Usability and Flight

A low-level usability test on Mazey Flyff (Flyff private server)


INTRODUCTION

Flyff (Fly for Fun) is an MMORPG application that originated in South Korea and was made famous in South East Asia and the Americas. The game both boasts a wide arrange of game play and character customization. And competes with its cute yet intricate graphics.

Players are introduced into the game as Vagrants living in a floating continent called Madrigal. They are seemingly being cared by the Goddess of goodness Bubble. Their main objective in the game is to vanquish and put a stop to Shade’s, The goddess of pure evil and torment, monsters and minions aptly called masquerpets.

The Goddess Bubble and the floating continent, Madrigal

The game goes by its name because of its unique and pioneered game play—flying. This lets the player fly around the world of Flyff using equipment called boards or brooms.

Because of its fame and potential, the game (like any other MMORPG game these days) had been an avenue for private servers (servers that uses the original game’s data and and profits from it) to sprout.

These Private servers are generally illegal but are patronize by many players because of its “tweaked” game play. These tweaks come in the form of increased loot amount, experience attainment and the likes that speed up a player’s level and will most probably let him maximize all the functions and capabilities that the game has to offer in comparison with the original game’s rules and system.

One of these infamous private servers is Mazey Flyff. In this private server, there is a very profound modification of the game based on its game play, graphics and over-all composition. This server also offers other functionalities not present in original flyff game.

A promotinal header photo for Mazey Flyff

I've recently downloaded this private server in my PC so I am not quite familiar with it’s modified interface and game play. But let’s see.


OBJECTIVES

I’ve been playing the original Flyff for some years now so I am quite familiar with what the game has to offer especially in its game play. But Mazey Flyff is another story because its my first time playing in this server or any other private server for that matter.

My objectives for this test are simple:

  • Experience the basics of the game in context of the modified interface and game play.
  • Identify possible pros and cons of the game in the eyes of a user.
  • Give suggestions as to how the interface and/or basic game play can be improved.
An interface screenshot of the original and up-to-date version of Flyff.
Flyff’s old interface.

TEST TASKS

  1. Creating a new character.
  2. Accessing the game’s help window.
  3. Adding stat points.
  4. Speaking.
  5. Adding a new character as a friend.
  6. Purchasing from an NPC.
  7. Equipping an item.
  8. Changing a character’s “glow”.
  9. Composing fashion.
  10. Flying.

ANALYSIS

For presentation’s sake, I already took the liberty of registering a new account at the game’s site and I had already logged-in using my newly-registered account. I’ve opted to use the game screen resolution 1024X768 (windowed).

Task 1: Creating a new character.

Mazey Flyff’s (MF) character creation window is much like the original but with one profound addition, the three yellow mysterious orbs below the Char Name.

fig 1.1

Well, basically users can select their selected type of hair style, hair color and face composition buy clicking the buttons besides the description. This is pretty much logical.

But only upon tweaking and re arranging the formation of these three orbs one may know its purpose. It’s a color-picker bar for the hair color.

fig 1.2

Notice how my character’s hair changed from brown (fig. 1.1) to green (fig 1.2) as I repositioned the three “orbs”.

Also, Bank PIN is a requirement for any character that will be handy in-game. An error message pops up if one does not enter any valid numeric combinations for the Bank PIN.

fig 1.3

Task 2: Accessing the game’s help window.

so let’s say you are a newbie in the whole world of flyff and quite intriguingly, MF is your first flyff game. The help window is the ultimate guidebook for you.

This is the main interface that a user seens once he or she logs-in to the game for the first time:

fig 2.1

In accessing the help window, I instinctively clicked the Menu button in hopes that its there. True enough, It has it own slot named “Helper” (fig 2.2)

fig 2.2

a smaller box pops beside it when I hovered the mouse button above it as shown below: (fig 2.3)

fig 2.3

When I hit the Help button. The correct window pops out. (fig 2.4)

fig 2.4

Task 3: Adding stat points

fig 3.1

The game offers stat points, a system that basically defines the over-all power of your character. stat points affect everything in battle including your raw strength, defense power and even recovery rate. Increasing stat points as a user levels up is really a must.

I’ve decided to click menu again and I selected “Character” (fig 3.1)

The character window appeared bombarding me with information that is mostly numbers. What I wanted to do is to increase my dexterity (shortened as DEX in-game) by clicking the “plus” button beside it. (fig 3.2)

fig 3.2

I found it very tedious to click the “plus” button multiple times just to put all 28 available stat points under DEX. ☹ Notice that the game allows the user to view the stats that had been affected by making their fonts red momentarily. (fig 3.3)

fig 3.3

Task 4: Speaking

The chat box let’s the user communicate with other characters in-game. This is a fairly common game play in many MMORPG.

The long beige-colored bar at the bottom of the chat box is assumed to be the text box that the user can use to type-in his message. (fig. 4.1)

fig 4.1

After typing my message in the text box, there is no clear button or any hints on how to send it to the world feed or how to let my character speak it. But since I’ve already had a background on playing the original flyff game, I hit the “enter” button on my keyboard.

fig 4.2
fig 4.3

Task 5: Adding a new character as a friend.

A simple task that lets you add other characters in your contact list.

