A New Design
It is 21 months to the day since we launched our EQ2U Character, Item, and Guild armory site. In that time, a staggering 840,000 characters in 30,000 guilds have been looked up. We have over 8,500 registered users, and we’ve generated over 8.5 million forum signatures. In that time, Dethdlr and I have never forgotten how we got here, and why so many players call EQ2U their home for keeping track of their characters, researching upgrades, and learning lessons from others.
Believe it or not, when we launched EQ2U, the original style of the site was only ever intended as a placeholder, to be replaced within just a few months. Yet whenever time has come available to work on the site, Dethdlr and I have focused on adding new features and functionality rather than tweaking the look-and-feel. But in the past few months, the time finally came for us to get serious about a restyle.
After watching the misguided redesigns of Gmail and iOS 7, I gone out of my way to make sure that none of our changes impact usability or user experience. I wanted to stick with what works, while giving the entire site a unified theme that I could be proud of; a design that I could build upon with new data (Quests, Recipes, Collections, Treasure) as it becomes available.
Before I touched one single line of code, I went through several mockups of the pages I felt needed the most work. Once we had most of the redesign up and running, we launched a beta on October 7th and received some great feedback and bug reports. After concluding the beta process, we officially launched our new EQ2U site today with approximately 3 minutes of downtime, and we hope you like it!
Giving You More Options
In addition to restyling nearly every page on the site, I was able to add some much-requested Settings for registered users. Both of them affect how characters are displayed on your Home page.
First up, you can now override the default color settings for Groups. Previously, the My Characters, Friends, and Home groups had predefined colors, and then all Custom groups had a 4th color. Now, we offer 8 custom colors which you can mix and match as desired. If you want another color option, please feel free to ask in the Comments!
Second, and something people have asked for since day one, the ability to change which data points are displayed about each character on the Home page. There are now 48 different stats you can choose to show in any of the 8 text fields shown for each character.
Item Search Results
The page I most wanted to redo on EQ2U is our Item Search Results page. We’ve always just shown the item name and icon and nothing else. I wanted to show the item type and level at-a-glance, display the items in a 2-column setup, and also dramatically improve the Search Parameters box. I hope you’ll agree that we’ve done that.
Players work hard to build up their Guilds, and so we wanted to have an extra special page that showcases guilds and their recruiting info.
Why Should You Register?
While there is no obligation to Register an account on EQ2U, you may not be aware of functionality you’re missing by not doing so. First up, you can add your favorite characters, as well as those of friends, guildies, test characters, characters on different accounts, etc. Second, you can access your main characters from anywhere on the site from the My Characters dropdown menu. And third, when viewing any item, you can quickly mouseover and compare your characters’ equipped items in the same slot, as seen above.
Tomorrow, we we’ll be back with an article about EQ2U and Tears of Veeshan. At this point, we’re crossing our fingers that everything will be in place for us to support the expansion, especially the new Gems which can be used to upgrade items. On November 5th,
1955 2013, we took a snapshot of every character ever looked up on EQ2U, including your equipment as it looked on November 5th as well as Reforging information.
Why? Because with the expansion, the stats on some of your equipment will change, and more importantly, Reforging is being completely reset. You can head to EQ2U right now and go Back to the Future by clicking the “Pre-ToV” tab on your character details page.
EQ2U would not exist without the players, and we value your feedback. Some of the best things we’ve added to the site were due to player requests. If you have any comments or feedback about the new style, or have a request for a new feature, please feel free to post a Comment, or contact us directly!
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