Tips About Tips

I generally like the tips that you get coming into a game.  There are often things about a game that I learn from the tips.

For example, in World of Warcraft, I learned that I could eat and drink at the same time.

I assumed that you had to do one or the other, but you can do both.  Of course, the tool tip doesn’t warn you that the animation looks goofy,

Shotgun that loaf!

Shotgun that loaf!

but there is always a downside to everything.

Other games have picked up the tips thing.  EVE Online and EverQuest II have added tips to their loading screens over the last year.

The harsh realities of EVE

The harsh realities of EVE

Proof that Woodworkers are useful!

Proof that Woodworkers are useful!

Other games have had them all along, like Lord of the Rings Online and Toontown Online!

LOTRO tips don't wrap

LOTRO tips do not wrap

Toontown Economy... a stronger base than our own?

A jellybean economy... a stronger base than our own?

Warhammer Online came out with tips on loading screens on day one.  I assume they are going to expand them over time, as right now there seems to be about eight tips, most of which I would describe as more philosophical rather than helpful, like:

Being a practical person, I might consider a tip about how to open up your friends list (the “o” key), since it link to the UI above the chat window does not note the key, unlike other buttons.  Or maybe something about how to toggle off the UI for a screen shot (right-shift-z), or even something about the two different types of screen shots.  I would go there before I went philosophical.

Still, there are a couple of concrete ones like:

That is actual hard data.  Perhaps not as universally applicable as the eat/drink thing from WoW, but good for the explorer type.

However one of the current Warhammer Online tips represents my least favorite tip:  The tip extolling tips.  Every game seems to think they need a tip like this, and it is usually part of the first batch of tips in the game.

Why does every game feel they need this tip, or one very much like it?

What drives the strange belief that people who do not read the tips already will be move by, or even see, this sort of message?

The recursive tip asking you to read the tips seems to me to be an indicator they there are not enough tips in the system.  I imagine a conversation along the lines of:

content guy 1: Hey, we only have five tips.  We need to come up with more.
content guy 2: Hrmm… how about a tip about how useful the tips are.
content guy 1: Cool!  Now we have six tips….

The problem is that even after the list of tips gets fleshed out and represents a wealth of knowledge, that one tip remains.

Why does that tip remain?  Has anybody ever felt informed by a tip telling you that you should read the tips?

9 thoughts on “Tips About Tips

  1. syncaine

    The WoW food/drink thing was not always in the game, which made the health/mana food so good. At some point Bliz just dumbed it down and said you could do both, and never bothered to fix up the animation.

    I’m assuming WAR will get more tips, as they are painfully limited right now, and they really could explain a bunch of the more unique stuff in WAR, like how PQs work for instance.


  2. sente

    City of Heroes/Villains added tips earlier this year; they also accept submissions from players on tips to include – one of the tips is how you can submit your own tips.

    Not sure what the procedure is for getting the submitted tips accepted though, I guess there is some QA process in place.


  3. p@tsh@t

    Now there’s an idea (maybe because its Monday)… You should ask the magic 8-Blog for WAR tips from readers and compile.

    Then maybe you’ll see:

    There are more great Warhammer Online tips at!


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    In most massive games I’ve played the official forums usually end up evolving a thread along the lines of “things I wish I knew sooner,” which would seem to me to be fertile ground for tip generation. Of course, games without official forums….

    And, yes, the self-referential tips are amusing the first few times. But you see the loading screen so often in WAR… at least if you play scenarios on the Order side (sorry Destro!)… that I start wondering how much customer eyeball time has been squandered telling people, essentially, “Tips are great!” rather than something useful.


  5. tenfoldhate

    Your comment regarding WAR’s “tip about tips” almost made me spit tea all over my desk. There’s something very postmodern about tips about tips about tips.


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  7. Oakstout

    I love the tip about reading tips. It always makes me laugh, so it has to be on there just for that reason, right? Kind of like on the top of the soda bottle it tells you which direction to twist off the top or the tip that tells you to be careful with that really hot cup of coffee because it can burn you.

    People aren’t always as bright as we hope them to be, so maybe the tip about reading tips is not so silly after all.


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