Dumb Decisions: Hyper Universe And the 2 Hour Tutorial

Forcing players to complete tutorials are often a necessary evil from a game design perspective. I personally don't like these kinds of tutorials but I can see why games have them. When given the option to skip a tutorial, players may do so only to end up frustrated down the road. Anytime I run into a mandatory tutorial I typically just grit my teeth and complete it as fast as I can. Rarely do they last too long anyway so it's usually no big deal. This isn't the case with Hyper Universe though, an early access MOBA from Nexon. With Hyper Universe the tutorial is a big commitment. A 2 hour commitment.

Hyper Universe's developers made the decision to require players to complete 2 hours* worth of AI matches before they can start queuing up against actual players. This is so unimaginably dumb and frustrating that I can't believe it made its way into the game. Before any Hyper Universe fanboys start flaming me, Yes, I understand that the game only puts you into AI matches if it can't find a normal match within 15 seconds or so, but I tried queuing up for PvP ~8 times only to be thrown into an AI match, which I promptly left. Why shouldn't I leave? I queued for PvP and the game put me in an AI game. Why does the game even let me queue for PvP if it's just going put me in an AI match anyway? Well, according to Nexon:

Regular Match

  • Players level 5 or under can queue for a Regular Match. If there are no matches found within a certain period of time, they will automatically be queued to an AI match instead.
  • When a player reaches level 6, they will no longer switched to an AI match when queuing for a Regular Match.
  • If a player level 5 or under is partied with a player above level 6, they will not be switched to an AI match.

This feature was added because we had players entering Regular Matches when they weren't ready to. There are some unique aspects to Hyper Universe that players needs to learn. It isn't a good experience when a new player comes in and gets annihilated by a group of more experienced players.

According to Nexon I should have a chance to match up against actual players but I never did. My brother didn't either. Why does Nexon think players are going to put up with this nonsense? I only did so to cover the game here on MMOs.com but I would never in recommend Hyper Universe to any of my friends simply because of the game's garbage tutorial (I consider the AI matches an extension of the tutorial). While Hyper Universe isn't the only MOBA to require players to complete AI matches, it takes it to the extreme with its silly level 6 requirement. Compare it to some other popular MOBAs:

League of Legends - Players need to be account level 3 to queue for normal games. (2-3 games) ~40 mins

Dota 2 - Zero AI matches or tutorial required. ~0 minutes

Heroes of the Storm - Skippable tutorial. Zero AI matches required. ~0 minutes

Gigantic - Tutorial + 2 AI matches before being able to queue for normal matches ~30 mins

Nexon claims that Hyper Universe has some "unique aspects" that players need to learn. Every MOBA has some unique elements that people need to learn, but no other game requires players to go through this much bullshit just to play against real opponents.

Here's the thing Nexon doesn't seem to understand. AI matches aren't fun for most people. And they're definitely not fun when you have to do them over and over again. Especially when they're made brain-dead easy due to incredibly dumb bots diving towers and the massive +dmg and +defense bonuses players have in these matches. So not only are these games not fun, they don't even prepare players for a live PvP environment. This would be a non-issue if players only had to complete a single match, but from my experience it takes 8+ matches to reach level 6.

If Hyper Universe wants to set a level requirement to play RANKED matches that I can understand. But to queue vs normal matches players shouldn't have to grit their teeth and go through 2 hours of boring AI matches. Fortunately they won't have to because people are just not going to play Hyper Universe. And why would they? The first 2 hours are simply not fun.

Disagree? Do you enjoy tutorials and being forced to complete 2 hours of AI matches? Feel free to flame me in the comments!

*2 Hours is the average time it takes to reach account level 6 (According to Hyper Universe's Community Manager). After level 6 you will no longer be put into AI matches when queuing for PvP. From my experience queuing solo takes longer and queuing with others speeds it up.

Update: August 30, 2017: A small patch was introduced that slightly addresses this issue:

To continue our improvements with the new user experience, the following changes will be applied during maintenance:

  • Lowering the level it takes to get moved into AI Match if you queue for Regular Match from 6 → 5.
  • Increasing the time it takes to switch from Regular Match → AI queue if you are under Level 5.
  • Added a warning message when players below level 5 try to queue up for Regular Match
  • Lowered the new user program buff during AI matches.

