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rangifer’s diary: pt. xc

xc

This pt. xc (in Western Arabic numerals[1]: 90) of rangifer’s diary comes at a special time, and with a few special features as well.

There are some things that I try to avoid talking about in my diary. In some sense, this is perhaps a bit undiaristic. In contemporary Modern English, the term diary has (in the “journal” sense of the term) come to refer mostly to personal, private (or semi-private) journals. Thus, the diary — in this narrow sense — makes for a good medium for expressing topics that may range into the deeply personal, and the psychologically difficult. Of course, my diary, rangifer’s diary, has always been totally public, for anyone equipped with an internet connection and an appropriate user agent to read in full. As a result, the public & permanent nature of my diary has deeply affected its contents, as I produce my diary with said nature in mind.

My diary is — at least, nominally — a MapleStory diary, wherein I talk about the things that I do in MapleStory (particularly, in MapleLegends). The diary itself is even named after one of my (now deceased, R.I.P.) characters, rangifer, because the diary started as a straightforward effort to chronicle rangifer’s everyday life. With that being said, readers of my diary are surely aware that MapleStory is far from being the only topic of discussion within my diary entries. My writing seems to be prone to a distinct amount of nonlinearity, and sometimes I just talk about whatever I feel like, or whatever pops into my head at the time.

It is only occasionally — albeit not never — that I do touch, ever so slightly, upon personal details and introspection. At its core, there is a special kind of horror in extricating (or, much more likely, trying to extricate) these things from one’s mind so that they may be externalised in a form that is, at least on some level, comprehensible to others. Worse yet, in this case, there is no “other” in particular; I write a diary entry for myself, and then I publish it on the WWW. And I try quite hard to be very thorough with my writing process, with special attention to correctness/facticity, word choices, phrasing, orthography, and so on, with the result being that I find it difficult to write something to my satisfaction, even on topics that are not themselves difficult.

Of course, rangifer’s diary is not deer’s diary per se. The exact circumstances of my (deer’s) life, “IRL”, are well & truly immaterial — at least, >99% of the time — to this diary; all that you need to know are that (1.) I’m a deer, and that (2.) I live in the forest. That’s pretty much it. However, the fact remains that the concrete materials out of which rangifer’s diary is wrought — viz. my MapleStory adventures, plus whatever happens to pop into my head — make up such a significant portion of my actual life, that sometimes the lines start to blur. More on that later…

Furthermore, it’s also worth noting that I spend a lot of time working on my diary, in all of its many aspects and processes of creation. This is a labour of love[2], and it is of great personal importance to me that the result of this labour is something that I can be proud of. Part of this pride hinges on the completed work having a unique personality & style, and I like to think that I’ve been successful in forging a style that fits this criterion. However, although this uniqueness is certainly important, the completed work needs, even more importantly, to be a “completed work” of art — particularly, art in the (nonexclusive) capacity of self-expression.

Because of all of this, I wish to free myself ever so slightly more than I have previously, with respect to the materials that I use to craft my diary entries (or, at the very least, this particular diary entry). In honesty, I have always been characteristically bad at writing about myself in general[3], so my attempt to — for the first time in my life — start a diary, rangifer’s diary, so many thousands (if memory serves…) of years ago, represents kinda a big deal for me. So, for better or for worse, it has become a significant part of my creative output and personal outlet. If you (assuming that there are actually people out there who read this shit, and I’m not just talking to myself here 😅) are still reading my diary — even when it becomes densely textual, only tangentially (or not at all) related to MapleStory, esoteric and/or overtechnical, or even indulgent in navel-gazing as we have seen here — then you have some chance of understanding what my diary might mean, to me and to anyone.[4]

Footnotes for “xc”

  1. [↑] Not to be confused with Eastern Arabic numerals (90 ≝ ٩٠). Western Arabic numerals are often (indeed, more often) referred to as simply “Arabic numerals”, but this is… even more confusing. Also not to be confused with the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, which is not a set of numerals at all, but merely a system of positional notation that can be used with any of a wide variety of numerals — including, of course, both Western Arabic numerals and Eastern Arabic numerals… But, not limited to these Arabic numerals; the reader is likely familiar with the use of Chinese numerals in the context of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system: 90 ≝ ٩٠ ≝ 九〇 ≝ 九零. Unfortunately, this brings up another possible point of confusion: “Chinese numerals” are not to be confused with Suzhou numerals [苏州码子] [蘇州碼子], which are now largely obsolete, occupying a vaguely similar place to how Roman numerals are used in the Occident — but Suzhou are descended from rod numerals, which is a proper positional notation, very unlike Roman numerals.
  2. [↑] The phrase labour of love is generally used for any labour done without the expectation of remittance. Although this is certainly accurate for my usage of the phrase here, my intent in using this phrase in particular is to put special emphasis on the word “love”.
  3. [↑] Cue flashbacks of primary school deer suffering…
  4. [↑] And also I love you.

Atom/RSS

With the release of version 1.17.0 of Gitea on 2022-07-30, it now supports RSS and Atom feeds for repositories, organisations, and users (I think that support for the latter was actually added in 1.16.0, but whatever). This means that if you want to subscribe to an Atom (or RSS, if you prefer) feed that will notify you every time that I push commit(s) to this repository (that is, https://codeberg.org/deer/rangifer_diary), now you can! The feed will be slightly noisy because it generates a new item for every single push (which could be one or more commits, but is usually just one lol), but shouldn’t be too bad, since I (usually) only do pushes around the time that I’m publishing a new entry.

It has always been possible to watch this repository, which might allow you to get items in your Codeberg feed (possibly including email notifications…?) each time that there’s a push, but I’m not entirely sure how it works. In any case, this is clunky if you just wanted to follow my diary, and you’d have to create a Codeberg account and all that jazz. Basically, the Atom (or RSS) feed is probably the ideal way to follow. If Gitea ever adds support for Atom/RSS feeds connected to tags and/or releases in a given repository, then it will be really fancy, because I could just only add a new tag when there’s actually a new diary entry published, thus sparing you any of the potential noisiness.

In any case, these are the important URIs:

Footnotes for “Atom/RSS”

  1. [↑] This will be fairly noisy because I use my @deer account to push automated rankings updates, which tend to happen every 1〜2 days or so; if this is actually an issue for any reason, just let me know and I can stop being incredibly lazy! You can also follow me, if you have a Codeberg account.
  2. [↑] Do I use Thunderbird only for Atom/RSS feeds, and literally nothing else? Yes. Yes, I do. It’s pretty good, so I haven’t bothered really trying anything else LOL. Thunderbird is really nice for other stuff (the main focus is, obviously, email), but I’m a basic bitch and just use web/mobile apps and shit for my email. Sue me.

I like digital art (very much)

This diary is, at its core, a blog. Blogs are inherently digital, and frequently multimedia, so as a result, it’s unsurprising that my diary indulges in the realm of digital art. The particular term “digital art” is incredibly broad; it frequently refers to forms of art that are essentially completely unrelated, other than the basic sense of “inherently having something to do with computers”. This diary, as such, is itself a work (or compilation, perhaps) of digital art.

The spiritual differences between digital art forms and more traditional pre-digital art forms are many. On the one hand, digital art is capable of specifying some things with extreme (and sometimes, unlimited) precision, in a way that pre-digital art cannot. On the other hand, analog information is not precisely representable in digital formats due to such formats’ inherently discrete nature; furthermore, digital formats are often forced, due to technical constraints on processing power, storage/bandwidth, technological compatibility, etc., to employ idiosyncratic methods of computation & serialisation (e.g. IEEE 754, RGBA8888, Opus, etc.). For example, the text making up my diary entries is just a bunch of bytes of UTF-8-encoded Unicode code points; this representation of a sequence of code points is totally unambiguous, and the meaning of an individual code point — or sequence of such code points — is specified in a freely & publicly available specification published by The Unicode Consortium. However, Unicode can only specify the “meaning” of code points (& code point sequences) in a kind of “virtual” way; the way in which they are effectively rendered to an observer of my diary is left unspecified. For example, different fonts will, as you would expect, disagree on how exactly to display a particular grapheme. Furthermore, some readers may be using a screen reader rendering via TTS and/or RBD, in which case, the very general way in which the codepoints are rendered will be radically different from how they would be treated by a font designed for electronic visual displays. Even furthermore, because the computer is the middleman in all cases (as you have to use something to decode and interpret the raw bytes, unless you want to decode UTF-8 and consult the Unicode specification manually…), there are very many cases in which actual persons need not even be in the picture; a piece of software that is designed to consume this kind of text may do so without the hope of “rendering” it to an end user at all. All of this is without getting into any messy details (of which there are plenty), and also ignoring the fact that the “textual content” of my diaries is not “plain textstricto sensu, but is actually LML in the Markdown language, which is expressly intended to be rendered to HTML before being consumed — and HTML has its own semantics (e.g. the use of heading elements to bestow structure onto the document), and its own interactions with the various forms of end-user rendering.

By contrast, traditional forms of writing may be written “as-is”; for example, scribbling some notes into a physical diary made of pressed cellulose is a whole different game. On the one hand, there’s a certain loss of precision: distinct graphemes whose glyphs happen to look similar (once you consider not just “letters” (in the Unicode sense), but also punctuation, numerals, whitespace, mathematical symbols, etc., this is actually much more common than you might think!) can cause ambiguity, and my handwriting (hoofwriting?) is only marginally better than you might expect given that I have to write with my hooves. Any semantic information that might have been conveyed with HTML5 (or whatever) is now reduced to… well, ink on a page. On the other hand, this is also more expressive insofar as it allows for truly analog signals (again, ink splotches on a page), and captures an exact image — both visual and material.

However, the main thrust of digital art (again, as contrasted with more traditional forms of art) is not always this chasm of sheer representation; equally — or more! — important are the differences in technique. In some sense, computers are infinitely stubborn. Although “doing exactly what the computer programmer says to do” might sound like the opposite of stubborn, the word “exactly” here is doing a lot of work. Computers themselves have no concept of “do what I mean, not what I say”, because this saying is fundamentally incompatible with the conception of a computer as “algorithm machine, bounded only by its physical constraints”. The principle innovation of ⁧ابو عبد الله محمد بن موسى الخوارزمي⁩ (⟨Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al⁠-⁠Khwārizmī⟩; “al⁠-⁠Khwārizmī”) was treating mathematical and arithmetic operations abstractly, abstracting away particular values/quantities in favour of systematic transformations that could be carried out with only a knowledge of the input number(s), plus a tabula to be used for the computation itself; this is the origin of the English term algorithm (al⁠-⁠ḵawārizmiyyalgorismusalgorismealgorithm). Unlike the human who is actually physically operating a tabula, however, computers (in the modern sense of computer) are infinitely & completely stupid. If you tell a computer to repeat a sequence of instructions until a certain condition is met, you just might get what you wished for, and if that condition just so happens to never be met, what you wished for might not be what you actually wanted. This is not so much “malicious compliance” as it is “compliance tout court”.

This disconnect between intuitive expectations — or, lack of intuitive expectations, if you aren’t really sure what exactly the output of the computer program might be — and the sheer compliance of the electrified statue burdened with the brute labour required to produce an output, gives birth to novel techniques in the creation of art. The most obvious reference is the genre of explicitly algorithmic art; but, naturally enough, algorithms pervade the creation of any digital art (not to mention the fact that algorithmic art does not require the use of modern electronic computers), so the term “algorithmic art” should be taken to mean “art whose primary focus is on a particular identifiable algorithm”, rather than “art that makes significant use of algorithm(s)” more generally. It is this pervasion of the mechanicalisation of both form & technique that gives digital art its many & various — often highly distinct — æsthetics, each of which sports its own particular brand of synthetic-feeling (or sometimes, even hyperreal) likeness.

If you’re interested in the vagaries & quirks of modern computation (or rather, of modern computational culture), then I highly recommend Blackle Mori’s (Suricrasia) The Cursed Computer Iceberg Meme (archived), which is just a compilation of hyperlinks in the style of iceberg memes (presumably so that it hopefully looks less intimidating than just a wall of links). Although the placement of the links is apparently not in the original spirit of the iceberg meme — there’s no apparent correlation between how esoteric the items are and their vertical positions on the iceberg — it’s nevertheless an excellent compilation.

I have certainly toyed with the more “mechanical” areas of digital art (including data visualisation) within this diary before:

If we narrow the scope of “digital art” to only visual forms of digital art (as is often done with usages of the term art in English, for reasons unbeknownst to me), some familiar media/genres like digital illustration/painting come into view. The distinction, in principle, between “illustration” and “painting” is simple: illustration is defined by its intent to represent something (particularly in a clear — or illustrative — way), and painting is defined by the manual application of paint/pigment to a topologically two-dimensional — although not necessarily flat — surface. In practice, the distinction between “digital illustration” and “digital painting” can sometimes get blurred (and I’m frankly not sure that these two terms are super useful anyways), although one salient difference is that “digital painting” usually excludes the use of typical vector graphics, where exact geometric shapes (as defined by mathematical formulæ, rather than by being lossily discretised into a bitmap) may be used as materials — digital painting is typically done onto a raster surface, by contrast.

Is pixel art “digital painting”? Is it (at least sometimes) “digital illustration”? Neither? Both? You tell me. I like to think that pixel art sits somewhere in a sweet spot between raster graphics and vector graphics; pixel art is a kind of “vector graphics” in the sense that we can actually model each pixel as being a geometric square of a solid colour, unlike with “true” raster graphics, where doing so would betray the purpose of rasterisation (viz. discretising what is usually originally an analog — or otherwise continuous — signal), and would also cause upscaling & downscaling to not work so well[1]. But what I do know is that MapleStory has a whole lot of pixel art, and pixel art — although we can reasonably debate over its exact definition — is an excellent example of NPR (non-photorealistic rendering) in the digital visual arts. There is an ancient & time-honoured tradition of taking the pixel art of MapleStory and creatively reimagining it into another totally different — yet still NPR — form of digital painting.

This brings us (at long last, lmfao) to the specific individual subjects of this section…

Sleazy — untitled portrait of tarandus

I commissioned a digital painting of my pugilist tarandus from Sleazy (IGN SleazeBall), whose art shop can be found here!!

Sleazy has a really distinct art style from the usual anime-inspired, flowery styles seen on the MapleLegends forum. As you’ll see below, his style focuses on expressive line drawings as the basis, retaining the “oversized head” style of MapleStory characters, but to a lesser degree, instead focusing on long, stylised, quite spindly limbs. The head features are more detailed than typical MapleStory heads, with equal emphasis put on all parts, including the nose and ears (which are normally de-emphasised in MapleStory characters). However, the feet have about the same level of detail as MapleStory characters, the main difference being that they come to a point rather than being rounded off (but still, no toes nor other foot/ankle features). By contrast, the hands are quite detailed and consistently feature all five digits on each hand. The overall effect is more reminiscent (to me) of Western “Saturday-morning cartoon”-style illustration than anything else. I was really interested in seeing tara represented in this style, so I sent in my commission!:

untitled portrait of tarandus

untitled portrait of tarandus

n.b.: I obtained explicit permission from Sleazy to incorporate this portrait into my diary under the usual licence (CC BY-SA 4.0).

I’m extremely happy with how it turned out!! I think that the more detailed facial features and the focus on limbs really plays up the androgyny that I was going for with tarandus’s look. I also noticed that the backdrop (which forms the underlying texture of all parts of the image except for the line drawing) appears to be based on some kind of… generated noise? Like Perlin or OpenSimplex noise, perhaps…? I’m not sure. But the brush strokes that are layered on top — specifically, on the background behind tara — add some nice texture as well, making the background look less homogeneous.

Anywho, I think it’s really cool, & I hope y’all like it too! Maybe, in the future (like, maybe in three years from now when tara hits level 120 😉), I may try revisiting tara’s look in a different style…!

Tarnished — untitled portrait of capreolina

I also commissioned a portrait of my woodsmaster capreolina from Tarnished, whose art shoppe you can find here. Although it might seem like an unusual choice when I could have commissioned a more “full” product with cleaner line art and full colour, I decided to go for the “sketch” style because I liked the look of their sample sketch so much!:

untitled portrait of capreolina

untitled portrait of capreolina

n.b.: I obtained explicit permission from Tarnished to incorporate this portrait into my diary under the usual licence (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The end result is really cool, as I expected — I especially like how Arc[2] is drawn here, with his face smushed into his right arm. The sketching implement reminds me of a charcoal pencil or something, and the overall style is actually relatively realistic, from the proportions, to the fact that all of the digits are correct! :P Not only does capre have all five of her fingers on the right hand, but Arc is correctly represented with three front-facing claws on his right hand — the other two claws on that hand are opposable (yes, koalas have two thumbs on each hand), and thus obscured from this perspective.

Slime — untitled portrait of cervine

On a whim, Slime (OmokTeacher, Thinks) asked in Discord™ if anyone wanted their MapleStory character drawn, as he was trying to get some practice with character art. Naturally, eager as I am to have my characters drawn, I jumped on the opportunity and provided this image as a reference for my I/L archmagelet cervine:

cervine commission reference

After an astonishingly short(!) amount of time, Slime had already produced an amazing sketch based on this reference image!:

cervine portrait W.I.P.

And after some more work, the final result was this!:

untitled portrait of cervine

untitled portrait of cervine

n.b.: I obtained explicit permission from Slime to incorporate this portrait into my diary under the usual licence (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Wow, this one really puts the “painting” in “digital painting”!! The prominent brushstrokes and the sketchy, fanciful fading around the edges of the portrait really give it an almost dreamlike quality. The highlights on the blue hair and blue eyes (and the level of detail put into the irises) really make them stand out and give her the icy quality befitting an I/L mage :] I also like the interpretations of her cape and face accessories: the nose is downplayed, much like in the original MapleStory style, with the “Allergic Reaction” (I prefer to think of it most like a rosiness of the face as a result of cold temperatures…) giving just a subtle rosy shade; and the gentle curving of the wings around cervine’s body, combined with them blending with the edges of the portrait, makes them look even more cozy and incorporated into the look than they do in the original.

deeralces, the daggermit

I also drew myself again. Not like, playing a game against myself and ending the game in a draw. You know what I mean. I’ve drawn my MapleStory characters before:

And this time, I decided to draw my undead daggermit alces! I’m really happy with how this one came out, and I think it’s even an improvement over my previous character drawings!! This one actually comes in three versions:

alces, the daggermit

alces, the daggermit ✜

alces, the daggermit (Double Stabbed) [CW: a bit of cartoony blood]

alces, the daggermit (Double Stabbed) ✜

alces, the daggermit (Double Stabbed′) [CW: a bit of cartoony blood]

alces, the daggermit (Double Stabbed′) ✜

:D

I’m not much of a visual artist, so the perspectives of my drawings are largely inherited from the original reference images, although the proportions are of course different (in particular, I like to draw slightly less oversized heads LMFAO). I decided to draw alces in a jumping position (to show off Flash Jump, of course!), and also with an F1[3] face. Although she is jumping in these portraits, I’ve intentionally drawn her arms as if she were standing normally; the actual jumping animation shows the arms bent at the elbows and pulled towards the character’s core, which looks cluttered — and frankly, strange — when holding a GDK & a Khanjar. The F1 face is something that I think is pretty unique: most faces in MapleStory have unique F1 expressions — unlike some other expressions like e.g. F5 (the angry face), which look similar or identical between different faces — and most character portraits seem to not use F1 or F1-like expressions.

Of course, this is alces in combat: it’s common to get hit in combat, so the F1 emote is expected. Double Stab is, needless to say, an integral part of the daggermit arsenal, so I incorporated it into the portrait (in the latter two versions) by having alces be Double Stabbed herself. alces is undead, so it makes sense. Just trust me. There’s also a slightly more subtle reference to one of her main combat skills in this image, but I think that you can find it yourself.

As usual, everything in the portraits is hand-drawn, with the slight exception of the glows around the Double Stab hit-marker and the Flash Jump effect, which were hand-drawn and then blurred to get the glowing effect that you see. The dust cloud left by the Flash Jump was an interesting case: it is entirely hand-drawn, but the way that I did it was by kind of impressionistically following some perceived “edges” that i saw in a reference image of the in-game dust cloud. I did this a few times in a few separate layers and then coloured each one separately, blending them by just changing their opacity. It honestly looks kinda weird LMFAO but I was pleased with how it fit with the art style of the rest of the portrait.

The four syllabic blocks at the corners of the Flash Jump effect are: 단검 사슴dan-geom saseum[4]. The first of these two words, 단검 ⟨dan-geom⟩, is a Sino-Korean borrowing from the Chinese 短劍[5] (literally “short sword”), meaning “dagger”. The second of these two words, 사슴 ⟨saseum⟩, simply means “deer”. :]

Footnotes for “I like digital art (very much)”

  1. [↑] Modelling each pixel in a raster graphic as a geometric square of a solid colour, and then trying to upscale it, basically amounts to nearest-neighbour interpolation over the 𝖫 metric. Obviously, this gets you blocky-ass-lookin’ upscaled images, when what you actually want (for non-pixel art) is probably more like Lanczos filtering, or bicubic interpolation, or something like that. For pixel art, though, each pixel “just being a square” is exactly what we want, because that is the mindset with which the pixel art is created in the first place!
  2. [↑] Arc is the name of the koala who lives on capreolina’s back. I wish that I could tell you how he got his name, but I named him literally like two years ago and I can’t for the life of me remember how I came up with “Arc”. It may or may not be a clipping of D’Arcy, or of something else.
  3. [↑] If you’re not familiar with MapleStory controls off of the top of your head, or you use weird custom keybindings or something, F1 is bound to the “hit” emote, which your character also takes on automatically any time that they take damage from an incoming attack.
  4. [↑] All romanisations of Korean here use Revised Romanisation of Korean (RR).
  5. [↑] Simplified: 短剑. Standard Mandarin pinyin: ⟨duǎnjiàn⟩.

Taxonomising odd jobs, pt. vii: What does it all mean?

  • Aɴꜱᴡᴇʀ

    They are not quite needed, nay wanted. However, a question without any partial answer would not be taken seriously : answers validate questions.

— Jean-Yves Girard; Locus Solum : From the rules of logic to the logic of rules; preprint; 2000.

We’re back? What’s going on? This shit again? What is happening? Why am I asking so many questions?

All good questions. Unfortunately, I’ve no time to answer them (they’re left as exercises to the reader), because I’ve a few things that I must straighten out first.

You see, a long time ago (I certainly have no recollection of it), I started this series in my diary called “Taxonomising odd jobs”. In nearly every new diary entry, there was contained a new instalment of this series, which differed from most of the diary content in that it was largely expository, discursive, and concerned with technical details of the nonexistent discipline that is “studying MapleStory odd jobs”, rather than being narrative, and concerned with the diaristic retelling of things that I did in my MapleStory adventures that day (or week… or fortnight……). The series started out because I had some inchoate — but not nearly complete nor coherent — ideas floating around in my head that came from both my experiences playing MapleStory directly, and also my experiences organising media like the Oddjobs website (not to mention organising the guild itself). Because I already had precedents for lengthy expository sections of my diary entries, I decided to “just go for it”. You know, YOLO:

I do not have the contents of this entire “Taxonomising odd jobs” series already written or planned out. This is in my diary (serialised as sections, with one section per diary entry) because of the informal, stream-of-consciousness nature of the series.

