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What it feels like trying to introduce a new player


Dartagnyan

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So I recently introduced a friend to the game and it dawned on me. 

The game isn't new player friendly, not even by a long shot. 

Context here I currently have around 1050 profile hours and have reached Mr 28, I have played ever since Mesa prime released and am pretty damn invested in the game. 

So to tell the story, I introduced a friend to the game and had them play it on my account, they were stoked, they were hyped they wanted my near infinite power to slaughter hordes of infantry in the blink of an eye so they got the game for themselves and made their own account. 

They picked their warframe, their weapons and everything goes well. I then join them in their first few missions, early on it was super smooth, then it all hit, EVERYTHING, with force no less than a freight train. 

"what's this weird part of this enemies health bar?" 

"what's mercy killing?" 

"how do I get what you have?" 

... 

"what do I do next?" 

It then really only hit me then, what do you do really...

There's so much, so much to do, over the 8 year development of warframe it's grown, and a whole lot at that. 

I get the fact that new players are meant to feel sort of confused, that's in a sense how the lore has gone but this is where it's difficult.

If you say dropped a completely independent player, who doesn't read a quick start guide, who doesn't use the in game chat at all. They're stranded in this massive ocean of content and confusion.

According to steam global achievement statistics 60% of all players don't make it past 2 hours and 70% don't make it past 10 and only 12% make it to 100. 

Side note according to said friend who played the game for 100 hours now, they only felt a drop of power fantasy ever since mastery 2 picking up the Nami skyla for melees and mastery 5 and picked up the grakata. 

This then entails a minimum 48 hour time gate to finally pick up something that feels good to use and be able to live the power fantasy maybe just a little. 

Here's the thing, warframe as a game doesn't properly educate the players, and inform them of what they should to do next in the first few crucial hours, they then get confused, frustrated and quickly leave. I've had friends who really wanted to get into it, hell even back into but just ended up with "there's so much to do now I don't know if I even want to anymore" and this is just, wow... 

When I actually noticed the new primary and secondary arcanes were hidden off the bat from new players I was actually really really happy, this showed the a side of DE saying, hey there's a ton of content so we're keeping this completely inaccessible item and stuff away from the new players to not confuse them. 

THAT'S WHAT WE NEED 

A system where new players aren't immediately bombarded by the 8 years of content creep and absolutely drowned by it. 

I've made the joke that warframe minimum system requirements on steam should include a second monitor to more easily read the wiki and guides on but in all honesty that's actually pretty true. So much is not told to the player and sometimes the only place to find that is in the wiki. 

What we need to do is not to bury the player and give them something to work towards. For at least the early part of the game, educate the player, give them clear goals to work towards and an incentive to do so that isn't just a promise of power but a steady climb towards it with occasional sharp increases to give them a taste of near infinite power. 

Crystal clear progression, in-game guides and tutorials that properly educate the players on what to do and how to do it is important and should be absolutely something that warframe should have. Hell I genuinely will without pay write an entire guide for DE to implement into the game to tell players, yeah these are the things you should work towards and this is how you work towards them because genuinely people don't know those two things because of multiple reasons. 

The players don't know WHAT to work towards in the long run, they're confused, they have no clue what to do, the junctions help with short micro-goals but don't serve as a way for players to know what to do after them. 

The players don't know HOW to work towards it. Things aren't clearly laid out to the players and that could seriously hinder their progress to the tasks given to them by the game like junction requirements. 

The players can even be completely lost at no fault of their own, like how would the player know they'd need to clear a cetus bounty to gain access to the rest of the start chart, there's nothing that states it and no way for the player to know that. 

All and all I just really want DE to implement a more robust new player experience where the player wouldn't be immediately drowned by content and they have a clear understanding of what to do and how to do it. I don't suggest completely holding their hand but educating them, nudge them towards things that may interest them such as stronger weapons or a sentinel to put the mod vaccum on to allow them to magnet loot towards them. 

The players need guidance and I hope DE can give the new players a lot more of it.

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I feel DE is aware of this problem but drowned themselves in backlog to the point where they are unable to do a Codex rework, create better progression, and overall improve the core game's health as those resources are already cemented to new content to please investors and active players given there lacks long term goals for players to strive towards.

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I didn't read some of this but from the little I did I agree and I think this is Warframe's main challenge to overcome. New players don't need new content to attract them, new players need clarity, the how and why.

