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A more in-depth guide for new players.


KobaltKookie
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From what I've seen, there are two barriers of entry keeping new players from the game. The first one being the similarities to Minecraft. I personally do not agree with the mindset of "Voxel game = Minecraft clone", but sadly a lot of new players will write the game off for the voxel graphics alone. The second barrier to entry is the complexity. I've seen so many cases where people want to try the game, but the complexity steers them away. I personally really like Vintage Story's gameplay mechanics (most of them). They set VT apart from other games, and really adds another level to your accomplishments.

What I think Vintage Story could benefit the most from is a well thought out, in-game guide. I know there is already a survival guide, and you can look up crafting recipes. However, I don't think that is enough. A more in-depth guide walking new players through the game could keep them from quitting. This hypothetical guide could appear as little GUI boxes on the screen. Nearby rocks and bushes could be highlighted for players to get the resources for starting tools. The tutorial would continue in this fashion until the most basic game mechanics are covered. Then, the tutorial would quit, and recommend the survival guide to continue. This tutorial could also be chosen to be disabled in the settings for veteran players. The survival guide should also be updated. In it's current state, it's mostly just text. I think showing more visual examples of what the guide is talking about, and maybe even animated gifs what help a lot.

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Your suggestion would require a significant amount of dev effort, probably to the point of being a mainline feature of a new version release. Investing this kind of effort (and in doing so, delaying actual gameplay features) would only make sense if there is a significant amount of players who fail to get into the game and either refund or just quit and never return.

IIRC, the refund rate of the game is incredibly low, despite a practically unlimited refund policy. Below 0.1%, last I heard anyone talk about it.

The other part though - are there even statistics on that? Does the VS team track it? Such data could be compiled anonymously by the login server, but it would need to be set up for it.

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51 minutes ago, KobaltKookie said:

I know there is already a survival guide, and you can look up crafting recipes. However, I don't think that is enough. A more in-depth guide walking new players through the game could keep them from quitting. 

Yes the handbook has crafting recipes, but the survival guide part of the handbook also explains most, if not all, of the game concepts and mechanics.  If anything an in-game "tutorial" of opening the handbook and pointing out the survival guide would all that might be necessary.  I wish I had known about (should have looked closer) the survival guides sooner in my gameplay.

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54 minutes ago, Streetwind said:

Your suggestion would require a significant amount of dev effort, probably to the point of being a mainline feature of a new version release. Investing this kind of effort (and in doing so, delaying actual gameplay features) would only make sense if there is a significant amount of players who fail to get into the game and either refund or just quit and never return.

True, it would be a big undertaking, but it could very well be worth it if implemented well.

55 minutes ago, Streetwind said:

IIRC, the refund rate of the game is incredibly low, despite a practically unlimited refund policy. Below 0.1%, last I heard anyone talk about it.

From what I've seen with other games, most players oddly do not refund a game if they don't like it. To give an example, if you check the global achievement statistics on steam for Terraria, only 78.7% of all players got the achievement for completing the first night. That means around 21% of everyone that bought Terraria quit the game very early. Though, it's very unlikely everyone of those people refunded it. If everyone of those players refunded, that would be nearly 3 million refunds. (According to the public metric of 14 million sales for Terraria). Though if the Vintage Story refund rate is below 0.1%, then the problem of people quitting early may not be as severe as I considered it was.

1 hour ago, Streetwind said:

The other part though - are there even statistics on that? Does the VS team track it? Such data could be compiled anonymously by the login server, but it would need to be set up for it.

I used personal experiences to determine people quitting early. People I've tried to get to play Vintage Story such as my friends and family have quit early due to the complexity and minimal guidance. The few that did play awhile had me guiding them through the game, and only played when I was playing with them. Though to be fair, my experiences alone may not reflect actual numbers of people quitting early.

 

43 minutes ago, Maelstrom said:

If anything an in-game "tutorial" of opening the handbook and pointing out the survival guide would all that might be necessary.

True, even just that would probably make a massive difference. The survival guide is very useful for me, but I didn't realize how useful it was until getting that advice online.

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Adding pictures and gifs and nice formatting to the handbook would go a long way. Having an optional feature upon (singleplayer) world creation to make the world pause while the handbook is open would also help.

As for people who don't want to read... I dunno. They'll go watch youtube or something.

