My first time player experience walking into the game 99% blind.

Discussion in 'New Player Experience Feedback' started by Grimm2, Jul 6, 2016.

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  1. Grimm2

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    TL;DR Weird controls, non-existent hot bar ability explanation, and many crashes lead to unsatisfying new player experience.

    To start, I played UO as a younger man so I have had exposure to many of the ideas/mechanics in SotA. Hence 99% blind and not 100%.

    Making my pledge: Easy enough, worked as expected and got my usual confirmation e-mails quickly. The system also changed the info on my account immediately so i could go ahead and start playing. A+

    Downloading the client: The download link was not on the top bar of the site as most are. Not even in a members only tab. Ended up looking for the link for about 10 min before i found it in the current release notes. Actually i found a link to the instructions which had the link proper. Downloaded quickly and installed to the directory of my choice without issue. C+

    First start of the game: Hit the launch button and nothing happens. I notice a new icon on my windows bar so i wait. Minutes go by so i click on the new icon. My second screen goes full white and then the window crashes. I fiddle with the settings in the launcher and try again. Client starts this time, albeit on the wrong screen. I fiddle with the options in the client and get it moved to the correct screen fairly painlessly. (adjusting for w.i.p.) B

    Intro movie: Holy cow, much hype A++

    Logging in and Char creation: Log in was smooth as silk. Popped into the game to be surprised by a control scheme with no mouse courser. Got used to that after about 90 sec of 'dancing' around the grove. I approach an NPC woman. Text flies over her head, or seems to. I take it as that being her dialogue. It then fades before i can read it all. Logically, i expect that text to be displayed in the chat window. It is, but i also come across what the woman actually said, it is only then i realize the flying text was just instruction. I'm told to go to a mirror, so i do. I double click on the mirror. Game crashes dead. Reload, relog, retry, crash. I remember a note somewhere about cloth simulation being broken so i disable it and try again. Works this time. I check out the hair selection, limited as it is, and change a few basic things about my model and spawn back in front of the mirror. (adjusted) B

    Side note: If you know the cloth simulation is broken, why do you have it enabled by default?

    Side note 2: Double clicking to interact with objects is fiddly and slow. A single button press would be much better in my opinion. Possibly the "r" key or "`" I don't have the default controls memorized to know key conflicts but i'm sure there is a button somewhere.

    Adventures on a bridge: I'm told to go back to the woman, so i do. We enter into conversation which at first glance i thought was awkward but after the exchange i understood the reasoning. She gives me a personality quiz, recommends i be a mage and sends me on my way. So i walk by the mirror again, then a building that the 'narrator' tells me ill return to some day (because... reasons??) then i walk into a portal. Then the game crashes again. I reload and relog. Luckily i appear at my destination. I take in my surroundings and happen upon a girl that i agree to save. I never see her again after leaving the building. i move to the gate and loot corpses (because that's how adventures roll) Narrator tells me to look for a gate key that i already have in my inventory. I look around for a lock to use the key on and instead find a lever in the wall. I talk with a round NPC and he tells me to pick up a bow and help him clear a path through a skeleton horde. I find that i have a variety of abilities on my hotbar while i go about the fight, none of which are explained. I pew pew my way though the horde behind the fat man. I occasionally try to loot bodies as i go but end up shooting arrows instead, because button scheme. We get across the bridge without dying. He lends me his boat and sends me on my way. So naturally i go exploring. Find an odd elf dude that i don't think mattered at all, get set on fire because i'm a dumb, and basically get lost. I finally decide the leave the area when i accidentally open my map (that i'v had in my hotbar the whole time but didn't know about) make my way to the boat, try to board and game crash again. B-

    Adventures on a bridge 2: I reload, relog and find myself at the start of the bridge sequence. I think maybe my progress was lost, but no. The girl is gone. I open the gate to find the horde re-spawned and the fat man unhelpful. I suppose he thought there was no need to help me this time? I make my way across the bridge again in a much more hard fought battle this time. And this time being more generous with my hot bar abilities. Make it to the boat, try to set sail, and crash... B (because taking the bridge solo was more fun)

    Adventures on a bridge 3: See above... try to set sail and crash. I close the client and send in bug reports. F

    That has been my experience so far, all 2 hours of it. I currently plan to check back in the coming days to see if the crashes can be reduced or eliminated.
     