(That’s a direct quote from the first instalment of this series.)

As the name of the series implies, I was intent on some kind of “taxonomy” that might, I don’t know, look even vaguely like the biological taxonomy that we all know and love. There was, ultimately, no clear “point” or “purpose” stated, i.e. I was just goofing off. Nevertheless, I knew that I would have to touch upon and dig through a lot of the nitty-gritty of odd job culture in MapleStory before I actually got to the “goofing off” part:

  • The views that I express in this series are my own. Obviously. As a result, you may reasonably disagree with what I have to say here.
  • I may revise the views that I express in this series, over time.

The emphasis on “reasonably disagree” is not in the original, but I’ve added it here because reasonable disagreement cuts to the core of what’s actually going on throughout the large majority of the “Taxonomising odd jobs” series. I am writing this because I feel it necessary, in retrospect, to excavate this “actual going on” of the past six parts of this series. In so excavating, it will be necessary to examine the material within its proper, broader context, rather than as an insular study of the inner walls of my personal grey matter.

Less exposition, more imposition…?

Although the contents of the “Taxonomising odd jobs” series surely look lengthy and rambling to most or all of its readers (if such readers actually exist o_o), the emphasis is really more on the “rambling” bit, rather than on the “lengthy” bit. In reality, this series manages to cover a truly huge amount of ground (there is, as it turns out, a surprisingly large amount of ground to be covered within the subject of “MapleStory jobs”…) in the span of nothing more than a small collection of essays. This is not so much a celebration of my writing abilities as it is a testament to my willingness to jump (sometimes haphazardly) from topic to topic, and a result of the sometimes rather dense prose that I employed. And, most importantly, also an indication of how much is missing.

Because of my willingness to jump right into the relevant topics and immediately drill down as far as I reasonably can, some readers may have (perhaps understandably) read the series as a kind of lecture series on “the ontology of odd jobs”, or something like that. In reality, my intent in writing the series was actually fundamentally & drastically different: to invent an ontology of my own, as an experiment in imbuing informal language and informal reasoning about odd jobs with consistency and semantic structure.

The casual reader would be forgiven for glossing over the sparse indications/hints to this effect (bold/<strong> text not in the originals):

[…] my conception of what an “odd job” is […]


In the previous part (i) of this series, we asked a seemingly simple question: What even is an “odd job”? And I tried to answer this question in a way that hopefully codifies the way that odd-jobbed characters are typically thought of now. But, at the time of writing, the year is 2021; odd-jobbed MapleStory characters have been with us since at least 2003, and it would be truly surprising if this “modern” perspective was an accurate reflection of attitudes towards odd-jobbed characters even from the very beginning. Indeed, we will find that our approach in part i of this series was (intentionally) anachronistic.


[Building up a modern perspective] means taking a serious look at the history of odd (and more generally, experimental) MapleStory character builds, and in doing so, we will need to reconcile — and, more importantly, incorporate — antiquated views of MapleStory character builds within our so-called “modern perspective”, to create a synthesis onto which we can impose a taxonomy. […] MapleStory, as the MMORPG that it is, is characterised neither by diegesis nor mimesis; rather, it is a social game that is most largely characterised by the social interactions of the people who play it. As a result, the culture of the game informs what character builds are conceivable […]

As can hopefully be seen from these examples, I was clear with myself from the very beginning about what all of this ontologising amounted to (“hopeful codification” of “typical thought”), and clear about what the purpose(s) might be (“to create a [modern] synthesis onto which we can impose a taxonomy”), even if — most of the time — I did a poor job of conveying this to the reader.

Part i of the series mostly consists in expounding an ontology of what an “odd job” is, which is outlined in these five points (which are repeated throughout):

  • Defining a particular odd job (e.g. permawarrior) is simple.
  • Insofar as an odd job is “odd”, it is pure in its “odd” aspect.
  • Each particular odd job satisfies some intuitive notion of natural.
  • The name that we are choosing to use here, “odd job”, is simultaneously fortunate and unfortunate. The “simplicity”, “purity”, and “naturalness” of odd jobs (as listed previously) justifies the use of the word “job” in the phrase “odd job”.
  • Odd jobs are, to the extent possible, atemporal.

(Emphasis from the original.)

It is here (and also elsewhere) that we see the “consistency” and “semantic structure” that I mentioned above. Outlining concrete “rules” like this in a way that entirely (or at least, mostly) fits the range of informal reasoning & terminology that one wishes to canvass serves any of a number of practical purposes. It is now that we can turn to these practical purposes — starting with a very obvious one.

The taxonomy… stuff

Of course, what would “Taxonomising odd jobs” be if we never actually got to making concrete taxonomies? Fortunately for everyone involved, I did eventually get around to The Taxonomy Stuff™. But I probably lost most readers at this point, with the slight exception of the various pretty pictures and graphs that I managed to produce. For right now, that’s (ironically) actually a good thing, because that means that skipping over The Taxonomy Stuff™ won’t really faze anyone, since no one remembers it anyways, right? ;]

What I’m getting at is this: this is where I actually got to the “goofing off” part. In particular, the goofiest part was when I got really into the weeds with trying to learn data-mining-related techniques (cluster analysis, and all that jazz…) so that I could (hopefully — I never actually got around to it LOL) apply this to my taxonomy quest. I don’t have any training or background in any of this mathematical stuff, so it was really more of me fucking around and trying to teach myself (don’t be fooled by the tone that I used in those expository essays — it was all new to me, too!) about stuff that I thought was interesting.

In any case, the mere existence of The Taxonomy Stuff™ as a significant portion of (and indeed, the end goal of) the “Taxonomising odd jobs” series points to one practical purpose of All Of The Other Stuff™ in said series. Well, if you consider “so that I can fuck around” to be a practical purpose…

Not all games are alike

Historiography

In part ii of this series (“Building up a modern perspective”), I was very explicit about the historicity of the project that I was undertaking; to quote again the same quotation from above:

[Building up a modern perspective] means taking a serious look at the history of odd (and more generally, experimental) MapleStory character builds, and in doing so, we will need to reconcile — and, more importantly, incorporate — antiquated views of MapleStory character builds within our so-called “modern perspective”, to create a synthesis onto which we can impose a taxonomy.

What is perhaps less obvious (i.e. something that I left mostly just implied, for the reader to realise for themselves) is that the entire project (rather than just part ii) is, inherently & inescapably, shot through to its core with historicity. This is, to a great degree, no simple history; more comparable would be historiography, insofar as we’re not primarily concerned with any particular narrative unfolding of events & conditions (over the course of “Maple history”, so to speak), but rather, with the ways in which people have conceptualised their own histories (and those of the players who came before them). Concretely, one might ask (for example) questions about whether or not the way that one plays their character is following in the footsteps of others who came before ­— and if so, to what degree, and in what qualitative ways.

This basic process has a basic origin: players do not exist in a vacuum, and in the context of an MMOG, they are interested — much more often than not — in how others have learned to play the game, so that they might learn to play too. This basic process, and the historiographies that it generates, unconsciously (and, more rarely, consciously) permeate nearly every aspect of how players de facto play the game, and MapleStory jobs are certainly no exception. The effects, then, are inescapable — at least, short of some bizarre kind of mass amnesia and the reinvention of MapleStory itself.

All of the above can be rolled (if one so chooses…) into its own kind of “game”; in some contexts, the term “metagame” (often simply “meta”)[1] encapsulates certain (often quite restricted, as a result of the historiographical effects being largely unconscious) aspects of the process outlined above.

Language

Intricately tied up in all of this historiography is the use of language. It comes to pass, on occasion, that we perform the horrible ritual of coining a new term, to be used & abused, for a new (or ostensibly new, or renamed…) concept that may be forever burdened by this new nomenclature. Furthermore, language is — needless to say — not just a bag of words (a lexicon). You have to know how, when, where, and why to use said words.

When one asks “whether or not the way that one plays their character is following in the footsteps of others who came before ­— and if so, to what degree, and in what qualitative ways”, the question itself is aided & abetted by the language that its subject matter is couched in. To give a concrete example, a favourite (read: pet peeve) of mine is when a player hears about an unusual character build and immediately (and genuinely…) remarks: “so, like a beginner but [insert literally anything here]?”. This is a bit of an extreme example (in a very real game-mechanical sense, any possible character build must always be “a beginner but ______”, for some value of “______”), and thus serves as a clear illustration of the kind of conditioning and boundaries that language can set.

All of the above can be rolled (if one so chooses…) into its own kind of “game”; language is, at its core, a game, from which — and arguably, only from which — it can possibly derive meaning. The playerbase of a game constitutes its community of speakers, and without such a communal game, there is no language (more on that later).

“Gameplay” per se

So if historiography and language are (apparently) both games, then what about MapleStory? Hello?? MapleStory is a game, right???

Indeed, MapleStory is a game that one can play. If one so chooses. By & large, different players approach MapleStory in markedly different ways; some may join in order to play alongside friends, others may arrive alone, and most will find friends along the way. Some will aspire to the highest level (200), some will only play Maple whenever they happen to be bored of other stuff, and yet others may have different goals entirely. Some will enjoy doing quests very much, while others will avoid quests unless the quest has a particularly compelling reward (e.g. job advancement, or unlocking some other desirable non-quest content); some will prefer the monster-smacking grind, while others may prefer to party quest (PQ); and some mostly just want to Henehoe/FM hoe[2]. Some want the thrill of the journey & the adventure, while others are more concerned with achievements. And so on, and so forth… We could go all damn day, but I think that you get the idea.

As a result of all of the above and more, players will, naturally, tend to have quite disparate worldviews. Furthermore, these “worldviews” crucially encompass:

Although there exists some overlap between these things — and some people may even be so naïve as to be tempted to conflate them to some degree — all of these things are essentially, at their cores, disjoint from one another. This disjointedness might make things considerably messier for someone who might try to, I don’t know, determine what “odd job” means, or somehow, I don’t know, categorise “odd jobs” (whatever that means) into some kind of taxonomy…

More importantly, the fact that these things hinge on a worldview rather than resting directly on game mechanics (or, at the very least, on “stuff that the game itself says”, even if that “stuff” is merely nominal) is, in a way, the whole reason why the “historiography” and “language” discussed above actually matter. Not only do they matter to the meanings listed above, but they are, indeed, the only source of these meanings.

A brief — but important — detour on the subject of sloppiness

You may have noticed that one of the things that I’ve listed above is “what it might mean for a character to be ‘powerful’ or ‘strong’”, and although this is certainly just as much a part of worldview as any of the other list items, you might be wondering why I even bothered to list it, given that it’s basically irrelevant to our actual problem (which has to do specifically with what “odd jobs” are, and how to classify them). Indeed, I have a short essay on this topic which you can find as part of this very series: within pt. lii of this diary, see “A note on ‘power’” (which is part of “Taxonomising odd jobs, pt. i: What even is an odd job, tho? §3”). In the essay, I strongly argue against the use of “power” (whatever that might be; I am very careful to point out that it’s highly nebulous to begin with) as a reasonable criterion for defining just about any kind of MapleStory job — including, of course, odd ones. However, there’s a reason why that essay was even necessary to write in the first place! In particular, sloppiness breeds confusion, and the sloppiness that I had to deal with in the aforementioned essay arises in roughly this fashion:

The debate team nerds amongst you[3] will immediately recognise this final bolded part as an example of affirming the consequent, which means that it’s simply logically invalid. This is part of what I mean by “sloppiness”, and unfortunately, invalid reasoning does indeed tend to lead to confusion. What’s worse, such sloppy “““wisdom””” is easily passed on culturally, because it can often be convenient, and/or simply not obviously wrong (unless you lay it out very explicitly, as I have above). What’s even worse, the above line of reasoning doesn’t even manage to establish the left-hand side of the implication (“that all odd jobs are weak […]”), instead relying on a fuzzy and ill-defined notion of “power” (and conversely, “weakness”), and relying on tacit assumptions (which are, in reality, situational) about the situations/contexts/environments/circumstances/etc. that we concretely find the odd-jobbed characters in. In our case, this faulty reasoning insidiously infects our notions of what it might mean for something to be an “odd job”; for example, if an odd job seems to us to be “surprisingly powerful” in one way or another, then we might be tempted (erroneously, obviously) to deny that it’s odd, or to somehow demote it to a ranking of “less odd” (whatever this could mean, I legitimately haven’t a clue) than other odd jobs.

“Gameplay” per se, continued

Consider what we’re left with if we operate at the scope of just one (1) arbitrary Mapler’s “worldview”. Because we’re considering the worldview of a particular arbitrary Mapler, they could have any combination of a vast number of wildly different possibilities of attitudes, views, and intents towards the game, conditions & circumstances under which they play the game, etc. If we try to ask — again, solely within the scope of this particular Mapler’s worldview — our crucial questions: “what is an ‘odd job’?”, “how can such ‘odd jobs’ be organised and/or classified, if at all?”; we find that we’re left with nothing of substance at all. In the optimistic/best case, we are left with some answers, but these answers are neither meaningful nor useful. In the pessimistic/worst case, we cannot even begin to ask the questions themselves, because we have nothing to express them with; the questions themselves have no particular meanings!

In just thinking about our example intuitively, we can already see the cracks starting to form:[4]

Furthermore, even if we thought that our Mapler could have some kind of “language of their own” that we could put into correspondence with ours, the results would be eerily similar to the problem of so-called “private language” as discussed in the PI[4]. Consider PI §23 (boldfacing added by me; italics in the original):

But how many kinds of sentence are there? Say assertion, question, and command?—There are countless kinds: countless different kinds of use of what we call “symbols”, “words”, “sentences”. And this multiplicity is not something fixed, given once for all; but new types of language, new language-games, as we may say, come into existence, and others become obsolete and get forgotten. […] Here the term “language-game” is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life[8]. […]

The above quotation has a lot of implications for what we’re talking about here, and sets the stage for what is meant by “language-game” (i.e. “language as a game”, as expounded earlier). The notion of private language is basically introduced in PI §243:

[…] But could we also imagine a language in which a person could write down or give vocal expression to his inner experiences—his feelings, moods, and the rest—for his private use?—Well, can’t we do so in our ordinary language?—But that is not what I mean. The individual words of this language are to refer to what can only be known to the person speaking; to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language.

On the subject of such a “private language”, we have PI §§268〜269:

268. Why can’t my right hand give my left hand money?—My right hand can put it into my left hand. My right hand can write a deed of gift and my left hand a receipt.—But the further practical consequences would not be those of a gift. When the left hand has taken the money from the right, etc., we shall ask: “Well, and what of it?” And the same could be asked if a person had given himself a private definition of a word; I mean, if he has said the word to himself and at the same time has directed his attention to a sensation.

269. Let us remember that there are certain criteria in a man’s behaviour for the fact that he does not understand a word: that it means nothing to him, that he can do nothing with it. And criteria for his “thinking he understands”, attaching some meaning to the word, but not the right one. And, lastly, criteria for his understanding the word right. In the second case one might speak of a subjective understanding. And sounds which no one else understands but which I “appear to understand” might be called a “private language”.

The PI goes on about this subject for quite a bit, so I’ve just excerpted these few remarks[9]. We needn’t much more than this; the crux of it is that we can’t (even in principle) make sense of the apparatus of language that would be required to formulate our crucial questions in the mind of our Mapler, because if there were such a language, the distinction between “understanding the language such that one can correctly form meaningful statements in it” and the language itself is collapsed. There is no such distinction, because the language is totally private and “spoken” (if we can use such a word here) by only one “speaker”, who uses the terms of the language to refer to private “sensations” — in our analogy, the private sensations are not so much “sensations” as they are aspects of playing MapleStory, but these aspects are nevertheless private, because our Mapler is the only person in the universe who plays MapleStory.

To make things even worse, even if we were to plough right past the problem of private language, and assume that our Mapler were able to (privately) articulate some suitable (even if primitive) ontology of, you know, what an “odd job” is, what particular “odd jobs” exist, & so on & so forth, we’d still be left with severe issues determining whether or not a given MapleStory character fit the description of a given “odd job” or not. From PI §§199〜202 (boldfacing added by me; italics in the original):

199. Is what we call “obeying a rule” something that it would be possible for only one man to do, and to do only once in his life? […]

It is not possible that there should have been only one occasion on which someone obeyed a rule. It is not possible that there should have been only one occasion on which a report was made, an order given or understood; and so on.—To obey a rule, to make a report, to give an order, to play a game of chess, are customs (uses, institutions).

[…]

200. It is, of course, imaginable that two people belonging to a tribe unacquainted with games should sit at a chess-board and go through the moves of a game of chess; and even with all the appropriate mental accompaniments. And if we were to see it we should say they were playing chess. But now imagine a game of chess translated according to certain rules into a series of actions which we do not ordinarily associate with a game—say into yells and stamping of feet. And now suppose those two people to yell and stamp instead of playing the form of chess that we are used to; and this in such a way that their procedure is translatable by suitable rules into a game of chess. Should we still be inclined to say they were playing a game? What right would one have to say so?

201. This was our paradox: no course of action could be determined by a rule, because every course of action can be made out to accord with the rule. The answer was: if everything can be made out to accord with the rule, then it can also be made out to conflict with it. And so there would be neither accord nor conflict here.

It can be seen that there is a misunderstanding here from the mere fact that in the course of our argument we give one interpretation after another; as if each one contented us at least for a moment, until we thought of yet another standing behind it. What this shews is that there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation, but which is exhibited in what we call “obeying the rule” and “going against it” in actual cases.

Hence there is an inclination to say: every action according to the rule is an interpretation. But we ought to restrict the term “interpretation” to the substitution of one expression of the rule for another.

202. And hence also “obeying a rule” is a practice. And to think one is obeying a rule is not to obey a rule. Hence it is not possible to obey a rule “privately”: otherwise thinking one was obeying a rule would be the same thing as obeying it.

In our case, the “rules” that we’d hope could be obeyed (or conversely, disobeyed) are those that define what it means for something to be “odd-jobbed”, or better yet, for a PC to be a “DEX warrior”, to be a “brigand”, etc.

All of this may seem fairly abstract, but the core idea is simple: the concepts that we want to talk about here, with respect to MapleStory odd jobs & so on, are social. They do not exist outside of a kind of language/historiography/whateverthefuck “game” (a “metagame” of MapleStory, so to speak, but not in the way that this term is typically used). Our lonely Mapler… all they do is play MapleStory in a certain way (their way), so we need no words to describe this “way”; it just is, simpliciter.

While I’m at it, there are some things that I should make extremely clear

All of that was a lot of text. But I want to use less text to get across some very simple points & conclusions that will hopefully clear up some misunderstanding about “Taxonomising odd jobs” (and about my views in general). I feel like, especially at this point, all of these things should be obvious, but it seems that they are not. So here goes:

My direct applications

Above, in “Less exposition, more imposition…?”, on the subject of writing semi-formal “rules” to ostensively define what makes a job “odd”, I said:

Outlining concrete “rules” like this in a way that entirely (or at least, mostly) fits the range of informal reasoning & terminology that one wishes to canvass serves any of a number of practical purposes. It is now that we can turn to these practical purposes […]

Yet more of these practical purposes are direct applications:

What does it all mean?

Good question! The answer is probably something like: “not much”. But that’s okay! I think that this is a good case study (in what exactly, I’m not entirely sure, but maybe I’ll surprise an internet archaeologist/historian or something), and I can feel the weight lifted from my chest as I finally get the chance to clarify my past body of writing about “Taxonomising odd jobs”. If you actually read this far: hi, you look very cute today, and I hope that you at least learned something from all of this!

Perhaps the true joy of critically analysing the things that we think we know, the things that other people think they know, the world that we find ourselves in, & the things that we do in that world, is simple: a kind of freedom, or a casting off. The closer that we look, the more that we realise that everything we observe is already dead; inert — by the time that “the light reaches our eyes”, the world has already moved on. In some ways, this invites feelings of powerlessness; we can never quite keep up, and yet we cannot change history retroactively, either (although some have tried). However, if we can accept that the subjects of our studies are dead on arrival, a good analysis of these subjects (an autopsy, if you will) gives us a very real wisdom that we can carry with us, and at the same time — if we do a good job — we are freed of that history; rather than being doomed to repeat it (or compelled to futile attempts at resuscitation), we see the horizons that have been closed — and those that have been opened — by it.

As I said just above: “we don’t live in history; we live now!”. By seeing through the things that would surreptitiously blind us, the hope is that — old as it may be for a videogame (especially an MMOG) — MapleStory is kept vigorous by our courage, imagination, & enthusiasm in the ways that we choose to play it: the characters that we make, the things that we do as those characters; the adventures that we have, the people that we meet — and, above all — the fun that we have in the process of just goofing off.

Footnotes for “Taxonomising odd jobs, pt. vii: What does it all mean?”

  1. [↑] To be absolutely sure, we mustn’t conflate the use of the term “metagame” — nor any use of so-called “meta-”, for that matter — with what we’re actually doing here. The gesture to these “meta”s is only intended to give the reader another hint as to what I mean, and we can be sure that this is just a game, no “meta-” required (nor particularly desired):

    I may play chess according to certain rules. But I may also invent a game where I play with the rules themselves. The pieces of the game are then the rules of chess and the rules of the game are, say, the rules of logic. In this case, I have yet another game, not a metagame.

    — Wittgenstein; Philosophical Remarks; trans. G. E. M. Anscombe; 1930.


    The expression has invaded all human activities : grammar should now be called meta-language, I recently heard about a meta-movie, tomorrow the constitution will be called the meta-law… let’s hope that the promoters of the meta will be paid back in meta-money !

    « Meta » is problematic [because it’s] too ambiguous : typically, take the Tarskian definition of truth : it is currently assumed that and exists before . But a more perspicuous analysis — in the ludic style — would say that truth is nothing but a convenient way to reflect properties of formalism : typically the reflection schema only works when the syntax enjoys cut-elimination. It would therefore be more prudent not to try to make a hierarchy between ∧ and and, i.e., stick to the meaning « besides », « paraphrases », of « meta ».

    Personally I never use this expression in front of children.

    — Jean-Yves Girard; Locus Solum; 2000.

  2. [↑] Guilty as charged. I think that the “[MapleTip] There’s nothing wrong with being a Henehoe!” MapleTip is probably my fav.

  3. [↑] You know who you are. It’s okay, I don’t judge. …Okay, I do judge, but only a little bit. You’re still valid and I accept you, even if you used to be an insufferable pedant.

  4. [↑] I’m going to be using Wittgenstein’s Philosophische Untersuchungen (in English: Philosophical Investigations, or simply PI) as a reference throughout. Some readers may have seen the discussion of historiography and language as “games”, and knew that Wittgenstein was where we were headed. If this was you, you can take a moment now to pat yourself on the back. If this wasn’t you, congratulations, it’s possible that you actually have a life IRL.

    The original is of course in German, but the English translation by G. E. M. Anscombe is also standard, and the latter is what I will be using here. In particular, PI was published (in both German & English) as early as 1953, but I will be using the “third edition” published by Macmillan in 1958, which you can find here.

