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Dec 13, 2022

2022 In Review

A look back on 2022 and a peek ahead at 2023.

Hi everyone, Hodge here. It's been a big year behind the scenes across technology and operations and I thought I'd round off on some of the key moments and takeaways we've had as a team as the journey has unfolded over the past 12 months.

Before I begin, a lot of invisible work has gone into improving the website this year and we have a large team of community volunteers who have helped push many of our projects and improvements forward. Harry and I cannot thank the team enough for their commitment and drive while helping us continue to build a rich community resource that helps players to play at their best.

Mission

Something which has significantly evolved this year is our mission - by evolved, I mean we now have one.

Harry and I have had a lot of discussions around what we wanted to achieve since we launched the "new" website in 2021, and where we landed was to make sure that you can play at your best. It's important to us that people recognise that their best right now might not be the same as someone else, we just want you to do you.

Our mission has evolved naturally with the influx of newer players, and the focus shift by ArenaNet, to cater to all levels of experience and ability. To this end we'll continue to deliver the resources people have come to expect for the top-end of the player base, while adding newer content and features for brand new players so that people are armed with the right knowledge and tools.

Website Changes

In 2022 we made the following changes:

  • The About page was updated with our team of regular contributors.
  • Added the ability to import and upload logs against accounts so you can see your gameplay history.
  • Updated the home page adding a selection of random groups and not so random news posts.
  • Rolled out email notifications and began adding them to critical site workflows.
    • New Membership Applications
    • New User Welcome
    • Account Deactivation
  • Added a mandatory onboarding flow & welcome email to improve the new user experience.
  • Site navigation was improved again, and again, and again. I promise I'll stop changing it soon.
  • Broke then unbroke plenty of styling while making UI improvements to most pages.
  • We officially launched our Guides out of beta.
  • Added the ability to indicate how helpful guides are so we can focus improvement efforts.
  • Because everyone's a star, added the ability to save your favourite builds and guides for quick access.
  • Refreshed the Explore page providing a gateway for players to find new communities and resources.
  • Hundreds of other small tweaks, fixes, and changes that aren't worth noting but I swear they happened.

Technology

This year was a year of small accomplishments that came together to make a big splash on the technology front. On the metrics side we maintained over 99.9% uptime throughout the year which I hope we can keep up going into 2023.

Ringing the bell to close out the year we rolled out a new API, splitting it from the website, offering better flexibility for when we return to solving the problem of custom embeds next year. This also improves our capabilities to develop new standalone services without adding bloat to the website code.

We've officially transitioned to a TALL stack after deciding it was the best choice for ongoing maintenance given our skillsets, refactoring the old Vue components which allowed us to pull Vue out of the dependencies. This more than halved our JavaScript load and compile time, which for users on slower devices meant a significiant performance improvement.

There was a large number of tasks raised in response to community feedback provided via the airtable across 2021/22. After a push to review and resolve the 173 feedback submissions (some consistening of several tasks) we resolved the final piece of user feedback in August. This freed us up to focus on new features and improvements in the latter half of the year.

Last but not least on the engineering front, we completed a lot of work to improve our visibility of how the website is being used by users. This will help us going forward to make better decisions as we can see how particular features are being used and what their level of popularity is.

Product management itself was a little left in the dust this year as we focused on resolving community feedback items and making technical improvements to set us up for the future. That said, we've begun work to improve visibility on issues and suggestions coming in by switching the #website-discussion channel to a forum in Discord. We're hoping to connect more with everyone this year while we roll out new features and improvements.

A Peek Ahead

We have a lot of plans for 2023, with some things we consider to be pretty exciting right around the corner. Without giving too much away I've currently scheduled work for the following major features next year:

  • Group Rosters to ensure your weekly static isn't three players short due to absences at go time.
  • More Logs UI to view your personal performance over time, percentile, and compare benchmarked numbers.
  • As mentioned above, revisiting Custom API to improve reliability and newly offer public endpoints for other community services.

We'll be letting people know as we roll out parts of these changes via the News Room moving forwards, so keep an eye on the Discord #changelog and the home page to not miss out.

That's it from me, congratulations fearless reader on making it to the bottom of the page.

Happy Wintersday! Talk to you all on the flipside.

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