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Embers Adrift

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The New Player Experience Needs Attention

The new player experience simply is not sticky enough to players that aren't already sold on the idea of a slow burn, socially demanding MMO. It does not successfully portray to players within the first few levels how engaging, intense and collaborative combat can be. It does not get them hooked on finding better gear upgrades and making their character slightly more impactful as a reward for their efforts. It does not properly demonstrate what value their class brings in a party environment. It needs far more attention than it's received in the last year.

Since starting in November 2022 I've managed to get 5 of my real life friends to play Embers Adrift. I'm a 31 years old who somehow managed to get hooked on EQOA just a few years before WoW took my generation of friends by storm and hooked them on themepark MMOs. The only person I know IRL that played Everquest is my mother and even she put the game down after one session.

Of those 5 total people, only one of them has made it past level 10 while the other 4 failed to engage with the game long enough to experience Central Veins and get a true demonstration of what group play can feel like. The other 4 I managed to get to play for one session before they got bored of the initial gameplay loop and shelved Embers forever.

I think there are some pretty simple adjustments that could improve initial player retention substantially:

1. Remove the Defender, Supporter and Striker classes from the game.
With how easy it is to swap classes before level 20, I see no reason why players shouldn't be able to choose their class the moment they enter the game. Forcing them to find reagents in NHV would give them a better reason to kill mobs than hunting for useless diseased hides that are just going to confuse them and clog their inventory. This also provide players with more abilities to engage with immediately and provides an opportunity to quickly experience how the different classes play based off the different initial abilities.

2. Provide better in game suggestions and more robust UI's for regional party formation.
I cannot count how many noobs I've helped in NHV that had zero awareness of how to see who is in the zone via /who or how to shout into the void and ask for a party via /zone. It's just not intuitive enough for the modern gamer. Add a Zone tab to the Social window that allows you to see anyone in zone that isn't Anonymous. Prompt a user on login with a Yes or No question about whether or not they'd like to look for a party with the default option upon character creation being "Yes". I know it took us almost a year to get a proper level range in the LFG window but this game could really use some simple UI improvements to better facilitate and encourage socialization.

3. Improve generally lackluster itemization.
This game is chalk full of disappointing filler loot and levels 1-5 are no different. I understand the desire to not oversaturate the game with overpowered, easily accessible gear but at level 1 there's very little downside to adding immediate weapon upgrades via 3 chev named near the starter area. The only noteworthy gear upgrades in NHV either from from CV1 or from Knave of Hart or Misha which both assume you last till roughly level 6 or higher. This could also provide an opportunity to teach new people the mechanics behind placeholders and immediately provide them with reasons to form groups with less time restraints.

The path from 1 to 50 is getting better with nearly every update. Endgame is obviously not finished, but Embers Adrift always been about the journey and not solely the destination. I obviously glad the game is getting gradually more and more fleshed out but personally I hope that 2024 is the year of player retention for our lovely little community.

Question for the community: How many people have you introduced to the game? How many of them have played the game past level 10?
 
I haven't encountered anyone grouping for Mischa, etc., although I have only been playing for just over a week. Finding the named mobs isn't a problem and I generally see then as I pass by at least once a session, but there aren't enough people in Newhaven to even make a group most of the time. Last night there were lvl 1, 1, 3, 5 players and myself at lvl 6, and even if we all grouped up it would be like throwing confetti into a furnace. I think we were all busy just gathering resources anyway, which is probably just as well as it kept us busy. Elloa says they know it's a problem and are working on it, so i am content to wait.

As for your question about introducing friends, I am of an advanced age and my circle of friends all think gaming on a computer is rather eccentric and nobody apart from myself even owns a computer. People of my generation are such technophobes! Let's hope the younger generations have more success.
 
I agree with the idea of just dropping the base role advancement to 6 then spec; maybe make it so people can pick one base/spec at start then level 6 unlocks the option to try other specs would be better. I also think some though should be added to getting abilities a bit sooner, because you don't really get a full kit until level 22. Squish the acquisition of skills down a couple levels 1-15, then from 15-26 spread them out a bit.

I also think levels 1-20 lack clearer "carrot and stick" opportunities. I've mentioned in the discord, but I really think it should be impressed on players the value and desire to get the estone, the estone upgrades, and Alchemy. SHS has tried the "let's keep this unknown and hidden" path and while I agree and personally prefer that strategy, we need to not lose new players so early in the game. The best way to keep players engage is to dangle clear carrots with clear perks, and Estone plus Alchemy are the best ways. Make it clearer the estone exists at level 10, bump Alchemy down to level 15 unlock in a ML EV instead of DF, and make it clearer there's an estone upgrade available at 16-18ish.

