GameU.R. : Paladins and the need of onboarding

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LudoTIC presents « GameU.R. »

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Regularly, we will present a game’s review using our tools and expertise: our Game Usability Review (Game U.R. for short). The goal of these reviews is to find out what is good or bad, to uncover problems and discuss some solutions.
Game development is an art, here are some pieces of advice to turn your work into a masterpiece.

We use an internally developped method which sees a game from 3 points of view:

  • Usability: as a Human Machine Interface
  • Playability: as an object with playing potential
  • Gameplay: as a video game

For more details, see our related article !

Today : Paladins

“Paladins: Champions of the realm” is a First Person Shooter (or Hero Shooter) made by Hi-Rez Studio. The goal is to win an objective (capture a point, escort a bomb …) in 5 versus 5 matches. Each playable character has his own specificity.
The “Hero Shooter” genre is exploding in 2016, with a lot of new games like Battleborn or Overwatch. In this mass, Paladins is free, which makes it accessible to more people than paying games and it should expect a lot of inexperienced players to try it, and maybe stay if they are handled well.

Paladins champions of the realm

For now, Paladins is in Open Beta, it means that it still may change and maybe some of the topic we will talk about will be fixed afterward or don’t exist anymore. For the review, we used the 0.35.1340.0 version, on the 13th of October 2016.

One day was enough to review this game and to end with these findings:

1/ Playability

Choix

Choice

At the start of each game, each player chooses his character from a list, depending on his likes and what his team chooses.

L'écran de séléction des personnages ne montre que leur apparence.


Good
New players can play in two clicks
Careful
Warning
BUT they end up with no advice on what to play. During this phase, the players only sees what the characters looks like, there are no informations about what his abilities are except his “type” (Front Line, Damage, flank, support).
Advice
Advice
Add a quick description of the character and a list of his spells when the player select it.

Affordance

Affordance

Careful
Warning
Some characters don’t look like their roles. For example Bomb King is huge but only have 2500hp and Fernando is slim and gracious (especially on his portrait) but has 6000hp. The player has to understand that Bomb King is a bomb and can explode easily and that Fernando has a plate armor to resist attacks.

Image de Fernando et Bomb King et de leur portrait

Advice
Advice
Be carefull that characters looks explain their roles. For the examples Bomb King’s armor could be less smooth and look more “ready to explode”, with cracks or smoke. Fernando could have a bigger armor. Changing whole 3D models at this point in the development could be pretty hard, so it could also suffice to modify their portraits : Bomb King’s could show him ready to explode and Fernando’s could show more of his armor.

2/ Usability

Aide et guidage

Help and guidance

When you begin the game and until you reach lvl 5, in the main menu, some recent videos from the “paladin” youtube channel are displayed. We can see tutorials and explanations about the game.

Des vidéos sont présentes sur la page d'accueil du jeu.

Approval
Good
This method is good to avoid looking for informations in the depth of the menus
Careful
Warning
BUT here, only some videos are available.
Advice
Advice
Since the youtube channel has a lot of tutorial and explanations videos, it could be interesting to have acces to more videos from the game. For example in the character informations menu.

Feedbacks

« Feedbacks » are the game’s response to player’s actions, so that he can understand what happen on screen. For example, in Paladin, when you shoot at an enemy, his health bar drops to show to show the damage dealing.

Approval
Good
When attacking, players have good feedbacks about the damages done to the enemy, the healthbar drops and red numbers float to show how bad it is.

En faisant des dégats, on voit la barre de vie de l'adversaire diminuer.

Careful
Warning
When healing, the feedbacks can be harder to notice, the  allies’ healthbar and the floating numbers disappears on a short distance.

Lorsqu'on soigne un allié, sa barre de vie disparait rapidement, on n'a alors plus d'indications sur son état.

Advice
Advice
Enhance the healing feedbacks for support heroes, to encourage healing at least as much as dealing damage. For example highlight the allies’ healthbar when they are low with blinking, lights or embiger them a little. This way the game would incite more teamplay from the support class.

Information’s perception

Approval
Good
The ennemy’s healthbar becomes red when they are at the “maximum damage” range of the base attack. In a 3D video Game, depth is hard to manage on a 2D screen. This technique is a good way to help the player see when it is best to attack and deal the most damage.
 A longue portée, la barre de vie des ennemis apparait en orange.  A courte portés, la barre de vie des enemis deviens rouge pour signifier que les dégats seront maximums.

3/Gameplay

Failure

Approval
Good
After the player’s death, the game automatically displays a “killcam” to help him understand why he died, it also suggest to buy items to enhance some abilities and acquire an advantage for the rest of the game.

Les derniers moments avant la mort sont repassés au joueur du point de vue de son assaillant pour l'aider à comprendre.

Conclusion

Paladins is a pretty good « Hero Shooter » and it’s free ! It can be a good way for players to discover the genre without spending anything. That is why developpers needs to be really careful to guide and content the new players. Because they may come to discover the genre, but they also may stay if they understand enough and the game fits them.

Graphic about the points discussed above

A picture is worth a thousand words

This review was but only a peek of our Paladin’s assessment (It isn’t even its final form !!). We can do a lot more thanks to our tools and expertise, contact us if you want to know more.
If you have questions or opinions, please tell us In the comments. See you next time 😉

That was GameU.R. the review ergo of jeux vidéos.

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Eloi Duclercq
Eloi est spécialisé dans l'ergonomie des jeux et media interactifs. Il apporte son expertise au pôle recherche Jeux Vidéos et s'intéresse particulièrement aux problématiques liées à la réalité virtuelle.
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