Happy Birthday Harry Potter (and J. K. Rowling)!

Today we say Happy Birthday to Harry Potter (for those of you who don't live in England it's already July 31st there).

In addition to this wonderful event I'd like to mention that earlier this year was Hogwarts Live's ten year (yes, that's right TEN YEARS!) anniversary.

As a special treat to all of you we are releasing some changes to the site. If that wasn't already enough we're doing a Double Donation Day and multiple candy raffles!

Double Donation Day means you get double the points when you donate to HL and the candy raffles are really great. Go check them out! ^^

I'd like to specifically call out Juan, Pam, all our staff and testers for helping get these changes done and ready for live.

Some of these new changes to the site are:
EIGHT new specialties, all based on the Harry Potter universe.
Knight Bus, which is located under Travel, for a few gems allows you to travel without being getting stopped by pesky waylays, but you might get a negative buff.
Honeydukes, where you can buy a delicious treat, but be careful you might not like what you eat!

Various modules were also fixed.

Please petition any bugs found, anyone caught abusing these will be punished.

Families, Family Discussions, and Godric's Hollow

Several years ago, our chats were being inundated with "will someone adopt me??????" posts, older players jumping all over new firstyears with questions like, "Do you have a mom or dad yet???" or "Do you want to be adopted????" and pages and pages of players discussing who they were related to, how they were related , when they became related, etc. Most of these discussions would take place multiple times every day with (frequently) the same participants.

When it wasn't a family trying to figure out all the snarls and twists and turns in their family tree, it was a family arguing over some family issue. Not just members of a family RPing together, and not even a real RP to be honest since it was more of a discussion than "acting," but people arguing over why they wouldn't recognize a certain family member or some other sort of drama that was strictly family-related.

These discussions and arguments would disrupt RPs already taking place and/or conversations taking place with players just chatting.

To help keep chats a bit more tidy, we installed Godric's Hollow with the intent of that being the "family village" (see original post here http://www.hogwartslive.com/blog/post/469/godrics-hollow ). All requests for adoptions, whether it be someone looking for a family or someone looking for a new member to their existing one, would take place here, as well as all discussions of family trees, family arguments that were about family-related topics, and anything else that came up within a family.

In the time since installing Godric's, this has worked well as most players have moved their conversation to Godric's or owls or to a dwelling when asked by staff. It has only been recently that players have been ignoring multiple requests and warnings by staff, hence the
NOTICE that was posted on every page (until this blog post).

This does not mean that players cannot address a family member in chat by their title, i.e.
"Hi mom!" or "WitchyWoman waves to her sister." It does not mean that players cannot refer to being related to another player in cases like, "Oh you know SamSpit? He's my brother." It does not mean that you cannot ask someone if they are related to someone else, as long as you're not asking for that person's entire pedigree. "Hi, SaraSugar. Are you SallyMay's sister?" It does not mean that family members cannot RP together.

All we are asking is that if you are going to start a discussion about who your relatives are or have an issue with your family about your family, please do it either in owls, a dwelling, or in Godric's Hollow. If you are looking to be adopted or see someone that you would like to adopt, post in Godric's or owl them. And if a simple comment about a family member unintentionally turns into a discussion about your family and a staffer asks you to move it out of chat, MOVE it. Simple.

In cases where players ignore a staffer's request to move out of regular chat or players that keep having to be asked (as in multiple instances), staff can and will mute.

Thank you.

Internet Safety/Online Relationships

We have a few rules here on HL that are there to protect our younger players from being preyed upon by our older ones. However, it really is up to YOU as a player to ensure that you stay safe and free from harm.

Personal Info. PLEASE do not give out your personal info such as home address, home OR cell phone number, email address or even a messenger contact info(AIM, YIM, MSN) UNLESS you really, truly know the person. Even giving out your real name can be dangerous, so please limit that to ONLY your first name if you feel the need to share that information. Ask Danilo about how even just a name can lead to someone finding out where you live, if you don't believe me.

Online Relationships. I realize that meeting new people and making new friends is what attracts most people to the net. I too think it's great that we are able to meet so many different people from all around the world. But with that said, not everyone has the same intentions and/or feelings. There are many people out there who, to put it bluntly, just like to rack up the score with how many people they can...er..score with.

It is VERY easy to lie online and to be lied to. Finding love online is not as easy as some may think. Although it IS possible to find that love of your life (Edmund and Serenity ;)), not everyone is actually looking. As I said, it is up to YOU to protect yourself. Someone claiming that they love you after chatting a few times, or telling you that you are the only one, is probably really not true. Please don't get caught up too much in the fantasy part of many sites.