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1 hour ago, KobaltKookie said:

The survival guide is very useful for me, but I didn't realize how useful it was until getting that advice online.

That's very odd, because the game already deploys a popup that tells you about it when you first enter a world. It's the first thing you see, overlaying even the character editor.

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1 minute ago, Streetwind said:

That's very odd, because the game already deploys a popup that tells you about it when you first enter a world. It's the first thing you see, overlaying even the character editor.

I just tried to make a new world and didn't get the popup. Though I feel like remembering having one awhile back. Maybe it's only for the first few worlds or something.

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7 hours ago, KobaltKookie said:

To give an example, if you check the global achievement statistics on steam for Terraria, only 78.7% of all players got the achievement for completing the first night.

You've neglected to consider those that only play offline (like me). We don't get achievements.

Also, there is the assumption that purchasers have played the game. It is common for people (as evidenced by Steam forum comments) to purchase games at steep discounts during a sale and then leave them sitting untouched in their account.

But I do understand your point and where you are coming from; I'm just pointing out some fallacies in the argument. There used to be a link within the game (maybe there still is?) to CopyGirl's starter guide. It was really well done.

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Totally agree on need for some help tips at early steps. Just had similar discussion in other forum topic. And i must say it is just my feelings from playing on servers and while trying to play together with my kids. I don't have straight feedback facts about game being too difficult for new players. :)

7 hours ago, Domkrats said:

This is exactly what i mean as well. I love to see such a good game, but i would want to able to play in enjoy with friends and my kids as well.

I am following and supporting this game since October 2020. Played this game fow quite some time myself. Being patreon (small, but still) for a while. Thats the reason i feel confident when i say, something should be done to make game more enjoyable for casual players, not only super builders or guys with lots of time on their hands. :) Sure adding stuff to game is related to income, but it can't change if game is not being pushed to public.

Nothing much should be added for that. Just some stuff to make game easier for those who want such experience (without changing settings which first time players wouldn't know what to expect from while haven't played for some time). And i am not talking about mobs difficulty or anything else achieved by sliding options to easy.

I am talking about tutorial and players first experience with game. Would be nice if player could peacefully learn to get used to game, its mechanics. And when they get bored only then go out into caves or dangerous adventures. But now game won't let you do so unless you start tweaking settings thus making game easy from the start, but less enjoyable later (Because once you make game easy, later you won't be able to change its difficulty or resource distribution). Many players get scared away or tired with first "in your face" expercience. But if game would let them live their peacefull life without getting mobs everywhere, they would maybe learn the game and love it, thus continue playing and starting to get into adventures once they are ready for them.

I know games lore is about drifters, corrupted world and such. But maybe there could be option instead of super easy mode - like option where drifters could only be in caves or direct area around them. Also not disabling temporal storms, but being able to make some "bad decisions" in game which would lead to storms.

So yea. I guess what i wan't to say. Easy mode could be not that mobs aren't attacking. But game with more tutorial tips and possibility to choose when to engage with game mobs and corrupted world stuff. :)

ATM i just can't suggest this game to any of my friends. And i hate it, because this is amazing game i would love to play with them. :) 

 

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I agree.

I've seen many people quit because it's confusing on where to go, three of which were friends who expressed interest but were too frustrated by the lack of guiding features. Even the survival book is not that good at its job. For example, if you look up the leather process making, it's not easy to get the information in the right steps. It shouldn't require you backing out and selecting another item to see where Step 1 is. 

It would probably be a huge feature addition though, and definitely couldn't be put out quickly. In the mean time, it would probably be really helpful to include in the Guides section a "in depth guide" link that leads to a forum post that's detailed. That would of course require someone to make the post...

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4 hours ago, Rhyagelle said:

Even the survival book is not that good at its job.

