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README.md

rangifer’s diary: pt. lv

Taxonomising odd jobs, pt. ii: Building up a modern perspective. §1

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

  • Insofar as an odd job is “odd”, it is pure in its “odd” aspect.
  • Odd jobs are, to the extent possible, atemporal.

These two tenets help to produce a conception of “odd job” that is highly idealised. As such, we expect concrete manifestations of these ideas to be simultaneously less perfect, and more nuanced, than their corresponding “platonic ideal(s)”, so to speak. In much the same way, the concept of “an ordinary fighter/crusader/hero” appears simple: the character is STR-based, chooses to either use swords or axes, and follows the {fighter, crusader, hero} throughclass. In actual reality, things are a little more complex; each player has a different idea of what they want their character to be and to be capable of, each has a particular implementation of the game that they are working within (including various versions of KMS, of GMS, of MapleSEA, of EMS, etc., as well as various versions of private servers), each has their own in-game resources that they have to work with (including, among other things, how “funded” they are, what time-limited items they have access to, etc.), and each has their own knowledge and understanding of the game-world and its mechanics. As a result, each concrete realisation of such an “ordinary fighter/crusader/hero” may differ from another in many ways. Skill builds, AP builds, equipment choices, and so on, can all vary in trivial ways — e.g. minute and usually unimportant details of SP allocation, or extra points in INT and/or LUK due to the initial roll of the dice at character creation — as well as nontrivial ways, e.g. hybrid sword/axe builds, specialisation in a particular handedness (one-handed vs. two-handed), and even “mixed”/“confused”/“bloodwashed”/“bluewashed” AP builds that intentionally allocate a nonzero minority of acquired AP outside of STR/DEX.

Concerns about “knowledge and understanding of the game-world and its mechanics” are particularly relevant for what we want to do here: building up a modern perspective. This process of “building up” means taking a serious look at the history of odd (and more generally, experimental) MapleStory character builds, and in doing so, we will need to reconcile — and, more importantly, incorporate — antiquated views of MapleStory character builds within our so-called “modern perspective”, to create a synthesis onto which we can impose a taxonomy. In the previous paragraph, I hyperlinked to the English Wikipedia article on “diegesis” when writing “the game-world”; but this is actually misleading. MapleStory, as a video game, does include some truly diegetic (read: narrative) elements; but, these elements are largely fragmentary (and often lacking in consistency), and furthermore, are not generally considered to be the main focus of the game. MapleStory, as the MMORPG that it is, is characterised neither by diegesis nor mimesis; rather, it is a social game that is most largely characterised by the social interactions of the people who play it. As a result, the culture of the game informs what character builds are conceivable, and it is our highly advanced and optimised pre-Big-Bang (pre-BB) culture — which permeates the existing pre-BB MapleStory private servers (e.g. MapleLegends) — that allows for the highly-idealised concept of “odd job” that was put forth in pt. i of this series.

As part of this pt. ii (“Building up a modern perspective.”), I want to take a walk through some historical (or perhaps, archaeological…) artefacts of MapleStory odd-jobbed gameplay from the past. Doing so will allow us to build up a modern synthetic perspective by not only comparing & contrasting past MapleStory cultures with our present one(s) — although this is extremely important — but also by giving us an idea of what odd jobs and odd concepts could be considered historically… primordial. It is easy enough (or rather, difficult enough…) to impose a taxonomy from scratch, relying on our modern understanding of individual odd jobs, but it might (or might not, who knows!) be useful to us to come from a historical perspective when we start arbitrarily drawing the lines that separate our taxa.

capreolina’s 120 party!!!

My woodswoman capreolina has, at very long last, achieved the most prestigious rank of bow-specialised woods(wo)men: woodsmaster. And like my pure STR bishop cervid and my darksterity knight rusa before her, I held a special level 120 party for her. You can watch a video of the party on the Oddjobs YouTube channel!!

And along with the video comes capreolina’s Theme, which you can obtain a score for (compatible with MuseScore 3+) here: https://codeberg.org/deer/gists/raw/branch/master/capreolina-s_Theme.mscz :)

capre getting in on some of that 4th-job goodness

By the end of the party, capreolina was a woodsmaster, but only had a single fourth-job skill: level 1 Bow Expert. This is a nice little passive damage boost for just one SP, but not exactly exciting yet. In order to get to the juicy stuff, I needed to embark on some 4th-job skill quests:

4th-job skill quests for capre~

First was the Hurricane quest, which asked of me that I hunt Kentauruses in search of Helena’s Old Gloves. These, according to my fourth job instructor Legor, would be the gloves that the archery instructor in Henesys bestowed upon Legor when he was a fledgeling archer seeking to learn the ways of archery despite being blind from a very young age. Players of MapleSEA, GMS, and EMS will now be asking the question: who is this “Helena”? And what do her gloves have to do with anything?

