What can we do part II: the tutorial

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Areandon
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What can we do part II: the tutorial

Postby Areandon » Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:09 pm

I've used to input from my previous post to refine my ideas for the tutorial.
I'll explain the proposal through the eyes of our noob enchanter Naled.

After being interested by our website, little Naled has decided to check out the mud. From the walkthrough on the site he knows how to go through character creation. Naled decided to create an enchanter and start in Waterdeep.

Note! It is probably a good idea to limit the starting cities per race/combo at just one choice. This will help greatly with writing the quests. This shouldn't be a problem since most people will start in Waterdeep anyway. The other former starting cities will get a different role.

When Naled enters the game in the Mage Tower Khelben will start by explaining him the basic game concepts such as navigation, and the say and ask commands.

Note! The quests are not mandatory. Veteran players can ignore all of this and start the game as they like. They can return to quest-tutorial at anytime though.

For his first mission Naled is sent to an apprentice to get a scroll. Our hero has to use his newly learned navigation skills to find the apprentice a few rooms away and get him to give him the scroll. After retrieving this and bringing the scroll to his master he will receive his first spellbook and quill.

Khelben will explain him the concepts of scribing and practicing. After Naled has scribed his first spells he will be taught the mem and med concepts.
After Naled has memmed his first magic missile Khelben will conjure a small mob to practice his spellcasting on.
When Naled has turned the mob to a smoking pile of ashes Khelben sends him to the newbie area to practice his skills some. After he has reached level 2 he can come back for a new assignment.

Naled will use level 1-15 to acquire his set of starting gear. He will also be pointed to the xp zones around Waterdeep and learn the most common commands. Existing quests like Ant Farm and Granpa Pod can be used for these tasks.

Note! The xp can also come from assignments, e.g. fight the evil mercenaries in SSC etc. This way a RP atmosphere can be created.

After level 15 Khelben will give our aspring mage a ship ticket and send him to baldurs gate for further studies. The BG guild master will give Naled other assignments to upgrade his gear.
Some of the assignments here will be more dangerous and require more exploring. After level 21 some quests may require other classes to help.

At level 35 the wannabe archmage is sent further away for studies. If he was evil he would be sent to Zhentil Keep, but since he is a nice noob he will receive further tutoring in CP. Quests here are a lot complexer and difficult and many require large groups to complete. Some of the quests yield important spells such as relocate, gate, mindblank, dragonscales and maybe timestop.

Note! The guildmaster will just point to the zone or mob that starts the spell quest.

At reaching level 46 the training is complete and Naled is no longer an apprentice. He should have a fair set of eq and have enough knowledge to go zoning. High level quests and zoning will yield the good eq now.

Note! For an other race the game would start slightly different. Dwarves begin in MH etc. For goodrace the game would be the same from level 15. Evilraces would have their own quest-tutorial.

The advantages of this approach are plenty:

1) Players learn the mud in a fun, active way and don't have to trudge through a seperate zone. They start with playing the same game everyone else plays.
2) Every level starts a new adventure
3) Players are taught to explore
4) Players learn important aspects of their class during their training.
5) Players get eq which they need to get them through their levels. Since they don't go zoning they would need handouts otherwise.
6) Instead of mindlessly killing stuff people level and xp within a role-playing environment.
7) Getting your character to 50 is no longer a chore, it's an adventure!
8) Unique selling point for the mud we can use to attract new players.

Obviously this will require quite some work with writing quests. Veteran players would be the ideal candidates to do this. They know the class by heart and know what is important for new players to learn.

I would suggest making use exisiting quests as much as possible to reduce the work.

Codewise there doesn't have to change much except if needed to implement the quests.


I also have some questions for you all:

1) What would be decent eq for the various levels? Obviously even the best eq gotten this way should still be less good then eq from zones or high-end quests. The other option would be to downgrade mobs to make the eq good enough for the level.

2) How do you feel about writing some quests for your class? Would you be interested pitching in if asked to?


Implementation-wise I suggest introducing this in phases. You can start by addressing the most important fase between level 1 and 15. Doing the work on higher levels can be done after. Note that it is important to support newbies at higher levels as well. Much can be done with exisiting quests as shown in the example. But noobs will still be noobs even if they made it to 15 or 30.

