[mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby SigurdFireDragon » May 26th, 2017, 3:51 am

beetlenaut wrote:My proposal is to change the order of the campaign dialog to:
TSG
AOI
AToTB
HttT



I generally agree with this, although I have a preference to have AOI be before TSG, because AOI is shorter and simpler. I don't think AToTB should be at the top, mostly for the reasons that UnwiseOwl states about the undead resistances being weird for a new player, that was the case for me when I was new to this game. Also, I avoided playing HttT for my first 3-4 years with the game, one of the reasons being it was a long campaign. FTR, the first campaign I played was either TSG or AOI (I don't remember which).
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby The_Gnat » May 26th, 2017, 4:07 am

Though everyone else seems to have made good points and there is not really need for additional opinions ;) , and also despite the fact that the topic has begun to transition towards balancing the HttT ;) , I will throw in my oppinion :mrgreen:

- I really didn't have much idea when first playing wesnoth and so (as i believe many would) i choose the first campaign first.

- I personally believe the campaigns should be ordered in the order we want the players to play them.

- I personally think the easiest campaign AToTB should be placed first because that (in my opinion) would be best to play first. As many have pointed out HttT (though being the most 'wesnoth' focused and unique) is a harder and longer campaign therefore undeniably (unless someone has a good reason to deny it ^_^ ) HttT should no longer be first.

(The first time i played HttT i could not win so edited the outlaw unit you get in the isle of the damned to move 99 and hit 100 damage. Maybe if the campaign order had been different i would have never started modifying wesnoth ^_^ )

- I have actually never played AOI (though i have read through the scenarios) because (at this point) it is too easy to be worth playing. This contributes another reason why AToTB and AOI should come first, because after playing other more challenging campaigns these are no longer as interesting.

- I found TSG (years and years ago when i first played it) difficult (back then i had only just started wesnoth and was had almost no strategy or even concept of resistances and defences) and i had to restart it after making dreadful tactical mistakes. Because of this i think it should come after AToTB and AOI to give the players a good introduction first.
Last edited by The_Gnat on May 26th, 2017, 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby Tad_Carlucci » May 26th, 2017, 6:07 pm

I agree: the campaigns should be ordered in intended order. This aids new players by easing them into things. I remember almost giving up when I first started because I was nowhere near ready for HttT; it was only by searching the forums I was able to see how to actually complete HttT. Had I started with the shorter, easier campaigns meant to introduce things more slowly, I might have been ready for HttT when its turn came.

However, once I realized that BfW mainline was a continuum, I went back and re-played everything, in order, looking to grasp the entire story line. Having been through the forums, I knew where to look. But it might be better if the selection screen either showed the date-order (letting the user search for the next in-line); or offer two sorting options: easiest-to-hardest, and canonical order.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby taptap » May 26th, 2017, 7:26 pm

I kept interest in Battle for Wesnoth because I had to restart HttT from start to get past Elensefar and realised that it is more than your usual click-through-to-win "strategy" game, that is good only for a weekend.

If I would mess with the campaign order, I would ship each major release only with a single campaign (and name the release after it) and put all the others as add-on, maybe w/ a special mainline marker for what used to be mainline.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby doofus-01 » May 27th, 2017, 1:09 pm

I know the descriptions already indicate the beginner/intermediate/expert level, but would it help make it more clear to new players if there was also either a tool-tip or another column in the panel-button (or whatever it's called)? That might make the campaign order less important, if it gets the meaning across without cluttering things too much. It's easy to just gloss over the blah-blah-blah in the description, with everything else going on.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby GunChleoc » May 27th, 2017, 8:41 pm

I played TSG after the tutorials, because it was mentioned there in the tutorials, then AOI, then HttT. In hindsight, I would change the order to AOI, TSG, HttT.

I haven't played the 4th campaign mentioned yet, so I can't comment on its order (I only play what I translate :))
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby Celtic_Minstrel » May 28th, 2017, 6:29 am

When I first played Wesnoth on 1.10, I'm pretty sure I started with AToTB, followed by AOI, TSG, and HTTT in that order, so I wouldn't have any objections to reordering the list like that. I don't really have any strong preferences about the order, to be honest.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby kartacha » May 29th, 2017, 9:50 pm

I have still not played all the campaigns but I can share my overall opinion based on what I think people expect to find in a new game. It will also be interesting for me to see how my opinion will change based on the fact that I will eventually have played all of the campaigns.

