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Reader Comments (28)

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:28PM (Unverified) said

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I think developers should focus on perhaps inundating the player with "lore" from the get go. I really like LOTRO beginning tutorial. It grabbed you from the beginning then, gave you a reason to fight, then settled down to a bit more scenic view to learn the "ropes" of the game.

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:38PM (Unverified) said

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I remember the first time I played FFXI I watched the opening movie which was quite well done. The first thought I had was I wanted to go explore that city in the movie. Sadly such city didn't exist in the game! But that exciting opening scene followed by entry into that same area, even if it's after the events take place would be a way to engage the user yet allow for the slower pace learning controls requires.

Oh and FFXIV... don't show me a place I'm gonna want to go see if you're not planning to build it lol.
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Posted: Jan 20th 2010 4:51AM eNTi said

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lore? wtf, i don't want to be bored out of the game the first few minutes. that's just insane!
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Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:10PM wjowski said

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Ahh, the bait and switch tutorial. ...I'm looking at you Allods.

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 10:43PM Gaugamela said

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I actually found the Allods tutorial to be done just right. It wasn't too big and exciting, it taught you the basics to play around in the initial starter area, and it introduced a bit of lore without being too overwhelming.
The starter areas by themselves are well done. There's a fair amount of quests, variation to them (they aren't only grinding quests) and the storyline of the starter areas is pretty good.

Sure it had a climax a bit bigger than what you were going to do later, but it is well done.

IMO, a bad tutorial and starter area experience is one that drops you in the game with all the things you will be able to do in the game right from the start. If you can do everything the game has to offer right from the start then there's not much of an incentive to play to the higher levels especially if the higher levels are more unpolished and unfun (looking at you WAR and AoC).
Again Allods is great in this aspect since the real endgame involves ship PvP that we won't be able to try untill then. Or WoW with their raid dungeons for that matter.
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Posted: Jan 20th 2010 11:48AM wjowski said

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I'm not saying it's a bad tutorial. Quite the opposite actually. Just that the change in momentum once you're off the astral ship is rather...jarring.
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Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:24PM DevilSei said

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Eh, honestly I have no real qualms with an MMO starting me off with just killing a few overgrown wolf pups and a few annoying kobolds and mutant rats... maybe thats just me. I mean, its all subjective though to the kind of game.

As a villain, what better way to start off your career than by breaking out of jail? Personally I liked CoX's tutorial stage, at least for the villainous side.

In WoW, you often start as some green-bellied rookie who doesn't know much more than Clyde of Radiata stories, or about 80% of the npcs around you. Personally the Draenei starting zone is the best of all the races I think. The quests there are a bit more unique, have you dealing with something a bit more than a bunch of kobolds with a candle/wax fetish, and stays rather fresh.

I actually hated CO's tutorial stage, at the same time you're supposed to be doing your super-heroy best, but at the same time you got a bunch of army guys teaching you HOW to super-hero. The context of the stage itself is epic, but the way they handled it reduced the overall feeling.

Why can't they do something a bit more personal? Instead of accepting a quest to learn how to use active block, when you approach a certain area the screen zooms out and focuses on an enemy archer firing upon you, or some large piece of debris hurtling towards you, and the game pauses for a second, shows you the button to block, and once you press it, the character deflects or takes the blow like a man. Remove the annoying "accept quest, learn to block, turn in quest" repeat cycle and make it more of an interactive part of the game.

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:36PM (Unverified) said

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Because unfortunately, pausing MMOs is something that has been largely overlooked. I assume it's due to the synchronicity issues it would create, though.
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Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:52PM DevilSei said

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True true, but honestly most MMOs nowadays are focusing more upon single-player tutorials, which makes a brief pause or slowdown of the game a non-issue. CO's stage is heavily instanced, AoC IS a single-player tutorial, and even Allods Online's beginning tutorial is single-player.
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Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:39PM Interitus said

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You think the STO tutorial is intense now? You should have seen it in CB where you are learning to walk 10 feet away from a bunch of borg.. oh Cryptic and your poor understanding of people

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 9:54PM (Unverified) said

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What?!?! Are you serious? I LOVED the opening tutorial for STO. I definitely respect your opinion about it... BUT... I personally thought it was one of the best tutorials I've seen in a while.

I would agree with you that giving too much for a player to learn at one time is overwhelming. But I thought STO did well with taking you through major aspects step by step and also with a cool storyline behind it.

I wish more MMOs payed attention to the initial tutorial of a game. I think drawing people in with a good first experience is always the way to go. Just my thoughts.

Posted: Jan 20th 2010 8:26AM Purkit said

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Personally I disliked the STO tutorial. I just can't stand the way Cryptic sucked all the tension out of my first encounter with the Borg and made them so harmless I felt I was never in any real danger, which I wasn't.

Its the terrible pacing Cryptic incorporates into their games I dislike. When the tutorial for a game starts with something epic like this the real beginning of the game will always feel smaller and less important. Also because the tutorial needs to be easy you have to cripple a dangerous enemy so they are harmless to your new players.

