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Mentoring New Players

Author
Kane Plekkel
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#1 - 2012-01-17 22:35:12 UTC
Right off of reading the meeting minutes from the latest CSM, the biggest thing that stuck out to me was the section on NPE, specifically regarding how to ease new players in. It seemed that the agreement was that social structure and interaction had the best chance of retaining newer players by having someone experienced walk new players through. This way, the new player gets a "best of" explanation and skill path, and is more likely to stay on.

To that end, I think an established mentoring system (as an actual implemented feature) would fit this need perfectly. It allows experienced veterans that are interested in helping new players an easy, somewhat official way to do that. I see this working like so:

An experienced player signs up as a mentor. Their name gets put into a pool or list, along with everyone else that's signed up. This can be split by race, I haven't decided yet, since it really doesn't make a difference. Anyhow, on the other end, a brand new player is offered the option of (A) going through the existing tutorial, (B) requesting assistance from a mentor, or (C) skipping everything entirely and "roughing it." If the player chooses (B), they are then given the option to choose, or be assigned* to, a mentor. The mentor then has the responsibility of walking the player through the basic steps of introducing EVE to a new player.

*Provided the mentor is online and accepting new "students" which I'll get to in a bit

Motivation
Why would experienced players want to deal with the possibly mundane task of explaining everything to new players? Well, for one, there's the undeniably good feeling of helping someone new. If that's not enough, I figured there could be some sort of monetary award upon successful completion.

Aha, you say, but what counts as a "complete" for a mentor? Well, I see it being defined by either the student or the mentor. If a student feels they have had enough guidance, they (through the UI) declare the mentoring session over, and are then asked to rate the mentor (more on this in a second). Alternatively, the mentor should be allowed to end the session as well, for whatever reason. If this occurs, the new player should still be prompted to rate the mentor. Sessions should be able to last as long as necessary, including multiple days.

Rating
Rating the mentor serves as a quality measurement. Remember back when agents had quality, and their quality (and level) dictated your reward for completing the mission? Well this would work the same way: higher rated mentors would earn a bigger payout (which could come from CONCORD, the NPC corp that the new player had signed up with, or a brand new NPC corp). Also, and just as important, the rating would be a key in allowing new players to pick mentors. New players would be far more interested in being mentored by a 5-star mentor than a 1-star. So, this provides multiple reasons for a mentor to try and earn the best rating they can. In addition to ratings, players should also be able to post reviews about mentors, to provide further feedback.

The Mentor
So far, things have been about the new player's interaction with the system and the mentor. Now its time to talk about the mentors themselves. As I said before, the an interested player would sign up to be a mentor, much in the way one signs up for Faction Warfare. Once signed up, they indicate whether they are taking new players or not, or have it determined by a player-set number, which allows the mentor to autonomously dictate how they want to run things. This works if the mentor wants to provide group-based instruction, or prefers 1-on-1 sessions.

What allows a mentor to be eligible? Well, I think we all agree that we don't want brand new players assisting brand new players, since they are not nearly experienced enough for the task. To that end, though, I'm not sure if its proper to put in a time limit (6 months or a year before your ACCOUNT, not character, is eligible). I definitely don't support having to train a skill to allow mentoring. Maybe something along the lines of completing a certain number or level of certificates? I don't, and I'm open to suggestions.

Going back to rewards for a bit, there's a large number of possibilities for what can happen. I was originally leaning towards a Mentor Points (like LP) system, but that further fractures EVE's market and is probably not desirable. The most obvious is just a flat ISK award, based on rating earned and/or overall rating. But I did start thinking of a new method, one that further promotes mentors to really do their best: after a new player stay subscribed for more than a set amount of time (3, 6, 9 months, haven't decided), the mentor is awarded a PLEX for their efforts in adding to the subscriber base. This also ties in with CCP's effort to start rewarding their loyal, long-time players!

I'm sure there's things I've forgotten or haven't thought of yet, so I'll be paying attention to this thread and updating as I think of things. Please leave your feedback.

