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Visual and Written Cues for Paths

Mbando
While I'm very excited by the potential diversity and creativity in building your character, after my experience in Alpha I'm concerned about the level of complexity involved as a potential bar to adoption for new players. A way to reduce the complexity is to articulate your design schemes through written and visual cues.

I'm going to try and use passive feats for an example: to the best of my understanding, there are 67 passive feats available, with level graduations to a total number of 654. Some of them are meant to be role-specific (I think), so that if you wanted to be a pure cleric, you would only slot feats like domains, crusader/healer/evangelist, etc. And then I think there are a bunch of general feats that can be slotted regardless of role.

That enormous mass of feats is just "Passive Feats," with no easy cues to help a new player sort out and mentally bin and group the feats. I think it would be immensely helpful to new players if there both naming and visual aids to seeing these patterns. I had to use Nihimon's excellent spreadsheet (thank you sir) to reverse-engineer that crusader/evangelist/healer were not only cleric role feats, but that they constitute a group: one of three possible paths or orientations for a cleric. What I think (again, maybe I'm wrong–this is all incredibly confusing), is that I have to pick as a cleric between one of those three, also between domains, and then maybe general feats.

While I don't like the game design for a game like RIFT, I loved the visual design of the leveling interface: http://tap-repeatedly.com/wp-content/uploads/LewisB_Rift3.jpg
It's very much on-rails, with the choices not real choices, because min/maxing dictates whether or not you have an optimal build. But the visual design is very clear, and makes clear the relationships between advancement choices.

although given how confusing the current system is so confusing
A member of Ozem's Vigil, home to servants of Iomedae and her coming Paladins.
Kitsune
I completely agree that the current system of training, overall, is exceedingly complex and nearly impossible for new players to just "pick up". However, there are a few things here that will certainly help in the near future:
- New characters will not be starting with a crap-ton of XP, so they really won't have a whole lot of choices from the get-go. They'll need to carefully evaluate which direction they'd like to go, but their initial options will be limited at least.
- We're missing a lot of tooltips that will be implemented hopefully very soon.

Now, that's not completely addressing your concerns, of course. There are certainly a LOT of customization options for each character, and without careful research and planning outside of the game (e.g. speadsheets, wikis, etc.), there's no way to know which feats you should be training without wasting precious XP (which, again, will be VERY precious during the first few months of EE!).

A great example was last night when I invited a fellow Crowdforger Guild buddy into Alpha, and showed him a few things. I told him that he of course should jump on the forums later to read the new-player guide and check to see what he should be training in order to advance in Fighter. Of course, these two things should be addressed before EE starts, via things like newbie quests and some sort of basic training structure or cues in the game.

I then told him that if he wants to be a good fighter, he would honestly need to read through the spreadsheets and evaluate what exact feats he wants to spend his 100k XP on. Even with (from what I can tell is) the current plans for making the start of EE viable, it sounds like the only viable characters out there will result from someone carefully spending a lot of out-of-game time researching their exact build through the use of these spreadsheets and wikis. And that needs to change.
Wyspr
The strongest players in all MMOs are the ones who study theory out of game, I don't think this should change. But that shouldn't be required to be a good player, the information should be at hand and easy enough to understand.
shhh…
Kitsune
Agreed.
Nihimon
Keep in mind they're working on a New Player Experience with Theme Park style Quest Lines to walk players through a lot of this complexity when they first enter PFO.
Nihimon murmurs in sheer ecstasy as the magic courses through his veins
Mbando
I think that's a great idea Nihimon, and addresses my other concern: orienting new players to the game, and scaffolding their entry. I hope GW also thinks about the adding visual and written cues to help make their design schemata visible to players.
A member of Ozem's Vigil, home to servants of Iomedae and her coming Paladins.
TheGoodfellow
While I agree it is complex, I happen to like it. Tooltips will help greatly as that way you can read what it does and go from there, and I know that is coming just saying. That being said, as a new player, it is confusing and overwhelming. I would NOT want a rift style leveling system, even just in looks. While I agree hat would simplify it, I think it takes away from the PF experience and what GW is trying to create in this sandbox. Besides, it reminds me very much of the TT experience. Pouring over several books to consider which feat to take when creating a new character. Granted with 20ish years of experience, I have most of them memorized but I would expect the same from someone playing PFO 20 years.

Anyway, my view on this is the complexity is fine and brings to life the TT experience. Add tool tips to better help determine what each does and it will be fine.
Edit this
A properly formatted tool tip would go a long ways. Name of the feat, role (colored coded if its required to level role), the slot it goes in, brief discription of what it does, requirements not met in red, what ability boost it gives. Feats you activate just add in range and conditions they need or cause. All this makes building a lot less frustrating. I spent 20-30 minutes in each class just buying and slotting to read what they did. Then mark it down so I could delete and build with out wasting XP.

With 100k xp I did get a character up to 5 fighter and 7 rogue that did decent with his long bow. Though I did waste XP on armorsmith and weaponsmith because i didn't find the ability boosts on the spreadsheets until afterwards.
TheGoodfellow
If anyone has played EVE, perhaps something akin to the Certificates in game would help newer players and vets alike to do proper builds and achieve various lvl achievements and such. meaning like "to level as necromancer, choose these skills and follow this progression path" and such.
Gog
The leveling requirements for each role already act as a certificate system. "To get better as a fighter, improve your armor training, a weapon specialization, a lot of hit points, some power points, and these defenses…."
^This is Dak (Charlie George). RIP <Guurzak>
 
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