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rangifer’s diary: pt. c

One hundred

This, pt. c of rangifer’s diary, is the one-hundredth instalment. There’s absolutely no significance to this whatsoever. Nevertheless, living in the decimal society that we do, the number one hundred (100) is significant insofar as it is the smallest power of ten that feels “large”. It’s certainly more than I can count on my four hooves, and more importantly, it has been a very long time — and a tremendous amount of effort — in the making. Somewhat ironically, I internally zero-index my diary entries, making this entry internally 099, rather than the expected 100 — you’ll notice the 099 in the URL

In any case, although pt. c may not be special per se, it’s a good time for a retrospective. When I mentioned to OmokTeacher (Slime, Thinks, JumpQuest, Slimu) in-game that my 100th diary entry was coming up, he asked me a simple question: why do you do it? The question itself may be simple, but naturally, the answer is less so. In particular, when I finish a diary entry, I post it publicly on the WWW for literally anyone with an internet connection to read[1]. I even put considerable effort into making my diary accessible[2] for a wide variety of readers! As a result, there’s some implication or expectation that I work on my diary at least partly for the benefit of any & all other people who may choose to read it.

But maybe answering the question with various concerns related to other people who may (or, far more likely, may not…) be reading my diary contravenes the spirit of the question. After all, the question is about why I do it! In reality, we know that no such supposed distinction exists; many situations evince the unification of benefit to & amongst many separate persons. It might seem unclear how the interaction of me posting my diary publicly could be “mutual”, considering the asymmetry: I put all of the work into making the diary entry, and then almost anyone else can make use of it at no additional cost (assuming that they already have an internet connection), without even so much as the obligation of informing me that they read it.

But “mutual” (& “mutualism”, etc.) is actually not quite the right notion here. Attempting to describe such an interaction as “mutual” assumes & implies some sort of calculus, be it couched in economic utility, utilitarianism, or maybe even something less appallingly Anglophonic[3]. Ultimately, the benefit is something simpler. Each entry in my diary is a work. Regardless of what media, forms, and/or genres this work might be in or of, the basic creative instinct remains: I want to show others what I have made. This impulse is perhaps so basic that it doesn’t warrant — nor even permit — explanation. Thus, making my diary available so that almost anyone can read[1] it — in spite of the fact that I have, in principle, no way of necessarily even knowing whether or not anyone does so — is already a kind of “benefit” in & of itself. Any time that someone does read part of my diary (looking at you, my dear reader 😊), they — wittingly or unwittingly — cause this prophecy to be fulfilled. And this is true even if no one else (not even myself) knows about it. Sure, information is nice. But if we’re answering the question of “why I do it”, then one part of that answer is that I publish my diaries on the principle — the purposeful observance of a rule — that stems from & serves my basic instinct to share, combined with the knowledge that someone else out there might read it too, and benefit somehow as a result. I put a lot (emphasis on “a lot”) of effort into my diary, and I really do mean it, from the bottom of my heart, when I say thank you for reading.

Nevertheless, there remains the question of why I make my diary “in the first place”, and more to the point, why it takes on its particular form. Why do I document the things that I do in MapleStory, and sometimes in painstaking detail? Why do my entries sometimes contain full-blown essays — or, on occasion, full-blown monographs? Why do I include only tangentially-related personal details? Lengthy footnotes? Dumb jokes? Mathematical problems? MapleStory arcana? Unnecessarily dry sarcasm? Brief coverage of seemingly every topic that could possibly be within the purview of the encyclopædist? Inane debates with myself? Technical notes on the diary-creation process itself? Photographs of other people’s weddings? Artistic drawings of my MapleStory characters? Stupid meme images and chatlog screenshots?

The essential answer is simple: memory. One manifestation of this essential answer is obvious: I record my MapleStory adventures, which enables me (or anyone else, for that matter) to go back later and revisit them. This particular aspect compares well to the practice of scrapbooking, for example. However, reducing memory to the singular notion of revisitation of experiences, once experienced & once fossilised, fails to capture much of the nuance.

Consider the most basic sort of memory that any thinking organism can have: working memory[4]. I am not a cognitive psychologist, so I don’t claim to know how long working memory lasts for, nor how much information of what kinds can be stored within it, in various animal species (humans, deer, etc.). But I do know that it is quite brief — on the order of seconds — and it definitely doesn’t store more than one could actually absorb over the course of however many seconds. Imagine, if you will, that you had no working memory. In such a state, the entirety of your experience — everything that constitutes what it is like for you to be alive, conscious, awake, etc. — would be little more than a continuous stream of sensory input, of which you would only be aware of a single “moment” (in the sense of a singular instant, or slice of time) at any given time. Things just… occur, and you have no working memory with which to congeal them into content that can possibly be meaningful to you. You may have all of the reasoning or computational power that you like, but it will come to nought, as you have no faculty of memory with which to process your experiences. Thus, memory is not merely an empty vessel that we fill with “objects”, “items”, or “content”; rather, it is a workstead that provides the space, the environment, & the tools necessary to transduce, encode, perceive, apply our intuitions to, & ultimately form an understanding of the sensory data with which we are constantly inundated.

The failure of memory (forgetfulness; oblivion) is often imagined in terms of the obliteration of simple facts: a telephone number, a name, a face, a password, where I put my god damned keys… But the actual consequences of memory inadequacy in general are more profound. Much like a pocket calculator[5] extends the mind’s ability to perform tasks requiring considerable computation, the ability to record things (in various media) acts as an extension of the mind’s faculty of memory. In just the recording process itself, we already reap most of the benefits of memory in general: deciding how to record things & what things to record, writing notes, organising all of these things, and so forth, all require profound processing of memories — albeit usually on a larger timescale than just working memory. As a result, there is a very real sense in which maintaining my diary allows me to “experience more” than I would if I were “just” playing MapleStory, thinking idly to myself, and so on.

When I started this diary, I didn’t think much of it. I saw one or two other people who kept their own public MapleStory journals, and I thought: “Hmm… interesting. I suppose I’ll give it a go myself”. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to rep the Oddjobs guild, right? I even stayed true to the “diary” name by posting once a day, at first! As I continued to write the diary, however, I found that it was frequently more than “just” a diary. I found that I could channel quite a considerable portion of my “brain juices” — the thoughts, the memories, the emotions, the adventures, the questions, the details, the observations, the musings, the hypotheticals… — into my diary in a way that felt satisfyingly constructive. As the entries went on, they tended to come more slowly, requiring the dedication of much more time for each entry; and thus, the timescale covered by a single entry swelled as well. The result has been the organic formation of what is virtually a loosely-organised, diaristic brain dump. So, you know, welcome to my brain. There’s a lot of fucking garbage in here, as you can see.

Plotting the evolution of rangifer’s diary

I hacked together a crappy lil Python script for collecting some basic data about my diary, which you can find at data_scraper.py, and used that to make another crappy lil Python script to get Matplotlib to create a nifty bar chart out of it. You can find the other script at plots.py.

In this chart, “Markdown size (KiB)” refers to the size, in KiB, of the README.md of the entry; that is, the actual text (not including images, computer code, videos, etc.). “Total size (KiB)” refers to the size, again in KiB, of all files committed as part of the entry, including the README.md in addition to everything else. And “1st-commit-to-1st-commit-time” refers to the real time elapsed between the first commit of the previous entry, and the first commit of the entry in question. This last statistic is only a crude approximation of the time elapsed in between entries.

Plot of the Markdown size, total size, and 1ˢᵗ-commit-to-1ˢᵗ-commit time of this diary, from pt. i through pt. c

Yeah… So we can really see how the diary started as basically a “true” (in the sense of “daily”) diary, and then started increasing entry size & the time taken to write a single entry around the pt. ≈xxxvi mark. Entry sizes start increasing quite a bit from this point on, but then we hit pt. lxxx… you know, the cervine’s Theme entry. WHEW. From this point on, I started putting out some entries that are, even individually, extremely high-effort. The entry just before this one, pt. xcix, is pretty much on par with pt. lxxx; it is much larger in total size, but has a similar-but-slightly-smaller Markdown size & 1st-commit-to-1st-commit-time.

Is this chart useful? I mean, maybe, as a retrospective. It’s definitely got “📈” energy, but… there’s only so much effort I can put into a single entry, right…? So maybe don’t start placing any bets. 🙂 That being said, it is pretty nifty to look at. :P

…And thank you

for reading. 💖

Footnotes for “One hundred”

  1. [↑] And/or use, distribute their own copies, make modifications and distribute those, etc., as my diary is all free content all the way down.

  2. [↑] Both in the usual technical sense (see also), and in the more general sense of “approachable; capable of being understood”.

  3. [↑] For example, Mohism presents an ethical theory likened by Western scholars to Western notions of consequentialism, utilitarianism, etc. 墨子’s (⟨Mòzǐ⟩; modern Standard Beijing Mandarin /mə˥˩ t͜ɕi˨˩˦/ [mɔ˥˩ t͜sz̩˨˩˦]) philosophy does couch moral rightness in terms of 利 (⟨⟩; modern Standard Mandarin /li˥˩/), which is commonly translated into English as “benefit”; however, 墨子’s use of 利 is more sophisticated than such an introduction would let on, making Mohism difficult to categorise, other than as… you know, Mohism. 利 is a practical combination of several interrelated and sometimes overlapping concerns that ultimately seeks to characterise the collective well-being of all humans living within the purview of any particular state. Any Mohistic calculus (if there is such a thing) is thus not very relevant here…

    Nevertheless, I do take some inspiration from the Mohist notion of 兼愛 (⟨jiān’ài⟩; modern Standard Mandarin /t͜ɕjɛn˥ ai̯˥˩/), frequently translated into English as “universal love”, but probably better as “impartial love” (or “impartial care”). 兼愛 stands opposed to the Rúist notion of 孝 (⟨xiào⟩; modern Standard Mandarin /ɕjau̯˥˩/; “filial piety”) because it demands, on a logical basis, that people not be partial towards others on merely the basis of familial ties or other essentially arbitrary/orthogonal concerns, instead emphasising unconditional love on the simple basis of being a fellow person. Although we’re not really touching upon ethical matters here, this more abstract notion of love (love being quite an overloaded term in English, of course) is much more relevant here because of the nature of what I’m doing: posting whatever I pour my blood, sweat, tears, & brain juices into… onto the WWW. For anyone to see! As a result, we indeed need a more impartial & abstract notion of “benefit”, “utility”, “love”, “care”, or what have you, if we want to understand why I might think that this is a worthwhile thing to do.

  4. [↑] See also: Short-term memory, Baddeley’s model of working memory.

  5. [↑] I’m sorry, what? Oh yes, we have smartphones now, but back in the Bronze Age, they made magic pocket-boxes that didn’t even let you text people; they were just for number crunching. One wonders how people communicated back then.

Flipbookery

In the previous diary entry, I had a section called “The moving picture”, wherein I talked about some ✨new technology✨ that I would be adding to that diary entry & future diary entries, inspired by the use of animated GIFs in Guan Yunchang’s World Tour Diary (which you should read, by the way!). The format that I settled on, in short, was AV1 for video coding, Opus for audio coding (if necessary; so far, they’ve all been silent), and WebM to contain the data.

All of the moving pictures in the previous diary entry, however, were clips taken from real MapleStory gameplay — albeit cropped to only show part of the game display. Not to spoil anything, but… this entry does have one (1) moving picture that doesn’t quite fit this description. Instead, I have done some of the animation by hoof, and combined it with an animation that I didn’t make by hand, but that was effectively generated by a computer program that simulates MapleStory’s map renderer. The result is really nothing super fancy, but I had to overcome several technical hurdles to get it working in the basic way that I wanted. So, like “The moving picture” section in the previous entry, this section goes over some digital flipbook technology that I’ll be using for this entry & possibly future entries, including a handful of nasty technical details. If I don’t write this stuff down, my brain will have rotted by the next time that I need this kind of information…

Using GIMP for animations

We start with this problem: how do I make a flipbook in the first place? I already use GIMP for all of the image editing needs of my diary, and as it turns out, GIMP can handle the making/editing of animated-GIF-style images as well! The basic paradigm is that we can represent each frame of the animation as a “layer” in GIMP. Then, the animation proceeds from the bottommost layer upwards. We start the animation with all layers — excepting the bottommost layer — set to be invisible, and then when it’s time for a new frame, we just set the bottommost layer that is still invisible to be visible. One useful effect of encoding the animation this way is that if some part of the image doesn’t change from one frame to the next, that next frame can just have nothing in that region — that is, pure transparency. This already eliminates a lot of redundant information, which is at least useful for formats like animated GIF that lack the inter-frame compression abilities to do it themselves.

