Summer of 2018 was a total blast, readers (notwithstanding the Pumpkin King’s early invasion). DA staff planned a flurry of balls for students to enjoy, and the server took a brand new turn! It was a busy time for everyone, but it was also quite wonderful. Prepare yourselves for a long read, because it was a long summer.
This year’s first of the four Summer Balls was eagerly anticipated, with a large number of students crowding to the Great Hall for one last hurrah before the summer holidays. In fact, some students were camping out in the Great Hall foyer almost two hours before the ball opened! While the crowd waited, it was revealed that it was, in fact, our esteemed designer Miri (Mirima_Kitten)’s birthday! Naturally, the crowd burst into the Happy Birthday song, with Gemma (GemmaWatson) and Achilles (Mr_Pumpkin1) passing out flowers to celebrate. The crowd continued to grow in size, with 50 students at 11:30 EST growing to 70 half an hour later. Two old students, Rayla (RaylaKid) and Lin (Lindragonborn) showed up, to receive a very enthusiastic welcome. Even the Minister of Magic himself, Taz (ThatTaz) arrived, though he was not greeted quite so happily. Summer crate keys were given out with no explanation, prompting several to wonder what they could be for. When the hour for the ball to open arrived, it was announced that Taz was hiding and would have to be found before the ball could start. The search went on for more than half an hour, with it finally being revealed that Taz was at the ball location.
When the Great Hall doors were finally opened, we here at the Quibbler were amazed once again by the decoration skills of Miri and our very own Executive Editor Thistle (TThistle). The hall was covered in gigantic purple banners, and white marble pillars rose from the floor. Ivy intertwined with the pillars, creating the effect of a garland surrounding the dance floor. Tables laden with cake were near the Great Hall fireplaces, which appeared much the same as usual. However, the hall itself was not the only magnificent thing—there were scrumptious foods and drinks laid out as well. These included watermelon gobstoppers, strawberry shortcake, and fizzling bits, as well as Miri’s Mead and Thist’s Twister.
While the hall and food were both significant draws, the vast majority of the action was happening at the Summer Crate. Everyone had been given a key beforehand, but twenty more were distributed, causing so many people to swarm around the crate that it had to vanish so that the rest of the ballroom could be appreciated more fully. Following the removal of the crate, many students were suddenly hitting the dance floor—that is, until the crate was re-added, this time with no extra keys. A group photo shoot briefly distracted people from the crate but did not go for very long. Because of the large amount of distraction, the hall was shut down and re-opened later that evening with several new additions and the removal of the crate.
Around this time, the Quibbler received an anonymous tip-off that there were several secret rooms added specifically for the Summer Ball event, including a beach. Naturally, this writer headed off to the beach for some relaxation time, though I got lost in a sand pit whilst trying to find it. After actually finding the beach, some activities included a dunk tank, a diving board, a logic-defying maze, and, of course, more scrumptious food! Gazing at the waterfalls while munching on strawberry shortcake and frozen blueberry brooms is highly recommended.
Summer crate notwithstanding, we here at the Quibbler had a wonderful time!
Shortly after the summer holiday started, DA closed its doors for exactly one month while the staff was hard at work updating the server to 1.12. For two weeks, students and staff alike moped around, wishing they could spend even a few minutes on DA. And then, miraculously, plot world was reopened! Suddenly everyone was crowding to plot world to catch up on missed time and gossip about their summers thus far. After another two weeks of less-mopey waiting, 1.12 became official! Everyone clamored to take a peek at all of the new features the server boasted (many of which still have not been discovered). Three more balls followed the epic update in celebration.
The second summer ball was received just as warmly as the first, although the startup hype wasn’t quite as dramatic (probably because everyone had expended their dramatic sides being delighted over 1.12). Students again crowded around outside the doors to the Great Hall, waiting to see what wonders they would find this time.
Upon entering the ball, students were greeted with a sign that, when clicked, gave them an amazing #SummerBall’18 tag and two free keys. The Great Hall was decorated much the same as before, although the hidden rooms had changed quite a bit. Gone were the mysterious maze and beautiful beach. In their places, the rooms had transformed into some beguiling, and dare we say dangerous, activities.
The dunk tanks had moved from the beach and were granted the honor of their very own room. Another room sported a leafy and nature-filled parkour course that was rather challenging. Still another room was just . . . a room. It played host to the lost and found, of all things. The final secret room was another parkour, semi-mixed with a bouncy house! Students would parkour as high as they could (or wished) then JUMP! where they would soon land on the bouncy floor and boing back into the sky for as long as they desired.
The dance floor was packed for most of the evening, although something strange was occurring quite frequently. Upon consuming a mysterious beverage, students were suddenly floating in midair and glowing various colors! The drink name was never disclosed, and after a brief investigation, it was determined that it wasn’t dangerous. After learning that nugget of information, students crowded around to get their very own taste of the captivating concoction.
Something that you may not be aware of is the change to the pet system at Hogwarts. Instead of only purchasing or winning pets, there is now a crate, and keys are distributed in order to obtain said pets (of which there are dozens of new and exotic animals available). At the second, third, and fourth balls, pet crate keys were distributed by the armload, and students eagerly discovered the new friends they would be able to wander the halls of Hogwarts with.
The third and fourth balls were essentially the same as the second, although they were just as fun-filled as the first two!