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Old 07-25-2010, 11:18 PM   #1
Sasca
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Why I left your MUD- A Newbie's Perspective: Part 2

I would like to preface this with a reminder that I am not setting out to be malicious or bitchy about any one kind of MUD or game. This is a list of things that I, as a player who is trying to find a home, have found frustrating/irritating/incomprehensible. This time, I'm going to comment on games that I've tried that didn't claim to be RP-Enforced. I am primarily looking for an RP game, but here are some things that Admin of some games might think about-

1. I logged in and began your game. There was no area set aside for newcomers- it was straight in and I had no idea what was going on. I arrived at a central point and was given no idea or suggestion or how to begin. There were other, more experienced players present and they ignored me or emoted impatience with my existence. I was both confused and flustered. I logged off.

2. I logged in to your game and started to create a character- I got asked if I wanted to 'specialize' and I didn't know what that meant. Some games made a point of telling me not to specialize if I was new, and that was appreciated- but many games don't give the new player a clue as to what it means to specialize. When I typed 'help specialize' I got the answer 'What?' or 'That's not an option'. I logged off.

3. I managed to get through creation and started in the newbie area/school. Then I faced a bunch of typos- I don't mean one here and there- I mean that the game was littered with misspellings and typos and I didn't get more than a few rooms without getting fed up. If you don't care about how your game is presented to a new player (or any player, for that matter), then why should I care about your game? You haven't taken the effort to correct even the most basic of things. I logged off.

4. I started up a character and got through the creation. So far so good. I read everything and was attentive to the help files, but when I got launched in to the World that you created, I was left without knowledge of how to communicate, or what commands were available to me. I typed 'Help newbie/help starting/help new/help' and got 'That's not an option' or some-such. I logged off.

5. I was doing alright in newbie school/area, but then I typed a command that your game didn't recognize. Instead of a response like 'That's not a command' or 'That's not a valid option', I got 'Stop talking nonsense' or 'What?!?!' or even 'What are you, a retard? (seriously!)' If my command isn't recognized, could your game just say 'I don't understand.'? A 'clever' response that's insulting doesn't really help. I logged off.

Again, this is meant to be a helpful critique of games that I have tried and a commentary about what might be going wrong with your game. It's not an attack of any kind- just observations that I think might be helpful.

Who am I to make such comments? Well, I have been playing MUDs (not MUSHs, not MUX) for about fifteen years. I have played and tried a lot of games, been a builder and an Imm on a couple of games, and been loyal to a few games that sadly went under. Whilst I appreciate suggestions of games that I might enjoy, that's not why I wanted to write this post- so please don't feel the need to suggest games. I'm trying to help out the community by saying the things that I, as a newbie, have been irritated by- in the hopes that creators/builders/admin of MUDs will garner some helpful tips. I sincerely hope that this commentary helps.

-Sas
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:11 AM   #2
KaVir
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Re: Why I left your MUD- A Newbie's Perspective: Part 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasca View Post
I logged in and began your game. There was no area set aside for newcomers- it was straight in and I had no idea what was going on. I arrived at a central point and was given no idea or suggestion or how to begin. There were other, more experienced players present and they ignored me or emoted impatience with my existence. I was both confused and flustered. I logged off.
This is a tricky one to deal with. Dropping players into a central point can sometimes work in the muds favour - it immediately shows that there's an active playerbase, and it can be used to showcase certain features (one of my admin once told me one of the things that really impressed him as a newbie was seeing a cloud of bats flying past him shortly after he logged on, and realising that they were a player).

On the other hand it can also end up being spammy for the newbie, and this can prove very frustrating if they're not sure what to do, particularly if they're trying to read help files and hints.

Would you say it was the "dropped at the central point" thing that put you off, or the fact that you had no idea what to do? Or some combination of the two?
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #3
Sasca
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Re: Why I left your MUD- A Newbie's Perspective: Part 2

I think it was a combination of not knowing what I was doing and being placed in a high-traffic area that most put me off that particular MUD. I've been on half-a-dozen places that throw a newbie in at the deep end, but what made them tolerable was that there were one or two rooms/areas beforehand that allowed a new player to try out a few basic commands or emotes, etc, to find their feet a little.

I've had to read helpfiles on the fly before, or been suddenly chucked in to RP with someone and trying to figure out the 'greet' system whilst speaking with them, but that's both manageable and challenging (and kinda fun, actually). What's not fun is being presented with very little information about commands and then being launched into the game.

One thing that helps alleviate this problem is a newbie channel or other means of OOC communication for a new player, but I understand that quite a few games have limited channels or nothing that's appropriate for basic questions. Nobody likes to feel like a complete chucklehead when starting a new game; it's embarrassing for the new player and irritating to existing players- and it could be so easily remedied by having an intro room before the game where someone could just catch up on helpfiles without being in a ''public' place.

Of course, if there are no helpfiles worth mentioning then it's a moot point- but that's another matter altogether.
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