Technically, that’s already enough information to start doing animated image editing in GIMP. Of course, there are plenty of nuances. For example, you can manipulate the behaviour of the animation by simply renaming the layers. I’m not 100% sure what all of the possible parameters here are, but the basic idea seems to be that you can have one or more pairs of parentheses at the end of a layer’s name, and each pair can enclose a directive. In particular:

So, for example, you might name a layer Frame 17 (33ms)(replace). The Frame 17 bit at the beginning doesn’t actually do anything (for example, it might not even be the 17th frame…), but the parenthesised directives work as expected.

Also, I mentioned that animated GIFs lack inter-frame compression, which is why having each frame get composited over the previous frames ((combine)) can be useful. But to exploit this, we need to get GIMP to remove the redundancy for us somehow. Luckily, it’s as easy as:

Filters ➡️ Animation ➡️ Optimise (for GIF)

However, this is actually less useful than you might think. In order to see why, we need to move on to exporting the animation from GIMP.

Exporting from GIMP

Once we’re in the “Export Image” dialogue box, we have to decide what format to export as. GIF is tempting, but it basically sucks ass:

We can solve all of these issues by just using WebP instead. We choose to export to a filename that ends in .webp. When pressing “Export”, another dialogue called “Export Image as WebP” comes up, and we can configure it like so:

Then, pressing “Export” will do the deed. The result is already usable as-is. Great! Except for just one possible issue: what if it’s too many bytes? Naturally, the answer is the same as it was in the previous diary entry: AV1. So all we have to do is just use FFmpeg to re-encode the lossless WebP into the desired AV1-inside-WebM, right?

Wrong. Although FFmpeg can actually encode to animated WebP, it strangely cannot read animated WebP files. So we’re going to have to get a little creative. This one took me a while to figure out, not gonna lie.

Exporting from GIMP… again

First, we must go back to GIMP. We actually don’t want this optimisation where we remove bits of frames that are the same as the previous frame. If the animation makes use of this optimisation, or we’re not sure, we can just ask GIMP to get that shit outta here:

Filters ➡️ Animation ➡️ Unoptimise

Now, every frame redraws the entire canvas. Just doing this and exporting again will get you the same file size, because cwebp is smart enough to just do the inter-frame shit on its own. However, that’s not what we’re here for. When exporting for the purpose of re-encoding into AV1, we want to use settings that look more like this (settings that are different from last time are highlighted):

By setting the maximum distance between keyframes to 1, we force every frame to be a keyframe. Normally, this is a dumb idea, but in this case, we’re not actually going to be using the output as-is; we just want to hack it up into pieces.

We can see exactly how many frames the animation has by using webpinfo and grep like so (assuming that we exported to a file called anim.webp):

webpinfo -summary anim.webp | grep frames

We’ll call the number of frames n. To hack this thing up into pieces, we can use webpmux to extract individual frames into individual still (i.e. not animated) WebP images. Although converting these stills into PNG is probably not necessary, I’ve already been burned by FFmpeg choking on reading animated WebP, so I’m not going to let it choke on reading still WebP either. Thus, I do something like this (in Bash syntax):

for ((i=1; i<=n; i++)); do
    webpmux -get frame $i anim.webp -o frame.$i.webp
    dwebp frame.$i.webp -o frame.$i.png
    rm frame.$i.webp
done

The result is a whole mess of files called frame.1.png, frame.2.png, frame.3.png, etc. Notice that we start at 1, not 0. Asking webpmux to extract the 0th frame actually gets you the last frame, and presumably the (−1)th frame is the penultimate frame, and so on.

We now have all of the frames, converted losslessly from the original, into a format that FFmpeg definitely won’t choke on. Right, FFmpeg? You wouldn’t betray me with just an ordinary still PNG, I’m sure… So now, it only remains to do the actual encoding into AV1. Similarly to what I discussed in the previous diary entry, I’m going to do this in the slowest, most high-quality way possible, because once I’ve gotten to this point, I already know that I have the animation I want. So, something like this:

ffmpeg -r 30 -i frame.%0d.png -c:v libaom-av1 -crf 21 -cpu-used 0 -pass 1 -f null /dev/null && \
ffmpeg -r 30 -i frame.%0d.png -c:v libaom-av1 -crf 21 -cpu-used 0 -pass 2         out.webm

Some of these arguments are familiar from the previous diary entry. But there are two new things to observe here:

And there you have it! A nifty little WebM, at a fantastic quality∶file-size ratio. ✨

Lossy WebP?

Okay, but isn’t it way easier to just export directly from GIMP, and choose a lossy WebP instead of a lossless one? That should reduce the file size substantially, which was the whole point of that song & dance.

Yes, it is easier. But it also sucks. I don’t pretend to know how lossy animated WebP images work, but I know that they look like ass. A lossy animated WebP that is like thrice(!) the size of the AV1+WebM that we made in the previous section still somehow manages to look considerably worse. And believe me, I tested on quality levels 95, 90, and 75 (75 is the default, and the scale is from 0 to 100, with higher numbers representing higher quality & larger file size). Are lossy animated WebP images just rubbish? Is AV1 just that good? I think it’s probably more the former than the latter, but it’s also probably some of both. I cannot in good conscience recommend using WebP for anything that isn’t lossless, be it a still image or an animated one. On the bright side, if you do want a lossless image (again, animated or otherwise), WebP is the way to go.

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…

As discussed previously within this diary, I made this MapleStory damage calculator, which you can find at the Oddjobs website. This calculator is intended to be flexible enough to handle almost any damage calculation needs, but of course, there’s just one issue: documentation on how MapleStory actually works is sparse at best. There are a lot of weird rules, exceptions, one-of-a-kind skills, and other such arcane details — some of which, pretty much no one ever thinks about when they’re playing the game. The game just works![1] When it comes to understanding more deeply what we’re actually doing when playing the game, however, the hermetic details start to make things quite difficult indeed.

The issue

The Oddjobs website — which includes the damage calculator — has an issue tracker, which you can find here. At the time of writing, there are a dozen open issues in want of some kind of resolution. If you think that you can help out with these issues, please feel more than free to post comments, PRs, and/or just contact me! Recently, I was able to close issue #9, entitled “What is Wrath of the Octopi’s attack period?”, with some help from corsairs Yoshis (SwordFurbs, Fabiennes, Furbs) and Danger.

Danger told me that he had tested level 20 (i.e. maximum level) WotO against level 0 WotO, and found that WotO causes the attack period of the associated octopus summons to be halved (i.e. the rate of fire to be doubled). However, we still didn’t have any confirmation for levels of WotO in the interval [1, 19]; it’s not immediately clear if this “halved attack period” is in effect at any positive level of WotO, or if it perhaps decreases the attack period more gradually as WotO’s level increases.

A halved attack period at all levels of WotO would make sense with the in-game verbal description:

An additional octopus is summoned, increasing the fire rate and the damage.

…And the visual nature of the skill: having any nonzero number of skill points in WotO causes two octos to be visually summoned when there would have been just one, thus justifying a halved attack period.

In any case, this already clears up some of the confusion with the skill. WotO (in comparison to just Octopus and no WotO) is intended to increase the damage-per-line of the octopus summons, and to decrease its attack period. The main source of confusion is that the value associated with the damage per line is referred to in-game (in the per-skill-level descriptions) as “attack rate”, which kinda sounds like it’s referring to how frequently the summon attacks. The Oddjobs damage calculator refers to this value as “Basic attack”, as it behaves similarly to the “basic attack” values of magical attacks (e.g. Energy Bolt, which has a basic attack value of 55 at maximum level). The basic attack value of max level Octopus is 200, and the value for level 1 WotO is 210; WotO’s basic attack value then continues to increase with its skill level. Thus, it’s clear that a corsair with level >0 WotO can treat the damage-per-line of their octo summons as being affected by the basic attack value listed by their WotO’s skill description, but not being affected by the basic attack value listed by Octopus’s skill description.

Science

In order to really put this issue to rest, we needed a way to compare level 20 WotO to some level(s) of WotO in the interval [1, 19] — and preferably something low, like level 1. So I reached out to Yoshis — our resident 4th-job swashbuckler — in alliance chat, and she thankfully agreed to help test alongside Danger! For that, we headed to the Training Zone in Mount Song Town, which is just full of Scarecrows for Training (a.k.a. “training dummies” or simply “dummies”):

Danger, rusa, & Yoshis meet @ Training Zone

Yoshis had level 1 WotO at the time, so we were able to directly compare level 1 vs. level 20 WotO:

Testing level 1 WotO vs. level 20 WotO

And, as expected, they had the same attack period! Hooray!! That alone was enough to close issue #9, but Danger wanted to re-test level 0 vs. level ≥1 WotO just to make sure he remembered his previous findings correctly. For that, I dusted off poor old hydropotina, my retired swashbuckler, who had level 30 Octopus but no WotO:

Testing level 0 WotO vs. level 20 WotO

(Apologies for the nudity…)

And, again as expected, my lil octo was shooting every other time that Danger’s octo summons shot, thus confirming the halved attack period due to WotO. Aaaand that’s Maple science! 🙂

Footnotes for “Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…”

  1. [↑] Except when it doesn’t, of course! Yet another reason why knowing the details is vital…

Solomon vs. Solo Man

Speaking of Maple arcana, I encountered an intriguing little autoban[1] message the other day:

[AutoBan] Hido (Lvl.67) has been banned by the system for Packet/Wz Editing via Use Soloman (using Writs of Solomon above max level).

(“Use Soloman” here is a misspelling; it should be “Use Solomon”.)

Serverwide autoban messages are commonplace in MapleLegends, although they don’t happen extremely often; maybe just two or three daily, on average… or something like that(?). In any case, autoban messages on MapleLegends — in my experience — tend to fall into one of these categories:

What in the got dam hell are “Writs of Solomon”?? Well, okay. In English, a writ /ɹɪt/ is a formal written order commanding someone to do some particular thing… or else. And Solomon (⁧שְׁלֹמֹה⁩; ⟨Šlomo(h)⟩; Modern Hebrew /ˈʃlo̞.mo̞(h)/; lit. “peaceful”; English /ˈsɒ.lə.mən/) was a king of Israel, best known for his appearances in the Hebrew Bible. Being the king of Israel, Solomon would be the kinda guy to actually have the power to issue writs, so the combination of words here at least has some coherence. Unfortunately, none of this tells me anything about what this has to do with MapleStory!

Solomon shows up at least twice in pre-BB MapleStory. Searching for solomon in the MapleLegends Library or BBB Hidden Street gets us:

Still no writs, though. For that, we must turn to the wider WWW

Luckily for me, some of the old GMS patch notes have been fossilised; in particular, we can see the mention of Writs of Solomon in the GMS v63 patch notes[7] (an update mostly notable for adding Magatia into the game):

EXP Gachapon ends soon. Please be sure to use your Exp Gachapon Tickets (Writs of Solomon, related items) by December 30th, 2008. Due to a new system scheduled for early 2009, these cards will no longer be usable after this date.

EXP Gachapon?? I mean, maybe you’ve heard of that, but I thought that Gachapon was just for Takoyaki! Looking a little further, we can find the actual USE items themselves:

Item details
IIDnamedescriptionicon
2370000The Songs of Solomon[8]An ancient collection of poems and life lessons from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 100,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Songs of Solomon ✜
2370001The Stories of SolomonAn ancient book of stories, fables and other myths from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 50,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Stories of Solomon ✜
2370002The Travels of SolomonAn ancient collection of map routes, hidden paths and shortcuts from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 30,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Travels of Solomon ✜
2370003The Writs of Solomon XAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 20,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon X ✜
2370004The Writs of Solomon IXAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 10,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon IX ✜
2370005The Writs of Solomon VIIIAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 5,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon VIII ✜
2370006The Writs of Solomon VIIAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 3,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon VII ✜
2370007The Writs of Solomon VIAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 2,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon VI ✜
2370008The Writs of Solomon VAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 1,000 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon V ✜
2370009The Writs of Solomon IVAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 500 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon IV ✜
2370010The Writs of Solomon IIIAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 300 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon III ✜
2370011The Writs of Solomon IIAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 200 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Writs of Solomon II ✜
2370012The Writs of Solomon IAn ancient document of collected wisdom from various elders, sages and warriors in the Maple World. Reading this allows one to gain their collective experience (EXP) in a single second. This edition provides 100 EXP. Only available for users under Level 51.Icon for The Songs of Solomon I ✜

So, I guess the EXP Gachapon gives these Solomon thingies (most, but not all, of which are called “The Writs of Solomon [insert Roman numeral here]”) out instead of actual item rewards. Then, they can be consumed to instantly gain the associated EXP. I was able to find what the EXP Gachapon NPC looks like, even:

EXP Gachapon ✜

It’s perhaps unsurprising that this autoban message appears obscure, and that no one whom I asked about it knew what to make of it. As implied by the v63 patch notes, EXP Gachapon was a short-lived experiment that would quickly be completely replaced by some other system with a similar intent. What that intent is, in particular, is presumably “incentivise players to pay us real money in exchange for levelling their characters for them”… Classic Nekksyn. 🤡 What is a bit more surprising, however, is that this autoban even exists; it seems to imply that MapleLegends’s server software has a handler for processing EXP Gachapon items. Most likely, this code is just vestigial, and the check for PC level just so happens to come before the check of whether or not the PC even has the item to begin with.

