Bringing new eyes to Old World

Not your fault because a lot of people seem to be under this misapprehension, including Soren (!!!) but EVERY Civ, including 6, has manuals numbering in the hundreds of pages. It’s not some old-timey grampa concept for a Civ-like game to come with a manual. It’s expected and normal and modern.

Fair enough, I stand corrected. Though my point was more that, regardless of manual, it’s easier to just pick-up-and-play a Civ game than a new 4X because you already have that strategic context which is broadly the same between games, and generally the tutorials explain what’s different.

Specifics about what you can’t find help on is useful. (For example? I’ve made a note to add movement costs to Terrain and Height entires in the encyclopedia.)

For me, I think you’re asking the wrong question. It’s not “specifics about what [I] can’t find help on.” If I put in 10 hours, I probably could “find help” to the same extent Tom has, and still be confused on how to play the game, like Tom is.

It’s more, “please weave the ‘story,’ so to speak, that lays out what the objective is, why I should care, and what to look at in the right order. Teach me the game. Don’t just dump an encyclopedia on my head and run away.” In other words, write the manual (or make the right kind of tutorial, which I suspect would be even harder). I know you know how to do this, because I’m a huge fan of your previous work.

If you simply don’t care and you just want everyone else to give you “specifics about what [they] can’t find help on,” I’ll move on, but it seemed like you might need this spelled out.

I haven’t read a manual in dozens (?) of years for a game, so personally, that would be wasted effort, though i understand.

TBH, what Old World needs in a modern context is a Potato McWhisky or some other strategy game YouTuber doing a “how to play” video.

But i agree a tutorial campaign that walked you through what to do would be enormously useful. The pop up tips are useful… maybe the game needs more of those. I do think there’s a legibility issue - i’m having a harder time than i would have expected figuring out what is actually a button and what is a piece of data and how to interact with it. Certainly it’s much more dense but different enough from the traditional 4X games that i can basically play but it’s confusing like the weird “counting down” order cost thing for units predicting your movement costs, which is totally backward to how i would have expected things. I don’t think i’ve seen a game that tells you how much of something is left by doing something - every other game is about how much something will cost. You figure it out and move on, but there’s that initial friction.

I’m asking for specifics so I can start work on expanding help for those issues. I’m well aware of the curse of knowledge problem (listened to that podcast Tom linked a few weeks ago), which unfortunately means it is still hard for me to predict what parts of the game are most difficult to understand.

Specifics help, that’s all.

I, for one, would like to know more about religion - what it does, why I should care about it, and if there are any differences between them

Reading through the thread I want to remind everyone that we all learn in different ways and tend to have a learning style that we favor. So tool tips will work for some people but not everyone. The best approach is to always have a few ways to teach someone such as a ten turn tutorial to get some of the basic decisions down and why to make this decision vs this other can help with context.

I started to watch the Q & A Sorenson listed above (or maybe the other thread) and listening to why to choose one family over the other has a lot to do with one’s playstyle. Reading through Scott’s and KevinG analysis of the tool tips (I think they are in the other thread too) was also terrific. I never would have gotten all that from the tool tips that they provided on my own but to my point I learn differently than they do.

I like to see something like the five or ten most important decisions that face a player when first starting out. Maybe something on how two game systems work together .

I liked what I watched of the Q&A just because I like hearing smart creative people talk about things I’m interested in, but from the perspective of a new player, WOW was it frustrating. Seeing Soren get started on a subject and then an audience question pop up like “What was Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite color” derailing the thing for 15 minutes made my skin crawl. Could not abide.

The family choice right at the beginning is a good example. It’s the first big decision the game throws at you. There is a breakout of pros and cons filled with symbols and numbers for each family, but unless the player runs off to consult the in-game 'pedia for each variable separately, I doubt any new player would even begin to know what each entry means.

Yeah, I can see specifics kind of have to be the starting point. I’ll toss a few more out:

-Despite a fair amount of in-game text about this, I have no idea what ‘being influenced by my leader’ on a character actually means, unless maybe they also lead a nation. It’s extra confusing because there is a specific tutorial event that offers me the chance to influence someone that I don’t even think was even on my list of characters (probably in a foreign nation somewhere?), and I wouldn’t even know how to find that person afterwards.

-What are the basic factors for how long it takes to create an improvement, and any additional costs? I have seen it go up and down a lot and I assume at the least hill/not-hill impacts both, probably in some cases lushness too, rivers, maybe other stuff?

