Interview of Asril Manager of Player Assistance
God Name: Asril
Titles: Manager of Player Assistance, New Adventurers Guild Leader (Clan 50)
New Player Helper (NPH), Real Estate - Houses and Clans
Bberke: Hi Asril, I'm conducting this interview to shed some light on new player development which Vryce has said is undergoing a rehaul. Could you begin by telling us your responsibilities as a God and your take on the current state of things for new player development?
- Managing the Player Assistance program
- Hiring, training, and managing Avatars
- Hiring, training, and managing of New Player Helpers (NPH) and Player Assistants
- Running new player activities such as zone parties
- Makes a special effort to greet and assist new players
- Is the Clan Leader of The New Adventurers Guild (Clan 50)
- Creating and managing clanhalls
- Creating and editing houses
- Assisting with creating and maintaining clans
- Routinely reviews clantitles
Asril: I'm the manager of the Player Assistance Department. A big part of our mission is to help new players adjust. Both the avatars and the new player helpers are part of the department. New player affairs are in the middle of a change. We recently changed how we do things to get away from prescripted tasks such as the Tutorial and the Refuge. The near term replacements for those two were the Learn Modules and incoming new player AQs which teach a variety of different game aspects important to new players. Revamping the experience fully is one of those looming things on the horizon for Vryce.
Bberke: What do you think are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the current system used to help accommodate new players to the game?
Asril: The biggest strength that we have is the people, especially the avatars. We have a number who spend just about every moment on their game time helping and talking with new players. The hardest part is the game itself..it is massive! It is overwhelming to a new player. It takes patience on their part to stick with it and learn.
Bberke: Do you find yourself helping new players on a personal basis often or is that duty solely the affair of avatars and lesser gods?
Asril: I'm still personally talking to/welcoming a good sized portion of our new players. That part will never change :) Most new players are actually current/returning players so do not require a large amount of help from the staff. The few that do make the job worth it though.
Bberke: What are some of the most common sorts of questions new players (those you truly believe are new) ask?
Asril: How to get around on the game is a big one along with where to actually go. We generally steer them towards Haven and the Great Tree to explore using the free portals. We also spend a good amount of time explaining why con/wis/int matter and when they matter. Thankfully the WOMs have revamped new player starting equipment to make that a nonissue at first as everyone starts off with 18's; because it is based on their starting set though we get them to the new location of the gem of power and knowledge as quickly as we can. We also try to steer players towards doing the learn module if they haven't already. That is very helpful for learning the basics.
Bberke: How about complaints or frustrations from new players, which are most commonly voiced?
Asril: The most common complaint is the feeling of being overwhelmed by both the size of the game and the amount of commands. We do our best to assure them that they become second nature rather quickly but the game does require a commitment from the players up front when it comes to reading the help files.
Bberke: Do you feel that the current help file system is great or could use improvement or both? And what sorts of improvements are needed, if needed?
Asril: I think the current help files are excellent actually. Finding help on just about any topic is as simple as typing help and whatever it is you do not understand. Ideally the players will not need to read the help files right off the bat however. The learn module does a wonderful job of explaining the basics.
Bberke: You mentioned Vryce is going to be eventually revamping the newbie experience fully, could you tell us why he think it needs to be revamped?
Asril: A large part of it has to do with showing new players what the game really has to offer at an earlier time. When a player first starts to play they only see such a small part of the world. A number of the change ideas being talked about are meant to get the player to experience all that the game has to offer sooner and more enjoyable than killing gypsy after gypsy day after day.
Bberke: What are some of the ideas that are being port forth to accomplish this?
Asril: At this point we have all been put on notice that massive changes will be coming in the near future which will touch every aspect of the game. What those changes will be are yet to be discussed though beyond the fact that pets will play a huge part of it.
Bberke: How would pets enhance the new player experience?
Asril: At this point I can't say what V has in store for them.
Bberke: What are some ideas that you would like to see implemented to enhance the new player experience or what do you hope will be included in Vryce's vision of what's to come for new players?
Asril: My hope would be for us to move away from the being so experience heavy when it comes to leveling. In my opinion, learning the different aspects of the game should be part of the leveling equation.
Bberke: With that in mind besides the current MLR system what tasks might a new player have to perform before they progressed to second class under a new system where monster killing experience was de-emphasized?
Asril: Ships, dealing with some of the new mob factions. The typical day to day activities that make up a hero's day basically. There is so much more to this game then the repeated killing of mobs. Having them explore a set number of zones would be a nice add.
Bberke: How many years have you worked in your current role on Medievia?
Asril: I've been over the department since Sep of 2006. I joined the staff as a NPH in early 2005. I've been an avatar since...2000ish? Somewhere along those lines
Bberke: What about you qualified you to be an NPH and eventually become head of the department?
Asril: I was a long time avatar which is the biggest requirement for being hired as an NPH. The NPH department itself has had a number of shakeups with leadership retiring. In my time as an avatar there have been 5 or 6 leader changes. My leadership in the department came about from my assuming more and more of the admin roles as the more senior gods left
Bberke: How many active Avatars do you currently have on staff?
Asril: At the moment we have 49 active ones. Avatars are now required to be active to maintain the flag. In generally we lose and gain about 4 avatars a month
Bberke: Are you happy with that number or are you currently looking to increase it? If so, by how much? If not, why not?
Asril: I'm happy with the number as it is right now. We have good coverage for just about every time zone, which is what I am focused on. At the same time, if someone qualified applies, I won't turn them away.
Bberke: What are the most important requirements that an applicant must satisfy to become an Avatar?
Asril: The biggest thing I look for is a sincere desire to help new players. If they have that, everything else can be worked on. A decent recent history is important as well since the job puts the avatar in direct contact with our new players
Bberke: I can't think for many other questions to ask, do you have any final comments about where the new player experience is heading or a general statement about your department for players in general to know?
Asril: Just that if a player has a desire to help new players and would like give being an avatar a shot, apply!
Bberke: Ok thanks for your time Asril, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and all the work you have done and continue to do in the new player department.
Asril: must run :)
BANG-ZAP! Lightning Strikes Y...Made you look! Asril leaves with a small shower of sparks.