I have recently been in a position to compare the old “new player experience” (circa 2009) with the new “new player experience”. I find it to be an interesting comparison which may be of note to some.
I joined the game in 2009 originally, and played for many years. I’m trying to see the game through a more current lens and have taken some steps to assist myself in doing that.
Here is how I remember the 2009 new player experience:
I joined this game with my brother, we had both read of some of the treacherous and unusual exploits of Eve’s nefarious player-base and were intrigued. We joined together and started our new player experience in Todaki.
I remember undocking from the station and seeing ships shooting each other. I didn’t yet understand anything, and I mean anything. So, I tried to shoot one of the ships and was concorded. I had no idea why I was killed or why each undocking resulted in the same ship loss.
Then I went through a gray area where I remember struggling substantially to figure out the following two questions:
- How do I warp to another system (stupid, I know, but I didn’t know about jump gates and didn’t understand the overview). I then avoided doing this for quite some time because I was afraid I would be unable to get back.
- Why won’t my guns shoot? (I figured out the answer to this question is “because they need ammo”… which the guns on an ibis inexplicably don’t). I found it very challenging to figure out how to load them, for some reason.
I remember doing some missions that were directed by agents, so somehow I figured out I needed to do that, but I don’t recall it being very long. I remember being awarded a Merlin which I immediately lost on a tutorial mission. Then I mined until I got another and lost it. Then I tried the Kestrel because my brother recommended it, and lost it. Then someone told me to “snipe” with a Kestrel and that worked and I was able to get through the tutorial missions.
In between each loss, I was mining in an Ibis and then a Bantam. I remember seeing wrecks left in the belts and looking at the treasures they held. I lost a ship or two learning that the stuff in the yellow boxes is not available for me to take home. I remember working with other people in those early days who I chatted up because I saw them get killed and wanted to understand what happened.
When I graduated from the tutorial, I believe I was awarded a Kestrel and advised that I had a duty to use it to destroy the Gallente Federation. After which the tutorial turned off and I was ejected into the hole that is Eve Online.
At which point I decided that I wanted to captain a cruiser because that seemed like a giant space ship and everything else seemed completely unattainable. I had a quantity of isk that would now be sufficient for nothing at all, and an understanding of the game which was quite poor.
Now, this was where I learned about jet-can mining. You see (and this is from memory), I was mining in a Bantam which, if memory serves, was armed with 2 mining lasers, a nice mining bonus, and enough cargo space to hold ~50k isk worth of veldspar. (It probably took me a month to understand how the ship bonuses worked… but I remember a lot of bantam mining in between my various losses). If I was guessing, I would say the bantam took a couple minutes to fill and it took a couple minutes to fly back to station unload, refill your drink, and return to the belt. Mining in it was miserable because you were always flying back and forth to and from station.
I had noticed people with yellow cans in the belts, but it wasn’t until I saw a fight and the ensuing argument in local that I realized you could mine into the cans. Holy Smokes! I would guess it nearly doubled the isk/minute of my mining experience… and it reduced the amount of clicking I had to do by at least that margin. I was all in… until I met a flipper.
I’m pretty sure the first ship I lost to a flipper was a bantam, but I clearly remember the second was a cormorant (which was also a pretty sweet mining ride at that time). In the first instance, I felt it was pretty damn unfair that I had to fight his frigate with my bantam. In the second one, I knew I had the bastard because I was in a cormorant. Turned out, his assault frigate (what the hell is an assault frigate) was a little better.
So, here is what I had learned.
- Jet can mining is valuable, but dangerous. If I don’t do it, mining sucks badly and pays badly. If I do it, there is risk. This sent me in the direction of: I need help.
- I have to have team mates (who were busy learning the same lesson) to help haul. Two people with a cormie and a hauler were more effective than two dedicated sub-cruiser ships… so teamwork even at a small scale made tons of sense.
- Buying ships was tough… I think a merlin (or maybe cormie, it’s been several years) cost 800k-ish. I remember thinking my bantam would have to make like 16 turns to one. That seemed daunting. I remember thinking a mining cruiser would be amazing… but it seemed like a long term goal to me. (not only did I need skills, but 3.2 mil for an osprey was like 64 turns to the belts… eek! That’s a lot of work…
Oh, and did I ever hate those bastards who stole stuff in the belts. I swore to myself I’d one day get retribution on them.
If you asked me at that time, I’d have told you Eve was the most engaging game I’d ever played and I’d have marveled at the complexities of the interactions and teamwork that came from managing the risks this game allowed people to throw at you.
Today’s New Player Experience
Today, I tried out the new player experience and I have to say, it’s very different. Some parts are better because there is now explanation of several mechanics I struggled to figure out when I initially played years ago.
I was able to follow instructions mission to mission (and I’ve not yet completed all of the tutorial activities), but it’s smooth and quite do-able. I’ve not lost anything at all, nor have I faced any challenges that I think would challenge or kill a new player.
I have yet to talk to another player or need to talk to another player. I have seen people speaking in the new player chat and I’ve seen a few questions asked.
I was spam emailed an recruitment ad from a null entity, but as far as I can tell there aren’t noob-space corps or teams of people working together anymore (or if they are there, they aren’t talking).
I haven’t seen anyone fighting. I haven’t seen anyone trying to fight or trying to steal. I haven’t seen any arguments in local or indications of strife.
I don’t need to mine yet because I don’t really need the isk because I can’t fly anything, but I’m actually pretty flush with cash because of all the tutorial rewards.
I took the opportunity of flying the new mining frigate. With a single trip to the belts…and a single activation of the lasers, I was able to acquire 700k isk worth of ore with no real risk… I think it took about 15 minutes to fill the hull.
Overall, it’s pretty easy. Holy smokes, though is it different.
I liked it better before.
Nobody is even trying to work as a team because there aren’t any real challenges.
I think jet can mining was a great risk/reward feature that made all of us want to work together. Jackass players were also pretty good bad guys.
Overall, the feeling of the game has gone from dangerous, gritty, and chaotic to generally sanitary and civilized.