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An updated list of the best TDM fan missions?


polygrove
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I more or less feel the same, but I care less about the visuals aging badly.

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My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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On 9/21/2022 at 8:33 AM, thebigh said:

I think often it can be difficult to find missions you want to play, regardless. For example, I often don't have time to play long missions. Many of the maps considered masterpieces here are also huge and sprawling, and would take hours to complete.

Sometimes I just want a quick mansion heist that takes half an hour; these are often simple and even a bit boxy, and won't be as highly rated as the big maps, but they're still a heap of fun to play.

My top 5 list of small missions is:

* Deadeye

* The Parcel

* The Thieves

* Too Late

* The Golden Skull

I agree that small missions are usually not very popular.

But since we are at it, I'd like to add to your list of top 30-minute missions, the mission "A Night Of Loot: One Man's Treasure", small but pretty polished!

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15 hours ago, Oktokolo said:

If you are really limited on time, go for Iris first.

That makes no sense. If you are limited on time go for a smaller mission with a very structured plot and objectives. Iris is very loose, so let's say you play it a couple of hours spread during a week, you often might not know what you're doing or don't get sucked in enough because of lack of time.

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1 hour ago, datiswous said:

That makes no sense. If you are limited on time go for a smaller mission with a very structured plot and objectives. Iris is very loose, so let's say you play it a couple of hours spread during a week, you often might not know what you're doing or don't get sucked in enough because of lack of time.

 

Yeah IRIS is a PHENOMENOL mission, but the Thief community offers much more variety and environments of missions. The best way to sample them all is to play them all. None of this "I have no time to play them" stuff. They aren't going anywhere. Play just an hour a month and maybe in 10 years you'll have played them all. There's no rush.

 

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On 9/22/2022 at 10:10 AM, Shadow said:

The best way to sample them all is to play them all. None of this "I have no time to play them" stuff.

I'm sorry but I love this response. It's so unreasonable that it made me chuckle.  

I was trying to be diplomatic with my original post but let me be more clear; I have no interest in playing the more amateur fan missions and I would not be surprised if this is sentiment of the vast majority of players. I doubt even the most dedicated Thief fans want to wade through hundreds of hours of mediocre content to find a handful of brilliant missions. To suggest that everyone with a passing interest in playing good fan missions should be expected to play every single one is ridiculous.

 

 

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Making a map, even a small and simple one, is a lot of work and I don't think it's fair to deride even less highly rated levels as "amateurish" or "mediocre". Mappers are creating something and giving it away for free, and that kind of talk seems disrespectful to me.

 

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My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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On 9/22/2022 at 5:21 PM, datiswous said:

That makes no sense. If you are limited on time go for a smaller mission with a very structured plot and objectives. Iris is very loose, so let's say you play it a couple of hours spread during a week, you often might not know what you're doing or don't get sucked in enough because of lack of time.

Of course it makes sense: Iris is the best and longest mission available. So it should last a while. It also is the best content available - so no fear of missing out. If you ony have limited time, skip the slow buildup and dive right into the best stuff. That way, you get the best use out of that limited playtime.

31 minutes ago, thebigh said:

Making a map, even a small and simple one, is a lot of work and I don't think it's fair to deride even less highly rated levels as "amateurish" or "mediocre". Mappers are creating something and giving it away for free, and that kind of talk seems disrespectful to me.

The wording isn't diplomatic - but the intent obviously isn't to deride anything or anyone. Just a player who wants to dive right into the best content available - and that is okay.

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1 hour ago, Oktokolo said:

The wording isn't diplomatic - but the intent obviously isn't to deride anything or anyone. Just a player who wants to dive right into the best content available - and that is okay.

 

It boils down to "Neither I nor anybody else wants to play missions that aren't absolutely top-tier" and I think that's both discouraging to novice mappers (or those who specialise in small-to-medium maps), and not even true.

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{ 0 | 🞵 } = funk_tastic

My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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1 hour ago, thebigh said:

It boils down to "Neither I nor anybody else wants to play missions that aren't absolutely top-tier" and I think that's both discouraging to novice mappers (or those who specialise in small-to-medium maps), and not even true.

Sounds like an exaggeration to me.

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That's your view; I'm just explaining how commentary like this reads to map creators.

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My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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Making great short-form content is challenging in a way that transcends medium and genre. There are many more full length novels that people would describe as sublime, or life changing than there are short stories which earn the same praise. Likewise for music, movies, and games. The near universality of this phenomenon suggests to me that it is not a lack of skill but a fundamental limitation of information density that biases us in favor of more expansive works...

So, yes, the most acclaimed TDM missions also tending to be on the larger side should not be surprising. But with that being said, we should try to recognize shorter experiences of exceptional quality when they occasionally pop up.

Case in point, I'd direct any new players to Sir Talbot's Collateral as one of the best stealth experiences I've ever had. This despite being entirely contained to one quite small and mundane townstyle manor-house. The amount of interconnectivity and flow Baal and Biker managed to pack into one 3.5 story building (hardly more than 3 rooms wide and 2 deep) is just astounding. (I should clarify that STC is a small mission, but not necessarily super short, due to high difficulty and some hard-to-access areas, but still a great experience for a very reasonable investment of time.) 

