Learning the Trick of The Trade
Welcome back to the devlog of State of Wonder. Tonight we are looking at the new player experience and learning. Learning the game is one of the biggest struggles in game design and having players understand what is happening and why it is happening. A player might understand the rules, but not understand the subtleties of these rules. So how can I design a experience that allow players to understand this?
Some players I’ve played with get many of these subtleties in the first game or two. These players are often very gaming literate to start with and go in to the game with an open mind as there are many “unconventional” mechanics used within the game. While some players don’t grasp these subtleties as quickly. These are the players you have to try to help out with cards. But how do you do this?
The Joy of Learning
Players often love learning. I have seen this with people as they understand the mechanics of the games better. Many players react with a “But I could’ve done this!” reaction after the game. This is one of the best reactions you can have as that shows that your player has understood something about the game. Some players might even grasp one of the mechanical subtleties during a game.
My favorite this week was during one playtesting session a player used The Card “Truth Whisperer” to spawn tokens and first tried to keep the card alive. As we kept playing the player started playing more and more aggressively with the card, as you get all of your dead cards back in State of Wonder. They wanted to play it more and more often, to create more Militias. It all came full circle as the player started using the Church of Revelations effect to both empower their truth whisperer and ensure that it would die and be able to be recycled.
This interaction both teach the value of reusing enters play effects. But also teaches the player to play around the graveyard rule of putting all of the destroyed and dead cards back into your hand. It also has several stages to it. Where it first starts with something easy to understand. Creating more tokens are a good thing! Then you need to be able to get the truth whisperer to die often so you can use it again. They send it to war, but when they see the Church and understand the interaction they have understood the full depth of the interaction. That using the graveyard to manipulate card advantage and combat strength is awesome. The player who finds these interactions have an awesome learning experience so I would like to design more of them . Especially now.
Designing the learning experience
So I would call a Level Up experience. As the player goes through different levels of knowledge to use and spend their cards appropriately within the mechanics that the game has. Designing these level up experiences are hard. (Let just say the Church and Truth Whisperer interaction was a crazy random happenstance) The more I try to make sensical interactions around the mechanics to teach them to players I might end up digging a hole for myself.
One of the mechanical subtleties I want to teach is how combat works and the importance to understand the combat system. As combat is a very big thing in State of Wonder and having players understand it is very important for the enjoyment of the game. Some of the intricacies in combat include the following. When to go to a field battle. Sending the correct units to a field battle. Using the correct units to attack at the correct time. Attacking valuable targets. Understanding what is a valuable target and many many more.
This is what I’ve been working with. As this is quite the list to try to teach to someone and the game need to do it through its design. Many of these are solved by having units with different stats. High Attack, Low health units are high priority targets. While units with low attack, high health can be used to kill more than one enemy unit. But sometimes this just isn’t enough. I want to work with the importance of sending units to field battle or which units to send?
I’m currently at work with this so I don’t really have a answer to that question, but I will most likely touch on that in my next devlog. That is it for today and If you liked this comment you can stay up to date on any of the State of Wonder social media. Such as the Facebook page, our Twitter or the Instagram