First, I want to say that in my opinion the tutorial should be implemented in the beginning of the game itself. I as a player hate the usual tutorial cutscene or sequence of tasks. I also find myself unable to read tips (like those listed in the yellow rectangular bars). I tried it recently in the beginning of my Pillars of Eternity playthrough. I am just unable to do it. I keep the game paused and I am trying to read these damned 5 lines and to comprehend what they say and my mind just blocks. Like, really, it is terrible.
So what I certainly agree with is that the first 1, 2 or even 3 campaigns should be tutorial like. They should expose you to different situations that might happen in the game.

What a good tutorial should contain in my opinion:
- Less actual story - In the beginning a player is always trying to understand and get used to the mechanics and is less attentive for anything else. What usually happens with me is that the first two hours of each game's story I do not remember very well. Especially the first 20-30 minutes. That is why Evoland 2 managed to hit me in the face with a fact I should have known since the beginning somewhere around the 10th-15th hour of my playthrough. That is why I have a hard time starting to play almost all of the RPG games. For that matter AOI should be a great initial campaign. All the story it build could be summed with "We are elves, we live in the forest, the orcs destroy the forest, we should banish them!" It is more than enough for a beginning
- Gradual exposure to different game mechanics - Like most of the good platformers did back in the days (and now when I think of it. Shovel Knight is a great example). A player needs to understand the basics first. The first few scenarios of AOI are a great example for that. You got the first scenario where you can see your units and how they fight against your enemy, the second and third scenario bring in the some terrain challenge (which could've been done in a single mission). Then you are exposed to a mission where you are totally out of your comfort zone. Scenario 5 is not so good as a tutorial but it brings in a new unit type. Then scenario six also exposes you to new challenges and after that scenario 7 is totally pointless in my opinion (in terms of AOI serving as a tutorial). If some changes are made and Erlornas tells more about the game mechanics (like explaining lawful/chaotic) for example then it would be good for first campaign.
- Gradual challenge level progression so that the player can execute its strategies and practice its new skills - Again Shovel Knight is an awesome example (especially the Plague Knight expansion). In The Battle for Wesnoth this could be achieved via 2 or 3 consecutive campaigns which was the initial suggestion

What my suggestion is:
Before I got totally sidetracked and this post becomes a novel in two tomes (as it usually does) I will shoot my suggestion. It is for us (and by that I mean the whole forum in an open thread) to sit and evaluate what we think a good tutorial looks like and then to make it happen as close to our initial idea as possible. Since 1.14 will add a new Mainline campaign I guess that one more would not be too much especially if it is a campaigned centered around a great lord wannabe who has some lands he needs to defend against some other lord and his new undead/saurian/orc allies for example. 6-8 scenarios will be perfect if executed well.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby Bitron » May 29th, 2017, 10:52 pm

I remember playing the first campaign in 1.4, it was HttT and I failed miserably. It took me about two years until I tried to play another campaign. It was AOI and by the end of the day I was like: "Oh, that was easy. What was it that was so difficult back then? Well.. onto the next one!". So I kind of needed the easy one first. But others might tell different stories. I am a little confused why HttT is marked as "beginner" when it clearly is more difficult than AOI or aToTB. What about marking it as intermediate instead? It might prevent players to choose it as their first campaign, except those who are looking for a challenge of course.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby zookeeper » May 30th, 2017, 7:28 pm