  5. [↑] PI, §569:

    Language is an instrument. Its concepts are instruments. Now perhaps one thinks that it can make no great difference which concepts we employ. As, after all, it is possible to do physics in feet and inches as well as in metres and centimetres; the difference is merely one of convenience. But even this is not true if, for instance, calculations in some system of measurement demand more time and trouble than it is possible for us to give them.

  6. [↑] I’m using the phrase “the laws of physics” in a kind of scientistic, or crude, way here. I don’t mean to refer to the laws of physics as we know them scientifically (that nuance is covered by thousands of pages written on the philosophy of science), but in the sense that the universe operates somehow, even if there are no people to observe it and try to figure out how it works. More aptly: “the laws of physics” as in, the way that the physical universe operates insofar as it is alienated (unable to be influenced nor truly understood; entfremdet) from those who live within its bounds. Videogames are often similarly alien to their players; although it is possible in principle to totally deconstruct the videogame to learn how it works, make your own copy of it, and then manipulate it as you like, this is not usually what players are trying to do when they are playing the videogame.

  7. [↑] A “nominal truth”, for our purposes, is communicated in a presupposed natural language directly between the player and the videogame: “I am a sniper because the bottom-left corner of my screen says that I am a sniper”, etc.

  8. [↑] Lebensform.

  9. [↑] Bemerkungen.

Bow Expert vs. Phœnix

Now that my woodsmaster capreolina has maxed out not just SE, but also Hurricane, the time has come that I must choose what to spend my SP on next! Basically, the main two candidates here are:

To be clear, capreolina has had both of these skills since level 120, but only at level 1 each. This makes Phœnix usable (albeit not as powerful as it could be), and gets a quick +5% mastery with bows, both for a combined cost of just 2 SP.

You may reasonably suggest that I level up both of these skills at the same time, but I want to see if I can choose a clear winner, and then level up that winner very quickly. Plus, in any case, I’m also simply interested in how these two skills quantitatively affect capreolina’s damage output, so I’d like to crunch some numbers…

Stats

Kandiva

PSB

DPM values

Compared against an unbuffed Zakum’s Arm 8, for simplicity: 1 050 WDEF, neutral to all elements.

All values assume the use of Cider (+20 WATK) and MW20 (+10% to all base stats). All values assume totally uninterrupted attacking (usually quite unlikely with Hurricane; quite unlikely in some other situations as well). We are also making the simplification that I just kinda get SP out of nowhere, i.e. I remain level 140 and don’t get any more AP.

attacktargetsBow ExpertPhœnixSI𝖤[𝐷𝑃𝑀]
HurricaneN/A1N/AN/A1 501 789
HurricaneN/A30N/AN/A1 758 858
PSBN/AN/AN/A0268 631
PSBN/AN/AN/A20307 007
Phœnix (Kandiva)1N/A1N/A66 252
Phœnix (Kandiva)1N/A30N/A119 479
Phœnix (Kandiva)4N/A1N/A265 008
Phœnix (Kandiva)4N/A30N/A477 916
Phœnix (PSB)1N/A1N/A65 112
Phœnix (PSB)1N/A30N/A117 423
Phœnix (PSB)4N/A1N/A260 448
Phœnix (PSB)4N/A30N/A469 693

Combined

attacktargetsBow ExpertPhœnixSI𝖤[𝐷𝑃𝑀]
Hurricane & Phœnix1301N/A1 825 110
Hurricane & Phœnix1130N/A1 621 268
Hurricane & Phœnix4301N/A2 023 866
Hurricane & Phœnix4130N/A1 979 705
PSB & Phœnix1N/A10333 743
PSB & Phœnix1N/A300386 054
PSB & Phœnix1N/A120372 119
PSB & Phœnix1N/A3020424 430
PSB & Phœnix4N/A10529 080
PSB & Phœnix4N/A300738 324
PSB & Phœnix4N/A120567 456
PSB & Phœnix4N/A3020776 700

Analysis

Because our goal is to compare “maxing out Bow Expert, to the neglect of Phœnix” to its reverse, one way to quantify this is by simply taking the ratio of the DPM values obtained by each of the two SP allocation strategies. I’ve done the ratio both ways (both Bow Expert∶Phœnix and Phœnix∶Bow Expert) to make the results easier to interpret:

attacktargetsSIBow Expert∶PhœnixPhœnix∶Bow Expert
Hurricane & Phœnix1N/A1.1260.888
Hurricane & Phœnix4N/A1.0220.978
PSB & Phœnix100.8641.157
PSB & Phœnix1200.8771.141
PSB & Phœnix400.7171.395
PSB & Phœnix4200.7311.369

As obviously expected, favouring Bow Expert helps when using a bow, but hurts when using a melee weapon. What’s more interesting, however, is that the benefit for archery looks more modest here, compared to the benefit for melee. Although this is to be expected given that Bow Expert confers absolutely no benefit to the melee user, whereas Phœnix does confer at least some benefit to the archery user, it’s worth comparing the realistic case of just one enemy target (i.e. our birdie is not “cleaving” at all) and no SI: 1.126 for bow & Bow Expert vs. 1.157 for melee & Phœnix. This is a significant win for Phœnix. Furthermore, if the birdie is able to cleave, the benefit of Bow Expert starts to diminish in a huge way: in ideal cleaving conditions (four targets per birdie attack), the relative benefit of Bow Expert shrinks to a measly 1.022.

Of course, we also have to consider more absolute differences here; in particular, just how much more DPM we are getting out of archery, when compared to meleeing. Using the “realistic case” mentioned in the previous paragraph, we have: 1 825 110 and 1 621 268 DPM when using a bow, for max Bow Expert and max Phœnix, respectively; 333 743 and 386 054 DPM when using the PSB, again for max Bow Expert and max Phœnix, respectively:

(1 825 110 + 1 621 268) ÷ (333 743 + 386 054) = 4.788.

Obviously, that’s an absolutely massive gap. To be fair, though, this is the pessimistic case for melee. The most optimistic one (four enemy targets & SI 20) is more encouraging, but the gap is most definitely still there:

(2 023 866 + 1 979 705) ÷ (567 456 + 776 700) = 2.979.

So, ultimately, although having these concrete numbers is certainly very helpful, it would be unreasonable to expect the numbers to point to a clear conclusion in the form of “maxing Phœnix first is superior to maxing Bow Expert first” (or vice versa). Although it’s somewhat disappointing to admit this — having already gone through all of this work crunching numbers — the question is really a question of how much I personally want to prioritise standing around and Hurricaning, versus standing around and swinging a surfboard.

With this in mind, in some sense, the choice is obvious: of late, I have had little reason to use my PSB — as a result of mostly fighting Zak & Krex — so Bow Expert is the clear winner. On the other hand, prioritising Bow Expert (a skill that only benefits me when I’m using a bow) over Phœnix (a skill that benefits me when I’m using a bow and when I’m meleeing) feels unwoodswomanlike (unwoodsladylike? just kidding that’s stupid LMFAO) and unduly lopsided, especially considering how much meleeing benefits from higher levels of Phœnix. Such is the eternal contradiction of being a third/fourth job woods(wo)man…

So I’m just going to go with Phœnix because haha birdie go brrrr 😁

Comparing DEXginners

A DEXginner guildmate of mine, inhale, was wondering about how various endgame weapons might compare for DEXginners in particular. This topic (viz. comparing endgame weaponry) is very frequently discussed w.r.t. STRginners specifically (and those who may deal damage in an identical way, like STR mages, woods(wo)men, etc.), but it’s not at all clear whether — and how — these results might apply to DEXginners (and similarly, DEX mages, and so on). The reason for this uncertainty is obvious: whereas the STRginner spends a majority of their AP on their primary stat (STR), the DEXginner does the same with their secondary stat (DEX). As a result, DEXginners have a very different relationship with the PSM(s) (primary stat multiplier(s)) of the weapon that they are wielding.

Another point of uncertainty lies in the DEXginner’s other equipment. To a great degree, the DEXginner who prizes sheer damage output favours STR over DEX and/or WACC. They already have plenty of DEX & WACC, and furthermore, the limiting factor of their damage output is not on the WATK side of the damage formula — as they are not particularly disadvantaged w.r.t. WATK in comparison to their STRginner counterparts — but rather, on the stats side. Remember that the permabeginner’s damage output scales as Θ(𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠 ⋅ 𝑊𝐴𝑇𝐾), so whichever side of the multiplication sign is relatively smaller is the one that will confer the greatest benefit upon being increased. To get a quantitative feeling for how much more a single point of STR contributes to the permabeginner’s expected per-hit damage in comparison to a single point of DEX, consider defining 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠:

𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠min ≝ 0.9 ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀 ⋅ 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡 ⋅ 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑦 + 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡.

𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠max ≝ 𝑃𝑆𝑀 ⋅ 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡 + 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡.

Then the per-line damage (PLD) is as follows:

𝑃𝐿𝐷min = 0.01 ⋅ 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠min ⋅ 𝑊𝐴𝑇𝐾.

𝑃𝐿𝐷max = 0.01 ⋅ 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠max ⋅ 𝑊𝐴𝑇𝐾.

We can hold WATK constant, in which case we only care about stats. Furthermore, we’re only concerned with expected PLD (𝖤[𝑃𝐿𝐷]), so we really just want to look at expected stats. The value of stats is uniformly distributed, so its expectation is as follows:

𝖤[𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠]
= (𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠min + 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑠max) ÷ 2
= ((0.9 ⋅ 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑦 + 1) ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀 ⋅ 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡 + 2 ⋅ 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡) ÷ 2
= (0.45 ⋅ 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑦 + 0.5) ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀 ⋅ 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡 + 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡.

Because we’re talking about permabeginners in particular, and we only care about melee weapons (to the exclusion of e.g. beginner-friendly claws like the Sweet Fork Cake), we can specialise the above formula for our purposes. We know that the primary stat is STR, the secondary stat is DEX, and the mastery is always 0.1:

0.545 ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀 ⋅ 𝑆𝑇𝑅 + 𝐷𝐸𝑋.

As you can see, the STR is multiplied by a factor of (0.545 ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀), whereas the DEX is multiplied by just 1. Of course, 𝑃𝑆𝑀 depends on the type of weapon wielded — and in some cases, which animation is randomly selected for the particular attack in question — so it’s worth looking at a table of values for this “0.545 ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀” factor:

type0.545 ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀relative
spear2.071 0+0.00%
1H axe2.136 4+3.16%
1H BW2.136 4+3.16%
1H sword2.180 0+5.26%
dagger2.180 0+5.26%
polearm2.289 0+10.53%
2H BW2.310 8+11.58%
wand2.398 0+15.79%
2H sword2.507 0+21.05%

I’ve intentionally simplified the PSMs here; for weapon types that change their PSM depending on the animation, I collapse them into a single expected PSM (𝖤[𝑃𝑆𝑀]). I also omitted two-handed axes, as I don’t believe that any such weapons exist that are wieldable by beginners (it’s the same as two-handed blunt weapon anyways).

Although these values clearly vary considerably, they all are vaguely (with the slight exception of two-handed sword) between 2 and 2.5, so 2.25 makes for a good rule of thumb if you’re trying to be agnostic to weapon type (or trying to be lazy). By using this rule of thumb, we can guesstimate that a single point of STR is “worth” (for the purposes of maximising 𝖤[𝑃𝐿𝐷]) roughly ≈2.25 points of DEX. Note that this applies equally well to both DEXginners and STRginners. Again, if you know what weapon type(s) you have in mind, you can make this more accurate by using more specific values of (0.545 ⋅ 𝑃𝑆𝑀).

2.25 is certainly impressive, but not nearly as large as the kinds of values that you get when looking at DEX warriors; I did a similar comparison of DEX warriors in pt. lxxxiii of this diary, where I talked about how the high mastery (and in the case of dark knight, very high mastery) of warriors makes STR worth a whole lot, and about how certain attacks (e.g. Spear Crusher) can enhance this effect by inflating the 𝖤[𝑃𝑆𝑀] of their attacks. As a result, the DEXginner is certainly more stats-hungry than the STRginner, but not nearly to the degree that a DEX warrior is more stats-hungry than a non-odd warrior. As a result, I suspect that the strategy that I employ for my DEX warrior (rusa) — which is to wear a 19 STR (and 5 DEX and 5 LUK) Crimsonheart Cloak instead of a PGC for the WATK — is probably not so effective for the DEXginner. Instead, the DEXginner is probably better off using a PGC that is similar to the PGC that I use on my other characters — but instead of 4 WATK and 6 DEX, 4 WATK and 6 STR. Not being ultra STR-hungry also has an additional benefit: increasing WATK preserves damage stability, whereas increasing STR obviously does not.

The model DEXginner

Base stats

Our model will be level 100, which means that their base stats will be as follows:

Equipment

I’m going to base the equipment on some equipment items that I use on my various characters.

So, from all non-weapon non-shield equipment, we have:

For one-handed weapons, we’ll be using the following shield:

And as for weaponry, we’ll be comparing the following weapons (each scrolled identically, starting with a perfect clean specimen and then passing two 30%s and five 70%s):

Notice that one of the usual endgame permabeginner weapons, the Crimson Arcglaive, is missing from this list due to its ≥300 STR requirement. I’ve also added two somewhat less likely contenders: the Sky Ski and the Duck tube.

Buffs

To keep things simple, we’re only going to consider the use of Ciders. This adds +20 WATK.

Overall stats

Without a shield and without a weapon, the total stats look like:

DPM values

We’ll be attacking Capt. Latanica, who is the same level as our DEXginner, and who has 700 WDEF. As usual, I’m crunching the numbers with the damage calculator on the Oddjobs website.

weapon𝖤[𝑃𝐿𝐷]relative𝖤[𝐷𝑃𝑀]relative
Sky Ski808.0+0.37%64 638+0.00%
Toy of 101873.3+8.48%64 690+0.08%
PSB876.7+8.91%73 059+13.03%
Fan805.0+0.00%73 179+13.21%
Duck tube929.9+15.52%74 390+15.09%

DUCC TOOB SUPREMACY @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

But seriously, the Duck tube is really good. Maybe even the “best” endgame weapon, overall, for DEXginners (and a decently strong choice for STRginners as well, I reckon!). We can see some of the effects of being a DEXginner here: the Sky Ski trails behind the Toy of 101 in DPM, but only barely. This is because the Toy of 101’s clear PSM advantage doesn’t matter quite so much here, so the Sky Ski’s attack period advantage (and slight WATK advantage) is enough to bridge the gap.

Keep in mind that if we used a stronger WATK buff (e.g. Onyx Apple) — or, more generally, just did anything to increase overall WATK — we would expect to see the Fan pulling ahead of the Duck tube. This is because the Duck tube’s advantage is WATK (and, to a lesser degree, STR), whereas the Fan’s advantage is a small attack period. With a greater amount of overall WATK, the Duck tube’s advantage is thus relatively diluted, whereas the Fan’s advantage remains relatively the same.

In reality, the PSB, Fan, and Duck tube are all very solid picks for the DEXginner’s endgame weaponry. In this analysis in particular, the DPM differences between them are minor. As expected, the Sky Ski is lacklustre (it really has no advantages over the PSB), and the Toy of 101 doesn’t perform as well as it does for STRginners (as the Toy of 101’s primary advantage is its very high PSM).

Scrollers b scrollin’

In an attempt to get 🔥MOAR DAMAGE🔥 on my darksterity knight rusa, I’ve been seeking out and scrolling Fitted Mails; in particular, Blood Fitted Mails and Emerald Fitted Mails. Fitted Mails are essentially the most powerful warrior clothing that rusa can wear, owing to their relatively low STR requirement of ≥110 STR (meaning that I need ≥75 STR from other equipment). The aforementioned two colours are special because they grant +4 STR (instead of +4 DEX) on average when clean, up to a maximum of +5 STR clean. Because they have 10 slots clean — much like Bathrobes — this essentially means a potential +5 STR on top of what I would get by equivalently scrolling a Bathrobe. Plus, on average there’s an extra +40 WDEF, +20 MDEF, and +5 MAXHP, which (for me personally) more than makes up for the lost +10 SPEED.

Of course, it’s possible to farm these things myself, but I thought that it would be too much of a pain in the ass (especially considering that only ⅓ of the Fitted Mails of the appropriate colours generated would be good +5 STR ones), so I procrastinated on it by trying to buy them from other players. Fitted Mails are not exactly a hot commodity, owing to the fact that they are simply not endgame gear (at least, for non-odd characters…), and apparently also the fact that they are female-only — I found out from a guildmate that the male equivalent (Crusader Chainmails) are actually much more common on the market. Nevertheless, I was able to find the occasional seller here & there, through a combination of smegas, Owls of Minerva, and posting in #free-market in the MapleLegends Discord™ server:

B>5 STR clean Fitted Mails (Blood or Emerald) 2.5m each.

(I was buying at 2M each for a while before I switched to 2.5M later on.)

Then, one day, something unexpected happened: renowned (or infamous, depending on whom you ask…) MapleLegends sweat king Fartsy (Fartsie, Shears) DM’d me on Discord™, offering to sell me Fitted Mails in bulk at my asking price (2.5M mesos each). I was thrilled to finally be offered a good source of these damn things, so we hashed out the details, including a rough estimate of how many Fitted Mails I could actually purchase before running out of resources.

Some time later, Fartsy came back to me with his results: the map that he had in mind for farming was not as good as he thought that it would be, but he nevertheless farmed enough to generate nine Fitted Mails for me to purchase. Even so, I was happy to buy all nine. In the trade window, he started putting up Emerald Fitted Mails, and — wait a second — Sapphire Fitted Mails? Unfortunately, there was another problem: I told Fartsy that I had been looking for 5 STR clean Fitted Mails (Blood or Emerald) — as stated by my smegas and by my posts in #free-market — and that DEX ones were useless to me. Realising his mistake, he decided to just let me have the Sapphire ones for free (if I wasn’t buying them, no one would…), while I bought the Emerald ones at the stated price.

Nevertheless, I did have some good luck with these Mails! I used a program that I made a while back, scroll_strategist_cli, to help guide my scrolling decisions. The input (fitted-mail.json) looked like this:

{
  "stats": [5],
  "slots": 10,
  "scrolls": [
    { "percent": 10, "dark": false, "cost":  700000, "stats": [5] },
    { "percent": 30, "dark": true,  "cost": 7500000, "stats": [5] },
    { "percent": 60, "dark": false, "cost":  200000, "stats": [2] },
    { "percent": 70, "dark": true,  "cost":  400000, "stats": [2] }
  ],
  "goal": [27]
}

As you can see, I was shooting for ≥27 STR, meaning an at least two STR improvement over my previous best of 25 STR. The "cost" values vaguely reflect market prices at the time. Here’s what my successful scrolling attempt looked like (I have alias ssc=scroll_strategist_cli for convenience):

$ ssc -j fitted-mail.json
=== Results ===
Probability of success: 7.491%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 18613080.0
Next scroll to use: 30%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Probability of success: 18.791%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 14954859.3
Next scroll to use: 60%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Probability of success: 22.405%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 13766816.5
Next scroll to use: 60%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Probability of success: 26.647%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 12319079.9
Next scroll to use: 60%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: n

Probability of success: 19.080%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 14103687.8
Next scroll to use: 30%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Probability of success: 49.536%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 4736800.0
Next scroll to use: 60%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Probability of success: 61.020%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 2780600.0
Next scroll to use: 60%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: n

Probability of success: 40.950%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 3655500.0
Next scroll to use: 70%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Probability of success: 54.000%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 3440000.0
Next scroll to use: 60%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Probability of success: 70.000%
Expected cost (scrolls only): 400000.0
Next scroll to use: 70%
Did the scroll pass? [y/n/b]: y

Final stats: 27

Cool!!:

27 STR Emerald Fitted Mail

Less cool was the fact that I used another 100 pCoins (which I farmed myself), plus 10M mesos, and bought a 4 WATK clean PGC for another 125M mesos, all so that I could fail the Chaos Scroll on the cape…:

Failing another Chaos Scroll…

🥲 Better… luck… next… time……

tara tara!

Welcome back to Questing With tara™! With your host, tarandus the pugilist!

I finally finished off The Chaos Behind Alfonse Green and the Nependeath Juice, now equipped with the necessary Coconuts from Florina Beach:

Questing With tara

Bone Helm get!

Oh yes — the Bone Helm, the coolest hat in the game!!

Also in Orbis, I set out to do one of the boss questlines. I have something particular in mind when speaking of “boss questlines”; they aren’t exactly standardised or with a strict definition, but these questlines usually:

  • Are questlines (duh), in the sense that there are two or more parts that must be completed; you’ll see at least two distinct lists of goals in your Quest Helper over the course of the questline.
  • Culminate in killing a particular single boss monster one (1) time.
  • Are not repeatable.

For example, BMM has a four-part questline that culminates in the Eliminating Blue Mushmom quest. Another good example is The Old Tree, a three-part questline that culminates in killing one Stumpy. There are quite a few of these questlines, and I was determined to do the Papa Pixie one myself.

This questline begins with Spiruna’s Concern, which asks for 10 leftover ETCs from each of the three ordinary Pixie species (Star, Lunar, and Luster):

tara doing part I of the Papa Pixie quest

Then, The Legend of Papa Pixie asks for a single Papa Pixie kill, as you’d expect. There’s just one slight issue with that: Papa Pixie can only be found in OPQ! However, I personally think that it’s okay to make minor exceptions to my “quests are the only source of EXP” rule, especially because it’s arguable whether or not this even constitutes an exception. Obviously, very many (even most) of the quests that I’ve done have required monster kills and/or items collected by killing monsters; so in a very real sense, a large amount of my EXP has been from “grinding”, not from “questing per se”! So long as I’m doing only as much of these “not strictly questing per se” activities as is actually necessary for the questing (in this case, limiting myself to just one (1) OPQ), it’s still firmly in the spirit of this self-restriction.

So, I headed over to The Unknown Tower:

tara at the OPQ lobby

Oh! It looks like kookietann (kookiechan) and Battlesage (Permanovice, Dreamscapes, Rowera, illadvised, Hanger) are already looking for a party! I’ll just join them, then…

tara in OPQ Storage

Spicy kitties!!!:

tara in Jail!

tara in Room 302

Tragically, our spearman idkbro perished before we could summon Father Pixel in the final stage…

idkbro…

We asked him how he died, and his final words were “idk, bro”. And I think that’s beautiful.

Anyways, we killed Papal Pick See:

tara vs. Father Pixel

And there it is, just like that: tara’s OPQ career begun and ended, over the course of a single OPQ run. With the Papa Pixie questline now completed, ’twas time to go back to a relatively low-level quest: Alcaster’s Cape. This is just a level 33 quest, but back when tara was level 33, I didn’t really wanna go messing with Hectors (which are level 55). So it’s time to do that now:

tara vs. Hector

Plus, the Dark Leatties:

tara vs. Dark Leatties

And there it is: the Cape of Warmness!:

Cape of Warmness get!

I really don’t recommend doing Porter’s Challenge unless you somehow already have the ETCs lying around, as it’s really more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth, but hey — that’s what I live for, apparently. I’m goin’ for those sweet, sweet ores…

tara hits level 54~!

Yeah, I hiked almost all the way to the entrance to Zakum just so that I could farm Jr. Cerebes in the Cave Within the Cave. Sue me. Aaaand that’s 54 levels for tara!

