Author Topic: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss  (Read 168 times)

gonger

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Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« on: January 07, 2023, 09:12:59 am »
Greetings to all!

The Dryken Plane is probably the most discussed and disputed addition that will come with the move to Unreal Engine.
It is without doubt a totally new idea for PlaneShift, and you may like this idea, or not. Personally, I liked the Dryken Plane from the start because of its newness, I just thought that the first versions were close to unplayable.
But more important than personal taste: The Dryken Plane is the first thing newbies experience, and nobody gets a second chance for a good first impression. This is where newbies decide whether they stay or leave.

Talad has taken previous criticism and bug reports (e.g. not enough light, too little time to reach the barrier) very seriously, and the current version is certainly a big improvement.
Still I wonder whether we should not do even more, and I would like to hear your opinion. It is important to try and see this from a newbie's perspective.
We know and love the game, and most of us have tried the Dryken Plane more than once, which makes it relatively easy for us to get through.
Things will be different for confused newbies who are still struggling with the keys and mouse settings, and all the rest. They may quickly lose their patience.
Therefore it would also be extremely interesting to hear what a true newbie has to say about it.
As a basis for discussion, I can think of these further improvements:

  • Add the gems to the character save. In case a newbie quits or gets disconnected in the middle of the Dryken Plane, they may have to go back again, which will only add to confusion and frustration.
  • Use different colours for all three gem / barrier combinations. This will make orientation much easier.
  • Instead of removing the barriers, make them flicker. Thus they will still be visible. With those interweaving paths I personally tend to lose my orientation on where to run while going through those long turns. If the next barrier is still visible this will be less complicated.
  • The spiral elevators are not easy to use. You can easily take two or three attempts to get on or off them properly, which will reduce the time to reach the next barrier.
  • Give some rewards to the newbies. At the end of the Legacy tutorial newbies have some good items to get started, here they have nothing. For example after the first barrier there could be some leather armour, after the second a good knife, and finally a glyph.

Please comment on this, and feel free to add your own ideas.
Of course we should not make it too easy for newbies, there should still be a good challenge! Let's try to find the right balance!

I also found this link a few days ago:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MMORPG/comments/1012kax/what_do_you_think_make_a_great_mmo_starting_zone/
Some of the points discussed there are interesting.

Thank you for reading and discussing.
Travel safely.

Gonger

Haviland

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Re: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2023, 05:54:30 pm »
I'm really unsure about the dryken plane. I mean, I really like it and I think the difficulty level is OK. Of course you have to run criss-cross and it will take some to find your way through. But that's exactly what makes this level interesting.
On the other hand the dryken plane is much different from the rest of the game. If you have no idea what this game is about you will think "Hey, it's a funny jump and run" an be perplex that the rest of the game isn't.
If you searched for a free RPG game, found PS and start in the dryken plane you will be confused because it starts like a jump&run.
In my opinion the most repelling thing is, that after leaving the plane you are left on your own and don't know what to do. I really liked the entry area in PS legacy with the little golden man explaining what to do and how to interact with the world. I think this is what really is missing in PSU.

Maltrobian Borgar

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Re: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2023, 06:37:40 pm »
So I have mixed feelings about this:

I like the idea of a different backstory. Something new, to freshen it up a little. I don't like the fact that the floor has the weird moving pattern that it does. It gives me a headache, and makes my eyes hurt. Also, trying to figure the right path is rather difficult. I believe that having a general direction will be more beneficial that the craziness going on there. Going one way, you have at least 4 paths that lead to nowhere, and especially with the time that you're given, it doesn't really flow.

Also, I feel like the OG tutorial is needed as well. The popups are ok, but I loved the OG stuff. So maybe walking out of there you can go to start the tutorial that way, where it's all explained. Jumping in with no idea of what you're doing is rather a turnoff. And that is coming from me starting a new character just to try and re-learn the game.

Damola

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Re: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2023, 08:39:37 am »
I did not yet replay the Dryken Plane after the changes Talad made to it.

I have mixed thoughts and feelings about it as well. On one hand, yeah, it is something new, on the other hand I do not yet get how it fits into the existing lore and wonder whether there are plans to pick up on what happens in Dryken Plane with a later quest in real game. One thing also is that an existing player can not (easily or if at all) visit Dryken Plane to look out and help new players.

And well, also the previous tutorial has gone missing. I have seen some negative feedback about the previous tutorial on Youtube for it being too long and some such, so maybe Dryken Plane if newbies can make it through it quickly enough while also have some enjoyment or some interesting insight in the lore from doing so plus hints for the first times you access something in game, pop ups, could be a better replacement. Back then when I started PlaneShift I enjoyed the tutorial. It was not too long for me. Only thing was that I had a hard time figuring out how to leave the tutorial area at the first time. I did initially get that I had to run back where the tutorial started.

