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rangifer’s diary: pt. lxiv

Ape-y queue

Now that my vicloc dagger spearwoman d34r is happily married, it’s time to do some quests that are only available to married folk :)

First on the list are two quests that showed up in my quest journal as soon as I tied the knot with xXCrookXx: Circle of Trust and Red Dahlia. I was really excited to see these show up in my journal — I had no idea that there were married-specific quests other than APQ, and at that point I had run out of other vicloc quests to complete. Unfortunately, it turned out that Circle of Trust is not a vicloc quest at all; it requires recovering a special quest item from Tweeters, which regrettably can only be found in the Eos Tower, which isn’t a real thing that exists.

On the other hand, Red Dahlia is a perfectly good vicloc quest. The quest is different depending on which first job advancement you’ve taken, and it seems (regrettably) that those who have not taken the first job advancement can’t do this quest. For better or worse, though, the quest is pretty trivial — I already had the necessary ETC items laying around in my inventory, so completing the quest was just a matter of talking to Ben twice:


Meh. A frankly useless scroll and an insignificant amount of EXP for my level…

But that’s okay, because there’s just one other quest that marriage unlocks. You already know what it is: the Amorian Party Quest.

While collecting Lip Lock Keys to gain entrance to the PQ, I accidentally fell off of the map. I mean, like, all the way through the bottom of the screen, only to be magically teleported back to the map proper after falling far enough. I showed xXCrookXx how to do it:


After we made ourselves dizzy by trying it a few times, we went back to farming keys.

The first APQ was a really cool experience for the both of us; neither of us had ever APQed in MapleStory before, so everything was totally new. For our first APQ we were joined by… not one, but two level 200 characters (lol). I had a guide to APQ open in a web browser tab, but by the time that xXCrookXx had gotten us into a full party of 6, I didn’t have time to read very thoroughly, so thankfully our party members were nice and guided us through the uncertain bits.

The first stage was pretty straightforward. This appears to be the only stage that places constraints on the genders of the members of the party; one half of the map is only accessible to female characters, and the other only to male characters. Basically, though, you just kill stuff:

d34r @ APQ stage 1

Stage 2 excited me a bit because it’s actually identical to the Sealed Room stage in OPQ, which is one of my favourite PQ stages. The only difference, of course, are the visuals. Instead of three ordinary platforms, there are three ropes suspended high in the sky from giant floating sculptures. To climb the ropes, special teleporters may be used to assist the intrepid APQer in getting yeeted into the sky — just make sure that you hold the up arrow key so that you actually land on the rope:

d34r @ APQ stage 2

The next stage is also a puzzle, and much to my delight, it appears to be a mixture of the OPQ Sealed Room puzzle and the LPQ stage 8 puzzle. Like the Sealed Room, stage 3 of APQ indicates to the players (in this case, all players — not just the leader, which is cool) how many of the platforms are correct*. And like LPQ stage 8, at most one character can stand on each platform, and there are exactly 9 platforms. Also like LPQ stage 8, the platforms are given meaningless labels so that players can easily reference individual platforms. With LPQ stage 8, regrettably, the (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) labels of the platforms often confuse players who think that the stage has something to do with numbers — in reality, like with APQ stage 3, the labels are meaningless identifiers (they could instead be colours, or shapes, or…).

d34r @ APQ stage 3

Stage 4 is a pretty straightforward ETC collection, much like collectively completing a quest by collecting 50 of… these things:

d34r @ APQ stage 4

I was only mildly surprised to see that the items we were collecting were, you know, sex toys. But I guess it is the Amorian Party Quest, after all — celebrating love and, apparently, also sexuality! One of our party members referred to these as butt plugs, although I don’t recommend using them that way — they appear to have no base! Wouldn’t want to lose one in an unfortunate place :)

The next stage is kinda goofy, as it consists entirely of running as fast as you can towards the right-hand side, breaking through gates (with basic attacks) as you go:

d34r @ APQ stage 5

The entire time, there are various spoopy creatures creeping up behind you, as well as lava constantly spewing out of the ground. In fact, the stage almost has a halloween-y vibe to it. Well, it would, if it weren’t for the background music being the same as everywhere else in the PQ: more upbeat, cheesy vibes.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a PQ without the big bad end guy, would it? Meet grog:


As it turns out, while grog’s stats are not all that impressive (not all that much hp, doesn’t hit very hard, etc.), it is quite the pain in the ass just because of its tendency to weapon cancel, fly around everywhere, and disappear entirely…

With that done, it was time for the bonus stage. Normally, folks are out here looking for apples, but xXCrookXx and I have something slightly different in mind. Much to my amazement, in my first ever APQ, I got the item that I was perhaps most looking forward to from this stage:

d34r @ APQ bonus stage

That’s right — Cecelia’s Earrings! The most powerful earrings in all of vicloc!! These ones that I got first were kinda crappy (10 WDEF and 50 MDEF), but still a lot better than the 0 WDEF & 42 MDEF Pink-Flowered Earrings that I was using before!

