So I've only created two missions so far, one for Fed side, one for KDF side. My Fed one has been around since last October, but has only recieved 29 reviews. The good news is out of those 29, I have about a 3.9 out of 5 rating (which I don't think is too bad for a first try). So my situation is I have a decently rated mission that virtually no one knows about.
My question is, what is it about a mission that makes players go "That was cool! I'm gonna tell everyone I know who plays Foundry!"??? Is it a matter of length, or balance between reading and action?
Or is my own job of marketing the problem? I've listed them in my signature, posted about them in the promotion threads, etc., even noting that it qualifies for the "officer reports" repeatable. What else can I do to get more people to play?
Like people, the mission cannot satisfy anyone, no matter how good it is. I've played through absolutely fantastic, creative, inspirational missions, yet people rate it a 1 for "wtf" or "too much talking" or "not enough fighting... pleaze turn this game into star warz" (Okay, I exaggerated there ).
You make what mission you want to make, and do the best you can. People will see the effort - and while it may not be to everyone's tastes, I'm sure people will see the effort, thought, and inspiration you have put into it.
EDIT: This is coming from a guy who has made mods and/or maps for Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Trek: Armada, Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars: Battlefront II, etc.
I agree with just about what everyone has said (Save the grinder one. It'll get you short results and your name a little more out there but Kirkfat's experiment shows it only goes so far.)
The big one is make the mission you'd want to play or the one you want to see in the game. All you can do from that point is enjoy your work, encourage friends or fleetmates to play it, or maybe request a mission review from a forum based reviewer or a podcast.
As for what makes a good mission, however. Look at the Cryptic missions for a base line format; their livelihood rests on a successful formula to keep the vast majority of players entertained.
Aim for a time of completion between 30-1h and a mix of ground and space action, optimally nestled in an "a b A" format. That is, Ground Space Ground or Space Ground Space, with the final fights near the climax more challenging. You want enough plot to keep things flowing, and yet enough stuff to keep them interested. Again, look to the story content of the standard game here or a single shot episode of any of the series.
Round it off with lots of polish on spelling and presentation. Get your friends and fleet to play it first, then go and make more (if you are compelled).
Anything else beyond this, IMO, is optional and largely dependent on you. Some people get attention via Engaging Story or Plot, others Map Design, some through Memorable Characters. It depends on your strengths and what you find fun to work on. But if you get the base format down, whatever mission you make from it will be solid and a will appeal to the most players who find it.
One of my missions has no combat and involves a ton of reading. All the player does is talk to npcs and their bridge officers. It is one of my more popular missions.
Perhaps they meant "No walls of text"?
As a regular Foundry player I'm okay with reading/ chatting missions as long as it's well broken up with some other task and/or has branching dialog and not me sitting there hitting "continue" for ten minutes.
As for the OP: If I knew what makes a hit, I'd be rich. But let me tell you the type of missions I prefer. Sorry, I don't remember all of the mission names right now;
1. Has a good Star Trek type hook. One mission had me go to a research station that had been sabotaged by someone who might have either been insane or fighting shadowy aliens. Or both.
"Beam down and deal with the mystery" is a Star Trek staple.
2. A story that follows through with the premise in a logical manner. The Barclay's daughter missions, while comedic, follow the rules of good writing: She may be bumbling, but her bumbling serves a purpose to the story. Chekhov's gun... Or Chekov's phaser in this case.
3. Action and dialog are broken up at a good pace. The very popular Cause Then Effect mission did this wonderfully. The combat wasn't over-long, nor were the mission dialogs. Also, your travel time wasn't all that bad. What you needed to do was contained in a small area and you weren't scouring the map for the next objective.
4. No longer than 45 minutes, but twenty five is better. Sorry, it's not that I don't have the time since MMOs are my Watch-TV-After-Work. But having to stop in the middle of a mission because I need to do something else means that I have to do it again from the beginning, and that is a pain. While there are a lot of ugly dog missions here in STO, they remain in digestible sizes.
5. An "original" premise. I put that in scare quotes because there's no such thing as 100% original. But what I mean is that the author took a little explored aspect of the Trek universe and used it as a springboard.
For example, a KDF mission had you encounter a Dahar Master who wanted to bust her Federation boyfriend out of Rura Penthe. It's a simple mission, but it's a mission that you don't usually see get made. Of course there would have been some other KDF Fed romances other than Torres' parents, and why wouldn't they have met during the Dominion War?
So these things make me more inclined to give your mission more than three stars. I'M not a typical Foundry player though. I find the grind missions boring as hell and skip them. I have to skip a lot recently. It sucks and that's why I want a better search function.
The sad truth for any creative person is that if you want a hit, you need to pander. Maybe have some Caitians speak in LOLCat?
_________________ Nebula coffee is the best coffee