I did try to log on just before eight in the morning, UK time, to get the pet-levelling under way again, but there was no patch to be downloaded, which seemed a bit strange - and logging in just brought the "cannot connect to server" window. So, a quick trip to the forum shoutbox confirmed that the game was still down for maintenance, while the GMs, in collaboration with our chums in South Korea, tried to get the new additions to the game to work. We knew it was going to be a big patch, but this meant that American players lost all of last evening's play...and now over in Europe our morning activities were being put on hold, too.
We could at least read the new Patch Notes, to see what we would soon be getting. A number of further items are now weightless, so that scrolls, minerals and the "great" size of HP and MP potions now won't weigh one's inventory down, or cost money to put into storage - more importantly this also applies to tool aids. Apparently some titan skills have actually been "fixed", including Tyrant; the soccer event has ended, and, for one week, the "Fourth of July" event is with us, with stars, stripes, and the ringmaster-type Uncle Sam hats being dropped.
The major new things, though, are the Socketing system, adding extra bonuses to items, the Lacarette system, adding an in-game type of "Loot Wheel" to spend some new tokens that can be got as drops or bought, and the Costume 2 system, introducing a non-melding way to wear costumes and armour at the same time and get a bonus to your stats. Unfortunately this doesn't apply to our existing costumes, such as phoenix headgear or sunglasses, but only to newly-introduced next-generation costumes, which were a bit hard to find. The "wild western" outfits in the in-game mall apparently are now "C2", and thus rather tempting.
The main problem with the Socketing system seems to be the expense. The best type of scroll to add sockets to an item that one can purchase, a sublime socket scroll, costs 700 aeria points ($7.00), and warns "socket creation can fail" (though [GM]Ozymandias assured us that the item itself won't break)...and then one needs gems to actually fill the sockets. If you want to upgrade the jewel levels, another 245 ap gets you a platinum stabiliser - but "jewel upgrades can fail". So, a complex operation, and an expensive one. And apparently if Collector Ryl converts a socketed mid-level weapon or piece of armour from one class to another, not only are the sockets lost, but it will never again be possible to add sockets to it.
The servers actually went up at just after 9:15, UK time, though with warnings that we weren't to log in until we were told that it was safe. A couple of minutes later "LC is fully operational!!!! Let the Chaos begin!!!" was the announcement from [GM]Stratos, before, presumably, he headed off for a well-earned rest.
The game patched quickly on the older computer, and SirDarth logged in finally for some pet-levelling on Sarissa-4. "So far so good", he commented in Randol when he arrived, and the only other person there, LadyWaddaUWant, agreed with a "yep". RedRackham logged in on Cariae-4 as well, and, after mining some quality stones, a rather unglamorous way to start this bold new era, headed for the gnoll lancers to work on his drake.
There was a disconnection at around eleven, which isn't entirely unprecedented, but otherwise the pet-levelling went smoothly. In the shoutbox, one new bug became apparent - at the moment, the melding of the existing costume covers onto armour can no longer be done. Supraklr was overjoyed to find that his titan skills were indeed improved, as promised.
During the afternoon, my level 41 witch on Auzura, MistressSabina, had a trip out into Merac, to fight monsters around her own level in the hope that some of the new gemstones would drop. Over a little under two hours, I did get six assorted gemstones, which if put into sockets would add 1% to mana regeneration rate, hit points, mana points...things like that I also got three of the tokens for the Lacarette wheel, so was able to have a "course B" try on that - all I got was a package of ten of the greatest mana recovery potions, not something that, I think, I've seen before, but not greatly useful.
As well as fighting the elite frenzied berserkers, Sabina went far enough down the road to do her quest to kill 25 gnoll soldiers, and then spent some time on level two of Maargadum jail. By the end, helped greatly by the quest reward, she had added 17.06%, 93 skill points, and 827 pet points.
I was also doing a bit of helping out in the shoutbox, providing links to the details about the new additions to the game, and the gamesage Liof, known in-game as Waffles, seemed grateful. It was strange, I worked out an all-purpose post giving links to the pages with details about the socket system and the Lacarette wheel, and Liof's own thread giving more information about the C2 costumes and where to find them, and it worked fine... but when a little later I got over-elaborate and made "books of melding" and the Tomb's "condition" bold, then the links no longer worked...
The evening was devoted to low-level Mad Monster Spawns, which were as much fun as they used to be. As I had to log out before Tairen's turn, I only went to five of them, with suitable rogues - RedRider, level 27, on Auzura, Memree, level 31, on Katar, Karella, level 28, on Cariae, RedRyder, 39, on Sarissa, and RedRyder again, at level 24, on Hatzring. The first three were done by [GM]Darasuum, who has hosted them before; then [GM]AwesomeSauce (or in-game just [GM]Awesome) took over, and if anything gave us more of the usual monsters...but less of the usual loot. There were a lot of people at the events, since this was really the only big get-together type of event scheduled for this week, so the loot vanished very quickly.
Your reporter did ask [GM]Awesome if we could get back to having this event, and the high-level MMS, and the "Storm the Castle", every week...well, there's no harm in asking. The reply was "Well, I can't say how often they'll be, but hopefully more often!"
So, that made for an enjoyable evening, even though the fighting part of each event only took about five minutes. SirDarth kept on with his drake-levelling on Sarissa-4, and by the end of the evening, his drake was in level 23.