This subject popped into my head when I was thinking about what would need to be done in my (somewhat) hypothetical spy genre MMO that I’ve been fiddling around with the past couple of week.
When the player starts the game for the first time, their character has just joined the agency they picked and has entered that agency’s training facility. While this training is meant to get the player used to the gameplay as far as the types of missions, how the combat system works, how inventory and skills work, etc.
The question is, however, how much hand holding should the game do for the player? Are MMO players these days savvy enough to just be dumped into the game and expected to survive?
There are a couple of layers that I can think of (in no particular order):
- A Help screen that labels the UI and provide screenshots of combat and other gameplay with tips on how to do things.
- Specific missions that stop at points and say “Now do this” with arrows pointing to what needs to be interacted with to do “this”.
- Tooltip type guides that pop up as the player is playing with an option to stop showing them.
The first bullet would probably be good to have no matter what. While I’d love to do both of the other bullets, the cost (time and effort) to benefit ratio may mean that I’ll have to let the player fumble through with just the first bullet to rely on.
I guess this is what playtest is for though. If I get to the point where I can let someone try the game out and they can’t figure out what to do I may have to revisit this. That means that I’ll have to try to ensure the game is designed to plug something like this in later.