However in all of this I find it quite challenging to go through the Dryken Plane how a newbie would do. So it may be best to ask some interested newbies to actually do so and provide feedback. I do not know anyone to ask right now, but will think about it.
Love,
Damola

Migg

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Re: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2023, 03:20:01 pm »
I too have not been to the Dryken Plane in quite a while, however I will hazard some random thoughts of my own:

This has been mentioned already, but let me restate it. The Dryken Plane is where first comers will find themselves. Some may know what the game stands for, some not. To the former, the Dryken Plane might seem weird, as it is not an experience aligned with the role playing game they expected. To the latter on the other hand it may give the impression PS is a platformer of sorts. To either, if this proves too hard a challenge, given a time limit in a new game with unfamiliar controls, it could discourage them from staying on.

Relating to the floor, if people feel the moving pattern makes them uncomfortable then it should be changed for something more solid. Seizure inducing experiences are not something to greet newbies with.

Regarding the difficulty of the experience, i would suggest letting newcomers chose the level of the challenge they want. The Plane could start with a pop up message indicating there will be a golden man popping up at every crossroads, and if you want to be guided along the way, help will only be a click away. If you prefer the challenge, ignore the golden icon and proceed on your own.

As for the usefulness of the Dryken Plane, assuming it wants to convey an idea of the way in between the portals from the homeworld to the Labyrinths, which all races had to follow to enter Yliakum, this will not be clear to newbies unless some hints in the form of pop-ups relaying the lore depicted by the Plane is offered: some narrative of how the player has gotten there (e.g. "After entering the portal to escape your homeworld, you find yourself in a weird plane in-between worlds. You desperately seek for an exit..." or so) would go a long way towards helping people along. Perhaps some hints on how the interface works popping up along the way would also come in handy.

Finally, regarding the old tutorial, I also found it extremely useful as a newbie and would love to see it ported to the new game. A narrative during a teleport could help bridge the two, e.g. "After leaving the Dryken plane through the portal you find yourself in a labyrinth of sorts. You are rescued by a group of guards, who feed you, clothe you and put you on a flight astride a creature they call a "Pterosaur" to the city where their ruler, called an "Octarch", is located, there to be registered and get papers that will allow you to become a citizen of their world they call "Yliakum". The creature lands and lets you down in what looks like a marketplace". Then you are free to complete the OG tutorial or just move on in the city.

Improvements to the OG tutorial could be implemented as suggested by players during development, e.g. we can have an NPC let you know you can immediately exit to the city if you like, but despite any shortcomings I think the tutorial is a valuable aid when starting the game, and also helps align one with the game's character and mechanics, not to mention providing some useful items along the way.

Finally, if it is desirable to have different races start the game at a town established by their own race, exiting the OG tutorial could result in another teleport scene describing a Pterosaur flight to their own hometown. This of course could be made optional, an NPC could offer you to either be taken to a city populated by your own race or stay in Hydlaa, which I still believe is the more appealing option for a newcomer.

Volki

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Re: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2023, 03:32:40 am »
Seizure inducing experiences are not something to greet newbies with.

LOL I have photosensitive epilepsy, so thanks for the warning, Migg. No new characters on PSUE for me, then. The new character creation was already giving me problems concentrating.

The old tutorial was nice because it made you feel like you were simply a newcomer to Hydlaa, and you could skip it. The only complaint I would have ever had about it was some NPCs being too wordy.

For roleplay purposes, all of my characters were born and grew up in Yliakum, so there would never have been a chance of them being in some otherworldly plane (except the Death Realm perhaps). It doesn't seem consistent with the rest of the game.

Perhaps it could be a quest puzzle rather than a tutorial if it's already finished?

(I can only comment based on what I see here and on Discord.)
Lace dark dreadfull power inside him awakens now fully resultin his former self comin back lord of dark noble house shantae of mevango family lacertus shadowone mevango also knowed as darkblade of shadows

gonger

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Re: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2023, 11:49:05 am »
Seizure inducing experiences are not something to greet newbies with.

(I can only comment based on what I see here and on Discord.)

Look at this to get some better idea of the Dryken Plane:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVBdFLdNyVw

Gonger

Volki

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Re: Some thoughts on the Dryken Plane - please discuss
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2023, 08:19:11 pm »
So, the visuals are not as bad as Migg said. It looks cool.

But I don't see how it relates to the rest of the game or what you're meant to be learning in that maze. It's mostly running without visual suggestions to show you what you can do, like crossing to another path. For some reason you're not falling to your death when it appears you should be? It looks more like something you'd find near the end of a questline in the Death Realm.

If I were a new player thinking this was an actual roleplaying game, I'd uninstall. People don't enjoy challenges without progressive rewards, either. My assumption would be that this is an example of what to expect, and I would lose all interest in playing.

In terms of roleplay, it's only confusing and immersion-breaking. There's already written history for Yliakum. Every character I have interacted with grew up in Yliakum, and I'm sure they don't want to change their backstory this drastically. It would be quite a big deal if new characters were suddenly, randomly spawning in the plaza and going on about how they just arrived from some otherworldly plane of existence.

I'm not understanding how this is a tutorial. Every gamer already knows WASD and mouse movements, how to jump to reach targets, and how to go through doors/portals. I predict this filtering out players with vision issues, which would suck because PS has been fairly accessible.
Lace dark dreadfull power inside him awakens now fully resultin his former self comin back lord of dark noble house shantae of mevango family lacertus shadowone mevango also knowed as darkblade of shadows