The item descriptions explain the basic reason for the autoban: all of them specify that the PC consuming the item must be below level 51 (i.e. level 1〜50), whereas Hido here is level 67. Of course, this doesn’t explain why someone would get all the way to level 67 just to get themselves autobanned by forging a packet to consume a USE item that doesn’t even exist in MapleLegends — not even in the Library. Not to mention that, if this was intentional, they surely knew that they were breaking one of the clearly stated rules of the items (viz. that you must be level <51). So, honestly, I’m not sure what to make of this ban, but I guess… props to Hido for even trying it……

Footnotes for “Solomon vs. Solo Man”

  1. [↑] Autoban is from automatic + ban (in the sense of “forbid from participation”), and is basically what it sounds like: it is capable of automatically banning player accounts, thus disallowing them from logging into the game. Autobans are one of many ways that the game server can enforce the rules of the game. It should be noted, however, that it is only “one of many”; not every discrepancy in the behaviour (or rather, apparent behaviour) of clients is met with an autoban. For example, the server may silently correct behaviour, ignore certain packets, drop connections, etc.
  2. [↑] My dear reader. You would never — and I mean never — believe how unbelievably slippery time is. Everything that you think you know about timekeeping is wrong (archived), and I cannot help you. I am so sorry. Just forget that you read this footnote, to be completely honest; it’s better to remain blissfully ignorant.
  3. [↑] Actually, I distinctly remember the autoban message claiming that it expected a “fixed damage” of 1, meaning that the laser would presumably actually die if you managed to hit it ≥300k times, as that’s how much HP it has. The phrasing “invincible” would seem to imply that anything north of zero damage is too much, but it may merely be that my usual interactions with invincible monsters (e.g. the Super Ribbon-Pigs of Utah’s Pig Farm) also just so happen to involve those same monsters having effectively infinite (viz. 999) avoidability. It’s also possible that the autoban is just conservatively capping the maximum damage dealt to invincible monsters at 1 (instead of 0) to lower the false positive rate.
  4. [↑] EC is vaguely similar to PG insofar as it’s not really used for its damage-dealing capabilities, but nevertheless deals damage — and particularly, by damaging monsters that touch the affected PC. Unlike PG, however, the damage dealt by EC does not scale with the touch damage taken by the PC. As far as I know, EC’s damage scales with the PC’s ordinary damage range, or something similar. This makes EC a unique skill, thus putting it in a weird spot when it comes to these sorts of corner cases. Plus, EC is a pirate skill, making it very new at the time of GMS v62, and thus more likely to have some kinks not yet ironed out.
  5. [↑] Are map hazards (spikes, throwing stars that hurtle periodically across the map, those swinging axe thingies from step 7 of the Sleepywood JQ, etc.) implemented as “reactors”? It has been much too long, and I cannot remember…
  6. [↑] Due in part to the client binary not even being source-available to the developers
  7. [↑] See the Necksawn Fandom™ site (archived), as well as the Hidden Street forums (archived).
  8. [↑] Not to be confused with the Song of Solomon

Geography

I’ve written, both briefly & at moderate length, a bit about MapleStory geography in previous entries of this diary. There’s definitely a part of me that wants to go down the rabbit hole of actually giving pre-BB MapleStory a systematic geographical treatment, but… perhaps some rabbit holes are best left relatively unexplored. 😅

Nevertheless, I want to talk a little bit about Victoria Island — something that I’ve talked about before, in the context of vicloc. Here’s the GMS v8 world map of Victoria Island:

GMS v8 Victoria Island map background

Oh, yes! You & I are probably used to staring at the ≈v62 edition of this world map, but this shit right here is a lil older… Of course, the basic layout is identical, but we can immediately notice some differences:

But this is actually not quite how the world map looks in-game. In-game, there are little waypoints used to mark particular maps, which the player can interact with by hovering their cursor over them to get tooltips. Thus, it looks a bit more like this:

GMS v8 Victoria Island map, in-game appearance

Now it’s more clear that the world map is sparser than it is in later versions. Here are a few things that we can observe:

Overall, this version of Victoria Island from a pre-Ossyria version of MapleStory is astonishingly similar to the post-4th-job version that we know from GMS v62. The world map is less detailed, but the actually missing bits are just the things that we expect to be missing: Nautilus, Ellinia Station, & the Excavation Site (Sharenian) region[1]. Furthermore, these missing bits were added without sacrificing any of the structure that already existed in this first draft. Victoria Island would not be revamped until Big Bang (v93+ in GMS), at which point it retained only its most basic structure, with almost all maps renamed, moved, replaced with brand new maps, or outright removed.

Well… there is that one slight detail. Where’s Top of the Tree That Grew? In MapleLegends[2], the topmost bit of The Tree That Grew III looks like this:

The Tree That Grew III

In GMS v8, the rope that I’m hanging on, the platforms that it leads to, and the portal that those lead to, are all just… not there. The map just ends in a similar way that previous The Tree That Grew maps do, except that there’s no portal to a hypothetical “The Tree That Grew IV”. The MapleLegends[2] version adds the special rope and floating platforms that you see above, to lead to Top of the Tree That Grew:

Top of the Tree That Grew

Transcription of the tooltip in the above image

⟨Warning⟩

Height: 30km above ground level. This is the highest peak of the tallest tree in Ellinia. The wind blows eastwards towards Sleepywood. Jump at your own risk.

That’s it. Just a leafy diving platform, daring you to jump 30⁢ km to, presumably, your death… The tooltip actually appears to be mistaken: it says that “[t]he wind blows eastwards towards Sleepywood”, but Ellinia (including this map in particular) is definitely east of Sleepywood, on both the GMS v8 and GMS v62 world maps.

In any case, if you are stupid enough to jump (don’t worry, I am too), you fall for a bit before landing in Sleepywood proper. This completes the pattern of each major Victoria Island town having its own path leading to the Dungeon. The exceptions are the harbours: Lith & Nautilus. The GMS v8 world map suggests that Ellinia was always supposed to have some path to the Dungeon, but it wasn’t until later[2] that I guess they had the bright idea of letting PCs jump there…

There are probably at least a smol handful of other hidden streets missing in this version. For example, two particular favourites of mine, Caution Falling Down (CFD), & of course The forest of Golem[3] (FoG; TfoG), appear to not exist[4] in this version of the game.

Do note that we’re looking at GMS v8 here. This is, of course, not to be confused with, say, KMS v8, which is a different story considering that GMS is merely a l10n of KMS at this point — KMS being the original version of the game. Thus, we expect that two versions of MapleStory with similar numeric values and/or similar release dates, one from KMS and one from GMS, will be significantly more advanced and significantly less advanced, respectively. Furthermore, GMS v8 is not that old; yes, the Victoria Island world map here is quite ancient in appearance, and yes, Ossyria does not exist yet, but we’re still in the realm of post-beta, stable releases — and the ≈8th such release, at that. Going back yet further in the game-history of MapleStory would get us into an even more obscure realm: one where the order of post-0th-job classes (that ordering being: ⟨warriors > mages > archers > thieves⟩) can actually be felt, daggers are for warriors too, and the Saw actually makes sense……

Footnotes for “Geography”

GMS release dates are taken from here.

  1. [↑] 3rd job would be added six versions later, in v14 (2005-12-21; keep in mind that these are GMS dates). The Excavation Site (Sharenian Guild Quest) region would be added in v34 (2007-02-06). Nautilus would be added in v62 (2008-11-12; the same version of GMS that MapleLegends is based on).

  2. [↑] Top of the Tree That Grew was actually added in v67 (2009-04-08; again, specifically in GMS). This is the same version that added Monster Book into the game. This would imply that MapleLegends backported it, and indeed, looking through the MapleLegends forums reveals that it was added just prior to 2015-09-22 (archived).

  3. [↑] In this version of GMS, golem (from Hebrew ⁧גֹּלֶם⁩; ⟨golem⟩; Modern Hebrew /ˈgo̞le̞m/) is somewhat confusingly — but nevertheless consistently — spelled ⟨gollem⟩ throughout the game files. The /l/ has never been geminated in Hebrew, nor in English.

  4. [↑] In fact, Mixed Golems (or ⟨Mixed Gollem⟩, for that matter…) do not exist at all in this version. For example, Golem’s Temple IV is essentially the same as in later versions, except that it is populated by Stone Golems instead of Mixed ones. FoG and Mixed Golems would be added around v34 (2007-02-06; same version that SGQ was added) or so, at which point Mixed Golem was spelled ⟨Mix Gollem⟩.

    CFD would not be added until version… 49 (2008-01-23)? Which would be the same version that 4th job was added in.

Big-dooria Eye-lint

Speaking of Victoria Island, let’s see what my Viclockers are up to!

I somehow went to five (yes, 5) more GM events, so it was time for my vicloc clericlet d33r to open up five more Scrolls of Secrets…:

Five-SoS run…

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

[system message]: You have gained an item (Dark Scroll for Knuckler for Attack 30%)
You have gained an item (Dark Scroll for Face Accessory for HP 30%)
You have gained an item (Scroll for Spear for ATT 60%)
You have gained an item (Dark scroll for One-Handed Sword for ATT 30%)
You have gained an item (Scroll for Cape for MP 10%)

We started out strong there with the knuck WATK 30%, but it’s not lookin’ so good overall. We… don’t actually have any active vicloc knuckler-users, nor any one-handed-sword-users, and face accessories aren’t a real thing in vicloc… 🥲 Welp. Maybe next time.

It wasn’t all crummy luck over on Victoria Island, though. In fact, if anything, it was mostly insanely good luck. Like this 13 INT Amos’s Spirit Cape that I managed to scroll on d33r, with the help of two cape INT 60%s that I got out of a trade with vicloc assassin Sobi (Dargos):

d33r scrolls a 13 INT cape!!!

Huge. I mean, I thought that my 12 INT cape was pretty damn good, but I guess it’s for sale now… Contact d33r for inquiries!

Oh, remember how I mentioned trading with Sobi? Well, as part of one such trade deal, I gave him two GFA60s to finish a Dark Mischief that he’d started scrolling…

Sobi’s 10 WATK Dark Mischief!!

WEW that is one spicy 10 WATK glove right there. Big grats!!

On my vicloc dagger spearwoman d34r, I headed to my usual spot at FoG to grind off a GM buff. Although I initially expected to be grinding solo, I ran into a bandit by the name of canceled during my grind sesh, and added them to my party:

canceled

Transcription of the above image

canceled: olh [sic]
why a lv 92 spearman?

d34r: ouh im viclocked [:

canceled: ohhh
interesting challenge

d34r: ya its fun!

canceled: what made you want to do it

d34r: hmm i guess i just like the world
and i dont really like 3rd job anyways

canceled: you ganna [sic] wait to just get 4th job?
or perma vic lock

d34r: permanently locked haha

canceled: commited [sic]
potpan is back
or
here

d34r: ya i was using her to leech
then i just suicide her when im done
im on gm buffs

canceled: ah dam
i must have missed it

d34r: yea it was like uh
13 hours ago haha

canceled: OH


canceled: hey thanks for the pt

d34r: tyty!

canceled: ganna head to gs2 with someone!

[system message]: ‘canceled’ has left the party.

d34r: ooo hf hf

canceled: GLGL

d34r: ty!

canceled: exciting advencuter [sic]

[system message]: ‘canceled’ have [sic] raised ‘d34r’’s level of fame.
You have raised ‘canceled’’s level of fame.

d34r: [:

canceled: <3
i guess ill se[e] you around vic
:)

d34r: cyas hehe

[system message]: ‘potpan’ has joined the party.

Yeah, don’t mind ol’ potpan… she’s just there to activate my GM HS.

