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LFG? Look No Further!

by - 4 years ago

In early 2010 a website was created by members of the community. The goal of this website was to bring players together someplace outside of the World of Warcraft. Someplace that would allow them to create groups, schedule events, and share a passion for different types of gameplay even if their characters didn’t reside on the same server. Raiding, battlegrounds, mount farming, or even just get togethers for non-instanced activities like RP events or social hours. There were very few limits on the types of events that could be created on the site.

However, as with most things, the site started to quiet down. The original team moved on, Blizzard combined WoW realms, increasing the pool of available players for these types of activities on players local realms, and eventually the site shut down. Players asked in various other forums what happened, if there were any similar sites, and often the answer was no.

Earlier this week I came across a post in the WoW subreddit purporting to be from a new website. The goal of this website was to be a new and improved version of the previous site. I did a little research, reached out to the contact email for the website and connected with the team leader/site owner who had created the post to get more details.

The new website’s name: HeroLobby.

So before we dig into the details of the new site, tell me about your history with WoW.

I’ve been gaming for many years. A good chunk of my time was spent playing World of Warcraft with friends. We always played on smaller realms simply because we liked the atmosphere and the ability to get to know the server community. We knew who we could reach out to if we needed a tank, or healer, or (it does happen sometimes) a DPS. As the years went on the server got smaller, fewer of our friends were logging on to play with, and it got more difficult to fill groups.

When they added the dungeon finder, LFR, and cross-realm grouping things got better, but it was still different. We didn’t have that sense of community, of knowing who we could count on and who we could trust in our groups. That’s where the original site idea came from over 10 years ago. We wanted a way to connect with people from other servers and know that we were bringing good people into our groups, or knowing that if we were joining another person’s group they weren’t going to swipe all the good loot and leave us with nothing.

As the site got bigger we needed more people so we brought on a great team of people to help develop and run the site. Eventually the site got too big for our small team to handle so it was passed off to others to run. I took a nice break and enjoyed my time in other ways instead of working on the site. I now have two kids and enjoy spending time with them.

So what’s changed? What made you decide to start developing a new site?

Recently I wanted to get into a group in WoW to do some light raiding. I looked and it appeared that the original site wasn’t around any more. It happens. Websites can’t stay up forever. I was a bit disappointed because it just made it harder to find a group to play with.

At the same time I realized that this is an opportunity for us. When we built the original site we kept a pretty narrow idea of what we wanted to do. We didn’t want to overburden ourselves with trying to maintain too much, or do more than the technology allowed us to do at the time. A lot has changed over the last 10 years and the development process and tools available are so much more advanced.

What do you mean by that?

At the time making modifications to the site wasn’t easy. It’s nothing like it would have been had we tried creating something similar when WoW first came out, but it still took quite a bit of time to add new things to the site or update things that weren’t working. With the technology available now we can make changes or fixes and deploy them very quickly. This allows us to spend less time working on the site while getting the same amount of work done. We can also expand our range of activities available.

With the original site we limited ourselves to World of Warcraft. That was the big game then and that’s where we spent our time. With the new site we’re able to support more games. Chances are most of our traffic will continue to come from retail WoW players because of the size of the playerbase, but you can also find or create groups for WoW Classic, Final Fantasy XIV, Diablo III, Heroes of the Storm, and League of Legends.

Another thing we added this time is the ability to create your own teams within the site. This is similar to the in-game communities or guilds, just in a different place. You can join as many teams as you’d like and recruit other players to join your team. This is great for groups who don’t necessarily start in-game but still want to have a way to keep up with each other. You can also follow other teams if you like the idea but aren’t quite ready to commit to joining them quite yet.

So you talked about what’s changed. What’s the same?

The main intent behind the site is the same. Log in, sync your character(s) or your profile (depending on which game you’d like to get a group for), and either join a scheduled event or create your own. After events you can rate other members of your parties to give them a boost to their reputation or let other players know they may be one to watch out for. Obviously we’d like to keep the community as positive and make sure everyone has a great experience but there’s no way to guarantee that will happen.

So when will the site be ready?

It’s ready now. It has actually been up for some time, but now we’re ready to start expanding and to do that we need more users so we know what to focus on. We know the WoW expansion is winding down a bit but we’ve still got users scheduling raids, mount runs, and there’s even a Herald of the Titans group who schedules their runs through the site. We’re looking forward to showing everyone what we’ve been working on!

So there you have it. If you miss OpenRaid some members of the original team are back with a new site and ready to take on users.
To sign up just click here to get started: REGISTER

Timothy Prine


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