It’s been another fantastic year for Sins of the Prophets, and I’m more pleased than ever with the project. We’ve reached new highs and our ties to the Sins of a Solar Empire modding community and other Halo mods have never been stronger. We’ve released an incredible alpha to overwhelming critical acclaim. However, there’ve been a few rumblings over our placement in the Mod of the Year competition and some general suspicion of the voting for some choice mods in the Top 5. It ignited a firestorm of debate and general chaos in the section that doesn’t show the better face of our community in dealing with this situation. It’s time to acknowledge what happened and to handle it admirably while we negotiate for a better tomorrow.
The hubbub about us not placing within the Top 5 when we placed number two last year was pretty palpable, but it was a conflict based on a ModDB policy that we were unaware of. After exchanging messages with the site administration, we were informed by “INtense!” that due to ranking within the Top 5 the previous year, we would be automatically demoted to honorable mention (Still a major prize! Thank you, community!) unless we beat our previous outing. He went on to quote our true standings, which placed us at number four. We were 73 member votes away from the next contestant. This brings into question how guest votes are counted and our apparent wasted effort in the massive PR blitz we had for the competition.
While we tried to rustle up any and all Halo fans in a several thousand mile radius, other mods showed up on the radar after having a small amount of watchers and views. One mod in particular still managed to get one vote per minute for the last 12 hours of the competition in either the largest member roundup I’ve ever seen or a poorly disguised bot campaign. Intense maintains that it was members who voted for them, but it remains to be seen whether they were ‘human members’. Meanwhile, Operation Black Mesa is no longer just a mod. It’s received Greenlight status from Steam and will become a fully fledged indie game shortly. That’s great for them, and they should be congratulated. Correct me if I’m wrong though, but I believe they have a separate competition for that.
So when all this came to light, people from the SoaSE community were understandably angry. Furious, even. The comments section of the player’s choice awards dissolved into a warzone of slander and suspicion. We looked like angry, entitled children due to not being able to air our proof of voter fraud. There’s nothing we can do to change the results though, so the least we can do is calm everyone down while still informing them of the issues. That being said, we’re prepared to offer some helpful additions to the Mod of the Year competition that would encourage fairness and greater exposure for more types of mods.
1) 3/5s compromise for guest votes: Guest votes should still hold some weight, but would understandable be less than a full fledged member.
2) Break up the competition into Genres
3) Further screen for mods that have attained (or are applying for) Greenlight status
4) Greater voting transparency, with public vote tally
5) Disqualify mods that seem to have inorganic voting take place.