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README.md

rangifer’s diary: pt. lix

Taxonomising odd jobs, pt. iii: Exploring the space of possible taxonomies. §1

  • In pt. i of this series, “What even is an odd job, tho?”, we defined some terminology that is used throughout this entire series. And then we explored an answer (specifically, my answer) to the question that gives the part its name. This can be summarised in the following checklist of items that every “proper” odd job (i.e. an odd job that is not a subjob of any other odd job) must satisfy all items of, on our view:
    • Defining a particular odd job (e.g. permawarrior) is simple.
    • Insofar as an odd job is “odd”, it is pure in its “odd” aspect.
    • Each particular odd job satisfies some intuitive notion of natural.
    • The name that we are choosing to use here, “odd job”, is simultaneously fortunate and unfortunate. The “simplicity”, “purity”, and “naturalness” of odd jobs (as listed previously) justifies the use of the word “job” in the phrase “odd job”.
    • Odd jobs are, to the extent possible, atemporal.
  • In pt. ii of this series, “Building up a modern perspective.”, we considered that — depending upon a large number of various factors — one’s perspective/view/conceptualisation of what “odd jobs” are in particular, might differ significantly enough that we want to dedicate some time to other perspectives as well. In particular, we went through and analysed a number of entries in the archive, trying to reconstruct something resembling a historied perspective.

In this part (pt. iii) of the “Taxonomising odd jobs” series, I want to (try to) get into the meat of it. After all, ultimately the point of this series is to do as the name says — to taxonomise odd jobs. I strongly suspect that the taxonom(y/ies) that we arrive at in this series will only be a few in a large space of possible reasonable taxonomies. So, with this in mind, it’s time to do a bit of exploration.

Phenetics vs. cladistics

I thought a little bit about what starting points one might have for a taxonomy of odd jobs. By “starting point”, I mean a guiding principle that outlines the basic structure of the taxonomy. Maybe I didn’t think about it hard enough, but in any case, what I came up with vaguely aligns with a dichotomy often touted in biological taxonomy: that of phenetics vs. cladistics. For readers who are not biologists, a brief overview of these terms is in order.

Modern biological taxonomy is based on cladistics. Cladistics is deeply rooted in evolutionary biology. Cladistics organises species into “clades”, where each clade is rooted in a single common ancestor, and additionally contains every descendent of that common ancestor (which might be zero descendants, in which case the clade is an isolate, having just one member). It does not contain anything else; this means that clades are monophyletic by definition (indeed, “clade” and “monophyletic group” are usually used synonymously). As you can see, this makes cladistics fundamentally based on decendancy.

On the other hand, phenetics reflects an older (and, in a biological context, largely outdated, save for some numerical methods that can sometimes be useful in cladistics) approach. Rather than having anything to do with evolutionary biology, phenetics classifies its subjects based on their observable properties. In the biological case, this means morphological/physiological/genotypical/ethological concerns. The phenetician’s job, then, is essentially to catalogue the properties of various species, and then determine a way of clustering them — based on some notion of similarity — to form groups. From an evolutionary perspective, phenetic methods fail to distinguish between — for example — a distinguishing trait shared between two species that is the result of synapomorphy, and one that is the result of homoplasy. More simply put, a shared trait that is shared as the result of both species inheriting the trait from a shared common ancestor, is indistinguishable from that shared trait being the result of separate innovations that just so happened to innovate the same thing (kinda similar to multiple discovery). From an evolutionary perspective, this is a fatal flaw of phenetics, as it makes phenetics largely blind to evolutionary relationships.