The LAW.Anyone 18 years old and older is considered an adult and it is illegal for them to "be with" anyone under the age of 18. Even though nothing sexual is supposed to be happening on the site anyway, we realize that we really have no way to stop it when it's done in private, i.e. OWLS. HOWEVER, we CAN and DO monitor owls so be warned.

ANYONE over the age of 18 that is caught doing ANYTHING inappropriate with a minor WILL be permanently banned. Not only that, but Danilo can and will contact your ISP to let them know what you do online so they can alert the proper authorities. Even using this site as a fishing hole and taking it off-site can be cause for a ban if we hear about it.

Again, please use common sense when forming online relationships and in your interactions with other people. Not just here but any site you visit.

Thank you.

Special Valentine's Day Raffle

Today's candy raffle is very special. If you win it you and your in-game spouse get 10,000 donator points each!

I normally don't raffle off donator points so be sure to jump on this rare opportunity.

To participate just exchange the beans you find in the forest at the Candy Raffle located on the bottom left hand side of the site under Global. As a special treat all raffle tickets cost only 5 beans.

Also, if you'd like to do something extra nice for that special someone you can always donate on their behalf by clicking the PayPal Contribute button on their bio page.

May you all be blessed with hugs, kisses, and yummy chocolates! :)

Rules Reminder

We have recently been seeing more and more instances of certain rules being broken and we just want to remind you of a few things...

Trying to hack into the server, trying to crack other user's passwords, or otherwise doing something detrimental to the integrity or security of HL is strictly forbidden. Do not use scripts or bots to automate game tasks as they may burden the server. You must report any bugs or exploits you discover using the Petition for Help link. Using bugs or exploits to improve your stats will result in a temp ban and/or having your account locked. Those who report bug abuse or means of doing may receive a reward.

Alternate characters (alts)
You may have UP TO 4 accounts per IP address. If you decide to make more than that, your highest account(s) will be locked until you are back down to 4 accounts. If you choose to make more than one account, they may not interact with each other. This means no arguing between your accounts, no sending gold or pets from one account to another, no PvPing yourself, etc. Don't create an alt for drama purposes either. If you do, your main may be locked. Also, do NOT refer your own account(s).*** This type of cheating is just in bad taste. Again, we may decide to lock your main account if you do. If you share a computer, Internet connection, or Network with another player we will assume there is only one person at the keyboard and you will be held responsible for all activity that originates from your account or IP address.

***This also includes your "sisters" or "brothers." Only refer people that don't live in your house.

Also, if you suspect someone of being an alt, it's not your duty to announce it in chat or ask them whose alt they are.
It's none of your business. If you know someone to be an alt, keep it to yourself unless you have permission from the person to share that information with others.

(I would like to note that the only foolproof way to keep an alt a secret is to not tell anyone. I don't care if you only tell your BFF- it will get out somehow. )

Appropriate content
Keep your comments and actions appropriate for all ages. This means watch your language, watch your sexual content, and absolutely, NO CYBERING ANYWHERE ON THE SITE. Owls and dwellings are not excluded from this. If we have evidence, or in some cases even just suspect that you are here only for sexual reasons, you WILL be banned.

Do not bully/harass someone for how they are roleplaying just because it is not how you RP or how you perceive RP has to be. You are not a RP king/queen and do not have the right to tell someone how to RP or make fun of them for how they choose to RP. As long as their RP partner(s) is fine with how they RP, it is none of your concern. If you do not like how someone RPs, do not RP with them, it is that simple. If you do not like seeing their posts, use the ignore feature.

Examples of spam:
Posting one or two lines of a song is alright, posting more is not allowed and considered spam.

The full list of rules can be found in the FAQ, located in every village. You may want to take a moment to review those as well, as not knowing them does not excuse you from having to follow them.

Thanks, and have a good day! xD

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House Christmas Tree Winner

You see Hagrid carrying Holiday Trees to the Common Rooms.

The biggest, sparkliest, twinkliest tree belongs to the
Slytherin clan!
Many of the other halls also sport beautifully decorated trees in their windows.

Congratulations, Slytherin! You keep the House buff until the end of January!

Happy Holidays!

Once again it's that time of year...Christmas! We know that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but we'd like to wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous Kwanzaa and/or whatever else you may celebrate. If you don't celebrate anything, we hope this winter is your best one yet :)

We've opened another new village for your enjoyment-
Polareia Borealis. Here you will find most of our holiday modules, from the Ice Hotel to the Dreidel game at the peanut stall. You can also try to build the best snowman in all the wizarding world! Or maybe you'd just like to visit the Ice Castle!

