Monday, December 23, 2013

EVE needs a special new player experience

Reading Sugar about new players and Jester about luring people to New Eden made me think a lot about EVE New Player experience and lead to the simple, but not at all straight-forward result: the standard MMO new player experience design is completely useless for EVE Online.

What is this "standard new player experience"? It can be summarized as "have fun now, learn the game later". The age of tutorials (besides basic controls) is over. You don't want to bore the player. You don't want to make him face overwhelming complexity. You want to give him a good first impression. You want him to giggle, smile or "whoa!" in the first hour.

World of Warcraft did this almost perfectly. You absolutely don't need to know anything about the game or be any good at it to start. After the intro cinematics you are sent out with your basic attack and a spell to kill wolves and you just can't fail in this task. You get a story, rewards, and hey, you are a fearsome orc in a fantasy world! Later, as you level up, you are learning mechanics at your own will. If you don't want to learn, no problem. Sure, a hunter using no glyphs, no talents and spellcaster gear won't level as fast as someone who has a clue, but who cares if you are having fun?!

In EVE, you must have some game knowledge and must makes some effort, or instead of fun, you get frustrating losses. The newbie in the story of Sugar - like in most games - refused to read the mission text, so didn't know that the next mission is suicidal, so loaded everything he had into the ship and lost it all. A guy who carelessly click over the "you are about to enter lowsec, CONCORD can't protect you there", is podded when the gatecloak expires on the other side. If he accepts a random "guild inv", like he does in any other game, he is dead. If he accepts a "fun friendly fight" in the form of duel request, he is dead. If he shoots at that yellow ship with "wanted" written on it, he is dead. If he accepts a "friendly advice" from a player to set that little green dot to yellow or red, he is dead. In EVE "dead" means that you won't get your stuff back. If he accepts the business offer of a stranger, or a friendly help to double his newbie ISK, he lost it.

These are obvious knowledge to us. But it's only obvious because we learned it. A new player doesn't know them. It's not unique to be clueless in a game. I'm sure most WoW newbies slaying wolves have no clue what are the preferred stats for their class. But it doesn't affect their ability to have fun. In EVE, it very much does. If you are clueless in EVE, you are killed, robbed, scammed. In order to enjoy the game, you must have a minimal level of knowledge (assuming you aren't with veteran friends who just replace your losses).

What I'd like to stress is that being a bit bored at the start is better than being frustrated. A player who left because of boredom won't spew hate on the game. The one who liked it very much and then "suddenly gankers", will make sure that no one in his circle of friends will ever try out EVE. For this reason the EVE new player experience must enforce learning, even at the expense of fun.

How could it happen? When a new account is created, it is in "newbie mode". You can get out of newbie mode three ways: completing the lengthy tutorial, pressing "I'm an alt" or "I want a mentor". The "I'm an alt" gives you instructions to log in the account management on both accounts to confirm.

Newbie mode means that you cannot:
  • Initiate any form of PvP. You can't set your safety to yellow/red, you can't shoot a suspects/criminals, can't duel, join militia. PvP as a newbie is being griefed.
  • Leave highsec, for obvious reasons.
  • Sell PLEX. If you have one, you can only use it for extending your subscription, to prevent the noob from spending real money on stuff he'll lose hilariously in a few minutes.
  • Undock if the value of your ship, fitting and cargo is over 50M, because it will die to suicide gankers or rats.
  • Join a corporation. The ones recruiting a newbie who refused mentoring are awoxers.
  • Use the send money, direct trade, contract features, to prevent scams.
  • Remap your attributes, because you'd just waste them.
The unremovable help window keeps the newbie on rails, always telling where can he continue his journey. It disappears - along with the newbie mode - if the newbie completes all tutorials and got more than 1M SP. Please note that this is unrelated to what the tutorials are. Of course the tutorials themselves need improvement, but my point is that an EVE newbie who refuses to take a mentor must do them, regardless of their quality, or he is dead, scammed and ragequit.

Yes, EVE would lose some newbies who refuse to accept that they need a mentor or a newbie mode instead of "joining the fun". But EVE loses much-much more newbies because he cluelessly did something he didn't mean to and lost big portion of his wealth.

