The Daily Grind: What MMO needs a waaaaay better tutorial?

    
17

Ultima Online studio Broadsword is currently hard at work on a new game mode and server that is explicitly meant to onboard new players and ease them into what is a very old and frankly very complicated sandbox. And it really, really needs it. The studio is not wrong to be setting its priorities to lowering that barrier to entry. The MMO’s current tutorial is basically useless for giving newbies a real understanding of how UO plays.

Ultima Online might be the eldest of the classic MMORPGs, but it’s far from alone when it comes to needing a better tutorial that actually matches players in 2020 up with the game’s modern expectations. Let’s hear ’em: What MMO needs a waaaaay better tutorial?

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!
Advertisement

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Harlow Games

FFXIV. It’s the only mainstream MMO in which I haven’t leveled a character to at least level 30. Of everything on the market, the only other games in which I haven’t reached max level are WildStar, ArcheAge, and Tera.

I don’t think it needs a better tutorial because it’s overly complicated, or hard to understand – I wrote guides for BDO – but rather, the whole NPE is boring, unfun, and tedious. I stopped playing once I reached the inn because I couldn’t handle the long, drawn-out, partially voice acted cutscenes and errand quests stretching all over the place (and I usually appreciate those in other games).

I tried to tell myself “it gets better” and “this will be worth it” but I couldn’t do it.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Probably UO, yeah. I dont even remember it having much of tutorial.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Sykes

SWG. I’ve never been more lost, and didn’t stick around long enough to figure it out.

On the market, DDO could probably use a build tutorial. I love Korthos and the newer Keep on the Borderlands, but the game was really unforgiving to those that created characters that wouldn’t be viable after level 4 or 5. Maybe giving first time players a free reincarnation at level 5, 10, and 15 would be reasonable?

Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

bdo 101.png
Reader
Castagere Shaikura

Otherland, It’s just long and awful.

Reader
kjempff

I don’t like tutorials. Make comprehensible UI (maybe limit options at start, and add them). Trust players intelligence to figure out how stuff works, on a need to learn basis. It has worked in the past, players always find a way to play the game, ask other players, etc. The best game experiences for me have always been the ones where I just figured it out by myself, and the worst are the ones that hold my hand or worse tie my hand.
As with all I type here the message is: Don’t micromanage players game experience, let them be free and let them feel accomplished by figuring it out themselves.

Also if your game needs a tutorial, something is not well designed.

Reader
Desius

Every few years, ancient MMOs seem to reach the same conclusion that a “NEW PLAYER EXPERIENCE” is all the game needs to get fresh blood. This never works.

The game doesn’t lack players because of a steep onramp, it lacks players because it is at this point a niche legacy game that has very limited appeal.

Reader
Anstalt

SWG

My first few hours in the game were horrific, didn’t have a damn clue what was going on, died a lot and had no clue how to get rid of the black bits on my health bars (later found out they were wounds and battle fatigue).

In the almost-an-mmo category, I’ll vote for Elite: Dangerous. There really isn’t a whole lot to tell you what is going on, and whilst you can pick up missions fairly intuitively, its really hard to figure out what is going on after that point. I still have no real clue about engineering, specifically where to find all the different materials they are after.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

I might have to agree with Ultima Online as someone who tried it a couple months ago (I detailed my attempts in WRUP as I tried out the Oceania server), I was utterly bewildered by the game, it told me nothing.

I relied on a mix of wikis and nice people in the in-game chat answering my questions to understand basic things like “how do I pay for something?” The game at no point told me I have to put my gold in a bank account so a magic debit card can pay for the items etc, although it also didn’t tell me that this doesn’t apply for training where I have to drag the gold on the NPCs, nor did it tell me I have to tag quest items first before I can hand in quests. I did and do mean to go back to it, but I did find my time confusing, although I do feel I was slowly getting the gist of it.

Reader
Loopy

I had a similar experience, although i played UO way back in its infancy. However i didn’t have the luxury of coming across nice people in game – the only person who stopped to talk to me only said “FAG” and then rode off on his horse.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Guild Wars 2

It’s not enough to have an MMO Manifesto about getting rid of the MMO Trinity of Tank, Healer & DPS, you have to *show* mmo players, used to it for the past decade or more, how you play without it.

Otherwise you get folk trying to recreate the trinity in a game not designed for it & failing miserably, over and over again.

Ideally, your tutorial *shows* players trying to use the trinity and group wiping out. Then you show them how it should be done, how in Tyria you are responsible for your own health. That you can monitor the rest of the team and provide buffs or heals or debuff foes or attack them.

The alternative is players not having as much fun as they should and pressuring the devs to bring back traditional trinity.

P.S. And same goes for End Game / Max level / Raids.

Reader
Ironwu

This is very insightful and relevant, I think. The original GW2 game at launch very much emphasized this part of the Manifesto all through the tutorial and the initial 30 or so levels. By the time one hit 50, you really knew what you had to do and were prepared. That, or you just were not paying attention.

Now? It is just another slog through WoW-like thoughtless quests. Kind of sad, really as the original design and game play were really unique.

Reader
Harlow Games

I don’t know why I never ran into that issue – I assume it’s because I started at launch, and had done research on the game in anticipation of its release to know what to expect (i.e., watching playthroughs, etc.). I’ve watched other players that were new to the game struggle to understand events and the heart system as well – even as they were working on their second or third map, which led to frustration over “slow leveling” – which seemed pretty intuitive to me.

I think players ultimately just approach games differently – I started with SWG, which required being resourceful and doing research outside of the game, which I know a lot of people say shouldn’t be necessary. But, I feel that every game actually requires that at some point – even WoW, should you choose to do something like raiding (at least, at a level beyond LFR without being kicked). BDO was much the same; I had to spend a lot of time reading, and learning about game systems – when it launched, most of that info was translated from Korean, which provided its own hurdles.

For me, personally, that’s part of the experience I enjoy. I completely understand that for others, it detracts from it – because they want everything about the game to be contained/available within the game.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

By the time GUILD WARS 2 launched in 2012, people had over a decade of how to play an “mmo”. Sure, new maps, new bosses, learning “action” rpg fight mechanics of dodging and blocking and aiming were new but it was still the tank / healer / DPS combo. I still remember videos and wikis about players trying to turn water elementalists into healers and doing poorly.

It reminds me of STAR CITIZEN where they have specific ships for specific tasks and some players were still trying to use a ship differently than its original design.

Then again, players modding a game differently than design is as old as video games. So, players trying to play a game differently than designed isn’t too shocking.