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> Noob Feedback, Making the system easier for the outsider
Ezrekia
post Mar 6 2011, 03:37 PM
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Hi guys,

I know you're quite keen to hear from newbies about how you can make it easier for us to get into Labyrinthe, so I thought I'd offer a couple of suggestions on the publications.

Obviously, they need to be written in a reasonable amount of jargon, and a stubborn mite like me will be quite happy to persevere with this. I think quite a lot of people might have been put off by this though, and I do think that a beginners' guide would really benefit the club. Without meaning to sound rude, there are several bits that are ambiguous due to dodgy grammar* and this could be quite easily resolved and make the information more easily digestible.

I've also found several instances where skills have been described as having the same effect as another, from a different skill set. For example, I was reading through my Druid handbook last night, and one skill was claimed to be an EP-user version of a Wizard spell. There was no explanation of what this actually meant, so in order to fully understand the Druid handbook, one must cross-reference with the Wizards' handbook. To an experienced player this might be fine, but as someone struggling to get to grips with the system in its most basic form this is a real nuisance. It would be fab if you could look at putting descriptions in full, rather than requiring the reader to cross reference.

Furthermore, the idea of cross-referencing skills between handbooks is only possible if you actually have all of the handbooks. If we need to constantly hop between publications to make sense of what is meant by the one we wish to play, can I advise that you look in to some way of making it easier to complete the set? I know you said that to publish the entire catalogue in one document was not feasible, and I can certainly see why, but why not consider selling a copy of each class's handbook in a bumper pack for a slightly lower price? I've decided to pick and choose as I can only play non-combat characters, but had a complete set been available I would certainly have favoured that. I like complete sets, me.

Finally, something that would be really useful would be something along the lines of a concordance, which need only be the contents lists from each publication in one volume, which would allow the new user to find all of the information much more easily. For example, I was wondering about whether it would be possible to play a Ranger if I could use long-distance weapons, so bought the Druid handbook to find out. Of course, Rangers are covered in the Warrior's handbook but I had no way of knowing this until I had already purchased the Druid handbook, by which point I figured that I probably couldn't, and gave up trying. I still don't know whether I actually can.

None of this is meant to be miserable and grumpy; it is all meant to be constructive feedback from someone struggling to get my head around the system and hope that it will be taken as such.

Sally xx

*Sorry, grammar is what I do. I'm always happy to help proof-reading and translating almost to Crystal Mark standard. I know I'm not there today, but my brain is frozen and I got very little sleep last night. Long story.


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Godseed
post Mar 6 2011, 03:51 PM
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I think the quirky grammar, spelling, and um - labyrinthine - cross-referencing in Labyrinthe publications is half the fun... it's a little like reading Crowley. rolleyes.gif

(Sarcasm aside, I agree wholeheartedly will all of your suggestions.)

Ah, and Rangers get the MP skill at 2nd level, so yes, you could play a ranger solely at range!


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StuartEaston
post Mar 6 2011, 04:01 PM
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It would probably be considered quite difficult to play any class solely at range, especially in the caves where thigns are at quite close quarters generally. Being an archer makes you quite a high target for most monsters, especially if you just shot his mates, and therefore can be quite combat-y. That being said there is nothing to stop you playing a ranger with only ranged weapons but once a monster gets close to you it could be quite diffcult to escape or kill it.

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BBB
post Mar 6 2011, 06:15 PM
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There is a simple reason why the books refer to each other so much and cannot easily be got round.

When I used to do a fair amount of editing of books I would tend to add in the exact description of abilities wherever they referenced other abilities rather than having it say As X. However whilst the system is very fluid the books tend to get updated regularly one at a time and not at the same instance.

This actually lead to more confusion whereby the base ability got redefined but the duplicate didn't so they could wind up intending to do one thing and having two separate definitions.

We even had one situation where two rules books were updated at the same time by different editors with the odd result that one old standard ability I fully copied the definition across to one book unware that the definition had changed and the GSM unaware that I'd copied it over.

Yes, it is a bit of a pain to have to cross reference BUT its less of a pain than the situation whereby you have to check which is the newer publication and therefore has the correct definition especially as you might not know its been changed in the most recent rulebook.

Its one of those things that happen with a constantly evolving game when the rules updated relatively frequently but the rule books are not updated at once (which would represent a pretty vast endeavour).

The idea of a complete set of books for a discount is an interesting one but I suspect that sho few people would be interested / able to shell out on that many at once that it would be a bit redundant, prehaps a buy 5 get 1 other free deal might work, I don't know the economics of the rulebooks.

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Ezrekia
post Mar 6 2011, 08:21 PM
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QUOTE(Godseed @ Mar 6 2011, 03:51 PM) *
I think the quirky grammar, spelling, and um - labyrinthine - cross-referencing in Labyrinthe publications is half the fun...


