Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The head of evil is plotting against newbies

The Mittani, the leader of the evil in New Eden wrote a piece after long time of hiatus. When someone posts daily, some ideas aren't complete or well-thought. But a return post after months, has its words reconsidered many times before publishing. It's about newbie retention, an important topic. We could just dismiss it as an easy upvote-hunt, if it wasn't so cleverly evil.

Its first part is redundant and harmless, everyone and his mother could tell you that better tutorial would help. However the first hint of the evil plot is inside, invoking World of Warcraft. No one, (except me) dares to mention WoW in an EVE discussion, because of the (completely unearned) feeling of superiority of EVE players over WoW players. Also, his idea doesn't even need a WoW parallel, he just used it to throw a bomb: "this is the real talk guys, I speak from the heart, I don't care about being unpopular". Then he moves to the point: banning awoxing. That's also something I've suggested before, but not without making some corps safe from wardeccing. These corps obviously must pay NPC tax and own no structures.

Awoxing is a convenient way of griefing, you don't need to pay wardec fee, you don't need to wait a day for the war to start and don't need an alt in the corp to collect their tears on the corp chat and mails. But this is just convenience, if someone wants to hit a corp, he can wardec it and can kill them just as well. So on the surface, the suggestion of The Mittani does nothing. Why would he open his series with an obviously useless suggestion?

Because even mild inconvenience is inconvenience and stops casual users. If a corp has activity, it has competitors, people who have reason to hit it. Someone farming easy kills to have a good killboard, also has a good reason to pick them. They won't be deterred by inconvenience. However a bored punk looking for someone to hurt because his life sucks won't be bothered with paying and waiting. He'll turn to more instant gratification like duel-spamming next door to the newbie systems. So this suggestion would indeed increase the safety of some corps: those who have no competitors or anyone with a real reason to hit them.

So the suggestion of The Mittani is aimed to make useless lolcorps more viable. The ones that no one notices because they do nothing. They are lead by an idiot, their activity is limited to idle chat and ridiculous daydreaming about growing big one day - without any actual attempt to do anything besides random mining ops. These won't get wardecced because no one has a reason to stop them - as they do nothing at the first place. The only one who would poke them with a stick is the griefer, who does the work of the Lord by disbanding these hives of idiocy.

The current coalition enemies are harmless to CFC. PL is pacified, N3 is too weak alone. Both are also risk-awerse, as we saw it in the Fountain war and earlier when Montolio wanted to start a real war. The real risk for CFC is random pirates roaming their space and killing their ratters. Or small NPC-living alliances taking odd moons. Finally highsec wardeccers who slay them in stupid amounts. A new player might become a threat as one of the above. Hell, if he is randomly stumbling around in nullsec in a failfit frig, he still shuts down ratting as everyone in the constellation safes up considering him a dangerous cyno-tackle. So it's better to lock him into an idiot ghetto where he learns that the way of playing EVE is running missions for a purple Golem and avoiding any attention. In the current EVE, awoxers destroy these lolcorps, with the chance that the scattered members end up in a competent group.

The safe, but openly limited corps I suggested would have a "beginner" feel, everyone inside would know that he is irrelevant and must join the "real game" to change that. I also suggested giving random players crayons, mostly in the form of useless highsec supers to distract them and keep them subscribed. However I would make it clear for them that these features aren't the "real EVE", it's like pet collecting in other MMOs. The head of evil wants the newbies not only to be irrelevant but be unaware of that nor have any idea how to change it.




PS: Another glorious battle (loss list) of BL/MoA/Pasta against CFC. Too bad that 5 more like this are needed to even out the losses of the dread welp. I'm still sure that deploying to the back-end of the CFC space and killing odd minions of evil would be better.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

While Mittani's pamphlet might be debatable, it was very interesting reading the discussion below his article.
Jovian space or simply "simulator training"... I actually like the idea of a simulator tutorial for new skills as the description of lots of skills are way too crappy.

So, I hate to admit it, but I have to agree on Mittani's criticism of CCP's NPE politics...

Gevlon said...

NPE is just smoke screen. Ganking 1-2 days old newbies isn't widespread. The newbie will get into trouble 2-3 weeks after start when he already has some assets and believes that he is capable of something.

