Exbel Woods Rework

Hello PMU,

In this post I shall detail my suggestions/blockout for a potential Exbel Woods (“tutorial”) rework that falls within the capabilities of PMU’s current engine. I believe the tutorial is in dire need of changing, due in large part to it’s age. Currently, the dungeon provides a very poor first impression, and furthermore does a poor job of introducing new players to the core gameplay of PMU. In addition, it doesn’t do a particularly good job of introducing certain core mechanics (basic attacks, moves, items, dungeon navigation), using a tell-don’t-show approach. Exbel Woods is in stark contrast to nearly all the dungeons that follow (FF perhaps being the sole exception) in the way that it is laid out. These are issues I wish to rectify with this proposal.

Note: this post will only touch on the introductory dungeon itself, and will leave the portions of the tutorial both before and after untouched. I may make a separate post touching on these elements in the future.

The following describes a new dungeon, built from the ground up to replace the existing dungeon. I’ll leave the actual dungeon dialogue to the Storywriter/Designer that would theoretically assemble this, and merely describe it.

The Core

Exbel Woods (EW) is a 4 floor dungeon, ranging from levels 1-5. It consists of standard, randomized dungeon floors interspersed with midpoint rooms which serve to explain specific mechanics. The floor generation will be similar to that of Tiny Grotto or Pebble Cave - simple, short floor layouts with standard rooms and corridors.

Traps of any kind won’t spawn anywhere in the dungeon. The weather will be set to clear for the dungeon’s entirety. There will not be darkness on any floors. None of the pokémon within the dungeon will be set to recruitable, and they should lack any moves - resulting in them only performing basic attacks.


No pokémon spawn on floor 1F, and neither do any items. The dungeon would simply be an empty, randomized dungeon floor with a staircase placed somewhere on the level.

Upon entering the floor, a textbox pops up (similarly to the prompt for the Jailbreak Tunnel warden, or the Crystal Castle regice) which reiterates the basic controls for movement, telling the player to move with the arrow keys, and to sprint using the shift key. Additionally, it tells the player about the staircase, which will bring them to the next floor - and prompts them to explore the floor for the staircase)

The purpose of this floor is to introduce the player to the most basic of dungeon navigation - moving about the floor, and searching for the staircase. There are no pokémon to attack or block the player, so the only thing they have to do is find the staircase.

First Clearing

Upon taking the first staircase, the player enters a small clearing. In the clearing is a pokémon (perhaps a starly?) hanging about.

A textbox pops up, informing the player that not every pokémon they meet on their journey may be friendly; indeed, many will attempt to harm the player, and attempt to block their progress The player is told about the basic attack: hold ‘f’ to perform a simple, low power attack. Lastly, the player is told that they must defeat the pokémon before them to progress.

The pokémon in question (a “boss”, technically speaking) won’t pose any threat. They won’t know any moves, performing only a basic attack (if possible, maybe they could only do 0 damage?). Additionally, they will only have 1 HP. This means that all the player has to do is perform a single basic attack to defeat them.

Upon using their basic attack to defeat the pokémon, the warp tile that will lead them onward will be made available. Another textbox will appear; the player is told to proceed to the end of the room to move onward.

The purpose of this floor is to teach players about the basic attack, as well as introducing the concept of wild, hostile pokémon. Not only does it tell players how to perform the attack, it requires them to do so in order to proceed.


The second floor is similar to the first; however this floor is not empty. Basic, very low level pokémon spawn with a relatively low spawn rate on this floor. These pokémon can have their AI set to passive. Items still do not spawn.

A textbox pops up, telling the player that this floor is inhabited by wild pokémon. They are informed that they may have to use their attack to proceed through the floor to the next staircase.

The player will navigate through this floor similarly to the first, but they may have to use their new technique to make it past NPCs.

The purpose of this floor is to show the player an active dungeon environment, which wild pokémon roaming the dungeon floor, as well as how they may need to attack these pokémon to make it through floors.

Second Clearing

The player now enters a clearing similar to the first. In this clearing is another pokémon (maybe a sentret?).

A textbox pops up, telling the player that their basic attack likely won’t be enough to handle most threats. Instead, they will need to rely on their moves to deal substantial damage. The player is told to use wasd to select one of their moves, and while holding it down, press ‘f’ to execute said move. The range of the move will be highlighted as they hold it’s button down. The player is then told to use one of their moves to defeat the pokémon and progress.

This second pokémon will be much tougher than the first - though it still won’t use any moves. Instead, they are a much higher level, and have significantly more HP than the first encounter. This necessitates that the player uses their starting moves to easily defeat the pokémon.

Upon defeating this second pokémon, the warp tile to the next floor will be opened. Another textbox appears, telling the player that they will gain experience when they defeat pokémon. Additionally, they gain substantially more experience when they defeat pokémon with a move, instead of their basic attack. However, they are warned that unlike their basic attack, their moves consume PP, and thus may become unavailable.

