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CCP to Attempt to Explain EVE Online to New Players October 9, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The CCP euphemism for it is apparently “…the vast sophistication that is EVE Online.”

But people who have played the game know what they really mean.  EVE Online has a hellishly steep learning curve.

Google “EVE Learning Curve” and you get this

The game explains itself poorly, hides critical information from you, and after a meager tutorial (which is still vastly improved from when I started!) sends you off with a “Good luck storming the castle!”  You are on your own after that.

CCP has at times been quite proud of this state of affairs in a “we meant to do that” sort of way.  HTFU and all that.  But there has also been an ongoing attempt to file down some of the more egregious things making the game incomprehensible to new players.  With Retribution, for example, we got visible timers and useful hover help information about ship modules.

Heavy missile skills

Back when the Drake ruled

I still can’t tell you how much ammunition a given weapon holds without loading it, but at least I don’t have to go to a third party utility to determine critical information like range any more.

In the end though, when a new player comes out of the tutorial and is faced with the… um… vast sophistication of New Eden, life is pretty grim if they don’t have friends or some other support group to get them going.  You can probably run a PvE mission from an agent, or mine a little ore, but if you want to fit out a ship and get into PvP… well, how do you get started down that path alone?

One of the great success points for the Goons is not just that they have a community from which to recruit, but that they have a path to get people up to speed and people committed to supporting new players.   Here is a skill plan.  Here are some skills.  Here is a newbie ship, don’t worry about losing it, we’ll give you another one.  Here is a channel to ask newbie questions.  There is a regular “WTF Fleet Ops” class to make them feel like they are contributing by actually training them for an important role in fleets.  And if they are “lucky” enough to get into a DBRB fleet they’ll get some campfire stories about Goon history in EVE and probably a pile of ISK thrown at them.

All of which gives the new player the confidence and security in the game to go out and get blown up in new and hilarious ways.

Well, CCP is going to try to give the new player introduction a bit more meat.  According to a recent Dev Blog, they are going to hold New Player Training Sessions to introduce players to some of the finer aspects of the game which the tutorial does not cover well.  Or at all.

The initial schedule posted for this covers PvP combat and is timed as part of the run up to the Rubicon expansion, which will no doubt invalidate something that was taught during the sessions, which in and of itself is a lesson about the game and what happens with expansions.  But if anything needs better coverage, it is PvP basics.

Track: Player vs Player Combat

  • October 15, 17:00 UTC – Modules
  • October 17, 17:00 UTC – Fitting Your Ship
  • October 22, 17:00 UTC – Earning ISK
  • October 24, 17:00 UTC – The Overview and UI
  • October 29, 17:00 UTC – Piloting Your Ship
  • October 31, 17:00 UTC – Skills
  • November 5, 17:00 UTC – Crimewatch (Featuring live demonstrations)
  • November 7, 17:00 UTC – Combat Basics
  • November 12, 17:00 UTC – Teamwork
  • November 16, 17:00 UTC – PVP Fleet
  • November 18, 17:00 UTC – Progression: What’s Next?

This looks like a good start as it has the potential to cover what is really a huge gap in the tutorial.  You can join the sessions in-game.  Or, if you are at work like I am during every single one of the Tuesday/Thursday sessions, they will be recorded for later play back.

I look forward to seeing what CCP has to offer on this front, as well as how the old pros in the community respond to the advice given.

Comments»

1. David Andrews (@MarcScaurus) - October 9, 2013

Of course, player built resources will always be better than what CCP comes up with, if only because at this point the players have been doing it longer. However, anything that gets more people engaged in the game is a good thing.

My main question is how prominent will they make this in the eyes of a genuine newcomer? So much about EVE isn’t necessarily complex, it’s just hidden.

2. Shiolle - October 10, 2013

I always wondered why EVE is said to be such a hard game to learn. It’s mechanics are usually pretty straight forward, and the tutorial (even before career agents) was always pretty adequate. It’s not comprehensive, but it shouldn’t be: tutorials usually only deal with basic stuff.

While you may sometimes get blown up without any real chance for you to strike back, it’s usually pretty apparent why that happened and what you could do to avoid that. That is what I really liked about EVE pvp in fact, compared to some other MMOs.

The interface was also always pretty adequate in most areas, even before tons of improvements introduced in recent expansions. Perhaps the context menus were a bit cumbersome in some situations, but that’s about it.

It’s far from the most hard to learn games I’ve ever played, although one of the most diverse for sure.

3. Wilhelm Arcturus - October 10, 2013

@Shiolle – Yes, when it comes down to it, when you have all the information in front of you, when you understand the concepts, when you have an idea what you actually want to do… it isn’t so bad.

Getting there though, that is always the issue. While CCP has improved how information is presented in the game, I still don’t think you can do it without hauling out third party utilities.

4. Mighty Viking Hamster - October 11, 2013

As someone who has just re-started playing the game after playing the trial some 8 years ago I will say that the game does nothing to help you out. Even the starter agent missions are wholly inadequate at what they are trying to do. They usually tell you what to do and you have to figure out how to do that. The interface also needs some serious streamlining. I am at a point where things are clicking into place. However this barrier to entry is something that CCP have to address if they want the game to be more popular. Thankfully the EVE community is very helpful and there are plenty of resources out there.


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