Some recent experiences got me thinking about “Drive-by’s” …those pernicious “1” votes that people get on their missions. Now it must be said that “Drive-by” ratings are like blackholes, every sector has at least one, and while they all stink…they happen nonetheless, or as they say on Vulcan, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.”

Plus some people are just obnoxious Tellarites.

Anyway, this brought me to examine the 1 votes of the Spotlight and Top 32 missions to determine what mission creators should reasonably expect from the dreaded “Drive-by” ratings.

Below I’ll use the following nomenclature:
“O” = Number of One (1) votes for a mission
“P” = Number of Plays for a mission (minimum of 10)
“OP” = Ratio of O per P, a higher OP is better than a low OP.

First, the FED side.

FED Spotlight Missions had an average O of 236 over an average of 9951 P, for an OP of 42.
The Top 32 FED Missions had an average O of 18 over an average of 1068 P, for an OP of 59.
The combined averages were O/P/OP 127/5510/43.

The mean OP for Spotlight missions was 43 with a standard deviation of 16.
The mean OP for Top32 missions was 48 with a standard deviation of 25.

If the scores are normally distributed, approx. 68% of the population of missions will fall within 1 standard deviation of the mean, and 95% of the population within 2 standard deviations.

This allows us to class the OP ratings of the two categories of FED missions (Top32/Spotlight…they cannot be evaluated directly because they are effectively to different samples, the Spotlight missions obviously receiving far more “attention” per mission)

For non-spotlight FED missions, if your mission has an OP within the bounds of 23 to 73, you are receiving a normal amount of Drive-By ratings. If you are below 23 you are receiving a higher than normal amount and if your OP lands between 74 and 98 you are doing well above average. If you are above 98 you can safely consider your mission a resounding success with the player base.

By comparison, FED Spotlight missions are clearly held to a higher standard by the player base. The lower end of average is fairly equitable with non-spotlight missions, but the upper band is significantly lower, for a range of 27 to 59. Additionally, the data is tight enough that a “well below average” band comes into existence with OP’s of 11 or lower. The well above average band for Spotlight missions sits between 59 and 75, but interestingly enough none of the existing Spotlight missions falls within the outer most “excellent” band above 75.

You can really see how much harsher the upper band is if you find the differences between the Top32 and Spotlight missions for each band:

Top32-Spotlight = Differences
98-75 = 23 points
73-59 = 14 points
48-43 = 5 points
23-27 = 4 points
0-11 = 11 points

These differences will become more interesting as we move on to the Klingon side of the missions.

FED Mission Stats

The Klingon Side

KDF Spotlight Missions had an average O of 54 over an average of 1609 P, for an OP of 30.
The Top 32 KDF Missions had an average O of 8 over an average of 341 P, for an OP of 43.
The combined averages were O/P/OP 31/975/31.

The mean OP for Spotlight missions was 35 with a standard deviation of 23.
The mean OP for Top32 missions was 39 with a standard deviation of 27.

Right off the bat we can see that KDF missions are judged on a harder mean than FED by 8 or 9 point difference. KDF Spotlight missions are played once for every six plays their FED counterparts get, possibly suggesting the “active” KDF population is around the same ratio (the rational being that the Spotlight missions are more widely played…)? KDF non-spotlight missions are played once for every three plays of their FED counterparts. These are interesting stats, but digress from the point of this particular analysis.

As with the FED missions, the standard deviations point to the boundary bands we can use to self-evaluate our missions.

For KDF non-spotlight missions your “average” OP band falls between 12 and 66, your above average from 66 to 93 and excellent above 93.
For KDF Spotlight missions your “average” OP band falls between 12 and 58, above average from 58 to 81 and excellent above 81.

As with the FED, the KDF Spotlight missions are judged harder by the player base, but not to the same harsh degree in the upper bands. The mean difference is analogous (KDF 39-35= 4 points, FED 48-43= 5 points) but at the top end the difference for the FED Spotlights are essentially double their KDF counterparts (KDF differences of 8 between Top32 and Spotlight above averages, and 12 between the excellents; FED differences of 14 and 23 for the same categories.)

So while the KDF side in the overall judges both non-spotlight and spotlight missions more harshly than FED, and they do hold their spotlight missions to a same approximate level of excellence over their non-spotlight missions…the KDF side is not as hard on the upper bounds as the FED side is with it’s upper bounds of Spotlights.

KDF mission stats

Now this has all been very interesting and informative so far, but what about the question of how much “Drive By” activity should one reasonably expect?
As you can see the mean and average numbers (Fed 42/43/43/48/59 and KDF 30/35/31/39/43) tells us that you should expect at least one drive by within your first 40-ish plays on the FED side and your first 30-ish plays on KDF side.

You will get one, it’s coming for your mission with the relentless determination of a Shatner uniform ripping, but look at it through the prism of these statistics and know it is not the end of the world…

well, unless that’s the theme of your mission…

As a post-script it should be noted, or properly to say: ‘disclosed’, that there was one mission I had to toss from the data sets because it’s OP was so superlative it skewed the whole set. It was such an obvious outlier that I had no problems removing it from the data. Kudos to that mission designer.