All About User Experience
Conquest! has always had problems retaining new players and User Experience (UX) has been my primary focus the past month. Part of the issue with retainment is the complexity of the game. This complexity manifested itself with a UX that only diehard fans of the game will dedicate enough time to learn its intricacies.
The UX improvements started with "The Basics", a set of instructions which would display when a player entered a new section for the first time. For example, here is the one for Combat:
"The Basics" can also be reset under the settings menu so players can review them again if necessary. Further improvements included reducing the scrolling when using the in-game chat, including enemy casualties in battle reports, and a better layout for the alliance settings.
This past week, at the urging of a new player named "Jj", I finally got around to adding the movement point and gold costs to most actions. A simple thing to be sure, but one I strangely resisted. Here is an example showing how much it costs to pray for honor:
And here is another which shows how much it costs to quest for your signature troop:
In the past I had resisted adding these to the game for two reasons. First, I wanted the flexibility to change them (which, ironically, I rarely do) without updating the client. Secondly, some of them are calculated and I resisted putting this logic in the client. I didn't say they were good reasons...
A majority of actions now display this information (I can think of 3 which don't; I'm still figuring out how to display the information). Rather than hope for the best or asking around, players now have access to this vital information instantly.
Jj has also been kind enough to create a Tumblr page for Conquest!. This new page, combined with the Wiki that AgedWizard and Deathmagnet have been working on, provide Conquest! with the best documentation it has had in its 23-year history. Thank you!!!
Another addition this week is the ability for players to delete entries from their journal. The journal tracks promotions, establishing/losing kingdoms, markets which are favorable, heroes and artifacts, etc. It is limited to 100 entries and will automatically overwrite older ones, which could lead to the loss of some important information. Players can now manage this better by deleting unwanted entries:
Finally, we introduced new class portraits. The old designs used pictures of the various classes, while the new uses symbols:
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James has been working on Conquest! since 1993.