I did The Tree Cutter’s Test, a timed quest that has the player killing 50 Hodoris within its time limit:

The Tree Cutter’s test

I hunted the rest of the ETCs for Porter’s Challenge before turning it in for a handful of worthless ores:

Hunting more ETCs for Porter’s Challenge…

While I was in the Omega Sector, I went to Defeat Monsters to fight some MT-09s for their ETCs, for Fuel for MT-09:

tara vs. MT-09

I headed back to Ariant, to continue with the quests there. I had stopped midway through the Ariant quests, at level 50, so that I could get myself a zhelm. So it was time for Ardin’s Test:

tara completing Ardin’s Test

I also took the liberty of grabbing a quick Skyrom on my way out of the Ariant Palace:

tara finds the Skyrom

And I kicked Ardin’s ass:

tara vs. Ardin

Killed some Kiyos for Dancer Sword:

tara vs. Kiyos

Farmed some Sand from Desert Giants for Queen’s New Make-Up Kit:

tara vs. Desert Giants

And hit level 55 as a result!:

tara hits level 55~!

It’s time to move over to Magatia, since I was having a hard time finding a Deo in the wild…

For Russellon’s Items for Experiment, I broke open some test tube plants for their leaves (the monsters are Rumo, but the leaf is Lumo’s Leaf — can’t miss out on a good alliteration opportunity!):

tara retrieving Russellon’s Items for Experiment

Also at Russellon’s behest, I Destroyed the Roid (great rhyming, 10⧸10):

tara Destroys the Roid!

I collected some Pieces of Steel (and Hardened Pieces of Steel) for A Present for Keeny:

tara vs. Iron Mutae

I killed two hundred Reinforced Mithril Mutaes to get in the way of Alcadno:

tara vs. Reinforced Mithril Mutae

I assisted in the investigation of important problems of life alchemy:

tara & The Important Problems of Life Alchemy

…For which, I was awarded my 56th level!:

tara hits level 56~!

Having run out of Nihal Desert quests to do, I went all the way back to El Nath to find… a rock?:

tara finds a rock covered in snow…

Ah, no. Not just one rock, but two rocks! This one looks like a tombstone:

tara finds a small tomb…

Alright, Scadur wants me to kill more White Fangs and Hectors… Fine…

tara vs. White Fangs & Hectors

Well, I’m making some progress, but the search for the Book of Ancient is a long one!

I headed up the well into KFT to do some Tiger-Hunting:

tara doing Tiger-Hunting

Even further up the Helios Tower to Ludi to hunt for White/Purple Ribbon Gift Boxes from Pink Teddies:

For the Sakura Garden

White/Purple Ribbon Gift Box get!

While turning in the Sakura Garden questline in Amoria, I also turned in Cupid’s Courier, which I had already failed once as a result of the goddamn letter expiring after just 24 hours… Luckily, it was worth redoing, because I was awarded… two (2) Watermelons???:

tara obtains… two Watermelons???

Look at that. Angelique deadass tossed two Watermelons at me and laughed in my face. Well, that’s the last time that I do her a favour…

Oh, did you think that I was done with Coke Town quests? Don’t be silly — the Coke Town quests never end. EVER. 😈

Just kidding, I think that they end at like level 70 or something. Anyways, time to kill some Igloo Turtles for 북극곰 형제의 이글루 짓기bukgeukgom hyeongje-ui igeullu jitgi[1] “The Polar Bear Brothers’ Igloo”:

tara vs. Coke Snails & Igloo Turtles

Oup — that’s level 57~!:

tara hits level 57~!

Just a few more Coke Golems and I’m outta here…

tara vs. Coke Golems

Ok, phewf. I’ve successfully escaped Coke Town… for now…

Back to more Book of Ancient searching…

tara vs. Lycanthrope

These Werewolves are as scary as they look, but luckily I’m stronk as fuck — as evidenced by that sweet, sweet “1” damage line in the screenshot above.

In any case, while I was around the tippy-top of the El Nath Mountains, I decided to take a look for The Contract of Darkness, an innocent piece of parchment with an innocent-sounding and definitely not evil name:

LF>The Contract of Darkness

Well, I found it. And I gave it to Shammos…:

Fuq u, Shammos……

Fuq u, Shammos! Gimme my fame back, u green binch!!

Anyways, to wrap up the Echo of Hero quest In Search of the Book of Ancient questline, I had to talk to Statue (creative name!) on the 8th floor of the Orbis Tower:

tara at Statue

Over in KFT, I went on The Fox Hunt to collect my one hundred ACPs:

tara on the Fox Hunt

Oh, and I finally found a Deo 🙄:

Finally found a blasted Deo!!

And while I was at Ariant, I finished up the Scheherazade the Storyteller questline and hit level 58~!:

tara hits level 58~!

I’m not sure why Scheherazade’s name is corrupted for the in-game NPC’s name (*“Schegerazade”), but I assume that it’s just a typo — the h and g keys are, after all, adjacent on QWERTY layouts.

I headed over to Taiwan to do the quests there. One of the Night Market quests has you helping out Gumstick Girl (賣口香糖少女mài kǒuxiāngtáng shàonǚlit. “girl who sells chewing gum”; 껌팔이 소녀 ⟨kkeompari sonyeo⟩ “chewing gum girl”), whose grandmother is ill and in need of nutritious porridge! Unfortunately, Gumstick Girl barely makes a living by selling chewing gum, so she has no resources with which to help her grandmother. But she knows someone who might be able to help: the “mustachioed man”, who turns out to be Mr. Oh. Although it’s a little confusing at first, it’s perhaps better that the quest dialogue only obliquely refers to him as some guy with a big moustache, because no one can seem to agree on what his name actually is. MapleLegends calls him Mr. Oh, but it seems that most English l10ns prefer Mr. Ho; furthermore, the original (as far as I can tell) refers to him as 鬍鬚老張 ⟨húxū lǎo Zhāng⟩ “mustachioed old Zhāng”, which would make him *Mr. Zhāng, not Mr. Ho. In any case, the guy with the moustache tells you to collect 30 of each of the tapioca pearl colours: Red, Yellow, and Green:

tara vs. Yellow Bubble Teas

There’s also Master’s Hobby 1 (大當家的興趣1 ⟨dà dāngjiāde xìngqù yī⟩) and Master’s Hobby 2, which require collecting keychains — Yeti and Jr. Pepe, respectively — from Yeti Dolls and Jr. Pepe Dolls, respectively, which are spawned upon killing the bizarrely-named (or so I thought) Yeti UFO Catchers and Jr. Pepe UFO Catchers, respectively. Apparently, in Japan, Sega’s release of an electromechanical game by the name of UFO Catcher in 1985 (by which point they had been producing claw crane games for 20 years) saw a boom in the popularity of claw cranes, so that “UFO catcher” remains synonymous with “claw crane” to this day. The “UFO” bit is supposedly a reference to the shape of the claw itself.

tara vs. Mini Yetis

In Collect Dog Food (蒐集狗狗飼料 ⟨sōují gǒu gǒu sìliào⟩ “gather doggy food”), Stefanie Sun is having troubles feeding her canine companion:

Hello~ I’m Stefanie Sun. Do you see how cute my Beauty is? But… it’s been days since it last ate… umm… I wonder if you can help me out…

MapleLegends calls this NPC Stefanie Sun, but some other English l10ns prefer Sammi Fab, whereas the original is 孫燕珠 ⟨Sūn Yànzhū⟩. Note that 孫 ⟨Sūnis the surname here, hence the Sun in Stefanie Sun. The original also specifies that the dog is a Shih Tzu! Anyways, apparently some paparazzi stole her Dog Food (wtf why?), so it’s my job to beat the shit out of random Stray Dogs to get the food back o_o:

Dog Food get!

Stefanie Sun’s quests are part of a small group of quests that must be completed as part of a larger Taiwan questline revolving around the relationship between Jay Chou and Assistant Bi Bi. Jay Chou is also localised into English as Jay Chewy; the original is 周杰輪 ⟨Zhōu Jiélún⟩. Assistant Bi Bi is also localised into English as Judy (cf. KMS 쥬디 ⟨Jyudi⟩), and the original is 比比 ⟨Bǐbǐ⟩. The questline is entitled 周杰輪的秘密情人 ⟨Zhōu Jiélún de mìmì qíngrén⟩ “Zhōu Jiélún’s secret lover”. The first part of the questline, Jay Chou’s Magical Musical Box (周杰輪的音樂盒 ⟨Zhōu Jiélún de yīnyuè hé⟩ “Zhōu Jiélún’s music box”), initially requires completing this small group of related quests because each one contributes another part of the titular Music Box. To get the part from Stefanie Sun, we need a key to open the “perfect box” that Stefanie has, so that it can be used as the basis for the Music Box.

As it turns out, the box was given to Stefanie as a present, by her old friend Maya of Henesys:

Oh! So you are here to get the key? Actually, the Perfect Box wasn’t Stefanie’s to begin with, it was a gift from me to her… I didn’t think she would want to give it to someone else, how hurtful. Since the Perfect Box was given to her by me, you should at least be able to help me out with something? Please help me to collect 50 Orange Mushroom Caps, could you? My health of late hasn’t been too good, I heard that eating mushroom caps can be quite good for my health…

Okay. Fifty Orange Mushroom Caps, coming right up…

The Locker Key

Another such quest requires collecting the helmets of Biker Monkeys, which are these Zombie Lupins riding outsized motorcycles…:

tara vs. Biker Monkeys

Unfortunately, both maps (Ximending Streets 5 and 4) that spawn Biker Monkeys spawn them pretty infrequently & sparsely, so this was a pain in the ass.

I also had to find Jolin Tsai’s lost cellphone…

New Cellphone get!

Jolin Tsai is, naturally, based on the real Jolin Tsai, a highly influential Taiwanese pop artist — this NPC’s name is also localised into English as Coco Dee. For reasons unbeknownst to me, she says this when you retrieve her cellphone for her:

Jolin Tsai: Hi everyone~ I am Cassandra.

Cassandra? What? You mean Cassandra, the NPC? You’re not Cassandra. Stop trying to be Cassandra.

Anyways, once I did make the Music Box, it was my task to deliver it to Bi Bi — famous pop artist Jay Chou can’t be associated with Bi Bi, or else the paparazzi will be all over Bi Bi, too! When Bi Bi receives the Music Box as a sign of Chou’s devotion, she needs to gift something to him in exchange, to show her own devotion. In particular, Chou asks for the necklace that she wears; the only problem is that she lent the necklace to Christine! And Christine managed to lose the necklace…

Christine lost the necklace when a terrible monster came and attacked the Night Market, so it is naturally my job to slay the horrible beast and take back the necklace. The horrible beast in question is Snack Bar (originally: 黑輪王 ⟨hēi lún wáng⟩ “black wheel king”). The only problem is, Snack Bar is a level 85 boss with 40 AVOID and 720 WDEF, and I’m just a level 58 pugilist — 27 levels lower than Snack Bar.

But I’m gonna try to kill it anyways, because why not?

tara vs. Snack Bar

Maple Pops — and WACC-focused equipment choices — were enough to get rid of most of the “MISS”es, and Unripe Onyx Apples were just enough to get my raw damage range high enough to bypass the WDEF and level disparity (although I was still hitting some “1”s for sure). So, that’s how I solo’d Snack Bar as a poopy level 58 odd-jobber:

tara slays Snack Bar!!

And that concludes Jay Chou’s questline! It’s time to head to Thailand for some Thai quests! First up was The World’s Greatest Fruit Store, which asks for some fruits that can be purchased from potion shop NPCs, plus a Coconut that I already had from Florina Beach, and also the special Rose Apple…:

Rose Apple get!

…And Papaya ETCs:

Papaya get!

I collected eg for Sick Snake Needs Food:

Sick Snake Needs Food

…Gathered Lizard Tongues for Kith & His Ailing Mother:

Kith & His Ailing Mother

Eliminated Jr. Neckis & Toads:

tara eliminating Jr. Necki & Toad

…Found Kid’s Key for The Lost Key:

Kid’s Key get!

Kid here is not the ordinary English word kid, but rather, an alternate spelling of NPC Kith’s name. This seems to crop up quite a few times in Thailand, where MapleLegends cannot seem to agree with itself on what the various NPCs are called:

The Kith, Lung Tup, and Ponlaa ones are perhaps obvious, but the other two… I’ve no idea… It can be really confusing, as quest text ordinarily is supposed to help the player know what the quest is asking them to do, but how am I supposed to know who tf “Iriad” is??

In one of the Floating Market quests, Apaporn is trying to get Pooyai Lee to make for them a kind of love potion (in the sense of, “potion that causes its patient to fall in love”). Pooyai Lee flatly refuses to make such a “seducer”, or to even give any hint as to how one might make such a thing. In an attempt to persuade Lee to do it anyways, Apaporn has a plan to blackmail Lee, in Chief’s Fruit Pot. Apaporn has, in passing, seen Lee surreptitiously hiding something in the forest, inside of a pot hidden within a rock pile. Although Apaporn isn’t sure what the secret something is, they’re sure that it will make effective blackmail, if I can just go dig it up…

Preserved Fruit Pot get!

There it is! The Preserved Fruit Pot! Pooyai Lee reacts to seeing it as follows:

Uh… um… how do you have my fruit pot?? I hid this to make sure my wife doesn’t see it… uh huh… this is madness. I KNEW I had to hide it somewhere else… hmmm…

I’m not sure what is so scandalous about “[a] pot full of preserved fruits”… A little jam or cheong never hurt anyone, right? Or maybe it’s a euphemism for some kind of booze made from fermented fruits, like wine, fruit wine, perry, or cider? Who knows. In any case, at this point, Lee begrudgingly agrees to make the seducer with 50 Toad Poisons and 50 Lizard Tails — plus, for Chai’s First Crush, I also needed 50 Croco Skins:

Chai’s First Crush and The Seducer & Its Strange Ingredients

I got the Blue Crystal Earring, but unfortunately, I’m not even high level enough to wear it yet…

I can’t even wear Blue Crystal Earring!!

For A Morning at the Temple, I beat up some leaf piles…:

A Morning @ the Temple

…And, for Lisa’s Sad Story, Ponlaa laments how ugly her visage appears, and hopes to get help from Lisa of Orbis:

Everyone tells me she’s beautiful. Do you think so, too? Well… according to what I heard, she isn’t as gorgeous as everyone makes [her] out to be, in that they believe she looks no different than any one of us WITHOUT the make-up on, but no one has actually seen her without it. That’s why … I’d like for you to meet up with Lisa and find out the secret behind her beauty.

But, when I talked to Lisa about it, she was preoccupied with the rumour that she actually looks plain without her makeup on:

I am 100% certain that the person who is responsible for this is Hughes the Fuse, the guy at the Orbis Tower that always conducts those weird experiments! I am sure he did it, but … this is too much!! I cannot just sit here and take all that, you know! I will NOT forgive him for this! Hey, you’re going to help me do this, right? He keeps spreading false rumors to people in this town!

Help her do what, you might ask? Well, Lisa’s Trickery is to give Hughes the Fuse a fake blueprint for an alchemical construction — the blueprint is actually designed to create a huge explosion that will destroy Hughes’s laboratory and everything in it…:

(Blows up, shatters everything in sight) Why … why … what’s going on here? Noooo … something’s not right! Noo!!! My lab!!!! My lab is ruined!!! Why? What happened? I just followed strictly by the blueprint! Why? Why oh why???

The game never gives an indication as to whether or not Hughes actually started the rumour, but holy moly. Some random nerd (maybe) says that you’re not beautiful, so you blow him up along with everything in his lab?? Let that be a lesson to anyone who might end up on Lisa’s bad side…

What happened? Nice, just as I expected! I hear that he’s sunk in[to] a deep depression! Phew, that felt awesome. Anyway, since you have helped me exact revenge on that evil guy, here’s my end of the bargain.

In any case, I finished both of Ponlaa’s quests, so I now have her slippers:

tara wearing Fonla’s Slippers

Over in Singapore, I was Stoppin’em:

tara Stoppin’ Em!

…And I helped Johnson with a Technical Assignment, which involved killing just a small handful of Truckers. Nevertheless, this was enough to propel tara to level 59~!:

tara hits level 59~!

I also did Angie’s Beloved Costume, which requires fifteen (15) Emeralds. I already had some on hand, but rather than transfer any Emerald Ores off of my vicloc characters, I spent a few million mesos (yeah, really) buying the rest of the Emeralds that I needed…

In the Ghost Ship region of Singapore, I started The Secret of Ghostship, the first quest of which had me killing Pac Pinkies…:

tara vs. Pac Pinkies

…And Slimies…:

tara vs. Slimies

…After which, I was ready to start the next quest in the questline:

Requires level 63 to start the next quest.

Wait, what? But it says level ≥58? Hello?? Not even BBB makes any indication that this questline increases in level requirement as it goes on… Oh well. I’ll come back later, I guess.

Over in Malaysia, I helped to allay Chee Wee’s Worries by collecting up literally hundreds of bright yellow goofy-looking wigs from Dark Fissions, and tyres from the Oly Olys:

Poor Blondie

I collected Rebabs from the Emo Slimes (who, somewhat unusually, appear to be strumming or plucking their Rebabs, rather than bowing them)…:

tara vs. Emo Slime

…and Coconut Husks from the Chlorotraps, for Malek’s Joy of Music. And with that, level 60 for tara!!:

tara hits level 60~!!

I collected Scarves from the Scaredy Scarlions in the Fantasy Theme Park region, for Nuri’s Health and Beauty:

tara collecting Scarves

Remember what I said earlier about how the Coke Town quests never end? Well… Bored Polar Bear Poch (심심한 북극곰 포치 ⟨simsimhan bukgeukgom pochi⟩) had me collecting one hundred Coca-Cola Cards from the Yeti and Coketumps in Coke Valley IV:

tara vs. Yeti & Coketumps

I then briefly made my way back to Taiwan to do Lubricating Eye Drops, which crosses between the Night Market and Taipei 101. As usual, changing channels a few times in just Fashion Avenue East Section is enough to do the trick:

tara collecting Lubricating Eye Drops

Again in Thailand, I helped Jit hate snakes just a bit less:

tara & Jit hate snakes

Over in Ludibrium, I helped Mason collect some marbles for Mason the Collector I & II. For this, I headed over to WPoT1, and simultaneously made progress on Protect Ludibrium:

tara @ WPoT1

I gathered up all 310 Tachions necessary for this questline (which is the Papulatus questline, necessary in order to fight the big bad blue clock monster), but I still don’t think that I’m stronk enough yet to fight MDTs for Mysterious Powders. If you’re concerned about what the heck a Tachion is, then you should know that it’s just a corruption of tachyon. If you’re worried that tachyons are supposed to be causality-defying superluminal particles, then you should know that “generally mucking about with time-related stuff” is kinda the whole æsthetic of Deep Ludibrium. Plus, tachyonic fields (quantum fields with imaginary mass, a notable example being the Higgs field of the Standard Model) are a real thing(!), albeit a kind of misnomer, because they don’t actually allow for superluminal propagation — even if the guy who named them initially mistakenly thought that they would.

I went on over to KFT again, this time for Goblin at Black Mountain, which had me summoning (by dropping the appropriate food items) one of each of the three King Goblins, and then defeating them in combat — the yellow one…:

tara vs. Yellow King Goblin

The blue one…:

tara vs. Blue King Goblin

…And the green one…:

tara vs. Green King Goblin

…Which was enough to propel tara to level 61~!:

tara hits level 61~!

Because I had already gone all the way down the Helios Tower to get to KFT anyways, I kept going, in order to arrive at El Nath. Now, I could finally finish Alcaster and the Dark Crystal, the sequel to In Search of the Book of Ancient. I was previously a bit miffed when I completed In Search of the Book of Ancient and found out that it doesn’t actually unlock Alcaster’s shop — even though BBB falsely claims that it does! The shop is actually unlocked by Alcaster and the Dark Crystal, which has In Search of the Book of Ancient as a pre-requisite, but unfortunately is a separate quest with a higher level requirement (60 > 55). So I had to wait a few levels before I could come back and finally unlock everyone’s favourite ACP shop:

tara unlocks Alcaster’s shop!

Another level ≥60 quest in El Nath is Scadur’s New Fur Coat, which requires collecting:

BBB lists lower numbers (80, 250, 250, and 50, respectively) for these ETCs, but you can see the GMS v62 version of the quest on the MapleLegends library. So that’s a lot of ETCs. I bought the Sapphire Ores, but the Yeti Horns were a real pain in the ass:

Gathering Materials for the Fur Coat

Nevertheless, after enough punching WDEF-up’d Yetis and farming enough Cold Field II and Icy Cold Field, I was awarded my well-earned OA INT 60%… Just kidding, I got an OA LUK 60%.

In Magatia, I did the next quest in Keeny’s research questline: Keeny’s Research on Neo Huroid!:

tarandus’s Research on Neo Huroid

And at that point, it was finally time to start doing Japan[2] quests. I collected 700(!) Cloud Foxtails for Hanako’s Foxtail Wardrobe:

tara vs. Cloud Foxes

By the time that I was done farming ≈800 of their ETCs and six of their cards, I still had no Newspaper Hats, so I ended up buying one off of the FM for a price that I do not wish to disclose… This allowed me to complete Read the Newspaper!.

For Kino Konoko’s Concern, I hunted a hundred Crow Feathers. These little airborne bastards are not easy targets for such a close-ranged combatant as tara, but I gathered the feathers eventually…

tara vs. Crows

Whilst killing Fire Raccoons for another one of Kino Konoko’s quests — Kino Konoko vs Fire Raccoon — I found a kfan!:

tara finds a Korean Fan

In the process of killing Paper Lantern Ghosts for The Lantern at Mushroom Shrine, I hit level 62~!:

tara hits level 62~!

I went to A Desolate Cemetery to slay some (again, annoyingly airborne) Nightghosts for Eliminating Ghosts, and along the way got kills for Eliminating Dark Cloud Fox:

Eliminating Ghosts

For two of Mariwaka’s quests, Mariwaka of Performer Training and Find Mariwaka’s Purse!, I went to Showa Street 2 in search of Leaders A and B:

tara @ Showa Street 2

Unfortunately, there are no particularly good maps for either of these two monster species (although there are some somewhat better ones inside of the Hideout), but I got lucky with the Mariwaka’s Bag (a recolouring of þͤ olde Leather Purse) drop. It should also be noted that, although BBB claims otherwise, Mariwaka of Performer Training is completable by characters over level 40.

And, after Eliminating Ghosts, I headed to Vanished Village to farm Cucumbers for Water Goblin’s Cucumber:

tara vs. Cucumber generators

It was now time to leave Japan to do some of the Japan quests that require worldwide travel. As part of Umi’s Ambition, I had to fund Umi’s dream project of… a magical matter-transmutation device?:

Ahh, just a little more money, and I may be able to purchase the dream machine… um, hey stranger! How would you like to invest in a Dream Machine and buy it with me?

The dream machine is actually a device owned by Alien Gray that consists of the most advanced technology known in the universe, and what it does is it changes a matter into something else.

The machine can change Orihalcon Plate into various different items.

With this, I can always use Orihalcon Plate to make either a powerful weapon, a rare item, or something else. This will make me RICH!

