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The Catastrophe (大災害 Dai Saigai, also referred to as the Apocalypse, Revolution, May Incident, Third World Fraction, and Eclipse) refers to the event on May 3, 2018 that trapped all players who were logged into the popular MMORPG Elder Tale inside of the game.
It was triggered by the release of the game's twelfth expansion pack, Homesteading the Noosphere. Among its most immediate effects was trapping over 30,000 Japanese players and several hundred thousand other players worldwide. Along with these players, the Travelers were also brought into Theldesian world, although they purposely involved themselves in the event.
Events at the Time of the Catastrophe
Around the time the Catastrophe struck, the Ancients had to fight the Genius monsters that suddenly broke out of the Apocalypse Fortress ahead of schedule. Elias had the main vanguard go ahead to the Fortress; because the transport gate to get there wasn't yet complete, the Ancients drained the magic out of the rest of the worlds' transport gates, making them them nonoperational when the Adventurers awoke in Theldesia.
Immediates Effects of the Catastrophe
The NPCs, known as Landers, were also affected by this incident. Depending on the perspective, either they suddenly gained memories, personalities and backgrounds, or the Adventurers who had existed in their world as combat automatons did. Other changes include the fact that they weren't giving out quests, a change that was in fact brought about by their shock over what they called the "May Incident". This effectively left the Adventurers with nothing to do. Since survival itself was extremely cheap (living a simple life, 15 gold at minimum; average of 35 Gold per day), there was little incentive for them to venture out beyond their cities and earn more money. As a result, the Adventurers had to deal with overwhelming feelings of despair and boredom. Some of them resorted to killing other players (PKing) just to pass the time, knowing that their victims would revive at the Cathedral.
With the Adventurers of Akihabara now governing themselves and creating new foods and inventions, the People of Land became envious of the formerly 'disorganized mob' and competed with each other to attain those benefits. The League of Freedom Cities Eastal formed an alliance with Akiba's Round Table Alliance. In Minami and Nakasu, Plant Hwyaden became the sole guild and took control of the Holy Empire Westelande's nobles.
It is currently unknown if the people in the real world know of the players' mysterious sudden disappearance on that event or not.
Changes Over Time
After the Catastrophe, people began discovering ways of doing things in this world that hadn't been in the game. Nureha, using her Overskill, took over all of Minami and the Holy Empire Westelande within one month, even gaining a large following on the first day. She and her forces discovered Real Food Preparation around the same time as or before Nyanta; their discoveries returned flavorful food to the citizens of their respective cities and reintroduced them to the Landers.
Players whose avatars were of the opposite gender found that while they had their avatars' bodies, their voices remained the same. Over time, though, their voices shifted to match their bodies'. Furthermore, it was theorized that the Adventurers' minds were also starting to change to match the physical bodies, causing enough of a stir that the Roderick Firm developed Minor Appearance Reset Potions so that Adventurers who wanted to return to their real-life gender could do so.
- At the beginning of the anime, most of the characters in Log Horizon don't seem to dwell very long on pondering how they became trapped inside of the game (or even whether they're inside the game or instead in a parallel universe that resembles the game). However, in the light novel, Shiroe and Naotsugu spend quite a while considering these two options and discussing the possible implications of each.
- In the West Wind Brigade manga, the effects of the Catastrophe on the players is also shown; Isami is most notably distressed, and an unnamed player is mentioned to have attempted suicide in order to try and escape the game but failed.
- The Travelers call the Catastrophe by a different name. The kanji that Roe2 uses reads 合致 (Pact), but the ruby characters tell us that it is read as エクリプス (Eclipse).