Are we sure that Cryptic is saying that everyone will get a reward based on the average play time of the mission?
Or are they saying that the reward will be scaled according to the average play time of the mission?
If the latter, I would expect a player that runs through in ten minutes when the average is twenty would get a smaller reward than they would if they ran through in the average time or longer.
I guess "Beat the Clock" missions won't be very popular, huh?
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I think that any time you try a one-size fits all reward system it will be imperfect because of the vast variation in the way people make Foundry missions and the vast variation in the way people play Foundry missions. Plus, you will always have people to who try to game the system.
For myself, I wish people didn't need a reward, but I suppose generations of MMOs have made it sort of ingrained in us that we must have sweet sweet lootz or something ain't worth doing. I don't entirely understand that mentality, I like loot and progression as much as the next person, but I don't demand it in order to spend time on something. But not everyone is like me, so I support this system. It won't be perfect, but what would be?
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From how I understand it, in the ways they have explained it to us, implementing it based on avg times will be beneficial to the limiting of speed runs and should really break down to the mean time spent playing a mission. (Although ones that start on social maps before moving to special ones are of genuine concern depending on when the timer starts.)
There will be no real benefit from players rushing through missions to get faster rewards, since those rewards will be given to them based on their fast times.
If they instead choose to afk in a mission for 1.5 hours, the devs have said on record something akin to, "Well, whatever, they're still playing the game if that's how they want to spend their time." (I think the Captain Geko Interview on PrimetimeUGC)
If the reward is based on time spent in mission, it will probably involve more than just the players time or just the avg total time. Players could rush through a known mission like in Kirk's example in 10 minutes, sure, but it won't be beneficial to them. Therefore they will probable stop doing it. A proper avg will be reached.
There will no doubt be unforeseen consequences to this, people are crafty and resourceful. But as for the concerns expressed for the Avg play time, I'm not seeing them as threatening as others are.
It's not perfect, but either way people will get more of a reward than they are currently getting.
I agree that it does discourage people from making missions with a lot of optional stuff that can be skipped. But I guess if you make the optional stuff interesting enough then fewer people will skip it.
In the end people who take the longest to play your mission will never get as optimal of a reward as people who rush through, but the average should still be high enough for it to be a decent reward.
That said, I'm concerned that people could take advantage of this system. For example, Dereliction Duty can take 2-3 hours to play, but I know for a fact you can get through it in about 20-30 minutes if you just speed click through all of the dialogues and you know how to complete all the puzzles (I've had to do this multiple times to test to make sure the mission was working). So, if people make a concerted effort to milk the mission they could push the play time way down. However, if there's some sort of conspiracy to break something then it will always succeed, so that probably isn't a good measure of how likely the system will work on average.
Edit: I don't know why I'm worried anyway. Cryptic doesn't seem too friendly to longer missions, so they'll probably just end up capping the rewards at an hour. But either way I guess that's still an improvement over how things currently are.
That said, I'm concerned that people could take advantage of this system. For example, Dereliction Duty can take 2-3 hours to play, but I know for a fact you can get through it in about 20 minutes if you just speed click through all of the dialogues and you know how to complete all the puzzles (I've had to do this multiple times to test to make sure the mission was working). So, if people make a concerted effort to milk the mission they could push the play time way down.
That's really my concern here too. If DD offers best lootz, then the grinders may do just that. Spend 20 mins clickthrough to get the uber prize reserved for a mission with an average 2-3 hour play-time. Eventually, the folks that take the time won't get the proper loot because the play-time will average about 1 hour, due to the click-throughs.
Well, in fairness, to get through that quickly you need to know what you're doing, like exactly where the objectives are, and knowing that you can just click through certain dialogues regardless of how intricate they seem. First play through would probably take at least 45 minutes, if not an hour. So that might discourage people from trying to do that.
Another thing to consider, the rewards may just be the "Piece of level appropriate Gear" boxes. At least, that's what I'm guessing. It's the most practical unless we get the NW hinted feature of saying "Sword" or "Phaser Array" or "Duty Officer" and it picks the stats and everything but the name and general slot.
Even then, with rewards such as that, will people feel that compelled to grind for them.
My expectation is just that we're getting rewards that are at least physically equal to the normal missions. Other then the FEs, who grinds for stuff from "Divide Et Emperia" or any of the other simple standard missions?