Oh, and you thought I was going to stop at ✨just✨ a 13 INT vicloc cape? Nah… I’ve got a random ear LUK 30% floating around from a SoS run that I did some time ago. And I don’t think that anyone is buying it, so it’s time to slam it on a perfect clean pair of Cecelia’s Earrings…:

EPIC VICLOC EARRINGS @@@@@

OOOOO BABY those are some earrings right there. You don’t think that’s cool? Well guess what: INT scrolls are the only naturally-occurring earring scrolls in vicloc. Anything else (yes, even DEF) is some special event-only shit. So these babies are one-of-a-kind right now, out here having stats that aren’t WDEF, MDEF, or MAXMP. 🤩

Over at APQ, I did some APQing with bishop SecretIy (and her bowmaster Flurri). SecretIy is what some might call… a durable bishop, as she is quite HP-washed. So washed, in fact, that even without my HB, she was able to tank hits from the Rombots in stage 5!:

SecretIy tanking APQ golems

It’s quite faint in the image above, but if you look closely, you can see the “10 417” damage number in purple. So, I guess the Rombots don’t actually hit that hard. With Magic Guard at maximum level, this particular damage line can be sustained with, theoretically, just 2 085 MAXHP. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to even try going at those Rombots in the first place…

With APQ all wrapped up, I took yet another look at the two vicloc Green Mittens that I had lying in my inventory from the most recent event (see the “Lunational” section of the previous diary entry), contemplating their fates. With outland STRginner Taima (Yunchang, Boymoder, pilk, Hanyou, Girlmoder, deerhunter) as my witness, I finally decided to just slam them:

Scrolling vicloc Green Mittens(???)

Transcription of the above image

d34r: i need to scroll
these two green mittens i got from this event
ive just been

Taima: yiss

d34r: staring at them
knowing that they can become 12watk vicloc gloves
and also knowing
that they almost certainly wont
ahaha

Taima: mmm you have two chances
it could happen

d34r: ok let’s do it

[system message]: The scroll lights up, and then its mysterious power is transferred to the item.

Taima: M1TT3N

[system message]: The scroll lights up, and then its mysterious power is transferred to the item.
The scroll lights up, and then its mysterious power is transferred to the item.

Taima: GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[system message]: The scroll lights up, and then its mysterious power is transferred to the item.
The scroll lights up, and then its mysterious power is transferred to the item.

Taima: OMG!

[system message]: The scroll lights up, and then its mysterious power is transferred to the item.

Taima: WAT

d34r: what.

Taima: OMG OMG OMG

d34r: ??A??A?@!?@?@?
;oaww
o[jeo
gawogogejojgjegojjoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
a???

Taima: you won vicloc

d34r: ahhahahahahah

HOLY shit. How is that even real?? How is vicloc like this???

d34r’s Green Mittens!!!!

A gift from SnailDEX, feat. CaCassandra

Having raffled every single day for the entirety of this past CNY event (see the “Lunational” section of the previous entry in this diary) on my islander ozotoceros, I ended up with nothing of value other than the Galaxy Gateway chair. The chair is pretty damn cool, so I wasn’t going to complain. That being said… the Slime Launcher chair is also really cool, and I think that it fits the vibe of Maple Island pretty snugly. Fellow islander SnailDEX (Alaskan) had a spare Slime Launcher, so I offered to buy it from him:

A gift from SnailDEX, feat. CaCassandra

Yell heah!! In the end, it was not actually a gift: I traded my only Maple Island CSS — and a CSS20, at that! — for it. I had been holding on to my CSS20 from many events ago, hoping that someone on Maple Island might want it enough to trade with me… [:

xBowtjuhNL’s level 200 party!!!

Marksman xBowtjuhNL (PriestjuhNL) has featured many a time in this here diary, ever since I met him as a fresh sniper back during the MPQ days of my DEX DK rusa. Since then, it has been many a PQ, many a quest, and very, very many a boss for xBowtjuhNL, including countless Horntail runs that he has personally hosted. And so, inevitably, the time has finally come for a final advancement: the big 2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣.

xBowtjuhNL’s level 200 party

Much like his wedding to Eoka, xBowtjuhNL’s level 200 party took place here, at Split Road at West, in the rural outskirts of Shànghǎi. Why here? Well, for the Cows of course! In honour of xBowtjuhNL, we each donned our own cowboy hats as well:

it just looks great on everyone

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

Soblet: it just looks great on everyone

Paulsthirsty: we are all ramon

Once most everyone had arrived, xBowtjuhNL gave a short speech:

xBowtjuhNL: thank you all for coming over

[…]

xBowtjuhNL: and i hope theres still a lot of things to do

And, with that, 2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣:

[Congrats] xBowtjuhNL has reached level 200 ! Congratulate xBowtjuhNL on such an amazing achievement!

GRATS@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

how does it feel

Transcription of the above image

runYoShit: how does it feel

xBowtjuhNL: it feels exactly the same

Muuh: LMAO

Nonon: LOL

rusa: hahaha

Well, it may feel exactly the same, but there’s at least one difference: Echo of Hero! I was fortunate enough to be one of the receivers of xBowtjuhNL’s first-ever Echo:

xBowtjuhNL’s first Echo of Hero

Oh, and what about that sweet, sweet level 200 mount?

i prefer the struggling

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

Palladino: btw
u gotta kill ur hog for that dragon

xBowtjuhNL: yeah
not gonna do that

Palladino: u willing to do that sir?

rusa: hahahah

xBowtjuhNL: i prefer the struggling

Ah yes, classic Ramon. Getting all the way to level 200 as an archer without so much as a Silver Mane… [:

Dopey Cue

I had the distinct pleasure of doing a handful of OPQs on my OPQ/LMPQ mule sets alongside claw pirate Furca (Gruzz) and hunter Jellybow (ducklings)!! Here I am, at the Walkway, slaying some Lunar Pixies alongside Furca:

Furca & sets vs. Lunar Pixies

This was actually my first time seeing Jellybow, as I was previously unaware that Joyce (ducklings, Jellybow) had started a new archer character:

Jellybow

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

sets: cant wait for jelly to hit 120 so she can become JoySE

Jellybow: LOOOL

Furca: OH

sets: haha

Furca: lmao

Jellybow: that was good
but idk if i can live up to that

And here we are, chipping away at Father Pixel, one brightly-coloured projectile at a time:

sets, Jellybow, & Furca vs. Papa Pixie

:3

Out of season

In the previous entry in this diary, I covered quite a long timespan, including the V-day event and the CNY event (which, ironically, came after the V-day event). The V-day event was relatively brief, and didn’t come with most of the amenities that we’ve come to expect from seasonal events. Nevertheless, it did come with the V-day staple of Chocolate Baskets: The GM Buffs That Fit In Your Pocket!™

The V-day event is long gone now, but I didn’t quite yet manage to use all of my leftover deliciously caffeinated baskets. And so, it was time for some out-of-season basket grinding, starting with a 60-minute duo Camp 1 sesh on my vicloc clericlet d33r — alongside outland priestlet AppleBasket (Mushers, LawdHeComin, Snel)!:

AppleBasket & d33r duoing Camp 1

Camp 1 might not be the GS2 that AppleBasket is used to, but it’s actually not too bad in comparison:

So, you know. GS2 is probably still superior at least in terms of just maximising sheer EPH, but Camp 1 nevertheless compares more favourably than you might expect from a dinky lil Victoria Island map. The intra-map teleporter between the top and bottom of the map is nice, and the spawns are actually fairly dense. Believe it or not, I had been grinding L1A4 (Wraiths) habitually on d33r, so this was my first time actually grinding at Camp, rather than just testing the waters. And the EXP was great! So great, in fact, that I hit level 71~!:

d33r hits level 71~!!

For another basket session, I headed to Sutra Depository 5–6 F on my pure STR bishop cervid to help DEXadin SwordFurbs (Yoshis, Fabiennes, Furbs) do some last-hitting during her HH training — at least, for the 60-minute duration of my basket that gave me exactly(!) enough (viz. +100) extra WACC to hit any monster species on the map 100% of the time:

SwordFurbs & cervid @ 5–6 F

Now, even the weaker of the two species on this map — Silver Spearmen — are no joke. Each silver dood has a whopping 225k HP and 1.1k WDEF, meaning that it took me a good bit of whacking to finish off one that had been HH’d for a thicc 200k damage. Nevertheless, with the benefit of a basket, I was able to do decent enough DPM myself. Plus, cervid conveniently[1] comes equipped with her own HS, so we were both able to stay HS’d the whole time.

And finally, for another out-of-season V-day basket sesh, I hopped onto my besinner hashishi to duo Genins alongside lightning-only gishlet Mushers:

hashishi & Mushers @ Genins

Oh, yes. Did you know that LHC has a face?? I didn’t either, until now. Since he refuses to use any NX equips, there are always masks in the way! But not for level 24 Mushers, who is too low-level to wear them yet!! Well, at least until he… levelled up to level ≥25 during our grind sesh…:

goodbye forever face

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

Mushers: also goodbye forever face

hashishi: aur naur

R.I.P. Mushers’s face, 2023〜2023. 😔

Footnotes for “Out of season”

  1. [↑] 😒

Bossin’ With tara

Gather ’round, folx, ’cause it’s time for another episode of Questin’ With tara — wait, what? Bossin’ With tara™? Where did all of the quests go??

Never fear, adoring fans of Questin’ With tara™. We will be back, Soon™, with a few more quests from my shield bucc tarandus. But for now, some of those quests are just a wee bit too difficult for me, or maybe I want to do them in a party… Plus, what’s the fun in getting my CotDS if I merely loot the Zakum Certificate? I wanna be one of the runners, too!!

So this time, we’ve got lots & lots of Rāvaṇa & Papulatus in store. Ravulatus? Papuvana? Ravulavanatus?? Papravlatusana??? Anyways, here’s one Pampered Littles run that I did with STRginner Taima (Yunchang, Boymoder, pilk, deerhunter), marksman Level1Crook (xXCrookXx, Lvl1Crook), and another marksman by the name of Blindfolded whom we found Deep Inside the Clocktower, scouring for a Pimpled Eighters party:

Taima, Level1Crook, tarandus, & Blindfolded vs. Papu

Also with Taima & Level1Crook, I did a pair of Ravs, during which I hit level 126~!:

tara hits level 126~!

Wow, cool~ More Demo~~

On another day, we headed back for more Papa Ladders. Unfortunately, this time, Level1Crook unexpectedly d/ced early on in the 1st body fight. Taima & I persevered:

tara & Taima duoing Papu

Our pace was okay, but ultimately, we were making Level1Crook wait for round 2. Taima was kind enough to drop an Onyx Apple for me, which I promptly ate in a single bite:

Taima drops an Onyx Apple for tara

Yes, that is a damage range of 719〜5 623 with Onyx Apple, Echo, and MW9. Now that I was able to much more consistently blast through Papu’s WDEF, Papu’s HP bar started going bye-bye real quick-like. Although “eating an apple” is very dissimilar from “actually wearing a knuckler” in its effect in many ways, it’s nevertheless nice to know, as a pugilist, that large WATK bonuses disproportionately increase my damage output.

I also did some Ravving with marksman xBowtjuhNL (PriestjuhNL):

tara & xBowtjuhNL vs. Rav

…And, naturally, some Palp Yule Eight Us:

tara & xBowtjuhNL vs. Pap

xBowtjuhNL even let me solo the 2nd body for a little extra EXP:

tara soloing Papu’s second body

Back in Thailand, Taima, shadower ULTRAdragon7 (DRAGONWEAZLE, BUSHIDOlock), & myself had a go at trioing Rav:

Taima, tara, & ULTRAdragon7 vs. Rav

For round 2, we even convinced Level1Crook and dagger dark knight daggerknight (Gumby, Kimberly, Jonathan, j0hnny) to run with us as well! Hyoooge Rav party!!:

daggerknight, Taima, Level1Crook, tarandus, & ULTRAdragon7 vs. Ravanners

daggerknight died in a noble attempt to Zerk, so Taima & Level1Crook decided to cosplay as him…:

Cosplaying as daggerknight…

🪦🪦🪦 Ouf.

And with that, we of course wanted to Peppered Ladles! Noticing a trend yet?:

daggerknight, Taima, Level1Crook, tarandus, & ULTRAdragon7 vs. Papu second body

I even did duo Ravs with shadower Harlez (VigiI, Murhata):

tara & Harlez vs. Rav

And the obligatory Pauper Lettuce…:

tara & Harlez vs. Pap

…During which, I hit level 127~!:

tara hits level 127~!