Now about the core feature, the mentor system. I'd like to stress is that the "newbie mode" isn't the preferred path, it must be made clear that the newbie should get a mentor instead. The newbie can select one of four interest fields, and the mentors offer their services in these fields. They also select main playing hours. Of course not every Tom, Dick and Harriette can be a mentor. The fields and qualification limits:
  • Small-gang PvP: have at least 100 kills with less than 20 people on them.
  • Large-fleet PvP: have at least 1000 kills with more than 50 people on them.
  • NPC killing PvE: security status higher than 4
  • Industrial PvE: have 10B in your wallet
The server pairs the mentors and newbies randomly. There is no way to cherry-pick, to prevent alt-mentoring and griefing. The mentor must have a PLEX in the "redeem items", which becomes locked. If the mentored newbie quits in 3 months, he loses it. If the newbie remains subscribed for 3 months, the mentor gets 2 PLEXes back. The newbie must pay for at least one month too, to prevent trial account spamming griefers hurt mentors. This is to make sure that you only mentor if you will really guide instead of "welcome to EVE, it's fun, good luck!"


PS: There won't be posts on Dec 24-26 because people wouldn't read them on Christmas anyway.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

"If the mentored newbie quits in 3 months, he loses it. If the newbie remains subscribed for 3 months, the mentor gets 2 PLEXes back."

Enter the new griefing mode - make new accounts, get mentors and quit just to watch them ~good~ people lose PLEXes..ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

And this, Goblin, is why you are not a game designer.

the EVE new player experience must enforce learning, even at the expense of fun.

No game, in the world, would be profitable if it enforced learning over fun. This comment would cost CCP money. Period.

You can get out of newbie mode three ways: completing the lengthy tutorial, pressing "I'm an alt" or "I want a mentor". The "I'm an alt" gives you instructions to log in the account management on both accounts to confirm.

Why can't someone just "skip" the intro at their own expense? Surely to goodness it would be better if someone skipped, then died, that the game said "hey you died, would you like to run the tutorials again?" eventually the player would wake up and take the advice.

By the way, eve DOES have a unique NPE. It isn't the one the game provides. It is newbie organizations which teach you the game. No other game to my knowledge has such extensive player run groups for this very purpose. Eve Uni, GSF, Brave Newbies, RvB..all will take newbies and teach them the ways over months. That a player choses not to do this isn't CCPs fault.

Stop trying to fix eve. It is doing just fine without you.

Also the very best thing an eve neophyte can do, on day one, is join a corporation. Your constant claiming this isn't the case is patently and demonstrably false.

Anonymous said...

I don't get your obsession with these systems, the beauty of Eve is that it is a sandbox and you're free to mentor people, and those people are free to choose you as their mentor (Eve Uni, Brave Newbies, etcetera). What you want removes freedom at the expense of developer time. Making mistakes early on is a good thing, it allows you to learn from them without costing you alot.

As for your industrial mentor requirement, I'm worth over half a trillion and rarely have 10b in any wallet, let alone in a single personal wallet.

Rather than a fixed system with dungeon keys and quest compasses. perhaps a player made Mentor finder website would serve this purpose better. Something like a dating website with ratings and reviews. Newbies are already 'protected' from scamming, and being ganked in the starter systems.

Gevlon said...

@Griefer: easy fix, mentors are only available if you paid at least a month. So you grief yourself the same.

@Second anon: because EVE is doing soooo fine with 150-250K players. Others MMOs were shut down after so low numbers.

You also seems to believe that one can have fun in EVE without learning it first.

@Third: freedom without knowledge is Russian Roulette. You need to have information for decisions, which a new player doesn't have.

Anonymous said...

@Second anon: because EVE is doing soooo fine with 150-250K players. Others MMOs were shut down after so low numbers.

Sure. And MMOs have shut down with higher numbers. And MMOs have survived with lower numbers. Total number of subscribers on its own isn't enough to suggest a game is in trouble. You cannot determine CCPs income position off these numbers alone.

You also seems to believe that one can have fun in EVE without learning it first.