Anonymous said...

NPE is just smoke screen.

Howso? it is well understood that CCP has a customer retention problem. How is it a smoke screen? because you don't like mittens and the goons thus anything they say must be cloaked in some kind of scam to hurt everyone?

Ganking 1-2 days old newbies isn't widespread.

That isn't actually the problem that is trying to be solved - the problem is retaining customers beyond 1-2 days.

The newbie will get into trouble 2-3 weeks after start when he already has some assets and believes that he is capable of something.

A well designed NPE would equip the 2-3 week old newbie with a solid foundation explaining how to go about doing something as well as leave them with no confusion about what they are and are not capable of. Further, awox protection in highsec would allow highsec organisations which do good work in further training those newbies to have one less problem to contend with whilst attempting to train said newbies.



Difficult for you to admit, no doubt, that your sworn enemy has come up with sound ideas for setting CCP straight on their player retention problem... but the conspiracy you are seeing here is an exceedingly long bow to draw.

Anonymous said...

For clarities sake, you are suggesting in your article that Mittens is suggesting a change to the NPE so that the "real threat" to the CFC that you "discovered" will be pacified by reducing the number of effective pirate corps in eve?

Is that what you are saying?

Gevlon said...

The actual NPE (the career missions) is a 1-2 days course. Then the newbie would be out in the world. Better NPE would help him being more prepared. The safety of NPE isn't much of an issue.

No, BELOW the NPE changes there is a change against awoxing. Which is aimed to keep new players out of any kind of meaningful activities including piracy.

nightgerbil said...

The "real threat to the cfc" and to everyone else is CCP turning off the servers cos they went bust. I think every passionate fan wants to help and we are all coming up with similar ideas.

Gevlon Awoxing HAS to go. Its stupid that its there and the reasons given for its removal are accurate: NORMAL people with a clue about the game won't invite a newbie to their corp. Its far too much of a risk. The highsec lol corps you despise are full of idiots like we see posted monthly on minerbumping. Those corps will get war decced and destroyed anyway "cos its funny". The tears it generates will ensure it keeps happening.

Meanwhile safe from being awoxed small groups of decent players might take on some newbies, give them no access to corp hangers to prevent theft and help them out abit. Even if its just as simple as "sure I'll come kill dagan for you in my tengu", "I'm blitzing lev3s in my mach for standings. Want to fit salvagers to yr dessie and tag along for some isk/standings?" "No thats not how you fit a cruiser! dont dual tank!" I could be of great service, even with my own limited expereince to any new player except I can't: the risk to me for helping someone else in anything other then a suicide gank is way to high for any potential reward.

I think that needs fixing, I think Mitanni thinks that needs fixing and I think you do too.

Gevlon said...

@Nightgerbil: awoxing indeed has to go, that's why The Mittani is clever.

Awoxing and wardecs should together be removed from a special kind of "newbie friendly corps" that are practically NPC corps with a limited access chat and a common identity. But it must be made clear that such corps are teaching places for newbies and not really competing groups.

However ONLY removing awoxing make the situation worse, as it favors useless lolcorps. They not worth wardeccing and even if someone decs them for fun, they stay docked for a week (great gameplay). Meanwhile they upkeep the image of being a "real corp". Read at minerbumping the descriptions they give to themselves! They clearly believe themselves to be a future powerhouse while they are jokes. Awoxers actually save the players trapped here.

CFC Grunt said...

As much as Mittani is an evil overlord, he's also someone who cares for the game. Remember, he's the one who flew to Iceland during the Summer of Rage for an emergency summit.

While I can easily disagree on making hisec safer, as it would, once more, imbalance the risk-reward ratio - increasing safety by removing hisec awoxes could be paired with another nerf to rewards.

Truth be told, only hisec awoxes would be eliminated by his change - nullsec tactic would be alive and well.

"Lolcorps" get robbed, taken over, decced or ganked to death all the time. Awoxing wouldn't suddenly remove everything that kills them, only a small part - it's actually more effort to infiltrate them than it is to gank or wardec.

Lucas Kell said...