So, I’m getting some alchemy-ish vibes here: we have a fantastical material (orihalcon), and a device with an unexplained mechanism of action that allows it to turn the material into… basically whatever you want? This kinda reminds me of the classic chrysopœia, except that instead of somehow turning lead (Pb) into gold (Au), we’re doing something that is at least physically plausible: turning orihalcon (a metal) into, for example, “a powerful weapon” seems basically reasonable. Then again, who knows what “or something else” is in reference to… “This will make me RICH!” sounds more like a get-rich-quick scheme than anything if all you need is a small loan of 1M mesos (which is indeed what I had to pay for the first part of the quest), and you’re suddenly filthy rich. What the heck is “orihalcon”, anyways?

Apparently, orichalcum (note the spelling differences) is a metal mentioned in Plato’s Critias: ὀρείχαλκος ⟨oreíchalkos[1]. According to the Critias, orichalcum was highly valuable, and was mined on the fictional island of Atlantis during ancient times. This connection with Atlantis has given orichalcum a kind of mythical status within fantasy fiction — however, orichalcum appears to have been a real name used to refer to real-life materials, although not necessarily consistently; different people during different times may have used it to refer to different things. Some Ancient Roman writings indicate that orichalcum (or aurichalcum) was a gold-coloured metal that was worth much less than gold. Some have speculated that it may have been platinum (Pt) for the Ancient Greeks, or perhaps people once used the term to refer to an alloy of gold and copper (Cu), or of copper and some other metal (likely Zinc (Zn)). Basically, orichalcum was probably some kind of bronze, or something quite similar. Not exactly magical, but still practically useful.

In any case, although the 1M mesos that I donated was enough for Umi to finance this magical orihalcon machine, there was just a slight issue…

Actually something terrible has happened. Alien Gray has still not sent the machine here.

I already wired 100,000,000 mesos to his bank account… you look like someone that can negotiate. Can you go talk to Alien Gray and take care of this for me?

Oh boy. Did we just get advance-fee scammed?? Come on, Umi. You’re better than this… I guess it’s up to me to confront the Nigerian prince behind it all: Alien Gray.

I went allllll the way to Kulan Field II, in the Omega Sector, to ask Alien Gray for the magical orihalcon machine. Gray seemed ready to hand over the machine (I sure hope so — it was looking pretty likely that the machine never existed at all…), but decided that they were hungry, and asked me to gather lunch for them instead…

tara & the Arrogant Alien Gray

Four hundred(!) Space Foods later, and true to their word, Alien Gray had the machine shipped to Umi! In the end, Umi also asked me for ten (10) refined Orihalcon Plates… But it’s alright; for all of my donations & efforts, Umi awarded me with a useless quest reward. Love u Umi muah 💋

I also had to hunt some other monsters in Lūdus Lake for these Japan quests: for Sakura and the Teddy Bear, I hunted for Teddy’s Cotton from Brown Teddies; and for War of Pang Pang, I hunted for Toy Trojan Swords from Toy Trojans. Both of these monster species are found in the uppermost portion (the “Terrace” region) of the Ludibrium Clocktower region:

Sakura and the Teddy Bear and the War of Pang Pang

If you thought that War of Pang Pang required Toy Trojan Swords because the swords are to be used to fight a war, you would be wrong:

You want to know what the War of Pang Pang is about, right? It’s a game that consists of two players. What you’ll need to bring are … a piece of paper and a pencil.

The rules are very simple! The two players will draw a dot on the paper. That’ll be your area. Then, the game begins.

On top of that dot, place your pencil perpendicular to the paper, and place your index finger gently on top of the back of the pencil.

Slide that finger down, and the pencil will draw a line as a result.

That represents the bullet that left your area!

[…] In order for this to fly farther, the pencil HAS to be sharp!

I don’t know if this is a reference to an actual game played by schoolchildren or not, but to be honest I don’t even really understand the objective of the game. In any case, oversized plastic swords are apparently the right tool for the job when sharpening pencils…

While I was already in Ludi, I headed to FPoT1 to talk to Ghosthunter Bob for the Free Spirit quest. I had forgotten that I actually farmed the Soul Teddy and MST card sets previously on my woodsmaster capreolina (which is not advised; do skip these card sets), and had hoarded a few stacks of Free Spirits just for this quest >.< So I painstakingly farmed 100 more…:

tara farming deep loodi ghosties

…And, for Tsuri’s Special Seafood, I farmed a hundred Poopa Eggs:

tara hunting for Poopa Eggs

I actually started a test livestream on twitch.tv while I was hunting Poopa Eggs, mostly to test if my hardware was even capable of livestreaming whilst also running MapleLegends in Wine. I asked Lv1Crook (Level1Crook, Lvl1Crook, xXCrookXx) to check out the stream and tell me whether or not it looks like actual garbage. As I was passing from Aqua Road to Victoria Island and passing through Ludi on the way, Lv1Crook suggested that I go and do the Ludi JQ on stream. The Ludi JQ is called The Missing Mechanical Parts, and I covered it in a previous edition of Questing With tara™ — basically, it sucks and I couldn’t finish it, and no one was able to help me (although we certainly tried), because the JQ only allows for a single PC at a time. So, naturally, livestreaming would give any viewer the distinct privilege of being able to watch, in real time, my absolute suffering.

I begrudgingly agreed, and Lv1Crook was able to give me some tips & pointers along the way to help me get further along in the JQ:

Livestreaming my epic JQ skillz

Although I wasn’t able to complete the JQ on this first attempt — as I ran out of time near the end! — I came back in for a second try, armed with my new knowledge of this godforsaken JQ, and I actually fkn completed it!!!:

tara completes the Ludi JQ!!!

Huge thanks to Lv1Crook, without whom I never would have been able to complete this miserable quest!! And, if you really must know what my twitch.tv handle is, you can find my profile at www.twitch.tv/capreolina; but it’s very unlikely that I will ever actually stream, so prepare to be sorely disappointed!

Anyways, I did turn in the War of Pang Pang quest, for which I was awarded the greatest reward of them all: two (2) Fat Sausages…

Poni Chai…

As it turns out, Mariwaka of Performer Training is actually the first part of a boss questline! This questline culminates in Movie Star, which asks for a single Mushmom kill. After some semi-AFKing, I did eventually stumble upon a Mushmom of my very own:

tara vs. Mushmom

Because I was done with Mushroom Shrine & Showa Town quests for now, I went back in time (still within Japan) to Ninja Castle, where I started A Little Mischief and The Secret of Ninja Castle, which had me collecting leftover ETCs from Chunins and Kunoichis, respectively:

tara vs. Kunoichis & Chunins

Along the way, one of the Chunins dropped a Thermometer!:

tara finds a Thermometer

I was actually able to continue in The Secret of Ninja Castle questline by just one more quest, by purchasing 50 Ninto Scrolls on the FM and buying a Kacchuu Musha Fragment from Harlez (VigiI). But after that, the next quest is level ≥70, so I had nothing left to do in Ninja Castle anymore.

I then headed over to a different World Tour region: China — in particular, Shànghǎi [上海] — where I started Enraged Livestock…:

tara vs. Enraged Livestock

…For Help Mr. Yang Farm, I collected Plows from Plow Oxen…:

tara vs. Plow Oxen

…And, for Proof of Qualification, I collected 100 Nose Rings from Cows, and 100 Black Horns from Black Goats:

tara’s Proof of Qualification

At this point, I now had my Shanghai Permit and was ready to enter the Giant Centipede’s lair — but not without first collecting Black Furs and 5⧸5 Black Sheep cards from the Black Sheep!:

tara hits level 63~!

Black Sheep card get!

Okay, there we are. All set…

tara vs. Giant Centipede

And just like that, Shànghǎi is saved! Again!!

Footnotes for “tara tara!”

  1. [↑] All romanisations of Korean here use Revised Romanisation of Korean (RR). Romanisations of Minnan use Hokkien readings in Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ). Romanisations of Wu use Wugniu pinyin. Romanisations of written Chinese otherwise use Standard Mandarin readings in pinyin. Romanisations of Ancient Greek use ALA-LC.
  2. [↑] Japan is referred to as Zipangu in-game, but I’ll be using the naturalised Japan throughout. In any case, they are cognates: Minnan 日本 ⟨Ji̍t-pún[1] “sun’s origin” → Malay JepunPortuguese Japão, Dutch Japan → English Japan. But also, early Wu(?) 日本 *⟨Cipan⟩ (modern ⟨Zeq8 pen5[1]) “sun’s origin” → 日本國 *⟨Cipan-guo⟩ (modern Wu ⟨Zeq8 pen5 koq7⟩) “nation of the sun’s origin” → Italian Cipangu → modern Japanese ジパング ⟨Zipangu⟩. The interpretation of 日本 as Cipan is attributed to Marco Polo.

Oelchome to Orbis, chope yu enchoi yor stei!

Back in pt. lxxxviii of this diary, I looked at some of the fake-Greek writing that can be found around Ellinia and Orbis. Basically, these are transliterations from English into the modern Greek alphabet — but most of them are so naïve as to be anywhere from “a bad transliteration” to “unreadable”. Well, I missed at least one. You can see this one at the far left of the Orbis Ticketing Booth (romanisations of Greek here use ALA-LC):

ōelchome to Orbis

ciphertextGreek romanisationGreek pronunciationplaintextEnglish pronunciation
ωελχομε το Ορβισōelchome to Orbis/ˈo̞e̞lxo̞me̞ to̞ o̞ɾvis̠/welcome to Orbis/ˈwɛlkəm tuː ˈɔːɹbɪs/

This one is especially funny because they seem to be using « ω » just because of its visual resemblance to « w », even though these two graphemes are completely unrelated, and represent completely different sounds. Plus, the « ε » at the end of « ωελχομε » is just there because of the « e » at the end of « welcome », in spite of the fact that it’s a completely silent « e »

Event(ually)

At long last, the people of MapleLegends have what they desire most: special event. This event is the 2022 Anniversary–Summer event, which combines the 2022 Anniversary event and the 2022 Summer event into a single big fat event. As a result, there’s a lot of stuff to do. And what would an event be without PCs of all levels flocking to HHGII to farm event points…?:

Event(ful)

cervine farming summer points @ HHGII

While farming points on my daggermit alces alongside STRginner extraordinaire Taima (Boymoder, Girlmoder, Tacgnol, Hanyou) and marksman Level1Crook (Lvl1Crook, xXCrookXx), a bishop in our party accidentally pressed the Genesis button…:

i hate it when that happens

But it’s not all just the same HHGII sweatshoppery this event: we also have a fancy new minigame!:

Welcome to the MMF dancing minigame~

That’s right: this event is music-themed, and centres around the Maple Music Festival (MMF). The MMF dancing minigame involves “dancing” to the music of that week’s DJ, in order to dodge the falling and/or exploding obstacles that show up across the map:

MMF dancing minigame floor indicators

One of the obstacles is a kind of light-blue exploding water balloon, which can spawn in more compact clusters but has a smaller hitbox (a lot smaller than it visually appears, actually). If you do get splashed by one of these balloons, you get jump-seduced:

d34r is seduced

Another one of the obstacles is just a big jet of water that shoots up from the ground, which briefly stuns you and yeets you across the map if you’re too close to it. The other obstacles are just falling objects that, if they strike you, will cause you to instantly lose the minigame and get booted out. The goal is to stay in the minigame map for the entire duration of the minigame (about a minute & a half). The main feature of the minigame is that it spawns the obstacles randomly, with little regard for where the PC is. The result is that it’s very common to lose the minigame by sheer dumb luck, simply because there’s no possible way to dodge the given obstacles. In any case, I did this minigame a lot on my various characters to get the overpowered (but untradeable) USE items that it gives: each Maple Music Fever grants +37 WATK, +47 MATK, +77 AVOID, +77 WACC, +777 WDEF, and +777 MDEF for 10 minutes!

And of course, what would an event be without its raffle? This raffle is basically a daily quest to kill one hundred monsters of a random species ­— or one monster of a random boss species, if you are level ≥120 and choose this option:

tara killing Boomers for a raffle

cervine killing Red Goblins for a raffle

capreolina killing crogs for a raffle

alces killing Red Slimes for a raffle

Naturally, because the chosen species are randomly selected, the raffle is very hostile to area-restricted characters. Eventually, I did manage to get one vicloc raffle on my vicloc clericlet d33r: Evil Eyes:

d33r hunting Evil Eyes for a raffle

And of course, now that I was so fortunate as to get an actually completable raffle, I got a garbage reward:

MMF Jump Juice 50%…

Yeahh… These are just reskinned Elixirs with a different item ID so that they don’t stack with normal Elixirs…

At first, I assumed (and not without reason — this has always been true in the past, at least at the beginning of events) that the raffles would be totally uncompletable by Maple Islanders. But actually, they are not hostile to Maple Islanders at all!:

ozotoceros hunting Red Snails for a raffle

So far, the only thing of any value that I’ve gotten from my Maple Island raffles has been a 2 SPEED Pink Bandana. That’s the worst possible Pink Bandana (it could have been as high as 4 SPEED), but hey — it’s certainly better than absolutely nothin’.

Oh, and I did get one other vicloc raffle: 100 Ice Drakes for my vicloc dagger spearwoman d34r:

d34r hunting Ice Drakes for a raffle

Aaaand… I got an MCP1. Oh well.

Because this event incorporates the Summer event stuff, that means BRPQ (“Boss Rush Party Quest”; also referred to as simply BPQ)! Here I am, on my darksterity knight rusa, doing the final stage (Pianus) with marksman xBowtjuhNL:

wooa, rusa, & xBowtjuhNL vs. BRPQ Pianus

And, on alces, the final stage of the penultimate phase: Leviathan:

alces vs. BRPQ Levi

On my I/L archmagelet cervine, I ended up at the final Pianus stage with a party of random folx, and we tried our damnedest to slay that giant orange fishy…:

cervine faces Pianus with a party of randoms…

…Then, people started dying…:

Deds!

…And we realised that we definitely can’t kill Pianus:

OK yeah, we can’t do Pianus…

Also on cervine, I did a very special pair of BRPQs, running with Level1Crook, F/P archmage 2sus4u (uayua, shadowban, tb303), Taima, nightlord PoultryWoman (Yoshis, Furbs), and buccaneer Edgedancer (Keppet, Rapskal) — all directly or indirectly members of Suboptimal!:

Edgedancer, PoultryWoman, cervine, Taima, 2sus4u, & Level1Crook vs. BRPQ Papulatus

We made it to Pianus…:

Suboptimal vs. Pianus starts strong…

…But it didn’t go so well. I was the last one standing…:

cervine is the last one standing!

…But I made the huge mistake of casting Blizzard in an attempt to clear the Bloody Booms (I would have preferred CL, to keep my distance and my MP, but they are immune to lightning), and the result was immediate:

All ded.

R.I.P. 🪦🪦🪦🪦🪦🪦

But we had another run in us, so we tried again! And we killed the fishy!!! 🎉 But at what cost…?:

The BRPQ Pianus sequel!

I also managed to clear Pianus in a party of randoms as well, but this time on my woodsmaster capreolina:

capreolina vs. BRPQ Pianus

And, I made a brief attempt to run BRPQ with some randoms on my Maple Islander ozotoceros, but to no avail…:

J>level 45 surfer

Berserkr

Aside from the event itself, this event’s patch came with the usual client updates and balance changes. Usually, the balance changes are trivial and/or don’t really concern me — MapleLegends is exclusively balanced around fourth-job non-odd characters doing “endgame content”, so it tends not to overlap with my playstyle (and probably not with the playstyle of the less vocal sections of the playerbase, either). However, this particular set of balance changes made a considerable change to the way that Berserk[1] operates, which has had a big impact on how I play my darksterity knight rusa.

For those not already familiar with how dark knights (DKs) work, the original version of Berserk is essentially very simple.[2] Berserk is a passive skill (both now and previously), and previously was always in exactly one of two states: active (“zerked”/“zerking”) or inactive (not “zerked”/“zerking”). Berserk was active if the DK’s HP was strictly less than 55% of their MAXHP; if the DK had 30k MAXHP, then they would need to have 16 499 or fewer HP (this is just the same as “strictly less than 16 500 HP” because HP values are natural numbers) to make the skill active. While Berserk was active, all of the DK’s damage calculations would be affected by an aftermultiplier[3] of 2, i.e. their damage was doubled. When Berserk was inactive, it would have no effect whatsoever (i.e. an aftermultiplier of 1).

The new version of Berserk has a somewhat different dynamic range than the original version — ranging from an aftermultiplier of actually slightly more than 1, up to an aftermultiplier of 2.1 — but is distributed much differently. Notice that I use the word “distributed”[4] in the previous sentence; the generalised function that — in the original version of Berserk — relates the DK’s HP⧸MAXHP ratio (the input) to the DK’s aftermultiplier (the output) is not differentiable; indeed, it’s not even continuous. The original function can be easily defined in terms of the Heaviside step function (see also):

𝑓old⁡(𝑥) ≝ 𝟏𝑥<0.55 + 1.

The new version of 𝑓, then, looks like:

𝑓new⁡(𝑥) ≝ −1∕(1 + 𝖾𝗑𝗉⁡(100⁄7 ⋅ (7⁄10 − 𝑥))) − 0.1⁢𝑥 + 2.1.

As you can see, the new version of 𝑓 is formed by the linear combination of essentially three terms: a logistic curve term “−1∕(1 + 𝖾𝗑𝗉⁡(100⁄7 ⋅ (7⁄10 − 𝑥)))”, a linear term “−0.1⁢𝑥”, and a constant term “2.1”. The Wikipedia article on logistic curves analyses the generalised logistic function (which I’m calling 𝑔 here) like so:

𝑔⁡(𝑥) = 𝐿∕(1 + 𝖾𝗑𝗉⁡(−𝑘⁢(𝑥 − 𝑥0)))

…Where:

By simple algebraic manipulation, we can see that for the logistic curve term used in the new Berserk formula, we have:

The intent is simple:

Thus, the values of 𝑥0 and of 𝐿 make intuitive sense: we expect the curve to be roughly halfway done descending by the time that the DK’s HP⧸MAXHP ratio gets up to 70% or so (as 70% is near the middle of 50% and 100%), and the maximum value of the curve being −1 represents the transition from an aftermultiplier of about 2, to an aftermultiplier of about 1 (1 − 2 = −1).

The linear term (“−0.1⁢𝑥”) is mostly there to achieve the “[f]or values of 𝑥 below 0.5, the DK’s attacks should get stronger and stronger as 𝑥 approaches 0” effect mentioned above, and to also make sure that we get the value of 𝑓new⁡(1) to get all the way down to 1. Actually, 𝑓new⁡(1) turns out to be more like ≈1.013 577, so the DK does benefit (ever so slightly!) from Berserk still, even at full HP.

What is significant about the use of a logistic curve is that the logistic curve is part of a broader class of functions called sigmoid functions, so called because of their signature “S” shape. This “S” shape ends up being like a “smoothed out” version of the Heaviside step function that is used to define the old Berserk formula! I’ve reproduced the visual illustration of the new Berserk formula (and how it compares to the old one) from the official MapleLegends patch notes here:

Visual illustration of the new Berserk formula, from the official MapleLegends patch notes

(n.b.: The official patch notes use a different convention, referring to an aftermultiplier of 2 as a “dmg %” of 100, and an aftermultiplier of 1 as a “dmg %” of 0. Also, they use 𝑥 in terms of percentage points, rather than as raw values.)

As you can see, the new function crosses the old one at exactly two points (it looks like three points in the illustration above, but only because it draws the old function as if it were continuous, which it is not): (0.5, 2), and roughly — see the disclaimer above — ≈(1, 1).

Because the new function is, as mentioned above, just the linear combination of three terms, and all three of those terms are differentiable, 𝑓new is differentiable (in stark contrast to 𝑓old)[4]! Although this might seem like a minor arcane curiosity at best, this mathematical property means something very simple for the DK: small changes in your HP value cannot result in arbitrarily large leaps in your damage output. This is a new feature. Basically, the magnitude of the DK’s damage output changes “smoothly” with their HP value (assuming that their MAXHP is constant).

In particular, we could actually take the derivative of 𝑓new, and the result would tell us exactly how violently the DK’s damage changes around certain HP values. I’ll tell you right now that I remember roughly nothing from my secondary school real analysis class, but luckily this isn’t too hard, I think. The derivative of a sum of functions is the sum of the derivatives of those functions, so we can differentiate each of the three terms separately. The constant term is easy: it just disappears. The linear term is similarly easy: the power rule implies that the derivative of 0.1⁢𝑥 is simply 0.1. The derivative of the logistic function is given by Wikipedia, but it only gives the derivative of the standard logistic function, and I’m too stupid to know how to use that in general. So I made a computer do it for me. The result is this:

[𝖽∕(𝖽⁢𝑥)]⁢𝑓new⁡(𝑥) = −100⁄7 ⋅ 𝖾𝗑𝗉⁡(100⁄7 ⋅ (7⁄10 − 𝑥))∕(1 + 𝖾𝗑𝗉⁡(100⁄7 ⋅ (7⁄10 − 𝑥)))2 − 0.1.

This is a little tough to look at, but it’s easier if we define a helper function (call it ℎ for “helper”):

ℎ⁡(𝑥) ≝ 𝖾𝗑𝗉⁡(100⁄7 ⋅ (7⁄10 − 𝑥)).

Then:

𝑓new⁡(𝑥) = −100⁄7 ⋅ ℎ⁡(𝑥)∕(1 + ℎ⁡(𝑥))2 − 0.1.

Much better. Plotting it gives us an idea of what this derivative looks like (plotted using matplotlib; see plot.py):

A plot of the derivative of the new version of 𝑓

As you can see, the minimum of the derivative (which is the point at which the derivative’s absolute value is maximised) is at 𝑥 = 𝑥0. We have 𝑓new′(𝑥0) = 𝑓new′(7⁄10) = −257⁄70 ≈ −3.67. This is the logistic distribution, which kinda looks like the normal distribution (due to the “bell-shaped curve”), but it’s shaped a bit different — it’s leptokurtic, which basically means that it takes its sweet time in flattening out (in this case, flattening out to a maximum of −1⁄10). Three other values of the derivative are of note:

In any case, there’s a kind of… fun trick, if you will, that is enabled by this change to Berserk: “gigazerking”.

Gigazerk

Of course, 1-HP zerking is only possible if you can guarantee that you won’t take any damage. And there’s only one way to do that: Smokescreen. The damage benefits are — as should be obvious from the above discussion on the new Berserk formula — modest; but it’s cool, and as a STRless DK, I need every bit of extra damage that I can get!!