Yep. You can. Absolutely. You find yourself a group of people who you like and you "lol around in a frigate". You don't have to learn first, you can "learn on the job". CCP have actively strived to REDUCE the length of the NPE and simplify it. The old-old NPE was so long that people were not converting their trials..they were simply leaving the game because the NPE was insurmountable. You are suggesting reinstating something similar to that. And that makes no sense from a business perspective

CCP should actually be encouraging people to join player corps quickly. It is from other players that you learn how to play the game and have fun. Not being restricted by dumb goblin ideas which you can't skip until you "prove" you've done them before...

Anonymous said...

furthermore, CCP have run Eve successfully at or around the current subscriber count for a decade. They are obviously making enough money, and still offer a great enough value proposition to investors to continue receiving investment money to keep the company afloat.

Lucas Kell said...

Just want to address this first:
"because EVE is doing soooo fine with 150-250K players. Others MMOs were shut down after so low numbers."
I don't think I can think of many MMOs that shut down with high sub numbers. For starters EVE has over 500k subs, and if you compare their team size to others they are doing considerably better per person than a lot of games. Also consider that 1 sub does not mean 1 payment. Multiple uses for plex means they earn on average more income per sub than 1 sub is worth.

On the main article. The main issue is that WoW is boring as sin. And you don't HAVE to kill wolves, you only do that because the game is telling you to and you read it. You can in fact run off into the distance and get murdered. You can in fact flag yourself for PVP, and you could give away all your gold too.

Forcing people to "learn" is a bad idea. For starters, I quote because people wouldn't be learning EVE, they'd simply be following some steps. The moment they finished their newbie tutorial, they'd join a corp, get scammed awoxed and left for dead behind Itamo II. So now they not only lost all their stuff, but they paid a sub fee to do it rather than getting killed in their trial.

The thing is EVE is not like other games. Most of the mechanics and the things a tutorial could possibly teach you mean nothing in the game. The important part of the game is the meta, which you can only learn by doing, and often doing wrong. Honestly, the last things EVE needs is to make a home for the millions of WoW castoffs as blizzard haemorrhage players on a daily basis. I'd happily vote for keeping a steadily paced playerbase over some fake minigame designed to lure a noob into paying a sub before we beat him to death with sticks.

maxim said...

For any player willing to learn - current career agent system works fair enough.

The best thing to do is maybe for CCP to endorse a few corps as "newbie corps" and recommend newbies to join them through the UI. This would double as recognition of the massive work newbie corps do to make the game accessible.
I don't think anyone would massively object to CCP supporting Eve-uni and the like.

Separate mentor system sounds like an overcomplication.

Woody said...

I just started playing EVE yesterday after reading Gevlon talking about it for so long and being bored of WoW at this point in the expansion. I’m an experienced MMO player having played all the likes of WoW, RIFT, TERA, GW2, Neverwinter, Final Fantasy etc etc.

So first thing I realised after spotting Gevlons newbie guide is that I chose the wrong race. I chose the one I liked the sound of (taking Scott Manleys conflicting advice) but apparently that was wrong….

Well if I find out later that my first “choice” gimped my experience I will just quit the game. The market is flooded so I have plenty of alternatives. That applies to anything else I see in EVE – if I don’t enjoy it or feel cheated (by something I had no possible way of knowing without spending 10 hours reading online guides like a “no-lifer virgin”) then I will quit.
I have a Steam library full of fantastic games, I don’t mind quickly browsing for some info but I am not reading an entire bleeding novel when I could be playing something else.

So anyway I have started doing these tutorials. It is certainly necessary to read them as the game/UI seems very different from the other MMO’s so my knowledge from those isn’t as transferable as saying going from WoW to RIFT.

I’ve really enjoyed just doing these little errands and seeing a tiny bit of space (nice graphics) until I came to a mission where I had to mine an asteroid. They gave me a mining ship and said I had to equip it with a gun and mining laser.

At first I didn’t’ realise the gun on my first ship was not bind on equip but I soon figured out I could move it across - contrary to how other MMO’s work.

Next the mining laser – er what mining laser? They never gave me a mining laser. Where do I get a mining laser? Scanning the UI I spotted something called Market. Is it safe to go there? How do I use it? Well I poked around and found a mining laser for 500 gold. When I went to buy it the game clearly warned me it 250% more expensive than the regional average.

