Be what we want

Something this blog has taught me is that I should not make assumptions about what people enjoy doing in EVE.

I can remark on some pretty mundane things, the process of neatening and organising assets, hauling, undocking to earn unremarkable ISK, and people pipe up in comments to confess that they too like that aspect of EVE.

People find their EVE joy in so many different nooks and crannies that I couldn’t begin to guess at half of them.

I really like that. To me it is one of the attributes that holds EVE up as a sandbox game. It is important.

The discussion about the new player experience is popular again. I tend to find it a touch disheartening. Despite the best of intentions, the ideas often seem to end up trying to direct players into specific play styles.

Force people into Player Corps – they will be happier and stay longer.

Force players to lose lots of ships during the tutorials so that they become less risk adverse.

Force players into Low Sec, or Null Sec, or Wormhole space, and the game will suddenly be much better for them.

Of course they don’t use the word “force”, but they might as well do. I can’t argue that some of the suggestions might well come with a measure of success, but they also weaken the sandpit and marginalise the people who might want something different out of the game.

I’d prefer that the new player experience start with a common basic tutorial of standard game mechanics, and then ask the pilot what they would like to try or learn about?

Gathering resources
Building
Trading
Hauling
Exploring
PVE
PVP

.. and so on. Describe the categories based on the sort of favourite Sci-Fi characters people might start off thinking they could emulate in EVE. A deep space trader, a smuggler, a Pirate, a Naval officer.

Each category would then be divided up into logical sub sections, such as ore or gas mining, blueprints, manufacturing, invention, pirating, faction war fare, war declarations, kiting ships, brawling ships, sniping and so on. Cover the skills, ship options and basic fits, and walk them through actually doing it in game.  Flesh these out so that in the end there are 60+ individual tutorials that you can run covering most accessible mechanics in the game.

I started EVE 7 years and 10 months ago.  If some of the suggestions I have read were in place back then, I’d have quit after a day or two because I’d have assumed the game was obviously not for me.  It is a confronting thought.

Have the best damn possible PVP tutorial possible – but don’t push the player through it if they don’t want to.  As I started out saying above – don’t assume you know what the new player is here for.  Open their eyes to the possibilities, but then let them explore it for themselves.

Unfortunately I don’t think that is what we will end up with.

7 thoughts on “Be what we want

  1. To me it looks like the Nullbears want to transform the NPE so that it railroads new players straight into a meatgrinder.

    How do they think people are going to react to some of the proposed NPE changes?

    “Look at meee… I’ve had a Goon stamping on my face!! You can still see the bootmarks!!”
    “Wow! look at the tread on that! I want one!”

    Lol no. Nullbears want EVE to be a game like a private members club where anyone new turning up can be beaten to death with cricket bats purely for lols and roflcopters while the “true players” have the real entertainment reserved especially for them.

    People will leave. It’s that simple. You cannot force people into playing in a way they don’t want to. Turning the NPE into railroading newbies into a sociopath meatgrinder will make them leave even faster unless they have a nullbear sponsor gearing them up as a new member of a coalition.

    OT slightly:

    I’m really looking forwards to the new expansion. It’s always more enthralling watching a building go up in flames than watching the slow process of it originally being built.

    It’s gonna wreck industry in hisec and lowsec. Anyone who bids on a team in lowsec or hisec is painting a bullseye on their head. It’s like broadcasting across the whole game “Calling all ganksters, I am building in system , tear harvest almost ripe for picking.” which gives nullsec a huge advantage and tickles the nads of the faceroll cavalry who play for tear harvests.

    And the increased job costs… yeah… that’ll be popular when it goes down and the “non-forum” players see prices escalate and they all go “wtf???”.

    Actually it could be great for trading, stock up on cheap gunk now and watch the prices rocket, then cash in after a few months and have a tasty slice of profit pie.

    Sorry for you people that still play eve but I really hope this one goes pear-shaped. Popcorn & beer ready, reach for the cigars and watch armageddon.

    Good luck tho EVE Hermit. Still a great blog. I hope you enjoy it and manage to make a hefty profit from the approaching mayhem.

    • Most of the suggestions I read seem genuine. People believe if new players get to experience what they love about the game, they will want to stay. I don’t get the gist it is all nefarious.

      I do think pushing people into Null immediately would be problematic. It isn’t a game style for everyone, you tend to have less freedom in what you can do when you log in, and it is difficult for a new player to be self-sufficient. While some will stick around, those players who might have found their niche elsewhere would be compelled to quit.

      I don’t see a problem with giving the option for new players to get into null quicker – I just think it should be an option instead of a direction all are pushed.

      I don’t think industry will take much of a hit with these changes. I don’t doubt costs of building in High-Sec will be 10+% more expensive than in Null. In most circumstances however the average builder won’t move and things will just get more expensive to buy. There will be individual exceptions, but overall I’m not expecting much.

      I won’t be in a position to make a hefty profit on the speculation however – I’m struggling to get in one or two play sessions a week at the moment.

      • It’s kind of like the time in WoW at the start of cata where Blizz made the 5 man heroics harder in order to try to “force scrubs to play properly” as admitted to by Greg Street (I think) afterwards (he didn’t use those precise words though).

