk a bit, and I managed to re-buff her a time or two. Towards the end, she suggested that I really ought to use a platinum refining stone to boost my wand to +16, for even faster killing...and gave me a +1 prs as a gift, which was very kind of her.

So, by the end of the evening, Kaerella had managed seven "power hours". The afternoon part had added 405.17% in all over three hours, plus 3045 pet points for SirFrancis the drake, and then the evening's four hours had contributed 486.44%, and a further 3938 pet points. As the screaming zombies started to actually give some skill exp once Kae was within twenty levels of them, she actually got 8 skill points during the evening too.

Back in Randol, as I'd suspected Kaerella did have a number of skill levels to learn. On the passive skills side, Magic Research level six increased her magical attack and her physical defence by 30 each, for 400 skill points. On the general skills list, Fast Heal level eight cost 450 sp, while level eight of Greater Heal cost 500 sp. Level eight of Encourage cost another 450 so...and level seven of Charm cost 400 sp. Still, that did seem to, generally, be 2200 skill points well invested. Greater Heal went up from 740 to 830 health points, while Fast Heal went up from 500 to 580. Encourage will now last for 20 minutes rather than 15, and add 64 rather than 56 to the recipient's physical attack. Charm will now add 70 rather than 60 to magical attack, which is good news as Kae can use it on herself; its duration doubles, to 20 minutes. Both those skills are now at their maximum.

RedRackham, meanwhile, had got his drake two-thirds of the way through level 33. He won't be levelling through the night, though, as things need a chance to cool down, in this sudden heatwave we are experiencing this week.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A New Week Begins

The overnight patch only did anything to the item mall, basically. "
No content updates this week but look forward to some exciting new features coming soon! Super secret and super exciting!
" was how product manager Xuse2005 put it, optimistically. The most interesting thing about the item mall is that, in-game, for one week only apparently, the level-limited platinum blessed irises are just a single aeria point I will have to stock up! Luckily I didn't start to hoard the level 61-90 type last week at the then-bargain price of 25 ap, but this week I will for sure...perhaps at the weekend, in case there is some sort of "tiered leveller" promotion running then.

RedRackham was able to head for the gnoll lancers before breakfast, to start a pet-levelling session. His drake had recently reached level 31, so is now quite a useful pet, but a few more levels will make it even better.

A little later, as I knew I'd be too busy downstairs to have a morning playing session, MistressDomino logged in on Auzura-5 to try and sell some stuff. She got off to a good start selling five lucky smelting stones and a couple of runes of protection 2, but if her almost-namesake MistressDomina is going to be able to get a good mage 85/87 armour set, she would need to sell a lot more. Her hundred item drop boosters went a little later, and then a few heaven stones and the small supply of moonstones from the last quiz, followed by a couple of health stealers... but not long after that, the question "Send Error Report?" suddenly reared its ugly head, and the game closed down.

Once I got things going again, I took the opportunity to move some more item drop boosters across to MistressDomino, and get some more lucky smelting stones out of storage, and then MD went back into merchant mode. I'd put a few red pet colouring crystals up this time at 450,000, and a couple of those sold quickly, followed by a couple of health stealers and a mana stealer potion. Then some more lucky smelting stones and a berserker potion sold, and twenty heaven stones, then a little later twenty-five more. The last two lucky smelting stones also went before lunch. The action seemed to concentrate on the occasional heaven stone after that; normally I'd have sold out, but since they made them weightless a week ago, MD can carry rather more at a time, and I'd moved a number over from another account recently. A final purchase of fifty-nine of them took the last of MD's current supply. Just before MD was due to log out, four more runes of protection sold, which got the total sales up to a pretty respectable total - enough to buy a piece or two of 85/87 mage armour, for sure. No more item drop boosters sold after the restock, though, which shows how a move from 745,000 to 765,000 gold can change "almost instant sale" to "no sale". Next time, they'll be back down to the old price I guess.

However, with the platinum blessed irises now being so cheap, it seemed like a good idea for RedRydeR and SirKit to go back to the sphinx types and both use them, even if, with SirKit still qualifying for the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, a pbi would only increase his experience gain by 50% rather than 200%.

I noticed that SirKit had a couple of skill point restoration/resurrection scrolls in his item mall records, and as I'd been meaning to have him have a res scroll active, I used one - and it was lucky I did, as during the first hour I had a phone call, and left Kit a little too close to one of the sphinx speer men. When I got back, he was dead, so I was able to avoid losing about 2% of his skill points by using the scroll. Between the two pbis, he hurried back to town to get the Elizabeth buff back.

By the end of the two pbi hours, RedRydeR had earned 26.51%, 19 skill points and 1409 pet points, while SirKit had gone up by 75.91% and 34 skill points.