I agree wholeheartedly with your comments too biggrin.gif Or at least I will, once I figure out the things I need to know!


QUOTE(StuartEaston @ Mar 6 2011, 04:01 PM) *
...but once a monster gets close to you it could be quite diffcult to escape or kill it.


Fair play. I'm not good at running, either. I'd get mullered.

QUOTE(BBB @ Mar 6 2011, 06:15 PM) *
There is a simple reason why the books refer to each other so much and cannot easily be got round.

[...snip...]


Okay, I can see that. In which case, can I suggest that you enclose a brief paragraph to explain this if/when you put the beginners' guide together? I feel sure I won't be the first or last to ponder it.

QUOTE
The idea of a complete set of books for a discount is an interesting one but I suspect that sho few people would be interested / able to shell out on that many at once that it would be a bit redundant, prehaps a buy 5 get 1 other free deal might work, I don't know the economics of the rulebooks.


I wondered about that sort of thing too. The thing is though, that on my first purchase I wouldn't have known which 6 to pick. I also don't know whether I'd have splurged on a complete set, due in no small part to the physical restrictions on the characters I can play. I am now wishing I had the whole lot for cross-referencing but can't afford to buy them all. If there was an incentive to complete the set, however...

Maybe there's potential for a "lending library" type thing for the first half dozen visits to the caves, where you can borrow a copy of each over lunch so that you can get your head around the basics of the system without having to decide where you want to expend your hard-earned pennies. I've only played twice normally and then over the anniversary weekend, and I already know that if there was an incentive to buy the whole collection as one I would.

Just a thought. Or several.


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Onasuma
post Mar 6 2011, 09:20 PM
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QUOTE(Ezrekia @ Mar 6 2011, 03:37 PM) *
Rangers are covered in the Warrior's handbook but I had no way of knowing this until I had already purchased the Druid handbook, by which point I figured that I probably couldn't, and gave up trying.


You could always have asked someone what book they were in before buying one and hoping. There are lots of classes that could belong in one or more books (warlocks, wayfinders, power warriors etc. etc.) and it never hurts to ask. I also believe it says rangers are in the warrior book in the main handbook (in fact, I know it does) along with a big list of other example classes of each bracket. Likewise, many cross powerbase abilities are simple ones in the main handbook along with abbreviated summaries of simple classes. Not to be rude, but several things you are suggesting seem, to me at least, already to be covered there.

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nerulean
post Mar 6 2011, 09:43 PM
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Which kind of goes along with Sally's point that it can be difficult for people to find information in the system when they don't know all the books inside and out. wink.gif

The books really do feel like they need a lot of insider knowledge to get to grips with, which is partly to do with the cross referencing, partly the fact that each book has slightly different information in the indices, and partly that there isn't a clear central collection of the information that spans the whole of the system, since the handbook is mixed up with stuff for brand new players.


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Craigus17
post Mar 6 2011, 10:47 PM
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Ask at the desk.

I remember when I hadn't been coming down for very long and Carlo was dealing and I explained to him that the only book I owned was the Scout book, were there any others that he recommended I get and he told me I needed Evolution (which until that point I didn't know existed).

Explain to the desk staff exactly what you want to do or need to find out and they'll tell you.

And I dont know if you know this but you can buy publications for credits - so one day's monstering nets you two books. Bargain.


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BBB
post Mar 6 2011, 11:14 PM
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You'll find the Desk staff pretty helpful at explaining what books you need if you explain your situation to them or what it is that you want to know / learn about.

BBB


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Godseed
post Mar 7 2011, 09:52 AM
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Guys: while it does work, "you should ask someone in the know" is not a great rebuttal to an issue of the form "information on x is not as easy to find as it should be". Even if "someone in the know" is the desk. Much, much better for it to be clearly explained in writing...


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Ezrekia
post Mar 7 2011, 11:03 AM
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QUOTE(Onasuma @ Mar 6 2011, 09:20 PM) *
You could always have asked someone what book they were in before buying one and hoping.


It was actually an oversimplification of my situation. I'll spare you the saga. But I can't be the only person who's bought a book with x subclass listed as being in it, and then been disappointed to see that all it actually contains is, to paraphrase, "yeah, this has a lot in common with this class, but it's actually another class." Why bother putting it in at all?

As for asking someone, I'll come back to that in a moment.

QUOTE
Not to be rude, but several things you are suggesting seem, to me at least, already to be covered there.


To you, I say tongue.gif. There is a shedload of information to take on board when you're new, and I thought that some of the people who work on compiling publications might like to hear what it's like as a newbie trying to go round and round and round the handbooks when half of the content sounds like gibberish. To someone who knows the difference between PAC and DAC, what mana glyphs are or even where the word 'Primus' comes into the whole debacle this might be obvious. To someone picking up any of the books for the first time, it really is a nightmare.

