Mechanics are terribly explained (and how to improve this)

Silan is an absolutely atrocious introduction to this game for new players. Many, many people have realized this. It is somewhat poorly structured, but more importantly, it leaves entire game mechanics and features out. I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain basic concepts to new players on Silan who struggle to play the game.

Let's start with the most fundamental: Silan fails to introduce players to what kind of game Ryzom actually is. Even the wiki acknowledges that Silan's questy nature would lead people to believe that Ryzom is a quest-based MMO, like the majority of MMOs out there ever since World of Warcraft. I would hazard to guess that this leads to a lot of players joining, having some fun, and then leaving soon after they go to the mainland due to disappoinment and/or confusion. A simple solution to this would simply be to have more missions like the kami and karavan missions, or have Silan-specific "Journeyman" NPCs that mostly only pay dappers and raise reputation with one faction ever so slightly (so little that it's not really an effective way to gain reputation, but just enough to show the player that's what these kinds of missions do). Let players be immersed in the kind of game this is from the very beginning, not after they've finished a tutorial that spans dozens of hours.

That also leads onto the first major mechanic Silan pointedly doesn't introduce: daily missions. When you open the "Daily Missions" thing accidentally for the first time, you see that it's not available to you and dismiss it as irrelevant. There is no way to know in advance that daily missions will do anything for you, let alone what you will do. But if you allowed the player to take daily missions on Silan via the suggested Silan Journeyman NPCs and explained what they are and why you would want to do them, new players would quickly learn about this important mechanic rather than only finding out either when they stumble into it or read the wiki or happen to have this explained to them by another player.

If daily missions is willing to occasionally give every player Silan daily missions, that would have another side benefit: bringing veteran players into the only space that beginners see. (Side note, I don't know if it already works this way, but daily missions should only offer missions for regions you have explored to ensure that beginning players are realistically able to do all of the daily missions they are presented. If that's not the case, it should be fixed.)

Daily missions on Silan would also help to enable introducing elyps, the next major mechanic the game never introduces to the player despite its importance. Introducing elyps would be incredibly simple: give some elyps for doing the Silan training missions and, at that time, show a pop-up explaining that you can get more from Daily Missions and giving examples of what you can buy with elyps (mentioning experience catalyzers and generic raw materials in particular). Then add an NPC to buy stuff with elyps on Silan. By introducing elyps in this way, a new player isn't left looking at this zero "elyps" stat with no idea of what it's for.

Another major mechanic that's not introduced at all is enchantments. It would be trivial to add another mission to Nomis Merclao's mission tree to create an enchantment with one of your spells and enchant a weapon with it. It should be explained how to do it, what the cost is (cost of crystalizing a spell as well as cost of the Sap Recharge ability should be explained), and what the benefits of using this mechanic are.

And finally, it would be a good idea, I think, to introduce macros as a mechanic and in particular explain how to use macros to quickly change outfits. This is so useful that it's practically essential to enjoying this game. I would recommend introducing it via Chiang the Strong's mission tree somehow.

But in addition to poorly explaining game mechanics, the structure itself of Silan needs a serious overhaul. It should be obvious to players that Silan is a tutorial, and it should be presented gleefully and gracefully. There are many ways to go about this, but I would propose the following simple changes:

* When you first talk to Chiang, have him suggest you go to the trainers "so they can show you the ropes", while *also* suggesting that you could go off on your own if you want, perhaps suggesting finding a journeyman NPC in the hunting grounds, or something. This would make it clear to new players that what he's sending you to is a tutorial, and it would also start to make it clear what kind of game this actually is, rather than presenting it as if it's a directed quest-based game.
* When you finish any of the training mission trees, include dialog in all of them mentioning what missions are open to you now. For example, after finishing Nomis Merclao's missions, he could say something like this: "I see you have become quite the capable magician. I'll give word to the Kamis and to Chiang the Strong that you're ready for their more advanced lessons".
* Bill the kami and karavan missions as further training, this time teaching you how missions work. This could include an introduction to daily missions as well as fame (rather than just introducing fame). By the way, getting rid of the Kamis speaking broken English would be prudent here, I think. It makes what they say hard to read and it's honestly kind of racist. It would also be a very good idea to better explain how fame works rather than giving a scary, false notice about having to "choose a side" or whatever it says.
* Bill Chiang's missions as "final exam" training which, additionally, teaches players about bosses, macros, and perhaps mentions kitin invasions in passing.
* Hide magic and fighting abilities that are useless to a beginner on Silan from Silan's trainers. Everything that can be found on Silan should be an upgrade you probably want. In particular: Invulnerability, Range Protection Aura, Shielding, Attack After Dodge, and Attack After Critical Hit should not be available from Silan's fighter trainer; and Slow Attack Rate, Slow Movement, Sleep, elemental drain spells, Magic Shield Aura, Invulnerability, and Concentration should not be available from Silan's magic trainer. (I would argue that elemental drain damage spells shouldn't even be available until level 125, but that wouldn't be a simple change.)

These changes wouldn't make the structure of the tutorial perfect, but they would make it better, in my opinion.

I'm sure at least one veteran player will see this and tell me that there's no problem at all and that the problem is with me that I didn't find the mechanics mentioned here easy to learn. But numbers don't lie. I know *you* know how to play, but you've been immersed in this game at least for months, and probably for years. But new players, by and large, do not understand this game and quit after a short time as a result. I rarely see anyone stick around for long and when I do see someone stick around for long, it's because some player has gone out of their way to explain all the mechanics Silan didn't even mention that they could think of. If you want there to be more than a few dozen active players of Ryzom, you have to accept that new players are essential and that Ryzom is dragging itself down toward an inevitable collapse by not introducing new players properly. That starts with making a tutorial that's well-organized, that shows player what kind of game they're playing, and that comprehensively introduces players to all the important mechanics of the game.
Show topic
Last visit Mon Sep 27 21:36:38 2021 UTC

powered by ryzom-api