Newbie-friendly North Argaes geography

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Crush
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Newbie-friendly North Argaes geography

Post by Crush » 23 Dec 2007, 03:41

Thread split from http://forums.themanaworld.org/viewtopic.php?t=3292

It would be better to first decide what kind of buildings or other points of interest are in the city and then to think about the city layout. And to decide this we have to decide about the primary function of the town. Dabes original concept is the following:
THE TRADE CITY is my proposition for a new starting location. This place can be designed to contain the basic resources to begin one's journey. This means that the surrounding areas will be geared mostly for characters of lower levels. Visually, I do not have a lot imagined for this place. It should be fairly modern for the setting; no castle or royalty in this city. It will probably contain an academy of pretty decent size. What is most important is the city's roots as a trading post. The heart of the city should still be a large open market, perhaps with booths, stands.. and even some people with wares spread out on rugs. Stone streets might be a nice touch.
When the city is supposed to be the starting point for newbies then it should not be too big and should not have too many facilities that are not targeted at newbies and not too many travel opportunitys to avoid confusing them.

But when it is supposed to be a trading hub where players from all over the game world meet to trade all kinds of rare stuff the town needs a lot of key facilities and it should be possible to reach other key locations from it quickly (could be provided easily by using the port) to attract people.

You see: These two functions are mutually exclusive.


We could design this city as a newbie start location, but then we would waste a lot of its potential. It is the most urbane and also the most central area in the current concept of the Argaes continent. This makes it the perfect trading center.

So I would suggest that we use it as a trading hub and not as a newbie start location. A better starting point would be a remote and well-arranged village with few shops that sells only stuff newbies need and some tutorial NPCs that teach players the basics of the game.

This pulsating trade center could be the second station in the life of young adventurers where they gets a first impression of everything the world has to offer after they learned the basics to understand all this. After learning the gameplay basics in a simpler environment they could be sent there by the basic tutorial NPCs to learn advanced topics from advanced tutorial NPCs and then be provided with a lot of different traveling opportunitys to explore the world on their own.
Last edited by Crush on 31 Jan 2008, 13:01, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Dr Wahl » 23 Dec 2007, 08:05

Crush wrote:When the city is supposed to be the starting point for newbies then it should not be too big and should not have too many facilities that are not targeted at newbies and not too many travel opportunitys to avoid confusing them.
I would have to disagree. I have seen large daunting cities be great starting places. For example (yes, another World of Warcraft example...) a city called Ironforge is a huge city that has many places that even the most experienced players have not visited. But, due to a lot of thought put into the NPC text/functions and the physical layout of the city, even noobs feel at home. There are guards just about everywhere that will point you in the direction of anything you could need. The exit is easy to find due to the fact of memorable landmarks and the flow of traffic.

I, for one, like the idea of having a large city that the most powerful players are drawn to even though they have effectively "beat the game". If there is thought put into it, it shouldn't be too hard to make a functional town for noobs that is full featured and contains all sorts of nooks and crannies.
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Post by Crush » 23 Dec 2007, 14:30

I played WoW too, and NO race I tried started in a large metropole. You always started in a newbie-friendly village. You got into the large cities quite quickly but you didn't start in them. This is the same way we should be doing it. That's why I suggested to use the trade city as the 2nd location a new player sees.
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Post by Jaxad0127 » 23 Dec 2007, 16:31

I think any town in Trade City's area. If we choose Hurnscald (the woodland village), it wouldn't have to change too much, the shops selling higher level items wouldn't need to drop those, as Hurnscald is on the path to the western half of the continent. Choosing the farming town would allow us to gently direct the new players to Trade City more easily than the other choices via roads bordered by farms. The fishing village isn't as good a location because its the gateway to the tribal village, although that could be an advantage of it. Then theres the unnamed settlement south of the farming town. We could reasonably direct the player to the farming town or the beach resort without much trouble. But it's the gateway to the south east, so maybe not.
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Post by Crush » 23 Dec 2007, 16:37

I think the farming town to the north would be the best starting location from the geographical point of view because it is possible to design the area so that the only way out of it leads through the trade city.
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Post by Jaxad0127 » 23 Dec 2007, 16:57

Crush wrote:I think the farming town to the north would be the best starting location from the geographical point of view because it is possible to design the area so that the only way out of it leads through the trade city.
Exactly. We could also have a path to the fishing village thats blocked by a guard that only lets higher level chars through (due to dangerous monster sightings, or something). We'd need to make some more low level monsters for this area as well, so new players can fight before going to town.
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Post by Dr Wahl » 23 Dec 2007, 20:16

Crush wrote:I played WoW too... You got into the large cities quite quickly but you didn't start in them. This is the same way we should be doing it.
Well put, and I agree 100%.
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Post by Crush » 29 Jan 2008, 19:18

The starting town should be a tutorial environment where the player learns the basics about playing TMW and this location should be especially tailored for this purpose and have no other function. I know that this isn't logical but it is practical.

