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Patch 1.10

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teebling
(@teebling)
Noble Member

images/media/bchat10.png
Patch 1.10
30th August 2019
Please refresh your browser cache to see new topic folder icons (cache will auto-reset in one week).


Filters
Since day 1 of the site people have supported the one-forum structure idea but in recent feedback you guys also highlighted that the search function wasn't enough to really navigate the forum efficiently.

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Rather than introduce sub-forums, I have instead created a 'Filter' system so that people can quickly filter the main forum to bring up a topic list of things they want to see.

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This feature is accessible from the 'Filters' button in the sub-header and hopefully will scratch that categorisation itch everyone wanted Mad props to Pippina for hand-tagging over 1000 topics to make this happen!


Gallery
Thought it would be a cool addition to the site and provide you guys with another channel for sharing your thoughts. Haven't seen another place for exclusively Classic/Vanilla images yet too so I thought it'd be cool to do that.

/images/updates/110/gallery.png
You can upload images (approval process to start with), add titles and descriptions, filter the gallery by views/author etc, view random images, and search the gallery. Your own uploads show on your profile too.

The system is however pretty barebones for the moment and not fully bridged with everything else on the site (this is an ancient mod for a very old version of phpBB that I have resurrected as best as I can):

Comments, Notifications, Likes and some other poster profile elements aren't working yet for example, but I'll try to get them working soon.

/images/updates/110/week.png
I will select a winning screenshot every week on a Wednesday and it will be shown on the index page above the forums like you see above.

If the gallery proves popular and there are enough uploads this could be changed to a daily thing just like it was on the original wow community website


Removal of Realms/Guides sections
I removed the Guides section and the Realms sections of the site for various reasons which are to the benefit of barrens.chat in my opinion. If you are interested in reading the full rationale behind this decision then please feel free to read the more detailed explanation below (warning, it's long!)


So yeah, the guides section is gone. I have NOT removed the guides themselves - which are of high quality and took a lot of work to put together by our members. They have instead been moved into the main forum and tagged as guides (and so available through the 'Guides' filter, along with all the other topics and are still referenced in the big list of WoW Classic resources, which is now stickied at the top of the main forum and is something I intend to keep up to date.

I'm hoping that people will still want to contribute long write-ups to the main forum in the future (the new 'Drafts' feature detailed below will help with that), and that they will receive all the feedback and deserved praise that they would have done using the previous system.

The Guides section was a good idea a year ago when we started out - not many high quality written guides existed back then, and it made sense to have a whole section of the site dedicated to pursuing quality written work about the game. I thought that a revival of old school written guides would be popular for both readers and writers.

Since then, things have changed - almost every facet of WoW Classic has now been covered on YouTube and elsewhere by my main competitors like the big streamer names, YouTube stars, classicwow.live, classic.wowhead.com and multitudes of others, leaving us nowhere near having a comprehensive or competitive collection of our own.

I've also noticed people straight-up copying BC guides onto other platforms and re-publishing, which removes their exclusivity and I can't do anything about it. I've confronted the people doing this directly and unfortunately they're not willing to be sporting about the matter at all.

Secondly - based on analytics data and other evidence, I've noticed that (sadly) the vast majority of people just aren't interested in reading written guides anymore. Video format is, and will always be, the preferred way of gaining info on the game - despite it being (in my opinion) a very inefficient and irritating experience. Having to watch 10 minutes of someone taking their $weet time to reveal a simple piece of information so they can maximise ad revenue rubs me the wrong way.

Not only was I wrong about what I thought people would want to consume in terms of guide format, but finding people to actually write guides at a competitive rate has been difficult too - most content creators and creatives who have been good candidates have refused invitations to contribute written guides to bchat because they can monetise their work on other platforms instead, which I guess is only fair enough.

Recently we've had some volunteers from our own fantastic community and some very nice stuff has been posted. That said, a lot of the other guide authors here haven't been active for a while and having their outdated information as a main 'feature' of this site doesn't bode well for its future reputation and appearance. I don't have the time to keep all these pieces up to date and maintain them, and certainly don't want to chase down people to ask them to do it themselves once they've gone.

