Update #2 - Most of the questions of comments are concerns I already adressed in my first update of the news. I'll try to reply to all the PMs I got about that and make sure nobody is super-scared.
Ultimately, I just hope that after 3 years my readers trust me enough to know that I wouldn't do anything stupid for the site. The news format will stay the same, the people behind the site will stay the same (but we will get backup), I could probably have decided to not announce the change and nobody would have noticed before ages. The only reason why it was announced is because it's a great thing, and it was worth sharing.
Update - Added a couple of answers at the bottom of the post. If you have (serious) questions or concerns about the sale, just throw me a PM and I'll answer in public.
MMO-Champion acquired by Curse
There we go.
San Francisco, CA – July 19, 2010 – Curse, Inc. announced today the purchase of the #1 World of Warcraft news site, MMO-Champion.com. The site was bought from Major League Gaming for an undisclosed amount.
MMO-Champion is a natural fit for Curse which already possesses the largest repository of add-ons available for MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games such as World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online and Runes of Magic as well as extremely popular forums for Runescape, Aion and Final Fantasy XIV. The World of Warcraft news site attracts 7 million unique visitors and more than 80 million page views per month (Google Analytics WW, June 2010). The combination makes Curse the #1 MMO destination online.
“The acquisition of MMO-Champion markedly sets Curse apart from the competition,” said Hubert Thieblot, CEO and Founder. “Not only does the addition solidify Curse as the largest MMO destination on the web, but it plays a central role in delivering a complete Curse MMO solution. Curse is now the ultimate resource for MMO news, forums, databases, and add-ons.”
Gamers and advertisers alike will benefit greatly from MMO-Champion’s purchase by Curse. In the next few months, visitors can expect an updated page design and improved user experience. To insure the site’s strong content offering will not be compromised, Fabien Bonte, the site’s founder and administrator, will be joining the Curse staff as a full-time employee. Advertisers can take advantage of Curse’s extended reach into the core MMO market, making MMO gamers easier to connect with than ever. For more information about Curse and MMO-Champion, please visit www.curse.com.
Boubouille's word (That's me!)
NEW OWNERS! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!
No, seriously. This change will hardly affect the users, we will see a lot of improvements on the site over the next few months (not immediately, we still have to move to new servers) and a lot of people will be working hard to make MMO-Champion a wonderful place filled with love and gnomes. Our first goal is obviously to stabilize the current site and fix all the minor bugs you've been experiencing since the migration, then we'll work on the big stuff and eventually come up with a shiny new design and more features.
I would also like to thank Major League Gaming for the 3 years I spent with them. They're the one who gave me a chance to bring MMO-Champion to a much higher level and even if it isn't obvious to everyone, the site probably wouldn't exist today without them. MLG's management and tech teams went through a lot of efforts to keep the site alive during its ridiculously fast growth, we're here today because of them. Curse and Major League Gaming will definitely keep working together in the future and great things will come out of this partnership.
MMO-Champion has been around for 3 years, 4 months, and 19 days. Let's see how much further we can go.
Update - Let's try to address some of the concerns.
For the 3rd time, I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be here to post the news each day, ban you each day because you made fun of Garfield in the forums, and pretend that I know stuff about the codename Titan.
Redesign means "make the site pretty", not completely change the layout of the page. If you want more details:
- The site won't change to a fixed width because it sucks to read wall of texts (=80% of my news posts)
- You will never get "AWESOME NEW STUFF RELEASED! Click the link below to actually see the news", everything will stay on the front page, simple and clean.
- I want the blue tracker latest posts on the front page.
- We might add a couple of extra features like a separate box to track new posts in Off-Topic forums, etc ...
- We have to hunt down all the terrible bugs we have on the design. I mean, did you try to open the current site with IE7? Or did you try to edit your forum preferences without killing yourself because of how bad it looks? That's what I meant by "the current design sucks"
- Visually, we can probably do much better than that without changing the structure of the site too much.
There is no plan to change the "core" design of the site, news will always be on the front page, high enough to be visible without scrolling down, and always fully expanded without the need to click to see the entire post.
I'm not going to bullshit you, premium might happen but it's really not a top priority for the moment. I would hardly call it premium, more like "Donator/Sponsor" for people who would like to help, I would also like to explore new features through that like user generated blogs or user groups on forums, etc ... But really, I don't see it happening in 2010.
If I ever add a Premium feature to the site, it will be because it can bring something more without penalizing people who don't want to pay, it won't be just because I'm jealous of Ghostcrawler and want to buy a bigger yacht than his. If something is free today, it will stay free. It's that simple.
Doesn't sound attractive or well-thought? Good, that's because we have no immediate plan to do that. Exactly my point.
3. Control over the site
I still take 99% of the decisions on the site, MMO-Champion is the biggest WoW news site out there and it means that the people I now work with know I'm not stupid when it comes to WoW websites. You don't just buy a site that works just fine with a plan to change everything, it's not worth the hassle, the only major change we could do to boost the traffic is to offer Night Elf porn to the users, and I was told I can't do that.
4. Current plans with the site
A lot of people are scared of the future, I'll try to layout the current plan for the next months.
- Reactivate the search function.
- Stabilize the site and make sure we stay online on patch days.
- Clean up the forums, add a moderator application form to the site, recruit more moderators and open a couple of extra forums.
- Redesign slightly and improve the Blue Tracker. (Search Function, etc ...)
- Redesign the site to make it good looking, see 1. Redesign
- Stronger support on all the tools I use to work on news each day, you have no idea how fucked up some of them are. I can't really post all the super secret stuff here but I can assure you that the sale will be a huge relief for me on that point.
- Possibly go full-scale with db.mmo-champion.com because I'm pretty sure you're all bored of the item pages with just a tooltip and no drop location or screenshot. (But we still have to decide that)
If everything goes well, I will end up having a lot more time to work on news posts and the site will only get better, I think some people just underestimate the technical shitstorm behind each Beta patch or every single news. Having the backup of a WoW-focused company with tons of WoW-focused developers is a pretty huge thing for me.
If you remember the last beta patch, there wasn't anything on the front page for 10 hours. That's the time I currently spend on tech stuff that I could spend on pretty screenshots of mechanic bunnies.