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Protecting Our Newbies

Author
Poetic Stanziel
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#1 - 2012-11-23 11:49:28 UTC  |  Edited by: Poetic Stanziel
from http://poeticstanziel.blogspot.ca/2012/11/protecting-our-newbies.html

So, as players, do we have any responsibility to EVE Online's newbies?

As someone who came to EVE Online late, April 2011, I have an occasional worry about EVE dying. Especially when the ***** level from veterans gets particularly high.

(Even from me, although I cannot see myself leaving EVE unless CCP does something monumentally stupid, like turning highsec into a nearly PvP-free zone. I feel more confident that CCP will not do that, much more confident than I did a couple months ago. I have the Ministry of Love to thank for restoring my faith that, while highsec has become somewhat safer this last year, the balance hasn't significantly tipped toward carebear gameplay.)

A game that's been around for as long as EVE Online, it's a major outlier compared to every other MMO. There have been MMOs that have been around longer, though their playerbases are but pale shadows of what they once were. That EVE has continued to grow for as long as it has, that's a complete anomaly in the industry. Currently EVE seems to have reached a plateau. EVE seems to be teetering at this moment in time. It's playerbase could very well start to shrink. That's what worries me. I'd like to be playing this game for ten years from now.

It seems the only way forward, to grow the game once again, is to attract new players to the fold. EVE is always going to have the slow bleed of veteran players, so we need new players to replace them, plus some.

EVE is such a harsh and unforgiving game, that it doesn't take much to totally turn off a new player. It doesn't take much for them to click UNINSTALL. And I think that's because most new players are used to being coddled by game mechanics. They aren't used to a community that often prides itself on eating its young.

I feel that if new players are given the opportunity to explore the game, to gradually get accustomed to the community, the harsh realities of New Eden, that they'll come to respect how this game is played, that they'll respect that a game that doesn't coddle its players is the more rewarding game experience, that they'll come to respect the actual strength of the community. But this realization is not instant, not in a game like EVE, not in a sandbox, it takes time to shift players from their old expectations and habits.

So, from that I wonder, do we, or should we, as a playerbase, be trying much harder to help our newbies, accept and integrate them into our community, be less critical of their mistakes and assumptions and prejudices? To teach them what EVE Online has to offer as a gaming experience? Should we spend less time feeding on our young, and more time raising them?

There are, of course, excellent examples all over the place of people helping newbros. Giving them ships. Giving them ISK. But there are as many examples of new players that leave the game because they've been treated like complete ****, nothing more than easy marks and tear processors. Certainly, some of those stories, of new players going off the deep end when attacked or scammed, are hilarious, but is it healthy for the game if those stories were more prevalent? Some of those players weren't going to cut it, no matter what, but some may have, had they had a more gentle hand guiding them, rather than a knife to the gut. Someone to give them a pole and instruction on how to use it, rather than just a basket of fish.

Now, before anybody starts screaming. The last group of people that this post is directed at is CCP. This is a player issue. Not a CCP issue. I do not want, would rail against any, mechanic changes that would make it easier for newbies. Players can play how they want. If someone wants to spend their game time trying to scam and/or kill newbies, make their game lives miserable, then so be it. This is a sandbox. I wouldn't dream of telling those people to stop being assholes to new players. Part of the appeal of EVE is the assholery that happens.

So, this is not an issue where CCP needs to step in with game mechanics as a solution. This is purely a sandbox issue, one that is entirely in the hands of the players. Assholery happens. When it's directed at new players, I'd hope it's the exception, not the rule. And I'm pretty sure that is the case.

I know many of us give out fish, often. I've done it. Just the other day I killed a dude, and after looking at the killmail realized that a) he was flying a really inexpensive meta-module fit, and b) his character was eight days old. Fear that this guy might get fed up being killed all the time (and he was getting popped frequently), that he might give up on EVE, I sent him a nice evemail and 25M ISK, and a couple suggestions on where to go for some PvP and general EVE training (Fweddit, of course, was one of those suggestions.) I know Sindel has her angel project, where she gives out free ships to newbros. I know Fweddit itself pitched in and helped replace a Loki after relieving a relatively new player of their's. These stories are everywhere, but all of this is just handing out fish.

What about giving out the rod so that they can catch their own fish?

