A Tutorial For An MMO

As is common knowledge, one the main goals of Cataclysm is to improve the Old World leveling experience and bring it up to par with the content that we have been treated to in Outland and Northrend. While not every zone is receiving a major overhaul, it seems that Blizzard isn’t holding back anything on player starting zones. This isn’t really surprising considering that one of Blizzards main focus points with the Cataclysm expansion is the player who is completely new to World of Warcraft.

You probably remember what that was like. The very first character I ever tried out was a human warrior back in 2005. Back then Northshire Abbey to me was the most perplexing place ever. I couldn’t figure out why my character was refusing to attack a wolf even though I was pressing the auto-attack button as fast as I could. I couldn’t figure out how quests worked or why did people have punctuation above their heads. The rogue trainer seemed mighty unfriendly as well, refusing to teach me anything at all. Surely there must’ve been some rogue skills a warrior like me could’ve used.

Ah, those were the days. And lets not forget that players who, just like me, have had no MMO experience before WoW are entering Azeroth for their first time every day. It seems that for a long time such first steps were accepted as a norm by Blizzard. “They’ll get it sooner or later” seems to have been the general motto during vanilla.

But now this is all getting flipped upside down. Already during the last year numerous enhancements have been made to make the first steps into WoW easier and more intuitive. With Cataclysm, though, that is being taken to a whole new level and most of the redesigned starting zones now have a certain Tutorial Stage feel to them that you’d get when playing the first level/mission in a single player game. And that’s a very very good template to copy.

In an average single player game, at the start there would be an explanation how to do the basic stuff, the essentials that you need to successfully continue playing through the game. Similarly when rolling a fresh character in Cataclysm you are being taken through the baby steps of MMORPG combat. How to attack a target, how your basic spells work and special recognition goes to a certain encounter that is a part of troll starting experience. At level 5 you already are taught some basic boss mechanics.

If Blizzard manages to reinvent every starting zone successfully and introduce new player to key aspects of WoW via 1-5 starting experience, then there might just be a new generation of WoW player in our future. The level 10 who actually knows in what order to use his abilities for maximum effect, the level 22 who knows which stats is better for him and why. I know I may be getting my hopes but by God – Blizzard, make it so.

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~ by Shale on July 18, 2010.

One Response to “A Tutorial For An MMO”

  1. I guess in a way it’s good that ‘newbie’ won’t be something that will linger above new players’ heads long with all the help Blizzard is providing them. However, there was a certain magic in finding everything out for yourself… or as I remember as a new druid, having a mix of all kinds of gear with different stats.

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