Lastly, producing the written guides to a standard that I demanded was incredibly laborious and time-consuming for everyone and involved and required a monstruous amount of formatting and editing to publish. Writers would have to be moved to a hidden forum, editorial and decorative work made, final publish etc. - it felt like too much to sustain in the long term.

Trying to quantify and collect all the information in the world about Classic is a task that I just don't want to do anymore. I'm moving the direction away from information collation and back to good old forum posting made by you guys which is what the site was all about originally.


Blizzard announced a month ago that they're eventually going to be recreating their old realm forums and the original Classic forums again. People will simply never visit any realm forums here when official ones with ten times the audience and participants exist.

I only ever started developing the realms section on the assumption that Blizzard wouldn't make a move like this - I even emailed in to ask them if official realm forums were planned, but received no response. Building the momentum to get non-official realm forums here active enough to inspire new participants in the long term would be too hard a task and again fall outside the scope of what I wanted bchat to be in the first place.

Then again there has been a huge explosion of Discords and even specific realm forums so they sort of fill the gap anyway.

Getting the API working for fetching realm stats (using the live servers as something to peg the stats to in the meantime) was also a huge hassle - far more difficult than I thought it would be. Blizzard have announced that they're not even sure if a Classic API will be there for launch, so that would mean no realm stats unless I made a data-gathering addon which is beyond my skill set. I'm not inclined to have a 'work in progress' part of the site just sitting there doing nothing.

Lastly, it seems anyway from what I've read over the last two weeks that it's mainly just going to be people spamming guild adverts and stuff like that. BC isn't a cum dumpster for other people to come and advertise once then leave so that's also a pretty big turn off.

/images/updates/110/realms.gif
So yeah, that forum functionality is gone, but you can once again select your realm and have it display under your name from your profile preferences, just like it was before patch 1.9.


TLDR: Sometimes taking away is just as healthy as adding.


Drafts
/images/updates/110/drafts.gif
You can now save drafts any posts you intend to make without actually posting them. This will allow you to type something in the full editor (not quick reply), save it, come back to it later for editing, and then post it whenever you're ready.

This will be useful for people crafting write-ups, guides or longer responses that are best written in separate sittings.


Speed & Performance Improvements
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Added a polyfill for browsers that support .WEBP picture format like Chrome for the whole site user interface. There's no difference in quality but the files that are served are smaller in size which helps overall page speed.

Google are pretty monopolistic - if you don't meet their speed criteria (one of such being the use of their .WEBP format) you are actually penalised in search results LoL


Also implemented a 'lazy loading' solution for all images/embedded videos - basically if there are any images or embedded media on the page that are not yet in your 'viewport', they are not loaded until you reach them.

This is a good performance boost for the site because of the way that pages of replies tend to create very long pages with a lot of images (especially animated avatars). You load the page, it loads what you need to see, and only loads the stuff out of sight when you scroll to it.

We also moved to a new Virtual Private Server with Dreamhost. It only costs a little bit more but we have double the memory and our own dedicated processing resources too. This has improved page load speeds considerably during peak hours of internet usage.

All of the above means the site has a pretty dope speed rating now, which in turn helps ranking higher in search results on Google.


Analytics Observations
When beta and the release date got announced the site saw a pretty big increase in visitors. The site was receiving between 1000-2000 clicks a day through google searches alone at that time. Then about 2 weeks before release date, with the realms announcements and name reservations, the site saw an even bigger sustained increase in visitors which has dwarfed all previous traffic so far. Glad I got that VPN!

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/images/updates/110/anal.png
We're also now occasionally the 'top' result for the keywords 'WoW Classic Forum' after the official forums - beating MMOchamp, IcyVeins and everyone else. I guess that makes us the No.1 unofficial Classic discussion forum? Mr. Green As you guys can see, the site is growing healthily at the moment and although I'm expecting a deceleration over the next month or so as people play like mad, I'm quite happy with how things will look after that.


Other changes

  • When you hover over someone's level bar in a topic, it now shows a tooltip hover with an accurate posts and likes count, even if you have reached max level.

  • New icons for unread/read/sticky topic indicators which are a bit sharper.

  • Segregated the 'Login' and 'Register' links in the navbar to distinguish them from the main navbar links for guest viewers.

  • Removed hover icons on the navbar - didn't like them that much.

