Author Topic: Fnord's New Player Guide Idea  (Read 7466 times)

Fnord

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« on: June 02, 2006, 12:18:51 PM »
There's been a lot of talk lately about how to better acclimate new players to Arm. Some new players have done us all a favor by posting their experiences. Most seem to have come from other MUDs, know the basic mechanics, but still find Arm a little overwhelming. That's understandable, Arm is deep. However, the learning curve surely loses us players. Darwinism at work? I think not. I've shown a few very creative people Arm, and they've told me that if I wasn't on AIM with them, pointing them to help files and filling in the basics (basically serving as an unofficial helper) they would have quit out of frustration.

Here's how I suggest we make things easier for new players:

:idea: A new D&D campaign is coming out called Ptolus. It comes with a Player's Guide. It's a free download via PDF. This is a very deep player's guide that tells a new player everything they need to know about the world before making a character. We should have a simpler version of something like this (obviously in text without pictures, at least at first) for each starting town. Each guide would be available as an HTML file on the website. After all, a native of any place should and would know where to get basic things, like food and water or a weapon, how to behave around nobles/templars, etc. I mean, they grew up there for Tek's sake.

:idea: After you point at the map in the Hall of Kings, you're taken to another room, not yet in the game world. There's an NPC, and X number of exits to the room.

:idea: You're immediately prompted with something like: If you're a veteran to Armageddon MUD, type "leave" to exit this tutorial. This would allow return players to get into the game and start playing with almost no additional delay.

:idea: Stats should be set when entering this room so other information makes sense. Stat/Score and Reroll would be explained elsewhere, see below.

:idea: Every character should load in with the same generic clothes and 1000 "funny money" coins. All this goes away when typing "leave", and is replaced with starting gear as we know it, when actually entering the game.

:idea: The NPC starts talking. "Type list to see what services I can provide for a new player. Then type ask NPC # to access that information."

the n00b tutor is offering the following information:

1) How do I use this tutorial? This would prompt a basic explanation about the concept of rooms, how to move between them, where the exits lead, and a blurb about enter/leave. The adjacent rooms could have:

  [N] A locked message board with the aforementioned player's guide for the starting location selected. Each post could be a section.

  A room where a tutor explains crafting.

  [E] A room where a tutor explains how to buy stuff from a vendor. Here you can "buy" armor and weapons, try them on, learn to wield 1-h weapons, hold off-hand, wield 2-h, hold a bow, pull from a quiver, load a crossbow, etc.

  [W] A room where a tutor explains Score, Stat, Reroll, being hungry, thirsty, various misc. statuses, etc. How to eat/drink, inven, equip, how to use a container, etc.

2) Random tip. Everytime you requested this, a random tip would be offered.

"Allanak eh? Mean streets. Why not start by putting your money away. Type put 1000 coins pack. Then, close pack. You can get your money back out by typing open pack, then get coins pack."

"If you ever get really lost in the game, Helpers are very useful and friendly. Visit this link to contact one any time."

"Elves are generally thieving bastards that nobody trusts, and dwarves have no hair, let alone beards, in Armageddon MUD. Visit the races page on the website for more information."

"Some structures can be entered and left. They are like rooms within rooms. Tents work this way too. Type enter to enter and leave to leave."

Etc.

:idea: Again, everything (money, skills, gear, but not stats) should be reset when typing "leave". Add a purge script that clears this whole area out every RL hour, so it doesn't become cluttered. Have a message that comes up, "The n00b tutorial area will reset in 5 minutes. 4, 3, 2, 1, etc."

Obviously a lot more could be done with this, like having a room to learn basic melee combat and ranged combat. Maybe "karma-only" room with a tutor that teaches the very basics of magick to a newbie 'gicker. etc.

Thoughts?

p.s. If the imms like this idea, I'd offer to help write up the material.
Amor Fati

Gimfalisette

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2006, 06:18:24 PM »
I love this idea, think it's great as you've posted it. I would add explicit information regarding where to get water and food in the new player's destination city. Like, in a prompt, not just a message board. Plus I'd probably give them a waterskin, make them fill it up, give them some flour, craft it into travel cakes, etc. All with specific instruction on what the commands are to do those things.

You'd probably want a room for basic combat instruction, too. Info about "nosave," what kinds of things will make the guards try to arrest you, and so on. Put an NPC or practice dummy in there.
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

gfair

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No noob in-game tutorial.
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2006, 08:41:18 PM »
The in-game noob tutorial has been decided against already.

