CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
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CoN Site News

Regalia Phase 2 Underway: Enter to Win Prizes!


Caves of Narshe Site News
Earlier today, I shut down the nomination phase. Sorry to those who were too lazy to get it done! It's possible you might not have gotten your favorite song in to the top sixty-four nominations by missing out, but it's okay, because now it's time for the second phase, and it's much faster to do this one and it's the part where you can win prizes.

https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ is still where it's at. If you go back today, you'll see something similar to before, but now there are only sixty-four songs to choose from, and you only choose five. The new list is alphabetized, so that nobody has any idea which songs were most popular - from that list, you choose, in order, which ones you think will be the top five after everyone votes on the matchups which will be coming soon. Once you submit your list, you're entered to win the prizes we showed a month ago!

We'll leave this phase open until at least November 1, after which we'll get the voting started. Please remember to share to social media after you make your picks, because everyone everywhere can still play, whether they nominated or not!

I'll post the list of sixty-four as a subsequent comment to this news post for folks who want to see it before making their picks.
Posted in: CoN Site News

Climb In: The Regalia Playlist Championship Only on CoN!


Caves of Narshe Site News
Way, way back, back in the day, a hundred years, it seems that way, CoN did the "Final Fantasy Music CoNtest." Really, though, we last did a smackdown here at CoN to pick the best Final Fantasy music seven years ago, and it was a smash. But, there have been several more games in the main Final Fantasy series since then, and we figure it's high time to take a shot at it again, especially in light of the series' 30th anniversary and CoN's 20th anniversary this year.

So, here's the setup: Noctis and friends from Final Fantasy XV have a pretty serious sound system in their car, the Regalia. So many musical options that there's no telling what to play next, so they're going to need some help figuring out what's best. And that's where we come in, by visiting https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ (or on Facebook).

The Regalia Playlist

Starting now, and running through the end of September, everyone out there with a CoN account can pick fifteen songs from Final Fantasy to make up their own preferred playlist. You'll be able to pick from every single numbered entry in the series, including the MMOs, with a couple bonus games that CoN covers to boot (Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy Tactics, of course). At the end of September, we'll compile everyone's selections into a 64-song knockout tournament by which we'll determine the best songs from the last thirty years for Noctis to load up as he travels across Eos.

We can discuss the knockout when we get there, so let's dive a little more in to the nomination process starting now. As I mentioned, everyone with a CoN account can go to https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ or the tab on our Facebook page to nominate fifteen songs. They're organized by game, and every one has a listen link so you can familiarize yourself with the song again if you can't quite remember it by name. You can click and drag or doubleclick to add a song to your list (or tap if you're on your tablet), and click or tap the trash can to remove it from the list. You can also click and drag to reorder your list as you make it, but once you submit with the green checkmark, you're locked in.

List the songs in your preferred order, because higher rankings are worth more when we do the seeding. The song you pick for the number one slot is worth 15 ranking points, and the song you choose at #15 is worth just one. Our tournament seedings will be based on the overall ranking points earned by every person's picks, so make sure you give the highest spots in your list to the songs you most badly want to see in the tournament.

Around October 1, we'll shut down the nomination process and take some time to rank all the songs that got nominated to come up with a final bracket of 64. After that, the voting will begin and you all will have the opportunity to vote your favorite nominees to the top. At the end of it all, we'll have a brand-spanking-new 2017 version of the best Final Fantasy song of all time. Or close enough.

The Regalia CoNtest

Once we have our 64 candidates based on your submissions, the contest starts! You'll have a couple weeks to look over the 64 top tracks, and pick what you think the top five will be. People who make those picks will be graded for accuracy once all of the votes have been tallied and we have our winner. We'll compare each person's guesses to the final results, and the top three most accurate players will win prizes:
  1. A signed set of illustrations from Final Fantasy VI through Final Fantasy X by Sarah Childs at Gyzra Ink
  2. A Gyzra Final Fantasy VI illustration plus a bottle of Wiz' Energizing Elixir from Jones Soda
  3. A Gyzra Final Fantasy VI illustration
These prints are no longer available, nor is the soda, so this is the only place you're likely to ever get your hands on them!

If you've got any questions, let us know now so we can make sure your picks get in. You'll get the chance to start voting in the tournament and making your feelings known about each matchup starting in October, so let's get started! Also let us know if you see song names that are not accurate or awkward - there're over 1700 of them in there so odds are we messed some up along the way!
Posted in: CoN Site News

Caves of Narshe Turns Twenty (Plus One Day)


Caves of Narshe Site News
I'm late by a day! I'm traveling, sorry. Yesterday's scheduled post continues as if nothing every happened...

As of 2015, I'd known life with CoN longer than I'd known life without it. That's also true of my wife, but this post isn't about her (sorry, dear!). There are still a handful of members active around the site for which this is also true, of course, but this post isn't about them either. Or me, come to think of it, so I'm a bit off the rails already.

