Banter 33: All About Space Newbies

Better super-late than never! Well, probably not, but that seems to be my way of late. Sorry about that…

Like mana from Valhalla (yes I know I’m mixing my religious metaphors), the latest 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.”

My thoughts on any kind of new player experience (NPE) are twofold.

On the one hand, there’s the typical bittervet view that newbies have it far too easy these days, and in some respects, this is true. I generally prefer to think of it more along the lines of “newbies have it really easy these days”, skipping the ‘far too’ entirely, because I don’t actually consider it to be too easy. More accessible? Certainly. More sprawling and all-encompassing? Absolutely! But too easy? Not really.

aki the jin-mei

Meet Aki, the totally pointless newbie that never-was!

It has been just over a year since I did any of the NPE stuff, which was back when I was starting out with Eilean. I figured that the best way to sum up any real feelings about the NPE would be to try it out. So I set about making a little Jin-Mei, because I don’t have one of those yet.

It was interesting to see the small changes and improvements that have been made to the character creation side of things. That or its been so long that I’ve forgotten what it looks like. For a newbie, its great to see all of the background information for the races, bloodlines, schools and ancestries. I also feel that its not too in-your-face; its pretty easy to just ignore these days as it has no real impact on how your character starts compared to everyone else – everyone starting on an equal footing is a good thing, unless you’re Amarrian…

Logging in, I was treated to a lovely view of the Gallente captain’s quarters (CQ), which is certainly the curviest and greenest of the four. It was nice to see an introduction to the environment by Aura, even if it might be a tad patronising to be told about the WASD keys, I guess it might be useful for someone.

And that’s where I came unstuck. I realised three things:

  • I don’t currently have an account where I could train Aki – everyone is training important internet spaceship stuff!
  • I don’t have the time to dedicate towards creating anything vaguely comprehensive.
  • Lots of other people have covered it a whole lot more in depth and better than I ever could. If you want to know what learning to fly a plane is like, you’ll get a fuller response from soneone who is learning to fly than someone who already has. So if you want to know what the newbie experience is like, you (ideally) need to ask a newbie. Its been a long, long time since I was one of those.

My current favourite examples of newbness are from YouTube user, Synnistry. This lovely person has been kind enough to record her experiences:

(Skipping the character creation bit, but you can watch that too, if you like!)

So what could be better?

I think general interface improvements will continue to make the game more accessible for everyone, not just the newer players. I may not be overly fond of the new font or the hyperactive flashing of the new Neocom, but it is a step in the right direction and they should continue along these lines to make the whole experience more appealing.

Beyond that, I’m not really sure what more could be done. As of writing this, I’m sat in the mind-set of “y’know, it could be a lot worse!” Maybe that’s wrong of me, but I really am drawing blanks on how it could be improved.

As a side-note of complete unrelatedness, I will not be at Fanfest this year. The whole thing proved both too expensive and decidedly devoid of people I actually know very well, so I decided to skip it and go next year instead. I hope the Harpa is as awesome on the inside as it looks!

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