Here's a thought:

Rather than tie in the game, why not create a small virtual world where people could do this without even needing a character, they could just go there to try the simple commands?

As for making it easy by telling them where to get food and watery - no. That stuff should be handled in-game by interacting with other people..

Fnord

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Re: No noob in-game tutorial.
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2006, 01:03:33 AM »
Quote from: "gfair"
As for making it easy by telling them where to get food and watery - no. That stuff should be handled in-game by interacting with other people..


Because it makes sense that a native of a city wouldn't know where to buy food and water.  :roll:

The imms already weighed in on this and said nay? Can someone point me to a link?
Amor Fati

spawnloser

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2006, 04:12:52 AM »
Why not just utilize the helpers?
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Gimfalisette

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2006, 04:36:02 AM »
Because not all people who potentially want to play ARM are naturally extroverted or oriented toward learning via interaction with people. Introverts and people who learn by doing are not naturally inclined to contact helpers. Because there is no "do it myself" tutorial or walkthrough which puts people in the game to "do it," these types of people are underserved in the newbie experience. And they may get turned off to the game, if they can't figure it out by themselves before they die or get hopelessly confused.

I am one of those people--both an introvert and a "do it myself"er. And as a newbie, in my opinion the newbie experience especially sucks for those of us who don't want to contact a helper.

As far as "handle it IC" in finding out about food and water...damned if I would have done that, since ICly speaking my character *should* be laughed at as a complete idiot for asking such a question. (There's no way any Zalanthan of age greater than about 8 would *not* know such a thing--unless they were an overly-pampered noble, which type of character is always played by a person who is not new to the MUD at all.) Why force newbies to have their first RP experience in the MUD be one that is totally OOC?

What I did, rather than contact a helper or ask stupid OOC questions while pretending that they are IC, is I just figured it out myself. In RL I'm a database programmer/analyst, so I'm used to figuring out code and problem-solving. But that sets the bar really, really high for newbies--and doesn't ARM need newbies, and more of them?
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

Morfeus

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2006, 05:48:51 AM »
Quote from: "Gimfalisette"
Because not all people who potentially want to play ARM are naturally extroverted or oriented toward learning via interaction with people. Introverts and people who learn by doing are not naturally inclined to contact helpers.


That is how I learned. I readed documentation over and over and then I jumped into a water... erm... sand.... and found I can swim.

I am not for newbie intro. I know it could be hard for newbies, but in my opinion, no newbie intro could show what is Armageddon about. We have nice documents about basic commands and I think lot of things could be found there (http://www.armageddon.org/intro/walkthrough.html and http://www.armageddon.org/general/mechanics.html).

I would suggest newbies to create a character who was not born in the said city (could be a villager for example). Then it is easy: do you need water? Ask someone where to get it. There is no shame that you do not know and it also gives you chance to interact with PCs. And that could give you more feel of the MUD than any newbie intro ever could.

All in my opinion.

Anonymous

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2006, 09:29:57 AM »
Quote from: "Morfeus"
Quote from: "Gimfalisette"
Because not all people who potentially want to play ARM are naturally extroverted or oriented toward learning via interaction with people. Introverts and people who learn by doing are not naturally inclined to contact helpers.


That is how I learned. I readed documentation over and over and then I jumped into a water... erm... sand.... and found I can swim.

I am not for newbie intro. I know it could be hard for newbies, but in my opinion, no newbie intro could show what is Armageddon about. We have nice documents about basic commands and I think lot of things could be found there (http://www.armageddon.org/intro/walkthrough.html and http://www.armageddon.org/general/mechanics.html).

I would suggest newbies to create a character who was not born in the said city (could be a villager for example). Then it is easy: do you need water? Ask someone where to get it. There is no shame that you do not know and it also gives you chance to interact with PCs. And that could give you more feel of the MUD than any newbie intro ever could.

All in my opinion.


Agreed, Morfeus.

And I really dislike the idea of using helpers to find out where water is, etc etc. as it sets a precedent for using OOC resources to find IC things, and that's just bad.

Am I the only person left who feels like part of the fun of the game is discovery? Having everything given to you off the top OOC just ruins the fun... Just because you've already discovered it all and forgotten what it was like to not know it does not necessarily mean that a new player benefits from having it all just told to him.