The analogy between the biological phenetics-versus-cladistics dichotomy, and the subject matter that we have at hand (MapleStory odd jobs), is maybe not super clear. A more phenetics-oriented approach is the obvious way forward here. This isn’t biology; there is no evolutionary process per se, and thus no clear notion of decendancy. But, nevertheless, it appears possible to me, at first blush, to fabricate some kind of hierarchy that may hope to (vaguely) resemble a phylogenetic tree (or perhaps a forest of such trees). As we explored in pt. ii of this series, some odd jobs can be thought of as more “primitive” than others, and may have occurred (i.e. were actually invented and played) earlier. Furthermore, the subjob relation could come into play here as well — sometimes, jobs give way to subjobs, and these cases might look like decendancy as well.

On the phenetics-y side of things, I want to investigate some kind of “bag of properties” approach(es). I’m borrowing the phrase “bag of properties” (sometimes also “property bag”) from obscure programming jargon, where the pattern in question is commonly used in languages like ECMAScript that combine a structural-typing-inspired approach (as in e.g. OCaml) with a complete lack of types*. This bag of properties view, where each object (viz. each job, in our view; or each (sub)species, in the biological view) is merely a bag of properties, and objects are compared simply by pairwise comparing their properties against one another, distills down the ontology of the phenetics(-inspired) approach. Of course, one issue is deciding what properties exist — as we will see, there are many possible properties that can potentially be assigned to a single job, so our bags will perhaps look a bit larger than you expect. And perhaps even more of an issue is deciding which properties are relevant, and how relevant.

Footnotes for “Phenetics vs. cladistics”

*Some of you are currently yelling at your screens: “What do you mean, ‘complete lack of types’? If it’s dynamically typed, then surely it has types, they are just dynamic!”. Unfortunately, you are all mistaken!! The form of an object’s in-memory representation, and its type, are never the same thing. To conflate them is a category error — the former is physically manifested, and relevant only to code generation and runtime behaviour, whereas the latter is merely an abstract mathematical construct, relevant only to the proofs that a translator generates when typechecking an otherwise well-formed program. That’s right, there is no such thing as so-called “dynamic typing”!! Fight me about it!!! (don’t actually. or do.)

PQ2

In pt. liii of this diary, I attended a virtual rave (as my daggermit alces) at FM 4-20, called “PartyQuest”. The rave was hosted by osmanthus (IGN zkgui) on datafruits.fm, and featured technopagan (mae; xX17Xx, drainer, attackattack, strainer, partyrock, maebee) DJing as one of the main acts! I attended the sequel this time — PartyQuest 2 — which was set up similarly, except that it was hosted in channel 1 of Maya’s House (actually called “Henesys Townstreet” in-game for some reason). I attended as my I/L magelet cervine, and later as my besinner hashishi. You can see me as cervine in the screenshot below, which features permabeginners drainer, Cowbelle, and Cortical, as well as Monologue (you can’t see the nametag, as he is the bottom-left-most character in the screenshot), who (as I found out during the rave) was a major active figure in the permabeginner scene of GMS:

PQ2

The above screenshot was not taken by me — credit for the screenshot goes to @Cowbelle!

The adventures of d34r

That’s right, it’s time for more vicloc adventures!! My vicloc dagger spearwoman, d34r, hit level 50 :O

d34r hits level 50

To celebrate this milestone, an outlander by the name of Boymoder (Taima, Tacgnol, Hanyou, Numidium, Gambolpuddy, Nyanners, Spagonia, Naganohara) taunted me with forbidden juice:

Outlander taunting me

Where the outlanders get these horrible corrupting substances, I do not know. But fear not — I resisted all temptation.

I’m keenly aware that, now, I have not one, but two, odd DKs. Okay, technically one of them is not (and can never be) a “DK” per se (as 3rd and 4th jobs do not exist in vicloc), but you know what I mean. So I brought my darksterity knight rusa to meet with d34r:

rusa, meet d34r

F6 indeed.

I needed a Mushmom ETC in order to complete a level 40 questline by the name of Jane the Alchemist. I wanted to complete the quest earlier, as the main reward is access to Jane’s shop, which offers discounted(!) Unagis and Pure Waters, but I needed to be at least level 50 to be able to hold mapowner for the Mushmom map. Now that I was level 50, I picked a channel and camped out waiting for Mushmom:

Fairy card get!