There is EVE University. But I've always thought that they mostly churn out the wrong type of player. They teach mechanics and such, for sure, but when it comes to teaching players how to approach the game, that's where EVE University mostly fails. They don't teach the value of conflict, but how to avoid conflict. We need fewer players with a sense of entitlement about their playstyle and their stuff.

(cont'd)
Poetic Stanziel
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#2 - 2012-11-23 11:49:37 UTC
There's blogs and video, too. I've written articles explaining the differences between EVE and the generic theme park MMO. I'm currently writing a series about skill training for PvP. There a lots of blog entries out there doing the same sort thing. (I welcome anybody to post links to their newbie-related articles in the comments.) All of this is fantastic.

I'd like to see more of it.

I know there's already lots of goodwill in this game towards newbros. I'm not suggesting there isn't any. But I think all too often we give out fish and think that solves problems. I'd like to see more effort from players on handing out rods and instruction thereof. I'd like to see more alliances, especially the larger alliances, with more prevalent newbie recruiting practices, with infrastructure in place to teach these new players about the game (not just how to press F1.) I'd like to see more mini EVE University's, but churning out players with the right mindset for this game, players embracing the conflict, not trying to avoid it.

The next time you kill a newbie, maybe stop, take a moment, start a conversation with them. Be patient. Give advice. Maybe point them to an alliance that has a strong newbie ethos.

The longevity of EVE Online depends on new players. We should do all we can to teach them the value of the sandbox as a gaming environment. Once they learn the rewards that come from the sandbox, then you kill the **** out of them.
Matthew97
#3 - 2012-11-23 11:53:22 UTC  |  Edited by: Matthew97
Poetic Stanziel wrote:
from http://poeticstanziel.blogspot.ca/2012/11/protecting-our-newbies.html


EVE is such a harsh and unforgiving game, that it doesn't take much to totally turn off a new player. It doesn't take much for them to click UNINSTALL.


Maybe CCP should set it so using "Uninstall" also removes the boot.ini Twisted


OT: I agree with a lot of the points on this, we seem to use newbies as a way to pad kill boards and show off rather than encourage them to get into different parts of EvE, help them with what THEY want to do rather than what WE want them to do.


I don't agree that we should give them free stuff though, giving a new player say, 100m isn't a good thing as they'll waste it on things they don't necessarily understand and when they move on, run out of isk, they won't be ready for the grind it takes to get back up there and possible do the "OMG ITZ 2 HARDZ 2 GET IKS /ragequit".
Louis deGuerre
The Dark Tribe
#4 - 2012-11-23 12:28:57 UTC
So you're asking new bros if they think that we should not mercilessly eradicate them ? What?
Minmatar Citizen160812
The LGBT Last Supper
#5 - 2012-11-23 13:36:29 UTC
Quote:

So, as players, do we have any responsibility to EVE Online's newbies?


Nope.. they can take responsibility for themselves. Let's face it, most new players are used to easy instant gratification activities in general and don't like having to actually use their head for more than a hat holder. You can't patch stupid.
Ovv Topik
Sebiestor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#6 - 2012-11-23 13:45:25 UTC
Poetic Stanziel wrote:
from http://poeticstanziel.blogspot.ca/2012/11/protecting-our-newbies.html


(Even from me, although I cannot see myself leaving EVE unless CCP does something monumentally stupid, like turning highsec into a nearly PvP-free zone

While I agree with this, I worry it is the Achilles heel of the game.
If ‘Elite’ or ‘Star Citizen’, create a HiSec that really is HiSec , there is a large demographic of ‘PVP averse’ players who would be glad to move there.
Take one part of an ecosystem away, and the entire food chain will collapse!

"Nicknack, I'm in a shoe in space, on my computer, in my house, with a cup of coffee, in't that something." - Fly Safe PopPaddi. o7

Schmata Bastanold
In Boobiez We Trust
#7 - 2012-11-23 14:10:01 UTC
Ovv Topik wrote:
Poetic Stanziel wrote:
from http://poeticstanziel.blogspot.ca/2012/11/protecting-our-newbies.html


(Even from me, although I cannot see myself leaving EVE unless CCP does something monumentally stupid, like turning highsec into a nearly PvP-free zone

While I agree with this, I worry it is the Achilles heel of the game.
If ‘Elite’ or ‘Star Citizen’, create a HiSec that really is HiSec , there is a large demographic of ‘PVP averse’ players who would be glad to move there.
Take one part of an ecosystem away, and the entire food chain will collapse!


