Tutorial Island

Content and general development discussion, including maps, quests, and server code from the development team.
User avatar
Jaxad0127
TMW Adviser
TMW Adviser
Posts: 4209
Joined: 01 Nov 2007, 18:35
Location: Internet

Tutorial Island

Post by Jaxad0127 » 26 Feb 2008, 00:58

I started this thread so we could start discussing how the tutorial island will work. I don't think the island should be limited to a single 200x200 map. We should expand it to allow for some terrain for new players to explore. At least 4 200x200 maps for the overworld, each with a different theme (town, forest, mountain/volcano, plain) and a cave or two. Because of this, we'd need to move it out from Argaes' central lagoon, maybe part of Ancea, or just not on the map. It can also be integrated into the history better this way. I'm thinking that what is now the island was where the four elemental races first met (see Prehistory), making it a special location for all mankind. To use this in the game, when you reach a certain level, the captain will take you back the the island, only for you to find out it was destroyed ages ago (by the Gods, presumably, when they woke up) and is inhabited by monsters. The town and forest were destroyed by the volcano, the plain was flooded, etc. Where you were when you started the game is a mystery and the captain refuses to talk about it. There could be a research team where the town was trying to peace together what happened to the island any any knowledge that wasn't destroyed by the Gods. Due to it's remote location, the destroyed island would be a good place for rare monsters/drops and a boss.
Image
User avatar
Dave
Novice
Novice
Posts: 294
Joined: 26 Mar 2006, 17:39
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Dave » 26 Feb 2008, 09:51

jaxad0127 wrote:I started this thread so we could start discussing how the tutorial island will work.
I'm not claiming that it doesn't need discussion, but it'll be pretty difficult to nail down much of this area's actual function at the immediate time, because the new game mechanics are still being developed.
I don't think the island should be limited to a single 200x200 map. We should expand it to allow for some terrain for new players to explore.
I don't have much of an opinion regarding the actual dimensions of the map, but I don't think it needs to be very big. New players should have plenty of terrain to explore, once they leave the starting / tutorial zone.

Personally, I don't like the idea of people spending too much time in the tutorial area. In my opinion (and that's all it is ;) ) the tutorial area should be little more than a (very) small town. Since our death sequence will have no real permanent penalties, I don't see the need to isolate new players for so long. I've always felt that isolating new players in an online game is an act of newbie protection, which last for a minimal of time. The more in-depth the tutorial area becomes, the longer they will stay. I say, "Teach them how to interface with the game's menus, maybe even allow their character to learn their first skill, then shove them on their way, to explore the world." ..and besides all of my opinionated BS, the intention was for Argaes to be a newbie / lowbie continent.
we'd need to move it out from Argaes' central lagoon, maybe part of Ancea, or just not on the map. It can also be integrated into the history better this way.
I'm just taking a guess here, so please correct me if I'm totally off-base, but I'm assuming that you're looking at the currently published world map and thinking to yourself, "Hm.. this alleged 'central continent' doesn't really appear to be centralized.. so maybe we need something that is." .. regardless of what your reasoning is, beyond your desire to expand the zone, I will admit that I don't really have a strong argument against moving the tutorial zone away from Argaes, but the closer it remains, the more sense it would seem to make that you end up there, after completing the tutorial. If you're amongst the Ancean Isles, there would seem to be many more locations at your fingertips than simply Argaes.. even if the people aren't very modern, I would imagine a populated island having more than a single boat, heading to more than a single destination.
To use this in the game, when you reach a certain level, the captain will take you back the the island, only for you to find out it was destroyed ages ago..
I could be misunderstanding you, but to me, this makes very little sense. Something to take in to consideration is that the the starting / tutorial zone was moved to an island in the first place, because we didn't want players to return, once they'd left. Ever. Also, I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my mind around your suggestion that this island can be the starting location for every new character, yet upon the event of each character reaching a certain level, have it be destroyed. In terms of role-playing, which I'm sure lots of people really don't give a rat's ass about, that would pretty much start the game with the destruction of continuity between characters' experiences.