Eventually, a mushroom mother did appear!:

d34r vs. Mushmom

At this point, I would still have some serious issues hitting Mushmom — she was 10 levels higher than me, has 27 AVOID, and I am merely a masteryless vicloc warrior. But I was able to defeat her, after not too much trouble:

Mushmom defeated!!

Yay! The ETC dropped!! With this, I had all that I needed for my quest, but I figured I would check some other mushroom mother channels in case I could get a second ETC for other questers (including my clericlet d33r). Along the way, I was unexpectedly slain:

d34r is dead

x.x

deerhunter turned out to be the woodswoman of Spagonia/Naganohara, and the pun of her name is three-pronged:

  1. Because deerhunter is a woodswoman going the bow-using (hunter) route, she will actually permanently be a hunter, as 3rd and 4th job do not exist in vicloc, so there is no advancement to ranger nor bowmaster.
  2. She actually enjoys the music of the American band, Deerhunter.
  3. I am deer, the one being hunted. ;~;

My search for other Mushmoms turned out to be shockingly successful. In just two generations of Mushmom, I was able to go from 0/5 Mushmom cards to 5/5!!:

Mushmom card get!

And with a third generation, I managed to find a rare and powerful artefact… the legendary Ilbi:

Ilbi get!

Wowee~

I later went on to do the Building a New House For Blackbull quest, which meant collecting some rubble from Stone Golems:

Collecting Stone Golem Rubble

I already had the other ETC items on hand, so I went to complete the quest, only to find that it is bugged:

Blackbull’s New House

Blackbull is bugged

For some reason, I was offered a Bow WATK 10% as one of the possible rewards, and, figuring this would be more useful than the others (as I was not offered a Dagger WATK 10%), I selected it… only to end up receiving no scrolls at all. I reported this on the MapleLegends forums, replying to a bug report on this quest from over three years ago, 2018-05-13!

In any case, I continued on with the Jane the Alchemist questline. I needed some Drake’s Blood, so I headed to deep Sleepywood and tried grinding on some Drake maps:

Drake card get!

Cold Eye card get!

And in the process, I finished the first part of the A Spell That Seals Up a Critical Danger questline:

Cold Steams acquired!

Also for Jane the Alchemist, I needed a Moon Rock. My only way of obtaining one was to ask Arwen to craft it for me, but Arwen needed a lot of ingredients for that:

Moon rock plz…

Fortunately, thanks to my hoarding ways, I was only shy of a Gold Ore or two, so after a bit of hunting Blue Mushrooms for that, I was able to complete that final part of the questline! Yay for sweet potion discounts~

It was now time to farm some cards. In vicloc, there are a grand total of 69 possible card sets that can be obtained, meaning that the tier 2 Monster Book Ring is the highest attainable Monster Book Ring. Getting to T2 means getting at least 60 out of the 69 total possible sets, which is much more easily said than done — not every monster in Victoria Island is easily farmed, and some, like Jr. Balrog or Ergoth, are hard to defeat at all. But T1, requiring only 30 sets, shouldn’t be too hard. So I went to fill out some of the easiest sets in the book:

Hunting for d34r’s T1~!

Blue Mushroom card get!

Stump card get!

Blue Snail card get!

Shroom card get!

Orange Mushroom card get!

Red Snail card get!

Ribbon Pig cards get!

Pig card get!

Octopus card get!

Jr. Necki card get!

And with that, the T1 ring!:

d34r gets that T1 ring!

I actually went and did the 2,300 dolls questline, Rowen the Fairy and the Cursed Dolls. For this, my farming location of choice was Monkey Swamp III:

d34r farming 2,300 dolls

Throughout my zlupin grind, I came across a map that I wasn’t even aware existed:

Kerning City swamp hut

Very mysterious. It appears that this map was never made use of in pre-BB MapleStory, although later versions included some quests involving JM From tha Streetz and the Knocked Trash Can inside of this map.

