Improved Compendium Quest Info: Retaining New Players
There's been a fair bit of talk about getting new players into the game and how to keep them playing.
Partly to address this, a redesign of the Harbor area is apparently in the works, which, if done well, could certainly help newer players.
However, my feeling is that one of the key reasons many players get frustrated and stop playing is that they don't have enough good quest information all in one easy place.
We have a terrific list of quests all in one place in DDO already: The Adventure Compendium. The problem is it doesn't list quite enough information...yet!
Several friends I introduced to DDO wound up picking up dozens of quests they had no access to (as free players) and until they discovered the map icon filters (after the fact), no easy way to tell which quests were available to them and which ones weren't. The map is good, but the information should really be available in written form too.
The quest information issue becomes even more problematic when trying to figure out quest chains and flagging. If nobody's online to ask you have to go searching on the wiki to find the information, as very little is readily available within the game. It can often be confusing for newer (or even sometimes not so new) players to determine where they are in a quest chain and what quest(s) they need to complete to be able to go on the next (or final) quest.
Therefore, I propose the following additions to the compendium (and yes, this would take a fair bit of time to implement but I believe the result would be well worth it):
1. Add the name of the adventure pack to the sortable list of compendium adventure information, colour-coded to show if the player has access to it or not.
2. Add a greatly-expanded information window when the quest is clicked in the compendium.
This window would show the most useful information from the compendium and quest journal, as well as flagging info and quest chain progress (in a mini-flow chart format) at the bottom, and if the quest is both available and ready to enter and a brief solution if it's not.
I've prepared a couple of examples of what this expanded compendium adventure window might look like:
As a new player I found ...
Korthos had a pretty good plot progression as I went through it. Jeets pointed you to the next place to go after making it through the starter "quest" and eventually the NPCs pointed me to the pub and ultimately to the final quest that stops the snow and the final suggestion to take the ship to Stormreach.
Originally Posted by Fnordian
Upon arriving at Stormreach and talking to whats-her-name to get the bag, I was directed to head up to the leaky dingy. But then the story line stopped and I was basically on my own.
It would probably be useful to have a sort of exploration quest or story-line in Stormreach harbor where you actually go to various places like the Wayward Lobster, the Hammer and Chain, the Waterworks, etc. Basically make you explore and highlight what is there. Optional, of course.
Korthos taught me the basic game mechanics nicely and I could happily explore the Harbor when I got there but I was left with a big "what next?" after entering the Leaky Dingy.
Also, a lead-in to actual questing story lines would be good. Maybe base this on the alignment of the character. Like a coin-lords quest for lawful characters, a free-agents quest for neutral characters, and something else for chaotic. Just a thought.
I don't mean any of the above should be forced; just that it is available as a default. It might even be worth keeping that up for many levels. Sort of an over-arching storyline that follows a whole series of quest chains.