I surprised my party members whilst JCing by starting to gigazerk during Smoke:

Gigazerking at JC

If Bowchi “got anxiety watching that”, then I must have given my BRPQ party a collective heart attack when I gigazerked during the Pianus fight…:

“healed just in case”

Damn, I got Healed. Major buzzkill…

It’s also worth noting that although this makes Berserk more dynamic & forgiving, in that it will confer reasonably good damage benefits even above the new “zerk threshold” of 50% HP, it also begs the DK to tempt fate even more than DKs already did in the past. If constantly being on the brink of death (and sometimes, less “on the brink of death” and more “dead”…) was the DK’s modus operandi previously, then it really is now. I loved using Aura of the Beholder previously, and I spent 25 of my hard-earned SP to max it fairly early on. Now, though, I rarely have my little monocular guy at my side, because it’s a DPM hazard![5] I’m so lonely now…

Footnotes for “Berserkr”

  1. [↑] The English berserk is from Old Norse berserkr, which is from Old Norse bjǫrnbear” + serkr “shirt”, in reference to the bearskin clothing/armour worn by Scandinavian warriors. Berserkir were said to be subject to intense episodes of insane frenzy, during which they took on the behaviours (and in literature, occasionally the literal physical form) of maddened ursids, along with seemingly superhuman strength and immunity to flame. The shortened form zerk is due to most English lects taking the /s/ in berserkr and voicing it to /z/, as a result of assimilation. Old Norse (unlike English, in which /s/ and /z/ are both distinct phonemes) did not distinguish between alveolar fricatives on the basis of voice, with only /s/ being phonemic.

  2. [↑] In order to simplify things, I’m only going to be talking about level 30 Berserk throughout, as that is the maximum level of the skill.

  3. [↑] The term “aftermultiplier” here has a specific technical meaning. Damage is calculated in (basically; I’m simplifying just a tad bit) the following order; reordering these phases will result in incorrect damage calculation:

    1. Raw damage.
    2. Premultipliers (pre-DEF modifiers) are applied.
    3. WDEF & MDEF are applied.
    4. The damage multi (this includes the damage multi of the skill used, plus critical multi if applicable) is applied.
    5. Aftermultipliers (aftermodifiers) are applied.
  4. [↑] Kinda the whole point of the concept of “distribution” is so that you can differentiate functions that you classically cannot. By generalising functions to distributions, and generalising the definition of differentiation with it, you can apply this generalised version of differentiation to a broader class of functions. Indeed, you can use the theory of distributions to differentiate the Heaviside step function: the result is the Dirac delta distribution (or “δ distribution”), which basically looks like what you might expect: zero everywhere, except for at one point — viz. where the “step” occurs.

  5. [↑] And because it’s bugged, but that’s a tale for the bug report…

Bazen

As usual, I’ve been doing Capt. Lat. runs on my pure STR bishop cervid, alongside her Maple wife Taima (Boymoder, Hanyou, Girlmoder, midorin, Tacgnol) the STRginner!:

Bosses

cervid & Taima vs. Captain Latanica

During one such run, cervid hit the big level 130~!!:

cervid hits level 130~!!

F55555

I also had the privilege of doing such a run with even moar members of the Suboptimal krew, including with STRginner Cortical (Medulla, GishGallop, SussyBaka, CokeZeroPill, RedNurJazlan)…:

cervid, Cortical, & Taima vs. Capt. Lat

…And also with INTlaw Lvl1Crook (Level1Crook, xXCrookXx) and F/P archmage 2sus4u (hueso, uayua, shadowban, tb303) joining the three of us:

cervid, 2sus4u, Taima, Cortical, & Lvl1Crook vs. Capt. Latanica

We also did a pair of Rāvaṇau[1] together!:

Taima, cervid, Level1Crook, 2sus4u, & Cortical vs. Rav

I also did one with Taima and Level1Crook where I realised that rusa — whom I was really just bringing for the HB — was the party leader, and I was too scared to transfer party leadership (if anyone knows whether or not this is possible inside of Ravana’s lair without getting kicked out, do let me know), and yet I didn’t want her to leech EXP away from the active party members. So we came up with a solution…:

cervid, Taima, & Level1Crook defeat the Ravana!

R.I.P.… I mean, it worked! Kinda a waste of a Safety Charm, though…

During a different Ravana run where I was actively attacking on rusa, we were having trouble pinning Ravana to the left side of the map (which is the standard way to do it, because Ravana doesn’t use his magical attacks when facing rightward):

drop a cider

SMH imagine using CZPs for (W/M)ATK…

In another Ravana with the gang, I was playing as rusa this time…:

Level1Crook, 2sus4u, Taima, & rusa vs. Rav

…And, when Ravana fatefully dropped an MCP1, I couldn’t stop myself from looting it…:

it’s always a 1

😔😔😔 My MapleStory luck truly is shockingly awful……

Anyways, I also did some Zakking on cervid! Here I am HShing my party so that they don’t get pillar’d~:

cervid HShing the party

And, here I am in a run with I/L mages Gruzz (Furca) & Eoka, and marksman xBowtjuhNL!:

Aphelios, cervid, Eoka, Gruzz, & xBowtjuhNL vs. Zak arms

Eoka died during one of the bodies (body two, IIRC) as a result of some serious networking issues, so I Resurrected her. Unfortunately, she died again during the next body, and then something unexpected happened: Gruzz also died, when the third (and final) body was at less than 1% HP…

R.I.P. Gruzz & Eoka…

;~; So, not a very successful run as far as getting a certificate and some summer event points… Even I was participating fully the entire time, and got no points, as a result of simply being five levels too low — the requirement to get points from bosses is to be at least level (𝑥 − 5), where 𝑥 is the level of the boss!

I also did some JCing on rusa, during one run of which, Jiaoceng managed to get on top of the cabinet thingy! And stayed there for the whole run…

can he come down

I asked nicely, but to no avail. Sad.

I managed to clock around ≈4.06M DPM with a @dpm 5, though! Not bad~

rusa, @dpm test @ JC

Here, you can see me fighting Anego alongside shadower Harlez, nightlord Tyber, and xBowtjuhNL:

Tyber, rusa, Harlez, & xBowtjuhNL vs. Anego

This Anego dropped a comb, which we then used to summon Bodyguard A (BGA). I was convinced to bring cervid along as well, for HSh purposes, but… it didn’t go so well. Basically, we started with a bunch of deaths because Rush doesn’t actually work (something that I seemingly have to repeatedly explain to folx whom’st have not played fourth-job warriors before, not to mention the fact that hardly anyone even knows what monstercontroller is…), and we continued to struggle to pin until we finally just gave up. 🤷🏽‍♀️

And finally, I also did some bossin’ on my woodsmaster capreolina, including a lil Pappin’ with Level1Crook…:

papulatus is a big blue bich

…As well as some Zakkin’:

capre @ Zak

So, this is how Zak is going…

Yeahh… That headstone on the right-hand side (xAura) was, unfortunately, our only bishop. Oh well.

With the aid of MW20 and Echo of Hero, I’ve been able to put up some pretty impressive damage ranges with my PSB during the arms stage…

capreolina, PSB damage range 576〜7251

During one run, we had an especially bad server lag spike, where the server seemed to have gotten real congested around the same time that we all got stunned by a bunch of Zak pillars:

people can’t play this way

I managed to not die (despite also being significantly affected by the spike), presumably by some combination of sheer dumb luck, and my insistence on spamming my Ginger Ale button until my HP bar finally (several seconds later…) went up.

And finally, in one such Zak, capreolina hit level 142~!:

capreolina hits level 142~!

:D

Footnotes for “Bazen”

  1. [↑] [1], [2].

𝐓𝐎𝐏 𝐒𝐄𝐂𝐑𝐄𝐓 ┋ 𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐘𝐄𝐓 𝐃𝐄𝐂𝐋𝐀𝐒𝐒𝐈𝐅𝐈𝐄𝐃

⚠️ 𝐀𝐔𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐑𝐈𝐒𝐄𝐃 𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐍𝐄𝐋 𝐎𝐍𝐋𝐘 ⚠️

NOTE: Some particularly sensitive information here has been redacted. Only those with the highest level of clearance may gain access the original documents.

[name redacted]

██████████ ████████████████, thought to be responsible for several counts of larcenous burglary in high-security █████████ in ██████, including ████████████ ██████████. Records under this name in ██████ and █████████████ ████ previous charges of petty theft, but not conclusively connected with █████.

███████████ ██████ in an anonymous report revealed ██████████████████ in KPQ, where ███████ ████████████████████ █████████████████. ███████████████ is considered to be armed & dangerous; agents are advised to ███████████ ███████████████████ ██████████████████ ███████.

KPQing with [name redacted]

██████████████ possibly a foreign agent, although █████████████████ ████████. █████████████████ concealed eavesdropping device ███████████ ███████████ ECHELON ████████████ ████████████████ ███████████ ████████████ transcript below. █████████ ██████████ ████████████████ ████ “Zyganderoff Perfifenschwab, Esq.”, but ██████████ ██████████████████:

why noam?

According to a local police report, ███████████ — thought to be █████ — was seen near █████████████ on the east side of █████ ████, where █████████████ and ███ ███ reported aggravated robbery █████████████ and ██████████. ██████████████████ █████████ tube top █████ ██████ ███████████ “highwaywoman”, █████████████ █████████ reportedly citing “map owner” as ███████████ █████████, although ████ ███████ ██████.

Tube top

██████ █████ often seen with ███████████ ███████████, although it’s unclear ████ █████ ████████ ███████████ an accomplice. ██████████ should be warned that the subject ████████ ███████████ ███████ highly deadly — ████████ ███████ “savage blow” (“SB”) demonstrated █████████ ███████████ ███. ██████████ ████████ █████████.

“Savage Blow”

STATUS: WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, PENDING FURTHER INVESTIGATION. CONSIDERED ARMED & EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

未来トウキョウ

Over at Neo Tokyo, I did a handful of bosses (mostly Bergamot) on my darksterity knight rusa. During a Nibelung run, I noticed that I was now sitting at exactly one thousand(!) total DEX when casting MW20 on myself!:

1k DEX

WHEW...!

I also stumbled across a Berga run with shadower Sagie (Movements), bishop MoonbyulStan (MoonbyulPow), nightlord WildBumpkin (SexyBumpkin, BraveBumpkin), and corsair Celo (CelosPunch, CeloRox, CeloTox):

Bergamot w/ Sagie, MoonbyulStan, WildBumpkin, & Celo

I also helped a number of people get their Bergamot clears in. Bergamot is the first boss that you have to defeat for the Neo Tokyo questline, but it is not fucking around. It’s not uncommon for folx to need HB, as Berga is capable of hitting up to a little more than 13k damage in a single attack! Plus, it can be a real pain in the ass to fight (particularly the third body), so having a competent party helps a lot. I helped bowmaster Odyssea get a clear…:

rusa helping Odyssea with a Berga clear

…As well as bishop somerth and nightlord Brokeen…:

Helping somerth & Brokeen clear Bergamot

…And also buccaneer Flurrie:

Flurrie, rusa, & xBowtjuhNL vs. Bergamot

I also did a handful of Nameless Magic Monster (NMM; Nameless) runs. During one such run, we decided to pin NMM to the right-hand side of the map. This turned out to be really difficult for me as the only “pinner” — we didn’t have anyone capable of consistently hitting damage lines in excess of NMM’s 50k(!) knockback (KB) value, so it was up to me to kinda just Rush a lot, and hope that monstercontroller issues and NMM’s “confusion” debuffs don’t fuck it up too much. Then, things got about five times as easy for me when we decided to pin left in the next run…:

NMM both ways

As you can see, the left side has a little raised platform where I could stand and Rush without getting yeeted into NMM’s body, and without having to reposition nearly as frequently. This really made the difference, and I’m never letting anyone tell me to pin rightwards ever again… F3

Foggers

Over on Victoria Island, I did a lil bit o’ FoGgin’ on my vicloc dagger spearwoman d34r, alongside my vicloc husband xXCrookXx (Level1Crook, Lvl1Crook) and Ossyrians member jbob — during which, I hit level 86~!!:

d34r hits level 86~!!

CHICKEN PATOOTERS @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

O, Horntail…!

And now, ’tis time… for Horned Tail. Featuring my darksterity knight rusa! Who hit level 171~!!:

Horntail has no horns on its tail. Pass it on.

rusa hits level 171~!

I was joining xBowtjuhNL’s HT runs, as usual. During one such run, I died by touching the left head:

Empowered hed ded

As you can see in the screenshot above, I was confused as to how I died by Rushing the left head while I had 15k HP remaining; I’m accustomed to Rush sporadically failing(‽) and yeeting me off of platforms, but I’m always extremely cautious about my HP levels when I do this, so that I avoid dying in this way.

Later in the same pair of HT runs, our sed target died, and I was second sed (second to enter the map, and thus backup sed target):

I AM THE SED TARGET NOW

I very nearly had a heart attack when I realised that I was now sed target, and I started frantically trying to put on any of my sed target gear that I happened to have in my inventory at the time. I did a decent job of being sed target for the actually dangerous bits (viz. when there are one or more heads still alive). Then, with everything dead except for the two arms, I tried mounting in order to get from my attacking position (close enough to the left arm to consistently hit it with Spear Crusher) to the nearest rope (which is quite further left) before the sed animation finished and I was actually seduced. I almost made it — the key word here being “almost”. As a result, I was jump-seduced while mounted, meaning that I couldn’t Hero’s Will when I got particularly unlucky and bounced towards the left arm, repeatedly taking touch damage from the arm as I was forced to continue jumping…

Fail sed target…

I was later informed by Harlez (VigiI) that:

  1. The left head is capable of dealing as much as ≈15.5k damage with a touch attack, even with my maxed Achilles and relatively high WDEF, so long as it happens to be empowered (WATK-up buff) at the time. This is what killed me (just barely) in the first instance.
  2. Although you can’t cast skills whilst seduced (obviously), you can uncast/cancel them(!) by right-clicking them with your cursor. Although this is extremely slow — I almost never have a hoof near a pointing device whilst in HT, and my ability to aim such pointing devices accurately is… subpar, at best — it could have maybe saved me, had I known that some actions (that aren’t Hero’s Willing) are actually allowed whilst one is seduced.

Anyways, in the second case, I really felt that I had fucked up by even mounting at all in the first place. And then, knowing that I had actually fatally fucked up on at least three (≥3) counts during this one run really didn’t feel so good.

I considered the fact that this (as far as I could remember) was not even the first time that I had made the “empowered left head” blunder, and I considered the fact that, at this point, I had something like 76 Horntail entries[1] on rusa alone. Granted, not all of those entries represent me fighting during the body stage — one or two of those entries were as a HTP buyer, and probably a few others never made it to the main body fight. But still, that leaves like ≈70 left over. And yet, somehow, I had failed to understand — or rather, failed to learn — this crucial information that continued to literally kill my character (as cleaving left & middle heads at the same time is something that any DK will do in the HT main body fight), and would have continued to kill my character, had someone not simply told me what exactly was going wrong. The exact details of the maximum damage that one can possibly take whilst at ≈550 WDEF and with level 30 Achilles, from touching the left head of Horntail, is not relevant to, quite frankly, most people who run Horntail; that is to say, it’s something that I would expect myself to somehow learn, because of how important it is to my fighting style. And yet, I did not (& did not, & did not, …).

Furthermore, there was another problem. As evidenced by the sheer amount of time & resources that I have put into AVOID gear (read: sed target gear) for rusa — see the previous diary entry for some details — I had really been looking forward to being a DEX warrior sed target. Being able to play the sed target as rusa really ticks two important boxes for me:

  • It really highlights, and takes great advantage of, one of the things that separates DEX warriors from their non-odd counterparts — in particular, their considerably higher AVOID. Thus, in some sense, this represents a real harnessing of rusa’s potential as the character that she is.
  • It also means that I have a different (and mayhaps, more effective…?) way to contribute to my party (or rather, expedition): rather than the usual “HB, IW, and a bit of cleave DPM”, I could be HB, IW, and sed target, freeing up all of my fellow Horntailers from the burden of being seduced.

And yet, here I was with my first chance to kinda be sed target (at least, for nearly half of the main body fight), and I completely fucked it up — and in one of the most embarrassing ways possible, to boot.

As a result, I kinda felt like I was perhaps worthless, and that maybe it would be better if I just stopped trying to join other people’s boss runs, and then griefing them. I logged on occasionally to play my various characters, but I only felt ashamed when I would run into someone who recognised me, e.g. at APQ. It may be that this is merely stupid, but by this point, I had really gotten into my own head about the whole thing. I stopped logging on entirely, or even interacting with anything having to do with MapleStory at all, for probably like a week(?) — maybe not all that long, unless you’re like me and log on for at least some time, just about every single day. When I came back to playing Maple again, it was almost exclusively on my pugilist tarandus, doing various quests totally solo (see “tara tara!” above).

I worried a lot — not just about how, or what, other people thought of me — but moreso about what my relationship to the game (MapleStory; MapleLegends) was. If I were so worried about, you know, accidentally dying during boss fights, then it would be reasonable to wonder about the apparently unexplained lack of symmetry: when my party members fall in battle, I don’t feel hostile, nor anything particularly bad, towards them; indeed, I rarely feel very much, other than perhaps some pity if their death results in losing EXP and/or loot that they would have otherwise gotten. But any asymmetry that there might be here is inherent:

  • I do not feel the same way that others do — this is more or less the same reason why the golden rule so often fails (and sometimes miserably); the way that one person wants to be treated may be another person’s hell, and so on. I do not know what other people are thinking (even if I sometimes have partial information about those things).

  • MapleStory is an MMO, and MMOs are inherently social. Thus, if the cop-out is to “not care what others think”, then this is, stricto sensu, simply impossible — unless what I actually want is to play a de facto single-player game.

  • The difference between me dying and someone else dying is very simple: in the former case, I am dead; in the latter, I am not dead. It doesn’t much matter whether or not I can meet others’ expectations, if I cannot even meet my own.

    When I joined MapleLegends as a JoblessMS refugee, I had little or no (emphasis on the “no”) experience with the majority of the game world & content that I encountered. For example, I had no experience with LPQ, nor with EPQ, nor with OPQ, nor with MPQ. This may come as a surprise to some people, as I now have literally hundreds of completions in each of these PQs (putting my overall PQ completion count on MapleLegends well into the thousands), and I know them all better than the back of my hoof. When I initially found out just how much I liked doing LPQ, and tried to quickly learn all of its structure, nuances, quirks, and all, I consciously applied this approach to the content that I encountered later on, like OPQ, MPQ, APQ, etc. It wasn’t that I had never done party quests before; I had done many a KPQ in my time (along with some other PQs that I will leave to your imagination), and LPQ etc. felt like natural extensions. Acquiring considerable levels of mastery over these pieces of “content”, while at the same time enjoying the mere act of playing them, was something that I naturally felt should apply to bosses (maybe they are kinda like “PQs, if you took out all of the interesting stages” 😉😉) — and yet, I felt that I had simply failed to do this with Horntail.

    Whereas PQs in general were something that I had some previous experience with, and PQs are generally more “forgiving” in the sense that they focus on making the experience fun & varied rather than adding as many ways to “just accidentally catastrophically fail” as possible, bosses tend to get things kinda the other way around. There’s a simple reason why bosses like Zakum, HT, CWKPQ[2], etc. are expeditions that allow up to thirty (30) PCs to enter the same instance: it’s not some kind of joke — although I’m sure that some MapleLegends players would fail to imagine any other explanation — it was reasonable (at the very least, under the circumstances that these parts of the game were created) to expect that you might actually need ≈30 whole-ass people to successfully clear the damn thing. As power creep marches onward, and as players learn the game more intimately and refine their strategies, techniques, & workarounds, this explanation fades with time. But the fact nevertheless remains that these bosses often have plenty of tricks up their sleeves that constantly threaten to plunge your expedition’s attempt into complete failure, even if some of the tricks are just things like… a bit of lag. Bosses essentially challenge the players to play in very real(-)time, and I admit to not being very good at that. I have never been very good at videogames, and I don’t really play much of them — other than MapleStory, of course. 😝

    Thus, the expectations that I have of myself (putting aside any that others may have of me) are naturally more difficult to meet when it comes to bosses — and to “endgame content” more generally. Active participation, on its own, is not the virtue that it would be in any old PQ — and instead, I am left with so many shattered seconds, the fractions of which I must tirelessly struggle to juggle, lest I walk neck-first into a deadline, losing my head in the process.

Furthermore, there presumably comes some point at which I am too useless; at which I have failed beyond tolerance.

None of this is to say that I don’t enjoy running bosses (or whatever). I have my preferences. If I did not enjoy it, then I would not do it (it is just a videogame, after all). The crux is internal (for some suitable sense of “internal”); I have my personal problems, and I do not usually touch upon them in my diary (please see “xc” above). On some level, one might want an ontology of such “problems”, but that’s not relevant here — in any case, it would take at least(!) one more order of magnitude’s worth of words than I have already written in all of my diary entries combined to so much as venture into something like that. Rather, what I mean to express is that these are things — and are inextricably tied to things — that I have struggled with for my entire life, and it is my wish & hope that the debilitating & crippling effects thereof fail to creep into the things that I genuinely enjoy doing (like playing MapleStory, for example…). I do not always get what I wish for, but I try anyways.

With this in mind, it hopefully goes without saying that this is fundamentally unrelated to the fact that I might, say, be bringing a stinky pp pupu odd-jobbed character into Horntail. With such an aspect reversed — that is, with me playing a non-odd job, rather than an odd one — the result is, I expect, much the same.

Eventually (and I do mean eventually), with valuable help from xBowtjuhNL and from Lv1Crook, I had the courage to join a Horntail run again. Well, not just any HT run — a 30-Mapler HT run! This was a Funk guild run where basically anyone in the guild who could get a CotDS into their inventory was cordially invited. Of course, I don’t have any characters in Funk, but some “Funky friends” were also invited, myself included. So I attended.

Although the intent was of course a “30-Mapler” run, saying “30” is more an expression of “as many people as we can get together at once” than it is actually the number thirty. Nevertheless, a decent number of people showed up. There was just one problem…

“30-Mapler” HT not off to a great start…

Yeahh… Both runs (yes, both) encountered incidents in which preheads were spawned too early by people who didn’t know any better.[3] 😖 That, combined with some crashes/disconnections here & there, resulted in some runs that were frankly not even close to the “30-Mapler” ideal…

Oh, and we triggered mass seduce while all three heads were still alive:

Mass seduce with all three heads up :]

Spicy!!! 🌶️

At first, we weren’t entirely sure which arm it was that was casting the mass sed. Then we realised that we had gotten both arms to a pretty low HP, so to be safe, we just killed the arms before doing anything else LMFAO:

Killed the arms first!

Although this is obviously A Bad Idea™ in general, it does have the silver lining that — once we worked through the pain — we could just fight the heads in peace, without having to worry about anything that the arms do, including single sed (i.e. seducing only the sed target), WDEF-up buffs, left arm dispels, and so on. Really smooth!

