10/27 Update - Activity Wall
The Activity Wall, a new widget, goes live today! It's like the walls you'll find commonly on social networking sites. It's what the old Status Updates widget was kind of trying to do, only it does it a lot better. It could also be looked at as a replacement for shout boxes altogether, since it supports media.
In order for people to post to it, they'll need to be granted higher than public/applicant access to your site. Here are some of the features:
The familiar WYSIWYG editor is used, only in a slimmer version. Tools available for now are: toggle full-screen edit mode, spell check, some formatting, insert link, insert image, and insert video (from either YouTube or Vimeo). You may find the area too small to work with, especially if you're inserting big images or videos, so make use of that full-screen toggle on the far left!
Adding video from YouTube or Vimeo is easy. Just go to the web page on YouTube or Vimeo where the video is shown, copy the address, click the blue Play icon to the far right in the wall editor, and paste the URL. Hit your tab key and you'll be presented with a preview of what it'll look like in your post, along with some options.
Most of them can be left alone. The one you want to pay attention to is "Play the video automatically on load." You'll probably want to un-check that box, else risk the wrath of guildies opening the page with the wall on it, getting hit with all kinds of videos starting to play at the same time!
The Next Thing
Once you've added your text/video/images, click the post button and boom -- there you have it. Emoticons are automatically parsed based on defaults and/or any custom emoticons the guild uses. Clicking on the name of the poster displays the standard drop-down menu for doing things like viewing their profile, visiting their blog, chatting with them if they are online, and all that good stuff.
Know how sometimes, you can put an image in a post or a news item and if it's too big, it'll stretch out the page, wrecking the design? Well, I think I've got that figured out now (and with all the layout possibilities there are due to customization, and the fact that IE ignores max-width unless everything's set a particular way at the parent level, it took a while -- that, and I'm dumb as a rock)! Anyway, when you post an image to the wall, it'll now do its best to fit inside the available space, without stretching things out. Notice: if your browser is way, way old, it'll probably be icky like before. So with a large image (the one shown is actually around 1200 pixels wide, in a widget that's about 700 pixels width), here's what a well-behaving browser will show (minus the purple arrows I thought were neat while putting the screens together in Fireworks):
But hey! What if the image is gigantic because there's that much going on? Easy to do with something like an in-game screenshot. And you might want to see it full size. No problem! You can click any images on the wall and they'll open up all sexy like in a gallery-type scroll view dyno-resizing nifty thingy. Stuff. Whatever you wanna call it. Hey, I'm not a writer, k? Anyway, it's got arrows (way better-looking than my purple ones up there) that you can use to move between other images on the wall.
The Morning After (after you post, I mean)
There are a few things at the bottom of each post. People can click on Comments to show comments or add their own. The date and time of the post has been sacrificed in a pagan ritual, making way for the more friendly "how long ago" display. There are tools to delete the post if you're a Super Admin or the original author, and if you're the author you can edit the post, too.
The comments are pretty simple. Not much to explain there. I thought about spinning it so they sounded all complicated and neat and shiny, but... Yeah. No. Oh, and both of those posts are from me. I talk to myself while testing, and for a reason I cannot fathom, I always revert to a despicable sub-set of the English language.
Instead of cramming the thing with everything I could think of, taking ideas from some of the major social sites out there, I decided to hold back and push it as it is now. I'm counting on feedback to direct the decision making when it comes to further enhancements for the wall. After all, there are things I found that I like which a lot of you might really not, and there were some features the big boys are sporting now that I really find... icky (who says "icky?" I do!).
So let me know what you would like to see done moving forward. Maybe WYSIWYG editing of comments instead of the simple type-and-hit-enter behavior it has now? Or automatically-entered posts by the site when people apply, add a shout, post something in the forums, add a news item, create a new raid, add an image to the gallery (all linked automatically to the source item)? Anyway, let me know!
