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Focused Feedback: New Player Experience (NPE) Improvements


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New Player Experience (NPE) Improvements - RC3

With everything finally becoming official, we're at the beginning of a new era for the game, and it is time we become better stewards of the core game itself. The first step is to start making some improvements to the new player experience (or NPE, as the cool kids refer to it) to remove some of the small "pain points" experienced by new players (you may have noticed a large influx of them recently!).

 

Character Creation Guidance

We cleaned up some of the language and graphics during character creation and tutorial selection to guide new players toward creating their characters in the easier starting areas:

  • Updated text to nudge new players to start in Primal Earth, not Praetoria.
  • Updated text to nudge players towards Breakout or Outbreak, not Galaxy City.
  • RESISTANCE and LOYALIST are now colored blue and gold in the text descriptions (in the same way HERO and VILLAIN are colored blue / red).
  • "City of Heroes: Freedom" and "City of Heroes: Going Rogue" graphics replaced with "Primal Earth" and "Praetorian Earth" graphics.
  • Kheldians now show stats during AT selection (instead of a series of ?s).
  • EAT descriptions updated to state that they are not recommended for new players, cannot access the tutorial, and are locked to (start as) specific alignments.
  • Origin selection guidance text updated to clarify that it's primarily a narrative choice with minimal gameplay significance.
  • Several AT descriptions updated to correct poor grammar and remove needless gendering.
  • Several AT stats updated to better reflect their abilities (also, Kheldians now have stats instead of ?s).
  • Replaced all the ugly dashes (-) with pretty bullets (•).

Access to Travel

  • New characters will automatically start with Athletic Run (players can swap this out at S.T.A.R.T, formerly P2W, for another version).
  • Passport (and Long Range Teleporter) is now unlocked by acquiring any 10 exploration badges, instead of one exploration accolade. This doesn't affect characters who already own Long Range Teleporter, and the Pocket D unlock method is still present.
    • Note: For technical reasons, this only counts exploration badges collected after the patch.
  • New characters are given 30 minutes of the LKT-1700 Rocket Pack when training to level 2. The description informs players how to get more.
    • Swapped from Sky Raiders Jet Pack to LKT-1700 Rocket Pack.

Origin Attacks

  • Damage is now more consistent during the early levels.
    • It is now scale 1.00 at levels 1 through 10. This damage declines linearly, starting at level 11, and ending at 0.30 at level 17 (previously the damage began dropping off from level 2).
  • Endurance cost removed.
  • Recharge reduced from 4s to 3s.
  • Range increased from 45 feet to 80 feet to match most ranged attacks.
  • Now added to the tray upon character creation.
  • Power icon colors updated to Inherent color scheme.
    • Note: The existing icons still exist with their old file names if you were using them for macro images.

User Interface Improvements

  • All three main power trays are expanded by default, and pre-set to tray 1, 2, and 3 rather than all being tray 1.

    • Additional trays added with the + button now default to tray 4, 5, 6, etc.

  • The inspiration tray is in its expanded state by default.

  • To avoid confusion with Sprint, Prestige Power Slide is now no longer added to the tray upon character creation.

  • Fixed a bug which sometimes caused power trays to be completely emptied if a new character zoned or logged off before moving powers in or adding extra powers to the tray.

  • Power trays now default to showing the first associated key binding instead of slot numbers.

Options Improvements

  • Power recharge timers now default to on (Center).

    • When centered, the recharge timer slightly increases in size as it approaches 0, and has an extra animation when the power is recharged.

    • Timer text scaling no longer changes based on time remaining and is just a flat size increase for single-digit numbers.

    • The power tray timer defaults to shown for powers with an estimated recharge of longer than 5 seconds. This can be changed in the options menu, or a custom value may be set using the /recharge_timer_threshold command.

    • Icons of recharging powers no longer shrink when the recharge timer is enabled, to make them easier to see behind the number. Veterans used to the old behavior can override this with /tray_always_shrink 1.

    • New settings added to control power tray animations and add more customization options (format options, color coding, opacity) for the recharge timer.

    • Added an alternate color palette for the recharge timer.

    • Adjusted timer to always round up when in whole-number mode, so that it is a proper countdown.

    • Fixed recharge timer color setting not saving correctly.

  • The game's volume levels have been adjusted to make for a more comfortable experience.

    • The volume sliders now range from 0% - 150%.

    • The 150% setting is equivalent to the former 100% setting.

    • The slider range scales along a curve so that more of the slider results in usable volume levels.

  • The "Show Pet Window Option" setting has been removed and is always enabled.

