For the Devs: Community thoughts on what makes a good tutorial.

Discussion in 'Gotham City (Gameplay Discussion)' started by Great Architect, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Great Architect Committed Player

    There are a whole mess of issues that crop up in the late game that (rightly or wrongly) people associate with a lack of guidance in the early game - from the number of DPS-only players, to players with low SP, to an ignorance of simple mechanics (such as blocking) or boss mechanics (such as damage reflection).

    A *lot* of criticism is (quite rightly) aimed at the Brainiac Ship, which has slowly become less and less educational. When you have to move an exit from halfway up a wall to ground level *simply because people don't know how to activate their movement mode*, then the problem is *not* (IMO) the gameplay in the tutorial - it is how the tutorial is communicating what to do.

    The next often-heard criticisms are that the game does not teach you your roles - not just before Level 30, but *at all*. You can grasp an idea of the basics of what your role *can* do by reading the effects of your powers, but there's little information on why it's necessary to do that. It's not even made completely clear to players that you have to be in your non-DPS role for something to work as expected - or even *how to change roles at all* (It doesn't help that you can't even spec into your non-DPS role before Level 15 because you can't even get to the crits before then). There's also very poor signalling of how and why something happens. If you get a Shield in the middle of combat, you have no idea where it came from, largely. There are no indicators as to how the non-DPS roles are affecting gameplay, or who it was that did that.

    Before I go any further, obviously, huge red text in the middle of the screen is not a good solution. I'm not advocating "Great Architect SHIELDED you" in the centre of your screen... because if BIG RED TEXT in the middle of the screen worked, or even small white text at the right hand side, then this thread would not exist - since those are the default signalling for DCUO about practically anything you ought to take notice of - and it is almost universally ignored.


    Part of the problem lies there: That from 1 to 30, if you kill enough things - and click on enough things that you can't kill - you will eventually complete the mission by accident. Those are literally the entire objectives for all pre-30 content. There's nothing subtle, or informative about it.

    And that's just scratching the surface - R&D, for instance, is explained *as a concept*, but nowhere are we told what Recovery, Salvaging, etc. is good for (or the materials you get from doing so). You're (barely) told how to make things, but not how (and why) to break them. I had to convince a League mate that Exobits weren't just trash to sell to a Vendor. It took nearly an hour, and I had to walk them through R&D *and* go and farm the Beta plans for them - because they sold them too...

    I have a couple of observations:-

    1. For a good long while into the game, people tend to be most focussed on their character and their powerbar on the screen, rather than the action - whether because they are watching their cooldowns, or just watching themselves do cool stuff. Later on, they may be focussed on the Health or Power bars of the team, or keeping an eye on their own. Either way, looking at the far right or dead centre of the screen is not usually their immediate concern. Signalling threat or objectives needs to be enhanced somehow. Some of the cosmetics (particularly Auras and Materials) make this hard to do graphically on the character.

    2. I can't remember the last time I saw somebody blockbreak a boss. In fact, I can't remember the last time that anything other than blocking was rewarded in a boss fight (Klarion from the Hallowe'en event is supposedly vulnerable to interrupt - but I've yet to see it happen, ever). Apparently combat mechanics are for adds - but enough beatdown obviates that. Why bother?

    3. The status/effects bar under your Health/Power bars is way too cryptic, doesn't tell you what you need to know anyway, and as cryptic as it is, is not explained anywhere ingame. And it shouldn't be necessary to open a side menu and scroll right down past your current powers to see what effects are currently active on you. Which is useless anyway, if they have a short duration.

    Taking that all into consideration...

