With retirement and milestones being introduced, we're seeing an increase in new players; new both to the game, and some times new to MUDs entirely. Aetolia is an extremely complicated game, with a steep learning curve, so newbies really need all the help they can get. I wanted to make a thread for ideas to help improve the new player experience overall and increase retention.
I have a lot to say, too much to fit into a classlead or an idea and I expect others might want to share their thoughts as well.
For my opening post, I'm going to be talking mostly about Spinesreach as it's the place I'm most familiar with, though some of the things I have to say will apply to other places in the game as well.
Please feel free to post your own ideas here, if you have them.
=-= Wayfarers =-=
The Wayfarer class is a great addition to Aetolia, but unfortunately for new players it deprives them of a guild. New Wayfarers cannot join a guild until they master their current class, meaning they're left exclusively in the hands of the city they belong to until they can achieve mastery.
The city can help to an extent. For example in Spinesreach we're considering a 'pseudo-guild' clan with all sorts of information for guildless citizens holding neutral classes. The way Aetolia's community is designed however is that Guilds within a city form a division of labor wherein being a member of a guild affords the member certain perks. Perks like RP opportunities, goals, guild credits, discounts, etc. To get to the point, being a member of a guild and having someone be a member OF your guild is beneficial to both parties and the community as a whole.
My suggestions? There are several possible ways to deal with this issue.
1) Add something into the academy that allows a Wayfarer to choose a guild, with short blurbs given for each guild option.
2) Allow Wayfarers to join a guild without mastering their current class.
3) Remove Wayfarer from the starting class selection options, BUT let new players know in character creation that Wayfarers AND Shapeshifters are potential 'advanced' classes they can obtain later on.
=-= Ice =-=
Benevolent Keroc descended and decreased the chances of ice spawning within the city, but it's still there. Please:
1) make newbies entirely immune to slipping on ice
2) remove ice floors from the city ENTIRELY. We have tons of guards, put 'em to work.
3) give newbies a HINT when they slip on ice to visit the academy for their starting elixirs and to SIP LEVITATION to avoid slipping on ice
=-= Singularity Absorb =-=
Currently Sciomancers are a popular guild and a popular class within Spinesreach. Unfortunately, they have a rather nasty passive that punishes newbies and classes without access to nightsight or a nightsight equivalent. I get a lot of 'Why can't I see anything?' Usually people are more than willing to toggle absorb off when it's called to attention, but the fact of the matter is this shouldn't be an issue to begin with.
Here's some ideas.
1) Make absorb and the darkness mechanic work differently, in a way that doesn't exclusively punish new players and people with limited game knowledge.
2) Add some sort of 'city skill' for each city. Spinesreach could have nightsight. (?)
3) Add/increase a mana/wp drain or some other reminder to absorb so there's less incentive to just leave it on all the time.
4) Add a new nightsight enchantment, Spirean newbs would get one for free from the academy.
=-= Archivists can't see! =-=
In the city of Shadow, the Archivists got a weird utility nerf in not being able to see hidden/cloaked people. In a city where literally every other class is able to hide themselves somehow, this sort of breaks the uniformity of the guild's theme. This isn't strictly a novice change, just something that rubs me the wrong way. The only real answer I can give up-and-coming archivists as to 'why can't I see anyone?!' is 'get to 100 and buy heatsight'. To me, that's a little wild and it's an issue most of us take for granted because we're all level 100+ endgamers with every racial unlocked.
1) Please give archivists some sort of heatsight or heatsight equivalent. It doesn't need to be lifevision.
2) Again, some sort of passive city skill that allows all members of Spinesreach some form of heatsight/nightsight.
3) A heatsight enchantment.
=-= Mentor system improvements=-=
I think the mentor system could be improved a bit to both encourage new players to seek out good mentors and reward good mentors for paying attention to their proteges. The 'kill X mobs together' milestones are a great start, but there's always room to improve.
1) Add some sort of 'tutor keystone' that could give access to special wares. These 'tutor keystones' could be earned in numerous ways, including having a new player (under a certain time played) esteem you.
2) Add a way for proteges to anonymously review their mentors. Encourage admin/volunteers to reward mentors with consistently positive records.
3) Mentors and proteges should always be able to PATH FIND/PATH TRACK to each other, regardless of ally status, in my opinion.
4) Mentors and proteges both should be rewarded more for retention, not just buying credits. Just an idea, but for example if a protege ascends or hits a level threshold, perhaps both mentor and protege get a gold/tutor keystone.
That's all I have for my opening post based off recent feedback, but I'm pretty tired at the moment and will likely have more to add later.