The false "immersion" of being directionless

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Vladamir Begemot, Oct 1, 2019.

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  1. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    I believe that there is a way to suggest new players approach the story that will greatly increase their enjoyment.

    I believe enjoyment is more immersive than being lost, or frustrated by hitting the Tower of the Shuttered Eye when one should have jumped to another storyline already.

    I believe that players can be guided without being forced.

    I believe games like Skyrim prove this, by guiding without forcing, and also being immersive.

    I suggest, now that the game starts everyone at Love, that there is a lightly guided path that is much more immersive than the false immersion of being lost.

    My suggestion:

    Solace Bridge -> Outskirts -> Soltown and surrounding quests, including the catacombs, as it is already.

    Upon completion, Arabella approaches the player and says "They need help in Blood River, there has been a massacre, is it acceptable for me to teleport you there now?"

    If so, Blood River Massacre -> Outskirts -> Aerie quests. Upon finishing with Drumplemouth, she again approaches you and says something similar about Highvale.

    Battle of Highvale -> Outskirts -> Resolute and surrounding quests. In Resolute there are already a bunch of quests that conveniently point you back to Ardoris!

    At this point maybe no more free teleport, as the player has already had lots of opportunity to wander a bit on the world map and is hopefully ready for big adventure. They have tasks for both Ardoris and Veritas, as well as various sub quests, and have now been introduced to all three paths in a non-intrustive manner.

    The additional content here is literally JUST Arabella talking to you and then teleporting you if you want.

    The one additional bit of new content that would be useful is if, during those specific teleportation moments, the load screen was a Novia Map image, showing where you are, and indicating where you are going. That way when they are done being gently moved around, they have an idea of where Ardoris is for when they want to go back.

    (Speaking of which, there SHOULD be a Novia Map load screen anyway. How handy would that be?)
     
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  2. Vladamir Begemot

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    Here's a timely example from one of this weeks Steam reviews.

    I would bet 1,000 Crowns that he didn't make it to the other two Outskirts, and thus all the surrounding zones that would help him skill up, nor receive any of that XP.
     
  3. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Speaking of side quests.. I'm sorry to say I've never found the quests 'immersive'. Heck, there's nothing about the NPCs that draw me to them. Once they get where they're going they just stand there all day and bark. Not immersive and not interesting. Ergo.. little or not interest in the quests. Plus the feeling like nothing I do will change anything. I mean.. I IDd the child killer and the bleeder is still walking around like nothing happened. What the hell?

    I suppose the point I'd want to make is.. if the NPCs at the heart of the quests aren't interesting.. they won't make you interested in doing the quests.. the quests then are not as interesting.. they won't draw you in as well. If the quests were as immersive as they could be.. you wouldn't care about running around the map as you'd be too busy anticipating the finishing the next step. What's next? Ooo it's over there! Immersion should distract you the fact that you're running around a lot. And by immersion I mean fun. As anything that's fun tends to be immersive. Hard to be immersive if it isn't fun right?

    Anyway.. just my immediate off-the-cuff reaction. If you want to fix the quests.. I'd start with the NPCs..
     
  4. Vladamir Begemot

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    @Bowen Bloodgood I'm not really talking about fixing the quests but just taking people to the next major area/storyline.

    I believe the argument against telling people where to go was "it's more immersive to be lost and confused", but I call bull puckey. The most immersive games I've ever played, System Shock 2, Deus Ex, etc, at least let you know the area you needed to be in to continue playing.

    I've learned a lot of things from watching Shroud be developed, and one of those is "being irritated, lost, blind, and having to constantly google things might be realistic, but it isn't immersive."

    And note, the player isn't even being required to get to the next major area, they can do it the old fashioned way and explore and wander if choose. But if they want, they can get a teleport to the next place that they, by all game design standards, really should be!

    Imagine trying to find those places otherwise. They are on the other side of the map. To you and me it is a one minute run, but to someone who is trying to stay immersed in game with no idea of where anything is, they couldn't be farther away. Not that most of them seem to know they should head that way anyway. 9/10 new players I talk to have no idea they should go to the next Outskirts instead of just powering through Love, with much frustration.