Something also to keep in mind: It's not impossible to get a great deal of enjoyment, even from a deeply flawed product, if one part of it clicks with the consumer. For instance I really enjoyed no-target and no-clipping around the mission In Remembrance of Him, despite it being nearly unplayable as a Thief/TDM level. The dilapidated Romanesque architecture was super cool, and I was hooked by the unusual story it was trying to tell (despite some questionable twists at the end... and a writing style that screamed for the intervention of a firm-handed editor).

I'd actually be as or more interested in having a list of bad levels with some interesting feature--worth checking out--than in another enumeration of the current best-of-the-best. Iris was great. Phenomenal! But it took me the better part of two whole weekends just to get the first ending. I don't have that kind of time right now. Plus I don't expect to see it's like again very soon. A few more mission like In Remembrance of Him that I could buzz around for 30 minutes, seeing some cool sights, would be more my speed. And maybe we could inspire some quick and dirty spiritual successors in the pipeline that would capitalize on the qualities of such missions while dodging their downfalls.

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3 hours ago, thebigh said:

That's your view; I'm just explaining how commentary like this reads to map creators.

My apologies, disrespect was not my intent. I do stand by the statement that the vast majority of players will still probably opt for the ‘best content’ available. TDM is already pretty damn niche, and playing the missions that aren’t as skillfully designed is even more niche than that. To be clear I don’t think length or complexity has anything to do with quality. A 30 min map can be just as good as Iris or the like. I’m mostly talking about well designed and polished experiences which every content creator should already be striving for. If a ranking system were implemented I don’t think that would mean less players for the ‘amateur ’ levels. I’d argue that’s already the case that they are least played, the top tier missions are still the most played, it’s just that that information is not readily available.

Which is annoying. I even bet if a mission were ranked poorly that would mean more feedback for the creator to work with. By the way I am no stranger to creating large amounts of content for free. I just spent a year and over 1000 hrs co-developing a quite involved Half Life Alyx campaign so I recognize the effort involved.

I don’t wanna come into this community rocking the boat, it seems like you guys value positivity and constructive, (rather than sheer democratic) feedback. I stand by my statement though that I think adopting a ratings system would help grow the community and encourage more creators. 

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2 hours ago, polygrove said:

 I stand by my statement though that I think adopting a ratings system would help grow the community and encourage more creators. 

...then there are people who play the first five minutes of a mission, then quit and give a lousy rating. I could well imagine that the inhibition threshold is much lower here because the missions are free.

Maybe a rating system for missions would be ok if two requirements are considered:

  1. The reviewer in question provides a video link of his playthrough and
  2. Mission authors and other players can rate the reviewer's playthrough. 

This of course means that anyone rating a reviewer has to verifiably view the full playthrough of that video.

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31 minutes ago, JackFarmer said:

then there are people who play the first five minutes of a mission, then quit and give a lousy rating.

...or who get to a puzzle they can't solve and rage-downvote. You can tell who they are because their profiles on Thief Guild are private.

{ 0 | 🞵 } = funk_tastic

My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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5 hours ago, JackFarmer said:

...then there are people who play the first five minutes of a mission, then quit and give a lousy rating.

I still think that data is valuable though, even if it is in poor taste by the player. The question the creator should ask themselves is, "Why was the first impression of my mission so poorly received?". Even so though, I really think that kind of reviewer would be in the minority. You guys seem to have a very pessimistic view of the average TDM player. And if you  feel the missions can't stand up to a bit of scrutiny I think that says something.

I would argue that the scores on Thief Guild are mostly accurate. Not perfect of course but I believe that is due to sample size. Sure you will always have assholes that score everything but Iris '0/10' and some people that give everything a '10' but every data set has outliers. And the more you have, the more things tend to average out. 

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I have been an advocate for mission ratings a long time. I understand both sides of the coin of course, but the casual player likely prefers to just pick one of the best rated missions and start playing instead of reading through all the mission descriptions, potentially digging through forum entries to find a suitable mission. Things like average playtime, general mission type and player rating would be really helpful here. Or maybe instead of rating, something neutral like "number of times played / downloaded".

 

6 hours ago, JackFarmer said:

...then there are people who play the first five minutes of a mission, then quit and give a lousy rating. I could well imagine that the inhibition threshold is much lower here because the missions are free.

Maybe a rating system for missions would be ok if two requirements are considered:

  1. The reviewer in question provides a video link of his playthrough and
  2. Mission authors and other players can rate the reviewer's playthrough. 

This of course means that anyone rating a reviewer has to verifiably view the full playthrough of that video.

I think that would be way too elaborate. How about rating on the mission finished screen?

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5 minutes ago, STiFU said:

I have been an advocate for mission ratings a long time. I understand both sides of the coin of course, but the casual player likely prefers to just pick one of the best rated missions and start playing instead of reading through all the mission descriptions, potentially digging through forum entries to find a suitable mission. Things like average playtime, general mission type and player rating would be really helpful here. Or maybe instead of rating, something neutral like "number of times played / downloaded".

 

I think that would be way too elaborate. How about rating on the mission finished screen?

Yeah, you are right, way too elaborate. Your suggestions sounds more workable.

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