So is the Market an NPC vendor or is it the AH? Can I buy it cheaper from a vendor? Is this one of those scams from WoW where people list dusts or scrolls on the AH for 10g that are 1 silver from a Vendor - but the "stupid n00b" new player has absolutely no way of knowing and no reason to suspect that you can buy it from a vendor…

So what should I do? What choice do I have? I haven’t got a clue what I am doing remember. Getting BORED now. Well it cost the same as the gold reward I got from my first mission (a fraction of my total at this point) and I was sick of sitting around scratching my head when I could be having fun in Tearaway or Assassins Creed so I bought it.

I remembered I had to put that ammo crystal on my gun right? But does it “run out”? How can I tell? Also does my ship run out of fuel? Where is my gold stored? Is it safe or can it be stolen?

I wonder where all this is going. I think I will play through the tutorials and then quit. It sounds from today’s blog that I pretty much have to avoid all contact with other players or I will get scammed/ripped off. This is the complete opposite of the experience when I joined my first guild in WoW and they helped me learn the myriad of things that the game failed to explain to me. Even WoW’s notoriously self-destructive player base aren’t daft enough to turn new recruits away for the sake of stealing their newbie pittance.

Hell they gave me 2g for my training and a mechanical squirrel pet!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no carebear; but failing because of something you had no way of knowing isn’t fun (I’m not dumb enough to fall for the suicide mission thing). Or having to sit down and read lengthy online manuals before you can start “playing” or having “fun” just isn’t my cup of tea, it’s just bad design. Probably why EVE doesn’t have 8 million subs.

I can get my space fix in Elite Dangerous later this year.

Anonymous said...

The problem with EVE is that your reasonable ideas would be so unpopular with existing players, who like a tiny game.

My theory is that it is no accident that DUST 514 was on another platform appealing to mostly non-EVE players. Listening to BSM and players who want a small game must be frustrating for a company.

Anonymous said...

Re: 250k subs.

The latest numbers show Eve has some of the highest sub numbers for MMOs.

Most of the MMOs I play have fewer players than eve, and yet they still pump out expansion after expansion and are not planning on shutting down any time soon.

You are falling for the WoW fallacy, which is that a game must have millions of subscribers. The truth is, as you know, that "millions" of subscribers is unneeded and an overly high expectation.

Others have covered already why this system would be way too easy to exploit/grief.

You are trying to fix an issue which does not exist, if there is an issue, it is that a niche game does not cater to a broad demographic, but that is the nature of niche games.

Niche being not just the sandbox, but the space-sim and excel in space. Some people like avatar interaction, themepark MMOs (Most of us eve players also play themeparks), easy direction of progression and an obvious "endgame", some of us also really like high fantasy settings, so Eve is definitely not that.

Anonymous said...


PS: There won't be posts on Dec 24-26 because people wouldn't read them on Christmas anyway.
I would!


I like your idea.
but all the extra coding effort to flag, counter and keep track would be a waste.

there is one simple question: Do you like to read up stuff about a game? Yes/No?
AND really "LIKE". not just cookie cutting to get the endspec of a class. No. really like reading stuff about a game.

Yes!: Than EVE is the game for you. Tons to read and keep in mind.
No!: Well, than EVE probably isn't for you.

Also EVE is uniquely fucked up because of age and poor design (not just the players. I can't imagine the hate over some legacy code the devs have to deal with).

you will lose allot because of ...
you will lose allot until ...

noting is intuitive. and allot is frustrating.

Still, if you got that all sorted out you can have allot of fun and thrill.

No question about the New Player Experience. it's still awful.

tweell said...

I was playing WoW last night and someone was asking for a price check on an item and getting frustrated because no one answered them (I eventually pointed them to www.theundermineguild.com). Another player stated that WoW players were mean, and that the first player should go to Eve Online for friendly fellow players. There was a lot of lolling about that one, it seems that more than a few folks had tried Eve, got shafted and quit. That's Eve's reputation there.

Anonymous said...

@all "no time to read" people.

buy "Orcs must die" first or second doesn't matter.
play it. DON'T READ anything! just the tooltips and make your own strat. done all the maps? OK. 5 skull them!

very few of you will notice the point mechanic. and some are bothered enough to dig into the highscore meta of that game. now it isn't something to 5 skull maps. No. this has become a highscore race in the least unexpected game in years (for me at least). To the point to get into the highscore community of that game.