    If we were, as a community, to develop a set of tutorials that explain the rock-paper-scissors of block-blockbreak-lunge, educate people about the possibilities of their roles, and improve the currently sub-basic tutorials on R&D etc., improve the communication of basic concepts, and threat/effects in combat - how would we go about it?
    • Like x 2
  2. LadyLightning Issue Tracker Volunteer

    The biggest problems are:
    1. Complete lack of an ingame manual or help page
    2. Lack of a modern tutorial the way they are common in current games (for a very good reason!)
  3. LadyLightning Issue Tracker Volunteer

    Here are a list of issues I see frequently:

    - new players not using their weapon
    - new players only using their weapon
    - the blockbreak-block-interrupt triangle is unknown
    - what do symbols on the map mean (this even happens to veterans!!!)
    - what do icons in the journal mean (I haven't realised for YEARS!)
    - which is the main mission and why is it not from my mentor? (Appearing very frequently as a false bug report on the tracker)
    - why can't I complete my mission? (Choose reward... why are there still twotdifferent systems to choose rewards???)
    - which gear do I need to buy???
    - why is my weapon not working? (repair mechanic is never explained)
    - where can I reset my skillpoints? (just put it in the menu already?!)
    - why is Kandaq/BC/Fos so hard? (CR 53 just walks in there alone...
    - why does nothing happen when I click "queue" (entire lack of explaining the system and no progress indicator at all!)
    - what do soder colas do?
  4. nawanda Committed Player

    How about a new feature called ‘Tomes’.

    The way it works is, every time you finish an instance you get a 25% chance to drop a ‘Tome’. Or, you can buy a ‘Librarian’s Gavel’ consumable on the marketplace, which, when activated, will give you a 50% Tome drop rate for one whole hour.

    There are 64 Tomes in all and each one will contain a piece of information to help you to learn how to play DCUO. You might be really keen to learn about Atomic Tanking loadouts and abilities and that’s absolutely fine, Tome #43 contains everything you need to know, and you have a 1 in 64 chance of your next Tome being the right one.

    Concerned it might take ages to get the Tome you need? That’s absolutely fine, you’re not expected to get the things you need straight away, but over a long period of time. Think of the Tome you need as something to aim for rather than something available to you to earn, and just to make Tomes truly aspirational, each Tome collected awards a 25 point feat, so you should be looking to collect every Tome whether your character needs the information they contain, or not. Fun, right? That will keep everyone occupied for three months.
    • Like x 1
  5. SparklingMayo Well-Known Player

    NOOOOOO to tomes, there is a plethora of information out there on the web to make up for the poor tutorial skills built into the game.
  6. TechWarrior0329 Devoted Player


    Excellent list of constantly recurring issues.

    The lack of any sort of a manual or any detailed set of instructions leaves just about any new players with absolutely no clue. Way back when I first started I had no idea what a skill point was or any idea how to get one. Wound up going back and repeating numerous missions because I had no idea while I was making my way through that warehouse and eventually battling Whisper Adaire I was supposed to click on those tiny little safes. No Clue to click on those book shelves in the Magic shop in Chinatown and put out the fires. I wonder if there are even some new players out there that walk right by those glowing safes in early missions and never realize if they shoot them they open up and rewards show up in their inventory. Yes on that last one I do realize there are several safes in the tutorial on Brainiac's ship but there is also now the option to skip the tutorial completely OR even shell out $45 and skip clear to CR 170. How many players these days even see those on that ship? And be honest... Most of the ones in the missions are placed in spots to make us hunt for them a bit.

    Adding a few to you list

    - what are all these barrels for I keep seeing in missions? Way too many players that have no clue what a healing barrel can do. or that you CAN actually pick up an explosive barrel and slam it to the ground in front of a boss to damage that boss. Let alone what the ones that debuff so things take more damage or the ones that can all but glue a boss or mob in place so they can't chase you.

    - power bars and how to manage them? A two parter but we sort of cover part 1 with those healing barrels since they do heal not just a player's health bar but the power bar as well. But trust me as a long time Controller there are players out there that pretty much just stand like a statue when the power gets low and wait for, if not scream for "MORE POWER" from the troll. No idea that using that weapon they had to pick can and will help rebuild power. Remember back when a bunch of powers had combos and supposedly players didn't NEED a troll anymore they could rebuild their own power? LOL That was a joke in a number of cases .. players never bothered to READ the descriptive text on those attacks and learn how to use the combo to get power back.