The answer is that the name of the first-job archery instructor in MapleStory is inconsistently localised into English. In KMS, JMS, TMS, and CMS, this NPC is known as Helena (e.g. ヘレナ in JMS; for KMS in particular, see transcription into Korean), but this name was ported into English as Athena (Pierce). This is a little odd, although in classical Greek mythology, Helena (of Troy) and Athena are technically siblings, as they both share Zeus as their father. That being said, Zeus was the father of, uhm, a lot of various mythological figures, so perhaps the relation is not as close as it sounds. More to the point, Helena and Athena are two very different figures: Helena is best known for starting a war that culminated in the fall of Troy due to simply being the most beautiful woman in the world. Athena, on the other hand, is the goddess of wisdom, craftsmanship, and warfare; indeed, the wisest figure in classical Greek canon. Using Athena’s name for the first-job archery instructor makes a good deal more sense, considering that Athena is associated with the more deliberate and strategic elements of warfare — as opposed to her violent and untamed brother Ares, better associated with warrior skills like Rage and Berserk. The connection with Athena even suggests a skew towards the woods(wo)man; Athena is usually depicted with a spear, and is also symbolised with olive trees. (Side note: Athena was also associated with owls, and romanised as Minerva, hence the “owl of Minervain MapleStory.) It is possible to suggest that the KMS/JMS/TMS/CMS name of Helena is from Hellen, the progenitor of the Greeks, but this leaves the final vowel -a unexplained (it would be phonotactically valid in Korean to leave it off, as far as I know, as the syllable structure in Korean is (C)(G)V(C)), and Helena & Hellen are actually understood to be etymologically unrelated. And naming the job instructor after Hellen makes, still, less sense than naming her after Athena. It should be noted that, in any case, the basis in Greek antiquity is clear & intentional; two of the first-job archer skills (The Blessing of Amazon and The Eye of Amazon) are named for the Amazons, female-only bow-wielding warrior-hunters renowned in ancient Greek and Latin literature for their combat expertise (particularly in archery) and strictly female society (interacting with men only briefly, strictly for the purpose of reproduction). It seems likely to me that the KMS/JMS/TMS/CMS name was chosen simply to make her “sound Greek”, rather than in reference to any particular figure.

In any case, I went off to kill some random Kentauruses in hopes of finding this stinky old pair of gloves:

Dark Kentaurus card get!

Red Kentaurus card get!

And lo, there they were!:

Finding the old gloves

I took these old gloves back to Athena, much to her surprise, and realising that this meant I had Legor’s blessing, she decided to give me a new skill: Hurricane.

Hurricane

Now, at level 1, Hurricane isn’t all that useful compared to my level 30 Strafe; the DPS just doesn’t match up. However, it is really fucken cool, and there’s some neato things you can do with it, like feathering it while you walk to get attacks that don’t actually interrupt your walking at all!

And then I went to get my birdy, which was honestly the skill I was looking forward to the most. For this, I had to travel into the depths of El Nath. First, up the mountain:

Riche card get!

…got some Riche cards along the way…

Into the Caves of Trial:

Jr. Cerebes card get!

And in there, a special map where the Phoenix keeps its nest. I stole(?!) an item from there and brought it back to Leafre, where I used it to summon the Phoenix itself:

eg

capreolina vs. the Phoenix

I had to subdue the Phoenix, which is no trivial task; the Phoenix is a proper boss, with 1.35M HP and all that. But after a little while, I claimed victory, and in turn, the Phoenix swore to follow me wherever I go:

Phoenix

That is “its rule”, apparently. Kind of a weird rule, but sure. I appreciate my firey birdy taking out the trash for me:

Birdy taking out the trash~

General, undifferentiated, all-inclusive, generic bossing section

Bossinggggg~

I did a few quick boss runs with Harlez, xBowtjuhNL, and Eoka before capre’s 120 party:

We were joined by a nightlord by the name of Manneqquin when we did Papu, which made that run quite a bit more swift:

Harlez, rusa, Eoka, Manneqquin, and xBowtjuhNL vs. Papu

And I did a trio Rav run with Harl and Bow:

Bow, Harl, & rusa trio Rav

Later, after capre ascended to woodsmaster, I hunted down a BF with Bow, and we were considering duoing it (not sure that would have went too well…), but ran into Matchy along the way, and partied with them to take down a BF:

Fighting Bigfoot w/ xBowtjuhNL & Matchy

I had actually met Matchy back when I was playing capre at LPQ, when they were playing their then-page (now pally) Nobless! So it was nice to bump into them in a random bit of the Crimsonwood forest~

I actually finished the Capt. Latanica card set on my darksterity knight rusa:

Capt. Latanica card get!

