Thursday, 21 May 2009

mission architect

So, City of Heroes has been playing around with user-generated content. And I, at least for a little while, am back in the game. These things are only indirectly related, the mission stuff re-enthused someone else who begged me to come back and play, I don't really care that much about it myself.

How is it working out? Well, like every other bit of gameplay in MMORPGS, it's prone to exploits and doesn't work out as planned.

There's a wired article on the subject and related slashdot article, from which I pluck one comment:

The loopholes here is "players can create content, and rate others' content, and gain rewards from the content itself and getting good ratings." The inevitable result is:

* People make stupid powerlevelling farm stuff
* The farmers and powerlevellers love it, and rate it highly
* Actual stories with actual plots are, with rare exception, rated poorly or ignored - "this is too hard, i'm not getting XP fast enuff"
* If you know 50 people in your guild, you're getting 50 top ratings, no matter what kinda crap you churn out
* Rating trading for the rewards
* Revenge-rating players you don't like
* Extreme polarization of those opposed to powerlevelling and farming, in response
* Much QQ
* Boo Hoo.

Honestly, it's not the system, and it's not even a lot of players. It's the tools who come in, pay real cash for IG money and levels, and will soon get bored and move on anyway. Screw them.

The slashdot review suggests "OH NO USER CONTENT IS A DEAD END" but the thing is, the user content is still full of interesting stuff.

There are two major problems. One being that there was a massive exploit discovered to allow people to get WAY more xp than normal... which isn't that big a deal in my opinion because the devs can remove that once it's noticed, and if somebody manages to grind up a level50 character in a day using a cheat, who cares? They didn't have that much fun doing it, and it won't affect their future charaters once it's fixed. (Now yes, for people more into guild/PVP stuff this is probably more important. I'm not, it means nothing to me.)

The second problem, which is getting less attention but is actually more important, is that letting users rate content sounds like such a simple plan and it TOTALLY DOES NOT WORK.

More on this topic later, I've hurt my eyelid somehow and need to wrap up this post.

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