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Concerning Themed Builds

Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Finrod_Amandil, Apr 27, 2015.

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  1. I do/did like doing Themed Builds, no need to change anything.

    9 vote(s)
    34.6%
  2. Themed Builds do not match today's situation anymore, some changes to it would be good.

    13 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. Themed Builds / Artist requirement should be replaced by something else

    4 vote(s)
    15.4%
  1. Finrod_Amandil

    Finrod_Amandil Head Designer
    Staff Member Head Designer Designer Donor Media Team

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    Hey there! As I am setting up the Themed Build since quite some time now, and I was of course participating in them myself back in 2013 I did remark that the way these Themed Builds are tackled has changed significantly. If you like numbers, here's some:

    TB from 2013: Forgotten Village
    Plots claimed: 76 (100%)
    Serious builds: 59 (78%)
    Just few blocks placed: 17 (22%)
    Untouched plots: 0 (0%)


    TB from November 2014: Angband
    Plots claimed: 43 (100%)
    Serious builds: 17 (40%)
    Just few blocks placed: 10 (23%)
    Untouched plots: 16 (37%)


    Last weeks's build: Temple to Aulë
    Plots claimed: 16 (100%)
    Serious builds: 2 (13%)
    Just few blocks placed: 4 (25%)
    Untouched Plots: 10 (62%)

    As you see, the number of people that start a build at all has overall decreased aswell as the amount of players who do not finish (or not even start) the actual building has increased. Now I asked myself, whether there may be some kind of problem behind that tendence and thus whether we need to change something.

    I already voiced this a few days ago among staff members, and we assembled a collection of possible causes:

    • No more Commoner rank; Those players that thought they only have a chance to get Commoner but not Artist don't do TB's anymore.
    • Untouched plots were earlier deleted by Enforcers
    • Topics that appear neither in book or movie (e.g. Temple to Aulë) are less popular / more difficult. People then rather await a better suiting theme.
    • Too many players are already Artists, thus motivation to try getting it is less high.

    Now I want to hear YOUR experiences with Themed Builds, tell your reasons why you do a Themed Build or why you do not participate, or why or why not you like the system as it is today. Also we're looking for changes or alternatives to the Themed Builds, if you have got any ideas there, please do voice it!


    One idea has already been brought up: We could make certain ThemedBuilds make last longer, and maybe also have bigger plots. This would allow for builds that also includes quite some planning (which too is an important thing one should be able to perform), aswell as more time to work on details and rethinking and reworking things.

    Another idea was to pick a Themed Build winner for each of these and maybe even put the winning build onto main world. This I would not support for a handful of reasons: Usually a new, not yet so skilled player will not have any chance against players that are close to get artist and would only get frustrated and demotivated, and even more would actual Artists again do ThemedBuilds, which wouldn't be beneficial as their working power is of better use directly on the main server. Additionally we would have more administrative work (picking winners and moving builds), and we would have to find out how to effectively move builds from FB to main server (which at the moment only could be done via q220). Furthermore we could only do themes we have not yet built on main map yet.

    I really want to hear your opinions on that!

    ~ Finrod
     
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  2. Antimattergizmo

    Antimattergizmo Yellow flower puncher
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    While I agree that participation has declined rapidly (unfortunately I've yet to finish a single build since joining myself), I'm hard wracked to figure a better system. I agree the main crux is people don't have to work for commoner; if it wasn't for me tricking myself into thinking I have what it takes for artist I wouldn't be trying as I am.

    I somewhat support the larger/complex plot idea, but I don't feel that's a big enough change from what we have. The only idea that comes to mind is to give feedback directly as is done with plot builds. Obviously this wouldn't work at all due to the inherent lack of designers not working on other projects the whole time they're on. Perhaps the general public would be able to post signs in front of other builds as to what is wrong with it? Though these are rather crummy ideas, I feel some greater feedback above just what Will_em provides on a thread or pm is needed to drive people to work on doing better rather than just building their same erred way.
     
