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Thread: Levels to get people hooked.

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Mississippi

    Levels to get people hooked.

    What 3 levels would you guys suggest that you would show someone not in to thief/2 FMs as an example of why they should give it a try? What are your top 3 so called "gateway drugs" in to thief/2 FMs?
    I am going to say Rose Cottage by Saturnine for the excellent theme , Nosferatu by Sensut because it is just plain fun , and Behind Closed Door by nicked because of how the level gradually unfolds... Just curious to hear what you guys think would be good introductory levels.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Acid House


    Being sensible how about a few older ones
    Dark Messiah
    Raid on Washout Central
    Heist Society
    Last edited by fortuni; 2nd Mar 2021 at 14:44.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    It really depends on their pre-existing skill set and tastes. Are they solid with FPS mechanics already? Do they like intense action? Or a more cerebral experience? Do they play a lot of old-school/retro games? Do they prefer more modern-looking graphics?

    I've used Temple of the Tides for this purpose, but that was always for people who: (1) weren't already skilled with FPS games; and (2) were into puzzles but not action. I've also tried Broken Triad and Ominous Bequest, but those turned out to be incredibly intimidating introductions.

    I'd recommend you start small. Give them something they can beat in under an hour, especially if you're not there to guide them through (I've always introduced people to Thief FMs in-person). Once they're hooked (fingers crossed), they'll have the patience for a big multi-hour mission, but until then I think it would just be frustrating. Nosferatu and Rose Cottage are both fun for experienced Thief players, but I can't imagine enjoying either of them as a first go. They're not very player friendly (lots of locked doors, hard to progress at first) so are perhaps better saved for later on.

    Some of the recent contest missions could be good starting points. Midsummer Night's Heist is a pretty quick/simple mission, but very beautiful. And it's very pure "Thief."

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I had an idea for a contest where authors would be challenged to create a new "demo" mission. That is: create a short mission where you introduce and/or teach an inexperienced Thief player to understand and appreciate Thief. The idea of the "demo" is just to think of it as something people might try before even buying the game, but I don't literally mean a demo. The aim would be to try to sell Thief to someone who doesn't already love it.

    But to answer more directly, I agree with everything trefoilknot said. I would pick a mission that wouldn't overwhelm the player and would have some distinct aesthetic appeal. So it should be relatively short and accessible, and it should be especially atmospheric or visually appealing.

    I actually think A Midsummer Night's Heist is an excellent choice. It's a highly polished, broadly appealing mission with great looks. But shorter, simpler missions might work even better. I definitely wouldn't use something like Rose Cottage for a first-time player.

    I'd be careful to avoid missions in very specific genres, like undead missions, for example. Even some very experienced Thief players don't like those kinds of missions and you don't yet know if this new player would grow into one of those undead-hating Thief fans someday.

    It's an interesting exercise because you have to put aside your own preferences and biases and try to think how someone completely unfamiliar with everything you've experienced would perceive Thief's world and mechanics. (Hence why I also think it could be an interesting challenge for a contest.)

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: thiefgold.com
    Ink and dust, Calendra's Cistern, Ruins of Originia

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Azaran View Post
    Ink and dust, Calendra's Cistern, Ruins of Originia
    These are joke suggestions, I hope?

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Ha! I was wondering the same thing... you're joking, Azaran... right?

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Calendra’s Cistern is a great intro FM, I nearly suggested it myself but the request was for T2 missions (I think).

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2021
    I find these missions would be good as intro levels to a Thief newbie:

    - Up In the Bonehoard: A reimagining of the Bonehoard level as a skywards-spiraling, puzzle-laden tomb. It's great for people who like platforming and riddles, but it may be heavy for a more casual player. In that regard, I'd suggest instead -

    - Mech Angelo: What can I say about this mission? It's fun, it's short, and it has some interesting and funny moments and enemies. A definite Sunday-afternoon-playthrough kind of mission, and light enough to give people a sample of Thief's stealth mechanics without demanding too much.

