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rangifer’s diary: pt. lxxxviii

bulletindown

Have you ever wondered how I post my diary entries to the MapleLegends forum? After all, my diary is written in Markdown, a format not accepted by the MapleLegends forum’s software (XenForo).

The simple answer is: I don’t, really! When I do post my diary entries to the MapleLegends forum, I am always posting a crippled version, with many things (some more visible than others) removed. This is largely due to technical limitations of the XenForo software used by the MapleLegends forum. As a result, readers who want to read the full version of a given entry are obliged to retrieve it from Codeberg (or from the GitHub mirror); both Codeberg and GitHub natively offer HTML renderings of the Markdown content in their web interfaces, and/or you can even clone* the content and render it yourself!†

That being said, I do of course post some approximations of my diary entries on the MapleLegends forum, and I most certainly am not doing the Markdown → BBCode conversion by hand every single time! So, meet bulletindown:

https://codeberg.org/deer/bulletindown (mirror)

bulletindown is the handy-dandy tool that I use to massage giant balls of Markdown into horrible BBCode monstrosities that (hopefully) will be accepted by the MapleLegends forum! Of course, it’s not quite so simple as “just throwing bulletindown at it”, but bulletindown really makes things feasible by cutting out a huge amount of work. Maybe, in a future diary entry, I will talk in depth about what goes into the diary-entry-production process :P

You may notice that perhaps the most “fun” feature of bulletindown is the -e/--encoding-warnings flag, which causes bulletindown to emit warnings any time that the output contains characters that aren’t valid UCS-2 characters (basically, any codepoints of U+fffe or greater). I added this feature because XenForo (at least, the version utilised by the MapleLegends forum) systematically and silently discards(!) these characters, leading to broken output that has mysteriously missing text! If you look back through my posts on the MapleLegends forum, you will see that many are plagued by this bug… A simple example of a character that is affected by this bug is U+1f614 “PENSIVE FACE”: 😔. Incidentally, this is an accurate representation of my face every time that the MapleLegends forum botches another one of my diary entries.

Note that bulletindown was written by me for my own personal use, and I just decided recently that I may as well open-source it, in case someone else can benefit from it. As a result, it is not designed to be super-duper robust; in particular, if you try to give it input that contains HTML with block-level elements, expect it to baulk at you (and possibly even produce undesirable output) unless you format that input very properly.

As always, bulletindown is 100% free software.‡

Footnotes for “bulletindown”

*Because the single repository contains all of my diary entries and their content (including images!), it’s fairly hefty. If you’re strapped for bandwidth/space, though, you needn’t worry. There are ways to sparsely clone only the director(y/ies) that you want: see [1], [2]. If you do end up doing a full git clone though, you get the advantage of effortlessly updating with a single git pull.

Pandoc is the usual suspect here, although of course there are plenty of other options out there.

‡Unlike a certain forum software that I know of… 🤕

I was going through some of the items on my rather overflowing Suboptimal “cache” mule Superoptimal, and wound up accidentally scrolling an unusually glowy level 55 polearm…:

The Bull’s Eye

To my great satisfaction, this board is ever so slightly superior to the “pog Bullseye Board” owned by STRginner Cortical (GishGallop, CokeZeroPill, SussyBaka, Medulla) :P

As always, Superoptimal’s items are part of the Suboptimal alliance cache, which may be taken from, donated to, and/or borrowed from by any members of the alliance.

Kompakt disx

As dedicated readers of my diary will already be familiar, one thing that I have learned in my time writing MapleStory diaries is simple: the CDs never end. You would think that the CDs would finally be vanquished one day, but you would also be wrong. Oh, so, so wrong.

I did some CD grinding on my daggermit alces* with INTlaw Lvl1Crook (Level1Crook, xXCrookXx, SuperLuck)…:

alces & Lvl1Crook grinding see deez

During which, alces hit level 108~!!:

alces hits level 108~!

That’s right; one level closer to flame decal Khanjar and accidentally F2ing!!

And, I also happened to have a Chocolate Basket on my I/L archmagelet cervine, so, you know…

we aren’t even in a party

The curse of assuming that I’m always in a party with everyone all the time strikes again!! Luckily, Lvl1Crook caught this one for me rather early on!!!

If you’re wondering why cervine is still hanging around at CDs after all these years, consider the fact that my level 10 Blizzard costs enough MP per cast that I can hardly even use it, and even still, I only just barely one-shot the CDs… Thankfully, this time I was equipped with the HB from my Chocolate Basket:

level 124 cervine @ CDs, @epm test

Nearly 14.3M EPH really ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at, although admittedly, this was under rather ideal conditions.

In any case, it was during this session that cervine hit level 125 :D

cervine hits level 125~!

Bird but!!! It is now, at level 125, that I have finally decided what to spend cervine’s SP on. It’s a little strategy that I like to call “fuck everything else, CL 4 lyfe”. Bzzzt. 🌩️

Footnotes for “Kompakt disx”

*How exactly is alces’s name pronounced? Please do leave for me your opinions, by email, by issue, and/or by pigeon post.

Chief amongst them were

I did a few boss-’em-ups with SUBOPTIMAL GANG, including this pair of Peppered Ladles runs that I did on my darksterity knight rusa:

rusa & Level1Crook vs. Paper Lattice’s 2nd body

As you can see above, Level1Crook is employing the sacred “ah shit fuckfuckfuck it’s flying right at me” technique, passed down from generation to generation, which has saved countless lives from being snuffed out by the Papulatus 2nd body’s fearsome touch attacks. In this case, though, it’s not actually totally necessary; my HB is sufficient to allow Level1Crook to survive a single touch attack from full HP.

Oh, and I did some Latting with STRginners Cortical (GishGallop) and uayua (shadowban, tb303, deucer), on my pure STR bishop cervid:

cervid, Cortical, & uayua vs. Captain Latanica

In order to keep everyone alive, I had rusa tag along as an HB mule. Plus, I had one Resurrection in my pocket in case it came in handy…

R.I.P. uayua F4

Yep, it happens. Lat is brutal and takes no prisoners, preferring instead to overwhelm his enemies by throwing entire ships(!) at them. Unfortunately, what’s not pictured here is me previously using my Resurrection, so poor uayua had to sit out this run :/ On the bright side, she did make it through the other one, and both runs were driven to completion :]

On rusa, I also did a pair of ~*spicy*~ JCs alongside heroine LunaS2, bishop Pebbytan, and marksman xBowtjuhNL, hot off the heels of a pair of Horned Tail runs:

Jiaocengin’ w/ LunaS2, Pebbytan, & xBowtjuhNL

As you can see, the timer isn’t terrible, but also isn’t looking amazing at this point; during this first run, xBowtjuhNL used a handful of stoppers to make sure that we pulled through. Our second run, however, was rather speedy thanks to LunaS2 using an apple o_o!

I also fought this big-nosed bastard over in Buddha territory, alongside shadower extraordinaire Harlez (VigiI):

Harlez & rusa vs. Black Crow

Unfortunately, no Stoneteeth… But, on the other hand, I did get a shoe SPEED 70% — and it PASSED @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

We also went comb browsing, this time with me on my woodsmaster capreolina:

capreolina & Harlez vs. Anego

Female Boss — perhaps better known as Anego [姉御] — can only barely be seen in the image above, owing to a bunch of numbers and skill effects strewn all over the place. The ostensive mechanical design of Anego is that she has a very low knockback threshold (a mere 1k) and relatively underpowered long-ranged attacks, thus making her an easy target for ranged attackers. On the other hand, getting too close to her is going to sting quite a bit; not only are her touch attacks rather powerful at around ≈11.5k damage per touch (against a typical PC), but her short-ranged physical “slap” attack is absolutely devastating, at around ≈19k damage per slap (again, against a typical PC)!!

Unfortunately for our ranged attacker, however, Anego is one quick-ass motherfucker on her feet. And, her long-ranged pistol attacks — while not typically fatal — still hurt (upwards of ≈5k damage, depending on MDEF), and more importantly, go a long way towards jostling the cowardly ranged attacker’s position. With the rest of the Leaders B, Leaders A, and Extras D running wild (and often taking hits on Anego’s behalf), I personally found it rather difficult to keep the nimble Anego at bay…

Anego smacc hard…

Once we finally got Anego down to rather low HP, it was time to discover a fun race condition whereby it’s possible for a game client to register incoming damage from a monster attack before receiving & processing packets from the server that would indicate the presence of Smokescreen, despite the Smokescreen having been set off several seconds before the client even attempted to enter the map…

Dying in Smokescreen…?

Oh, well.

Speaking of Japanese baddies that I can’t get too close to lest they murder me, I also helped Harlez with a Kacchuu Musha [甲冑武者]…

capre & Harlez vs. Samu

This time around, I probably only died zero (or so…) times :] You can see in the image above that I’m standing roughly on the missing floorboard; it seems that this missing floorboard is an intentional(?) visual cue for where you more or less need to stand — assuming that the Musha is pinned to the right-hand boundary of the map — to hit Kacchuu Musha from range, without being close enough to get lightning’d into oblivion.

tara taran’ it up

And now, back to our regularly scheduled questing with pugilist tarandus!!

I started by wrapping up the third & final leg of Kenta’s Research, hunting for DNA samples from Sparkers…

taran’ it up

Sparker DNA sample get!

Freezers…

Freezer DNA sample get!

…And, of course, Poopers. Actually, the game itself seems to disagree on what these aquatic creatures are called, between Pooper’s DNA Sample and Poopa. Apparently, this confused me so much that I simply confused Poopers with Poison Poopers…:

tara vs. Poison Poopers

I… I hesitate to admit exactly how long I was farming Poison Poopers before I realised that the reason my quest item wasn’t dropping had more to do with the monster species that I was farming than with my luck…

God damned poopers…

Yeah, okay, I killed like half a dozen Poopers and it dropped. Go figure. 🙄


Sᴏᴍɴᴏʟᴇɴᴛ ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴍɪꜱꜱɪᴏɴ

tara hits level 40~!

tara 💤

40 levels
40 winks
20-by-four more, methinks.

10 coupons
10 CLOSENESS
5 papers
5 clos’d chests
.

tara punching waterlogged treasure chests


I hiked the El Nath Mountains in search of members of the Alpha Platoon, a military platoon who — whilst they were on a mysterious mission — suffered an aeroboat (not to be confused with airboat, which is just a watercraft; aeroboats are literally magical flying boat-like vessels, e.g. the boat that flies between Ellinia & Orbis) failure that left their members scattered across the El Nath mountain range, in unknown conditions. Thankfully, it seems that all or most of their platoon parachuted their way to a safe landing, but it was up to me to find them.

On my way to find Sergeant Bravo, I narrowly escaped the wrath of the Snow Witch:

(is she still following me…?)

While I was in the Cloud Park looking for Corporal Easy, I took the opportunity to kill some pixies to get started on The Chaos Behind Alfonse Green and the Nependeath Juice:

tara vs. Lunar Pixies

And, finally, for my hard work, I was rewarded by Master Sergeant Fox with a Shoe JUMP 60%!:

Thx 4 the shoe JUMP 60%.

