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The Tiger Roars 

The Gate is Closed
The Millenium Gate forum is no more: it shut down a few months ago, and has shown no signs of coming back.  Long-time Jungle visitors have surely come across several mentions and links to The Gate scattered throughout this site, mostly in the Events and Batreps section.   To be fair, The Gate lives on as a Facebook page, and I visit it every day, but it’s not the same (through no fault of the FB page admin, Steven Powell). 

What It Was
The Millenium Gate went online September 17, 1999.  The original webmaster was Lee “Greywinter” Loftis, an avid 40K player from Greenville, SC.  The Gate was originally hosted by The Warp.net back when they offered free hosting for gaming sites.  The Jungle was also part of The Warp’s ring of sites, and that’s how I came across The Gate. 

Like many other 40K sites at the turn of the century, The Gate was divided into several topics: battle reports, editorials, scenery, fiction, etc.  Lee updated the site every Friday with new material.  The forum was but one section, but it quickly attracted many people with its slogan (and operating motto) of being, “The Friendliest Forum on the Net.”  Lee (in his forum guise as “Chief Astropath Greywinter”) maintained a strict no-flaming/no-trolling policy that was rarely present or enforced at many other 40K forums back then. 

The Gate became a hit and stayed that way by being voted high atop The Warp’s “Top 100 40K Sites List” every day by its devoted visitors.  The Forum section became the most popular one, so much so that I think it irked him sometimes how much attention the Forum got.  By then, I had become a friend and webmaster colleague, and I used to tell him, “Go with the one that brought you”: if folks were visiting The Gate because of the Forum, so be it.  At least they were visiting

What It Became
Lee and I got to know each other when I joined the Forum as a member shortly after the Jungle went online in February 2000.  He attended Games Day in Baltimore, MD in July 2000 and proposed that we throw down (his Ulthwe Eldar against my Fighting Tigers) there and post separate batreps on our sites.  And so, the Battle of the Webmasters (a novel idea at the time) was held, and ended, fittingly, in a tie.

 It was the start of many get-togethers.  A few months later, Lee organized and held the first Fall From Grace at Borderlands, his local store in Greenville.  Pat and I (and many other members of the Millenium Gate Forum) travelled hundreds of miles for a long weekend of fellowship and casual gaming.  FFG was such a hit that Lee followed it up with Spring Offensive and several more FFGs (the last being in 2004).  FFG inspired Pat and I to hold Counter Offensive starting in 2004 and continuing on to the present.



Participants at the very first Fall From Grace.  Ah, we were so young and foolish, then....


What Happened
Lee became disillusioned by the Fourth Edition 40K rule changes and Games Workshop price hikes: I can only imagine what he would think of the current state of affairs.  Little by little, he stopped updating the site, then quit playing, then sold his armies and withdrew from daily visits to The Gate, leaving it in the hands of admins and moderators.  Eventually, he turned ownership of the Gate over to Josh “Magick” Medley, a Forum member, and vanished off into the ether.  At that point, the Forum became the entirety of The Gate, with the other sections being deleted; The Warp’s hosting service grew unreliable and The Millenium Gate moved to a different host (as did the Jungle). 

Josh kept it running for many years, but several forces outside his control negatively affected The Gate.  Many Forum members left 40k for various reasons, and it was difficult to attract new members: hence, the number of visitors got smaller and smaller.  Those members that stayed got older, with work and family demanding more of their attention: hence, attendance at events like Fall From Grace dwindled.  Borderlands was sold, and most Forum members either lived in Texas or the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast, making get-togethers more difficult.

It must also be said that The Gate would have benefitted from more owner involvement, but Josh was not able to provide that.  I don’t intend that as a criticism of him: I don’t know him well and don’t know his circumstances, but I think he would agree.  There were several instances when The Gate went offline, some of them related to hosting payments.  The last instance was in late October, 2012, and The Gate never resurfaced.  On the Gate’s FB page, the remaining members decided to let her stay down.            

Why The Millenium Gate Mattered
The Gate was a big influence when I was setting up the Jungle, and early in this site’s life, I followed Lee’s example and posted material weekly (on Mondays, so that I had the weekend to work on them).  It helped build and keep visitors, and I wish I could still do it.

My writing style and Lee’s were different but complementary:  Lee once said that The Gate and the Jungle were like peanut butter and jelly.  Visitors to one site would find and enjoy material on the other (we had a lot of visitors in common), and he and I would frequently mention and link to the others’ site.  There was no rivalry between us: at one FFG, someone asked us whose site was better; Lee and I both said, “His,” and pointed at each other.  I was sad to see Lee stop updating, and even more so when he quit gaming.

The Gate’s closing after 13 years is a reminder that nothing lasts forever, and to appreciate what we have while we have it.  I spent many an hour “hanging out” at The Gate, getting invaluable army-building and painting advice, discussing rules, arranging our annual get-togethers, engaging in football smack-talk, jawing about politics (which eventually was banned because it got too heated), and comparing the weather in each member’s corner of the world. 

Yes, the weather: one of The Gate’s original members was stationed at McMurdo at the time and he would post temperatures and photos from Antarctica; other people chimed in, and would add notes and observations about their daily lives.  It might sound parochial and insipid, but it helped bind us members together, and “Antarctic Weather” was the longest-lasting thread at The Gate, only ending when the site itself did.

Lee’s idea of building an online community and meeting in real life for gaming might be old hat now, but it was new and exciting then.  I befriended a lot of people and got to game with them, and some of those friendships have persisted to this day.  And I have Lee and The Gate to thank for that.  I’m not being melodramatic when I say The Millenium Gate changed my life: without it, I would not have met those people and I probably would not have persisted in running the Jungle.  


Posted March 2013

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle