Realizing that this topic is almost a week old, i just read through the entire thing and would like to share my opinion, so bear with me.
Because it wouldn’t make much sense to quote massive amounts of text just to say that i agree, I would just like to say that i could not possible agree more with Ace_Blue. This “implicit gaming contract” that Ace talks about is actually something i recognize and align with. It’s not really a physical entity, but rather an unspoken agreement. FS, while I understand the direction this game is taking and the way it’s been made, i really hope you see where Ace is coming from. Pretty much every single gamer on the face of the planet already has preconceived notions about what their games should be like, but this comes from series upon series of reinforcement from just about every other game on the market. Successful games do things the same way as everyone else. This is not to say that RoS is not successful by any means, the point i’m trying to make is that people who have been gaming for any period of time already have an idea of what to expect coming into a new game.
Ace, with regard to your first experience i must admit i feel exactly the same. There is a lot of content in this game that is presented fairly early on, but there is not nearly enough up-front explanation as to what it is or how to get it. FS, you say that it shouldn’t matter if it doesn’t affect you or you can’t access it right away, but this is untrue. People are curious, especially gamers, and when you tell us there’s another piece of candy lying in wait for us that we CAN access, we REALLY REALLY want to know where it is and how to access it. Even if we can’t get to it right away, it’s still helpful to be able to plan for it and anticipate it, rather than have it fester at the back of your mind because you have no idea what it is.
Now, i realize that a lot of this information can be found by perusing the guide or examining the wiki, but a good deal of this shouldn’t require the outside contact. it would have been extremely pleasing to know much earlier on that there is no weapons or armor, such as there is in a vast majority of MMO’s, especially when the game presents itself earliest on as a platformer/RPG. In my experience (and i’m just going to say 99% of everyone else’s) a game that claims RPG elements (which RoS does contain, i don’t discount that) must include level-ups, skill points, and a currency to upgrade one’s equipment. This is not anything out of the ordinary, in fact, it correlates directly with the mainstream RPG experience. Now, it doesn’t really bother me that there’s no weapons or armor, or that you have to be NG to actually have any sort of control over your stats, but what does bother me is that i wasn’t told this, i had to discover it for myself. I’m not demanding that you implement another pop-up into the game that says “BTW, you don’t get weapons or armor, and skill allocation is for NGs only”, i’m just saying that some kind of tip-off would be nice, sooner rather than later.
One complaint i would like to file is related to the “Introduction” mission. Not only is it relatively confusing to navigate the city if nothing has really been explained to you, it also took me until i had completed about 10 missions to actually manage to find everything within the city. I was at 12 of 15 people with letters delivered to, and could not for the life of my find the last few. This was extremely frustrating, especially because i wanted to know what kind of content i was missing out on, seeing as all these people had some kind of importance. I suppose what the point i’m trying to make has nothing to do with the mission, it’s that navigating the city is far more confusing than it needs to be. Maybe you could have a couple different levels, and sure, giving people their own buildings and areas sure is exciting (and i will add they are well detailed and enjoyable), but hell, every time i want to find an NPC i have to scour the entirety of Nidaria until i happen to stumble upon them. Even a sign or two aiming me towards the “marketplace” would be fantastic.
On a more positive note, the Wiki is incredibly useful, and the FAQ does actually answer some important questions (i have seen one too many FAQs that talk only about account management and tutorial issues and don’t actually answer anything specifically in-game related, just generic information). I think that FS is doing a very good job with this game for the amount of time it’s been around, and by no means am i demanding that my criticisms be met with change on the threat that i will quit. Quite the opposite, i’m going to continue playing this game whether you listen to what i have to say or not. I’m just trying to help point out a few things that turned me off about this game with the idea that if you do adjust anything based on what i say it will give new players a slightly more positive incoming experience than the one i had.
To be fair, if i didn’t have the extensive gaming history that i do, i would have given up on this game rather quickly. But i was intrigued and didn’t have to search too far for the answers to my questions. I just felt that i too often left my questions unanswered for the sake of my own convenience in the game. The last point i’d like to make to FS is this. You’ve stated that you don’t want necessary pop-ups and tutorials bogging down the first half hour the game and slowing the pace, and i agree completely with that. However, the tutorial is not quite as in-depth as i think it could be, and i feel that giving the game a little stronger of a proper introduction to newcomers at the expense of consuming some of their time bathing them in information would give a lot more people a better first impression of the game. Being rapidly thrust into a game with little to no forced introduction leads to a community split between people who are tired of answering questions and people who are tired of asking them, which is no better by any means than a game where the majority of the first hour of gameplay is spent reading a how-to manual.
I strongly suggest you find an introduction closer to a medium between these two options. While you’ve done an excellent job of getting people involved in the game quickly, for anyone other than intrigued video game vets, this game is NOT very noob friendly as the wiki requires the self-determinism to actually open it up, and the community isn’t exactly enormous yet. Slowing the opening pace of the game down a bit in order to properly familiarize people with what exactly this game is and how exactly it works, as well as pointing the way to the answers to people’s questions (because simply having a wiki link at the bottom of the game does NOT solve this problem. The people who are looking for it are going to find it, the people who are clueless will remain so) would streamline the introduction to this game and eliminate a massive amount of “noob” element, thereby relieving experienced players of a great deal of tiresome questioning as well as eliminating a good deal of confusion amongst newcomers.
Yes, i do realize i’ve just about written a half-page novel, and if you don’t like it skim it for arguement’s sake, but don’t tell me i don’t know what i’m talking about if you don’t know what i’m talking about.