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LEGO is really screwing up Bricklink
LEGO have announced the new version of Bricklink today - Bricklink XP.
They have re-mapped the catalogue to make it more logical for new users. And what a way to do it.
Here are the catalogue locations of Monster Fighter minifigures in the old catalogue:
Catalog > Minifigs > Monster Fighters > mof001
Catalog > Minifigs > Monster Fighters > mof001a
Catalog > Minifigs > Monster Fighters > mof002
Catalog > Minifigs > Monster Fighters > mof020
Catalog > Minifigs > Monster Fighters > gen043
Catalog > Minifigs > Monster Fighters > gen044
Catalog > Minifigs > Monster Fighters > gen046
Whereas in the new and improved catalogue, there are only five Monster Fighter minifigures.
Minifig > Vintage & Retired > Monster Fighters > mof002
Minifig > Vintage & Retired > Monster Fighters > mof004
Minifig > Vintage & Retired > Monster Fighters > mof005
Minifig > Vintage & Retired > Monster Fighters > mof006
Minifig > Vintage & Retired > Monster Fighters > mof015
The others are no longer associated with the Monster Fighters theme, but are moved to more "logical" places such as:
Minifig > Mythical Figures > Mummy > mof001
Minifig > Mythical Figures > Zombie > mof019
Minifig > Mythical Figures > Vampire > mof007
Minifig > Mythical Figures > Frankenstein > mof017
and so on. So if you want to find all the minifigures in a particular theme, better use another website. Otherwise you have to check each set in a theme to do so. But - see below.
That is just minifigures. What they have done to parts and sets.
If you really want a laugh, use Bricklink XP to find all the Galaxy Squad sets or Alien Conquest sets. They have completely removed these themes and just labelled them as Space. So you now have to use another site to get a list of sets in these themes, then search by set name if you want to buy them.
LEGO really seems to be planning on screwing up Bricklink, given that they have said XP will replace the classic version.
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Recent discussions •
Not a positive 'improvement, that's for sure. And anything marketed as 'XP', doesn't instill much faith these are state-of-the art changes. It's not 2001.
It is a real shame they have decided to screw about with the catalogue so much. I don't know what this will mean for the brickset catalogue for things like minifigures, since future ones will not appear in the "right" sections. Obviously by right I mean where they would normally appear in the past, whereas now they go into "new buyer logic" sections. So if it is a zombie, it will go into the Mythical > Zombie section, no matter which theme it is from, and so on.
Just saying ... :-)
I notice this is also listed as a minifigure in the brickset database.
I only just started looking over it. I'm not one that is quick to judge... but yikes. I'm immediately frustrated by numerous "improvements".
With the original still available here - https://www.bricklink.com/v2/main.page
I will say though, that I doubt it takes just a month or so to implement changes as big as this. These changes were probably in the works long before the takeover, especially as the previous owners were slowly updating every part of the website anyway. So blaming LEGO for it may be somewhat premature.
A lot of us have been using Bricklink for a lot of years. I've been using it for 7 years now, and there's a lot who will have been using it for far longer than that.
In all honesty, it's never been a great buying platform. It doesn't look anything like any other online shop. But we've grown used to it, we know how to use it, we're used to its idiosyncrasies and its foibles.
No-one likes change, and when something has been pretty much the same for over 15 years, that makes it even more difficult.
But the fact is that for new people, Bricklink is awful to use and get used to. Especially now that everyone is used to online shopping and Bricklink was completely different to anything else out them. The style was old fashioned, the UI was clunky and text-heavy, and it was generally off-putting to new users.
So it had to change. Change or die - if you don't change then something better looking and easier to use will come along and take all your business. I believe the US refers to the process as creative destruction.
I'm only going to comment on the parts catalogue, but it seems to me to be a bit of a reorganisation that we'll all get used to just as we got used to finding where a part was in the old category listings.
And if it ensures the future of our favourite buying site, well then that's generally ok by me.
