Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I have a couple concerns and questions about UGC after listening to the Subspace Radio Interview with Mike Apolis where he discusses in length how the devs think The Foundry will operate:
  1. UGC Reviewers - Player Council all over again?

    My concern here is about granting a few players power over many. It seems Cryptic is thinking of having a panel of player "reviewers" make the initial call on whether to let new UGC missions be published for others to play or not. Mike Apolis says players can sign up to be a reviewer.

    Everyone should be concerned about this because the people who sign up will have their own ideas as to what should be published and what shouldn't be. Strict Canonists will be sure to sign up and stop anything that doesn't meet their personal approval.

    This sounds reasonable for stopping plain inappropriate content but... Will these "reviewers" have the power to "deny" your UGC mission just because they don't think your story is canon? Or that your mission has a ship in it that they don't think should exist?

    I wouldn't take anyone's fun away from piloting a T5 NX-Class but there are others who would in an instant. I do not want them making a "judgment call" on my UGC missions.

    Who will the initial "reviewers" be? Perhaps the players chosen to be in The Foundry's Closed Beta?

    Is there voting on who can be a reviewer? And who is going to review the reviewer to make sure they aren't being too lenient or too strict?

    This is bothering me almost as much as The Player Council did - I don't like a select few having this much power. In my opinion, this is a rather stringent level of vetting.

    I think any content that's too wierd or non-canon should simply be policed by everyone via the rating system. Anything wonky can be moved to the Holosuite in Quark's Bar and the Holodeck on our ships as fantasy programs.

  2. Diminishing Returns for UGC Mission XP - Not the savior of Klingon PvE?

    Mike Apolis also says they are thinking of implementing diminishing returns for UGC content that we complete each day. The 1st UGC mission - you get ok XP. The 2nd mission - your get similar XP and an item. The 3rd mission - your XP goes way down. After the 3rd you're not getting XP at all for running UGC content that day.

    What bothers me about this is obvious. For Klingons it's not the savior of their PvE experience like a few devs have implied. Being able to get (ok) XP from 2 missions per day won't fill the huge gaps in PvE that Klingons have.

    In just about every interview, DStahl says Klingons will never have the same amount of episodes as Feds. Well, leveling a Klingon won't be that much better with this. Feds can log in, play PvE all day long and gain a couple ranks. Klingons still won't be able to with UGC.

    Why even lead us to believe that The Foundry will fill the Klingon content gap when you knew up front you were going to implement diminishing returns?!

I realize what Mike Apolis disclosed isn't set in stone. However, it's the direction Cryptic is moving in and so worthy of discussion. What do you think?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
10-22-2010, 06:57 PM
Ok two things...

1. the reviews need to be elected by the community, and it needs to be for missions that are added to the game. ( as in make them non UGC missions, but make them like normal game missions.. that way every one gets published, but the best missions become official... )

2. Klingons can't play UGC.. or they cant get as much XP... Klingon players need to have the limit of the amount of XP increased. instead of the first mission giving normal XP make it the first 5 or so missions for them, and then start decreasing the XP.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
10-22-2010, 07:26 PM
1. I can't remember but didn't it say that there are around 20 reviewers that the mission needs to pass through? I'm sure with such a wide pass around surely they won't be 20 people who all think exactly the same e.g. hardcore canon purists? They most likely will be a variety of people.

Also I think I remember something about them only being around for a certain number of months or weeks before being replaced by another bunch. So I guess it's like jury service or something.

2. Surely having something new to do is welcome? So there's a diminishing returns system to prevent exploits, e.g. farming. That's OK. You'll at least get some skill points from around 3 missions per day. Compared to now where there's only one new feature episode every week.

I'm sure these are over-concerns. Everything so far seems reasonable in theory. Let's see how it works for real in the beta test first before further speculation either way.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
10-22-2010, 08:27 PM
I second Mirror-Master's concerns.

Placing customers into positions of power and privilege over other customers - especially such a subjective sort of power - turns my gut. I really don't think that UGC should be slipped into the 'main game' anyway since it works out to padding the product with volunteer work. Rating, search features, all that is necessary... appointing a cultural jury is not.

