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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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  • Meta-Moderation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cjfs (1253208) on Friday April 17, 2009 @05:36AM (#27609117) Homepage Journal

    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.

    Sounds like they could use some meta-moderating.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, Slashdot is perfect and there is no griefing on here whatsoever. Let's copy that.

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

      by Thansal (999464) on Friday April 17, 2009 @08:44AM (#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.

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

    by Tinctorius (1529849) on Friday April 17, 2009 @05:40AM (#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.
    • I've spent 15 minutes attempting to track down the definition of "CA" in this context to no avail, would someone be able to point out the correct definition for me? (sad, yes, but I'm curious to find other examples and a google search for CA isn't exactly concise).

      Community Admin|Advisor|Assistant|Agent|etc, Certificate Authority and so on were perhaps mildly plausible ones I located on the free dictionary [thefreedictionary.com] but there weren't exactly any conclusive answers for gaming (unless they're hiring concentration auras

      • Sorry; Certificate Authority. They sign/certify content, and are authorized by GMs. And don't ask what I mean by that.
        • Ah thanks, that makes much more sense to me now. It would be interesting to see how well that sort of model turned out, logistically and from the idea that people would pay to have their content certified (if it meant enough to them or their company). Still, I think they might be better off giving the masses the power rather than giving relatively few people a massive power trip (see Wikipedia editors).

      • by garvon (32299)

        I think he meant Certificate Authority.That would fit with the "trusted" part

  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday April 17, 2009 @05:42AM (#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 Tinctorius (1529849) * on Friday April 17, 2009 @05:49AM (#27609165)

      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.

      "Flag as inappropriate for Pastafarians."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      Well, if a clever creator hides his "inappropriate" content (whatever this may be) somehow, one out of a thousand reviewers might only find it, but now ponder what will happen if that one reviewer blows it out of proportion on a blog, "look what CoH deems appropriate for young children".

      I leave the rest to your imagination.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chas (5144)

      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 i

    • by slaker (53818)

      The game is rated IIRC as appropriate for ages 10+ or so (varying by national rating service), and the thrust of Game Master moderation is to keep the whole game as close to that as possible in public areas of the game.

      There are already something like 70,000 published Mission Architect modules available. Even a very dedicated user can't play through everything that's been created in just two weeks.

      I think, given the volume of user creativity, they're just taking a zero tolerance approach to everything. I ac

  • Moderation? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by tygerstripes (832644)

    You don't want perfectly good content getting pulled because someone's a jerk.

    This is very confusing. Is he talking about /.?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The biggest problem isn't language or subject inappropriate content, it's farming missions.

    The devs of CoX are fucking idiots, to be blunt: they've repeatedly shown an inability to predict what simple game and chaos theory tells anyone with a lick of common sense what will happen when you create an exploitable system: it will be exploited.

    The system was pushed live with so many opportunities to minimize risk and maximize reward that overnight it's become a better method to power level than anything prior in

    • They will do probably rather little, other than maybe use some tool to watch what is happening. People that want to farm, fill farm. People that don't will play and create.

      As soon as I get a better computer where I don't have lag while typing in, I'll probably work on some story arcs myself.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >I used to love the game. I still enjoy playing
      >with my friends sometimes, but if the devs keep
      >alienating everyone, there'll be nobody left.

      You're complaining about alienating people over a "fix" that you have constructed in your mind about an exploit that may or may not be a problem while handily ignoring the fact that this has been - by far - the most popular issue EVER.

      It's funny that you mention PvP. See, the hot mess that was PvP was the fact that it was DEAD. "All PvPers left, cancelled, QQ"

      • by FnordX (115944)

        Perhaps a little bit more strongly worded than I would have said it, but I agree with you.

      • by imunfair (877689)
        I think - not having played the game - that the point he was trying to make is that it can be used to make farming missions that give you xp or gold or whatever way faster than the real game. People would then play these repeatedly in order to advance much farther/faster than their peers. This would obviously be considered an exploit by the company and result in a nerf to the mission builder. Sure as you said there will be good content, but his concern was with the missions that throw PvP balance out of
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by FnordX (115944)

          However, if you do that, then there is no desire to play the player-created content, and the entire thing becomes a ghost town.

          There's always a way to exploit a mission, or a map, or whatever to run yourself up in levels from 1 to 50 in a matter of two or three days, but then what? You have a L50 character with no other badges, no enhancements, no money, etc.

          The rate of return from tickets to enhancements is about the same as you would get outside of the MA tool, but you don't get any influence/infamy, the

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      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
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Duradin (1261418)

      What's the point of worrying about power leveling CoX?

