Given the extended downtime we’ve been having on our forums, I wanted to make this post to inform everyone about what’s going on, and when you can expect the forums to be back online.

A few weeks ago, we started noticing some serious issues with vBulletin, the software we use to run our forums. vBulletin is over a decade old, making it really difficult to maintain. Not only were there serious security issues that we couldn’t fix ourselves, but the boards had also mysteriously slowed to a crawl. After an extensive investigation, we couldn’t figure out why this was happening.

We’d been working on a new version of the forums, running on far more modern software, for a really long time. Although the new forums weren’t quite ready, we felt like they were ready enough that it wasn’t worth trying to revive vBulletin. So, roughly two weeks ago, we shut off the forums, put up a maintenance page, and began porting all of the existing posts and accounts from vBulletin.

Since ZU’s community is its heart and soul, we’ve been taking great care to make sure that everything is in its proper place. There’s no room for error here. We want to guarantee that, when we launch these new boards, they’re ten times better than what we had before.

Although I can’t give an exact date, we’re working our butts off around the clock to polish things up, and you can count its return in days – not weeks. The new forums will launch in beta, with an all-new design that matches our redesign from earlier this year. Even in beta, it’s far more functional, beautiful, and modern than our old boards ever were. We’re really proud of this release.

During the beta, we’ll be polishing things up with final designs and new features. The whole ZU team will be there to hear feedback as well. We have some big plans for the new forums, and this is everyone’s chance to get involved and shape the future of the Zelda fan community.

I hope you agree that it’s worth the wait. Thanks, everyone!

  • Googs

    I’m fairly confident that it’ll absolutely be worth the wait. I’m very much so looking forward to the return of the forums :)!

  • Ryano

    Thank you so much for the status update and information on what you guys have been working on! I can’t wait to see what’s new and I just want to say that I really appreciate all of the hard work of the ZU staff. This is the best online community to gather with Zelda fans and discuss the games we love! Can’t wait to see everyone back in the forums to talk about all the new stuff for Zelda Wii U

  • 17Haru17 .

    Your guys’ timing couldn’t have been worse, could it =P

    • altemisea

      it may have been pretty bad timing, but im confident that it will definitely be worth it.Everything the ZU team has done regarding their site has been worth it, i’d know i’d been lurking here for a good… god it must be at least 5-6 years now, possibly longer.
      So anyway, thanks a bunch for the wonderful experience ZU,and lets hope things go smoothly with the new forums.

      • 17Haru17 .

        Yeah, but really, the only big Zelda U news in 6 months, which is only the second time we’ve had that kind of news in 3.5 years, lol. For the Zelda U2 forum update; a week earlier or a week later, guys, that’s all I’m saying =P

  • Zelda Paradox

    Thanks, guys! Now that I have been informed and clarified, all systems are go again :3
    *Prays for like button in social groups*

  • CEObrainz

    Ahh, was about to post the smash tournament stuff on the forums, oh well, I can do that when it returns.

  • Rotfl Master

    Christmas is in a week! How much longer?!?

  • Agent Pika

    *hopes that ZU’s gonna be up in time for christmas*
    Can this be a Christmas gift from the Admins and Mods?

    • Linus

      *Hopes for a Christmas miracle*

  • “count in days, not weeks”.

    We’re approaching two weeks. Still counting. πŸ˜›

    • Aaron Benjamin

      Yeah whatever happened to that statement ^ I’ve got a fan project that runs through here and we need the forums up to keep rolling.

      • Leo F

        I figured it wouldn’t be ready til New Year. It’s unreasonable to expect people to work on a fix for a website instead of spending time with their loved ones at the only time of year people tend to all get together. It’s not like we pay them for it – we have no right to a deadline

      • We’re working as fast as we can. Right now we’re bottlenecked by the data import process, which is taking longer than we anticipated. ZU’s forums are absolutely massive… it’s difficult to overstate just how large they are. My job is to make sure your fan project gets back on the new forums safely, so you can resume as soon as we’re back.

  • veraca

    Will it carry over threads and posts, ie. a lot of the good theories from the theorizing subforum?

    • Absolutely! We are taking great care to ensure that all data is preserved.

  • Lord Hades

    I’ve been riding the Zelda hype wave and decided today to finally search for a LoZ focused community forum, lo and behold I find Zelda Universe! I’m hoping the forums open soon! I REALLY want to join! :’)

  • Another update, everyone: We’re still working around the clock on this! The data import is taking longer than expected (the ZU forums are *huge*), but once it’s done there are only a few more things left to do before we can put the forums back up. Just so you guys don’t think we crapped out or anything, this is sensitive stuff and we want to make sure it’s done right. Years of peoples’ friendships and interactions have to make the jump safely!

