Apr 302013

New DDO Web landing page
New Forums Landing Page – hey, where did the Dorf artificer come from?

The title to this article sounds more smartass than I’d intended. But the fact is that the new forums are here and for the most part, work pretty much like the old forums. People have been frothing over this for a month, but now that it’s all said and done, it seems to be primarily a non-event. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Oh sure, myDDO and the DDO Compendium are now formally and completely gone. But we’ve largely moved past the one and the other has been useless for years. I’m not saying there’s no harm here, the Compendium’s neglect was painful to watch especially if one added any work to it, and Turbine really should have stood up a simple blogging site before closing myDDO. This is not a “no harm no foul” situation. But these things have been talked to death already. Time to put on our big boy pants and move on.

The new forums are not perfect, not at all, featuring several immediately obvious issues that we will talk about shortly. One assumes that Turbine is still working on these changes, and that these issues will be corrected.

The new forums
Ta Da!

I find them a little harder to read. More crowded and densely packed. Yet most of the old features have been carried over. Except one, noticeably missing is the “Dev Tracker” which highlights posts from Turbine employees. According to Tolero, it is a work in progress.

The reputation system is missing too, although “missing” implies that someone wants it back. Which I don’t, in the past it seemed to be more of a way to crowd-source bullying than anything else. Turbine plans to re-implement it but without allowing people to apply negative reputation; that may help. But for now, the whole system is “missing” but not “missed”.

We no longer have several different viewing styles to choose (red/blue/orange/green), but there is a style optimized for mobile viewing. I tried it, very plain like one would want for mobile viewing, I might even just switch to it full time. No screenshot though, you’ll have to check it out for yourself.

New menu

The new menu is interesting. Note the inclusion of FAQ and Calendar. Are these indicative of incoming new features? Or leftovers that someone forgot to snip off of the template? It is hard to tell: FAQ takes one to a forum user manual except the font is lightly-colored on a white background and is unreadable. Calendar takes one to this:

New Calendar

Note the sub-calendars specific to each server … this could be both interesting and useful. Are we going to have more events? Enough to justify a calendar? Sadly it is completely empty of any entries, but maybe that will change?

One must have hope, right?

Having the FAQ be light-on-white is not good, but not horrible, we never used to have a FAQ in the first place. However, the light-on-white color scheme also appears in other places, including private messages.

New Forum Messages Interface

It turns the whole interface into a game of “Pin the tail on the donkey”. Except this version is “Blindly Click Until You Get a Message Link” and is not at all fun. Not at all.

Most of the changes are different but not really different in any sort of noteworthy way. What was once blue or red or green is now brown. What was once fully justified across your screen is now fixed-width. Fonts are different. There is background art.

None of which matters.

There are two things though which do matter:

  • Some people are having difficulty getting logged in the first time
  • Many people (all people?) are having difficulty staying logged in

I had trouble getting logged in myself, even though I’ve always had the same user name on the forums as I had in-game. My passwords differed, and perhaps that caused the snafu, but I had to go through these steps to get in. Thank you Lerincho for figuring this out (or at least posting it if someone else did the figuring).

Although I wonder, what happens to people who do not live in the US or Canada?

Once you are in, then the trick becomes staying logged in. Some background timer keeps detecting my session as expired and logging me out. I don’t notice until I am posting a comment, at which point I am jarringly tossed out back to the original landing page. While it is not horribly difficult to log back in, search for where you were, retype what you were typing, it is annoying.

Highly annoying.

But Tolero has already indicated that a fix for logouts is in the works. Which brings up what could be the best part of this change: now that the DDO forums are no longer “custom”, but instead are just like every other WB Games forums, maybe it will be easier to get web developer support from the WB home base?

Like I said, one has to have hope.

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  8 Responses to “New Forums. Ta Da.”

Comments (8)
  1. One of the other major problems many people have brought up is that they seem to be unaware of the existence of countries other than USA & Canada.

  2. That with the countries annoys me. Also my Internet Explorer has suddenly started autocorrecting my typing… and I cannot turn it off!
    Well.. I said I was from Canada… If it is good enough for Shatner… then it is good enough for me!

    • Using Internet Explorer is like leaving your keys in your car while on vacation with a sign atop your car that says, “Don’t steal my car!” In short, don’t use it–it has more holes than swiss cheese in terms of security and is the reason why so many PC users get infected or hacked.

      Seriously consider using Firefox or Chrome for most web viewing and use IE only when absolutely necessary (which is typically never–a page that forces you to use IE is likely one you don’t want to use if you like your PC to keep working).

  3. As to the great change: Some things are pleasantly streamlined, others not so much. You already hit on the bizarre light-gold on white backgrounds for some subforums. Really, Turbine? You didn’t see that in testing?

    Text size is a bit small but a browser font change fixes that. The Fansites access is far more prominent: I might add my guide and site to it once I do a little work and the forums are stable and out of beta.

  4. Another problem that might be fixed, I don’t know, but if you google something and it links to a forum post, well that doesn’t work any more. I’ll have to update some bookmarks to favorite threads or posts =(.

  5. I’m not yet sure how I should react to this change.
    To me it feels wrong. It’s like when I was a little child, and my mother would take my ratty, nasty teddy bear from me and wash it. When I got it back it just wasn’t the same. That’s kind of how I feel about the forums.

    Sure they’re new and Improved(? Yet to be seen)… But they’re no longer my home so to speak.
    Along with a loss of my original forum name, post count, and all my greenies… Well, it’s like starting over.
    I equate it to having all my toons on live wiped from existence. Sure it’s not such a big deal as that, but it gives the same feel over all.

    Maybe I’m just being melodramatic because I don’t like change. Or maybe I just REALLY hate this brown color scheme..Either way, I miss the old forums. Where you knew which troll was trolling, and when to expect it.

    C’est La Vie, I suppose.

  6. I’m not a big fan of change myself and you would think i would be after playing DDO for so long. The forums revamp is…well…how do i put it?..Its a bit of a debacle and it should have been debugged(to a large degree) before it was put in place. It also seems that nothing has migrated to the new and this has me feeling like i was hit with Electric Loop(uhg! what a waste).

    Maybe this is all a good thing, and there are so many changes on the in game horizon as well so i guess i need to approach all of this like i approach any ladder in game: With cunning, precision and expertise_cheers

What do you think?

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