I’ve now done some nine APQs or so, over the course of which I’ve racked up three apples, as well as two or three baskets, a number of joocy capes, and lots of joocy cape 30% scrolls :D

Footnotes for “Ape-y queue”

*This value is actually just Dim(ℋ) − d(g, s), where ℋ is our Hamming space, Dim(ℋ) is the number of dimensions of ℋ, d is the Hamming distance that makes (ℋ, d) a metric space, g ∈ ℋ is the guess that we made, and s ∈ ℋ is the correct string (s is selected randomly by the game, and originally a complete mystery to the players). For stage 3 of APQ and stage 8 of LPQ, ℋ is defined over GF(2), because each platform either has a player on it, or doesn’t (either 1 or 0). And the length of the words in ℋ is Dim(ℋ) = 9 for stage 3 of APQ and stage 8 of LPQ. In the case of the Sealed Room and stage 2 of APQ, ℋ is no longer a vector space (lol), because the alphabet is {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}, which has a cardinality of 6 (not a prime power, womp womp…). And in this latter case, Dim(ℋ) = 3.

d33r lays waste to thousands, nay millions, of napkins

I started playing more actively on my vicloc clericlet d33r! For better or worse, the only thing on d33r’s table at the moment is tireless solo grinding… Thankfully, with just a little bit of gear (especially the Yellow Umbrella that xXCrookXx kindly traded me ^^), d33r is more than capable of killing a smol napkin or two, albeit much more slowly and painfully than you might expect…

The main suspect for a grinding map for d33r was Line 2 <Area 1>, in the Kerning City subway. This map is pretty large, but makes up for it with a massive number (83) of Jr. Wraith spawns. The Jr. Neckis are a bit annoying, but I can kill them with three Magic Claws or so each, and d33r is not yet 5/5 on Jr. Necki cards, so it works out. But Slime (Thinks, OmokTeacher, Slimu) told me that I could find an even better grinding map at the end of the Kerning City jump quests (JQs). In particular, the Subway Depot at the end of the B2 JQ spawns almost entirely Jr. Wraiths (and a single lone Jr. Booger). Now, I am the absolute last person on this Earth to come to for JQ expertise, but I had successfully completed the B2 JQ at least twice before, Slime said it was the fastest JQ in the game, and it’s mostly just red and blue lasers, so just being patient should hopefully be enough for me to make it through.

So I tested the two maps side by side, with one @epm 3 test each:

d33r @ Jr. Wraiths, @epm 3 tests

Wowza! Slime was right — that’s just about a 90k EPH increase, which is very significant in this case. So I guess it’s time to get good at the B2 JQ… My times so far (not timed properly, just looking at my system clock):

  1. 12.5 minutes
  2. 9.2 minutes
  3. 7.5 minutes
  4. 5.5 minutes

Getting better ^^

d33r levels up at B2 Subway Depot

Very nice!! d33r is level 46 now :3

Here’s a collection of loot that I got during my first grind session (at both Line 2 <Area 1> and the B2 Subway Depot):

d33r’s equip lootz

d33r’s ETC lootz

Wowza, that’s a lot of napkins lmfao.

My next milestones for d33r are:

  • Level 49, for max Bless (thus completing my main arsenal);
  • Level 50, so I can wear a better cape that I’ve been scrolling while APQing;
  • and finally, level 54, so that I may wield the almighty Heart Wand.

And yes, for now I do really mean “finally”. There is, unfortunately, little motivation to level up d33r past level 54, unless I have some other viclockers to play alongside with*.

Footnotes for “d33r lays waste to thousands, nay millions, of napkins”

*This is a cry for help. Come play vicloc, xXCrookXx and I are very lonely v_v

Stab, stab.

I did lots of questing on my undead daggermit, alces!


First on the list was finishing off the Victoria Island quests that I wanted to do. For some god forsaken reason, one of the Vic Island quests that I decided to do (if you’ll remember from the previous diary entry) was A Spell That Seals Up a Critical Danger. So I got back to killing these bipedal ungulate weirdos:

Tauromacis card get!

Having completed the questline, I made off with my crumb of EXP and handful of PEs, and killed a ZMM or two along the way:

Zombie Mushmom card get!

I took a brief detour to BPQ with whoever happened to be standing in the training centre:

alces vs. Franken Lloyd (again)

Franken Lloyd, we meet again…

One of my party members gave me a name, due to my tendency to fly towards the boss each time that we entered a new map:

flying bandit

And with that, before leaving Victoria Island to quest elsewhere, I wanted to start off my card-hunting journey with the T1 ring. So I hunted some snails, mushrooms, and the like:

Blue Mushroom card get!

Blue Snail card get!

Red Snail card get!

Stump card get!

Ribbon Pig card get!

Pig card get!

Et voilà ! alces has her very own monster book ring now :)

alces T1 ring

With the T1 ring on my finger, I headed to Orbis for moar quest. First, Goddess’ Pet!:

Lunar Pixie card get!