What about EVE.
ISIS does not help at all. now newbs can get easily confused with mastery "V is the new purple? right?".
Woody gives the perfect example. all around experienced MMO player but severely confused.

@Woody: Do what you want. don't rush hulls (frigate and destroyer are perfectly fine; because the career agents will welfare you allot of hulls). read the "show info" of things you fly or want to put onto your ship and make up your own mind. can't put something on? or somehow you align to slow? in EVE you probably have 2-5 skills around what ever you stumble upon buy skill train 1-3 and you're good.
so. you. will. be. fine.


EVE is a sandbox. you can undock, set a waypoint to where ever you want to go. and go there from the very start. like in any game, you will get gated or murdered or you can get away with it. endgame isn't in 60/65/80/90/95 zone. In eve it's right outside of career-agents systems. if you don't know what you are doing, you will soon be pointed out, promised.
There are others before you. they did write ALLOT and enough in wikis, forums etc. rookie chat and eve university are great resources to ask your sudden questions. It's easier and more accessible than elitistjerks or gw2 builds (oh you don't carebear enough about patchnotes and still broken mechanics of the mesmer you so dearly love? Good for you and die in WvW or spvp like any M&S)

Anonymous said...

@Woody

Imagine how productive you could be if you focused for a minute and rather than worrying actually searched for the answer, read a tooltip, mission info, searched google, asked in the help channel or just looked around the UI (every newbie ship starts with a mining laser equipped).

Eve is not an instant gratification game, and I prefer that in some ways, you have to put a bit of effort in to enjoy it rather than queueing up to kill the next boss and having everything else spoonfed to you. Not everyone enjoys that, and that is OK.

As said above, 8 million subs is pretty irrelevant. I bet there are more Guitarists than Thereminist, there are definitely more Justin Bieber fans than people who have even heard of Suilen, more Windows PCs than Macs, until recently Internet Explorer was the most popular browser in the world, now it is Chrome. None of it matters, if you don't like something don't do it.

Satori Okanata said...

@anon1

"And this, Goblin, is why you are not a game designer.

the EVE new player experience must enforce learning, even at the expense of fun.

No game, in the world, would be profitable if it enforced learning over fun. This comment would cost CCP money. Period."

Sir, the starting experience in eve is EVERYTHING but fun. Wich is actually the subject of the post.

It is frustrating, and the learning curve is very steep, so the new player experience can't be defined by the word fun, unless you are into that sort of thing, wich is the reason why eve is a niche game.

I find eve challenging, wich is my sort of thing, but man.. Every friend I've tried to bring over to the game has hated it and rage quited before finishing their free play time.

That alone makes it very difficult to have fun when you just get into the game. You know that everyone will try to steal everything you have and then kill you twice, so finding a new group of people to play with is really hard. I have'nt accomplshed that yet. I don't even dare to join a corp or invite an stranger to mine.

One of the problems I do see with eve is that the "sandbox" thing is taken as an excuse to behave like a complete asshole, and that speaks very poorly of the average eve player.

Anonymous said...

The beginning of this game could be amazing and suck players in, so the frustration and boredom would be worth it, but it isn't. Learning should be fun. Why not start the game by doing a "ride along" with a Concord Officer. It would be on rails, they'd loan you ships with special modules that don't need skill to use, tell you exactly what to do. Fighting, fitting, mining, markets, scanning could all be wrapped into a really fun story. I see EVE ads all the time, so let's say I'm new and go watch the trailer, "that looks exciting" and then what...ghost sites? Nope.

Oska Rus said...

I think that a bit improvement of tutorials should be enough. Eves tutorial are horrid because they try to adhere to lore and not to regular game practice and terminology used by other players.

If those tutorial were closer to dayli routines of nullsec/lowsec/wormhole/industry players it might actually learn more than do missions receive stuff.

But they can not learn everything anyway thats what hundreds of guide pages and forum topics are for. But they shuld at least give player idea about what is achievable which i got some idea after about a year in game.

Anonymous said...

