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  • Mission Difficulty

    What "standards" should be looked at when determining the difficulty of a mission? Are there current examples from which we can derive a scale?
    Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

  • #2
    A few areas that come to the top of my head:
    • EXPECTATIONS AROUND CHARACTER DEPTH - Character histories range from a couple paragraphs to more than ten pages. Some people like to start with a blank slate and use their writing to discover who the character is, while others prefer to start with hefty backstories that define why their character is the way their character is before the story even starts. When a CO prefers the latter, applications of the former can be very frustrating, while for new people or those that prefer the former, the latter can seem very onerous.
    • MISSION COMPLEXITY - Some people like to run pretty straight-forward missions with a single plot line that comes to a pretty expected conclusion with a simple plot twist thrown in. Others prefer a plot line that has a deep backstory, where knowing Fleet canon is almost a requisite, and that weaves the reader through twists and turns where, if you fall of the wagon in the middle of reading, when you get back on, you're going to be a bit lost.
    • MISSION ORGANIZATION - Some people like to run missions where the players kind of just discover as they move along, while others prefer to craft the overall story with their collaborators ahead of time and then work through writing the individual components along the way, leaving room for creativity within the details. It's almost like the difference in playing DnD versus writing a book as a group. The first style is pretty easy to get used to, while the second can be quite an organizational nightmare and can feel hand-tying for people not on the same page - and of course there's everything in-between.
    • EXPECTATIONS AROUND WRITING - Some authors like to focus on the proceedings of the events through dialogue and action, while others dive into the inner thoughts and struggles being faced for their characters, spending as much time on reflection as action. Again, the disconnect can be major, where a CO may become frustrated with a player who is too topical, or a player may feel forced to write in a way they just don't feel comfortable.
    In all four of these cases, the first example is what I'd consider "easier" and the second example is what I'd consider "harder", and in all these cases, a disconnect can be a major problem.

    But the difficulty here, just like when we enacted 13+, 16+ and 18+, is: how do we articulate this in a clear and easy to understand way where we don't make one group of writers feel like they're lesser than the other? Calling things "easy" or "hard" would be an example of something I don't think is right because the connotation of doing "easy" isn't really a positive thing. Similarly, having "beginner" and "advanced" doesn't work either, because I totally know people who have been writing a long time, are good writers, but prefer mechanics that fall on what I'm kind of classing as the "beginning" side of the scale.
    Bravo Fleet Academy Officer


    Formerly...
    BFCC / BFXO / BFIO / TF38CO / TF72CO / TF93CO

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    • #3
      Perhaps we... oh crazy idea coming up...

      Ever hear of RPG Rating? What if we were to come up with a similar scale for items like what you described above? 1 being the least complex and 3-5 being the most.
      Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

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      • #4
        The way that my descriptions broke down into categories almost seems like it might really fit this greenfelt22
        Bravo Fleet Academy Officer


        Formerly...
        BFCC / BFXO / BFIO / TF38CO / TF72CO / TF93CO

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        • #5
          In such case, everyone, what would be ideal to include in something like this. Is there anything Jon may have overlooked in his presentation?
          Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

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          • #6
            To be honest, I don't see the point in this. I don't think we should be worried about how difficult a mission is, that shouldn't be what defines a simulation here. What should define a simulation is the quality of the writing that goes on, not whether a mission is difficult or not.
            Captain Anthony Richardson - Commanding Officer, USS Excalibur

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Richardson View Post
              To be honest, I don't see the point in this. I don't think we should be worried about how difficult a mission is, that shouldn't be what defines a simulation here. What should define a simulation is the quality of the writing that goes on, not whether a mission is difficult or not.
              I don't disagree. However, you'll notice in Jon's layout that he also included expectations on bios and writing, not just missions. That is what intrigues me the most. I think Mission Complexity is in the eye of the beholder, but players are always looking for that sim that challenges them. Creating some sort of system for that really could be ideal.

              Or it could backfire. No one really knows until you try.
              Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

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              • #8
                The so-called "difficulty" of a simulation should be up to the CO, not the fleet. We all talked about giving Commanding Officers more freedom, why give all this fancy freedom stuff to CO's and then say "Oh, now you have to define what difficult your missions are". I just can't see it being a good advancement for the fleet. I'm not going to say to my crew "this mission is easy because the fleet says we have to rate each mission". I prefer to let my crew define through their writing what goes on and that in turn determines whether something is "easy" or "hard".

                The same should be for biographies and writing. It should always be up to the CO as to what they consider to be a good enough application. I really don't want to be saddled with a label that my simulation is hard and lose a large portion of recruitment potential. In my almost ten years of seeing applications, the only time I reject applicants is when they either show no effort whatsoever, or I know the player in question has caused trouble before and I don't want the same trouble on my simulation. If a player can show effort, they are welcomed aboard. I don't really think we should be labelling anything and defining that because someone didn't write a good bio that they should be saddled with a simulation they aren't going to be happy on. It goes to CO rights and member rights, that members should be free to choose the simulation they want to join and CO's should have the right to choose who they want on their simulation based on their own criteria, not a fleet criteria, and also taking into account that they can't discriminate as was discussed in that thread.
                Captain Anthony Richardson - Commanding Officer, USS Excalibur

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Richardson View Post
                  The so-called "difficulty" of a simulation should be up to the CO, not the fleet. We all talked about giving Commanding Officers more freedom, why give all this fancy freedom stuff to CO's and then say "Oh, now you have to define what difficult your missions are". I just can't see it being a good advancement for the fleet. I'm not going to say to my crew "this mission is easy because the fleet says we have to rate each mission". I prefer to let my crew define through their writing what goes on and that in turn determines whether something is "easy" or "hard".

