The new, *new*, **new** AIR NPE. Review and impressions

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.


Good write-up.

Seems like CCP is actually making a legit attempt this time.

Mr Epeen :sunglasses:


I found the intro short and too easy.

It’s not meant to be difficult or even explain any mechanics. It’s meant to pull newbies in going “ooh cool, I wonder what’s next” and in that it succeeds. Now they “just” need to redo the career agent stuff and possibly the SOE epic line and we’re good.


Agreed. I’m from an older school I guess, where you gave something a couple weeks to see how it developed and then judged whether it was worth sticking with.

But my nephews/nieces, their kids, heck a lot of friends my own age who are more “plugged in” than I am, make it clear that if you haven’t grabbed their attention with a “hey this looks cool!” factor in literally the first 15 minutes, then you’ve lost them and they’re on to the next thing.

The AIR NPE should be giving new players at least 20 minutes of razzle dazzle, and then moving smoothly from there into Career Agents to teach them mechanics, and SoE to give them an idea of the depth/breadth of EVE.

Yes, a lot of players believe EVE really should be “hard to learn” and present greater challenge, but I don’t think new players need to be hit with that in their first week of play.

So far, this NPE is off to a good start. Let’s see if they can keep it up.


I heartily disagree with them. But I also disagree with:

Once that twenty minutes is up, they’re left with something that was nothing like what the hook was promising. And they leave disappointed.

There’s Raid Shadow Legends for the attention deficient dopamine addicts. Eve is for the long haul strategist and CCP needs to sell it that way if they want some player retention. Or they can keep selling space gold to whales that will quit in three days when they realize it’s not an “I win” short cut.

Mr Epeen :sunglasses:


I’m biased as I passed “the filter”, but maybe the problem with retention is, that new players after they leave the scripted part (assuming they learned the UI) have to deal more with RL problems than with a classic game.

Most things are people made, the market, the value of stuff, the conflicts, most situations actually. On top all of this without many of the RL laws protecting the “weak”. Hence new players directly compete with other humans in a hyper-capitalist world where the protagonists are immortal.

This is fun and the unique selling point of EvE, but players who are used to deal and beat NPCs most of the time, may have it difficult to first understand and then embrace it. It’s not obvious if you look into EvE for a few days only, you maybe too easily can fall for the shallow PvE part, or get frustrated by your first surprising human-human encounter which you very likely will lose.

Human-human encounters are not only fights, it’s also why you don’t get good prices or none for your loot outside the trade hubs. Why accessible and well known activities don’t pay well. Why some corps recruit, and exploit newbies. Why people don’t share valuable secrets.


That didn’t do it for me but I was already wanting to play the game so it didn’t matter.

Hope they make it worth my time is all.

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I did the NPE with a new character a couple of months ago. It was pretty much like you posted. I actually thought the attack on the station with the character escaping in the pod was great, definitely fast paced and the whole sequence of events afterwards was basically action packed.

The main thing I think CCP can improve on is the placement and size of the pop-up windows. In my opinion they take up too much screen space and pop up in the middle of the screen, basically blocking the view of the action. I ended up resizing and repositioning them so I could see the action better.

Another thing I remember is the view was zoomed out which I had to zoom in, course the NPE does explain camera movement but I think a new player logging in for the very first time wants to see the Sci-Fi action happening without being bothered with moving / resizing pop-up windows or scrolling the view in and out, especially when the NPC’s are telling you to do various things while the fast paced action is happening.

Overall the new NPE definitely grabs your attention. Over the years each rendition of the NPE has been progressively getting better, especially compared to when I first started this game over 13 years ago.


NPE in 2004: “enjoy your Ibis, GTFO” :rofl:


Impressions about the NPE …

From the perspective of someone who’s active on Rookie Help channel: it did not change the number or the nature of the questions.

No surprises there.

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Again. The NPE isn’t really meant to do that, it would have to be 30-60 minutes long for that and it would be boring, because EVE mechanics ARE boring and it would be sensory overload. The NPE is really just the opening cinematic with some extras and that is what it should be as the main issue is getting people to play the game and I bet a large portion of true newbies would quit just a few minutes into the old NPE going “eeehhh this seems boring”. Explanation of game mechanics is for AFTER the introduction.

NOW is the time to revamp the complete career stuff into something more substantial and useful and, please, don’t let CSM touch on that because pretty much none of them (apart from one) would have any idea on what would be important.

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Yeah I see the same. I also see a fair number of Rookie help questions being asked in regular help channel. Might be because newbies are still getting kicked out of the channel after 30 days but haven’t finished Career agents by that time.

On the other hand, many of the questions I see are related to the same old career agent and new player questions we’ve seen for years. So that’s less about the AIR NPE and more about various topics not being addressed well: drones, skill queues, how do I know what ammo to use, how do I buy/sell etc. I mean, why the heck doesn’t one of the early tutorial things say “Right click on an item, Show Info, and check the various tabs”?

