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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Tutorials

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28 posts found

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16268

OP  5/27/13 9:17:16 PM#1

Most games these days don't have a long time to make a "first impression" on a player. Tutorials, while perhaps never revisited, are important to draw in potential customers. In his latest column, Matt Miller takes a look at the tutorial from all sides. Read on!

Fortunately, there are people who do not ignore the tutorial, and those are the marketing guys who view a tutorial as their best chance to make a lasting impression. With City of Heroes Freedom, we worked very closely with the marketing team to make sure that the tutorial not only was educating the player, but also showing off the features of the game that we could, prove to a potential life-long customer that this game was worth their time. As a free-to-play game, the tutorial is also a demo, and a useful one at that. For CoH we measured metrics of “at what point did players simply stop playing the tutorial?” This is known as dropoff.

Read more Matt Miller on Tutorials.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Managing Editor

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 2209

5/28/13 12:05:14 PM#2
That Gandalf made me spew coffee.  ;)

Novice Member

Joined: 5/05/12
Posts: 23

5/28/13 12:35:32 PM#3
Very nice topic there and I enjoyed it.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/17/06
Posts: 110

5/28/13 12:40:44 PM#4
Frankly, I suspect you were better off without any prospective player who couldn't figure out how to 'jump the chasm'. I mean....really?

Novice Member

Joined: 1/23/13
Posts: 45

5/28/13 2:46:54 PM#5

You should've put a shark in the chasm. :)

/em holdtorch

"Well sure, the FrinkiacVII looks impressive - DON'T TOUCH IT - but I predict that within 100 years computers will be TWICE as powerful, ten THOUSAND times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." -Prof. Frink


Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6496

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

5/28/13 2:52:07 PM#6

We used to call them "tutorials".

Now we call them "open betas".

I would put the tutorials on the list of things CoX did right, if that has an relevance now that it's gone.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/25/08
Posts: 18

5/28/13 2:55:25 PM#7
one of my favorite tutorials was DCUO, taught you the game while making you feel pretty epic in the meantime

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/16/06
Posts: 898

5/28/13 3:14:31 PM#8
I view tutorials as a necessary annoyance. As a veteran MMO player I know what WASD are for etc... but I fear if I skip the tutorial I will miss some small difference in this particular MMO that will leave me not knowing how to craft for example.  Maybe developers should offer a basic tutorial for new MMO players and an advanced tutorial that only offers the ways that their MMO differs. That I would dig. Maybe they have, but at the moment I can't think of ANY MMO tutorials to cite as examples so...yeah.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

5/28/13 4:08:30 PM#9

My favorite tutorial of any game I've played in the last couple of years was early Minecraft. 

Floundering around cluelessly is an essential setup to making learning things feel rewarding.  Don't micromanage my education, just make sure that as I experiment, I have a good chance of stumbling into verbs.



Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7205

5/28/13 4:12:53 PM#10

Kind of depends on the complexity of the game.  If you don't use the tutorial in Eve for your first character, you either spent a lot of hours online reading up on the game or you are a fool.  While some of these browser games it is completely unnecessary.

  User Deleted
5/28/13 4:47:17 PM#11

I think some of the best tutorials are actually part of the game as a whole. In this I'm referring to the story of the game. The one tutorial I will never forget is the beginning of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The first two worlds (if you count the escape from the Endar Spire as a world) are the tutorial. The third world, Dantooine, could technically be considered the third and final part of the tutorial, if you like. As you progress through the game conversations will continue to take you back to the first few worlds as they have some relevance to the characters and the unfolding story.

The original 'City of Heroes' tutorial was decent but once it was done you never, or almost never, heard anything else about the Outbreak zone. There was no future version of that zone that you could visit to see how your efforts changed it. What happened to all the contaminated thugs that were supposed to have been cured thanks to your efforts? What about the residents of the area or the businesses that operated there? After you leave the zone it was "almost" like it wasn't even there at all. I consider it a lost opportunity for world exploration and expansion.

