Greedy Goblin

Monday, December 10, 2012

Newbie income IS the newbie experience

Jester often writes thought-provoking posts. Recently he wrote that inflation and the overall richness of the players should be controlled, but "they need to give new players good enough income sources to have a hope of catching up... without making those income sources so good that the vets jump on them".

I'm a relatively new player, 9 months old. I gathered the price of three titans. Spent one titan price on various nullsec projects, have one in cash and other one invested. Isn't that bad. You know which newbie income source I used? Neither. I did not run missions for anything else but standing, I did not mine, I never ratted, I only manufactured to learn it, started PI when I was already rich.

Instead of using any of the "newbie-friendly features", I jumped on the sandbox and interacted with players. Not socially, I never chatted with them or learned their names, just bought their stuff in Lonetrek and hauled them to Jita in my Badger II. The money I made back then was spare change for even an established ratter but a fortune for a newbie. I made the cost of my ship each trip. My income cannot be separated from my game experience and it's true for those who suffered those L2 missions in a T1 cruiser for L2 income.

Do you suggest that every young American should break up virgin land with hand tools and craft his home from rude logs like their forefathers? Of course not! They should go and flip burgers or sit babies if they want some income next to school. They born into an established society and should operate there instead of building their own version in the snowstorm uphill both ways.

The current newbie career agents don't prepare the players to enter the World. They prepare them to don't enter and play solo! These missions did not help me make money, I bought my attitude with me from WoW where I learned that a lvl5 newbie can pick copper ore and peacebloom and sell it to veterans for a few gold pieces which is pocket change to them but 100x more than a lvl5 quest reward. The agent paths shall be completely remade to prepare the new players to interact with others instead of interacting with rocks and L1 rats:
  • Industry agent: sort of OK, after all the players must learn the industrial UI. Mining, manufacturing is there. However BP copy, BP research are missing and should be included. Also PI.
  • Business agent is horrible. It's practically a mixture of the industry agent, mining missions and distribution missions. How about missions like these:
    • Visit the nearest trade hub. Most new players don't even know about Jita, Amarr, Dodixie, Hek or Rens. The school system agent just gives this one mission, the continuation is in the hub.
    • Buy items in the neighboring region and carry it to the hub. Players have to notice that the market is regional and there are price differences.
    • Haul something with suicide ganker NPCs around! Learn to tank your hauler
    • Station trade 1000 tritanium in your hub: set up buy order, update the order until it fills and sell the trit in the same station for more.
    • Accept and complete a courier contract for players (NPCs can create otherwise useless contracts so newbies always find one).
    • Set up an item exchange contract.
    • Calculate the profitability of manufacturing something: the agent gives the option of three BPCs with different material requirements and offer the same price for the products. Pick the one that is cheapest to make for highest profit.
    During these missions the text explains how this activity draw profit from other players while providing services for them.
  • Military agent is OK, players have to learn the combat interface
  • Advanced military agent is horrible, it practically teaches the PvP modules on NPCs and not at all prepare the player for his role in real PvP. How about these missions for the newbie caldaris:
    • Take your Condor fitted with AB, nanos and a warp scrambler and point the NPC battleship, orbiting under its guns until the Caldari Navy battleships arrive and destroy it
    • Sit on a gate and use the broadcast "enemy spotted" when the mission rat jumps in the gate
    • Jump in the gate with mission rats on the other side, gatecrash back, luring the rats to this side where the Caldari Navy set up a trap!
    • Go to a few jumps long "roam" with the Navy and in one of the systems the FC fleetwarps you to the Guristas gang
    • Shoot the fighters of the Guristas Carrier with your destroyer saving the Caldari Navy Dread shooting it
    • Participate in a battleship combat with your frig, the job is to watch the named Gurista who will warp off to one of the planets. Watch which planet it warps, warp to the same planet and tackle it
    • Put Civilian Covops Cloak to your frigate (that is only usable in newbie systems like Uitra), warp stealthed to the bookmark, sneak 5Km from the Guristas battleship, point and web it and use the broadcast to provide a warpin to the Caldari Navy
    • With your civilian cloaky frig sneak up on the Guristas dread destroying a mining colony control tower. Light your civilian cyno and watch a Caldari Navy Leviathan DD it down.
  • Exploration agent: add a mission where you scan down something, copy the bookmark and provide the bookmark to your agent. Also, scan down a wormhole (a C0 wormhole with newbie system rules, linked only to school systems) enter this wormhole and watch the hole closing behind you! Inside find another agent at a POS giving you missions teaching wormhole life, and at the end of the chain scan yourself out! The outhole has 2/3 chance to lead to another Caldari school system!