Luster Pixie card get!

And, to my pleasant surprise, there was an Eliza already there when I went looking!

alces vs. Eliza

I farmed this Eliza for her Jr. Lucidas, and when she refused to spawn any more, I killed her to finish the quest. I went around all eight channels and found three or four other Elizas as well, which I did not kill. Instead, I kept each one below 50% HP and exhausted them of all of their Jr. Lucida spawns. All in all, over the course of an hour or so… this was enough to get me to 1/5 Jr. Lucida:

Jr. Lucida card get!

Well… I suppose that’s better than 0/5, innit?

Apparently, the “Eliza” that I killed was not Eliza at all — merely her shadow:

You’ve defeated my shadow

I guess that explains the freaky all-white eyes of the “Eliza” that I killed. With this quest complete (including the joocy fame at the end), and with Fairy’s Horn Flute complete:

Horn Flute

…alces was now level 90!!:

Level 90 alces

Finally, I can put on the proper rogue gear that I’ve been waiting for :D

Time to test it out!!:

alces testing the Cursayer

>4k lines with Double Stab… w h e w .

I did just two more quests in Orbis: Lisa’s Special Medicine and Delivering Food to Spiruna, which are basically just potion-ferrying quests. And with that, I started the Scadur’s New Fur Coat quest and headed to El Nath:

White Fang card get!

While farming for these wolven tails, I stumbled across an old friend:

do not show me the coil.

Terrible. Seeing a Serpent’s Coil drop to the ground induces Camp 3 flashbacks. And, of course, this coil was 4 WATK above average…

I stumbled upon the Snow Witch’s map and found there Sergeant Bravo, who struck me as strangely (perhaps, unjustifiably) confident:

Sergeant Bravo is confident

If I were recovering from an “emergency landing”, and was not able to find any of my fellow crew members… well, I’d likely be less optimistic. But anyways, I did run into the Snow Witch herself:

alces vs. Snow Witch

And got a few cards!

Snow Witch card get!

And, to finish off Scadur’s New Fur Coat, I hunted for 100 Yeti Horns:

Yeti card get!

And with that (and some Garnets and Sapphire Ores that I bought on the FM, lol), I completed Alcaster’s Cape and got my very own Cape of Warmness:

Cape of Warmness

…and Scadur’s New Fur Coat:

Scadur’s Coat


And, of course, I was doing the Snowfield Giant quest as well. It took me a little while to find a Snowman, but I did eventually!:

alces vs. Snowman

And, while I was there, I also completed Master Sergeant Fox’s Secret.

I then moved just slightly further down the Orbis Tower, to start doing some Aqua Road quests. I started the Lost in the Ocean quest, and headed into deep aqua to find a small shipwreck on the seabed:

A small wrecked ship

After overcoming my not-entirely-irrational fear of dozens of oversized cartoon sharks biting me to pieces, I took a peek inside of the wreckage:

Inside of the ship

How convenient. Inside was none other than Taeng the Explorer, who had a quest for me: find the artefacts left behind by Taeng’s MIA crew members, which artefacts Taeng assumes must have been eaten by the sharks. So I started indiscriminately stabbing the sharks just outside:

alces vs. Cold Shark

These Cold Sharks are no joke, and were constantly threatening to kill me. Thankfully, I never actually died (although I got quite close a number of times), and recovering the artefacts was not quite as tedious as I expected:

Camera get!

Having collected a no-longer-functional camera, a no-longer-functional flashlight/torch, and a ripped piece of a spiral notebook, I returned to Taeng, who rewarded me for my efforts.

I then set out to complete some of Hughes the Fuse’s quests, including Hughes’ New Research, which calls for 100 Poison Poopa’s Poisonous Spikes, and 100 Poopa Eggs:

Poison Poopa card get!

Poopa card get!

I also needed some Toy Baby Seals for Hughes’ Hobby:

Jr. Seal card get!

And, some Snorkles [sic] for Hughes’ Weird Invention:

Scuba Pepe card get!

The latter quest awarded me with this stylish cape:

alces w/ Oxygen Tank

And, finally, I went on to complete Hughes’ Research Material before leaving for Ludus Lake. A nearest town scroll took me to the Aquarium, and a brief chat with the local bottlenose dolphin took me to The Sharp Unknown, from which I climbed the rope in the KFT well (yay for rope speed!) to arrive in the Ludus Lake region.

So, then I climbed the entire Helios Tower (or rather, took the elevator…) only to fall all the way back down a different tower: the clocktower.

alces @ Path of Time

It was time to do Ghosthunter Bob’s quests, including Free Spirit, The Binding, and The Soul Collector! Unfortunately, Clock Tower Monster Wipe-Out doesn’t exist in MapleLegends. But I set out to do the other Ghosthunter Bob quests, as well as teh first part of the Papulatus pre-quests (lol):

alces collecting spirits & tachyons

Soul Teddy card get!

