So we decided to start the donation drive for the January server renewal a bit early so we're not rushed to get it done. We have also decided it's time to upgrade the site from GWRS 1.0 (a myBB forum) to GWRS 2.0 (an IP Website - significant difference, see below). How this is going to work is we're going to secure the money for the server renewal first, then overflow from that funds the upgrade.
We're on a 6 month renewal cycle, it's due up early January. All our stuff runs on it:
- GWRS Website
- Other Websites
For quite some time we've known we were going to outgrow the current myBB forum but have put it off because of a cost benefit ratio not being favourable enough. With SM still declining and Eternal Crusade on the horizon it was decided now's the time. The launch of EC forums caught us a bit off guard, we had hoped to have this all done before they went live but C'est La Vie. It's still worth upgrading though, this upgrade is part 1 of 2; part 1 is shifting to the new forum software and getting everything running smooth, part 2 will be to get a fully customized GWRS theme (so much more than a background image) made sometime next year.
Right now GWRS is a basic myBB forum with a host of plugins and custom code stuffed on top of it. myBB is very basic, poorly designed, and community (read: developer forum) supported, so it's hard to get things fixed or new things added.
IP is a professional suite of programs that can make a full website when stuffed together (the website at that link is 100% IP software running, so their site is a large demo essentially). We plan on purchasing and using the following components:
- IP.Core - Modern forum software
- IP.Blog - Blogging software
- IP.Nexus - Sales software (stores, subscriptions, adverts)
- IP.Content - Website front-end content
So you can see straight away that there's some cool new stuff in there; the blogs will be available to staff (as an incentive since we don't get paid for our time) and also premium members. There'll also be a massive cosmetic overhaul, but I'm not going to detail that right now as the exact look is undetermined, but it will be sexier.
Blogs can be run in an introvert mode (where you load that blog to read it), or in an open mode where the blogs contribute to the website front end; a basic example of this would be people with long-running stories could blog instead of forum it (each blog entry gets a dedicated discussion area anyway) and those stories could appear on the front page of the website.
Moderation is another massive overhaul; IP has far more efficient and customizable mod options so Mods can do their job better with less time spent on it. I could spend ages harping on about it, but the short version is it'll be easier for us as Staff, you as Reporters, and also those of you who'll slam off the occasional wall. If we want to repeat our status as the major player for Space Marine (but on Eternal Crusade) then we'll need to be able to better handle large volumes of derp. With more efficient and user friendly Mod tools we can train new mods easier, make less mistakes and generally be a bit more relaxed about it all. What we promise to NEVER do is give DX mod tools, because that shit would be too outrageous even for here!
People will be able to register and sign on using Twitter, Facebook etc. For some people this is more appealing, especially when they can't be fucked to fill in all those difficult boxes. You'll also be able to tag posts so it can be searched faster, or use Hashtags if you so desire (#GothicWars?). These are features used on the sites like Guild Launch and Enjin, but throughout the MMO community those places are colloquially known as "the places guilds go to die" as the lack of a central community usually starves (small to medium) them to death; so we have that in our favor, some guilds won't care and will flourish in isolation, others will find our community appealing - as it was with SM.
Group applications will be far more advanced, we're not entirely sure at this stage exactly how this will be handled as there are three main methods we can implement this. The basic idea will be to make them more efficient, give Leaders more control over recruitment, operation and discharge of their groups. myBB doesn't actually do any of this, all the group code we have right now has been bastardized and repurposed to our needs. We also hope to be able to implement a reality check feature, some form of block so people cannot apply for groups they shouldn't join (eg the never ending chain of derps who join multiple factions for SM at once).
Do We Loose Anything?
Aside from money? Nothing substantial at this time, other than the challenge calender though it doesn't get used by many people anyway so no big loss there. Most of the rest are minor cosmetic changes that will be outstripped by new cosmetic gains anyway. We'll also be shedding a lot of the excess weight we've acquired over our 2 years, when we change policies we haven't revoked the old outdated things and while this has been pleasant for older (in terms of activity) members it has caused confusion. The best example here is custom backgrounds for factions, they will be replaced with forum-wide themes you can select for; choose between the default theme, or view your factions background everywhere. The new themes will be a lower priority, but I hope to add an option for all the main chapters before too long.
How Do I Contribute?
Adverts don't fully fund the site anymore, the amount we got in advert revenue started noticeably decreasing last march and has been on a pretty steady decline since then. Perhaps when EC comes out we'll be able to fully fund via adverts again, but for now donations are required.
Hit the donation link and send us money via Paypal. All money goes directly into the GWRS Paypal account which pays for all our bills. Every little bit helps, so be it $5 or $50 we'd appreciate the help.
I'll refresh this page once a week with the current Paypal balance so people can see how donations are going. I'll also list people who helped out unless they ask me to keep it private.
Current Upgrade Balance: $350/350
Date of Update: 14/12/2013
- Prosperan Son
- JC 042
- Praetus Arachnia
- DC DarkRevZero
Final Note: Yes this is the thing I've been teasing you all with for weeks