New Player Experience Progress

Discussion in 'Official News Feedback' started by Mithril, Aug 20, 2021.

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  1. Mithril Community Manager

    Hey everyone. Figured it was time to let everyone in on how we'll be approaching the New Player Experience update, and what we've got in progress so far.
    New Player Experience is a pretty expansive topic that can cover anything from a player's immediate attachment to their character and the world, to the boots-on-the-ground combat experience in their first session. The overarching goal is to do whatever we can to ensure new players stick around for longer than they do currently.
    For this particular update, we'll be revamping a few main areas while addressing smaller odds and ends along the way.

    Character Create

    We'll be introducing a more modern version of the character create screen that better describes the motivations of each faction, showcases their technology, and emphasizes each faction's aesthetic. Character select will also be getting some love, and UI audio will be getting a pass to make things a bit more satisfying there as well. The goal is immersion of the player, connection to the world and their character. We initially aimed to have an animatic or brief world introduction just before the character create process, but that won't end up in this initial release. It's a larger-than-you'd-expect undertaking, and will need more time and attention to deliver something worthy of being there.

    New Tutorial

    One of the most difficult parts of creating a new tutorial is trying to figure out how to package all of the things you'd want a player to learn without the tutorial running on for way too long, but we've hit a lot of the big beats with our new one. We currently teach the player about shooting, redeploying, using the map, identifying fights, placing waypoints, capturing bases, repairing terminals, deploying Sunderers, and even dealing with MAX units, all in a way that's tactile to the player, and not just a bunch of text on screen. We also use this tutorial as a bridge to the feeling of the main game, by having mock combat scenes taking place, and watching allies run toward the objective. No banshee mosquitos farming you from spawn, but maybe some day.
    NPCs exchanging fire in the new tutorial.

    New Player Introduction

    After leaving the tutorial, the player will arrive on Sanctuary in a new Embassy area, and be directed to try their skills in the "real world." New players will receive a mission that will hand hold them for a bit longer, and ensure they can transition from Sanctuary to continent, and then into a warzone in a way that feels natural yet directed. The original idea here was to have a mini-campaign for the player to participate in, and we may end up going that direction in the end, but each iteration we've come up with thus far had some concerns over pacing and how well it would mesh with the chaotic sandbox of Live.
    A work in progress picture of the reception hall leading to the individual embassies.

    Colorblind Accessibility

    Along with this update, we'll be adding a new graphics setting that will allow players to choose from various colorblind options. Many of our players (and a couple team members!) are colorblind, and it felt like a good time to pursue some of these changes. We're currently working toward filters that adjust for Protanopia, Deuteranopia, Tritanopia, Achromatopsia, Protanomaly, Deuteranomaly, Tritanomaly, and Achromatomaly. At this time, the UI and HUD elements don't receive adjustments to color (only 3d space like terrain, enemies, the sky, etc,) but we're investigating our options there.
    Examples of Protonopia and Tritanopia filters on Amerish.

    Gameplay Changes

    A new player's default equipment is being revised, and some balance adjustments are being made to coincide. Gauss SAW is being replaced with the GD-22S, dumbfire launchers are being swapped for G2A lock-on launchers as a base, and VS/TR sniper rifles are getting swapped to bolt-actions right out the gate. The Lightning's C-75 Viper is being swapped for the Python HEAT, and the HEAT has received some additional alpha damage to make it a stronger overall choice, while still retaining the flexibility of a faster reloading weapon. Resist type 4 (heavy machine gun,) resistances are receiving reductions for many vehicles, which will put Basilisks, among others, in a more competitive position from the start. Vehicles are also receiving default utility and defensive slot options, and infantry suit slots have received a quick pass as well. (Nanoweave is being nerfed, not removed.)
    The Lightning, refitted with the HEAT as a default.