A deep ludi card! Oooo~

The harder of the Ghosthunter Bob quests require fighting MDTs:

alces vs. MDTs

…and Spirit Vikings:

alces vs. Spirit Vikings

And so I returned the Ghostbusters can to Bob:

Ghosthunter Bob

I went to see Assistant Cheng in the Ludibrium toy factory, to retrieve from him some robot parts that Dr. Kim asked for. While I was there, Cheng took me to a surprise JQ:

Surprise JQ!

I was really not in the mood for an annoying JQ, so I tried to leave. It took a bit of fumbling around… to be honest, I thought for a minute that I might be stuck! But I found the way out.

I headed down the Eos Tower to the Omega Sector, delivered these robot parts to Dr. Kim, and went to retrieve even moar robot parts from some giant metal boxes lying around the Omega Sector:

alces recovering missing parts

While I was there, I did the Eliminating Aliens quest:

Mecateon card get!

alces vs. MT-09

If you’ll remember, many diary entries ago, I featured alces also fighting this same MT-09. The main difference here (besides doing it for a different quest) is in alces’s damage! They grow up so fast!!

And I completed The Effort to Make-Up, as well as Artificial Combatant Zeno:

Zeta Gray card get!

Ultra Gray card get!

I only completed Artificial Combatant Zeno up to (but not including) the point of actually killing Zeno itself, as there were no Zenos to be found at that time. I did, however, get lucky with the first Wave Translator that I obtained being the real one.

I also did the follow-up quest for The Effort to Make-Up, Collecting Meteorite Samples, although that quest basically just consists of walking around and talking to a few NPCs. Similarly, I completed Hoony’s Toothache, which is a simple delivery quest.

As there were no Zenos to be found for the time being, I headed to KFT. While I was there, I completed(!) the Scholar Ghost card set:

Scholar Ghost card get!

And I hunted some three-tailed foxes for a clue and some tails:

Samiho card get!

To finish off the Legends of Hometown questline, I needed to take on the 구미호 itself:

alces vs. Old Fox

At the end of the questline, Chil Nam says this:

Ah… I remember helping a beautiful young woman while looking for wood in Kamak Mountain. And I can’t remember anything else after that. So she was the Old Fox! Ahhh… Just the thought of losing my soul to an Old Fox… it gives me the goose bumps!

The English Wikipedia article on kumiho claims that kumiho are, traditionally, capable of transforming into beautiful women for the purpose of seducing men and then eating them. The MapleStory version is a little less gruesome, instead taking Chil Nam’s soul (rather than his physical heart, or liver). So we can achieve a happy ending by slaying the kumiho and recovering Chil Nam’s soul.

And, with the rest of the fox tails that I needed, I completed The Fox Hunt. Chumji explained to me, in very simple terms, how ACPs work:

bang. cured.

I also used some of the Seal Meat that I had gathered while completing Hughes’ Research Material to complete Secret Love Affair With Seal Meat (Hidden Street calls this quest “Her Secret Craving for Seal Meat”).

I then headed back to Aqua Road to finish the Lost in the Ocean quest:

Red Pilfer…

From there, my bottlenose friend took me to the Mu Lung Gardens region, where I completed The Forgotten Master:

alces vs. Tae Roon

…And Eliminating King Sage Cat; I ran into a fellow by the name of jotdu who was card-hunting King Sage Cat, and agreed to kill one of them with me so that I could complete my quest:

jotdu & alces vs. King Sage Cat

To finish up The Forgotten Master, I dropped a single peach onto the bench in Wild Bear Area 1:

Tae Roon’s note

Poof. A magical note!

While I was in Mu Lung Gardens, I snagged a Master Dummy card or two:

Master Dummy card get!

And completed the Operation Eliminate Red-Nosed Pirates quest:

Captain card get!

I headed back to the Omega Sector to check again for Zeno, and thankfully, it was there this time. So I finished Artificial Combatant Zeno!:

Neon orange is not my colour

It’s true; neon orange really isn’t alces’s colour…

And with that, I traveled to the Nihal Desert to do some Ariant quests.

I used to do the main Ariant questline on every one of my characters, once I graduated from KPQ. Some time ago, I changed that, and I’ve gotten used to skipping it entirely; alces is no exception. So I still had those quests to do, as well as some others in Ariant as well:

Bellamoa card get!

I could tell this was made for level 30-ish characters when I killed poor Ardin with just a pair of swift attacks:

alces vs. Ardin

More cards popped out as I continued collecting ETCs (and some USE items) for the main Ariant questline:

Meerkat card get!

Kiyo card get!

I also completed The Bounty Hunt for the first time in my Maple career, after waiting just a few minutes for a Deo to spawn:

alces vs. Deo

Being a rogue, alces is a master of disguise, which helped immensely in completing First Mission of the Sand Bandits and thus wrapping up the main Ariant questline:

alces is a master of disguise

I also completed the For the Little Prince (Pour Le Petit Prince) questline, as well as Queen’s New Make-Up Kit, In Search for His Sister, and Sejan’s Good Habit.