Wow~✨ Even moar Demo~~~

I was curious exactly how much DPM I was doing when in ST at this level, so I did a quick lil @dpm 1 test during a Rav run:

Level 127 tara, Rav, ST-only @dpm 1 test w/ Cider, SI, MW20, & Echo

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

[system message]: tarandus — Lv.127 Buccaneer — Total Damage: 974,210
Damage Per Hour: 58,452,600 — Damage Per Minute: 974,210

So, with Cider, MW20, & Echo, I’m looking at nearly 1M DPM, realistically, in ST. That’s not amazing, especially considering that my DPM suffers quite a bit when ST is inactive (partly because Demo is just very powerful, and partly because it’s the only 4th-job attacking skill that I have more than 1 skillpoint in as of yet…), but I’d say that it’s shaping up pretty nicely for a level 127 pugilist who isn’t even ’stoppering/appling. In the near future, with more points in Demo, my DPM will be even more ST-heavy — that is, until I can start levelling up Barrage — but at least the ST duration is ✨conveniently✨ the same as two Heartstoppers’ duration. [:

Speaking of bucc skills, wanna take a peek at my keybindings?:

tara’s keybindings

The macro that you can see on the 7 key is ⟨Demo, Demo, Demo⟩. Yep. Just three Demolitions, so that I have a few seconds to do something else… Somewhat regrettably, I have so many god damned active skills that tara’s keybinds are pretty much totally different from those of my other characters. I mean, what the bloody hell is going on with my 8, 9, 0, -, & = keys?? Well, at least the “Quests” shortcut is in the right spot… Did you know that if you re-bind your “World Map” shortcut to another key (other than the default w), the new keybind works to open the world map, but it won’t close the map? You still have to use w to close it! Come on!!

In any case, we’ll end this episode of Bossin’ With tara™ on a high note. At long last, I have made the fabled 32-stat STR RBD!!:

tara finally makes the 32-stat STR RBD @@@@@@

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

tarandus: OMFG I FINALLY DID IT
A 32 STAT STR RBD
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Yep! That’s 28 STR, 4 DEX… 28 + 4 ≥ 32…… Thank god. It’s honestly downright impressive how long & how many resources this took to make, but hey — now I have it. Time to suture it to my body so that I can never lose it. [':

Out of the forest & into the mines

I also did a lil bit of Zakking on my woodsmaster capreolina, including this run organised by dark knight DarkCookie (SolidState, IceGrinder, FOSSoftware) and featuring shadower Sedentarily, bishop MomoHime (TerakadoTsuu, Nimkish), bucc CaptainYarr, & nightlord Timbaland:

capreolina, MomoHime, DarkCookie, CaptainYarr, Sedentarily, & Timbaland vs. Zakum

Although it was markedly difficult for DarkCookie to recruit a party at this time of day, we did it, and it was great success. Huzzah. I even snuck in a quick lil @dpm 2 in between weapon cancels to see how I fared against 2nd body with just Cider, MW20, & my own SE:

Level 147 capreolina w/ bow, Zak body, @dpm 2, MW20 & Cider

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

[system message]: capreolina — Lv.147 Bowmaster — Total Damage: 3,063,084
Damage Per Hour: 91,892,520 — Damage Per Minute: 1,531,542

1.53M DPM… now that’s what I like to see. Last time, in pt. xcvi of this diary, I did basically this same DPM test and got just 1.41M!

Here I am in another Zak run with bishop misandrist (xRook), nightlord TerribleFool (iLoveShafts), shadower ZippyGoat, & paladin Qubert (Qubtastic, Qubsanity, Qubtensity), PSBin’ it up on arms:

misandrist, capre, TerribleFool, ZippyGoat, & Qubert vs. Zakum arms

During which, I hit level 148~!!:

capreolina hits level 148~!

🤩

Palmolive®

O panolia… vvhjþere haſt þou gō? Þͤ tӯe for Papulatus drauueþ neygh…

yeIlo, panolia, chwis, & WarLikeFire vs. Papu 1st body

Gœd vppō þee. Þat ȝe maȝē proſpre…

panolia hits level 87~!

rusasasasasasa

I’ve been playing my darksterity knight rusa a lot lately, so she’s getting her own dedicated section in this entry. I’ve got a lot of card-hunting to show you, but also a lot of other stuff!! So let’s do it!!!

To start things off in good spirits, I did some Zakking on rusa with bishop Alectra (Shanaz, Shnappie, Shneppie, PlanetHer), F/P archmage JustAnAss (Renshaw), marksman xBowtjuhNL (PriestjuhNL), nightlord fuzzylotus, & shadower Babeem (Baboom)!:

rusa focking dies in Zak, w/ Alectra, fuzzylotus, JustAnAss, xBowtjuhNL, & Babeem

Oh… Well now I just feel like shit. It’s true, though; it was my first death that I could directly attribute to being actively Zerk’d. 😶 As it turns out, those dinky lil Zakum summons can be pretty deadly when you’re standing on top of them with 1 HP remaining! 🫠

That’s dumb anyways, right? No need to activate Zerk in a boss that realistically hits much like a wet sock… unless you touch body, of course. Really just damage greed, and paying too many potions for +0.001% damage, as well…

But what about the card-hunting? I promised card-hunting, right? Don’t you worry. I jump-started the next chapter of rusa’s card-hunting journey by going to Deep Lūdibrium to help Harlez (VigiI, Murhata) finish her “kill 10k Deep Lūdi monsters” quest (see the “Le chapeau de « l’érudit champignon orange »” section of the previous entry in this diary):

GPW card get!

Woo hoo! GPW cards!!

Once I got up to 5⧸5 GPW cards, we moved over to the not-so-grim Phantom Watches:

PW card get!

And, after some more grinding, it was time for Harlez to jet off to Masteria for some CWKPQ[1]. She needed a cleaving partner to help take care of the disgusting 🤢floor bosses🤢 that us melee types like to get all tangled up with, so I came along to duo cleave. [':

rusa & Harlez duoing cleave in CWKPQ

You can see my shield bucc tarandus just kinda standing there off to the left-hand side. She didn’t do much fighting, but being able to give myself SI was nice at least, if perhaps annoying to actually do the buff casting. I guess she did do some cleave boss fighting once or twice to charge up Energy Charge to that she could TL, but that was about it. I kept her out of the party when the bosses died, so that she wouldn’t soak up any of the EXP.

At the end of our second CWKPQ run, however, we were blessed with GM buffs. So I quickly ran off to the seventh floor of the Sutra Depository to do some duo GM-buff-empowered grind with F/P archgish LawdHeComin (AppleBasket, Mushers, Snel)!:

LawdHeComin & rusa duo 7 F

Joocy EXPs all ’round.

Naturally, one or two Deep Lūdi card sets was not enough for me, so I started to chart a path for the rest of my card-hunting journey. By far my main point of reference here is GrayNimbus’s Card Hunting Guide: Get your Tier 10 Ring ASAP. This is certainly not the only card-hunting guide out there (in particular, you should also check out NightlordHS’s (antibishop) Card Hunt: Cheese your Tier 10 Monster Book Ring with a Bishop), but I really just need to pick one and stick with it. That way, I don’t really have to decide in which order I want to card-hunt geographical regions, and I can just kill monsters for cards instead.

I consulted my guide of choice, and consulted my Monster Book in-game, and arrived at the conclusion that I was now at the “Nihal Desert” stage. So, I headed to Perion to buy a Desert Coin from Manj— Wait. Manji? Hello? Can I please buy a Desert Coin? ✨Pretty please✨?

Manji said no. So I took the long-ass way, and made sure to do all of the Ariant quests once I got there, so that Manji would quit giving me the cold shoulder…

rusa becomes Tigun

As far as I know, you only have to do enough Ariant quests to get the Sand Picture Member Badge[2], at which point Manji will be motivated to sell you Desert Coins — regardless of whether or not you still possess said badge. Then again, I’m not quite sure, so I’ll be on the safe side by even doing inane quests such as Queen’s New Make-Up Kit…:

Desert Giant card get!

Hmm, well, may as well do the Desert Giant set whilst I’m at it!

Luckily for me, we’re still on easy-mode cards. Most people agree that Nihal is a pretty chill place to card-hunt. I did the Ear Plug Plead set…:

Ear Plug Plead card get!

…The Sand Rat set at Hill of Sandstorms…:

Sand Rat card get!

…The Scarf Plead set…:

Scarf Plead card get!

…The Royal Cactus set at Deo’s place…:

Royal Cactus card get!

…The Meercat set…:

Meercat card get!

…The Scorpion set…:

Scorpion card get!

…The Kiyo set…:

Kiyo card get!

…And the Sand Dwarf set:

Sand Dwarf card get!

I’m afraid that I must now interrupt this card-hunting crusade for… a very different kind of “card-hunting”, if we can even call it that…:

[Horntail Card] has been successfully recorded on the Monster Book. — (2⧸5)

Haha, yup. 2⧸5 Horntail cards! Just three more!! See you in the year 2040!!!

In this particular episode of running HT as DEX DK sed target, my sed bishop noticed that something was a bit peculiar during preheads:

ru a luk dk?

Transcription of the above image

BetterJuan: ru a luk dk?

rusa: dex [:

BetterJuan: thats why so many misses lol

rusa: hehe

Grrrk: how much avoid do you have again

rusa: depends on what gear im wearing
with full damage gear and archer elixir im at like
381
for main body i put on some avoid to get up to 436

BetterJuan: thats as much avoid as my mm lol

rusa: and i use APQ baskets sometimes as well

Grrrk: im 315 on basket
x-x

rusa: aw yeah sairs get screwed unfortunately

It’s true; sairs get half as much AVOID per point of DEX as you’d expect them to get, although they benefit normally from LUK and from raw AVOID.

Okay, okay. Back to the card grind, with the fluffy sand dwarf set:

Dark Sand Dwarf card get!

And with that, we’re pretty much done with the desert stuff. That still leaves the rest of Nihal; in particular, the monster species that can be found in the Alcadno & Zenumist laboratories.

Somehow, I already had the entire Rumo set, and yet 0⧸5 Triple Rumo. That’s a tad disappointing, considering that Unit 103 of the Zenumist Research Institute Laboratory is the only map where Triple Rumos can be found, but it also has a pretty significant Rumo population. In any case, I did manage the Triple Rumo set…:

Triple Rumo card get!

…The Reinforced Iron Mutæ set…:

Reinforced Iron Mutæ card get!

…The Mithril Mutæ set…:

Mithril Mutæ card get!

…And the Roid set:

Roid card get!

Aren’t they just adorable? Lil lightbulb doods, goofy legs, swingin’ their lil insulated noodle arms around…

In any case, I’m afraid that I must interrupt this card-hunting pursuit for something very different: Nameless Magic Monster. And this time, with buccaneer xQueenTL (xQueenT) & marksman xBowtjuhNL (PriestjuhNL)!:

xQueenTL, rusa, & xBowtjuhNL vs. NMM

Mmmm… SI… Delicious!

Alright, that’s enough sci-fi Japanese shit that I already have the full card set for. Back to Nihal…

It’s time for the Homun

Homun card get!

…and Site (/si.te/?) sets!:

Site card get!

Both of these spawn in Unit 201 of the Zenumist Research Institute Laboratory, although I did have to briefly visit Authorised Personnel Only to finish the last Site card. Site was the first species where I started having some trouble consistently one-shotting them without buffs, as I’ve been card-hunting with mostly Dragon Fury: Pole Arm. In any case… light bolb 💡:

light bolb 💡

Yey! The tier 5 Monster Book Ring is mine!!:

Tier 5 get!!

But there’s still more Nihal yet to be covered. I did the Homunculus set:

Homunculus card get!

And finally, I decided that I would stay around just a little longer to get the Deet and Roi set:

Deet & Roi card get!

I was really not tryna fuck with the Kimera, Homunscullo, D. Roy, nor frankly even the Security Camera sets. All of these are camped by random people at all times in all channels, so it’s pretty much:

’Nuff said. Moving on…

The next destination, according to my handy-dandy guide, is the Eos Tower. I previously did quite a bit of hunting here on rusa (see e.g. pt. lxxxvi of this diary), so I actually only have three unfinished sets: Helly, Drumming Bunny, & Rombot. I think we already know why I’m not doing the Rombot set (see also: pt. xli of this diary), but I don’t mind heading to the 60th floor for the other two:

Helly card get!

Once I was 5⧸5 Helly, I headed to the Drummer Bunny’s Lair to finish off that set:

Drumming Bunny card get!

Okay, well… That’s basically the Eos Tower done & done. The move now is, thankfully, still in Lūdi: the humble Clocktower. Well, not the entire Clocktower, but at least the bits that aren’t Deep Lūdi. That means:

The Terrace region is full of lots of fun children’s toys, like these wind-up Panda Teddies…:

Panda Teddy card get!

…These strings of rubber ducks that roll around on smol blue plastic wheels…:

Roloduck card get!

…These armoured dolls wielding plastic swords & riding around on rocking horses (not a recommended mode of transportation, trust me)…:

Toy Trojan card get!

…And some more wind-up teddy bears that come in both brown…:

Brown Teddy card get!

…And pink:

Pink Teddy card get!

Wow, would you look at that! They even dance in synchrony!

Anywho, with the Terrace region all wrapped up, it was time to get to the Toy Factory. There are still some Panda Teddies down here, but I’m really here for the robots. And by “robots”, I mean Robos…:

Robo card get!

…And Master Robos:

Master Robo card get!

