In the summer of 2002 Verant Interactive released a content update to Everquest
shortly before their next expansion, The Planes of Power
. This content update introduced the ability for players to customize their graphical user interface through user created .xml and .tga files. This new ability led to the July launch of two new websites, EQInterface
by Jim “Kudane” Garner and EQGUI
by Tom “Dolby” Finn. As with all of our sites, we are official members of SOE's Fan Site program. In August 2002, the two sites combined and continued under the EQInterface
name. Within a few weeks of the merger, Karen “Cairenn” Hobson officially came on board as a team member.
Some things have changed in the 10 years since the launch of our first site, EQInterface
: Kudane has long since moved on, going to work for one of the game companies. As we launched more UI sites we created an over-arching name to describe our entire group of sites, MMOUI
. There are now eight sites covering nine games under the MMOUI
umbrella. And of course there are lots of things we have added to our sites to further support our communities.
Some things will never change though: Dolby and I are still here, taking care of our communities as we always have. As well, we've always held true to our ethics and standards that we set from the very beginning and our dedication to our communities has never wavered.
As well in 2002, we started our “Featured Artist/Project” program, giving these featured artists their own set of forums and their own download category on each of our sites. Our very first Featured Artist was well-known user interface artist Tom King at EQInterface
. Tom has created many beautiful and striking individual interface art pieces as well as full skins and layouts exclusively for some of our sites over the years.
In 2003 we continued to grow and improve EQInterface
. Kudane was at SOE's FanFaire that year, getting the opportunity to meet some members of the EQ
UI community. As well, he went to E3 that year, getting a preview of EverQuest II
at the SOE booth and checking out the preview of World of Warcraft
at the Blizzard booth.
In March 2004 (during the initial closed beta of the game) we opened our second site, WoWInterface
, to support the upcoming Blizzard Entertainment game, World of Warcraft
. We had to close the site briefly due to a potential conflict of interest with SOE, but we were able to reopen it in January 2005. Blizzard invited us to be members of their Fan Site program and we were actually the very first official Fan Site for WoW
June of 2004 also saw us launching EQ2Interface
, a site for Sony Online Entertainment
's upcoming game, EverQuest II
Kudane and Dolby both attended SOE's FanFaire in 2004, getting to spend time with more of our EQ
UI community, as well as attending E3 and SOE's Fansite Summit.
Early in 2005, we added the ability for users to create lists of their favourite addons to both of our sites. This allowed users to get automatic email or popup notification of updates to their favourite addons without having to check the sites constantly. In addition, we made a change on our sites that allowed authors to permit optional files to be uploaded to their addons. This meant that people other than the original author were able to upload files that added optional functionality or graphics etc. to an existing addon or patches to addons until the original author had an opportunity to update their addon, and showing these optional files on a tab on the original file's download page. As mentioned, we re-opened WoWInterface
in January of 2005.
2005 was also the first time BlizzCon was held. This led to the opportunity for all three of us to meet face to face for the first time, as well as with members of the WoW
UI community. Dolby and Kudane had met each other in previous years at SOE's FanFaire and during E3. We also brought with us t-shirts to give out to the WoW
UI community and hosted the first WoW
UI Community Dinner, which has subsequently become an annual event we host. Okay well, not precisely
annual, but every time there is a BlizzCon. Kudane and Dolby skipped SOE's FanFaire that year so they could attend BlizzCon instead. They did, however get to attend E3 that year, as well as the SOE Community Summit.
was launched in August of 2005 for the SOE game Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
. This brought the number of sites we run for SOE's games to three. All of them are official fan site members for their respective games, and are actually the only
UI customization communities for them as well.
February of 2006 brought with it our Author Portal System. These are essentially mini-websites for each author on the applicable MMOUI site. It gives the author an easy-to-remember link to the sub-domain: (author_name.mmouisite.com). For example, if I had a portal on RiftUI
it would be “cairenn.riftui.com”. The portal includes bug tracking, feature requests tracking, news (which is also posted on the front page of the site), custom pages, and custom menu links all with rss feeds, among other things.
Another big thing that we did in 2006 was to make an unprecedented arrangement with Blizzard to make sure that every single WoW addon author
would get a beta key for Burning Crusade
. This allowed for all authors to ensure their addons were completely compatible with the expansion, before it was even released. This arrangement has continued for every single WoW
expansion Blizzard has released. Over the years we have given out in excess of 2550 World of Warcraft
expansion beta keys to authors.