Well so far part II. Questions, answers, comments, praise and critisism are more than welcome.

Naled
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Postby Treladian » Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:54 am

I would suggest that some of the newbie guides that players have written be incorporated into this. Possibly by having the guildmaster recite stuff from it when asked about relevant topics.

I would also suggest that the ideal way to let newbies know they can get more information from their guildmaster by asking them something when they first enter. Basically have them recite some canned text to a new character when they first enter into their guild. This would keep the spam down for experienced players and make it fit into the gameworld.
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Postby chandigar » Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:51 pm

The outline above seems almost exactly like the Everquest (or was it DAOC) noob system. Not that thats a bad thing....
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Postby Areandon » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:20 pm

I recall the EQ system sucking real hard. They could have changed it later though. I've never played DAOC so that's possible. I would be very surprised if I was the first to come up with this :P
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Re: What can we do part II: the tutorial

Postby Sesexe » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:33 pm

Areandon wrote:1) What would be decent eq for the various levels? Obviously even the best eq gotten this way should still be less good then eq from zones or high-end quests. The other option would be to downgrade mobs to make the eq good enough for the level.

2) How do you feel about writing some quests for your class? Would you be interested pitching in if asked to?

Naled


1) In order to answer this, I guess you'd need to figure out at what level ranges a person's hps/ac/saves/abilities should be. Could also go around to various zones of appropriate levels and sack the eq and see what kind of sets you could make I suppose. Not really sure off the top of my head what players should have since object changes happened.

2) Do you mean actually go into the zone docs/code and do it, or just come up with quest outlines for someone else, like a staff member, to plug in instead? I was already thinking about doing little quests linked into my char RP quests for new players. So I personally might be inclined to help out, if someone asked me I guess and was serious about it.
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Postby Areandon » Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:27 pm

Sesexe:

On 1) I guess we would have to try for each class what ac/hps/etc are needed to xp on that level. I know that with the current newbie xp it's virtually impossible for a newbie enchanter to solo, even in the newbie area. A veteran could probably do it, but we're talking real newbies.

On 2) In my experience the most time-consuming part is designing the quests, writing the dialogue, the plots etc. I'm not sure if we could actually help in writing the scripts and so on. Shar promised to get back on that on what exactly we can do. Mostly trying to get a feel for the enthusiasm for this kind of stuff.
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Postby Sesexe » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:04 pm

on 1) Yeah the newbie zone still doesn't allow some classes to actually kill. I do feel all classes should be able to solo noob mobs at starting levels. Wasn't the staffworking on a new newbie zone for this?
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Postby Sarvis » Mon Mar 22, 2004 7:35 pm

I like the basic idea, and was going to suggest something similar myself. I don't think this kind of apprenticeship should go all the way to level 46 though. In fact, I'd probably only take it to level 10 or so. Just long enough to teach someone how to play their class fairly well, and get them interested in the mud before they start exploring and doing things on their own.

Also, the different quests should be split up based on class more than race.
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Postby Areandon » Tue Mar 23, 2004 10:02 am

I would split the quests up by class/race combinations simpy because:

a) the low level quests should be done around the hometown
b) different races start in different hometowns.

So if a dwarf should do the same quest as a human he would have to travel all the way to wd. I think new players shouldn't have to do that. Why bother having them start there anyway if they have to go to Waterdeep for everything.
Of course an enchanter should get different quests then a warrior, since the quests are aimed at learning the class.


The reason I propose to let the "apprenticeship" last to high levels has a number of reasons:

a) it gives players something to do until they are able to zone.
b) it will give them a way to get eq without handouts.
c) it will force new players to explore the mud and reuse zones and quests that don't get done now.
d) Newbies don't stop being newbies at level 10. In my experience it take about lvl 40 before you get to know the mud in every detail. That is if you spent some time out of DS.
e) promote questing and roleplaying
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Postby Demuladon » Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:07 pm

Areadon this is a great thread.

Areadon wrote:

(i) Note! It is probably a good idea to limit the starting cities per race/combo at just one choice. This will help greatly with writing the quests.