  2. Acred

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    Welcome to SotA, @Grimm2 !

    It is not a smooth ride at the moment. But each Release gets a bit further.

    Stick with it, please, because with such excellent powers of observation, you will help to find many bugs, and your input will influence what this game becomes.
     
  3. Kara Brae

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    Welcome, @Grimm2 !

    What great feedback! You went to a lot of work to note down all the details of what was happening, and it is very much appreciated.
     
  4. Waxillium

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    Right now it's a bit of a "2x4 to the face" experience for all with the current build roll back and instability.

    Stick around a bit and follow along!

    Welcome.
     
  5. Mata

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    Welcome Grimm2!
     
  6. Senash Kasigal

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    Login your User Account.
    Click Tab "Game Client / Steam"
    Click Windows, Mac OS X, Linux (tgz) Icon or Steam.

    ;)
     
  7. Berek

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    Greetings and salutations Grimm2, welcome to Shroud of the Avatar and our community! I see that players are already helping you out.

    We really appreciate this feedback, and thank you for placing it in our New Player Experience forum section too. This section was created just a couple of weeks ago to help us better receive and respond to feedback like yours.
     
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  8. Duke Aventine

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    Welcome Grimm2!
     
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  9. Grimm2

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    Thank you, everyone for your encouragement. It did pay off. I've managed to get almost a whole day's worth of play time in since the original post. The ride still has its bumps and the road forks in strange ways, but i'm managing regardless.

    @Berek
    I'm happy to see my input is appreciated. In a forum as large as this one I had not expected a response from the team. I'm not sure if it would be appropriate to continue my Novice's tale but if you (or others) would like to hear it, i'll tell it as best I can.
     
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  10. Vox Aquila

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    Yes please do continue. I enjoy reading your experiences and you are bringing to light many things that need fixing.
     
  11. Grimm2

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    Part 2

    TL;DR: Tutorial boxes are great mostly, finding your bearings in most places is difficult, the grind is real, players are super helpful, conversation dialogue need work for consistency, Runes are cool but unreadable, Combat cards need more explanation, and effectively suggesting out a few starter skill builds would cut down on wasted XP.

    I've got several more hours of game time in and while i don't think its necessary to document every minute, every zone and quest had something to remark upon so expect another long one.

    The next day: I was happy to see a patch when i first tried to log in next. My experience since has been substantially more stable, but the client still likes to crash on zone change... and sometimes at random. If i could identify some common factor I would be happy to report it. Alas, RNJesus is alive and well.

    Adventures on a bridge 4: I spawn in, run out the gate and through the mob of zombos until I get into the clear. Because i'm expecting another crash, I go re-explore the area with the elf. This time i find a sword and shield resting on the stone walls. I consider switching to sword and board but decide against on a whim. Fast forward through some unfruitful exploration and I chance the boat again. Soltown loads and i jump for joy! I take in the new scene and appreciate the fauna and the very gypsy aesthetic of the caravan across the road.

    Sidebar about Side-boxes: Its at this point that MANY little tutorial boxes start finding their way onto my screen. I'm not going to recount the exact timing of each ( I don't remember anyhow) but I will summarize my experience with them as a whole. I would say about 4/5th of the boxes popped up in a manner that made perfect sense. I.e. the emote box popping after i learned an emote. Or the gathering box popping as i come across some cotton for the first time. The other 5th however... Learning that i can play an instrument if i equip it and that i can load up my own files is grand, great feature, but do i need to know that while i'm fighting off two skeletons in the middle of nowhere? Anyway, I found the boxes properly informative, but a smidgen lengthy and sometimes misplaced.

    Quest of the child: I talk with the guard at the landing and hand him a document from the round man at the bridge. He recommends that i go do work for X, Y, and Z persons. I decide three tasks was too much for right that moment and go in search of X. I make friendly with the refugees until I accidentally find the mother of the girl i had saved. She thanks me for saving the girl (who still hasn't re-emerged from the aether) teaches me the back flip emote and sends me on my way... or was about to when she just freezes mid motion... and just says there... I'm able to back out of the conversation and I have the emote but her quest is still in my journal. I try to talk with her again but the same thing happens. I continue making nice with the folks 'round the fire.

