Blaise Russel used existing models, with a few retextures. Spoon used models of a detail level practical for a one-man project.
And as far as I can tell, WoD and Blaise Russel's work are generally regarded as being pretty damn good in spite of all this.
Yeah thanks but you're deliberatly skewing my point. We're not talking about how a campaign with low poly models is regarded upon release, we're talking about whether one person can make a difference. In the past one person has made a difference, they've made the whole sum of the experience. So saying one person cannot make a difference to BWO is erraneous because it's not about the number of contributors it's about the depth of those contributions.
The problem with not revealing completed/wip stuff is that none of that progress is ever visible. In a multi year project the result is a net loss to BWO in terms of community and extra helpers. Do you really want to help a mod that looks multi-year dead or would you prefer to contribute to a mod where you can see others providing time and energy? Perception matters.
Different people are motivated by different things. For me it's less about the project's state rather than its subject matter and whether I think it's something worth exploring. A lot of stuff has a lot of work going into it on this board, but for a lot of it I wouldn't be in any way interested in contributing. I mean most of my energies have been directed towards a conversion here or there where it's very very very unlikely that anything will ever come of it simply because of the amount of work involved but for whatever reason I sunk a few hours into it.
That being said, when it comes to projects the only thing I've found that bothers me is an unequal distribution of the work. I won't name names but there are in the community "idea men", people who like to type words, but otherwise not lift fingers. They're the real ones who 'get my goat'. Mods need players not cheerleaders.
Personally I don't really get excited for the release of mods, I visit here only occasionally and sometimes if something is release I go and play it. It's like "oh ****, this came out two months ago, maybe I should play it". Obviously the perspective of someone who visits this site on a daily basis would differ considerably.
Either way the point is that yes, maybe some things would motivate some people to contribute, but they wouldn't motivate all people to contribute. I think some of it is just unbridled unenthusiasm, which, is often not backed up by results. Not speaking of Dragon but some people have like a half dozen badges, and if your work is split six ways then I mean progress is naturally going to be slower on all of those mods as whole. It's like buying stuff, it's fun to acquire stuff, it's fun to get started, but finishing is the real mountain to climb.
And ultimately, it's up to each artist to find their own motivation and if they've rationalized within themselves that the project is not worth their time then no amount of fan service by the developers is going to change that. And this is a bit harsh, and I say it as someone who when given a task for BWO didn't accomplish it myself, but it's one thing to say that "I've done all this work, but still nothign to show for it" and an entirely other thing to say that "I don't think this is going to pan out, so I'm not even going to TRY". Because really, both you and I are I think in the latter category and no amount of 'the developers should do this instead' is going to change that.
Because you know what. At one point, they were driving to finish it. There WAS progress. They were saying "hey, we need people! Who wants to help" and both you and I stepped up and both you and I did nothing. So . . . I think the fault clearly lies with the contributors, not the developers because at that point the developers DID do their jobs and DID get 9 people trying out and only 8 people did nothing so is that the developers fault? I don't think so.