I've introduced about 6 or 7 players to the game, all left before level 10 except for one who never made it to level 20. They found the start too boring, I believe three of them never even made it to level 6 to unlock a spec because they found watching auto attacks and firing off one attack every 10 seconds boring. I have attempted to invite them back compared to when they last played, touting the doubling of content and the inclusion of Alchemy, but they did not want to have to grind to 6 to unlock a spec or grind to 20 to try Alchemy.
 
I agree with points 1 and 2, but I have reservations about point 3. Typically, players should focus on leveling up initially and address the PH/Named system later in the game. Gearing up your character usually becomes a priority in the later stages, as most equipment in the early levels serves as temporary filler until reaching the coveted 'end game gear.' However, the game introduces level 10/20 gear that remains relevant throughout, offering a balance to avoid making the entire journey with lackluster filler gear. Additionally, there's a plethora of excellent gear available in the level 25-46 range now.

I don't see the necessity for players to farm PHs/named mobs in the 1-5. The focus should be on leveling up and moving beyond NHV and Northreach. Min/maxing at level 5 in an MMO might not be the most practical approach.

Having returned to NHV and Northreach with the goal of helping players progress to Meadowlands, I've observed a common challenge. Many players struggle to advance from levels 12-22, spending weeks trying to form groups. The distant goal of landing in HH or RSev becomes daunting upon entering Meadowlands at level 12. Furthermore, some players in these level ranges mistakenly believe in the requirement of the holy trinity, waiting at a campfire until a tank joins the group when leveling with strikers and healers can be equally effective. If you have 2-3 people just go kill stuff, move the bar.

I think from my opinion over the last couple of weeks from what I have seen, we need to improve the 1-22 because the odds of people sticking around are dependent on them getting to HH or RS.
1) Increase XP Rates significantly 1-22
2) Add clear direction for players at least 1-12
3) Consider re-doing alchemy to start at level 10 and re-working the quest
4) Consider alchemy being a 1/2/3 system where 1 is 'always on' and a VFX/SFX-only version which would shift current AA1/AA2 to AA2/AA3 (just allows all abilities to scale up based on rank and have an awesome look, all the time)
5) Repeatable quests for levels 1-22 with XP rewards
6) Academy NPCs scattered around NHV, Meadowlands, and Dryfoot who will take some ember essence and give buffs to help lower-level players waiting on groups
7) Make HP regen matter; either work in combat or significantly speed up when out of combat, it is a complete joke, and sitting for 2+ minutes just kills the fun
8) Duplicate Spider/Wolf cave in Meadowlands with 1/2c version, Duplicate Spider cave in Northreach with 1/2c version, etc. Other ways to play with smaller groups, huge density too not just 10 mobs with 15-minute respawns
9) Add 1c stalkers in Meadowlands & Dryfoot with a good chance for uncommon/rate loot so people can see some 'loot' and get excited. Not the current 1:100 model


Many other things could be done, but the goal should be to significantly improve this 1-22 experience and get people to HH/RS so they have a higher chance to stay.
 
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Some good suggestions there @Yarpen Zig - We are currently investigation some solutions (too early to speak about it), but i will be reporting this thread to the team.
Please continue to share your feedback related to teh first player experience.
 
Many other things could be done, but the goal should be to significantly improve this 1-22 experience and get people to HH/RS so they have a higher chance to stay.
IMO, HH is one of, if not the worst zone. It's essentially just a long corridor, with huge agro-range spiders left and right. Very annoying. So I don't think getting ppl there quicker will do any good.
If you increase 1-22 xp, the drop off after that will be even steeper...
From my experience, the problem isn't the required xp, but that the game just isn't fun enough. The combat is repetitive, boring and glitchy. Half an hour into most dungeons I got really sleepy, not sure why. Maybe the dull tunnels, the lighting (or lack thereof)...

I think a big problem of the game lies in the chevron system. Dungeons full of 3c are pretty much off limits for a 2-3 man group until the mobs are grey and the loot totally irrelevant. Content for small group/solo has to be specifically designed which is a big extra effort for the devs and brings issues with loot. Other games like Daoc for example solved this just by the level of mobs, say in a full group you would do your level +6 mobs, when duo-ing only +2. This way, all mobs are accessible for every group size, it only is a question of "when?".
 
I agree with points 1 and 2, but I have reservations about point 3. Typically, players should focus on leveling up initially and address the PH/Named system later in the game. Gearing up your character usually becomes a priority in the later stages, as most equipment in the early levels serves as temporary filler until reaching the coveted 'end game gear.' However, the game introduces level 10/20 gear that remains relevant throughout, offering a balance to avoid making the entire journey with lackluster filler gear. Additionally, there's a plethora of excellent gear available in the level 25-46 range now.

