The beginners experience... and why we need a "Cases" page

Hey guys. Thanks for the forum.

I’m new to all fo this. Literally found AO2 some days ago and started playing it. I met some players yesterday who helped me through my first cases and I want to give feedback about the new-user experience in your community and on the website.

In terms of installation, technical support the website is pretty basic but contains enough information to install and play the game within mere minutes.
But what I wonder is…where are all the cases? People link so many documents with cases to me but when you join the game as a beginner you have no clue where to find them.
If you want people to really understand what your game is about if they didn’t watch any videos or experienced cases for themselves yet, you need to show them that there is more than the Basement Lobby of the Official Unofficial Server. Because that paints a toxic picture. I think the website needs a Case section that is communiy moderated and contains lists for beginners and veterans alike. Maybe even consider making an own template and safe the cases on the website instead of using google-docs.

I think, it is a fact that there is a need for the beginners experience to be streamlined and by providing example cases in easy to find locations on the website, newbies will have a much better idea about how and what to do in AO2.
The Help Page is already great but cases would make the game playable without people who already know what they are doing.
…and I think that’s important because if you design something that you want new people to get into it, you need to make sure that they can play the game even without people around who have all the documents ready to share.


  • Why are there no case lists linked on the website or some cases for beginners.
  • I feel it would be way easier to explain this project to people if you can provide beginner cases for a group of newbies to try out.

Is it because nobody wants to make them or maintain a list? I feel we need more actual content on the official communication channels (Discord, Website, Forum) for people to use. I think it is kinda shocking that you have a very unique and awesome fan-product here, that has a discord server that is filled with jokes and memes in the pinned messages where valuable information for new players could be in.
I know this community is full of memes and inside jokes and absolute hilarious casing… and that’s great… but I think this project could grow a lot if you introduce a bit more professionalism to official “institutions” like the discord and a bit less moderators posting their last speeding ticket evidence :wink:

Another thing I want to suggest is a training courtroom for beginners in the official server so newbies don’t have to fear getting thrown into veteran cases when joining other courtrooms. I don’t know if it makes sense to request that since I don’t know how many courtrooms one server can have and if the Official Unofficial server is in fact official… thanks you memers.

PS: If you know lists where I can get good cases for beginners from, please link to them.

First of all, you should know that 1. making the admins professional is futile, sorry, and 2. we don’t like to prescribe players a single way to play AO.

You’ve probably only seen a single type of case so far. I’m not sure what’s most popular nowadays, but the fact is, depending on what server you’re on, people’s personal taste, and the time of day, players have different ways of casing and roleplaying. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of just AA styles:

  • Improvised casing: completely off the cuff without a CM/case runner, or with a case doc, or a different case that a CM is “not taking seriously” or mixing up to make it interesting

  • Planned casing: A CM designed a cool AA trial and made their own doc. They play all the witnesses and know what actually happened

  • Mad Max-style: A bunch of roleplayers salvage an old case doc that a planner-type CM made years ago. They try and go from there. Destruction ensues

  • Vidya style: Someone made a case but different people play the witnesses

The specifics of this stuff also change constantly. Any official case list the admins make will quickly become an ancient, discredited time capsule when, inevitably, everyone forgets about it. Then the Mel Gibsons of AO just have another list to pick from while they run from the crazy bikers.

The problem you’re describing, rampant shitposting and a confusing early game for people just picking up AO, is totally a real problem with this game. That’s a whole other discussion, but basically, we have to encourage new players not to only hunker down in the server that’s always at the top of the list and has tens of clients logged in at all times. You have to just pick a (nonvanilla) server, get to know the people who use it too, do cases with them, and consider picking a different server if you don’t like anyone at the last server or all of your cases there have sucked. Hopefully, one of the servers will stick. There is more than basement, a whole server list of it, and people have to bite the bullet, download some content, and let the shitposters do their own thing. This is how the game’s worked for a long time, and, even if the admins instate some kind of ultra-Communist casing resource or make the documentation/help stuff more detailed or easier to use, none of them are going to do a whole lot to change this core experience any time soon.

Also, yeah, official unofficial is a plague made for shitposting containment, and is truly the GREATEST COMMON FACTOR of AO playing

Okay first of all I know all the styles you described from own experience yesterday or videos I saw. I wasn’t asking for a list of approved cases or play-styles but I think you would agree with me that the case-document is an integral part of gameplay for this community.