"You say you came from Tutorial Island five minutes ago, eh?.. Well I was there five days ago and the place was a mess!"

..besides the general lack of continuity, how did you imagine handling the map itself?.. Having two separate maps; one for before the island was destroyed and one for after? Having areas change for one character and not for another sounds too much like a single-player game, which has been adapted to accommodate simultaneous players. In short, I don't think we should ever have multiple versions of a single zone. Imagine following someone through a door and having them not be on the other side, because they had completed an event that you had not. That lack of event / map-continuity was a facet of most Graal servers that turned me off to that particular game.

Please correct me if I have misunderstood or misinterpreted any part of your suggestion. ..because I feel as though I have done just that. ;) :oops: (it's getting late and I'm getting tired.. I probably should've waited until tomorrow to respond, but what the hell, right?.. no time like the present to stick my proverbial foot in my proverbial mouth. 8) )
User avatar
Len
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1479
Joined: 05 Feb 2007, 07:17
Location: Lurking in the shadows

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Len » 26 Feb 2008, 12:09

I think your over thinking this, the Island should be a place where you can
  • get the basic equipment
    go over the interface
    kill a few maggots
    maybe get a default spell or skill
    do your first quest
Just an example: It could be a town with a maggot infestation and the townspeople want you to find the source of the maggots. You locate the source which is a giant maggot, (not as strong as a normal giant maggot) after lvling on some small maggots. You destroy the giant maggot and return his head for a reward (some basic items)

Or we could always do something like everquest 2, in which your on a boat on route to the mainland and the captain wants you to deal with some rats on board, so he gives you some gold to buy a sword with (he also asks that you speak with some of the other NPCs for info)
Image
Pixel Battalion
zick
Novice
Novice
Posts: 194
Joined: 21 Feb 2007, 04:30
Location: City Of Champions Again

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by zick » 26 Feb 2008, 16:36

Or how about you wake up in an inn without any memory of what just happened (you later that you were almost killed and a stranger dropped you off at the inn so you could heal), and to earn your keep at at the inn you got do a couple of quests for the inn keeper. That will get you started learning how to do things. Maybe one of the quests is to kill the maggots under the inn in the basement.
User avatar
Dave
Novice
Novice
Posts: 294
Joined: 26 Mar 2006, 17:39
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Dave » 26 Feb 2008, 18:11

zick wrote:Or how about you wake up in an inn without any memory of what just happened (you later that you were almost killed and a stranger dropped you off at the inn so you could heal), and to earn your keep at at the inn you got do a couple of quests for the inn keeper. That will get you started learning how to do things. Maybe one of the quests is to kill the maggots under the inn in the basement.
Mass amnesia is a really tiresome way to start a role-playing game. If you've ever played the AD&D campaign, "Curse of the Azure Bonds" .. you'd hate that concept as much as I do. :D It'd make just as much sense to say that every character is on the island, visiting their Aunt So-and-So and Uncle What's-his-Face.

"Welcome to Tutorial Island, where everyone has a relative." :o Then all of the player characters would be cousins. :lol:

Unless we're going to write up a moderately large list of random origins, to allow a wide variety of introductory explanations, I don't think it's very important to explain where the character's come from. I realize this doesn't solve any question about explaining character origin, though I'm fairly certain that lumping them all together as amnesiacs and / or cousins is not the answer. Since the only people that are really going to care about such information will likely be the more serious role-players, it should probably be left up to the player to decide where their character originated and how they ended up where they are today. If we ever did write up a list of random origins though, amnesia and visiting relatives would be definite options.

