Bluebell’s tutorial island feedback & character creation: Suggestions & walkthrough
II. Character Creation
III. Current tutorial experience + suggestions
Hi everyone! My name is Bluebell. You may know me as Bluebell on the Discord but in game the names Mirithorn, Rinithorn and Lilithorn may be more recognisable to you. I am a huge fan of Life is Feudal, and while I’ve only recently sunk my teeth into the MMO I used to play Life is Feudal: YO- the standalone game. Life is Feudal is a complex game that has a steep learning curve and being a new player completely new to the genre and the game itself can be very daunting and overwhelming. I have listened and responded to questions in the help chat as well as asked plenty of my own and there have been a few trends in conversation that have popped up.
Because I love this game, and the vision of the developers I wanted to make a new character to fully appreciate the current tutorial and to try isolate the problems that new players face when they’re first confronted with the game. The tutorial is so important! Especially when the game is complex and would normally appeal to a niche player population. The more beginner friendly and easy to understand the tutorial is, the more likely your players are going to want to stick around and explore more of what your game has to offer even if it’s a genre that they’re not familiar with.
Now that the introduction is over, I hope you find my thread useful! Please remember that this is my experience and my suggestions. I’m sure other players will find faults or ways to improve beyond what I’ve shared but I also wanted to give you something more tangible than “Please fix this.” The thread will first begin by exploring some common complaints and suggestions from character creation and ‘newbie island’ followed by my own version of quest progression feedback on requirements and explanatory dialogue.
My guide is all about how to make life easier for the new player, so my suggestions and critique will only involve the aspects I believe would make this aim achievable. Firstly, when you first create your character in an MMO you can typically hover your mouse over a state or an ability to get a feel for what it does. If you know nothing about life is feudal for instance, you might not know that it’s probably better to get artisan level 30 so that you can do the initial tutorial quests—And yet, in character creation you’d really have no clue artisan was even about digging tunnels and dirt. You might, perhaps, think artisan is a type of ceramic artist: as the dictionary provides: “…A worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.”
Having a toolkit pop up when you hover over the skill or stat in character creation would make this a lot easier to digest and for the new player to make an informed decision. Additionally, as I stated before even if the player knew what each starter skill does, they may not understand which skill is best to start with. A simple recommended icon key would solve this. To illustrate these suggestions, I have created a screenshot of what the character sheet looks like now against an image I created with photoshop indicating the recommended changes.
Direction link to image: https://i.ibb.co/Qrb5bvS/Newplayer-A.jpg
Side note: I’ve also added a toolkit view of the race of my character to the side. It is just for appearances and is more of a side suggestion (I completely made up the lore just to illustrate) but by having some kind of backdrop it adds some kind of interest and colour to the character creation (Your character otherwise just has a Dark Souls kind of gradient background) It also helps people build an attachment to their character by having some kind of identity early around where their character comes from.
Tutorial Common questions & Complaints
The purpose of the tutorial is to get you set up with the basics and to give you the confidence to go out and explore the world—hopefully without immediately dying to some random wolf or to starvation! What you don’t want however is…
• People getting frustrated because they don’t know where to go to complete a basic tutorial quest.
• People not understanding why a particular quest is important and how it will impact their gameplay
• People feeling like they just want to rush through to the ‘real world’ because they don’t think the tutorial has any value.
The following are questions that are repeatedly ask in help. When someone in the tutorial is asking a question that 1,000 people have asked before them then the fault is often not with the player, it’s with the design of the tutorial. Here are some common questions and throughout my suggestion guide I’ll refer to them.
1. My hunger is at 0, how do I eat something?
2. How do I claim land?
3. Where can I get iron?
4. How do I hunt?
5. Why won’t the hunter accept my meat?
Tutorial suggestions step-by-step
In this section I’m going to go through each step of the tutorial and do a screenshot of before and after in regard to my suggestions on changes. A lot of the rest of the guide on my feedback will be visually and will speak for themselves but I may augment them with text if I feel it needs to be expanded on.
TUTORIAL PART A
So you’ve just created your first character. Congratulations! You’ve loaded in game and you’re ready to get started. At the top you notice you can press F1 for help—Well, okay glad to know that’s there—And then you get your one hint to how to progress: que figure 1A
All right. So you know you need to find the campfire and lucky for you there’s a white arrow leading you there. In this way it’s good—You have a means of finding the campfire which will lead you on your tutorial journey but..
• Where is the interest? Why are you there?
• Where is the roleplay interest?
• How do you KNOW to the follow the white arrow to the campfire?
Consider the changes made in this new example where the pop up isn’t in the top corner but middle of the top of the screen which draws the players eye more readily. I’ve offered the following illustration just as an example:
TUTORIAL PART B
You meet the man at the campfire. ‘Another one’ he says! Well this is intriguing. He tells you to go to town because people there will help you. This part of the tutorial is actually fine. My only suggestion would be next to “BEGIN TUTORIAL” you also put in italics
“Strongly recommended for players new to Life is Feudal”
Provided you have a useful, good tutorial that gives people enough information and guidance to get started meaningfully, it should always be encouraged. There is a lot to learn and having people skip the tutorial thinking it is no big deal often ends up with a truck load of questions and or frustrations. While yes, you do learn a lot more in the real world beyond noobie island, if the tutorial is good it should always be preferable—Especially if you’re new to the genre.
