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Linda

DISCUSS: Making it easier to get started

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This is a topic that comes up now and then, because it is a continuing issue for us. How can we make it easier for new players to get involved on the game? Any thoughts on this are welcome, but please consider the following things first:

*The game will never be as easy as a game where you just create a character at the login screen and go IC without any setup whatsoever, usually playing a new arrival in town. Selecting a character from the CDB has to stay, as does the CharGen setup for unplayed characters, and the very nature of the game where everyone is a noble at court makes it almost impossible to have characters that are unfamiliar with the IC circumstances to cover for the fact that the players are too.

*What we have done so far, based on feedback, is to significantly streamline the application process for already CGed characters. You request, you get sent an email with the character info, and you get the option to mail back a concept. If you don't want to, you just answer two brief questions, and then you get the login info sent to you. Once you have that, you log on, go through the setup, and get placed right outside of CG. You enter it, and get moved to the last room for some final setup, and when you exit you are auto-approved.

*We have also expanded the FAQ (but suggestions for more questions are always welcome) to include a topic pointing to the most important things to read when starting out. This FAQ topic is pointed out in the email with the login info.

Any thoughts on what else can be done? We don't ever expect this to be a really easy game to get started on, but we definitely want to streamline as much as we can. This goes for beyond the "getting started" period too, so suggestions for that are also welcome, but getting people settled in are certainly among the more crucial aspects of the game.

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Getting a newbie RPing is key, in my experience. Most of us who are active on the game try to include new folks, so that isn't too big an issue. In another MU* time, we always made a point of including the new player in a news post--though I have discovered that occasionally someone might not want that--and here on BoD try to use IC knowledge/connections to try to get them involved in the court structure somehow right away.

To that end, maybe pushing existing "groups" for male chars to "join" would help. The gold-cloaks are easily accessible for almost anyone to be part of, and if there were two or more, they would always be able to RP situations that others could be involved in with more interest than hanging around the Old Keep or whatnot.

What if we put our heads together and made a list of "situations" that someone could use in RP? And I'm not talking about roving bandits in KL or anything, but more usual sorts of things: a new band of singers in the Old Keep, mummers putting on a spectacle in one of the yards, ummm . . . I'll keep thinking on it. :) It amounts largely to background stuff, but it would put some "life" into the Red Keep that would feel very real and maybe get folks more involved quickly.

That's all I got for now. Hope it helps a little!

Reyna

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Its absolutely true that roleplay is a key factor, though it is also the one hardest to affect directly, except to make it as likely as possible. :)

Having groups that people can join is an interesting thought, and its certainly part of why we made sure the Cameos had such connections. That said, there are some issues with it too. One being that we don't have a lot of groups available. The gold cloaks won't work for that many people, all considered.

The other concern would be that for groups to work well, they may need more structure, and with more structure you run the risk of people feeling dependant on a character who might not be around when they are. Its a tricky thing to balance. I've seen organisations promote roleplay, and I've seen them kill it because they aren't active enough.

Knightly orders would have been a great way to organize the guys into a few groups...but we're not sure how well they fit into the setting, all considered. It may be that the destruction of the Faiths militant branches led to people avoiding forming any non-political/religious orders as well.

Still, it is something to consider, and for the women as well. Though there the only groupings I can think of would be more informal, likely centering around a few prominent ladies at court.

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As a new player, I've found it easy to start playing. Wanted characters are great, to get a char as quick as possible (after testing the game out with a cameo), and to get a character that will have impact in the game too. Right, I'm not too active. But I think that, just as things stand at the moment, it's easy for a new player who wants to RP in ASOIAF to get rolling. Also, Admins are always there (do you ever sleep?) to answer questions and help out.

Thank you!

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