I've actually made a similar suggestion myself once before (just the awoxing, not the newbie zone), and it's got nothing to do with promoting lolcorps. The way corps currently work, anyone can be an awoxer, and there's no reliable way to ensure your own safety against them, no matter how smart you play. Wars you can avoid or fight the enemy, gankers you can fit against, but awoxers could be anyone. By the time you realise they are there, it's too late. So many people simply play in their own little bubble, either in NPC corps or little alt corps of their own.

The problem this causes is that people aren't learning that there's more to do if you learn to play with others too, so they get bored and quit. Many players won't join a corp because there's too much unavoidable risk, and the ones that do are often noobs and are targeted by awoxers even more. And groups that do want to play seriously won't recruit new players because of the risk they carry. Even Lemmings, the "everyone's welcome" group had a 3m sp recruitment barrier to try to keep out awoxers.

Of course the other side to consider is that by removing the ability to awox you also remove a piece of content, but honestly I think if awoxing were removed the players that did that would soon find other things to do. Newbies won't. When they get ganked by a corpmate, they quit. Overall I think anything that encourages newbies to step out of NPC corps and get involved in the game is a good thing, whether you hate goons or not.

No awox, no wardec player corps like you suggest would not really be of any use. There would be no benefit to running one of them, and they wouldn't teach you about the actual game. The idea is to get people to leave their comfort zone and accept the rest of the game, not to extend the comfort zone so they get an artificial view of EVE.

Gevlon said...

@Lucas: stepping out of the NPC corp is good if he ends up in a better place.

I still remember the WoW guilds recruiting in trade chat. They were worse than pick up groups and had obnoxious chat. I can't imagine how would EVE benefit from introducing these abominations. Also, I don't see how would they "get involved in the game" if they join a missioning corp ran by a moron.

Anonymous said...

" The ones that no one notices because they do nothing."

You mean the majority of corps? The ones providing a sizable chunk of manufacturing, the ones providing those meta items you keep mentioning.

It would be cute and adorable if everyone was in "meaningful" corps, doing "meaningful" things, just like it would be nice if everyone was in a meaningful job changing the world, but, neither the virtual world, nor the real world is like that.

The NPE is indeed sucky, but, a 2-3 week old newbie CAN be capable of something, isnt your entire CFC war based on newbies being able to fly cheap ships and fulfil a role?

Gevlon said...

Sizable chunk of the manufacturing and meta items are coming from 1-man alt corps and NPC corps. More correctly: from solo players in these.

Lucas Kell said...

"Also, I don't see how would they "get involved in the game" if they join a missioning corp ran by a moron"
Well they do that already, and would continue to do so even if they introduced the types of corps you suggest. The only difference being that if awoxing wasn't possible, they might be alive long enough to realise their leader is a moron and move on. With awoxers, they still join him, but then they get ganked, have no support structure and quit playing.

With no awoxing, even if they just stayed around following a moron leader, at least they are still a sub, and one would hope they would eventually learn and move on.

"Sizable chunk of the manufacturing and meta items are coming from 1-man alt corps and NPC corps. More correctly: from solo players in these."
Which only exist in their current state due to awox trust issues. If awoxing were removed, these people would be able to play together, and would learn from each others successes and failures. I personally would love to run an industry corp which trains people how to effectively run manufacturing chains cooperatively, and have looked into it in the past, but the headache of dealing with awox issues makes it an endeavour I'd never undertake. Wars are handleable with combat training and intel, but for awoxers there is no effective counter, which is pretty much my main issue with it.

Anonymous said...

Ever try and get a new player to stick their pecker in the meat grinder? its fracking hard. Hey come fly with us, don't need high skills you can learn as you go, good space to rat and mine, has some risk, yeah you will be asked to shoot others.

New person "oh no I don't want that", two weeks later they are gone. The problem is that new players are sold on the idea of playing solo "YOU can do anything in eve" It really should be "you can do a lot in eve you can do even more in a group and yes you will die and die often get over it"

Personally I think the second they finish the tutorial they should be dropped off at the ass end of eve and told good fracking luck by the time they reach high sec they will be ready to kill and will have learned to deal with death.

Anonymous said...

Awoxing and wardeccing should be removed entirely.

Both severely punish grouping, further driving players to play solo and eventually quit. Why is EVE struggling? It is a multiplayer game that punishes newbies for engaging in the multiplayer.