Sir, the starting experience in eve is EVERYTHING but fun. Wich is actually the subject of the post.

No, the thrust of the post was "make it less fun by forcing people to complete it before they can do anything fun/make any mistakes/join any group who gives them a chance of enjoying the game.


The NPE sucks, but it doesn't suck as bad as it used to. It could be more fun, yes, but ultimately most people learn eve by joining player corps. The sooner people do that the better they will be

Woody said...

@Anonymous

My starter ship had no mining laser. If veterans like yourself don't know this then what chance do I have!

Not much point googling it or asking for advice as at best I will given the wrong information in error - just as you just did.

Or at worse someone will try to scam me or so I am told.

It is amazing just how much Googling and reading I have to do to complete the "tutorials". There is an irony there!!!!!!!!!!!

Well anyway, I haven't been doing much "giggling, smiling and whoa'ing", just research and work. Which would be fine if I could get some glimpse as to what the pay off will be at the end.

I could keep investing time in the hope that I see it was worth it. But as I say, I have plenty of other games and too little time to play them all.

Now let's do a comparison. I am not a big fan of GW2 - I haven't hung around. But within 20 mins of starting each character you take part in a massive battle with loads of other players against a huge boss (at least there were loads of players at launch).

Where is the epic fleet battle showing me what I could be doing in EVE if I hung around? Yeah sure I will only be firing with my pea shooter just as I did with my 2 basic skills in GW2 but at least show me some kind of carrot.

After all, the EVE vets are not exactly selling the game. They spend most of their time boasting about all the bad things that will happen to me or telling me to quit because "the game isn't for you".

As a cash rich, time poor, potential whale, that ain't a good message to be giving me. I'm the person that would pay for my sub and a vets at the same time.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: most people do NOT learn the game by joining corps because most corps are full of ignorant carebears who can't teach them anything. Or you think the way to learning and fun is to be in a "friendly missioning corp"?

Anonymous said...

@anon 16:01

Eve is at most one of "niche game" and "some of the highest sub numbers for MMOs"

I expect CCP and EVE (and perhaps its UI) to be chugging along for decades. But the last balance sheets they published showed losses, they laid off employees a couple of weeks ago, and DUST ...
It is not quite a slam dunk.

---

There is a bit of marketing spin on some of the sub numbers. If you compare the worldwide numbers of today with the West-only EVEnumbers of Apocrapha days, you get a better slope than West vs West. (BTW, not being racist; just that I don't think any MMO gets the revenue per person in China of E/NA/A/NZ) It appears that SWTOR, not the most respected of MMOs by commenters, has about three to four times the players in the west than EVE including about the same number of subs. Isn't Star Citizen getting about EVE's western revenue per month in donations for a 2015 game?

----

I just don't think there is anything CCP can do. Someone (Raph?) said you can't fundamentally change a game after it launches.


EVE will continue being EVE; the niche will love it and I am so glad I am not a shareholder.



Anonymous said...

@ Gevlon

If you think missioning corps can't teach players because they're too busy being friendly and doing their missioning to optimise their time and become competent efficient players then your issue isn't with EVE game design, it's with humanity.

R. Harrison said...

@ Woody:
Unless they've made some radical changes and all us bitter vets missed the memo; I'm sorry tell you, your rookie ship (the very first one you get) really does start with a mining laser. That you can't find it is no one else's fault.

Many of the corps in EVE are very rookie friendly. Even if it's just to say you aren't ready for their level or style of play, most tell you this by having a skill point limit.

The majority of players really aren't out to get you, they aren't all the boogie man. Most of the ones I've met just want to be left alone to do their own thing. Granted, "their own thing" does sometimes... Okay, often... mean making someone else's day bad, but such is the way of New Eden.


@ Gevlon:
As for you... Spoon-fed players are not the way to go. EVE is not a game for the faint of heart, She is a harsh mistress. When you start, the difficulty setting is maxed out with a daunting learning curve but not an impossible one.

I came in to EVE cold. No friends, no backup, and no idea what hell was going on (Honestly, I chanced upon an advert for it somewhere). But I learned. Truly it was painful and not all that fun sometimes, but I did learn. I made mistakes and I learned from them. I did silly things like sell PLEX and officer fit a Coercer (it was a Brokara's Reactor Control)... Glad I never lost that one. When I had questions, I sought answers. My experience isn't singular, many of the players I know struggled at first.