Strangely, going further down the Clocktower quickly takes us out of the realm of children’s toys and into… something else. But hey, maybe it’s not so different after all — the clocks have clock faces, and actual faces, and little legs that they scamper around on:

Tick card get!

Tick Tock card get!

At this point, though, I think that we can no longer excuse these things as being toys. I mean, what is this shit?:

Chronos card get!

Horrifying. This??:

Platoon Chronos card get!

Yeah, not giving my kid nightmares with that shit. This is not a toy factory anymore.

Nope.

Master Chronos card get!

It’s right behind me, isn’t it…?

Okay, okay. I’m done with the upper Clocktower. Jesus.

Next up is MLG; that means Herb Town & Mu Lung. To kick it off, I began with some light Ginseng Jar hunting:

Ginseng Jar card get!

Weirdly enough, after completing the “kill 400 Jars” quest, I was still 0⧸5 Jar. What gives? Don’t make me raise my voice…

Jar card get!

Okay, well, it worked.

Then, of course, we have one of the easiest sets in the entire game: Bellflower Root! The cards just don’t stop dropping!!:

Bellflower Root card get!

But what I really want is the Sr. Bellflower Root set:

Sr. Bellflower Root card get!

And with that, it was time to ask the very polite alligators with the very rude birds on their heads for their cards…:

Mr. Alli card get!

…And also to get one or two Kru cards along the way:

Kru card get!

I moved further into the Red-Nose Pirate Den to complete both the Kru & Captain sets:

Captain card get!

Aaaand it looks like my card-hunting expedition is being interrupted once again. But this time, it’s for a very good reason, and that reason is Aufheben. Oh, yes! You asked me “Aufheben wen??”, and I have the answer for you: now.

Bowmaster Flurri (also bishop SecretIy here) & Harlez were kind enough to invite me to an Auf run along with buccaneer Galbatorix (Balake), & paladin Fara (Muguet, Matsheshu)!!! Here we are, fighting the pre-Auf clone that precedes the spawning of Aufheben herself:

Harlez, SecretIy, Flurri, Galbatorix, Fara, & rusa vs. pre-Auf

You’ll notice that I referred to pre-Auf as a “clone”. That’s because of its colouration: the real Aufheben has pink hair and a cyan background floating behind her, whereas the clones have dark hair and dark red backgrounds. The Aufheben fight is punctuated by three “clone waves” (we do not count pre-Auf as a clone wave). These clone waves define the dynamic of the fight, because each Auf clone heals Aufheben over time by quite a bit, making it extremely important to dispatch them as quickly as possible. Allowing clones to survive for longer lowers the likelihood that you can even kill Auf at all within the 90-minute time limit.

The first clone wave summons three clones that float at the top of the map, each one of which independently heals Auf so long as it lives. In most cases, we want to fight the clones on the right-hand edge of the map, so that the bishop (SecretIy, in this case) can easily get close enough to the clones — and to their party members who’re fighting the clones — without risking taking large amounts of damage from Auf herself. Taking damage from Auf herself is very potentially fatal, particularly because of the frequent presence of dispel; not only can Auf cast global dispel every ≈90 seconds or so (similar to e.g. HT mid head dispel when its HP is sufficiently low), but she can also cast “dispel orbs” at will, which dispel anyone struck by them (typically, anyone positioned within the bottom half of the map). A live bishop is capable of Healing seduced players, Holy Shielding themselves & their party members, potentially doing their own DPM (especially considering that the clone-wave clones are weak to holy magics), and importantly, Dispelling. The bishop’s Dispel is crucial here not just because the clones in the first wave love to spam Darkness[4], but especially because of WDEF-up buffs. Darkness can at least be self-dispelled by chugging an ACP, but the WDEF buffs will drag out the clone wave fight so long as to make success probably impossible. Note that a crusader/hero may also fill this particular role, as they have Armour Crash — this would allow fighting the clones on the left-hand side of the map[5], which is especially nice for seduce, as the seduction is always right-walk sed.

This is kinda what the first clone wave looks like:

1st clone wave

It’s difficult to tell what in the everloving fuck is going on, because everything is all smooshed together and uses big obnoxious visual effects. Nevertheless, you can get the basic idea: we’ve moved the three clones to the far right with skills like Rush, MM, & CSB, and we keep them there with the same kinds of skills, whilst trying to cleave the shit out of them as quickly as possible. In this configuration, most of us don’t have to worry about the real Auf’s DR (which is 15k damage per attack that you land on her during her DR), because we’re too busy trying to eliminate the clones to be attacking the main body. Nevertheless, for our buccaneer (Galbatorix), it’s still relevant, as it’s his job to keep the real Auf on the left-hand side of the map. We don’t want the real Auf coming too far towards the right, particularly because it would make seduction overly dangerous, & make things generally overly dangerous for our bishop.

Also in this configuration, we don’t really have to worry about dispel orbs most of the time, because our elevation is too high. Global dispel is always an issue, but almost none of us are taking damage from Auf herself anyways, so it’s mostly an issue for HSh (which is dispellable). The major issue seems to be seduction, as the real Auf is constantly casting seduce every ≈30 seconds or so. Because we’re on the right side, and the clones are on the right side, getting seduced risks going for 5 full seconds (the duration of a single seduction) of constantly taking touch damage from clones, without the possibility of using potion(s). The clone-wave clones have 1k WATK a piece, making the theoretical maximum unbuffed touch damage ≈8.5k or so. With maxed Achilles, I can thus expect to take something like 7k〜7.2k per touch attack. That’s cutting it real close, and I did end up using Hero’s Will one time to avoid the possibility of dying like this. Naturally, SecretIy’s HSh & Harlez’s Smokescreen help immensely here, as either one can effectively eliminate the danger of seduce (assuming that HSh doesn’t get dispelled). Smokescreen can’t ward off seduction in any way, but it can at least make us invincible for its duration.

It’s not all clone waves, though; there are three clone waves, which effectively means partitioning the entire fight into the following eight phases:

  1. pre-Auf;
  2. main Auf fight, pre-1st-clone-wave;
  3. 1st clone wave;
  4. main Auf fight, between clone waves 1 & 2;
  5. 2nd clone wave;
  6. main Auf fight, between clone waves 2 & 3;
  7. 3rd clone wave;
  8. main Auf fight, post-clone-waves.

Here we are, between clone waves 1 & 2 (i.e. phase 4), inside of Smokescreen:

Between clone waves 1 & 2

You can see me taking the opportunity to activate my Zerk here. During the phases in which we actually fight Auf herself, we’re mostly looking for Auf’s sword-raise animation; when she uses both hands to raise her sword to point directly upwards, it means that you’re about to get the mean shit. And by “mean shit”, I mean her skills that have cooldowns: seduction (30⁢ s CD), DR (60⁢ s CD), or global DP (90⁢ s CD). You want to be ready for seduction, ready to stop attacking before she DRs, and ready to recast your buffs when she does a global DP.

More or less the worst thing that can happen is if Auf decides to do her charge-forward attack soon after seducing. We had this happen probably at least twice, or something like that. The problem here is that Auf’s charge-forward attack causes her to fairly suddenly move her hitbox in the direction that she’s facing (rightwards), and Stun anyone who is too close to the place where she strikes the ground with her sword at the end of the animation. This can cause the deeply unfortunate situation of being seduced and stunned at the same time, possibly with the added danger of getting touch-attacked. Normally, when seduced by Auf, you walk right, thus going so far away from her that she can only hit you with her “genesis”[6] (which deals something like 10k〜11.5k magic damage to an ordinary PC), and eventually so that she can pretty much only hit you with her DP orbs (which are like ≈1.5k damage each or something small like that). If you’re a ranged attacker, you’ll quickly be out of her “genesis” range and into DP-orb-only territory. This makes seduction survivable. When also stunned, however, you just stand there! Oups!! For this reason, and because you might make slight mistakes sometimes (imagine being mortal… HAH), it make sense to try to conserve Hero’s Will when possible (as its CD is six minutes).

The 3rd clone wave is similar to the 1st, except that the clones cast Stun, instead of spamming Darkness. The 2nd clone wave, however, is unique: it spawns only one clone (instead of three), and the clone floats along the bottom of the map, rather than the top. This clone heals more than the clones from the other clone waves (to compensate for the fact that there are threefold fewer clones), and it can DR (albeit only for ≈6k damage) as well. Generally, we want to be fighting this clone just right of the centre of the map, allowing us to focus all attacks on the clone, and allowing the bishop to briefly come down from the top-right to DP when necessary. Here, you can see us fighting the 2nd clone wave, with Galbatorix & myself having been pushed to the bottom-right corner by a sed:

R.I.P. Fara

Oups. R.I.P. Fara… Don’t worry, though; we had Resurrection. It is with great relief that I inform you that I didn’t die (not even once!) throughout this entire Auf run. Phewf! Nevertheless, we had two or three deaths along the way.

Throughout the run, we were constantly more or less doubtful of our ability to clear within the time limit. In many ways, it was dependent on our usage of — including when to use — Onyx Apples, as well as on Galbatorix’s ability to still deal some DPM to clones even whilst still restricting the main body’s movement to the confines of the leftmost region of the map.

Throughout the fight, I used seven Onyx Apples; basically, I was Onyx Appled nearly 90% of the time. I know that Harlez was also using lots of apples, and I know that folx were generally appling at least once for all, or almost all, three clone waves. In reality, me using seven Onyx Apples was probably strictly unnecessary. In particular, I could have used — just to give one example — 3 of those 7 apples myself, and then given the other 4 to my party members. As a darksterity knight, an apple helps me a lot insofar as it pushes my raw damage range further beyond the WDEF of my opponents; nevertheless, my unbuffed WATK value is already decently high to begin with[7], and in most cases, the absolute overall DPM increase will surely be larger if someone else eats it. My party members were kind enough not to ask me for any apples, and to be honest, I kinda forgot to offer until we were already in the Aufheben fight. The result was that I ate seven apples, and pushed my DPM to just about the limits that I felt at all comfortable with — but more on that later.

I honestly never really knew whether or not I would ever get the opportunity to set foot into the Aufheben fight in earnest. Back in pt. xcvi of this diary, I did a little trial run that was not intended to actually go through to completion (which also featured both Harlez & Flurri, by the way), and I put a handful of clips from that fight onto YouTube™ to document what the vibe of the fight was like. Obviously, that doesn’t count, as it was never an earnest attempt to win against Aufheben. So, the fact that I was not only able to join this particular run, but was also able to feel good about it, and confident in the end, is doubly sweet. That is a huge “thank you” to Harlez, Flurri/SecretIy, Galbatorix, and Fara, for having me. ❤️❤️❤️

Is Aufheben difficult? Yes. Yes, it is. If anything in MapleStory (or, at the very least, MapleLegends) is difficult, Aufheben is. I’ve never set foot into the Pink Bean fight in my entire MapleStory career, so I obviously can’t give a blow-by-blow comparison, but I will say that Aufheben is unique in that she asks a lot of a little: at most, a grand total of six (6) PCs can even enter the Aufheben fight. Thus, Aufheben asks for a kind of brittle tightness, and a careful consideration of each individual & their relation to the others, that is unmatched as far as boss fights go. Certainly, a “stronger”, “sweatier” team could make it look easier: perhaps less doubt, fewer apples. But nothing makes the Aufheben fight easy; stubborn as she is, Aufheben demands a kind of unwavering dedication and economy of means that simultaneously defies any attempt to trivialise the challenge that she offers, and provides serious engagement for those brave enough to look her in the face.

I think that I only actually Will’d once throughout the entire fight, as I mentioned above. There was one time during 1st or 3rd clone wave where I got seduced on the lower of the two rightmost platforms, and had something like ≈12k HP remaining. Harlez definitely thought that I was going to die, but I intentionally did not Will (despite it not being on cooldown at this time) because I was quite confident that I couldn’t die — Aufheben was too far to the left, and I was definitely not going to be taking clone touch damage from all the way down there. Well, I was right! :P

It’s pretty clear to me that Aufheben was designed without anything like a DK in mind. Aufheben manages to eliminate or marginalise essentially all of the strengths of dark knight as a class. When I can expect to take up to ≈17k damage from a single unexpected touch attack (not to mention ≈15k from a single DR), Zerking is… well, it’s something. Certainly, the change in the Berserk skill due to DK rev. 2 that causes its damage multiplier to vary continuously with the DK’s HP value helps quite a bit. Active Zerk, maybe not so much (see “The bad” section of the previous entry in this diary): the seduce cooldown is 30 seconds, which makes actively Zerking a matter of either being HSh’d/SS’d, or of milliseconds-on-seconds’ timing & the hope of your point-and-click manoeuvres not being thwarted by… well, anything, including the possibility of one of your party members casting a buff[8]…… The constant dispels further cripple any utility that the DK might have for their party, partly because of their party buffs (HB & IW, of course), and partly because of their general buff-heaviness (again, see the previous entry in this diary). Unlike the other warrior throughclasses, DKs lack PG altogether; in general, they make up for this in other ways, but none of these ways are relevant to Aufheben. In Aufheben, touch damage is the strongest enemy,[9] making paladins & heroes far more survivable — not to mention that they don’t have to Zerk, and will end up doing considerably more DPM anyways…

But that’s okay. Perhaps, in the future, with the good fortune to have some additional experience under my belt, I can be “a DK who actually does Aufheben”, competent enough to provide HB for the survival of the squishier ranged characters amongst us. 😄

In any case, in the end, we actually did manage to clear, and with everyone in one piece!! With 11 or 12 minutes left on the clock, Aufheben conceded!!!:

The Scattered Feather

And, bless my lucky stars, I rolled very high on the roll for Aufheben Circlets, allowing me to loot the first one!!!!:

rusa loots an Aufheben Circlet!!!!!!!!