    • This just provides players with the ability to open the Pets window (by clicking "Pets" at the top of the Team window), it doesn't open the window by default.

  • Added an option to control power tray labels: Can be set to Key Bindings, Slot Numbers, or None.

  • The Auto-accept level changes above or below options now default to level 50 instead of 0, preventing pop-ups from appearing when teaming.

  • What was formerly called "Inverted" mouse is now "Normal" and vice-versa.

  • The Villain Name and Villain Health Bar UI options now include "Always" in the list of settings to cycle through.

Control Scheme

The game's default key bindings and mouse options have been modernized:

  • The default run forward binding now turns the character to face the camera direction. This mostly affects what happens when you press forward after using free look to change the camera angle.
  • Running forward with Left Button + Right Button is now a standard run and does not activate autorun.
  • Left-mouse-button dragging activates Quick Look mode, which is similar to free camera look with the middle mouse button but snaps back to center when the button is released.
  • The default bindings for the top tray (Alt2) changed from Control+# to Shift+# for reduced finger strain on commonly used combinations.
  • The pop-up server tray now has default key bindings of Control+#.
  • Team member selection bindings moved to Shift+F1 - Shift+F8.
  • Default key bindings for collapsing and switching power trays removed. With more trays visible all the time and the extra added trays, having 1 of them change when pressing minus or equals isn't as useful, and it was easy to accidentally press these and cause confusion.
  • The previous bindings are available under the drop-down as the "Classic" preset, and should work just like they always have.
  • These changes only apply to new characters, and overridden by customized bindings that were previously saved.
  • Applying some or all of these settings on existing characters requires either resetting to the default bindings or manually applying the changes.

In-Game Guidance

  • When gaining the free Rocket Pack at level 2, you are presented with a pop-up explaining how to get more at the S.T.A.R.T. Vendor.
  • Finding your first exploration badge now gives a pop-up explaining that you'll get LRT if you collect 10 in total.
  • Fixed and updated the missing Invention tutorial pop-up when reaching level 10 (this pop-up will also automatically unlock the Invention tutorial contact relevant to your faction).
  • Rewrote the "You got a Tip!" Pop-up to be more up-to-date and informative.

Miscellaneous

  • Pay 2 Win (and Transact 4 Victory) have rebranded as S.T.A.R.T.
    • Fixed several missed P2W strings.
  • Exploration badges now award a tour guide tip.
    • The very first exploration badge you pick up does not award a tip (to avoid getting two pop-ups from one badge).
  • Exploration badges now grant Patrol XP instead of regular XP.

    • The amount of Patrol XP gained is dramatically higher than the previous amount of regular XP previously gained.

    • The amount scales with level, starting with 1.5 bars at level 1, down to 0.25 bars at level 50.

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  • Jimmy changed the title to Focused Feedback: New Player Experience (NPE) Improvements
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Hello! I have a request.

 

Currently, Peacebringers and Warshades (hello @Laucianna 👀) show ? for all stats during character creation, like so:

 

image.png

 

While this does have some mild thematic significance, it's rather unhelpful for new players. In the next build we'll be adding numbers here for Kheldians, and also potentially updating some other ATs if we think the numbers aren't quite right (for example, Arachnos Soldiers have a pets rating of 2, which is clearly inaccurate).

 

These are the proposed numbers for Peacebringers and Warshades:

 

image.png

 

image.png

 

Please do let me know what you think. We're definitely open for input on the Kheldian numbers, and for any other ATs that could do with having their numbers tweaked.

 

Keep in mind that the goal here is to better communicate the strengths and weaknesses of each AT to inexperienced players, rather than be a raw reflection of the actual balance of each AT.

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19 hours ago, Booper said:

Updated text to nudge players towards Breakout or Outbreak, not Galaxy City.

 

Why? Galaxy City is the more up to date option...This doesn't make sense.

Instead the text should tell you: Outbreak for Heroes, Breakout for Villains, Galaxy if you haven't decided yet.

 

 

After reading other replies, I take it back. Indicating that Outbreak and Breakout are best for new players while leaving Galaxy as an option better for returners makes sense.

Edited by Wavicle
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4 hours ago, Jimmy said:

Hello! I have a request.

 

Currently, Peacebringers and Warshades (hello @Laucianna 👀) show ? for all stats during character creation, like so:

 

image.png

 

While this does have some mild thematic significance, it's rather unhelpful for new players. In the next build we'll be adding numbers here for Kheldians, and also potentially updating some other ATs if we think the numbers aren't quite right (for example, Arachnos Soldiers have a pets rating of 2, which is clearly inaccurate).

