A while back I checked the devblog on “Building better capsuleers” ( Building Better Capsuleers | EVE Online ). There was an original thread on this but the NPE has been updated since the blog came out so I wanted to test the updated AIR NPE for myself.
When I see CCP claiming great success with any new development, I confess to being somewhat skeptical. AIR NPE supposedly results in longer first sessions and higher NPE completion rates, so let’s see how it holds up.
Starting on a new pilot, you get a 3-4 minute full screen video with a small, slightly animated Aura popup, that welcomes you to training, then immediately segues into an attack on the station, and a launch into an evacuation procedure.
Then you’ve got what I’ll call a “guided talkthrough” video, 5-6 minutes of video-looking gameplay punctuated with very simple “you need to do this next, click here” steps. I didn’t experiment with trying to ‘break’ the NPE by doing anything wrong, but the way it’s laid out looks reasonably close to foolproof to me.
Next a couple more talking animations, telling you what happened, getting you ready to respond to the attack, scanning for the attackers, locking, orbiting and fighting various ships, and finally dying to sacrifice your immortal bodpod to save some civilians from the baddies. About 8-10 minutes overall, decent pacing, easy to follow.
Then a little popup from Vesper Calyfrix, CEO of AIR, thanking you for your sacrifice and offering you some gifts.
There’s some points over the next sequence where various rewards are offered, but they don’t really break them down as to how you should be accepting them.
Vesper gives an Armor Repair mod in cargo and fitting, which is adequately explained, but you also get a (tiny) skill injector, some free skill points apart from the injector, a special NES purchase offer,
and “15 days of login rewards”. You also get a tiny wheel in the upper left corner showing a 2 hour countdown timer with the mouseover “First session ISK bonus reward” or something like that. Hard to spot and not overly clear.
While these are popping up, Vesper and Aura are telling you how to head to your Career Agent, fairly simple and direct. And Vesper says “When we learn more I’ll be in touch”, but that’s all there is (for now) to the AIR NPE and I doubt we’ll hear from her again later. However CCP does mention adding more missions to the NPE over time so that may segue into a future mission. All told the wrap-up session takes 10-15 minutes.
As soon as the intro is over, a private chat with a GM opens up and they welcome you to the game and ask if you have any questions and were prompt (for me) with the answers. They also send you an email welcoming you to the game and giving you links to follow for more gifts, the career agents and the SoE career arc when you’re done career.
The “first session 2 hour timer” bonus is 500k ISK, the 15 day login rewards are decent and include some small ISK, skill point, Cerebral Accelerator, module, Ship and Skin rewards, fairly nice. No explanation how to use things like the accelerators but you do have the GM, the email, and Rookie chat to ask in.
So from this run-through, I’d guess most players are staying for at least the first 2 video intros, and not at all surprised that more are completing the entire NPE because it’s a smoother and more engaging flow now. Claims of longer stays and higher completion seem valid.
The popup window animations are a bit stiff, and the lip-synching doesn’t really match lip movements very well. They often talk for 10-15 seconds after their lips stop moving. Not a big deal, and maybe it’s only my system, but not really up to 2021 gaming avatar standards yet.
I would also recommend a short segment on setting up your skill queue, and possibly a small bit on drag-moving windows because some of them pop up over other ones. Other than that, all in all a respectable NPE that may even improve over time.