I too am a fan of change, I honestly am, but there are a number of features that I used on a regular basis that are no longer available! Just a few examples:
This is just after spending a short time on the site.
- Instructions and boxes aren't listed in the XP catalog
- Set part inventories don't have the option to sort pieces by color and they do not have a print layout
- Sets and minifigures are often not listed by theme (or sub-theme)
- Even searching a theme won't come up with the appropriate results - for example, searching Spyrius does not bring up any of the Spyrius sets - go to the Space category and then try to filter by a keyword Spyrius, 0 results - this is absolutely NOT an improvement for new or existing users
- The only condition options on sets are New, sealed; New, complete; and Used, complete - so no more listings for used partial sets - just browsing a few examples, there are lots and lots of listings in the old catalog that are not in the new one
- All of the price and sales history is gone, so you can't see if the prices you do find are good or not
- There is no way to see all of the items available from all sellers at a time, only from either "domestic" or "international" groupings
- When viewing the listings on a part, minifigure, or set, there is no easy way to open up that store that is selling that thing so that you can browse their other listings
- Browsing through your wanted lists is much more confusing, especially if you have multiples of them
- You cannot select a handful of items from your wanted list and see which stores carry those items, only the "easy buy" option is available
All I can say is that I hope they keep the "classic" version around for a long time to come, because this is bad for hardcore users.
RIP price guide, though...
It is the changes made to the underlying catalogue that I find bizarre. I see no reason for deleting themes and so on. As noted above, it is as if the Spyrius theme no longer existed. You have to know the names of the sets to be able to find them. You cannot just search for other Spyrius sets using the theme name, or look in the theme directory as it no longer exists. And to find the names of the other sets, you now need to use a different website. The once (almost) complete BL catalogue is no longer very useful.
For example, if you want 100 of an element, type 100 in the qty box and it'll show you the cheapest option for 100 of them, whether that's domestic or international. Don't want international? Click on All Listings for Domestic and it'll list everyone who has 100, sorted by price.
I need to have a proper look at the Wanted list changes, but buying parts seems a lot more intuitive and obvious.
This may mean paying slightly more on the pence per piece but being able to add small quantities of rarer parts to an order of multiple larger lots can work out cheaper in the long run by taking out the shipping costs for multiple smaller orders.
I did read on the forum that they are intending to add the seller interface in the near future so hopefully the crossover with stores being live will increase the functionality and usability of the new system to allow for better browsing as opposed to just buying.
How many of those criticising have actually left feedback? I've left some, asking a couple of broader questions about features, especially the ability to browse an individual store. As we move further down the line, and get used to the new site as more and more is added, we can then ask about more detailed points like why whatever Galaxy Squad minifigure is in whatever category. The key thing for the new site right now is that it technically works, and as far as I can see it's passing with flying colours. No taking an eternity to load a page, no odd glitches or bugs, the general look of the site is very good (I feel it retains the simplicity of the original Bricklink site but bought up to date somewhat), and that is what any beta version is about.
And any chance of the thread title being changed to something a bit more generic? Could do without reading more Daily Mail style headlines tbh.
Yes I did notice that. But as has been said, it's in Beta, and I've provided feedback about that. I'd encourage everyone to do so - in a productive 'this useful feature is missing' way, rather than a ranty 'what the hell are you doing it's so rubbish now' way :)
I like that you can now see how many sets a part in a specific colour is in without having to click a link.
I also really like that I can see decorated parts in that colour automatically, without having to go to a separate category.
I must have submitted at least 6 or 7 bug reports or feature requests already, but that's ok, because it's Beta - that's what you do! :)
Typing in ‘animals’ on the new site actually listed all the animals and just to make sure I wasn’t going mad, typing the same thing on the old site listed none of them.
I usually use Brickset first then use the links to bricklink to find what I’m after as I just find it a lot easier. Hopefully they sort out all the figures in one theme issue and I’ll be using it a lot more often.
This is a departure from the way BL has tested in the past, where they used a sandbox to solicit feedback. Plus, as you'll see in the opening post, the main damage is to the catalogue and the removal of themes.