Been playing MMOs since I first got my hands on Ultima Online when I was 12 years old. Played so many games from Star Wars Galaxies to MapleStory to DAoC to World of Warcraft. Long time League of Legends player too! I'm also Known as "ReMo" and "Remotay"

  • It doesn't take a genius to realize this is an awful idea. Just look at all the established successful games in the genre for inspiration if you have no idea how long people should play through tutorials. I personally like the Hots / Dota 2 approach which have zero mandatory tutorials.

    • Feto

      Have you seen someone play Dota 2 with no knowledge of the game? For me that's the worst thing you could have: People that has no idea what they are doing trying to play a game with 9 other people.

      I get that forcing tutorials or gametime may be annoying but I think it's only for the best for people that actually know how to play the game, it should be less probable that you will find a complete new player in your game so you get fun games, instead of the usual flaming on the new player that will probably be pushed away from the game due to "toxic community".

      • "No knoweldge of the game" and being forced to do 2 hours of brain dead easy AI matches are on 2 ends of the spectrum. I specifically started the article with "Forcing players to complete tutorials are often a necessary evil from a game design perspective."

        I'm fine with requiring the tutorial and maybe ONE ai match. After the first one I'm not learning anything anyway, especially with how dumb the AI is and the +dmg +def stats you can in AI matches don't exist in the live PvP environment, so the game is making me less prepared by getting used to this nonsense

        They could also do what most MOBAs do - let players pick their skill level / familiarity with MOBAs.

  • ugly

    If you're playing bots on league the games are 20+ minutes long depending on the difficulty and how familiar you are with the game. If you wanted a challenge hyper universe offers a veteran bot mode where the ai is not dumb. You also seemed to forget to add in the fact they put in a level event to cater to the people who wanted to hit 6 faster. I love you remotay but I feel as if you're being super nit picky for no real reason.

    • Is it nit picky? Yes. But it's genuinely frustrating. The veteran bots aren't available till level 6, so you can't even challenge yourself while being forced to play vs AI. I remember league AI games going much quicker, but even at 20 minutes its still shorter than the total time in HU. Dota / Hots do it best IMO, but if they wanna require AI games go the League route and make it shorter (I had a couple HU AI games that took 20 mins too)

      I actually think HU is a fun game which is why I'm especially frustrated by the nonsense AI games. If i thought the game was bad I wouldn't really care but the game is FUN and i want people to PLAY the game but the AI matches are a turnoff for a lot of people.

      Asking your players to do 2 hours of boring AI matches is a no-go. I made no critique of the actual game (which I think is fun btw) just critiquing this really bad system. Hopefully they change it before it leaves EA.

      • ugly

        I guess it varies between people some people may enjoy the ai modes / tutorial and some would just prefer to get into the action. I have played the Korean version and I can't remember if they even had a system like that. However they should be able to change a lot with the game during EA and it should be much better for everyone. I can see where you are coming from though in fact I prefer this type of tutorial to some of the tutorials in some mmos lmao.

  • TianlanSha

    After they failed with First Assault, decided to shut it down, seeing how Lawbreakers is failing too, I'm not touching anything by Nexon ever again.

  • PackAsaurasRex

    I disagree, I would actually not play the game because of this. Although the game looks cool, it doesn't look so appealing that I would do a 2 hour tutorial and I know for sure my buddies wouldn't either.

  • PackAsaurasRex

    The 2-hour tutorial hurts the game because casuals won't want to do it. My buddy has a very short attention span, any game with a tutorial like that he would lose interest 30 mins into the tutorial. Although I don't think it "kills" the game, I definitely think it hurts it.

  • No other MOBA makes me do 2 hours of AI matches. HU should take some cues from the more successful MOBAs in the genre. Playing 2 hours of AI matches isn't going to make someone learn the game any better. Especially since the AI is dumb and doesn't simulate a real-world PvP game (Esp because you get +dmg +def bonuses in AI games that you don't have in PvP too!).

    I would NEVER recommend HU because of the tutorial because i know most of my friends would never put up with it.