Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The one advice for newbies

I keep a link of an old Sugar post. I always wanted to answer it, but I couldn't. It's about somehow shielding newbies from "be killed by people for no reason other than their amusement and hopeful tears" "without suggesting we change the fundamental nature of Eve".

You see, EVE is not a very complicated game, but it's very punishing for mistakes. All the necessary knowledge could be written down in a dozen pages, while you can (and theorycrafters do) write dozen pages for every single WoW raid boss. However if you fail to know something about a WoW raid boss, the worst thing that can happen is that you waste some hours and get replaced by the raid leader. If you miss just one thing on the EVE know-how, you can easily end up losing everything you own. Knowing 99% is just not good enough, someone will find that 1% you don't know and abuse it for your tears. To keep a newbie playing, you have to plant all of it into him, before he'd be victimized by a griefer.

I didn't have an answer for long, because I can't speak from experience. I always found EVE an easy game, got to 10B assets in 3 months, and didn't understand why people keep whining it's hard when it's clearly not. I had to work much harder in WoW. The reason why it was so easy for me and why my experience can't be used is my asociality. I was naturally immune to all kind of scams, awoxes, wardecs, simply because I didn't want to group up with anybody. My main - after two and a half years - is still in the starter NPC corp. My advice: "Stay in highsec, tank your ship, talk to nobody!" is objectively perfect, but no one will take it. Someone who wants to play with other people must recognize a griefer or genuinely clueless CEO whose corp will be griefed. Some people can do it, some has real life friends to carry him, the rest are lost.

Finally I could form an answer that doesn't contain "talk to nobody as they are all out to get you". It's "asking what he gains from cooperating with you". The acceptable answers are "I need one more guy to press F1" and "I need one more guy to pay taxes for me". Everything else are lies or delusions, signaling incoming trouble. Why? Because you are a clueless newbie who is good for nothing else. You don't have skillpoints, game knowledge or assets that would make you desired for anything else than grunt or taxpayer. Harsh? Not really. In real life if you have no money, skills or family to carry you, you'll end up in a homeless shelter. That's a bit worse than having to run missions in a shiny spaceship.

Here are the worst kind of answers. Anyone giving them to you deserves a right-click, block:
  • Fun: it's honest, he is really after fun. His fun is your tears. If he wants to have fun with someone, he'd do it with his friends, not a total stranger like yourself.
  • Kills: same thing. As you aren't a seasoned PvP-er, the only way you can help him getting kills is you being the kill.
  • We're friendly bunch / just to hang out and chat: EVE isn't Facebook. He is either an incompetent idiot who collects imaginary friends, or he's a griefer with a lame line.
  • We need more people to get ready for [something or another]: because adding one more clueless noob will somehow turn a collection of clueless noobs into an unstoppable armada.
  • I'm trying to help you: yes, EVE players are famous for that. Also, the help you need is teaching and he totally can't do it in a chat, you need to be in his corp with all his assets stuffed into a T1 hauler.

Some irrelevant losses to CFC: 3B Raven, 1.7B Tengu, half B thing, jackpod, half B cyno boat and finally: 5B worth of FA.


Anonymous said...

In a game that has only ~50k players in the world, every warm body is a valuable asset. A newb now may not be useful now but their skills will train passively and he is guaranteed to be useful in the future, as long as they stick around long enough, preferably with you. It's their /potential/ you are investing in.

In eve, a player who is 1) halfway competent, and 2) active in the game, is as rare as hens teeth.

Anonymous said...

Let's do some stats. Ccp says there are an average of 2 accounts per player, so the amount of real players is 250000. Of the subbed players we also are told that the ratio of raven levellers to group players is 4:1 so that leaves 50000 players who are available to join your corporation.

Now we move into estimates. Using Pareto 80 pc of results will come from 20 pc of those players, meaning 40000 will join but not do a lot, will go afk for periods, have to take kids to cello lessons, or busy with work, and cannot be relied to fuel pos/get in fleet when pinged/form up defense/do logistics/check api keys for spies etc etc etc etc. So now we are looking at a pool of only 10000 people who can be useful in any real capacity to your corp. out of those scarce numbers every newb can be precious.

