The Newbie Experience

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.


  • edited May 2020
    I agree with most of it. I don't agree with rewarding mentors for helping new players, though. They should help new players because they want to help new players, not because they'll get benefits for it.

    Other games have tried various forms of 'mentor rewards' and every single time they got gamed hard, then promptly removed. Giving admin yet another thing they'd need to monitor isn't gonna work well.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Ice option 3 was easy, so I just made that a thing.
  • edited May 2020
    Absorb already has a willpower cost and is a central part of my offense, if not the core. Please do not increase the price on it. Not to mention, the class is already will-starved without the circlet.

    Instead, I would advocate for allowing newbies to see through darkness until Level 30 and the nightsight enchantment idea. Gives me more to do with Enchantment to support novices and that's always a good thing.
  • edited May 2020
    Instead of adding -more- ways to bypass general skills and putting more pressure on a skillset that is already difficult to use due to the limited supply of commodities required for its use, wouldn't a better solution be to lower the skill rank that you learn nightsight in vision? Right now it is 572 lessons in.

  • Why doesn't Spinesreach just add gas-powered streetlights along the main roads? That way you don't have to change everything and most of the city can still be swept up in darkness.
  • Escelika said:

    Why doesn't Spinesreach just add gas-powered streetlights along the main roads? That way you don't have to change everything and most of the city can still be swept up in darkness.

    Ooh or like those old school lantern streetlights, and have an NPC that goes around at dusk to light the candles inside....
    -Have it be a Xorani that is overbundled in furs...
  • Escelika said:

    Why doesn't Spinesreach just add gas-powered streetlights along the main roads? That way you don't have to change everything and most of the city can still be swept up in darkness.

    I like this. A lot, actually. I can propose an orgreq to Fezzix when he returns.
  • Yes. I like the poor Xorani trying to keep warm. I figured gas lamps because it's more steampunk.
  • I really love playing a Wayfarer but it would be good if they could still join a guild as a novice. 1 or 2 would be the most inclusive options.

    This is more for players but every city should have easy to find help files for what you should be learning and why as a new person. Not all of them do and not all of them are current. It does not do any good if it is a guild file because the novice will have graduated through this stage in order to see it too late. Even if it is smart that new people wait for their lessons until after they graduate, they want to know the feeling of their class and it is hard to not spend points you have gathered. And I know there is HELP GUILDNOVICES but not every class has a guild so this is not good to rely on.

    Or each class should have its own true introduction file that also tells you where you need to get basic equipment, like from a forger or a woodcrafter or such things. HELP NOVICE WAYFARER or some thing, so new people have a standard resource.
  • RhyotRhyot Bloodloch
    Sounds like a great way to get involved in your city!!

    Get involved with your city leadership to help build CHELP NOVICES scrolls and outline what you need to get you to the point of what you need to learn before you get involved in a guild.

  • edited May 2020
    I have and Duiran is well off but not all places are. It is good for cities to provide for their own.

    Not knowing how to do your basic skills that you make your way with in the game is a source of great frustration that it is better to have a standard for new people to help guide them to. It is a very important step in the transition from tutorial and academy to the real game that I think needs more uniformity in its support. Cities can offer other supplemental things through player experience to enhance this but it is a core demand every new person will face, and would benefit further outreach with multi-classing and neutral classes.

    I am trying to think of how to best explain why I feel this is important.

    Learning how to do your basic class functions is a necessity to advance in requirements, tasks, and to feel more capable as you explore the game world. The transition between tutorial and academy is a vulnerable place to capture and engage a new player. With so many times of play and styles of play it is not always easy to find a person who can answer your questions, or if no one of your class is around.

    For these reasons the core starting point of how to use your skills and find mobility in the world should be centralized. Then cities can expand on this with their player experience and other things that give vibrancy and quality of life to the game. So many times I see on Newbie "I think your city has this file" and confusion for what it is called or where to look. To have one standard place you can rely on for this very common need I think would be beneficial. It is also a thing I believe we can build from our help files that are already started, if we have a place we can begin to HELPEDIT from so it is still player sourced.
  • I think we should add a bit of Indorani into the Wayfarer/Shapeshifter class to guild issues. I haven't been around much yet but I've already seen two people struggle with that that were new to the game.

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