                  The same should be for biographies and writing. It should always be up to the CO as to what they consider to be a good enough application. I really don't want to be saddled with a label that my simulation is hard and lose a large portion of recruitment potential. In my almost ten years of seeing applications, the only time I reject applicants is when they either show no effort whatsoever, or I know the player in question has caused trouble before and I don't want the same trouble on my simulation. If a player can show effort, they are welcomed aboard. I don't really think we should be labelling anything and defining that because someone didn't write a good bio that they should be saddled with a simulation they aren't going to be happy on. It goes to CO rights and member rights, that members should be free to choose the simulation they want to join and CO's should have the right to choose who they want on their simulation based on their own criteria, not a fleet criteria, and also taking into account that they can't discriminate as was discussed in that thread.
                  Sorry for the delayed reply. While I understand where you're coming from... it's not the fleet that would be setting the difficulty level. And maybe "difficulty level" is the wrong term to use here. In my view, this would be just as optional as RPG Rating. No one says you have to use it, but it's become common now among a lot of sims. You take one look at that and already you have an opinion about the game. All it takes is a look at a 1-1-1 and you think that it's too childish or a 3-3-3 and know that's potentially too mature.
                  Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

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                  • #10
                    It isn't discrimination to set a level of what you expect. I didn't accept everyone to my sim and I still won't. If they don't meet that level than they weren't accepted
                    Formerly Lt General Jagged Anderson Academy Commandant
                    Formerly Rear Admiral Diego Macedo TFCO Task Force 38

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by zyrell View Post
                      It isn't discrimination to set a level of what you expect. I didn't accept everyone to my sim and I still won't. If they don't meet that level than they weren't accepted
                      That's my point to it. Saying that a simulation is "easy" or their missions are "easy" discriminates against those players that want to join a simulation. I'd rather the fleet stick with enforcing the +13, +15, +18 rating system and it's parameters rather than getting involved in the micro-management of what constitutes an "easy style mission" and what-not.

                      As for the other point, I agree with zyrell in that I will accept anybody to my simulation as long as they have a decent application/biography that is to the standard of myself and my Executive Officer and is willing to follow our rules and be a team player within the core values we have set onboard the Excalibur, otherwises, I reject them. I don't want to be force into saying "oh, sorry... you are a new player but the fleet has defined our missions as difficult so you can't join, thanks for wasting your time but go to these simulations, they are defined as easy". Shouldn't work that way, and we'd be seen as taking away the micro-management of one area and substituting it somewhere else. If the fleet is serious about giving more power to CO's, then this is not the way. I'd rather see the BFA focus on the management of the +13, +15, +18 rating system so that we don't have every single simulation coming in and swearing their heads off and making pornos.
                      Captain Anthony Richardson - Commanding Officer, USS Excalibur

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                      • #12
                        I want to thank you all for your contributions. This is why we have the workgroups. Not every idea is a great idea, nor are all great ideas something that can be executed. It seems the consensus is that this won't work. I'll leave it on the table for a couple more days to see if there is any further commentary before closing the topic all together.
                        Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

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                        • #13
                          I do believe that we can make things easier for people. Maybe we should have different items such as Very Active, Active, slower posting. That way people know what to expect.
                          Formerly Lt General Jagged Anderson Academy Commandant
                          Formerly Rear Admiral Diego Macedo TFCO Task Force 38

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zyrell View Post
                            I do believe that we can make things easier for people. Maybe we should have different items such as Very Active, Active, slower posting. That way people know what to expect.
                            The issue I see with that is that CO's have different ideas of what they consider active, very active, etc... I still believe it should be up to the CO to make that choice, not the fleet.
                            Captain Anthony Richardson - Commanding Officer, USS Excalibur

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                            • #15
                              It's not only the co who would determine activity rate. I mean we have regulations I thought about how much posting is considered active.

                              Same way you can see with the sim rules how active they are.
                              Formerly Lt General Jagged Anderson Academy Commandant
                              Formerly Rear Admiral Diego Macedo TFCO Task Force 38

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by zyrell View Post
                                It's not only the co who would determine activity rate. I mean we have regulations I thought about how much posting is considered active.

                                Same way you can see with the sim rules how active they are.
                                I believe there's some discussion in rules to change this to focus more on if the story is developing than on just straight counts.
                                Bravo Fleet Academy Officer


                                Formerly...
                                BFCC / BFXO / BFIO / TF38CO / TF72CO / TF93CO

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                                • #17
                                  Probably but going by what we have now is all I can go by. I know when I was a tfco I was looking at my sims for not just quantity but quality as well
                                  Formerly Lt General Jagged Anderson Academy Commandant
                                  Formerly Rear Admiral Diego Macedo TFCO Task Force 38

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