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?
.. 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.