    Quest of the Oops: I talk with this finely dressed lady that's standing on her bed. (because that's what rich folk do?) She is desperate for news of her beloved so i tell her he was a deserting scum bag and show her a report saying as such. She curses his name in a fit and wants nothing more to do with it! She then, after dealing with my many questions, returns to calling defector boy her love and scolds me for saying anything bad about him. I'v known some bi-polar people before but she was almost unbelievable on the first change of heart. This second just killed the otherwise decent naive girl scorned story.

    Quest of the Skeletons: Continuing my camp fire rounds leads me to a disgruntled man looking to get his hands on some quality steel so he can go and fight the undead. A noble cause indeed! Problem is, he wants me to go to this place i don't know where is to pry the steel from the re-dead hands of the undead. Sounds like some grade A circular logic but hes got XP i want so i shrug it off. I leave town from the conveniently placed exit. I literally had a "How do i get out of here? Oh there it is." moment. I'm told to go hunting in the "East Perennial Trail." Having no bearings on the over world i head east, or as east as i can when i'm already on the coast. I find my self in Hometown, take a look around for a moment and head back out. Credit to the tutorial boxes for letting me know that what i sought was not there. I wonder around a bit and find myself back in Solace Bridge, well too early to be back in this place for me, and back out of this zone also. (returning to this topic in a moment)

    An Aside: This is when I had a bit of a thought; The fat man had said to go down the river to Soltown, not the coast. If i were following his instructions as an outlander I would have paddled my happy butt to Dragon's End or stopped at Bastion's Point. I wouldn't have taken a dingy along untold distances of coastline. Just a thought i guess.

    Quest of the Skeletons (cont.): So its at this point that i recognize that i have no idea where i'm going so i get to logicin': if I started where i am now, and my second point was south then my third point should be even further south. I take a hike and after all of two or three minutes find myself exactly where i had meant to be. I enter this swamp and get to exploring. I immediately see other players going about their business with this and that. I see one cut down a tree and i think, "Oh! Can i do that?" I find a tree and give it a shot, yelling "TIMBER!!" as it fell. I end up following this player for a few minutes and see him collecting all sorts of plant life and ore. So i'm thinking i got the basics of gathering at this point. Fast forward about 4 crocs, 5 bears, 30 gathering nodes, two in game days, and 20 skeletons later and i get my sword drop. By the end of my grind I was so sick of the swamp and its denizens that i just posted up in a ruined keep and watch youtube between skeleton spawns. I book it back to Soltown where the guy gratefully accepts my turn in.

    Into Soltown: I turn around to grab another quest from one of the guys by the fire. He gives me a quest alright, twice. My journal has a quest duplicated (albeit different phrasing) to go find whoever is responsible for a cart catching fire. Sounds like some good sleuthing is order! The one clue i'm given leads into Soltown proper so i'm off! Spoiler: No sleuthing happened and i promptly forgot about the quest. The reason i forgot about the quest was two fold. 1) i came across some VERY creepy bulgy red eyed spider/dragonfly things that gave me all the willies. 2) While i was unloading my swamp haul i was approached by a player. To preserve non-bias ill call this person Friend A. Friend A and I talked about many things from markets to houses to the upcoming final wipe to, most importantly, various out of game resources. We exchanged friend invites, Friend A dropped me some starter gold and went off to adventure in grand style. (so far as i could tell) I go get some new armor and decide its time to head to the big city (Ardoris) and leave this place in the dust! I remember the guard at the boat had a quest for me so i go to pick it up and on my way get 100% lost. Don't ask me how I managed it in a 2 street town, but oh well. Its at this point i remember that i have a Soltown map, pop it onto my bar and start walking in the right direction. I find myself in a graveyard at night and just as i'm dreading more undead I spy a scoundrel doing scoundrel things so i pop a few arrows into him. Turns out he was a grave robber that had stolen a keepsake from *insert teary backstory here* and since it was on the way i dropped it off with the rightful owner. Which was more hassle than it needed to be... she repeats the story i had learned from the convenient note the robber was carrying, then i have to tell her ill look into it, then she hounds me about not doing the thing, then recognizes that i have the item, then accepts that i did the deed. Honestly, its a small thing but it underscores the weakness of the NPC chat system. Anyhow, i make a B line out of town.

    Holy molly, this post is long already. Lets speed things a long a bit.

