Architect creators and players – the first dates
A few weeks ago I wrote a few notes about the Mission Architect mission browser and put together a few charts for the story arc content in the open beta. I decided to have a look at what the numbers were now, a few days after the release of Issue 14.
At the time I collected the numbers below, the total number of story arcs were almost 17000. With the number of distinct missions in an arc being somewhere between 1 and 5 missions, this means the total number of missions are somewhat between 17000 and 65000. My guess would be that the total number of missions are around 40000. A few MMORPGS can claim to have more than 1000 quests, so the sheer amount of mission data generated by the player community is quite fascinating.
Of course, not everything is top notch quality missions. And not everyone will have the same taste. Some people want good storylines, others want mainly tactical challenges, some others might want to have farming efficient content etc. Whereas in many other MMORPGs the mission content is fairly organised and spread out according to some developer-determined pattern, in Mission Architect we have pretty much everything in a big bucket. We can slice and dice the bucket content a bit, but it still remains rather large chunks of data we have to work with.
But first lets have a look at the ratings for the content so far:
Today there is a quite large chunk of story arcs that are yet unrated, almost 7000. Not really surprising in my opinion; the release has been available for 4-5 days and 2-3 days ago perhaps only half of the current story arcs had been published. It will probably take a number of weeks for it to stabilise. For each star rating I also did a check to see how many arcs had been given at least 10 ratings.
More than 90% of the rated story arcs have been rated less than 10 times; again I think this is because we are still fairly early after the release. There is a relatively high amount of time spent creating missions vs playing missions. Also, not everyone that plays a story arc will rate it.
The arcs that have been rated more than 10 times have a larger percentage for the 4 and 3 star averages. This may be due to the simple fact that not everyone has the same taste and not everyone uses the rating system in the same way. As story arcs get more votes it is more likely that they will get a mix of ratings even if they are quite good.
There has been some forum comments about being “ganked” in the ratings; i.e. people that on purpose try to lower the ratings for others by rating their arcs 1 star. While there most likely are some people that will do that I doubt that it is so prevalent that some may think. Looking at the ratings numbers in the chart it is quite clear that people do not only play 5 star missions, both 4 star and 3 star missions have significantly higher rate counts overall.
Looking at the lengths of the story arcs we have a new chart:
The most used arc length is the short duration. This typically means either an arc with 1 mission with a medium to large sized map, or an arc with two small sized maps. Without being able to show actual numbers for it I would hazard to say that most of the short duration arcs are just a single mission. I think here is where a large number of home-made arcs which do not aspire to any deep or complex story lines may end up.
Story arcs which try to tell some story with some twist often tend to have a few missions to develop the story, so they are in many cases longer.
I think many are aware of that the current mission browser may be a bit limited in searching for story arcs that are suitable and various other initiatives are taken to compensate for that. The game forums contains threads were people can describe and announce their story arcs. Most likely only a small subet of those playing the game reads the forumes regularly, so while this may help a bit other efforts might also be considered.
One nice start of an effort here is a new Mission Architect session on the City of Guides website. They have created their own list where arc creators can add their published arcs with a few additional fields compared to what is in the game today. They also allow comments attached to each arc in their list. There may be a number of sich sites trying to be more helpful with arc searches for people and/or give a better means of communication between player and arc creator. It will be interesting to see how this section develops. WIll NCSoft put in better ingame tools? Will the various Mission Architect sites expand and become more involved in the matter?
The next few weeks or months will be interesting to see how it develops.