Now that I had done essentially all Ariant quests, I headed to Magatia to get started on some of those quests — including the main Magatia questline, which is one of my favourite questlines in the game! :)

Rumo card get!

More questing to come~

All-odd beepy cue

I was going to BPQ with STRginner Cortical (xXcorticalXx, SussyBaka, CokeZeroPill, moonchild47), who asked STRginner Permanovice (Battlesage, Dreamscapes) about forming a party. We gathered together in the Exclusive Training Center and tried to get together a team of all odd characters to do a BPQ. Well, as it turned out, it was more like an all-STRginner BPQ… except that I don’t have a STRginner on this server (no, cervid does not count, and she’s too high of a level anyways), and my LUKginner hashishi is smol baby who is not high level enough. So, in the end, we were able to pull together Gumby, Cowbelle (Tabs), and OmokTeacher (Thinks, Slime, Slimu) to form a full party of five STRginners… plus my one daggermit alces.

All-odd BPQ

On our first run, fighting crog actually went better than we expected — out of the six of us, zero of us were capable of taking even a single magical attack from crog (who has a whopping 720 MATK, meaning that a typical magical hit on a fully-armoured character of this level will be around the 4k(!) damage mark), and yet somehow only one of us died! R.I.P. Permanovice ;~;

R.I.P. Permanovice

As we still had five extant party members, we continued on… only to come up against a beast even more foul: Manon. We all fairly quickly fell to Manon’s attacks ­— well, at least most of us. Gumby, being the absolute tank of a STRginner that he is, survived a good bit longer than the rest of us, so we all took part in cheering him on from our graves:

Jon soloing Manon

Alas, Gumby eventually went down as well… not that there was enough time on the clock for him to finish soloing the beast, anyways.

Our second run was less successful, albeit still worth the same number of points; we were not so lucky with crog the second time around! But it was lots of fun!!

Diversifying the sadsadgrind

I did a bit of sadsadgrinding. Readers of this diary will know that “sadsadgrinding” refers to achieving an additional level of sadness on top of the usual sadgrinding — the “sad” in “sadgrinding” refers to me grinding all by myself (usually, but not always, at CDs). Sadsadgrinding takes this one step further, as instead of grinding all by myself, I am grinding with only myself; my pure STR bishop cervid and my darksterity knight rusa make a formidable duo by combining their powers of Healing and of rawring, respectively.

As I said, ordinarily much of my outlander grinding takes place at CDs. And, in particular, my sadsadgrinding sessions have always been there. But ordinarily, for most folks on MapleLegends, it becomes more profitable EXP-wise (not so much mesos-wise, but that’s okay) to move away from CDs as one’s level approaches the 120 mark. Triple-digit-level characters can often grind elsewhere (again, assuming for simplicity that we only care about EPH), such as Gallos, Petris (Petrifighters are particularly tough, but worthwhile for some classes at level ≥110 AFAIK), Dreamy Ghosts (sometimes known as “Himes”), etc. This latter location, in particular (viz. Encounter with the Buddha), is a popular grinding spot for warriors of all classes (yes, probably even permawarriors, if any got to level ≥100…), often paired with a priest (or in my case, bishop) partner. So it would seem to be a perfect fit for cervid+rusa, who have been stuck at CDs this whole time. So I tested it.

Keeping in mind that CDs are pretty obviously superior in terms of MPH (mesos per hour), and keeping in mind that Dreamy Ghosts have the distinct advantage of dropping cards, I did some @epm 4 tests (on rusa specifically; cervid’s @epm measurements would be smaller) at both CDs and Dreamy Ghosts, in an attempt to compare them EPH-wise.

At CDs:

  • 9 926 280
  • 10 822 140
  • 11 172 420

Average EPH: 10 640 280

At Dreamy Ghosts:

  • 8 830 080
  • 8 951 040
  • 9 878 400
  • 8 830 080

…Average EPH: 9 122 400

That’s roughly a 1.5M EPH disparity in favour of CDs. Unfortunately, this means that CDs are considerably superior both MPH-wise and EPH-wise. And, to be honest, I kind of expected this result. Ordinary priest+warrior combos at Dreamy Ghosts benefit from Dreamy Ghosts being undead, meaning that they take damage from the Heals provided by the priest. This is not the case at all for me; cervid is both INTless and LUKless, so there is absolutely no way that she could muster the MACC required to have a nonzero probability of hitting the Dreamy Ghosts with magical attacks (e.g. Heal), and even if a gamemaster alighted from the skies and blessed me with a +900 MACC buff (not actually possible), cervid’s Heals would do pretty poor damage anyways.

