Friday, August 21, 2009

How to Get More People Playing Eve

I've been thinking about this subject for a long time now. It's apparent that CCP is also putting a lot of time into this issue. I see Eve ads popping up everywhere these days. Some of their more recent patches are supposed to make the intro game experience more inviting by getting players into corps right from the start.

Their ads are doing a great job. Just recently a good friend of mine saw the butterfly effect trailer and decided to give the game a try. He played for about an hour, got overwhelmed and left. I would be willing to bet this is a similar experience for the majority of people who give the game a try. The whole "fast introduction to corps" is CCPs attempt at a quick fix and frankly I don't think it's going to change a thing.

If CCP wants more people to get into Eve I believe they should redesign the entire introductory experience of the game. From the start players are current subjected to an incredibly boring tutorial. I don't think I've ever actually completed the entire tutoria. As exciting as it is to shoot drones with a newbie ship, I've never been able to sit through all of it. It's long, it's monotones, and it doesn't even give players a glimpse of what the game truly has to offer.

Here is my idea for revamping the introductory experience.

When a player enters the game they should be in a single instanced mission. Rather than flying the newbie ship, they would be in one of their race's cruisers. For example a Gallente player would be flying a thorax. The ship would be fitted with a very standard pvp loadout. A full rack of close range weapons, a webber, a warp scrambler, an afterburner, and a basic armor/shield repair system. Before you freak out about newbies getting a free cruiser, rest assured that they will not keep the cruiser or their cruiser skills once the tutorial is over.

So the new player is flying around in this instanced part of space but they are not alone. It is explained to them that they are fighting with a mercenary group to repel the invading forces of whatever faction their race is at war with (Caldari in the Gallente's case). With them is a small fleet of their races ships. 5 other cruisers, about ten frigates, three battles ships, as well as a couple logistics ships here and there. They would all be flying in formation (see my formation blog). This would allow the player to look around and see a lot of the different ships right from the start.

The tutorial box would be gone an instead a window would pop up with your NPC squad leader talking. The face would be animated and it would have audio for the voice along with text. This would make new players feel less like they have to read a manual to start playing the game. The squad leader would explain the basics of the flight interface, allowing the player to test out some of the maneuvers, like orbiting, approaching, locking, etc. We wouldn't worry about explaining the market at this point in the game.

The various ship modules would be explained along with some of the basics of combat. This should be quick and only skim the surface of each subject. Player's attention spans are much shorter these days and we want them to stay interested. The first couple minutes of gameplay are the most critical moments.

After the basics are covered the player would be instructed to jump into a large battle with their fleet. This wouldn't be a fleet jump as the purpose would be to explain the mechanics of warping. When the player has successfully warped into battle they would see a full size fleet engagement in front of them (All NPC ships of course). In this battle there would be approximately 40 battle ships, a dreadnaught and carrier on each side, along with hundreds of smaller ships. The visual of this massive battle should be a breathtaking sight for any new player. Again there will be heavy use of formations so that it doesn't look like a giant blob.

The player would then be instructed to engage a cruiser squadron. He/she would also have several wingmen to back them up. This would be the first time the player blows up an enemy ship. During the combat, players would get to use all of their modules including the webber and scrambler, which would be explained by the squad leader. The tutorial would also provide an instance of engaging a frigate squadron. During this engagement the player would take damage and learn how to use their repair module.

After the player has completed all the basic combat tutorials a HAC squadron would descend on him/her. Their squad would be webbed and scrammed, and the player would watch as their wingmen are blown to pieces. Then they would be destroyed. This would teach new players about death and resurrection, as the next stage of the tutorial would have them wake up in a station. At this point the player has lost all of their cruiser skills and is basically starting off with all the assets that any new player is given. It would be explained that their jump clone was a cheap model and than their skills had not be saved.

The tutorial would continue on with station stuff, and market info.

At the end of the experience the player should have a firsthand idea of what the game can be like. Then they would be set lose to join a corp or do whatever they wish. Also the tutorial section can be skipped at any time. If CCP were to implement this introductory experience I believe that we would see a significant increase in the player base.

Also it would make missions much more interesting if they had these tutorial elements, like wingmen, dreadnaught size ships, formations, and scripted action sequences (like a dreadnaught exploding in the distance). After all it seems a bit silly that an agent would hire a single pilot to destroy an entire enemy fleet.


  1. sounds really good if you ask me

  2. TBH as an experienced player I have grown rather tired of all the constant revamping of the NPE because it just doesn't effect me however what you are talking about even I would be interested in. I'd roll a new character just to check it out! Cheers

  3. Having the player loose his/her ship in the very first minutes of the game is surely not gonna keep them interested.
    What about the non-PVP-inclined players? You force them to experience something they do not wish to partake in?
    Judging from my experience as a teacher-pilot: It is technically impossible to explain tanking and pointing and even the most basic points of PVP combat in a few minutes to someone who has no previous experience in this type of game. Trust me, I've tried.
    Then what about players who's primary language is not english? Should they be able to stop and rewind? What would happen with the on-screen goings on?

    If you pitch this idea as maybe in introduction to FW (later on) it might be good. But absolutely not for the NPE.