The streamlined newbie experience

Unless you have rolled a L1 alt recently, you won’t realise how much Blizzard have improved the experience for new players. People completely new to WoW will really find their introduction much smoother. You’d have seen patch note changes such as  mana regen for low levels is far higher (I never went oom on my L1 through 5 warlock). I didn’t realise but they have also made the mobs neutral in the starting zone, which makes the cave-troll quest achievable for  a noob instead of a frickin headache.

There are new UI tips which are really great too, showing with pictures how the movement keys work. They’re context-sensitive, so when my bags were full a tip came up about that. When I dinged, again, and when I needed to loot a mob. Very clever.

Mounts are available sooner now too, L20, which is really strange to see, and they’re cheaper. You’d all know about rep being faster in Northrend and the heirloom flying book, so Blizzard have tuned the high-level experience too.

Blizzard need to continually bring in new players. EverQuest apparently is improving the new player experience. This is of course very cleverly done before Cataclysm launches when a whole new raft of players should arrive. Many players will use the new content release as a milestone allowing them to stop playing.

Levelling up is easier than ever, which I think is a great thing.

Here are a few screenshots, click to enlarge.

How to mouse-turn

How to mouse-turn

The trolls are neutral now

The trolls are neutral now

You levelled up! What's it mean?

You levelled up! What's it mean?

The twinkles mean loot

The twinkles mean loot

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6 comments to The streamlined newbie experience

  • Gloom

    While I laud the idea of making any game more accessable. I can’t help wondering if this level of spoon-feeding isn’t going to create other problems down the line.

    Your mention of EQ reminded me of my first ever MMO experience back in ’99. It was EQ, and while I had played numerous RPG type games for almost 20 years prior, it was my first real experience of a world in which the human poplace far exceeded the Computer’s.

    I knew absoulutely nothing about EQ and spent the first day or so simply trying to get to grips with the mechanics and player interaction. I recall in my first 10 minutes asking another player why he kept trying to cast a spell on me (I kept getting the message “XXX casts a spell” and assumed it was some kind of attack). It took me the best part of the first evening trying to complete the most rudimentary quests (I frequently wailed at my girlfriend that I couldn’t do so-and-so because the level 1 bats kept killing me!). But I persevered (I’d paid my subscription for the month and there was no way a PC game was going to get the better of me!), and ultimately I became one of the most powerful characters in one of the best raiding guilds on my realm.

    By comparison when I started playing WoW in ’05, I found it incredibly easy, while I attribute some of this to my experience from EQ (I understood the basic dynamics of MMOs far better by that time), it was unarguable that the actual WoW mechanics were far more new player friendly when compared to EQ at it’s inception.

    Recently we have had a slew of changes by Blizzard at all levels of the game, the making of Heroics easier – then easier again. Mounts being available earlier and cheaper than before and the changes you have highlighted here.

    It all appears to cater to the “I want my cake right now!” mentality, which is fine in isolation. But MMO players are not isolated, your actions reflect on other people in the world, be it from proximity, being grouped or raiding. Too much spoon-feeding leads to incompetent and lazy players who by their actions (or inactions) impair the enjoyment of everyone else.

    While I appreciate that Blizzard’s prime motivation is to make money, and the best way of achieving that is to “put bums on seats”, I’d have to argue that for sustained growth and longevity, they could be making a mistake. Ultimately all games players like a challenge, and if they’re not being challenged (and/or are not enjoying the environment they are in) they will take their custom elsewhere.

  • Stop
    Twitter: stoppableforce

    There’s two things that they did to streamline the experience that bug the hell out of me, though.

    1) Quests auto-accept as soon as you talk to the questgiver, until you get to the second town (i.e. until dwarves/gnomes get to Kharanos, undead get to Brill, etc.). This annoys me to no end for no good reason (actually, it annoyed me at first because I thought it was some kind of quest-accepting feature in an addon that I wanted to shut off, and then I realized it was just a feature).

    2) Spells and skills (including professions) automatically adding themselves to the action bars. Stop that! I want to opt out of this, because I am very specific about where I put buttons on my action bars, mostly due to my Nostromo. (Well, that and the fact that I am never going to need to keybind Fishing to 1. Ever.)
    .-= Stop´s last blog ..Caffeine is recruiting! =-.

  • I know! I just walked up to that stupid blood elf and pwned her face, while her followers casually watched. Starting up again in Single Abstract Noun has definitely been informative.

  • AJ

    Gravity, this is probably an annoying question, but i have to ask. What UI is that?

    Now to the Meat.

    I LOVE the new leveling features. The way they have streamlined everything is very helpful, and informative. This should really help with them getting new players to stick around long enough to actually experience the end game, and give re-rolls a quicker path to use their new toons. WoW was never meant to have a huge learning curve, and any class is pretty easy to play on a casual basis, especially while leveling.

    Plus it let me level 4 new character’s to lvl 40, in a short amount of time.

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