There's plenty of PVP to be had in lowsec, nullsec, wspace... actually, pretty much every other area of the game. Let the people who want to group up for the odd mission in highsec have their fun. It hurts nobody, and their subscription helps fund the game just as yours does. If we as PVPers fail to respect this, they will leave, and eventually EVE will die. We all know it is slowly dying already. Let's not make the situation worse than it already is.

Casual corps DO get wardecced. Your average casual highsec corp is full of miners, industrialists, etc. People with valuable cargo, no defenses, and no awareness of PVP. Can you imagine a more attractive target for PVPers looking to pad their killboards? I can't. That's great for KB padding, but horrible for new player retention, and thus, in the long term, horrible for the fate of EVE.

Who would keep playing a game where they felt disrespected by the very game itself? Not many people. This is the age of Steam, where everyone has 100 games, and free-to-play MMos are a dime a dozen. If you start taking people who just want to play casually with friends in highsec, and label them "irrelevant" or "a joke", then you're only giving them another reason to leave EVE and play another game instead. It just isn't helpful.

Casuals, highsec-only players, etc, don't need us to like them, enjoy their playstyle, or even react with less than horror at the idea of playing the way they do. All they need is to be treated with the respect that they, as players, deserve, because they're CCP's customers too. Their sub fees pay for the game just as ours do. They keep the game running just as we do. By alienating them as we do with awoxing, wardecs, and talk of them being "irrelevant", we're just speeding up their decision to quit and bringing things ever closer to the day when EVE goes into a death spiral from dwindling player interest.

Gevlon said...

@Lucas: since EVE is a sandbox, lolcorps are much harder to recognize (or even properly define) as in other MMOs. If a WoW guild doesn't have a raiding group with at least a normal Garrosh kill or a PvP group with 2000+ 5v5 or rated BG rating, they are losers. The game tells that as the goals are raid progress and PvP rating. But even a 10 years old veteran CSM member would have trouble to place EVE corps on a toplist. Hell, The Mittani still calls the alliances that do 75% of his damage "trash".

The point is that a moron CEO blessed with above average social skills can convince newbies that his corp is "pretty cool". A single guy showing up and crushing it is maybe our only hope to disprove it.

Highsec industrial corps will never be able to handle Marmite or RvB. Even without awox, they wouldn't be competitive with solo players "cooperating" via the market. In EVE only PvP players should be in a corp in highsec. Safe corps (which would be just rebranded NPC corps) are the only exception.

@Anonymous: does League of Legends respects you as a customer if you can't play? No, you end up in bronze and everyone calls you trash. Same for even such noble real life sports as golf or chess.

Removing wars from highsec would also remove highsec POS-es and POCOs, since without wars, the old ones wouldn't be contestable.

Anonymous said...

@Gevon: I can't speak to LOL, because I don't play it. I do, however, play other games which are very, very competitive, such as SC2. There is a world of difference between, for example, SC2 and EVE.

Sure, in SC2, you sometimes get a jerk who'll "gg" you before the game is over, or call you a scrub, or whatnot. Even that is fairly rare, though. I've almost never had issues with obvious disrespect of other players in SC2, and I've played from bronze all the way up to masters' league. I can't even remember the last time I heard a comment like "you're irrelevant, stop playing this game you paid for and go play something else".

In EVE, though, that sort of banter is almost normal in many places, including this blog. I am simply saying: don't run casuals out of the game - because doing so is bad for the game. It helps nobody and cripples the game in the long run.

I can't imagine being the person at CCP trying to grow EVE subscriber numbers, when a good portion of the community seems to positively enjoy roflstomping newbies and running them out of the game, via mechanics like awoxing, wardecs, camping the systems missioning agents send you to in lowsec, etc. Much of it isn't even about skill or game knowledge - they're attacked for playing the "wrong" way in a sandbox. A sandbox! The situation must be an absolute nightmare for retention. How could it possibly be otherwise?

Newbies will grow at their own pace. Getting wardecced, awoxed, etc, doesn't motivate most newbies to learn and improve. They motivate newbies to quit the game. They're trying to play a *videogame*, and to them, it feels like they're not being allowed to do what they enjoy. They rightly see it as stupid, as something that comes out of left field and disrupts the fun they're having. EVE needs new mechanics - ones that motivate people to stick with the game, rather than quit.