 

These are the proposed numbers for Peacebringers and Warshades:

 

image.png

 

image.png

 

Please do let me know what you think. We're definitely open for input on the Kheldian numbers, and for any other ATs that could do with having their numbers tweaked.

 

Keep in mind that the goal here is to better communicate the strengths and weaknesses of each AT to inexperienced players, rather than be a raw reflection of the actual balance of each AT.

 

Yes, this is a great idea. Please consider increasing the Sentinel Ranged Damage number by 1.

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For the origin attacks, would it be possible to let them carry enhancement sets? They're never gonna be competitive at a high level because they're not supposed to be, but it could still have niche uses for muling set bonuses or slotting accuracy at low levels. 

Edited by FupDup
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8 minutes ago, Wavicle said:

Why? Galaxy City is the more up to date option...This doesn't make sense.

Instead the text should tell you: Outbreak for Heroes, Breakout for Villains, Galaxy if you haven't decided yet.

Also, Outbreak is incredibly tedious. I can see how it does a better job of actually tutorializing the basic gameplay than Galaxy City does,  but I don't know if it makes the best first impression...

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4 hours ago, Jimmy said:

Hello! I have a request.

 

Currently, Peacebringers and Warshades (hello @Laucianna 👀) show ? for all stats during character creation, like so:

 

image.png

 

While this does have some mild thematic significance, it's rather unhelpful for new players. In the next build we'll be adding numbers here for Kheldians, and also potentially updating some other ATs if we think the numbers aren't quite right (for example, Arachnos Soldiers have a pets rating of 2, which is clearly inaccurate).

 

These are the proposed numbers for Peacebringers and Warshades:

 

image.png

 

image.png

 

Please do let me know what you think. We're definitely open for input on the Kheldian numbers, and for any other ATs that could do with having their numbers tweaked.

 

Keep in mind that the goal here is to better communicate the strengths and weaknesses of each AT to inexperienced players, rather than be a raw reflection of the actual balance of each AT.

 

BTW while you're at it: "teammates" is one word.

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24 minutes ago, Tatterhood said:

Also, Outbreak is incredibly tedious. I can see how it does a better job of actually tutorializing the basic gameplay than Galaxy City does,  but I don't know if it makes the best first impression...

 

This too. Sending new players to Outbreak and Breakout instead of Galaxy is NOT what you want to do if you're trying to improve the new player experience.

Short of revamping breakout and Outbreak to make them more fun and fast, I think the best option is to indicate which side each is.

Edited by Wavicle
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14 minutes ago, Wavicle said:

 

Why? Galaxy City is the more up to date option...This doesn't make sense.

Instead the text should tell you: Outbreak for Heroes, Breakout for Villains, Galaxy if you haven't decided yet.


Outbreak and Breakout are far more instructive and new-player friendly than Galaxy City.

 

1 minute ago, Tatterhood said:

Also, Outbreak is incredibly tedious. I can see how it does a better job of actually tutorializing the basic gameplay than Galaxy City does,  but I don't know if it makes the best first impression...


Not sure I agree, not for a new player. Sure, you're not going to get thru it in 5 mins, but it's a far better starting experience for someone who has never played the game before.

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3 minutes ago, Wavicle said:

Short of revamping breakout and Outbreak to make them more fun and fast, I think the best option is to indicate which side each is.

The current text already does say Outbreak is for heroes and Breakout is for villains.

 

FWIW I don't mind Breakout, it has atmosphere at least.

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My feedback is I 100% agree with all of this.  While I am a bit of a Praetoria aficionado, it is not new player friendly and should not be any player's first experience with the game.  Also, I can't stand the Galaxy City tutorial and think it does a much worse job than either Breakout or Outbreak in regards to breaking in the game with new players.  It also gives new players the wrong impression of the rest of the game.  I.e., "Why don't I hear voices during cutscenes?"

 

Well done.

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I just played a quick level 1 mission in Praetoria and the new origin attacks do hit pretty hard, no complaints on that front. 

 

For the new character creation interface, I think that the text for RESISTANCE could be changed from medium blue like HERO to a lighter blue/cyan to match the faction's insignia color. The color for LOYALIST (yellow/gold) is perfect. 

image.png.0acec360c1ee77b7356549ff772444fe.png

Edited by FupDup
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10 minutes ago, Apogee said:

Why change the colors for Praetorian factions?  Goldside needs it's own colors

The patch notes are very misleading on this change. The text for Loyalist is gold, not red like the notes imply. Resistance however is currently a medium blue like Hero, which I noted above. 

 

image.thumb.png.25fd727c2513aecd923c5b408dbd755b.png

Edited by FupDup

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Well this is new.  And cool.  Or did I just miss it in the patch notes?

