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Site Transition Day Info


Colin

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It’s almost time folks! With less than a week to go, we wanted to cover specifics and scheduling for the day of site transition.

 

The Plan
  • Downtime on both sites begins on August 5th at 12 PM EDT (UTC -5) and is expected to last up to 3 hours.
  • During this time, a final user data sync will be performed, backups will be taken, and network infrastructure will be remapped.
  • Up to date information on progress can be found on the site’s Discord server.
  • Periodic updates may also occur on social media.

 

Changes to Expect
  • Upon completion, Myth Weavers v6 (Project Baldr) will be the main site reached at https://www.myth-weavers.com
  • The original site, Myth Weavers v4 (OGMW) will be found at https://og.myth-weavers.com
  • Registration will be on the new site going forward.
  • Password and email changes will no longer be possible on the v4 site. Changes to that information made on the main site will automatically propagate backward to the v4 site.
  • OGMW public forum areas (General Discussion, Gaming Discussion, World of Farland, Site Discussion, Introductions, Non Sequitur, Announcements, Creative Corner, and Myth-Weavers Events) will be set to read only.
  • Games and Ads, as well as all game forums, will remain unchanged.
  • Community supporter subscriptions will be transferred to and managed from the v6 site. Any new Community Supporters before the transition day will receive 1 year of supporter status free!

 

How to get Help
  • Login for MW v6 uses your registered email address and the same password as used on MW v4 at the time your account was initially synchronized (approximately spring 2022).
  • On the transition day, the site Discord server will have a channel for account help if you are unable to log into the new site. Staff will also be monitoring Facebook Messenger for the Myth-Weavers account.
  • If you changed your password on the old site in the past year and a half, the change will not be captured on MW v6. As long as the account email is still the same, using “forgot password” will let your reset your password.
  • If you changed your email address on the old site in the past year and a half, the email login for MW v6 will still be using the old email. If you reach out to us on Discord or the Myth Weavers Facebook Messenger, we can help get the email manually updated.

 

New to Myth Weavers v6?
  • There is a Site User Guide to help navigate the new features of MW v6. It is a living document, so it gets updates as things change or questions get asked!
  • There is also a guide for the Dice Tower to help learn the new die rolling methodology, as well as the expanded features from what was possible on MW v4.
  • Not seeing an answer to what you’re trying to do in the Site User Guide or the Dice Tower? There is a “How Do I?” thread where you can ask quick questions, or ask on the Discord!
  • Bugs, feature requests, etc can be brought to the Site Feedback forum.

 

FAQ

Why? Why make this major change when the existing site is completely functional?

OGMW is built on a 15-year-old version of vBulletin that was heavily modified by well-meaning developers who now, as mid-career software engineers, know enough to regret the decisions that were made by their younger selves. Rodrigo made three separate attempts in 2016 to try to update the site to a more modern infrastructure, and each time ended with failure that required rolling back to the original. OGMW is stable, but can't easily be extended to provide new capabilities for the users. With the underlying software no longer receiving updates (vBulletin has released two major versions since 2016), we have had to be especially vigilant about our security posture, and spend valuable time assessing and mitigating potential vulnerabilities.

 

Rebuilding the site on a new foundation gave Rodrigo and Eric the ability to apply their extensive software development experience to doing things better, no longer hamstrung by interwoven features that could only be painstakingly separated for enhancement (if at all). We have made conscious decisions during the design and deployment of Baldr to make sure we don't modify (read "hack") the core platform, ensuring we'll be able to take advantage of vendor support and upgrades. Removing roadblocks surrounding authentication, extensibility, and integration has also allowed us to re-vision forums, sheets, and dice as separate capabilities that can be combined as needed to support play-by-post, hybrid games, and other options on the horizon (e.g., full Discord games with access to sheet data). The level of creative output over the past two years rivals what was put in during OGMW's initial development, fueled by the knowledge that now we'll be able to deliver on some of the capability promises we made. 

I only use sheets. How does this affect me?

If you are a sheets-only user, no problem! Aside from a new login screen that uses your registration email address instead of username, and some minor face-lift items to sheet navigation and sharing as part of the new modular sheet viewer, you'll see the same sheets you saw before. You'll want to make sure you know your registration email address, which can be found under the Email & Password section of your OGMW User CP.

What happens to character sheets?

Character sheets will remain largely unchanged in this upgrade. Some URLs will change, but the old URLs will continue to redirect to their new addresses. The sheet viewer has been rebuilt to include sheet management and organization. Although this has introduced some regressions on certain templates, these issues will be resolved before the cutover. On the plus side, the Baldr infrastructure changes have put us on a path to be able to more rapidly and safely deploy new sheets and updates to existing sheets.

I'm a play-by-post user. How do I get started with Baldr?

We have an extensive New User Guide that we've been building over several months, covering how to do many things on the new site. We strongly recommend reading through it to get a feel for the changes. If you have a question that isn't answered by the guide, you can ask in the Site Feedback forum on Baldr. You can also ask about additional features if they're not already on the list, and report bugs you may find.

Will I still be able to roll dice like OGMW?

We offer a comprehensive Dice Tower integrated with each in-game post, which includes traditional "command line"-style rolling similar to OGMW as well as a full-featured graphical user interface option for assembling complex rolls. The underlying syntax is different since the Dice Tower can perform more functions than the OGMW roller; these changes are described in the user guide. We also have inline rolling capability within posts, which leverages the Tower's "command line" experience. Look here for info!

Do I have to learn HTML?

Not at all! Baldr actually uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that is quite robust, and closer to a rich text editor application like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. If you do know HTML and want to exercise even more detailed control over your post content, there is a Source button that gives you a raw HTML editor.

