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The Chronicles of Spellborn Developer Blog

In The Chronicles of Spellborn players enter an impressive online game world containing scenic landscapes, majestic cities and the remnants of a shattered world.

Author: tcos

Contributor: TheHistorian

Creating a Better "Newbie" Experience

Posted by TheHistorian Wednesday June 10 2009 at 4:39PM
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"Combat is one of The Chronicles of Spellborn’s most defining features. Our enemies are not dumb and the rotating skilldeck is far more than just a rotating hot bar. But unless you have played a chunk of the game, you wouldn't really know this. We still face the problem of assumption where people see the skilldeck in its uncomplicated low-level form. It's hard to realise the freedom, strategy and personality it adds to combat later on. It's one of those gameplay mechanics which is truly easy to learn, but hard to master. It is entirely built around pre-planned strategy and fast action combat, the surface of which is barely scratched even at level 10. This is hard to imagine as there's currently no game that plays quite like ours does. Many reviews and positive player feedback will confirm this.

Differently put, we know that our game is capable of delivering the most intense action-rich combat ever to have graced an MMO. Yet, we also know we are doing quite a horrible job of "selling" this idea in the game at lower levels. The way we introduce people to our world is, simply put, not good at all.

The tutorial was designed to help even the most casual gamer to get acquainted with controlling and playing their Spellborn character. The way we then set them out on their first questing adventure in Hawksmouth, where we lead them on a criss-cross journey through almost the entire shard, is a complete reversal of earlier said helping hand. We have known this was a problem for players for quite some time and as the team has been slaving away creating extra content, bug fixes and features; a small dedicated team has been working on creating a better first time experience. Something to bridge the gap between tutorial and the actual game.

This has resulted in a redesigned Hawksmouth docks area, with new starter quests. We also removed those quests we found distracting, or downright boring.


We will show the new starter-area (a redesign of the immediate area around the docks) in more detail as soon as we come closer to the release of “Scroll 5". As you have probably also noticed, the above "beta" screenshot contains the very first presentation of the new quest tracker. This is a feature often requested by you all and it will help you keep track of your activities. Not to worry though, this is still Spellborn and we still expect you to do your own thinking while questing.

Of course, Scroll 5 also brings a whole new slew of the usual quest, bug and combat fixes. One of the more happy moments was this week’s identification of one of the causes for the "sync" issue. This seems to be directly related to jumping, it's currently in the process of being fixed and will also make the Scroll or immediate hotfix following the scroll's release, of course, granted we don't run into more problems regarding this issue. Also tackled was one of the causes for humanoid groups to debuffed your physique in one single blow, so it should happen less often. We are re-arranging enemy skilldecks to make encounters more fun and less predictable. The Pit District has received a make-over to distinguish it more from the other zones in Quarterstone and Aldenvault has received its own set of ambiences, specifically for that area.

We hope you will enjoy the new area which was indeed built on community feedback and our own critical eyes. You can expect future content to follow the lessons learned in this new area.

The new scroll will be coming soon at which time we'll be able to share more details."

aurick writes:

I have to say I didn't even make it so far as Hawksmouth.  By the time I got to where I could leave the ship, I was bored out of my mind.  What's more, I felt downright insulted.  It was like the tutorial had been written for a 5th grader, thanks to all those blasted glowing lights I had to walk into just to prove that I knew how to walk.  Totally asinine.

Yeah, to say that the newbie experience needs work is like saying that an ocean is wet.  It may be true, but it scarcely scratches the surface.

Wed Jun 10 2009 11:48PM Report
Delanor writes:

It destroys the purpose of blogging when this blog keeps just copy-and-pasting the official statements of the Spellborn and Acclaim web sites.

Thu Jun 11 2009 1:52AM Report
BlackWatch writes:

FPS - MMORPG is all they had to say... I won't ever even experience the 'new player' experience in their game. 


Thu Jun 11 2009 8:35AM Report
Player_420 writes:

this was my main gripe, and why i discontinued playing. Give em a chance guys at least they are listening, and understanding.

Thu Jun 11 2009 9:58AM Report
szsleepy writes:

The reason I left TCoS was that there is something fundamentally wrong with their approach to gear, as unique and appreciable as it is.  I understand that the reason for it is to focus as much player-skill as possible behind the combat engine.  I realize that more options become available later in the game.  Despite that, however, I felt no connection to my character or its progression.  I can't possibly suggest a remedy, because I would almost certain begin to step on toes due to the fact that the developer's intention with the gear system is fundamental to the game itself.  I suppose that's why it was so easy for me to identify the disparity between the developer's vision for the game and my distaste for its direction so early (after only 2 webmeetings).

Thu Jun 11 2009 11:36AM Report writes:
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