In another, more normal, HT run, we had a non-AFK HTP buyer by the name of ShootDice. Having him in voice chat was entertaining as a result of him desperately trying to survive in HT (which he had never entered before) whilst also trying — and unfortunately for him, failing — to stop a small child from spilling bottles of barbecue sauce all over the house. We had him in my party so that I could provide HB, and this turned out to have some mildly unfortunate consequences during the beginnings of the main body fights…:

Getting Heal’d by ShootDice…

Yeah, I did try politely asking him to stop Healing if possible, but in the end I just had to suck it up and do 💩💩💩 damage during that particular part…

Horntail has been characteristically stingy with its drops, so we lined up a series of offerings for it, just before summoning the main body:

Offerings for Horntail

I think Horntail was insulted by the 10-meso coin offering. That explains the drops that we got. It might also explain the fact that HT disconnected one of our bishops and then perfect-framed the other one. For those not familiar, it’s possible for a damage instance and a dispel to happen arbitrarily close to one another, so long as the dispel comes from mid head or from left arm (i.e. not from a Dark Wyvern). As a result, if you rely on a certain buff (like, I don’t know, Magic Guard) to not get one-hit KO’d by that damage instance, it’s possible to just get completely screwed because you have no time to react. I watched, in painful real time, with my own two eyes, as this happened to our bishop Paulsthirsty:

Watching Paul get perfect-frame’d… Zero bishops remain…

And thus, zero bishops remained… One of the very many issues that comes up when you lose your bishops is that you no longer have a way to dispel the WDEF-up buff that the left arm casts, unless you have a sader or hero with Armour Crash in your expedition. Unfortunately, we had no heroes to save us, so we desperately tried to avoid the WDEF-up buff (which is a huge buff that tends to cut overall DPM down by a factor of ≈2 or so) by sniping the left arm from the right-hand side of the abdomen line:

Trying to snipe the left arm from a distance so that it doesn’t cast WDEF up

As you can see, the archers are basically screwed in this configuration; they have no way to deal any damage to the left arm whatsoever.[4] I switched to my PSB so that I could just barely snipe the arm with PA Fury. In the end, we gave up on this strategy as the left arm was the only body part alive anyways, and we did manage to clear in time. Clearing Horntail in time is absolutely crucial, because if you don’t, then you can’t be disappointed by the garbage that inevitably drops.

As I was getting close to HTing again, I was very close to levelling up, so I took a detour to the Phantom Forest in search of a Boyfriend Bigfoot (BF) to level me up:

rusa soloing Bigfoot

I solo’d this Bigfoot with like half an Echo, a handful of Ciders, and my self-buffs, and it ended up taking around ≈35 minutes or so. However, it would have been significantly quicker had I realised much earlier the reason for why I was “whiffing” (neither hitting nor “MISS”ing, just not even connecting with BF’s hitbox at all) so much. At first, I thought that it was because BF’s hitbox moves upwards when it does its magical attack, thus being outside of the short vertical reach of my Spear Crusher. This made intuitive sense, because the magical attack is animated by BF jumping into the air and then hitting its nearby target, if the target is also on the ground when it lands (similar to King Slime’s magical attack). Only much later did I realise that BF’s hitbox was actually moving forwards (relative to BF’s own orientation), and because BF likes to face the map boundary when you pin it against that boundary, that meant that its hitbox was moving out of the map. Of course, not the entire hitbox moves out of the map, so it sufficed for me to just get realllllly cozy with Bigfoot so that my Crusher never whiffed. The downside is of course that this is quite dangerous as a DK, as you’d expect (see “Berserkr” above) — Bigfoot’s touch attack is notoriously deadly. I did manage to find a method that basically works, though. And the important thing is, it levelled me up to level 172~!!:

rusa hits level 172~!!

Now, I was prepared to take on the task of a lifetime: to be the sed target for an entire two HT runs in a row, as a stinky smelly warrior…

Sedding the first prehead

Yeah, xBowtjuhNL let me sed, and Paulsthirsty was okay with it, so… I basically clenched my ass for about three hours straight.

Of course, I brought with me all of my sed target gear that I had at the time. Behold, 453 AVOID without any AVOID buffs, as a warrior…:

rusa’s sed target gear, mark I

Call this rusa’s sed target gear, mark I. While I did certainly make a lot of use of Bless/Archer Elixirs as AVOID buffs, I also had some special AVOID buffs up my sleeve, like MMFs (see “Event(ually)” above), MMF Sunscreens (+75 AVOID for 5 minutes, but they expire after like three or four months), and Victoria’s Amorian Baskets.

Here I am, as sed target during the main body fight:

Sedding the main body

And again, but not on a rope this time:

rusa looks onward uselessly in full sed target gear

The screenshot above is rusa in full sed target gear, meaning that I also had my trusty Christmas Tree and my trusty 12 LUK Pan Lid in my hands. So really, I’m just uselessly looking onwards, incapable of actually doing any damage LMFAO

Okay, so I did die just one time. It was pretty unlucky, and I asked for help because I was just a tad too slow on the Hero’s Will button for the 1⧸1 that hit me very quickly after I was seduced, and I got knocked off the rope and all that… But I wasn’t able to get assistance in time:

1 sed ded

Here I am, ’zerking as the sed target because I’m shielded:

Shielded

In the end, although I did have one death, I was by no means our party’s top dier…:

feck

Here’s a screenshot from just after we cleared the second run:

expert rope hugger

I truly am an expert rope hugger. I see rope, I hug. And I do not let go…

It’s worth taking a look at how exactly playing sed target as a DEX DK pans out. The basic overview (during main body fight) looks like this: I fear only one thing, and that thing is 1⧸1. A 1⧸1 attack lowers the HP and MP values of its victim to 1 and 1, respectively (hence the name), but certain skills can mitigate this effect. By “certain skills”, what I really mean is Meso Guard and Achilles. Meso Guard is extremely effective, because it diminishes the effect by a factor of two for both HP and MP. Thus, a Meso-Guarded PC with full HP and full MP has those things reduced to 50% and 50%, respectively, upon being hit by a 1⧸1. Achilles, on the other hand, only shaves off 15% (instead of 50%) of the damage, and only applies to HP loss. Thus, a PC with maxed Achilles and full HP & MP who is hit by a 1⧸1 will be left with 15% HP and 1 (just 1, not 1%) MP. This is… problematic, because in the best case, getting hit by a 1⧸1 whilst seduced means that I’m at just about 4.5k HP, and I have no way to Will (as that would cost 30 MP, which is 29 more MP than I have).

Naturally, the obvious strategy is to just Will if you are seduced and see that a 1⧸1 marker (which are visible on the ground just before the 1⧸1 actually goes off) is going to come into contact with you. There are a few potential problems with this:

  • My Will is on cooldown. Help.
  • I don’t have enough MP to Will because I just got MP drained. Help!
  • I Willed, but the 1⧸1 just so happened to “MISS” me (which is not unlikely with as much AVOID as rusa has), so now my Will is on cooldown for no fucking reason. Help!! Just kidding, I don’t need help… yet……

Hey, at least I don’t have to worry much about dispels…

I’m saying “help!” a lot here, but in practice, I don’t actually need help all that often — especially if my bishop is kindly shielding me. I showed my one sed target death above, but I was also able to save myself, in other similar instances, by Willing in anticipation of being 1⧸1’d. Also, it’s not uncommon that I scream “he;lp[5] and I don’t get any help, yet I survive anyways — the desperate cry for help is really a cry for a Heal just in case my ≈4.5k HP happens to not be enough to survive the rest of the seduce’s duration.

One of the serious issues is that not only are 1⧸1s reasonably common (any one of the three heads is capable of 1⧸1ing, so long as it’s activated and its HP is above zero), but the arms absolutely love to spam MP drain (again, at any HP level above zero). MP drain removes 3k MP from its victim (assuming that it doesn’t “MISS”), and rusa’s MAXMP is still below 3k, even with HB active. This means that, if I wanted to make sure to always successfully save myself when Will isn’t on cooldown, then I would have to Will not only when I’m seduced and anticipate possibly being struck by a 1⧸1, but also when I’m seduced and anticipate possibly being stuck by an MP drain. If I don’t will in anticipation of the MP drain, and it happens to not “MISS” me, and a 1⧸1 targets me afterwards, there’s nothing that I can do now — I have exactly zero MP until my seduction ends. Thankfully, even if I don’t Will in anticipation of the MP drain, it’s actually pretty unlikely (but of course, still possible…) that I die:

  • Chances are, the MP drain “MISS”es me anyways.
  • Failing that, chances are that it won’t try to 1⧸1 me before my seduction ends.
  • Failing that, chances are that the 1⧸1 “MISS”es me (or doesn’t even target me).
  • Failing that, chances are that I will survive for the remaining duration of my seduction with just those ≈4.5k HP alone.
  • Failing that, chances are that my bishop will see the “he;lp” in chat and get a Heal in.
  • Failing that, I will cry IRL, but only a little bit…

There’s also the problem of Seals (Seal is the debuff that prevents you from casting active skills), but those are significantly rarer (i.e. not spammed nearly as much as MP drains), and can also technically be Dispelled by my bishop, as well.

Two interesting questions to ask are: if I happen to be rope-hugging, how much damage can I actually possibly take? And furthermore, exactly how likely am I to be hit by HT’s attacks (whether they be ordinary magical attacks, or 1⧸1s, or MP drains)? We can use information from the official MapleLegends Library, as well as information from the very extremely good[6] MapleLegends Horntail Guide (henceforth “MLHTG”), by Trlnltyy, to attempt to answer these questions.

So, let’s look at a list of attacks, from all Horntail main body parts combined (LH, MH, RH, LA, RA, wings, legs, & tail), plus Wyverns (because they can fly anywhere on the map if not properly contained), that satisfy the following properties:

  • I can get hit by it whilst roped.
  • It’s capable of dealing strictly more than one (1) damage per attack.
  • It’s not a 1⧸1.

Consulting the MLHTG, we end up with the following (I’m ignoring the tail’s poison mist, because if I’m that close to a live tail whilst seduced, then I’ve got bigger things to worry about…):

nominal dmgpartdmg typename
7.2kMHfireflames
7.2kMHfirebreath
7.0kLHphysical?icicle
7.0kLHicebreath
7.0kRHlightningthunderbolt
7.0kRHlightningbreath
???Wyvern???magic
2.0kWyvernphysicaltouch

I’ve lumped all three Wyvern types (Red, Blue, & Dark) into just “Wyvern”, which is based on “Dark Wyvern 2 in Cave”, because it’s the most powerful of the three.

Confusingly, the MLHTG lists the LH’s icicle attack as being of “physical” elemental affinity, despite the fact that its name and visual appearance strongly suggest that it is actually ice damage, and despite the fact that it would need to be ice damage in order to fit within a clear pattern across the three heads’ magical attacks: two magical attacks each, one breath and one not, but both with an element that matches the head’s element (fire for MH, ice for LH, & lightning for RH). I suspect that this might be an error on the part of the MLHTG, but it’s also possible that Nekksawn goof’d up, and the MLHTG is perfectly accurate.

In any case, let’s consider how much damage each of these attacks actually deals to rusa. Looking at the MLHTG, it has this to say about how to interpret its damage numbers:

Note: damage shown is approximate maximum possible empowered damage before defensive modifiers like elemental resistance/achilles.

And furthermore, it says that empowerment (either physical or magical) increases HT’s damage output by 30%:

  1. Physical attack buff

    1. Description: empowers all of HT’s body parts, increasing physical damage by 30% […]
  2. Magic attack buff

    1. Description: empowers all of HT’s body parts, increasing magic damage by 30% […]

(Note that these buffs can only be cast by the wings.)

Because they say that the damage numbers are “approximate”, and because the only “defensive modifiers” that they give as examples are Elemental Resistance and Achilles, and because they say this about the wings’ “flap” attack…:

Damage: 9000 (maybe 9500 if low defense?)

…I’m going to assume that they probably have in mind a roughly level ≈160 archer with probably only like ≈200 each of WDEF and MDEF, and with ≈0 AP stuck in their HP–MP pool (i.e. all, or almost all, of their AP is spent on a combination of STR, DEX, INT, & LUK). This is the most miserable case (in terms of how much damage that they take from HT’s attacks) that is actually realistic. By comparing rusa’s case to this pessimistic model, using formulæ from Nise’s Formula Compilation[7], we should be able to get reasonable estimates of the maximum possible damage that rusa can take from these attacks.

Starting with the first attack on the list, the MH’s flames attack, we see that the damage is given as ≈7.2k. The damage dealt by an attack with a magical damage type, such as this one, is given by:

𝑀𝐴𝑇𝐾2 ⋅ 𝒰[0.0075, 0.008] − 𝑘 ⋅ (𝑀𝐷𝐸𝐹∕4 + 𝑆𝑇𝑅∕28 + 𝐷𝐸𝑋∕24 + 𝐿𝑈𝐾∕20)

For our purposes, 𝑘 is always 1 (for mages, it’s 1.2), so we can just ignore it. We won’t take into account MW or any other buffs (let’s assume that they were just recently dispelled), so we’ll say that the archer’s total stats look roughly like:

  • STR: 110
  • DEX: 808
  • LUK:  34

So, the right-hand side of the minus sign will (for the archer) be ≈89.

Looking at rusa’s stats in one of the screenshots above (keeping in mind that these stats will improve somewhat over time — in fact, they already have), we instead get ≈164. That’s 75 less damage per magically-typed damage instance. This is not a huge win, but can easily make a difference in rounding, and can easily make a difference in whether or not I survive getting 1⧸1’d.

This brings “≈7.2k” down to ≈7 125, at which point we can apply Achilles to get 7 125 ⋅ 0.85 ≈ 6 056. Because this attack’s damage is fire damage, we further apply Elemental Resistance to get 6 056 ⋅ 0.6 ≈ 3 634. As mentioned above, the MLHTG says that empowerment increases damage by +30% — but it fails to specify whether this increase comes before, or comes after, DEF. Because these buffs presumably increase (W/M)ATK, the increase should come before DEF; however, I suspect that the “+30%” figure is just an estimate based on damage values actually observed in-game — plus, making the increase be post-DEF makes things easier — so I’m going to assume that it’s post-DEF. This means that, if the MH is not empowered at the time — which is certainly not guaranteed, but is nevertheless likely if there are one or two bishops responsible for DHing[8], or if wings are dead — we get a maximum damage of more like 3 634 ⋅ 1.3−1 ≈ 2 795.

Repeating this process for all of the attacks in the table above, we get:

nominal dmgbuffed vs. rusaunbuffed vs. rusapartdmg typename
7 2003 6342 795MHfireflames
7 2003 6342 795MHfirebreath
7 0003 5322 717LHice?icicle
7 0005 8864 528LHphysical?icicle
7 0003 5322 717LHicebreath
7 0003 5322 717RHlightningthunderbolt
7 0003 5322 717RHlightningbreath
2 000N/A1 527Wyvernphysicalmagic
2 000N/A1 527Wyvernphysicaltouch

I’ve split the LH’s icicle attack into two versions, one assuming that the MLHTG is correct (i.e. it deals physical damage), and one (which seems more likely to me, but IDK) that makes the more obvious assumption that it deals ice damage. As you can see, Elemental Resistance makes a huge difference. I’ve also assumed that the Dark Wyvern’s ranged attacks deal physical damage; the Wyvern damage values are based on the Wyvern’s unbuffed stats (viz. WATK).

Keep in mind that all of these values are essentially pessimistic; in actual practice, the expected damage values are going to be strictly lower, while the maximum possible values should hopefully be close to our “pessimistic” estimates. As you can see, the kinds of damage that rusa takes from these attacks are actually pretty tame; this — in addition to rusa’s AVOID — is one reason why I can often (although certainly not always!) survive getting actually struck by a 1⧸1 whilst seduced. I’m pretty sure I had at least one instance where I got 1⧸1’d whilst seduced, cried for help, didn’t get help, and actually got hit by two attacks after the 1⧸1… and still survived LMFAO. That being said, in typical circumstances, I expect to survive only a single attack after being 1⧸1’d, and in some circumstances that number might be only zero.

But all of that only matters when I actually get hit by an attack, right? What if it “MISS”es me? Let’s take a look at Horntail’s (and its Wyverns’) accuracy, and combine it with the AVOID that we see from rusa’s sed target gear mark I (which, again, has improved since then, but we’ll just use the stale version):

part(s)ACCM; BlessP; BlessM; BasketP; BasketM; MMFP; MMF
heads25052.38%42.04%54.77%43.82%58.70%47.11%
arms23057.08%45.70%59.27%47.63%62.89%51.21%
wings, legs, tail21061.78%50.05%63.78%52.17%67.09%56.08%
Wyvern205*62.96%51.27%*64.91%53.44%*68.13%57.45%

This table lists dodge rates, i.e. the probability that the attack “MISS”es me (so, larger is better). Here, “M” stands for “magic damage”, and “P” stands for “physical damage”. “Bless” refers to either Bless or to Archer Elixir (this is the baseline because it’s basically the worst-case scenario), “Basket” refers to Victoria’s Amorian Basket, and “MMF” refers to Maple Music Fever. The asterisked (*) values only apply if Wyverns have attacks that deal magical damage (which I have assumed that they do not).

A useful gloss of these data is:

  • Physical attacks (which is mostly just touch attacks & Wyvern attacks in this case) “MISS” me like half the time, or something like that.
  • Magical attacks (which includes the elemental attacks that I did damage calculation with above, plus probably also 1⧸1s and MP drains) “MISS” me like maybe ≈60% of the time, or something like that.
  • A single upgrade in AVOID buff “tier” (if you will) tends to add on a few — like maybe 2〜4 or so — percentage points to my dodge rates.

Not bad!!!

Anywho… In another HT, I crashed during… I think it was the beginning of the main body fight? Or maybe it was that one where I crashed at the beginning of the second prehead fight. In any case, I have been having severe technical issues that I don’t know how to diagnose and/or fix — but, more on that in the next diary entry. The point is that, this run actually went quite poorly for everyone, not just me:

11- to 3-man

Yeahh… When you lose eight (8) of your Horntail runners over the course of a single (failed, naturally) run, it tends not to be a very good sign. :[

In another instance of “Horntail fail”, we accidentally triggered mass seduce before all of the heads died… again……

Mass sed~ oopsies~

But hey, at least I got my first-ever Horntail card!!!:

First HT card get!

Sheesh, what is that, like 75 HT runs where I rolled for card every time that it dropped, and only now am I 1⧸5? Ouf…

And finally, here’s a screenshot from a later HT run that I did with the Dream alliance (which is meta-allied with Suboptimal), in which our sed target lost their network connection to the MapleLegends servers during the main body fight…

Accidental sed target

Oups! I am the sed target now! :] This run otherwise went fine, though.

And that’s all of the HT for this diary entr— Wait… why am I getting a lightbulb on my head whilst hunting for Tough Dragon Skins…?:

Lightbulb

o.0

Footnotes for “O, Horntail…!”

  1. [↑] MapleLegends internally tracks boss instance entries, including total all-time boss instance entry counts on a per-character per-boss basis. It exposes these data through the official website, although for these data in particular, authentication is required — you must be logged in to the account that the PC is a member of, in order to read the data. The URI structure looks like https://maplelegends.com/bosses?name=${IGN}, for some IGN ${IGN}. In rusa’s case, this is https://maplelegends.com/bosses?name=rusa. Note that for bosses where the instance is not activated by merely entering the map (e.g. Horntail, Capt. Latanica, Ravana, Papulatus, Zakum, etc.), it doesn’t count as an “entry” unless you actually activate the instance.
  2. [↑] CWKPQ is certainly called a party quest (hence the name), but the vast majority of the time spent is spent just fighting the bosses (of which there are five) in the boss stage. Plus, it’s an expedition, and thus is not a party quest stricto sensu. MapleLegends itself consistently also classifies CWKPQ as a boss rather than as a PQ. See also: “Seed ubble euch ayyy peak you”, in pt. lxxxvi of this diary.
  3. [↑] If you don’t know any better, then you should know that the prehead (this applies to either of the two preheads) is automatically summoned when any PC gets sufficiently close to the midpoint of the rope that is on the main platform. Note that this in no way implies that you have to be on the rope; merely being close enough to the midpoint of the rope (which can occur as a result of simply downjumping) is enough to trigger the summon. And furthermore, as soon as the summon is triggered, no one can enter the map, so anyone who was still in the previous map is now screwed out of the rest of the run.
  4. [↑] Come to think of it, it might (might) be possible for an archer to summon their Frostprey or Phœnix, stand really close to the ab line (but without crossing), and then jump repeatedly (assuming 123% JUMP) in order to get their birdy within range of the arm.
  5. [↑] The typo is intentional, for realism purposes.
  6. [↑] Seriously, this guide is incredible. It has all of the juicy details & numbers, good advice, and excellent visual aids! It even has a section dedicated to warrior sed targets!!
  7. [↑] I’ve noticed that, because of the name of the compilation, some people mistakenly believe that Nise authored the content of it. Almost all of the actual text (besides possibly some MapleLegends-specific corrections) in the compilation predates the compilation by years and was not originally written by Nise — you can even see where credit is explicitly given to other people in some cases.
  8. [↑] DH means “dispel heads”. Casting Dispel while you’re roughly on Horntail’s butt will cause the buffs (other than weapon/magic cancels, of course…) on the heads to be dispelled.

A. alces

What would a diary entry of mine be, if there were no compact discs? Truly, such a thing (if it could exist) would be unacceptable. So, here are the CDs — starring my daggermit, alces.

I joined the party of an outlaw by the name of Vincent2211, who smega’d for a CDs/Gallos/Jr. Newties partner. In the past, I have had poor experiences comparing Gallos and CDs on my woodsmaster capreolina, back when she was in late third job (ranger). So I really doubted (although I may have been wrong, especially considering that alces can’t stab more than one target at a time anyways) that alces would have the firepower to make Gallos worth doing, especially considering the meso∶hour disparity between Gallos & CDs. So uhhh… we did CDs. And I hit level 109~!:

alces hits level 109~!

Later, I did CDs again on alces, but this time with STRginner extraordinaire Taima (Boymoder, Hanyou, Girlmoder, Tacgnol, Nyanners, midorin) and INTlaw Lvl1Crook (xXCrookXx, Level1Crook):

alces, Taima, & Lvl1Crook @ CDs

And I levelled up again!!!:

alces hits level 110~!!

MoN timeeee~ 😎😎😎

未来トウキョウ第二部

Not only did we get a combined Anniversary–Summer event with this patch, but we also got something that is here to stay… Neo Tokyo, part II!!

Enter Neo Tokyo, part II

Enter Neo Tokyo, part II

That’s right; Neo Tokyo no longer stops at Nameless Magic Monster. The questline continues, and although I certainly don’t claim to understand literally any of the Neo Tokyo questline — it’s, uh, timey-wimey, or something like that — it does mean that we get new stuff to do, and new items to muck about with. As far as items go, I particularly have my eye on the Aufheben Circlet: you mean to tell me that there’s a hat with 20 STR, 20 DEX, and 10 slots clean, and I can scroll it for STR??? My darksterity knight rusa is going to want to hear about this…

But the Aufheben Circlet is a long way off, if I could ever even get one. Aufheben (a.k.a. Auf Haven; also Auf; AH) is the big bad end boss of all of Neo Tokyo, and because Neo Tokyo is some of the generally most challenging & high-level content in the game, that makes Aufheben the queen of queens[1] — currently considered the single most difficult boss in the game (yes, even more difficult than Pink Bean)! Aufheben’s name is mysterious; I suspect that she was named in the same way that Nibelung was named: by taking a random German word that “kinda sounds cool”, and… using it. It doesn’t matter what it means. And presumably, Auf Haven is a corruption of Aufheben that was corrupted by going from German, to Korean, and then romanising — although ⟨v⟩ is not typically used in romanisations of Korean, so I really donno. It may have simply been altered to match the English haven. In any case, the original German word aufheben has several very different meanings depending on the context in which it’s used:

  • “to pick up (something off of the ground)”
  • “to keep (in anticipation of needing [it] later, or as a souvenir)”
  • “to abolish (as in ‘to abolish a law’)”
  • “to sublate (in the sense of ‘cancel, contradict, overcome, or transcend, whilst still preserving the original in some way’)”

The last meaning here is the one that generally makes the word (and its nominalised counterpart, Aufhebung “abolition; …”) relevant in languages other than German: both Hegel and Marx use the term in a technical context, and it’s usually translated to the English sublate (and Aufhebungsublation, etc.). Of course, this is basically a poor translation, because the English word means something only slightly related; I reckon that a good translation would leave this word untranslated, with sufficient notes to explain to the English reader what the intended meaning is. It’s also translated as abolish, which is somehow even worse, and has led to many Anglophones seriously misinterpreting both Marx and Engels.

