First of all, i hope it’s the right spot to do so - but after reading through lots of the patch feedback, economy thread and the boards, i noticed a lot of discussion of mainly long term players (not unexpected) and often mentioning issues why new player retention might be harmed etc.
I did not encounter discussion participation of many newer players (also not entirely unexpected, as most of them do not bother to join forums etc…)
I noticed, i rambled on a lot, so here to start with a tl;dr:
- give more guidance for progression and reward that progression (meaningful mission rewards, actual achievement rewards like skillpoints)
- offer a beginner-entry to PVP without risking “all you got” - give faction warfare less serious implications for new players who do not know exactly what they are doing but want to learn how to fight other people
- make a decision about your lore…either keep it, but then please make it more meaningful or decide it’s not working and rework it. Right now it is messy to understand for newer players, as everyone aims to have balanced/good standings to every faction because of reasons
- give incentives to work with other players - PVE content that requires more than one player should not be locked away in the end game. Make the fleet finder actually useful
Here is more explanation and background as to why I suggest those points:
I am not exactly a new player (when looking at my account-age) but still somehow fit the bill, so i figured, to leave some of my impressions after returning to EVE recently and having played for a month now. For what it’s worth - my intentions are to give a helpful point of view and some discussion input, that is not from a player who basically lives in EVE (no offense meant).
I few words to my playing experience:
I seemingly created my EVE account back in 2007, although i don’t even remember that really. I know, that back then you had to basically spend your first month of skill training for the “Learning” skill to V, which was not really a good idea, but i did that back then.
I stopped playing not long after my first experiences and returned some time around 2016 again to “give it a try for real” this time.
So i read up on the game, joined E-UNI and starting making some actual first experiences. Luckily enough, i was reimbursed for my whole learning skills training, that was not needed anymore by then, so i basically had a skill injector’s worth of skillpoints to catch up with basics to be able to participate in some activity. That really helped, because i could fast track some stuff and try some ships and make my way to a T1 cruiser pretty quickly.
Those kinds of progression mean a lot to newer players. While EVE does not live on “bigger is always better” it still gives you a good sense of progress, if your ship gets bigger.
After a while at E-UNI, i lost time and interest and the game rested for another few years.
I came back recently to see what changed and because a friend of mine also started playing (again). So i loaded up my old account and was overwhelmed by everything again.
I had a little shy of 9 Mio SP and around 200mio ISK on my bank. To that a few ships and the knowledge, that i liked the whole exploration playstyle back then and wanted to get more into everything.
Here is where my most recent “new player experiences” come from, because basically i started at zero again. I had to read up a lot about the basics i either forgot or didn’t really know at all. Watched some (very helpful) videos on youtube - especially about things that changed quite a lot until today.
Here are some of my key takeaways which might be helpful for some to understand what newer, less community-involved players experience when playing EVE (again):
The whole mission agent thing is super confusing, because there are so many of them and you are kind of lost on which ones to work for. The agency tab helps, but you don’t really have any connections to any of them at all. The only thing that helps connect you to them (in terms of who are they, what do i do for them and why should i do that) is the sisters epic arc. It at least gives some sort of guidance and introduces you to the lore behind the universe. The Epic Arc is quite “buggy” although it actually does not seem to be real bugs, but UX-issues. Whenever you have a mission, that you “accidentally” accepted before logging of - and then there’s a downtime in between - you’ll end up with a view in the epic-arc window, that shows you the NEXT agent to talk to. If that one is not - by coincidence - the same one who gave you that mission, you end up in a UX-dead end. I found that out after Mission 8, when i was supposed to talk to sister Alitura according to the agency tab, but she refused to give me a new job. I in fact had to go back to the agent before (the one in open space) to “reconnect” to the arc storyline. No one tells you that…not even the GMs. Just googling about Alitura refusing to talk will show you, that this is an ongoing issue for many players.