Anonymous said...

The point is that a moron CEO blessed with above average social skills can convince newbies that his corp is "pretty cool". A single guy showing up and crushing it is maybe our only hope to disprove it.

That only works to a point - at some point one of 2 things will happen. 1) key people (doers) in the corp will break away and the corp will collapse. 2) the CEO's power will be diluted into the group of doer types.

It happens all the time. lol corps either die or evolve into something else (without the founding CEO at the helm usually)

Lucas Kell said...

"If a WoW guild doesn't have a raiding group with at least a normal Garrosh kill or a PvP group with 2000+ 5v5 or rated BG rating, they are losers."
Unless of course they aren't a raiding or PvP guild. They might be a levelling guild for example.

" A single guy showing up and crushing it is maybe our only hope to disprove it."
That doesn't happen though. The single guy awoxes it and the newbies quit. Now it doesn't matter if it was a crappy corp or not, since that person is no longer playing. I'd rather they still had a sub than not, even if they are in what you consider to be a crap corp.

"Highsec industrial corps will never be able to handle Marmite or RvB."
That's strange, because hundreds of corps have. RvB can be dealt with diplomatically, and Marmite are pretty easy to avoid since they a pretty much exclusively located in Amarr, Jita and the pipe between. Not to mention that if you show them you have teeth, they back off quick. The only time marmite would become a problem is if they were specifically hired to attack you, in which case you just need to deal with their client.

"In EVE only PvP players should be in a corp in highsec. Safe corps (which would be just rebranded NPC corps) are the only exception."
That will not help with retention. It would be exactly the same situation of now, btu with a different name for the corps.

Gevlon said...

Leveling guilds are fine. Why? Because people know that they should quit them when they leveled. The lolguilds are the ones that claim to be a permanent place, yet can't provide you endgame content.

Yes, many players will quit when awoxed, wardecced or suicide ganked. But they'd quit anyway. It's not my opinion, it's CCP statement about those who just level their Raven. Can you do anything in a lolcorp than leveling your Raven?

Yes, even RvB and Marmite are not unstoppable (they failed to destroy each other for sure). But the question is "why bother"? You can be completely safe from them in the NPC corp or 1-man corp.

Absolutely not. There is no in-game reason to play with other people while doing PvE (except incursions, but even those are multiboxed nowadays). The only reason why grouping helps retention is that players are socials and having more fun doing the SAME SOLO PLAY while having a common flag and a chatroom to hang out. So let them have it! But don't trick a single one who could be a real EVE player locked into these pathetic ghettos.

Anonymous said...

Interesting debate. I guess I am the sort of solo NPC corp player that hangs around high sec being referred to. But I don't want to under the command of anyone or constrained to a particular approach to the game. CPC makes money off me. It could make more. But advancing the needs of the independent solo player undermines the belief system of powerblocks and their minions. If more attention was given to the solo player (and that is where we all start) then there will be more retention. But those with vested interests would be mad to tolerate that

Anonymous said...

This is where CCP angers me... They half ass attempt things and don't truly delve deep with issues at Hand. War decs are necessary for Structures and possibly High sec territorial debate. Yet with the dramatically heighten cost, ruled out noob corps war deccing. That's just a minor point.

CCP needs to remove AWOXing which could be easily done. Simple, don't make it legal to shoot corp members. For Testing within a Corp, they could develop a "Combat Testing" mode for a Fleet. A pop up windows alerts you to this.

Another problem is that CCP did Corp Advertising, but Failed on allowing for the Other way around. How about having a Resume Pool for players seeking Corps that do certain activities? Add in what Timezone(s) they play in... Not allowing 24/7 like all Corps seem to do. Better filtering of Activities for both player and Corp seeking. I get tired of seeing a "We do Everything and play 24/7" Banner, and when you join... They obviously don't do everything or not well and only play for 1-3 hours a day. A Top priority activity should be made clear, then a secondary... Maybe a third.

Mainly, help both sides find the right people they want to play along side with. That's the main problem.

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