For easier initial consumption, a short overview of my Warframe proposal for addressing the new player experience.
Warframe is all about flow: smoothest combat in games, and a gorgeously diegetic (in-universe) UI. It’s fatal flaw is information. Key information either isn’t in-game, or not intuitive for new players.
Lots of new players bounce off this game they might love because of this. Many veteran gamers, even big fans of Warframe cite this one major flaw.
Wikis are great. Trying to completely replace them is a mistake. But we need to push back on it. Feeling the need to look to a wiki for essential information is a failure of design.
And it’s largely solvable.
That’s good and all. But it could be a nightmare to implement. That’s why I have a detailed proposal. I define goals, scope, and emphasize realistic business considerations.
The goal is answering simple player questions of “what?”, “how?”, and “where?”. We’ll explain key concepts, and provide direction in Warframe’s ocean of content.
Critically, we do it in-context. Players never read proactively (one of many things I learned in years of customer support at Blizzard). They go to a relevant screen, try to do a thing, and only then look for answers when it doesn’t work how they expect. In-context information and cues are the theme of this proposal. If it’s not right there players leave for a wiki or another game.
We limit the scope, dev time, and new assets. We’re keeping the implementation and future expansion as easy as possible. Shooting for low investment, low maintenance.
Payout is nearly assured, and is uniquely observable in Warframe. Many of the changes improve quality of life for veterans too. Meanwhile, Guides of the Lotus give us existing engagement channels with new players, a group notoriously hard to get feedback from.
Help Interface + Tooltips – A smooth interface to enhance tooltips. Enables things like learning what a weapon stat does, filtering for mods that affect it, linking to codex on where to get more, all from 1 screen. The only new system being proposed, but requires minimal assets, dev time. I even made a working prototype demoing how it works on a controller (LINK controller required, tested on Xbox360 controller).
UI Highlights – Minimal UI elements or animations to draw attention to important things.
Bonus Objectives – Remind and reinforce learned concepts mid-mission.
Quests – Create permanent reminders to learn and use key game systems.
Loading Screen Tips – Redo to focus on information likely to be immediately actionable for most players reading it.
Topics these systems will tackle:
- Star Map
- Crafting, Economy, Resources
Why Listen to me?
I have experience with game design, dev, UX, and thousands of hours logged talking to players about their experiences doing customer support for Blizzard.
Been a huge Warframe fan for years, but seen many friends bounce off it. I just want everyone to be able to share my love for it.
Here’s a link to the whole write up. I think this shorter pitch captures its essence. But the full has more complete explanations of why this is a problem, where the problem exists, and specific solution details.