Len, the EQ2 boat thing.. that's pretty neat. What if it were like:

"Ar.. ye be ready to travel to Argaes then, matey?" (of course, you choose yes)
"Hm, ye appear to be short on funds." (you start the game with a small amount of money, but not enough for the trip)
"I'll make a deal with ye; many days ago, I lost me entire collection of prized hot pants. Aye, they be turning up gradually, here and there.. but I still be missin' quite a few of me favorites. If ye would be so kind, as to ask around town, to see if any more have been found? If ye do this for me, I'll take ye to Argaes for free." (with no alternative, you of course, say yes to this as well)

You then have to speak to every person in the starting area, to ensure that you've had an opportunity to get the full load of instructions. (veteran players will breeze through this, having done it a number of times..) The last person you speak to, always has a pair of hotpants. This way, each available NPC in the area would have the potential to have found them. Everyone you ask first says something like, "Nope, haven't seen any of those lately." .. the very last person would always finish the task.. "Oh yeah, I found these candy-apple hotpants, washed up on the shore. I washed them, because I thought I might wear them, but if they belong to someone, I suppose they should be returned." ..and no, I'm not really serious about the item being hotpants.

If we really wanted to do a quest on the boat though, rats would be good.. but giant termites might be even better. "THEY BE EATIN ME BOAT! HURRY!"

Honestly, I've been starting to wonder if we really need an entire island or town for the starting zone. Everyone could just begin the game in "Student Orientation".. it could be in the basement of a school building. Once you leave, the guard never lets you reenter.
User avatar
Jaxad0127
TMW Adviser
TMW Adviser
Posts: 4209
Joined: 01 Nov 2007, 18:35
Location: Internet

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Jaxad0127 » 26 Feb 2008, 20:05

If we do make it larger, 'gently guiding' the players to leave when they reach a certain level wouldn't be very hard. We could use scripted warps that always take them to the town after they've reached that level and the rest of the NPCs would only tell then to talk to the captain.

As for having multiple versions of the map, there wouldn't be. There would only be one (the damaged version). The tutorial version wouldn't be accessible from the outside so there's no problem.

Another possibility is to give each race a different tutorial area/experience. They could all end up in the same place after it or just stay in the same general part of the world as their tutorial.
Image
User avatar
Dave
Novice
Novice
Posts: 294
Joined: 26 Mar 2006, 17:39
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Dave » 26 Feb 2008, 21:02

jaxad0127 wrote:If we do make it larger, 'gently guiding' the players to leave when they reach a certain level wouldn't be very hard. We could use scripted warps that always take them to the town after they've reached that level and the rest of the NPCs would only tell then to talk to the captain.
That takes too much control away from the player. 'Gently guiding' players would be through passive suggestion, not by suddenly warping them upon a level gain. Even if you informed them of this inevitable level-based warp, there would always be a few people that didn't pay attention to the warning and would be confused when it happened. The reasoning just seems a bit arbitrary. I just really have to reiterate that I don't see much point in making a giant tutorial area, since the entire continent of Argaes will be geared toward newbies / lowbies.

I would ask you to look at a game like Final Fantasy 6. Though it's a single player game, the tutorial area in the town of Narshe is a good example of how simple such a sequence could and probably should be. Another game who's introduction should be referenced in this discussion, would be Harvest Moon for SNES. You are brought to town by the delivery driver, who then blocks the exit and won't let you leave until you talk to everyone. That's a bit more like a "gentle guiding" than if you had just been warped without much warning.