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  3. Aule_

    Aule_ Dirt Conaisseur
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    removal of the commoner rank has definitely reduced the amount of people taking part in themebuilds. most people built in order to be able to fly on the server. however it could be due to the date, lets not forget many exams are taking place and currently many people would be to occupied with them than a themebuild at this moment in time. It would of been better taking a themebuild from at least the same month in each year to get a better correlation and comparison. But in the end I believe themebuilds are still the best way to choose artist. as the amount of themebuilds needed to be promoted show that in order to be an artist you need patience as well as build skill. just because the amount of participants is low doesn't mean it is necessarily is a bad method , just that at this current moment in time. not many players are interested in becoming artist or do not have the time to build. In the summer i'm sure there will be a new influx of players and thus more participants.

    side note, bigger plots and extra time for players that request it would be a great addition :)
     
    #3 Aule_, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
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  4. Portalrules333

    Portalrules333 Yellow flower puncher

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    Yeah, just think of all the temples to you that weren't completed. :(
     
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  5. Aule_

    Aule_ Dirt Conaisseur
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    I was not appeased!
     
  6. DarthRagnar

    DarthRagnar Yellow flower puncher

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    I think there are two main reasons why someone would choose participate in a themed build. I believe that both reasons have positive aspects to them. They both also face challenges. Here's a quick run down of how I see things:

    Reason 1: You want to apply for Artist
    Positives
    • Gives users something to aim for
    • Gives users a platform on which they can show their building skills
    • Helps improve individual building skills
    • More consistent than jobs
    Challenges
    • Can be frustrating if Artist proves more difficult to achieve than expected
    • Requires time away from the build server and thus users can appear inactive
    • Discourages teamwork and collaboration
    • Builds don't directly complete the goals of the server
      • Themed Builds could be seen as fighting with Plot World Builds/Contests for attention
    Reason 2: For Fun
    Positives
    • Stress free, which can allow for more creativity
    • Gives something to do when there are no jobs
    Challenges
    • No incentive to finish builds
    • Builds neither directly nor indirectly (Artist promotion) complete the goals of the server
    As far as I can tell for most users, unless you plan on applying for Artist, there is no real incentive to do a Themed Build. Even if you are aiming for Artist there are deterrents. With the recent increase in Plot World Builds, perhaps we could use those to also assess building skills (along with Themed Builds) while at the same time furthering the aims of the server? Just a thought. (Personally, I only do certain styles of Themed Builds and even then only when I have time and think it would be fun.) These are just my views and could be completely off, but I think they at least can help shed some light on the situation.
     
    #6 DarthRagnar, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
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  7. Indorilian

    Indorilian Yellow flower puncher

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    I think the main reason is the removal of commoner. It was the main reason people did theme builds, so that they could get commoner and fly/participate in more jobs. With the arrival of adventurer, the only people who seriously participated in the builds are the people trying for artist, which are generally few people at any given moment.
    On that side note and with the poll on top, I don't believe theme builds should be a requirement for artist anymore. I understood it with the new map being created in 2013 and zero jobs going on, there needed to be a way for people to advance in rank, and the only way to do so was to build something unrelated to the main project. However, in today's day and age, the number of contests and free builds for projects and jobs are relatively high, and it can be obvious who stands out during those events, leading to an eye kept on them for future promotion. The freebuilds just encouraged people to build alone on the freebuild instead of actively participating on the main world just so they could get artist. Artist should be a rank earned from effort to the actual cause of the server, not how many freebuilds you've done..
    However, do I think freebuilds should be removed? No not at all. They provide fun for people who don't want to work on something specifically server related. However, I think the freebuild server is out of date and should be removed. Everything done on the freebuild server can be easily replicated on plot-world easily enough, and it would alleviate some server costs considering the amount of people on freebuild is between the 2-5 people range and no where near the 80 person limit. Perhaps export the freebuild map(s) onto a plot-world world warpable to from the main server?

    Anyway, just my two sense.
     