The purpose of this floor is to show the player how to use their moves, as well as to emphasize their power over basic attacks, the gain in experience when using them, and their PP restriction.


The third floor is similar to the second, however the pokémon on this floor are a bit tougher, and are aggressive to the player. Items still do not spawn.

The rise in threat, as well as the increase in level encourages the player to use their moves to fight through the floor.

The purpose of this floor is to reiterate dungeon gameplay, as well as provide an environment which further encourages the player to fight the pokémon they encounter, testing out their moves.

Third Clearing

The third clearing is quite different from the first two. Instead of a pokémon to fight, there are an assortment of items present on the floor: an apple, an ether, and a key. At the other end of the clearing is a locked door.

A textbox appears, explaining the importance of items. It tells the player that they will often come across items lying on the ground within dungeons, and that they can pick these items up with ‘enter’. It lists a few of the effects items can have - refilling the PP of your moves, filling your belly, healing yourself, or unlocking doors. The player is told to pick up the key (and is free to grab the other items in the room), and use it on the locked door by interacting with it.

The player picks up the key, opens the door, and proceeds onward.

The purpose of this floor is to explain the basics of items, such as their existence and how to pick them up. Additionally, it requires the player to pick up an item, as well as interact with a locked door, in order to proceed.


This floor is similar to the third, with the addition of items spawning on the floor. These items consist of apples, ether, Oran berries, and Leppa berries.

A textbox appears, telling them that as they proceed through a dungeon, their ‘belly’ will empty. They need to replenish it using items such as apples, and if they leave it to empty, they will begin to lose HP. Additionally, they will need to use items such as ethers or Leppa berries to fill their moves PP. The player can use these items from within their inventory, accessible with ‘esc’.

The purpose of this floor is to continue the basic dungeon experience, while adding items to the mix. The player is given the opportunity to find items in the dungeon and use them to their leisure.

Boss Room

At the end of the dungeon is none other than Joey.

A textbox appears, explaining that many dungeons will have a boss present at it’s end, which will pose a greater threat and will require more effort to defeat.

From here, the fight goes as it currently does, and Joey explains the basics of recruitment once defeated.

The purpose of this floor is to explain, and showcase dungeon bosses to the player.

Following this, the dungeon is concluded.

Closing thoughts

I believe this proposal succeeds in ways where the original fails, while also managing to explain all of the core mechanics that are touched upon currently. In particular, these mechanics are first shown to the player, before then requiring they demonstrate understanding of the topic. Additionally, the dungeon itself, being composed of standard randomized dungeon floors, will give the player a better impression of PMU’s gameplay, and will more closely resemble the dungeon said player will find themselves in next. Having the environment the player learns in be as similar as possible to the environment they will find outside the tutorial will aid in the learning process.

I would appreciate any feedback on this proposal. If something I have suggested is actually impossible within the current confines of the engine, please let me know - I don’t actually know the it’s limits.

i want a section where you die.

where the boss one hit KO’s you and you have to Iearn about the revive menu. i think the tutoriaI area is the best pIace to encounter ur first revive.

i super Iove the beIIy part, i think that’s important.

i think traps shouId spawn. just have it be the more harmIess ones. there shouId definiteIy be a trip trap expIanation and how to get out of it. i was trapped in trip trap for a very Iong time when i was a noob.

As a side note, i think the earIy game is the most important part of the game if we want to keep aII those pIayers that join but rareIy come back

As much as a forced death section would be nice, I simply don’t think it would be possible within the current engine. NPC’s don’t have access to scripted attacks, meaning a player would just be oneshot again after reviving. Not to mention, its possible the player could miss the revive and end up potentially breaking the tutorial.

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what if we made it a high IeveI shedinja so that it’s easy to defeat with Iike a graveIrock, but aIso it does high amts of damage so it wiII definiteIy KO you

Simply put: if said enemy can kill the player once, they can do it over and over and over again. Sure, some - maybe even most players could get through the encounter… but a non-zero amount of players would end up hard stuck.

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No, just no.
Adding a forced death for something that doesn’t really need explaining is def uncalled for, specially for a newbie who might get frustrated over an unfair death so early on.

I can only think of a single reason to put one on there would be a setup for narrative, which pmu doesn’t really have to begin with.

Impossible bosses are a tricky topic but a lot of the time they essentially work as a playable cutscene, and the rest of the time they are ussually this one stablished threat you have to avoid, building tension on the player. Neither case really applies here.

