Take part as we join in on the open Blog discussion and discuss the pros and cons of the new player experience.

Like mana from Valhalla (yes I know I’m mixing my religious metaphors), the recent Dev Blog by CCP Legion asks questions which make for perfect Blog Bantering. To quote him,

“…we want to make the first days, weeks and months in EVE enjoyable and not just something ‘you have to plough through in order to get to the good stuff’” and the newly formed Player Experience team will focus on “…where and why people lose interest in EVE…”.

“We invite you to pour your heart (or guts) out and tell us what you think is good or bad with the current new player experience and what you think could be done about the problems.”

So let’s get self-eviscerating. Banter on…. 

Its been quite a while since my eyes were openened for the MMO world. In fact its been just about 7 years, give or take a few days since I ripped the wrapping off my fresh copy of that game. I’ve heard “great things” about it from fellow nerdherders but wasn’t really sure about what it really was.

Fast forwarding to the summer of 2010, and the tale ends for my heavy MMO time sink as real life kicks my (at that point in time) current direction (going nowhere, fast) into a nearby orbiting sun. A lot of hours lost and lots of knowledge farmed in those years, not much has really changed other than my self proclaimed expertise. Hours maybe, as the focus has changed for me but the knowledge is now lost. Game over.

And thats really what its all about, isn’t it.

Your perspective of fun or a good game is ultimately completely objective. It really is all about your own perception of fun. For the MMO Virgin, diving into EVE may not be the smartest thing to do, in a strict gameplay sense as your perception of what a “great game” constitutes isn’t something you’ll easily identify as you haven’t had those bad experiences to draw on. Coming from an avatar based MMO where the space game was twitch based to EVE was in the strict sense a step back in terms of game performance. Most combat was comprised of your weaponized ship being reduced to a few pixels with enemies being slightly larger red pixels. Your avatar was something you looked at on occasion as he was looking back at you from the NeoCom as a static image, sometimes crosseyed for shiz’n’giggles – never a vibrant living entity. The PVE was as cookie cutter as any other game, and became as boring as it did in other games quickly. The beauty of the solar systems wasn’t what made the game Good for me, nay it was the knowledge aquired through other games and in that (my background) … the knowledge that the sandbox known as EVE was, or rather … is … unique to the MMO scene. Because there was one more.

With that background in mind, the appeal to a game like EVE isn’t that you can log in and start RP’ing because in comparison, the venue for that pales in retrospect. Its getting there with WiS, but its still a far way from being the most RP supportive game out there. It isn’t meant to be though. Maybe later, but not right now. The other sandbox took the prize for that, hands down.

Whats important to remind yourself of when flying through space on your way to the next target is that youre not alone out there and your actions has consequenses. It is chiseled in stone through the game mechanics. Social adaptivity is as important, good manners likewise. Your history determines your future affiliations as the bits and pieces that make up your past sticks to your name and helps shape your future. That engine glow isn’t just for show. Its a symbol of the pixels you leave behind as you go through space.

Its not so much about learning curve; honestly I found it to be rather trivial. Rather being in a position where you can build affiliations. Affiliations you can expand into friendships. Friendships that can help you experience fun. Friendships that can help you enjoy the fun in being ganked in an undertanked industrial hauling your every possible posession in search of a better market, for the first time. Friendships that can guide you into the vast sandbox that is EVE, whether your focus will end up being a Fleet Commander, a Soloist, Pirate, Merc or general nullsec or wormhole dweller that feeds on loyalty and coorporation to survive or find enjoyment in your spare time. Lets face it; noone really leaves because a game has a steep learning curve. They leave because theyre not having fun.

If you can’t see the fun in infiltrating an alliance with hundreds of other people, and leaving with at least half their shit? You’ve better spend a few more years in school because thats pretty much as good as it gets. Luckily, EVE sports a school for budding new capsuleers.

EVE supports group dynamics to evolve. But it does require a special mindset to be part of a group. If youre looking for a solo PVE game?; EVE Online isn’t it. Its a game where the tutorial teaches you about losing your shit, because you’ll be doing that from time to time. And in that sense, it does work well. But usally its because other players take it from you.

EVE Online is also the game where you can be a contributing factor in PVP in 24 hours or less, not many games can objectively boast about this.

From an objective standpoint, you’ll be hard pressed to find a game that has this great a development crew. Great support, great community building and interaction. Perceived Transparency in Player Representation and an excellent F2P option. Its honestly not that bad, really. Personally? I don’t play it because I have fun any more. I play it because I like watching the group dynamics unfold. Its fuel for my brain and a source of great entertainment.