    Odds and Ends

    Similar to the gameplay adjustments, we're making small changes as we can to help improve the overall experience. Infantry loadouts will have a "cover sheet" that teaches the roles of each class and what special equipment they have access to. Mission Boards, Warpgate Terminals, and Equipment Terminals in Sanctuary, for example, are now labeled as such in a visible way. Waypoints are getting better 3d visuals, and have rays extending further into the sky, allowing them to be more visible from the air or when placed behind tall buildings or cliffs. Quick Deploy will now ask you to head back to the map screen to select a spawn when your last spawn location dies, instead of just giving you a new nearby (sometimes hundreds of meters away) spawn location. Shield bars will be displayed above spotted target health bars, and more.
    Terminals on Sanctuary now with signage above them.

    Some Things We've Thought About

    Going into this update, the what we could do was insane. There are so many ideas and options and ways to improve the experience, but simply not enough time to get it all done in a single update. In order to ensure we hit our updates toward the end of the year (Winter season in particular is going to be amazing,) we needed to make sure the scope fell within reason. That hasn't stopped us from prepping design documents for ideas we'd like to tackle later, however, and we can continue moving down this route if we feel like the return on time spent is worthwhile. An example of some things we'd like to address BUT ARE TOTALLY NOT COMMITTED TO BY ANY MEANS, are a revision of the Mentor System that focuses on commending players for positive actions, recommended unlock paths that make it easier to spend certs with confidence, temporary "garrison squads" that auto-group nearby players who are fighting over the same area, modular "advanced" tutorial areas, a battlefield "director" that more strongly suggests plans of attack, a pass on currency types, and far too much more to list.

    I'll be sharing more information as we get closer, including when the update will be coming to open testing, and talk about the non-NPE updates that will fall into this release as well. Look forward to plenty more.
    Thanks folks.
    -Wrel, Lead Designer
    Leave us your feedback down below!
    • Up x 5
  2. LimaJones

    In regards to the "...dumbfire launchers are being swapped for G2A lock-on launchers as a base..."
    With this potential change I see a missing point
    It is not how infantry can't deal with enemy aircrafts. Bringing an analogy with AP vs HESH, it's more about how people can't use their ESF to counter an enemy A2G ESF
    The way I see it, as well as other people that once attempted getting into the airgame, it's about how people can't change which axis' (and how these axis') are going to be controlled by the mouse. And that's among other QoL things related to vehicles, as people certainly would like to have a specific FoV slider for them

    Granted, we can talk about how this is not the solution favourable in Planetside's current situation, but given the community's standpoint on combined arms, accessible and flexible aircraft controls eventually has to become a reality
    • Up x 2
  3. Erosion139

    The listings so far are fantastic. The immersion emphasis on the new player experience is exactly what I love to see. In addition to that you included a simulated micro battle that could better set the new player's expectations. About the banshee though, this is probably a way better idea than you might realize. As one of the major frustrations for people I have personally tried to get onboard with is "this game is not fair." You NEED to make sure that this is expected, as these new players are so in tune with lobby based shooters that balance the game as best they can. This is not that game and they will complain if they are not expecting the zerg or the banshee. I imagine you could have the new player run through a battle situation killing units etc. Then after a 'trigger' is activated you can have banshee fire BRRT the new player and with the death screen looking at the mosquito (frozen in space) explain how the battlefield is dynamic and you will not always be able to predict every possible attack and that this is a very common thing for players of all skill. Do this and you can be assured that the complaints from new players will not be without a fair warning.
    • Up x 1
  4. Alilua

    How about asking players to rate squad leaders? Just a thumbs up or down and comes them on that?
    • Up x 1
  5. B-96

  6. Alilua

    I hope they buff base turrets, new players love those. More range on aa, more rof on ai and more health over all would be useful.
    • Up x 2
  7. TheDarkSavant

    What about the hacker problem that is seriously out of control? New players aren't going to stick around with maxes flying at high speed with the ability to shoot through walls and perfect accuracy. On Soltech we see at least a few of these hackers every single day.
  8. Overlord898

    Chimera Tank and Stayr buff when?
    • Up x 2
  9. SoulSkorpion

    Dude, right now the new player experience (on SolTech, at least) is getting killed in the spawn room by headshot from a max hovering 2000m above the ground. Actually, that's the experience for all players.

