Feedback: Initial Tutorial Should Be Reworked

3 months ago

I think that that current 4-mission design of the tutorial is a mistake. It should be redesigned so that the "group" faces some very easy challenges together while getting tutorial pop-ups and being introduced to all core mechanics (to include traveling). 

Current complaints:

1) Return window. It takes far too long for the party to come together as currently designed. After making characters and going through 4 tutorial missions it's getting close to 2-hours. That's the return window for Steam, and many players may reconsider their purchase if they haven't got a good sense of the game by the 90 minute mark.

2) Adventure time. The current design leaves a lot of xp space for a "warm-up" party adventure before the main game starts. As it is, the PCs are promoted to level 2 before the first group mission - typically around 800 xp apiece. That's 1-2 adventures right there. Have Lord Callan send a note saying he's been delayed, and then let the party decide if they're going to go clear out the bandits (who were maybe not all killed by the falling rocks) or the orcs (who are definitely still alive). Different factions could appreciate each action (ie, maybe the scavengers dislike the bandits and the Principality dislikes the orcs). Accomplishing "this" mission would also help explain the decision to send 4 people to check on 50.

3) Difficulty progression. The first group fight (goblins) is easy enough, but the second (the drakes) can be a bit rough. By the third big fight (ambushing the Sorr-Akath, I don't count the one guy), the party gets 2 new members and the difficulty spikes. The fourth fight sees the difficulty ramp up again. So the current "group" combat progression is easy, normal, normal+, and hard. I think that's a mistake. Darkness combat mechanics, for example, should be introduced while the fights are still on the easy side or you will turn players off (as we've seen over the course of EA: where I think complaints about darkness come because no one wants to admit they're bad at DnD, "it's just the homebrew mechanics aren't REAL DnD").

Recommendation:

Keep the bandit and orc lair tutorials. Allow the "thief" tutorial to be skipped with a dialogue choice. Remove the bridge tutorial. (Combat is easy and players who don't read tutorial messages WILL return the game after dying to the big bad wolf. I honestly don't understand why it's currently hardcoded to kill you in one round if you don't do as intended. Games should "show" and not "tell". I like Solasta, but that design decision definitely made me consider returning because it shows a complete lack of respect for the player's self-agency.)

Give a choice between two small, very easy missions building off the tutorials. PCs should be lvl 2 by the end of it without needing a HUGE xp bump after being sworn in as deputies.