Someone, the sorcerer LostReborn in fact, had been asking about the possibility of ks-ing one of my higher characters as a way of gaining experience in the Tomb of Theos...during the afternoon I'd already been set up in Dratan, and he hadn't got the entrance to the Tomb on his memory scroll yet, but it put the idea into my mind of having Keerella and RedRydeR do something along those lines. So, after the food break, Kee went out to the entrance on Cariae-5, and found that the place was on maximum Red joined her there, and in they went. At levels 98 and 64 they were too far apart to form a party without Red's experience gain being severely "capped", but with Red outside the party, but attacking the screaming zombie that Kee was fighting, with a pbi active RedRydeR got between 4 and 5 million experience, which moved her percentage along nicely.

LostReborn had managed to get to the Tomb and add the entrance to his memory scroll, so when he got in touch, I invited him to join us - so out he came. Unfortunately he found he didn't have enough gold to come in, but offered to sell a "stone of shadow" so cheaply that I couldn't resist - Red went out, bought it, and came back in, along with LostReborn. Sadly, he wasn't able to stay all that long, he got a parental ultimatum about homework...but there were plenty of other people who joined Red in ks-ing Kee.

xSirMikex had been in the same solo party as Keerella (a different party from the one RedRydeR joined), and had been asking about where he should go at level 38 for experience - I'd said he should go directly to Jail, or perhaps if he was ambitious, and had horse buffs, to the sphinx types in Dratan. He left the party to team up with a friend and go out that way - but before long the pair of them, his friend being the rogue IceKid, turned up in the Tomb, asking to ks. There was another rogue later, and for a short time a knight called Eragoon, and all in all it got a bit busy. When I finally left, that other rogue had switched to his nightshadow, with a "LCGenericName" tag which means someone took exception to his original name and the GMs changed it, and was allowing people to ks him, so for some of the group, the evening continued.

Keerella had gone up by just 0.89%, but had managed to gain 16 skill points, as well as 2901 pet points for her drake Greedo. After using three of the ultra-cheap platinum blessed irises, RedRyder had gone up by 145.63%, getting her nicely into level 65, and gained 2094 pet points, so the scheme worked pretty well. It will probably be less crowded if I use Cariae-4 for such efforts, if I can't make use of the Elizabeth's Enhancement buff for one of my characters. Maybe SirKit can ks Keerella, or how about Kaerella ks-ing Barbarienne...?

Today's big event was announced as being a "Mid-Week Parade"; I'd missed the Auzura one, but Cariae's was scheduled for ten o'clock, UK time, so Kaerella was there ready. And what a let-down it was... [GM]JediMike was in charge, and he suddenly spawned transformation scrolls and firecrackers all around the ring road in Randol. When people had picked those all up (I ended up with nine assorted transformation scrolls, plus some firecrackers), Mike spawned some flutons in the arena, and then, five minutes after it had begun, declared the mini-parade over, and vanished.

Kaerella went along to the Sarissa event at half past ten, which was entirely different, with [GM]Erock, a new gm, in charge. There was more of a parade, in that she did lead us around town, but she only dropped firecrackers, either singly or as stacks of 2403...meaning Kae ended up with 26,399 firecrackers, after using a few. Too bad they can't be sold or traded. I did ask about transformation scrolls, but there was just a vague surprise that they weren't being dropped...maybe she'd expected the codes she'd been given to include them as well as the fireworks. The circuit did end at the arena, but I didn't notice any flutons. It all seemed a bit random and erratic, though I did actually pick up an effort scroll shortly before the end.

RedRackham had been doing some work on his drake while that was going on, and got it about a third of the way through level 32 before the end of the evening.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

An Assortment of Levels

There had been a temptation to keep RedRackham pet-levelling overnight, but at the last minute I decided that it was easier just to switch off the computers and modem, and let them, like me, have a rest. Red didn't even return to his gnoll lancers at breakfast time - because, after breakfast, I knew that yesterday's campaign to power-level MistressDomina on Auzura-4 would continue.

MrChuckNorris went to the entrance to the Tomb of Theos first, as the newer computer had got yet another "itunes and quicktime update" to download and install. The Condition of the Tomb was at about 80% easy, which seemed just about good enough, so Chuck waited around there for MD to join him.

When Chuck and MD entered, in their combat party, there were a couple of Italians there, with a high-level night shadow giving a rogue, still in her 30/32 armour set, the full party recall type power-levelling treatment...though at one stage the rogue ran out of experience boosters and had to go back to town to get a final ten out of storage.

They left after about 50 minutes, and generally the place was as quiet as the, er, tomb, except for a few people running through, heading for the depths. One cleric kindly gave MD level 7 of the Charm buff - which rather strangely meant that the xpb on the current kill didn't trigger, so that MistressDomina just got about 14 million experience instead of four times that.

