IDEAS FOR RYZOM


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#1 [en] 

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.

#2 [en] 

Hard yes to all of this.

I started just after Silan was introduced. As I understood it back then from a person that had tested beta but then stopped playing, it was an improvement... But as the years have passed, it's not improved much. The only thing I've seen that I can give props for is the signs next to the trainers that let you go back and read important stuff the trainers are trying to teach you. I only noticed those because I like to click on things, there should be something letting homins know they can read the signs for a refresher.

I have always felt like there needed to be a bit more emphasis on the fact that once you get to the ML you really really have to motivate yourself to do things, missions won't do that for you.

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ErisApple
Homin Reaper Karavan

#3 [en] 

A couple of thoughts...

1) Daily missions are new to the game so there probably hasn't been much thought as to introducing them on Silan.

2) I haven't bothered much with daily missions for a couple of reasons. First, I spent two years playing in the Lakes region before I ever bothered to trek. Daily missions were mostly worthless since most of them offered to me took place in regions I did not have access to (Forest, Jungle and Desert). Second, too many of the missions I did try were buggy. The developers are still working on getting all of the bugs out.

3) Too many of the regular missions (provided by NPCs) are buggy. For example, being told to "Find and target <unknown.ia> <unknown.name>." (not all missions name the required creature in the general description). This is a bug I've been seeing for three years that hasn't been fixed yet. I'm working on an alt character and reported several bugs I ran into on Silan. I got responses from a lot of players about "I think that's just the way Silan works" but no official response from developers. I had my alt leave Silan and go to Fairhaven. The wlcomer mission there was also bugged. I took three missions at one time and the names of the NPCs I was supposed to see and what I needed to do for them were all mixed up. One of the missions was to learn how to make practice swords. When I read the monument, it told me that I had learned how to make practice swords; I did not. I never got the template for making parctice swords. I had to abandon the mission and was unable to retake it since it was flagged as completed (even though I never made any practice swords nor gave anything to the NPC I was to deliver them too).

4) In regards to note 3; Ryzom does not have any kind of decent problem reporting or tracking system that's visible to the players. My alt reported a couple of problems using the support icon. I was told that I had been emailed a reply but it failed to get to me (even though it was the same email address that worked when I registered the character). So, if I report a problem via the in-game tools why don't I get a reply via the in-game mail? It's silly to send me a response outside of the game. When we have problems with the game we have no idea if it's a known problem or if it's something new. Again, we have no access to any kind of bug list.

5) I wrote up some problems in a forum post and sent a link using the support icon. I never got a response from anyone official (at least as far as I know; I have no idea which players are official representatives of the game and which aren't).

6) Granted there are some things that are just the way they are by desing or intent. It would be nice if these were documented so the players could know, but it's not. Even the in-game help is pretty much worthless and the info displays for most things tell us nothing usefull.

7) Given the amount bugs and the fact that some of them never seem to get fixed (or get fixed and then return in the next patch) and the very poor feedback from developers, it's no wonder a lot of new players leave.

8) There's a lot of pressure from the player base for game expansion and new features. However, if the underlying bugs in the game aren't fixed it becomes very difficult to do either. If the foundation isn't stable, the house is going to fall down.

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Yaandor | Cult of Dgambi | He who walks alone
Atys is a stern and determined teacher; willing to repeat the same lesson as often as necessary.

#4 [en] 

Yaandor
1) Daily missions are new to the game so there probably hasn't been much thought as to introducing them on Silan.
All Daily missions are done on ML and it (also) gives rewards you can't use on Silan, I think this is the reason why it is not available there.

Yaandor
8) There's a lot of pressure from the player base for game expansion and new features. However, if the underlying bugs in the game aren't fixed it becomes very difficult to do either. If the foundation isn't stable, the house is going to fall down.
Yes, I also do not understand why we keep adding new (and very often unfinished) things while we let the list of bugs grow.

#5 [en] 

You missed the point about daily missions.
If you don't know there is daily mission unless someone tells you, you will never know.
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