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A brand new players first 48 hours perspective

Discussion in 'Release 62 Feedback' started by Iminent, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Iminent

    Iminent Avatar

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    Hi guys,

    I am a brand new player to the game and I play as Ethanol if that matters.

    I was told that you guys are trying very hard to get feedback from new players on the new players experiences and thought maybe this would be valuable in that.

    First a little history of me. UO was my first MMO and I played that nearly daily for about 8 years. From there I moved on to Wow and Rift for a few years then on to ESO and now ( hopefully ) to here. Maybe its nostalgia talking here. But, in all those years, UO is far and away my favorite game and I dearly miss it. I want very much for this to be my new home for a long long time.

    I found the game via a Legion of Myth twitch stream then a SilvertreeConsortium stream. The game looked great and the hosts & people in the chat were outstanding and crazy helpful. I decided to download it and get started.

    On to my thoughts...

    -What a great looking game!

    • The world is absolutely fantastic and I love to stare at it for long periods of time.
    • Characters are, in my opinion, both excellent and stiff at the same time. It is hard to explain. The non combat movements look and feel great. With the exception of jumping and interacting with the environment. When jumping. It really feels like they are an add-on on top of the environment and not part of it. I know that doesn't make much sense ( Just try to jump up a mountain side ). But I cannot think of a better way to describe it. Combat looks and feels stiff. But I would pay little attention to my thoughts on that as so far. I have only fought a few things.
    • The overworld map ( I think thats the place I go when I leave a "zone" ) is probably one of the best and most creative things I have ever seen to address fast travel. Outstanding devs! You completely nailed this.
    -Community
    • Not a single negative thing to say about the community. Seriously, if you guys can figure out a way to bottle these people and sell them to other game studio's. Do that.
    • The fact that the entire dev team from top to bottom is so active in the community that they actually log in and play with people is absolutely bananas. That I can add these people to my friends list and actually interact with them on a personal level is mind blowing and hands down the best level of interaction I have ever even heard of. Ever. Well done. Amazingly well done!!
    • I will remove mention of how helpful the community has been to me for the remainder of this because I feel I entered the game preloaded with helpful people ready to come to my rescue when I needed them. Many will not enter a new game this way and are left to fend for themselves.
    -Dropping into a new and unfamiliar world
    • One of the frustrating things about MMO's now days is that they are, for the most part, the same mechanics and game systems with a different environment in which they are implemented. It is incredibly tiresome and tedious, as frustrations with game mechanics in one game tend to carry over to a new game after the honeymoon phase wears off.
    • This game appears to be trying VERY hard to change this. And I think that is a wonderful thing. It appears that the devs are bringing some of my favorite systems from UO back into the game. They are taking a serious approach to crafting ( though I have not done a single thing with it so maybe I am wrong ) and introducing new systems that I have never seen before in a game. Like NPC interactions.
    -Changing the way games are played
    • I thought to make this a separate category because this is where my frustration started to come into my experience with the game.
    • Introducing completely new mechanics and ways of interacting with the world is fantastic. But it is absolutely imperative, in my opinion, that the development team creates transitional systems to help new players easily slide into the new way of doing things.
    • For the most part. Players have been trained by game makers for decades on how games work. How NPC interactions work and how they interact with and effect the game world around them. When drastic changes happen there MUST be tools available to help the new player adjust and adapt to these changes.
    • Some examples of this for me are...
      • When I zone out of the starting zone into the Overmap.. Where the hell am I and why can't I tell what any of the signs over what appear to be towns say?
      • What on earth is a player town? Is it PVP? Will I get molly-whopped as soon as I enter it?
      • When I enter a town... what does bypass mean?
      • When I talk to an NPC why are all the words that are underlined in the text just making him repeat exactly what I am reading over and over. How do I progress this conversation and know when I am done with it?
      • Are quests a thing in this game? There weren't any "quests" for the most part in UO and as the spiritual successor to UO I think its reasonable to expect SOTA to follow suit in this.
      • If there are quests in this game... Where can I find them ( every single other game I am aware of has some sort of quest giver marker or flashy thing identifying them as such )?