Star Fleet Academy is the obvious tutorial experience. The setting is ideal for designing tutorial scenarios, the player would also feel they are earning their commission as a Star Fleet Officer. At the end of the tutorial you could have some fairly minor incident that propels your character into command, or your first real mission culminates in you taking command.

Maybe not as action packed as the current tutorial, but it would ground the player and their character in the world, which is the whole point of a tutorial. You have the rest of the game to battle the Borg and save the galaxy, don't waste such an epic experience in a tutorial.
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Posted: Jan 19th 2010 10:25PM Nadril said

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The biggest issue I have is when the tutorial is 1000% better than the actual game. Starting off big is fine and all, but be sure you can keep up the pace.

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 10:33PM (Unverified) said

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What no mention of Fallen Earth? Talk about the ultimate let-down that game starts out fun before you get blown up, then gets lame very quickly. Its a complete con.

Posted: Jan 19th 2010 10:38PM Zaetal said

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Or Fallen Earth that sets you up at max level and then drops you back down to level 1, sometimes I do miss the days of just spawning in Moonglow and whacking deer with a crap sword....

That's usually when I load up Progress Quest.

Global Agenda's tutorial is decent, start naked, go grab pieces of your kit as you move along, just doesn't teach anything really class specific, once you've run it once you can skip it on the rest of your chars, you start the actual game at lvl 5 either way.

Posted: Jan 20th 2010 12:57AM (Unverified) said

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Hah, glad some people mentioned Fallen Earth, as soon as I read the title to this post that was the game that jumped to mind. Love the picture by the way. Fallen Earth pretty much starts off with red lights flashing, and alarms buzzing in your ear, and some lady you can't see calling for you to come save her, and then you blow yourself up.

My favorite "Tutorial" so far in an MMO, no contest, was Age of Conan. The first 20 levels, I've never been so hooked. The voice acting, the rich story and environment, you don't even notice for a second that the game is starting you off with limited skills to get the hang of things. It felt like playing a Bioware game. Of course, the problem with AoC was that it was all down hill past the tutorial. Still, I really found myself surprised with how much I enjoyed the single player introduction to an MMO. I remember some people crying heresy, and it was slightly confusing how you could switch between Day, which was single player, and Night, which had Players, but I think it all worked great.

Posted: Jan 20th 2010 12:24AM Bezza said

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Fallen Earth defiantly was an abrupt drop off a massive abyss as far as starting was concerned. Fortunately it is a kind of relaxed MMO where taking your time to learn things doesn’t feel as bad as in some other games. What was so bad about CO I am not sure? I dint find it a hard start, the game wasn’t that complex that it called for an in-depth tutorial. But once you got to Millennium City I felt you then lacked motivation and direction.

I thought Aion’s starting tutorial was good, mainly in the way it used images and video to teach you as opposed to the mundane text style method. I found it surprisingly refreshing that I didn’t have to read much, one glance at the little video of the controls and I knew what to do instinctively.

On the other hand, there is a down side in having to good of a starting zone like AoC, the starting zone is so good it’s a big let down when you get past it and have to find your way.

I feel that a starting area that isn’t so full on that you feel so much is at stake if you get something wrong is good (like GW was) with videos as opposed to text like Aion has with enough motivation/bait to get you into the next stage. But considering everyone prefers it differently I doubt any one method will suit everyone.

Posted: Jan 20th 2010 4:59AM Miffy said

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My problem with tutorials is they teach me how to play a game as if I was an idiot. I know how to play MMOs, they're all the same and the funny thing is most tutorials don't teach you anything anyways, they just talk down to you. Then if you want to create ALTs you have to run it again and it is so boring. I never got past Champions Online tutorial area, it just felt so dumbed down and boring.

I loved how SWG started where it chucked you into the game and you had to work it out for yourself. I really felt lost and it made me feel like I was really exploring and in a proper online world. The great thing about SWG is it was a sandbox so players could make their own tutorials for new players. I remember standing outside starports and waiting for all the new players and helping them out. You'd give them everything they needed to start the game and spend the day showing them the ropes.

Shame that will never happen again because people who play games today are stupid.

Posted: Jan 20th 2010 8:47AM nomoredroids said

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I hate tutorials, too. With all my heart, I hate tutorials. Most games are played the same, and anything I didn't know I can find out (usually) by looking at the key bindings or clicking random stuff. Why do I need to know how to move? OH, you hit the 'C' button for character, you mean like in every other game? Yeah, the Champions Online tutorial was horrible. The only necessary tutorial I've found is the Fallen Earth one, because it really is a very different control scheme.

I disagree with your last sentence. People have always been stupid.
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Posted: Jan 20th 2010 8:54AM LaughingTarget said

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The SWG method was terrible. You're not an infant and should have a grasp on how to do things like walk and move your finger over a trigger. A MMO should teach you how to use the UI, but should offer an option to skip.

The tutorial I like best is in EVE. It actually tarvhes you the game's operation over a lengthy epic mission arc. A far cry better than when I tried it out in 2003, trying to figure out how to move the ship after being dumped into the middle of nowhere space.
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