19th February 2004
Rauru’s Return is an award-winning website that was created by Archaic Sage on February 19th, 2004, after he left Zelda Zero. Rauru’s Return is in the traditional Zelda site format, covering all details of the Zelda community and Zelda world, from traditional help guides right through rare media and Zelda news.
The original goal of Rauru’s Return was to put the fan at the center of its running operations. However, over time and with the introduction of sites like Deviantart and the raise of Fanfiction.net the fanworks side of Rauru’s Return fell to the wayside to make room for constant news updates and guides and walkthroughs for all of the Zelda games alongside with gathering as much media as possible.
When Rauru’s Return was first formed it was hosted on Host Ultra, back at the time this was a large free-hosting company that was reliable and allowed the crucial PHP and SHTML that was becoming prevalent in the Zelda Community in 2004. Fortunately, Rauru’s Return launched with, what was considered at the time, “complete” content on the first five games in the Zelda series.
Owing to the fact that it was already more “full” than established sites at the time, Rauru’s Return quickly grew and started to update media to the site. This is when the site moved from free hosts such as Host Ultra to being hosted on someone else's server. The first instance of this was with a known site in 2004 – Insanity Asylum. Unfortunately due to various technical issues the site was unable to go live. A prevalent site in late 2004 – Deku Palace, offered hosting to Rauru’s Return and the content was moved across quickly.
During the near year at Deku Palace Rauru’s Return expanded massively, quickly surpassing the host and in the end using more than 50% of the bandwidth available. Owing to this large consumption of bandwidth it was important for Rauru’s Return to move to a new web host.
November 2004 – December 2005
In November of 2004 Zelda Legends accepted Rauru’s Return hosting application in exchange for adding Google Adsense banners to every page on the site. This was significant at the time as not only did it mean Rauru’s Return was large enough to be accepted by one of the biggest Zelda sites on the internet, but it also opened up further media possibilities as well as databases and further scripting languages.
During this time the site’s very infrastructure changed many times and at the time there were few “scripts” available to keep the site easily updated. Fortunately the main news page was updated via the once active forums and media was updated continually. It was during this time when Rauru’s Return was awarded with the first Golden Deku Nut award.
December 2005 – July 2007
In December 2005 Archaic Sage moved Rauru’s Return from Zelda Legend’s server onto privately paid for hosting. This led to Rauru’s Return onto the Joomla Content Management System, which was the same as Zelda Universe and Zelda Legend’s used during this time period.
During this timeframe, Rauru’s Return grew to be one of the most respected Zelda websites on the Internet along with the other giants of the time. It was at this period when ZeldaBlog was launched, which Rauru’s Return, and their subsidiary of Harkinain was very supportive of.
Furthermore, it was during this time where the forums were upgraded to a vBulletin system and Coppermine Media Gallery was utilized to best show the level of media available on the site. With translated Zelda manga, soundtracks and guides to all of the games of the period Rauru’s Return was a steadfast fan favorite.
July 2007 – Present Day
During July Rauru’s Return fell foul to an unprovoked hack, which brought the site offline for many months. The flaw was identified to be in the Joomla Content Management system and the bridge between vBulletin and Coppermine, Archaic Sage was unable to rectify this problem and took the site offline to prevent users from being attacked by malicious scripts being automatically downloaded via the flaw.
From July 2007 to December 2007 the site was completely offline whilst Archaic Sage designed the infrastructure away from Joomla. During Christmas of 2007 a preliminary site went up to show slight updates. During January the full layout was launched with a partially complete The Legend of Zelda section.
Although the Joomla based website had full content available across all games, Archaic Sage wanted to revamp the content as it had to be transferred across to the “new” site. Therefore the quality of content not touched since 2004 improved dramatically. However, the transition is slow and The Legend of Zelda remains the only Zelda game to have content.
In September 2008 Rauru’s Return announced that it had completed the renovation of its media area and boasted that it contained many exclusive books that were not available anywhere else. This complete downloads section boasts Books, Anime, OSTs, Manual Scans, Avatars, Official Wallpapers and much more.
Nothing has been amended since that time.
The Harkinian is a side-project of Rauru’s Return which is arguably the Zelda community’s first electronic magazine. Each month the Harkinian writing team will sit down and write about different aspects of the Zelda community at length. The articles range from breaking news right through to expanding upon the smallest ideas possible, such as the funeral rights of a passing Hylian. There are also monthly interviews with the people who keep the Zelda community going, and the odd feature with fan artists.
Harkinian is currently inactive.