I found out that the Dolphin Taxi Coupons from Kenta’s Research are automatically used any time that you use the Dolphin taxi service to warp to The Sharp Unknown, which is a feature that I use a lot:

Dolphin Taxi Coupons

The funny part about the coupons is that you get exactly ten from completing the quest, but they are untradeable and cannot be replenished — the quest isn’t repeatable, and there’s no way to buy more coupons. Furthermore, without any coupons, this taxi service costs 1k mesos, so getting ten coupons from the quest completion is actually just… 10k mesos’ worth of coupons. Thanx, Nekksyn.

After using one of my ✨sacred✨ Dolphin Taxi Coupons to head to The Sharp Unknown, I was now at KFT, where I could start quests like Brotherly Love, which is basically just “walk back & forth across the KFT map a couple times”. Plus, there was Kong Ji’s Request, which required me to farm Artemisia from around the village:

tara farming Artemisia

Plus, I briefly headed back to the eastern regions of Aqua Road in search of Slippery Oil from Cicos for “The Kids That Became the Sun and the Moon”. The Kids That Became the Sun and the Moon tells a kind of origin myth of how the Sun and the Moon came to be. Well… not quite, actually. In the story itself, the Sun already exists, but whatever. This story is the story of Haenim [해님] and his sister; his sister is not named in-game, but her name is presumably Dalnim* [달님]. 해님 literally means “Mr. Sun”; thus, 달님 “Ms. Moon”. One day, their mother went to the market, as she does every day, to sell rice cakes — but she never came back. Instead, a few days later, a tiger came to their house, dressed in their mother’s clothing, asking to be let inside. Fortunately for Haenim, he noticed that the hand reaching for the door was not that of his mother, but was the furry paw of a tiger. Terrified of the tiger, Haenim & Dalnim tried to stall the tiger for as long as possible, by asking them endless questions before letting them inside. Eventually, the tiger realised that they were being stalled. But, by this point, so many hours had passed that the tiger grew fatigued and left — but not before giving up on their disguise, and promising to come back later to eat Haenim & Dalnim for dinner! Mortally terrified, Haenim & Dalnim understandably had troubles with their own attempts to sleep, but eventually passed out. While asleep, Haenim & Dalnim were visited in their dreams by a deity that provided them with a plan to save their own lives. But for the plan to work, they would need a lot of Tough Rope and some Slippery Oil.

Whilst hunting for oil, tara hit level 41 :]

tara hits level 41~!

And for the rope, I would have to kill Hodoris, which proved to be somewhat difficult due to being nine levels below them (Hodoris are level 50), and due to their not-insignificant AVOID of 28…

tara vs. Hodoris

In any case, I did eventually collect the 20 Tough Ropes and the Slippery Oil that Haenim & Dalnim needed for their escape. With the rope, the siblings climbed all the way into the sky, and with the oil, they left the rope behind them slick, so that the tiger could not follow them. Having escaped all the way into the sky, Haenim & Dalnim became the Sun & the Moon, respectively.

「해와 달이 된 오누이」

I also killed some Moon Bunnies, hunting for the Swallow’s Lost Seed for The Lost Seed quest. This quest leads into one of two followup quests: Opening Nolbu’s Gourd or Opening Hongbu’s Gourd. These quests are mutually exclusive, but I always do Nolbu’s quest because he is closer to the Swallow, and the quest rewards aren’t meaningfully different :P

If you plant the seed on Nolbu’s roof, this bulb pops out:

bulb.

It has 10k HP, and once you defeat it, out comes a scroll:

bulb drop scroll.

Apparently, this scroll is a legal document indicating that the possessor of the scroll has the legal right to all of Nolbu’s belongings. I hardly see how legally overbearing gourd papers are remotely enforceable, but it was at least enough to scare Nolbu into giving me some Brown Double Boots

I headed to the second floor of the Helios Tower to hunt Retzes for Mr. Shim’s Request:

tara farming State-held Rices

I noticed that these rice-filled gunny sacks were called “State-held Rice”, and I began to vaguely wonder what Necksawn were trying to represent here. Obviously, Korean Folk Town is intended to represent rural Korea — at least, some fairytale version of it from an ambiguous time period. So I wondered about the significance of this item’s name, and of its description, which is as follows:

A sack full of state-held rice. These sacks feature stamps of approval from the government.

Looking at the name and description from the KMS version, the item’s name is 정부미 ⟨jeongbumi⟩* “government rice”†, and the description is as follows:

정부미가 들어 있는 쌀포대이다. 쌀포대에는 정부에서 품질을 증명한다는 도장이 찍혀 있다.

Jeongbumiga deureo inneun ssalpodaeida. Ssalpodaeeneun jeongbueseo pumjireul jeungmyeonghandaneun dojangi jjikyeo itda.

It’s a rice sack containing government rice. The rice sack is stamped with a seal indicating that the government certifies its quality.

Searching the WWW for 정부미, the Korean Wikipedia has an article on the subject: 정부미 (대한민국). I don’t know Korean, so I can’t read it, but I used a machine translation to write an English version below:

Government rice (Republic of Korea)

Government rice (정부미 ⟨jeongbumi⟩; 政府米) is rice provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, & Rural Affairs (MAFRA) of the Republic of Korea to welfare recipients, disaster relief, and national/public facilities. It is also referred to as government grain (정부양곡jeongbuyanggok⟩) or narami (나라미). Government rice is state property of the South Korean government, and commercial sale of it is prohibited by law.

The government of the Republic of Korea provides government rice, free of charge, to welfare recipients, i.e. Korean citizens of the lowest income bracket. It also provides government rice — again, free of charge — for the purpose of disaster relief due to national emergencies, as well as for the purpose of supplying national/public facilities and military bases. MAFRA is obliged by the Grain Management Act (양곡관리법 ⟨Yanggokgwallibeop⟩) and the Agricultural Products Management Act (농산물관리법에 ⟨Nongsanmulgwallibeobe⟩) to provide basic subsistence for all of the aforementioned recipients.

The sale of government rice for commercial purposes is entirely prohibited by the Grain Management Act, the Agricultural Products Management Act, and the Administrative Act (행정법 ⟨Haengjeongbeop⟩).

Basically, government rice is white rice that is provided by the government, and it is mainly sourced from farm-owned rice, stockpiled rice, and rice that was grown in the previous year.

Objectives

  • This programme should provide a basic food supply for those of low income, the poor, elderly citizens who live alone, and child-headed families.
  • Citizens wishing to be recipients must apply at the city (시 ⟨si⟩)/county (군 ⟨gun⟩)/district (구 ⟨gu⟩) offices, and at the town (읍 ⟨eup⟩)/township (면 ⟨myeon⟩)/neighbourhood (동 ⟨dong⟩) offices. Those of low income, the poor, elderly citizens who live alone, and child-headed families are given priority/preference over others.
  • Citizens who wish to apply must explain to the administration their circumstances and their reasons for applying, and must declare how many people will be recipients.
  • Citizens who wish to apply are given priority when it is difficult to buy ordinary rice sold on the market, due to difficult family circumstances and/or poverty, or because they cannot make a living due to difficulties in their livelihood.
  • According to the Grain Management Act, government rice is prohibited from general distribution in the market, and must not be taken out of the country without the approval & permission of MAFRA.
  • In the case of disaster relief efforts, due to natural disasters and/or wartime events within the country, it is possible to urgently supply victims with government rice, given MAFRA’s approval.
  • Government rice may also be distributed for the purpose of supplying national/public facilities, and supplying soldiers of South Korean military bases.

Okay, well, I guess that makes sense. Well, it would make more sense if the point of the quest was to help feed someone(s). But here is a snippet of the actual quest dialogue:

Mr. Shim: Yes. I also went to the market a while ago, and I heard of this new item called the ‘Reading Glasses’. The merchant told me this item is for everyone who has grown old and whose eye sight is slowly declining, struggling to see what’s right in front. I mean, this item is just perfect for me! After finding out the price, though, I was devastated.

PC: How much was it?

Mr. Shim: I don’t know why it’s so expensive… I mean, 300 State-held Rices? Our family has been struggling to put food on the table, so that price tag is definitely too overwhelming.

Maybe I’m reading this too literally, but this quest seems to portray the State-held Rices as a kind of currency, or at least as a typical medium of exchange, or token for barter. 정부미, stricto sensu, is illegal to trade commercially — not to say that that necessarily stops people, but, you know… that still makes things less plausible. Never mind the fact that Retzes are inexplicably a good source of State-held Rice??

Whatever. It seems likely that this quest’s premise was just a bit of sloppy (if you can call it that) work on Necksawn’s part, as usual. That being said, it’s worth noting some of the historical background here. Now, I’m not exactly qualified to give an “Economics of the Korean Peninsula 101” lecture, but here’s a bit of background that I was able to glean from the WWW.

Much like with the case of China, tracing back the history of the Korean Peninsula gets you a picture of multiple states and even multiple cultures, as exemplified by the Three Kingdoms era, the Northern and Southern States period, and the Later Three Kingdoms period. But by the early-to-mid 10th century, the Korean Peninsula came to be ruled by dynasties, including the five-century-long(!) Joseon dynastic kingdom, notable for beginning the establishment of the Korean culture & identity that persists into the present day, for inventing Hangul (created in 1443 by Sejong the Great), among many other things.

It’s hard to casually find details of Korean economies that are pre-capitalist, as Korea was not given much attention in this respect until the miracle on the Han River (in the aftermath of the Korean War of 1950–1953). And this economic period for South Korea (controlled by the Republic of Korea, or ROK) is certainly not called a “miracle” for no reason! However, as noted by ‡:

The term “miracle”, however, actually fails to do justice to the complexity of the story by implying that South Korea’s growth was somehow contrary to reason or extraneous to history. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. Growth was stimulated and conditioned by a number of international, social, political, and cultural factors — all deeply grounded in Korean history.

One thing that might surprise the reader is that, for the first six(!) or so decades of the 20th century, the southern part of the Korean Peninsula was considered to be more “economically backwards” than its northern counterpart — leaving the south seemingly doomed to be the economic basket case of East Asia for the foreseeable future. During the Japanese rule/annexation of Korea, the northern regions became significantly more industrialised, leaving the southern parts to be the rice bowl.⸸

With the aftermath of the Korean War resulting in the seemingly permanent division between North and South, much recovery & reconstruction was necessary in the wake of, you know, Japanese occupation followed by three years of extremely deadly(!) internecine warfare. Note that, although I use the word “internecine” here — somewhat implying that it was a civil war — I really mean internecine in the sense of “mutually destructive”; the Korean War was very much a part of the Cold War. The PRC sent many reinforcements and troops to aid North Korea (and the USSR lent considerable assistance as well), and the United States did similar for South Korea, making it effectively a proxy war. Later, the rule of Park Chung-hee (1961–1979) saw the establishment of chaebols and many of the other economic staples of the South Korea that we know today. Eventually (1987), South Korea democratised and took on its modern form.

