New Player Onboarding


  • Pitcrew

    I got in a discussion earlier today with a friend about how games integrate new players. I expressed frustration that it seemed like many games seemed to put all the expectations to find out information on the new player, who often had to navigate between +help and wikis and chargen rooms to find out basic starting information. And for all this effort, the only thing that is guaranteed is that the player has read information, not that they've comprehended or internalized or that they become a regular player.

    So I'm wondering, has anyone seen a game do a really good job at making sure that new players get integrated? If not, what do you think games should be doing to welcome new players?


  • Politics

    @Lisse24 said in New Player Onboarding:

    So I'm wondering, has anyone seen a game do a really good job at making sure that new players get integrated? If not, what do you think games should be doing to welcome new players?

    Staff can find players willing to be "new player greeters," or something like that. Players sometimes find it easier to talk with other players. Just be sure your greeters are good folks.



  • I feel like we've done a fair to decent job of this on TLF (Transformers Lost and Found) by a.) "Hiring" dedicated staff for the purpose and b.) getting brand spanking new player input on building easy cheat sheets for other brand spanking new newbies to use figuring out MUSH. It helped a lot because we've all been doing this shit so long we felt myopic about what exactly newbies really need to know to figure out the interface (sorry, as I type this I realize I'm crossing the streams again).


  • Pitcrew

    @saosmash said in New Player Onboarding:

    I feel like we've done a fair to decent job of this on TLF (Transformers Lost and Found) by a.) "Hiring" dedicated staff for the purpose and b.) getting brand spanking new player input on building easy cheat sheets for other brand spanking new newbies to use figuring out MUSH. It helped a lot because we've all been doing this shit so long we felt myopic about what exactly newbies really need to know to figure out the interface (sorry, as I type this I realize I'm crossing the streams again).

    It's been legit fascinating to hear about what terminology brand new MU* players find confusing, what's the hardest parts for them to learn, etc. It's often not the stuff we think of.


  • Coder

    The best newbie integration is, as @Ganyemede says, getting people involved in helping new people, but in my case it's other players. On both Aether and Haunted Memories (Changeling), the number of people tripping over each other to help new people was astounding. Genuinely helping. No auto-greet scripts there. People can sense auto-greet scripts.

    In the latter case, there was a chilling effect when staff locked players out of maintaining the sphere wiki, so I am going to mention that: Don't take an avenue that cuts players off from helping on every level.


  • Pitcrew

    @saosmash said in New Player Onboarding:

    I feel like we've done a fair to decent job of this on TLF (Transformers Lost and Found) by a.) "Hiring" dedicated staff for the purpose and b.) getting brand spanking new player input on building easy cheat sheets for other brand spanking new newbies to use figuring out MUSH. It helped a lot because we've all been doing this shit so long we felt myopic about what exactly newbies really need to know to figure out the interface (sorry, as I type this I realize I'm crossing the streams again).

    I have to admit that I'm really, really curious. What are some of the things that new players found confusing that you maybe didn't expect?


  • Coder

    @Thenomain

    Dear @GirlCalledBlu : The down vote because why? I do genuinely wonder what people take offense to.



  • @saosmash said in New Player Onboarding:

    getting brand spanking new player input on building easy cheat sheets for other brand spanking new newbies to use figuring out MUSH. It helped a lot because we've all been doing this shit so long we felt myopic about what exactly newbies really need to know to figure out the interface .

    @Roz said in New Player Onboarding:

    It's been legit fascinating to hear about what terminology brand new MU* players find confusing, what's the hardest parts for them to learn, etc. It's often not the stuff we think of.

    Please tell us what! I can't imagine some of it wouldn't be helpful for other genres/games.


  • Coder

    @Lisse24 @Ninjakitten While I'm not Sao or Roz, I do staff with them and was part of these conversations. Some of the things that surprised me that were a real problem for players are perfectly obvious things, in retrospect, like 'page' and 'look' -- and also what an @alias actually is. Is it an IC nickname? What? Terms like GM, TP, all of these words that are just part of our common lexicon leave new players going '???'.

    The 'look' thing in particular jars me. I've used channel spawns for so many years that it never occurred to me just how many players were struggling with the fact that the instructions in the welcome room were getting scrolled right off the screen by the volume of the cheerful chatter on the Newbie channel.

