Hey there! I've very recently taken up the HoN position in my House and am looking to shape up our current novice program. I really want to create something fun and efficient that novices will not dread doing, and novice aides won't feel burdened with. My goal is to move new players through the program and get them out actually playing and interacting with other players while also instilling a sense of actually belonging to the House.
That said, what kinds of things do your Houses like to do to not only teach but also engage your novices? How do you teach them everything they need to know without bogging them (and your aides) down? In short, what do you think makes a good novice program?
Give them hands on opportunities for projects ongoing in the House, and/or the opportunity to come up with and lead a small project of their own.
Making a novice program is a daunting task, but you seem to have the right goals in mind for it. There's a few things I would add to Kresslack's excellent point:
Isn't there a post on the Leader's board that specifically says that essays are bad? It's been too long since I had access to that board.
@Argwin I don't have access to that board, but someone did copy/paste something like that to me with a resounding "no, no, no" to essays. I wish I had access to the rest of the board, or even a clan/discord for people in leadership positions who just want to create a positive, engaging environment for others.
@Kresslack This is something I could admittedly be better at. I always try to make time to interact and RP with novices, but I'm not so good at assigning projects! Are there certain things you like to encourage?
@Pandora Thank you for this! I will absolutely keep these points in mind going forward. I especially like your points about choices and gatekeeping. I find that issues on these two points can ruin momentum and make it difficult for novices to advance, even if they are very interested in the requirements themselves.
This is a general question for anyone who is feels like answering: Have you ever been inspired or motivated by a particularly interesting task, and would you be willing to share what it was and why it got you interested?
Tailor them as best you can to the ideals of the House, letting them get involved in group projects as much as possible. Assigning individual projects is great at assessing individuals, such as how they approach a challenge, but getting them involved in group projects is an exciting introduction for them into how the House operates and what they can come to expect. For instance, if there's a ritual being undertaken, utilize them to help prepare for it, gather necessary components, stand on this spot and chant this mantra, etc. Anything to get them involved and make them feel part of something bigger than themselves. It is highly motivating to feel like you're contributing to some larger goal, and it is highly motivating to feel as if your contributions make a difference, especially as a novice.
@Morro Only certain leadership positions get access to that board, which is why I mentioned it. One of the unfortunate patterns I've seen is that while there's this great resource for the admins to record expectations for leaders, far too many leaders either don't read it or don't share what it says with people who could use the information.
After a long time away, I'm of a mind that a good novice program teaches players how to play the *game*, while offering a glimpse into house flavor. In the past, I think novice programs tended to focus on introducing new players to the House first, establishing house expectations and assigning house-related tasks, but Achaea is so much more complex than it used to be, with so many subsystems and underlying mechanics to understand, it's pretty intimidating.
Give novices an overview of what house they just joined, maybe a taste of what "full members" do, but I think novices should mainly get walkthroughs of server side curing, the renown system, buying house credits, how Battlerage works, and similar obscure-but-necessary bits of Achaean life before they get saddled with many House-specific tasks. Maybe that's just me feeling overwhelmed as an oldbie.
I hadn't even considered server side curing. I know some of those things are covered in the tutorial, but having recently introduced a friend of mine I know that not all of that information gets absorbed the first time through.
@aerek I could say, yes. House novice programs used to start with how to play the game, and introduce the concepts of serverside, but this has largely been offloaded to the city novice programs now.
So I tend to recommend just make advancement in the city novice program a basic requirement and really focus on the flavour and activity of your House. Like Pandora recommended, variety is key to encouraging involvement. Give novices both real and alts the opportunity to pursue their own interests as much as possible. One of the best things, when you need to inject some livelihood into the House, is to do group activities. Plan hunts, chats, "dinners", getting involved with the city if there is one. Making novices feel like there is a group that wants them, and that they can really explore their character with that group is important.
Ooh, I really like the idea of a dinner. I honestly haven't thought about IG food since Logosian, but that could be a lot of fun.
A long long time ago when we would teach our Novices skills we would (well, I would) sit with them and as they learned each one we would explain/show how it worked. Lifting Novices up into the trees then shaking them was part of the fun.
I miss those days.
Now everybody just learns their skills with minimal interaction other than help files and Q&A. I miss providing that personal touch - but not sure how to make that part of the culture again.
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