New Player Recruitment and Retention

While listening to the discussions between the ceo of ccp and the rest on talking in stations recently I couldn’t help but notice that one of the biggest challenges was to get new players to remain within the first 24hrs.

I personally have helped hundreds of players over the 14 years I’ve played eve. In fact it is one of the main things I like to do in the game.

My belief is that the sooner a new player is in a corp with other players around the same starting point as they are the better off they are. New players tend to want to figure things out on their own to an extent. When they join larger more organized groups they are handed exactly what to train for and why. This suits some people but the vast majority I’ve met want to mill about with the mechanics and systems in place first.

I believe the biggest thing that would help retention would be to funnel new players into smaller corps up to a cap of 50-100 members and then the auto recruit turns off.

Basically the new player experience should be this.

Basic tutorial -> Player Corp -> Adv. Tutorial Agents

By funneling new players in to new player friendly corps right away it puts them into groups with other new players where they can share their enthusiasm for learning the game. They can make mistakes together and learn the ropes together which builds bonds and encourages camaraderie.

It also helps to increase the ability of new corps to take off and get new members which allows them to do more things more quickly. New corps shouldn’t have to spend 6 months to find 15 people willing to join them that stick around long term. There needs to be a way to filter through all the people who try eve every day to see who is going to stay given the proper incentives and who is not.

The main incentive to stay is camaraderie. It’s about joining a game where within an hr you’ve run the basic tutorial and met your first group of new friends who are as clueless as you so that you can try things together and make mistakes which leads to events that everyone remembers and wants to return to.

Players that enter into these corps can always leave them and join larger entities and larger entities can always create new player corps to help filter people for their larger alliances but the PRIMARY POINT is that new players should be entering into a group together with other new players to learn the game and bond.

A good example of this are groups in mobile games where as new people try the game they are filtered into groups that cap out at 100. The leaders of these groups boot those who are inactive and don’t grow after a day or so and retain those who are interested in continuing to play. By having a larger group of people within a few days they are able to organize and move on to the more complex functions of the game.

This works and allows them to filter through thousands of people a day while retaining those who show enough interest to make their first purchase. Just please don’t get as bad with microtransactions as these games are because their recruitment system is literally the only good thing about them.

A useful function of this tool would be that a corp would have to designate a limited number of members who act as recruiters and only when those players are on and only when they enable it will members be funneled into their corp. This would prevent the corp from swelling up while leadership was away and unable to help.

As an real world example. The other week I sent out 3000 mails to everyone in the rookie help channel. Out of that 3000 mails i got about 50 people to join the channel who came and went. Out of those about 10 joined and out of those 2 have been consistently active and participating in fleets.

If instead of having to send out thousands of mails new players were funneled into my corp directly and other new corps they could ask questions there receive responses and help while meeting people such as myself who are ready to give isk and invites to fleets to do things. While this is how it would help me personally it would also make it a lot easier on everyone who is trying to grow their corp and get it off the ground and would also serve the new players by directing them to people who are personally specifying that they are willing to help new players.

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Who says a Corp is new player friendly. And not just there as an easy tool to get players to tax.

The ceo can designate a corp as new player friendly now as part of their advert but if that is the intention of the corp then the members will discover this quickly and migrate to new corps just as easily as they do now.

If the goal was to make isk through tax a corp would have to be active in the first place to make the isk and the players would realize quickly that the corp was farming them when the ceo never ran fleets or did things etc.

If they are going to migrate to a new Corp them they would find a Corp on their own.
The issue is how easy it is to abuse the system, and that EVE players love abusing systems.

Helping other players and trying to assist the game in player retention is a noble cause, but I have to agree with the skepticism here in that the idea would completely uproot the current rookie help and npc corp system that has been in place all this time. And not even CCP knows what is causing the low retention rate.

Without knowing the why, making drastic changes like this looks like guessing a solution out of desperation. Sure, the current system isn’t perfect, but if the new idea doesn’t work, then you’re still back at square one or worse, and still not know what is going on. The more appropriate approach would be for CCP to figure out what is causing the low retention rate first, then make the changes based on that. It could be as simple designing a good exit poll (or returning poll on why the player quit before), or making a better NPE tutorial.

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MMOs traditionally have a very low retention rate caused by no sink cost. All you have to do is download a client and that is fast these days. Nothing else.
So people spend 5 minutes, never even touch game play and move onto the next thing.

I disagree that abuse should be a reasoning that this system shouldn’t be considered. Most of the systems in Eve have been abused in one way or the other and some even for long periods of time before they are curtailed or challenged.

