Friday, June 20, 2014

New Player Experience

There is no doubt that EVE is a complicated game. Before I started the game, I did some research on it and heard all about the difficult learning curve. One of the best things I ever did was stumble upon the EVE University wiki pages and apply to join the corporation afterwards.

EVE University is a training corporation for new players. With on-going classes, events and campuses in various areas of the game (high-sec, low-sec, null-sec and w-space), there is something there for everyone. Whether you are interested in PvE or PvP, there is something here for you.

I know that I wouldn't be the player that I am today without the support of my corporation. I also don't know where I'd be or what I'd be doing if I decided to go down a different path with my EVE career. It's possible that I might not even be playing the game now if I didn't join.

The new player experience is very important to all players and CCP. New players breathe life into the game and help to provide more content in all aspects of the game. Therefore it is important that these new players are set up to succeed from the beginning so that they don't get frustrated and leave the game before they've had a chance to experience it.

My question is, are new players set up to succeed when they first start playing?

New players start off completing the career agent's missions, immediately exposing them to several aspects of the game. It provides an all around good introduction, although some of the missions aren't clear. For example, there are some missions where you require a certain item to complete it but the agent doesn't give it to you and there's no indication that you need to go buy it. This unnecessarily complicates what should be a gentle first step into the world of EVE.

I've found, however, that once you're done the career agent missions, you're sort of left on the side of the road with no clear indication of where you should go next. Other MMOs have "breadcrumb" quests that gently lead you to where you're supposed to go. That's fine for a game where the path you follow is fairly linear. In a sandbox such as EVE, that won't work. How do we give new players the equivalent of a breadcrumb quest?

In my opinion, Aura should send a mail to a new player and let them know that there are certain training corporations in the game that a new player should look into to help guide them on their next steps. EVE University is the first one that comes to my mind, clearly, but there are others such as Brave Newbies and RvB. Setting a new player up with this knowledge from the get go could go a long way to helping them lay a solid foundation in the game, which in return will ensure that they enjoy playing and will stick around for a longer time.

I've recently become a Personnel Officer for EVE University, so I can see that there is a solid stream of new players lining up to join. These people find EVE University from all types of sources. That's great, but I wonder how many more there are out there that have never heard of us but would greatly benefit from what we offer.

What do you think of the new player experience? Do you think more can be done to help new players lay a solid foundation? Let me know in the comments. And if you're a new player and have questions about EVE Univesity, feel free to reach out to me, either here or in-game.


  1. Personally I think there maybe a little too much for the game to teach directly. It maybe a better idea to try and ask CCP to allow certified corps to be used directly for new players as soon as they finish the tutorial so that they are encouraged to join a helpful corp right from the start.

    Other than that I would suggest teaching things like:

    - Explain the difference between highsec, low sec & null sec better.

    Not just the open pvp element but also the higher rewards as its not obvious that 'activity x in highsec gives y reward' and 'activity x in low gives y*2' reward.

    - Explain ship roles & Module Intent / Design

    A lot of the time when speaking to new players I get asked 'What is the best ship' and the answer of 'depends on the situation'.
    Most will expect a linear progression and not understand the different roles a ship can provide and how a role or play style can change based on a fitting (ie a short range brawler or a long range kiter / sniper).

    1. There's definitely a lot to teach, but I feel that the tutorials do a good job of giving you a brief overview of several different aspects of EVE without taking too much time.

      That being said, I would support certified corporations being used for new players. My experience in one has been great so far. I could definitely imagine there being better player retention if these corporations were mentioned near the beginning.