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Grand Poll 2017: Results Part 2


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The Grand Spiderweb Poll Results

 

PART TWO: GAME RATINGS

 

For more info, check out the first results topic.

 

This thread presents only the base results, with no correlations made to unrelated questions, and only for the game and series rating parts of the poll.

 

Two things you should keep in mind:

 

1) CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. This thread only contains a few correlated questions, but please keep in mind that the results are solely correlative.

 

2) SAMPLE SIZE IS SMALL. It's probably not a good idea to generalize these results too much, especially beyond the forum community.

 

If any of the graphs look squished, you can right-click to open the image in its own tab.  OK, let's begin!

 

01.png

 

In 2012, Erika also won handily with 20 votes, beating a runner-up at 12 -- but that runner-up was Redbeard, not Rentar-Ihrno.  That was before Avadon 2 came out, and importantly, before Avadon 3, where Redbeard appears much weaker.  Rentar-Ihrno, I suspect, is in people's minds more as they anticipate the remake of Avernum 3.

 

"Anticipation of Avernum 3" will be a running theme in this part of the results...

 

The other results are similar, except that Litalia (who previously got zero votes) received a few votes instead of Danette (who this year got zero).

 

 

02.png

 

About half the community has played BoE, and more than 2/3 has played BoA.  About 1/3 have played user-made BoE scenarios, and about 1/2 have played user-made BoA scenarios.  Not bad after all these years.

 

 

03.png

 

Avadon is not on this chart because it received zero votes this time.  See below for more on that.

 

Exile/Avernum's win is a sizable upset from 2012, when Geneforge beat Exile/Avernum 26-21.  I note it has now been 9 years since the last Geneforge game came out, whereas we just had a remake of perennial favourite Avernum 2.  Speaking of which...

 

 

04.png

 

This is similar to 2012 except that X3 didn't have nearly so many votes then.  That was a shut-out, where X2 had 24 and nothing else had more than 7.  Anticipation of Avernum 3: Ruined World?

 

(A4 received zero votes.)

 

 

05.png

 

Also similar to 2012, except that G1's lead is less mammoth (It had 31 votes previously).  G2 has also bumped up a bit, pulling ahead of G4.

 

 

06.png

 

This is probably part of why Avadon didn't receive any votes for story and theme: the last entry wasn't as well-received from a story perspective.

 

 

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Each bar represents a member.  As you can see there's a pretty even distribution of number of Spiderweb games owned, from just one to all of them.

 

 

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And here are the number of users who own each game.

 

It's a little weird that Avernum and Avernum 2 beat out their remakes -- especially Avernum 2.  It's possible some people checked off the wrong boxes (though I did label the originals as "(no subtitle)").  I guess bundle deals could also be behind this -- all of the original Avernums actually have higher numbers than last time around.

 

 

09.png

 

Here, at last, the votes for favourite game!  In another stunning upset, the winner is Exile III, sweeping the competition despite having relatively low ownership.  2012's winner, Geneforge, dropped from 13 votes to just 3!  2012's runner-up, Exile II also dropped from 10 down to 6.  Avernum 3 also shot up from 1 vote to 6.  More anticipation of Avernum 3: Ruined World?

 

 

10.png

 

For this chart, I converted game ratings to a scale of 1 to 5 and averaged them.  Some games whose position has changed a lot:

* Exile III moved from 5th place (4.0) to 1st place (4.4).  (Anticipation of Avernum 3: Ruined World? :D)

* Geneforge slipped from 2nd place (4.3) to 9th place (3.8), while G2, G4 and G5 moved up 0.3 points each to higher positions.

* Geneforge 3 moved up from second-to-last-place (3.0) to sixth-to-last-place (3.2).

 

Most of the other average game ratings were fairly stable.

 

 

11.png

 

This chart shows the proportion of ratings given, for each game.  It also looks fairly similar to the 2012 version.

 

 

CORRELATIONS AMONG GAMES

 

Once again, I spent a long time looking at this.  But I had a hard time finding anything that wasn't either trivially obvious, or of dubious accuracy.  The data sets are simply difficult to compare, for reasons that are external to the games.  The Exile games, for example, were rated very high, but had fewer ratings, by a more self-selected group of raters.