Anonymous said...

How does this relate to your mining gank project/educate the clueless miners? Wouldn't you yourself be an example of someone attempting to teach newbies? This wouldn't fall into either category you've set out.

Anonymous said...

"I'm trying to help you: yes, EVE players are famous for that"

Actually....they are. There are numerous channels for new players, numerous people who help newbies out with ships, talks, books, items.

However, "Eve player is nice" does not make for many clicks on a site, whereas "Be afraid in Eve" does

lowrads said...

High end moons only generate 6M isk per hour before reactions, so it makes sense that people focus on other players, or more analytically, man-hours. You can't run a dungeon solo, or fill all the roles in a squad. You can't run a raid, or take down a sov asset solo.

There is mutual value in specialization. It's not a zero sum proposition.

Moons or other scarce contested assets could be a lot more valuable, but CCP are unwilling to go down that road.

Zyan said...

I'm not sure if it's the right way to change the Game, to keep a) more new players in the Game and b) how to lead them into one of the "M" in MMO (not to level the own raven, but to level the raven together with corp mates)

I think one point is the expectation that new players have, when they came to EVE. Learned form other MMO's (WoW and other F2P): 1) Game is easy 2) you are a mighty hero right from the start or at least within 1 week.
It's a shot in the blue, but I guess 50% or more of the new players that start a trail, think exact this.(call them ezypeezy players)

Now you have the problem a) they realize "EVE is not easy, and without some work it will never be easy for you" and "you are no famous and mighty hero, right from the beginning, nor in 1 or 2 Weeks it will take months or years" and "NO, there is no 5$ package that will make you mighty".
If you change the game, mr. ezypeezy-player and 90% of the other players will leave the game after 2-4 weeks, because the own a titan, have seen almost everything and ey there is that super easy new game, lets check that...
Or you leave the game as it is, mr. ezypeezy-player will leave after 2 days, because he has to work for all the good stuff in EVE or at least spend some time. BUT you will keep the others, that don't like that ezypeezy-playstile all around.

Make it clear in the tutorials, make a red button at the first 20 logins:

- never fly a ship, that you can't afford to lose.
- If an offer is to good to be true, may be it is not true.
- no one in RL gives you millions of $ for free, nor does it anyone in EVE.

Don't invest any manpower to keep such ezypeezy's in EVE, this is the player that buys plex for 400$ and put it into a 23Mrd ISK Raven - and got blown up within 2min after undock.(and he has no clue what he made wrong)

EVE is hard and we like it because of that!
If you don't like it, go an play something else where you can buy a 5$ superhero-god-mode pack.

Anonymous said...

Although everything stated in this post is true, and can be confirmed from personal experience, gevlon misses a point.
People like socializing and do stupid things ineffeciently together instead of alone.
That's why they play MMO's.
If it was about playing efficiently, they would all be playing "sins of a solar empire", basically the game EVE was based on...

Anonymous said...

" I always found EVE an easy game, got to 10B assets in 3 months, and didn't understand why people keep whining it's hard when it's clearly not."

See, this is a problem that you have. Just because you find something easy does not mean that others will too!

Ok so you're good at the game, I get that! But, that's you! Not me, nor everyone else! What you find easy others might find difficult. What you find difficult others would find easy. Not to be a ass here, but it's something you clearly don't understand!

"talk to nobody as they are all out to get you"

This is you pushing fear and the image that EVE is a cold dark place and that everyone is out to get you. Quite on contrary, everyone's not out to get you. Saying that everyone is and that people should hide in a dark corner and run L4's all day is you pushing your play style on everyone else. It's the same thing that gankers do! The only difference between them and you is a Catalyst!

Dàchéng said...

Anonymous@04:55 asked

"How does this relate to your mining gank project/educate the clueless miners? Wouldn't you yourself be an example of someone attempting to teach newbies? This wouldn't fall into either category you've set out."