Furthermore (and perhaps more importantly), moving to Dreamy Ghosts faces the same problem that nearly any odd-jobbed (or, more generally, disproportionately weak) character faces when trying to move away from training spots like those at Taipei 101 (CDs in particular, but also Kid Mannequins, Fancy Amps, etc.). It took me a while to realise this (and it was a bit of a sad realisation, considering that it makes most of my characters damned to eternal brightly-coloured Taiwanese shopping mall hell), but some characters just never (or, almost never) have enough killing power to make more powerful grinding spots (read: usually similar or worse EXP/HP ratio, but overall more powerful, enemies) actually worth it. If we naïvely model grinding so that all enemies have arbitrarily large HP values, but leave their EXP/HP ratios intact, it seems like any MapleStory character ideally grinds at whatever location has monsters with the largest EXP/HP ratio. Obviously, this is not actually the case; it becomes clear at some point when a character outgrows a grinding spot, and more powerful monsters are more appealing (even if EXP/HP ratios are a bit scattered throughout this process).

A less naïve model looks at, for each grinding spot, the maximum possible EPH that can theoretically be attained. This is done by imagining that every monster is instantly slain as soon as it spawns. Obviously, this is purely theoretical; even a very powerful fourth job mage realistically can’t even get that close to this level of efficiency, in most maps. For characters who can easily one-shot the monsters on the map, their ability to get as close as they can to this theoretical limit is limited by the dispersion of their damage. A character can only make their damage so diffuse; the most powerful mobbing attacks in the game hit a maximum of 15 monsters at once, and all attacks have a finite reach (even so-called “full-map attacks”). Furthermore, the mobility of the character factors into how much they can disperse their damage. And in cases where one-shotting all monsters cannot be taken for granted, we have to take into account something like (basically) the distribution of how much time spent in sustained attacking it takes to slay a given monster, which is, furthermore, a function of various factors like e.g. the skills being used, the character’s stats, the monster’s MAXHP, MDEF, WDEF values, etc.

Similarly, we can consider the maximum possible aggregate (read: summed across an arbitrarily large number of ideally-positioned monsters, each with infinite HP) DPH that can theoretically be attained by our model MapleStory character. The reason, then, why training spots are easily outgrown (at least, significantly more easily than we would expect from the naïve model mentioned earlier) is because of a few effects:

  • The map is just theoretically better: The theoretical EPH limit on a map naturally keeps actual EPH numbers well below it; if the new map has a considerably higher theoretical limit, this helps give it the edge in cases where the character is approaching the theoretical limit of the old map sufficiently closely. And again, in this context, “sufficiently closely” really isn’t that close to the actual theoretical limit; practical limits are lower (and “softer” in the sense that you can theoretically break them), and perhaps more importantly, the efficiency with which the character’s aggregate DPH is utilised starts to decline as the character approaches even a soft practical limit. Time spent effectively waiting for monsters to respawn (this doesn’t necessarily take the form of not attacking at all — simply fighting a subpar number of monsters, because the character is waiting for more to spawn, still counts towards this) is time wasted (or partially wasted, as the case may be).
  • Relative damage dispersion: Certain maps can be more conducive to damage dispersion (to some extent, this can be dependent on the character’s build). And, furthermore, we don’t necessarily care about the absolute damage dispersion per se; we care more about the damage dispersion relative to the actual locations of the monsters (i.e. the dispersion of the monsters) across the map. Some maps are just more compact, which tends to increase relative damage dispersion.
  • Overkilling: A monster that has x HP remaining and gets hit for y damage such that y > x effectively “wastes” yx damage (thus utilising the character’s aggregate DPH less efficiently). Overkilling to at least some degree is basically inevitable, but more egregious overkilling will result in more significant wasting of the aggregate DPH that could theoretically be output.
  • Threshold effects: A lot of factors go into the very general concept of what I’m calling “(theoretical) aggregate DPH” here. While obviously some of these are measures of the general ability of the character to output damage (their total stats e.g. STR, DEX, INT, LUK, WATK, MATK, etc., what skills they have, etc.), others are “threshold” effects in the sense that a given monster species imposes certain thresholds on those characters who would slay them. In particular, if the character is of a strictly lower level than the monster, then the character takes a penalty (in proportion to the difference between the monster’s level and theirs) to the damage that they deal. There is also a similar penalty for probability to hit, i.e. not “MISS” (with both physical and magical attacks). Another threshold is that of the monster’s WDEF/MDEF, which (in combination with the aforementioned effects) puts a threshold on how much raw damage (i.e. raw damage range) is necessary to deal >1 damage per line. Aside from this hard limit (viz. dealing ≤1 damage per line), as the WDEF/MDEF gets larger (for a given raw damage range), it starts to more strongly dominate the raw damage range, and this causes aggregate DPH (theoretical or otherwise) to decrease nonlinearly. You can, alternatively, think of this as putting a damper (a nonlinear one, at that) on the efficiency with which the character’s raw (i.e. considering only unbuffed level 1 monsters with 0 WDEF, 0 MDEF, etc.) theoretical aggregate DPH is utilised. Thinking of it in this latter way is more useful when considering a particular character (at a particular level), who is comparing two or more grinding maps against one other.