Fnord

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2006, 10:47:42 AM »
Quote from: "davien"
Am I the only person left who feels like part of the fun of the game is discovery? Having everything given to you off the top OOC just ruins the fun... Just because you've already discovered it all and forgotten what it was like to not know it does not necessarily mean that a new player benefits from having it all just told to him.


Who said anything about giving everything away? We're talking about basic, basic knowledge that any citizen in a city would know, like where to get food and water. I get the impression you're a veteran of Arm, and you know there's a huge difference between the two.

Honestly though, I am not really championing this cause. If our methods of acclimation are more Darwinian, so be it. I just think we lose some good potential players that way, and I'd like a larger playerbase. Maybe just an echo right when a new player logs in that points them to the helpers webpage would do. That's a lot less work. ;)
Amor Fati

Yokunama

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2006, 01:06:13 PM »
Quote from: "Fnord"
Quote from: "davien"
Am I the only person left who feels like part of the fun of the game is discovery? Having everything given to you off the top OOC just ruins the fun... Just because you've already discovered it all and forgotten what it was like to not know it does not necessarily mean that a new player benefits from having it all just told to him.


Who said anything about giving everything away? We're talking about basic, basic knowledge that any citizen in a city would know, like where to get food and water. I get the impression you're a veteran of Arm, and you know there's a huge difference between the two.


This knowledge is already accessible for new players.
'help map allanak'
'help map tuluk'

Code: [Select]
>drop pants
 You do not have that item.

Fnord

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2006, 01:46:13 PM »
Quote from: "Yokunama"
This knowledge is already accessible for new players.
'help map allanak'
'help map tuluk'


People that know the game, or even know about Mudding, already know a dozen ways to find out what they want. "help map allanak" is not exactly intuitive to someone new to Mudding. My suggestion is basically that we actively educate new players ahead of time, instead of counting on them to figure it out. Don't get me wrong, as an Arm regular, I love the harshness, but there are good potential players out there that will be turned off by that approach. I say, provide the most basic IC knowledge and game mechanics up front, so they don't get frustrated and feel stupid and leave before finding "help map allanak" or the helper webpage. Sifting through our massively large website, and having examples in game, where you can actually try commands, is two different things.

Arm has been around for what, 10 years? We have on average 50 players at peak? Why is this? It's not for lack of awesomeness, because Arm is the best there is. I bet ya one large a factor is the learning curve that turns off potential new players. I'm not saying my solution is the right one, but it should be addressed somehow.
Amor Fati

spawnloser

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2006, 01:47:43 PM »
For your first character in any city, don't make your character knowledgeable of the locations of food or water.  Simple.  Problem solved.  If you don't know the area, don't make your character have IC information that you don't have.  The documentation tells you everything that everyone in that city knows, and everything beyond that, I hate to use the phrase, but FIND OUT IC.  First off, it's not that hard to track down, if you go about it systematically.  Second off, it could force some actual interaction with another PC which may be inclined to give you even MORE information about the city you're in, all in a preferred IC way.

Helpers can give hints.  They aren't going to tell you where exactly to find the food and water.  They will tell you exactly where when you ask in game, though.
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Marauder Moe

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2006, 01:56:34 PM »
I think every single one of us regular players managed to find the water without a newbie zone, and probably most of us did it without helpers either.  Where do you draw the line on spoonfeeding newbies anyway?  The water fountains?  The grocer's shops?  Armor and weapon shops?  Names of currently active clan recruiters?  There is ALWAYS more to learn.  I've been playing for years and I still learn things all the time, both about the game world and about the code.

Delirium

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2006, 02:04:10 PM »
Way to be elitist, Moe.

I didn't know about the water sellers until I was a long time into my first character, at least 10 days playtime.  I was buying water in taverns, believe it or not.  This was back when those watery fruits kept you almost indefinitely not-thirsty and the thirst code was less severe, so I managed to survive.

In lieu of an in-game tutorial, I would rather see walkthroughs made for both Tuluk and Allanak.  I believe there is one for Allanak, but it may need updating.  In fact, if any newbies that started in Tuluk or Allanak would like to PM me with the questions and problems they remember running into, I'll start collecting information for those.  The problem with a veteran writing tutorials is, often, that a vet doesn't remember what a new player finds confusing.
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amoeba

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2006, 02:18:34 PM »
Quote from: "Delirium"
The problem with a veteran writing tutorials is, often, that a vet doesn't remember what a new player finds confusing.
quote="Morgenes"]
Quote from: "The Philosopher Jagger"
You can't always get what you want.
[/quote]

Cale_Knight

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2006, 02:22:44 PM »
Quote from: "amoeba"
Quote from: "Delirium"
The problem with a veteran writing tutorials is, often, that a vet doesn't remember what a new player finds confusing.