        • I think its great that you guys have chosen to keep those flashy "here I am" things out of the game. But, as a new player I do not know that. And to further frustrate a new player. No where in the dialog does it say the word quest. So, as far as I can tell its just a very long winded conversation that leads me no where. More on this later.
      • There is a compass, very similar to ESO, on top of my screen. What are all the grey icons for and why can't I mark a location on any map?
    • I realize that we are all different and things that frustrate me wont frustrate anyone else. But from my perspective. This is where things started to go downhill for me. I spent a huge part of my time wondering what was going on and what I should do next.
    -Questing
    • Questing is where the rage quit came in for me personally.
    • I have started to list the issues I have with questing above so I won't reiterate them now. To sum up though.. Questing is infuriating.
    • When I figured out that there was questing I struggled for a long time trying to find them because I didn't know which NPC had them and which did not. And when the dialog did not progress intuitively to me. I struggled getting the conversation to move forward to a resolution so I could move on to the next NPC to see if they had anything of value to tell me. This gave me a sense of an enormous amount of time wasted not having fun. Some people, myself included, want to get to the action more than they want to get into the lore and dialogs.
    • The Very first quest line was broken with Esmeralda in Highvale. This is a really big deal!! And, if it weren't for the community rallying to help me after literally hours of frustration I would have left the game and never looked back. Despite how desperately I want this to be a permanent home for me. Here is the link I added to someone elses bug report of this if it helps. https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/deliver-frostheist-skull.149239/#post-1205169. I must have spent 2 hours trying to get this quest ended. I did not know where to go to find the quest items. Where to find the people I needed to talk to and ultimately could not even turn in the quest items after I had completed the quest. Finally I broke down and asked the community for help. Which they immediately did ( thank you so much Anpo ). But the point is... I should not have had to.
    • My very next quest appears to be not broken, but poorly implemented, as well. Bring the letter from Daddy to the little girl. How on earth was I supposed to know you need to right click on things to loot them? That is not in any other game I am aware of. As with picking up that letter to get it into my inventory?
    • The quest after that was broken... The combat armorer in the town just outside Highvale. I cannot do anything other than buy/sell. If there is a way to indicate to the NPC that I have a quest to turn in to him and that I do not want to buy/sell I could not figure out what it was.
    • Furthermore... after trying the same thing over and over and over with the same results ( isn't there a famous quote about this ). The dog gone NPC decided it was bed time and walked away from me. Not allowing me to interact with him until morning. THAT pissed me off enough to rage quit.
    • So to recap my questing experience so far. All 3 of the first 3 quests I interacted with were either broken or did not fit how every other game I have played has trained me that games behave. With no supporting material ( that I am aware of ) to teach me how to play.
    • This is a huge deal because it is perfectly reasonable for someone that is not emotionally invested in the success of this game to conclude that if the first quests are broken. The game is a mess and not worth their time. And they will never even give the rest of the game a chance. And won't get to see all the rest of this masterfully created and truly wonderful game.
    And that is my experience so far. I wanted very much to not make this a negative thread and hope that despite the negative questing comments I have succeeded in that. Even after such a short time, I am in love with this game and its community. And as I have said before. I want this to work so very badly.

    The last thing I will say is... At this point. I believe all work on bug fixes should stop immediately and all 100% of your effort should be put into fixing the questing and dialog systems until they are flawless. It is the very first thing new players are exposed to and in so many ways does not make sense or simply does not work. Or ... remove questing from the game.

    Super sorry this was so long winded. Just wanted to be as thorough and helpful as I could be.

    Thanks for your attention folks!!

    Final final thing.. I am not trying to attack this game or its community or its devs in any way. This was intended to be as helpful and honest as I can be with the sincere desire to be of service to the game. I hope I hit this mark.
     
  2. Lazarus Long

    Lazarus Long Avatar

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    Welcome to Novia @Iminent !

    If you need any help or have any questions feel free to shout out.

    Loads of GREAT folks here willing to lend a hand including myself.

