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Teaching New Players to MUD?!?

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  • Teaching New Players to MUD?!?

    So, today, I invited two of my college friends to join me in playing Castle Marrach. My friend, "Ponch", decided to play, and created the character, Maug . However, in playing, we both found a few things that I wish to discuss here...

    1. "Ponch" has never played a MUD before...ever.

    So, learning about MUDS was the first hurdle to overcome for him. He's beginning to get the idea that you have to type in all your commands, but he struggled with how you should type in the commands. For example, when he went to read the book, he typed "read book", then when it asked him which book, he wasn't sure what it was asking. Once I explained it, he typed, "Read gray book" and it growled at him again. I wanted him to type commands and figure it out on his own because I'm not always going to be sitting beside him in the college library telling him what to do. If it wasn't for me telling him to type "read my gray book's first page", I am not sure he'd have figured it out. When I told him about @readall, he was quite happy, but I intentionally didn't tell him about it at first, cause I wanted him to learn how to do things in-game.
    • Question: Is there a way to teach people about MUD games when you aren't sitting beside them?
    2. The game can be overwhelming for new players.

    We all know this. Between reading a screen full of nothing but text, and having it scroll so fast that you can't possibly read everything all at once. When Maug was first loaded into the game, he got introduced to our beloved ghost, Kim. However, he found that Kim talked too quickly for him to keep up, and he wasn't always certain what he should be doing. He typed 'Who are you?" and wondered why Kim didn't respond. I had to explain to him that some characters are what's known as NPC's and they don't respond to every command. Also, he found himself alone in a room with other players, because I had to go to class, and when I returned to him once my class was over, he told me that he had just left the game, because he was handed clothing, and he couldn't figure out how to get dressed. He said "They just kept talking to me, and I didn't know what to do." He waited for me to return to playing, but I am not always going to be able to hop into the game or sit beside him to help him play.
    • Question: How can Maug learn to play the game without me?
      • Is there a way for him to slow down the gameplay so that he doesn't feel overwhelmed by everything?
      • How do I assist him in-game without having to "break" character every time?
    3. Without guidance the game gets overwhelming and players decide to not play at all.

    I have noticed this with a lot of my friends who I've tried to get to play. Once they figure out how to play a MUD, they feel overwhelmed by the dynamics of the game. Their first scroll, their first meeting with people, learning when to bow and when not to. Figuring out how to use the parser, and how to get where they wanna get. It's a daunting and scary world when you're completely new to the game, and to MUDS in general.
    • Question: How do I get new players used to the game and to MUDS without me sitting there holding their hands every step of the game?
    4. What do you mean I have to write a scroll? What?! This game really is real time?

    This was amusing. " Ponch " thought I was kidding or didn't realize right away what I meant until he was told IG that he should attend a practice on Tuesday at 8late for something he wanted to join. He was like so I just wait until 8 IG to go to this practice? I had to explain that it really meant he had to wait until 8 pm EST on Tuesday to go to the practice. I recommended that he keep a notebook so he could jot down meetings and important dates. He said he would.
    • Question: Without me telling him, how would he have realized that the player/character meant it was realtime?
    "Ponch" really enjoyed playing, and loved that certain characters found him amusing, so I believe that he'll keep playing. However, I want to lessen the hurdles for him, so that he won't be scared off by such things. I have lots of friends that I would love to play this game, and those who've I've gotten to play, haven't stayed because it's overwhelming. I really would love to figure out how to make the game less daunting and overwhelming so that they will feel motivated to stay and play with us.

    Your comments, ideas, and suggestion are welcomed! Please, help me out!

    Bodyservant to Lord Bernier
    Virtuoso of the Unity
    Aide to Chambers
    Honored Guest

  • #2
    The first thing that comes to mind is that there is a Player's Guide PDF, but it doesn't get into the technicalities of how to play until the 38th page and was last updated in 2002, so it might not be the best resource to drop into someone's lap if they've never experienced a similar game.

    I think, for the level of experience your friend has, encourage him to use @ooc judiciously and not be afraid of asking questions to other players around him. The majority of people will be happy to help, I think.
    StoryPlotter Odjit points to her kohl-lined button eyes.
    StoryPlotter Odjit points to you.
    StoryPlotter Odjit draws her finger over her throat slowly.

    OOC -- Rhomulus says, " you realize... of all the people on here you're one of the few to make me look up a word?! lol"


    • #3
      Some sort of random attemptingly-organized thoughts:

      > I like Kimberlain, but he can be a bit long winded. If I, 'theoretically', had an alt on the surface I'd say that any issue I think remains with him is that while it can take a while to read everything he has to say when you first wake up, it becomes very confusing if a friendly Awakener walks into the room too while he's in the middle of basics.

      > I knew of a previous Skotos player whose characters habitually ignored or even left rooms with a lot of people in them because they were a reader with some type of visual impairment. Basically I'd advise him to find a IC character Maug can (or thinks he can...) trust and stick with them. If he's getting overwhelmed, he should know there's not a thing wrong with saying "I'm overwhelmed." IC or "Can someone here page me, I'm confused about the commands" OOC and that people will help him out where they can.

      > I don't actually know if there's a way to 'teach MUD's', outside of someone loving the setting and becoming intent on getting better at the various aspects of them. I think that sense of becoming overwhelmed is actually pretty vital, in a sense, because I recall a few moments during my first months playing thinking to myself "Well, this is like a whole second world, extra-life kind of thing. Do I have time for this? Does it interest me enough? You mean I have to 'roleplay'? What is this strange thing?" etc-etc-etc.... There's definitely some type of point I think the brain reaches where it says "Wow, this is -WAY- bigger than I expected, let's go!" or "Wow, way too much, I'm out." ---- And I don't think that this moment is avoidable, rather, I think it's a pretty important stage to reach.

      > Game commands and the parser can be learned, but they take time and experimentation. That's probably about 50%-65% of the difficulty I would imagine brand-new players face, especially if they're new to MUDS also. The rest is learning to love RP, which is a 'skill' I swear has been selectively bred out of videogames over the last decade.

      I have a friend who I've been considering introducing to the game, on the thought that it might be fun to vicariously experience CM "brand new" with a fresh set of eyes. If/When I do so, I'll probably bump this post back up with more thoughts.

      Tell your friend "Hi!" and thanks for giving it his best first try. I hope he returns.