Aufheben was now vanquished; or, perhaps better, sublated[10], as the overcoming of her ultra-powerful form left something — or rather, someone — in its place. Meet the anonymous Fallen Girl:

Fallen Girl

I don’t claim to understand the Neo Tokyo storyline, really at all. It’s a lot of repeated nonsensical time travel stuff that rests on some premises that are questionable to begin with, and which are probably contravened at least once throughout the story, if we’re being honest. Nevertheless, Fallen Girl is clearly our girl Aufheben, but less… possessed by some demonic shit. She’s a lot less scary now, but I do hope that she’s getting some good rest — be that rest eternal or otherwise. I certainly could use some rest myself; I know that Aufheben was fighting for at least as long as I was, and I’m pooped.


Fara smega

(The above screenshot is due to Danger.)

Transcription of the above image

Fara [smega]: Gratz rusa on Auf helmet ! Oddjob~

And there it is. The hat. I didn’t think that I’d ever get my hooves on one, but it’s right there in my inventory:

The Hat™

Transcription of the above image

SecretIy: if it booms………
can alw jus loot another one


Aufheben Circlet

One of a kind Item, Untradeable

  • Req lev: 175
  • Category: hat
  • STR: +19
  • DEX: +21
  • INT: +22
  • LUK: +21
  • HP: +63
  • MP: +38
  • Weapon def.: 197
  • Magic def.: 199
  • Accuracy: +28
  • Avoidability: +26
  • Number of upgrades available: 10

This one is… not great. I mostly care about the STR, and this one has 19… the average is 20. Nevertheless, the other stats are quite good, so I’m not exactly upset. You might be wondering what’s with all the fanfare surrounding me getting a damn hat. Well, you can see that it’s quite powerful, yes? But okay, I already have that 20 STR, 28 DEX Ravana Helmet that I made back in pt. liv of this diary, right? Yes! It has served me extremely well. And indeed, replacing it with the circlet that you see above does lower my expected damage output.

But there’s a catch: not only does the Aufheben Circlet have 10 slots clean, but it can be scrolled for STR!!! This is pretty huge, but we’ll see that there are a lot of serious caveats that come with it. In particular, Aufheben Circlet scrolls come in two varieties: dark, and light. A dark scroll has a 50% chance of passing, a 25% chance of failing, and a 25% chance of booming the circlet, annihilating it outright. If it passes, the relevant stat increases by 3. Light scrolls also have a 50% pass rate, but they cannot boom; they have a 50% fail rate and a 0% boom rate. This is great news, but there are a couple issues with using light scrolls:

So, at least for now, light scrolls are not even an option. This means that, if I want my Aufheben Circlet to increase my damage at least as much as my Rav Helmet does, I gotta slam dark scrolls until at least one of them passes. Or, you know, until it booms. Ouf. Well, SecretIy did say that if it booms, I can always just loot another one, so I guess I’ll do just that…:

Passed my first Aufheben scroll!!

Oh, thank god. I passed the first slot!! I know that it might seem weird to leave those 9 slots just hanging there, but there it is. Not boomin’ that shit right now.

Against what was apparently my better judgement, I decided to run HT on the same day. I signed for a single impromptu 11-Mapler run hosted by Diggy as sed target, and we had some Resurrection issues from the beginning. People were dying, using Res, and then our only buccaneer — Jayem — was unexpectedly d/ced from the game. Then, later on in the run, my sed bishop died. The reg bish had used their Res by this point, but it was close enough to being off cooldown that we waited 7 or 8 minutes for it to come up. Then, when the Res did come up, the reg bish was in my party acting as temporary sed bish, and threw a HSh on me. I immediately activated Zerk, as I basically always do when shielded, and was then informed that Res had come up. Now, I was going to have to manage party stuff; the bishops would need to be in the same party at least long enough for the reg bish to Resurrect the sed bish, and then we would have to renegotiate the two (now both alive) bishops back into their original parties. As sed target, I am always tasked with being party leader, so I had to focus on who was tryna go where, /partyexpelling, /partyinvite’ing, etc.

This distracted me enough that a single (1) autopot failure slipped past me, killing me as a result of my active Zerk making everything instantly deadly. Although this was my first death, it was like the ≈5th death in the run, or something like that. Thankfully, of course, the reg bish’s Res had just come off of cooldown, and I died close enough to the sed bish that we could both be Resurrected simultaneously without much issue. Unfortunately, the reg bish saw me die, waited a bit, and ultimately decided to just wordlessly make a new party & resurrect only the sed bish. Now, both Resurrections were down (yes, even the sed bish’s), and I was ejected from the fight — indeed, I was the only one ejected from the fight, other than those who d/ced — after 10 minutes of this:

rusa focking dies in HT…

(The right head was still alive at the time that I died, but had quite low HP.)

Anywho, I didn’t get any card sets from that Aufheben fight, and I really didn’t get any card sets from that HT fight. That’s just not right. It seems that I need to head back to MLG to…

Reindeer card get…

Oh. Oh no… My people……

Well, the card-hunting guide that I’m following said to do it, so I guess I have to. Plus, I can also get the Peach Monke set in the same map!:

Peach Monke card get!

Interestingly enough, although GrayNimbus’s guide singles out Reindeer as the single problematic card of the MLG region, it was definitely not the toughest one for rusa. It was time to move on to Book Ghosts…:

Book Ghost card get!

…And the Sage Cats:

Sage Cat card get!

With that little offshoot of Mu Lung all wrapped up, I continued towards Mu Lung proper to get the Flower Serpent sets, including both Red Flower Serpents…:

Red Flower Serpent card get!

…And their azure accomplices:

Blue Flower Serpent card get!

And, whilst I was there, I ended up with the Black Porky set as well:

Black Porky card get!

And ooooh baby that’s another tier!! Time to head back to Vicky Island real quick & upgrade my ring! I think I’ll take the long way this time, see if I can’t get that last Crog card to finish that set as well…

rusa finishes the Crog set!

YERT @@@@

Tier 6 ring acquired~

Tier 6 get!!

Alright, back to business. Over in MLG again, I need that Red Porky set ASAP:

Red Porky card get!

And the Chipmunk set, of course:

Chipmunk card get!

And it’s now time to enter the area of wild bears, to collect both the Grizzly set…:

Grizzly card get!

…And, in the Territory of Wandering Bear, the Panda set:

Panda card get!

I think that just about wraps up MLG, yeah? Wait a sec. I already had the STD set, but I seem to have neglected the WTD set… Luckily, it was easy!:

Wooden Target Dummy card get!

Ok, sweet. Now what?

Hypnotize

Wait— this isn’t card-hunting… Why am I in Odaiba in the year 2100, with shadower Tomoonz, corsair Danger, and bowmaster Bowchi? And why can’t any of us attack the damn Overlord?!?

Believe it or not, corsairs have a skill named Hypnotize that appears to do pretty much what it says on the tin:

Hypnotizes monsters to temporarily make it attack other monsters instead of you.

Huh. That’s bizarre. I’ve… literally never seen this skill in my entire life. I guess it must only be good for havin’ a laugh…

Oh, yes, and once the Hypnotize wore off, we had a tad bit of a Bergamot fight on our hands:

Tomoonz, Bowchi, Danger, & rusa vs. Bergamot

Yes, even the part where Berga does the big hurty seduce missiles and the angery red laser explosions:

Tomoonz, Bowchi, Danger, & rusa vs. Bergamot 3rd body

No fatalities were reported.

Now that I had finally rid future Japan of its gigantic-robot-hellbent-on-the-destruction-of-all-life problem for good (yeah, for good. the robots are donezo. FOREVER), it was time to head to Korea to help with their angery Moon Bunny problem:

Moon Bunny card get!

Plus, they seem to be having a problem with tigers, as well:

Hodori card get!

Hogul card get!

Unfortunately, it seems that there are a lot of problems going around, because El Nath appears to be having issues with an ancient Mayan[11] stone statue that someone — accidentally or otherwise — dropped into a volcano. You know how it is. Although this would seem to be bad news for the statue itself, there are bigger issues. Like the fact that this has caused the statue to be possessed by evil spirits plotting to ruinate the Maple world as revenge for the original sin of Maplekind.

I know, right? What a pain in the ass. So I teamed up with nightlord Brokeen (Dazho), buccaneer rummikub, marksman mMonkeyboii, nightlord DiIf, & bishop xBishopMan to perform a rather involved statue uninstallation:

Brokeen, rusa, rummikub, mMonkeyboii, DiIf, & xBishopMan vs. Zak

And, for my efforts, I was rewarded with level 181!!!:

rusa hits level 181~!

Alright. Back to KFT, for real this time. I know that GrayNimbus’s guide doesn’t have nice things to say about the Scholar Ghost, but I already have like 3⧸5, so fuck it:

Scholar Ghost card get!

And then, off to the bane of level 37 characters everywhere: Blin. Actually, Morphed Blin, because that’s the version that spawns when you kill a Blin:

Morphed Blin card get!

Actually not as bad as you might expect, thanks to the time between the first body dying & the second body spawning not being annoyingly lengthy.

And finally, all that I really have left for KFT are the King Goblins. Fortunately, I’ve been hoarding the USE items that are used to summon the King Goblins for some time, on my pugilist, tarandus. Stealing a few items from myself here & there, I did the Green King Goblin set…:

Green King Goblin card get!

…The Blue King Goblin set…:

Blue King Goblin card get!

…And finally, the Yellow King Goblin set:

Yellow King Goblin card get!

On my way to the next card-hunting locale, I decided to stop by MLG once again in the hopes of finishing the Master Dummy set. And this time, it actually spawned!!:

Master Dummy card get!

Phewf. Okay, now MLG is really done. Like super done. That means it’s off to Shànghǎi with me, in search of farm animals to fill my Monster Book with. First up is Sheep:

Sheep card get!

Well, honestly, the maps here are really not so good. GrayNimbus puts Shànghǎi at the tippy-top of the “A” tier (effectively the second-highest tier, after the “S” tier), but I’m not so sure about that. It’s not a big deal, obviously, as I’m naturally going to end up doing all of the Shànghǎi sets anyways by the time that I get tier 10, but I’m unsurprised to see that NightlordHS puts Shànghǎi in the middle of the “C” tier. The map platforms are not so good, the monster spawns & their placements are not so good (I inevitably ended up with lots of unwanted cards), and the card drop rates in general are… okay. The bright side is that these are all very low-level monsters, so none of them are even strong enough to withstand me Rushing through them, unbuffed.

So, what I’m saying is, Sheep is actually going to take quite some time between the first card and the fifth card, and the same goes for some of the other sets here as well. Nevertheless, the shining star of the entire region is certainly Giant Centipede, as it’s one of the easiest sets in the entire game:

Giant Centipede card get!

GrayNimbus says that Black Goat is the pain point of Shànghǎi, but it was actually one of the first sets that I completed:

Black Goat card get!

Then, we have the bovines: Cow…:

Cow card get!

…And Plow Ox:

Plow Ox card get!

Goats were a bit peskier than their melanistic counterparts:

Goat card get!

And of course, I made sure to do all of the Shànghǎi quests, so that I could card-hunt the melanistic counterpart of the Sheep:

Black Sheep card get!

With that set done, I was free to continue the questline and save Shànghǎi from a giant centipede with an insidious red marble:

rusa vs. Tha Real Giant Centipede™

That still leaves Rooster and Duck (not to be confused with Roloduck, which I already did), so I went to Out of the Bridge for those:

Rooster card get!

Duck card get!

Okay, phewf. That is all of Shànghǎi. All of ’em. It’s time to take a relaxing break to…

xBowtjuhNL & rusa duoing NMM

Well, okay, I wouldn’t exactly call NMM relaxing, but it is a bit of fun to duo NMM with marksman xBowtjuhNL (PriestjuhNL).