    Add me in game Lazarus Long. FYI. Friends makes travel a whole lot easier ... make lots of friends :)

    Use the link below and come say HI!

    Laz
     
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  3. Barugon

    Barugon Avatar

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    Portalarium went hard at trying to create something different. They succeeded in some areas but got a lot of blow back from the community on others and had to back off of those areas.
    They didn't want to put banners over player owned towns because it would make the overworld too busy. They could easily fix this issue by having the town name as a tooltip when you hover the cursor over the town.
    A Player Owned Town is a town that is owned by a player. That player has named the town, requested the general location and setup all the lots and decorations in the town. They also have full control over who can live there. I have a town (Mystic Isle) and I'm treating it like a NPC town. In other words, the lots are all open and free for the taking.
    The town is under siege (it say so on the window where that button is) and "bypass" means that you will bypass the siege and go directly into the town.
    The highlighted words are the words that the NPC "knows" about. I many other games, you're presented with a list of choices that are full sentences. Port tried to do something similar to UO where you could write your responses in plain language and the game would parse the appropriate keywords. The highlighted words (and the list at the bottom) are simply shortcuts. Usually the conversation is done when you say goodbye.
    When you see a NPC waving his/her hand with blue sparkles then they have a quest for you. They're usually also marked on the compass in blue.
    Hold your cursor over something on the compass and it will show a tooltip. Marking a location on the map is probably on their to-do list.
    Most people will agree that the quest system has lots of flaws and is pretty frustrating. Port is creating a new quest system for episode 2.
     
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  4. Jaesun

    Jaesun Avatar

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    Glad I was able to help you last night, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
     
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  5. Tiina Onir

    Tiina Onir Avatar

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    @Lord British @Chris

    You need to look at this. We've been saying it for a while, but the way quests are presented is just not good. Some of that's the quest system itself, some of it's the encouraging us to not read the dialogue by having the NPCs just wonder off for no reason, and some of it's that the quests just seem like disjointed notes rather then properly written quests. Dispite being "released" the ep. 1 quests are not in a good place.
     
  6. Iminent

    Iminent Avatar

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    Thanks guys. I have to admit I thought about this all day and thought I would be shredded for saying something negative. Thanks for taking it how it was intended and proving again... This is the right community for me.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Sean Silverfoot

    Sean Silverfoot Avatar

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    Welcome and Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I use the same name in the game if your ever in need of help or whatever.

    Just want to ask a question, only because your new and I'm curious. Did you ever spend any time reading the player handbook as you started? Did you use it to refer to at all?
     
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  8. Elnoth

    Elnoth Avatar

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    I've got a feeling he is referring to the default text that banners appear ingame being in Runic, which is incomprehensible garbage for all but the most dedicated fans. First thing I did was went to options and changed this to English many years ago. It would probably be a good idea ot make English the default text and leave runic as the flaggable option.
     
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  9. Barugon

    Barugon Avatar

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    Ah, my bad.
    @Iminent, turn on Show Translated Location Names on the Interface tab in the options.
     
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  10. kaeshiva

    kaeshiva Avatar

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    This was very interesting and I thank you for posting it because it really shows some of the things when approached with no former knowledge are simply not intuitive. You've touched on a variety of "systems" - a lot of your frustrations there is a fix for, by which I mean, there's a setting or something that solves the problem such as with town names [show translated place names] and such that others have explained above. But what's more important is that you've demonstrated there was no way for you to know these things. Like the runic above the towns - there's an option to simply toggle these to English, but its buried in a long list of tickboxes and toggles in a very well...clunky options/interface menu full of a lot of things that a new person wouldn't know what to do with. When you get close to a town or scene and mouse over it, the game will give you more feedback about what it is / what is there / but you can't really see this from a distance. (I always thought it would be cool for your character to "learn" runic via unlocking runes in different scenes and this gradually converts these banners to cleartext, but I think its an on/off toggle precisely because of the frustration factor).

    Player towns are simply that - towns run by players . Some are PvP, but if so, you'll get a warning before entering so you can avoid those if that's not your thing. There aren't that many player towns with PvP enabled - I can really only think of a couple and they are PvP for RP purposes. Most town owners want to encourage people to visit/live in their town so don't do things to discourage this.

