Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lacrosse fans manipulating the system

I make no qualms about it, I don't really like it when people throw all their numbers in my face, especially if they're doing really well, and some minor incident happened that may or may not have slightly disrupted said numbers.

When you make a very solid indie RPG you should be proud and I'm very impressed by these people. It's hard to do, it's risky as hell and the rewards may just not be worth the effort. When you think that you should be thanking the academy for what you've done, it changes my opinion a little bit, but I still hold these teams in high regard. Anyhow, the company starting the uproar on the forums is Zeboyd and the topic in question is the College Lacrosse team manipulating the ratings system.

I really want to like Zeboyd. Their RPGs are simple fun and lack any real depth in combat and gameplay but I still think they're a big accomplishment for an indie team of 3. They give you a lot for 3 bucks, I can't deny that.

Right now Robert Boyd is pissed off because the guys from the College Lacrosse team asked their 175k fans (seriously, how many people like Lacrosse and own an XBox - I would have guessed about 15, but I guess I was way off) to rate their game high. Some overzealous fans took this to a new level and rated other games above College Lacrosse with 1 star. When you're an indie this matters because you don't have that many ratings to begin with. Anyhow his game dropped from 6 to 11 or so. Didn't really seem to have any discernible effect on sales, but I understand why one would be a little bit upset. I'm still surprised at all the attention the topic is getting, considering it's hardly on par with what's been happening with the top downloads list freezing all the time.

My opinions on the matter - nothing really. Nothing is really going to be done about this since it seems minor. Anything that is done is going to impede the democracy of the system. If your parameter is rating and you only allow people who have bought the game to rate it, it's a simple statistical bias. Ok, so game developers don't ask your fans (like most of us even have fans) to down rate other people's games. I'll make sure the next time I release (should be fairly soon, but that's for another post), to tell everyone "Please rate our game high but don't rate other games low." Yeah, that will happen, and because other people are so responsible and ethical that they are going to make this a priority. People who down rate are morons, and I wish they wouldn't, but if they really want to, they're going to. There's no real solution that makes everyone happy and it's a minor enough problem that the community (and really just a small subset of the community) should just learn to live with these unforeseen, circumstantial and above all, tiny problems.


  1. EDIT: It has come to my attention that there is a potential proposal to only allow ratings from the game library, meaning that you at least downloaded the trial. Ratings would be taken away from the dashboard. I think this is actually a very reasonable solution.

  2. I agree, Rob, that the trial rating is a better system than as it stands...but I think it's far easier to abuse than you might think. If people are dedicated enough to downvote things, 5-6mb trial downloads aren't gonna stop most of em.

    I do see what you mean about statistical bias in the limitation of ratings to purchasers..but at the same time, that's about the only way to force an honest rating. Plus, not everyone who purchases a game will rate it 5, or even rate it well. Not to mention, even if there is a statistical bias, at least it will be a known bias - with the rating system as it stands now, no one knows what ratings came from people who played and what are just moronic fanboys.

  3. I think I was mostly upset because there are bigger issues in the community. Not that the current issue should be ignored, but the issue that the top downloads list has frozen several times this year should be the priority. The freezes weren't small either, upwards of 7 days.

    I think the ratings system as it stands is very easy to abuse, was never debating that. I simply cannot comprehend the moronic fervor needed to do it though. Even though there is statistical bias, it still would take a stalwart effort to really make an impact on a highly rated game. This example is one of the few, and that's why I don't think there is presently a need to be overly concerned about it. However, limiting the rating system to just people who bought the game is going to really bias the system, so I can't get behind that either. The trials makes the most sense I guess, or maybe having the ratings system implemented into the game library, but really I don't see an ideal way out of this given the parameters of the problem.