The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG offers the best systems for helping newbies?

    
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A while back I saw a deeply underrated post on the MMORPG subreddit about mentoring systems. I don’t mean the kind of systems like in City of Heroes and EverQuest II where you can bump a lowbie up to your level and cart him around to bust through level gaps. I mean the kinds of MMO systems that actually encourage MMO players to mentor others beyond just leveling.

The Redditor described a system in Earth and Beyond that I’d long since forgotten about, a type of early horizontal progression system that effectively enticed high-end players to take younglings on for exploration trips and trading gear down to new players. “Basically this meant for a good chunk of players, their first experience in the game was having a veteran craft a bunch of newbie gear for them, then tour them around the system and teach them about the game,” he writes. “This stays true today, there is an emulator running that might have only a hundred people online, but the same thing is still happening.”

I love these kinds of systems. I loved the way monarchies in Asheron’s Call rewarded players for paying it forward. I even liked how original flavor Star Wars Galaxies expected veterans to teach newbies skills, both to save newbies cash and to give the vets points for mastering their own skills. Way too many games skip this important step (and indeed seem way more interested in generating jealousy than in fostering mentorship between new and old players).

Let’s talk about these kinds of systems – which MMORPG offers (or offered) the best systems for helping newbies?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

ESO does halfway decent tutorials, how ever they should really try to explain soulshards and CP points as well, maybe explain basic stats as well.

WoW for all its faults forces you to get familiar with certain abilities before you can leave a boat when you boost a character, they also dumb down proc abilities by having obnoxious auras pop up around your character, bake in certain talents as passives that are always on so you dont have to worry about getting hit capped or defense capped.

SWL has a decent tutorial I remember.

Modern games that have the worst tutorials would be GW2 which teaches you nothing about break bars, blast fields, and boons.

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Tobasco da Gama

Modern games that have the worst tutorials would be GW2 which teaches you nothing about break bars, blast fields, and boons.

You mean a random, missable NPC in the middle of a newbie zone you’re probably trying to get out of as fast as possible to keep up with the story isn’t a good tutorial?

(Also, LOL, that’s ONLY for the break bars. For combo fields and boons, you’re completely SOL as far as in-game help.)

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Nope that’s a dodging tutorial.

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Castagere Shaikura

Earth & Beyond had a deep system. You had three areas to level. Combat Exploration and trade. And some weapons at higher levels required you to also have a certain level in exploration to use not just your combat level. You kind of needed to keep these three areas close in level. When people asked your levels you would say something like 35/38/30. Your overall level would be 103 which didn’t really matter a lot. Fighting a level 35 combat mob meant the mobs overall level was 105.

So higher level players helping newbies mattered a lot in this game. Yes, you could solo but grouping up for an exploration tour was a must thing to do at some point. Or teaming up for combat with high levels helped with combat and trade with looting and selling to vendors got you trade XP. Say you are level 9 and group up with some level 15 players to hunt organic mobs for loot and combat XP. You gain combat levels and organic body parts as loot stacked up 25 a stack. At level 9 2 stacks got you a trade level and a boatload of credits.

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Robert Mann

Honestly, they don’t. They give very minimal rewards, or throw newbies to the wild, or just rely upon the tutorials. Tutorials are fine for many people, and certainly the best way for those who would rather not have social stuff forced upon them.

What I imagine would be a good system would require a vastly different design where you actively need a social network. Of course, that instantly kills the game for some people (and again this is fine, there’s many types of people out there). In most MMOs you care about a handful of other players, and the rest are background (often annoying background) at the best. The only possible exception is where new recruits are needed, and generally that tends to mostly be in PvP centric MMOs where the odds are 80/20 that the person doing said recruiting is actually a troll who wants to gank some noob.

Instead, what I picture is a system where there is a lot more variety across the board. For combat, the world must not push the envelope too much graphically or in terms of bandwidth, or with many people it becomes a slideshow as seen all too often. However, one simple way is pushing more ‘society’ into the design. If there are far more crafting options, for example, and it is completely impractical for people to just make everything themselves (and no central AH to dehumanize it all) then the economic side of things will require lots of interaction, which makes new players valuable as a source of things (especially if it’s not too heavily vertical).

I know this sounds like hell itself to some. As for me, on the most basic level of design it sounds like something with the potential to actually interact and matter to one another as something other than targets or useful little NPC dungeon-mates with annoying chatter (go. go. go. go. go. go. go. go go go!) :)

Of course, such a design would need some support and options to deal with troublemakers… but that’s already a dire need in MMOs that is largely ignored.

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Thaine Rhoads

Well, EvE online will never be part of this discussion

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Schmidt.Capela

I’m not the kind of player that enjoys this, though. I prefer to experience the newbie levels on my own terms, at my own pace, and in order to do so prefer to not accept gifts from veteran players. If the game is set in such a way that my refusing to receive help can actually cost the veteran player an opportunity to progress I might actually avoid the game altogether, and if I do get into the game I might leave if I find that my mere existence as a newbie draws too much attention to me.

In other words, if you want players like me to get into a game with such “newbie help” incentives, offer a way for newbies to opt out of them.

Also, and ironically, I’m more likely to help newbies if I receive no rewards for doing it.

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partiesplayin

I think Rift was the easiest mmorpg as a newbie I ever played. Had all the systems need to find a guild. No problem doing world events as you scaled up with everyone else. Dungeons were also very easy for a newbie to get into. They way everyone was auto leveled made it for the easiest mmorpg to play as a newbie I’ve ever played by far.

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Castagere Shaikura

Rift had those adventures group ups. Starting at level 10 you could do those up to level 55.

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Sleepy

I have to go all the way back to Asheron’ Call, which is a sad reflection on MMO gaming today. I remember being given a tour of those travel portals and some out of the way hunting spots, along with some basic spell combinations. The fact that the game was big enough that there were out of the way dungeons and hunting spots that everyone didn’t instantly know about was brilliant, couldn’t happen with today’s internet.

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Tanek

I don’t think I play any games that have systems like that where a veteran player and a new player actually get rewards for working together. I think I remember one that had achievements for gifting items, but that’s about it.

I do like the mentor tag idea in GW2, though I think it is more used now to indicate where to get a port for a jumping puzzle than actual mentoring of new players.

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starbuck1771

Star wars galaxies hands down

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Utakata

I’m not sure I play any of those “noob welcoming” games…so I can’t help you with today’s DG question. :(