The system I think that need the most clarity is modding. You might had it with your friend (I didn't read), I had it with countless new players I nearly made a tutorial to copy and paste every time I see someone who needs it. Modding it the first real roadblock of new players because the only time the game tells the players about modding it the Vor's Prize quest, and even that is more of "there is modding, now to the next mission".
You have no idea how many players quit because at one point the game gets too hard and the reason is poor modding without them knowing. It's also consistent enough to actually tell: between Phobos Junction and Jupiter Junction. Exactly where a beginner becomes a novice.

Second issue is skill gap. It's huge, way more than you think. Now, it's expected to have a gap between a new player and a veteran. I remember an argument with someone on the forum about fixing the skill gap. I claimed the best fix for the skill gap is new player experience and how the game pretty much throws them into the water expecting them to swim. New players with clearer path and access to information will lead to players staying longer in the game and willing to learn how to play better, by that DE will have clearer information about power creep and knowledge to balance the game better if everyone are thinking the same, by that making the skill gap smaller. The other guy's reason is purely power creep and how veteran players have the knowledge and resources to actually progress the game, something new players doesn't have. While yes, fixing power creep will help, it won't be a fix for the long run.
Here is the kicker: there is also a huge gap between veterans. The guy I was arguing with decided to pull the "veteran card" to prove his knowledge, about 1000 hours at the time. Claimed the game is very challenging in the late game which is fine. I however had more than 2000 hours in "mission time" (not Steam time) at the time, yet the game is easy for me in the late game. Now, 1000 hours and 2000 hours should be the same in terms of skills and knowledge, we're talking about a lot of time spent playing for both of us, there shouldn't be a huge difference and if there is it's meaningless. But why the game is played so differently for both of us? Power creep? Both of us should have the knowledge and resources for things like that equally. If even veterans can't agree about the difficulty of the game, how can DE?
What DE need to do is exactly what you suggested: fixing new player experience. Make it clearer. Give proper directions and a clear route to follow. Teach how and why. This will bring new players into the mindset of a veteran, by that balancing the game when the players think mostly the same.

23 minutes ago, Acta3on said:

The players don't know WHAT to work towards in the long run, they're confused, they have no clue what to do, the junctions help with short micro-goals but don't serve as a way for players to know what to do after them. 

This is actually easy to fix considering part of the reason there is no clear direction is the mystery. All you got to do is to animate the lines on the star chart, having something glowing and moving on the line towards Sedna. By the time they reach Sedna the players will know what's up. Giving an actual clue and direction they need to go. Maybe add more lines to Ordis talking about plans to reach somewhere, "I'm getting a signal from somewhere, I marked a route to destination on your map".

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30 minutes ago, Voltage said:

I feel DE is aware of this problem but drowned themselves in backlog to the point where they are unable to do a Codex rework, create better progression, and overall improve the core game's health as those resources are already cemented to new content to please investors and active players given there lacks long term goals for players to strive towards.

I actually think its intended to be like this.   Coz they were going like that from day1.  Straight as an arrow, ignoring all warnings and complaints on the forums.  

They made new Damage system and Parkour.....even Melee rework happened...somewhat.   But they totally ignore old mission types, enemies and codex....kinda weird.

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People have a tendency to overthink things instead of just trying them. 

Analysis paralysis seems common. Better to just have some patience and jump in. 

You wouldn't expect to rush a child from age 8 to age 16, all you can do is sit and wait while they grow up and help them along the way. It doesn't really matter if the 8 year old wants to hang out with 30 year olds. Sometimes they can't do everything right away.

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6 hours ago, FrostedMike said:

This is actually easy to fix considering part of the reason there is no clear direction is the mystery. All you got to do is to animate the lines on the star chart, having something glowing and moving on the line towards Sedna. By the time they reach Sedna the players will know what's up. Giving an actual clue and direction they need to go. Maybe add more lines to Ordis talking about plans to reach somewhere, "I'm getting a signal from somewhere, I marked a route to destination on your map".

I genuinely love this idea, this gives them a long term goal to work towards and  will help immensely in clearing up the confusion on what to do next

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I remember when I started, I played solo because I had no clue what I was doing and didn't want to slow anyone else down. When I tried reading the in game codex, it didn't really do any good. There were concepts being explained but it's like they were lacking any critical info, none of my questions were answered by it. Later on I was stuck on a relay station, couldn't do enough damage to the enemy specter to even make a dent. Found I had shattering impact and put it on my Orthos and got past it... I still had no clue how damage, armor, elements, and the rest of the mechanics worked with each other; much less lore or what was going on.

Later on I figured it all out by looking it up in the wiki, and found it was actually a totally different game than I was led-on to believe. The idea of collecting EVERYTHING is a huge draw and part of the game... If I wasn't that kind of person I would have uninstalled the game (like the 2 games I played before it when looking for "something new") and stopped playing at the ~40 hour mark.

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