What it is about is that, today, Caves of Narshe turns twenty years old. I long ago stopped making posts about CoNniversary every year, just as one tends to stop treating each new birthday as a huge event as they get older. Obviously, though, this is one of those big round numbers, and that makes it special. CoN, the little website that (sometimes) could, has made it through two entire decades of life, and you're here for it - whether you've been a visitor of the site since 1997, or just signed up today, I want to express my gratitude that you're here reading this now.

There's only so much I can reiterate about who we are as CoN, and what we did on the way to this milestone, and honestly most of you who have been around for a while have already read up on CoNHistory. But, since I don't write these messages as often any more, please indulge me just a brief recap! I never would have imagined CoN being what it is today when I first made the site public on a little personal AOL webspace twenty summers ago. I never would have imagined the site still existing now, never would have considered that it would cover eight games - and many more versions of those games - with walkthroughs and data, no concept of sharing Final Fantasy with my daughter via couch time together or taking the family to Distant Worlds shows. And, as I've said before many times, all of those fun, positive outcomes and my ongoing affection for the Final Fantasy series isn't really down to me; it's down to the Caves of Narshe and all of you reading this. I keep the site going for you all, and in return I've gotten a career and continued enjoyment of one of the most successful game franchises of all time.

It's astonishing to me that the site has lasted this long. It costs me money, it costs me time, and it makes me an annoyance to my family and friends - hopefully only sometimes - and all of those things are pretty decent reasons for cutting bait. For all that, though, it still thrills me to know that we do something that is beneficial in its own way to the gaming community at large. I love it on the rare occasions I can go to a con and get recognition in peoples' eyes when I mention that I represent this site. I love it when I see on another site, this time of year, people discussing how CoN is a great resource for Four Job Fiesta, or when I sit in on a Final Fantasy marathon and get plaudits from the audience for creating and maintaining the site. I love looking at our site traffic numbers and seeing that, even after twenty years and the general gulf developing between small communities like ours and the juggernaut social media hubs out there, that we still get lots of people enjoying what we have to offer. And that's why I'm still here, and I hope that the fact that I still enjoy being here and keeping the gears moving is a part of why you're reading this right now and will continue to visit CoN in the future.

The last five years might have seemed very slow for CoN in terms of the community and the growth of the site, but it's worth noting that we released coverage for Final Fantasy V on GBA (and mobile devices and Windows, though we didn't know it at the time) right before the site turned fifteen, and the same for Final Fantasy VI not long after. Last year, we rolled out our coverage for Final Fantasy IX, supporting the original release, mobile, and Windows, to boot. And we're still working, same as it ever was - we've got more content upgrades in the works, some new community contests and games, and hopefully even more to come. I'll be updating some plans for those things in the very near future, so watch this space - for now, come back to the forums and post to pick up a limited edition badge for your CoN account, just as we did five years back.

Today we're specifically rolling out some updates to the way things display for you, as we tend to do every five years or so. We've refreshed all the themes a little bit with some optimizations, and you'll likely notice that we've refreshed also the logo that we've had for a decade. For those who still use or miss the old themes, Tiddles has gutted many of them and redone them to be faster and more attractive in today's modern browsers, and we've implemented smaller changes throughout as well.  This may not be the most exciting news for those of you among us who are not web developers, sure, but these updates look fantastic and more to the point prove that we're still here and we're still making things better. Further, in an effort to better engage our users on Facebook, I've included the forums directly on our Facebook page. Also, I've redone all of our CoN wallpaper section to match our new logo, and we now have a large number of new wallpaper sizes that are perfect for use on your lock screen of your phone or tablet, as well as some new stuff for today's most popular desktop and laptop screens. As has become custom for these big anniversaries, I've gone into more detail on this with new CoNHistory entries.

So, come celebrate with us at the forums or on social media. We're always here and ready to talk CoN, Final Fantasy, or anything else, and who knows? Maybe we will be for another twenty years months you know what let's just not commit to anything just yet. In the meantime, please, share our content with your social networks with likes, shares, retweets, whatever. We love our community, and we will love new folks that you teach about CoN just as much. So please, have your friends join you, and us, as we continue to rep classic Square Enix into the future. Let's all find out together what's next.
Posted in: CoN Site News

2017 Charity Final Fantasy Marathon by The Speed Gamers - Now!


Several years back, The Speed Gamers did a fun Final Fantasy marathon for charity, a goal with which CoN was happy to help. It's 2017 now, and it's time to start up again! At 6pm Eastern tonight, TSG will kick off a new marathon for the benefit of St. Jude's Children Research Hospital, with TSG players running through all of the main-series games over the course of a week. I'm posting this a bit before the start, of course, but look right below for a good place to watch if you want to tune in. I know I'll be watching a fair bit and will be doing so in CoN chat as often as I can, so come join me, won't you? They'll be doing the games in order, starting with Final Fantasy I tonight and targeting the next CoN game, Final Fantasy IV, tomorrow night.

This time around, we've provided a bit more support with promotion on social media, and our old friend Gabe provided a number of awesome fuse bead sprites for TSG to give away as donation prizes. We're not sure when they'll be given away, but keep an eye out if you're a Final Fantasy IV fan!