Imagine what would happen here if Huw suddenly decided that well known themes are to be removed from the database and instead listed under a new generic theme, lumped in with other similar sets from the past 40 years with no structure. So Futuron, Classic Space, Insectoids, Space Police, GS and AC - there is no difference and no structure - just 331 Space sets with no way of knowing which set came from which theme. Some of their minifigures are now to be called Classic Space, while others are Aliens. That is what Bricklink have done to their catalogue.
Like I said, I'm all for change. Change is GOOD and is needed.
But I immediately felt like numerous features I use on a daily basis with Bricklink were suddenly missing from the new site release. I will fully admit, that I'm not looking at it from the eyes of a new user to the site. I definitely hope that this beta release gets significant improvement before it's rolled out as the default.
While BrickLink XP is in beta phase, it will run alongside the current Classic version. The plan is for it to eventually replace BrickLink Classic once the new platform is feature complete. This will all happen over a long period of time to allow our members to adjust to the new platform.
In other words, there's a lot of features still to add and that will take quite a while to do.
That's a useless train wreck that needs some (any) direction.
I just went into the 'Torso Assembly' category (on both old and new sites), which is by far the most unwieldy. I wanted to find the new baseball torso which is only in the BAM bars in Lego stores. Previously this would have been virtually impossible to find, because if you search for 'baseball' in the Torso Assembly category, it returns no results. None. And of course it's not in any sets, so you can't find it that way.
Now on the new site, searching for 'baseball' in that category returns four results (including the one I wanted), one of which I didn't even know existed!
The decorated parts have been split from the plain parts reasonably recently. Same for legs. Of course, you have to know that. Although just browsing should show it pretty quickly.
Note also if you want BAM (only) parts, you can search for BAM and it brings on all the BAM parts. It works on either new or old.
Also, ALL minifig torsos are decorated, apart from the one basic one. So I'm not sure how they determine which are 'decorated' decorated and which are 'plain' decorated.
Because these are assemblies, the arms can be different to the torso colour and so on and the hands can be different colours to both.
So a torso assembly in black can have yellow hands and black arms, and that is different to a torso assembly in black with black arms, a black right hand and a trans-red hook for the left hand. However, neither of these are decorated.
Tried the same thing for "Blacktron", old site gave 20 hits for sets, new site shows 2.
It's science. Don't question it.
3) Existing user base howls bloody murder, they make a few token gestures to appease them
4) Classic site stops being maintained, lots of bugs creep in
5) New website, having been highly optimized via analytics for whatever the executive’s pet metrics are, drops some of the “obscure” features that made the site so genuinely useful.
6) Citing increasing maintenance costs, decreased engagement, and said pet metrics, the deprecation of the old site is announced.
7) The internet becomes permanently less useful, nobody except a few depressed power users cares, life goes on.
This same pattern has happened to most of my favorite websites over the years: Couchsurfing, Reddit, Weather Underground, Google, Amazon to list a few.
So it goes.
If I go to a parts search and type 100 in the quantity box, and then go try to type in a minimum price, and I have to wait for it to refresh the first change before I can put in the second, then the "update" button is much more useful and efficient. Plus if if the form is done right and you want to search immediately after typing 100, then hitting enter in the field would do the update for you.
The new site doesn't even have enough search options to know if this is available, but just going to look at it just for the part search options I have two comments:
1) Part color drop down isn't alphabetic which is insane (hopefully just a beta oversight)
2) Not being able to see the list of people that have the parts that meet my search and only getting the lowest makes it completely useless for me. I almost never need 100 of something where I am not also willing to order more for even slightly more per part if they are available and I can maximize shipping. If the lowest result only has 100, but for a penny more I could get 500 and I know I'll need them, and the shipping for the extra would still fall in the same shipping rate, then I'm going to order more.
I suppose it makes some sense to make retired products more amorphous to keep purchasers focused on new sets? I don't know. It doesn't make a lick of sense to make a straightforward catalog confusing.