 

Where I could find correlations, they were basically in one of three categories:

1) obvious correlations within a series (e.g., Avadon + Avadon 2)

2) obvious correlations across a remake (e.g., Avernum 2 + Avernum 2: CS)

3) obvious correlations by release date (e.g., Avernum 6 + Geneforge 5)

 

Basically, last year's chart is more interesting than anything I would be able to put together here.

 

There's one exception, which is that there was some serious synchronicity between ratings of Exile: Escape from the Pit and Geneforge 2.  I have no idea what to make of that.  I guess they're both open-ended, sort of rollicky games, but the same correlation did not appear with other games like that.  It's probably just a crazy coincidence.

 

 

Okay, that's that.  Stay tuned for some, frankly, far more interesting posts about correlations.

 

 

MAJOR ADDENDUM: GAME RATER GROUPINGS

 

After a lot of time spent fruitlessly crunching averages, I tried one last tack at the game ratings this morning: just looking at the raw data and seeing if any patterns emerged.  Sorting by hand, five major archetypes of game raters emerged.  This is interesting and I'm pretty excited.  This chart gives the average rating each group gave, for each group of games listed:

 

12.png

 

Here's more on the groups:

 

1) SUPERFANS (5).  These folks rated all or almost all of the games and rated them almost exclusively as Excellent or MASTERPIECE.  The only major departures were for Avernum 4 and Geneforge 3.

 

2) OLD SCHOOL (10).  These folks mostly did not rate the Geneforge or Avadon games.  They gave high ratings to Exile and Nethergate (all of them rating at least one Exile game as a MASTERPIECE) and relatively high ratings to the First Trilogy.  Ratings of the Avernum remakes varied widely.

 

3) CLASSICIST (13).  Like the Superfans, this group often rated most of the games.  They were the most hostile group to Avernum 4, Geneforge 3, and Avadon 3.  They gave slightly lower ratings than average, overall.

 

4) EARLY GENEFORGE (12).  This group is characterized by their love of the early Geneforge games: they all rated G1 at least excellent, and every single one rated G2 a MASTERPIECE.  Almost all rated G3 below G4 and G5 as well.  Almost none rated the Exile games.  Interestingly, this group gave very favorable ratings to the Avernum remakes, often rating them as high or higher than they rated G3-5.

 

5) LATE GENEFORGE (11).  This group is characterized by high ratings of G4 and/or G5, slightly lower ratings of the earlier Geneforge games (especially G1), low ratings of the First Avernum Trilogy, and a serious lack of affection for Nethergate.  Almost none rated the Exile games, and this group, too, gave slightly low ratings overall.

 

There were an additional 8 raters who either rated very few games, or who simply did not fit into any of the above patterns.  For the most part, this miscellaneous group did not rate Geneforge or Avadon games either.

 

Consistent with 2012's results, the Geneforge groups actually gave slightly higher ratings to the Second Avernum Trilogy than fans of the earlier Avernum games did.

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Avadon 3 had its good bits, but there was a certain sense of "here we go again" -- of just being, in certain respects, formulaic and even predictable.  I felt the same way about Geneforge 3 which, I note, is rated just next to Avadon.

 

Personally, I don't think the whole series deserves such low ratings.  The first game in particular, while it had flaws, was one of the most creative things Spiderweb has produced since Geneforge 1 back in 2002.

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I'm kinda shocked that Avernum 5 scored so low... I mean, I can understand not liking it as much as Avernum 3 or Geneforge 2, but... below Geneforge 3? Really? Same with the Avadons. Personally, I really liked Avernum 5 (and the Avadons, to a lesser extent) for simply trying new things: showing us more of the world below Avernum, getting into Imperial politics, and providing two diametrically opposed endings, in the case of 5. If it didn't totally succeed in all these things (a lot of the "new" areas felt rather like the old ones, Manfred and Dorikas aren't fleshed out quite enough, etc), at least it tried.

 

Maybe it's just that some people haven't played Geneforge 3 in a while and/or have their view colored by nostalgia.

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32 minutes ago, Edgwyn said:

I found it interesting that there is not a single game that every respondent reported owning.

The Exile Trilogy is freeware and Blades of Exile is FOSS. In a certain light, you could say everyone on Earth legally owns a copy of all four, even if they haven't put their rightful copies on their computers yet. :p

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Geneforge in particular has some hardcore fans with strong opinions about it being the best series -- there is a loyalty factor.

