Throwback Thursday: Noobulous Tutorialis

From my very first game blog, an old post on how important I thought tutorials were for engaging new players of the game.  I had moved beyond Star Wars Galaxies as my first and only MMO, and I like what I had to say.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Noobulous Tutorialis, the Alpha and the Omega

The more mmorpgs I try out, the more I become convinced that the tutorial/newbie area is key to new player enjoyment of the game.

If the player is given the tools to enjoy the world right up front, they will feel less stupid going in and have more fun working their way through the game.

This is where there is a real chance to pitch the game. Many trial players just play through the tutorial area then decide if they like the game or not. Whatever vast world of excitement you have beyond the noob gateway doesn’t matter at all if you don’t grab them and empower (gack I hate that word but it fits) them to play successfully.

Here is what I’m looking for in a good tutorial:

  1. Is there a tutorial or newbie friendly area?
  2. Is the area optional or required?
  3. Are elements of the interface explained?
  4. Is npc/item/MOB interaction explained?
  5. Is Inventory explained?
  6. Chat-can you chat with other players easily and intuitively?
  7. Does the tutorial make it clear how you can gain experience and advance your character?
  8. Is the tutorial area part of the larger world or enclosed?
  9. Does the tutorial explain concepts of money and banking?
  10. Are weapons and armor explained? Can you tell from the tutorial which weapons or armor are most suitable for which purposes?
  11. Is there a good explanation of classes and professions? Can you switch your class or profession before leaving the tutorial area without destroying your character (similar to the point in Oblivion before you leave the sewers where you can redo what your character is without starting from scratch.)
  12. Does the tutorial tell you how to reach the Options menu?
  13. Does it describe how to Logout?
  14. Does it point you to the in game Help screens?
  15. Is a Friends list available? Is it explained?
  16. Can the player communicate from the tutorial area with his friends?
  17. If there is an in game e-mail system can the new player access it and are they directed to it?
  18. Is the player introduced to the story behind the game world in such a way as to make the player feel part of the story right off?