Because except of ganking newbies and hisec dwellers there is nothing else to shoot at, right?

Get real, without hisec Eve would be just that: game without high security area. Hisec lovers would go away and Eve most probably would move to a real niche of hardcore pvp but who said Eve has to be mainstream? Beside, in chess there is no hisec and game is in top 3 best strategic games of all times since few thousands of years.

That being said, newbies need love and kind advice to grow up and contribute to Eve universe. But they have to show they care and listen to advice and help offered. Anybody from "I ask but f*ck you I wanna fly my titan NAOW" deserves no more than heavy trolololo and arrow pointing to WoW.

Invalid signature format

Inxentas Ultramar
Ultramar Independent Contracting
#8 - 2012-11-23 14:15:33 UTC  |  Edited by: Inxentas Ultramar
Minmatar Citizen160812 wrote:
Quote:

So, as players, do we have any responsibility to EVE Online's newbies?


Nope.. they can take responsibility for themselves. Let's face it, most new players are used to easy instant gratification activities in general and don't like having to actually use their head for more than a hat holder. You can't patch stupid.


I respectfully disagree. Most newbies we blow up in lowsec are genuinely interested in PVP, came out there to learn how to fight, and actually have a working head on their shoulders. A large portion of new players aren't risk averse, on the contrary. The trick is getting them into the right environment for them. We don't need to protect our newbies from outlaws and pirates, but from the poisonous influence of extreme risk aversion. I do see corporate culture (and with it, player retention) as the resposibility of CEO's and FC's.

I do however agree stupidity can't be patched, and with a game as big as EVE there's bound to be lots of stupid Big smile
Ovv Topik
Sebiestor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#9 - 2012-11-23 14:16:42 UTC  |  Edited by: Ovv Topik
Schmata Bastanold wrote:
in chess there is no hisec and game is in top 3 best strategic games of all times since few thousands of years.

LOL. Touche'
but I was thinking more of the game economy than the target practice they provide.

"Nicknack, I'm in a shoe in space, on my computer, in my house, with a cup of coffee, in't that something." - Fly Safe PopPaddi. o7

Vilnius Zar
SDC Multi Ten
#10 - 2012-11-23 14:19:31 UTC
I don't believe in giving newbies isk or free ships, I DO believe in giving them the tools, help and knowledge to make their own isk and find their own goals and drive. New players who have to be "bribed" into playing EVE by giving them "free stuff" are the exact kind of players we don't want to have (or rather, the ones I'm not interested in other than being targets).

What we want are players who can find their arse with their own two hands and who are willing to put in the effort to learn and step up, helped with some guidance if need be (which I'm happy to provide).
Schmata Bastanold
In Boobiez We Trust
#11 - 2012-11-23 15:05:59 UTC
Ovv Topik wrote:
Schmata Bastanold wrote:
in chess there is no hisec and game is in top 3 best strategic games of all times since few thousands of years.

LOL. Touche'
but I was thinking more of the game economy than the target practice they provide.


Well, economy is going up in conditions of relative peace. Let's say that only hisec right now is able to provide enough manufacture and trade power for all Eve because CONCORD is watching over most of indy movements and stations don't prohibit anybody from docking and do their trade/manu/whatever. Of course taking that out would have to be compensated by either all manu moved to NPCs (lame) or tools for players to establish enough "peace" for prosperity (great if executed in smart way - whatever that means).

Which btw has nothing to do with newbies as they are not able to do much even on indy side of Eve, they lack skills, money and most important part experience and know-how. Do you honestly think that if CCP would freeze new subs now all economy would just stop instantly?

