Storm Legion was released, November 13, 2012. Three months later the first complaints about the +1 promotion system were made and have continued ever since. Marnth recently made a post on the Rift forums regarding touring which turned into complaints on the +1 system. The exact complaints vary but the sentiment behind them boils down to not receiving sufficient +1s for their own dimension. It’s then followed by suggestions to change the system, usually to favour the complainer’s own dimensions.
Does that sound unnecessarily harsh? It’s not meant to be. I get it. It points to a very real need we have, as human beings, for human recognition and positive regard. I know that need, I feel it myself. I’m just not sure that changes to the +1 system will improve the way dimensions meet that very human need.
Mostly the suggested changes fall on Trion’s deaf ears. The one time Trion listened, we ended up with a vote wipe when a character transfers shards. Trion’s competition for a Three Springs dimension key was based on weekly votes. Some people were very active in garnering votes with constant advertising, shard hopping and alt making. Others were resentful of such aggressive campaigning, claiming it unfair, especially a foreign dimension suddenly appearing on their shard and taking away their top position (and with some justification, too). Shortly after, Trion instigated the votes-wiped-on-transfer system. This is one change I wish Trion would reverse, it’s less restrictive for players to not run competitions where the highest vote wins. It does highlight the need to be careful what we ask of Trion, we may not like the results of our requests.
One of the perceived problems with the +1 system is the static nature of dimensions in the top of the +1 listings. Dimensions in the top 10 have hundreds or thousands of votes, making it a daunting task to raise a new dimension to the front page of listings. Even making the top 1000 on the all-time Greybriar list requires 14 votes. Refuge suggests that resetting the +1 count to zero would fix this problem. This suggestion makes two assumptions; that older dimensions have less value than new dimensions and that the work people put into promoting their dimensions has little worth. I hold the opposite belief and dislike the consequences of wiping votes.
I can’t think of a suggestion that would cause more misery from the many, many unhappy players and guilds that lose their votes, most of whom don’t use the forums and won’t see this discussion. I know I’d be devastated to have my votes wiped and lose all that work and prestige. (I’ll declare, in interests of fairness in journalism, that I do have three dimensions in the top ten on different shards.)
Wiping votes would lose many fine dimensions to the morass of zero votes since the builders, because of absence or lack of time, can not promote their dimensions. Imagine Feendish trying to promote her 80+ dimensions, all worth seeing. The logistics of the dimension community re-voting for all their favourite dimensions across multiple shards is mind boggling. There’s at least a thousand good dimensions out there worthy of being seen, how do we save them? So many would be lost to indifference and I’d miss them. Newer folk look at the list of dimensions and see how hard it is to reach the top. I look at the list at see the names of friends, it reminds me of all the good folk I’ve met along the way. Sentimental twaddle, I know.
One solution that has merit is making a secondary voting system, as Rgizil suggests, a new mark for dimensions, we can heart dimensions or lollipop them. It has the advantage of keeping the the old system and it’s history intact while allowing newer players their time in the limelight. It would need details worked out – would a heart also increase the +1? The downside is that it complicates the system, some users will get confused as to the different scorings. In a year, when today’s players are the old grandpas and grandmas of dimensions, those newfangling youngsters will be crying about the difficulty of getting the top hearts. Like with vote wiping, a new scoring system is not a permanent solution, eventually the same problem reappears.
We already have a version of proposed hearts system. The weekly tally of votes showcases new dimensions and puts new and old dimensions on equal footing since it only counts votes made in the last week. It’s biggest drawback is that votes only last one week and then disappear from the vote count. A week isn’t long enough to drum up interest in a dimension before it drops and disappears from the listing. It would serve us better if the vote remained in the tally for a month.
A month is long enough to provide a sense of accomplishment at the number of votes accumulated. Long enough to provide competition for those who like to compete against other players in the voting game. It’s also long enough that a builder should be well into their next build by the end of that month. It’s a permanent solution, as the votes reset themselves automatically and if a player still cares about the number of votes a dimension earns, they can keep advertising and remaining in the monthly list. It’s (hopefully) a quick and easy change for Trion to make and thus likelier to happen.
There’s nothing wrong with the +1 system. It works perfectly fine. A tourist enters the dimension, likes the dimension and votes. They don’t vote if they didn’t like the dimension, forgot to vote or never visited. We can change the system but no system is invulnerable to abuse and misuse and no system will serve our varied needs perfectly. It’s us, with our crazy notions that a +1 means more than it does, that stuff the system up. We want the system to nurture us, boost our egos, prove our worth, let us feel wanted, welcome and important to our community. No system can provide that, only people, genuine, caring people, can give us the support that lets us thrive as part of the community. I think Zillaan has the right idea about getting involved in the community when he writes “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. And above all else, be proud of your own work, and don’t judge yourself on the number of +1’s. ”
P.S. This is not a post about finding dimensions, ease of touring, or how to promote a dimension. Those are separate topics and deserve posts of their own.