And massively-dimishing returns on running UGC makes no sense, especially given that it's almost guaranteed to involve more interesting variety than grinding Exploration. Even if 99% of UGC missions are crap, at least they wouldn't be the same madlib over and over agan.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
10-22-2010, 08:48 PM
I say no to a panel of reviewers. Bad idea. The main point of the UGC is to allow the players to create their own stories and share them with the community at large. Adding in this panel is going to defeat that purpose, espiceally if the writer of said mission has to wait for apporval from this panel to even see it in game.

On the other hand if there were a once a year event in place where a panel of reviewers pulled from Cryptic, CBS, and the player base were to review the best UGC missions in the game and then officially add the best of the best as regular missions in the game then I could see this working.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
10-22-2010, 08:54 PM
If those two points come to pass, then I will cease my subscription.

The only sole reason I have put up with all the bugs and gameplay issues is the promise of the UGC. If this ****-poor idea of implementation actually makes it past the "is this a dumb idea" stage, then I will absolutely no reason to continue playing.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
10-22-2010, 08:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by squidheadjax View Post
I second Mirror-Master's concerns.

Placing customers into positions of power and privilege over other customers - especially such a subjective sort of power - turns my gut. I really don't think that UGC should be slipped into the 'main game' anyway since it works out to padding the product with volunteer work. Rating, search features, all that is necessary... appointing a cultural jury is not.

And massively-dimishing returns on running UGC makes no sense, especially given that it's almost guaranteed to involve more interesting variety than grinding Exploration. Even if 99% of UGC missions are crap, at least they wouldn't be the same madlib over and over agan.
This. Diminishing returns just makes no sense. This is a way of creating content for ourselves.. why should they do anything but encourage that?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
10-22-2010, 09:09 PM
The one thing that most bothers me about the UGC, is that it's basically "busywork" to keep us (the customer) occupied. Which really sends the message that the content in-game already is insufficient.


Sure there will be some really good missions some will come up and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Cryptic ends up taking some of those missions and adding them to existing content. But in the long run, it's just an overgloried mission creator using STO tools, instead of creating the same mission with mods of previous Star Trek games like Bridge Commander.

Be honest, given how bad Space Combat has gotten with repetitiveness and the over dependance on BO Abilities, I'm starting to think that playing Bridge Commander is a better deal in being "Star Trek".
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
10-22-2010, 09:14 PM
What is it with Cryptic and trying to force panels of ultra elite players/trekkies/people-with-little-to-no-interest-in-the-game-who-happen-to-run-a-site-with-the-word-trek-in-it on us?

Here's hoping this idea isn't a precursor to just getting us to do all the developing so they can cannibalize the dev team for their other projects.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
10-22-2010, 09:19 PM
Personally, I think a couple of thing would solve it.

1) Flat rewards for missions.

2) No rewards for missions under X minutes.

3) Users with missions that are rated well get a personal author rating. A good author rating nlocks Silver, Gold, and Latinum Author status, which allows your new missions to get rated up to rewards status faster. However, get any infractions for missions that break the content guidelines and you get busted back down to the start for 30 days.

4) If you're going to go the player-testing route, actually hire the players. It will provide a much cleaner standard in terms of results and professionalism. It will face less criticism than simply elevating a few players in unpaid positions and give them resume credentials for the work they're doing. You can always give them the option between cash and Cryptic Points for a week.

Personally, I think the smart move is to just to hire 10 or so distance employees as Foundry testers. Give them a separate green name for the forums. Give them a code of conduct and an NDA preventing them from disclosing their player identity. Break it and you're out. Do well and you get brought into official content design and maybe working to assist on something like a guest author program.

You can go by an hourly payscale (easy enough to check) or make it a commission basis where they get, say, $4 for every star that the missions they approve get rated by players. Say... $10 an hour with an additional $10 for 4 star rated missions and $20 for 5 star. So you get bonuses for greenlighting quality missions.

Get caught fixing the polls and you're out. You approve too many missions with a low rating, you get terminated and replaced. You approve too few missions per week and you get laid off and replaced and put back into the queue of applicants. If players are generating too few missions, the supervisor will set it up so that you can meet your quota by creating missions to submit to other testers.

By having professional UGC testers, you have some standards in place that would be harder with volunteers.

Alternatively, if hiring isn't an option, you can incentivize accurate reviewing. Anyone who reviews within one point of the average rating for a mission gets entered in a daily Cryptic Points drawing for 250 CP, for example. So it gets people in the mentality of trying to assign a rating they'd expect other people to give the mission. This could strip some bias out.
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