That would fall into category "Fun: it's honest, he is really after fun. His fun is your tears".

Gevlon was harvesting tears as are the rest of the New Order gankers

Dean Stell said...

I agree with so much in this post. I'm not a hugely active Eve player and I don't have your wealth, but I've never found it to be a really hard game either. When bad things happen, it's almost always because you did something stupid. And it isn't like the nature of "stupid" is secret. My god....there are blogs and resources and wikis and podcasts galore on the nature of stupid in Eve.

I think you make a really good point about trusting other people. It's okay to have fun and be social, but you can't get too hurt when someone you've "known" for 4-5 months under a fake name betrays you. Recently suffered a "betrayal" in another MMO after the whole alliance pushed resources to a player....only to have her skip town for a bigger alliance. We were hurt, but we've only known her since November and other than the fact that she's Canadian, I couldn't tell you much about her. If you extend yourself like that with people that you don't really know, you can't get too upset when bad things happen.

Tithian said...

I sincerely doubt that the #1 problem newbies face is griefing. It is simply the most noticeable reason because you can see examples of it in an easier fashion, but if I had to list the most common newbie frustrations that cause people to quit it would be:

(a) People with backgrounds in other MMOs are mostly turned off by the passive skill training.While some see it as a convenience, in general people want to be rewarded by new skills through their actions, not through a passive counter they can't really control. In other MMOs you level because you do stuff, here you level just because you waited 3 months. Add to that the common (wrong?) perception that newbies can never catch up to the vets, and it leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

(b) Unless someone is business savvy, inflation has made acquiring ISK even more of an uphill battle. Unless someone dedicates some serious manhours on PvE (or trading), ISK barely trickles in your wallet. Some people actually encourage newbies to buy PLEX and trade it in for starting capital, but not many are willing to do this in a subscription MMO.

(c) Which brings us to the final point: PvE in EVE is the most boring thing in gaming history. People come expecting exciting space battles and what they get instead is 5 button presses in a horrid outdated UI that resembles Lotus 123: "Approach target -> Lock -> Orbit -> Activate modules -> Loot". This just doesn't cut it nowdays and you can even see the trend of new MMOs going for action combat - because people want it that way. I will not even comment on mining, because it literally encourages you to go AFK.

So, in essence, the majority of newbies leave not because they were scammed,lied to or killed. While there some cases that that was indeed the case, these are too far and few to have an overall impact. The problem with EVE is that it promotes passive, boring and grindy gameplay right out the door and very few people will stick to it simply because 10 months in they will start to have fun. Not when they can have fun right now, without a sub fee, in any of the F2P options out there.

The alternative, skipping PvE content and going straight to frig PvP, can become too expensive to become sustainable, unless you are willing to drop down a second sub each month to cash in PLEX.

Just IMO, of course.

Anonymous said...

From a personal view, what Cris K said.
EVE PvE is so fucking boring and the UI is so horrendous, I dont know how you guys can put up with it.
I tried for a few days on a trial account and then just forgot about it.

Anonymous said...

As well as it being boring, PVE is not rewarding at scale. You can be the best at PVE and still make a tiny fraction of what you can make through trading which takes considerably less work, so whats the point? PVE pretty much gets you up to your first billion or so, then after that it can be discarded and replaced with trading. At that point you are playing skill queue + wallet building online. It's not difficult to get up to hundreds of billions of isk, and then what? If you don't get involved in the game, then you won't care about politics and who hates who, there's nothing in PVE you can spend that much isk on, so you basically get to sit there and waggle your wallet at people.

In the end I just biomassed all of my isk and moved on. Probably the most helpful thing you can do with isk.

Unknown said...