    What I found most telling was your feedback about the quest system. I think we all generally know/accept that the quest system is clunky and broken, that the dialogue system is unnatural, etc. And I will tell you that the devs are completely reworking this system to help change this early frustration while also allowing "quest tools" to go into the hands of players for player dungeons and such. It will be late this year, I think(?) timeframe was. NPC interaction can be extremely frustrating; fortunately, its a very small part of what the game has to offer.

    Quests simply aren't that important from a gameplay perspective, the rewards they give are a pittance and after the outskirts most of the quests are not really worth doing. Its not like most themepark games where you go from quest hub to quest hub. I know people who have played this game YEARS and still haven't done the storyline quest, albeit now that its a way to get free property deeds, more are taking the time, usually through gritted teeth. While a small % appreciate the lore and nuance, most prefer to just be shoehorned through the quests to get them out of the way because the experience is so painful/tedious. I have rescued many a new player from the brink of Ragequit with straightforward quest assistance to "get it done" despite the dialogue system and the broken system and the quest leading new players through PvP zones (which is a topic that comes up on the forums every so often,. and the PvPers will point out that you don't HAVE to go through the pvp scene anymore, but a new player would have no way to know about a lengthy, far more difficult underground route and usually ends up being fodder since the default exit from quest dungeon dumps you smack in the middle of pvp...but I digress). Don't despair with the quests. There are a few that give unique decorations as rewards that you might want to do once you start decorating a house, but aside from the "main" storyline (which can be hard to identify as such due to the journal system, that's another whole problem), they are completely ignorable. You can absolutely enjoy a fulfilling game experience without quests. Friend me in game - Shimizu - and I'm happy to help gloss you over the painful bits.

    You've hit upon one of my big personal frustrations, namely, "npc schedules." While I understand they wanted to create an immersion scenario, with npcs going to bed at night and such, its another one of those short sighted systems that wastes player time forcing you to stand around for 10 minutes for <reasons>. I hate this and despair of it getting implemented in towns where it is blessedly not yet implemented. This is one of the reasons why player towns are popular because the town owner designs the layout, and the NPCs stand there in their designated spots at all times. You will stay under this awning, you will sell arrows 24 hours a day, in rain, in snow....:X So while you can't avoid it if you need a particular npc for a quest, you can avoid it most of the time by choosing to do your business somewhere that this doesn't occur. You will unfortunately run into several such roadblocks along the main questline(s) as they ake you through a lot of the older scenes where the schedule nonsense is in full effect. Part of that whole 'grit your teeth and quest' thing and hopefully something that gets considered in the revamp.

    You really sound like someone who wants to give the game a good go in earnest, and I think the community will be able to fill in the gaps /smooth over some of the rough spots of your early experience and get you into the swing of things. Thanks for sharing your experience!
     
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  11. Jason_M

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    Hey there @Iminent and welcome to New Britannia. Being born into this new and very strange world is definitely not easy, but you seem like the masochist type that just might be able to hack it.

    I'm joking, of course :p

    Thank you for your very well composes feedback. I feel your pain, I really do, because I experienced it last June. I still have that "Upgrade equipment" quest in my journal ... and on my screen... at all times... cant get rid of it... nearly 7 months later. When this is all over, I swear I will find kill that man.

    But, hey, I'm here and loving the game. I'm on every day with the friends I've made in this strange new world, adventuring, kicking arse, and biding my time until we storm Artifice and deliver JUSTICE! ..... but I digress.

    I have two suggestions to help you on your way:

    1) Go to Blood River. You see, Highvale is one of three quest branches. You will eventually do all 3, but, in my opinion, the quest writing and integration are the best in Blood River. Seek Arabella near the market center in Aerie, a large trade city in south west Novia.

    2) Forgo the quest for now. Throw your bag over your shoulder and hit the road. Investigate any tier 1 - 2 scenes you find along the way. See the world. Hail any travelers you meet along the way. Making some friends who are in the same boat as you changes everything even if you're an introvert.

