In EVE Online, where industry brimms and interstellar battles blaze, every player has a pivotal role regardless of tenure. However, new players, often overlooked, are the unsung heroes driving the vitality and dynamism of the EVE universe. I ardently care about them, and here’s why you should, too.
The very soul and vigor of EVE Online are predicated on player retention. Consider this: New players are the lifeblood that fuels the economic engine of EVE. Unlike their veteran counterparts, who have amassed their arsenals and are often in maintenance mode regarding investments, these newcomers are voraciously engaging with the in-game economy. Their pursuit of building, equipping, and flourishing makes them indispensable contributors to the market dynamics. They are not just consumers but active participants, infusing life and zest into the game’s fabric and investing a lot of active online time. Now, to the pressing concern that I see arising for me.
Why are most Council of Stellar Management (CSM) representatives out of touch with the challenges these new players face?
It’s not a question of apathy or neglect. Instead, the predicament is one of perspective. Years of gameplay, myriad experiences, and a certain stature in the game often shroud people’s perspectives. Immersed in their advanced gameplay, they might inadvertently overlook the genuine struggles of those just starting. I can see that some want to care, as many candidates are for ideas thrown in the ring by other experienced players (who themself face the same point of view problem). Ideas are presented, such as making a new player-to-corporation speed dating; explaining to new players how to best proceed in EVE, or improving the situation of new players joining established corps to partake in better ISK income streams. Not to say otherwise, concepts like introducing new players to established corporations or optimizing their in-game income are indeed valuable. However, they don’t strike at the heart of the real challenge.
To elucidate, let’s traverse the journey of a new player in EVE:
Their initial experience, updated by CCP, is nothing short of enthralling. The tutorials are intuitive, engaging, and create an ambiance of wonder. This is an applaudable feat and shows how player experiences should be crafted. But what happens next?
Contrary to the belief, there is more integration of the new players to help channels and corporations, as one might think. A plethora of corporations and organizations reach out, offering guidance, and serving as valuable anchors in their journey. The initial forays are, in fact, designed to captivate, and the game largely succeeds in this endeavor. Players might leave within the first fortnight, an utterly natural attrition rate for those merely testing the waters. Up to this juncture, EVE Online crafts an engaging narrative for newcomers.
However, the transition from this honeymoon phase is where the challenges begin. Approximately two months in, players who became committed participants of EVE, and even often stepping up to an Omega status, encounter a wall. They’ve painstakingly amassed ISK through the minimal income ways of playing with beginner ships, invested in their first better ship, and finally engaged in an improved and faster way to accumulate riches in the future. For the veteran players here, these ways are still very slow on the income. But these necessary and essential steps make them alluring targets for high-sec gankers. While the loss might be trivial for seasoned players, for a novice, it’s devastating. Days, sometimes weeks, of grind can evaporate in mere seconds, hand in hand with the joy of playing the game. The adage, “Only fly what you can afford to lose,” albeit wise, is of little solace. They had cautiously saved ISK to finally make the “big progress” to their gameplay and just to be reduced to insignificance. EVE risks losing its most promising newcomers during this critical period, the 6 to 8-week mark. It’s a wall of death regarding player retention.
But the challenges don’t end there. Glancing through the corporation tab reveals a graveyard of small corporations — fledgling corporations, started with zest and zeal, now rendered dormant. These aren’t mere statistics; they are poignant tales of enthusiastic players, attempting to carve out their unique narrative, banding together with allies they made along the way. Not everyone desires life within a mega-corp. Many yearn for smaller ventures with their newfound friends, doing it themselves and experiencing this side of EVE. Yet, these ventures face insurmountable odds. Odds that were different way back, and here I would like to see CCP have a close look to improve mechanics to even out the odds.
High-sec space, in its current iteration, is inadequately equipped to nurture these growing entities. The high-sec space cannot provide enough content for these new player corps to grow to the necessary size and strength to survive. The entertainment, the fun, the wonder of new experiences, and the essential materials needed on the production side to live through the time of growing for a corporation are not provided by the current iteration of the high-sec by CCP. Here, EVE hits the border of possibility, of what can be archived in high-sec. For a fledgling corporation, transitioning to low-sec presents a gamble too steep for what could ever be gained; it needs to be able to grow and to be ready for that step.
It’s crucial that CCP recognizes this chasm and forges solutions. A vibrant influx of new corporations, potentially banding together for more audacious endeavors in low-sec or 0.0 territories, would invigorate the EVE landscape. These newcomers deserve not just a chance but a conducive environment to flourish.
In sum, while the dawn of a player’s journey in EVE Online is beautifully orchestrated, the subsequent phases demand attention. For the vitality and longevity of our game, we must ensure that the aspirations and dreams of new players aren’t just kindled, but are nurtured and realized. In supporting them, we’re not just bolstering their individual stories but enriching the entire tapestry of EVE Online.
A Clarion Call to CSM Representatives
To the new faces of the CSM: There lies an opportunity, albeit challenging, to champion the cause of EVE’s silent newcomers. By doing so, many new players will remain unaware of your role, yet your advocacy can shape their journeys profoundly. While such endeavors might go unnoticed, the rewards—benefiting the game, new players, and the entire community—are immeasurable.
I’m open to dialogue for those intrigued by this sentiment and seeking a deeper dive beyond this brief note. While I’ve never vied for a CSM seat, my passion for EVE is vibrant. Find me in-game as Tikka, or send a PM, ping me in discords, and let’s foster a discussion for the betterment of our game.