Having been a recruiter for corps and currently being one now, I can honestly say the third point is something that if you gave out to all newbies a lot of fairly good corps that have responsible recruiting strategies that know what they want and what they have to do to get it are going to have a hard time.
As a rule of thumb when I recruit I first have to see if interests align with the current mission given to me. This can be different, get fifty bodies, or we need miners, missioners, and industrialists in that order.
But then comes your part three. I check for compatibility. Are you going to enjoy the experience in our corp and is it going to be rewarding for all of us? If the answer is no, thank you come again. But if I invite a guy on ts and we all talk for maybe an hour or so about random stuff and have fun two things generally happen. People who come on ts during the recruitment process and like what they see are more likely to join because we've offered a community that they like, and people are more likely to stick around. I've seen people who have left corps constantly come back to talk because we won them on atmosphere but not what we were doing. I've seen two guys wait out a two week wardec to join a corp probably because they loved the community.
Community is important, it can't be your end all be all in recruiting, but it doesn't hurt.

Anonymous said...

At the end of it all, what it really boils down to are the two points Gevlon outlined. I've been playing since 2005 and have recruited more people than I can even remember for various corps and alliances. Yes you are investing in their potential, but at the end it really is just another "F1 pusher" or another "person paying taxes" even if they aren't able to right this very second. And about "Ask what they get out of cooperating with you" is spot on. That is precisely what everybody needs to do at all times whether they "seem nice" or not because that's how EVE is. Hell, I still do that even with people I've been flying with for years because I know that everybody in this game has a price and while it may be higher with age and familiarity, it's still there. If you don't ask "what is he getting out of this" then you're likely going to be a victim. If you're not a victim then it was just blind luck and nobody wants to rely on that when EVE is so punishing.

I'm seeing several posts here that are saying "Teaching newbies blah blah blah" but when you really boil it down, it's "another F1 pusher" or "another tax payer". Gevlon teaches newbies to gank catalysts? That's another F1 pusher, simple as. Another thing someone said is "there are a lot of help channels" and yes, that's true, but they don't require you to cooperate with them with your assets because you're just chatting. Joining a corp "that teaches newbies" is going to be trouble and these are the kinds of things that Gevlon is suggesting be addressed when newbies start this game out. More people start playing this game without reading anything into the game all starry eyed and thinking it'll be another safe game like WoW only to be destroyed with all their assets in a hauler on the Jita 4-4 undock. How many times have you seen this happen? Then they rage and complain that suicide ganking should be nerfed when in reality they should just not be so stupid and trusting, but for some reason or another it never crossed their minds. I think Gevlon is simply saying that it should be instilled within them to always ask what they're getting out of this interaction, even those you think you can trust, and with that mindset you can go about socializing and playing with people and never be a victim. In fact, you will thrive.

Anonymous said...

According to this reasoning, every time Sugar Kyle tries to help out a newbie by chatting them up, she's actually trying to exploit them as a grunt or taxpayer. The correct action would be to close the window and never talk to her again.

Am I following your logic here?

Gevlon said...

Talking =/= grouping

Foo said...

I have a public channel 'FooPub' where I am willing to talk to pilots about PI in general, and wormhole PI in particular.

I am not fussy who I talk to, and am willing to chat to other PI farmers and our gankers alike.

There is a difference between 'helpful/friendly/social' and 'in corp'.

I consider myself helpful/friendly and somewhat social.

However, for you to join one of our corporations, I am mostly interested in your ability to pay me taxes, and very rarely to shoot things for us.

Anonymous said...

"Talking =/= grouping"

Yet her corp mentors newbies all the time in an environment where being a f1 pusher with no battle awareness and piloting skill leaves you getting kited to death while contributing nothing to a fight.

Anonymous said...

"Fun" can be a valid answer. I played EVE by myself for awhile before forming a corp just to have other people to play with. It has become successful, but we still have no taxes, because we don't need them - we have no expenses to meet. I also don't need anyone to shoot things for me. I can shoot all the stuff I want to shoot myself, thanks. The corp is purely for fun. We don't need to fly together to do anything - we just do it because we enjoy doing it. You can make more ISK flying solo, generally, and I'm not interested in PVP, so there's no reason to group up with other players.