Eventually, after countless zlupins slain, I finished the infamous questline!!:

2,300 dolls completed!

Oh, and I hit 5k HP w/ HB too :))

d34r hits 5k HP

Now that I was getting into the 5X levels, it was time to try out FoG (or, if you prefer, “TfoG”…):

d34r tries out FoG for the first time

Wowee. Some extremely impressive solo EPH… but at what cost? The answer is: absolutely way too many Unagis. The main issue here is that, at this point, my PDD has outpaced my ability to gear up. Even with the +60 WDEF buff from Iron Body, warrior PDD scales so swiftly with level, that I cannot hope to keep up at this point. So I take a lot more damage from monsters in general (even lower-level ones), now that I am getting higher in level.

I did the Faust questline:

Faust is kill

Which, like the other area boss questlines, gives some quite good rewards!

The gist of the questline is that, in his younger days, Grendel was more greedy and reckless with his learning and usage of magic. So reckless in fact, that he created a mysterious dark evil in the southern forests of Ellinia which was responsible for magically corrupting the mind of his disciple, Reef. Reef was known by Grendel to be a sweet fellow, but with the corrupting influence of Grendel’s magic-gone-wrong, Reef became obsessed with Arwen, and grew jealous and vengeful when Arwen didn’t reciprocate his obsession. Arwen is where the questline begins, and she attributes Reef’s rash and awful behaviour to him being a mortal (unlike Arwen, who is a fairy). Later, Grendel admits his wrongdoing and assures us that Reef had always been a perfectly good and upstanding person before the magic got to him. Somewhere in there, big monke gets involved, with the straw puppet controlling our big monke guy being in need of defeating. With big monke and its puppeteer defeated, Reef’s spirit is finally freed forever.

Reef

(The quest shown in the screenshot above, which is catalogued separately from the rest of the questline in the Quest Journal, is entirely wordless, and simply awards the fame seen above.)

I also finally got the NX I needed for a pet with some autoloot. I had never noticed it before, but there is a smol level 10 Victoria Island quest that only shows up in your Quest Journal if you possess a pet:

Oh… pet quest

I went and did The Alligators at the Swamp questline:

Cleaning the swamp

And with that, I went to Florina Beach (Clang and Lorang in particular) to farm Clangs for that sweet, sweet Yellow Umbrella. The Yellow Umbrella is perhaps the main item that I really need to rehabilitate d33r… with 52 MATK on average, and no stat requirements to wear it, it is the best possible weapon for d33r, besides the level 54 Heart Wand/Staff.

Lorang card get!

After many (many) Clangs killed, I was able to finally find one of these precious items (after, of course, finding just about every other equipment item available in Florina Beach, including the Colorful Tube)!! Somewhat underwhelmingly, it is 3 MATK below average (49 MATK), but hey, that’s a whole lot better than nothing!!

I was able to do some duo FoG with Thinks (OmokTeacher, Slime, Slimu), to excellent results:

Duo FoG w/ Thinks

Aaaand I did the King Clang questline, as well! The end of the questline has you begrudgingly roleplaying through a heroic damsel in distress sequence fabricated by Riel:

Riel

Glad to be of service, I guess…

The adventures of d33r

In other vicloc news, more woe befalls my vicloc clericlet d33r. Although I did, thankfully, get a (rather a bit under average) Yellow Umbrella, I had less luck with scrolls. As readers of this diary will know, I miraculously passed an OA INT 10% on the first slot of d33r’s Sauna Robe. My plan was to 60% the rest of the way. The only source of OA INT 60% in vicloc is King Clang, so many King Clangs I have killed. Many King Clangs. Like, a lot. So many, in fact, that I managed to farm up not one, but two OA INT 60%s (along with a whole lot of other stuff, and a few dozen cards). And Daggington (Clinks, cobbages, snoot) very kindly donated another OA INT 60% to me! So with these three 60%s in hand, I proceeded to fail every single one of them on my precious robe.

