ForumsNews and FeedbackMerits, Reviews, and AP: Issues and Suggesstions

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Sryii
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Sryii
5 posts
Peasant

I have been a fan of Armor Games for a long time, not only as a place to play great games but as a site that is centered around new game developers. One of the main ideas of this site is to give constructive feedback to developers to help them improve their game or refine their process for the next one. Which is great! However, the methods of incentivising this interaction between player and developer has not accomplished this goal very well. Here are some of my issues with the current system and potential improvements:

The Bad

Merits are a reward for a well written comment(bordering on a review) of a game. You have the SIPPYCUpS Program which is great and a couple of good guides. I know that Merits aren't a right and they are awarded as often as possible. However, I believe that they aren't worth the effort at least in terms of &quototential reward" or in benefit to the game creators. Let's look at the point breakdown:

How do I earn AP?
ArmorPoints are earned through several means.
A simple breakdown would look like this:
Rate a Game: 2 AP per Game
Comment on a Game: 2 AP per Comment
Make a Post in the Forum: 1 AP per Post
Submit a Game: 20 AP per Title
Earn a Merit: 25 AP per Merit
It is however highly recommended not to care too much about AP, and just let things happen. After all, if your interaction on the site is found to be purely to gain AP, those comments, posts and ratings might be taken away.


Merits are like grand prize, something everyone should strive for since it rewards the most points. However, these points are only awarded if a Mod or Admin read the comment and decide it is merit worthy. A Merit worthy comment requires me to play a game at least most of the way through(if not several times through) and spend between 10-30 minutes writing the comment. That is a significant time investment as well as effort (NOTE: not nearly as much as creating a game and it seems odd they game creators get fewer points for submitting a game than people writing a good comment about it *shrug*).

Let see how else I could have spend my time. I can quickly play 10 games, rate each one and leave a 10-20 word comment briefly saying something about my experience for the game. In a matter of an hour I have made 40 points, but keep in mind these are 40 GUARANTEED points. There is no promise of getting a merit and in the forums its said that it can take years for a merit to come through. One actually took a year for me to get one, which was surprising and the whole reason I came back to AG to have a look around and see what is happening. Many of the high AP members of Armor Games have very few merits, usually 2 or 3. They usually achieve these points through rating, quick comments, and forum posts. I don't hold anything against them for these points, posting in the forums generates a strong community and its not something I typically do so those are points I miss out on. However, this doesn't foster and environment where the typical user feels or rather perceives that their high quality comments are being recognized as such. Instead, they are more likely to feel that they have wasted their time and instead do short comments on a large number of games to get the maximum benefit.

A quick review, merits are something to be treasured, they aren't guaranteed, they are worth the most points but handed out rarely, and a major goal of the website is to encourage constructive feedback for developers FROM the users. The downside is Merits don't effectively reward the time and effort required for them, they aren't often given, and there are much easier ways to get "rewards" from AG. This isn't about me whining about getting points, I want the system to improve so lets talk about what can be done to help this situation.


Improvements
One of the basic improvements I would like to see is actually in the ease of writing a "merit worthy comment." The comment box is small and I typically have to use a word editor to format/save any thoughts I have and then copy paste. There is no easy way for me to write a clear and concise comment. I actually have more tools in the Forum message box than in the comment box so I have to get creative with special characters like **** or ~~~~~ and the likes to make it easy to read, otherwise it just looks like a text wall. That would be one potential improvement but it would most likely be a difficult one requiring large amount of effort on the sites developers to implement. I just thought I'd mention it

Merits could have their own special rewards different from AP. Users with a large number of Merits could receive special "Merit ONLY" Armatars. There could be a small banner or box on the website displaying the name of "This Weeks Best Contributor!" as a reward for those who are diligently providing high quality feedback to the creators of the game. Finally, one of the easiest solutions would be to just make merits worth more points. Its crude yet effective. Its a direct and easy way for people putting in the effort to write these Merit worthy comment to see that their contribution was worth it. I believe there may be some reason why AG has not done and I just haven't read about it or accidentally glossed over it but it is still worth mentioning in light of the fact that Merits can only be given not automatically generated.