When it comes to peepee poopoo odd-jobbed characters getting stuck at CDs (or Fancy Amps/Kid Mannes/whatever), the reality is simply that Taipei 101 monsters have extraordinarily high EXP/HP ratios. More powerful characters have issues with:

  • Other maps just being theoretically better, as explained in the first item of the list above. Taipei 101 monsters may have great EXP/HP ratios, but their absolute MAXHP values are just not very impressive. High spawn counts help Taipei 101 here (i.e. increases theoretical maximum EPH), but only go so far.
  • Overkilling, as explained in the third item of the list above. Again, Taipei 101 monsters just don’t have that much MAXHP.

And yet, threshold effects are much less of an issue for more powerful characters. Taipei 101 monsters are (in this context) quite low level, so their levels are never an issue, and they tend to have pretty pitiful WDEF/MDEF as well. Moving away from Taipei 101, threshold effects become more difficult to efficiently overcome, which poses a serious issue for our peepee poopoo odd-jobbed characters, but not nearly as much for our more powerful characters. For a concrete comparison, let’s look at some of the monster species that I mentioned previously:

name locale level WDEF MDEF MAXHP EXP/kHP*
Greatest Oldies Taipei 101 76 400 450 8 500 94.1
Latest Hits Compilation Taipei 101 72 300 350 7 900 88.6
Dreamy Ghost Mushroom Shrine 100 810 580 68 000 47.1
Gallopera Kampung Village 94 820 540 43 000 58.1
Petrifighter Singapore CBD 110 900 600 80 000 56.9

As you can see, CDs just have pathetic WDEF values when compared to these other three species. They are also much lower level, have much less MAXHP, and give much more EXP per HP. If your per-target damage just isn’t that high, and you don’t have any fancy tricks to make up for it, the concerningly low MAXHP values of CDs are… not actually so concerning. On the other hand, the much lower EXP/HP ratios and much higher WDEF values of other species like Dreamy Ghosts, Galloperas, etc., are quite concerning. In this case, overkilling the squishy Taipei 101 monsters is never really an issue, and furthermore, other maps might have higher theoretical DPH limits, but when you aren’t even getting remotely close to the usual practical DPH limits, this becomes irrelevant. I’ve experimented with these other three species before, on multiple separate occasions (usually at the recommendation of another player), and I’ve yet to find a case where my EPH was not downgraded from what I would get at Taipei 101. This isn’t so much me complaining†, as it is just giving some theoretical basis (which I most definitely pulled directly out of my ass) for these seemingly strange (and possibly game-balance-breaking, depending on who you ask) effects, by which a character can get “stuck” at a grinding spot even when they seem to have other options ahead of them.

Footnotes for “Diversifying the sadsadgrind”

*I’m using base/raw EXP values here.

†On the other hand, I could frame the Taipei 101 situation (focussing on myself here) positively: Taipei 101 gives my characters a place to stay, and allows them to make the most out of what they can do. The kinds of EPH figures that I’m capable of clocking at Taipei 101 tend to be very impressive by odd job standards. Then again, I just wish that Taipei 101 wasn’t so hard to look at :')

capre LF>cardz

That’s right, folks. Moooooar card-hunting. My woodsmaster capreolina is on the hunt again, in pursuit of… well, hopefully T10 one day x)

cards. cards. cards.

On my way to Aqua Road via Orbis, I took the ship from Ellinia to Orbis. And it was there that I was bless’d with two crogs, which I defeated in exchange for a single lovely card~

Crimson Balrog card get!

I think I’m 2/5 on this set now. Or was it 3/5?

In any case, at Aqua Road I finished up the rest of the upper Aqua Road sets, which in my case just meant finishing Freezer and Sparker:

Freezer card get!

Sparker card get!

I then headed to the Omega Sector, via KFT, and started the Artificial Combatant Zeno questline. By the time that I actually had to kill Zeno, I was fortunate enough that there was already one there waiting for me!:

capre vs. Zeno

With that out of the way, I card-hunted the Kulan Field baddies: Zeta Gray, Ultra Gray, & Chief Gray (not Barnard Gray, as I was already 5/5 on them):

Zeta Gray card get!

Ultra Gray card get!

Chief Gray card get!

I then switched over to the Boswell Field baddies, like Plateon:

Plateon card get!

And I took a little break to do some beepy queues with IceGrinder (DarkCookie, Buqaneer), Permanovice (Battlesage, Dreamscapes), and babtong:

capreolina, IceGrinder, Permanovice, & babtong vs. Franken Lloyd

Then, back to Omega for Mateons and Mecateons:

Mateon card get!

Mecateon card get!

I also did the MT-09 card set. The first sweep that I did (all eight channels, for a total of 24 MT-09 kills) made it seem pretty easy: I already had 4/5 cards. Then I killed another 39 MT-09s… still 4/5. Ouf. Luckily, another MT-09 kill did the trick:

MT-09 card get!