 

Haven't tried any of this so far, will give a go soon ish.  One idea from me is that Outbreak is indeed kinda tedious, but I agree it's the better tutorial.  So maybe update Outbreak to be a little more streamlined in the future?

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Tatterhood said:

The change was adding colours at all; on live they are just white like the surrounding text.

 

Oh good, reading the original made it sound like they were blue-coding Resistance and red-coding Loyalist, when its very much shades of grey across the board for both sides in their story. Adding Resistance Blue and Loyalist Gold is definitely the better way of handling it.

 

 

29 minutes ago, FupDup said:

The patch notes are very misleading on this change. The text for Loyalist is gold, not red like the notes imply. Resistance however is currently a medium blue like Hero, which I noted above. 

 

image.thumb.png.25fd727c2513aecd923c5b408dbd755b.png

 

 

Only change I would add to this screen is also making Resistance the correct shade of blue, as well as highlighting the "Not recommended for new players" in another color to make it stand out.

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Thoughts:

 

1. Start of tutorial, could Sprint be activated by default?  I'm running pretty slow and new players might not know to click it.

 

2. Doctor Miller: "There's an Information Terminal next to me for you to read."  Yeah, I'm never going to click on one of those again.  Maybe a glowie of some sort?  The mission updates from the Terminal back to Officer Flint with no hint during the text I just read.  Might be better to mention that I'll be going back to Flint in the info text.  Players might not be used to looking up at the Nav bar yet.

 

3. Officer Flint pass me to Officer Parks but there's still a yellow arrow over his head.  These should probably disappear when a contact is no longer active.

 

4. Holy cats I run slow!

 

5. Ok Parks tells me to click on powers.  Well thanks a lot dude, that was a slow run over here.

 

6. I have Tranq Dart and Athletic Run but neither those appear in my starting tray.

 

7. There's no mission update or dialog at the end of Coyote's mission to tell the player to return to Coyote and speak with him.  All you get is a blank Nav bar.

 

 

OK that's about it, otherwise, working as intended I think.

 

 

Opps, one more: in Atlas Park, I have Johnathan St. James Smythe as my contact and marked on the nav bar, but I was told to go to Ms Lib.  Might be confusing.  Ms Lib should probably tell me to talk the Matthew Habashy.  (Edit again: talk to Iris Parker, defeat all zombies in the sewer, yeah I'm directed to start the old introductory mission sets.  Besides Habashy might want to send me to the "Longbow Sewer Inpector" to learn about DFB.  (That's a job?  How bad do you have to eff up for Longbow to put you in charge of inspecting sewers?)

 

 

Edited by gameboy1234
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21 hours ago, Booper said:

New characters will automatically start with Athletic Run (players can swap this out at P2W for another version).


Suggestion: Athletic Run should be added to the tray alongside the jet pack, sprint, and prestige power slide.
 

 

21 hours ago, Booper said:

Passport (and Long Range Teleporter) is now unlocked by acquiring any 10 exploration badges, instead of one exploration accolade.


Tested, works fine.  Badge and 'porter awarded after finding my tenth exploration badge.

Edited by Doc_Scorpion
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I went and played through both Outbreak and Breakout (on the beta server, though I don't know if anything is different). Some thoughts:

  • Outbreak is not as bad as I remembered and I apologize for polluting the thread with my poor recollection. (I think I was subconsciously conflating it with the alternate version from that one Ouroboros mission, which is really tedious.)
  • Despite that, Breakout still feels distinctly better. You're almost always moving forward rather than running back and forth, the NPCs you talk to have a faint hint of personality, and "I'm breaking out of prison" actually works as a narrative in a way that "there are zombies, therefore I will do arbitrary tasks for some random cops" doesn't. I think if Outbreak is going to go back to being the recommended tutorial, it would be worth looking into ways to make it more fun and immersive in future updates.
  • Neither of them seem to have been updated since back when there were only five archetypes for each side. When explaining the health and endurance bars, one of the NPCs in Breakout (Jimmy Dortz / Angel Lopez) mentions that if you're a Brute or Dominator you'll have a third bar, neglecting Sentinels. The corresponding NPC in Outbreak (Officer Parks) doesn't mention any of them. Also, when you get your first combat mission in Breakout you'll get a little "hey if you're a Mastermind you should summon your pet now and maybe read the help to learn how to command it" but Outbreak doesn't include this.
  • Maybe better than copying the above bits into Outbreak would be to copy from the Praetorian tutorial the bit where Dr. Steffard gives you a rundown of your AT (no "if you're a..." needed) into both of them.
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