What would we encourage ALL new players to do in their first month to get them to subscribe long term, if we had to give out one set of advice for everyone (which we do if we’re giving general advice)?
The Question for Blog Banter #61
Well, the first thing I would tell a new player is how easy they have it these days with their “warp to zero” and their agent finder and their fancy fitting interface that is all easy to use and informative! Back in my day the game was actively hostile towards you, ships looked like they were made out of beer cans, and asteroids appeared to be so many potatoes floating in space…
What was that? Get to the point? I was getting there! Kids today, always in such a damn hurry.
EVE Online will not meet your expectations.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re going to come charging in with some ideas in mind and EVE just isn’t going to line up with them.
Part of this is because of our desire to categorize things. We stamp “MMO” on the side of the EVE Online box and drop it in the bin with World of Warcraft and EverQuest and Wizard 101 and call it a day.
And yes, if you pull back far enough, all of those games share similar characteristics. For somebody who doesn’t care about MMOs, “WoW in space” is probably a sufficient characterization for EVE.
But even if you are just a mild MMO fan and do not suffer from the affliction of the connoisseur and bristle when somebody describes Lord of the Rings Online as “WoW in Middle-earth” because you can name fifty significant (to you) differences between the games, EVE Online is still an odd duck.
If you look at blogs from people playing World of Warcraft… Belghast, Alt:ernative Chat, Kinless, Ysharros, or whoever… our posts tend to be about similar things. Right now we’re writing about garrisons and leveling up and equipment and interesting sites in Draenor and items that pretty much cement that we are all playing the same game.
If you look at blogs from people playing EVE Online… Kirith Kodachi, Rixx Javix, Sugar Kyle, Gevlon, EVE Hermit… things can be quite different. Sure, some days we are all talking about the same thing, like the latest expansion. But there are times when we clearly aren’t just playing in different areas of the game, but it seems like we might be playing totally different games.
EVE is an MMO the way a Swiss Army Knife is a knife. If you really want just a knife… which we’ll define as a WoW-like NPC driven set of goals… it can be used for that, but you wouldn’t want to carve the Thanksgiving turkey with it.
I’ve posted this chart before. The source site has the chart hooked up so clicking on a box brings you to semi-appropriate, somewhat out of date information on that particular aspect of the game.
That is a guide to a series of possible professions or goals or whatever in the game. Each is a deep well which you could spend months, if not years, exploring and perfecting. Or you could lightly explore a few at once, mix and match, or whatever. And this chart is a few years old, so there are probably a couple more boxes that could be added at this point.
And like the Swiss Army Knife analogy, none of boxes are probably the best experience possible for a given activity. Some are crude, silly, or seem tacked on at times just to say that there is such a thing. But you don’t buy a Swiss Army Knife because you need a single-purpose tool, and you don’t play EVE Online because it offers a single, linear experience.
You play EVE Online because it mixes all of those possible experiences into a single universe. And it works… sort of… in a Rube Goldberg, this might spin out of control or go horribly wrong at any moment way. The sum is greater than the whole of its, at times, rather mediocre parts. It is an interlinked, living, breathing, system made up of a couple hundred thousand people doing their little space jobs and making things, moving things, or blowing things up. All aspects are equally important in this mix as people go about their lives in space.
And the interaction with other people is a key, maybe THE key. In no other MMO do I interact with so many different players, be it at the end of a laser, through the market, in my fleet, or just flying by in space. All those people doing their thing. You don’t have to join a corp or be in a big group or whatever. You can play EVE solo, there being no wrong way to play. But you cannot escape other people, good, bad, and indifferent. The game is a fine mix of parts, each dependent in its own way on all the others, and people drive that. Why I remember this one time I was in a system alone, way out in Omist and there was this other pilot… we were out there blowing up stuff that belonged to his alliance… anyway, there we were, both on the gate and he locked me up… and this really illustrates the dichotomy of man, the whole Jungian thing… and then…
What? I’m rambling? What was the question again?
What would I tell a new player to do in their first month to keep them subscribed in the long term?
That’s easy. Go join Brave Newbies, get into null sec, and have a blast blowing stuff up. The rest of the game is for losers.
Is it time for my nap yet?
Oh, here are some other people who tried to answer the same question. They might have different opinions, this being EVE Online and all, and probably more useful than what I have had to say.
- Sand, Cider, and Spaceships – Online Darwinism
- Eveoganda – Your First Month in Eve
- Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah – EVE 101
- Low Sec Lifestyle – Freedom Must be Taken
- Aggressive Logistics – The Wonder
- Khanid Kataphract – Chapter 1
- Dog’s Breath – Rules to Live By
- Morphisat’s Blog – Hang in there
- Align to Ramble – Experiment