Which is why the players you ask to write this are the ones who haveare comfortable in the game, but still remember what it's like to be a newbie. There are plenty of us.
Brevity is the soul of wit." -Shakespeare

"Omit needless words." -Strunk and White.

"Simplify, simplify." Thoreau

Dalmeth

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2006, 02:35:47 PM »
Quote from: "Delirium"
Way to be elitist, Moe.


People throw that term around way too much.  I suggest you stop using petty names to try and strengthen your arguements.

Besides, he's not being elitist, he's simply not being nurturing.  If he had said that they didn't belong here if they couldn't figure out everything by themselves, that would be elitist.

I too lean in the direction of the do-it-yourselfers.  This game isn't designed to be learned in its entirety in just a couple months.  Also, an introduction standardizes new players' interpretation and approach to this game.  I'm in favor of letting people build those on their own, with some help from friendly players and the helpers.
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Marauder Moe

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2006, 02:45:37 PM »
Elitist?  Hah!  I wrote more but decided against actually posting it because it was kinda harsh.  What's left isn't elitist, it's true... unless there are veterans running about not knowing how to get water.

Seriously, though, you didn't answer my question.  Where do you draw the line?  What's the minimal amount of information that an intelligent newbie needs to play Armageddon?  I'll admit that there are a few key gaps in the documentation (that will be adressed in new sections being created I think), and a few parts that I personally feel are outdated and give the wrong impressin of the game (*cough*guilddescriptions*cough*), but for the most part they're quite comprehensive... assuming new players actually read them.

I don't think a tutorial zone will help very much, and I do think it could give some players a bad/wrong impression of the game.  People will judge a game based off what they see in a tutorial zone.

Cale_Knight

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2006, 02:57:06 PM »
Quote from: "Marauder Moe"
What's the minimal amount of information that an intelligent newbie needs to play Armageddon?


A newbie should have access to the knowledge that every single 20-year-old citizen of Allanak/Tuluk would have.

That includes directions to the water temple, shops in the bazaar, and the grocer. And all the other stuff that you call "spoonfeeding," if it would be reasonable for a 20-year-old citizen to know it.
Brevity is the soul of wit." -Shakespeare

"Omit needless words." -Strunk and White.

"Simplify, simplify." Thoreau

Gimfalisette

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2006, 07:52:09 PM »
I completely, 100% agree with Cale_Knight and others who've said the same thing: Give newbies the basic information that their character *should* know ICly. Where and how to get water, where and how to get flour, etc.

Not giving the newbies basics like where and how to get food and water *will* drive otherwise interested people out of the game. Because the help documentation sucks on this stuff. Let me lay out for you pretty much how this went for me about a week ago:

1. Look at the help file for help_map_allanak. Ooh cool, there's a map of the city! Oh, I will be able to find what I need now! There's the temple where I can get water, and it's clearly marked. Great. OK, navigating isn't too hard, I just continue straight down this road and eventually I'll get there...

2. OK, I'm at the temple. There's a templar here. When I try to talk to him, he doesn't say anything. There's no one else here for me to ask...ok, I'll look in the help files again...

3. How to buy things! Yeah, that must be it, I'll look in help_merchant...Wait, there's nothing there that's relevant to buying something, not even a link...OK, help_buy...great, a buy command! I'll type "buy water"...But that doesn't work. What the crap am I doing wrong? I just want to buy some water.

4. OK, I'll look at some other commands related to buying things. List! Yeah, ok, so I type "list" and surely the templar will tell me how to buy water...um...list doesn't work here because he's got nothing to sell? Crap again.

5. Back to the help files. Help_water, that must be it! And this help file tells me...absolutely nothing I didn't already know, because the only thing of use is that it tells me WHERE TO GET THE WATER, which is where I already am!

6. Alright, I'll look at help_drink since it's linked from help_water....nothing there of use at the moment, since I don't have any water to drink yet. Help_thirst, no help at all, help_eat, not there either.

7. Finally, it's only by traveling from help_water to help_drink to help_fill that I actually find out how to get water at the temple.

8. And guess what? I don't have anything to carry water in yet. That means a trip to the Bazaar...

9. I've just spent an hour trying to figure out how to get water, which I still don't have, and I really don't feel like banging my head against the Bazaar at the moment, so I log out...