slightly off topic: There is something that I dislike about warping in MMORPGs. It has to do with travel time. Unless you're being magically teleported somewhere.. or ahem.. shot out of a cannon ;) .. I don't think you should ever just disappear from one place and reappear somewhere far away, with no semblance of attention to the amount of time it should take you to walk, or take a boat ride, etc.. I realize it's unlikely that we'll have a real-time travel system for boats and such, but it sure would be cool. Imagine getting on a boat and actually watching the scenery roll by.. and having full roam of the ship while you're in transit. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think this would be totally boss. As I recall, Modanung and I once briefly discussed the possibility of a real-time train / rail system. It'd also be fun because there could be real schedules for various forms of transportation.
As for having multiple versions of the map, there wouldn't be. There would only be one (the damaged version). The tutorial version wouldn't be accessible from the outside so there's no problem.
I'm sorry but the way you describe this, it does sound like you want it to undergo some sort of visible change. If you're going back to the island and finding that it had been destroyed, would that not imply that you had been there before, before it was destroyed? What you seem to be suggesting is that the tutorial sequence would depict the island, before it was destroyed. How are we explaining that new players and higher level (returning) players are occupying the same space, but in different times? It just doesn't make a lot of sense.
Another possibility is to give each race a different tutorial area/experience. They could all end up in the same place after it or just stay in the same general part of the world as their tutorial.
Multiple starting locations might very well be developed in the future, but this was discussed months back and we decided against it for the immediate time. We're focusing on Argaes to allow some time for the game mechanics and the rest of the world to mature. Using multiple starting locations now would defeat the purpose of that plan and at this time, would seem to be an unnecessary amount of work. Also, the reason to have multiple starting locations would simply be to allow people to begin in different areas of the world; I can't imagine why we would need separate tutorials, since the game works the same for everyone, regardless of race.

Remember, this is a tutorial area.. not necessarily a low level hunting zone. If you're a veteran player, you will probably not need the tutorial info. So, assuming you know exactly what needs to be done, the area should be easy to get through, very quickly. Attaching a level requirement to leave would only increase the grind-time spent in the Tutorial zone. The only important function is allowing the players access to information about how the game works. New players don't really need to be perfectly, 100% comfortable with the game, by the time they emerge from the tutorial. Some of the learning experience should extend beyond the tutorial, in to your personal experience as a player. I just think a minimal amount of hand-holding and isolation would be a bit more fun.
User avatar
Jaxad0127
TMW Adviser
TMW Adviser
Posts: 4209
Joined: 01 Nov 2007, 18:35
Location: Internet

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Jaxad0127 » 26 Feb 2008, 21:33

The warps would the the 'normal', between-map warps, not something that automatically happens when you reach a certain level. Of course you could leave earlier, if you wanted to. The warping would be to more or less force the player to leave so they don't stay on the island forever (which was one of your original concerns). The part about the different islands deals with the idea that the tutorial part is somewhere out of the normal flow of the world (which from your comments seams like you don't like).

The multiple starting could be expanded so there's a bunch of them (just different scenarios like a farm, an inn, a boat, an island, ...) and one is randomly chosen when the player starts. What I'm think is that they would be instanced for each play, so it's just them and the npcs. They would all end up in the same place after they've finished, they'd just start out differently. For example, for the farm, you could a farm hand (or something similar, the backstory for this is left intentionally empty) and you help them with chores and such to learn basic mechanics. When you're ready to move on, you'd accompany them to town. The maps would have no real location in the world, or we could use the different versions idea (leaving both more or less identical, just with different scope) so that it could be visited later, but more experianced player couldn't interfere with the training (which was the whole point of the island in the first place).
Image
User avatar
Dave
Novice
Novice
Posts: 294
Joined: 26 Mar 2006, 17:39
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Dave » 26 Feb 2008, 21:57

An easier way to keep the players from staying in the tutorial area forever, would be to give them very little to do there, but learn about parts of the game. If we're going to ever have multiple starting locations, I would really hope that sort of decision would be left to the player and not randomized. What if they have absolutely no interest in being a farm hand? I think we're beginning to confuse the purpose of a tutorial with the purpose of newbie / lowbie areas. A tutorial will allow the players access to valuable information about how the game works, but does it really need to have monsters, quests and those sorts of things directly integrated in to it?