If you want an alternative to this, it’s probably better to give them a reviver and ramp up the difficulty a little bit with the intention of giving them the optional challenge of keeping it so they get to use it after the tutorial.


i think it’s a pretty neat idea for a rework
but i do have some critisim:

the first clearing and second clearing are essentially doing the same thing and are redundant,
you could teach basic attacks and moves in the same place seperating the two only makes the tutorial longer no real good reason, and arguably worse;
basic attacks are competely unccesary to learn and honestly a really bad thing to teach the player to reliably use, as this tutorial teaches the player, having the player clear a whole floor only using basic attacks instils a bad idea into the player that basic attacks are a fundamental part of the gameplay and something they should be using often. which is not the case. using basic attacks isn’t a part of the usual dungeon gameplay which you are trying to solve with this rework suggestion (people have argued it should even be removed!)
due to the usual high aboundance of pp healing items in dungeons the player will almost never be out of pp and if they are it should be viewed as bad thing to fix as fast as possible

if you still wanna teach the player basic attacks in it’s own clearing it should be ironically after moves maybe after havig the player step on a single tile corridor with a trap that sets the pp of all of his moves to 0, (that way also teaching about traps) and then make them defeat a actually pretty bulky pokemon with just f attacks, that way the player will be shown, Not told, that f attacks are a second choice to using moves, and something they should be avoiding if possible, giving a better impression of being a last resort rather then a first one.

this is straight up false information :sableshook:

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While I do agree that within the wider context of PMU, basic attacks may be (but quite frankly aren’t) unnecessary to learn, within the context of the tutorial I think it is very important for the player to start with the most basic actions before building on them.

Simply put, performing a move requires the use of the basic attack anyway, and so the player should learn the basic attack before learning moves. The actual PMD tutorials are like this as well. As long as basic attacks remain a part of the game, they should be explained - and I don’t think explaining both at the same time is particularly good, as it may overload the player. In particular, having the player perform a move after basic attacks will emphasize their power over basic attacks and encourage to use them more. The function of the second clearing is to show the player that their basic attacks will not be enough - if they try to use basic attacks, the encounter will take forever.

(Side note, basic attacks do have a function in actual gameplay; namely, conserving PP by not wasting moves on targets left with 1 HP.)

If this information isn’t correct, then it should probably be removed from the current tutorial itself, considering that this exact piece of information is communicated to the player and is also consistent with the PMD games.

but this isn’t a situation that should happen;

  • if you ran out of pp it’s because you played poorly and didn’t pick up enough ethers and leppas berry off the ground / didn’t bring enough before entering the dungeon, (or just got horrible RNG) ,

  • the chances of pokemon being left on low enough hp to be finished off from a basic attacks are miniscule and trying for it due to the not very clear actual hp indication of the hp bar where a sliver of health may be much higher then you may think may result in you f attacking a pokemon that’s gonna take 5-6 basics attack to be killed leaving you in a dangerous position to be attacked back, instead of going safe with another move, meaning it’s a very bad habit to try and finish off opponents with basic attacks. in fact, basic attacks have a chance to straight up not deal any damage. making a gamble against even targets at actually 1 hp

  • and if the less exp thing is true then finishing off a low hp opponent with a f attack is a horrible idea! this should be more of reason to never use basic attacks and just use a move again! if your gonna lose exp!
    exp is one of the biggest meta progressions of the game, even if there’s very vague chance that few pp you save mattered (more often then not they aren’t) and you die because of it, you still win. because exp matters more then finishing a dungeon run, sure this may not true fro older players and late game dungeons,
    but it is very true for new players! every dungeon run in the early game where you get a lot exp is a victory, and the end room contain laughable stuff they don’t really need

teaching a new player such a bad habit is a horrible idea! it’s gonna ruin thier game experience
F attacks are simply NOT a thing player should be thaught of using for any porpuse. it is a bad idea 99% of the time.
and the tutorial should make it clear without a shadow of doubt, that using F attacks is a bad idea and never a good thing and shouldn’t be considered in actual gameplay against enemies

and if you are that convinced F attacks have any use then it is telling that the game has in fact failed you to communicate to you how much of bad idea it is to use em, and i’m quite sorry.

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Simply put: if f attacks are seriously so useless and detrimental to gameplay, they need to be excised entirely.

While they remain a core mechanic, however, I believe players should be taught them. They will learn very quickly, both in the tutorial and after, that they should not be using these attacks 99% of the time. Regardless, the functionality exists and merely keeping players in the dark will confuse them further.

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My turn!

I do agree that the whole tutorial needs to be reworked, getting told basically all of the controls at once along with flavor text is just going to make players stop reading it all and just mash enter (only to then ask about the stuff the very same tutorial talked about). Of course, it should tell you about items, exploring dungeons and moves, with the f attack as an extra note (like hey i’m here too!). Here is my idea:

  • First floor can be just the one room with the stairs for the pop-up (which will be Buneary following along) telling you that you need to find the stairs in every floor. For the first clearing, maybe place Joey and have Buneary tell you how to use moves, in the process also telling you about the basic attack. You beat up Joey and he runs away.