    The Runic Alphabet on the overworld map: Very atmospheric. May as well be Sumerian when it comes to readability. I ended up using those third party resources for my navigation. I ended up with a book written entirely in runes, no idea what it is because i haven't sat down to translate it. Maybe its a philosophical question, but should i have to crack out my decoder ring to read in-game materials? Maybe there should be an in-game decoder ring for just this purpose... like you have to go around the world collecting bits of it until your character 'knows' the language? Just tossing the idea out there.

    Ardoris: So much happened in this city but not nearly as much of it had to do with the game proper as my time in Soltown. Mostly my time in Ardoris was me being dumb or lost or a combination there of. Basically I followed a pattern of "do thing, is now lost" so instead of me enumerating my directional failures, just assume i was lost between each thing. Got to town, visited the oracle, gave the town guard captain a delivery, checked out the market, visited the warlord, visited with his warchief, stumbled onto the crafting benches, went back to the markets, hired a spirittalker, revisited the oracle (because the townsfolk were very insistent that i do), left town for an audience with the Necropolis king.

    On the road again: I was supposed to find my spiritalker in the West Perennial Trail... he was nowhere to be seen... and boy did i look. Spiders are a pain en masse and orange labeled bandits are hard to hit. So i move on to the Necropolis. Spiritwalker is still nowhere to be seen. I go a bit into the valley and get absolutely wrecked by a skeleton. I manage to escape with my life, but only just. I decide that more training is need before i try that area again. To that end i go hit up some hunting grounds that had been recommended to be by another player.

    That's basically where i am now.

    A few last thoughts: The battle card system is super fun. It is not explained well at all. Even simple concepts like the combo button are glossed over. Similarly, what skills to train and what not to train is hard to decide as a new player. Perhaps have certain abilities on lockdown by default based on your starting spec?

    Again, sorry for the long post!
     
  12. Dariog

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    Welcome to Britannia, Grimm2. Your story reminds me a lot of myself, when I first started. A lot of this game is confusing at first ... but I guarantee you, it does get better. As for the crashing, that is the big problem right now, and it happens to everybody. I believe it will get a lot better; we just have to have patience for now. Again, welcome, and just hang in there ... there are a lot of fun things about Shroud, and a lot of great people here.
     
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  13. Violation Clauth

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    I think the new player text needs to be slowed down. I read it easily in the amount of time it's on the screen but I consider myself an excellent reader. I know several people who read it at it's time and some who can't complete. My kids can't get through a single line of the text even knowing it's coming. I've already made the suggestion to slow it down and even add a slider to have it controlled. I'm glad to hear you saw the text in your chat log because I never found it in my daughters when she was trying to play so we ended up having to read to her. (tagging dev @Lum )

    The questing experience with the gate not having a keyhole is odd... ( guessing and tagging dev @Sannio )

    The crashing resetting the position in your quest is odd... those should both be fixed as well (tagging dev @Lum )

    The crashing constantly to the point that you don't want to play is a new experience for me. I've seen people complain about it for the last couple years but this is the first release I've felt like I just don't want to play because of the crashes. My daughter asked to play SotA tonight and we watched the cooking show chopped together and she played Nintendo WiiU with her brother after. I find myself avoiding SotA right now because it's not fun in the slightest to crash so much. The developers are aware and are doing everything they can to work on it. It's actually not something in their control. I do agree that the cloth physics should be disabled by default though (tagging dev @Chris )

    The best thing you can do is post information like this... in bug reports. As a new player that can't be expected and I think the feedback you provided is great! Just don't get turned off of the game because the developers are working on the biggest frustration you have with the game: the crashes. They've been working close with the engineers for the engine they run the game on (Unity) to get some of their issues resolved. Unity is aware of one of the issues after their latest visit to the Portalarium office and it will possibly (not likely) make it for the next release. That said: it can't get much worse. The game has been WAY better than this for the last couple years and they're not really able to make it worse imo. They're already identifying what things they need to disable in the game to make it better for us; and, I'm just throwing a wild guess based on nothing but my gut, the cloth option they added was so last minute they didn't think about having it disabled by default OR they couldn't have it disabled by default. It actually got added after the R31 patch was first released.

    As an old UO player myself I hope you stick around. If you ever need help look me up. I'd be happy to help ya out.
     
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