  • Contraltissimo

    Hi ZU.
    Been seeing your forums have been down! That’s a drag.
    Found this article.
    I’m so sorry things have crashed for you, and I’m sure you’re doing your best. I know I can’t see what you all are up to, so it’s easy to want to feel impatient. But I just want you to know that I’m glad you’re working on it, and I appreciate all your time, effort, blood, sweat and tears that you must be pouring into this place. It’ll work out.
    Thanks for taking tender loving care of the community’s data. πŸ™‚
    ~Connie

  • Daniel Thoeny

    Any chance the forums will be up before New Year’s?

    • Sadly, we’re still working on things on our end. We know how long it’s been! We’re bottlenecked waiting for the massive amount of posts and threads to finish importing into our new software. ZU’s forums are huge!

  • TheBuzzSaw

    I assume everyone was overtaken by Christmas tradition and cake. Any updates on when the new forum will be up? Or will New Years take over next? XD

    • We’ve actually been working straight through the holidays on this. Getting the new forums up is our absolute top priority! I can’t say exactly when we’ll be ready because we’re waiting for the data import to finish right now. But hopefully not long!

  • Mike

    It’s been so god damn long.. let us talk about Zelda damn you! I won’t go to ZeldaInformer.. I WON’T!!!

    • Linus

      What would you rather so?
      Live in the forsaken fortress (Wind Waker)
      Or
      Live in granys house on outset Island
      (Ganon comes to visit from time to time)

    • Sorry for the wait! We’re just as frustrated as you are with how long it’s taking. But it’ll be worth the wait πŸ™‚

  • Rotfl Master

    SERIOUSLY?!? It’s new years eve how long could it possibly take???

    • Longer than you’d think! ZU’s forums are pretty massive, so we’re waiting on the data import to finish. To port everything over takes days and days – and we can’t have it fail or get corrupted in any way. One of the reasons this has taken longer than expected is because our first import attempt failed midway, and we had to start over to preserve everyone’s posts and threads. So we’re taking great care on this step!

      • Rotfl Master

        Okay understandable, you think the forums will be up be the 15th?

        • I can’t say at this point – we keep encountering errors with the import that cause us to start over every time. Once the import is done, I’ll be able to give a better estimate!

          • Wolf Deity

            So what’s the total file size for it to be taking this long?

  • Guest

    Why is this taking so long

    • disqus_5HJszqLssX

      The forums themselves is probably a good 12+ years old so with all that information and if they’re moving onto a different platform other than vBulletin, I’m certain they ran into problems of some nature. It’s probably not going as smoothly as they had planned on.

      • Guest

        Ah, that makes sense. I can’t wait for the forums to come back! πŸ™‚

        • disqus_5HJszqLssX

          Same here, it’s a bit dreadful, but in the long run it’s nice to have them working so hard to make sure the forum switchover goes smoothly and is error-free as possible. I’m really curious myself as to what software they choose to go with.

  • Bill

    I’m interested to see the new boards when they finally arrive. This has been a very substantial downtime, especially considering it was stated that it would be a matter of “days, not weeks.’ Poor timing, too, since there was finally something new to discuss on Zelda U. Still, an upgrade was obviously needed given how badly the forums were running. I’m sure it will be worth it.

    • Thanks for being so patient! We really did believe that it would be days – and we’re still working around the clock. Right now we’re held up waiting for everyone’s posts and threads to finish importing, which on its own has taken quite a while. It shouldn’t be too long now!

      • disqus_5HJszqLssX

        At one time I ran my own vBulletin forum as well and although small, it was a lot of work to maintain and we ended up changing over to something else since the one that paid for our vBulletin license basically got mad that we didn’t have as much activity as he would’ve liked so we had to transfer our stuff over to something else. It takes a while to do and can be very buggy, despite using tools to make the upgrade simple and easy. Once we had where it imported two of everything so it was a mess to try and get everything back in order. So is this import actually going on its own and importing automatically, or is the admin team having to be there babysitting it in case something were to popup and needed immediate attention?

        • It’s a combination of both. The vast majority of the import is automated, but we’ve been watching it constantly. Once the import is done, there are a number of things we’ll need to do manually because the import isn’t perfect. We’ve run several test imports already so we know exactly what to expect when it’s done!

  • mrwho

    Personally I don’t see why so much effort has seemingly put into preserving posts more than a few months old that nobody is ever going to read again. Maybe I’m missing something. Oh well, hopefully the forums will be back up this time next week.

    • Bob Rakole

      i 100% disagree. part of what makes forums special is that they’re a time capsule. i want to see posts from 2005 saying how horrible wind waker’s graphics are.