        It was really bad, they lost millions of customers, down from 12m to less than 9m and I suspect the nerfs only happened in the end because the bean counters laid down the cosh and insisted.

        EVE is very different but the same fragility exists regarding how people play and how CCP want them to play.

        CCP seem to be trying the same thing but gradually and over several different mechanisms. WoW only had 5-mans hit, CCP are hitting many things gradually.

        The effect will be the same though. People will leave.

        I’m not gonna go all Dinsdale and reach for the tinfoil, I think much of CCPs masterplan is driven by pure ignorance and their response will be more of the same (“What??? quitting??? how dare they not want to play properly!!! They must be punch bags and rent boys for the nullbear pimp lords!!!”)

  2. I would say my general thoughts is very much reflected in the last 2 paragraphs. While however having very damn good Tutorials that really reflect the game whether it be PVE, PVP or other. Just make good interesting learnable from Tutorials for the new player and let them decide where their interest fall.

    Fortunately I kinda knew where my interest was in EVE before I played it, yet I tried some other things while I started initially and later on over time. But overall I played where my interest was which was sector wise same overall as what I looked at initially before I played it. I guess my mind didn’t change that much.

    For me there is a certain way I’ve played most games or a trend. I can say exactly what it is exactly, but there is a certain style to my play no matter the game in character and in some way it reflects a part of me in RL. Almost no matter the game, no matter what the game is about or environment of the game my character tendencies are all within the realm of Exploration, Scientific, Market or Construction related activities mostly. Will I kill or shoot stuff based on the game type sure. But I’ll gravitate naturally to the things I’m generally good at for other RL character and personality reasons. At least that’s me and I can’t speak for anyone else. My character in games tend to like to Explore, Investigate, or Build things whatever it is. Needless to say I work in Engineering.

    You can never tell just what a person will enjoy doing in a Sandbox like EVE that will TOTALLY perplex everyone else including CCP, other players, Corp Mates and any on looker. People can find their FUN in the most seemingly mundane of things that few people think of normally, but to them it’s their FUN. It may not be FUN to everyone else or anyone else. But if they are enjoying their existence in the universe doing whatever they do, then who is anyone else to want to throw them out the universe and have -1 in population effect.

    I used to find pleasure in EVE of finding systems in what seem like a dead region or one sided populated region and found places to do trade business or supply the locals with what I perceived they needed. That was Fun trying yo figure stuff like that out all on my own day to day. It gave my character value existing serving my regional market population. Sometimes it was fun trying to logistically get all my spread out assets consolidated into one of two areas to reduce space traveling around which ate time. Sometime it was often fun after accumulating do much assets to try to devise a system to easily organize all my assets so finding anything was easy based on my system. Sometime fun was trade war with the other guy a few system away. Just a few things that were fun in my play, can seem mundane to others but what’s fun to a person is all personal in how they look at things.

    One my first seen and all time favorite as a little kid was Star Trek the original series. I did also liked. Voyager the series. I remember back watching that show years ago as they were in the Delta Quadrant and used to think to myself. In my mind I used to think… “Hey be cool to play a game where my character contributed to the universe in my actions in some way and be cool if I was a galactic space trader or tycoon in some way. Maybe I get to sell valuable space junk or sell weapons to ships cursing on by and make someone happy I helped them with their supplies. Or maybe it be cool to just explore space and chart unknown wormholes. Well I could be a lab rat and build some space devices or ships that people need”. Those used to be my random thoughts watching Star Trek Voyager show back then because it was often what they needed. Was I thinking about EVE, absolutely not. But I had heard of EVE but knew nothing about it. Yet right there was a guy primed to likely be appealed to EVE. So when I tried the game it had appeal to me for various reasons. You never can tell just what attracts a person to a game. Even a completely bad starter tutorial wouldn’t have stopped me from playing EVE. I was destined to by sheer interest. But it may not be the same for everyone, nor will it ever be.

    • I think your comment about the way you play EVE reflecting your real life self was fairly accurate. I know some people claim there is a complete divide between then in and out of game, but I don’t buy it. I can understand and respect the gentlemen pirate or efficient Ganker – but I wouldn’t waste time in real life on people who are tear harvesters or griefers in game.

      I also like your point about how a bad tutorial would not have stopped you playing. I partially role play my characters. Not in an obvious sense, but it is important for me to be able to see the narrative of the game play in my minds eye.

      • I guess I could say the same as well in that for the entire time I played EVE that all my characters were role played in how they existed. So I’ll also agree on the last paragraph statement you just made above. Each characters life was just a somewhat natural progression of the things they did in how they existed and had meaning in New Eden. However I just never really thought of it as role play really in any sense of it. Anyway both very interesting topics the last 2 blog posts.

  3. Good posting. Your experience shows in the understated nature of your blog. Good work.

    I would agree that good introductory tutorials are very important for new players; however, I do not believe the current set dissuades players to any great degree. As you said, it is the “forcing” that makes a lie out of the tutorials and the notions that new players develop from them.

    I think it was CCP Rise who said during Fanfest something to the effect that the tutorials would be changed to make players accept the trend in forcing more readily. Square peg, round hole.

    I wish you more power and influence in the conveyance of your opinions.

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