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
15,526 posts
Constable

You can have a say in what you want, but keep in mind not everyone will have the same views and acknowledging the cons of an idea is important. You also have to consider if it's viable with their system.

jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

wel yea nobody ever does its not in human nature to be agreeable and on a side note anyone here watch duck dynasty

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
9,991 posts
Scribe

wel yea nobody ever does its not in human nature to be agreeable


What makes you say that? And this confuses me..are you agreeing or disagreeing with Ghost?

and on a side note anyone here watch duck dynasty


Well...this just seems a bit unnecessary
jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

yes i'm agreeing with ghost and just about everything i say you will find is unnecessary. as to explain my self if you get 10 people to come to a room and decide its color. between red blue or black its almost always true that maybe at the most 4 or 5 will agree with each other or some other number now if its five and up then you would will and the color would be less blue. now what happens if its five for five or four, four, two. then you would need a tie breaker that's why when taking a vote there has to be an odd number. stating that humans in there very own nature will never all agree on one simple thing.

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
9,991 posts
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stating that humans in there very own nature will never all agree on one simple thing.


Um..do you have any proof on this? Scientific research?

As for your example..for a colour, especially those as distinctly different as you gave..unless a person is colour-blind like myself, it would be very easy for them to agree on it.
jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

hey man im just going with what scientist have been saying for years

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
9,991 posts
Scribe

hey man im just going with what scientist have been saying for years


And I'm just asking for some evidence on this
kirks011
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kirks011
180 posts
Jester

the idea of the merit is a much bigger deal than the points given.


I dont think you get his point, the point is the points given being increased could also cause the increase of game quality. If developers get 100's of merit worthy comments because the points are now way more worth it, then im pretty sure that developer will have a much more succesful game the next time. I like the idea of increasing the AP given on merits, it would increase the amount of quality comments.
nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,609 posts
Regent

I dont think you get his point, the point is the points given being increased could also cause the increase of game quality. If developers get 100's of merit worthy comments because the points are now way more worth it, then im pretty sure that developer will have a much more succesful game the next time. I like the idea of increasing the AP given on merits, it would increase the amount of quality comments.


My bet is that the number of merits doled out will only increase marginally, because the standards of merits will merely rise to accommodate this sudden enthusiasm for writing reviews, as they have for the last few years.
kirks011
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kirks011
180 posts
Jester

nichodemus, either way the increase in points will cause people to go for them. If you could write a normal comment for 2 Ap, or you could write a merit worthy comment for 100 Ap, a lot more people would go for it. It would only take about 20x the amount of time, yet you get 50x as much AP. That would make it worthwile to at least go for it even if they are rare.

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
9,991 posts
Scribe

At the same time..you'd have a lot more users going to mods or admins spamming them about how they think their comment deserves one

Plus...AP is most likely going to be thrown out during the AG3 transition..so it doesn't really matter

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
15,526 posts
Constable

Plus...AP is most likely going to be thrown out during the AG3 transition..so it doesn't really matter

It's going to be changed. If you're talking about the current AP, yes, that will probably be deleted as they are changing the system.
nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,609 posts
Regent

nichodemus, either way the increase in points will cause people to go for them. If you could write a normal comment for 2 Ap, or you could write a merit worthy comment for 100 Ap, a lot more people would go for it. It would only take about 20x the amount of time, yet you get 50x as much AP. That would make it worthwile to at least go for it even if they are rare.


And this will die down after people realise that they don't get merits easily. It used to be so that a tiny paragraph got you one in 08. Not anymore.
jessthespartan
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jessthespartan
13 posts
Peasant

And this will die down after people realize that they don't get merits easily. It used to be so that a tiny paragraph got you one in 08. Not anymore.

well not exactly he is right about it being motivating. but i have a different question will our ranks stay the same. if they do change will people who are higher then the starting rank be automatically moved up to the rank accommodating them at this moment and up until they change it

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
15,526 posts
Constable

The ranking system is undecided, but the last time we heard from an admin, adding many more ranks was under consideration. As for getting/losing ranks, that'll depend on the AP system and how much of our current AP we keep/lose.

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