To partly solve Achaea's learning curve and improve the Trial issue (which Sarapis mentioned in one of the Rant forum's posts), I'd consider an academy or something that allows newcomers to do a bit of extra reading or intro work, with the aid of either Romeo/Juliet, or some additional Guides.
Part of what this could entail is extra help scroll reading, so that their exit from Ceylon is locked until they've at least opened each required scroll once. HELP INSANITY, HELP NAMECHANGE, HELP NEWBIES would be key points to keep easy mistakes from happening.
In the modified Trial, the player is still in a 1-player environment with only the same denizens on a guided tour. The Crone's functions are still good to review, but the flavour on that might be different.
Denizen tasks to highlight in the "Trial":
* MAP usage, SAY/TELL, and emotes, GET/GIVE, and the things Gruul walks through. Essentially everything already in the Trial is good for that phase. But might adjust the default speed to be slightly higher.
* Learn about hunger & sleep
* PROBE/CONSIDER might be good here before attacking the Fire Guardian
* Skip the city/class/house choices though.
* Choose RACE. To avoid using up free reincarns and so on, a player might want to learn a little about the races in-game and how they'll function.
* Tells from Pasiphae or somebody to read insanity/namechange/newbies and likewise.
* A chance to review CONFIG options, possibly with auto-advice on them.
From here, instead of immediately reaching the ring of portals and having still attained Lvl 5, the newbie is instead placed in the Delosian Academy, a classroom-like environment that is essentially part of the real world, but still with Minia-like restrictions. Players will be advised in a tell upon entry that they are now in full roleplay and should behave as such.
This is where the youngest newbies, from about levels 5-10 could remain. At the head of the classroom would be a Pasiphae type, either as a guide or guide-controllable denizen, that serves as a more personal intro and answers questions in person (Romeo/Juliet can step in too). At the same time, other new players can wander the school-like environment doing menial quests. In scope, something between Hogwarts and a one-room schoolhouse would be about right.
Denizen tasks to highlight in the "Academy":
* Health/mana sipping and the fact that endurance/will regen on their own
* Rooms that have IN/OUT exits. I can't say how long it took me to figure out that the entrance to Ember Tower was not EAST, but IN, because I relied on the map, never having played a MUD before
* Quests that improve exploration skills
* CONSIDER/PROBE and etiquette involving city/personal loyals
* A Sorting Hat-style denizen that helps new players decide which class would best suit them by asking "Do you prefer close up fighting or magic?" "Would you prefer runic magic, elemental magic, dark magic....", etc. The reason I suggest this is because I was introduced before character creation by a couple people on another game. They asked those questions to fit me with the right race, city, class, and house, and I think it helped.
* Class choice after the above item.
* In this environment, newbies can interact with each other before they are split up into opposing factions. Upon "graduation" from the Academy, city/house would be granted.
* Discussion of the best racial specialisation to suit the chosen class.
* Discussion of TRAITS and how they'll be available at Lvl 20+.
* At the request of a newbie, the denizen teacher could begin a lecture on a particular topic listed on the board. "Teach me about Gods," says the newbie. The denizen would launch into a timed lesson explaining how to interact with the Divine and how They like Their pronouns. A few "live" help files could be worked in this way. Weapons, Ships, Dragons, Killing/Fighting/Combat, Marks, Divine Orders, Crafting, Lessons/Credits, Artefacts, Theft...
* Quests should include means of acquiring small amounts of herbs, especially some free myrrh.
* HELP files themselves, as well as explaining that CAPITAL LETTERS will be used in a sentence when people tell you how to do something. Try PULLing the ROPE for example.
A series of quests would ultimately lead the newcomer to a room with an invisible lever to pull or something. For returning players creating alts, they could obviously go straight to that room and choose their class/etc. to leave the tutorial. Might run an IP-check and then have the game recommend heading straight for that room if not a new player.
I think the most helpful part of this area for a new player would be a more standardized, controlled version of House interaction, where players can grasp game mechanics without having to sort through confusing HHELP scrolls at the same time.
So, thoughts, add-ons, ideas?