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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Managing Player-Created Content In City of Heroes 43

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-your-favorite-naughty-word dept.
Superhero MMO City of Heroes recently went live with its 14th expansion (release notes), one of the main features of which is the Mission Architect, a system to allow players to create their own quest content and then submit it to be implemented into the game. Now, Joe Morrissey of the City of Heroes team has written an article about how they plan to manage the content that players create. "You have to decide how draconian you want to be. The more hardcore you are, the fewer people who will see inappropriate content, but you expose yourself to potential grief voting. Grief voting is when a player flags perfectly acceptable content as inappropriate just because it's fun. If it only takes a single vote to eliminate content from the game, clicking that button is going to be the game for a lot of players. You don't want perfectly good content getting pulled because someone's a jerk."
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Managing Player-Created Content In City of Heroes

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  • Here is an idea... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tinctorius (1529849) on Friday April 17, 2009 @06:40AM (#27609123)
    Another way is to introduce CAs (trusted by the MMO vendor) to certify content made by players. Player makes content, player has it verified and signed by CA(s), player uploads content and signature(s). If the CA goofs up and signs something the vendor deems inappropriate, the CA is suspended or even banned. OTOH, if an CA is too strict, people will look for other CAs, which could be bad news for a CA, since it seems there are always ways to make money out of things like this.
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday April 17, 2009 @06:42AM (#27609135)

    I've never played City of Heroes, but I have to assume as an MMORPG its players cover a wide range of ages.

    Why not just implement a public voting system that works along the lines of movie and game ratings, with the game client itself possessing a parental rating lock? There's much less grief-voting incentive, unless the playerbase includes a large number of pedophiles specifically looking to get furry porn voted down to a PG rating and expose some kids, but it wouldn't be hard to lock content's rating once it has received a certain number of trusted votes.

    That brings me to another point: AFAIK this is a pay game, which means creating new accounts isn't free or trivial. Many other communities have implemented the idea of 'trusted users' who can be expected to vote reasonably. If someone is consistently voting erratically, stop weighing their votes as heavily as someone who has been spot-on with majority ratings in the past.

    I don't quite understand why this guy seems set on only having a simple 'flag as inappropriate' button when there are so many more options available.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @08:37AM (#27610333)

    Load of crap. The CoX developers are the smartest I've ever seen, and much faster than any other in the history of the MMO.

    Compare them to SOE developers in SWG whose sole purpose seems to be to consistently reduce their player population. Or Mythic developers who break everything then take 9 months even to admit there is a problem and another 6 to fix it. WoW developers are fairly good in this company, but it still takes them a year to get back from vacation and get moving.

    The CoX developers did release MA with exploitable bugs, but those exploits were fixed within 4 days. Others would have called it 'content', sucked you in with it then 6 months down the road after the new system is established, pulled the rug out from under you.

    I play CoX because they don't do those things.
     

  • by Chas (5144) on Friday April 17, 2009 @09:15AM (#27610963) Homepage Journal

    There's much less grief-voting incentive, unless the playerbase includes a large number of pedophiles specifically looking to get furry porn voted down to a PG rating and expose some kids, but it wouldn't be hard to lock content's rating once it has received a certain number of trusted votes.

    Actually no. You have people maliciously griefing others by submitting low ratings and submitting unmerited complaints about arcs in the hopes of getting them pulled. It has nothing to do with whether the content is appropriate or not.

    I don't quite understand why this guy seems set on only having a simple 'flag as inappropriate' button when there are so many more options available.

    There are already over 50,000 (yes fifty thousand) player published MA arcs. That amount of content dwarfs the number of regular (NCSoft-designed) mission arcs in the rest of the game.

    While the actual on-disk size of the content is small (it was estimated that if EVERYONE registered in the game published a full three 5-mission arcs that the total disk space used would be approximately 9GB), the amount of database traffic for elaborate ratings systems could bog down the system.

  • Re:Meta-Moderation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thansal (999464) on Friday April 17, 2009 @09:44AM (#27611487)

    Actually, yes, that is what it needs.

    However I came up with a possible idea a while back (it was for allowing an MMO to let in player created art for guild banners or whatever). It would basically be moderating, however seed the new content with items you know to be good/bad. Any one that regularly votes up/down content incorrectly is removed from moderating AND submitting new content. This way the Meta moderation can be handled via a program. Obviously not perfect and would require some human oversight (random spot checks).

    A second part would be to compare votes on unknown items, if you get some one regularly voting down/up items that the majority vote the other way, check em, and ban em.

    Of course, make the entire system opt-in, so if players want they can simply play with vetted content (in my case it would be blank banners for un-vetted content, for CoX it would be a limited pool of missions).

    And no, this wouldn't really work for /. as that would require false comments to be seeded into articles, and locking their Score artificially, something that would be kinda silly.

  • by Ivan.Turgenev (1534769) on Friday April 17, 2009 @09:58AM (#27611757)
    You give one map to any playerbase that has a repeatably reliable rate of return (RRRoR?), and someone's gonna farm that like being Amish is goin' outta style.

    You look at the Mission Architect, and you see farm tools. Maybe, but most established farming cartels go with what they know, primarily because of the time invested in their builds to maximize their effectiveness on the one farm map they can do not only in their sleep, but while they're on the can or cyb0rzing. That's not to say they won't expand in that direction; it just doesn't give them anything new (beyond a few exploits that have already been, or will be, addressed).

    I look at the Mission Architect, and I see a wealth of user-created utility. Drama, comedy, build optimization test arenas, co-op hero/villain expansions, a chance to build a Freakshow mish where they all talk in l335t-5p33k haiku - everything.

    Players, for the first time, are standing up and exercising their comic book creativity for the masses. The Architect is pretty flexible; you can make custom opponents; custom arch-villains/heroes; dialogue up the wazoo; hundreds of environments; a mission search utility that, while it can be improved upon, is certainly functional; player ratings for the gamers themselves to use in rating mission quality (and yes, that can be abused, but I'd rather have it than go without).

    The Devs are idiots? Are you mad? The Devs just gave me a chance to write for a playerbase that I love, and that playerbase is responding in kind. The Devs aren't idiots. They're pioneers who got it RIGHT on this shot.

    If you're too blinded by "omg i haet frams!!", well, I hope they have Zoloft on your Bizarro Earth.
  • by slaker (53818) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:48AM (#27614371)

    I've been against CoX PVP from the start and I really hope the "hardcore" leave the game for Counterstrike or somewhere else where their mating call of "Faggy faggot fag fag" can be adequately responded to. CoX launched without PVP and I felt it was a betrayal to add it after the fact. It brought out a great deal of the worst sort of people.

    CoX has genuinely responsive devs; I have a few private messages from Castle and BaBs in my inbox at the forum site. They aren't perfect, but they DO think of the game more as the experience of playing than the ability to quickly level up to 50, which is their specific bias. The game has gotten significantly better since Statesman left, and since I choose not to participate in the farming and "gaming the system" but instead go looking for story content to share with my friends, I'm having the intended experience and I'm not embittered by the things the parent poster is talking about.

    I suspect my experience is closer to the average player's than his.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:11PM (#27614869) Homepage Journal
    I thought the community was much improved when the hardcore PvP guys quit in disgust after the PvP system was changed from the retarded two-hit gankfest where there were maybe half a dozen viable builds to something where fights can actually mean something. Clearly if you're only PvPing because you like to grief it's a terrible system: your target frequently has a chance to fight back, but if you like PvP for the sake of battles then it's much improved.

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