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The Vault Network, or VN, is a game network dedicated to role-playing video games (including massively multiplayer online role-playing games), providing gamers with information such as news, editorials, guides, hints and tips, as well as discussion. The Vault Network consists of RPG Vault, the Vault Wiki and the VN Boards, as well as several other hosted sites, called "Vaults", dedicated to specific game titles or topics. The Vaults use a single, unified discussion forum for all their websites, resulting in a combined total of about 40,000 to 50,000 posts a day, over 400+ forums. Together, this group of message boards is known as the VN Boards. The VNBoards are consistently ranked very high on the list of most active Internet forums.1
The Vault Network began with the creation of the Ultima Online Vault in 1995. When Everquest and Asheron's Call were announced to be released in 1999, Vaults were created for them as well. Around this time, the existing Vaults were merged with the Snowball Network, better known by its later moniker, IGN.
As new online games and MMORPGs are created or announced, respective vaults and message boards are created if the game is popular enough to warrant the resources. As of December 2007, there are over 20 Vaults and forums exist for over 70 games. Vaults include those for games such as World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Final Fantasy XI, EverQuest II, Lineage and Lineage II, Guild Wars, Star Wars Galaxies, Dark Age of Camelot and many more. In addition to the gaming message boards, there are community and off topic forums where users can discuss issues not related to any one game in particular.
With its acquisition by IGN, the Vault Network and the VNBoards work on a similar business practice utilizing advertisements as a form of revenue. IGN Insider accounts also work across both sites.
The staff who run the Vault Network are on IGN.com's payroll. Payment is based on the Editor-in-Chief's assessment of their work and its value to the network. The paid staff are a core group that oversee volunteers who fill a number of roles. Traditionally, there is a Vault Site Manager (and possible Assistant Managers) who oversee volunteers such as Quest Writers, Database Editors, and Column Writers. As some recompense for their work, these volunteers are given VIP status on the message boards. This amounts to free IGN Insider, a custom title and avatar if they wish, and the ability to change the color and style of their username when displayed on the forums.
The staff who oversee the message boards and enforce the rules work in a hierarchical manner. First are the Admins, then the Managers, and finally the Moderators. All of these positions are volunteer and come with the same perks as a VIP, but more responsibility.
- http://www.big-boards.com/ BigBoards, position 8