    - Any of the Short FMs In General: I know the thread asked for Top Three missions, but honestly? Any of the short FMs could give you what you're looking for. Look for something that a newbie might be able to finish in an hour or two. Pick from a number of mission genres the ones you find interesting (a good list is here), and then show them to the hypothetical taffer-to-be. With any luck, something that gives them that little taste of Thief will hook them in.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Mississippi
    Mech Angelo was probably the first New Dark level I played and was impressed by the leap....


    Quote Originally Posted by Esse View Post
    I find these missions would be good as intro levels to a Thief newbie:

    - Up In the Bonehoard: A reimagining of the Bonehoard level as a skywards-spiraling, puzzle-laden tomb. It's great for people who like platforming and riddles, but it may be heavy for a more casual player. In that regard, I'd suggest instead -

    - Mech Angelo: What can I say about this mission? It's fun, it's short, and it has some interesting and funny moments and enemies. A definite Sunday-afternoon-playthrough kind of mission, and light enough to give people a sample of Thief's stealth mechanics without demanding too much.

    - Any of the Short FMs In General: I know the thread asked for Top Three missions, but honestly? Any of the short FMs could give you what you're looking for. Look for something that a newbie might be able to finish in an hour or two. Pick from a number of mission genres the ones you find interesting (a good list is here), and then show them to the hypothetical taffer-to-be. With any luck, something that gives them that little taste of Thief will hook them in.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Mississippi
    Quote Originally Posted by fortuni View Post
    Calendra’s Cistern is a great intro FM, I nearly suggested it myself but the request was for T2 missions (I think).
    Thief 1 or 2 FMs are good...

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2012
    Slightly off topic, but the best thing about thief, in my opinion, is the sound/audio.
    Modern games simply do not sound as good as older games with EAX.
    Perhaps this video will convince someone to play Thief.
    (listen only with headphones) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW-W3A2l5UE

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    I'm pretty sure the best mission to introduce people to Thief is "A Keeper's Training", maybe followed by a little-known one called "Lord Bafford's Manor".

  14. #14
    New Member
    Registered: Feb 2019
    The mission that got my in to fan missions was autumn in lampfire hills. Not the best introduction mission, but it got me hooked. I played sensut's lady bathory campaign and sliptip's/Digi's Fables of the Penitent Thief. It does depend on what they like.

    Thief 2x might be a good choice too. It's a campaign pretty similar in feel and scope to the original games.

    I might also suggest christine's missions. They tend to be gorgeous to look at and have difficulty that isnt too hard but also not too easy.

    like others suggested, short/contest mission would be a nice introduction.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Mississippi
    Some of the recent anniversary contest missions for both Thief and Thief 2 have produced some stellar missions worthy of FM intros... I'll be honest nicked, I liked and played through both Thief games but didn't become hooked until I played the FMs back in like 2009, they flipped the switch.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    I can understand why you don't want to kick things off with Bafford's. For a gamer who's been spoiled by years of modern games, it could just be too hard of a sell. That said, I think there's a lot of wisdom to what nicked said. In particular, it's important to appreciate just how very different your question is from: "what are your favorite fan missions?" You didn't ask about our favorites (we've got a zillion threads on that), you asked about which ones would be best for introducing a new player.

    Thief 1 kicked off with Bafford's Manor. Why? Basically no one thinks this mission is the best one from TDP/TG. Probably not even above-median, if we separate quality from nostalgia. Why not start with The Sword? It's widely regarded as a superior mission (perhaps the best of T1?) and it's where the real story begins anyway. The missions leading up to it are entirely irrelevant to the over-arching plot, beyond giving a justification for why Garrett was hired for the sword heist. Did LGS blow it? No, of course not. The Sword may indeed be a superior level, but it isn't a better *introduction* to the series. It's complicated, and zaney. It's HARD. When I first played in 1998, it was the first mission that I didn't finish in a single sitting (Thieves Guild wasn't a thing yet). Had the series started with it, I'm not sure I would have stuck around. It would just have been too overwhelming and frustrating. Bafford's gave me a quick task that introduced a ton of mechanics and strategies, and let me feel good about what I could accomplish. I snuck past dozens of guards, bonked a few of them (and killed two...) and nabbed a dope scepter, in what... 35-40 minutes?

