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Community Spotlight: MMO Intros

Posted by MikeB Sunday February 23 2014 at 10:46PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "My advice to future MMO developers: Throw out the intro narrative and just put me in the damn game!" by sludgebeard.

Im so sick of seeing these MMO's where you have to go through 10 fetch quests, and kill a bunch of pointless mobs just to get into the core game world. Watching the Angry Joe review of Wildstar where he spends the first 20 minutes of the game picking up books and talking to floating cambots, I just thought "enoughs enough", these are pointless narrative building quests that only slow down he intro to a hopeless crawl.

Just do it like WoW did, have a 15sec intro cinematic that also sprawls through the opener zone, and then bam! Release the character into the opener zone and let them travel openly to anywhere the player likes. 

Does anyone else find these modern MMO starter zones to be boring and shallow?

Does the community agree? Read on for some highlights from the thread!

Velocinox makes the case for intro experiences:

I think kindergarten is no longer needed, I mean who needs to learn how to share or their colors or basic counting? I don't know anyone that can't do that already. Just get rid of kindergarten and let us move straight to first grade.

My point being; there are new players coming along all the time. You assume everyone is a skilled MMO player, but the most important customer to an MMO is the player that is trying MMOs for the first time. And they are joining the genre everyday. If the devs turn those people off, they don't get a second chance.

Torvaldr doesn't feel intros should be removed completely:

Intros shouldn't go, but they've gone overboard. The original intent of the starter areas was to give players an opportunity to get a feel for the game before ramping up difficulty and throwing you out into the cold cruel world.

Lineage - This game had a great starter area. You could stay and level a bit, learn the ropes, and even get some great starter gear. Remember when you got great starter gear from the starter area and not the pre-order bonus? The key thing here is that you could skip it if you wanted, but people didn't because the xp bonus was sweet and it was a neat area.

Starter areas need to get back to their roots and be optional. Although I'll remind people that in the less brutal worlds we live in today this allows even easier fast tracking of new characters for gold spammers. Just a thought.

@Loktofeit - It does seem like devs create their games in a vacuum sometimes.

emperorwings feels starter zones are a waste of time:

Game doesn't need end game just infinite leveling. Starter zones are a waste of time I think unless it just puts you in the middle of it and expects you to figure it out for yourself which it doesn't. You could go anywhere in WoW since I remember on my human I somehow ended up in the night elf zone and followed the quests there instead of the human zone back before they made SW / Org the main hangout places and FPs bugged out.

Personally, I don't think we need to toss out the baby with the bathwater. As a number of other users explained, starter zones or experiences are important in helping to acclimate MMO newbies to what is often a fairly complicated genre of games. Overwhelming a newbie with a bunch of things to figure out can be as much of a turnoff for them as a plodding starter experience is for us MMO vets. I think the key is to allow people to skip the starter experience if they choose. Someone brought up City of Heroes, which had a great tutorial, but you could skip it entirely if you wanted to.

What's your take? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!