St. Jude has been a recipient of my own donation dollars for quite a while, so I personally think this is a great time to support people playing your favorite games for a fantastic cause. You can donate directly from here, even if you're not watching. Make sure you mention that you found out about their good cause from your friends at CoN! Don't forget that donations at particular times might also enter you for prizes like Gabe's, so pay attention, or, if you want to guarantee that you get something cool, check out these charity t-shirts on Fangamer, with $10 going to St. Jude on every shirt purchased.

Join us in wishing TSG luck over the next week, and have some fun coming up by checking out your favorite Final Fantasy games played at pace!

Source: The Speed Gamers
Posted in: CoN Site News

CoN Adds Social Network Signon


Caves of Narshe Site News
A few days ago, we quietly released a new feature that we hope will help you stay connected with CoN going forward into the future. It's something that you've surely seen at many other sites, and we're just a little bit behind the times; it's the ability to register a new CoN account or connect an old CoN account to your social media presence. This news post is a brief FAQ about what we're doing here to help you get started, until I can get it re-written for a permanent place on CoN.

What it is: We've implemented a new system to allow you to log in and register for CoN much more quickly if you're already logged in to Twitter, Facebook, or Google in your same browser. New users can click the button on the registration page to have most of the signup information autofilled for you. Existing users can log in and then use their control panel to connect a social account to their CoN account. Both sets of users, after doing their part, can then log in with one click forever.

How it works for new users: When you click one of these buttons for the first time, you'll be redirected to the social media site you chose. You can review the permissions that we ask for, and, if acceptable to you, you can then proceed and you'll be sent back to CoN with as much information as possible created for you - we'll even suggest a username for you (that, of course, you can change before finishing your registration if you choose). Once you've registered, you can log in any time by clicking the correct social media button on the login page.

How it works for existing users: If you want to connect a social account to your existing CoN account, all you need do it visit the User Control Panel after logging in normally. You will see buttons for all of our supported social networks, and upon choosing one, you'll go through the same process of approving CoN, and then be returned to the site. After that, you'll be able to log in either using your CoN name and password, or simply by clicking the correct social network button on the login page.

What if I want to connect my existing account but can't remember how to log in? Just email me at rangers51@cavesofnarshe.com with as much information as you remember about your account. To be sure it's you, I'll definitely need to know what your old username was and the last email you remember using with it. If you already know that info, you can recover your password without waiting for me to help. We don't normally allow duplicate accounts for users, but if you just don't remember any of your old info and don't care about your old account, we're not going to yell at you for creating a new one!

But, what are you idiots doing with my information? Very, very little! You can see when you first attempt to connect with us exactly what info we're asking for, and it's not much. It's the same info we already ask for when you register a new account, by and large - email address, birthdate, etc. Once you connect, we do not attempt to post things on your behalf on social media or CoN, or share any of your social media information with CoN users beyond the things you approve during signup. And, if you don't like it after you've connected, you can always disconnect later.

But, I hate social networks! Well, that's okay. Sometimes we all do. I can't imagine we would ever make connecting to social networks a requirement to use CoN, but in our opinion, it's far easier to use CoN if you don't have to remember your login information, and that's what this makes possible - so, that's why we're offering it now, finally.

But, I hate the social networks you chose! Also okay! However, among our audience, they are by far the most used, so this is the best way to get started. If there's a social network that you really love but we don't yet support, ask us about it. I've got one or two more I'd like to add, but they're less frequently used for social signon so they're lower priority. But if you want more choices, just ask.

OK, but which one is best to use? Any of them will confer the same basic benefits to you - faster registration for new users and one-click login for all users. Personally, I think Facebook is the best way to go because they've been doing this the longest, and not only that, we have some tentative plans to do some neat features with our Facebook fan page that will be much easier to use if you've already connected your FB and CoN accounts.
Posted in: CoN Site News

CoN Goes Fully Secure with HTTPS


Caves of Narshe Site News
Just a couple weeks ago, Wired reported a Mozilla announcement that half of all web traffic is served over secure HTTP, for the first time. As a user of the web yourself, you should be excited about this - obviously, sites that want your financial or very personal information have been secured for a very long time, but adding HTTPS to other sites is also a great thing. As Wired explains, a secured site makes it harder for people to intercept the things you're reading or posting out to the internet, and it helps you be sure that no malicious groups are intercepting your traffic and leveraging it for their own means.

Today, CoN has thrown in its lot with this half-and-growing chunk of the web by switching all traffic to secure protocols. All images, scripts and text you see in your browser will now be secured, including all forum traffic, news, and fanart submissions and posts. This improves the quality of the content that we're able to provide to you, and also unlocks the ability for us to extend our reach further into social media in the future.

You should now be seeing the pretty green padlock on all of the pages you visit on CoN, at least in browsers that make it easy for you to see such things (I can personally vouch for Firefox, Chrome, and Chrome for iOS!). It's possible that there are still some pages that might not be fully secure due to me missing an image or two, so please feel free to let me know if you encounter one, or if you have any questions about this update. This is the kind of nerdy stuff I like talking about, so don't be shy!
Posted in: CoN Site News

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Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.