People who break things are going to break them regardless. However with the devs being aware of this going into it means they could observe and collect data on just how much abuse occurs.

In this case I am relatively sure that the benefits out weigh the negatives. Especially given it would make little to no difference in preventing new players from reaching out to look for another corp as they do now. The only thing it would do is give them a avenue to meet new people out of the gate rather then relying on them to go look for new people which is more difficult to do.

Joining communities in EVE is like walking into a room full of cliques and then expecting the new guy to just figure out which one to join while giving them zero idea about what each is up to or discussing when everyone one of them claims to offer what looks like what everyone else is offering. There’s simply too much choice and as a result no choice is made.

Go to the recruitment channel what will you see. Corps looking for people interested in < List all careers in Eve > with a side of either this is a dedicated group or laid back. They all sound and look the same. As a result people either join semi randomly or don’t know what to pick and walk away.

If instead after the basic tutorial the player was given a choice to either

A: I know what i’m doing and would like to continue independently

or

B: I would like to join a corp to work with other new players to discover the systems of New Eden.

Followed by a short list of joining a random newbie friendly corp based on the following activities:

Exploration
Mining & Industry
PVE Combat
Small Gang PVP
Large Scale PVP

and that’s it then they would find themselves immediately in a group of one of those 5 play styles without the awkwardness of searching for something their not entirely sure their looking for. If they ended up wanting to change corps then from there they could pursue the current tools to find one via the recruitment tab which is basically invisible to new players and the recruitment channel which again unless they think to ask about it is virtually missing from the new player experience.

You know how I know this is the case? Because I couldn’t even count the number of times I’ve seen new players in rookie chat ask " What do i do now? " or " How do I find a corp? "

Finally if it was as simple as asking an exit poll then it would have been solved by now. They ask everyone who cancels their sub why they do so already and people have been stating various reasons on why they didn’t get into the game for years. A lot of them don’t know why it didn’t click but what I’d bet a billion isk on is that it’s the lonelyness and difficulty of finding a group of like minded players to play with and the amount of responsibility and time it takes to hunt one down.

Joining a corp should be something they don’t even have to think about and just part of the game introduced to them right after they can learn to orbit a drone or rock and shoot it. Simply because no tutorial can or will even teach a new player how to do things better than a even slightly more experienced player willing to help them.

AND the one thing that ALL new players have in common is the fact that they are new and interested in trying the game. So they should be put in a room with each other to feed off that excitement and the more they can be funneled into a room with each other with experienced players who are willing to help answer their questions, give them things and invite them to join fleets then the more likely they are to return.

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The problem is you keep saying “new player friendly corp”. This is the breaking point. It requires CCP to police the system manually or for loads of people to quit because of non newbie friendly corps pretending to be, which could be a bigger number than quit right now.

I float between alpha and omega often, and I have never received any kind of poll or survey when omega expires.

Regardless, your OP doesn’t seem to give the new player an option, it makes it seem as if you were trying to force players into corps. However, your last post gives an option, so that’s an improvement. But in the past few months there have been a few ideas about steering new players into player corps, or even starting out in null. But they all have the same problem that still comes down to who decides what are “new player friendly corps”? This is where I agree with @Nevyn_Auscent, corp enrollment could be gamed or abused, and CCP shouldn’t be the one to have to police the system. Plus corp leaders could have biases, who’s to say they would be good mentors, especially on complex topics such as ganking.

Perhaps you should check out some of the other NPE threads, there’s some decent ideas out there, but it needs more refinement IMHO.

A real world example: nobody likes spam mail, cold calls and other forms of aggressive marketing.
50/3000 = 0.0166 or 1.66%
10/3000 = 0.0033 or 0.33%
2/3000 = 0.00066 or 0.066%
or if we compare players that remained to how many were interested at first
2/50 = 0.04 or 4%
From devblog:

4.09% is also a hard number. That’s the percentage of new players that have stuck around in EVE after 30 days during Q1 of 2019.

Your noble attempt yielded (way) lower results than the average at worst and on par at best. Maybe your way of doing things is not as “new player friendly” as you think it is? And yet you want/propose to funnel (force) new players to something they might not enjoy.

New eve players are fine in NPC corps - there are plenty of like-minded players with similar experience to talk to. And Help chat is already a good tool to answer whatever questions they might have, although i think a little bit more strict moderation is required.

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Just thinking out loud…

What if the NPE was more auto-adaptive? Interactive systems today look at the user’s patterns, interests and actions and choose content intended to fulfill the interests of that player. Even simple questions asked as you progress could be used to tailor your experience to your style.

