Improving Newbie "Bootstrapping" by Incorporating Project Discovery in NPE and Giving Corvettes QoL Enhancements

@Mike_Azariah + @Brisc_Rubal + possibly other CSM who might possibly engage the forums (since when :open_mouth:?):

There are numerous areas of concern in relation to the New Player Experience (NPE) in EVE. While CCP has taken a number of highly-visible steps to improve the NPE, there are a number of low-hanging fruit opportunities that I feel would greatly enhance the NPE further and that merit the immediate direct consideration of the CSM.

The below commentary stems from my direct interactions working with hundreds of newbies, and from observing hundreds more at a distance (in-game and on forums).

NPE Doesn’t Teach Players How to Bootstrap

Players are highly hesitant to lose ships because the NPE doesn’t teach them how to procure ISK and assets should they lose everything they acquired via starter tutorial/career agents. Interestingly, many of these players don’t think of rerunning the starter tutorial or career agents, though perhaps this is because they aren’t aware of this as an option (not that I would recommend rerunning them unless they didn’t grasp the basics enough the first time). When players do lose what little ISK and assets they have, they often think they need to resort to conservatively safe but mindlessly boring (for most) activities like HS Venture mining (assuming that also didn’t get blown up) or they ragequit altogether (I’ve met quite a few players who did or were on the verge of ragequitting because they lost the Slasher, Venture, Catalyst, Badger, etc they got from the NPE).

Players always have access to their Corvette; however, most players, including newbies, don’t consider their Corvettes to be viable for anything, let alone bootstrapping. When they lose their assets and are only left with a Corvette, they might as well be left with nothing at all in their minds. Part of the problem is that the NPE does not make clear what Corvette-friendly content exists outside of tutorial content. There are also some annoyances regarding using Corvettes I’ll get to later.

I have a few simple QoL suggestions that would facilitate and improve awareness of bootstrapping opportunities while mostly preserving the status quo of the game.

Incorporate Project Discovery in NPE

Most players I’ve encountered, including long-time vets, have never heard of Project Discovery. They are surprised to find that an activity exists that can net up to 29.7m/hr + level up rewards + milestone rewards with no SP requirements and no ship requirements that can be done at anytime from anywhere (even while docked) and while multitasking other activities such as mining - all done while contributing to real world science. (While there is a theoretical limit to submissions per day, players could always continue PD on an Alpha account if they so wished and transfer the funds to their main.)

A player only needs a cheap T1-fitted T1 frigate to begin snowballing their wealth, knowledge, and experience in EVE, and few minutes of Project Discovery is all it takes to procure such a frigate when everything has been lost. This is far more profitable and safer than HS Venture mining, and for most players I’ve spoken to it’s also less boring as well. If there was an increased awareness of Project Discovery, then players would not feel so helpless when they’ve lost all their ships because they would know how quick-and-easy it would be to acquire the funds to purchase a new one, literally within minutes and with no SP/ship requirements. Unlike any other activity in the game, you don’t need money to make money with Project Discovery.

Therefore, I suggest Project Discovery be incorporated in both the Starter Tutorial AND that a Project Discovery career agent be introduced. In both instances, Aura/the Pointer Tool would indicate how Project Discovery can be accessed in the EVE Menu, the PD tutorial would run (can be skipped), and a level or so would be required to be reached in PD before the starter tutorial advances or the career agent terminates. In both instances, I also feel it should be explicitly mentioned that the yields for Project Discovery are up to 29.7m/hr + level up rewards + milestone rewards so players know the extent to which Project Discovery can bootstrap them and they can relieve themselves of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Few things are as effective as Project Discovery for bootstrapping players, but it doesn’t do players any good if they aren’t aware of it.

Corvette Enhancements

There is plenty of room for buffing Corvettes without having them step on the toes of T1 frigates. I should point out that even if Corvettes were buffed significantly, the absence of rig slots and low number of slots means that they’re going to be categorically inferior to T1 frigates no matter what. Inferior, however, should not mean useless.

The Corvette should serve two functions: it should serve as an academic tool for learning the game, and it should also serve as a bootstrapping mechanism for when all is lost and wealth needs to be rebuilt from scratch. Also: The Corvette should be fun to use!!! While Project Discovery is better for bootstrapping close to markets, Corvettes better serve that function for those far from markets, and for players who enjoy the do-it-yourself experience with regards to manufacturing their own ships and armaments. Also, Corvettes serve an academic function that PD does not since it involves actually playing the core game, and playing the core game is more fun for most players than PD is anyway.

