CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
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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

CoN Final Fantasy XV Soda Giveaway Starts Now


Energizing ElixirHappy new year, CoN readers! I posted a while back on our CoN social media accounts about the Final Fantasy XV soda collaboration with Jones Soda, exclusive in the US to Target stores. I posted, naturally, because I went out and bought a few (and drank some, they're quite good). The soda is bright orange and orange cream flavored, and it's no longer for sale on store shelves. But, as luck would have it, I've got several extras just hanging out in my office as I type.

Sealed bottles of Wiz's Energizing Elixir are selling on eBay right now for anywhere from $10 to $20 a bottle, and CoN is giving you the chance to win one for free. All you have to do is post at the forums between now and 23:59:59 UTC (or 6:59:59pm EST) on January 15. You can post in this thread to say "ooh, free stuff!," or talk about current events in General Topics, ask a question about Final Fantasy IX, you name it. If you make a post between now and then and don't get yourself warned or banned in the meantime, you're in the running.

We'll give away one bottle for every 25 users who post between now and then, up to four. One bottle for up to 25, two bottles for up to 50, and so on. Winners will be selected at random, with no priority given to number of posts, and messaged via the forums to claim their prizes by the end of January. Unclaimed prizes will sit on my shelf until I feel like doing something with them. Current CoN staff are ineligible to win, but our posts count toward the overall user count. Bottles will be shipped for free within the United States - international winners will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Time to get to posting, and to start out the new year with a new prize courtesy CoN!
Posted in: CoN Site News

That's a Dagger? Then, my name will be New FF9 Section.


Caves of Narshe Site News
It is our great pleasure to announce the release of Caves of Narshe's comprehensive Final Fantasy 9 section. The development process was a bit elongated, as is our style, but not as much as some of our other additions have been! That counts for something, right?

Our most recent "new" coverage, as some may recall, was the the fully-remade FFVI section in 2013 (and before that, the fully-remade FFV section in 2012). This means that FFIX marks the first time in quite a while that we've expanded site coverage into new ground - something which made the development process really exciting. There were a bit fewer hands on deck this time around, but those of us involved came away with renewed appreciation for the game.

As with every guide we produce, we aimed to deliver not just complete coverage but the best coverage anywhere. We're confident you'll agree that we've achieved that here. As always, the essential first step is an excellent walkthrough, written by longtime member Shotgunnova with thoroughness and character (and edited by EvilEye and myself with equal amounts of the same!) that make it a pleasure to read. The next step is to augment that foundation with additional written, image, and video content provided by Neal and Rangers51. And finally, we enrich it all with our usual HTML touches that make for easy-to-read tables and site organization, comprehensive links that make navigating content references easy and instant, and other useful tools (check out that chocobo map) that improve clarity and ease of use with flair. Whether you're looking for a tip on a pesky boss battle, information about that sidequest was just discovered a few years ago, a laugh about how silly Tetra Master was, or or a guide to accompany you on your first playthrough, we've got you covered for every release this game has ever had, including the newest version released for mobile and Steam!

Final Fantasy IX is a game that has proven it can stick around - something that CoN and its members are particularly qualified to appreciate. One has several different audiences in mind when making something like this, but the first is, as always, the people who will see this post: site members, old friends, facebook followers, and persistent lurkers. We're all active in different ways now, but it's your continued support - in posts, in traffic, in "likes" - that keep new content coming.

We hope you'll take a couple minutes to explore this section, talk about it, send it to a friend, or maybe even revisit FFIX itself.
Posted in: CoN Site News

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©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.