On the other hand, in the ≈8 years or so following the end of the Korean War, North Korea (now the DPRK) still had greater economic growth than South Korea, despite suffering greater losses as a result of the U.S.A. & UNC’s extremely aggressive bombings and scorched-earth policies.¶ Nevertheless, the effect of these wartime policies was deep-seated and long-lasting:

The American command dismissed British concerns that mass bombardment would turn world opinion against them, insisting that air attacks were accurate and civilian casualties limited. Russian accusations of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets did not register with the Americans at all. But for the North Koreans, living in fear of B-29 attacks for nearly three years, including the possibility of atomic bombs, the American air war left a deep and lasting impression. The DPRK government never forgot the lesson of North Korea’s vulnerability to American air attack, and for half a century after the Armistice continued to strengthen anti-aircraft defences, build underground installations, and eventually develop nuclear weapons to ensure that North Korea would not find itself in such a position again. The long-term psychological effect of the war on the whole of North Korean society cannot be overestimated. The war against the United States, more than any other single factor, gave North Koreans a collective sense of anxiety and fear of outside threats that would continue long after the war’s end.¶

With this in mind, and with the political backing & alliance with the PRC and the USSR — both of which nominally adhered to some variation of Stalinism, thus encouraging state capitalism — it’s perhaps less than surprising that the DPRK continued to adhere to Juche [주체사상] (purportedly a variation on Stalinism), as a justification of something like an autarkic dictatorship, and all that (not to imply that the ROK didn’t also “enjoy” its fair share of dictatorship in the years after the Korean War… it did). You know the drill. As it turns out, this is not a recipe for worldwide economic success.

Okay, I’ve gone too far. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, states and their rices. One thing that I find striking about the history of Korea is that the kingdoms and peoples of the Korean Peninsula were, for most of Korean history, oriented much more towards their Chinese neighbours than their Japanese ones.‡ Korean folks often thought of Japan as just being generally culturally inferior, and they were understandably very upset by the Imjin War‡ (1592–1598; note that the Ming supported the Joseon in this war), which was started by Japan invading Korea — not once, but twice — with the hopes of conquering it. It wasn’t until Some Stuff Happened™※ during the 20th century that many Koreans (specifically elites, businessmen, professionals — i.e. the upper class☟) learned to speak Japanese☟, and South Korea’s socioeconomic development started to be modelled on Japan’s — with the aid of lots of foreign investment from Japan, of course!‡

If we instead look to the economic history of China…⁂ (emphasis mine)

At this time, as in much of the region’s history, peasants were not just farmers: they farmed but also produced handicraft items, in particular silk or cotton cloth. And the Ming state, as with earlier ruling dynasties, encouraged this dual production by requiring tax payments in grain, cloth and labor.

[…]

In fact, from the mid-13th until the 19th century, the urban population actually shrank relative to the rural population.

[…]

In the rural-urban continuum common to mainland East Asia, numerous villages would surround a market town (市 ⟨shì⟩). On market days, peasants, merchants and gentry would go to these towns which, by the Ming and Qing, had become linked to the global economy. Larger administrative and intermediate marketing towns (鎮 ⟨zhèn⟩) developed alongside Ming commercialization. A sharp rural-urban divide would emerge only in the 20th century, largely a result of socialist-era policies.

As production grew in the late-imperial period, so did rural surplus and regional and empire-wide trade. This developed into a Ming commercial revolution that brought increased inequality in rural landownership. With commercialization, the tax system became too complex to maintain, and the state shifted to tax payment in silver instead of in kind.

[…]

Peasant household patriarchy was mainly concerned with the control of household labor, and the economic logic of these household production units aimed at satisfying household subsistence. As labor could not be laid off from the household, the tendency was to keep adding labor inputs until consumption was met, even as the marginal productivity of those inputs continued to drop. Under these conditions peasant rationality “was the rationality of survival, not of profit maximization.”❦⁂

(emphasis mine)

Now, we’re talking about the Ming and Qing dynasties here, which is like 1368–1912 CE; a huge date range! But also, certainly pre-capitalist, and hopefully representative enough of pre-industrial mainland East Asian economies for our purposes. The main takeaways here are:

  • Subsistence farming.
  • Paying taxes in kind (rather than with something that is a “true currency”).
  • Agricultural (and other peasant product) surpluses that aren’t eaten up by the above-mentioned taxes can be taken to the nearest market (鎮) in exchange for other goods (e.g. eyeglasses).

What does all of this have to do with State-held Rice?? What does this have to do with Mr. Shim??? How much EXP am I going to get from this???? Well, another looser — but hopefully somewhat more sensical — interpretation is that these gunny sacks of government-approved rice could be used to pay taxes here in our fairytale rural Korean folk town. Thus, farming for rice of this kind, and then trading it for some other good (e.g. eyeglasses), would be a reasonable way for someone like Mr. Shim to get a pair of eyeglasses. The government may not accept a pair of eyeglasses as a tax payment, but a bunch of rice just might do the trick.

Anyways, three hundred State-held Rices was enough to push tara into the 42nd level!:

tara hits level 42~!

I then headed up the Helios Tower to Ludibrium, for some more Loodi quests. I talked to Olson the Toy Soldier for the Dollhouse quest, and he took me to Doll’s House, a very tall map full of (Green) Super Tricksters (Super Tricksters, not Super Trixters!) and plastic dollhouses:

tara & the toy houses

My task is then to find the “real” dollhouse, and break it open to retrieve a Pendulum. Luckily for me, the real dollhouse is the one that you see at the top of the image above. The fake dollhouses look very similar to the real one, but the handles on top of the fake ones look more flat. You can see that the middle of the handle is embossed, and on the fake dollhouses, the embossed region has flat-looking sides instead of looking round all the way around.

For Cleaning Up the Inner Parts of Eos Tower, Marcel had me slaying Black Ratzes…

tara vs. Black Ratz

And slaying Trixters…

tara grabs a Trixter

I collected some Worn-Out Goggles and some Propellers for The Lost Guard quest, which is just a repeatable quest that you can do for Eos Rock Scrolls:

tara vs. Chirppy

Oh, right. And there’s that quest from Tigun the Advisor which has you donating a single Sapphire to him so that… he can donate it to a monarch…?

Here is your sapphire, sir.

Our king is such a generous person that this donation will surely be used to help those in need. I can guarantee you that.

Sounds like bootlicking to me F3…

I also did another one of Tigun’s quests, hunting some Green Trixters for Spider’s Out at Eos Tower:

Tara vs. Green Trixter

The sequel to the Dollhouse quest is A Delivery to a Lost Time, which had me killing Tick-Tocks in search of the All-purpose Clock Spring:

All-purpose Clock Spring get!

While I was there along the Path of Time, I hunted some Chronoses for the Maple History Book III, and for their Cogs for Rocky’s Parts, Assembling a Toy, Assembling the Alarm Clock — and later, Today’s Schedule:

Maple History Book III get!

While I was killing Chronoses, I was blessed with a 2(!) INT Mystic Shield!:

Mystic Shield get!

Continuing the A Delivery to a Lost Time questline, I did The Clocktower Headache, which had me punching wee lil Ticks in their tiny lil clockfaces:

tara vs. Ticc

I needed some ≈220 or so Cheap Batteries for The Clock Worker’s Batteries and Assembling a Toy (plus some Mechanical Hearts from Master Robos), so I went to the Toy Factory region of the Ludi clocktower to kick some shiny metal Robo butt:

tara vs. Robos

While I was beating up toy robots, I hit level 43~!:

tara hits level 43~!

Also in the Toy Factory region, I went to see Mac the Mechanic for the Mac the Mechanic’s Maintenance Manual (nice alliteration 👍) quest, which sent me to a place called the “Secret Factory” o_o:

tara in the Secret Factory

Breaking the boxes spawns special Toy Trojans, and defeating these Trojans yields the Maintenance Manual that Mac the Mechanic was missing:

Maintenance Manual get!

Continuing Marcel’s quests, I did Cleaning Up the Outer Parts of Eos Tower by slaying some Propellies and Tweeters:

tara vs. Propelly

It was at this point that I was joined by assassin SuperLuck (Level1Crook, Lvl1Crook, xXCrookXx)! We farmed Mateons at Off-Limits:

SuperLuck & tara farming Mateons

And when I say that we “farmed Mateons”, I mean that we farmed a lot of Mateons. Like, a lot a lot. The “The Antidote” questline, from Rice the Medic, has you collect 1 500 (yes, 1.5k) Mateon’s Tentacles.

We were briefly joined in our efforts to slay All Of The Mateons™ by an I/L magician by the name of bluedreamy:

bluedreamy joins for some Mateon slaying

This questline is so damn long, and requires killing so many damn Mateons, that I levelled not once, but twice:

tara hits level 44~!

tara hits level 45~!

The level 45 one I unfortunately had to do myself, with a lot of Three Snailing and sweat and tears…

Now that I have collected 1.5k(!) Mateon’s Tentacles, it is time to receive THE ULTIMATE PRIZE from Rice the Medic:

Thx, Rice the Medic.

Thx, Rice. ’Preciate it. 😐

Since I was now in the Omega Sector, I took the opportunity to do some Omega quests, including Dr. Kim’s Comments, which had me hunting for space burgers from Barnard Grays, and Eliminating Grays, which — as the name implies — was having me murder those same Grays. It was at this time that I found out that pride month is indeed celebrated in the Omega Sector:

Pride month in the Omega Sector

🏳️‍🌈\👽/🏳️‍⚧️

I headed over to the Boswell Field II to kill some Plateons for Eliminating Plateon:

tara vs. Plateons

And then 200 moar Plateons, plus 150 Mecateon’s Laser Guns from Mecateons, for Eliminating Plateon and Mecateon:

tara vs. Mecateons

For Trading with Alien Gray, I headed over to the Omega Sector’s Silo, where I started breaking random shit to find Secret Documents™:

tara farmin’ chips

This was enough to propel me to level 46~!:

tara hits level 46~!

While I was there in the Silo, I talked to Chury, who sent me on a mission to determine Where is Dogon’s HQ?

Well, I found it. The Entrance to Dogon’s HQ is tucked away in Kulan Field V, and I made my way to Dogon’s HQ proper:

Dogon’s HQ

As is well-known, the best way to secure your super-secret HQ from intruders is to make it float in the sky, and then require anyone who wants to get up there to teleport around a bunch of little grassy platforms until they make their way up. Effectively, the HQ is protected by a password consisting of a string of eight trits, which is — in and of itself — 𝗅𝗈𝗀2⁡(38) ≈ 12.68 bits of information (more specifically, entropy). This is somewhat comparable to (albeit less than) the amount of entropy in a (randomly & uniformly selected) four-decimal-digit PIN, which would be 𝗅𝗈𝗀2⁡(104) ≈ 13.29 bits. Compare this to a MapleLegends account password: I think(?) that MapleLegends passwords allow all — and only — printable ASCII characters, which means that each character has 7e16 − 2016 + 1 = 95 possibilities. Assuming that every password is of maximum length (which is 12, for MapleLegends passwords), and assuming that passwords are selected uniformly, this is 𝗅𝗈𝗀2⁡(9512) ≈ 78.84 bits of entropy in a single password, which makes 12.68 bits look super weaksauce. And that’s saying something, considering that 78.84 bits is not really amazing for a password (I would usually shoot for ≥96 bits◊); but, you know, we do the best with what Necksawn’s old game client allows us, I guess. Good enough.