    Whether people like the quests or not, that is a whole different barrel of monkeys.
     
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  5. Sulaene Moon

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    I think this is a great idea. It actually should have been done when they eliminated the past starting area where you could choose a path. You would have thought they should have planned better to link the transition of ending one path to the start of another. I know that RG wanted less hand holding in this game, but a helpful hint or interaction from Arabella like you suggested above would have helped.

    In a lot of MMOs you can play the main story line quests while popping off and doing side quests in between. It was your choice, but at least you could tell where you needed to pick up the main story line quest when you wanted to return to it. There is not much help if any in SotA. The journal is of no help really.

    I had quit the story line quests because they were frustrating me so much. But, now I'm almost finished them with help from friends who have completed them already. I have used the player walk-thru videos to help as well, but as a new player I didn't know they were there and I still would have probably gotten frustrated with the quest system the way it is.

    Either way, hopefully when Ep2 is completed in December and we have a new quest & journal system it will help with all the issues and make it easier to figure out the next step or place to be to move along in the story.

    In the mean time I agree with @Vladamir Begemot that something simple like adding in an interaction with Arabella could help transition you. I'm sure it would take about as long as it takes the devs to add in the simple seasonal quests to find the boss.
     
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  6. craftymethod

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    Seems worth a consideration, maybe having a colour icon saying which quests belong to which story line would be an idea also.

    I cant tell atm really which of my quests are from which storyline.
     
  7. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Yeah I was just triggered by the combination of "immersion" and "quests" :) Pardon my little side rant. Better communication with the player about their options would be a definite plus.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  8. Aetrion

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    Quest overload is a bit of a problem with this game. You get so many quests thrown at you, many of which you can't necessarily tackle on your own yet, that you wind up just ignoring them, and it's really not very fun in a roleplaying game to look at your quest log and realize that you have tasks in there where you don't even remember who gave them to you because it was a year ago. In order for quests to be enjoyable you have to be able to either tackle them right as you get them, or they have to genuinely present themselves as a long term goal that the world considers as such as well. I always considered the storyline of Mass Effect 2 really well written because it more or less gives you the final mission of the game right in the beginning, but also makes it clear to you that it's a suicide mission. The entire game is your quest for power to prepare your ship and crew to be able to survive it.
     
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  9. Astirian

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    I'm playing through Baldur's Gate II at the moment and it's amazing how streamlined it is, and not overly so. The narrative is focussed but accomodating and I think the big difference over its predecessor is that NPCs will actually come to you when you enter a scene a lot of the time. The quest journal is also quite good (in the Enhanced Edition at any rate).

    I finished the first Baldur's Gate but out of the 100 or so quests in that game, it turns out I did maybe 32. In that game, if you don't randomly invade everyone's homes or comb the wilderness for weeks, you're likely to miss a lot of them. But that's a very old design paradigm where the designer expected the player to scour every nook and cranny of the map.

    I think that there's a happy medium to be had somewhere in there.
     
  10. Sulaene Moon

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    You're not wrong. Almost all of the NPCs in this game look the same. All the beggars look similar as do the children. Too bad the quest NPCs don't have different races, outfits, or emotes etc etc.
     
  11. Paladin Michael

    Paladin Michael Bug Hunter

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    Isn't it interesting? You got the same conclusion like me about how Arabella could act ;)
     
  12. Spoon

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    Agreed.

    We've discussed this before with the devs and had it rejected. Hope they take heed now.


    The last time it got their attention for that solution, then DarkStarr gave Sannio the question and Sannio said that is not how they are designed but rather that you could do any of them at any time. But that he would try to add some dialog to Arabella making it more clear that you could move on to the next outskirt.
    We did get that and if you talk to her she will start the next questline for you. However she does not go into detail and you do not get a book on how the Lunar Rifts work nor how to find the other starting scenes / outskirts.
    (IIRC this was at the same time as they redid the kid tutorial in the then starting scene).