In any case, the screenshot that you see above was my first glimpse of the second half of Neo Tokyo (henceforth “NT2”). The portal on the top right would take me to the Dunas 2 lobby, where you can sign up to fight Dunas 2, the first boss of NT2. Dunas 2 is, very confusingly, visually identical to Dunas 1, and even has the same name: Dunas. Although I think that it’s a bit annoying that they didn’t at least name it Dunas (future) (I’m not sure if it’s a future version, or a past version…), or Dunas (2), or whatever — anything that would make them easier to search & talk about — it does at least make sense in the context of the questline’s story: Dunas 1 and Dunas 2 are… the same exact person. There’s also the 2nas moniker, which is what I’m going to be calling Dunas 2 here. Mayhaps Twonas is better — to make explicit the fact that we have to choose an English pronunciation of 2 to make it truly work — but 2nas is shorter, and even those who don’t speak English can probably figure out that it’s “2” + “(Du)nas”.

The 2nas fight starts with a preliminary stage, where there are two bosses on the map: Dunas Unit (“ship”) and Fake Dunas (which increases the “Dunas” confusion by also being named Dunas — that’s three (3) Dunases). Fake Dunas is completely invincible, and is only there to make things annoying: it can attack and dispel, albeit somewhat less aggressively than real Dunas. Dunas Unit is the one that you actually have to fight, but it’s kinda annoying because it floats above the ground. In fact, it floats so high off of the ground that you can simply walk right underneath it without touching it, and melee attackers (like myself) will have a hard time fighting it due to the need to hit so high up. Granted, I’m out here using Spear Crusher, so my vertical reach is already puny to begin with, making it extra difficult for me. Here’s what my first 2nas run looked like at the beginning:

2nas begins!

As you can see, we have 2nas on the far left, and the ship on the far right, so that we can attack the ship in relative peace; I can hit the ship by standing up on that sloping foothold (which is some kind of giant broken pipe), and Fake Dunas can’t annoy us, because he’s all the way over there. Naturally, it was my job to keep the invincible 2nas at bay, by Rushing it as necessary (Rush still works in this case, even though it “MISS”es every time):

Keeping fake 2nas at bay

Unfortunately, one issue with the sloping foothold at the right-hand side here is that the ship has no obligation to stay near it. Inevitably, you’ll want to Monster Magnet it back to the right — unfortunately for me, my Monster Magnet is not quite high level enough yet to work consistently.

Anyways, this preliminary stage doesn’t take too long. Once the ship is defeated, Fake Dunas teleports down to the bottom floor of the map. At this point, 2nas is no longer invincible, because his ship has been destroyed. This marks the transition from Fake 2nas to the real 2nas. There’s a couple of useful footholds on the far right-hand side of the map, so we like to escort 2nas over there before fighting him in anger:

Escorting the real 2nas to the right-hand side of the map

Now, the fight is vaguely similar to fighting Dunas 1 (or as I like to call him, Duna), insofar as 2nas likes to do a lot of the same things: dispel frequently, walk around like a maniac, hit anyone who gets too close with shitty spells (one of which can power-KB and stun), teleport willy-nilly so that his hitbox is inscrutable, cast WDEF-up on himself, you know the drill. But it’s also significantly different: for one, 2nas can’t damage reflect (DR). 2nas also has a real touch attack that does serious damage, unlike D’una. 2nas also has companions: Imperial Guards. These are actually not summons; 2nas does not spawn them, and has no control over them. However, they do naturally spawn in the map (2102 Shibuya), along the bottom floor (where real 2nas is), so you end up having to deal with them. The problem is, Imperial Guards — despite being ordinary monsters, not boss monsters — are absolute tanks. These bipedal hunks of metal have 9.43M(!) HP each, along with 1.5k WDEF, and a knockback threshold of 55k! This means that Imperial Guards can be super annoying, especially because they will get in the way of attackers. It’s hard to shoot 2nas with your bow when there’s a giant fucking robot with over 9M HP in between you and 2nas. And it’s hard to bully them, too, because of their huge KB threshold.

Also, because of these footholds over on the right-hand extreme of the map, it’s possible for melee attackers to get cozy in a very particular spot where they can hit 2nas, but are also just high enough above 2nas that he cannot dispel them:

Crushing 2nas

The problem here, however, is that 2nas’s hitbox is wild. You can see above that I am able to hit 2nas with Spear Crusher from this position, in spite of Spear Crusher’s poor vertical reach. But this is rare; the other ¾ of the time, my Crusher is just whiffing and my DPM sinks to exactly zero. So, you ask: “why don’t you just go further down, then?”. I’m glad that you asked. The answer is that 2nas actually dispels even more aggressively than D’una does — if that’s even possible. Being on the ground near 2nas is the “no buff zone”; don’t even try it. Buffs are banned. As a result, assuming that you survive, you will be doing poopy DPM, and you will get knocked around like a ragdoll by 2nas’s shitty attacks (and by the Imperial Guards). This basically pans out as you’d expect: 2nas caters to ranged attackers, who can easily attack from the ground without getting so close to 2nas as to be dispelled or otherwise bullied.

I found that the superior downward reach of PA Fury was better than trying to Crusher from this position, so I switched to my PSB:

Maybe Fury is better…?

In the end, I found my niche: 2nas has a KB threshold of 50k, so it is my job to repeatedly Rush it into the right-hand boundary of the map and keep it pinned:

Keeping real 2nas pinned

This does mean that I live in the “no buffs zone”, but it’s an important job: without keeping 2nas pinned, neither ranged nor melee attackers can freely attack, as 2nas loves to waltz about like a lunatic.

In any case, it was 2nas where I first saw one of the fancy new scrolls that can only be used on the Aufheben Circlet:

Wow, fancy scroll!

And, now that I cleared 2nas for the first time, I was now eligible to do the Core Blaze Party Quest (Core Blaze PQ; often simply “Core Blaze”, “Coreblaze”, or “Core”; potentially “CBPQ” or even just “CB”)! CBPQ is a true party quest[2]; you enter as a party of size 1〜6, and it proceeds in a series of stages that culminates in a boss fight at the end.

Core Blaze PQ takes place in an abandoned shopping mall in (a cyberpunk version of) the Roppongi [六本木] district of Tokyo [東京], in the year 2102 AD. Like much of Neo Tokyo, the setting is an ordinary urban area that, in its futuristic dystopia, is in an advanced and irreparable state of collapse, inhabited exclusively by horrible metal beasts. Our task is simple: to vanquish the Core Blaze. What in the got damn hell is a “Core Blaze”? I donno. Let’s find out.

I joined forces with shadowers Harlez (VigiI) and Sagie (Movements), I/L archmage Edann (MAX300, CondimentMan, Edonnt, Edone, SEdann), bowmaster MamyPoko, and nightlord Aphelios, to take on the Core Blaze. My task during the first stage was, in principle, simple: to keep the boss (Royal Guard) as close to the base of the escalator as possible (using Rush), and to basic-attack the little computer terminal thingy any time that its screen turns red. I didn’t really understand what was supposed to be going on… like… at all… But, you know, at least Harlez warned me that it can seduce. The only problem is, I don’t know how to identify the seduce animation yet…:

First Core Blaze attempt… not so good…

Oh boy. It’s about fourrrr seconds into the run, and I am dead. Not knowing that I was about to be seduced, I took touch damage from the Royal Guard — which was for a bit over half of my health (just over 15k), and for most characters, more like ≈18k damage — and then immediately got seduced before I could heal up, and was then touch damaged again before I could scramble to my Hero’s Will key. Instant death… It wasn’t so much that I was trying to take touch damage from the thing, so much as I had no choice, if my job was to Rush it into position. All of this was made even more embarrassing by the fact that Aphelios was streaming live on twitch.tv[3]… 😭

So, we decided to restart:

Core Blaze stage 1, w/ Edann, Sagie, Harlez, MamyPoko, & Aphelios

It’s pretty hectic in stage 1. On the floor, we have the Royal Guard — the objective is to kill it; it has 200M HP — along with the similar-looking Imperial Guards (the same ones that spawn in the 2nas map). As you’d expect, not only does the Royal Guard obviously have way more HP than its Imperial counterparts, but it also fights differently: its touch damage is extremely high (as we have seen…), it’s capable of jump-seducing anyone who is on the bottom floor of the map, and it has a nasty shield-ramming attack where it lunges forward (bye-bye, hitbox…) and hits you with its shield, causing you to be knocked back and stunned for a few seconds. The stun in particular can be brutal, if it causes you to be unable to dodge the seduce.

Depending on the job of a given character, they may want to stand on a particular step of the escalator (which is not operational, so it’s basically just stairs), from which they can attack the Royal Guard: the visually 4th step, counting from the bottom (you can see Harlez standing on it in the screenshot above). This position (and the few stairs above it) are significant for basically two reasons: it’s elevated enough to be out of reach of the Royal Guard’s seduction, and it’s roughly below where the Chandellier (a corruption of chandelier) is hanging. The Chandellier is really important here, because it’s actually doing most of the work; if you knock down the Chandellier (by doing 100k damage or so to it), and it lands on the Royal Guard, the Royal Guard takes 10M(!) damage (IIRC). So, even though your goal is to defeat a boss with 200M HP, you actually don’t need to deal much damage at all with your attacks; it suffices to do a good job with the Chandellier. This makes it less like a traditional boss fight, and more like a fun action sequence where everyone has their own positions and roles.

One other aspect that you have to keep in mind for this stage is the little computer terminal in the bottom-left corner of the map. It normally has a blue screen, but sometimes it turns red (I think it’s just on a timer or something). When it’s red, you can basic-attack it (it’s a “reactor”, technically speaking) to make it transition back into its blue state, and in so transitioning, it causes the Royal Guard to malfunction for some time. While the Royal Guard is malfunctioning, it stops attacking, stops moving, and curls up into a glowing, pulsating ball. Naturally, this is much easier to deal with, and also much easier to drop Chandelliers on.

Of course, not everyone can stand on that 4th stair of the escalator; you can see in the screenshot above that our nightlord Aphelios has to stand on the floor so that he can Triple Throw, and of course I have to be on the floor nearly the entire time, in order to bully the Royal Guard — and in order to handle the computer terminal, if necessary. So, if you aren’t tryna get seduced, you typically have two options when you see the seduce animation: either climb up the escalator, or use the elevator (I don’t know what it’s actually supposed to be, so we’re just gonna call it a broken elevator). You can see in the screenshot above that Edann is standing just about where the elevator is; it’s that brown box with the cracked glass. The elevator is actually a portal, so if you press while you’re standing there, you get teleported to the top of the elevator box thingy, which is high enough to be out of range of almost everything — including seduction. Sometimes, there’s a little delay between when the seduce targets you and when you actually get seduced, so if you’re like me in this screenshot, and you just barely made it to the elevator in time, you might end up seduced on top of the elevator, which is fine too (it’s just a jump-sed, so I’m totally safe):

Seduced on top of the elevator

If you’re up on top of the elevator, you can press again to get teleported to the top-left corner of the map. You can’t see much of it in the screenshot above, but there’s a kind of “attic” area up there where you are actually totally safe.

Clearing the gravesite

Once you defeat the Royal Guard — and if you’re lucky, get its royal card — you can proceed to stage 2. Stage 2 is the “jump quest (JQ)” stage:

Core Blaze JQ

This stage is a true jump quest, in the sense that you don’t really do much other than jump and run — or rather, jump and… swim? I believe that the original version enabled flight for PCs in this stage, but the GMS v62 client has no such thing, so the closest approximation is water — swimming is close enough to flying, right…? Basically, you have to swim to the top, but along the way, there are many obstacles that threaten to teleport you back down to the bottom of the map. In the screenshot above, you can see the yellowish-white laser thingies, one of which has just dealt 6.8k damage to me. I’m about to get teleported down to the bottom, because those LEGO™-brick-lookin’ things along the middle automatically start you over if you touch them.

There are basically three sections of the JQ. The first one (which you can see above) is not so hard, because you can kinda just repeatedly jump until you manage to make it all the way through — if you get sent back to the bottom, that’s not much of a setback at this point. The second and third sections are a bit trickier, but skilled JQers in your party can manoeuvre through these sections in such a way as to exit the main laser-y area of the JQ, where they can operate computer terminals that cause the lasers within the given section (either the second or the third, depending on which terminal that they’re operating) to briefly turn off. By coordinating with your party to time this carefully, you can get through these two sections without too much trouble, although some precision is still required.

Also note that some of the lasers in this stage do a lot of damage. Like, a lot. I think that the lasers in the third section can do up to like 17k damage apparently‽ So, yeah. Definitely the deadliest JQ in the game, that’s for damn sure.

Once you pass the JQ stage, you enter the third and final stage of CBPQ, wherein you get to meet Core Blaze itself:

Core Blaze, in the flesh — or, rather, in the metal…?

Soooo… yeah. Core Blaze is like, some kind of nuclear reactor, or something? I don’t fucking know. What is a giant nuclear reactor doing in a shopping mall? Why is it my job to destroy it? Is destroying it even safe? Am I going to end up severely irradiating myself and the surrounding geographical region? Why do I feel like it’s looking at me with its giant purple cyclops eye? So many questions.

Core Blaze is, as you’d expect, pretty beefy: it has 300M HP, and 2k of both WDEF & MDEF. That being said, it’s also not very fond of actually doing anything. It has no ranged attacks nor debuffs of any kind, and it’s completely immobile. But if you thought that this would make the Core Blaze fight “naptime tree, but somehow even more soporific”, you would actually be wrong. Core Blaze ain’t fuckin’ around, and this is perhaps best evidenced by the veritable swarm of stupid flying bots and robocop bastards that occupy its map:

Fighting Core Blaze

Thankfully, most of them are stuck on the bottom floor of the map, but new Imperial Guards are periodically spawned on the platform that I’m on in the screenshot above. These Imperial Guards can be fiendish to deal with, partly because of the reasons that I mentioned when I first talked about Imperial Guards above, but also because of the one attack that Core Blaze does have: its touch attack. Getting just a little bit too cozy with our monocular nuclear reactor here is likely to cost you your life; when Core Blaze is empowered, a single touch attack tends to deal ≈31k or so damage. Owie! So, when dealing with the various non-boss monsters in the Core Blaze fight, it’s extremely important to be wary of Core Blaze’s hitbox, which is actually quite larger than it might appear — take a look at the screenshot above and note where my Spear Crusher’s hit-marker is. It would be a real shame if one were to, I don’t know, get knocked into that hitbox by a random robot…

As I said before, Core Blaze has no attacks aside from its touch attack, and it can’t cast debuffs (although the non-boss monsters in the map can) — however, it can cast buffs. See if you can spot Core Blaze’s WDEF-up buff icon/indicator in the screenshot below:

Spot the WDEF buff…

Don’t see it? Here, maybe it’s easier to spot if we stop attacking:

…There it is!

Ah, yes. There it is. Core Blaze does at least have an animation that it shows every time that it casts a buff, although the animation is quite short and unfortunately always the same, regardless of the type of buff that’s being cast. Both of the buffs that it can cast are important: the WDEF-up buff will decrease our DPM considerably, and the WATK-up buff (empowerment) will make it more likely that someone eats nuclear reactor and doesn’t live to tell the tale. Ensuring that Core Blaze is not empowered means that the terrifying “up to ≈31k” damage figure is lowered to a more palatable ≈23k(?) tops, or something like that. Here, you can see me dispelling empowerment with my Power Crash, as a hero in my party dispels the WDEF-up with Armour Crash:

Power/Armour Crash

And here we both are again, but less alive than in the previous screenshot:

Died to Core Blaze >.<

Oups! I may have accidentally Rushed just far enough to enter Core Blaze’s hitbox, because of Smokescreen visually showing that it covered that position, whereas it actually… did not. We got Resurrected, but unfortunately there was a miscommunication where the bishop didn’t realise that we needed Smokescreen to be successfully Res’d on top of Core Blaze’s hitbox >w<

One of the main strategies for dealing with the Imperial Guards that spawn on this upper platform is to simply Rush/Dragon’s Breath them entirely inside of Core Blaze’s hitbox, and then keep them stunned/frozen. That way, they can’t actually block Core Blaze’s hitbox nor do any other nasty stuff, although you do have to continue holding them there, which may cost you some DPM. Shadowers, for example, are pretty good at doing this; they are typically forced to blowstep (alternate between Savage Blow and Boomerang Step) anyways, unless they’re okay with the possibility of nate-dashing into Core Blaze’s hitbox. And of course, Boomerang Step hits up to four targets and stuns. Other skills are also quite useful for crowd control here: the hunter/ranger/bowmaster has Arrow Bomb, which hits up to six targets and briefly stuns; the sniper/marks(wo)man has Blizzard, which hits up to six targets and freezes; the ≥3rd job archer has a summon that stuns (Silver Hawk or Golden Eagle); the hermit/nightlord has Shadow Web, which stuns up to six targets and deals damage based on their MAXHP; the crusader/hero has Shout, which hits up to six targets and stuns for quite a while; etc.

As it turns out, subduing Dunas not once, but twice — first as D’una, and then as 2nas — is still not enough; this little stinker just won’t stay dead. Now you’re telling me that I have to fight 2nas again?? I can’t say that it was all that great the first time… But alright, if I have to……

It seems that our strategy for the preliminary stage of 2nas has reversed; keeping Fake Dunas on the right, and his ship on the left, seems to work a bit better overall, even if it means that I have no choice but to jump-attack if I ever want to hit it:

Doing 2nas’s preliminary stage the other way around

Uhm… Okay, I fucked up. I was on the wrong quest in the questline and actually had to talk to Asia once or twice more before I could fight 2nas again to advance the questline. Looks like I have to do another 2nas… 😣

I hope that you have your specs on, because in order to advance the questline upon defeating 2nas the 2nd time, you’ll need to get really close to an absolutely minuscule NPC with only a few pixels to its name, and click on it, in order to get the necessary special quest item:

Tiny thingy on the ground

I mean, you have to actually stand directly on top of this little speck in order for clicking on it to actually cause the NPC interaction — assuming that you can even aim your cursor precisely enough to click on it at all. I’ve timed the screenshot above so that you can see its little sparkle/glimmer animation, without which it’s just two or three grey pixels in the ground. I have to say that it was quite entertaining to watch, in real time, as Harlez attempted to calmly instruct Sagie on how to talk to this NPC to advance the questline, whilst Sagie continued to angrily insist that there was no such NPC, assuming that she was merely being deceived. I just so happened to be in their voice call at the time, whilst Harlez was streaming (all on Discord™), and I was laughing pretty hard as Sagie was getting more upset, and Harlez tried to conceal her increasing impatience — eventually resulting in Sagie accidentally warping out of the map by talking to the crystal NPC. Oh, well… LMFAO

In any case, with this special quest item in my inventory, and another Core Blaze under my belt, I was now at the point in the questline where my task was to defeat Aufheben. Of course, this is only one of the requirements for my ability to enter the Aufheben fight; I would also need to be at least level 175, of course. Although I obviously have my concerns about how useful that I could actually be in the context of, you know, the hardest boss in the game, Harlez reassured me that — as a dark knight — I would be capable of providing plenty of utility to a party, once I’m qualified to enter the damn thing. Maybe one day……

Anywho, the addition (to MapleLegends) of Core Blaze in particular has been really exciting for me; it represents some of the first permanent (read: non-event) “new content” added to the game that has been relevant & interesting for me since it was released, as a result of having rusa, who has vastly outgrown her original destiny of “HB mule”. Particularly, the other two parts of NT2 are perhaps not so interesting: I have no plans to do much 2nas’ing now that I have unlocked the Aufheben part of the NT2 questline (2nas kinda sux, let’s be real), and Aufheben herself is there… for me because of her circlets, and for the sweatiest players (read: not me) because of the extreme challenge that she represents. CBPQ, on the other hand, is honestly a lot of fun; yes, the third and final stage is maybe just a bit too lengthy & boring for my personal tastes, but the overall structure is enjoyable, with the first stage being a lot of really fun & engaging action, the JQ making for a pleasant interlude, and the boss fight having much of the same interest as some other boss fights in the game — plus, it makes good use of my Power Crash! I look forward to doing more CBPQ in the future — and this time, getting more EXP from it!

Footnotes for “未来トウキョウ第二部”

  1. [↑] And o boi, does she slay…
  2. [↑] This is, technically speaking, not 100% true. The one aspect that makes CBPQ “not strictly a PQ” is that it was changed on 2022-08-28 so that player retention is no longer tied to party membership. What I mean is, although you enter the PQ as a party, leaving that party will no longer cause you to be ejected from the PQ, and similarly, disbanding the party will not cause anyone to be ejected from the PQ. This is — again, stricto sensu — not a PQ mechanic, but rather, an expedition mechanic.
  3. [↑] You can find his channel here.

On such an amazing achievement

In case any readers of my diary aren’t already aware, shadower extraordinaire — and my Maple wife — Harlez (VigiI) is one of the pro-est Maple gaymers in the known universe. Although shadower, as a class, is already known for the relatively high levels of player skill required for it to be played at a high level of competence, Harlez has taken the mechanics given to her and refined them to a point whose sharpness is frankly unsettling. Furthermore, Harlez’s journey has been one of completionism: every quest, every special PQ item, every card set (at the time of writing, Harlez is at 2 192(!!) cards), every boss, perhaps the highest-potential dagger in the entire game (still in the active process of being WS10’d)… This, combined with Harlez’s apparently unlimited appetite for killing bosses — absolutely anything, from Black Crow, to Pink Bean — meant that it was apparent quite early on that it was not so much a question of “if” Harlez would hit the maximum level of 200, and moreso a question of “when” — the answer presumably being “sooner than you could reasonably estimate”.

As a result, I was honoured to attend Harlez’s level 200 party at Remains ⟨Cliff⟩:

[Congrats] Harlez has reached Level 200 ! Congratulate Harlez on such an amazing achievement!

Harlez hits level 200: chatbox

A huge congratulations, once again, to Harlez on this monumental achievement!!! It is perhaps an indication of the scale & dedication of Harlez’s quest within which this achievement is contextualised that she has already continued on said quest, soon after hitting level 200! Holy moly!! And, I hope to one day see you on Victoria Island again, as VigiI! c:

Vomming blue & pink sparkles

<3

(…cnvpstdf…)

cnvpstdf

100 WATK for 1 minute

HT on hard mode

guys…

never heard of it

Dragon language

ISO 8859-1

“horse made of clouds”

diaper body

i’m fearsome now

Crash Shop