Dolby attended both SOE's FanFaire and E3 in 2006. Unfortunately there was no BlizzCon that year so we didn't get to visit with the WoW
UI community that year.
Our fifth site, LotROInterface
, opened in February 2007 for Turbine
's game Lord of the Rings Online
. In November of that year, Turbine
came to us and asked us to expand the site as they were shortly going to be allowing customized user interfaces for their game, Dungeons and Dragons Online
. The expansion of our LotROInterface
site to support Dungeon and Dragons Online
as well was released concurrently with Turbine
's January 2008 expansion.
2007 was also the second BlizzCon. This meant a new t-shirt and another UI Community supper from us for the WoW
We also created our Premium Membership program in 2007. People had long been asking us for ways they could help support our sites. As a thank you for everyone that becomes a Premium member on any of our sites, they no longer see ads on any of our sites, are allowed to create their own forum user title, get a pretty gold-coloured username on the sites, larger private message boxes, increased avatar file size and increased profile picture file size. Not only do they get all of those benefits on all of the MMOUI
sites, they also get all of the premium subscriber benefits on all of the other Zam
network sites as well.
As previously mentioned, 2008 saw the expansion of our LotROInterface
to also support Turbine's other MMORPG, Dungeon and Dragons Online
. In addition to that, to another mass give-away of expansion beta keys for WoW
UI authors and to the third BlizzCon (another t-shirt to give away and another dinner to host) and Dolby attending SOE's FanFaire, 2008 also saw us releasing our SVNs. An SVN (or Subversion) is an online version control systems which aids in an author's development of their addons and its history of stable (and unstable, or even branched) versions. This allows authors to upload developmental versions of their addons, create branches to try new approaches or new features in their addons, tag specific revisions to keep a history of stable versions and also give permissions to other authors, to form a team of people working on the addon. It also allows them to push versions of their project straight to the normal download page on the site as either normal release or as beta versions.
As we all know, UI authors spend countless hours developing, debugging, and supporting their addons. We've always done everything we can to support these authors and their contributions to the community, and in 2009 we provided them with another visible way to receive some form of benefit for these contributions. In addition to authors being able to show a donation link on their file description page (as has always been possible), we created a donation overlay that will show any time someone downloads an addon on which the author has enabled donation requests. Authors have the ability to turn on this overlay whenever they upload or update their AddOns.
SOE held their annual FanFaire which Dolby was able to attend. Blizzard's fourth Blizzcon was held in 2009, so we created a fourth t-shirt design to hand out and hosted our fourth annual WoW
UI community dinner, de rigueur
. We're getting to be old hands at setting those up by now.
In 2010 we launched our wikis. These give authors and users alike another way in which to share guides, post the API for the respective games, talk about their addons, etc.
2010 saw the WoW
's beta so we had another mass give-away of beta keys to our UI devs. It was also the fifth Blizzcon, which happily meant a fifth t-shirt to hand out and a fifth community dinner to host. As always, Dolby was also able to attend SOE's annual FanFaire, getting to hang out with members of the different SOE UI communities.
In June of 2011 we opened RiftUI
, our site for the Trion Worlds
's game, Rift
2011 also had us introduce our Git repository. This is another type of online version control system. A number of our authors had expressed a preference for Git rather than SVN, so we made those available as well thus allowing authors to use whichever they prefer.
Per usual, Dolby was able to go to SOE's FanFaire. As had become the norm, there was another Blizzcon in 2011, so yet another t-shirt and the sixth community dinner. Have I mentioned that we enjoy the heck out of those? I was also invited to attend Blizzard's Fansite Summit.
So far 2012 has been a busy year for us. We've launched not one but two new sites. In April we opened our site SwtorUI
's new game Star Wars: The Old Republic
. Last month, July, we opened SecretUI
's game The Secret World
. As well we have run our fourth mass beta key-give away for WoW
authors so they can have their addons ready when Blizzard's next expansion, Mists of Pandaria
goes live in September. Plus we've been getting things all set up for this, our 10th Anniversary!
There isn't a BlizzCon this year, so we're going to get a bit of a break which is actually kind of nice in a way since we've been so crazy busy this year. We'll miss getting to see everyone from the WoW
UI community though. Dolby and I may just show up at Sony Online Entertainment
's Live (formerly FanFaire) in October, although we haven't even had time to think about it yet.
That's about it so far. We're looking forward to seeing what happens over the next decade.
Be sure to check out our 10 Years - About us
page as well as taking part in our Trivia Challenge and Giveaway!