 

I never actually owned Avernum 2 or Avernum 3.  I played the demos for a while when they came out, no question, but eventually I always ended up deciding to go back and play the Exile versions, which were more my cup of tea.

 

For Avernum 5, its average of 3.1 corresponds to the upper half of "Good."  It was a good game and I certainly enjoyed it at the time, but, like A4, it's just not a game I'm drawn to go back and replay.  The thing is, the innovations it introduced in game mechanics appear in most of the games that followed: what stands out about it, today, is its story, which is not memorable by Avernum standards.  It's a side-story for Avernum, really, with villains and allies who were less exciting than the hype around them had been.  But I will give it credit for at least being a legit side-story, as opposed to being essentially irrelevant like G3 :D

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MAJOR ADDENDUM: GAME RATER GROUPINGS

 

After a lot of time spent fruitlessly crunching averages, I tried one last tack at the game ratings this morning: just looking at the raw data and seeing if any patterns emerged.  Sorting by hand, five major archetypes of game raters emerged.  This is interesting and I'm pretty excited.  This chart gives the average rating each group gave, for each group of games listed:

 

12.png

 

Here's more on the groups:

 

1) SUPERFANS (5).  These folks rated all or almost all of the games and rated them almost exclusively as Excellent or MASTERPIECE.  The only major departures were for Avernum 4 and Geneforge 3.

 

2) OLD SCHOOL (10).  These folks mostly did not rate the Geneforge or Avadon games.  They gave high ratings to Exile and Nethergate (all of them rating at least one Exile game as a MASTERPIECE) and relatively high ratings to the First Trilogy.  Ratings of the Avernum remakes varied widely.

 

3) CLASSICIST (13).  Like the Superfans, this group often rated most of the games.  They were the most hostile group to Avernum 4, Geneforge 3, and Avadon 3.  They gave slightly lower ratings than average, overall.

 

4) EARLY GENEFORGE (12).  This group is characterized by their love of the early Geneforge games: they all rated G1 at least excellent, and every single one rated G2 a MASTERPIECE.  Almost all rated G3 below G4 and G5 as well.  Almost none rated the Exile games.  Interestingly, this group gave very favorable ratings to the Avernum remakes, often rating them as high or higher than they rated G3-5.

 

5) LATE GENEFORGE (11).  This group is characterized by high ratings of G4 and/or G5, slightly lower ratings of the earlier Geneforge games (especially G1), low ratings of the First Avernum Trilogy, and a serious lack of affection for Nethergate.  Almost none rated the Exile games, and this group, too, gave slightly low ratings overall.

 

There were an additional 8 raters who either rated very few games, or who simply did not fit into any of the above patterns.  For the most part, this miscellaneous group did not rate Geneforge or Avadon games either.

 

Consistent with 2012's results, the Geneforge groups actually gave slightly higher ratings to the Second Avernum Trilogy than fans of the earlier Avernum games did.

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21 hours ago, Choins Poice said:

Personally, I don't think the whole series deserves such low ratings.  The first game in particular, while it had flaws, was one of the most creative things Spiderweb has produced since Geneforge 1 back in 2002.

Avadon is far more of a generic fantasy world than Avernum (underground! Non-human races--or maybe that's just me?) or Geneforge (make your own monsters!) are. The more unique aspects (tinkermages, the corruption) don't appear until Avadon 2. The companions aspect is newish, but not completely new (because it shows up in Geneforge first), and the characters aren't crazy memorable or likable. So while it's more creative than a sequel or remake, it's less creative than Avernum or Geneforge were.

 

Plus, SW games feel increasingly homogenized. The interface is the same, the art assets are the same, the combat is the same, the monsters (hello, worms and giant rats) are the same, the style of leveling and adding skill points is the same, the items are the same... it's getting harder to tell different series apart, and Avadon doesn't have any way to stand out. It doesn't even have a original-sounding name.

 

Dikiyoba.

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The way I've always seen it, every series had something about it that made it stand out or made it great.

 

Avernum had the setting, location-wise.  The underground caves were a fascinating, unique place, and being able to revisit locations in following games and find the map was the same, with occasional new bits, was a delight.