The updated tutorial was definitely an improvement. The situation seemed more dire, some characters seen in the zone were encountered later on and the events in the zone were referenced to fairly often as you progressed through the game. I believe this is how it should be in a story driven game. If you're not going to include the tutorial as part of the world then it should be as basic as possible and skipable at any point during player training.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

5/28/13 5:01:38 PM#12
Originally posted by Ozmodan

Kind of depends on the complexity of the game.  If you don't use the tutorial in Eve for your first character, you either spent a lot of hours online reading up on the game or you are a fool.  While some of these browser games it is completely unnecessary.

I'm pretty sure most players do hours of reading whether or not they use the tutorial :)

Eve's problem (in my humble opinion) is not the learning curve, it's the UI, a sort of rats nest of everything possible that is not organized in a way that lets you stumble onto the basic concepts by accident.  



Advanced Member

Joined: 3/20/04
Posts: 12

5/28/13 6:50:46 PM#13

Tutorials have gotten significantly better over the past few years in my opinion.  I can remember a few games way back when where the tutorial included a full key map pop-up, for example... complete overkill.  Teach the minimum necessary to begin play, give the player a taste of the challenges they will face, and then put additional information right at their fingertips whenever they want/need it.

I can't think of a recent game I've played where I didn't make it through the official tutorial.  There are plenty I have quit before making it out of the newbie area, though.  If my first reaction is "I've played this game before", especially with a new release, they've lost me.  Definitely hit me up front with how your hit point bar is different than the dozens of others I've dealt with in the past... or whatever your distinctive game play element is.


Blogging semi-regularly at


Staff Writer

Joined: 3/07/12
Posts: 479

5/28/13 9:01:57 PM#14

I like the EQ1 tutorial. You can jump in and out of it through the first 10 levels. A lot of old contextual systems that can be complicated but the tutorial was able to teach my 8 year old son how to play.



... and no he isn't some kind of MMO savant.... or maybe he is O.o


Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 7124

5/28/13 9:22:42 PM#15

Great article.  It is interesting hearing about the tutorial experience from your perspective with the marketing aspect.

I never played CoH.  I liked the Lineage, Age of Conan, Guild Wars pre-searing, and the old EQ2 tutorials.  Of all those Tortage in AoC was one of the most memorable and immersive of any game I've played.  If the whole game felt that way I probably never would have left.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 10

5/29/13 3:02:05 AM#16

I was firstly very impressed by the way NWO did the tutorial, it is basic, but shows character progression well, and it teaches you some of the finer aspects of each class's early skills.


However, I do find it more annoying now than I did.


LotRO has a good tutorial, in that you learn a lot about lore and character manipulation... I also like the fact they have gone back and re-done the starting zones, so even veterans have a different experience now than they did 6 years ago!


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/31/04
Posts: 63

5/29/13 3:09:00 AM#17
Interesting I found Coh very slow to start as you had barely any powers.

Another thing I see is Epic story on the tutorial meet weak versions of end game stuff, appearances of the Arch villan , or some other major event. I am really not sure this works but I see why it's done. I prefer a few simple tasks in a sleepy corner of the world

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5731

5/29/13 3:36:01 AM#18
You need a tutorial these days, all MMO's play the same.

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7205

5/29/13 4:54:32 AM#19
Originally posted by maplestone
Originally posted by Ozmodan

Kind of depends on the complexity of the game.  If you don't use the tutorial in Eve for your first character, you either spent a lot of hours online reading up on the game or you are a fool.  While some of these browser games it is completely unnecessary.

I'm pretty sure most players do hours of reading whether or not they use the tutorial :)

Eve's problem (in my humble opinion) is not the learning curve, it's the UI, a sort of rats nest of everything possible that is not organized in a way that lets you stumble onto the basic concepts by accident.  



Eve probably the worst UI of any major MMO.  Those cascading menus are so 90ish, but I hear the next expansion is addressing some of those issues.

I also agree that EQ1 has a very nice tutorial, someone put some thought into it.

  User Deleted
5/29/13 9:09:26 AM#20
I think leveling is good enough of a tutorial. That should be the whole point of leveling and tutorials then can be embedded into gameplay. So you perform the tutorial without even realizing it. With that said, leveling to cap should not take more than 20 hours of gameplay. We have so many mmo's out now that reaching level cap unless you only play one is a hassle/grind.
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