MistressDomina had time for threee "power hours", using the pbi and xpbs backed up by the power, platinum adrenalin, crit, and berserker potions. She started at level 75, and in the first hour reached level 77, going up 199.43% and using 81 experience boosters. The second hour took her into level 79, adding170.03% and using 80 xpbs, and the third hour got her well into level 80, with 152.30% gained, and another 81 xpbs used.

MrChuckNorris had just stood within range to supply the combat party boost, which I'd say on average adds something approaching 10% above what an ordinary solo party arrangement, say with RedRackham in Merac, would give. He got 13.50% from that... and after the potions and pbi ended, there was time for a few minutes of equal party-style fighting at the end, which meant that in total he added 17.00% and 201 pet points.

MistressDomina in all added 523.50% from her morning's efforts, and 2763 pet points. Being in level 80 now means that she can still make another combat party with Chuck - but she could also make a combat party with my Auzura archer Kaerella, on level 87. The ten hours of work while the platinum refining stones had boosted her armour had got her up by very nearly thirteen levels, which can't be bad.

There wasn't a huge amount of time for playing in the afternoon, since there were various things I had to do then which I'd normally have done in the morning. RedRackham had logged in to pet-level just before lunch, and I did log MistressDomina in to learn her new skills; on the passive side, Mage Armor 2 level 2 for 300 skill points boosted her mana regeneration, while the more active skills boosted were Flame Field, with an eighth level for 400 sp increasing its power from 250 to 300, and an eighth level of Fear, also for 400 sp, increasing the time for which one can scare away a monster from 5 to 10 seconds, with just about a 100% chance of success. All these expensive skills have cut MD's stash of unused skill points from 22k to 18k, but she does have the points currently invested in the "special" skills like processing and harvesting to fall back on if necessary.

The next thing with MistressDomina will be getting her some new armour - the 85/87 set. A quick look through Roy's merchant mart stock showed that the "b5e" items are expensive - the best deal I could see was a jacket for 400 million, and that was only +8 so would need some expensive work done on it. Still, we can wait until MD is actually level 85 or so before we get too bogged down in that side of things.

There was time for about a half-length afternoon session, so I took the opportunity to take Katar's level 33 archer version of Kaerella back out to Prokion Temple, where the back room was available. By the time the early evening food break loomed up, Kae had added 16.59%, 135 guild points for Discipline, and another 276 skill points. We'd spent a lot of skill points today, so it was nice to get some back, albeit on a different server.

RedRackham was on for some pet-levelling over the early evening food break, but then it was time for the Cariae-5 team of RedRydeR and SirKit to log on, and head for the elite sphinx speer man and his companions. Except for a brief visit from a night shadow, who fought nearby for a minute or so, the evening was quiet, and by the end RedRydeR had levelled up, reaching 64, gaining 19.11%, along with 39 skill points and 2074 pet points - which meant that her drake levelled up too, to 40. With his Elizabeth's Enhancement buff, SirKit added 96.89%, reaching level 52, and 61 skill points.

One reason for choosing that particular pair was that they could benefit from the "Happy Hour", scheduled to start at six, UK time, and promising 50% extra experience and skill exp. However, my gain on both characters stayed resolutely normal, and I found that other people were enquiring about that in the shoutbox too. Eventually PurpleFlame managed to get the GMs to confirm that the "HH" was running, and that it was just that some of us were glitched and would need to close the game and come back in, for it to start working for us. That was easy enough for Red and Kit to do, not so easy for another player who was in the end room of the Tomb of Theos, in a combat party there fighting the "commies", as we tend to call the sphinx commanders...

Back in town, RedRydeR got a further 1.63% and 15 skill points as a reward for doing her quest, which had been to kill five sphinx fighters and five sphinx speer men - and then got a new quest, to collect spider webs in the Temple of Forgetfulness. Somehow, I think killing the spiders there may be involved. A quick check showed that, while there are new skill levels to learn at 66 and 68, there is nothing to spend skill points on at level 64, so, after selling some loot and putting the personal dungeon 4 ticket away in storage, RedRydeR was able to log out. SirKit, I see, needs to go up another level before he can learn level seven of Concentration.

RedRackham went back to his gnoll lancers for an hour or so; the regular maintenance is as usual scheduled for later tonight, so he'll be logging out before then. From what the game masters were saying in the shoutbox, there doesn't seem to be a massive patch correcting the many glitches and breakages the game suffers from, to look forward to, but there may at least be some additions to the item mall, I suppose. GMs Erock, Yatou, AwesomeSauce, and Darasuum were all in the shoutbox at once, at one stage - and after taking a nomination at random of a server, [GM]AwesomeSauce held an impromptu "Whack a Fluton" rally in the arena on Cariae-5. RedRydeR did briefly leave the speer men to investigate that, but as ever there were too many people more interested in pk'ing other players than in fighting the flutons and patriarch botises spawned. I didn't see any loot spawned, though that of course would have led to another player-killing spree.