This is my Raven. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Raven is my best friend. It is my life. I must ma-pop ... This is my pod. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pod is my best friNONO STOP IT GO AWAY!!

mxzf
Shovel Bros
#2 - 2012-01-17 22:40:21 UTC
Why not just hang out in the new player help channel and answer questions there? If you hit it off with someone or they want to chat more in private, teach them how to start a convo or invite them to a chat channel. So much easier than CCP spending dev time implementing a whole separate system.
Kane Plekkel
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#3 - 2012-01-17 22:47:01 UTC
mxzf wrote:
Why not just hang out in the new player help channel and answer questions there? If you hit it off with someone or they want to chat more in private, teach them how to start a convo or invite them to a chat channel. So much easier than CCP spending dev time implementing a whole separate system.

But less rewarding for the folks putting in the time, and not getting much recognition. Furthermore, the Help channel is far too populous, and its sometimes difficult to get questions answered.

This is my Raven. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Raven is my best friend. It is my life. I must ma-pop ... This is my pod. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pod is my best friNONO STOP IT GO AWAY!!

mxzf
Shovel Bros
#4 - 2012-01-17 22:54:43 UTC
If you're doing it for reward or recognition, you're 'helping' for the wrong reasons. People that are honestly helpful do it for the warm fuzzy feeling you get when someone understands what you're explaining. If you need to be bribed to help someone (which costs you nothing but the time you spend typing), you're doing it for the wrong reasons.

I see no reason to spend dev time on something that is already in-game and working perfectly fine. And the "too populous to get stuff answered" was why I suggested convos. If it 'aint broke, don't 'fix' it.
XXSketchxx
Sniggerdly
Pandemic Legion
#5 - 2012-01-17 22:55:36 UTC
tl;dr
Goose99
#6 - 2012-01-17 23:24:43 UTC  |  Edited by: Goose99
To do this, you must first ban all sociopathic elements of Eve, starting with CSM.Lol

Eve, it's like high school, unsupervised. Someone will find ways to grief noobs with any system.Cool

The basement dwelling @sshats who spend all day thinking up ways to grief noobs for ***** and giggles, get banned from KOTOR and WoW, and deposits in the unmoderated cesspool that is Eve.Big smile
E man Industries
SeaChell Productions
#7 - 2012-01-17 23:39:53 UTC  |  Edited by: E man Industries
The best form of mentoring is still a corp/alliance.

Join my corp and we will mentor you(This is an alt....do not apply to this corp), believe this is the case for most decent corps.

New players should be strongly encoufarge to join a corp...but how do you do this and what corps should they be encouraged to join?
Fredfredbug4
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#8 - 2012-01-18 00:53:29 UTC
mxzf wrote:
Why not just hang out in the new player help channel and answer questions there?


Have you ever been in the new player help channel? I've never seen more spam and irrelevant answers in my life.

Watch_ Fred Fred Frederation_ and stop [u]cryptozoologist[/u]! Fight against the brutal genocide of fictional creatures across New Eden! Is that a metaphor? Probably not, but the fru-fru- people will sure love it!

Katie Frost
Ministry of War
Amarr Empire
#9 - 2012-01-18 02:09:47 UTC
mxzf wrote:
Why not just hang out in the new player help channel and answer questions there? If you hit it off with someone or they want to chat more in private, teach them how to start a convo or invite them to a chat channel. So much easier than CCP spending dev time implementing a whole separate system.


It is what is already in place and wasn't really working... and also...

Fredfredbug4 wrote:
Have you ever been in the new player help channel? I've never seen more spam and irrelevant answers in my life.


... this.

I think it would be a good idea to implement this in order to assist new players get past the steep EVE learning curve. It would also be beneficial for mentors to identify their area of expertise (PvP, Mining, PvE and so on).