 

Geneforge had the setting, theme-wise.  I still say that it is a sci-fi game in a fantasy skin, the overarching story and themes talking about a classing Robot Uprising story with Transhumanism themes.  Add in the rarely-seen-before create-your-own-army idea, and the fact that there are almost NO standard fantasy creatures (Aside from drakes, dragons, and eyebeasts), and it's a gem to me.

 

Avadon, in my eyes, has the companion characters and the "no real good choice" moral issues.  I never had such problems choosing which option to go with in major decisions, at some points, and it was great to have companions like I did.  Sure you could make them in Geneforge, but they didn't have personalities and quests and stories and backgrounds like in Avadon.  He may have taken the idea from things like the Bioware RPGs, but it was well-implemented.

 

And Nethergate's thing was its implementation of the various mythologies out there, although admittedly I didn't care about this one as much because I'm not AS deep or knowledgable about such myths.

 

Outside of preference for engine and visuals (Which would throw it into the catagories of "Exile" "Avernum 1-3/Nethergate" "Geneforge/Avernum 4-6" "Avadon/Avernum Remakes") and an opinion of story quality, I think preference for what you want in an RPG like this could contribute to what a person considers their favorite games.

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3 hours ago, Dikiyoba said:

Plus, SW games feel increasingly homogenized. The interface is the same, the art assets are the same, the combat is the same, the monsters (hello, worms and giant rats) are the same, the style of leveling and adding skill points is the same, the items are the same... it's getting harder to tell different series apart, and Avadon doesn't have any way to stand out. It doesn't even have a original-sounding name.

 

This is maybe unfair, but I gave the Avernum 2 remake a lower score partially because of how hydras were replaced by the dull, omnipresent hellhounds. Pray god the Avernum 3 remake doesn't replace the slimes with chitrachs, or the alien beasts with hellhounds.

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The hydra nest was one of my favorite parts of E/A2. I was not happy when I found out they were hellhounds in A2:CS. As for slimes and chitrachs, Jeff already has slime assets which he used in the first two games, so I'm not concerned about that. They're actually pretty nice although there's something special about Exile 3 slimes that I doubt will be replicated.

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14 minutes ago, Choins Poice said:

Lack of enemy variety (on a game mechanics/balance level as well as a thematic level) is by far the biggest criticism I have of A2:CS.  I still think it's an excellent game, but, meh.

It's an unfortunate trend in the Avernum series. I know graphics can be expensive, particularly as the generations compound and they become exponentially more complex, but by the end of series, I had more than my fill of [Random Super Modifier!] [Trash Monster Type you Fought at Level 3].

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Maybe the troglodytes will be ogres, the alien beasts will be hellhounds, and the roaches will be worms. I hope not.


I'm making the graphics for a game. The limit isn't budget because I'm working for free with promise of royalties if the game sells. The limit is that I suck. I need to make animated characters and the closest I've come is making my non-animated winged demon lady bob up and down in the air with a shadow that shrinks and grows, a la old Final Fantasy games.

So I get where he's coming from. It's still disappointing.

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3 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

Geneforge had the setting, theme-wise.  I still say that it is a sci-fi game in a fantasy skin, the overarching story and themes talking about a classing Robot Uprising story with Transhumanism themes.  Add in the rarely-seen-before create-your-own-army idea, and the fact that there are almost NO standard fantasy creatures (Aside from drakes, dragons, and eyebeasts), and it's a gem to me.

 

fun fact: in the planning stages, geneforge was in fact originally going to be a pure sci-fi game, but Jeff felt that adding fantasy elements would make it more marketable

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33 minutes ago, Lilith said:

 

fun fact: in the planning stages, geneforge was in fact originally going to be a pure sci-fi game, but Jeff felt that adding fantasy elements would make it more marketable

Something I'm fully aware of, and frankly I think the twist of putting it in a fantasy skin makes it a much more unique and interesting thing.  There's still clear aspects in it that are obviously sci-fi in origin, and frankly?

 

I feel like the end result is close to a Modern Day Biotech Society.  Which you NEVER see anywhere else, short of a half-assed planet-of-the-day thing.

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On 7/27/2017 at 6:03 PM, googoogjoob said:

 

This is maybe unfair, but I gave the Avernum 2 remake a lower score partially because of how hydras were replaced by the dull, omnipresent hellhounds. Pray god the Avernum 3 remake doesn't replace the slimes with chitrachs, or the alien beasts with hellhounds.

No alien beasts; no peace.

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