    Channels -- what they are, how they work, if they are IC / OOC -- are also a thing that gets to them. It seems to make sense to them when I talk about channels as chat rooms, and that you can be in multiple chat rooms with one account at the same time, but then trying to figure out how to explain to them that game is set up as a series of rooms, which is totally different than the chat room channels, that you navigate through by using exits never sounds as intuitive as it could be.

    We do a lot of explaining to people just how to even connect and how to talk, on channels and in rooms: say, pose, emit, etc. People trying to connect and being greeted by white text on a black screen has apparently been incredibly intimidating for a good number of our players.

    http://lostandfound.riverdark.net/wiki/Cheat_Sheet is the cheat sheet that was put together by one of our new-to-MUing staffers, who checked in with a couple of our other brand-new-to-MUing players. That's more of a list of commands that people who are already pretty well hooked need to look up than it is an onboarding list, though. Others have already said it, but the absolute best thing you can really do for onboarding is having people communicating with new players, and have a friendly, patient welcome crew. We're lucky in that we have an exceptional group of players for that.



  • When I first started, the couple of games I started out on (Beast Wars Transformers, and SuperMUX) had both player-helpers as well as a general glossary of common terms. Nowadays, a glossary like that might be best as a specific 'here is the new player orientation' page. I've seen a couple of really nice ones throughout various games.



  • @Bobotron
    I definitely feel like there was more of an assumption, when I started back in the late 90s, that you'd get randos wandering in who had no idea wtf a MU* was. I remember a 'New Player Tutorial' walk-through of rooms after you logged in being pretty commonplace when I started (just a series of rooms that would explain posing, channels, etc.), and those have largely disappeared, at least on games I play.

    I'd played on MUDs previously, so it wasn't as foreign to me as it would be to someone coming in from Tumblr, but I feel like the barrier for entry has gotten quite a bit steeper as the community's aged.



  • @Thenomain said in New Player Onboarding:

    @Thenomain

    Dear @GirlCalledBlu : The down vote because why? I do genuinely wonder what people take offense to.

    I just downvoted this. Because I can't see who downvotes me and it makes me sad.


  • Coder

    @WTFE

    Hey, at least I know!



  • If I could downvote that a hundred times, I would.

    Hell, if I could use my reputation of -17 to downvote you 17 times for that I would!



  • @Thenomain said in New Player Onboarding:

    @Thenomain

    Dear @GirlCalledBlu : The down vote because why? I do genuinely wonder what people take offense to.

    I... didn't downvote? Or if I did, it was an accident. I was reading this on my phone and was trying to upvote, and it wasn't working, so I gave up. Nothing in your post sparked my need to downvote. Sorry!

    EDIT: Went back to look, and yeah, looks like that magical downvote arrow was blue. Sorry, @Thenomain. I didn't actually find anything you said downvoteable, the mobile site just wasn't liking my attempts to upvote anything.


  • Coder

    @GirlCalledBlu

    No sweat. You did, but it could have been by accident, as it happens especially on phones and tablets. See the "Shaming" thread for my view on down votes. That is, sure go ahead but the input is better, and for me this thread is all about feedback. Bringing players into games ("Time To Mush") is pretty important to me, and I will tacitly abuse my admin ability to improve my end of the conversation.

    Edit: And I'll look into if the new version of this forum software can reveal downvoters, again.


  • Pitcrew

    @GirlCalledBlu said in New Player Onboarding:

    EDIT: Went back to look, and yeah, looks like that magical downvote arrow was blue. Sorry, @Thenomain. I didn't actually find anything you said downvoteable, the mobile site just wasn't liking my attempts to upvote anything.

    I have done this a couple of times. You can correct it by upvoting and returning the net to zero.



  • @ThatGuyThere
    Yeah... it's worse if you accidentally upvote something, since people get immediately notified they did, and by whom.


  • Coder

    @Ninjakitten said in New Player Onboarding:

    @ThatGuyThere
    Yeah... it's worse if you accidentally upvote something, since people get immediately notified they did, and by whom.

    Horrifying. Now I know that @Saulot doesn't always think I am the most awesome thing since sliced bread. I don't know how I'm going to live.

    (Yeah yeah, sarcasm sarcasm.)



  • @Thenomain
    I wouldn't claim horrifying, but if someone has a bit of social anxiety, it can be a little stressful deciding how to handle the situation. Therefore, it's worse than the accidental downvote, which is easily fixed with no one the wiser.


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