    Good luck out there. You can adventure with me (Jason Moryn) any time.



     
  12. Elwyn

    Elwyn Avatar

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    Because it's a default config setting to not translate those town names from runic. It's an immersion thing.

    Literally a player owns a town, and has control of a higher level of the housing system allowing him to place lot markers. They can be set to PvP (as can basements of individual houses) but few are. You are warned (by default but can be turned off) before entering any PvP zone.

    It's the "spiritual successor" to both Ultima and UO.

    The quests system is known to be, ahhh, less than perfect, but now they won't have the headcount to fix them until the ramp-up for Episode 2, when they plan to re-implement it. The biggest problem is when the compass markers won't go away after you finish something. It was probably made too flexible in certain ways that made it hard to maintain a consistent state of the quest flags.

    You apparently missed that the in-game maps aren't all that great. They're better than the original, but dependent upon a 3rd-party web site that they bought out. Yes, that meant they had to embed a full web browser as a Unity plug-in. It requires manual work to add new maps, and they don't have the headcount to keep up with that right now either. It's probably better to just rip that band-aid off and make a better system that uses game data. When they have the headcount.

    Crafting is pretty good. I've played FFXI, and SotA crafting is up in that level of richness, especially "most people can eventually craft most things on a single character". I've been playing LOTRO for the past few weeks (the hardcore challenge of the F2P mode limitations was just too much to resist, and I got tired of not having a character shorter than 4 feet tall). Their quest system is pretty good, but their crafting system is pretty bad.
     
  13. Lord Subtleton

    Lord Subtleton SotA Dev Moderator SOTA Developer

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    Iminent, thank you very much for taking the time to share your first impressions of Shroud.
     
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  14. Steevodeevo

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    At the very least the overworld town names need the default changing to English / localised language. Unless I'm missing some immersion factor or game challenge I'm unaware of, 95% or more of players don't read runic and aren't the slightest bit interested in it, hence for the tiny minority that are deeply into lore, and runic specifically, they should have an option to turn it on as an alternative to the default not the other way round as this just confuses and irritates new players.
     
  15. Aartemis

    Aartemis Avatar

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    This thread should be printed and posted on the whiteboard at Portalarium!

    What makes a Lord British Game, a Lord British Game is the Story, The Choices, The Virtues and how you need to play your character EACH and EVERY day because of those choices! How the game reacts to YOU because of your choices.

    With all I love about Shroud of the Avatar, the sad reality is that I don't feel like my choices ever really mattered. I am not treated different, and the questing system is so ... (breathe) Lets say, Not up to standards for what a Lord British Game needs to convey...

    I heard on one of the streams that once the new quest system is written that you might not go back and change what you have in EP1. I hope that is not the case. Maybe new side quests can be created in the towns around the main story.

    I just hope that with everything you want to do for EP2, that you double down with everything you have so that Shroud can be set apart from the mass of other games out there - show that your choices DO matter, create a database knowledge system so NPC's can hear of rumors, brave deeds, evil deeds and anything else you deem needed. Make the knowledge of your deeds spread far and wide, or stay local depending on your actions. Knowledge is not complicated, its simply data stored and shared using location as a modifier. You can use it for advertising, player dungeons and quests, rumors and hints.

    QoL the hell out of everything else but please, take the time needed to make sure Shroud becomes the Lord British game it should be, and it should be noticeable from the moment you log in, to the moment you leave. Every Quest, Every Decision, Every Consequence.

    Otherwise its just any ordinary game.

    Edit: Oh and yes, broken quests are the worst, and they are everywhere. I doubt they can be easily fix, otherwise they would have been. The current system is just way to prone to bugs and errors and it takes way too long to build out quest content. Please make sure the EP1 is updated once the new system is built.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
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  16. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

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    If you open the Special Rewards tab of your User Account page, there is a Runic Text/Quick Reference Card that has a lot of the default controls on it. I had thought that the manual was on there as well, but it is in every release instructions. You can read it here: http://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/playerinstructions
     
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  17. Floors

    Floors Avatar

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    Wow, a fucking new player who cares. Awesome.