(ii) Of course an enchanter should get different quests then a warrior, since the quests are aimed at learning the class.


I agree with quote(i) but not with quote(ii). Main problem as I see it is that 2 race-sides, 17 classes and 1 quest per level for the 46 levels is a *huge* number of quests (2*17*46=1564 separate quests!).


I suggest that we limit the number of class-specific quests so we can start the ball rolling quickly on Areadon's great newbie idea.

One (obvious) implementation of Areadon's suggestion is to make:
-all goodie newbies start in WD
-all evil newbies start in DK
and then have two separate streams of quests - good quests based in WD and evil quests based in DK.

A proposed system of "level quests":

for levels 1-3:class specific quests
To reduce the huge number of "level quests" to something manageble have class specific quests only for levels 1-3. In fact could probably reduce it further so that:
-one set of quests for all melee classes levels 1-3,
-one set of quests for all mage classes levels 1-3,
-one set of quests for all cleric classes levels 1-3,
This would produce 3classetypes*3 level quests*2 sides = 18quests
These quests would be designed to introduce the basics of the 3 class types and would yield info and a decent dagger/shield/bodygear.

for levels 4-15:equipment quests
-one set of equipment quests for all classes for level 3-15, and another 11 important slots get filled.
ie. all classes do the same quests since all newbies require the same gear (ie some hps/reasonable AC/and some hit&dam so they can kill).
This would produce 11 level quests*2 sides = 22quests


for levels 16-21:XP quests
XPing these levels can be a bitch I suggest making these quests give half a level worth of XP. eg. perhaps small items as well 2 earrings and 2 rings.
This would produce 5 level quests*2 sides = 10quests

for levels 22-47:reduce frequency to 1 quest every 5 levels
Another 5 level quests mixed equipment and spells/skills. Keep the existing spell quests and add in some equipment quests that all classes can do/wear.
This would produce 5 level quests*2 sides = 10quests
These equipment quests would be long multi-zone prime-based quests (but no huge fights and no insta-death parts) and the equipment would be quite nice, perhaps 15 levels above the character level when quest is completed.

This system of "level quests" to help a newbie would require 60 quests to be written. It's still alot of work, might even be worth simplify it more, but it's a starting point that could be grown in time. And the newbie would have the option of doing 30 level quests on the way to 46th level.

BTW I have some ideas for lowbie evil quests and would love help out here if possible.
Last edited by Demuladon on Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sarvis » Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:33 pm

Well, I think class specific quests are pretty necessary. I mean, I don't think playing an invoker is going to be all that similar to playing an enchanter. You might be able to get away with illusionists and elementalists together, but it seems unlikely. One of the great strengths about this MUD is tthat all the classes are very different from one another.

However, we could "cheat" on the race issue so that we only need class specific quests. What I mean is, playing a drow enchanter is probably not very different from an elf enchanter. So they can use the _same_ quests! Only localized. So maybe in DK your second quest is to test your new spell on a slave, while in EM it's on a summoned monster. They would be the same mob but just a restring basically.

This would work best with using a larger guildhall than what is in existance now. In other words there should be training rooms and such within each guildhall for someone to practice their skills, and using these rooms should be the goal of the first several quests.

Of course, this supports having only a few quests and cutting newbies loose at level 10 or so. On the surface anyway. But if you start making requirements for higher levels in order to move forward, and use the same quest for even the same class people it will cause problems. Let's say at level 24 all warriors were supposed to go get the one horned dwarven helm. Well, only one person per day can level... or even find the thing. That would just suck. Yet we don't want to have the thing repop every single time, becuase then everyone and their brother would have everything they ever wanted easily. It would be ok, however, to have llw level quest mobs always respawn with items because those items would be mostly useless to anyone except training newbies.


Another, completely separate idea:


Make it so that a player can ask the guildmaster what areas are good for their level. Also so that he would give general directions to those areas. This would do a lot to encourage exploration, instead of people stsicking to the same areas they always have. There are still a lot of areas on the mud I don't know where are, or maybe have been to but not known since they aren't labled with their name or anything. But whenever I am on my own or leading a small group I have no clue where to go, because I normally don't lead and all the places I do know require a better tank than I.
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Postby Demuladon » Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:46 pm

Sarvis wrote:

Well, I think class specific quests are pretty necessary. I mean, I don't think playing an invoker is going to be all that similar to playing an enchanter.


