Guild leaders and core members, I want to hear from you!
Large guilds and small, active or casual--I want to pick your brain.
Maybe you've got beef, or maybe everything is smooth sailing. Tell me about it.
Help US be more awesome...so we can help YOU be more awesome.
Le Community Manager
My 8th grade English teacher always told me to start any criticism with a positive and end with a positive, so:
- Value! Oh my God, the value. Bundling a TS3 server with a site subscription is the reason we chose to go with Guild Launch over Enjin. I think you should have an adorable anthropomorphized mascot and advertise on TV. "I just caused a 4 hour raid to get wiped right at the very end." "Man, that sucks!" "But you know what doesn't suck? I just saved a bunch of money by switching my guild to Guild Launch!" /cue zoom-out to a cute little gopher or something. "Guild Launch. Start your free guild website trial online in 15 minutes or less and see how much you could save today on web hosting." (OK, I confess, you'd probably get sued by Geico if you did that.)
When you're a hard-nosed beancounter like me, and the PayPal account getting slapped with the quarterly bills is in your name, putting less chips on the table to get basically the same thing is difficult/impossible to say "no" to.
- Did I mention value? Saving on the monthly rate by billing semiannually or annually is awesomesauce. I know some other sites do this too, but it's a critical hit on our decision to come to GL.
- Configuring the site to look how we want it to look is easy. The new version of the widget customization feature is very, very good. One of my "non-technical" guild officers did most of ours on his own, without needing to ask for help.
- The forums are pretty much everything we could want. There is an uncommon bug that occurs with Firefox browsers in the rich text editor where pressing the Backspace key after applying certain formatting can cause the cursor to move up and delete something you didn't intend, but that doesn't happen all the time, and it's just an annoyance when it does. Other than that, the forums have all the access control and customization features we need.
- The ability to insert arbitrary JS to embed widgets from external sources is VITAL to the correct operation of our site. I really can't stress this enough. Please don't take this feature away! If you look at our site, you'll see that we have a TeamSpeak widget from a third-party source. We also have a ChatWing widget, with buttons allowing you to embed it directly in the page; pop it up in a new window; or open it in a new tab. I wrote the code for those buttons, borrowing heavily from code that ChatWing themselves provided. Without this customization, it would be inconvenient for our members to chat.
- The PM system is good. Not much to complain about here, similar to the forums.
- The site navigation features are spot-on. We like links!
- The options for payment - Crowdfunded or individual paypal - are very diverse and useful. We like having options. I always opt for options!
THE DUMPSTER (Stuff we don't use)
- We don't really look at or maintain the Roster. We just refer to the in-game features for this.
- We don't really pay much attention to keeping our characters entered into the site and up-to-date, either. It's not really something we use because our guild primarily roleplays rather than doing raids and such, so we don't care if soandso has Rating 192 armor.
- We use the Shoutbox... rarely, and it's basically been supplanted by the chat widget.
- Rapid Raid? What's that? ... OHHH, right - that's for guilds that actually raid. Gotcha.
THE PAIN POINTS (I thought only Sith tortured people?! Are you guys Sith, Guild Launch? *puts his hand on his lightsaber*)
- The Calendar has a tendency to set our recurring events to occur at midnight for some reason that I could not scry.
- We'd like to see hover-over text for calendar items that gives a brief summary of the event (which would be entered by whoever created the event), so we don't have to click on it to see the description.
- We'd like to see the Alliance system fleshed out and improved some more. Options for deeper integration into the sites, like member list consolidation, would be great. In our case, we have a "sister guild" on the Imperial side of SW:TOR, but they are effectively under our direct control, because they're led by members of our guild. We'd like to see the option (though, not being forced into it) to combine two guilds' member lists, forums, etc. I think if we had that option, our two guilds would have different domain names, different skins on the site, maybe different widgets, but they'd have one set of forums and one member list.
- The closer you can make the Application Form's flexibility to SurveyMonkey, the better. The highest priority issue for us is conditionally displayed fields, but we'd also like to have "pages", "save your application and come back to it later", and so on.
