Merlin's beard, it's been a wild ride this year, but we're finally back and ready to dive back in to Harry's world!
While we do apologize for the length of time we had to keep the site offline this year, it's important to note for those of you that may have missed it that we spent the past month rebuilding the entire Vault from scratch. This is because we have upgraded our forum software to the latest version and moved to a new server that will hopefully address some of the loading issues that we recently had in the past. This was an incredibly time consuming process, and we appreciate how patient everyone has been while we finished everything up!
As such, this announcement is going to be a bit lengthier than usual, but please stick with us as we promise it is worth it and there is a lot of important information! Please know that we do also have a list of Known Bugs & Issues that we are still working on, and there are some visual changes that we still hope to make within the coming days to streamline the overall appearance of the site.
Oh, and don't forget: the current RP season spans from August 1 - December 31 in game, so feel free to catch up on some threads that address what your character was doing within the last few weeks prior to Start of Term even though August has passed!
Introducing OOC Accounts
- You aren't suffering from a disillusionment charm: every player now has an Out of Character account for collecting all of your private messages, plots, and for making it easier to see who you're chatting with in the community! Because this is such a big change, you can read all about it in this separate announcement.
- You heard us right! Each era now has the ability for you to post a different avatar, allowing your character to be portrayed with a different appearance as they grow older or are played at a younger age. As a bonus, these avatars are now allowed to be 225 x 280, allowing you to show even more of your character's personality than before. Visit your User Control Panel to set your new avatars now. You can also set a single overall avatar, too, that will be shown in forums other than the specific era roleplaying sections.
A New/Old Approach to the Owl Post
- Based on a combination of member feedback and our newly updated forum software, the Owl Post feature now has a Special Forum for sending owls to one or more players. We plan to expand this forum within the next month or two to allow even more customizable options, so please keep an eye on the Bulletin Board!
- Due to a change in member interests and recent information from J.K. Rowling that Salem Witches Academy was not, in fact, an actual educational institution, we announced earlier this year that we intended on retiring the school in favor of a new one. In Salem's place we have now brought on the Chicago Academy of Wizardry, or CAW. All current Salem students have been relocated to this school, and those with Salem in their backstory can choose to refer to an unnamed American school in the northeast, or change their backstory to assume that they attended either CAW, Beauxmont-Spindletop Academy in Texas, or Kalispell School in Montana. You can also read more information in the latest issue of The Niffler.
- In addition to the return of Special Ability Applications (which now have a much more friendly form and requirements that do not involve spending Quills in most cases) we have also introduced Skill Certifications, which are challenges that let you show off your character's prowess with different magical abilities and use those skills to move up in their career and earn new special abilities. You can view all of the new features and changes related to these things in the Special Abilities & Add-Ons forum.
- We have returned to a tried and true method of approaching character jobs, which can be viewed in our new and improved Character Career Center! New jobs will be posted weekly and can be applied for simply by posting a reply to the announcement thread. We will also be introducing a revised system for applying for constantly-open jobs within the next few days, and Job Promotions and New Business Creation will be handled on a quarterly basis and will next be conducted around October 1, 2015. More information on this will be released as we approach the beginning of the quarter.
- Ever wanted to know just how many other characters are out there that might get along with your character? Head on over to our new Call to Arms forum where every week we wil do a call out for characters of a certain era and group to reply and network with one another. Call to Arms posts will remain open for several weeks so that you can make connections and plan out threads, then they will be locked to make room for new ones. We will begin taking member suggestions for Call to Arms posts in the coming weeks.
- After a long year without lessons, we have a new and revamped Classes & Lessons forum that makes it easy for all players who have student characters to participate in lesson based RP without having to wait on a busy lesson thread to wrap up. New lesson challenges will be posted regularly and these will go toward your Skill Certifications, so be sure to jump in whenever you can!
- To address what seems to have become a favorite pastime of just about every Vault member, we've set up a new Share a Playlist forum where you can post your character and mood inspired playlists to share with the rest of the Vault. If you're looking for inspiration for a thread, you can browse playlists that others have posted and enjoy the music!
- RP Classifieds now offer the option of being replied to. Replies will close after 3 days.
- RP Classifieds no longer require quills for multiple submissions. Submissions will reopen Sunday, September 6.
- The "Job Catalog" has been renamed to be the Business Directory.
- Based on member feedback and an assessment of our new layout, we have disabled images in signatures.
- The News Stand will be operating on a new submissions schedule that features three news posts per week instead of one.
- The old Vault 713 forums can be accessed at http://www.vault713archives.com/roleplay/ - links to the full archives will be made available on the forums themselves within the next few days.
- Topic attributes are currently not available because we are waiting on the code we use to come out of beta mode. Please refer to the guides at the top of each forum for how to label your threads.
- Achievements will return on October 1 as we rework the system, challenges can still be completed in that time.
- Sign-ups for special factions, such as the Death Eaters and Wizarding Expedition Society, along with school clubs such as the Quidditch and Prefect Clubs will be held on a quarterly basis and will next be conducted around October 1, 2015.
- The monthly donation goal has been raised to $150 to better reflect our new server & domain name and related expenses.
- The forum sidebar has currently been disabled for mobile users to avoid a disastrously messy viewing experience. The sidebar on the main website is still accessible on mobile, however.
- Character creation will resume on Sunday, September 6.
As you may have noticed, we've done a lot and there are even quite a few new changes that haven't even been outlined here, as far as how the site is laid out is concerned. If you see something that is messed up, broken, or really doesn't look right, please visit the Help Desk to let us know. If you have general feedback about the new layout and features, you can leave it on the Anonymous Feedback form.
As far as what we have planned for the next few weeks:
- Further streamlining the layout of the Vault to remove any bugs, errors, or weird glitches in the general appearance.
- Reopening character creation and several other features on September 6, 2015
- PMing all August donors with regard to their pending donor rewards
- Updating the archived forums to be more accessible
- Hiring a new wave of Community Ambassadors