State of the Escape

GEstateoftheescape

Around this time of year I always feel the desire to post something about the site (e.g. 10/2010, 2/2012). A small look back, maybe a medium look forward… that sort of thing.  I sort of did that type of post not so long ago when FFXIV:ARR launched. So I’ll try to keep this one short and to the point.

When we last looked in August we reported that the FFXIV wiki was loaded with more than 17,000 pages of content from more than 300,000 edits. We’re now at more 25,000 pages of content from more than 350,000 edits. The significance of these numbers is easily glossed over, but realize that this is approximately 13,000 more pages of content, and 315,000 more edits, than most (all?) other FFXIV wikis combined (we found five others).  The point is not that we have the most information about FFXIV than any other site – although we do – but we have a community of players contributing  to the wiki to ensure that it continues to grow, improve and stay current. Our recent changes log is filled with a mix of both heavy editors and the occasional editor, and as I have stated before, both are necessary.  We hit the massive 2.1 patch in stride and incorporated the majority of the information very, very quickly.

While players continue to add to the information, on the back end we continue to try to add whatever we can to make the site more useful to the community.  For example, since the ARR launch we added the ability to translate the wiki, allowing the non-English speaking members of the community to at least get a quick Google translate of the information. For those curious, the top 5 languages the wiki is being translated into are Chinese, Italian, French, German and Swedish.  We also recently added a feature that shows the nearest Aetheryte when hovering over NPCs, Locations or Mobs. This can be a real benefit if you’re just trying to determine where to go next on a particular quest. Take a look at Spirited Away for example (screenshot below). If you hover on the lighter blue links you can see where to go next, saving you a few unnecessary clicks. Often this information may seems obvious, but there are times we think its helpful so we’ve added it as an option.

hovertext

While we continue to tweak the templates and functionality, the community continues to tweak and add information that the community wants and finds relevant.  We have said before that a wiki (and ours specifically) differs from a database site in that a wiki requires growth.  It gets better with age (so long as it is growing), since you get a larger set of information that is better integrated and inter-linked.  You get the ability to start at Spirited Away, click and see what else is going on at Buscarron’s Druthers, click and check out what Ianna has to offer, look at her The Trees Have Eyes quest and the Cotton Gaskins reward it offers, only to realize that you can also buy them from the nearby Arms Supplier & Mender for 734 gil.

The rest of the site continues to grow as well.  Aetheryte Radio recently released its 59th episode, and is always gearing up for its next episode.  We added a couple new community members interested in helping us report on not only FFXI/FFXIV news, but gaming news in general.  We’re trying our best to bring not only mirrored content from Square Enix, but also original content or harder to find information.  For example, we recently added articles on crafting and lore (with more on the way), two editorials about housing (here and here) and news from Nvidia specifically about FFXIV.

Finally, we (just today) have just today begun work to improve/upgrade our servers.  While I cannot guarantee that the change will make a material difference, it won’t hurt and will at least get us onto some newer (and at least technically faster) equipment.  We should be able to complete the move with minimal downtime, and we will post more when we know more specifically when that will occur and what to expect (if anything).

One last thing for those that have read this far (thanks!).  As I requested back in August, please consider white listing us on your ad blockers. We have really worked hard to maintain unobtrusive ads here at Gamer Escape.  We made it so that ads load after, and are placed to have the least impact on (within reason), the content.  We continue to turn away advertisers looking to buy ads as pop-ups or pop-unders, in the middle of the content area, under page names, as text-links in the content, as “mock-editorials”, with auto-playing sound/video etc.  Your help in white listing us (or supporting us) allows us to maintain this position.

I have said it before and will say it again – a community project such as this one requires strong, and broad-based, community support – and I am really happy to see that we’ve got that in spades.  If you are interested in helping the project just reach out to us via email or IRC.  I get the sense from time to time that some people think we are some sort of formal company – I can assure you we are not.  We’re just a handful FFXIV players who enjoy helping the site grow (when we’re not playing).

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed whatever holiday they celebrated recently (if any) and a wish everyone a terrific 2014 – it certainly looks like it will be a great year to be playing FFXIV.