Olvand is a little multiplayer sandbox RPG, where the players live in self-built towns and can go on all kinds of adventures together. Imagine living with your friends in a small town in the mountains, or creating a new group of friends in a pub in the metropole you all live in. There will be several mini-games the inhabitants of a server can play together, among which will be combat based games like King of the Hill or Capture the Flag. You will be able to play against other people in your city, or as a city against another city, or as a whole server against another server. The combat works with self-built guns, in which all kinds of powers can be combined to create unique effects.
Every game will have parts the players don't understand immediately. In this blogpost I continue my story about previous and future attempts to remove confusion.
Posted by Woseseltops on Feb 28th, 2013
[Last week] I talked about how I more or less solved my biggest confusion problem so far: confusion about what to do and how to make progress in the game. This week I will talk about three smaller things I get a lot of questions about: logging in, finding olbs that give light, and gun customization. The solutions I mention here will all be part of the next update.
Without a doubt the thing I get most questions about is how to log in. You create an Olvand account by sending your info from Desura to olvand.com, but your Desura password (of course) isn't included in that info. Instead, olvand.com gives you a standard password, which I mention in (1) the invitation email and (2) the info shown to you when you send the info from Desura to olvand.com. And even if players missed both these things, the game tells you to reread the invitation email when you can't log in. But, given the amount of questions like 'dude i think u got a bug it says i cant login' I get when I send out new invites, some people don't read any of these things. I could of course be stubborn and grumpy here and blame the players... but I'd rather interpret this as a message from the players to me. If there are players who take the time to send me a message to ask me how they should log in because they missed the info, there are probably even more players with the same problem who give up immediately.
My solution to this problem took a long time to come up with, but is relatively simple: I'm going to switch to a system where the game redirects you to an account creation page if you click the 'I'm a new player' box. This page will force the players to change the password to something they came up with themselves.
Finding olbs that give light
Another thing I get a lot of questions about lately (lately because the average player now gets to this point), is how to find olbs that give light. To go underground, you need to have Olbs (=magical powers in your gun) to light up the place, because it's dark there, and these Olbs can be found on random places around the world. Unfortunately, you cannot really be sure which olbs give light until you've tried them all, possibly making this a rather long, repetitive and frustrating process. To some people, at least, because I know other people see this as an interesting quest, curiously trying everything until they've found the right thing. So... should I make this easier? It's a dilemma [similar to this one]: I could make things more clear and easier to be sure everyone gets it, but with that I risk taking the fun and exploration away.
Like with the previous problem, I decided I'm going to take that risk, because I get the impression that it's more frustrating than fun. What I'm going to do is giving players a gun as a starter item, with a fire olb (which gives light) already in it. This way, you can go underground immediately after you've built a ladder. Exploring the world to find Olbs now no longer is essential to make progress, it will just make the rest of the game a lot more fun if you do. And, because the gun will be a starter item, you can start with this right away.
A final thing a lot of people are confused about is gun customization. Some time ago, I gave guns [a standard set-up] when created, which means some Olbifiers are already in the gun when created. The idea was that 'this basic set-up exemplifies how Olbifiers work (with entrances, exits and cables), and invites the new user to experiment a little bit.' I also said that 'a possible downside of this is that guns might be even more confusing to new players, but we'll see. Let's call this an experiment :).' Let's just say the experiment has failed; I think more than half of the messages I got since I added this included something like 'oh yeah, I didn't try the gun, that looked way too complicated'. So instead trying to encourage people to customize the gun, I'm going to try to encourage them to simply use the gun. Hopefully, once they're used to the gun, they'll start playing with it on their own. I'm going to encourage gun usage by:
Let's hope this will work! Okay, enough about confusion. Next week I'll go back to the regular 'things I added' posts ;)