Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Final Countdown (Day 24) :: Adult Education

A starting point already established in game.

Back in August I made a suggestion to use the Heroes Call boards in every major city as reference points for players. As they already exist in-game you'd not need too much work for this: when you clicked on the board you'd get a selection of items you could interact with including one which would provide you with the following:

You get the general idea...

What is sorely lacking in game right now is a general level of helpful information that only comes from having played Warcraft for QUITE SOME TIME. It is extremely easy to forget until you have to explain to someone who's never been here before... like your eight year old daughter, for instance, who's started a Draenai Mage this week. This is an INCREDIBLY complicated game to pick up cold, even with the large number of 'helpful' starting hints. It can be confusing even for those at level, especially with the massive amount of different options available to you: Scenarios, Instances, Proving Grounds, Pet Battles, the Timeless Isle... although the fan community can be very helpful in providing guides, I'm not sure it is entirely up to us to cover the shortfall, especially when it comes to the more basic aspects of gameplay. What other information could the game benefit from in having at it's disposal?

One of the biggest issues that immediately spring to mind refers to what you can and can't do in terms of having items available across multiple servers. Bind to Account is misleading, especially in reference to heirlooms (WHY can these still NOT be sent across servers?) There are also a number of achievements that you'd think should be cross-server but they're not, and what counts for a person and an account could do with some clearing up. What can and can't go in Void Storage is also not clearly defined (though we might have an end to a lot of issues if the changes to vanity items and tabards comes to fruition.) In the main however it is having easily referencable items in game for game handicaps like iLevel, and we could go either the Heroes Call Board route or possibly an in-game help guide similar to that used for boss abilities, organised by expansion.

What also needs to be clear and isn't is where people need to aim for when returning to the game after an absence, and what has changed on a patch by patch basis. That doesn't just mean what's been added, more significantly that often means explaining what's been taken away.

Nobody messes with Walter :p

It's a standing joke in certain sectors of the community, that however much information Blizzard provides there are those who will just never read it regardless of its usefulness. Then there is the plaintiff  'boss strats please' wails I'm hearing more and more from players in LFR: there are those that just expect to be provided with answers and won't ever go looking for them, even if the data is easily to hand. Even if this is the case, I think that providing at least more visual indicators is a way forward: look at the new markers we see on the map at Lootistics Island, which have been translated across the world. Two new symbols:


I'd expect to see more of these in the Expansion, as Blizzard literally puts the markers down on the Minimap so people have no excuse: there's something here for you to do, now try and work out what that is. I'd hope, that when  we adopt the heroes Call Interactive Board idea that there'll be a Glossary of all the symbols and what they mean.

Visual has become a big deal in this game, especially after eight years of pretty much static character models... which is probably one of the biggest game changers we could anticipate. We'll take a look at that concept in more detail tomorrow.


Katherinn said...

There is a pretty good game guide on the main web site and once they implement the in-game browser, I hope it will get some more use.
But this is a great idea!
Would you put iLevel based on 90 or current level? How hard would it be to maintain (I know little about coding) considering iLevel req change with each 5 or so levels and with each major patch?

You know that city architect in the cathedral district? I always wondered if they originally had other uses for him other than being part of a quest.

dobablo said...

I replied, but it got a bit long so I had to move it to my blog.

That's how I'd set up an in-game explanation of game changes

Joar said...

Totally agree, although compared to other MMO's out there, I'm continually amazed with how much great information is out there, as long as you're willing to spend a few minutes looking for it. In the last expansion, I managed to hit max level in Rift, and was amazed how hard it was to get any good information at all about what to do next and how to go about gearing up your toon for various things.