I don't see the necessity for players to farm PHs/named mobs in the 1-5. The focus should be on leveling up and moving beyond NHV and Northreach. Min/maxing at level 5 in an MMO might not be the most practical approach.

Having returned to NHV and Northreach with the goal of helping players progress to Meadowlands, I've observed a common challenge. Many players struggle to advance from levels 12-22, spending weeks trying to form groups. The distant goal of landing in HH or RSev becomes daunting upon entering Meadowlands at level 12. Furthermore, some players in these level ranges mistakenly believe in the requirement of the holy trinity, waiting at a campfire until a tank joins the group when leveling with strikers and healers can be equally effective. If you have 2-3 people just go kill stuff, move the bar.

I think from my opinion over the last couple of weeks from what I have seen, we need to improve the 1-22 because the odds of people sticking around are dependent on them getting to HH or RS.
1) Increase XP Rates significantly 1-22
2) Add clear direction for players at least 1-12
3) Consider re-doing alchemy to start at level 10 and re-working the quest
4) Consider alchemy being a 1/2/3 system where 1 is 'always on' and a VFX/SFX-only version which would shift current AA1/AA2 to AA2/AA3 (just allows all abilities to scale up based on rank and have an awesome look, all the time)
5) Repeatable quests for levels 1-22 with XP rewards
6) Academy NPCs scattered around NHV, Meadowlands, and Dryfoot who will take some ember essence and give buffs to help lower-level players waiting on groups
7) Make HP regen matter; either work in combat or significantly speed up when out of combat, it is a complete joke, and sitting for 2+ minutes just kills the fun
8) Duplicate Spider/Wolf cave in Meadowlands with 1/2c version, Duplicate Spider cave in Northreach with 1/2c version, etc. Other ways to play with smaller groups, huge density too not just 10 mobs with 15-minute respawns
9) Add 1c stalkers in Meadowlands & Dryfoot with a good chance for uncommon/rate loot so people can see some 'loot' and get excited. Not the current 1:100 model


Many other things could be done, but the goal should be to significantly improve this 1-22 experience and get people to HH/RS so they have a higher chance to stay.

This is pretty much spot on. Playing in Redshore Ridge last night I've noticed a whole bunch of 1^ with a good density for soloing unfortunately they were yellows and orange at level 33, so I'd have to wait 1 or 2 levels.

But this could definitely be implemented into Meadowlands and Dryfoot. Most areas that have a good density of mobs are 3^. Both zones have plenty of open fields that can fit 1^ mobs. Not just 1 or 2 spread out. (I'd also wished there were more zinc and copper nodes to harvest in dryfoot) there's literally at least 5-7 ramie and the other plant to harvest for 1 node in some areas.

Stick to the new skills for every 2 levels. Fill the hot bar to keep players engaged. 4 levels is spread out too much.
 
I think a big problem of the game lies in the chevron system. Dungeons full of 3c are pretty much off limits for a 2-3 man group until the mobs are grey

Q and I leveled to 50 off 3cs in a 3-man group in a dungeon. I continue to fight 3c in a 3-man. Just requires the right setup
 
This is pretty much spot on. Playing in Redshore Ridge last night I've noticed a whole bunch of 1^ with a good density for soloing unfortunately they were yellows and orange at level 33, so I'd have to wait 1 or 2 levels.

But this could definitely be implemented into Meadowlands and Dryfoot. Most areas that have a good density of mobs are 3^. Both zones have plenty of open fields that can fit 1^ mobs. Not just 1 or 2 spread out. (I'd also wished there were more zinc and copper nodes to harvest in dryfoot) there's literally at least 5-7 ramie and the other plant to harvest for 1 node in some areas.

Stick to the new skills for every 2 levels. Fill the hot bar to keep players engaged. 4 levels is spread out too much.

We are actually at (or close to) max capacity in terms of mobs in Meadowlands and Dryfoot. It's not a question of free land. its a question of how many nav mesh a zone can handle without the performance to drop. But Undone would explain mush better, of course :)
 
We are actually at (or close to) max capacity in terms of mobs in Meadowlands and Dryfoot. It's not a question of free land. its a question of how many nav mesh a zone can handle without the performance to drop. But Undone would explain mush better, of course :)
Would it be possible to change up some 3^ into 1^ and 2^? Move some basilisks spots away from ants + nests so you don't constantly get aggroed from both most of the time.

Emberflies spawning at night is a good thing for Meadowlands, but what about the day time? Crocs shouldn't congregate so much in 2 areas by the town. Change some of the 3^ bunnies near the monolith to 1^and 2^. We know groups like to hang around the bunnies NE by highland hills where they are higher level.
 
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