In other news, while questing, I incidentally ran across a Stumpy, and got a second solo Stumpy kill under d33r’s belt:

d33r solos Stumpy again

Although still a tough fight, d33r has still improved considerably since the last one, so it was a good bit easier this time. Speaking of questing, I did the main Florina Beach questline with the help of d34r:

d33r vs. Coconuts

This questline requires a grand total of not one, not two, but 65 Coconuts! That’s a lot of tree-whacking.

Later, I took a trip to vom town with xXCrookXx (Level1Crook, Lv1Crook):

vom town

…Who helped me with the Icarus and the Balloon quest!:

d33r & xXCrookXx vs. Ligators

And all hope is not lost; I managed to pass 3/5 Ear INT 60%s on my Leaf Earrings, and I scraped up a 4th OA INT 60%, which I actually passed!

Hopefully we will see d33r confidently wielding a Yellow Umbrella in the future~

Doing NLC quests w/ Boymoder

STRmit Boymoder was looking to do the Urban Warrior questline, which involves completing a number of quests & questlines around NLC, in exchange for the final reward of a Warrior Throne. I decided to join her on my I/L magelet cervine, who had not done any of the quests in the questline except for the quiz (which is trivial anyways) and Cleaning Up the Streets (which is actually, believe it or not, repeatable, although the repeat reward is pitiful).

NLC quests wif BOIMOUDO

We started off with Featherweights, an otherwise useless quest that rewards almost nothing for the effort put in. This meant slaying some Boomers:

cervine & Boymoder vs. Boomers

And also slaying some Gryphons (also necessary for Cleaning Up the Streets):

Boymoder & cervine vs. Gryphons

The final segment of the Subani’s Legacy questline requires farming for some pesky MesoGear Map Pieces from I.AM.ROBOTs:

cervine & Boymoder vs. I.AM.ROBOTs

And, perhaps most annoyingly, Maple Balrog’s quests require going to Ludus Lake and back each time. While in Omega Sector farming Barnard Grays for Lost!, we found a card or two:

Barnard Gray card get!

And for ReVersal, we headed to the Ludibrium Clocktower for some Tick-Tocks:

cervine & Boymoder vs. Tick-Tocks

Tick-Tock card get!

And with that, we could sit back & relax on our rather impressive-looking and rather blue thrones!:

Warrior Thrones acquired!

pan oiler

It is now time for our regularly scheduled OPQ time with my permarogue, panolia:

panolia vs. Papa Pixel

With a number of honestly rather subpar (not gonna name any names…) OPQs under my belt, I ascended to the rank of 1st job, pt. iii!:

panolia hits level 70~!

Unfortunately, OPQing straight from level 51 to level 70 was only enough to get me 3/5 Papa Pixel cards, so I had to kermit sewer slide:

panolia is dead

Thankfully, I was able to buy two cards off of other players (for 1M mesos each) to finish my set after only one death, so graduate OPQ I did:

panolia hits level 71~!

Over the course of panolia’s OPQ career, I managed to rack up enough feathers to get myself 4 wristbands! In order to do better than my 12 WATK mittens, I would need to (assuming I don’t want to pay considerably more money) pass GFA60s on all 5 slots. Now, the probability of actually succeeding (assuming that I don’t resort to GFA70s, which are much more expensive) is 0.6⁵ ≈ 7.78%. But, considering that I had 4 tries, the odds of getting at least one success wasn’t altogether awful (although still strictly less than 50%). The probability of failing a given wristband is 1 − 0.6⁵ ≈ 92.22%; so the probability of failing all 4 is 92.22%⁴ ≈ 72.34%; so the probability of succeeding at least one is 1 − 72.34% ≈ 27.66%. Not terrible, but not good enough for me to succeed any of them this time. R.I.P.