kartacha wrote:What a good tutorial should contain in my opinion:
- Less actual story - In the beginning a player is always trying to understand and get used to the mechanics and is less attentive for anything else. What usually happens with me is that the first two hours of each game's story I do not remember very well. Especially the first 20-30 minutes. That is why Evoland 2 managed to hit me in the face with a fact I should have known since the beginning somewhere around the 10th-15th hour of my playthrough. That is why I have a hard time starting to play almost all of the RPG games. For that matter AOI should be a great initial campaign. All the story it build could be summed with "We are elves, we live in the forest, the orcs destroy the forest, we should banish them!" It is more than enough for a beginning
- Gradual exposure to different game mechanics - Like most of the good platformers did back in the days (and now when I think of it. Shovel Knight is a great example). A player needs to understand the basics first. The first few scenarios of AOI are a great example for that. You got the first scenario where you can see your units and how they fight against your enemy, the second and third scenario bring in the some terrain challenge (which could've been done in a single mission). Then you are exposed to a mission where you are totally out of your comfort zone. Scenario 5 is not so good as a tutorial but it brings in a new unit type. Then scenario six also exposes you to new challenges and after that scenario 7 is totally pointless in my opinion (in terms of AOI serving as a tutorial). If some changes are made and Erlornas tells more about the game mechanics (like explaining lawful/chaotic) for example then it would be good for first campaign.
- Gradual challenge level progression so that the player can execute its strategies and practice its new skills - Again Shovel Knight is an awesome example (especially the Plague Knight expansion). In The Battle for Wesnoth this could be achieved via 2 or 3 consecutive campaigns which was the initial suggestion

What my suggestion is:
Before I got totally sidetracked and this post becomes a novel in two tomes (as it usually does) I will shoot my suggestion. It is for us (and by that I mean the whole forum in an open thread) to sit and evaluate what we think a good tutorial looks like and then to make it happen as close to our initial idea as possible. Since 1.14 will add a new Mainline campaign I guess that one more would not be too much especially if it is a campaigned centered around a great lord wannabe who has some lands he needs to defend against some other lord and his new undead/saurian/orc allies for example. 6-8 scenarios will be perfect if executed well.

It's a complicated topic. I've been sitting here for a long time now typing out possible responses from all sorts of different angles from which to approach this, and I'm still not sure what I'd really want to say. So, maybe take whatever follows as just assorted notes.

While I do agree that tutorial-as-you-play is the best kind, and tutorials that are just a series of "click here, do this, do this, move over there, click here" aren't very good, it's also very tricky to do one where you can play something even remotely meaningful while learning the very basics. You need to give the player room to try anything, make mistakes, be able to recover from them, and eventually advance forwards. The turn-based nature of the game means that you can't give immediate interactive feedback to the player when they make something dumb, or at least not without constantly flooding them with correctional dialogue (which gets confusing really quick), so the very basics need to be taught in a safe sandbox of some kind. So, you need a dedicated tutorial, you can't really for example add a "tutorial mode" to an existing campaign. Campaigns like AOI are good for learning basic strategies and details about units strengths and weaknesses, but you do already need to grasp the basics of moving units and how turns work.

Partly, it's a question of what you want to include under the label "tutorial". The beginner-level campaigns don't really teach you how the game works, they just remind you of some important strategical considerations. Those are the kinds of things that you can certainly have regular campaigns teach/remind you of. But when it comes to teaching the player how to select a unit and move it or what happens when you press end turn, you pretty much have to do that elsewhere.

I also agree that a tutorial should have reasonably little story - or perhaps more accurately, reasonably little dialogue. Having a story is good even in a tutorial, but ideally as much as possible should be done with as little modal text messages as possible, and instead for example via gameplay or environmental storytelling. Of course those are often pretty tricky to do in Wesnoth. Regardless, you still need to ground the tutorial in-universe, so you do need characters and some kind of plot of what's going on, at least once past the very beginning.
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Re: [mainline] Reorder campaign dialog

Postby kartacha » May 31st, 2017, 2:53 am

I really did not mean the very basics like how to move or recruit units. If someone decides he wants to know these there must be (as I believe it does) a dedicated standard tutorial for him/her. That is only normal. By tutorial-as-you-play I meant that the lessons of what type of unit is effective against what and the day/night cycle, and movement, terrains etc. That is the type of tutorial that I think should happen via standard missions. To prove a point I will try to rewrite some of the text boxes from AOI (as I am more familiar with this campaign because I have already played it) and/or add some lines to just show what I mean by these. I think AOI could become very good starting point. I do not say that AToTB or TSG could not be starting missions. I played those in the past and I do not remember much except that I remember being disappointed by AToTB's short length compared to HttT I played prior to it. And HttT (in terms of hardness) I remember with the last scenario and the fact that I had my 2 or 3 main heroes be the only ones to live. They were trapped in the corner and I had to restart the last turn about 20 times to get this perfect dice roll and complete the campaign. :lol:
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