    My point is, you're absolutely wasting your time and money with improvements like this when you have bigger fish to fry: rampant cheating absolutely breaking your game. It's every single time I log in to SolTech.

    Mithril, everything you've announced here amounts to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. If DBG doesn't strain every sinew to addressing the cheating problem instead of fluff like this then they're headed for disaster.
  10. Tython

    This looks great.

    A few big points that stand out:

    "Technology Equals Might" - While this does encapsulate the VS outlook fairly succinctly, it doesn't have as much flair as the other "faction quotes", nor does it ever show up ingame either (to my knowledge). I feel like the phrase "Evolve or Perish." would be more fitting here since it's actually one of the ingame taunts that players frequently throw around, and gets across the same message with a more aggressive attitude that one would expect from a faction in a PvP-only game.

    Further, the Player Studio armor sets shown on the "choose your faction" screen are misleading; the fact that you have to pay money to look like that will leave a sour taste in many players' mouths.

    Suggestion: Improve the default armors across all factions so you're not embarrassed about showing them off to new players!

    Changes to starting weapons:

    Swapping out the default sniper rifles for bolt actions across the board is an objectively good change that should have happened years ago. Good on you for finally getting around to it!
    Be sure to show new players how to hold their breath when sniping! This is something I didn't learn about until years after I had started playing because the game just didn't give any indication that it was even a mechanic!

    Same for the rocket launchers. Good change, 100% approve.

    Swapping the NC default LMG will be a more controversial change, but a good one in my mind. The GD-22S is a much more user friendly weapon than the Gauss SAW, so despite my love for the SAW, I absolutely agree with handing new players something more forgiving to play with.

    I have some misgivings about the magazine size, but it's on par with the Orion, so it really shouldn't be a problem overall. Plus it puts the EM6 as a direct sidegrade path to players looking for a more crowd-control oriented LMG, as the EM6 has the same damage model and rate of fire, just with a bigger mag and some heavier COF bloom that requires more controlled trigger discipline to offset the benefit of its large magazine. Maybe point this out somewhere obvious, since the weapon stat tooltips are a bit overwhelming even for a veteran like me.

    Props for not going with the Gauss SAW S as the default gun. It's pretty pathetic compared to the other options available.

    The naming conventions could use some work, though. It's not obvious that the EM6 is the big brother of the GD-22S (or that the EM1 is nothing like the EM6, or that the Anchor is very similar to the GD-22S, or that the SAW and SAW S are completely different beasts from each other, or... you get the picture).

    Something else that would be good to include somewhere is a strong hint (perhaps repeated in multiple places) that weapons in Planetside are not upgrades or downgrades (...for the most part), but have different stats that suit them for different situations. I know this is a loading screen tip, but it would bear repeating in the introductory experience as well. Point out what those situations are and why you would want, say, an SMG instead of an Assault Rifle for close quarters, how Carbines encourage a mobile playstyle, that kind of thing. It's not always clear what the difference is between the different weapon types, with how much their stats can overlap.

    Maybe nudge new players strongly into upgrading their classes before buying new weapons.

    Also, and I feel this is very important, show them how to pull and place Sunderers, and why it's important to have multiple spawn points at any given fight. I feel this is something far too few players have a good grasp of. Also give Light Assaults 2 bricks of C4 by default so they have all the tools they need to kill enemy Sunderers right out the gate.
    • Up x 1
  11. OldSchoolD

    So Nanowave is going to be nerfed, cloak is not even mentioned, and every new player gets a free bolt action. Do you guys even play this game? o_O
    • Up x 1
  12. IzumoKousa

    The only thing I'd want to see have minor change is the
    have a toggle. Make it be on by default, but allow us to toggle it on/off.
    • Up x 1
  13. VV4LL3

    Some of these changes seem very internally driven. The focus on new player experience makes sense, and of course is needed to ensure a lasting business model of sustained player base. Business driven decision -- understandably so.