I first selected a character by clicking the right-mouse button. Afterwards, a window popped out beside that character (fig. 5.1)

fig 5.1

by selecting the “Add to my list” option, I can now send a request to that character to be part of my contacts list.

Task 6: Purchasing from an NPC

an NPC (non-player character) is any character that is not controlled by a player. In electronic games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer through artificial intelligence. NPCs can have items that can help the user’s characters upgrade to a much stronger ones.

In flyff, purchasing from an NPC is easy. One has to select an NPC by left-clicking it and selecting “trade”from the window that will pop out right beside the NPC. (fig 6.1)

fig 6.1

An NPC trade window will appear. (fig 6.2 and fig 6.3)

fig 6.2
fig 6.3

The NPC trade window was designed to be more user-friendly and icon-heavy. only icons appear in the “Purchasable items” box. If a user wishes to learn more about a certain item (eg. Price), he/she can hover the mouse over that desired item. (fig 6.4)

fig 6.4

I dragged and dropped the item (in this case a diamond) into my inventory. A “Purchase Confirmation” window will appear asking for the quantity of diamonds that I wish to purchase. (fig 6.5)

fig 6.5

I was confused what the “Cart” box was below the “Purchasable items” section. It did absolutely nothing. All my purchases went automatically to my inventory.

Task 7: Equipping an item

Upon opening the inventory, I wanted to equip the snowboarder suit (M) that the game gave me upon character creation. (fig 7.1)

fig 7.1
fig 7.2

I tried dragging and dropping it to its correct slot (in this case, the slot for “fashion costume” located at the bottom bar of the avatar window)(fig 7.2).

But it did not work. Maybe it only works during NPC purchases.

Anyways, I tried clicking using the right-mouse button but also of no avail.

Finally, I tried double clicking the item using the left-mouse button and it worked!

Task 8: Changing a character’s glow.

Mazey Flyff offers a new game play that can modify a character’s glow or aura in the game. This is an example of a character with a glow vs. no glow. (fig 8.1 and fig 8.2)

(Note, based from external information a glow’s strength and opacity increases as the equipment’s upgrade level increases)

fig 8.1
fig 8.2

To access the “glow changer” window, I resorted to clicking the menu button since there are no other available buttons in the inventory window.

fig 8.3

then this window appeared (fig 8.4):

fig 8.4

The default glow of a character in Mazey flyff is blue and white. (fig 8.5)

fig 8.5

I tried selecting the next item in each buttons (which is “Devil Red”). Afterwards I hit the “ok” button below. But NOTHING happened. (fig 8.6)

fig 8.6

Only after a while when I was equipping different armor when the glow changer took effect. I concluded that you need to re-equip an equipment for your desired glow to take effect. The OK button acts not as an instigating stimuli but rather as a “SAVE” button that requires a refresh from your armor. ☹ (fig 8.7)

fig 8.7

Task 9: Composing fashion

With the fashion composition system, players can combine different fashion items to compound their additional stats. (fig 9.1)

fig 9.1

I tried combining hats (eg. hair)only to get their total accumulated stats but the window’s “start” button is still disabled. (fig 9.2)

fig 9.2

I did not know why it was still disabled so I asked other players about the correct procedure of fashion composition. I learned that you need to fill-up all 8 slots (meaning that a player should have 4 pairs of each fashion set) before you can start composing. (fig 9.3)

fig 9.3

True enough, everything went fine afterwards. But with this simple game play, surely a user will expect to compose at least one pair of fashion item.

Task 10: Flying

The last task took me to the sky.

Flying needs either a board or broom in Flyff. Therfore, I bought a board in an NPC and double-clicked it. I found an NPC selling these items with an identifier: [station]

Flying is fairly easy in the game. I just hit spacebar to start the board and off I go into the sky. I used the right-mouse button to guide my board. But the keyboard controls are also fine.

fig 10.1
fig 10.2
fig 10.3

FINDINGS

Through the course of this test I have gathered the following findings.

  1. The interface’s font size is compressed and is barely readable for very small resolutions.
  2. There is a lack of “first-timer” help or walk through.
  3. In Task 1, the 3 yellow orbs should have its own identification and their own bars so the user may know what those things do.
  4. In Task 3, there should be a way for the user to specify the amount of stat points to put in a stat so as to avoid the tedious action of clicking the “plus” button again and again.
  5. In Task 6, the “cart” box should no longer be included in the NPC purchase window because of its uselessness and it makes the upper section very constricted.
  6. In Task 8, the “ok” button gives the user an impression that after clicking it, the changes above will be applied instantly.
  7. In Task 9, there should be a way in which the user can compose less that 4 pairs of fashion items.

Suggestions:

I suggest that the game should reinvent their font style and font size so that it morphs seamlessly through different screen resolutions and is readable. Fonts create big impacts on users on how they go about their actions in the game and must therefore be given utmost importance.

There should always be a small or mini walk through for new players to get them started about the inter face and game play of the game.

The developers should really reconsider making the NPC purchase window more spacious and filled with only relevant and usable functionalities. Also, they should reconsider the type of buttons that they should use for different types of actions. Buttons give the users certain assumptions as to how they work and whay they are there. Failure to put the correct brand for a button will confuse the user and sometimes will lead them to disregard the game itself.

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