War Banners (WoW/Expansion Summaries)

Welcome to the official changelog for WoW Lore TLDR’s biggest update so far, the War Banners update. This update didn’t only add tons of new content and features, but also saw a total site revamp on all levels.

Early work on this update started in early November 2020, when I decided that my current host had become unbearably slow and that WoW Lore TLDR had become a bloated mess of plugins. So, I rented a spot on a new server and started working from two blank CSS and JavaScript sheets, then rewrote WoW Lore TLDR from the ground up over the course of two and a half months.

Unfortunately, I still have to rely on external plugins for a few components, the most notable of which is the interactive maps (a new experimental feature available in Classic chapter 4). The way these maps work right now increases the page’s initial load time from <250ms to >2500ms. That’s a serious issue and I intend to look for solutions while polishing the site over the few coming weeks. With that technicality aside, the site is smooth as butter.

Changelog

  • Added 3-level WoW tl;dr.
  • Added top-level tl;drs for all expansions up to BfA.
  • Revised all content.
  • Split pre-WC3 chapters into retail and Classic continuities.
  • Rebuilt UI from ground up.
  • Added navigate-able maps to Classic chapter 4.
  • Added theme and font selections.
  • Added expanded chapter/panel persistence through sessions.
  • Added community content.

Content Changes

WoW and WoW Expansion Summaries

World of Warcraft’s three-level summary is finally here, with top-level summaries added for every WoW expansion until BfA. A medium level summary has also been completed for the Burning Crusade and I intend to add more, perhaps starting with Legion and BfA and following them up by MoP. What order do you guys think I should do them in? Let me know in the comments.

A New Level 3 (Max Detail) Format


Throughout my work on Warcraft’s summaries, I have alternated between two main formats for the maximum detail summaries (the lowest level): Short but plentiful bullet points or fewer, medium length bullet points. With the War Banners update, I am releasing a new format for the WoW summary: The short paragraph format. Level 3 summaries in this format feature two to five medium-short paragraphs with their own headings.

As with almost everything I do, this is an experimental change and I’d like to hear feedback on your preferences.

Retail-Classic Split


Those of you who have been around since WoW Lore TLDR’s launch in 2017 may remember that I unknowingly relied on outdated lore sources to write the four original pre-WC3 chapters. Since much of these chapters doesn’t hold up with new lore retcons, I decided to move them to an alternative Classic continuity that users may switch to for Part 1 (pre-WC3 content). As of yet, the retail continuity only features the Mythos chapter that I summarized soon after launch. Following chapters are put on hold considering the major preference readers have expressed to see the tl’drs of WoW’s expansions first. The WC3 and TFT summaries in Part 2 remain based on the original game missions, which are mostly canon.

Old Chapter Rewrites

Readers have long complained about poorly structured sentences and frequent misspellings, which had occurred after I rushed the original site to completion back in the day. For this update, I have gone through every single chapter and story panel, from Mythos to the newly extracted WoW tl;dr, and rewrote tons of sentences then ran the whole thing through a spellchecker. For further complaints, please send feedback via the new “Send feedback” feature.

Interactive Maps (Experimental)

This experimental feature has been implemented in Classic chapter four for your testing and feedback. It’s one of very few features that I don’t know how to build without using one of these plug-n-play plugins, and this particular one has a serious issue that increases the page’s load time by a few extra seconds, which I intend to look into once I’m done with the launch hassle. Additionally, I couldn’t in any way get the tooltips to work for text in the maps’ pins, which is another drawback.

Again, we’ll see how this new feature fares and act based on your feedback (so don’t hesitate to provide any).

Community Content and Affiliates

Last but not least, I’m starting a new initiative for exchanging publicity and traffic with other content creators by featuring community content at designated spots throughout the main page and then tweeting about it. One of these is the new Spotlight in the news row and another one is the Further Reading section at the page’s end. More on that in the Affiliates page.

New & Improved Features

A Revamped UI to Make Everyone’s Life Easier

Open Tab Persistence

There are three significant changes in the UI (other than the theme and content settings), perhaps the most significant of which is that current page configuration is saved into your browser’s memory every time you expand or collapse a chapter or a story panel. Revisit the page or reload it, accidentally or not, and you will see that open chapters and panels are exactly the way you left them.

Expand/Collapse All

Now that tabs persist, some users might want to quickly restore open panels to their original collapsed position once they’re done reading a chapter without having to trigger them one by one. As such, I’ve added “expand all” and “collapse all” buttons at the start and end of each chapter.

Easily Send Feedback

Last but not least, I added a button for sending feedback and reporting issues into every story panel, which can be found in the top right corner once you expand it. Clicking the button will open the contact form and automatically insert the ID of the panel the form was called from into the subject field. Please use this as much as you can! Coding, writing and designing is really too much work for one person and I am certain many of you have great comments or advice regarding what content I chose to include and how I included it.

Pending Content

As for the dynamic table of contents the old WoW Lore TLDR had, a replacement has not been implemented yet and I intend to work on one within the coming weeks. That is in addition to any extra polishing that I had to put aside to avoid delaying the update’s release forever, such as a button at each chapter’s footer to collapse it without scrolling up when you’re done reading.

An Expanded Panel for Theme, Font and Content Settings


The former filters pane has been moved to the bottom edge of the screen, triggerable from its button in the bottom left corner of the screen in the main page, and the filtering algorithm has been rewritten with a better logic. Every time you make a change on your selected filter criteria, the site now hides all story panels then loops through the selected criteria to show the panels featuring any of them.

After a long wait, users may now adjust the page’s visual settings to their liking, with a selection of six themes in addition to different font families and sizes. Additionally, I have added buttons for universally expanding or collapsing all chapters or story panels at once from there, to make cleaning up a piece of cake if you’re done reading and want to restore everything to its original state.

As a matter of fact, some of the themes will become premium-only when I relaunch the site’s support plan, but they’ll be temporarily available for everybody to try until memberships are implemented (which will replace Patreon and provide cheaper payment plans).

What’s Next

It should be clear by now that my work on WoW Lore TLDR is far from done, but I had to stop delaying this update and release it as it is at some point, which leaves a lot of work to be done. Among my highest priorities right now are to optimize the mobile version, which is admittedly in less-than-spectacular shape, add second level summaries to BfA and Legion, and make a few tweaks to the UI. But then again, community preference plays a huge role in the order of these priorities.

In addition to the above content, I would like to simultaneously work on a new system to monetize the site, since my affiliate link revenue plummeted a few years ago. What I have in mind is a $1 premium membership (cheaper in bigger time chunks) that gives you content controls and the dark theme; you know, the typical “disable ads” choice with a few extras.

What do you think of the War Banners update so far? Please let me know in the comments.