Here are some QoL suggestions that improve the Corvette’s value as an academic/bootstrapping tool and its fun factor:

  • New/unpacked Corvettes have an extra Civilian Turret and Civilian Miner in cargohold
    • It is annoying to have to unpackage a second Corvette in order to transplant a second turret/miner from one to the other to make it a pure combat or pure mining ship
    • Corvettes are unique in that modules are autopopulated on unpack, so a precedent already exists for having the cargohold populated on unpack along with module slots
  • Corvettes come with full flight (relative to drone bandwidth) of Civilian Hobgoblins and Civilian Mining Drones in cargohold (players can choose which to drag-and-drop to drone bay).
    • Again, precedent exists for autopopulated cargo bay.
    • Civilian Hobgoblins already do (or did?) exist in game. They’re pretty terrible compared to proper T1 drones, but they are better than nothing, are fun to use (compared to no drones at all), and serve an academic function
    • To my knowledge, the status quo of Civilian Mining drones is that they are categorically garbage and that they are grossly inferior to T1 Mining Drones. They do not have lower skill requirements, and they are not usable by Alphas, but for some reason BPOs are seeded and players manufacture and buy/sell them. The only advantage they have is that they have a very minor decrease in manufacturing input requirements, but otherwise I am not aware of any good reason why these drones should exist in their current state. Having said that, they, too, are better than nothing, are fun to use, and serve as an academic function in the context of Corvettes if not elsewhere. Truthfully I think it is a disservice to players that these BPOs even exist and they probably should be removed, but that is another separate discussion I will not pursue here.
    • I would like to go further and say that I believe Civilian Mining Drones should be usable by Alphas both for academic purposes (so they get a better idea of what Omega would be like) and to better entice them toward becoming Omega. (How do you get people hooked on drugs? You give them away for free :syringe::pill:.) This suggestion has nothing to do with carebearism, entitlement/empowerment, etc, it is simply a matter of exposure + enticement + fun, but one thing it does NOT accomplish is enable them to generate significantly more revenue. The fact of the matter is that the yield of these drones with Max Alpha skill caps is absolutely pathetic, so really they aren’t going to generate much revenue from this and the economy isn’t going to feel any impact from such a change. 5x Civilian Mining drones w/ Max Alpha skills only yield approx 1.48m3/s (less after travel time) on a Max Alpha Mining Rokh™, and a Max Alpha Venture will only yield an additional 0.591m3/s (less after travel time); for comparison, a Max Alpha Venture fitted with T2 Mining Lasers yields 5.76m3/s, so the increase in yield is a pathetic ~10%. (Most players would prefer lights to ward off belt rats anyway.) Not much entitlement there, but plenty of exposure/enticement/fun. (While TQ Alphas could get the full Omega experience on Sisi for free for the purposes of exposure if they wanted to try out mining drones, most players don’t know about Sisi/the ability to get free Omega there, and it’s simply not the same sandboxing on Sisi vs being in the real world surrounded by other players on TQ.)
  • Corvettes should come automatically fitted with Civilian Shield Booster or Civilian Armor Repairer. This really shouldn’t be controversial given how little they yield, but it’s also worth considering what a relatively large difference they can make in low level combat sites and L1 missions. Last I checked, these are items granted along the way in the starter tutorial/career agent missions, but I think they should always be accessible from the beginning and also to players who use Corvettes outside of the tutorials.
  • There is potential room for base stat/bonus buffs. Again, the absence of rig slots and low slot counts means that even significantly buffed Corvettes won’t trample on the toes of T1 frigs (namely the Executioner, Condor, Atron, and Slasher), so this should be considered. Significantly inferior should not mandate uselessness.

I do have some other ideas for Corvettes, but they aren’t as relevant to the NPE, so I will not raise them here as I want this thread to focus on the NPE and not get derailed by the other ideas.


As usual, thanks again for your time and consideration :v:

:rainbow: :bus: :school:
:no_entry_sign: :red_circle: :boom:

2 Likes

They cannot re-run the same agents, they’d have to switch to another empire to do career agents again.

I had a lot typed out here, then realized who the OP was… thats all i need to say above then since i started recognizing the stuff about drones for the vette.