    You can't expect a new player to get "hooked" in one day. That takes time. Best you can shoot for is giving them an experience that they enjoy, and leaves them wanting to have another one like it. Start simple, and build from there. You can build quickly, if they're an experienced gamer, but don't throw them in the deep end just because a certain mission blew your mind after you already had *years* of Thief experience under your belt.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Location: Planet Crazy Pants
    The obvious answer, which was every person's experience here, is the OM's
    You get the basic gameplay, mythos, mechanics, so on.

    That's what got all of us hooked

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2015
    Location: Hungary
    All for a Night's Sleep would be a nice starter in my opinion. It's somewhat small, simple, but nicely built and enjoyable.
    Unbidden Guest is also an enjoyable mission which is - as far as I remember - easy enough to be played by a new player.

    One with optional readables are the better. Especially in case of a non-English speaker. Many FMs rely heavily on readables which means people with a poor English knowledge will inevitably be stuck.
    Readables in OMs can be mostly ignored (except vault codes which are obvious), because things can be more or less guessed without reading anything anyways (there a few exceptions of course, such as Undercover, Return to the Cathedral and Soulforge are probably impossible to complete without reading - hearing Murus - and understanding the instructions)

    I think a starter mission should be at least average in quality (but not a masterpiece to raise expectations too high in the player), simple/easy enough that a more-or-less beginner player could still complete it without too much trouble, but not an overly easy cakewalk.
    Also I wouldn't recommend horror FMs or those that require a too much altered gameplay method. (Garrett being unarmed etc.)

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    t2/three crowns by BBB

    t2/seven sisters by Lady Rowena

    t2 night falcon/curse of the falcon by Christine

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Mississippi
    Quote Originally Posted by ValmontPhl View Post
    The obvious answer, which was every person's experience here, is the OM's
    You get the basic gameplay, mythos, mechanics, so on.

    That's what got all of us hooked
    Respect! But it was the FM's that hooked me, not the originals which is why I am curious to listen and hear what others would think would be good intros, whether playing or watching someone else play.... which is weirdly a thing this day and age.....back in my day we had screenshots to hook us....

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2021
    Now that I think about it, since the missions are fairly small, what about anything from the recent Anniversary contests for Thief II and Thief, or the 64 Cubed contest from a while back? Especially anything in the top three. I think those would be great examples of what a brief taste of the game would be like.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2015
    Location: Hungary
    I don't think the recent anniversary contests were good starters. Most entries are too high quality missions (with a few exceptions), people who never played with Thief would see many older (and actually very good) FMs, as well as most OMs as bad ones, because they had wonkier brushworks, limits of olddark etc.etc.etc...

    64 Cube contest, or 48h contest entries should be also good starters from the FM pool (at least the actually finished ones in case of the latter)

    In my opinion, people playing FMs should complete the original game at least once. Even if not playing through all the OMs, finishing the first few for both T1/TG and T2 should be a good starter to get to know with gameplay and the setup of the story.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Location: Planet Crazy Pants
    Quote Originally Posted by vincentlancon View Post
    Respect! But it was the FM's that hooked me, not the originals which is why I am curious to listen and hear what others would think would be good intros, whether playing or watching someone else play.... which is weirdly a thing this day and age.....back in my day we had screenshots to hook us....
    Well for what it's worth I still remember my first successful blackjack from way back in 1999 (pic attached) and, also, thinking back; the concept of T1/G FMs attracted me since I was enjoying the UT mods/maps back then.
    Having played through the OM's first, I wanted more.


  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Mississippi
    I'm trying to remember how I found out that there was a FM community for the Thief series... I believe it was a review article that mentioned it and it got me to search for it , which lead to TTLG.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Not France
    Quote Originally Posted by fortuni View Post
    Acid House


    Being sensible how about a few older ones
    Dark Messiah
    Raid on Washout Central
    Heist Society
    Having just recently played Raid on Washout Central I have to disagree for the sole reason that it's a bit broken (unless there's been an unofficial update I'm unaware of). The tailing section doesn't work reliably and there's a chance you can break the mission by not picking up keys at the right time and/or using them at the wrong time. It's a well built mission in terms of actual level design, but those issues might put off a newcomer.

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