    What of these other changes though? Please, provide greater transparency on development and black log, while also giving players a say in what's next other than "liking a post..."
  14. BlackFox

    New players will get out of the game anyways after a while for complete other reasons:
    - Constant deaths caused by cloaked enemies
    - Lousy gun mechanics
    - General imbalance (one fight against the VS and they know which faction to choose)
    - The only viable tactic called "Zerging" and nothing else

    The game is extremely niché, not for having big battles but the overall game design - it throws any basic concept of a Battlefield alike Class-shooter over board and tries to be a duel focused competitive game... Having big battles with countless enemies and sluggish movement simply doesn't goes well with goofy weapon behaviour, dodge dancing and the necessity to focus on a single enemy to score a kill. And don't get me started on the outdated optimization and lacking Netcoding.

    New players will notice such things and the frustration gathered within the first 2 hours will prevent the majority from comming back
  15. Piska

    "New Player Experience" update and infiltrators are untouched.

    Do you guys even listen to your community?
  16. Pryceton

    Performance on low-end machines is still horrible since the _Integration update. Another reason why new players may not stick around and old players leave.
  17. Nighda Venesis

    I'd like to start by saying I'm looking forward to this update.

    I'm personally on the fence about giving G2A launchers to new players as I don't know how that would affect airgame too much since I don't play as air much, but otherwise I'm a fan of everything mentioned.
    If it were me I would have fundamentally changed how the airhammer, banshee, and light operate, away from infantry farming tools to something more unique from the other nose guns, remaining in the realm of antivehicle, while improving the way air handles to make it more accessible for everyone and not just the elite pilots who've taken the time to learn the nuances and have reached the ceiling after all the steep steps. This would make air more enjoyable without removing the possibility of killing a few infantry units due to improved controls without the necessity of those tools as they are currently. These are just my two cents; take them or leave them, but please do consider.
    What I really want to say though is that the recent spike in cheaters across several servers, if not all, is something that should really be dealt with before this update hits live for the best effect. New players may leave quickly when they encounter a cheater, and more cheaters may arise the more people come to this game. BattlEye is evidently useless, and something substantial needs to be done, not overlooked by a nonfunctional anticheat. Yesterday, for example, I was watching people on Cobalt's Esamir get 1HKed as soon as they left the Echo Valley spawn room by some guy using a Ripper from an extreme distance. Of course, I was subjected to this as well. I'll repeat a point that was raised by FaZe Jev when hacking began increasing in Warzone: people will generally hackusate more just by knowing there's more cheaters as well, even if who they're hackusating is and always has played legitimately, because they might not be able to identify cheaters well while they're hearing about rampant cheating happening in the game. And you know what? I had an A7 mission to complete yesterday by using the Daimyo, and some guy accused me of hacking after I missed my first two shots on him and killed him with the third, then proceeded to kill two or three more without missing, which he presumably watched over the killcam. PlanetSide 2 is especially subject to this in general since it takes a lot of time for people to learn this game. It would be best not to make it worse by letting the cheater problem sit, and deal with it as soon as possible.

    But again, I'm looking forward to this update, you guys are doing a great job as you have been. Please remain aware of the final point in particular.
  18. TheDarkSavant

    There's currently a hacker at every single large battle during alert on Soltech server. Everywhere I spawn, I just get instant killed inside the spawn room from a player who is shooting through walls from high up in the sky.

    I had to log out because the game is unplayable. New players will not play under these conditions.
  19. BlackFox

    Hey geniuses at Daybreak, maybe fix the aimboters, flying MAXes and wallhackers first? Nobody is gonna stick around when people snipe through walls or bombard thick walled rooms with HE and kill a whole squad
    • Up x 2
  20. RiP0k

    L100 Python HEAT. Is this the gun that deals the most damage to construction.
    You are exacerbating the condition of the Construction System once again!
    You need to THINK!
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