Some examples,
“Did you enjoy blowing up that ship?”
“Do you want to build something else?”
“Would you like someone to help you with that?”
“Did you understand those instructions?”
“Were you surprised at the outcome?”
“Would you prefer to try something else?”

So many systems today take advantage of simple modifications to improve the user experience.
Why not Eve?

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I have had a survey every time I’ve cancelled a sub.

New player friendly corps are any of those who designate themselves as such. You may expect and think that the worst is what will or could happen but you have no evidence if it will be as horrible as you think. It could turn out that the vast majority of corps that tick that box are actually helpful in someway and by being able to have access to new recruits are able to do more even more quickly and become successful.

As of now those people who are not sticking around aren’t doing so anyway irregardless of this idea. It couldn’t hurt. I mean really the worst that could happen is someone thinks what they already think when they decide not to stay around.

Your what ifs and maybe this aren’t facts and I’m sure that if given the opportunity to take in and help new players the vast majority of the playerbase who would choose to take in new players would in fact help them even if in only some small way before they move on to a better corp.

Those numbers are for the number of people who stuck around after 30 days… The mail I sent out was an attempt to demonstrate just how difficult it can be to recruit because honestly that’s one of the easiest ways to do it… I’m discussing the first 1-3 Hrs of a new players experience.

This is a psychology problem not a math equation. You cannot min / max here.

At the end of the day the mobile games that utilize this strategy to create alliances out of players is successful and not only that but the people who are sticking around are spending stupid amounts of money on a mobile game. Which in EVE would translate into more subs.

Their system is so effective that after the groups establish themselves in their own sand box they reorganize in to the remaining groups and attack other sand boxes and all of this happens between total strangers in the span of about 30-90 days all with subpar ability to communicate. This could even be compared to the creation of corps / alliances and then coalitions all competing over territory and the capacity to subdue those who challenge them… the core difference is their method creates this in 90 days… if you asked most corps in EVE how long it takes to get to 50 or 100 they’ll tell you months if not years.

If you put people together they will do things together. It’s as simple as that. The sooner the better.

The number of abusive ‘New Player Corps’ in the past that have regularly gone as far as to demand that the new players plex and buy skill injectors and ‘donate’ to buy corp structures while the owner sits back and collects tax, and how they actually make buckets off doing this sort of abuse is evidence, and it’s evidence it will happen, and that players won’t just walk on out of there in 2 days.

It doesn’t work the way you think because you are comparing periodic games to long term games and trying to assign the same system to both.

The first 1-3 hours of truly new player are usually spent doing tutorial/career agents and asking questions in help/npc corp chats. And when they get a corp invitation during that period it disrupts that introductory learning curve.

The impression your example gave was to demonstrate how “successful” you are at helping newbros.

Wishful thinking. Even now in corp finder most/majority of corps that ticked that “New-pilot friendly” checkbox (yes it exists) just want fresh meat to suck iskies from.

Eve is a game of choices and consequences, by forcing newbros in player corps you are taking the choice away and leaving only consequences. And in case of bad experience there will be only the game to blame.

See I think this is a false challenge. It is pretty obvious their advertising is not reaching the right gamers and has not been for a long time. The players they are reaching want eye candy and rides, they want nothing to do with strategy. So the moment they are not hand held they leave.

If you advertise to sell cars but your lot only has boats most of your “customers” will leave.

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Actually what many have been saying here about EVE’s darker side is indeed a fact. CCP even pinned the Golden Rules right near the top of the forums, showing they at the very least look the other way when it comes to “bad behavior”. The only thing that even mostly stops rookie griefing is the threat of a ban when in rookie systems. But once a player corp pulls the rookies from those systems, it’s basically open season…

Don’t know what mobile game you are referring to, but generally mobile games by design are meant to be played in short bursts, due to the simple fact that they can be played anywhere but also be interrupted at any moment. Dedication to player groups in these games is easy cause it generally requires very little time investment. EVE on the other hand has very few activities that can be done effectively in less than 15 minute chunks, and fewer still that can be done in groups. A lot of time and effort is spent just organizing a group activity let alone finishing one. So mobile game design can’t really be compared to EVE, as EVE’s requirements are much greater.

As has been mentioned, your idea isn’t new in these forums. You haven’t really refined your idea, you just keep insisting it will work, even tho there are people here helping you out by showing the flaws in the concept. I personally would like to see something like this work out, but there are just serious shortcomings at the moment.

Most people probably just think the culture is strange and weird with it being a reflection of real life, it likely has nothing to do with the game itself and its methods but more to do with tendencies in people. There’s also the idea that the game becomes a second job, earning enough to plex the account to keep it going but having no interest in actually playing it.