Why should we sacrifice 3 locations for this? One newbie town is enough. I suggested to use the town which was named "farming town" on the old argaes map purely for geographical reasons.
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Post by Jaxad0127 » 29 Jan 2008, 20:02

Yes. I think that a few very easy monsters in the town would also be a good idea: http://forums.themanaworld.org/viewtopic.php?t=3534. And not leaving it as a dead end.
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Post by Dave » 30 Jan 2008, 05:41

jaxad0127 wrote:Yes. I think that a few very easy monsters in the town would also be a good idea
No monsters roaming the town, especially when civilized areas will probably be safe-zones; no hostile actions in town. We need to start thinking in terms of appropriate surrounding areas to place creatures.

what about something like this for the general area?
Image
..should've used a dark color for fonts, but I suppose it's readable enough. :oops: I'd like to point out one of the reasons I like this general design; the way the trade city is between two distinctly different environments in this version, grasslands to the north and savanna to the south; it will be a much more noticeable change when a player passes through. Also to the west, passing through a cave to finally reach woodlands.. more sudden changes in environment are kinda neat like that.

So in this alternative design, you'd start in the port town and goof around there for a while; take on a few tutorial grade tasks, kill some monsters in the surrounding area, then probably end up in the farming village, possibly just passing through, on your way somewhere else. Through the trade city can be but one of the possible routes available, after the start of the game.

About location-markers that I place on maps.. they're just ideas.. I'm always willing to monkey with the map if anyone has convincing insight about where something should be placed. Also, I'm interested to know what everyone thinks about doing something with a port town for a starting location.. any thoughts about the general area and how it might be better arranged to help the flow of the game's beginning? I just think we should think about how the area surrounding the trade city will work, before we think much more about how the trade city itself will work.
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Post by Crush » 30 Jan 2008, 11:25

When I interprete this map correctly you suggest the following changes at the current plan:

1. Mountain ranges north of the currently ingame woodland area (I like that better than plains, because it is very hard to map plains without them looking... well... plain).
2. Port town not a main trade center but a newbie start location with tutorial environment - also better in my opinion. But as I already said a few times: The newbie starting location should NOT be a place where experienced players usually hang out or go through because the facilities needed for them and their incomprehensible jargon of obscure abbreviations do nothing but confuse the newbies. This means that most of the routes out of the city should be one-way routes.
3. Farming village second location players visit, maybe add alternative 2nd locations later which can be reached by ship. - fine for me.
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Post by Jaxad0127 » 30 Jan 2008, 17:45

We could move the starting location onto an island (tutorial island). When a new player is done there, they take a ship to port town (or trade city if it's moved back). This is a one-way trip. The island would have a small town/village with the tutorial NPCs and some more screens with easy monsters and other game mechanics that don't fit in the town, so new players can get a fell for the game before the really start. While on the island, after death, players will still spawn there, but after they leave, they'd spawn in the port town (and the death penalty comes into effect). This setup allows for a starting location thats friendly and inaccessible to higher players and integrates well into the rest of the game.
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Post by Crush » 30 Jan 2008, 17:57

Would also be an alternative to consider.
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Post by Dave » 31 Jan 2008, 05:15

About having "one-way trips" .. I like this, but it should only apply to your permanent departure from newbie-island.
Here is a possible depiction of the newbie-island adaptation:
Image

Perhaps when you start the game in "Newbington" you are issued a training permit, which allows you ..let's say 3 free training sessions in your choice of abilities; instructors would be placed throughout the town. After using your last training session, you are somehow or another, asked or ordered to prepare to leave; it's time to get on a rickety little boat, to Port Town. Doing this would allow us to blend the tutorial area with initial skill selection. With more choices than sessions, people will always be arriving in Port Town with some slight foundation in some sort of abilities.

If everyone is in agreement about the basics of this adaptation, I'll make the appropriate changes and we can start a separate discussion for these other proposed locations. ..more importantly, figuring this bit out will allow us to move back on to the actual topic of Trade City's design.
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Post by Crush » 31 Jan 2008, 10:37

I like that concept. We should do it like that.
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