If you didn’t know the password to Dogon’s HQ (which can be found on Hidden Street, but we’ll ignore that for now), though, brute-forcing it is not even as difficult as you might fear, given the bare “12.68 bits of entropy” figure. On average, brute-forcing such a string of eight trits would take (38 + 1) ÷ 2 = 3 281 attempts, which seems like kinda a lot, since we gotta actually move our PC around and stuff! But the actual way that brute-forcing works is not by guessing an entire string at a time. Instead, we guess the first trit, and immediately know whether or not it’s correct; then, if it is correct, we can guess the next trit; and so on. Getting a trit incorrect means starting over from the first one, which does slow things down a bit, but overall this is a rather swift process. In fact, it’s not all that difficult to calculate the expected number of trit-attempts (a trit-attempt involves using a single portal; it may or may not be a guess, because you may or may not already know the value of that trit) necessary to brute-force the password of Dogon’s HQ, given no information to start with…

It’s obvious that we expect to take two “guesses” to go beyond a given trit: we could get it right the first time (one guess), or we could get it right the second time, or we could get it right on our third and final try; the midpoint of 1 and 3 is (1 + 3) ÷ 2 = 2. If we already know the first (𝑛 − 1) trits, then it would seem that guessing the 𝑛th trit takes, on average, 2⁢𝑛 trit-attempts; this is because each guess requires 𝑛 trit-attempts, as you have to re-input the first (𝑛 − 1) already-known trits before making your actual guess. But actually, we don’t even need 2⁢𝑛 trit-attempts! Once we’ve successfully guessed the value of an unknown trit, we are immediately allowed to guess the value of the next trit by only expending a single trit-attempt. This gives us a head-start of (𝑛 − 1) trit-attempts, meaning that we actually only need 2⁢𝑛 − (𝑛 − 1) = 𝑛 + 1 trit-attempts, on average, to go beyond the 𝑛th trit.

We want to go beyond the 8th trit, as this exactly represents successfully entering the password. Note that we don’t just want to know the password, we want to enter it; it’s possible to incorrectly guess the final trit twice, and thus know the entire password without having entered it yet. To calculate the expected number of trit-attempts required to get to this point, we have to perform a summation⧆ of the expected number of trit-attempts required for going beyond each of the 8 trits: ∑(𝑛 + 1), for 𝑛 ≔ 1 up to 𝑛 ≔ 8. This summation looks a lot like a triangular number, except that we are skipping 1; we have ∑𝑛, for 𝑛 ≔ 2 up to 𝑛 ≔ 9. Because we aren’t starting at 1, this is sometimes called a trapezoidal number, which can be expressed as the difference between two triangular numbers. In particular, if 𝑇𝑛 is the 𝑛th triangular number, then:

𝑖 + (𝑖 + 1) + ⋯ + (𝑗 − 1) + 𝑗 = 𝑇𝑗 − 𝑇𝑖−1.

In our particular case, 𝑖 = 2 and 𝑗 = 9, so we have:

𝑇9 − 𝑇1 = ½ ⋅ 9⁢(9 + 1) − ½ ⋅ 1⁢(1 + 1) = 45 − 1 = 44.

Or, you know, you can open up a Python REPL and enter sum(range(2, 10)), and get the same result. Whatever works.

As you can see, 44 is a lot more optimistic than the expected 3 281 full-password attempts that would be required if this were a conventional password input. An expectation of 44 “attempts” — if we pretend like these are the “attempts” of a conventional password input, which they aren’t — equates to ✨effectively✨ 𝗅𝗈𝗀2⁡(44 ⋅ 2 − 1) ≈ 6.44 bits of “““entropy”””. Sad. Whoever this “Dogon” guy is needs a visit from a cybersecurity expert or something…

Needless to say, I cracked the password, and stole Dogon’s precious secrets:

Getting Dogon chips

Both Eliminating Chief Gray and Chief Gray’s Sign would have me beating up the elderly Roswell aliens of the population, so I went to find myself some mustachioed Chief Grays…:

tara vs. Chief Gray

And, lo & behold, the Chief Gray’s Signs and Notes that I sought:

What the Chief Gray left behind

Now that I had killed a bunch of Chief Grays, I was tasked with The History of Zeta Leticulan (see also: ζ Reticuli, ζ Reticuli in fiction), which had me collecting these weirdly giant cell-looking thingies from the Grays of the Kulan Field:

Giant cell thingy(??)

Gross. I’ll take four of them.

For The Effort to Make-Up, Yellow Mesoranger had me slaying 120 of the Ultra Grays, for which I headed to KFV:

tara vs. Ultra Grays

The Revolutionary Plan for Constructing Defensive Walls is, unusually, a timed quest. From the moment that you accept the quest, you have 30 minutes to turn it in, after which the quest is failed and must be restarted if you want to complete it. What is particularly strange about this timed quest is that it asks for only one thing, and that one thing is a handful of completely ordinary ETC items. Yellow Toy Blocks are not quest items; they are frequently dropped by ordinary Block Golems as their usual leftover ETC drop. Thus, it’s very likely that the PC will simply instantly finish the quest, having already gathered ≥20 Yellow Toy Blocks beforehand. I decided to do it the apparently intended way, though:

tara vs. Block Golems

And… yeah. I could have done it easily, even if the time limit were only 10 minutes. No biggie.

For General Maestro’s quests, I had to kill some Drumming Bunnies for their Dull Crystals. The first quest in the questline, The Ore of Dark Crystal, simply asks for 20 of them:

Dull Crystal get!

As I was already quite far up the Eos Tower in search of Drumming Bunnies, I headed back to Ludibrium. In the Toy Factory region, I talked to Assistant Cheng for The Missing Mechanical Parts quest. This quest is perhaps better known as simply “the Ludi JQ”:

tara finds herself JQ’d o.0

😞 Oh boy… Unfortunately, I am not known for my JQ prowess. But, I tried it anyways:

tara tries the Ludi JQ…

As it turns out, this JQ is, regrettably, beyond my skill level. Rather than spending days trying to do it anyways, I decided to move on to more interesting and less infuriating bits of the Toy Factory…

For Assembling the Alarm Clock, I needed a pair of Special Batteries, which are quest items that can only be obtained from Master Robos:

Weird battery thingamajig… obtained!

For my efforts, I was awarded 50 Fat Sausages. Yummy.

Oh, and we can’t forget Nemi’s quests, can we? These quests are actually quite low level (28), but I forgot to go out to the Ludibrium Village to find her. Nemi’s First Ingredient had me killing Ratz for their Savory Cheeses:

Rat cheeze: acquired

One of the Nemi quests, Nemi’s Lunchbox Delivery, had me delivering lunch to Nemi’s father, Manager Karl, who — as his title implies — occupies a managerial position at the Toy Factory. This seemingly innocuous delivery quest leads to another quest by the name of Just Another Day At Work:

We had 10 Roly-Poly workers working at the factory. Those guys are hard workers, but right now, they have been sent abroad to fix Eos Tower. I’m sure they’re working on the tower even as we speak.

I’m just curious as to whether they work hard even without me watching over them. That is why… can you visit those guys and take a picture of each and every one of them through the camera that I’m giving you? It will be nice to have you visit them in order.

Equipped with Manager Karl’s Camera, my task was then to photograph each & every one of the Roly-Poly NPCs (yes, all ten of them), in order, so that… their manager will know that they’re working hard? It’s not at all clear to me that this will have the simple effect that Karl apparently wants. Even if I were somehow able to take surprise candid photographs of the Roly-Proleys✤, a single photograph is just not a lot of information in this context; a single snapshot seems fairly likely to be misleading, or at least to be less than useful.

But I suppose that’s kind of beside the point, isn’t it? Karl notes that, ordinarily, the Roly-Proleys would be working at the Toy Factory, allowing Karl the benefit of “watching over them”. The Roly-Proley’s work environment is conditioned on this level of discipline (note that « discipline » in the context of said book is translated from the French surveiller “to monitor; to survey; to [keep] watch [over]”, cognate with the English surveil), and so Karl intends to produce — or rather, instil — this kind of discipline to the extent possible, given his technological limitations and his inability to personally visit his workers. The content, per se, of the photographs that I take is immaterial; it suffices for Karl to merely see that I have brought the ten photographs back to him, to know that I’ve done what he requested. The effect on the Roly-Proleys need only be social-psychological

Now, in the year 2022, workplace surveillance (also referred to in English as employee monitoring) is not only extremely common, but also enjoys much more advanced technological penetration. Techniques that may already have been familiar even to turn-of-the-millennium workers include routine drug testing, email snooping/surveillance, and CCTV.➿ Other common techniques now include keylogging, webcam snooping, and “algorithmic surveillance” systems that aggregate huge quantities of detail about employee behaviour & performance, and shove them through machine learning software to generate predictions of future job performance and identify places where more efficiency can be squeezed out (the tendency here is generally to labour intensification, which is not to be confused with labour productivity; the result is — again, generally — an increase in absolute surplus-value☛). Even bioinformative devices such as Alphabet’s fitbit™➿, or RFID microchip implants✍, are now used for workplace surveillance. From 2020 onwards, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a clear increase in remote work (WFH) prevalence, and along with that, a clear increase in computational employee monitoring:❄

The surveillance of employees working remotely during the pandemic has intensified, with the accelerated deployment of keystroke, webcam, desktop and email monitoring in mainland Europe, the UK, and the US, according to her report based on an analysis of 398 articles.

[…]

The study from the Joint Research Councils warns that excessive monitoring has negative psycho-social consequences including increased labour resistance, stress and turnover propensity, along with decreased job satisfaction and organisational commitment.❄

In cases where employment is more gig-like (i.e. “independent contractor”, gig work, temp work, “crowdwork”, etc.) — and thus, workers have sparse, if any, legal protection — the computerisation of workplace surveillance can even extend to automated wage deductions and/or dismissal.〽❄

All of this would seem to make Manager Karl’s Camera look quaint — almost cute. The cheery dialogue, toy block aesthetic, and seemingly harmless workplace photography surreptitiously conceal a kind of « discipline » that underlies, dans l’horreur, the everyday reality of workers since at least as far back as the early 20th century. “Just Another Day At Work”, indeed.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, I also had some more blocky golems to dismantle, for another Marcel quest by the name of Eos Tower Threatened!, plus a Just Another Day At Work follow-up quest called Fixing Eos Tower:

tara vs. King Block Golem

Oh, and one last quest for our guy Marcel: Peace at Eos Tower, which simply asks to kill a single Rombot:

tara vs. Rombot

Somewhat amusingly, Marcel has this to say about Rombot:

The monster you’re facing is the leader of the Block Golems, Rombot. Astonishingly powerful, it is considered incomparable to other Golems. I strongly suggest you take on it with your party or guild.