While i really like the PVP-approach of EVE and the whole idea, that you are never really safe, i find the “entry to PVP” not very intuitive. Faction Warfare is technically a good idea, but you are not really “eased” into that experience because of the whole mechanics. Two things stand out in particular:
** you are using your own ship and thus are at risk of losing it. Improvement idea from a “not super involved player”: Why not have the option to join the factions Military or something and get some free ships for PVP matches? Make this available only to alpha players or players below a certain networth/skillpoint barrier? Or make it available only once per faction. You could have some sort of a military career (which would also help strengthen the lore-connection of your character) and you could be matched against more suitable players in terms of skills.
** you are risking bad faction standing by participating without any real gains. This is maybe not that big of an issue, but wherever you are reading about “how to EVE”, there’s always players telling you to care for good standings to all factions, declining missions when being offered to attack another faction etc. That seems counterintuitive then - it also connects to one of the biggest issues, that newer players are presented with: Insecurity about what to do.
in connection to the “insecurity” issue: There seems to be a fundamental issue within EVE itself. A certain lack of decision making towards lore and execution. Seemingly 90% of all players that are involved for longer end up being “liked by every faction” - or at least working towards that, because there seems to be consensus, that this is the way. You need to be able to travel freely, accept the most profitable missions, etc.
The lore on the other hand speaks of conflict between the empires, players making decisions and choosing origin stories. None of that really matters in the actual player experience, aside from confusing players like me about what to do and how to “not screw up” without knowing better. There should be a clearer path for this topic of faction standings and lore in general.
- income isn’t that big of a deal as many claim: i am making a solid income (for a player of my level/progress) by spending some mining in hi-sec together with someone, i just met in a belt and started talking to. He has an orca, i started in a venture and now fly a barge. We end up fleeting up every day during our home-office ours and basically mine with one eye on the screen.
I like the fact, that we are not afk, we sometimes chat, always keep an eye out for gankers and that’s cool. It gives me a solid income in addition to exploration.
The missions - on the other hand - pay quite shitty for a new player. Lvl 1 (and lvl 2 seemingly too) missions barely pay up for the ammo you spend (exagerated). But seriously…100k? That’s basically nothing…no matter how little risk/time invested. There is no point in actually becoming invested in those missions. They feel like a silly grind, until you reach level 4 and then just “grind more effectively”
I remember my E-Uni days back in 2016, when people where running lvl 3 and 4 missions together. Not only was this a bit more fun, it seemed like a nicer way to do things in general. This - and the fact, that incursions are the only real PVE content, that “enforce fleet action” - makes me think, that there should be more stuff, that makes newer players fleet up with people to do PVE stuff. Why not have “lower level incursions” or some other activities - like missions? - that you can only do together with people? The fleet finder is there, it’s just very empty most of the time, because why would you need it? Almost every long term player is in a corp and the “newbies” are flying around solo. It would help to create more player-interaction, if the game would give some incentive for that right from the start
- speaking of incentives: What’s wrong with those achievements? I know, many “older” players hated them openly, when they were introduced - but i actually like that progression tree. It helps me get a sense of progression as a newer player and could help me find some orientation/motivation. The only thing that really sucks about them is that you don’t get ■■■■ for them aside a from a notification?! What would be the problem with them actually rewarding me for certain stuff?! I don’t see the issue. I don’t want crazy lootbox-mania, i see many games with issues…but some sort of reward - maybe skillpoints? - would be cool. Because it would help newer players progress a little better and - if not given out in crazy high amounts - not hurt anyone (I’d say). The learning curve for beginners to get into ships, learn the magic 14 etc is steep and partially not very exciting. Giving them some incentives to be able to fast track a little is cool and - spoken as a capitalist - even entices players to pay for some plex/injectors, because it shows you, that fast tracking is sometimes helpful.
Sorry for the long wall of text in the end, but i felt like sharing and maybe someone finds it helpful as another perspective.