  • Added a small notice to the full editor 'New Topic/New Reply' pages reminding people about forum etiquette (search/filter before you post a new topic, don't flood the board etc.) and to post any guild ads in the correct section. This should cut down on moderator work hopefully.

  • Improved the anti-spam question's clarity by adding a 'hint' image on the registration page.

  • Added an anti-spam hidden checkbox honeypot to the registration page, thanks Saltybob and Flerex for the suggestion!

  • Disabled guest permissions for posting new topics and replies for the meantime - too much abuse of the anonymity and for spamming purposes.

  • Made the big list of guides and resources more visible by making it the third sticky on the home page.

  • Added topic icons to the three main board stickies to make them stand out.

  • Increased the number of topics visible on one page to 75 to accommodate the faster flow of discussion (so that topics aren't buried into page 2 as quickly as before).

  • Changed 'slow' to 'stun' for War Stomp in Race/Class Comparison Tool.

  • Added some extra DDOS protection by making a plain html 403 forbidden page.

  • Timestamps in the top right of each post now link to a permalink of that particular post in the topic. Thanks Griznak for the suggestion.

  • Shout out to Daylien (unregistered) for finding and helping me patch some security holes in the backend.

  • Updated the credits page to reflect new exts in use.

  • Tried to get classicdb.ch tooltips working but their script is awful and it breaks half the stuff on the site due to not using identifiable naming schemes. Sorry Aeh.

  • Bugs Fixed

  • Posts made after the 27th August now show the correct date tag in top-right of posts (1.13.2)

  • Fixed issue where class/faction badges weren't displaying in PM inbox messages

  • Fixed post time stamps not showing 'Pre-release', 'Beta', '1.13.2' in list of search results (did this a while back but not in patch notes)

  • Fixed mis-margin on similar topics section

  • Fixed cut-off of last post details link in member profiles

  • Fixed various html page title inconsistencies affecting SEO

  • Fixed word-breaking in preview window

  • Donations
    Over the last year I've had several very tempting offers to sell the site, introduce advertisments, partnerships and many other monetisation opportunities. So far I've turned them all down. Now with the server costs of the VPN and some other unforeseen expenses I thought it would be good to finally give you guys a channel to donate through if you want to.

    /images/updates/110/donate1.png
    You can now become a 'Patron' by making a $10 donation via PayPal. All this does is puts a little coin/title under your name. That's it.

    NOTA BENE PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR USERNAME IN THE PAYPAL REFERENCE SO I CAN ADD YOU TO THE DONATORS GROUP (there's something wrong with the auto-group allocation at the moment.

    I don't want to introduce new 'features' or 'benefits' for patrons - this would put me under the wrong kind of pressure to provide a service to paying customers - something that doesn't belong here.

    /images/updates/110/donate2.png
    Hopefully this will be an easy channel for people to use to show their support and help contribute to server costs, and it won't make people feel at a disadvantage for not wanting to contribute to the site in this way.


    Commendations
    /images/commendations/c_bcservice.pngBC service commendation awarded to:
    Selexin, UncleGanusMcAnus, Rinkusan, Stfuppercut, Nyxt, Gallow, Knoxtane for quality posting contributions.

    /images/commendations/c_recruiter.pngRecruiter commendation awarded to:
    Lassekaae for bringing in so many new members through his efforts alone. Cheers mate.

    /images/commendations/c_linker.pngLinker commendation awarded to:
    Caperfin, Relik and Gallow for publicising the website in recent YouTube videos and on their websites of their own accord.


    If you think you've earned a commendation then PM me and I'll consider - it's been a while since I last awarded any so I may have missed some bleedingly obvious recipients!

    As usual the quality of posts here continues to exceed my expectations and everyone has been chipping in to make this place wonderful to visit. Welcome to all the new guys too!


    My workflow setup
    By the way this is what my computer looks like when I'm working on patches like this:

    /images/updates/110/workflow.png
    The 1st desktop is for browser testing, the 2nd is for coding, the 3rd has my changelogs and to-do lists, and the 4th I usually do graphics and other miscellaneous tasks in it. Pretty basic right?


    Summary
    Hope you guys enjoy the new features, user-suggested improvements, bug fixes and performance boosts. If you see bugs, please post them in the bug report thread.

