Obviously I need to have some method to choose which addons will be presented in the Quakestarter menus.
Any set of criteria is going to be flawed. There would be many different possible approaches to this – maybe just “stuff I like”, or best-of picks from certain reviewers, or award-winning releases. In the category “The Latest Greatest”, the picks are purely my judgement about which recent releases are “high profile”. Beyond that category though, my approach to identifying the best classic and must-play releases is to use the ratings at Quaddicted.
Quaddicted is, and has been for a long time, the central hub for Quake singleplayer map releases. The debut of Slipgate Sightseer may change that eventually, but for now Quaddicted is the best source of info especially for older releases.
Quaddicted doesn’t get a ton of user-submitted ratings (which is one of the problems with this approach), but IMO if you use the Bayesian average ratings you can get surprisingly satisfactory results for releases that have been on Quaddicted for at least half a year. Most really good releases have really good ratings. A few releases that in my opinion are true classics don’t make the cut, but it’s hard to say if that’s an issue with the ratings or with my tastes. In any case you can generate a list of great content this way.
Note that the Bayesian average shown on the main Quaddicted listing page is different from the raw average shown on each individual release page. The Bayesian average tends to push a rating closer to middle-of-the-road if it has a small number of ratings. So to get a good overall Bayesian average rating for an item, either you need to have a lot of users give it a good rating, or a smaller number of users give it a great rating.
I also give a little more ratings slack to releases that are “episodes” or “hubs”. There aren’t as many of these… and, compared to smaller releases or collections without a startmap, I think that an episode/hub can make for a better play experience. Even if there is a clunker or two in the map set! Drawing the line of admission where I currently have it does seem to admit the classic episodes as well as the modern releases that get the hype.
OK all that being said, these are the current criteria for being included in the Quakestarter installables (other than “The Latest Greatest”):
An “episode” or a “hub” is a release that has a start map and at least four non-startmaps. To be included it must have a Quaddicted user rating of 3.85-4.0 or better (Bayesian average), with older episodes having a lower bar to clear.
Releases that don’t qualify as an episode/hub must have a Quaddicted user rating of 4.3-4.45 or better (Bayesian average), with older releases having a lower bar to clear. Also, the map(s) from this release must not already be included in some qualifying episode/hub release.
For that last consideration, I’m really only concerned with avoiding essentially identical duplicate maps. If maps are meaningfully-different “variants” of each other – for example the original and Arcane Dimensions versions of The Horde of Zendar – then it’s fine to include both if both qualify.