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Old 04-03-2003, 12:55 AM   #1
Jherlen
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How does your MUD handle new players as far as your areas go?

I've seen this handled in a different way on almost every MUD I visit. Some give an extensive MUDding tutorial, assuming their new players are new MUDders as well, but this quickly bores veteran players who know the commands, and makes them fly through the whole area reading nothing. Others offer a very basic tutorial, with maybe a few rooms explaining how to move and talk, which leaves the true newbies confused.

Aside from areas designed to teach people how to play, what do you do to explain features unique to your game? Especially for MUDs that are highly modified, how do you explain your new features to people? Is this also included in your new-player area, or do you leave it to your helpfiles and your staff to answer questions?

Attracting and keeping newbies is vital to any game, so I'm interested in seeing some of the approaches people have taken.

Jherlen
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Old 04-03-2003, 10:42 AM   #2
enigma@zebedee
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We have several extensive newbie areas with varying degrees of complexity.

In addition we have a 'newbie helper' which is a little scripted creature which sits on your shoulder and gives you advice. When you create a character you are given the option to get one of those or not (and you can get another later on if you change your mind). If you give it a chance it will guide you through all the stages of talking, finding, learning spells/abilities/killing things and so forth.

We also have a 'newbie helpers' guild - members of which are restricted to newbie levels but can change class at will, so they can change to your class to help you.
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:16 AM   #3
OnyxFlame
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DM has a mudschool, which I can't say much about because I haven't had to start a new char since they put it in. We also have "tips of the day" which show up when ANYONE logs in unless you turn them off, and contain the best tips that veteran players could come up with when the staff asked us to. (Stuff like how to look at an item in your hands instead of another identical item on the floor, why not to walk into a room asking for thief training, etc.) We have extensive helpfiles with a search feature and if you try to look up a helpfile that doesn't exist, it logs a suggestion so the creators can make one if enough people seem to want it. And there's a define command for items such as brais which a player isn't likely to know what they are.

A lot of experienced players are also willing to help newbies get the hang of things, although the 13375P33K types are more likely to get the finger than anything else. Do you know how HARD it is to keep patiently explaining the same things to newbies for 3 YEARS??? Actually you probably do, but that's beside the point.

What I'm trying to say is, how much you get out of the game as a newbie depends on what type of newbie you are. If you run around acting like it's a H&S mud and swearing at us, we'll probably get sick of you and kill you over and over again. If you're respectful and actually listen when we try to help you, you don't really even have to read that many helpfiles to know what's going on. Let's face it, the helpfiles don't really cover what's socially acceptable in the game, because we've defined it ourselves. I've been pushing for some type of "newbie mentor" system where each newbie gets individual advice on aspects OTHER than just syntax and skill practice, or failing that having "RP nights" where we sit down with a buncha newbies and try to get them to RP, maybe take them off into a private place and help them come up with char histories and such. So far I haven't gotten much of a response though.

As for special newbie areas, we don't really have any. Sure we have a few easy quests that newbies tend to stumble on, but newbies get thrown into a really dangerous world from the beginning. They can choose which city to start in, either on the northern continent or the southern one, and the char creation process specifically states that new players are highly encouraged to start in the north, because the south continent doesn't have nearly as many players to help them get started. So if you start in the north you have access to a few places where we hang out a lot, and you can ask questions and look stupid as much as you want without much danger, unless you decide to attack a shopkeeper or something. Once you leave the city, you're fair game for owlbears and poipines and bobcats (oh my) though, and that's why you'll often hear people telling you not to go out there until you know what you're doing. *tries to count all the newbies who went 1 hex from the city and got killed by a wolf* *fails miserably*
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Old 04-04-2003, 03:13 PM   #4
Earthmother
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My home mud has you create a character, just name and race basically, then puts you in the Newbie Reception Center. There are about 5 scrolls there, which are glorified help files, and you CANNOT leave the room until you read at least one of the scrolls. If you read the room description, it tells you to do so, and if you are an utter Newb, it will give you syntax. The room desc also offers helpful hints like "Some commands to try are "l" "read scroll" and "gossip Hello" ."

When you are allowed to leave the room, you are sent to the Newbie Stand, which is THE central gathering point for the Mud. If you ask someone who is hanging out there, they'll have you read the sign, and do as it says, which entitles you to some newb equip and a scroll. The scroll directs you to this amazing guy (mob) called Contar. He's the best feature on our Mud, imho.

He prattles tips, but will also take you to any newbie area on the mud, and give you a way to get back to him. Our Mud is *huge* and the Newb areas are all over the place, so this mob is vital to newbie survival. One area is specifically designed for Utter Newbs, gives step by step instructions, and players generally recommend it if they can tell the Newbie is Utter. For experienced players, there are several other areas they can start the slaughter in immediately. Players may wander anywhere, but if they can get back to the room Contar started them in, he'll bring them "home" to his hut again.

Another wonderful thing we do for Newbies is our "mentorship" program, wherein higher level players may sort of adopt a "protege" and help them along. This is beneficial for both, as the mentor gets a small experience bonus as the protege progresses, and the protege always has someone to call on in times of need. Our Mud also has universal chat lines so that newbies can ask questions of anyone, at any time regardless of their status as a protege. People generally help out.

I don't know how well any of this would work in a highly RP-intensive mud, but for our large and spread out Mud, it works quite well, since the Newbie areas are scattered all over the place and would be rather difficult to find without Contar. Our staff has outdone itself in the New Player help realm, and I'm *very* proud of our system. It seems to work out well.
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