    However my request at the time was that you shouldn't be able to progress further up the main quest chains until you had 'cleared' the outskirt quests. (And that main quest line should have a different font in the journal - like bold and cursive as a minimum).
    So for love that would be before the tower encounter with min-lian tang(sp?) Min Liang Tan. For courage it would be before the war camp. etc

    My main reasoning was that
    A) - it is really non-challenging doing the other outskirts after you've completed your first story arc. If for instance you do the love quest all through, and only after that go to the other starting scenes, then you are waaay above the level that would be challenging.
    B) - it is really confusing with all the quest clutter (journal refactoring please) if you do a little bit in each here and there. While if you had the requirement of going to the next then you'd only have one kinda linear approach for the first weeks of adventure - and only after that would you be let lose.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  13. Paladin Michael

    Paladin Michael Bug Hunter

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    Min Liang Tan ;)
     
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  14. Synergy Blaize

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    Agreed, although it is worthwhile doing the Outskirts scenes > Best Loot a player under level 40 can get :)
    After doing one Outskirts, the other 2 are rather dull with no challenge.

    So Perhaps : (a mash up of some of the above suggestions in this thread.)
    • the Outskirts should be re-named >
      • Outskirts I - (Solace Bridge Outskirts I)
      • Outskirts II -(Bloodriver Outskirts II)
      • Outskirts III - (Highvale Outskirts III)
    • the Devs should tweak each of the Outskirts, increasing difficulty, with each Tier of the Outskirts Scene number
      • This would maximise the use of this existing "real-estate"
      • Provide a path that keeps the New player seeing/doing new challenging things in different places
    • Arabella should appear/summon the New player to her & she ports the Player to their next zone.
    There are so many Zones that many players have never been to, because they out-levelled them, before they saw them, so didn't bother going in.

    Re-work some of these zones (Some are quite Unique = Not the common cloned Zones)

    Shroud really is lacking in Tier 6-8 Combat. Old underused scenes should be repopulated with the appropriate mobs.

    There has been a LOT of work going on with the NUE and High Level Content....
    Now it is time to invest in the revamping some of the existing Zones & making some "New" mid-level zones.
     
  15. Cora Cuz'avich

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    Thanks for the laugh this morning!
     
  16. Spoon

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    Great point @Synergy Blaize

    If there is only one starting path then the tiers should increase as you switch.

    I'm reminded of this pre-release conversation:
    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...aps-needs-a-serious-rework.98043/#post-864633


    It was regarding there being too many tier 2-3 and too few tier 4-5-(6)
    Would be good exercise for the devs to do a new evaluation of the tier distribution - my thinking is that we are still not thin waisted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  17. Vladamir Begemot

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    A lot of good feedback.

    @Spoon, your ideas are always good. The reason I am not satisfied with Arabella just mentioning the other locations is it is the equivelant of being in Seattle and her starting a quest for you in Chicago, then saying "Good luck getting to Chicago!"

    Meanwhile, you've still got all the Love quests sitting right there on your front door in Seattle. Hmmm... might as well do those... and stay on them because that really truly makes more sense, least resistenve, it's right here, now you're familiar with the area. And then you get frustrated because you've hit a brick wall, and finally go over to those other locations that you've totally leveled past.

    This is all easily remedied by giving the player a train ticket to Chicago.
     
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  18. Sulaene Moon

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    But sometimes you want them to find their own way. Perhaps something like "You'll find (town name) north of here, past a few towns." That way you give them the path, but allow them to venture out an find things on their own and take a detour if they want.
     
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  19. Geskra

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  20. Vladamir Begemot

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    You're totally right. "Immersion" does not mean "willy nilly, haphazard, virtually guarentee the player misses half their options" in my opinion.

    Immersion means "having such a good time you forget you are in a game." Properly located and quantified zones of every difficulty would lead to that.

    We have tons of great zones, it is a shame that you outlevel them so fast. Shroud has a lot of great elements, but it could also be a whole Game Design class on what not to do. Lesson 8: Don't neglect pacing.
     
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