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Battlefront Moves!

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Battlefront Moves!

This is an early headsup to all of our forum participants, website visitors and customers that in the near future (read: this month) Battlefront.com will be upgrading its infrastructure to add some new features and enhancements.

While we will do everything to minimize any downtime, there may be brief moments when our website, forum, order system or email is not reachable.

We have not yet scheduled the date for the upgrade itself, but once that is firmed up we will notify people via the normal avenues (news, forum posts, RSS feeds, and newsletter) in advance with more details.

What will change? Everything :cool:

This upgrade is really overdue as our continued growth has begun to outpace our existing infrastructure and internal systems. Digital Delivery has been rapidly increasing in popularity, many new technologies are now available for community and multiplayer features, and we want to offer you, our customers, the latest in the state of the art service and experience. Planned upgrades aim to introduce a number of exciting new features ranging from multiplayer applications to mod, scenario, and map repositories and much more. We won’t be able to introduce all of these at the same time, but the coming upgrade is necessary in setting the stage to permit such enhancements.

One of the most immediate impacts for you will be the switch to a completely new discussion forum package.

UBB has served us very well in the past years since 2000, and has been the home of nearly 1.5 million (!) posts. (If you count all the posts listed on the forum currently you will arrive at about 1.1 million posts. But this does not include a couple hundred thousand posts from a purged General Discussion Forum a few years ago as well as posts made for games which we do not longer publish). No other wargaming forum in the world is bigger than this!

But it’s time to move on. We’re going to be switching to vBulletin. It’s one of the most popular discussion forum packages out there and it is in fact already hosting several of our new beta tester discussion boards. If you create an entry in the Strategic Command Design Challenge, you’re in fact looking at the new board software already (however, you cannot register yet, and there is no point in saving the URL for later because it will change).

vBulletin will allow us to introduce a lot of new modern features that are sorely missing from our old UBB package. You will be able to subscribe to threads and entire forums via RSS feeds, just to name one. We’re also going to introduce a completely new system to regulate user bans and warnings called Infractions, which is inherently more fair and flexible than our current "manual" ban.

Obviously the most pressing question you have right now is: will I be able to keep my existing forum account? Well, we have good news, and some minor bad news.

The good news first: yes – you will be able to keep your existing forum account. In fact, we’re going to import all threads, all posts, and all users from UBB to the new forum! So if you racked up an impressive post count you don’t have to be afraid of losing it.

However, this feature comes at a price – which brings us to the bad news.

For one, such imports are never 100% clean. Especially not for such a huge forum as ours, with nearly 30,000 registered users and over a million posts. There are bound to be bugs and errors, which may lead to some posts and data becoming corrupted or unavailable. We are not going to keep an archive of the old forum, and we cannot possibly check 100% of all imported data, so if (rather: when) this happens, some posts or threads may get lost completely or partially after the import. Well, such is life.

The other minor issue is that due to a variety of technical and security issues, we will not be able to link your Forum Account with any of the other new online systems we have implemented already, or plan to add in the future as part of our new Customer Account System.

Anyone that has placed an order since last October has already seen the new Customer Account System at work. This system allows you to log-in to your own unique customer portal and access your past order info (from last October at least), look up license codes for your games and even re-download your digital version games.

So basically, the biggest change to this entire new system for you is that you may now have two separate accounts. A Forum Account which will allow you access the Discussion Forums (as you always have) and a new Customer Account which will allow you to access all the other new online features. As we said above, those of you that have placed orders since late last year have already seen this in action and already have a new Customer Account that was created when you placed your order. The key point to remember is that each account (Forum and Customer) is separate from the other and handles access to different, unique features online.

We feel that the new Customer Account System is a great way for us to make things much more user-friendly for you. As said above, in your secure customer account all your order data is saved, including links to re-download a game or to look up your license keys. In the past you had to always contact our support email address if you had lost this info and wait for us to email you back. Now, you can do this all whenever and wherever you want. In addition to the better management of your order info, Customer Accounts will also allow us to reward loyal customers with coupons and other special offers in the future.

We’re excited about all of the upcoming upgrades and the new possibilities that they will offer. But we also know that many of you (and us) have grown fond of one or the other feature from the old site and it may be difficult at first to let go of some of your old customs. However, you, the customer, will be the main beneficiary of all the coming changes and improvements, so we’re hoping that you will enjoy them, and once you get used to them, will never look back.

We can’t wait to get going and will let you know as soon as we have a firm date for the upgrades.

Thank you for your attention,

the Battlefront.com Team

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