Im anxiously awaiting for the new Foundry build thats being rebuilt as I type. (Though, if they dont give me options to alter face and body geometry, Im sitting out THIS update too before I release my first mission. Hey, Im a stickler for details) I love what this site is all about, but Im seeing a disturbing trend. Our good reviewers are giving it all away when they review stuff.
So much so, when my stories are finally published, I DONT want to be reviewed, because I want 99% of my story features to be kept under wraps until the player is IN the mission. Honestly, I have only played one Foundry Mission so far, ever. That was Syndicate Extraction. Primarily because its on the holodeck now, and my time spent wasnt wasted in a server that didnt count toward anything. Secondly, many bugs still in Foundry missions I hear, and Id rather not play them and have their good experiences ruined until they are patched up by Cryptic. Pathing issues anyone?
Not sure how this website is constructed, but I think we need to make some structural changes, and review process changes. First, there should be two types of reviews at the beginning. The Author’s Review Report will be the full reviews from the reviewers, emailed ONLY to the author. In this review, you can discuss every detail you liked and didnt like about the mission for the author to read over, and you dont need to stict with any format, just free write reviews. Though a general established outline that we all use wouldnt be a bad idea, so we are all hitting the same points as we give authors feedback.
The Foundry Review Report is what gets published here (or at Foundry Missions), for all to read. This review applies a rating system to several elements of the mission as well as just raw statistics of stuff that doesnt need a rating. Such as dialogue readability, mission content rating, avg time to complete, amount of ground scenes, space scenes, etc. You get the idea. And it should be a good sized list of stats like a report card every reviewer fills out. It also needs to say what version number the mission is, like 1.0, or 2.0, so players know when they see the mission number (something that we need control of), which report cards apply to which version. UGC needs to develop our own stat sheet breakdown, for potential players to say, hey this mission has the aspects I like, based on the numbers I see here. But these stat reports do NOTHING to give away whats going to happen. I say the ONLY description these reports have is the authors description of the mission, nothing more.
Then, the third review, The Author’s Public Spoiler Review is the review that ONLY the author oks to release for publication. This is after they have done what they wanted to clean up the missions, and after the story has been online a while and the author feels a good majority have already played their mission.
While every good author should use and welcome constructive criticism, we are doing a disservice to our community of authors and the normal players who play our missions when we disect them and reveal all their early faults in the eyes of the public. Then the players will already know what is going to happen when they play the mission, or even after they wait for it to be cleaned up by the author. Part of why we complain about the writing staff on STO is because they arent Trek enough. Well, we ourselves are killing the “Trek enough” feel to our stories when we spoil them early. Then no one is surprised.
Im making it a personal goal to prove I can outwrite the STO writers, but I cant succeed fully if the players already have my good work spoiled for them in the same review they used to decide whether they want to play my mission or not. Im not sure how well connected UGC writers here are to FoundryMissions.com, but we both need to be on the same page. As a writer, Id love to get many Author’s Review Reports from many reviewers, not just one. And when I feel the time is right, I will authorize more than one Spoiler Reviews to be posted. Im not trying to control the press by not allowing bad reviews of missions, Im just trying to control the spoiler content of the favorable, as well as the scathing reviews. And if there are authors who dont want to authorize a Spoiler review, the free press can always submit many stat report card reviews with bad marks, and the players will see for themselves in the numbers alone that the mission sucks, and the authors refuse to admit it.
PS If you dont like the names I came up with for these reports, Im fine with that, we can call them something better, but you get what Im trying to say with HOW they are worded and the function of each type of review.