And, in my quest for points, I actually started soloing Capt. Lat on rusa while taking along my STR bishop cervid and my I/L magelet for the ride, just for the points…

cervine & cervid tag along @ Capt. Lat for points

Thanks for the free points, pet autopot!

And I also have been soloing Capt. Lat on capreolina, for the points:

Capt. Latanica card get!

The final Capt. Lat of the (unextended***) event, I did with ducklings, STRginner of DuckNation:

The final Capt. Lat of the event, with ducklings

The first go-around, ducklings unfortunately didn’t make it (it’s imperative that she stay inside the boss, otherwise she risks getting one-shot by any of the magical attacks), but during this last one, she successfully made it through and got those sweet, sweet bossing points :)

cervine does some more card-hunting!

I decided to do a little card-hunting on my I/L magelet cervine, and get some event coins along the way~

Card-hunting, I/L magelet style~

Being only T1 so far, I am still grinding for cards on cervine exclusively in Victoria Island. Going through my monster book partly in order, and partly by location, I went first for Axe Stumps:

Axe Stump card get!

And then I headed to Golem’s Temple I to hunt Blue Mushrooms and Stone Golems at the same time:

Blue Mushroom card get!

Stone Golem card get!

And then to Line 1 <Area 2> to hunt Jr. Wraiths and Stirges at the same time:

Jr. Wraith card get!

By the time that I had gotten to 5/5 Jr. Wraiths, though, I was still 0/5 Stirges… so I headed to the Transfer Area to finish off the Stirge set:

Stirge card get!

And with that many more event coins in hand, I finished cervine’s first event ring:

Ring of Dirges

Ouch. The Colorful Cube scrolls have a 90% success rate, but I managed to fail quite a large proportion of mine, including two of them on this one ring. This is particularly bad for cervine, as she is arguably my most stat-starved character of all, so every single point of INT (more generally, TMA) counts for a lot. Thankfully, I was later able to perfect a ring, so I prefer to think of it as equivalent to two slightly-scuffed (“(+2)” and 0 slots) rings :)

70%

70% is the success rate for [Mastery Book 20] Berserk, the first mastery book that I have ever actually used in my Maple career… and I passed it!!:

Passing my first mastery book~

As punishment for my crime of actually passing something that involves RNG, I failed two 70%s on the first two slots of the Aluminum Bat (not to be confused with the Aluminum Baseball Bat, which is also a two-handed sword that lacks job requirements and stat requirements) that I was gifted during capreolina’s 120 party:

Sad bat

Harlez kindly gave me the 70%s that I needed to keep going, at which point I proceeded to fail the next slot as well, and then boom the thing on the slot after that (the fourth slot, in total). Wow~

EPQing with Numidium and Medulla

I did some nifty EPQs with fellow odd-jobbed friends, pure STR cleric Numidium (Taima, Tacgnol, Boymoder, Hanyou, Nyanners, Gambolpuddy, Inugami, Yotsubachan) and dagger fighter Medulla (Cortical, GishGallop, BowerStrike, WizetWizard, Amygdala, Subcortical, MageFP), on my DEX brawler LPQ mule sorts!:

sorts, Medulla, and Numidium @ EPQ

As it turns out, sorts makes a pretty good EPQ mule as well; besides being quite capable of DPSing down the boss (Big Bad Rock Man, or BBRM), I can use CSB during stage 2 to corral the stone buggos towards the centre of the map:

sorts can CSB

All in all, we did a full 17 EPQs, enough to get sorts form 0/250 party points to 250/250 party points in that one session! Whew~

A few more MPQs to wrap up alces’s points~

And, finally, I needed to top off some of the points that I was saving up for temporary event gear. For my daggermit alces, the best way to do this was MPQing my way into another completed (read: zero slot) event ring. Here is ome screenshot of an Angy Fanky fight that I had in one of my MPQ groups:

alces, Bretticuss, Boredgasm, and Mette vs. Angy Fanky

alces is, actually, already “done” with MPQ; I have long since finished a quite nice Horus’ Eye, and completed the Franken Lloyd card set. And by now, I have far too many excess pink marbles… But now that alces is level 85, it will be just one more levelup before she graduates MPQ forever~