:wave: Hey

So that is what is what I’ve seen documented, yes, but the thing is that I’ve been able to run the same agents repeatedly for the same empires on the same characters. I’ve done this during skilling sprees on alts and on occasion when I rerun them to check out what the state of the NPE is. I do not recall not being able to rerun them. Perhaps I run them so infrequently that some kind of timer lapses permitting me to run them again (like the 90 days on epic arcs). I don’t remember ever trying to immediately rerun an agent back-to-back, so I’m not sure on that point.

Whether or not this is intended behavior, I do think that players SHOULD be able to rerun them if they need a refresher. I don’t see why they should be forced to go to a different empire for that since that implies a limit of 4 attempts per character lifetime (or that they have to alternate, at least). They aren’t exactly farmworthy or devastating to the economy as a fountain of ships, so the inconvenience of forcing players to run them on alts isn’t merited.

Your idea seems pretty solid but there is a minor point that you’ve seemed to have missed, there are skill point requirements for PD. You need one million sp per 25 levels. I don’t know if you need any sp for the first 25 levels, but I think that would need to be addressed to make this more accessible to new players. I’m not saying do away with the sp requirements, but rather giving players with under one million sp access to a few levels if they can’t do that already.

1 Like

I have never heard of such requirements :open_mouth: . Somewhat absurd and unnecessary in my opinion. But even so, that’s what rolling or evem recycling Alphas is for :sweat_smile:.

Max Alphas can have 20m SP so this theoretic cap is far out there once DAIs are involved (or regular injectors for that matter)

I haven’t had that problem personally and I think it will be a nonissue because getting to lvl 25 will pay a new player enough isk to buy a couple t1 frigs or dessies. I think the lvl cap is to prevent people from rolling alpha PD bots.

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1.48 * 60 = 88.8 m3 / 60 sec. 5 drones
88.8 / 5 = 17.76 m3 / 60 sec. 1 drone
base 13 m3/ 60 sec. to 17.76 m3/ 60sec .
17.76 / 13 = 1.36 .
mining drone operation gives 5% / level to yield .
13 * 1.25 = 16.25 .
please check my math but it seems you want to give alphas mining drone operation level 7 … :slight_smile: i may be wrong i’ve been playing the ‘bootstrapping’ drinking game . every time someone uses ‘bootstrapping’ in a post you take a drink . i’m hammered and it’s your fault … :thinking:

what the ■■■■ is that math tho

STOP DRINKING
:no_entry_sign::beers::raised_hand:

Let’s break this down :stuck_out_tongue:

Option One: Pyfa is awesome

Open pyfa
Load “Max Alpha” skill profile
Load 5x mining drones on unbonused hull
Pyfa shows 1.41m3/s (rounded)
Multiply yield by 1.05x (Alphas don’t PRESENTLY have access to the first level of Mining Drones skill, so the skill would either become available to alphas, or the requirement would be waived for Civilian Drones, in which case multiplying by 1.05x is unnecessary)
Get 1.48m3/s (rounded)
Done

Option two: Napkin

Start from the axioms and not from the chaos

Base yield: 13m3 / 60s = 0.2166m3/s
Drone Interface bonus: 1.3x
Net yield: 0.28166m3/s
Net yield of 5x drones: 1.4083m3/s

If Mining Drone L1 is applied (which I did above, assuming Alphas are granted access to the first level of this skill), multiply by 1.05x, get 1.4788m3/s.

In my opening post, I rounded up to 1.48m3/s.

is it specifically “bootstrapping” or can it be like strappingboots, Boot, strapping, boot-strapping. :smiley:

1 Like

i had overlooked the interfacing skill .
having corvettes assemble with a repair module is a good idea , but extra mods in the hold is not needed . just teach players they can repackage and reassemble the ship .
as for the civilian drones , free and unlimited , where loss has no meaning , is usually not a good idea anywhere , ever , in this game of min/max .
to me it seems you’re actually removing incentive to go omega ; using your drug analogy , why buy drugs when you can get almost as good drugs for free ?

You only need to learn that once. No need to do this a hundred ■■■■■■■ times afterward :joy: - there is no academic value in that, particularly when they can learn this later on (remember that NPE provides ships they can learn to package/unpackage anyway). This is a QoL thing.

The stats of these drones are horrendously bad, both of them. They are orders of magnitude inferior to T1 drones. They are more of a novelty and learning tool than worth using. You are correct when you say “loss has no meaning” because they are worth so little.