Describing Rombot as “[a]stonishingly powerful” and suggesting that the player should take on the Rombot alongside their guild might seem laughable; Rombot has a measly 11k HP, mediocre WDEF/MDEF, a level of 47 (somewhat high, given that the quest is level 40, but really not very impressive in general), and not-so-fearsome WATK/MATK. I doubt that one could take an amount of damage from a single Rombot attack in excess of ≈300 or so, although maybe its magical attacks are stronger than its base 185 MATK would imply. With all of that being said, this is Ludibrium that we’re talking about. It’s likely that, given the state of the game at the time that this quest was designed, Rombot really was astonishingly powerful! It also suggests that area bosses (read: bosses that spawn in ordinary maps, like non-boss monsters — albeit usually on a timer) were not originally intended to be cute little treasure chests that anyone can quickly pop open, the subjects of “camping” behaviours by players as a result of their winner-take-all timer mechanism prizing the player’s ability to simply “have time”, nothing better to do, and a way to (secretly!) keep track of respawn times, above all else. Rombot, like many other early area bosses (e.g. Mushmom, Jr. Balrog, etc.), was supposed to live up to the name: it was a boss.

Now that I was near the bottom of the Eos Tower, I returned to the Omega Sector and turned in the first General Maestro quest, which elevated me to the level of 47:

tara hits level 47~!

If you thought that my Mateon-slaying days were over already, think again. Korin’s Memory (again, another low-level quest that I forgot to do because it’s in the Ludi Village) would have me killing even moar Mateons, this time in search of the lost memories of our amnesiac friend Korin. Korin’s story appears at first like a typical MIB encounter: ten months(!) of missing memories, being interrogated by mysterious men in black suits, and all that jazz. Although, at first, it seems suspiciously like the MIB may have been wholly or partly responsible for Korin’s distressing amnesia — after all, part of the “MIB” trope is that MIB are government agents who are tasked with covering up the existence of UFOs, extraterrestrial life, etc. — Agent Marco seems cooperative, and correctly identifies Mateons as those possessing the missing pieces of Korin’s memory:

tara needs to kill even moar Mateons, for their green spore thingies

With five of these pieces, Marco is able to reconstruct Korin’s Memory (which just so happens to look exactly like an Aquamarine…), and returning the gem to Korin restores her rather traumatic alien abduction memories.

I also did some Retrieving the Robotic Parts at Dr. Kim’s behest:

tara hunting boxes around Omega

And, continuing General Maestro’s questline, Where’s the Power of Origin? had me looking for Gray’s Document, hopefully a hint that may help to reveal the power source — or rather, former power source, as the crystals are now dull and lifeless — of the Dull Crystals that I collected earlier:

tara finds Gray’s Document!

Dr. Kim also had me doin’ some good ol’ fashioned alien slayin’, but this time, slaying the fearsome MT-09s, which can only be found at the somewhat oddly-named “Defeat Monsters”:

tara vs. MT-09

These things are actually pretty tuff, but I only had to kill five of them, so it wasn’t an incredible chore.

To cap off General Maestro’s questline, I was tasked with Terminating the Dark Force, which had me killing even more Drumming Bunnies for their Dull Crystals, but also for their Dark Crystal Ores! But that’s not all — another Roly-Proley questline, including both The Drumming Bunny and Eliminating the Drumming Bunny, would have me collecting not 50, not 100, but 1 100 Toy Drums!! It’s those Mateon Tentacles all over again…

So, needless to say, I was at the Drummer Bunny’s Lair minidungeon for quite a while… I did a little @epm test while I was there, and also ended up with some neato equipment drops like Panlids (both of which are perfect clean!) and an Aluminium Baseball Bat:

tara is trapped at Drumming Bunnies…

After personally seeing to the utter destruction of countless pink bunnies and their marching bass drums, I did eventually get the approximately ≈7.3 gazillion ETC items that I sought…

I was motivated to revisit the Ludi JQ by Slime (OmokTeacher, DamagePer, Thinks, JumpQuest), known JQ master who graciously offered to help me out with completing this terrible quest. At first, we found out that once you complete the quest, you can no longer gain entry into the JQ, so he had to relog to another character by the IGN of DamagePer. Unfortunately for both of us, however, it turns out that this JQ map is instanced on a per-PC basis. We even tried entering as a party…:

Toy Factory ⟨Sector 4⟩ sux -_-

…But to no avail. Game indeed sux. There is at least some excuse for this behaviour: the JQ is completed by having all ten Machine Parts in one’s inventory, but only ten are dropped throughout the JQ, and the Machine Parts are untradeable (and destroyed upon leaving the JQ map). So, if more than one PC were allowed into the JQ map at once, then the JQ would instantly be failed for all PCs as soon as two (or more) PCs each had >0 Machine Parts in their inventories. Of course, in our case, this was fine; DamagePer wouldn’t be looting any Machine Parts, so it would work out normally. Unfortunately, however, we had no way to explain this to the game…

Anywho, turning in my 1.1k Toy Drums brought me up to level 48:

tara hits level 48~!

And, I did another Roly-Proley quest by the name of Roly-Poly 6’s Tool, which had me killing Bloctopuses in search of a missing Screwdriver:

tara finds a screwdriver

And, while I was in the habit of slaying bloctos, I did yet another Roly-Proley quest called Helping Fix Eos Tower, which had me killing King Bloctopuses on the 22nd floor:

tara vs. King Bloctopuses

After so long in Lūdus Lake, I took a trip back to þᵉ olde Victoria Island, to do some questing with vicloc I/L gish VigiI (Harlez)! We both needed Curse Eye Tails for quests like Strange Dish and Mr. Wetbottom’s Secret Book, plus upwards of 1k Curse Eye kills for the POLLUTED! ⧼2 – Curse Eye⧽ questline, so we headed to Tree Dungeon, Forest Up North IX to grind some green monocular reptilian bozos:

VigiI & tara farming Curse Eyes

After the slaying of countless bipedal lizards, I turned in my Curse Eye quests, and hit level 49~!:

tara hits level 49~!

While I was at Victoria Island, I tried to tie up some loose ends with my quests, including getting the one Maple History Book that I forgot: Maple History Book II (ironically, the easiest one to get…):

tara gets that last MHB

And, I went to Pet-Walking Road to obtain Follow the Lead, which I may want to use quite soon:

tara conquers the pet walking road~!

Plus some other stuff, e.g. giving 100 Cogs to Betty.

By way of Nautilus Harbour, I went to Aqua Road to do Hughes’ New Research, which meant farming some Pooper Eggs:

tara farming Poopa Eggs

I went on up to Orbis and started wandering around in search of those wooden crates that are inexplicably scattered around the town, trying to find Empty Potion Bottles for To the New World:

tara collecting glass bottles around Orbis

As I was wandering around Orbis, I was reminded of the signs that you can see scattered around Orbis, as well as around the Ellinia Station (whose flights lead to Orbis).

Orbis appears to be modelled on… Greece(?), albeit from an ambiguous time period, attempting to evoke “Ancient Greece” whilst remaining cartoonish and fantasy-like:

I mentioned the “To the New World” quest; this quest is, as its name implies, intended to be the “linking” (if you will) quest between Victoria Island and Ossyria, in much the same way that MapleStory Basic Knowledge links newly Lith Harbour’d players to Japan. This quest would have been an important part of the addition of Orbis/Ossyria to MapleStory (as you may remember, Ossyria originally did not exist in MapleStory), and it begins by asking the PC to transport Tears of Kelvelos from Ellinia to Kriel the Fairy (who resides in the Orbis Department Store). I wondered if there is, perhaps, some significance to the name « Kelvelos » — the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, at least not to me. After a few fruitless WWW searches, I came across a doctoral thesis on the subject of elementary education during the Hellenistic & Roman Greek periods♆, which contains the following passage (the original is in Italian):

Un altro suono problematico era, com’è noto, il rho, che tendeva ad essere confuso con il lambda, e il labdacismo o lallazione (τραυλότης in greco) costituiva un frequente difetto di pronuncia: Demostene, Alcibiade e Aristotele erano tra i personaggi noti per aver avuto questo difetto di pronuncia, spesso attribuito a una non accurata educazione in età scolare. Un cospicuo numero di vocaboli nei nostri elenchi contengono lambda e rho separati da poche lettere, come ad es. Βέλλερος, Ἡρακλῆς, Λέανδρος, Πάτροκλος, Πολύκτωρ, Ῥωμύλος, Φέρεκλος, Φάληρος, Χαρικλῆς, Χρέμυλος. Α proposito di quest’ultimo termine, l’errore ortografico Χλεμυλος, come anche Κελβελος al precedente foglio, dimostra che nel IV sec. d.C. questo problema di pronuncia continuava ad essere comune.♆

Another problematic sound was, as is well-known, the rho, which tended to be confused with the lambda, and the lambdacism or lallation (τραυλότηςtraulótēs⟩⚵ in [Ancient] Greek) constituted a frequent defect of pronunciation: Demosthenes [Δημοσθένης], Alcibiades [Ἀλκιβιάδης], and Aristotle [Ἀριστοτέλης] were among the well-known figures known to have had this defect of pronunciation, often attributed to careless school-age education. A large number of words in our lists contain lambda and rho separated by a few letters, e.g. ΒέλλεροςBélleros⟩, ἩρακλῆςHēraklēs⟩, ΛέανδροςLéandros⟩, ΠάτροκλοςPátroklos⟩, ΠολύκτωρPolýktōr⟩, ῬωμύλοςRhōmýlos⟩, ΦέρεκλοςPhéreklos⟩, ΦάληροςPhálēros⟩, ΧαρικλῆςChariklēs⟩, ΧρέμυλοςChrémylos⟩. The purpose of listing this latter term, and its erroneous spelling Χλεμυλος ⟨Chlemylos⟩, as well as [the erroneous spelling] Κελβελος ⟨Kelbelos on the previous page, is to show that in the 4th century A.D., this pronunciation issue continued to be common.

(emphasis mine)

The erroneous spelling « Κελβελος » ⟨Kelbelos⟩, as mentioned in the quotation above, is a misspelling of Κέρβερος ⟨Kérberos⟩, commonly referred to in English as “Cerberus” (or as the “hound of Hades”). Modern Greek would romanise this as ⟨Kérveros⟩, and pronounce it as /ˈke̞ɾve̞ɾo̞s̠/. Although this is already considerably different from how Cerberus is pronounced in English — /ˈsɝbəɹəs/ — Necksawn took the liberty of deviating even further (apparently forgetting what order the ‘r’s and ‘b’s occur in…), getting us (Jr.) Cerebes, which is probably(??) pronounced /ˈsɛɹəbiːz/? /ˈsɛɹəbɛs/?? /ˈsɛɹəbəs/, I guess…? I don’t know, my brain hurts.