The newbies shouldn't live like the first newbies and shouldn't try to earn ISK in the L1 versions of the veteran income. While Jita, the courier contracts and the carriers to point aren't provided by NPCs, they are still part of the World the newbie enters. They should participate in the existing economy as haulers, traders, contractors. Similarly they shouldn't prepare for 1v1 destroyer combat but to be useful scouts, tacklers, webbers of the existing PvP fleets. Such change would save the newbies from the "I'll never catch up" feeling that the L1 missions radiate and give the "I don't have to catch up, I'm useful with my Rifter or Badger II" attitude.

While I'm not trying to turn into news site, this battle may missed you, despite it's important. The CFC broke into Cobalt Edge, getting themselves a bridgehead in the station system of HB-5L3.

In the meantime the following Darwin Award nominees put their mental capacity on display:
The first one tried to figure out how much stronger a shuttle become if you fly it with full slave and +6% hardwirings.
Not one, but two purple smarbombing faction battleships, for 10 and 13B. Probably the short bus broke down next to an internet cafe.
It's contagious! The third shield tanked Moros of the week, this time a purple one!
Warping to zero to a POS means you get bounced away. Don't do that or you get into the TV like this guy!
7B in a cloaky transport with no tank? Cloaky doesn't mean alpha-immune, especially at Jita where the huge traffic decloaks you.
5B tankless CCC Moros. (I don't know which is worse, the tankless or the shield one)
If one lost a 25B horrifit purple Machariel last month, you'd guess that he learns or he ragequits. But surely wouldn't guess that he flies the same 25B horrifit again.


Anonymous said...

And who's producing the goods you're hauling?

Gevlon said...

Veterans who can't care less about that little profit (or just dumb)

Anonymous said...

Looking at tutorial missions in isolation is a mistake in my opinion - there are many lvl1 missions (that don't have higher level variants) which try to teach the player some game mechanics (and a lot of lore).

E.g. there is a 5-part lvl1 mission chain called "Fair Play" which tries to teach the rudimentary basics of gatecamping (wait at an acceleration gate for the hostile scout and kill him), ore theft (steal ore from npcs that are can mining), anti-tackle (big fight between friendly and hostile npcs your task is to kill frigates while then bigger ships blow each other up) and some other stuff I forgot about.

CCP only started to show some serious interest into the New Player Experience with Apocrypha in 2009 (and the NPE has been majorly revamped every year since :cripes:) - before that the tutorials were very crude and the general expectation was that a new player learns the game primarily by playing it.

Today CCP's preferred model seems to be "Do the tutorials and the SoE epic arc, join a player corporation directly afterwards, move to 0.0 and let your corp/alliance spoonfeed you with their distilled wisdom".

But for the longest time you could count on players spending a few weeks trying a bit of everything on their own (while working on their learning and support skills) and picking up essential knowledge through their own experiences and some breadcrumbs that were strewn along the way.

The idea that a new player must be proficient at EVE after maybe 5-10 hours of tutorials is a new one.

Anonymous said...

The shield tanked moros was last in a c6 pulsar. c6 pulsars double the strength of a shield tank, as well as halve your armor resists.

In pulsars shield tanked moros's can hit like an insane truck and tank quite a bit.

Gevlon said...

If only there would be natural shield tanked dreads in the game people could use in shield wormholes...

Anonymous said...

A very insightful post.I've always found the notion of a "newbie income fountain" that somehow veterans don't exploit self-contradictory, especially in EVE.The best thing a newbie can do is start playing the multiplayer game as soon as possible, be it as a hauler on a badger or a tackler in a rifter; the important thing is to interact with other players.

About the newbie combat agents: back in Guildwars there was a pvp training island. At some point the bots there were given actual top team skill combos. I see EVE devs shyly toying with the same idea for years, first with sleepers, then with incursions, and maybe now with the new FW npcs, but we've yet to see npc fleet that tries to emulate a player fleet, from hulls to tactics. It's really not that hard to do and consider the alternative. At the moment the newbie combat agent won't even teach you the basics of surviving in high sec, let alone something more useful.

Anonymous said...

4 dreads.