Survival guide is not bad (although reading is not so fun for many too especially if it's not in native language), but some pop-up in game should at least encourage player to use it at first. :D
Then game could tell you to use flint and sticks which is always first thing (whether its tips or some highlights). Then maybe suggest to make torches. And after some first steps, tips should stop as learning game by yourself is more fun. :) I like how game "Cryofall" does this. First steps are like some achievments. After that they stop and you are now on you own. :) 

Edited by Domkrats
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38 minutes ago, Domkrats said:

Survival guide is not bad (although reading is not so fun for many too especially if it's not in native language), but some pop-up in game should at least encourage player to use it at first. :D
Then game could tell you to use flint and sticks which is always first thing (whether its tips or some highlights). Then maybe suggest to make torches. And after some first steps, tips should stop as learning game by yourself is more fun. :) I like how game "Cryofall" does this. First steps are like some achievments. After that they stop and you are now on you own. :) 

It's not bad, but it's definitely not good. It's a bit more than meh right now and it could certainly be a whole lot better. It's disjointed to be very honest.

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A very great feature suggestion.

As also mentioned in other post - VS is mentioned in my house as the "Adults' MC".

Me, having spent numerous hours and days in MC playing with my kids, I cannot take the kids into the game.

The game is not THAT kids' friendly, requiring them to read tons (in their PoV) of text. In not their native language (we aren't English or any other translation' speakers).

The expansion of the user base and increasing the popularity might come through visual guides that are more comprehensive for children or non-native speakers of the existing translations.

Narrators' voice hints might be a great addition as well. "Ruins around!" or "Wild crops around!" alike.

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As a new player myself, I think the handbook is already pretty good,a lot better than I've experienced in other games. I don't have to spend as much time on a wiki to learn things, but at the same time some of things within need their own categories to make information easier to find.

The best example of this is clothing, you can play the game and never realize you can make clothes or repair the ones you start with.

The names of the clothes have to be searched for specifically instead of just "clothes", "hat", "Coat" etc... Each type of clothing has 5+ names associated with it that you won't know anything about without visiting the wiki.Granted most are obtained rather than crafted, but not all.

For example, clothing that goes on your head isn't just hat, it's also scarf, coif, head dress, coronet, fillet, cowl, diadem, goggles, hood, and cape. Some clothing items share those same names for other parts of the body as well. 

Most things are well documented in the handbook, but clothing is certainly the worst.

I think the simplest thing to change that would make a massive improvement is adding more categories that hyperlink to the items in said categories, a lot of mods do this for the new items and mechanics they add.

As far as a guide, stuff like that is better left to the community in my opinion, and judging by the current forum activity I'd say the community is fairly small right now, but I haven't been on discord, so maybe not.

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5 hours ago, Avarice said:

As far as a guide, stuff like that is better left to the community in my opinion, and judging by the current forum activity I'd say the community is fairly small right now, but I haven't been on discord, so maybe not.

It seems Discord has way better activity. But then again thing like "community" is what can make this problem, thus pushing game as niche product, because it counts more on active player ideas and suggestions, ignoring new player experience which is what this post is about. :) Community for me is those players, which play often, thus can aslo have time to push their ideas in discord. In result, every addition might have great things, yet none of them make game more comfortable to use to new players. :)

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3 hours ago, Maelstrom said:

It sounds like you think the devs (all 1.5 of them) peruse the forums or discord regularly for ideas.  My experience has been that they are, for the most part, absent from either.

I wouldn't say that at all, in my experience. Both here on the forum, and on Discord. They may not seem to be hyper active like a customer is, but that's because they're creating a game. And judging by the amount of updates we get quite frequently, they're taking it very seriously. 

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Suggestion forum is for suggestions. And if @Tyron don't read them then no problem with that even more, :D

I know him and his team are clever and probably know better. I also understand how hard it is to make such detailed game.
But if he reads posts, i am sure he would understand what i mean, even if he doesn't see any chance to implement that.

Didn't wan't to hurt any game fan feelings.
I am just saying out loud my experience with the game when meeting new players or trying to play with our kids. thats it. :)

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Ok so let me add my "bit" to this discusion. 

If we want more clear handbook for players without game translated to their native language i would use a system of categories , symbols and icons. Especialy symbols work great at mitigating language barrier, from my experience i taught 5 french (im polish) how to play a board game (terraforming mars) after an hour or so they didnt need to ask me to translate them any card (game that i own is in polish so i translated it for them to english) they could just use the symbols to understand what it does. My point here is that graphical message can be understood by everyone no matter the language. 

For any crafting or processing tree graphs would work wonders, they could be added as separete window to left or right of handbook, they would act as main navigation in handbook you first search for a given item and when you select it its tree graph get displayed for you and you use it to jump between pages of handbook to look up any relevat information.

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