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The original was posted on /r/guildwars2 by /u/RandommUser on 2024-03-01 23:18:52.

Hello /r/guildwars2! /u/randommuser and /u/nightzirch here.

It is with heavy hearts we are here to say our farewells to Secret Toymaker.

Meaningful work

10 years is a long time. It’s about a third of our lives. And in that time a lot has happened; in real life, in game, and with Secret Toymaker. The work and hours we’ve been putting into running Secret Toymaker has felt meaningful. It has given us a lot of joy to see the community participate in the secret santa tradition and focus on the aspects of giving, compassion, and togetherness.

It’s been a wild ride and we’ve learned so much along the way. This has been a passion project for the both of us and we’ve been able to do things on a scale we didn’t think was possible when we first started.

Why we’re sunsetting Secret Toymaker

Unfortunately, as Nelly Furtado so elegantly puts it, all good things come to an end. There are a few reasons that we felt this was a good time to stop.

First off, 10 is a nice number: double digits, a decade, 10/10, etc.

Secondly, as we grow older, real life requires more of us. It has been hard to put in hours to run and maintain the project. Luckily, the last 5 years, running an event has been mostly automatic. However, we haven’t been able to put in much time as we’d like to improve upon the platform and fix known issues, which has frustrated both us and our toymakers.

Which takes us to the third point: motivation. And this is a biggie. A few years ago /u/nightzirch reached out to the community to see if anyone was interested in helping out with developing the site as motivation was lacking and available time was tight. A surprising amount of people reached out. What he didn’t think of was how much of the codebase he would need to change in order to cooperate with other developers. There’s a lot of things you need to consider going from a private to a public code repository, and this he wasn’t as ready for as he thought. The feedback from the developers and designer was so positive, though, that he got motivated to keep going. A big thank you to all who showed support and helped out at the time!

Finally, the main issue with Secret Toymaker is that it is Secret Toymaker. In a perfect world we would have everyone send out their gift and then some, but this is not a perfect world. Instead we have people forgetting to send them over, or just opting to not do so while unwrapping their own gifts. And this human aspect of the event is what makes it so wonderful, but it is also why some people regret signing up. We did try different things to try to mitigate these issues, but in the end we don’t see a solution to this issue while keeping the core of Secret Toymaker.


As /u/nightzirch was studying to become a frontend developer, Secret Toymaker has been a project about technology and learning; learning new frameworks, building components, creating websites, and scaling up. Getting help from /u/silveress_golden to create the backend has been paramount, as database and logic was not /u/nightzirch’s strong suit at the time. Still isn’t, but he’s become better, a bit thanks to this project.

/u/randommuser learn about the benefits of having the right connections to make things happen.

The road ahead

So, what will happen now?

We will go through the entire database and remove all data that can be connected to a user. All data will be anonymized. All authenticated users, all gift notes, all reports, all unnecessary data will all be removed.

The website will be rebuilt to remove events, sign up, login, etc. And we want to build a new page showing statistics from the 10 years of running the event. Please be patient with us in this transition as time is still a scarce currency for us.

How long we will keep the site alive is unsure, as it does cost a bit to keep the hosting, domain name, and emails.

A big thank you

We want to end this by giving a big thank you to all participants! Everyone who has ever participated, who has sent a gift, a thank you note, everyone who has taken a part in making the Guild Wars 2 community a better place: thank you so much!

We would also like to give a special shoutout to the following:

  • @evasburg for the amazing artwork!
  • /u/silveress_golden for lots of help coding the backend!
  • /u/mightyteapot for the promotion video and continuous support!
  • /u/ANet_Rubi & /u/Roile for taking their free time and promoting us on official channels!
  • Irene for design!
  • Ryan Field for developing email templates!
  • /u/Lithril for the original idea to host a Guild Wars 2 community secret santa

Best wishes from your Secret Toymakers, Randomm and Chris