  8. Ardelenia

    Ardelenia Yellow flower puncher

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    forgive my lack of technical knowledge; if we had a freebuild world on the main server would we be able to place redstone things etc on that world, like on fb now, while the other worlds retain their restrictions?
     
  9. Dallen

    Dallen Developer
    Developer

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    if q configured it that way, yes. also I think the percent on plots claimed is a bit silly now that we have the freebuild plugin. I also agree that without commoner to shoot for there are very few people contributing to themebuilds. Then again, its not like many themebuild are going to be used on the main server anyway
     
    #9 Dallen, Apr 28, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
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  10. anubisthefrog

    anubisthefrog Aspiring Commoner

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    Maybe have some sort of grading system, that way people could learn from their mistakes.
     
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  11. Eriol_Eandur

    Eriol_Eandur Designer
    Staff Member Designer Developer Donor Media Team

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    I think it could be a good idea to link the themed builds to actual or upcoming projects. They could be some kind of proposals for new styles. I think this would be very motivating.
    Of course the last builds were related to new moria project. But at the moment there is no obvious use of the themeds build for the main server. It would be necessary to announce (in the TB thread) that designers will walk around the themed builds, looking for great style ideas. I think a lot of people would like to show their ideas then.
     
  12. Toey_

    Toey_ Yellow flower puncher

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    when i was doing TB's i found that certain topics i would skip, ones that were really difficult and didn't have many reference pictures, i think that there is nothing wrong with re using old topics, possibly stuff that was featured in the films. Maybe that would help get more people to do Tb's.
     
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  13. Finrod_Amandil

    Finrod_Amandil Head Designer
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    Thanks very much to every answer and vote! For the time being the Themed Builds shall persist and also stay a requirement for Artist, however I will occasionally include some of the changes proposed to maybe make the ThemedBuilds more popular to Adventurers so that we ultimatively may get more Artists, as I think we can never get enough skilled people!

    For now you may expect:
    • Project Build: Themed Builds with larger plots and longer time (2 or 3 weeks). These appear in the weekly poll and thus can be chosen by the community.
    • Concept Build: A Themed Build to gather style ideas for an upcoming region or city project on the main server. These do not appear in the poll and cant be voted for. The topic with the most votes (of the poll before that build) will then be used in the TB one week later.
    Between those the normal Themed Builds as we had it up to now will take place too. Next week a first ProjectBuild of 3 weeks will start with the topic "Rivendell".

    If anyone has a similar idea, dont hesitate to pm me about it or write it in this thread.

    Furthermore the idea @Indorilian mentioned with merging Freebuild and Build server seems interesting; however that is something we would have to tackle in an upcoming staff meeting.
     
    #13 Finrod_Amandil, May 3, 2015
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  14. DSESGH

    DSESGH Dirt Conaisseur

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    It would also leave more money for that PVP SERVER that you're working on;)
     
  15. Finrod_Amandil

    Finrod_Amandil Head Designer
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    screw you dude, if anything is needed its time, not money
     
  16. DSESGH

    DSESGH Dirt Conaisseur

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    I'm aware, it's just that we could have a better server for pvp so that it wouldn't be really laggy like our previous pvp servers.
     
  17. Top_Gun

    Top_Gun Aspiring Commoner

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    I know for me personally, the only real motivation I had to do a themed build back in the day was to make Adventurer. I think I did a second one just for the hell of it, but that was about it. Honestly I'm not really a creative person at all, and I'm not looking to get Artist, so themed builds don't hold much of an attraction for me. (I'm not sure where that leaves me in terms of actually being able to contribute to the server, but that's for another discussion.) Beyond that, the main problem I had with the builds was that one-week time limit: when I do build stuff on my own, I tend to do so very slowly, and maybe add little bits to it every few months (if not years). I understand why themed builds need to be fairly short, since part of building the entirety of Middle-earth means being able to do it in a reasonable amount of time, but it definitely turned me off personally.
     
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