So on the iToysoldiers site I still have a legacy forum that asks for feedback on how to improve the site. It really shouldn't be there 'cause I really want to get "backend" type content out of the site proper. However, every so often there's a post there and it gets me thinking. In particular, I'm thinking about player battle stats and how to generate/display them.
If you're interested, the post in question is here: http://itoysoldiers.com/forum-post/8th-edition-stats. Essentially the ask is to allow players to "reset" their stats when a new edition of a rule set comes out (or whatever reason floats their boat). I think this is a fair ask to a certain extent. But here's the rub: I don't think a player really wants to "reset" stats. I think what they really really really want is the ability to display stats with more granularity and customization than I currently allow. Allow me to explain:
As I was first building iToysoldiers I made a design decision to force players to pick specific elements representing their battle from a list I provided. For example: You couldn't just add an army faction. Missions went into the mission field. Points per army went into the points field. I did this so that there'd be a way to aggregate data specific to a particular meta item and display it relative to every battle on the site. For sure this helped keep my stat displays under control but unfortunately, it also means that players were only provided battle stat combinations that I created. This is the problem.
How am I fixing this?
Well, the good news is that I've already started to do so! The first major step to addressing this came when I allowed folks to add any faction into the "Army" field. Yeah, for sure this has caused some problems - specifically with folks adding stream of consciousness type values into that field. But as more players participate in the site that's becoming less of an issue.
The second part of a fix is what I'm working on now. Player battle stats are now tiered. To explain: there's high level stats based upon every game. Stuff like win/loss/draw, # of battles, and that sort of thing. But there'll also be a specific page for each army that a player has entered battle reports for. To use me as an example, I'll have CSM, Dark Eldar, Ynnari and World Eaters as my armies and I'll have a specific page for each. Kinda like this:What the army specific stat page looks like
There's also an advanced filter view without graphs for detailed comparisons:Advanced filters for iToysoldiers Battle Stats
So each army that you play will have these views. Now, if you're playing a new army or something it's pretty easy to "reset" your stats because they'll be army specific. And since you can enter anything you want into the Army field a player could reset their stats by using a new army tag. But...
It Could Be Better
Yeah. It could be better. And here's what I'm thinking. What if there was a world where a player wasn't restricted to the elements of a battle that I consider important? What if this world allowed players to tag a battle report with elements that they thought were important instead of having to enter data in a fairly ridiculous number of fields? What if every meta item was treated the same and battle stats could be generated using a selection of meta elements rather than specifically associating a meta item to a particular input/output field?
That's what I'm thinking about now: How to revamp the battle reports to be more flexible, easier to use, and more useful when looking at battle stats. Right now it's just a seed of an idea and thinking about it is drawing attention to some of the really iffy design choices I made early on. It'll be a fair amount of work to do this. Not so much to build it an put it into effect - but rather make old battle reports obey a set up like this.
So what do you think? I really really really want to know. It's feedback that spawns improvement in the site and this is a great example: One forum post and suddenly I'm think of huge improvements. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our support portal at http://itoysoldiers.uservoice.com or comment here. I aim to please.
Rob @ iToysoldiers