- We'd like to put our site behind HTTPS, but when I tried to set this up with CloudFlare, we encountered numerous issues with some of the widgets that were pulling in over HTTP. Maybe this is a design limitation of the web because of the "insecure content" provisions of Firefox/Chrome, but we are also reaching out to those third-party sites whose widgets we pull in, to try and get them to go HTTPS also. ChatWING is already there, so is PayPal.
- I need to investigate this further with an intercepting proxy, but it seems like our website homepage is hitting http://battle.net (among other things). If I can remove this somehow on my own, then this isn't a problem with Guild Launch, per se - but if this is baked into the site, I would like to have it removed for sites that are not for Blizzard games. In general, if you can cut down on the number of HTTP requests to load the page, it will load faster and user satisfaction will increase.
- You guys should really look into partnering with ChatWING and offering a pre-canned widget to embed a ChatWING room. You could even include a ChatWING subscription in every ultimate plan! ChatWING is a smallish startup that is trying to get their technology out there and used a lot. GuildLaunch is an established guild hosting website, and in our guild's opinion, the ChatWING product is an ideal fit for guilds looking to have a chat system on their website. If your two companies could strike a deal, I think you would both be happy. Remember what I said about value before?
Overall, the good outweighs the bad, and we've yet to find another hosting platform that can provide so much at this low of a price point, so we're likely to stick around for a while. Your competitors are either more expensive, are lacking some features we need, or both.
We do, however, sincerely hope that your team is working hard to keep improving the site over time. The continued evolution of the platform, and the introduction of new features, functionality, and options, is an important indicator for site admins like myself of the health of the platform. We find that platforms that are not constantly innovating are more likely to be behind the curve in terms of features, ease of use, and ultimately the real decider for us, value.
BTW, we have one Ultimate and one Premium plan for our guild(s) (it's one community with two separate guilds).
Hi there, I'm a guild officer coming from the same Role-play Community Coorbin is, and I absolutely echo his sentiments. Right now, the biggest thing under my skin is, as he said, the site application. Conditional questions (if you click yes, then -these other questions now show up) is a really big thing for us, because we have such a large application as it is. With the way applications currently run, we're having a lot of issues with improperly filled out and misunderstood applications, because they weren't sure which questions they could skip. Other than that, I LOVE this site. It's easy to use, looks great, and works great!
We absolutely have not been down at all. We've never really tested us behind CloudFlare, though. We run our own content delivery network service similar to CloudFlare, so there isn't any real reason to have us behind CloudFlare.
Is there a particular reason you're using CloudFlare?
Reading your first post! Thanks again for your input :)
Responding to Stephen:
I originally used Cloudflare for our site because I wanted to benefit from the HTTPS crypto. But that goal was at loggerheads with the "business" need to include some embedded HTML objects that pull from regular HTTP remote websites. Lazily, I just went into Cloudflare's panel and unchecked SSL to solve that problem, but I haven't moved our DNS back to Namecheap, and I'm still allowing Cloudflare to route traffic for our site through its CDN, just as a potential optimization if you guys are under heavy load. Takes care of the static resources, at least.
I'll probably continue to use Cloudflare for DNS out of laziness, but I might try disabling the Cloudflare CDN for our site and see if anything changes. At that point, users will be making direct connections to the GL CDN without going to Cloudflare for anything (except, indirectly, for the DNS information).
Noteworthy: this problem has never manifested til today, and we've been on a 3-month subscription with 10 days left on it, so that shows you how long we've been running under Cloudflare with no problems.
Broken Daggers from EQ2:
Crafting! I have tried for two days straight to figure out how to add items that our characters can craft and no dice. You have tutorial videos for a lot of things but this seems like a "meh." for some, but our guild needs to know what each can craft for quick deployment of raid force needs and also work intra-guild work orders. Please direct me to a forum post or explain in actual detail how this system works.
For reference the section I'm talking about is found on the character page under the Crafting tab. When I try to manually type in a item name and tag, the system doesn't save it, list it, or even give an error description as to what I did wrong.
Other than this issue, I love the site and everything about it.
I am the senior officer in my Elder Scrolls Online guild and so I handle all the applicants, website access, guides etc. The site has been great at offering a solution to most of our needs, so thank you for that. At this point, our biggest area of concern is the roster.
