If there’s one thing that can be said emphatically about the CEO of Planet Arkadia (Dave Dobson) and his A-Team, it’s that the player experience is first and foremost a key consideration of development. It also doesn’t hurt to mention that attention to details is equally as important when designing an environment that inspires and enhances exploration of this treasure hunting planet of possibilities. The most recent update for Arkadia was quite generous with content, and you can view the details by accessing the drop-down toggle menu at the top of the MSM site entitled Planet Updates. An unexpected change was a re-design of the new player start room experience, which brilliantly plays into the storyline of the first Arkadian Liberation Fleet that brought colonists to the planet. While the re-design of the new player experience was mentioned in the recent update, the description left it up to the reader to create their own visuals of what they think the new environment might be like. Therefore, I went to Dave and asked if they had any photos available, or if it would somehow be possible for me to actually have the experience in order to do a cover story. I was not that surprised when the Chief in Chargearranged for me to use a test (temp) avatar to go through the new player start room experience to make the reporting more realistic – there’s nothing like first-hand experience. After creating my account at the Arkadia website, I was ready to experience this new path to Planet Arkadia. When I logged into the universe for the first time, the start room looked very familiar. It was actually the lounge of a Mothership, and since I pilot the Yamato Mothership, I was sure it was going to be rather easy to navigate this environment, but I wondered just how the real newbie player would fair with no experience at all. I later discovered (to no surprise) that in true form, the details were there for guidance. When I first arrived in the start room, I saw an avatar sitting in a chair at a table (see front page graphic banner), and first impression was that this must be an NPC. However, I wondered why he wasn’t dressed in some sort of IFN clothing, but just as that thought crossed my mind, he stood up and said hello. It turned out to be another new avatar that had already gone through the new avatar creation process, and I might add, a rather handsome guy, but I had things to do. What follows is a pictorial of my journey through the Mothership, but I only included a few areas of the Mothership prior to reaching the hangar and ultimately the Dropship that transported me to the new arrival area on Arkadia. I added the dialogue with the Captain of the Mothership, as well as the final experience in the Dropship prior to departure to share what a new player is learning. The first order of business for a brand new player is to go through the tutorials, and I added one photo of how the tutorials are presented, but they are pretty thorough, and the graphics help to make it easier. After running through all of the tutorials (and there are many, but very helpful), I then went through the avatar creation process because I knew how to access it and wanted to get it out of the way (it can be time-consuming), but instructions are given from the Captain of the ship as you will see below. The start room (Mothership lounge) is quite cool with windows into space where you can observe asteroids and perhaps debri circling the planet, along with the occasional spacecraft (look like Quads) fly past the window pretty close, as well as farther out into space. > The following series of photos is from the re-designed new arrival area that leads to the new player mission quest line. There’s still an NPC to see at a bar, but the environment is very hangar-like and quite cool. If I’m not mistaken, players already on the planet are able to visit this new arrival area, which would be great for Mentors to acquaint themselves with, as well as Arkadian Advisors. And thus, at this point, the new player would begin the newbie mission quest line and be able to collect a little bit of armor, a couple of weapons, some clothes, a First Aid Pack (FAP), and maybe the coolest thing of all – an Alienware Edition Hoverpod. At the end of the day, and my newbie experience on the new path to Arkadia through the Mothership and ultimately the hangar Dropship, I must say I was quite impressed with how thorough the process was that gave me an introduction to the fundamentals of beginning a life on Planet Arkadia. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that perhaps hearing about the battle with the Oratan, it might inspire new players to want to learn more. On that note, I think it would be nice if somehow there was a reference to the Arkadia storyline directing new players to the Arkadia Forum. The storyline is excellent, and for those of us who followed it prior to, and after the planet was launched, it really draws you in and makes you feel that you want to be a part of the Arkadian fight against the Oratan. My thanks to Dave for giving me the opportunity to personally experience the new player creation process in order to add realism to this report, and for always maintaining a level of communication that keeps us in the know. After two years of development, I don’t think that Dave and the A-Team will be slowing down anytime too soon. There’s always something in the pipeline — stay tuned to MSM for news and announcements.