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Premium Website: An Introduction

by Chris Lobban, Chief Programmer

20th October 2008

About a month ago, it was revealed that The Continuing Committee was working on developing a Premium Membership service on the website. This idea had been tossed around in the committee for quite a while (based on a similar program that the Star Wars:CCG Players Committee uses to raise funds for their website. At the end of August, we held a marathon (4.5 hours, I think?) Committee meeting over Ventrilo, and this was one of the projects that we decided to push forward on, to make sure that we'd be able to continue paying bills in the next year. Since then (and actually, even before then to some extent), there's been a lot of work behind the scenes to brainstorm and develop new features for the Premium Website, as well as to hammer out all the details of the membership. Over the next few months, through this series of articles, I'll be filling you in on those details as I gradually introduce you to the features that we'll be providing.

First off, I need to get one thing completely clear. It's an important fact that a lot of people have jumped to incorrect conclusions about, so though I've made this statement before, I feel that it bears repeating.

When the Premium Memberships are released, the current site access will continue to exist exactly as it is today, as a "Basic Membership". I repeat, if you choose to not pay anything, you will not lose ANYTHING. Your access, features, and forums will all stay the exactly the same. Also, there will be no new forums, chat rooms, or Ventrilo channels designated for "Premium Members Only". Anything that is considered a "vital service" (which includes the ability for all of us to communicate with one another without segmenting the group) will remain free, exactly as it is today. This is top priority and will not change.
Basically, this isn't a scheme to make people pay us to use the website. If you're happy with how the site is today, you're welcome to continue using it as it is today without ever paying a dime. Everything that comes with the Premium Membership will be entirely optional, and potentially even unnecessary. So, why would you pay for something that we've designated "unnecessary"? Well, I'm hoping that as we start to unveil the details of the Premium site, you'll begin to see why.

So, where are all these details I keep vaguely talking about? Well, here's your first answer. The first Premium feature to be unveiled was actually the very last one added to the list. Something we hadn't originally even considered, until it was suggested by one of the users on the feedback thread. All Premium Members of the website will have the ability to create and maintain their own personal blogs right here on this site. You can use it to write your thoughts about your latest tournament, your successes growing the game in your area, what you ate today, or your thoughts on the latest political scandals. It's up to you. Start watching immediately for blog postings from the first few members that are helping to test the feature out. You never know what interesting things you might read.

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