First of all - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! May your favourite MMORPG prosper, and your quests be interesting and as less grinding as possible.
I spent almost all Christmas (3 days) in Istaria. Different impressions though.
First - crafting. SInce it was Christmas, I did not want to hunt anything, just peacefully craft. So, I went to Mithril's Anvil and began running to mine, then to blacksmith structure and back to mine. Counted that it takes me 14 run to earn 1 million xp points, i.e. to advance by 1 level. Had to kill 2 golems, but it was their fault since they attacked me.
Sunday was hunting day. Initially I went to hunt for lvl.80 crystals. Thought to obtain them from lvl.92-96 Twisted Automaton. First fight ended in running - monster called for help and I could not fight versus entire self-healing group. Then I returned, tried to lure single Automaton and finish it. No hope this time - he again was helped by other Automaton and I was almost killed. Had to teleport immediately.
I went into some kind of despair. All of my multiclassing seemed to be ruined. Soon, Player S. asked for some help: they were fighting in New Brommel deadlands and needed some healing help. Rushed to them, only to find difficult situation. They were in the middle of the battlefield, surrounded by horde of lvl.92-99 monsters. My heals helped somehow, but when I resurrected a Dragon - well, the Dragon was immediately re-killed. Soon, I was surrounded and killed too. Player S. promised revenge on mosters for that.
It was time to peacefully harvest mithrill again. I advanced by some 2 levels and now am lvl.93 Weaponsmith. Only 7 levels to long-awaited level 100!
Then, one friendly Drgaon was hunting for deadly Bloodskulks and I decided to risk and help him. And yes, one very friendly and helpfull Dragon was fighting there, so I was almost obliged to fight side by side with them.
The fight was hard, I was attacked by deadly enemies several times, but managed to escape somehow and heal our Dragons. But our Dragons went too far, I was surrounded, stunned and easily killed.
I thought it was dead end. Crafting was going too slow, and I could not think about fighting. Fortunately, death points soon were faded and I decided just to take a walk.
This walk was succesfull: I found Bhalkuk Warriors. Level 92-94 Storm ogres, doing Enegry and Nature damage. Picked them one by one and killed them one by one. Trophies were good: xp points and trophy coins for me, Tier 5 technologies for the Guild and hoard components for Player S. Yes, the ogres were a bit hard enemy, especially with stun, but they were defeated. Only one time I had to run from them: when 3 ogres attacked me at once. Otherwise - it was a superb time. I gave 2 technologies to one friendly Dragon (he told he needed it), others were given to the Guild. I gained trophies that would help me to advance quickly. And, thanks to Ogres, I advanced to lvl.89 in Cleric school.
I also felt -despite some despair - that with the Guild, I was not alone. I was offered help all the time, like "If you need some help with killing enemy -ask me". Was fortunate enough to help my Player S. with her hunt.
I also witnessed some Rites of Passage: Player S. finally became Adult dragon, ascending in a heavy monster-infested place. Two of the Dragons I knew became powerfull Ancient ones. It was fantastic show...
Overall: I am satisfied since I found easier way to level up crafting and I found monsters I could hunt easily for trophies + technologies. SO - Christmas in istaria were just good. I believe I would be lvl.100 Weaponsmith before New Year.