Phoenix is a joke, can't damage anything under a PoS size.

Naglfar is worse than a Phoenix.

Revelation uses lasers and is woefully vulnerable to cap warfare, doubly so in a c6 (reduced cap regen).

Moros is your best bet. A blinged out moros isn't, but the concept of shield moros is well known in the art of c6 pulsar combat.

Sugar Kyle said...

They don't spit out the damage that a Moros does. Even with the better tank they don't touch the Moros' DPS.

Shield tanking gallente ships is a regular and normal action. Many of them fit the tanks incredibly well and turn into very versatile ships.

The Mach fit still isn't bad.

TheOneNite said...

If only natural shield tanked dreads didn't have awful DPS because citadel missiles can be speed tanked in a carrier. And yeah that mach fit killed 60+ billion before it went down the first time so even after the second loss he's still rocking it.

Urziel99 said...

Considering a Levi is a Titan I would hope it could have it's way with a Moros, as for a Phoenix however it's not so great.

Most combat capital pilots are armor tankers for various reasons (No shield version of the EAMN or until recently high meta invuln fields, smaller sig radius, etc.) But If you have billions of isk and want to waste 6-8 months training all the battleships to 5 and then train the individual carrier and dreadought skills be my guest.

Gevlon said...

The Phoenix does higher damage than the Moros with way superior shield tank. It can't track or hit anything moving or small, that's true. But sieged shield Moroses are big enough to be obliterated by Phoenixes.

Also, triaged carriers can't speed tank, non-triaged carries don't make much trouble.

Everyone and his mom has more than 60B in kills, thanks to our wonderful killboard giving the kill value to everyone who was on the kill. Hell if I bothered to put combat drones to my guardian, I'd be over 200B kills already.

Anonymous said...

If only there would be natural shield tanked dreads in the game people could use in shield wormholes...

If only there was a shield dread that wasn't terrible at projecting damage. The moros is the king of damage in wormholes, and a shield moros in a C6 pulsar will still carry a very respectable tank. This kind of setup is not uncommon in pulsar fleets, both for PvE and PvP.

The Phoenix does higher damage than the Moros with way superior shield tank. It can't track or hit anything moving or small, that's true. But sieged shield Moroses are big enough to be obliterated by Phoenixes.

No, it just doesn't. The DPS is no where near what a moros can put down. Alpha isn't everything, and isn't anything if you cannot hit your targets. Properly supported the Moros would be fine in your above situation, and would be sporting 2 phoenix kill mails.

Also, triaged carriers can't speed tank, non-triaged carries don't make much trouble.

The speed tank comment was meant as an absurd commentary on how terrible citadels are.

In small gang stuff though, non-triaged carriers are trouble - they are usually being repped by their triage partner, or are part of an RR pantheon carrier group - either is exceptionally hard to break, which is why the triaged carrier is usually primary (drop his capacitor and then burn through his buffer before he exits triage).

Everyone and his mom has more than 60B in kills, thanks to our wonderful killboard giving the kill value to everyone who was on the kill. Hell if I bothered to put combat drones to my guardian, I'd be over 200B kills already.

The point is that he has 60b kills in a (near) solo mach. He isn't sitting in a giant blob where the FC randomly choses someone to die and anyone who F1's at the right time gets the mail. He is hunting people by himself, using an alt in an arazu for tackle. His fit is completely fine, if a little rich for my blood.

You of all people should appreciate things like this - someone with the wealth to fly something insanely expensive in order to get the last couple of % over his enemies.

Debra Tao said...

You do realize that having 60bil kills all by yourself rather than in a blob display a lot more time and effort put in the task right ? Damn, to survive so long it does take serious skills.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea about the wh missions!
From day 1 i wanted to go explore but was so scared and clueless i instead grinded lvl2s and started mining and nearly lost interest after nearly a month of that.... never went exploring or into wh space, because i never knew i could.

In hindsight i know it would have been easy! Or just go do highsec exploring for a bit of money, heck i never found out that theres actual DED sites and stuff to find and earn some isk.

Eve is weird in that regard, your really screwd if you dont get over that cliff. And i wouldnt call it a learning cliff, without any hints its more a you didnt google it cliff. Which really shouldnt be there.

Celery Man said...

Other than the fact that you personally wouldn't fly a ship that expensive, what specifically is wrong with MasL's fit? It's borderline cookie cutter fit for a Mach used in the situations that MasL did.