From the soapbox #1
Two weeks ago, we held a joint meeting between the senior staff of GolemLabs and THQ Nordic. We felt it was important to discuss a problem we found very early on and that was still there, somehow.
When GolemLabs got tasked with The Guild 3, our main point was that the learning curve in the game was too steep. There was a lot of concepts to learn, a lot of possible actions with direct and indirect consequences to them, and the path forward to play “well” was difficult to see for new players. There was just too much at the same time. Especially for new players! Experienced players know, instinctively, how to play the game now because they’ve invested so much time into the franchise ;-). And our initial goal was to keep these players in by giving them the same amount of details and possibilities, but also to make it easier for new players to get into the franchise by better introducing the various concepts. All of this without dumbing anything down.
So, one of the major changes we’re making this week: rethink the first 20 minutes of gameplay for new and experienced players. Based on our testing phases, a few things came back and it seemed obvious that we could do a better job. In brief, we have to:
- try and find a better way to explain the concepts of the game (in the first minutes);
- present to the player what he needs to do first, and what will come next;
- show him/her the big picture of the future without too much details, which could be discouraging.
We think we’ve found a good way forward and we’ll start testing next week. Having the THQ Nordic guys here for a full week allowed us to think through the presentation of the information, and the kind of feedback that would be more useful for all players. And the fact that our gameplay systems are pretty solid enables us to quickly build something and test it, tweak it, and then push it to our test players to see.
Stay tuned for more feedback when we have some, and please don’t hesitate to ask us questions, precisions and requests!