    - rezzing team mates? Its been years but thinking back I do not recall a single thing anywhere in game that lets new player know that if a team mate goes down they can run over and click on them to bring them back to life. In my case i think it was just a combination of being on good teams and seeing other players do it plus back then you had a much more cooperative player base and you'd get tells from team mates showing you how to do stuff like that. Heck that's how I learned how to Troll effectively. I was 1 of 2 trolls on a raid and not only did the other guy send me a tell during the mission. AFTER he spent time chatting with me and showing me how to play the role better.
  7. nawanda Committed Player

    Don’t worry, I was being sarcastic.
  8. Black Prime OG Devoted Player

    Same here. When I started, it was rough. At that time, most people were not very helpful, at all. I had no clue what I was doing. My first toon was fire, and man was I a noob. I had to make a completely new toon, which became my main. I basically sat back and healed with sorcery. I watched and learned all roles, mechanics, etc.

    I do wish they would they would have done something like this before they released the CR skips. It would have been more responsible if them and wouldn't have looked so much like a cash grab.
  9. SugarHoneyIcedTeaMix Well-Known Player

    My idea of a tutorial would be you get message before you even do your first mission. One of the holograms in the starting area talks to you and takes you to a small area. Teaches you about the basics like Lunging to interrupt, Blocking when a boss Melee' s, Block breaking when a boss is blocking, what the red skull on an enemy means, what the yellow parentheses on an enemy means, how to complete a mission, how to track a mission.

    When a player reaches player lvl 10 they get taught about Damage Healing Tanking and Controlling. They are taught what each role is required to do ex a healer providing heals for the group, trolls controlling adds providing debuffs when necessary and dispensing power through passive and power dumps, and tanks grabbing aggro protecting the group.

    After a player has reached level 20 or 25 they are taught about skill points, how to attain them, why they would need them, teach them how to spec.

    After a player has reached lvl 30 help them see what gear they need to be purchasing, etc etc
    • Like x 3
  10. Original Cryo boy Committed Player

    In final fantasy pretty early into leveling your toon you got a role tutorial mission. Takes you to a special zone and as a white mage you had an npc you had to keep alive against a boss. Pally you had to keep mobs off your npc teammates while an npc healed you. If you failed and your npcs died you had to start over. All it would take is a tutorial mission that forced you to play your role and plainly explained everything to you.

    I remember being a new player and carrying multiple rifles around incase one broke. But I do think it actually popped up on my screen saying repair at a vendor. The problem with tutorials with this game is really the playerbase who literally complained about the opening brainiac ship mission (aka the tutorial) being too long. If a tutorial came out forcing you to play your role for a mission people would complain.
  11. Highplains Sailor Active Player

    Everquest changed their tutorial to where you were given quests to talk to NPC's that explained aspects of the game, such as how to use the bank, how to use the crafting station, how to set up / use your hotbars, chat windows, all about mercenaries, and so on. By the time you were done, you had a good idea of the basics of the UI and the game.
    DCUO could have something similar to help you set up chat windows, explain Styles, Stat Points, weapons, and so on.

    They could make solo instances designed to teach players about their support role at level 30. You do a few before you can enter main content (the duo's, 4 / 8 man groups). You enter the instances and are part of a 'group' of NPC's, and you are guided through the mission by your mentor, learn how your powers work, and how you support your team, be it as a Tank, Troll or Healer. The mentor can give you a few basic hints. For example, if you are a Healer and you revive a team mate, hit a Swarm Shield to protect him while health is very low and then use a few HoTs to get health back up.

    Just a thought.
  12. Original Cryo boy Committed Player

    A couple of the suggestions you guys are making are currently present in the brainiac ship tutorial mission and the welcome to the watchtower tutorial mission. Which brings me to my second point, people zone out and dont pay attention to tutorials anyways.
  13. L T Loyal Player

    Wait... there are icons in the journal?
  14. L T Loyal Player

    My suggestion for this is to replace the vault and/or the stabilizer event with something that teaches mechanics.