My Final suggestions revolves around the idea that developers could also award or suggest Merit worthy comments. They spend a good chunk of time reading through these and are probably better able to identify merit worthy comments than the Mods and Admins who have other more important tasks. Heck, they may already be doing this but we don't know since it does feel a lot like the Merit awarding is some sort of behind the scenes witchcraft that the regular user doesn't know about. This may be too difficult to achieve, I can totally understand there may be some limitations to doing this but still I feel like it is a worthwhile suggestion.

Conclusion

I like Merits, I love the idea behind them, and I love Armor Games. I want to see more games here, higher quality games, new developers, and a flourishing community. I feel the goal of high quality comments to help improve the games being made by developers is the idea behind Merits but it is not well executed to achieve that goal. While I will continue to write comments in my own style, lengthy and in depth with and with an emphasis on quality, I fear that other users may feel like their quality comments are lost in the sea of "good game" or "it sucks" comments and may give up on providing useful feedback to the developers. If you have any suggestions to this or feel I am totally wrong and am off my rocker please feel free to post below. Thanks!
  • 45 Replies
GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
15,525 posts
Constable

So, one has to sit down on and play a game for 10 minutes to get .1 AP. Then people are rewarded for site activity and the exploit factor is gone.

Open a bunch of games in a browser and leave them on for hours. I don't know how they would track you actually playing, sounds like a difficult thing to implement, and a waste of time when there are other more plausible ideas for armor points.
bTRAIN
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bTRAIN
23 posts
Farmer

So, one has to sit down on and play a game for 10 minutes to get .1 AP. Then people are rewarded for site activity and the exploit factor is gone.

Open a bunch of games in a browser and leave them on for hours. I don't know how they would track you actually playing, sounds like a difficult thing to implement, and a waste of time when there are other more plausible ideas for armor points.


Yay again, another negative naysayer. But sure, I'll counter your dumb argument too because I feel strongly about my point.

The points would not be received EVERY 10 minutes for sitting with a game open. You get your .1 AP once for the play, it just would take 10 minutes to reward it. Not continuous point flow and not on multiple games at the same time. They almost have the same code right now for the 30 second comment lock out.

I know some of you sad saps go to great lengths to farm AP points which literally do nothing but give access to some icons. But I'll be here to say, there is always a way to prevent point farming in the right system.
GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
15,525 posts
Constable

Yay again, another negative naysayer. But sure, I'll counter your dumb argument too because I feel strongly about my point.

Yay, another person easily offended by opposing views.
You get your .1 AP once for the play, it just would take 10 minutes to reward it. Not continuous point flow and not on multiple games at the same time.

1 whole armor point or .1 armor point, as in it'd take 100 of those to get 1 whole armor point?

It still sounds like an absurd idea. Opening 1 game and having to have it open for 10 minutes to get 1 or .1 AP? Yeah, good luck finding supporters for that. The point system is supposed to keep players engaged, nobody is going to like a point system that requires grinding.

Look at the popular and widely supported points idea; achievements. Games having specific goals to achieve so you get points, the points varying based on the achievements difficulties. Look at Kongregate for example.

You want to reduce spam? Cool, but an idea that requires for you to spend an hour to get 6 points is truly ridiculous, and I don't see anybody besides you liking that idea.

Anyway, achievements is already set in stone the last time we heard from an admin. It'll be the main way to get armor points, then there will *probably* be ratings. As for reputation aka points from community involvement, those will be rewarded through up voting in the forum and in game comments, similar to Imgur.
RedN
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RedN
142 posts
Grand Duke

There should be some rewards for correctly flagging spammy and abusive reviews such as whistle points,and some bad ones for those who are flagging comments wrongly.I like the idea of the reputation system and of course the achievments

spikeabc
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spikeabc
1,672 posts
Scribe

even if i try seriously hard to get a merit on a comment thats like an entire page long, it just gets burried in spam and the merit never comes my way. same for forum posts.
fix this people

There should be some rewards for correctly flagging spammy and abusive reviews such as whistle points,and some bad ones for those who are flagging comments wrongly.


agreed. whenever someone posts ninja monkeys on a game, flagging it as spam never does anything for anybody.
GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
15,525 posts
Constable

it just gets burried in spam and the merit never comes my way.