Yes not all playstyles use it and yes all play-styles should be valid…but why not mention that on the page? basically all I suggest is a place on the website where user generated content can be linked. Maybe a forum category would be enough for this. A “Cases” category where players can post their own work and maintain it through updating it etc…

If you put something like that on the official website you already have what I suggest.

I understand that I’m really new and I don’t know the community as much as you, or others here do, but I thought it would be good to give some information about how I, as a new players, experienced my first days here.

For example…I’m trying to show my friends what this is all about and I would like to use a case doc for this…I don’t have a single case-doc, though, because I can’t find any documents.

On the topic of shitposting and the official unoffical server: I have no problem at all with the basement, meme cases or whatever…I always found enough serious casing when I wanted it and I also am interested in joining bullshit sessions.
But as a new player I still think that the case-doc is something important for the serious side of AO that should be supported and presented. Just my 2 cents.

That it is futile to bring professionalism to the administration makes me sad, but I can understand that considering that AO can be a meme and not very serious place by itself

Some folks did try and make a case-sharing platform before, with the old forum, and no one used it. Maybe it would be different this time; I don’t know since this forum is literally hours old, but “post your cases” is probably going to be one of the boards on here (why wouldn’t it be?)

If your main concern is just finding case docs, then that shouldn’t be hard on its own. Several server owners or CMs have lists of them. You may have to fish around server docs or ask people. I know for certain that Vidya has (had?) a big list, and their case format is well-suited for people to just grab docs and see what they can do with them. Give it a try?

That’s still the new one, apparently.

What I was getting at is that, because cases take so many forms, in practice it falls on the servers themselves to make the cases available (or otherwise), and on the player to take enough initiative to find them. This is why an official list is doomed to fail. We could link lists like these on the site, “officially”, but people would probably take that as an endorsement or something. Still, it might happen, who knows

Yes my main concern is for new players to be able to find cases. I googled several times now and having to rely on people to be online in order to get links to lists and docs is really not practical. You need a place where you can share these links and informations publicly… like a fanfiction archive. Even if I’d like to have some proper on the website a forum category would already be a good start. I think we need a place where people can share their created cases so they can be found by others. It’s as simple as that.

I can see where you come from saying that. That’s why I mentioned that the system should be community generated/moderated. Just provide the place and the tools to people to post and archive their cases properly so creative products don’t get buried in thousands of google-docs links.

I’m advocating for two things:

  • create 1-3 example cases that can be put on the website so newbies can see how a proper (planned) case can look like
  • make a place where you can share your creations with the community. (forum or real archive with the structure of a fanfiction website)

I agree with you that we can’t make an “endorsed” list and instead should build a place for the community to fill.

Regarding the different playstyles and formats: Like every good fanfiction website we could create different categories that suit different playstyles or case formats. We could even have a difficulty rating system.

I think that would be really helpful.

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The only appropriate place to shitpost and meme is in the basement or when the courtroom is having recess. Otherwise it pisses people off a lot. Something must be done to reduce the annoyance.
People will go to another server if they want to, and I don’t think that’s a good way to encourage people to move like you said. There has to be some other ways. Just because it has been this way forever doesn’t mean that it’s good.
And I hope with this new forum, newplayers will finally get an idea what to do, where to get the doc if they want to play. Create a place for newplayers to practice and do their things without feeling pressured of being a deadweight. Most people are just joking when they said bad stuffs about the players but unless you are a shameless retard like me, it can hurts quite a bit for the new guys who aren’t aware of the nature of the server.
We only wish for this community to grow stronger. And newplayers are important for that, we should care more about them.

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I don’t know exactly what part of the thread you’re objecting to, but yeah, shitpost is annoying and people should obviously follow the rules of the server they’re on.

What TAR4C said about example cases and providing a forum for case sharing sounds good, and I’m sure it’s been noted. This kind of stuff will definitely be welcomed by newcomers who want to get right into casing, or people who want to avoid messing up or embarrassing themselves (as hard as that is here :zucc:)

Ah, instead of only answering, I decided to post a whole new topic about it. My wish is to get as much exposure as possible, on this vanilla case list that was designed for vanilla beginners. You’re correct when it comes to the lack of instructions for new players.

Here’s the post: Sp's Official Unofficial Vanilla Case List

(It also included some guides, I thought it was worth making a whole new topic of discussion just because I want to hear feedback from it.)

imo your “training courtroom for beginners” idea is somewhat unrealistic, as I don’t think we would have enough people tutoring all the newcomers, all the time.

And also, the list, as you request on your PS:

Best, Sp

Edit: Okay, I’ll now sleep