We also have opened a Holiday Gift shop which can be found in each village. This is the place to go to buy your family, friends, and even rivals presents for the holidays. The gifts can be opened starting on Christmas Day (December 25) at the fireplace in your Common Room. You will have until December 31 to open them all. In the meantime, you can visit the Fireplace inside your Common Room to check to see how many presents are waiting for you! Everyone will receive at least one present so be sure to open yours on Christmas Day!
(NOTE: Some of you may see references to Valentine's Day at the Fireplace. Just ignore it and pretend it says Christmas. xD It's just a typo and doesn't affect your presents.)

In the past we have had a few problems with players being nasty to each other with the Holiday Gifts Anonymous Sender feature. This year, we have in place a security measure to ensure that no one is truly anonymous. Although the recipient of a not-so-nice gift will not know who the gift is from, the Staff will know. Those that send nasty messages through the Holiday Gifts will be dealt with in the same way as if it was said in chat. Offensive messages on gifts can be reported by petition, just like offensive owls, through a link in each gift.

For a little friendly House competition, each House has been given a Holiday Tree to decorate. Players can go to their Common Room and help decorate it by using forest fights, gold and/or gems. The House with the best tree at the end of the year will earn the House buff for the entire month of January.

We hope you enjoy these new features and once again, Happy Holidays!

2.5 million people need emergency food assistance in the Philippines

2.5 million people need emergency food assistance in the Philippines. Please help if you can. Any amount you can give will make a difference. If you send your receipt to I will give you the equivalent amount of donator points here on Hogwarts Live.

World Food Program USA is a four star charity with 96.4% of moneys donated going directly to help those in need (source).

Donate to WFP

Up to 4 million children may be affected by the typhoon (called Yolanda locally). These children desperately need shelter, clean water, medicine and nutrition supplies -- the same area is already reeling from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake just three weeks ago. If you want your donation to go to the children please Donate to UNICEF.

Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to ever make landfall, left an estimated 2.5 million people in need of emergency food assistance. That's more people in need of immediate assistance than WFP's food relief in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2010. WFP is racing to respond with emergency food supplies to help hungry children and families in need.

Please help those in greatest need by donating today in support of WFP's emergency response in the Philippines.


For those complaining how it's so unfair that players are getting muted for breaking rules, here's how we see it:

1. Most of the players getting muted KNOW they are breaking the rules and have been previously warned for such behavior. We are not the LA judicial system and you all are not Lindsay Lohan. Sorry, but you're not going to continue to get free passes when YOU know you are breaking rules and WE know that YOU know you are breaking the rules.

From the rules, #15:
"Usually you'll get 2 warnings before you're muted, but in some cases staff CAN decide to instant mute you, or only give you one warning before a mute."

2. My favorite complaint is how OTHER people are causing your mutes. Really? Are they somehow astral projecting and possessing your body to type out and post all those "go kill yourself," "you're a stupid, idiotic, whore," and "you're fat and ugly and even my dog wouldn't !@%k you," etc. comments? Are they hacking into your account and posting for you? Most of you getting in trouble are adults. Learn to take responsibility for your own actions.

3. IGNORE CHAT USER. IGNORE CHAT USER. IGNORE CHAT USER. IGNORE CHAT USER. IGNORE CHAT USER. IGNORE CHAT USER. See above about taking responsibility for your own actions. I realize that this takes all your "fun" out of it, but this way all the *other* people can't get *you* muted. *eyeroll*

4. When we mute someone, we have two options. We can Temp Mute for 1 hour or we can Perm Mute. In cases where the mute is going to last more than a couple hours, it is easier to just hit Perm Mute. Each extra hour of a Temp mute has to be done manually and it sends out a new owl each time. That saves us unnecessary clicking and that saves you all unnecessary owls. Perm mutes are rarely ever permanent. Some do last more than a day or two, but hardly any ever last forever. Staff has been instructed to now give a time frame in a Perm Mute owl or you will be told that the actual length has yet to be determined and an Admin will get back to you.

Sidenote, since this has also been a problem: A mute means that YOU are not allowed to post in chat. Not just that one character. So if you already have alts (ANY account on that same IP), you are not allowed to log into one of those other accounts and post in chat. You are not allowed to make a new account just so you can talk either. Evading a mute will result in the length of your original mute being doubled, and if you continue to evade, you can be banned.