Most people use a different name to log into Elder Scrolls Online than they use for this website. As many are parts of multiple sites, or their name may already be in use, it's unrealistic to ask them to change their name to match. It's basically lead to our roster being around 80% unrecognizable. We don't know who most of our members are on the site.
My solution to this was to have as many people as we can add their @handle to their character list, attach it to our site as their only character. This is working wonderfully so far, but it's hard to get people to revisit and follow all the instructions on how to set this up. We'd like to try to enforce this as best as we can going forward.
What I would like to see is:
- The @Handle as an optional part of our profiles when we add characters (Allow privacy setting to change it so only people who are members of the site it's attached to can see it)
- An option on recruitment application for us to check off saying that @handle is required to join our site, so when they fill out character info, if they leave @handle blank, it will not submit it, and instead displays information saying it's required by this guild.
- Another option for us to pick which name we want our users displayed by - would be displayed in roster and forum posts. Example: @Handle or Character of players choice.
@Sidneyroo .. if I'm understanding you properly .. you just want to be able to see who precisely is posting in your forums, showing their main character name known to you as opposed to their login name? If this is the case, they can already do this by going into their profile > edit profile, then scroll down and type a name in the "Display Name" box.
@Kate .. I love this site. We have more users interact with it than any other site, and there are many more options available, and easily useable, than any others. However, there are a few niggles.
Most certainly, as others have mentioned, a drop down "if/then" question box for the application form. We have several different types of applicants, and it's horrible forcing, for example, non-raiders, to go through all the raiding-related questions .. it would be much better to have a question "would you like to raid with us" and then, if they answer "no", they don't see all the questions that someone answering "yes" would see.
Drop-down menu's on the main website .. for example a "guild info" menu option which, when clicked or hovered over, opened up into various sections (history of the guild, information about ranks, information about raiding, etc)
More widgets linked to the guild's Armories page .. so you could perhaps show new guild achievements (complete with the relevant banner) .. this could also go for recent guild member achievements (the current one is only text, and only seems to update when I force a manual update .. it doesn't happen during an auto-update)
Improved calendar .. ideally a link to the Armories one. I understand this is private, so there would have to be some sort of workaround (perhaps that WOULD require a manual update, together with a request for the Admin to ensure they're logged into the Armories, pulling data from that person .. or a way to upload data from an in-game addon)
An improved way to handle applicants. We occasionally have people who are accepted from their application, but then they never join .. I'd like a way to be able to retrospectively change the status of a recently accepted application. (you can change the status of a rejected one .. if you look in the rejected applications section, you have the options of accept, decline, close - yet once you've accepted them, that's it .. no other options).
What I have tried to do, for the above, is change the heading on the forums manually by editing the first application post - changing the "accepted" tag to "closed" .. however this then completely mucks up the formatting of the contents of the post, removing all line and paragraph breaks.
A better picture gallery .. something that looks similar to, and is as easy to use, as the Facebook ones
V5 up and working, with all the options and less of the complications of V4 .. because it's prettier :p
Oh .. I forgot .. the recruitment page: http://www.gamerlaunch.com/product/recruiting/search/
It needs extra options .. especially for our game, World of Warcraft (I'm assuming other games will be similar) to search for realm. It doesn't have to be a drop down, it could just be an open text box which will then allow searching ALL the adverts for that particular game for that particular text string (I understand that creating a specialised field for realm name, for every single game, could be very time consuming). And the timezone box does no good anyway .. it's difficult to work out where and how to set it and the search doesn't seem to work very well anyway (try searching for 0 GMT and you get a whole host of different timezones, for example).
eek .. sorry .. another one that keeps bugging me .. the date of a post on the forums. It's all well and good putting the day and month on, and even the time .. but it would be very useful to have the YEAR too. Some posts go back years and may no longer be relevant .. yet there is no way of telling how long ago they were posted.
Oh .. and another .. which I realise is probably to stop spammers (ulp!) .. but on my own forums I often reply to several forum posts one after another .. yet I have to sit and wait for the timer to go down, press the "back" button and hope that response I just posted is still there, so I can try again. Perhaps just your "I'm not a robot" popup if posts are too close together? Or some way of detecting if the person posting is a member of that guild?