So, first thought, before I even get into the NPE: ‘Ships of the Empire’ in character creation. Can we get this to ‘Ships of the [%N]’ where %N is the actual ‘Empire/Federation/Republic/State’ that each nation-state uses? I get that all four are ‘the four empires’, but it seems like this is a tiny, easy way to start giving people a hint about the differences between the four empires (ESPECIALLY if the NPE is taking new players out of the empires) right away.
Next thought: the first sequence (up to the point of exploding) isn’t terrible, but it introduces some inconsistencies that might confuse players later. For example: you get fleet warped, without being in a fleet, after being told to get into fleet formation. I can see this giving new players the idea that ‘get into fleet’ just means flying over to where the other ships are. Yes, this can get quickly sorted out, but every misconception you add is something someone else has to undo. Introducing them seems counterproductive.
When I got to ‘enabling your station services panel’, yeah, it enabled that panel… but then… nothing. Wasn’t in my pod, didn’t get a ship. The station hangar tab said was I in my pod, but… no. Not in the pod. No pod visible. Experience… stopped.
Then, as others have pointed out… this is a very different experience from, you know, EVE. That first sequence feels like it might be a decent intro for a single-player game, but… overall, I don’t think any new player comes out of that fight with any sense of ‘I feel like I understand what happened there’.
And yeah. No matter how amazing the NPE is, what comes next is more important, and hasn’t been touched in forever. An hour, maybe of slick, shiny, modern NPE that drops people into the same mission agent system, that still relies on a just mind-numbingly dense UI especially for the Agency…
Fix that. Fix everything after the NPE. Because having new players log off in disgust, feeling like there was a bait-and-switch, is a lot more damaging to retention than having them go ‘ok, this is hard’ at first.