Seems like a lot of folks are confused about missions. I notice a lot of new players who seem to think that missions are free Facebook ads or free Google PPC. I think this misunderstanding contributes to folks getting disappointed and discouraged with Empire Avenue.
I have seen a few folks try to talk about the ROI for EA missions. ROI is a funny concept for a free platform, but that aside, I still think they don’t understand missions. My guess is that these are the same folks who are trying to misuse other Social Media platforms as broadcast advertising. Folks who want something for nothing are bound to find mostly disappointment.
A few plumbing details everyone should understand about missions. Most of what folks want done with a mission is a TOS violation of the target network. The classic example is that FB does not allow you to offer an “inducement” to like a post; so a classic EA mission, the FB bomb is a problem. Even pseudo currency like eaves are an inducement. No social networks wants to be cluttered by ‘fake’ activity. This is why the EA FAQ about missions seems so strangely convoluted. EA must declare a mission completed by just clicking the button. Anything else gets EA into violations with the other networks. EA also needs folks to do what the mission creators want done; otherwise nobody will create missions. Quite the conundrum.
Mission feedback is the effort to encourage folks to actually finish a mission. EA also understands that some missions are bad; so they allow feedback both for the mission creator and the mission completer. The current system is flawed and painful, but that is the reason EA created it. I hope they can improve the feedback process. The idea of a mission thief is probably misguided. It is impossible to steal a mission; since the action that gets you paid is the same action that completes the mission.
On the other hand, folks who take missions with no intention to engage are crummy. While perhaps not thieves, they do seem to violate the social contract that makes the game viable. I have been bemused by seeing missions filled with threats from folks who failed to complete my missions. Everyone wants folks to participate honorably with good intentions.
Another issue that makes missions complicated is the vast disparity in the wealth of players. This creates a couple of problems. Mature players (with the powerful networks that everyone covets) have little incentive to complete missions. I make many more eaves doing nothing but watching my portfolio appreciate than I can doing a ton of missions. For mature players having trouble spending all their eaves, eaves rewards are not great incentives. This also encourages wealthy players to offer very high rewards for trivial missions. New players have limited resources and want to get the most they can for their mission. This results in new players selling their investments to fund missions, requesting too many actions, and struggling to find their expected results.
I do think that missions have value, but the value is not just the action at the end of the mission. Imagine you have a cause that you are passionate about. Perhaps you would like folks to donate to support that cause. An EA mission is unlikely to fill your coffers. A mission won’t get folks to give you 10 bucks for a something they don’t already believe in or understand. The mission will not create a value equation that is worth cash, but the mission can create an awareness. The best explanation I have is that an EA mission is more of a branding activity than a selling activity. If you want to introduce something, a mission can be just the right answer, but I don’t think you will close a sale by a mission.
Priming the pump is another place where EA missions can help. When you start something new, that initial support can be really tough to find. A bit of activity can make your real targets feel more comfortable with engaging. If you expect EA to provide your market, you will be disappointed. The user base is too small and not likely to fit your niche. If you would like EA to seed your market and expand your reach, there is a real opportunity.