Anyways, the Tears of Kelvelos are, apparently, the tears of the hound of Hades, as spoken by someone with a lallation…

Don’t get it twisted, though. There’s definitely some Ancient Roman shit going on here, too. Orbis itself is totally Latin in origin (meaning “circle, ring; circular motion; disc; the Earth, the world, the globe”), and has nothing to do with Greek. Neither ορμπις ⟨ormpis⟩ nor ορβις ⟨orvis⟩ mean anything. That brings us to the signage that I was talking about:

ORBIS STATION

Wat.

« ορβισ στατιον », you say? I’m going to ignore the fact that it should be « ορβις στατιον », because whatever. In any case, that’s ⟨orvis station⟩, but… English is certainly misleading us here. That’s actually /o̞ɾvis̠ ˈs̠tɐtio̞n/, which is a big ol’ “wat?” as far as I’m concerned. For reference, the English station is pronounced /ˈsteɪʃən/. That’s /ʃ/, not /ti/!! Wizet PLZ!!!

Ok, obviously you’re just supposed to pronounce it in English, and this is just a (shitty) transliteration of English text into the Standard Modern Greek alphabet — barely more than a simple substitution cipher. In this particular case, we have:

ciphertextGreek romanisationGreek pronunciationplaintextEnglish pronunciation
ορβισ στατιονorvis station/o̞ɾvis̠ ˈs̠tɐtio̞n/orbis station/ˈɔːɹbɪs ˈsteɪʃən/

GUILD

ciphertextGreek romanisationGreek pronunciationplaintextEnglish pronunciation
ΓΥΙΛΔGUILD/ɣilð/GUILD/ɡɪld/

❓ICTORIA

Okay, this one legitimately confuses me. Is that really « ςΙΧΤΟΡΙΑ »?? Not only is ‘ς’ the only lowercase letter in the bunch, but ‘ς’ only occurs word-finally? Hello?? Okay, I don’t know how else to read it, so…

ciphertextGreek romanisationGreek pronunciationplaintextEnglish pronunciation
ςΙΧΤΟΡΙΑsICHTORIA/s̠ixˈto̞ɾiɐ/sICHTORIA(??)lmfao.

If we’re generous and assume that the plaintext was supposed to be « VICTORIA » (I donno what else it would be):

ciphertextGreek romanisationGreek pronunciationplaintextEnglish pronunciation
ΒΙΚΤΟΡΙΑVIKTORIA/vikˈto̞ɾiɐ/VICTORIA/vɪkˈtɔːɹiə/

All better.

PLATFORM

ciphertextGreek romanisationGreek pronunciationplaintextEnglish pronunciation
ΠΛΑΤΦΟΡΜPLATFORM/plɐtfo̞ɾm/PLATFORM/ˈplætfɔː(ɹ)m/
ΗΕΝΕΣΙΣĒENESIS/ˈie̞ne̞s̠is̠/HENESYS/ˈhɛnəsɪs/? You tell me.
ΠΕΡΙΟΝPERION/ˈpe̞ɾio̞n/PERION/ˈpɛɹiːɒn/? :)
ΕΛΛΙΝΙΑELLINIA/e̞ˈliniɐ/ELLINIA/ɛˈlɪniə/
ΚΥΝΝΙΒΓKYNNIVG/kinivɣ/(??)KERNING(?)/ˈkɜː(ɹ)nɪŋ/

Doing pretty well here. “Henesys” is tough when you realise that Modern Greek has no such thing as /h/, but I think that they made a reasonable choice. On the other hand, the “Kerning”(?) one is questionable at best. I’m really not sure what’s going on there; I guess they got tired and gave up. I would maybe do something like…

ciphertextGreek romanisationGreek pronunciationplaintextEnglish pronunciation
ΚΕΡΝΙΓΓKERNING/ke̞ɾniŋg/KERNING/ˈkɜː(ɹ)nɪŋ/

…What was I doing again? Oh right, Orbis.

I needed to collect some items from Nependeaths and Dark Nependeaths for To the New World, as well as for The Chaos [χάος] Behind Alfonse Green and the Nependeath Juice, so I headed to a ✨hidden street✨ by the name of Disposed Flower Garden to do some flower vanquishing:

tara vs. Nependeaths

Fighting these is honestly kinda annoying because they can’t move, and are planted just far enough away from one another that it’s impossible for me to hit more than one of them at the same time. 🙄 Luckily, these flowers only have 2.1k or 2.7k HP, so it’s not incredibly painful.

If you thought that I was done talking about Greek, though, I must inform you — for better or for worse — that you would be wrong. “Nependeath” is, ultimately, from the Ancient Greek νηπενθές ⟨nēpenthés⟩, which is from νη- ⟨nē-⟩ “not, no; negation of; without” + πένθος ⟨pénthos⟩ “grief, sorrow, misery”. Plus, you know, the English word death (which is Germanic in origin, from *dauþuz). Νηπενθές is mentioned by Homer [Ὅμηρος] in the classic Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια]; I’ve reproduced four versions of the relevant passage (from book IV) here:

ἔνθ᾽ αὖτ᾽ ἄλλ᾽ ἐνόησ᾽ Ἑλένη Διὸς ἐκγεγαυῖα:
αὐτίκ᾽ ἄρ᾽ εἰς οἶνον βάλε φάρμακον, ἔνθεν ἔπινον,
νηπενθές τ᾽ ἄχολόν τε, κακῶν ἐπίληθον ἁπάντων.

énth aũt áll enóēs Helénē Diòs ekgegauĩa:
autík ár eis oĩnon bále phármakon, énthen épinon,
nēpenthés t ácholón te, kakō͂n epílēthon hapántōn

Then Jove’s daughter Helen bethought her of another matter.
She drugged the wine with an herb
that banishes all care, sorrow, and ill humour.

But Jove-born Helen otherwise, meantime,
employ’d, into the wine of which they drank
a drug infused, antidote to the pains of grief and anger, a most potent charm for ills of ev’ry name.

(emphasis mine)

The first version is the original, the second version is a romanised version of the first, the third version is an English translation due to Samuel Butler (1900), and the fourth version is an English translation due to William Cowper (1791).

It should be noted that Homer depicts this drug as being somewhat exotic; it was given to Helen by an Egyptian woman, and Homer notes that this particular people of Egypt are all physicians, sons & daughters of Paieon [Παιήων], the physician of the gods. English speakers will notice the term φάρμακον ⟨phármakon⟩, which does indeed mean what it sounds like: “drug”. Apparently, in the 19th century, it was widely believed that νηπενθές referred to C. sativa, a.k.a. the 420 plant. So basically, Helen was out here putting weed in everyone’s wine so that they could get cross-faded. 🤘🏽

In 1737, Carl Linnaeus referenced this passage by naming a genus of carnivorous plantsNepenthes”. Kind of a weird name to call a bunch of carnivorous plants, but Linnaeus explains:

If this is not Helen’s Nepenthes, it certainly will be for all botanists. What botanist would not be filled with admiration if, after a long journey, he should find this wonderful plant. In his astonishment past ills would be forgotten when beholding this admirable work of the Creator!

As you can see, Carl was really excited about carnivorous plants.

Nepenthes are found mostly across Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. They can also be found in the southern Chinese provinces/regions of Hǎinán [海南], Guǎngxī [广西], and Guǎngdōng [广东] (and Hong Kong [香港] — not sure about Macau [澳門]), as well as Śrī Laṅkā [ශ්‍රී ලංකාව], the Australian state of Queensland, New Caledonia, Seychelles, and even the eastern regions of Madagascar [Madagasikara].

Also, you can find them in Orbis:

tara vs. Dark Nependeaths

Footnotes for “tara taran’ it up”

*All Korean romanisations here use Revised Romanisation (RR).

†Although 정부jeongbu⟩ straightforwardly means “government”, machine translations tend to translate 미 ⟨mi⟩ — erroneously, in this context — as “beauty” (its usual meaning). This is because 미 (and also 정부, for that matter) is used here as a Sino-Korean term; the hanja form is mi⟩, which is from the Sinitic word written in the same way (pinyin: ), meaning “rice”.

‡Carter J. Eckert, Ki-baik Lee, Young Ick Lew, Michael Robinson, & Edward W. Wagner; Korea Old and New: A History; Ilchokak Publishers; 1990.

⸸Marcus Noland; “The Korean Economy: Past, Present, and Future: An Interview with Marcus Noland”; Education About Asia, vol. 18:3; 2013.

¶Charles K. Armstrong; “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950–1960”; The Asia-Pacific Journal, vol. 7; 2009.

※Don’t ask me. It’s still controversial. A lot of the Stuff That Happened™ was… how do I say this delicately… not good.

❦Philip Huang; The Peasant Family and Rural Development in the Yangzi Delta, 1350–1988; Stanford University Press; 1990.

⁂Chuǎng [闯]; “Sorghum & Steel: The Socialist Developmental Regime and the Forging of China”; Chuǎng, iss. 1 (Dead Generations); 2016.

☟Keep in mind that the Korean Peninsula was a colony of (i.e. was annexed by) Japan at this point, so Japanese elites largely controlled/dominated the urban sector of the economy, and almost all native Koreans who lived in urban areas (which would be nearly ≈20% of Koreans at this point) worked for wages in factories. Eckert et al.‡ use the phrase “political safety valve” to describe the process whereby the Japanese allowed a small number of Koreans to hold white-collar/elite positions within the economy, which meant being highly educated, including education in the Japanese language (amongst other things).

◊Speaking of which, PSA: Use a password manager, for the love of all that is holy!! I personally recommend Bitwarden (it is FLOSS), but you know, just use one. Please. You’d better believe that I’m not memorising a hundred 24-character-long randomly-generated passwords, and you shouldn’t have to, either…!

⧆Note that we are only allowed to do a simple summation here because expectation is a linear operator.

✤Please forgive me. ’Twas too easy.

➿Alex Rosenblat, Tamara Kneese, & danah boyd; Workplace Surveillance; Data & Society Research Institute; Oct. 2014; https://www.datasociety.net/pubs/fow/WorkplaceSurveillance.pdf (archived).

☛Deepankar Basu, Cameron Haas, & Athanasios Moraitis; “What is the Impact of an Intensification of Labour on the Rate and Form of Exploitation?”; Economics Department Working Paper Series, no. 298; Feb. 2021; https://doi.org/10.7275/21613819.

✍Padraig Belton; “How does it feel to be watched at work all the time?”; BBC News (Business); Apr. 2019; https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47879798 (archived).

❄Lindsay Clark; “Workplace surveillance booming during pandemic, destroying trust in employers”; The Register; Nov. 2021; https://www.theregister.com/2021/11/12/workplace_monitoring_report/ (archived).

〽Katyanna Quach; “Amazon delivery staff ‘denied bonus’ pay by AI cameras misjudging their driving”; The Register; Sep. 2021; https://www.theregister.com/2021/09/27/in_brief_ai/ (archived).