When someone requests a one-on-one chat session, you will now hear a... beeping thingy. Useful if you have more than one browser window open, are looking at a different screen, or have your head spun around facing behind you, like that girl from the Exorcist. I do
that sometimes. Don't judge me!
Typical GP Chat
Also, on-demand playable sound effects have been fixed in guild chat. Type /sounds for a clickable list of the currently available ones. In addition, lots of little bugs and stuff were fixed.
- Many widgets have had their displays cleaned up a little. There will be more of this going forward, as we move to a more universally clean (and still customizable) theme format. This is primarily being done to enable us (and you) to create much higher quality themes than is now possible. We will be making use of HTML5, CSS3, and responsive design principles.
- Quirky behaviors in some of the style editors have been un-quirkified.
- Your hamster has been watching you with malice as you sleep.
- The ability to add an image to a post via link instead of the image manager has been restored.
- Many other bug fixes.
People can now set their chat status in Characters/Settings, under the Chat Prefs tab. The default status is available, and the other choices are to disable chat completely, "away," or "busy." Also, there is an option in the Guild Control Panel to hide the chat icon, as you can with the mail and blog icons.
On a side note, we must apologize for a slow response time to tickets during the past few days. We have a family member in the hospital and it looks like our development/support schedule will continue to be sporadic for the next several days.
Instant Messaging goes live with tonight's code push! Wherever user links are seen (with the icons for sending a private message and viewing their blog), a new icon will appear for starting a chat session. Especially useful when used in combination with the "Who's Online" widget, the Instant Messaging functionality is, of course, fully integrated with your site and requires no configuration on your part. It requires no java or other plug-ins, and will not require any special firewall tweaks.
The chat icon is, of course, customizable to guild admin tastes in the Control Panel, under Style Tools, General Style Settings, under the "User Links" tab.
A small disclaimer: I'm speaking solely from the perspective of the early levels, with no knowledge of the end game content. There are people, I hear, who have reached the latter levels of the game, but I'm nowhere near that. Now let me say, this game is amazing. In my personal opinion, it is what every RPG MMO that has been released since WoW (and one released slightly before WoW) should have been. No further details on that, since I'd have to list specific titles in doing any type of compare/contrast.
However, the biggest problem to me as a player is the inordinate amount of Kinah seller spam I see immediately upon logging into the game. It's unbelievable. The general channel, the LFG channel, and private whispers immediately fill up your screen with garbage ads, some of which lead to key logger sites.
I won't pretend to know how difficult (or trivial) it might be for the developers to implement an on-the-fly, configurable, timed-cache string pattern matching system to detect the spam -- perhaps based on the sites they're telling people to visit -- in order to auto-ban accounts (or at least mute for, say, an hour). Instead, I'll just tell you what I did to cut down on the mass of garbage for myself. Many will say you should just block the spammers individually, but that only works for about a day. Next day you login, there will be a host of new spammer accounts at it, all over again.
- Open the Chat Preferences menu to the left of the chat window by clicking on the little sun-looking icon.
- Click Add Tab.
- Call it something like "No Spam" or whatever. An options window for the new tab pops up, where you can check the channels you want visible in the new tab.
- Check the root Chat box. Then check group, alliance, legion and alert. Optionally, expand the Combat - Self node and select things like My Critical Hit and Critical Hit against. Finally, check the root node for System Information.
- Click Change.
If the new chat tab isn't selected for you, hover over the chat area and select it (along the top).
Three things to note: Under the root Chat tree, there is a Shout option. I haven't seen the spammers use shout yet, but they might, and if they do you may want to disable it. Also, they do use whisper, but not nearly as frequently as General and Trade. But if you un-check whisper, you'll miss tells. Finally, the "Find Group" channel is useful for group quests. If you need to find a group, just pop into the "All" channel, do a /3 LFG [quest name/link/whatever], then pop back into the "No Spam" tab. Odds are good you'll get picked up if others need to do the same quest.
I hope this helps!