Hooks

I’m now an expert in World of Warships.

I’ve played 25 battles (9 ending in my sinking), with a positive destruction ratio (I sink half as much as my enemies do) and a high team victory rates.  I have millions in credit – which seems to be thrown at you each time you level up, and I had no problem quickly and easily researching the first few ship tiers and their modules.

But of course I am not an expert – and never will be. I just don’t play games that way. No – what Wargaming (the publishers of World of Warships / Tanks / Warplanes) seems to be doing is manipulating my experiences to hook me into the game.

Some steps are obvious – giving you enough cash that you can thoughtlessly buy all the initial upgrades and initial ships as you research them. It ensures the game doesn’t start out feeling like a big grind, even on a non-premium account. From reading other articles, I also expect the game’s match making system might help make you feel like a winner in the very early stages of playing. I know that will change dramatically moving forward.

What does EVE do to hook you in? I’ve played the game for almost 10 years now – and even if I roll up a new Alt I won’t ever have a truly new player experience again. I know new players get more ship hulls and ISK at the start now. I get the gist there is an effort to get people to accede inevitable loss from the start – sort of making you accept feeling like a loser instead of a winner.

The initial fitting options and path in World of Warships is limited, simple, and easy to follow.  There is a learning curve, but it doesn’t feel particularly daunting.  EVE’s initial fitting options is just so much richer, although constrained by the need for knowledge, skill training and ISK. I wouldn’t want to lose that, but it might be useful for early tutorials to step players through the options more.

One random example. Get a new player to fly a frigate with no propulsion module, then an Afterburner, then a Microwarp Drive, to compare the results. Next give them the challenge of getting their frigate to fly above a certain speed. Maybe make it a multiple level mission – start out with a speed they can meet with a MWD, then a higher speed they need upgrade modules for, then a higher speed again they might need to rig for and have certain skills trained.

I also like some of the tool tips in World of Warships.  You can see the impact of an upgraded module or hull just by hovering over them.

It might be my natural level of cynicism, but I know most of the more popular games I’ve played in recent years have very obvious hooks. They entertain you, let you feel like you are progressing, let you win more than lose, show you interesting upgrades, entice you to spend money, and once they have you hooked – they switch to keeping you playing and paying for as long as possible.  It will be interesting to see what CCP do with their new player experience moving forward.

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