♆Lucia Degiovanni; Leggere, scrivere e far di conto: L’istruzione elementare nell’età ellenistico-romana; doctoral thesis, Università degli Studi di Bergamo; Mar. 2016; https://dx.doi.org/10.13122/degiovanni-lucia_phd2016-03-04 (archived)

⚵All Greek romanisations here use ALA-LC romanisation. The text quoted from ♆ is all Ancient Greek (or close enough), so Ancient Greek standards are used there.

Carmine timber donjon

I noticed marksman xBowtjuhNL asking in buddy chat if anyone could help with a thief sign for CWKPQ, so I offered to sign on my daggermit alces. After all, the only requirement for such a thing is being level ≥90 and being a thief, so alces easily fits the bill :P

As it turned out, I was able to help with more than just signing. At first, I asked if I could be allowed to loot a MoN, as alces has been approaching level 110 without a MoN yet — although she would only be using it for about ten levels, as I prefer a Horntail Necklace, and her Horus’ Eye is moderately defensively superior to a MoN. No one else really needed a MoN, so they agreed to let me loot. Since I would have to go inside of the PQ anyways to be able to loot a MoN, I ended up helping with the moving pillars stage*:

alces does the CWKPQ moving pillars stage

This was my first time actually doing this stage. Previously, I would “do” this stage when CWKPQing on my darksterity knight rusa, but because rusa is a warrior, this more or less consisted of walking a few paces to the right and activating the Warrior Sigil. This time, I actually had to do some jumping around and finding the Thief Sigil, as you can see above. Of course, activating a Thief Sigil requires using one of the following skills:

The first three are right out the window, as they are only available to chief bandits (CBs) and shadowers, but alces is a hermit. I do have Avenger, but only because it’s a pre-requisite for Flash Jump (FJ); I can’t actually use it, as it’s unusable with a dagger equipped. So, thankfully, I had some Summoning Rocks with me, plus a single (1) vanity skillpoint in Shadow Partner for shits & gigs…

I also helped do the Thief Sigil in the fire–bat stage:

alces does the CWKPQ fire–bat stage

And, the coolest part was being the one to do the thief room!:

alces enters the thief room of CWKPQ

Of course, I’d never been in this room before in my life! You may have noticed that alces has been holding a Christmas Tree; this is because I didn’t expect that I’d be fighting anything, so I didn’t bother transferring alces’s gear to her. So the X-mas tree was the only dagger I had on-hand that I could actually equip :P

I did actually need the tree, as the floating horned eyeball thingy that you see above must be basic-attacked until it disappears. These floating eyeballs are reactors that can only be broken with melee basic-attacks, and there’s a few of them scattered across the thief room; clearing the stage consists in clearing the map of all eyeballs. You can see that there are a bunch of Master Guardians all over the map, but you don’t have to kill them or anything. As far as I can tell, they are mostly there to allow CBs and shadowers to clear the room; the main difficulty of the room is that you need special mobility skills to get close enough to the eyeballs to hit ’em:

alces Flash Jumping in the thief room

I’m using FJ here because it’s the only way for me to make this jump, even with max SPEED & max JUMP; a CB/shadower would have to use Assaulter on a nearby Master Guardian to make their way up.

After getting briefly confused by a floating eyeball that I couldn’t see (it was covered up by a crowd of Master Guardians), I proved my power and demonstrated my status as a master thief :]

alces is a master thief!

With the Primal Claw in hand, I went back to restore the claw to its rightful owner:

The Primal Claw is placed

And I did get to loot MoNs! I was satisfied to walk away with a 4 WATK MoN, to be used in a level or two :]

For xBowtjuhNL’s second CWKPQ run, he needed a cleaver to fill in, so I joined him on rusa:

rusa helps fill in for xBowtjuhNL’s CWKPQ

As usual, because I am stinky cleave (P U!!), some of the ranged folks came over to help us with the cleave bosses…

Ranged helping with the cleave bosses…

Footnotes for “Carmine timber donjon”

*I’m tempted to call it “the first stage”, because it basically is, but it’s technically not, so calling it “the first stage” is unfortunately too confusing.

시간의 신전

I’ve been continuing along the Temple of Time (ToT) questline on my darksterity knight rusa! Assisted by pog shadower & Maple wife Harlez (VigiI), I started with the 999 Qualm Guardian kill quest:

Qualm Guardian hip thrust

Indeed, Qualm Guardians seem to really enjoy a good hip-thrust or two.

By the time I had accumulated 999 kills, I was so close to levelling up that completing the quest pushed me over the line!:

rusa hits level 169~!!

Big yert for level 169~! Level 169 is actually a significant milestone, as it’s the lowest level at which you can get EXP normally from level 174 bosses like Dunas and Nameless Magic Monster (NMM; Nameless). So, it looks like I’ll be doing more Neo Tokyo (NT) in the future :P

Next up was 999 Chief Qualm Guardians:

rusa vs. Chief Qualm Guardians

Chief Qualm Guardians are notable for their ability to offensively shoot these cone-shaped, slow-moving, metal projectiles:

Chief Qualm Guardian projectile

It’s kinda funny to watch them, as they look super heavy, but move quite slowly (it takes maybe an entire second for one to traverse a distance equal to its own length), and always in a completely straight line.

With those 999 kills out of the way, it was time to face another ToT boss: Lilynouch! Besides looking really cool — basically like the giant icy unicorn version of a knight ♞ in chess — Lilynouch would seem a bit scary due to its ability to use damage reflection (DR):

rusa vs. Lilynouch

However, although Lilynouch does DR, it’s not actually that scary. Lilynouch appears to be designed — like almost all of ToT, with the exception of Pink Bean (PB; not to be confused with PB) — with þᵉ olde MapleStory (read: washing isn’t a Real Thing That You Can Actually Do™… unless you’re a whale, I guess) in mind. So for each time that you hit a DR’d Lilynouch, you only take like 2k damage, or something like that. This is potentially life-threatening for an unwashed ranged/thief character of this level (this quest is level 120), but not an issue for our intrepid darksterity knight.

I also really like Lilynouch’s name, so I wondered if perhaps it meant anything. As far as I can tell, it… probably doesn’t, but it’s worth noting that nouch is indeed an English word, albeit an obsolete one. The more common form of the word appears to be ouche, but nouch is somewhat more etymological, as ouche is a rebracketing of a nouchean ouche (the term is of Germanic origin). Wiktionary defines ouche as:

A brooch or clasp for fastening a piece of clothing together, especially when valuable or set with jewels.

So it’s possible that the -nouch in Lilynouch is in reference to the chained headpiece that it wears, which appears to be made of gold (and painted with something of a dark blue colour). And of course, lily just means “flower, particularly of the genus Lilium”, ultimately of Egyptian origin (q.v. ϩⲗⲏⲣⲓhlēri⟩ “flower”).

With Lilynouch vanquished, I had a meeting with Sorcerer, who sold me a single (1) potion for the rather steep price of one million mes0rz. Confident that “you get what you pay for”, I quaffed it immediately:

Sorcerer’s Potion

Never trust a sorcerer.

On the bright side, I could now enter the Road to Oblivion (RtO), a region that I’ve never actually been to before in my Maple career! I made it far enough to get to the Road of Regrets (RoR) when I was doing the ToT quests on my pure STR bishop cervid, but this is my first time in the lava zone of ToT:

rusa vs. Oblivion Monks

999 Oblivion Monks on the Road
999 Monks of Oblivion
Take one down, loot all its stuff
998 Oblivion Monks on the Road………

Nuptials

I was thrilled to attend not one, but two beautiful oddball weddings recently.

The first was a marriage between vicloc STRginner illadvised (Permanovice, Battlesage, Dreamscapes) and vicloc gunslinger Kewpew (kookiechan, kookietann, kurisuwu). As always, their wedding was full of loving, but also highly questionable, vows…:

illadvised’s vows

Once illadvised had said their piece, it was time for Kewpew’s vows…

Kewpew’s vows

They tried for a “vows v2.0”, with limited success…:

Vows v2.0

On another day, I very nearly missed an important wedding between two Oddjobs members, STRginner uayua and I/L gish GishGallop:

what can attract a deer to come here?

As you’d expect, the above screenshot was not taken by me (it is due to VigiI/Harlez), as I was offline at the time. Thankfully, I did make it online in time to attend the wedding:

uayua × GishGallop

Definitely the most “vroom vroom” wedding that I’ve ever attended.

And, once again with the questionable vows…

uayua × GishGallop vows

For better or for worse, it seems that this marriage has some questionable dynamics right out of the gate:

uayua × GishGallop wedding cake

In any case, congrats again to both couples :P

La reine des rennes, sans rênes

I’ve been doing some more Zakkin’ on my woodsmaster capreolina

Reina del bosque

capreolina Zakkin’ it up

(Not pictured: me. But you can see my three pets, and my obnoxiously large Hurricane animation.)

As always, Zakum (particularly the arms stage) is a great place to get confused reactions from my fellow Maplers:

The BM’s surfboard

wat happen to ur bow

For reasons that are still not entirely clear to me, I ended up being the host of a pair of Zak runs:

Hosting Zak for the first time ever

This was definitely my first time hosting Zak, and probably my first time hosting any boss, tbh… I can’t say that I really enjoy it; it kinda just makes the whole experience more nervewracking. But hey, I guess someone’s gotta do it. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Along the way, I went out into the icy fields of El Nath to level myself up to level 138 :P

capre hits level 138~!

I figured that I gotta at least try Krecksell at some point, so I headed to Singapore and started killing Berserkies & Veetrons:

capre at Ulu Estate I

Unfortunately, this also meant coming up against my old nemesis: the treacherous French cars known only as Montrecers…:

capreolina meets again her old nemesis, the French car

Thankfully, I had the assistance of Harlez (VigiI), which made it a lot faster, and thus meant less time being stun-locked by these godforsaken ramshackle automobiles.

At Ulu Estate II, we collected some Slygie Tails:

capre & Harlez @ Ulu Estate II

For these Krecks prequests, I also had to farm at Petris (Ulu City Centre). As usual, I was mostly just trying not to die. I can’t go wasting even more Safety Charms on this blasted map…

capre & Harlez @ Petris

These fellas are real chunky. Who knew that massive slabs of concrete would take so many hits to destroy?

Speaking of chunky, we wrapped up the Krex prequests by heading to Destroyed Park II to kill some Dukus (a.k.a. baby krexies!):

capre & Harlez @ Dukus

Very shortly afterwards, I found myself in the middle of my first-ever Krex run on this character, alongside Harlez, paladin ItzLeo, fellow bowmaster Flai, and corsair Alik:

capreolina’s first Krex lol R.I.P.

Oops. As it turns out, not only do Krex’s magical attacks two-shot me from full HP, but binding Ginger Ales to both my auto HP and auto MP and then cranking up my auto HP threshold to 75% isn’t enough to stop constant autopot failures! Fun!!

Krex is kind of a big dumb tree, so unless you’re very squishy like me, it’s unlikely that you die while fighting Krex, assuming that you have some idea of what you’re doing (pro tip: don’t touch the eyes!). With that being said, on another day, Krex decided to prove me wrong on this particular point, by killing two of my party members:

capre & Johannes duoing Krexel

As a result, the second eye of this run ended up being almost entirely duo’d by me and nightlord Johannes. It was pretty brutal, but by the end of it, we found ourselves rewarded:

capre hits level 139~!