  • Second floor can introduce items and enemies already, Buneary shows up to tell you how to pick up items and the exp boost from defeating enemies with moves. It’s a tiny floor, Pebble Cave layout. For the second clearing you have a Shedinja (which you will likely not have a super effective move for) and Buneary will remind you about the F attack in case the player missed it. Due to Wonder Guard, you will do pitiful damage per hit, hopefully establishing it as a last resort tool.

  • Third floor has Buneary explain a bit more about items (the importance of Apples and Ethers, how to equip and use said equipped items and lightly touch on bag items, ending with how you should read the Summary of any new item you find) and just leaves you on your own to explore the floor. No third clearing, you are just sent to Joey’s boss room to beat him up again and have him join you.

  • After clearing the dungeon, instead of getting dropped right by the exit of Explorers’ Bazaar, you get dropped right on the entrance and if you enter, you won’t get thrown into another tutorial cutscene. Instead it will be at Grassroot Town, either by talking to an NPC and asking them to show you around or substitute for a player to get started on player-player interaction. Why Grassroot? Because it has all the shops and spots one needs to know. I’m fine with making this part of the tutorial optional and not an event trigger since the player just went through Exbel Woods, and there’s no need to overload them with information from the start.

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oh yes! that should most definitely be something that should be explained in the tutorial that is currently lacking in the current incarnation,
the quick keys to use held items are arguably a very important to the early game, as they allow the quick use of a pebble rocks, oran berries and slumber orbs, making the early game much more dynamic and fun,

the fact the current version of tutorial dosen’t mention such quick keys existing is a serious problem in my view, as it means it’s something another player has to mention, which won’t happen unless prompted, which means it most likely won’t be known by the player till very late in the game, which is a travesty, as the early game is the place where you would get the most use out of them, yet there’s a very good chance the player won’t know about it!

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I certainly wouldnt be opposed to integrating quick item hotkeys into the tutorial; however, I feel it may lead to some informational bloat in a dungeon meant solely to teach the absolute basics.

Perhaps it could be appended to the end of the item textbox on the third clearing - the player is told they can use held items quickly using the zxcv keys, as a side note. However, it would perhaps also require explaing just what held items are, and how to set them - and I think the more advanced nuances of items would be better saved for a later stage of the tutorial (though it still should be explained somewhere)

Here’s the thing, almost everything is a held item, simply because you can equip them. Just write the following:
“Some items give you their effects just by equipping them, but others need to be used. You can still equip them, and from there press Z, X, C or V, depending on who in your party has it! Huh? What is a party? You’ll find out in a moment~”

Last part is because I still assumed Buneary is in charge

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Again, I certainly don’t think it would hurt to touch on said things. I just prefer the core tutorial be as simple and easy to understand as possible (particularly in the controls front), with the more complex mechanics (wind, hitstun, ect.) being left to some sort of continuation.

To be entirely honest I would not mind if buneary is no longer in charge.

Buneary does talk a lot, but in my opinion having a character tell you the controls will always beat an anonymous pop up giving you the same info. With the exception of Mr.Sign. Who I guess isn’t anonymous either.

Lower down her amount of words and just make her explain the basics. Or if that’s not in character for her, change her for Joey and have it so he’s training you to have a worthy opponent or something.

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I really do like this idea! I’ve been looking at the tutorial and a lot of aspects of the game that new people will notice. There’s a lot of flaws in the first parts of the game for sure, but I think a new tutorial that flows like this would be a pretty good improvement.

Maybe its just me, but one gripe I have with the current Exbel Woods tutorial is that it doesn’t really look quite like a “standard dungeon”. I think the maps are fine on their own, but I’d probably have at least one section (or have all of the sections) resemble a normal dungeon layout. Familiarity might help new people settle in easier.

I think majority or all of this could be doable. Would likely need the help of a programmer/developer for scripts but it could be done!


I’m surprised no one brought this up, but, although I agree that Exbel Woods’ floors should resemble actual dungeon floors, I think it would be better to make them set rooms that look like dungeon floors instead of trully random floors (similary to psmd and rescue team dx). This way, bunearry can apear outside of clearings and teach the information to the player before walking offscreen (removing the need for just a textbox), and also ensures a few things:

1 The stairs don’t spawn right next to the player, so the player has to explore the floor.
2 The player finds enemies on their way to the stairs.
3 The room spawn all the intended items for the tutorial, so, for example, the player doesn’t miss out on sticks due to RNG.
4 The player doesn’t run the risk of coming across a “monster closet” in the tutorial.

It would also be nice for the tutorial to mention you can bring up the map with ‘m’