With Great Power…

posted by on 9th May 2014, at 10:14pm | Discuss Article

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

This quote was spoken by Uncle Ben. Who is he? Well despite being a Spiderman fan in my youth, I had to look up both the origin of the quote and who the speaker really was. Uncle Ben is Peter Parker’s Uncle, the one who was killed by a petty burglar and set Peter to use his ‘Spidey Powers’ to fight crime and save people.

Despite having its roots in a comic book, it is still amazingly profound. It transcends all levels, we all have power over certain things – some have power over greater things and some have power over lesser things. Regardless of the level of power though, we all have responsibility – and that scales with the power. Responsibility to take proper actions, speak appropriately, and make right decisions.

This is not going to be a great philosophical article, because I am more of an Engineer than an Aristotle. I am writing about Power to the Players.

First off I want to make one thing clear: I think PttP was a step in the right direction. With Power to the Players Jagex finally started listening to their players again. I say again because there was a time many years ago when they would create content the players wanted without having to put it to a poll.

However some of the polls have been, quite frankly, pointless and unnecessary.

Maps for new Minigame – I can kind of see the reason, but again it’s unnecessary. This is what we pay you designers to do – DESIGN! Choose the one that lends itself to the design of the minigame best and then add others later if people ask for it.
Spring Holiday Event – It’s called Easter. I know Jagex is trying to remove all forms of any non-game religiosity from Runescape, but come on, IT’S EASTER! Everyone knows what Easter is and Easter traditions. There was no reason to poll the Easter Bunny against a monkey and cabbage.
Reduce Game Worlds – From a game design aspect this is a requirement due to their loss of players. This is something that is above the players, we, The Players, should NOT be voting on this. The only reason we have so many worlds currently is because they had to add more so We The Players could still gather resources and train skills when there were tons of bots. Now that there are no/few bots the number of worlds must be reduced. Ideally, worlds should average 1k people per, with nearer to 2k at peak and nearer to 500 at off times. Considering they say they are an MMORPG, the current world situation doesn’t make you feel like there’s a massive amount of others playing with you. Many aspects of Runescape were designed around many players in the area, that’s simply not the case anymore with such a large amount of worlds.
Yelp’s Fate – Again, not something that a poll should be wasted on. Yelp’s Fate should’ve been a short F2P quest where each player got to choose what happens to him at the end of the quest.
Ninja Focus – E: All of the above. The Ninja Team is suppose to work on lots of little tweaks all around the board, so they should be doing all of the ones on the poll plus more. This didn’t need to be polled, or if it was, it should’ve been a long list and a multi option poll.
Troll Name – As someone on the RSOF said, I’m really starting to think Jagex already named the Troll: ‘Power To The Player’s’. Why are we voting on the name of a troll? Yea, sure, ‘Lol’ would be a funny Troll name, but we should not have decided that. The game writers and designers should’ve – that’s their job! Are they so insecure in their decisions that they must consult the Great and Might Players for something as insignificant as a Troll’s name? And one that we likely won’t even have much interaction with after a point?
Halloween 2014 – Well, for one I’m kinda surprised they’re still calling it Halloween. But more importantly, why are we building this step by step? Holiday events are supposed to be a surprise! I feel like I already know most of this one and there’s still 5 months before we can even do it. They have devoted 4 polls so far to this. That is 4 too many.

These 7 polls either never should have occurred or could have been bonus polls that ran for only 1 day. Call them a ‘Sapphire Burst Poll’ or something. Some are so insignificant that it does not truly warrant a poll, others are too serious that they should not be polled because the players do not know the implications.

There are quite a few players on the RSOF who agree that the PttP system is not being used correctly:

“Alot more things that haven’t been polled, should be polled.” –Flaref0x
“They are polling some pretty useless crap. Why not poll things that are obviously going to be controversial, like the SuperSonic Ads they’re trying to take over the world with, one computer at a time, lol.” –2K7 Rampage
“+1. I don’t even know where to begin talking about how wasteful most of these polls have been. I honestly thought the polling system would be great and it has massive potential… but I feel let down by it.” –A Roo

Some think it’s a downright joke,

“Clearly Jagex is indirectly trolling us with this.
For real, it’s a name pick poll and it’s for a troll, obvious trolling attempt is obvious.
I do feel like it’s useless space for the polls, this should be on the main website, it’s like cosmetic stuff that should be put aside, like when we picked the looks for the 99 divi cape, polls like that should be put on the main page, not ingame.
Jagex is already lazying out the polls with this. Alot of possibilities to poll, and we get something like this. I’m going to admit i laughed at first but it’s sad in reality.” 

With so many things that Jagex could and should be polling, why aren’t they?

“The problem with your suggestion is that we’d have to pause development on everything until it was polled. Much of the content you see now is content that has been in the works for a long time, we can’t do polls in retrospect because it’d be a waste of time.

It’s also worth noting that just because an issue is particularly contentious with you, doesn’t mean it is contentious with other players. Lets look at the Spring Event for example; we polled players because there were a great deal of people talking about how they missed the old style Easter events. We could’ve followed this vocal group, but it turns out, that most players didn’t want the traditional Easter event, they wanted a Brassica Prime vs Marimbo event instead.” –Mod Balance, on Why are you polling crap..?

People are not wanting everything to be polled, they’re wanting meaningful things to be polled. Also, Jagex has stated before that these are polls on things not yet in development, so polling more things would not slow development. Also, to make it ‘slow development’ less:

“i say why 3 polls? we could have 3 main polls, and 10 sub polls, like for the mini map icons. “ — Turtle Seed

There was another quote but I can’t find who said it. Basically he was saying that most polls are decided within the first 5 hours, which is mostly true. Simply have more Dragonstone, Diamond, and Ruby polls and have them go for less time. Actually, the following is a decent draft idea:
1 Onyx – Month long, extremely important poll. Legacy Mode, Massive Combat changes, and new skills would be here.
4-5 Dragonstone (because we all know Dragonstones are worthless now) – Week long, fairly important, but not uber game changing. Things like quests or D&Ds would be in this category.
9-10 Diamond – 3 days, for medium things such as item changes and skill additions (not new skills, but more skill content).
30-32 Ruby – Daily, for anything that doesn’t fit in the other categories because it really isn’t terribly important. This is where tons of small polls could be for many random things.
And then a final category, Crystal.
Crystal would be only as needed. The time would be between 6 hours and 1 week depending on the topic. It would have priority over Onyx polls (it would not replace them, but would be above them in the list). It is a ‘We need player input on this NOW!’. When added, a game announcement would be made and the poll notification would flash and then fade after 15 seconds. There would be a link to a forum post with information about the topic to be voted on.

In light of this, how great of power do We The Players really have? On some things, much, on many things, none.

Power To The Players was a good step forward, but 4 months later we’re still wondering:
Is it a cop-out on responsibility by Jagex? “You wanted this, you got it! It ain’t our fault.”
Is it a Player-Pacy? “Maybe this will keep them quiet, make them think their opinion matters.”
Is it a good thing gone sour? “Well, this seemed like such a great idea, but now it is so much work.”

What are your thoughts? Do you like the system as is, or do you feel changes are needed?