Outside of this, the response of your character is a little bit awkward when it comes to being curious that this isn’t Abella. The sentence ends something akin to: “It sure looks.” What you probably meant to write was, “It sure looks like it.” I know I know! It’s so minor, but for people whose first language isn’t English, you must use proper English. Why? Because it makes it easier for both those who speak English primarily and those who do not to understand properly what your character is saying. It also just looks more professional!
PART B CONT – INTERJECTION
At this point you should be running toward the town after deciding doing the tutorial is probably for the best. Hmm… The town seems a bit far and you’re basically only jogging. Wouldn’t be useful at this point to have a basic pop up explanation on movement with an emphasis on running?
Here’s a random image illustrating what I mean—But it could even be text with icons of the keys used to correspond with each movement with a bit of RP text like
“You see the town in the distance, it will take a while on foot. You think you have enough energy to speed up your pace. Hold down shift[image] with your WASD[image] movement keys to run.
Be careful though! You lose stamina more quickly by running, you don’t want to tire before you can reach the safety of the village”
• Identifying controls in a tutorial, which is the basic of the basic (You could introduce this even earlier to be honest.)
• You identify another mechanic (stamina depletion)
• You identify how to run so the player doesn’t feel like it’s taking forever to get somewhere.
• You add interest with roleplay like dialogue.
TUTORIAL PART C
In this section I’m just going to go over a few tips for each of the tutorial quests I feel could use some adjustments on how to make them clearer or more meaningful. The quests are actually pretty good but there are a few that could be more informative in the dialogue and guide the player a bit better.
Carpenter quest: He asks you to chop down a tree for billets using an axe however he doesn’t actually tell you where to go. In the top you find the ? that hints that you need to cut the trees outside the village. What the marker doesn’t tell you is how far out you need to go.
Here’s a hint: It’s actually pretty far, as least in my experience. Even a single line from the carpenter saying, “You must go well beyond the village outskirts” or something along those lines would signal to the player he need to go further out instead of getting frustrated with only seeing ‘inspect’ on every tree just outside the village and wondering if their game is bugged.
I also feel like this is a missed opportunity to explore how you won’t be able to cut a log that another person has cut down as the area was littered with them. Something along the lines of:
“Now don’t you try giving me billets from the felled tree of a fellow woodcutter, that just won’t do. Unless they left that there log on the ground for some time, you don’t able to cut anything from it. It’s the law.”
Note on the [?] beside how to get a pick axe or any other tool used in the tutorial quests. It’s very all well and good to say it’s on the ground…. But you might find many players running around just looking. This toolkit explanation needs to tell the player to right click the ground and select look for > materials. Otherwise you expect your player to fiddle around until they come to this conclusion or rely on the help chat to give them a better explanation!
The quest text should be the FIRST place you learn how to do this, and when possible, you should use icons to illustrate your point, even a little screenshot of the toolkit involved. The player should not have to find a tiny [?] marker to get basic quest information and direction. Something like the following image but in a smaller form in the quest text or in the toolkit would even be better than what is currently written due to the fact it’s quite vague.
Now when you do the hunter’s quest you do get a proper explanation on how to get these resources. But what if you choose to do the hunting quest last? It might be better to bottleneck a new player into doing each quest in a set order so that they aren’t left confused in other quests with questions that are answered only later.
New player frustrations:
• So you follow the diamonds to where the ‘mines’ are… Now what? You need mining level 30 but wait a second in character creation I didn’t know I needed mining 30. I haven’t levelled mining 30, and no one has explained how I level up mining
• I look around, no iron ore. How can I tell? There’s nothing in the game which actually tells you what to look for.
What does iron ore look like?
What is prospecting, how can I prospect for iron?
Even the toolkit tells you that you need mining, but not what level nor how to go about levelling it. The player should not have to guess. As a tutorial you need to spell it out to the player.
The iron ore has a rusty appearance
You must have level 30 mining to prospect for iron ore
In regard to prospecting, you should have a graphical pop up or some other tutorial message that teaches you about prospecting the same way you are taught about the alignment/karma system.
At the point that I get to mining I haven’t even heard anything about how to level my skills. Now as a player I know how to because I’ve played before—But for a new player? They’d be stuck fiddling around because it hasn’t been explained to them and they didn’t have recommendations in character select. When you're finally told by helpful people in the help chat that you need mining 30 and how to level it (Something the tutorial should have explained prior to setting you on these tasks) you think to yourself:
"I wish I had selected 30 mining at character creation... Now I have to wait 30 minutes to do this quest."
A few notes:
1. It would be nice if in the tutorial popup concerning tracking that you put an image of each animal’s footprint and the corresponding animal; that way the player is introduced to the fact that an animal they are tracking can be determined by examining the kind of prints the animal is leaving.
2. Don’t have wolves on beginner island, it is very disheartening for new players because they are a tough opponent.
3. Reduce the number of deer. They are hard to kill early on, especially if they run and regen HP. New players will get frustrated instead-
Increase number of sows
Increase number of geese
Increase number of rabbits
Not much to suggest except:
• Please add in the quest text how to visually identify clay or where you are most likely to find clay (i.e: around sandy areas). I know it might sound silly but players often ask how to find clay or what it looks like.
Conclusion: I think if I keep writing this guide of suggestions will end up waaay too long for people to want to read but I do encourage people to respond to the thread with:
1. What did you like about the tutorial?
2. What didn’t you like?
3. What do you feel should be added?
4. What did you appreciate learning the most?