And, I know I said that I’d taken care of the giant futuristic Japanese robot problem for good earlier, but all that time travel seems to have undone my work. Pft… So I teamed up with Harlez to duo some more Burger Moths, during one of which, I did a series of @dpm tests — one for each body:

Level 181 rusa, Bergamot @dpm tests, Echo + MW20 + Cider

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

[system message]: rusa — Lv.181 Dark Knight — Total Damage: 11,190,142
Damage Per Hour: 67,140,840 — Damage Per Minute: 1,119,014
rusa — Lv.181 Dark Knight — Total Damage: 12,548,366
Damage Per Hour: 75,290,160 — Damage Per Minute: 1,254,836
rusa — Lv.181 Dark Knight — Total Damage: 5,473,558
Damage Per Hour: 65,682,660 — Damage Per Minute: 1,094,711

All of these tests are with just Cider, Echo, & my MW20. The first body has a whopping 2.2k(!) WDEF, so it really saps a lot of my DPM. Transitioning to the second body, that figure goes down to 1 450; still a lot of defence, but a good improvement to my DPM. Then, during the third body, it goes down even further to just 1k. However, third body is a wild enough ride that, even if I play perfectly, I still only get about as much DPM as I was getting on the first body.

But okay, I’m sure that the giant robots learned their lesson this time. That means I can go back to card-hunting…

With Shànghǎi behind me, it was time to move on to Singapore (and later, Malaysia) to collect cards from bipedal grey blobs with stop signs strapped to them:

Stopnow card get!

And from, naturally, bipedal grey blobs wearing rubbish bins as dresses:

Biner card get!

And that’s the entirety of Singapore! Just kidding. But I’m gonna call it quits there… for now…… [:

✨Moar✨ fun HT clips!

But that’s not all of the woosa for this diary entry!! I’ve got a handful of HT clips for ya, wherein I generally get smitten by the unnatural allure of Horntail’s wiggly mauve digit, and then comedy ensues.

Here’s a particularly fun one, where I get stuck in my Dragon Blood animation (see “The bad” section of the previous entry in this diary) a little too long to be able to jump once prior to seduction taking hold:

There are a lot of unfortunate things going on here. The perfect timing of the Dragon Blood animation, the perfect timing of the mid head 1⧸1, the perfect placement of said 1⧸1, the unfortunate timing of the untyped (😒) “ice” attack happening on just about the same exact frame that my iframes wear off, my bishop not noticing that I need help until five full seconds after I cry for help, etc. What’s somewhat impressive is that, despite being 1⧸1’d immediately after getting seduced, I managed to survive for almost the entire ten-second duration of the sed.

Here are two clips of me Hero’s Willing in anticipation of getting 1⧸1’d within the next handful of frames… only for the 1⧸1 to end up “MISS”ing me……

These ones can be particularly tricky, because it’s hard to tell whether or not the 1⧸1 will decide to connect with you, when you’re actively moving:

In this one, I’m actually standing at the top-right of the map to specifically attack right head (and possibly also mid head), which is why you see me barely even make it onto the large lower platform once jump-sed takes hold:

This clip is somewhat similar, except that I get seduced immediately after Willing, thus getting double-sed:

Willing immediately before another seduce might seem unfortunate, but in this case, it may have actually saved my life. You can see that I succeed in evading the 1⧸1; although this does involve taking touch damage from right arm in the process, this was a small price to pay. I end up easily surviving the second seduction here.

In the following clip, legs are dead, but tail is still up. Touching tail is in the realm of “pretty much don’t do that, if you value your life”, as it can deal up to ≈26k damage when unbuffed, and something like up to ≈31k〜32k(?) when empowered. Of course, with my maxed Achilles, I can tank it, but pretty much one hit at most, obviously. With a sed bishop who has the MAXHP to follow me into tail (they certainly do exist, particularly with the aid of Invincible), it’s actually doable, but like… no. In this particular case, the tail slaps the ground, and both my Power Stance and my AVOID fail simultaneously. This causes me to get super-knockbacked into the far left edge of the map just as a seduction animation is about to start:

You can see that I almost manage to make it onto the rope in time; I jump towards it, but get seduced mid-air. Thankfully, my Will is not on cooldown, so I’m able to save myself without much issue.

Here’s one that isn’t focused on me specifically, but rather on the fact that we managed to trigger mass seduce from left arm earlier than expected (mid head is still alive). You can see me coming to the left side of the map, and you can also see nightlord hollovv (-ovv) here as well, although both of us were on the right side of the map not long before this clip starts. We had long since moved to the right side in anticipation of left arm getting into mass seduction HP range, and moved back over only because there were stragglers & mid head had just cast global dispel. Unfortunately, mid head had also just been weapon-cancelled, so almost everyone had just been whaling on left arm…

So, yeah, that’s what unexpected mass sed looks like. 💀

And finally, here’s a clip that I didn’t even record — it was recorded by PointedTip! The clip isn’t focused on me or anything like that, but I’m in there, so I thought I’d include it anyways. :P You can even see me get dispelled whilst my Zerk is active, around the @00:13 mark:

📺 “Both Amy Dies in HT” [YouTube™] 📺

Plus, you can get an idea of what voice chat sounds like during a HT run. :P

Footnotes for “rusasasasasasa”

  1. [↑] CWKPQ is sometimes shortened to simply CWK, as the “PQ” (regardless of whether or not you consider it a “true PQ”) is the only thing that you can actually do inside of the keep anyways. I’ve learned that CWK is frequently pronounced /ˈsiː.wɒk/, rather than the expected [ˈsiː ˈdʌbl̩.ju keɪ] or [ˈsiː dʌb keɪ]. [ˈsiː.wɒk] is certainly easier/quicker to say, but I do wonder where the [ɑ]〜[ɔ] comes from. Maybe it’s from *CWoKCrimsonwood Keep”, and thus pronounced as C + wok (borrowed from Cantonese 鑊; ⟨wok6⟩; Guǎngzhōu Cantonese /wɔːk̚˨/). Or maybe it’s just a nonsense vowel to make it easier to pronounce…

  2. [↑] BBB Hidden Street calls this a Sand Drawing Member’s Certificate.

  3. [↑] Not to be confused with Path of Time; note the “The”.

  4. [↑] Darkness causes all physical attacks to have a fixed hit-rate regardless of the afflicted PC’s WACC, the target’s AVOID, etc. This hit-rate is something like ≈2%(??), so it more or less eliminates all physical damage output.

  5. [↑] For the details of the Aufheben fight, see Linny’s (BangHero, Rort) The Comprehensive Auf Haven Guide! [YouTube™].

  6. [↑] So called for its perceived similarity to the 4th-job bishop’s Genesis skill.

  7. [↑] I do use a HTP and a CHC — as opposed to, say, a MoN and a PGC — thus putting my unbuffed WATK value below that of a more typical dark knight. Nevertheless, the point still basically stands.

  8. [↑] This is partly due to a defect in the current (at the time of this writing) implementation of active Zerk that I pointed out in the previous diary entry: its buff icon is, bewilderingly, on the top line of buffs, rather than the bottom line that you’d expect it to be on.

  9. [↑] Plus, as far as I can tell, none of Aufheben’s attacks are elementally typed

  10. [↑] “[To] sublate” is a typical English translation of the German aufheben /ˈaʊ̯fˌheːbən/, the namesake of this boss. “Sublate” is actually not the right meaning here, as English lacks a single word for the concept of “negating/abolishing whilst simultaneously retaining” something. Thus, aufheben is often translated as “sublate”, “abolish”, “overcome”, etc., but any of these tend to merely cause confusion for the reader (although “abolish” is perhaps the worst offender). Maybe leaving it untranslated is best.

    See the 「未来トウキョウ第二部」 section of pt. xc of this diary.

  11. [↑] Okay, so, basically none of the historical Maya script — used to write Mayan languages since at least as far back as the 3rd c. BCE — is encoded in Unicode. That kinda sucks, but it’s perhaps understandable given how complex the writing system is; it’s not at all clear what the best way is to digitally encode Maya text and then render it graphically. However, we do have one thing: Mayan numerals. Mayan numerals are very sophisticated; not only were they maybe the first numeral system to ever contain an explicit glyph for zero, but they are also a fully positional vigesimal system that requires just three(!) distinct glyphs to represent arbitrary natural numbers in a compact format. We can write rusa’s level (in modern Western Arabic numerals: 181) in Mayan numerals like so (note that Mayan numerals put the ones’ place at the bottom, the twenties’ place just above that, and so on):

    𝋩𝋡

    Oh. Very nice. Each dot represents one, and each bar represents five — pretty simple. What about a much larger number, like 136 069?

    𝋱𝋠𝋣𝋩

    Yep! That’s it. The seashell-looking thing represents zero, so we have: 17 ⋅ 203 + 0 ⋅ 202 + 3 ⋅ 201 + 9 ⋅ 200 = 136 069. Powerful stuff.


Simply inexplicable

Gǣþ ā ƿyrd ſƿā hīo ſċeal.


Fate goes ever as she must.

― [anonymous]; Bēoƿulf, line 455; ca. 8th c.[1]

Oh, to create a character… To drink deeply of chaos — the void — and all that it contains.

Roll the dice!

Of course, what it “contains” is exactly nothing. And thus, everything: unlimited possibilities that extend well beyond the mere “character creation screen”.

Perhaps not “unlimited” per se; the universe — the game itself — imposes limitations on mere possibility. Nevertheless, we elect our destiny in the way that we create our character, the ways that we build upon said character as its powers accumulate, and — perhaps most importantly — the concrete material things, activities, that we engage in as said character.

Even so, fate goes ever as she must. The absolute abyss of chaos, the ever-gaping maw of possibility, feels unlimited in its scope — and yet, only so many things actually happen. The maw of possibility is indeed ever-gaping, but the delicate drip of actuality, as it dribbles forth vomitously from the crook of her jaw, appears meagre by comparison.

Thus, one wonders how it is, exactly, that a character comes into being. If it be by some deific will, then surely the deific subject is nothing more than the player themselves. Then again, perhaps not.

Mayhaps to say “nothing more than the player” is to say more than one ought to. After all, the player hardly exists in a vacuum, and there is no divine connection to directly bridge the chasm between “player” and “game”.

Nevertheless, if one were so inclined, one could say that the game — whatever it may or may not be — exists as an extension of the player, in much the same way as a hammer is an extension of the skilled blacksmith’s arm, or an abacus is an extension of the skilled abacist’s mind. However, as we continue in this manner, the connection becomes increasingly mystical: the hammer relates to the blacksmith’s arm by physical geometry, the abacus relates to the abacist’s mind by some correspondence in the representation of arithmetic quantities, and the game relates to the player by……

Some things are simply inexplicable.

chaos — creation

Somewhere along the axis between space & time, things occur. And some of these things are curious — peculiar, even.

Why? — how? — should a warrior be so lucky? Is it that luck inspires bravery? — or hubris, as the case may be…? Or is it the bare mechanical reality; the accuracy, the avoidability? Or is it something yet simpler: the warrior just is. The defiance of explanation is no deterrent to our intrepid warrior.

Something, somewhere, occurs. Maybe the winds reverse their course; an angel sighs; a new species is born; a coin lands on its edge; two lovers lock eyes for the first time. It is at this moment that the warrior is conceived; birthed, as it were, from the void itself.

Daughter of chaos, that the stars do align for thee.

Footnotes for “Simply inexplicable”

  1. [↑] Probably. People seem to disagree.

(…cnvpstdf…)

cnvpstdf

gaining dmg when u lvl

Transcription of the above image

d33r: broke: barely gaining any dmg when u lvl
woke: not gaining any dmg when u lvl

account sharing is forbidden

Transcription of the above image

Kiarath: 666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666 89*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*

Palladino: friendly reminder that account sharing is forbidden, chris

rusa: LOL

Palladino: even if its with your infant daughter

I LIVE ALONE

Transcription of the above image

misandrist: WHY DOES MY APARTMNET [sic] SMELL LIKE FART
IF I DIDNT FART
I LIVE ALONE

*picks ur shoe poop* ;)

Transcription of the above image

Taima: *picks ur shoe poop* ;)

Drayke: xD

a racist chef

Transcription of the above image

Serpentt: you also have a nice name chef lol

ChefQuail: i am a chef irl
a racist chef

sets: o.o

Serpentt: uh

sets:

Serpentt: lol anyways

the tastiest emergency survival grocery

Transcription of the above image

AppleBasket: only the peanut butter ones i buy

d33r: peanut butter is gr8

AppleBasket: the tastiest emergency survival grocery

r-coloured vowels

Transcription of the above image

[Predator Handshake meme]

Inexplicably using r-coloured vowels

American English🤝Beijing Mandarin