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Reader Comments (20)

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 8:31AM Doba said

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some freakin LAZERZZZZ

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 8:34AM Zuljundwumn said

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I want great storytelling in a starter zone, kinda like Lotro or Age of Conan. Although In AOC it goes downhill after the great starting zone.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 9:31AM Scotland Tom said

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1. Are there interesting things for me to do? Not just kill quests, but stories, exploration, characters to meet, crafting to learn, ways to engage with other players and socialize, etc.

2. Is the game adequately teaching me how to play? Is it throwing me in over my head expecting me to figure everything out or is it at least pointing me in the right direction?

3. Is it safe? Am I going to be ganked within minutes of entering the zone or am I relatively secure?

4. Is the world interesting to look at and explore?

5. Is it easy to get around? Is finding my way overly complicated or frustrating? Are important NPCs and areas clearly visible and easy to get to?

Each of these qualifications needs to be met in a starting zone / new character experience. If I can't answer any of those questions satisfactorily then I start to lose interest very quickly.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 9:40AM Ocho said

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Storyline. If the opening zone can't give a good introduction to the overarching storyline, and gives our characters purpose for WHY we're fighting the overall bad guy, then don't bother. "Dropz phat lootz" doesn't count.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 9:47AM MMOaddict said

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What I want from a starter area is MORE THAN ONE, please. Looking at you AoC and a certain game in closed Beta right now, ahem. Or Hello, Aion. Fools.

Sorry, but it really ticks me off to have to make every single alt go through the exact same experience just to experience a different race/class. This is one area that I think the BIG ones do it right. WoW does it, Lotro does it, EQ2 even does it. It makes playing an alt worthwhile and I'm a huge altoholic. Nothing will push me further from a game than lack of alternate leveling areas/starting areas.

Other than that, I think WoW does it right with their starting areas. Lead me through while giving me quick tutorials on how the game will eventually play out. Tease me a bit with signs of things to come in the later parts of the game. Like showing me mounts or housing items or getting me started on a crafting profession. That sort of thing.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 11:24AM Platypus Man said

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@MMOaddict

Hear, hear. I agree with all of that. :P
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Posted: Dec 16th 2010 1:26PM drakon said

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@MMOaddict

Yep I agree completely. WAR was really disappointing in this sense. The Dwarf vs Greenskin starting area's were awesome, the Human vs Chaos was ok and the Elf starting area was flat out lame. Now, they've basically killed the Greenskin and Elf ones by having everyone start in human area. Stupid move IMO.

If you ever played DAoC, the new tutorial area is awesome for introducing all aspects of the game including PvP. But the downside is you miss out on all the different racial starting area's that there used to be.
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Posted: Dec 17th 2010 11:03PM Jenks said

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@MMOaddict

I agree with this 100%

I couldn't get into EQ2 at release because I was a huge fan of EQ with its... at least 11 starting areas. EQ2 had 2, I was angry enough to quit pretty fast.
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Posted: Dec 16th 2010 11:07AM Armidian said

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For traditional mmoRPGs i have to have a story and honestly quest text just infuiriates me now. I dont like leveling anymore it got old years ago and is why i have a hard time finding a new mmo. It realy needs to have a well structured intersting story that starts at level one and can carry you through to max level, otherwise i will kill 10 pigs for no good reason 10 maybe 20 levels and cancel my sub.

Now for sandbox style mmo's give me a tutorial, some LAZEEERS, and send me on my way.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 11:46AM Tizmah said

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@Armidian I will agree. I just recently resubbed to World of Warcraft. I'm having a great time returning, however, Who wants to read paragraphs of text in a box? Age of Conan made questing and npc talk much better, but it certainly can be expanded upon. I find the times I pay attention most to the story in WoW is when things are actually playing out in front of me, rather than brief summaries in dialog boxes. I don't want to read an NPC doing something, such as "Alanor lets out a cry!" I want to see it unfolding. WoW does unfold in front of you some times, but it does a rather half assed attempt at it. Sometimes they'll do something, sometimes they won't.

