Like mana from Valhalla (yes I know I’m mixing my religious metaphors), the recent Dev Blog by CCP Legion asks questions which make for perfect Blog Bantering. To quote him,
“…we want to make the first days, weeks and months in EVE enjoyable and not just something ‘you have to plough through in order to get to the good stuff’” and the newly formed Player Experience team will focus on “…where and why people lose interest in EVE…”.
“We invite you to pour your heart (or guts) out and tell us what you think is good or bad with the current new player experience and what you think could be done about the problems.”
So let’s get self-eviscerating. Banter on.
My online presence this february was severely limited, and this reply to Blog Banter #33 is long overdue. But I always say, better late, than never.
The current EVE Online community has grown quite big: New Eden is no longer an empty universe filled with NPCs. CCP has been gradually removing the NPCs from market and economy of New Eden, has provided some group oriented PVE and PVP content (Incursions and Faction Warfare respectively), but never thought of grouping newbies together. The new player experience as it is right now, is still based on a single player experience. The handy instructions from Aura and tutorial missions from the first handful of agents don’t pull the newcomer into the great and amazing community of players. Instead, the NPE ends with a “Tutorials are finished, now go find yourself a corporation”.
It is true from psychology point of view, from real life experience and from multiplayer gaming experience, that you make the strongest ties with people you started with. Be it coleagues at school, be it players who started the game at roughly the same time, or co-workers who arrived in the company at the same time. I don’t say newbies have to be hardened for PVP from day one; let the tutorials still be a PVE experience. But grouping newbies together, giving them a mission, will give them a great opportunity to make friendships, which will last throughout their entire EVE Online experience. I still keep in touch with the first group of friends from EVE, even though we are from different countries. Some of us managed to meet out of game and we had a really good time. These are the people, most of whom I met in EVE 6 years ago! If not for the solo New Player Experience, I would have a chance to get to know these great people much earlier.
One more thing I remember very well was the “CASTO“. CASTO meant Center for Advanced Studies Tactical Operations. It was a channel where noobs met experienced pilots, who took them to do level 4 missions together. I remember being in a fleet of 20+ ships, most of them frigates and dessys doing an L4 mission together. Payout was not that important, but the fact that we did it as a group was a lot of fun.
Dear CCP, it can be done. Please give new players a meaningful task, that will give them a common goal and bring them together, letting them forge friendships of their own.