QUOTE(nerulean @ Mar 6 2011, 09:43 PM) *
Which kind of goes along with Sally's point that it can be difficult for people to find information in the system when they don't know all the books inside and out. wink.gif


Eyethankewe.

QUOTE(Craigus17 @ Mar 6 2011, 10:47 PM) *
And I dont know if you know this but you can buy publications for credits - so one day's monstering nets you two books. Bargain.


Aha, good to know. See, nobody tells me these things. I can't actually monster any more, but this is the sort of information that really needs to be available somewhere for new players. To which I would add that people should be warned that they will need a light source as well as sensible shoes for their first visit. The photos show the caves lit, and man did I get a surprise when I got there!

QUOTE(Godseed @ Mar 7 2011, 09:52 AM) *
Guys: while it does work, "you should ask someone in the know" is not a great rebuttal to an issue of the form "information on x is not as easy to find as it should be". Even if "someone in the know" is the desk. Much, much better for it to be clearly explained in writing...


Thank you. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thought that that was a bit of a cop out.

Yes, I know I can ask someone in the know, but what I think needs to be said is that there comes a time where you just feel like you can't ask any more. I seem to be constantly asking questions here, at the caves, of anyone I can pin down for 5 minutes on Facebook, and any other way I can think of. It irritates me - I can't imagine how it feels for the poor poppets who keep getting bombarded every time I'm within earshot. It would be much more sensible - and less uncomfortable - for newbies to have access to a simple guide that will allow them to play a simple character for their first few visits, so that they can actually enjoy the experience without having to work so hard to figure out what they can and can't do. My first adventure involved me being dragged around by another party member, who told me what to say and when, which moved the adventure along for the others, but made absolutely no sense to me.

I suppose that comes back to the argument about whether it is actually a good idea to run the trial adventures as independent from regular adventures. I can see both sides of the coin, but perhaps we could reach a compromise by, say, running a trial adventure with 5 or 6 new players and 5 or 6 more experienced players who are willing to help out the first-timers. That way, the adventure is not so daunting for the new players, which will allow people to feel like they actually have some idea what happened, but they still get the benefit of the experienced players who made my day so enjoyable. Again, just a thought from this end of the experience scale.

And I'd like to reiterate for the benefit of Mr Grumpy up there, and anyone else who is thinking it, that these comments are not meant to be a dig at the system or a slight on the people who have put the publications together. I think you've done an amazing job - I wouldn't know where to start on a project so gargantuan. I know I seem to be as thick as pig sh*t, but I think anyone from outside the circle probably does as they try to grasp the complexity of the whole affair. All I wanted to do was to offer a bit of insight to people who haven't been new at Labyrinthe for a long while as to what it feels like coming into it as it exists today. As a rule, all of you guys have been incredibly welcoming, and I feel like I've been embraced into the community whole-heartedly. For this I thank you. But I get the impression that you've had trouble recruiting new players, and the cliquey feel produced by such a jargon-heavy and confusing introduction to the system can't be helping people to step up and give it a go.


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OxMatt
post Mar 7 2011, 11:07 AM
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What Sally said.

Indeed, the situation is still slightly confusing when you've been playing for years but only really as one class, and look around for something in another bracket to play - with the added problem that you don't want to ask anyone obvious questions because it's just embarassing.

I know very well that the system has evolved and changed and the publications reflect that (actually very positive and wonderful) aspect of Labyrinthe - but perhaps we should look at compiling a big FAQ - working with various people who have been new to the caves recently?

Matt

P.S. Sally - the only thing I'd disagree with in what you wrote is that there are only a certain number of Qs you can ask. I know it can feel like that - but actually most cavies are more than pleased to answer endless questions and tell endless tales. smile.gif I'd certainly be happy, given that you are playing a priest (an area about which I know a lot), to be PMed questions whenever you have em. If I don't know the answer, I will be able to pass the question on to someone who does!
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DanM
post Mar 7 2011, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE(OxMatt @ Mar 7 2011, 11:07 AM) *
P.S. Sally - the only thing I'd disagree with in what you wrote is that there are only a certain number of Qs you can ask. I know it can feel like that - but actually most cavies are more than pleased to answer endless questions and tell endless tales. smile.gif


This is more than true


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Ezrekia
post Mar 7 2011, 11:13 AM
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QUOTE(OxMatt @ Mar 7 2011, 11:07 AM) *
P.S. Sally - the only thing I'd disagree with in what you wrote is that there are only a certain number of Qs you can ask. I know it can feel like that - but actually most cavies are more than pleased to answer endless questions and tell endless tales. smile.gif I'd certainly be happy, given that you are playing a priest (an area about which I know a lot), to be PMed questions whenever you have em. If I don't know the answer, I will be able to pass the question on to someone who does!


