tldr: Add the sense of “journey”.
As we can all see there were lot higher number of playerbase in the past of EVE without any fancy in-game tutorial and NPE stuff. The problem CCP not noticing is the change of human behaviour over the past years.
First of all, EVE is not hard at all, anyone with some intelligence can play the game easily. There are tons of guides, tutorials, gameplay videos, etc on the internet. The people just to lazy to use them nowdays. But we really need those people who can’t read and gather information for themselves? Sadly yes. So we need to find a solution.
One of my past time use to be hanging around in Rookie chanel and convo new people offering help. Most of the time I use to give them links like “ISK the guide” a whole book where they can find any information in an order from the very simple to the very detailed parts of EVE. It’s now a bit outdated, but gives a very strong foundation. I use to follow these people’s first 1-2 weeks in EVE and help them if they have questions. And 90% of the time their questions can be easily googled or answered for themselves also if they take 2 sec and search in a search engine or read a guide. But they just not doing that. What they doing? They do the tutorial missions in 1-2 day, then buying a mining ship, then mine… And they count the ISK… And they dreaming about how much they should mine to pay the monthly game-time with PLEX. Because they heard everywhere that this game can be played free if you have in-game money. Some of them have some intelligence and find out it will be a lot of time and they just leave, because the game is not free and not worth the time.
EVE used to be (at least in the past) a game for the clever people. Who can adapt. Who can take challange. And who have patience. First big challange in EVE (that is not big at all, you just have to read a bit about it and use google) is to learn it. No matter how CCP changing the NPE stuff constantly, only a minority of people will like EVE.
Why? Because most of them just saw some shiny trailers and think they can pew-pew like in other games. They won’t have patience, they won’t understand what is EVE-Online about. They want instant action, they don’t want to “research and gather” information in google and guides, etc. No matter if CCP caters them through the first steps. That’s not the point where they suck. The point where they suck is the “next step” after the first. When tutorial is over. That’s the point where 9 out of 10 just go mining or having no clue and quit. Sure they can do agents, exploration, etc, but most of them just won’t, beacuse every aspect of EVE in a bit higher level than a completly beginner needs effort and time to gather information about.
The only way to deal with this problem is to make “questlines” for them like in other MMO-s. They will do it. Because that’s a guided path they can make. It’s very funny that EVE has Epic Arc-s that most of newbies doesn’t know about at all, or doesn’t know what the hell is it. There should be more “Epic Arc”-like questlines inside the tutorial interface just like the Military tutorial has an Advanced Military follow up tutorial, but more longer. There should be questlines for exploration, trading, industry, mining, pvp, fleets, etc.
After doing all the now available tutorials, most people don’t have a clue about how the market works, what is material efficency, what the heck are the contracts, how to use D-scan, where is the starmap, where is the ship-tree, general understanding of ship fitting, what is null-low-highsec, what skills to buy and train, how to inject skillpoints, where is the plex vault, etc. CCP thinks they will google it or watch some tutorial or read some guides. No they wont…
They will just leave after the tutorials, cause they won’t google it, won’t read about it, because they are the new facebook mobile addict interactive generation of our times. They don’t even read small text… Why they leave? Because just these short tutorials not giving them a general understanding and sense of EVE-Online, and they are really short to hook them to a carreer. Whout hook, they won’t start playing alone, just leave. All EVE player has a career or careers that they developing all the time. New players have no clue and no sense about how to start a career. They just know after they make that tiny tutorial, that they can mine, make stuff, shoot, haul. What about giving them an advanced career agent with a long personal storyline and meanwhile an insight to the wast lore and history of EVE?
Example of an industry carrer:
If you choose it, a bigger opening screen shows up with a mogul type NPC (full body moving graphics of him) on the right side, and what he saying on the left side. He tells a story about how he tries compete with making Afterburners or whatever, giving you instructions and ships to mine the stuff, refine, then make it, then sell it, every aspect that a common industrial player facing. These “quests” should be instanced/be in a simulation so players don’t have to compete with real buy-sell orders, so players can learn what skills related to trading, what the taxes are, how to haul, etc. Just this industry storyline can be a very long and interesting quest, with NPC gankers who you have to fit the ship against, to NPC .01 market punks, with lore, etc. It should contain some repeating elements for learning. Also it can contain some elements that other carreer storylines have, like fitting the ship, etc. Repeating is not a bad thing. And the reward? Guess what a new player wants the most: free Omeaga game time days.
Lets see an other example, the PVP-er style: same interface, an other questgiver, other interesting story, and instanced fights. The main thing in PVP is to learn what to engage with what, and how ships behave. Just like in FW fights, the first steps for a new FW pilot is learn all the common builds that the bunch of different ships use. How hard would be if you are a gallente and choose a PVP storyline quest you would fight against a bunch of common fitted AI controlled NPC pvp frigates. There aren’t that much if we just take the T1 simple frigates. Players can learn what is kiting, brawling, what modules essential in PVP, etc. And I bet they would have enough interest just to make the whole storyline once again with a different faction, facing different opponents. Some can say this too much information for free for a new player, but i think that just knowing T1 frigates is a good foundation. They can build on it, have clue, etc.
The point of all these long storylines to repeat, learn, excercise what learned, know the lore, know what is EVE, what it’s philosophy. And with long storylines, people will get hooked. And after they will have clue, and feeling comfortable about the aspects of things they can do, and they have clue about how to scale them they will want to do them on their own for “real” ISK and rewards.
Because the journey is the most important thing for the individual. They will have an already started journey. Now the tiny tutorials doesnt offer that. They just show “hey, you can mine, make a thing, shoot a bullet”, then “ok, now you know the basics, see you, have fun alone”.
Without the journey and involvement, these people will leave, because there are a tons of other games they can try nowdays. In the past, there were much less game, and people had more time, and they didn’t have that many distraction from reading, engrossment, etc. The only way to make them stay if you guide them on the first miles on their journey and make tham comfortable enough that they want to continue it when you not holding their hands anymore. After they involved and hooked, they will stuck and they wont need more help, they will figure (or google) it out.