Invalid signature format

Mezaes Aedoucan
Royal Amarr Institute
Amarr Empire
#12 - 2012-11-23 15:18:50 UTC
Hi Guys, I'm one of those new players that the reference is being made to, so I hope you dont mind me chiming in here. I want to think Im probably the exception to the rule because, to be honest, I want you to keep your dang fish, you worked hard for that fish, I wanna catch my own dang fish! I was interested in eve a while back, and tried eve, met with some frustration and left, but what I think I lacked at that point was perspective. I saw a video that made me want to come back, that butterfly effect video if you know what I'm talking about, and decided to give the game a harder look, the big difference I see this time, is I joined a solid corp that is showing me te ropes and helping me "catch my own dang fish" Had a corp memeber offer to buy me my implants for skill training, I told him I bought a Plex and had sme starting isk and he said then how about we meet half way. That did more for me becaus it showed me that he wanted to help me, and gave me that feeling that I helped myself as well. Theyve also been sending me to guides that let me see how things work and make my own decisions about what I want to do, then help me learn to do it. My second go around is shaping up to be ALOT better then the first. :) just a noobs insight :D
Bucklin Fondue
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#13 - 2012-11-23 16:05:32 UTC
Yeah I would certainly say don't just give them stuff because we all know what happens to those spoiled kids when they finally get into the real world(plus nobody likes those spoiled kids). But as a new player I would have liked some kind of short segregation where noobs were by themselves in some sort of noob space where they would deal with each other and pvp with one another but only for like two or three Weeks then kick then out in the real world. Also would have made it easier if the corp finder had a bit more detail and information on corps and not just what the corp puts in themselves (because nobody lies on the internet). But all in all seems fine, I am doing not so bad.
Fractal Muse
Sebiestor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#14 - 2012-11-23 17:53:36 UTC
We, as other players, have no responsibility to new players.

But, I would like to see CCP add more tools that allow existing players WHO WANT TO HELP assist the new players get their feet wet. I would like to see better material for showing new players who want to learn on their own how to get into PvP without feeling powerless. I would like to see a coded mentoring system that allows an experienced player help a new player. The more that CCP can do to improve the new user experience the better - without creating a false impression of the game.

The moment that there is a feeling of frustration of not being able to do anything then the game design has failed. If a player engaged in PvP for the first time and simply goes POP and that's their experience then it is a bad one. Players need to feel like they could have done something differently to affect the outcome. In other words, they need to feel like they have a chance to compete.

Those who have this kind of experience stick around. Those who do not leave out of frustration.

But, this isn't up to players as such. It isn't fair or reasonable to ask -all- of the playerbase to look out for new players. That's CCP's job not the players. There are some players (myself included) who happen to enjoy helping out newbies and for us it is up to CCP to provide us with the tools to assist like this forum.
Capsuleer 872
Hedion University
Amarr Empire
#15 - 2012-11-23 19:40:09 UTC
It seems you need to be careful in eve online.
Poetic Stanziel
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#16 - 2012-11-23 20:54:26 UTC
Capsuleer 872 wrote:
It seems you need to be careful in eve online.
OMG. Your face. Shocked
Capsuleer 872
Hedion University
Amarr Empire
#17 - 2012-11-23 21:40:03 UTC
Poetic Stanziel wrote:
Capsuleer 872 wrote:
It seems you need to be careful in eve online.
OMG. Your face. Shocked

Capsuleer 872
Hedion University
Amarr Empire
#18 - 2012-11-23 21:40:52 UTC
Poetic Stanziel wrote:
Capsuleer 872 wrote:
It seems you need to be careful in eve online.
OMG. Your face. Shocked


I know i can look charming!
Jake Salvator
Doomheim
#19 - 2012-11-24 12:27:03 UTC
This is a really good post and coming from a pretty hardcore gamer of 10+ years, I agree completely... I have seen games die because of lack of new players.

In saying all this however, as a player that isn't too old myself and that remembers being very new, the biggest things holding me back were....

- Rookie Channel was a great help, but it was so packed that if you asked a question is was often missed as the screen scrolled. Could there be multiple rookie channels for different facets of the game?

- Finding a good corp was good, although it's hard to find how active a corp is. I had to go through a few corps to get into one I felt comfortable with.

Coming across a veteran willing to take you under your wing is an awesome start. found one by chance and she gave me some ISK to get my going, bought me a new ship and taught me some mining tricks.
Galaxy Pig
New Order Logistics
CODE.
#20 - 2012-11-24 13:15:48 UTC  |  Edited by: Galaxy Pig
I agree with giving new players free stuff, but also with blowing them up.

Highsec is owned by players now. Systems 0.5-1.0 are New Order Territory. All miners and other residents of Highsec must obey The Code. Mining without a permit is dangerous and harmful to the EVE community. See www.MinerBumping.com

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