Sorry for the lack of updates of late. We had an out-of-town guest over the weekend, and my limited free time has been devoted to working on a new guild site for Aegis Hestia.
My guild uses Joomla, a PHP-based content management system which has upsides (it’s free, and there are a lot of plugins for it) and its downsides (I’m a VB.NET developer and don’t have experience with PHP). Our current site has been misbehaving for some time so our guild leader decided on a fresh install. I was reluctant to help out at first, having previously devoted so much time to designing and maintaining the existing site, but was eventually won over by the idea of something new and fresh (and working). It helps that several of our guild officers have chipped in to help move over important information.
To avoid getting overwhelmed and having the project take up more time than I can afford, I clearly outlined my goals for the new site.
- Unlike last time, I didn’t want to spend a tremendous amount of time doing design work. I found a Joomla theme that was both clean and generic (and free). It looks great right out the box, and I figure I can customize it as time goes on so that I don’t have to make a large time investment upfront.
- The current site uses a menu plugin called “transmenu” that allows us to have dropdown menus. I went a little further with this than maybe I should have and the result was that it’s harder than it should be to find important links (like the Guild Application). For the new site, I made sure that it’s much easier to find the “Apply to AH!” by making it a primary menu item (rather than nesting it under “Guild Information”).
- We presently use SimpleMachines forums, a set of forums that weren’t built for Joomla and had to be integrated using a plugin called a “bridge” so that the two can talk to each other. The solution has always been imperfect, however. Luckily, this time around Joomla had a great set of forums called FireBoard which are designed to be entirely integrated with the Joomla framework. This in and of itself was a huge selling point for me when deciding whether or not I wanted to help develop the new site.
- While I like the design of our current site, I feel it mispresents the atmosphere of Aegis Hestia. Its subdued colors (purple and gray) and the piece of fantasy art I selected make us seem stolid and boring. This time around, I wanted to do something more fun, so I’ve been working on a banner that features several of our core raiders interacting with one another. Here’s a preview of what I’ve done so far:
I’ve incorporated several inside jokes to please the membership:
- Two of my friends Sabelyna and Marreyn play a Warlock and a Mage respectively. They’re shown at the far left side of the banner. Marreyn is lecturing Sabelyna on something, probably telling her to use Lifetap instead of asking her for water. The small black cat asleep on the ground next to Sabelyna is one I gave her a few weeks ago.
- Our guild leader Devilcs plays a Gnome Warrior. This by itself is pretty humorous so I depicted him flexing to demonstrate his strength. One of our officers, Kaimeline, stands behind him laughing at this display of machismo. Devil is also obsessed with having the skull icon on at all times during raids, so I included that symbol over his head. This has the added benefit of drawing attention to him as the guild leader.
- I’m known to have a few glasses of wine during raids, especially for content we’re farming. As such, I depicted myself admiring a glass of wine.
- Antipas plays a Human Warrior who has jokingly asked that he be allowed to bid “sexy” (rather than “need” or “want”) on items that he thinks would look good on his character. He’s shown in an open-chested red shirt and the closest thing I could find to black silk boxers doing the “crotch thrust” portion of the Human Male dance.
- Raliah plays a female Gnome Rogue and is one of the most beloved members of the guild. Always willing to lend a hand to those in need and an unusually active raider, Raliah is probably the closest thing we have to a guild mascot. She also really enjoys fishing so I’ve depicted her in ninja-like clothes stealthing around and carrying a fish. If she ever manages to acquire a Mr. Pinchy pet, I’ll definitely have to add him!
- Niade plays a Shadow Priest very well. I’ve shown her in as close a representation of Shadow Form as I could, using the Priest spell Levitate to hover like a ghost.
- Lutgehr is an outspoken Dwarf who frequently expresses his distaste for Elves in general and guys playing Female Night Elves in particular. I’ve illustrated him pinching the furry bottom of one of our Feral tanks, Currant.
- My husband plays both a Human Warrior and a Gnome Mage. While his Warrior can take a hit, his Mage definitely can’t and this concept is something he seems to struggle with, dying every pull on the way to Gruul. He’s shown dead in the banner, having been turned into so much Gnome-colored paste by some baddie or another. My friend Valenna who is known to ridicule him for his carelessness is shown kneeling over him with a smile on her face.
- Painmaiden plays a Night Elf Hunter and is one of the people I recently met face to face at a guild gathering. In game, he’s both friendly and skilled. He’s also one of the more talkative members on voice chat, making raids that much more enjoyable when he’s present. Meeting him face-to-face, however, revealed something else about him. He’s a bit of a cowboy, with a 10-gallon hat and boots to match. I’ve shown his character Painmaiden in the hat closest resembling a cowboy hat, brown leather boots, and overalls.
As time goes on, I intend to add additional guild members to the banner — probably giving preference to active raiders — perhaps as a way of “earning ones stripes.” The current banner has fourteen people in it, and I suspect there’s room for another 20 or so.
Several of our guild members have blogs like this one (Druid Tank, More than Plate Wearing Priests, Parry, Dodge, Spin, Resto4Now, and Survival FTW) so I wanted to make these guild-generated resources accessible to our membership. I’ve included a few of the blogs’ RSS feeds in the right column, highlighting the 3 most recent articles. I plan to eventually add them all once I have the authors’ permissions.
So far I’m really enjoying the work on the new guild site. I hope to have it up and running within the next few days so that it doesn’t occupy so much of my free time, however, until then, I’m afraid that my post rate will be lessened.
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