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MMOSide Chat - How Often Do You Stop And Help New Players In An MMO?

Joseph Bradford Posted:
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Community is one of the major selling points of any MMORPG. Whether or not a community has a good reputation amongst players is something many look towards when deciding whether the game is worth their time. A helpful community, espeically when dealing with new players can be key to building a positive reputation within the gaming world. So how often do you help a new player when you see them asking for help?

Some games are better equipped to handle this, with built-in novice chats to give new players an easy  - and safe - place to ask for advice as well as learn the ropes from more advanced players. Final Fantasy XIV even has a character tag - a sprout - to indicate to players that this person is new and should be helped and treated with a bit more patience than your regular player, especially in dungeon and duty queues. FFXIV takes it step further than just a chat room or a tag with a built in incentive program with the Novice Network, giving new players a resource for help, and incentivizing players to work with sprouts to learn the ropes.

EVE Online's revamped player experience sees new accounts automatically added to a novice chat channel, where new player corps and others are set up to help guide and give direction. In fact, many guilds specialize in helping new players along in many MMORPGs, and resources like Reddit and Wikis provide info to clear up any lingering questions.

I find myself when playing an MMO I've been a fan of for years taking some time to help new players when I see questions in chat or happen to find myself randomly grouped with someone who doesn't seem to understand boss mechanics and so on. While many players might not have patience for newcomers, especially long-running games with long-standing playerbases in my experience, I've found more often than not people are more than willing to give a helping hand.

And a major reason could be that new players are the lifeblood of any MMO. An aging, stagnant player-base doesn't help an MMO long-term, as many companies, especially in a games industry are dominated and consumed by the need to grow games and services over time. Player retention is helped by having a playerbase that actively helps those new players stick around, give direction and help when needed.

There isn't anything inherently wrong either if you don't help new players as well, mind you. It's your game time and how you choose to spend it is definitely your choice. However, many times when I talk to new players, it's not the ones who don't help that turn them off from a game, but those who complain without teaching when something goes wrong in a PUG and so on. 

So how often do you help new players? Do you go out of your way to help newbies learn the ropes? If you do, why do you? If you're in the camp that doesn't really help players, new or otherwise, why not? Let us know in the comments below.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore