We almost made it to seven years. From a small Games Workshop rumours website on free webspace to a dual Xeon 2.4 GHz monster dedicated server with 100,000+ visitors a month, Portent has grown from a fun idea in my head to something far greater than I could ever have anticipated. Sadly, all good things must come to an end.
The end result of the recent server troubles is that we no longer have the Portent data, aside from a year old backup. Unfortunate as this is it's almost as if fate has forced our hand. I can no longer provide the time or finances that Portent requires, not by a long shot. For Nick and myself Portent has practically been a second job. You can only take so many abortive glimmers of hope before you realise it's time to move on.
There are far too many people to thank before the curtain closes here. Most important of all, Nick has been a complete legend – there are very few people who would do so much for nothing but the odd beer. Portent would have vanished many moons ago without his technical expertise and I'm sure the rest of Portent has just as much to thank him for as I do.
A mere step below Nick in the grand scheme of things are the Inquisitors. I have, and I can say this having administered forums professionally, the best mod team I could ever ask for. Despite countless challenges they've been instrumental in tirelessly turning the Portent Forums into a great place to discuss wargaming and more besides. Every single one of you regular members who've posted (and not been banned, at least) deserves my thanks too, in particular those who helped support Portent by becoming Guilders. Seeing the end to such an amazing community is unquestionably the worst thing about this. Without you guys I probably would have closed the site long ago, having such a great community made it that much harder.
The chaps at the studio have all proved themselves to be total gents whenever we've spoken. Andy, it was always a pleasure to catch up with you at Games Days, I hope things are going well at Mongoose. Gav, many thanks for attending the tourney and posting on the forums. Paul, cheers for putting aside a foolish rumour from long ago and posting on the forums, I appreciate it. Robin, that studio tour was extremely cool and a much appreciated gesture, I hope to catch up again some time. And finally, I'll never forget Rick Priestly, immortal grand chief games designer supreme, catching me at the last minute before I left that studio tour to essentially say “Hi, and good work on Portent”.
And last of all, the web stores who occasionally advertised with Portent. The Warstore was our longest running advertiser, albeit on and off. It's also one of the best places around to order miniatures and Neal is just a damn nice guy to do business with. Also check out Chelgames (UK), Whites of their Eyes (Warmachine), Battle Pack and Wargames Dungeon, they've all supported Portent over the years.
Well, the letter I never wanted to write has already got far longer than I expected. We'll be turning the server off for good on March 20th and then selling it to recoup costs which, sadly, run well beyond what the server sale will recoup, but c'est la vie. We had hoped to keep Portent running for the last week of its existence but sadly the database loss means we can't do that. Instead, please join #portent on Efnet IRC, I'll be hanging around there and I'm sure many others will once they read this.
If any Guilders would like a refund on the remainder of your fee past site closure, drop me an email and I promise to sort that, we're not here to rip anyone off. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any such requests.
Lavfluris is looking to continue his tournaments and I'll be helping him with that however I can. Some of the mods are also looking into starting a new community, though it will be a separate effort from myself and Nick beyond what initial help we can offer – email email@example.com if you'd like to help. Keep an eye on this page for news of both things.
Update: You can now visit Warseer where a lot of former Portent Forum members are still active along with some great wargaming discussions.
It has been an incredible journey, but it really is over. Thank you one and all for helping make Portent something special, I hope you'll all remember it for as long as I will.
Best of luck to you all, and not just with the dice rolls.
April 1998 – March 2005