-Unless I totally missed there is no explanation at all of how attacking a city’s key hex works, it seems to split damage with a unit in some way if one is there? I’m also not sure if there is a specific mechanic that blocks the city repairing itself (like, can it still do that if enemy units are standing next to it, or on other urban tiles?).

-It would be nice to know exactly how long it takes for a resource to be reharvestable or a forest to regrow. That could actually be conveyed with tooltips instead, actually.

-Everything about traversing water hexes, really. I seem to be able to cross them (but not stay on them) if I own them, but not in all cases?

OK, I’ll play.

If I have the option of selecting something that will impact the Whoever Civilization’s feelings about me by “negative 40” or whatever, is that a big deal? Is 40 a lot? A little? Will I have more opportunities to boost it in the future, or if I impact it by negative 40 now does that mean they hate me forever? Should I care if they hate me forever? Maybe I shouldn’t? Maybe it’s okay if they hate me, as long as I make plans right now to go to war with them and wipe them off the map quickly. Okay, so war and combat then. How would I build up my army to do that? Am I located near resources that will help me go to war? Hinder me? Did I pick a Leader that isn’t good at war and I didn’t already know that? Or is my Leader a war-ninja and I should be fighting with everybody?

If this was a board game and Tom was teaching me how to play, I wouldn’t need to think of these questions, because I would have faith and trust in Tom’s ability to teach me the game.

But when you let me loose in your sandbox where it seems like I have to teach myself, then I’m responsible for asking the questions. And those are the first few questions I’ll come up with. Like, that might be 0.1% of the questions.

Good luck.

To be fair @justaguy2 i don’t know of any strategy game that explains its bonuses and maluses that way. Every strategy game that tells you gives you quantified diplomacy feedback is basically impossible to figure out without having played the game in the abstract. Total War games give -15 or +15 bonuses all the time - on paper, what does this possibly mean? Civ V piles on the numbers, but where’s some kind of threshold? The Endless games do the same thing.

Maybe there’s some subtle differentiation here but it’s not a unique problem to OW. Diplomacy is usually the most opaque because if you don’t know what you want to do minus any other competitor you can hardly figure out how Diplomacy fits into the larger context of the game. I still agree that numbers without context are super annoying but i’m probably them most understanding and generous about diplomacy’s lack of readability of all possible catagories.

Very much this. Because each family displays it’s stats as a traditional tooltip (that disappears once the cursor movess off the icon), you can’t move the mouse to check what all of the “glowy potential tool tip bits” are.

You can hold shift and do that, but you won’t know this starting a game for the first time/until you get and remember the in game tutorial bit explaining that you can mouse over tooltip individual things by holding SHIFT or L-Shift (can’t recall if it’s specific to left).

Some of that data is probably too much detail to properly absorb on a first game, which is fine. But e.g. knowing specifically what a family seat is (which you can only check by knowing a magic UI trick) seems useful.

I’m thinking more of a general summary of what the family choice means in plain language. “Here, you will choose a family seat which will determine your blah blah blah. The [family name] prefers to present a [warrior/scholarly/pious/etc] aspect to others, and will give your civilization bonuses to [combat/farming/research/etc] but will have a harder time with blah blah blah due to their prejudices against blah blah blah. As your civilization grows, you may have the opportunity to expand your reach with other families via blah blah blah.”

The tooltip suggestion is a good thing too. I just think that a brand new player isn’t going to want to start rummaging through tips and 'pedia entries right off the bat. At least, I didn’t.

Edit: One of the big issues I had with Old World isn’t just that it’s a new game, it’s that it’s juuuuuuussst close enough to looking and seeming like Civilization 5/6 on first plays that these differences really tripped me up. You think you know how growth works, because, oh, there’s food and farms so that must work like it did in the other game, but nope. Tooltips wouldn’t help with that kind of player thinking. I think you need plain language explanations that guide you through the experience.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Old World: Post your gameplay questions here! And your answers!

Oh I agree completely. There needs to be an on screen display of something. Like I said a lot of the stats the tooltip came up won’t mean anything.

The tooltip is “better than nothing”, but you can’t even get to the actual value it provides first game unless you guess the UI trick. The only worse situation is no information at all. But better still is a more coherent, high level informational display.

Is this on Steam yet?

It is not.

This portentous wording brought to you by Discourse and its silly five character requirement.

“While you were going to parties, I studied the blade.”