Joining corporations and alliances is also a good way for players to receive good mentoring, but this is at times hit and miss. Having a dedicated system to support new players that may not want to join corporations/alliances in order to learn the basics of the game would be beneficial. After the initial introduction, they can be encouraged by the mentors to select a corporation appropriate to their profession choice.
Xandralkus
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#10 - 2012-01-18 07:14:25 UTC  |  Edited by: Xandralkus
As good as an idea as I'd like for this to be, it's too exploitable. You've just given everyone with two accounts a way to give themselves perfect ratings from newly created characters - and if you plan for this to be an even slightly lucrative plan for making ISK, then it's effectively an infinite ISK-generator. Whole corporations that do nothing but farm money-alts will spring up overnight.

Eve UI wouldn't suck if CCP allowed UI addons.

Atticus Fynch
#11 - 2012-01-18 16:30:59 UTC
One thing I liked about Freelancer MMO is that you had mods out there flying with you. They were easily identifiable and they would offer there assistance in whatever you needed.

[b]★★★Cargo Pilots Unite!!!★★★ https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=668132&#post668132[/b]

Kane Plekkel
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#12 - 2012-01-18 16:45:46 UTC
Xandralkus wrote:
As good as an idea as I'd like for this to be, it's too exploitable. You've just given everyone with two accounts a way to give themselves perfect ratings from newly created characters - and if you plan for this to be an even slightly lucrative plan for making ISK, then it's effectively an infinite ISK-generator. Whole corporations that do nothing but farm money-alts will spring up overnight.

Obviously things would have to be thought of to counter this. Not allowing a character (or account) to rate another character (or account) more than once, or only register the change (rated 3 the first session, 5 the next, would result in "Derp rated Herp 5" after its all done, not "Derp rated Herp 3" and then "Derp rated Herp 5"). Or, more obviously, not allowing characters on the same account to rate each other.

The other thing is making the ratings harder to accumulate. Much like grinding for rep with agents, it should take some time before you hit the next rating up. Everyone starts at 1, and say (obvious example, not realistic) it takes 10 5-stars to go up to 2, 20 more to go up to 3 (30 total now), 40 to 4 (70 total) and 80 to 5 (150 in all).

I fully envision corporations signing up to do this. EVE University is one of the ones I'd figure would embrace this as an even easier avenue of regaling new players with help and instruction.


To those saying there's no reason to spend time on something like this, apparently CCP and/or CSM believe otherwise, because this came up in the meeting minutes. Player retention, specifically new players, has been historically difficult, so why shouldn't CCP put forth an effort into making that better. And if they do put that effort by creating a system like this, why shouldn't they reward the players that use it effectively for keeping players (and therefore, subscribers) in their game?

This is my Raven. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Raven is my best friend. It is my life. I must ma-pop ... This is my pod. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pod is my best friNONO STOP IT GO AWAY!!

Arkon Olacar
black.listed
#13 - 2012-01-18 17:22:24 UTC
The Eve-Uni channel is essentially the Rookie Help without the scammers and trolls. Just tell people to ask their questions there, until they find a decent sized corp that can help them progress in the game. Its what I did after all, its not hard.

While I would not suggest feeding newbies into Eve-Uni public chat automatically, as that would lower it to Rookie Help levels, I think it should be advertised somewhere so that new players who can read (ie those who might actually play for more than a month, and so are worth helping/mentoring) are pointed towards the channel.

Just my two cents, as a new player.
Kane Plekkel
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#14 - 2012-01-18 17:29:13 UTC  |  Edited by: Kane Plekkel
Arkon Olacar wrote:
The Eve-Uni channel is essentially the Rookie Help without the scammers and trolls. Just tell people to ask their questions there, until they find a decent sized corp that can help them progress in the game. Its what I did after all, its not hard.

While I would not suggest feeding newbies into Eve-Uni public chat automatically, as that would lower it to Rookie Help levels, I think it should be advertised somewhere so that new players who can read (ie those who might actually play for more than a month, and so are worth helping/mentoring) are pointed towards the channel.

Just my two cents, as a new player.

