Finally. After promising since frickin’ June that we’d do this, we finally have the new, improved, and overall just plain bitchin’ StarCityGames.com here for your inspection!
Here; like any proud new homeowner, let me take you on a tour around – but first, sign in! To get the most out of StarCity, you’ll need to register your logon ID in two separate places: In our forums and in our shopping cart. (We kept them separate for security purposes.) Go ahead. Get yer ya-yas out. I’ll wait.
Good. Let me show you what we got.
The New Forums.
Hey, we knew our old forums sucked; we just figured we’d do everything at once and upgrade them for StarCityGames version 4.0. These new forums have everything you could want in a place to chat, and we encourage you to get crackin’! Furthermore, every article is now automatically linked to its own forum, so you’ll have the ability to comment on every single piece of writing on the site!
The New Shopping Cart.
Our old shopping cart was, sadly, showing its age – we couldn’t import all the titles any more, and it was hell getting images into it, and you don’t really give a crap, do you? All you care about is browsing and cool stuff.
Well, the X-Cart shopping system is an incredibly advanced shopping cart, and it’s allowed us to do things that we’ve never done before – like, for example, we can now link to card images. As an editor, I’m sort of obligated to know the correct spellings and definitions of over 13,000 cards… But why should you? Hell, if you’ve forgotten what Mistmoon Griffin or Taniwha do, the information is now only a click away!
(May I also point out the little touch of having each link to our amazing, and increasingly improving, Ask The Virtual Judge database? I was quite proud of that.)
In addition, we’ve added some new categories that weren’t there before – want to buy the original artwork for Morphling or Cursed Scroll? How about some artists’ proofs on hot Extended cards like Cursed Scroll, Tolarian Academy, or Time Spiral? That’s right, we now sell original artwork and rare collectors’ cards, and we’re proud to say it!
(And by the way, if you’re an artist and you’d like to sell your artwork through us… Talk to us.)
The Find-A-Player Database.
As I write this at 1:10 a.m. on Friday morning, there are precisely two players listed in our database: Me, and a fake guy I made up to test it. However, by signing up for an account on our X-Cart shopping system and checking the”Yes, I’d like to be listed” field, you – yes, you! – can be listed as Someone Who Plays Magic In Your Town.
As time goes by and more people fill up the system – and we anticipate that they will – players will search their area, find you, and email you, begging you to play! You can find like-minded people all over the globe!
So hell, sign on. It’s free and pretty dang easy.
Our New And Improved Tech Centers.
Once again, we knew our old tech centers weren’t much good. But now we legitimately have a one-stop strategy center for Standard, Onslaught Limited, Extended, and Block strategies – a place where we tie together the best and most popular strategy sites. Furthermore, we’ve added three new centers to tie together the best articles from another three popular formats – Multiplayer (my heart!), 5-Color, and Type One.
(Also note that every article now mentions quite clearly what formats it’s for, and links you to that tech center if you’d like. Whee!)
All right. Let’s be honest; we had this idea several years ago, but other sites jumped ahead of us. Now StarCityGames has its own deck databases – one each for Standard, Extended, and the thank-God-it’s-dead-now Block, as maintained by the esteemed Israel Marques, and they’re workin’ mighty fine.
Furthermore, we’ve established a States deck database, where you can tie together what everyone thinks the metagame will look like. Sure, you know that Monoblack Control will show up – but what form will it take? Take a look at everyone’s thoughts on the matters… And read the articles that spawned the ideas!
The”New To Magic?” Page
Hey, Magic’s a complex game, and nobody knows that better than StarCity. After all, we publish tons of articles on how to play the damn thing. But when you’re just starting out, the learning curve is steep. Way too steep.
So we’ve made it easier. I’ve written three articles (well, two-and-a-half – the inestimable Sheldon Menery co-wrote one with me) on the articles and slang you need to know, and other all-stars have written articles. Jim Grimmett written a fine piece on tiebreakers that I think even moderately-experienced people will want to read, while Cory Braiterman discusses the alternative to Magic Online.
Furthermore, we have a new section at StarCityGames.com – Fundamentals – where we’ll archive these novice-friendly writings. So do you know anyone who’s just starting out? You might wanna send ’em here….
Many of you complained that hey, articles should stay up for the entire week once they’re published. Done! Scroll to the bottom to see everything that’s been published earlier in the week!
An Improved Search Engine.
Say, did you know that our engine actually looks for all the links that we’ve published to articles on other sites? Feel free to look ’em up!
An Improved Ask The Virtual Judge Database.
Thanks to your many questions, we now have over a thousand questions in our searchable database. Wow. Where else can you find that? Furthermore, we knew that Onslaught would have some confusing rules – so all of the Official Onslaught Frequently Asked Questions are now archived!
A Daily Special, Courtesy Of None Other Than Pete Himself.
Look to your left, my friends – see that Call of the Herd? Well, it’s a Call today – who knows what it will be tomorrow? Every day, Pete will be putting something new on sale for a hot price… And we don’t know what it is! The man’s insane, I tell you!
A Frickin’ Cooler Look.
Don’t argue with me. I spent way too much time retooling this. Wow.
Now, let’s on to the frequently-asked questions of the new site look.
Wow, This Loads Slower. What Happened?
Unfortunately, time marches on – and to be able to provide a much cooler and more expansive site, we had to make each page bigger. I’ve tested this fairly extensively on a slow (28.8k) connection, and it does load in an amount of time that was comparable to my benchmark site: Magicthegathering.com.
And frankly, when I think you look at everything we added, you’ll see it’s a solid tradeoff.
When I Click On A Card, It Shows Me The Foil Version First. Are You Folks Trying To Rip Us Off?
Actually, that’s a bug in the system; we want it to show the nonfoil version first, but we’ve spent a couple of weeks working intermittently on the problem and haven’t been able to fix how it’s sorted. This is, in fact, fairly annoying… But it will be fixed. We just figured you’d like to see the cool stuff first, and accept any minor changes along the way.
When I Go To The Shopping Cart, The Items Are Listed Really Weird…
*Sigh* See above. We’ll get to that. Really.
Do You Have Any Disappointments About The Site?
Yeah. It’s hard to be original.
For example, we came up with the”States Test Deck Database” on Monday, and had it implemented; thanks to problems with the server changeover, you didn’t see it until today, but it was there, just waiting to be used – as you can see from the decks that are already in it.
Likewise, the first thing I suggested when I interviewed for the editor position here almost two and a half years ago was”Clickable card links.” Since then, they’ve become almost a de facto standard for every website, and Wizards now even has a custom-made link you can cut and paste into your site, if you’d like.
(Sadly, we had already finished our card link before then. It might have saved me some work!)
The lesson to be learned here is that it’s hard to be original. But finally, after many years of trying, StarCityGames.com is on the cutting edge of Magic web technology… And we’re not looking back. We have some more improvements planned after this, but I need a break; I’ve been working fourteen-hour days for the past month to get this in the can, and I will take a breather.
But I can promise you this: We’re gonna be leading the band now, not following it.
Watch. Us. Go.
Now. Normally, I’d say that you should email me ? but since we have such a brand-new spankin’ forum, I want all of you to go here right now, register, and tell me everything you think. I’ll be watching. Closely. Talk!
The Here Edits This Here Site Here Guy