    Make sure to tell your friends about barrens.chat in-game! Mr. Green

    Quote
    Topic starter Posted : 30/08/2019 3:30 am
    centurion
    (@centurion)
    Estimable Member

    Another great update!

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 7:44 am
    atkars
    (@atkars)
    Estimable Member

    Great patch, but where do you donate exactly?

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 7:59 am
    Relik
    (@relik)
    Reputable Member

    Great work teebling, as per!

    Small thing, I'm getting some odd behaviour from the topic preview hover in Firefox:

    Also, the donate section is not available to users it would seem.

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 8:02 am
    teebling
    (@teebling)
    Noble Member

    Great patch, but where do you donate exactly?

    Also, the donate section is not available to users it would seem.

    Here's the link, sorry forgot to add it: https://barrens.chat/donate .

    You can also access the page from the dropdown userbar and from clicking on 'Donator' on other donators' profiles in the view topic/view profile pages.

    Should be accessible to users now, sorry forgot to set permissions too lol

    Will hotfix the sprite issue. EDIT: Hotfixed, should work now.

    ReplyQuote
    Topic starter Posted : 30/08/2019 8:06 am
    Escalotes
    (@escalotes)
    Estimable Member

    Thanks as always for keeping this going Teebs!

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 8:11 am
    Relik
    (@relik)
    Reputable Member

    Great patch, but where do you donate exactly?

    Also, the donate section is not available to users it would seem.

    Here's the link, sorry forgot to add it: https://barrens.chat/donate .

    You can also access the page from the dropdown userbar and from clicking on 'Donator' on other donators' profiles in the view topic/view profile pages.

    Should be accessible to users now, sorry forgot to set permissions too lol

    Will hotfix the sprite issue. EDIT: Hotfixed, should work now.

    Last thing, promise.

    Can you add EU Dreadmist to the realm list?

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 8:20 am
    teebling
    (@teebling)
    Noble Member

    Relik done, and thanks for the donation Mr. Green

    ReplyQuote
    Topic starter Posted : 30/08/2019 8:23 am
    Genecide
    (@genecide)
    Eminent Member

    I think i love you. Great job!

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 8:23 am
    ReverendChris
    (@reverendchris)
    Estimable Member

    How do we TAG our posts so the search will pick them up.

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 8:51 am
    teebling
    (@teebling)
    Noble Member

    How do we TAG our posts so the search will pick them up.

    Just select a topic icon next to the subject when you make a new topic.

    ReplyQuote
    Topic starter Posted : 30/08/2019 8:52 am
    mwaf
     mwaf
    (@mwaf)
    Active Member

    Just select a topic icon next to the subject when you make a new topic.

    Could you add tooltips to the icons on the posting and forum pages? This would make it more clear that these are actually categories with functionality and not just flavor icons. Even better would be the actual name of the category in the drop down on the new post page.

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 9:23 am
    Pippina
    (@pippina)
    Member Moderator

    Awesome work teebs! The site keeps getting better. Glad you fixed the post preview page bug that was wrapping text in the middle of words.
    Could you add tooltips to the icons on the posting and forum pages? This would make it more clear that these are actually categories with functionality and not just flavor icons. Even better would be the actual name of the category in the drop down on the new post page.

    Agreed, right now it looks to the untrained eye like these icons are little flavor pieces and not part of the category filtering system. I really like the filters and it's a great way to quickly find relevant topics while keeping the flat single-board format we have here. But to help people self-tag their own threads it should probably be a bit more clear what those icons do.

    Maybe some text to replace the current down triangle that says 'Category', and then add names to the right of the little icons in the menu. Only the icon itself would appear on the post and on the main board, but at least on the dropdown menu they would have descriptions next to them.

    Example, the icon of the wrench is for 'addons'. I only know this because I hand edited and curated a thousand threads LoL but wouldn't know what that icon represents otherwise.

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 11:05 am
    Tinyhoof
    (@tinyhoof)
    Eminent Member

    Thank you for your great work! Love the updates.

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 12:47 pm
    Tamul Brokenhoof
    (@tamul)
    Estimable Member

    what you did here is just insane, great job man

    ReplyQuote
    Posted : 30/08/2019 4:15 pm
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