I've been DMing for a couple of years, and I have this recurrent problem. My players are now quite experienced, they know the rules, they know how to play. But every once in a while, we invite someone new to D&D to play with us (or a couple of people).
When we invite someone new, we describe the classes available, their playstyles, and how the game works. A great majority of the people decide they want to play a caster of some sort (I get the appeal). However, even at level 1, casters have a lot of complexity. Even experienced friends of mine didn't initially quite get the nuances of spells known, spells prepared, spell slots, and arcane foci. In practice, this means the new player faces 2 hours of character creation, which mostly turns them off of playing. Not many people enjoy spending so much time reading something for a game they're not sure they'll enjoy.
To overcome this, I've done a couple of things:
- Help them build their characters, step by step, keeping it simple when necessary, and allowing them to customize when I feel it's important (weapon or spell choices, for example)
- Eliminating some more complex mechanics (like spell components)
These work sometimes, other times not. When they do, if the player sticks with the table, I eventually introduce them to the full rule set. (Another idea I had, but haven't tried yet, is to have some prepared character sheets for level 1 and level 3 characters.)
How can we invite new players to our table without overwhelming them with so many rules regarding character creation? I hate to see new players feeling bored and turning away from the game just because they unwittingly chose a class with a steep learning curve.