10. Never to return because, frankly, I didn't have any fun at all and my first experience in ARM was one of complete annoyance and time-wastage.

(Actually, I myself did come back, because I'm stubborn. But not everyone is like me.)

Oh, and I still don't know where to get flour.

I encountered a newbie earlier today in the game and I tried to give him as much helpful information as I could, ICly, because there was no one better-qualified around to help. He, however, had to roleplay as if he was brain-damaged AND not from the city. Poor guy. Good thing he didn't ask me where to get flour, because then I'd have to roleplay being brain-damaged too.

I hope he comes back, but I really wouldn't blame him if he didn't.
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

amoeba

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2006, 09:07:23 PM »
I like Gimfalisette's post. It lays out some of the things veterans take for granted.  A game of guess the keyword is not all that enjoyable. I remember my first character in Allanak I could not even find out where to buy water.  I saw the temple, looked in and saw a templar, after all the talk about templars being dangerous I figured waltzing into a temple I didn't belong was dangerous.  

Now, you could have stated I was one of the 'unintelligent' newbies. Hell my first and only question to a helper (in frustration mind you, I hate emailing strangers with a passion) was to ask where water was, boy did I feel stupid.  But, like I said, this was my first character in Allanak, it was my second character overall.  My first character lived up north, was a ranger and spent 70% of the time in the wilds.  He lived 5+ playing days.

My point is, there should have been a simple -obvious- way to find out this information.  I still think a simple command 'help newbie' that would transport the person to an ooc room, where boards of relavant information would be placed,  and a couple of npc's to interact with would be useful.  It is no more 'jarring' than being able to in the wilds type 'change ldesc' and being transported to a similar ooc construct.

Btw,  Gimfalisette. At least you did better than me. I couldn't even find the water in the first place. :)
quote="Morgenes"]
Quote from: "The Philosopher Jagger"
You can't always get what you want.
[/quote]

Realedazed

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2006, 09:18:28 PM »
Actually, I think that the newbie land would be a good idea.  But, I'd like to see it completely accessible outside of the real game. It would be a nice thing that a newbie to do while waiting for their first (or second, or third) application to go through.

I think it'll be nice. If there are several newbie there, they could practice emoting and RPing with each other, fighting etc.  Also, in newbieland,  there could be links or references back to the help files.

For example in a market.

>Ask shopkeeper help

A hunched back, human woman says, "If you like, I'll LIST you my wares so you may VIEW them. You may need HELP on BARTERing and OFFERing, too.

I don't know. This how I used to help new players when I was a helper on another slightly less intensive RP MUD.
 got caught at school with my hands down my pants and had to keep it down there for  a whole week.......What a week!
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Gimfalisette

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2006, 09:24:13 PM »
amoeba, what happened above was actually the second time I went to the temple for water. The first time I did just like you, didn't even dare to go in when I saw a templar standing in there. By the second time, I figured...heck, I'm going to die if I can't figure out the water issue, so may as well try approaching and talking to that templar... :)
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2006, 09:28:40 PM »
Delirium wrote:
Quote
In lieu of an in-game tutorial, I would rather see walkthroughs made for both Tuluk and Allanak. I believe there is one for Allanak, but it may need updating.

Yes, I would rather see more walkthroughs, and I'd like to see them featured more prominently on the site. I didn't see the Allanak walkthrough until I'd been playing my third character for about a year, heh, but it was a very good walkthrough that would've let my first two characters live a lot longer, I'm sure.
For some visceral, primal, intangible reason I really can't explain, I really, really, really dislike noobie tutorials in -any- game. I'd hate to see one in Arm... sorry, that's just how I feel.
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Fnord

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Fnord's New Player Guide Idea
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2006, 10:00:36 PM »
Quote from: "FiveDisgruntledMonkeysWit"
For some visceral, primal, intangible reason I really can't explain, I really, really, really dislike noobie tutorials in -any- game. I'd hate to see one in Arm... sorry, that's just how I feel.


You'll notice in the OP I suggested there should be an easy, one-word command to exit it. That way people that are brand new to Mudding or brand new to Arm that feel they need some help can use it, and more advanced players can jump in and play as they're accustomed to.

Another thought that occurs to me... the NPC tutors could end any lesson with something like, "Remember, while these beginner tutorials are OOC (out of character), once you're in game you should make every effort to stay IC (in character). Go to this link on our website to learn more about these important concepts."
Amor Fati