    A good example would be the original version of the tutorial where the blockers, channelers, and lungers are shielded and the only way to defeat them is to counter them. If you had to do this every day, eventually it might sink in.
  15. DCUO Addict Committed Player

    There are a lot of good ideas in this thread! (Except the Tomes! Why did you put that idea out in the universe?! :p)

    I think the artifact tutorial is the best example in the game. It combines showing and telling, it's broken down into short steps, and it's very generous with rewards: one free artifact, a seal of preservation, lots of nth metal, 1.5 SP (iirc), and 25 MoV. I happily run it on all my alts.

    I'd like to see the same approach applied to a roles tutorial. Pick 3 new mentors, one for each role (e.g., Hal Jordan/Sinestro for trollers), who walk you through short missions for your role. Award a piece of role-specific gear for each step in the mission, and award an armory for completing the tutorial.

    All that being said, not everyone will listen or learn. There are lots of people who don't equip their free seal of protection and then think it's a bug that the catalysts are consumed, even though the tutorial tells you how to use the seal. To build on and go beyond the tutorial, I know it's incredibly cheesy, but we should all try to be that player that helps the new person learn (and learn to love) the game. Will >60% ignore you and >20% cuss you out? Probably. But it's worth it for the ones who stay. (Except when I'm having a bad day, and I mentally curse them and put them on ignore on as many of my characters as I can, before I forget the name. :rolleyes:)
  16. Fawkes2574 Committed Player

    They are team building exercises. That fail miserably.
  17. Fawkes2574 Committed Player

    There is one issue that I have with this. A person creates a healer, then find out that would be to challenging or tough for them, and would rather try tanking. That would mean that they would have to start over.

    Simply put, there is this thing called the internet. If people want to get into a game, and start playing it, whether its an online game, or a console game, that comes without a physical manual they should just go online and look up the info on the game. A wikia exists for practically almost every game out there because someone takes the time to create it.
  18. DCUO Addict Committed Player

    If that works for you, great, but IMO, the game is lacking if you can't learn the basics in game.
    • Like x 1
  19. Fawkes2574 Committed Player

    I was saying in general, I wasn't speaking for myself.
  20. Great Architect Committed Player


    The DCUO Wiki was recently described as "Meh". It doesn't set out to teach the game - just give information on what is in the game. You might notice it doesn't (for instance) suggest loadouts, strategy, describe any of the Roles (including DPS) in any depth, and was never intended to be a guide. It's a repository of information on some useful aspects - such as what the styles look like - but it's not well maintained.

    DCUO Wiki is a store of *some* important information.
    DCUObloguide is a store of *some* other important information.

    But there is no site that teaches you to play the game from the ground up.

    My opinion of what would make a decent *basic* tutorial for everybody (the question begged by starting this thread) involves teaching all of the following. It's by no means meant to be exhaustive, or complete, and a lot of it is assuming that it's a non-linear tutorial (i.e. you can hyperlink): -

    1. Moving.
    • Controls
    • Movement Mode
    • Skill Points in the Movement Tree
    2. Combat.
    • Targetting
    • Using Weapons
    • Using Powers
    • No reticule, and Red, and Grey reticules on a target
    • Breakout
    • Block
    • Block-break
    • Interrupt
    • Lunge
    • Hit counter
    • Precision
    • Might
    3. Interaction.
    • Close enough to target
    • Close enough to pick up
    • Throwing
    • Slamming
    4. Feats
    • Feat points
    • Skill Points
    • Stats
    • Power Focuses
    • Critical %
    • Critical Magnitude
    5. Roles
    • What are your roles?
    • Switching role (basic)
    • Armouries
    • Choosing a path - DPS or not (with one Armoury)
    • Switching role (Armoury)
    • Stats and Roles
    • Your priorities in DPS role, and in your Tank / Control / Heal role.
    6. Alerts
    • Remember your priorities
    • Objectives
    • Multiplayer Combat
    • Reviving players
    • Being revived
    • Repairing
    7. R&D
    • Mods
    • Why Mod?
    • R&D Components
    Somewhere up there comes "Missions", "Exploration", Side Missions" etc. Like I said, it's not supposed to be exhauistive or complete...
    • Like x 1

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