This would be very useful, but it would either require CCP to endorse the EVE Uni corp (which they're probably hesitant to do, as that's a very slippery slope, once it starts), or have all experienced players know to do that .

This is my Raven. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Raven is my best friend. It is my life. I must ma-pop ... This is my pod. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pod is my best friNONO STOP IT GO AWAY!!

Sashi Serakhoi
Native Freshfood
Minmatar Republic
#15 - 2012-01-19 16:37:47 UTC
+1

As a social scientist, this seems totally accurate.
Kane Plekkel
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#16 - 2012-01-20 23:24:55 UTC
Bumping for more feedback.

This is my Raven. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Raven is my best friend. It is my life. I must ma-pop ... This is my pod. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My pod is my best friNONO STOP IT GO AWAY!!

Zachis
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#17 - 2012-01-20 23:54:49 UTC
+1 for a good idea. ISD already does a lot of this, but only so much a small group can do, especially in the rookie help channel which is easy to get lost in at times.

Some additional comments...

1) Have CCP create an NPC mentor corp. Same rules apply as all other NPC corps. CCP can support an NPC corp all they want with little trouble IMO. People interested in mentoring new players would apply to be mentors and some mechanic would be used to accept them or not. They could also tick a box depending on what their specialty is (PVP, PVE, Mining, etc.)

2) New players can choose to join the Mentorship corp or not. Once they join, they are either assigned a mentor, I'd also do this based on TZ of play and hours usually online, or they can choose a mentor based on ratings, whatever.

3) I like the idea of mentoring evaluations. Good mentors will stay, bad mentors will leave. Over time you should have a pretty nice group of folks mentoring newer players.

4) Mentors should be allowed to mentor from an alt, but should apply with their main. No reason to have to leave your current corp for mentoring duties. You're mainly going to be answering questions, so it shouldn't matter too much how many SPs you have, you're not going to be doing things for them, just talking them through the process, helping them get their feet under them, etc.

I don't like the idea of giving a PLEX for mentoring. I agree it is a nice reward, but I think it would be too much of a carrot and entice all sorts of abuse. I think mentoring should be done for the sake of mentoring, it is its own reward.
Sashi Serakhoi
Native Freshfood
Minmatar Republic
#18 - 2012-01-24 14:49:46 UTC
I do think the sociopaths and griefers have their place in the game tbh. I don't think that making EVE more "carebear friendly" or "noob friendly" is a good 'solution' to new player retention. Without "monsters" EVE would be so boring . . . it would likely only lose more players.

Have never played WoW or any other MMOs, but from what I can tell they have the feeling of : Universe of Superheroes, i.e., if you choose to never take any real risks then you can do so.

EVE has a fairly small and tenuous "zero risk" space afforded to new players, but the game ecology quickly lures new players into the higher risk / higher reward parts of the game which is as it should be. Games are fun (for smart folks) because they require learning and thinking and having to optimize the risk/reward probability is a classic case of using the brain.

My sense is this: most new players who start EVE are going to be aware that it is one of the most, if not THE most cutthroat and 'sociopathic' of MMOs out there. If they are not aware of that, then frankly they must be pretty feckless.

The problemm IMO, is not so much that the existing nature of the risks in game are too great, nor that the level of warning to new players about that risk is insufficient, it is that mechanisms for connecting new players to more experienced players are a bit inadequate.

There is so much to learn in this game, and you cannot do it efficiently by yourself, you need 'friends' in the game to grow and thrive and if you are not growing and thriving you are not likely to continue playing.

A system by which players/corps received something like validation as 'mentors' or 'new player friendly' mentors would seem to be an interesting idea, though as already pointed out, it would be potentially exploitable if not structured in an ingenious way.
XXSketchxx
Sniggerdly
Pandemic Legion
#19 - 2012-01-24 14:56:06 UTC
mxzf wrote:
If you're doing it for reward or recognition, you're 'helping' for the wrong reasons.


This.

In fact this reminds me of logi pilots requesting to be added to killmails.

Mildly pathetic.