The more this is discussed, the stronger I feel about portraying the tutorial as a student orientation. I think the hunting and quests should be saved for the post-tutorial exploration. In fact, if there were absolutely no hunting or questing during the tutorial, (if it were strictly based on information) we could actually offer the option to completely circumvent the entire sequence, so veteran players go directly to an actual starting location.
User avatar
Jaxad0127
TMW Adviser
TMW Adviser
Posts: 4209
Joined: 01 Nov 2007, 18:35
Location: Internet

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Jaxad0127 » 26 Feb 2008, 22:03

dabe wrote:The more this is discussed, the stronger I feel about portraying the tutorial as a student orientation. I think the hunting and quests should be saved for the post-tutorial exploration. If there is no hunting or questing on the tutorial, we could actually offer the option to completely circumvent the entire sequence.. and go directly to an actual starting location.
I completely agree.
Image
User avatar
Len
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1479
Joined: 05 Feb 2007, 07:17
Location: Lurking in the shadows

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Len » 26 Feb 2008, 22:46

dabe wrote:An easier way to keep the players from staying in the tutorial area forever, would be to give them very little to do there, but learn about parts of the game. If we're going to ever have multiple starting locations, I would really hope that sort of decision would be left to the player and not randomized. What if they have absolutely no interest in being a farm hand? I think we're beginning to confuse the purpose of a tutorial with the purpose of newbie / lowbie areas. A tutorial will allow the players access to valuable information about how the game works, but does it really need to have monsters, quests and those sorts of things directly integrated in to it?

The more this is discussed, the stronger I feel about portraying the tutorial as a student orientation. I think the hunting and quests should be saved for the post-tutorial exploration. In fact, if there were absolutely no hunting or questing during the tutorial, (if it were strictly based on information) we could actually offer the option to completely circumvent the entire sequence, so veteran players go directly to an actual starting location.
Most tutorials I've seen have you fight at least one very very weak monster so the player isn't taken by surprise in the actual game. We can have them kill some practice dummys (almost no exp) in the combat section of student orientation after receiving a basic weapon from the trainer. This would be a nice way to go over the basic combat mechanics without wasting to much time (and you could still skip it and get the basic wep anyways)
Last edited by Len on 26 Feb 2008, 23:30, edited 1 time in total.
Image
Pixel Battalion
User avatar
ElvenProgrammer
TMW Adviser
TMW Adviser
Posts: 2526
Joined: 13 Apr 2004, 20:11
Location: Italy
Contact:

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by ElvenProgrammer » 26 Feb 2008, 22:48

Yeah wooden sword and stuff on the like
User avatar
Drizak
Peon
Peon
Posts: 48
Joined: 07 Feb 2008, 09:32
Location: Santiago @ Chile!

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Drizak » 26 Feb 2008, 23:04

Is a good idea, can train the "how to trade" and explain about the clans too.
Image Drizak
User avatar
Dave
Novice
Novice
Posts: 294
Joined: 26 Mar 2006, 17:39
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Dave » 26 Feb 2008, 23:31

Any information could be available from NPCs in the area, but there could be even more stuffed in bookshelves, lining the walls. Using bookshelf dialogs would really help to cut down on the amount of info-slinging NPCs. I suppose that I do have to agree that there should be at least one easy, introductory battle in the tutorial zone. My brother just pointed out to me that even in Final Fantasy 6's tutorial building, you have the option to fight a monster or two.. it's just that they're of the "Monster-in-a-box" variety. (which is probably why I forgot about them) So contradictory to what I just said ;) I guess it would make sense to offer at least one brief fight.
User avatar
Jaxad0127
TMW Adviser
TMW Adviser
Posts: 4209
Joined: 01 Nov 2007, 18:35
Location: Internet

Re: Tutorial Island

Post by Jaxad0127 » 26 Feb 2008, 23:48

A simple, stationary, monster that doesn't attack, has little health and gives some xp (like a 3rd of whats needed for the first level).

Something else that we could do with multiple starting locations is each location starts out the character with some different items. They should be more or less comparable across all starting locations to prevent everyone from going to the same one for better items. The items should also be gainable during the normal course of the game.
Image
Post Reply