I don't even read quest boxes anymore, or rarely if I force myself. I just say Screw it, I'll get the jest of what's going on as I do the quest.
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Posted: Dec 16th 2010 11:38AM Aganazer said

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What do I want from what is surely to be the most boring area of the game?

An option to skip it.

I know there are always going to be new players that have never encountered WASD movement keys, but I am not among them.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 11:50AM pixledriven said

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I don't like rails. A "starting area" implies that its meant to get you on the rails and pat you on the head as you start your way down the track.

What I want from a tutorial is to have it actually teach me the game systems and tools. "How to Move" is important for some, but when all it includes is movement and how to click on mobs, that's pretty lame. Give me a short course on how your game works, then let me go on my way.

Also, make it sippable. Not just "do it or don't" either, let me skip PARTS of it, so I can go "I already know WASD movement, but I want to learn how crafting works in this game." Then go check that out and move on.

Also, if your tutorial grants any experience, give that XP to me as a bonus if I hit the "skip tutorial" button.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 1:31PM drakon said

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@pixledriven

There is a fine line between "rails" for a starting area and a sandbox style one. On one hand you have to have it safe for people to learn the ropes without getting pummeled by a wandering high level monster. You have to do this by controlling some elements of the starting area, hence the feeling of "rails". But if you control it too much it turns into an arcade game with levels.

I agree with you on giving XP for skipping the tutorial.
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Posted: Dec 16th 2010 1:07PM 8zero said

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I LOATHE starting areas where you have to do the same quest line for each new character. I hate hate hate games that have the tutorial mixed in with 10 levels of linear questing!

I want to know the basics of the game, the mechanics. I play these games to roam free in open virtual worlds. I want to be free from the start.

A perfect example of how NOT to do a starter zone is given to us by Champions Online. At release, there was no way to skip the tutorial, no matter how many times you completed it. This was a horrible design flaw, especially in a game where making a huge number of alts is a given practice by everyone. Then to add insult to injury, upon completion of the first tutorial, you are then regulated to your choice of two more "tutorial story" zones...

This asinine first 10 levels of the game absolutely killed all the enjoyment for me. I got so very sick and tired of doing all these missions, all these quests, over and over and over and over.

Kudos to CO for changing it somewhat and allowing you to skip some of that beginners garbage.

A good example of starter zones? Old Everquest...you have a few initial choices depending on race, and when you enter the game you are free to do your own thing.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 2:01PM Dumac said

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I wanna say, i want everything that i want from the rest of the game, but maybe in a simpler form.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 3:20PM Pingles said

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I was pleased by the new starting areas when I returned to Cataclysm's WoW.

The starting area plays out like an RPG. They do "phasing" where you don't see the same thing as the player standing next to you. While it may be a bit odd at first it allows for a very dynamic world.

I have my complaints, but this is probably the best starting experience I have ever played.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 5:49PM Birk said

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@Pingles

Agreed; fired up the Worgen starting area and I love the storyline so far. I don't think there's really another starting area that puts you so in touch with your faction leader representative.

Rescuing Genn Greymane, and the way they dealt with the curse was bloody brilliant.

I jumped in expecting Twilight, and came out with Epic Giddiness.

-Birk
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Posted: Dec 16th 2010 4:00PM toychristopher said

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To get out of them as soon as possible.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 7:16PM HereticalPenguin said

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Immersion into the game world/game's storyline is usually what hooks me. It doesn't have to be intense, but simply an introduction to the world that makes me want to spend my time in it.

Posted: Dec 16th 2010 7:18PM tretter1 said

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I don't want to be lost looking for quests, quests mobs, quests items, make it quick, and effective. To keep users, achieving things quickly in the beginning is key. Not roaming looking for a pointless mob to kill. Just to take its head back to the quest giver.

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