And I got to do my final OPQs with STRginner Furbs!:

panolia & Furbs vs. Papa Pixel

And now, panolia is off to MPQ~ Actually, that means that a certain someone is finally freed from MPQ…

alces is free at last~

That’s right, alces (my daggermit) is bacc~

Rather than a proper graduation from MPQ (which I had already done quite enough of on this character), I joined STRmit Boymoder and F/P mage 2sus4u in doing some PPQs!

Boymoder, 2sus4, & alces vs. Lord Pirate

Later, we encountered some confusion over my use of MU:

can hermits use daggers

And I continued PPQing even after Boymoder left, and 2sus4u took a break to advance to 3rd job F/P mage (grats again!), at which point I met lesweetpea, as well as DevilDog96 and Ellie01, who appeared to be hardcore questers by the look of it (175-ish fame each, guildless, unoptimised assorted gear)!:

DevilDog96, Ellie01, lesweetpea, & alces vs. Lord Pirate

I did finally take a break after some 18(!) or so PPQs, when I finally hit level 86~! Some readers may remember that I started questing on alces at a lower level than I usually do (I tend to be a bit greedy and save my quests for level ≥86, when KPQ/LPQ/OPQ/MPQ are no longer options), but I put it on hold at around level 71 or so — knowing that alces would have a hard time grinding at level ≥86, being stuck with masteryless Double Stab forever. Now that alces is finally at that point, I started where I left off — killing 400 Jars:

alces vs. pots

And I started working on some other quests around the area as well!:

Bellflower Root card get!

Captain card get!

I’m excited to play alces more in the future c:

These bosses are not on Victoria Island! Bah, humbug!!

I know, I know — but I can only kill so many Big Monkes and Caseys… Here are some of the outland bosses that I killed alongside xBowtjuhNL, Gruzz, and Harlez!:

Big bad boss guys within!

I was summoned to help kill Rav on my darksterity knight rusa… Unfortunately, all of my NX equips had expired, and I had nearly no NX on that account as a result of voting on panolia’s and on d34r’s accounts instead >.<

Rav w/ Gruzz, xBowtjuhNL, & Harlez

Later, I duoed BF with xBowtjuhNL, on my woodsmaster capreolina! We weren’t sure how difficult it would be, but xBowtjuhNL found one at FP, and we managed to kite/pin it (and by “we”, I mean that xBowtjuhNL did most of the pinning…) to death in a surprisingly short amount of time, thanks to my level 6 SE massively amplifying both of our DPS outputs!

capreolina & xBowtjuhNL vs. Bigfoot

We looked for some more BFs on that map, to no avail, although we did find a HH, which I soloed:

capreolina vs. HH

It’s been a while since capre soloed a BF! It was a good bit faster this time x)

And later, with enough time to vote on rusa’s account and get her NX back, we did some more Rav:

More Rav w/ Gruzz & xBowtjuhNL

Gun!!

I had a smol number of Maple Storm Pistols lying around from the anniversary event, which I planned on scrolling, so that they could be used by my DEX brawler LPQ mule sorts~

The prices of Gun WATK 30%s had jumped up suddenly towards the end of the event, so I was going to wait out the bubble before I went off and scrolled more guns. It seems that the price is a permanently a bit inflated now (although not quite as much as when it originally jumped), but in any case, I was prepared to buy some, considering I was already used to buying expensive 30%s anyways… Plus, Redz (Permanovice, Battlesage, Dreamscapes, Hanger) sold me a Storm Pistol that was just one WATK below perfect WATK (48 WATK), so I tried my hand at scrolling it, attempting to get at least 64 WATK, so that I could best my old one (62 WATK) by at least 2 WATK…

New Maple Storm Pistol~!

Very nice!!! Goal achieved~ :D