Cheers dude, may get back to you on that.

Nobody has ever given me the feeling that I'm asking too many questions of them, it all comes from me. It's again a feeling like being a fish out of water there. Everyone else seems to know what they're doing - no matter how many times they tell you they don't - as they run around able to remember their verbals and how many times they got hit, while I stand in a corner trying to remember my own name. It really does make you feel like a numpty.


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LucyH
post Mar 7 2011, 11:16 AM
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QUOTE
It would be much more sensible - and less uncomfortable - for newbies to have access to a simple guide that will allow them to play a simple character for their first few visits, so that they can actually enjoy the experience without having to work so hard to figure out what they can and can't do. My first adventure involved me being dragged around by another party member, who told me what to say and when, which moved the adventure along for the others, but made absolutely no sense to me.


I appreciate that it can be incredibly complex at times. but no one has ever been shot for asking questions (and many people here love answering them smile.gif )

Somewhat ironically, it used to be the case that you had 3-4 simple adventures in the pre-8th system, BUT the starting level for characters was changed last year from 1st to 4th because the vast majority of players, both experienced and not, said that they didn't enjoy playing 1st-3rd level characters, because they can't do much.

The best thing I can suggest if you feel that you are out of your depth is to put that character to one side for a bit and start something new, and do a low-level adventure, going through the learning curve again, but this time picking up on different stuff. The more characters you play, the better you will understand the system.

Lucy





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DanM
post Mar 7 2011, 11:17 AM
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QUOTE(Ezrekia @ Mar 7 2011, 11:13 AM) *
It's again a feeling like being a fish out of water there.


It takes time. And with a system as large and expansive as ours, the learning curve is steep compared to other systems

We have different powerbases, non-standards, 4 3 published continents (plus others not in books), multiclassing, multiracing... its massive. 25 years does that to a game.

I dont envy someone having to learn it from scratch, we've had the benefit of it growing up around us


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Craigus17
post Mar 7 2011, 11:24 AM
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QUOTE(Ezrekia @ Mar 7 2011, 11:03 AM) *
Aha, good to know. See, nobody tells me these things. I can't actually monster any more, but this is the sort of information that really needs to be available somewhere for new players. To which I would add that people should be warned that they will need a light source as well as sensible shoes for their first visit. The photos show the caves lit, and man did I get a surprise when I got there!


actually, this is all written in the handbook and the welcome page of the Labyrinthe website does say that you should read the handbook before playing for the first time.

QUOTE(Ezrekia @ Mar 7 2011, 11:03 AM) *
(snip) for newbies to have access to a simple guide that will allow them to play a simple character for their first few visits, so that they can actually enjoy the experience without having to work so hard to figure out what they can and can't do.


This exists. It's called the handbook.

QUOTE(Ezrekia @ Mar 7 2011, 11:03 AM) *
(snip) My first adventure involved me being dragged around by another party member, who told me what to say and when, which moved the adventure along for the others, but made absolutely no sense to me.


Unfortunately this is probably more due to the class that you chose to play more than anything else since you have to factor in things like your religion, your verbals, your remaining power points etc etc etc whereas a warrior just has to hit things.



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Jasper
post Mar 7 2011, 11:28 AM
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The Handbook contains pretty much everything you need to know to start playing the game. It's free.

Stuff like Rangers and Space Ninjas and whatever is just fluff.

A quick flick through these forums will reveal a group of people who are pretty much happy to answer any question you might have regarding the vast, monolithic (cyclopean? noneuclidean?) game system. Often in the process revealing that no-one, not even the people who have been/are the system manager, even come close to knowing all the rules.


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Carlo
post Mar 7 2011, 11:33 AM
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<Ask at the desk.

I remember when I hadn't been coming down for very long and Carlo was dealing and>

I'd just like to clarify, 'dealing' is not something I do.

But yes, most of the deskers all have pretty good system knowledge to be able to help, as well as desk copies of all the book for reference if need be.

Carlo
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Ezrekia
post Mar 7 2011, 11:37 AM
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QUOTE(Craigus17 @ Mar 7 2011, 11:24 AM) *
actually, this is all written in the handbook and the welcome page of the Labyrinthe website does say that you should read the handbook before playing for the first time.


I spoke to Jo beforehand, and my ref, and explained that I'd read the handbook pretty much cover to cover but was finding it really difficult to understand. They both confirmed that I'd need sturdy shoes, but neither of them mentioned the light sources. This is not their fault - it's such an obvious thing when you've been there. In the interest of offering feedback for the editor, perhaps this bit could be moved to the "Live Role-Playing at Labyrinthe" section of the Introduction of the handbook, at which point event those of us who have no idea are still more or less following.

QUOTE
This exists. It's called the handbook.


I disagree. The handbook is not simple from where I sit.


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