Can I still use BBcode?

While we aim for users not to need BBcode for posting on Baldr, there is a BBcode converter in testing with the Community Supporters right now that will convert almost all OGMW-specific BBcode into its Baldr equivalent, and display the result in the post editor. There are a handful of tags that aren't supported yet (mainly language-related) and a number of others that won't be supported for technical reasons (mainly dice-related), but it's a pretty close approximation of the OGMW post editor. That said, do not feel obligated to become a Community Supporter to have access to the BBcode converter; anything that you could do with BBcode tags on OGMW, you should be able to do on Baldr with the toolbar buttons (or we'll keep developing until it's so).

I'm a GM on Myth-Weavers. Do I have to remake my existing games?

OGMW will remain available for play for about the next 12 months, so it's not strictly necessary to move any games yet. That said, the construction of games on the two sites are different enough that there is not an automated way to copy them from OGMW to Baldr. So, if you anticipate your game may last more than 12 months, you probably want to become familiar with the new features and play around with the setup. There is no auto-archiving on Baldr--OGMW auto-archiving only exists because of vBulletin performance limitations with large numbers of forums--so you can do this without worrying that there isn't any active play yet. There's also a lot of active discussion in the GM Discussion forum so you can get tips and tricks from community members, including our beta tester cadre.

I want to make the switch for games I GM, but my players are hesitant. Any suggestions?

Start by making sure they're aware of this FAQ. A lot of the common concerns are addressed here. If they tried Baldr during earlier parts of the beta period and were put off by the incomplete nature of things, let them know that we've put significant effort into making sure the core features of the site--forums, games, advertisements, dice, and sheets--are all now ready for prime-time. If they're struggling with the new post editor, point them to the BBcode converter (already available to Community Supporters) as a way to ease into the change. By all means, encourage them to post any questions in the Site Discussion forums on Baldr, or in the #project-baldr-open-beta channel on our Discord server. We have dozens of experienced users, testers, and staff who are ready to respond on just about any topic.

I use the Myth-Wiki. What's happening on that front?

The Myth-Wiki will not be making the transition to Baldr, though existing content will remain in read-only format following the same schedule as OGMW. Baldr provides a capability called Pages that can be added to any game. Pages are "posts on steroids", effectively being miniature web pages that use the same WYSIWYG editor as posts without the conversational features of a topic. Currently these capabilities are centered around content written by GMs, but we are looking to allow GMs to extend editing privileges to players (or even the community at large).

I have an issue with the site, or an idea to help make things even better. How do I give input?

Great! Please post your concerns, bug reports, and feature requests in the Site Feedback forum on Baldr. Staff and volunteers actively monitor it and we'll answer promptly.

 

A Few Final Thoughts from the Devs

 

We've stewarded Myth-Weavers as a free resource for play-by-post gaming for more than 15 years, and we're looking forward to doing so for many more. We recognize change is hard, but we've really reached the limit of things we can do incrementally on a version of vBulletin that was new before most of the dev team went to college. Here are some of our reasons why we believe upgrading to Baldr is the right decision.

 

Enhanced Security

To be clear, we've been taking appropriate measures to ensure the security of the site and its data. Having better security tools baked into the system, though, is the right thing for us to do to protect the information you've entrusted to us.

Platform Support

Running 15-year-old software is asking for trouble in the fast-moving web application world. Our key operating system and platform software dependencies have their own life cycles, and we have to upgrade with them or risk security issues or hampered disaster recovery. For vBulletin, we are several years past the point where updates have been published by the company.

Active Ecosystem

Invision Community is a modern suite in active development, with a large community that we can turn to for support, or even to purchase pre-built features and tools to integrate with our site. This broad community no longer exists for our current version of vBulletin. While we could move to a newer vBulletin to regain this benefit, doing so would still be a significant change for all the users, staff, and developers. We judged Invision Community to be the better product for what we wanted to do with the site.

Moderation Tools

We live in a different world than the one OGMW was designed for, a world with extremely sophisticated bots for spam, disinformation, etc. This necessitates better tools for protecting our community, and staff now has them available, either fully automated or easily at our fingertips.

Mobile Support

While not everyone uses mobile devices to post on Myth-Weavers, mobile usage is continuing to grow. The iPhone 1 was released just after OGMW debuted, for some perspective on how old the site is. Members have been asking for better mobile capabilities for years, and Baldr gave us the opportunity to make it happen. (Same comment about newer vBulletin applies here.)

Integrations

Newer software helps us make it easier for gamers to find and join Myth-Weavers. For example, Social Login capability (under consideration, not yet deployed) could allow users to create an account linked to us from their Facebook or Discord profile.

Velocity

This is perhaps a more technical topic than we'd otherwise write about, but the fact is that deploying Invision Community--in particular its authentication and application programming interface--has allowed the dev team to be more productive and to sustain development efforts longer than we have been able to for many years. We've gotten to the point where integrations are no longer approached like potential mine fields, and bug fixes don't provoke dread of creating instability or breaking the site entirely. Many of these "back-end" enhancements don't really get much limelight among the user community, but sheets are a good example of how we can get things done much faster now than we could before.

  • In a few weeks, we were able to build and deploy a new UI for viewing and managing sheets, including sorting, filtering, and access control.
  • By using modular design, we were able to reduce the potential for bugs in common features (e.g., a sheet would have become unusable if the user had added custom auto-calc, a Community Supporter feature, while subscribed and then let their subscription lapse).
  • We were able to locate, isolate, and plan to fix various style issues with some sheet templates that never looked quite right (different/competing stylings for iterations of the sheet code base).

 

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