      CoX isn't WoW. In WoW, the game begins at 80 when you start raiding.

      In CoX, the game begins at, well, level 1. There's no big raid-or-die endgame. So what if someone gets to 50 before you? Unless they're playing a DC MA mission they won't be getting anything but tickets and xp and I'm pretty sure the farming maps aren't going to get a DC. You're missing a lot of opportunities for the rare random stuff to drop.

    • by Bonker (243350) on Friday April 17, 2009 @10:28AM (#27613825)

      Op is so full of fail and retard that he's not worth listening to.

      First, the game devs have been working to put the experience gain curve completely into the control of the player's hands. They're not really concerned about how fast you level. First, there's the 'Patrol Experience' feature, which was introduced with the last issue. It works about like 'Rested' experience in other games. There are other boosters that increase experience gain. There is also a voluntary switch that users can toggle on and off to eliminate EXP gain.

      The devs are concerned about keeping the game challenging. They are eliminating objects that don't fight back from the architect system and have implemented a special game currency that's dropped based on how much effort you put into fighting an enemy.

      Yep. They're skee-ball tickets you trade for drop rewards at the vendor outside the mission. You get more of them based on how much work you do inside the mission... so 'easy farming' is a contradiction.

      They are concerned about copyright violations. If you make a mission about fighting the Incredible Hulk and Spiderman, you can bet that your mission will be banned nigh-instantly. They're also concerned about inappropriate content. The architect interface features a real-time word checker that will warn you for inserting vulgarity or profanity into your missions.

      As for the PVP issue, yes, it was recently revamped in terms of how powers worked. Unlike the infamous 'New Game Experience' in SWG, no powers were removed. Several were added, and made available for PVE players as well. Powers were revamped slightly in how they worked, making 'one shotting' and other kinds of grief play not work. The only people upset about this are the core of PVPers who got their jollies by making life difficult for everyone else. The other PVPers and even a good number of PVEers are reather happy with it.

      Another change they made was to add PVP-only drops. If you defeat another player, you have a chance of getting a GOOD drop from them. It doesn't take anything of theirs away and encourages more people to play PVP, particularly in Arena matches. Again, this makes the griefers unhappy because they don't get invited to the matches.

      PVP in CoH was pretty much dead. Now it's burgeoning. I personally don't care for it, but all my friends are doing it.

      So in other words, OP is full of shit. Go read the CoH boards for a better view on what's going on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by slaker (53818)

      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 m

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CrashPoint (564165)

        CoX launched without PVP and I felt it was a betrayal to add it after the fact.

        That betrayal exists solely within your mind, since you were never promised a PVP-less game in the first place. Arenas were originally going to be a launch feature; they just kept getting pushed back until Issue 4. PVP was always part of the plan. Frankly, it's silly not to have PVP in a superhero MMO (as long as it's optional), especially once you add villain play.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jandrese (485)
        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.
      • Actually I have been itching for a full on PVP CoX server and I know numerous people who would join up for this in a heart beat.

        But the player community whine like little girls when ever it is mentioned. When in fact it would have no impact on them at all.

        I play in the PvP zones a lot. It is good fun, a challenge and 99% of the time the people attacking you are not douches. Most of the whining comes from non-PvP who cry when someone has beaten them up before they could make it to a mission point. If it was

    • Farming for gear I can understand and CoX team have dealt with that regarding the use of tickets.

      However CoX is insanely easy to level up in. Even more so since the Cryptic Studios people left.

      It is quite possibly one of the easiest games to level up in.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday April 17, 2009 @06:09AM (#27609265)

    They call it content management, but it's clearly censorship.

    And who will fight censorship?

    Captain Penis! Of course.

    And Ass Guy, his faithful sidekick, or should I say flag bearer.

    • And who will fight censorship?

      Generic 003 442 658 881! Of course.

      And Generic 003 442 658 882, his faithful sidekick, or should I say flag bearer.

      Oops. Looks like someone petitioned the GMs over those names. :)

  • I love that the intro to his article goes on and on about how useless text filters are. Yet point 1 of his essay is, "Filters are a good place to start!"

    He never defines 'inappropriate content' either or explains how standards are communicated to the community-policing, other than to give an example of the terrible & mighty beef-stick. I guess they know it when they see it.

    I'd say make a ratings system, "Adult" or "Not Adult" and let users. . .oh wait, I forgot, by the ToS I think you must be over 18

    • by jandrese (485)
      CoH is rated T for Teen. A ToS that prohibited anyone under 18 would be counterproductive.

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