It’s been in the works for a long time now, but we can safely say the site is officially back. So, let’s start with the Too Long; Didn’t Read version: after a long battle with our hosting company over the size of our database, we’ve loosely ported the site into a WordPress site complete with deckbuilder and the new ability to share and rate decklists!
My personal interest in the competitive aspect of the game started to dwindle post-Worlds 2015. I felt like, as a playerbase, we were treated excessively poorly by Fantasy Flight Games at their own World Championship event. Many issues factored in to this feeling, but the big three were: having to play our Swiss rounds in their warehouse (effectively a large storage closet with one bathroom that was only cleaned once throughout the entire day), a prize of acrylic affiliation cards that were given out with not much thought put into it (even after publicly stating how the prizes would be given would be announced at a later date), and watching two FFG employees argue – quasi publicly – about the announced number of rounds and how it made no sense given the number of entrants.
I’ve played competitive card games since I was 15 years old and it seems each year I become more and more baffled at the lack of professionalism shown by certain members of FFG. Post-Worlds 2015, I made a resolution that I was done competing in FFG operated events – thankfully, this (at the time) meant only Gencon and Worlds.
So, my plan was just to hit the competitive ‘local scene’ made up of Store Championships and Regionals. I liked this plan for, at the time, it made a lot of sense to me.
I’ve spent the last year playing a lot of the newly rebooted VS System game by Upper Deck. It’s a fun game, with a comic theme, and I enjoy it quite a bit. It’s also an LCG, so it’s easy on the wallet. Around March or April of this year, Upper Deck announced that they would be hosting a $2.5k tournament at Origins and that peaked my interest in attending. However, once they announced some pretty awesome swag would also be there (in addition to unlimited 4-man tournaments), I was really, really excited to go. With FFG’s SWLCG event scheduled for Wednesday, it became the perfect convention for us to attend! I really had very little interest in hitting up another FFG run event, but figured it’d be nice to see everyone and get some great games in.
Post-Origins, my focus went strictly to getting prepped for the two big $10k Upper Deck tournaments at Gencon. My local group of friends spent our time mixing up VS and Upper Deck’s Legendary: Predator card games. In the back of my mind, SWLCG became like a distant cousin to me. It wasn’t because of disinterest in the game itself (though I wasn’t really that excited for the current cycle), but because of the realization that if I wouldn’t be competing in FFG run events, I had no events until Regionals started back up in December.
Right as our testing went into the final stages for Gencon, we received notice from our hosting company that our database had grown to over 2gb and we would have the site shut down if we didn’t comply and drastically reduce the size. I’m a developer noob and had almost no idea what was going on. I reached out to the HC and asked for guidance, but was told there really wasn’t anything we could do except to remove parts of the database. That sounded like a horrible suggestion, so we began looking for new places to have the site hosted.
After several back and forths with the hosting company, I did some deeper investigating into the backend of the website and stumbled across the problem. We fixed the issue Saturday night before Gencon, completely reduced the size of the database to under .9gb, and headed off to Gencon early Wednesday afternoon.
We were in our hotel room Wednesday night when we received a text message from one of our users asking why the site went down. After confirming, we could indeed see something was wrong. We tried to log in to our database to check if there were errors occurring there and found we had been locked out. We called our hosting company, quite upset, only to learn that they decided to shut it down since we supposedly didn’t comply with their warnings. Too busy at Gencon to look into it, we decided to enjoy the vacation and worry about it when we returned home (which turned out to be the right decision as I won the Legacy: Predator event!).
For a couple weeks post-Gencon, I went back and forth with our hosting company on the issue. The hosting company continued to claim that it was a php script error, while we continued to demand that they had locked us out of the database. After two or three weeks of this, the hosting company conveniently discovered they could reset our password to the db and – wahlah – we were back in. After changing the code a bit, we were successfully relaunched!
The issue then became that since we hadn’t worked on the site in roughly six weeks, two new packs had released – the final Endor pack and the new Opposition pack. Which meant lots of new scanning and new data entry.
For this reason (data entry), we’ve decided to relaunch the site as a WordPress website. We’re saddened by this, as we especially enjoyed the original site our original developer created for us and we’ve put roughly $2000 into revamping it over the years. But, it just made the most sense for me to be able to easily add new cards, access the database, and maintain the website.
For the last three weeks we’ve been working with customizing WordPress to incorporate many things our original website had. We currently have our deckbuilder up and running (though obviously different than you’re used to) and we’ve added a new section to the website for creating and sharing decklists. Each of these decklists can be rated by the community as well!
Additionally, all shared decklists will have PDF links and OCTGN links available directly in the decklisting, which means anyone who likes what they see can easily download it and put it to use immediately (either online or for a tournament!).
The biggest change you’ll notice, however, is the lack of forums. While I’m certain some of you will miss them, I think we all know that they weren’t utilized to their fullest over the years. It’s a feature I’m sad to see go, but happy that the community now has a new way to interact in the form of sharing and rating decks!
I will be attending Worlds 2016 thanks to a few awesome members of this community who helped notify FFG that there were still spots available (and a big shoutout to FFG OP for arranging it). Origins and Worlds just happen to be the two locations where I have close family members, so attending events there are win-wins for me.
We’ll be working hard over the next week to make sure the site is up and running as perfect as we can make it. You’ll see minor changes and fixes during that time, but for the most we should be good to go. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to seeing you all at Worlds!