I got better though. I met people and forged friendships. I still ask questions about things I don't understand. It made me a better player. I wouldn't go back and change any of it, even if I could.

People too stubborn or too stupid to ask questions and seek out easily available answers on their own, the ones who want spoon-fed instant gratification and blame the game when they end up making a mistake, probably shouldn't be playing anyway.

Though with WoW apparently dying... I'm not sure where they'll go.

Anonymous said...

"Join the corps and learn the game" looks nice, but it isn't as good in reality. Most corps are either full of bad players (and they can't teach you a lot) or scammers. Of course there are great corps for beginners, but totally fresh newbie has no knowledge which could help him evaluate whether he should decide to join corporation 'X' or not.

Newcomers are warned to trust no one, because many EVE players would rather grief and scam newbie than help him. And telling 'it is just a sandbox' is not an excuse.


It is not true that EVE is niche game because of sci-fi setting/being sandbox etc. Lots of people love sci-fi settings, piloting space ships and so on. And there is no another MMO with this theme released. EVE is niche because of terrible new player experience. I believe that if devs remedied this issue, subs numbers would skyrocket.


Lei Merdeau said...

A lot of EVE exists in the meta game, outside the client. So it makes sense to learn about it outside the client too.
Maybe I'm biased, I followed EVE on usenet then some blogs long before I started playing.

Woody said...

@ R Harrison

You must have missed the memo.

I started out as AMARR. Did the first tutorials to get my licence. Then it opens up and gives you a choice of 5 other training paths. I simply chose the top of the list - Business.

The mission was "Balancing the books" part 3 of 10.

I had just received my second ship - I had an Impairor and was given a Venture.

I am not stupid; neither ship was equipped with a mining laser and I didn't have one in my item hanger either.

I know how to view the ships fittings and see what is in the ship and in my item hanger. No mining laser.

But you see from the new players perspective you are simply criticised by ill informed veterans and told you don't know what you are doing and it is your fault.

It is a bad introduction to the game for the typical average player who heard some hype and just thought they would check it out.

It is apparent that with so much time spent reading out of game and so little time spent playing spaceships, that this game is not for me.

Perhaps that is the flaw with Gevlons ideas. If the game "isn't for you" then I don't think his suggestions will make any difference.

If the game "is for you" then his suggestions are unnecessary.


It is interesting that the phrase "this game isn't for you" seems to be extremely prevalent on MMORPG forums and blogs. A major problem for developers are the veteran player base sabotaging their recruitment drives.

Of course if this was a WoW blog I'd say that you guys know nothing about WoW because you only play a tiny niche activity that isn't representative of what the other 97% of players do. Therefore you wouldn't be qualified to make such statements to newbies.

I kind of suspect that with EVE this isn't the case. EVE is what WoW would be if the 3% niche on the forums had their way.

It is just you guys and no one else. There is no 97% majority playing the "real game". The entire EVE game is the niche.

That isn't a criticism btw. If the product is financially viable then there isn't a problem.

The problem is me being somewhere where I shouldn't be. I should be waiting for Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous.

If CCP wanted the custom of a wider player base (perhaps Dust suggests that they did)then I think they are making a mistake. They would have to change the game beyond recognition to achieve it.

Anonymous said...

most people do NOT learn the game by joining corps because most corps are full of ignorant carebears who can't teach them anything. Or you think the way to learning and fun is to be in a "friendly missioning corp"?

If a player decides to join a rubbish corp then surely that is the player's fault. A failure to figure out that a 10 man "mission focused" corp with low income propositions and a CEO that is only a few months old is an indication that the person in question probably isn't going to hang around.

Players can quite quickly see corps like Eve Uni, RvB, etc - these are LARGE corps with a huge presence in highsec for recruiting. Eve Uni will give you enough to learn the next step i.e. how to chose another player corp that isn't rubbish.

We can't, and we shouldn't, help people who's first task in eve is to simply chose the first corp that asks them to join.

Anonymous said...

