Game Update 61 is currently due to go live on Thursday, August 25, 2011. (Note the date change!) As usual, there is quite a bit going on with this GU, and I will be mainly focusing on the crafting and housing details.
Before I tackle that, though, I have one warning. Camp somewhere safe before this GU hits. Your gear will all end up no longer attuned and in overflow, your AA will all be unspent (and because of this your buffs will need to be redone as well), and, in general, you're not going to want to get into a fight the moment you log in. :D (For those wanting more details, here is the link to the post from Smokejumper)
It really isn't a dire thing, as long as you're aware that it will happen, and plan accordingly (show up a bit early if you're going to be raiding the day of the patch and suchforth). The gear attunement thing is due to all the stat changes to gear in this GU and the AA respec is due to changes to the AA trees. (I'll cover the tradeskill aspects of both of these briefly below, but if you want more details on the adventuring side, I recommend the SOE forums, etc.)
On the tradeskill side of things, you can spend up to 25 of your total AAs in the tradeskill tree. (You can spend up to 5 of that 25 on any single item, as long as you follow the progression rules below.) To be clear, this is not a separate AA pool - this is 25 points of the overall 300-point cap for AA, since you can earn AA from both adventuring and crafting. I suspect the more devoted crafters will want to spend those 25 points, however, given what they can get from them:
First Row: Ample Harvest (chance to harvest a second time), Swift Creation (progress increase), High Quality Materials (durability increase). You must spend 10 points in this row before you can unlock the second row of this AA tree.
Second Row: Rapid Manufacturing (progress increase), Resilient Materials (durability increase), Effective Method (success chance increase), Advantageous Practice (critical success chance increase). You must spend 10 points in this row before you can unlock the third row.
Third Row: Trim Reaver (increase rare harvest chance), Conservation of Mass (chance to use no materials when crafting an item) Since you only get to spend a maxium of 5 points in this row (due to needing to spend 10 each in the first two rows), you'll be making some tough choices.
||Fancy Fulginate Divider|
||Plain Fulginate Divider|
In addition to these yummy new dividers, existing crafted wooden dividers from the various tiers now have matching tile recipes! (The new tiles will go with the ones with "room divider" in the name on this page.)
Not only do these paintings contain no orcs, but they're absolutely gorgeous!
They are: Odus Wastelands, the Halls of Fallen Guk (pictured here on the new indium room divider)
I really feel like I could almost walk right into these paintings, when they are enlarged to full size (and they can be enlarged quite a bit!). The backs of these two paintings is a solid wood-grain, which can also have some decorating uses.
This is an absolutely HUGE project, and no matter how many eyes we have looking at it on Test and Test_Copy, it won't catch everything, especially since some of the changes are still going on. If you find something awry when the GU goes live, put in a /bug with the item name and details, and hope for a hotfix later in the week.
So, what are we looking at on the crafted side of things? Hopefully crafted gear that is a bit more desirable in all tiers. In many cases, you may lose a bit on attributes (STR/STA/etc., etc), but have anywhere from one to four effects/"stats" added on (potency, critical mitigation, etc.). I'd give you some examples, but they're still jiggling around a bit on Test, and I don't want to mis-represent anything, only to find it changed when things hit the live servers on Tuesday.
At last check, it sounded like each vote stays in effect for 48 hours before it ages out, so if you want to keep yourself in the ratings, you'll want to be encouraging regular visitors.
Yep, it looks a bit different now, doesn't it? You want the second button from the far right, which is the publish/unpublish house button.
You'll be given a bit of basic information, including the warning that once you publish your home, you will not be able to pick up/move/pack items without first unpublishing your home. (Among other things, this is to prevent folks from racking up a high rating then emptying the house while still luring in voters.) So, try to make sure your house is actually ready for votes before you publish it, and/or be ready to scrounge up fresh voters once you unlist, move things around, and relist the home.
You will be prompted for a name - since this is what visitors will see when they are browsing /house_ratings, put something descriptive in that will make folks want to visit. (Clearly, I wasn't trying to scare up visitors with house "Test" - I was just getting screenshot fodder!)
You get to add ONE screenshot to go beside your home listing, so make it count! Run around your home, find a representative shot that might make folks interested to see more, get into first person mode if you aren't already, park pets out of the way, what have you. If you don't like the shot that displays at this point, adjust your view accordingly until you find one you like, then click "Take Picture". As long as you don't click the Publish button, you can re-take the picture until you come up with one you like.
You may give from 1 to 5 stars based on both creativity and style, and are allowed to give partial stars. If you wish to change your vote and/or refresh the vote timer, you can do so, but it will change your old vote NOT give you a second vote. You will be able to make one vote per home per account, and cannot vote on homes that are on the same account as the character placing the vote.
Of course, it helps to know how/where to place your vote, right? In addition to finding a voting button on the house control panel (far right button, a gold star) when you visit a home, you will also find a small gold star on your screen, in the upper left quadrant. Click on either, and you can place your vote.
Engraved Drunder Tile, Insignia Tile of Sullon Zek, Insignia Tile of Tallon Zek, Insignia Tile of Vallon Zek, Sullonite Carved Tile, Sullonite Paving Stones, Tallonite Carved Tile, Tallonite Paving Stones, Vallonite Carved Tile, Vallonite Paving Stones. (Pictured here with insignia on top row, carved in middle row, paving on bottom row.)
|Engraved Drunder Tile
||Insignia Tile of Sullon Zek
||Sullonite Carved Tile
||Tallonite Carved Tile
|Insignia Tile of Vallon Zek
||Tallonite Paving Stones
||Vallonite Carved Tile
||vallonite Paving Stones
|Insignia Tile of Tallon Zek
||Sullonite Paving Stones|
YUM. These tiles are also the same from the bottom as the top, so if you want to raise them up to work as ceiling tiles, they work out nicely.