It is very, very, very, very, VERY much in a Newbie’s interest to procure T1 drones of ANY variety (Acolyte, Hornet, Hobgoblin, or Warrior) than use the Civilian Hobgoblin because they are so bad. They are slower than molasses in the dead of winter, and their range is only an arm’s reach long, among other issues. You know how T1 Hobgoblins are slow with MWD 2800m/s and Orbit 660 m/s? Civilian Hobgoblins are slower at 1400 m/s MWD and 550 m/s Orbit - they’re HORRIBLE. And Civilian Hobgoblins only have 1km optimal + 2km falloff - PATHETIC. They won’t inflict anything close to their potential raw damage against anything that isn’t extremely fat and slow (a webbed battleship, maybe?). And of course they deal less damage and have weaker defenses than T1 drones.

A similar situation exists of Civilian Mining Drones: the Civilian Drone is 25% slower, has 48% less yield, and has weaker defenses.

Do consider in both situations that Alpha skill caps make these two sets of drones extra-useless compared to perfect L5 skills, where the drones are already categorically bad at best. These drones are not exactly “free” - there is an opportunity cost to using them: they take up space that could be filled using real, superior, and highly affordable/easy-to-manufacture drones (The BPOs for them are cheap, and they have low input requirements). Do you see civilian turrets/miners decimating the market? They can be bought and sold there. Do you know why they don’t decimate the market? Because any player with more than 2 brain cells to rub together to start a fire knows that even though they’re free to acquire, it’s worth paying for T1 equipment (or higher) than to use the free stuff anyone can generate at any time.

Not even close. Civilian drones are literally less than half as good, and Civilian Hobgoblins are probably worse than that in practice in terms of throughput.

Providing Civilian Hobgoblins improves the NPE and bootstrapping ability without giving Alphas anything new that they didn’t already have before (but they’re shitty enough that they’d want to replace them with “real drones” as quickly as possible just like they want to replace their ship and afterburner with “real equipment”).

Providing Civilian Mining Drones gives a taste of what Omega offers without offering anywhere near close the same throughput even at comparable skill levels. An Omega player that has the exact same skill levels as a Max Alpha using T1 Mining Drones would have 2.78x the throughput that an Alpha player with Max Alpha skills using Civilian Mining Drones would have. And of course, if you have Max Omega skills, the yield far beyond what Alphas could attain when using T1 drones and even moreso when using higher-tier drones, none of which are available to Alphas. (To be 100% explicitly clear: T1 Mining Drones would not be available to Alphas)

This is not to oppose the idea of a PD career agent, I’m just wondering where you got the 30 mil/hr number? It seems really high for anyone that’s trying to make a meaningful contribution, and not just maximize their isk efficiency. Regardless, I think the idea of PD career agent has merit.

Speaking of which, the game still seems to be funneling new players into mining, missioning, and exploration. The problem is that new players are less likely to find something that appeals to them if they only get introduced to 3 things -especially when one of those things kind of sucks. Of course, I think the agency helps, but I wish that players were getting introduced to more activities through game play (as opposed to opening up a window to read about activities, and then basically having no clue how to participate without doing further research). Now, I’m not exactly sure how to best tackle this issue, but I think an Abyssal career agent is a step in the right direction. And if they ever fix resource wars and rerelease that, that could also be a good candidate for a career agent. Unfortunately, however, I don’t think all activities can be effectively introduced through career agents. So, I’m not sure where to go from there.

Regarding the peak PD earnings, there are two considerations:

  1. With maximum accuracy (99.0%) netting 99,000ISK per submission and a maximum submission rate of 5 samples per minute, you net 99,000 ISK/sample * 5 samples / minutes * 60 minutes / hour = 29.7m/hr
  2. The researchers do not benefits from tight bounds, what they benefit from is:
    • Knowing the quantity of cells
    • Knowing the segmentation between the cells

For details on the second point, see this post: Proposal for a better Project Discovery UI. I very rapidly hit the 5 samples/minute barrier because most of my submissions - even on “graded samples” that I always pass, are usually rectangles or triangles, so I have to frequently close and re-open PD in order to resume once the threshold has cooled down a bit.

I do have some thoughts on these other points you’ve raised, but they are outside of the scope of this thread. I don’t want to accidentally derail the thread so I will not raise my ideas here.