What to tell a would-be EVE player

I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t gotten many coworkers interested in playing EVE. Oh, they ask me about news articles they read — usually stories about the latest mega-battle or some new twist on betrayal — but nobody seems willing to make the leap. One guy played EVE briefly a couple of years before he joined our department, but he quit out of boredom with the new player content and because he kept getting ganked. Even the prospect of free ships, ISK, and people to fly with hasn’t persuaded him to try again.

The other day, a different coworker asked me about “that space game” I play and how he could get started. I tried to help set his expectations about the gameplay and the user interface. Some people sign up for EVE expecting an immersive first person shooter in space, and that’s just not what we have. I said he might want to look into Valkyrie for that. I also kinda hinted that it can be a pretty cruel world.

And you’re thinking, “With all those caveats, no WONDER Suz can’t convince any of her coworkers to play! 😉

I get that. I really do. But for one thing, I do have to work with these folks, and I don’t want them to feel like I sold them a bill of goods. They’re cool people — I want them to have fun in their much-deserved leisure time. I also think it’s important to set people’s expectations because a person who has a bad experience is more likely to just give up if they had no idea what they were in for. It just leads to a sense of bewilderment and WTF if nothing makes sense and the game experience doesn’t map to anything else they’ve run into in online gaming.

explorerI pointed him toward the EVE Online web site, and I’m very curious to hear what his reaction is, given that he’s a UI expert. Once he’s had a chance to look around, I’ll also suggest that he check out a few player-run EVE sites, such as OUCH and EVE University. Jester’s (sadly defunct) blog will be recommended reading, along with a few other blogs that will give him a feel for the community.

I want to point him toward groups where he’ll learn a lot and have a fun experience. I’m not able to be online often enough to be good support for a new player, and frankly, there’s a ton I don’t know about play styles that are very, very different from mine. I figure one of the teaching organizations like OUCH or EVE-Uni would be the best way for him to get a feel for whether this is a game he will enjoy playing for a while.

Any other suggestions?

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About Suzariel Kel-Paten

Software developer by day, writer and EVE player by night. My three mains are Suzariel Kel-Paten, Ystvan Chang, and Weyland Zaslow. I live in the Southeastern US with my husband and our cats and dogs. I have a Twitter account (@suzariel), but I mostly just read and don't often post there.


What to tell a would-be EVE player — 7 Comments

  1. A thick skin.

    A new player could be embedded into a carebear corp, and never have to face the cold, harsh universe alone. That’s one way, but one that depends on the not-so-very common kindness of strangers.

    Exploding looks like losing, and must feel like it to the fledgling player, particularly one who has read the smug posts in any thread in the official forums, or one who has been taunted in Local. New guy is excused for quitting after a loss or three like that; other online gaming taught our neophyte that much before he ever installed EVE. Why wouldn’t he go play something else after so much of what smells like failure? What has been defined as failure, in fact, by the player base.

    We (and CCP) can help retain that player by showering him with ISK even as we blow his ships to bits without podding or humiliating him. I’m thinking here of that pressure suit in The Abyss, which a wearer had to be physically restrained to use for the first time. Once you get over the panic of drowning yourself, you come to believe in the suit (which is clone immortality in my analogy, rather than any one ship).

    The player who knows he can afford a new destroyer may be in the best mindset for the acceptance of EVE’s unique NPE (boom). Solo EVE instead starves these new pilots, teaching them caution through poverty, and economy through unsubbing.

  2. Talk to him. Eve leaves many feeling unbalanced. Answer the endless questions and share how you learned things. And its okay to not master stuff in a week.

    It is hard to figure out what to do in a game where you have nothing but your own motivation. Its like starting a Minecraft project. Its okay if it sounds crazy. Do it anyway.

  3. Hi, Sugar! Yeah, I think if he does start playing I’m going to need to set aside some time to be online and at least in one of my chat rooms with him.

    I know what you mean about Minecraft. 🙂 I was like totally bewildered when I started. It took finding several of those “what you MUST do in your first ten minutes” pages before I could get anywhere at all!

  4. There are several new players in our corporation. All of them were advised as to alternatives to this corp. They are individualists and all chose to stay in the tiny corp in which I belong. They do stuff on their own. We have a corp night (Wednesday). They die. All have refused ISK support or returned it when freely given. None accept free ships. They WANT to PLAY the game.

    They are discovering, gradually,that the Eve universe is shrinking around them. ATM they are happy mining ice due to its very high price. But after that … where to go? what to do? Like me they care little for large alliances. Why play for the pleasure of the others who have gone before?

    Honestly, what would I tell a potential player about Eve? That it is an Emperor without clothes. All marketing; no substance.

    And the sad thing is, it doesn’t have to be as morose as a Texas prison courtyard. I think CCP has come to believe in its own content-less hype. A kids sandbox fully occupied by older, fat bullies is no welcoming place for new kids on the block.

    It wouldn’t take much at all to make Eve imaginative and fun but this obsession with infinite-growth corporations prohibits loyalty branding and stifles play.

    The game is fully settled. No space. No growth. No new players. Occupancy at capacity. And funnily, Crius release will squeeze out even more small corps.

    What to tell a would-be Eve player? The game is archaic but is intriguingly complex and challenging to learn. It has some very nice graphics. It can fully occupy your time for a year, then offers nothing.

    And did I mention that the members of our tiny corp are largely family, friends and, yes, professional people from work. I’m pretty sure none of us has two years to invest in what is actually a very dry game.

    • Sorry, I have told everyone who knows I play Eve not to bother. They then ask why I have been playing for as long as I have and I let them know that I train new players. Yes, confusing isn’t it. I support new players but won’t suggest it to any of my friends.

      Every single person I surround myself in real life want to forge ahead and make something of themselves … something the older player base and CCP seem to want to crush. These same people scream sandbox, then tell you how to play in it … the people I associate will look at you like you have a tree growing out of your forehead. Risk vs reward? totally not what it seems, otherwise lowsec would get heaps more attention than it gets.

      Can all of this be fixed … it could, but it is not going to be. There is to much fear about change, there is to much influence from the vocal minority and there is to much influence from the nullsec players involved with the CSM. Which is why I cancelled all my subscriptions and will not play once they are up.

      You hit it on the head when you said: “I do have to work with these folks, and I don’t want them to feel like I sold them a bill of goods. They’re cool people — I want them to have fun in their much-deserved leisure time.” Why would I do the WRONG thing and suggest a game they have no chance of enjoying.

  5. I think there’s plenty of substance, Art, in the sort of social experience you’re engendering in a corp like that. Yeah, it’s a shame that the game isn’t promoting such things in easily accessible ways. Joining large alliances seems to be a necessary defense mechanism for turning a profit in many parts of New Eden, and making the leap there from solo newbie takes friends who know the ropes.

    “Talk to them,” says SK, because that is the way many/most of us learn best that it’s okay to fail in EVE. That it’s okay to fail a lot, and that failing with the right bunch of people can still feel like winning. I’m just pretty sure that there aren’t enough vets so inclined to keep up with the discouraged new players (nor am I helping in my current recluse mode).

  6. Hi, Kuei Li! Glad you stopped by and commented.

    It sounds like we’re in the same situation when it comes to recommending (or not, as the case may be) EVE to friends. My husband and our friend who plays Sunrise ended up enjoying EVE — I started playing about 6 months before they did — but other friends didn’t much like it.

    I keep having hope that things will change, and that the new worlds will bring something really different. I may yet be disappointed, however.

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