Wait, what? I’m level 139 now‽ But I even checked my EXP to make sure I wouldn’t lev— Oh, right. Dead party members take no EXP. Well, I may have levelled without literally any of my INT gear, but at least the pouch had eight pCoins in it!

Speaking of miscalculating my EXP, I thought that I wasn’t going to level up from the arms stage of this Zak run…

capre hits level 140~!!

Ok, well, at least I had like half of my INT pyjamas on this time. Better than nothing, I guess. And hey: level 140~!! :D

One of the great joys of not wearing a zhelm (besides the fact that you don’t smacc yr cranium into solid rock every time that you get hit) is that you can loot a zhelm to sell at an NPC shop for 500k mesos, just about every time you do a Zak run! Unless you have a buyer, but then you get even more money anyways. This one in particular, I had to take a screenshot of before I NPC’d it:

Purple-glowing clean zhelm

It feels kinda bad to NPC such a thing of beauty, but my head is rock-free forevermore, tyvm!

Victoria Island (not to be confused with the island of Tasmania, which merely happens to be off the coast of Victoria)

Over on Victoria Island, on my vicloc dagger spearwoman d34r, I did a very cozy APQ with a party consisting entirely of DreamOptimal members: Dream members Sagie (Movements), GuildMaster (Robb, Guilded, Rubb, Alliantie), and Nimkish (TerakadoTsuu), and Suboptimal members xXCrookXx (Lvl1Crook, Level1Crook, SuperLuck) and… me. Oh, and Andrinor, who is in Galaxy… just ignore that. He was personally invited by Sagie, so he can be an honorary DreamOptimal member. :]

DreamOptimal APQ

In another APQ — specifically, vicloc STRginner illadvised’s first APQ — I actually levelled up! To level 85~!!:

d34r hits level 85~!!

I’m trying to remember whether or not this is the first time that I’ve levelled up inside of APQ… 🤔

During the boss fight, we found out that illadvised straight-up doesn’t have enough HP to survive even a single magic attack from Grog’s third body :X

illadvised bites the dust in APQ D:

Luckily we had a bishop in our party, so illadvised’s first APQ was not ruined. 😌

I tried to help illadvised with A Spell That Seals Up a Critical Danger II, which is notoriously difficult for its level (level 50). The truly brutal part is hunting for 18 Tauromacis’s Spirit Rock and 18 Taurospear’s Spirit Rock, from Tauromacis and Taurospears, respectively. We headed to SEIV and tried farming these rather elusive marbles:

illadvised & d34r vs. Tauros

illadvised ended up dying…

The Tauros proved to be too much…

…once or twice… And it was just overall quite slow, so we decided that this really was not a quest for level 50-something characters — certainly not level 50-something vicloc permabeginners…

One day, though :]

Oh, and I’ve tried commissioning artwork of some of my characters, including d34r!!

I reached out to Baboom (bebelina) — whose thread on the MapleLegends forum you can find here — for a commission of d34r, and she was very quick to respond! In the end, she said that she didn’t feel quite confident enough in her skills to finish the drawing, which is understandable given how visually complicated d34r’s look is. She was, however, kind enough to give me the progress that she did make (just the line art) for free, as consolation!:

d34r lineart, by Baboom

d34r lineart, by Baboom

And I have to say, the lineart already looks great!! It’s definitely not how I would picture/portray d34r, but that’s the magic of commissioning someone else to do it :P I do get some Tinker Bell vibes, and this d34r is certainly more lithe than I would imagine. She really is adorable, though. It’s unfortunate to not be able to have the completed work, but I must thank Baboom again for letting me have the lineart!! <3

Neuromancien

It is time for some more En Teeing with ya girl rusa the darksterity knight! :]

I helped out marksman xBowtjuhNL with a Berga run, which is pretty crucial, as I believe that he still needed HB to survive the third body:

Berga with xBowtjuhNL

And I didn’t even die! Wow! Cool!

I did trio Berga alongside nightlord CoffeeSan (Starbaacks) and bowmaster OliverQueen:

CoffeeSan, rusa, & OliverQueen vs. Berga

As you can see, CoffeeSan’s bishop, Starbaacks, is busy impersonating a Red Snail in the bottom-left corner of the map. This goofy-looking tactic is actually relatively common, as it allows players to effectively AFK, freeing them up to control another character. If you’re not as short as a snail (which can alternatively be accomplished by simply crouching), the narrow yellowish laser that Berga shoots will damage you and dispel your buffs, so it’s difficult to keep ≥2 PCs alive at the same time if you’re just one player. Thus, it is common (for better or for worse lol) to see high-level players farming little ol’ Mano for his Rainbow-coloured Snail Shells.

Unfortunately, partway through the run, CoffeeSan bit it :[

R.I.P. Coffeesan D:

And then, a few minutes later, so did Starbaacks ;o;

R.I.P. Starbaacks DD:

So, the rest of the run was down to just OliverQueen and I…

rusa & OliverQueen duoing Berga

It took a while, but we did eventually make it:

Duo Berga lootz

The loot looks really unimpressive, but we were at least somewhat relieved to find out that the 60% scroll is a ShFMA60, which is worth a pretty penny!

For our second run, even more disaster struck, when Starbaacks got glitched. Apparently, sometimes Berga does this bug where players appear dead in the sense of “0 HP” (their HP bar is completely black), but they… don’t actually die? They are just zombies or something? Anywho, Nightzy (Nightz) came to our rescue:

Nightzy saves our Berga run by resurrecting Starbaacks

Wow. Somehow, I still haven’t died to Berga even onc—

rusa dies to Berga again >.<

Ahh. There we go. 😌

I also did a few Nibelungen, including this one, where a single Silver Coin somehow got stuck in the very top-left corner of the map…

Gubi, coin…

Karn tried to rescue it, but to no avail. Gubi, coin…

And, finally, I had the privilege of doing my first-ever Nameless Magic Monster (NMM; Nameless) run!!

NMM is a simple boss fight, in some ways. It only has one body, the map is basically flat, and you can bully it around with skills like Rush and CSB. However, if you want to bully it by KB’ing it with damage, you’re (probably) gonna have a bad time. This big chonker’s got a KB threshold of a whopping 50k! So those who can actually consistently KB a monster with such a high threshold are prized here; particularly, paladins.

Keeping NMM under tight control might not seem that important, until you realise that NMM has One Weird Trick™ up its sleeve: a ranged attack that can deal as much as 19k(!) damage in a single attack. Yes, nineteen. Thousand. Yes, really. This attack is ranged, but its reach is short enough that you can dodge it by simply being far enough away when the attack itself actually executes. Now you can see why keeping NMM stationary is such a big deal.

Of course, as a purely melee attacker, I have no real choice but to let NMM claw me right in the mug with 19k godforsaken damage. Well, not quite 19k, actually; Achilles takes it down to a cool ≈16k or so, which means that there is actually a very narrow HP range (which is like 300 or 400 HP wide) within which I can take a hit from the big claw attack, but I am also still zerking. Of course, in general, I have to always be watching out for NMM telegraphing its big claw attack, so that I can pot up once or twice if necessary to survive. With someone pinning NMM in place, however, it’s actually surprisingly infrequent that I take any damage at all, making the fight somewhat less nervewracking than it sounds:

rusa’s first NMM run!

Oh yes, and I should also mention that the NMM fight appears to take place in Kamuna itself! Kinda neato.

NMM is kinda the “last” Neo Tokyo boss; the final quest of NT part 1 is simply called Asia (not to be confused with the NPC who gives this quest, who is also known as Asia), and requires the PC to defeat a single NMM:

Quest Complete!: Asia

Notice that I said “NT part 1”, though! Apparently, this thing has multiple parts, and the folx on MapleLegends staff are working on the second part :o I can’t wait to repeatedly die to even more bosses! Wowee!!

Makin’ maple treacle

Over on Maple Island, I did a lil bit o’ grindin’ on my islander ozotoceros. Along the way, I happened across another Top WDEF 10% from the Stumps in the Dangerous Forest, and I decided it was time to scroll my (+1) 6-slot perfect Red-Striped T-Shirt

ozotoceros’s new shirt!

O boy, that is a very stronk shirt indeed. Passing three out of seven 10% scrolls is tuff. Landing three or more out of seven trials has a probability of only around ≈2.569%!!* Plus, it’s my very first purple (or yellow) glowing item on the island!!! :3

Footnotes for “Makin’ maple treacle”

*See binomial cumulative distribution function. In a Python (version ≥3.8) REPL:

>>> from math import comb
>>> binom_cdf = lambda k, n, p: sum(comb(n, i) * p**i * (1 - p)**(n - i) for i in range(0, k + 1))
>>> 1 - binom_cdf(2, 7, 0.1)
0.025691499999999756

Lézard terrible

It’s time for some good ol’ Hornytailin’, with my darksterity knight rusa~! 🐉🦎🐲

I’ve previously shown a screenshot or two of Horntail’s heads just not fkn dying because we out here cleaving too hard, but this one just really impressed me:

Lézard terrible

Two heads are still up? Tf?

Horntail has 11.5% HP left (yes, I counted the pixels), and there’s still two heads alive? Hello?? Someone help???

In more tragic news, I did one HT run that was particularly unfortunate for our poor bishops. First, idoybh2 died not too long after Pebbytan had already used her Resurrection, so we had no way to bring him back :/

No reses for idoybh2 :[

And then, at the least likely moment, when the only body part left alive was the right arm, Pebbytan died as well D:

NOT PEBBY! NOO!!

;o; It just happens sometimes. Certainly not the first time that I’ve seen HT “just kill” someone with full HP who is in a relatively safe spot — I’ve even been victim to it once myself.

In another run, I tried my hand at a full @dpm 45 test!:

rusa does a @dpm 45 at HT

For this test, I had MW20, Echo◑, The Breath of Nine Spirit◑, Rage◑, SE◑, and SI. I even posted to the “HT DPM45 Flex Thread” :P

(◑Partial buff; I only had this buff for some of the duration of the @dpm 45 test.)

I even got the chance to sell an AFK Horntail Necklace service to a bowmaster by the name of CutiePewPew:

Selling AFK HTP to CutiePewPew

Before I was actually in the business of running HT myself, I always thought it was rather implausible to sell a truly AFK service for something like HT. As it turns out, anything is possible if you have enough buccaneers LMFAO

While doing some more HT, I had a chat with Celo (CelosPunch, CeloRox) about DEX DKs and Pink Bean :P

rusa is PB-ready :P

Wyman’s out of a job

Hmm, mayhaps there will be some Pink Bean flicking in my future… 🤔

(…cnvpstdf…)

cnvpstdf

“the COVID of weebs”

Harlez is a noob

Ranged attackers require adult supervision

C is the only person in this world who loves bread more than I

HBD Crooky :]

KombuchaGirl

A “haiku” in three smegas

deer 11111111 ✜