Tide talents over until Mists of Pandaria
You have no idea how badly I want Blizzard to just throw away talents right now, immediately, much like the release of patch 4.0.6, because there is nothing more confusing and off-putting to a brand new player than a wall of text and pictures. My test subject was so excited to see a new panel open up on the menu bar only to be greeted with more choices, more reading, and discussion about abilities she hadn't even gotten to train yet. Seriously? At level 10? The aspect of the talent system that worked best, ironically, was the specialization part, where my new player quickly read the descriptions of the class, liked her pet, and chose Beast Mastery based on the description.
So until Mists of Pandaria destroys talents as we know them, make talents a no-brainer for new players. I'd tell you to grab an addon like Talented or Talent Planner, but both projects were abandoned some time ago because, well ... talents. Instead, you get to be the addon this time. Talents are important to a character's scaling power, and making sure your new player is filling out that tree, even haphazardly, is worth it. Hand hold with talents until Mists of Pandaria, since then the system is just easy-peasy.
Selling vendor greys -- not as easy to explain as it sounds
Our lives are shaped by the language of MMOs -- we grew up with it, lived it, played every game in the genre. Even if you weren't an MMO gamer, by the time Mario 64 rolled around, you pretty much had a handle on how to navigate through a 3D world, could grok the fact that an object could be behind another object and you had to run around, and knew that there was a relative set of physics that affected how your character interacted with the world.
The problem arrives when you have someone who doesn't necessarily possess that muscle memory or motor skill set, especially with a mouse and a keyboard at the same time, with buttons to hold for moving your eyes. It's a strange and foreign concept that reminds me of the early days of film, when people in theaters didn't understand that "cutting away" to a new shot after people walked through a door meant that people had walked through the door and were in a new space. Conceptually, that's not easy for someone who doesn't understand the language of movies.
Vendoring grey items was one of those conceptual ideas that sounds easier to explain than it is. First, you have to establish that there is an economy and that economy is practically limitless. Then, you have to explain sources of income. One such source of income are items specifically designed to be worthless to you but worthwhile to any vendor in the world, because this item's purpose is to be sold. Can you see how this becomes a bit of a headache?
Rather, why not install something like Sell-O-Matic 2 for your brand new player, making the act of gray item inventory management a thing of the past? These addons can be configured to sell all gray items in your bags immediately upon clicking on a vendor. It is heartbreaking to watch someone you love go from item to item, reviewing its color, and making a decision to sell.
Download Sell-O-Matic 2 at [Curse].
The number of people who read quests
It's strange, the things you learn about people when they are in unfamiliar worlds. I thought this new player to be an avid reader of good and bad fiction -- but well, not here. This was a different person, someone weird and primal, who cared not for words and prose but looting and finishing quests. Who knew?
With the absence of reading quest text comes the atrocious consequence of new players who get frustrated when they do not understand how to complete a quest. Getting something like Quest Helper gives new players a more plain-language, right-on-the-map explanation of certain quest elements that will make your new player's experience just a bit more fluid.
Remember, brand new MMO players don't understand the language or concept of "spawn locations," much less the idea of patrols and adds. Quest Helper (or any quest addon that you prefer) can pull all of those concepts together and, in practice, it will slowly become apparent how things work.
Download Quest Helper at [Curse].
Next week, I'm going to do an Addon Spotlight all about recommended addons for returning players coming back for Pandaria and the Scroll of Resurrection. What would be your biggest addon tips for the old guard coming back to see the new worlds ahead?
Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email firstname.lastname@example.org.