"Join the corps and learn the game" looks nice, but it isn't as good in reality. Most corps are either full of bad players (and they can't teach you a lot) or scammers. Of course there are great corps for beginners, but totally fresh newbie has no knowledge which could help him evaluate whether he should decide to join corporation 'X' or not.

Proof or this is just rubbish. Yes there are a lot of bad corps in eve, but there are also a lot of great ones. The great ones are the ones which are well known. If you have a reputation you are less likely to screw it up by scamming.

Newcomers are warned to trust no one, because many EVE players would rather grief and scam newbie than help him. And telling 'it is just a sandbox' is not an excuse.

If you want to get ahead in any MMO you have to trust people. "trust noone" isn't quite accurate. "be careful who you trust" is a more moderate and sensible approach.

Anonymous said...

Woody: Maybe Eve is just too difficult for you, every Rookie Ship comes with a Mining Laser, I'd also be very surprised if the starting missions were as difficult as you claim, unless you didn't read the mission or tutorial text.

Mining Lasers by default don't require ammo, although it doesn't mention it. But in the Civilian Gatling Pulse laser's description it says "Comes with a pre-fitted irreplaceable standard frequency crystal.", which leads me to believe that you aren't really reading.

http://imgur.com/JC9DXME

Woody said...

@ Anonymous

I know what a mining laser is.

It has no mining laser. I had to buy a civilian miner. I have just been through my inventory for the n'th bloody time and I only have one laser - the one I bought.

I was given a gun and the tutorial gave me a crystal and told me to drag it onto the gun.

I am not confusing the gun with the laser.

I am not sure if the ships given during the tutorials to a totally new player are different in their fitting to the one you might get if you dock in your pod? If that is the case that is an even more ridiculous failing of the game.

I think I am right in assuming that everyone is given a free rookie ship when docking in a pod? Could it be different to the fresh player tutorial ships?

Did you repeat my exact steps to replicate the issues or just spawn your own rookie ship?

I am not the only one having the issue, just google "Business career tutorial - mining w/o a mining laser".

Anonymous said...

What gev is doing is sharing ideas on how to improve Eve. Personally I cant think of any better starting experienced as I seriously messed up my first character.

I do however agree that CCP needs a comprehensive business strategy to maintain and grow the sub base to ensure that eve will remain a valid going concern and attract sufficient and appropriate talent to continue developing eve.

In developing this business strategy what ccp should do is develop a framework for understanding what the future mmo customer will want in their gaming experience based on some market studies. Thereafter ccp should break down the game based on the framework into sections such as new player experience and improve the game incrementally

My only guiding principle on moving eve forward is to somehow give players progressively more freedom as they advance through the game. Players should have a sense of ownership over the direction of the game to keep them engaged in the long run and this is only possible if they own the direction of the game.

Anonymous said...

EVE is easy.
where is a learning curve? there is none skillbook or ship related. what is there to learn about right clicking everything and "show info"? is that skill? is that harsh?
you have to learn a bit. that will be covered by 90% of EVE Player Bios.
there is no difference to get hard CCd in fantasy mmo or webed + warpscramed in eve. so the "learning" of gameplay and mechanics are the same as in any other game.

The "harsh place" CCP so often talks about. is not the universe, it is not the skill system and most of all not the bitter vets.
the harsh place is the terrible UI and inconsistency. I still fail to the UI and where possible I do little as possible with it. Who clicks overheating? Really who!? I found the keybindings shortly after burning again trough my modules.

* double click to navigate. no barrel roll! coming from 3d space navigation like wingcommander till swg jtl and soon ccp Valkyrie ... this, as a newb, made me worried if EVE can be any good.

* Autotarget back. thanks CCP for green buttons but to set '0' there would have prevented allot of grief.

* I can set distance. I can't set velocity.

* I can check my research light years away. I can't check the expire attribute of a few secure containers anchored throughout my frequent systems lightyears away.

* Really that Overview.

* Drag&Drop. I still don't know what is d&d'able.


In short: the longest EVE University pages tend to point to the most horrible UIs and designs ever.

And yes UI is NPE. but it isn't only NPE. It was the UI 3 years ago and it is the UI now.
BUT the UI has merged core game mechanics tied into, so I highly doubt that this will be any better.

Subscribe to the goblinish wisdom