I had the pleasure of chatting with a GM when they randomly messaged me in-game to see how everything was going as a new player. In general, I really like the game (3 days in) but have of course have the same concern that has likely been expressed countless times here: the learning curve is steeeeeep. I told this GM that the tutorial could use some work and they requested that I put my thoughts down in this forum. I’m hoping this is the right section to do so.
I want to clarify that by “tutorials” I mean the first few things they have you do when you first start out and all the basic career agent arcs. (is that the correct term?)
- The main thing that struck me is how little detailed guidance there actually is. The UI alone is crazy enough when first starting out, but the concepts and amount of context menus are overwhelming to say the least. When a tutorial asks me to do some thing, I would expect it shows me what it’s talking about. For instance, the exploration agent asked me to uses my sensory overlay to probe the area for data sites. My instinct was “hey look at that list on right of my screen, it says data site right there. I should go to it”. My second thought was, “i doubt it’s that easy. it feels like I should be doing something more to find it”. It’s here that I believe the game should have a lot more of those little blue floating textboxes that point to what i’m supposed to click with a little blurb as to why. I had to go find that quest on youtube and watch a video for the correct buttons and menus. I decided to continue watching the video and it showed me how to use the probes and the procedure for scanning. This should 100% be the tutorial’s job. It should tell me how to launch, positioning, scanning, repositioning, scaling, etc.
While I don’t want everything to be handed on a silver platter, I do feel as though these basics are important to someone who literally doesn’t know any of the buttons. On the other hand, If I’m expected to be more self-sufficient and use outside sources to figure out basic, intermediate, and of course advanced game mechanics, then the game should point me to those outside resources (or at least hint at them cheekily).
- I would like to know more about my ship(s). What exactly are all these gauges, why do i care, what can i install, what are the limitations (cpu and cap), etc. There are a bunch of modules that the tutorials give you and then proceeds to explain some and others it doesn’t really, not to mention the insane amount of modules and whatnot on the market, and you can start to see why a newb such as myself would not really be able to know what is important and start to feel overwhelmed. Again, the little blue floating textboxes would work wonders. I get that having too many of these could get tedious and annoying, but dole them out one at a time with brief overviews and I think people will feel a lot more comfortable.
A simple example would be guns and ammo. Just explain the benefits of the turrets you’re giving me and why I would want to use different types of ammo. Yes, this knowledge will come with time, but isn’t the point of the tutotrial to really tutor you on such things? This doesn’t have to include more advanced things like overheating (i saw on youtube) or turning modules on and off. I think that stuff could maybe get a mention later down the line but should really be learned through practice or research. The basics, though, should be given to new players so that they don’t get frustrated and quit. That said, I do want to mention that I personally will not be quitting any time soon.
- What’s the deal with giving me so many ships? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining that I get handed a dozen ships in the first two days, but it’s a bit confusing as to why a) duplicate ships are good and b) ships are so seemingly easy to acquire. Should I expect to lose ships A LOT? ARE ships really that easy to acquire? Am I expected to outfit more than 1 of any given ship with a different set of things for different purposes?
I felt quite accomplished after the first career agent arc and getting a few ships but I honestly didn’t feel like I “earned” them. I understand that some of them are necessary for the missions at hand, but maybe they should require some more upfront work, some big cash deposits, and/or heavy penalties for failure. I don’t know exactly how to remedy this one, but I can tell you that one of them earned me a bantam that had nothing to do with that arc or the missions within it. Getting the venture makes perfect sense early in the industry arc as well as a merlin for military, but I just feel it needs a little more weight to earning them or explanation as to why I’m getting handed so many ships. Earning the specialized ship at he end of the arc would be a nice way to go about it (maybe step 8 or 9 so that you are forced to use and learn it for the big ending)
I know this all sounds like a rant and that I hated the tutorial or whatever, but I honestly feel like there is likely a large influx of gamers due to quarantine and that giving new players as much help as possible could really lead to a higher retention rate (no idea the past, present, or future rates). I stuck with it because I apparently love space games (ED, SC, ~IB, etc) and have grown bored with all the other MMOs I’ve played, but I’m not sure the tutorial as it stands is enough to stop a less-enthused patron from getting totally and completely overwhelmed and storming out.
Thanks for reading and listening! I’m looking forward to many hundred of hours in this game and being exploded by all of you (much more likely than me exploding you)
P.S. I want to thank that GM for reaching out and I love love love this policy because it really helped me to feel more comfortable in the game.