To a newbie playing an invoker isn't alot different to an enchanter. Both need to know how to ,get spellbook bag, sit/rest/mem/med and how to cast 'missile' rabbit. Of course this changes as the characters grow.

I agree it would be great to have separate class/race indepenent newbie quests for everyone - I just can't see it happening in our lifetime.

What I am suggesting is that we start with a reduced set of newbie quests that can be built over time, to teach some basics, to get the newb to explore abit and to yield an 'earnt' set of gear better than newbie gear.
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Postby Demuladon » Tue Mar 23, 2004 9:01 pm

Sarvis wrote:
Of course, this supports having only a few quests and cutting newbies loose at level 10 or so.


Even if we cut the newbies lose at level 10 this would yield

2race-sides*17classes*10levels=340 separate quests

that would need to be written. If someone could write 70 quests a year.. this would be a 5 year project for someone.

But if you start making requirements for higher levels in order to move forward,

The quests would of course always be optional (ie. no ones suggested you need to do the newbie quests to level or move forward).
Last edited by Demuladon on Tue Mar 23, 2004 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sarvis » Tue Mar 23, 2004 9:17 pm

The quests would of course always be optional (ie. no ones suggested you need to do the newbie quests to level or move forward).


Hrm... oh yeah. Think I misread something earlier... heh. Thought he wanted that to be the only way to level at all for some reason.

I still think we can eliminate race, bringing it down to 170 quests... which is still a lot. Of course, one person shouldn't be doing it. Maybe some representative for each class can do their classes quests, then it's a 10 quest project.

Hell, looking at it that way making separate quests for each class and race wouldn't be bad either. Just need more volunteers... heh.
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Postby kragt » Tue Mar 23, 2004 9:25 pm

I can volunteer for any coding that may be needed for this, but for zone writing you'd be better off with a pack of rabid reesus monkeys than me.
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Postby Areandon » Wed Mar 24, 2004 7:01 am

One of the things I suggested is using existing quests to lessen the load. There are already a huge number of quests in the game, of which a decent amount are hardly done. For example the ant-farm, or the quest at grandpa pod where you get a container and some stuff. On higher levels there are probably more. That would help a bit. But it would take a lot of questwriting.

It's a good idea to "copy" quests to hometowns Sarvis. That would at least save a lot of work. And especially at higher levels not every level needs a quest. A lot of classes already have spell/skill quests at higher levels to fill the gap.
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Postby Demuladon » Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:10 pm

Started leveling up a new char this weekend had and idea to add to this "old" thread.

I wrote:
These quests would be designed to introduce the basics of the 3 class types and would yield info and a decent dagger/shield/bodygear.


Would be cool if the dagger the newbies quested had a small proc attached to it. Make it something like a cut-down GCD.. maybe procs the "agility drain" only and 1/4 of the proc damage.

My thinking is - this would help the newbies who start those classes that have a rough time during the first 10 levels or so - plus questing a weapon that procs pretty colours in those early levels would keep people interested when their magic missiles/cause lights aren't doing much.
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Postby Sarvis » Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:23 pm

I like that idea... could also proc some useful things to low levels like cure light wounds and such. Maybe on a robe once per day, triggered verbally or something.
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Postby Demuladon » Fri Apr 23, 2004 3:41 am

Sese had a nice idea..

have the newbie dagger proc faerie fire so the little mages etc miss less.
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quests

Postby irta » Sat Apr 24, 2004 5:34 am

To be remotely fair, the quests need to require the user to kill all the mobs involve by himself so that he can't just be handed the items. Also the quests should be obvious, otherwise people will just pass the info around to their friends and some will be advantaged and others won't be -- not a good scenario for class quests).
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Postby Gormal » Sun Apr 25, 2004 1:24 am

Great ideas, the character generator could tell new players which race/classes had these types of walkthrough implemented as they are written. Heck, I'd roll up a new character to try these out for fun.

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