And with that, I was done with the Omega Sector. So, off to El Nath I went, to pick off some of the easier El Nath card sets!

I stumbled across some White Fang and Hector cards o_o:

White Fang & Hector cards get!

A trip up the mountain took me to Riche’s domain; I did nearly a full sweep (killing a total of 23 Riches), only to obtain… a single card. Now, luckily I was already 3/5, so this took me to 4/5. Coming back later was enough to get that pesky 5/5:

Riche card get!

And while I was there, I got the Coolie Zombie set:

Coolie Zombie card get!

I remembered that once I leveled up, I would need an SE20 to allow me to dump all 3 SP into SE. So I bought one. And passed it!:

capre passes SE20

Nice ^^

Oh, and, speaking of Riche, there’s another card-dropping anti-bot monster that spawns in El Nath: the Snow Witch.

Snow Witch card get!

And, deep inside of the volcano around which the Dead Mine is constructed, I arrived at The Caves of Trial:

Firebomb card get!

(I finished the Firebomb set in Showa Town.)

Jr. Cerebes card get!

Cerebes card get!

And while waiting for more Snow Witches to spawn so that I could finish that set, I headed back to Watch Out for Icy Path I to get the Jr. Yeti set:

Jr. Yeti card get!

And I went to The Crown-Flyer to get the Pepe set as well:

Pepe cards get!

Besides being the only map in the game that spawns Pepes, I also like the name of this map. The “Crown” in “Crown-Flyer” presumably refers to the crowns that the Pepes wear, and the neat little isosceles ski slopes that can be found around this small map presumably make those crowns fly, if the Pepe ascends a slope at a sufficiently high speed…

And, with the Snow Witch and Pepe sets out of the way, I decided that was enough El Nath for now. So I headed to Malaysia to card-hunt the species there. First up were Emo Slimes and Chlorotraps:

Emo Slime card get!

Chlorotrap card get!

I took this opportunity to do the Malek’s Joy of Music questline, which is amazingly profitable fame-wise: 26 fame total, if you complete the entire questline!

Then, Oly Olys and Dark Fissions:

Oly Oly card get!

Dark Fission card get!

The associated questline here is Chee Wee’s Worries, which is… not as good. It’s pretty bad. Unless you really want those 20 Screws…

And finishing that Dark Fission set brought me to 210 completed sets overall!

capreolina obtains T7~

Tier 7!!!! Yey!!!!!!!

panolia attempts moar MPQing

I joined an MPQ group on my permarogue panolia. I joined the party of I/L mage MyDNA, priest MilkFactory, and chief bandit Considerada. We had a good run or two:

MyDNA, panolia, MilkFactory, & Considerada vs. Franken Lloyd

Although, unfortunately, we were playing through some pretty bad server lag. Eventually, it came to a head, and an unplanned server restart was scheduled while we were just starting stage four of an MPQ. Because the restart was scheduled to be in 15 minutes or so, we thought that we might have enough time to finish our MPQ, if we were quite swift about it. MyDNA and I made it to the top of stage six at roughly the same time, and I asked MilkFactory (who was the leader of the party) to pass the leadership to me so that I could start the fight immediately, instead of waiting for MilkFactory and Considerada to both finish stage six as well. Of course, I had momentarily forgotten that party leadership can only be transferred between characters who are in the same map — but it turned out not to matter anyways, as MilkFactory disconnected before ever finishing stage six, and we were thus all booted out of the PQ. Oh well; at least that ensured that I could definitely log off safely…

Moar be peekyooz

And finally, here are some more of the BPQs that I did :)

morb eepy cues

I did a pair of BPQs on my vicloc dagger spearwoman d34r, with fellow viclocker (and husband) xXCrookXx (Level1Crook, Lv1Crook) and STRginner Cortical (NoMoreStars, CokeZeroPill, SussyBaka), during which, I found something out about my spouse…

what is an brigand

Oh, and I also looted a forbidden card:

Jr. Lucida card get!!

My Monster Book is forever tainted. u_u

I also did a pair of BPQs with Cortical on my I/L magelet cervine:

cervine & Cortical vs. Lord Pirate

During which, I made GishGallop (Cortical) solo the Dyle stage as I Teleported around and screamed:

kill the big gator

And I also did some BPQs with a party consisting of me (as d34r), xXCrookXx, permapirate Copo (Bipp, Celim, Sommer, Fino, Sabitrama, Vicloc, Gets), daggermit Keppet (Rapskal), and assassin 2GirlsOneCup:

Copo, 2GirlsOneCup, xXCrookXx, Keppet, & d34r vs. Franken Lloyd

We did a pretty good job of fast eight-point runs, although we did encounter just one slight hiccup when Lord Pirate unexpectedly took to the skies:

Lord Pirate flies away

Spooky. Luckily for us, Lord Pirate could not sustain flight for very long, and came back to the ground, where we all collectively beat the living shit out of him. Good times.