To quote a moderator: You do not write a merit. You write a review of the game, and maybe it will get rewarded with a merit.
Also, if you're only writing game reviews for merits, chances are you won't get them.
same for forum posts.

Forum posts don't get merits.
fix this people

The reputation system may fix it, but that depends on whether they keep merits or not.
pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
9,991 posts
Scribe

agreed. whenever someone posts ninja monkeys on a game, flagging it as spam never does anything for anybody.


1) There is a whole lot more spam that the mods have to deal with..they will get to it..have patience

2) If you are really that upset about certain spam, then go to a mod, give them a link to the user spamming and a link to their comment(s)
jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

i have an idea please think it through before you judge it if i play a game for say 10 hours you should get say 10 AP points. for being dedicated now i know what your thinking. AP farmers will just leave the game open for ten hours but there is way around that. for every five to ten minutes of non movement shut off the timer. and don't tell anyone about that feature it will be our dirty little secret. and for twenty hours get another 10 AP so for every 10 hours 10 points
i think its a rather good idea. just a another idea if you play for 100 hours which will equal 100 AP you should get a merit. thanks for listening.

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
15,525 posts
Constable

The idea sounds ridiculous. Why? Look at the current armor points system. You need a lot of points to unlock things, 10 measly AP for 10 hours of gameplay isn't going to happen, and nobody is going to spend 10 hours playing a game. That's almost half a day.

As I said before, the other ideas regarding AP are set in stone. I doubt they're going to drastically change it soon.

jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

yea know for having a wolf that looks like its smiling you sure have a lot of put downs. its not 10 hours straight five minutes there fie minutes there make it so that it adds up. i was just making a suggestion with the 10 points make the points what ever you want. i was just having a fun non writing way for people to earn merits.

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
15,525 posts
Constable

Even if it's 10 hours spanned over a few days and you increase the points, it still wouldn't work with their system. I also don't see the purpose when there will be achievements. Challenges in games rewarding points based on difficulty, so you don't have to wait a set time to earn points, but rather it's based on your skill.

jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

hmm nice and this time not in a smart *** tone of text i thank you for that spock out.

soccerdude2
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soccerdude2
1,684 posts
Farmer

Does anyone remember this thread?

I believe Cenere's angry and ranty reply works perfectly in this thread as well! But read at your own risk!

Angry and ranty reply. Reading at your own risk.
I don't see why this would be concerning anyone. As far as I am aware, there won't be merits in AGv3, so the staff won't change the "system" right now.
Not to mention every time you say the system is flawed, you are indirectly saying that we mods don't do our jobs well enough, fighting through all the spam users leave.
Not to mention two things: Have it ever occurred to you, your comment might not be worth a merit? Or that the "system" might be flawed because mods have no intention of giving merits to people who whine and complain about not getting merits, when they could be using their time flagging spam comments, writing a proper review or shutting the hell up?

If the majority of the users won't make the effort of writing something worth our while, then why should we make the effort of rewarding merits at all, just because a few people actually write more than a line. Shouldn't it be reward enough to not have your comments violently burned off the site?

I think that "fixing" the merit system should come at the appropriate time. Like when the more important stuff has been fixed. Like the help page not being helpful in any way (if it was, we wouldn't need stickies), or to make sure the newbies are aware of the rules (So no time is wasted on answering the same question for the five hundred thousandth time, because no one cares to link to the place where the answer is, and because no one cares to read the freaking stickies or the rules).

So... Dear people thinking we don't do our unpaying job well enough... Go make it worth it for us, will you?
Or at least stop giving us crap about this, because the staff won't be listening to suggestions about this site. If they are listening at all.


That just made me want to join CFC...
jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

well that escalated quickly http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/27096223.jpg

jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

and i'm not insulting the mods i think they do there job perfectly. really i don't care about AP's i just think that people should have a say in what they want. instead of getting some negative reply within five minutes i think that the mods should take the five seconds to copy paste write the name of the person who had the idea and let the people making the changes think about it. because how do you know that one of those couldn't be just what they needed. that that one idea wasn't something that could effect the entire way the system works in a very positive way. my fellow users my moderators sometimes you need to leap without looking.

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