The encouraging thing I see is that there’s quite a lot of activity in Rookie Help, and from either truly new or “back after a long time” players. Not saying it’s enough to correct the PCU decline but it’s good to see.

And everything Aisha said in the post above this? I would triple-star that and paste it on the heads of all CCP NPE devs if I could. 300% correct.


I did all that intro battle in space stuff 10 weeks ago when I joined. As you say, it all lasts 10 minutes…and that’s it. The agent missions follow a set path that one is usually so busy trying to follow that one has zero time for experimentation or wandering off. I just don’t think it works…and it is why so many noobs are in Rookie Help. I don’t think the ‘on a rail’ intro helps at all.

A good comparison is Dishonored vs Skyrim. In Dishonored you literally get a few minutes worth of intro, how to crawl, jump, etc…and then you are straight into the game. Sure, you eventually get the hang of it, but it is initially all quite confusing. In Skyrim, you can take as long over the intro as you like…in fact the game doesn’t really ‘start’ until you’ve killed the first dragon. You can make loads of mistakes, wonder what that thing is over there, go back and shoot someone you missed earlier, practice your spells or sword as much as you like, etc. There’s no ‘on a rail’ approach. You begin the ‘real’ game when you are ready. Given the sheer complexity of Eve…the latter approach would be far better. Well…that’s my view as one of the noobs who has ‘been through’ the intros.

They don’t get kicked out of rookie after 30 days, that hasn’t been a thing for a long time.

The questions we get aren’t really any different from before, meaning the basic explanations we had in the previous npe didn’t help and the lack of them in the current npe isn’t a problem.

It’s the follow-up that matters and I’m hoping CCP is working on that.

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I almost did leave in the first week. Not because nobody was explaining anything, but because that epic space battle in the intro seemed to get further away with each day. Nobody told me that with just 9 days of training I could be flying a Caracal ( and one of my characters has now done just that ). Likewise, with my first ‘character’ ( though not with later ones ) I mixed up a load of mining and combat skills in the queue…pushing the combat skills even further away. So I had this vision of me being stuck mining for all eternity. One of the most useful things noobs could possibly be told is how to set up the skills for a specific craft by entering it in the skills panel. Of course…that would entail a better layout of what craft are available.

The golden rule of game design should always be ’ for a noob…nothing is obvious’.

I agree that setting up the skill training queue is something that needs more work at the start, since it’s so central to what a new player can end up doing in EVE.

The idea of “targeted skill plans” is probably what’s supposed to address issues like “nobody told me I could be in a Caracal in 9 days”. The current implementation doesn’t really hit the mark, from what I can see. It might need a couple of well designed short term (under 2 weeks) skill goals with an AIR NPE agent giving a talkthrough of 4 or so preset training plans. There’s really not enough to do at the current AIR starter station but hopefully they’re beefing it up over time.

One area that really falls short in the new system is the “Opportunities” popups. IMO they’re supremely useless and have no beneficial effect at all. They’re literally just random goals that pop up that have nothing to do with what you’re doing, lead you to places that simply take you away from whatever you’re working on, and have no tips or help to guide you in accomplishing them.

It’s basicly a system for popping up “kill ten rats, find a mushroom, locate the post office, ride a horse, dig some copper, travel to a different city” type tasks, except there’s no help, no reward, and no connection to anything you’re doing. I can’t imagine a more useless implementation of the concept.

Back around 4 NPE iterations ago (I think this might be around the 10th NPE I’ve tested over the years), they had an actually decent Opportunities tree that aimed you at useful goals, broke it down into steps, and gave you some basic help on how to accomplish it as well as some useful little rewards for completing it. It was one of the best tools I’ve seen CCP create for getting new players to branch out into different aspects of the game, so of course they trashed it for worse replacements.

It’s described in this devblog:

Got some additional feedback on the AIR NPE over the past week in the help channels.

Quite a few mentions that the end of the AIR intro where they send you to the Career Agents should also point to the “Help” section of the Agency. Apparently quite a few new players don’t notice it’s there and what’s in it.

The other thing several people asked about (and one in New Player Q&A) was how they get back to AIR later, or when Vesper Calyfrix was going to contact them, and that they were looking forward to continuing that storyline.

So it might be worth CCP considering future contacts from AIR even after the NPE is done.


I did the intro a few days ago and I really like it except that the ships I was supposed to shoot down didn’t show in my overview so I had to pan the camera to see the ships and target them and it wasn’t easy because there seems to be a problem with mouse input.
Aura wasn’t very well synched and I miss the earlier Aura but ok, it’s just nostalgia.
Otherwise, I think it’s a step in the right direction. I hope CCP will keep working on it and not leave it unfinished and abandon it.

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