      • Linus

        I agree! When they restarted the WoW forums we lost the greatest threads of all time. Forum threads are not to be underestimated, they are great for newcomers to read up on the player/fan base lore.

        • mrwho

          Fair enough πŸ™‚ Was just speaking from personal experience, didn’t know others used the forums like this.

  • I know it’s bad etiquette to ask, but is there any rough eta for when they will be up?

    I know you mentioned running test imports previously, so is the actual import taking substantially longer than the tests or has that much stuff broken along the way?

    • That much stuff has, unfortunately, broken along the way – we’re encountering some errors that didn’t happen in our test imports. We’ve had to figure out each one of these one at a time! Because each import takes several days, every error sets us back almost a week. πŸ™ but that’s what we have to do to preserve the integrity of the forum data!

      • mrwho

        Must be very frustrating for you! I’m assuming you don’t feel confident enough to give us an ETA? – totally understandable.

        • I don’t, sadly. I’ll only be able to give a definitive ETA once the import is done, because after that everything we need to do is totally under our control. I’m gonna keep watching the comments here though and updating everyone!

  • MJ

    I was hoping to return to the forums tonight…. πŸ™

    • πŸ™ I’m sorry. We’ve been hoping to have them up for a while now! We’re going as fast as we can.

      • MJ

        Any date yet???

  • Rotfl Master

    This is just getting annoying, I swear if these forums aren’t up by feburary…… >:(

    • We’re working as fast as we can! The import keeps bugging up at various points, and it takes several days to process the whole import. So, when it fails, we have to fix the problem and start from the beginning. We’re doing everything we can do to get this done!

  • Leo F

    OK I don’t wanna pressure ye or anything but is there, like, an estimate on how much longer it might take? I’m actually getting kind of concerned.

    • Unfortunately, we’ve encountered various issues with the import process. It keeps failing at various points – since the import takes several days, every time it fails we have to fix the problem and start all over and hope there aren’t more problems. I’ll be able to give a better time estimate once the import is done!

      • disqus_Tommy

        I had a feeling that was exactly what’s going on. If it takes 2-3 days to import something and during the middle or near the end, it fails, you have to go back and fix the problem and then wait a few more days and cross your fingers it doesn’t happen again. I’m sure that the forum staff is getting just as frustrated with the errors as people are waiting. All we have to do is wait, but the staff has to deal with the problems so their job is much harder. It’s painful to wait and the staff knows this and they’re doing their best but bugging them over and over makes them feel more pressured and likely to rush it and make more mistakes so I say we should just leave them be and let them do their jobs. Keep up the hard work, ZU admin team! I feel your pain.

  • MJ

    Siiiiiiigh……..

  • Linus

    I hope I speak for many of us here when I say that we are grateful for your job and dedication to us, the fan base.

    Yes, it takes a while, but it will be awesome in the end. Just pick up where we left off and the possibility of looking back and reading classic threads. It will be worth it.

    Again, thank you all for the hard work.

  • NastyMcNasty

    Well, can y’all make a temporary forum for us to visit? It doesn’t have to be anything really complex, just something to keep us all together while we wait?

    • Seems like the comments section of the news threads have gotten plenty of coverage. Perhaps Jason and the other fine folks handling this issue wouldn’t mind throwing at least a temp news post up that says “Gather here for now!” so we can all chat with each other in a “General Topics Forum” kinda way. It won’t replace everything, but it would be something, at least…? And thanks, all you diligent ZU admins for taking the time and care to do this for us! May the way of the hero lead to happily restored forums!

    • If you were in a clan, I think most of them made Skype groups. I mean it isn’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

  • Charles Parker

    “I hope you agree that it’s worth the wait. Thanks, everyone!”

    Call me a cynic but I’m pretty sure most people are not going to feel like it was worth the two month wait by the time we ever see it.

    • I’d rather have to deal with a couple month wait then deal with webmasters who just import part of the stuff and leave out months of VMs and whatever else didn’t make the import like a certain site most of us know about.

      But, if it isn’t worth the wait to you, then there are plenty of other sites, I think most of the Clans made Skype groups as well.

  • GDwarf

    Might make sense to just make another front-page post explaining the delay and why you can’t estimate when things will work.

    I totally feel the frustration of bad imports, though, one of the worst issues to have to encounter, especially since I’m guessing that you don’t have a way to pre-sanitize the files reliably.

  • MJ

    What’s the update?

  • Hey folks – I’m making a new update post to detail what we’ve been going through.

    Expect it up in the next day. We’re also working on a temporary solution where people can go during the downtime. Thanks, everyone!

  • Pingback: A second forum update | Zelda Universe()

  • Anathema

    Yah, taking so long! Hope it’s worth the wait!