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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.