His initial impression of the game though wasn't what I'd have expected. He didn't discuss the awesomeness of social game play and how great it was to have so many other people with whom to interact. Quite the contrary actually. He said,
"It does have a steep learning curve but I like the fact that this early in the game it is kinda like a single-player RPG -- I don't have to rely on other people to make progress." (Emphasis mine.)Now, to be fair he gave no indication that he wouldn't eventually jump on the social engine bandwagon CCP wants us so desperately to embrace (see his subsequent post.) However, at the start, in his Catalyst Destroyer, he would rather go it alone.
He sites two other Sci-Fi games, Elite and Freelancer, as qualifiers for Eve being, "right up my alley." I played Elite but not Freelancer. I did play Privateer. These are the litmus that this noob, and many other noobs, compare Eve to - myself included when I started four plus years ago. It's a wildly imperfect measure to be sure.
But if that is the expectation, why on Earth (or off it) does CCP think it's a good thing to push this social engine, war-all-the-time vision even in high-sec? It seems to me that this would be a turn off for new players like EarlG. They are initially in love with interstellar beauty and internet spaceships, not Goonswarm offensives and the meta-game.
The post got even more interesting when Hong Kong Cavalier replied. He claims to have tried Eve three (3) times. He quit playing each time. Here is the reason he gives,
"CCP talks about their sandbox as being EVE's greatest strength. I think it's a bit of an obstacle for them. They have an amazing graphics engine with marvelous effects, and they do boast 400k subscribers as of March 2012. But it's a hurdle that many players why (sic) try EVE (like myself) can't seem to get past."So as much as we all love the sandbox aspect of this social engine that is Eve Online, is it actually the road block keeping new blood out of the game? I think it just might be.
As an example, I'll hold up my own family members as examples. Both my son and my brother have new characters in Mabrick Mining and Manufacturing [MABMM.] I noticed they weren't logging on very often, certainly not every night or even every couple of nights.
One day I asked my son, "Are you going to be on tonight? We could take on a level 4 together. I'll shoot and you can salvage"
My son replied, "Nah, I'm just gonna train until I can get into a Brutix. I can't do anything in the Thorax that I want to do and, no offense, salvaging is boring. I want to pull my weight."
Not a week later I had this conversation with my brother, "I haven't seen you online at all lately. Is everything okay?"
He answered, "Yeah, everything's fine. I just want to train up until I can actually do something without getting blown up."
Now granted, this was during Goonswarm's war against MABMM. I told both of them they should quit the corporation and go back to the NPC corporation. They declined; said they liked being in "the family business" and could just wait until they could really play the game.
Now that's effed up people. Two new players that I'd talked into spending the money to play again (they'd both tried it about three years ago but ran into financial problems) and neither one of them feel they can really play the game as noobs. This is something that EarlG doesn't contradict. In fact, he said he tried it on his own at first without the tutorials and without success. He's at least not giving up.
The same goes for my son. He's not giving up but he does want to be able to defend himself. After the war though, he's not sure how long that will take. He's frustrated but he's willing to fight if necessary, though he'd just rather fly his spaceship and make ISK.
My brother, on the other hand, is an outright pacifist compared to me. He only wants to fly cool Internet spaceships, run a business and be safe doing it. That isn't likely to happen in Eve Online now is it? The sandbox style of game play means he won't have the chance. Outside the family, he can't trust anyone. I fear his days playing Eve Online are as limited as when he lost his job.
And EarlG's thread tells me my noob relatives aren't unique. A lot of people just want to fly spaceships and pretend to be in space (that's role-play too BTW.) That's what does it for them. I suspect there are far more people in the world with that mindset than the PvP mindset. If predator to prey ratios are any indication, the non-PvP inclined far outnumber the people who really love to explode things. That's bad news for Eve Online in light of the current CCP push for all war all the time.
In the end, I have to blame the open ended nature of Eve game play - the sandbox. It's not very appealing to new players that don't know what it's about yet. It causes such a steep learning curve people become frustrated. Then, at the height of their frustration, they get ganked. Maybe they shake it off. Maybe they shake off the second one. But if their frustration doesn't ease, and it continues to happen, they just quit.
And sure, we don't really need them. They didn't grok the nature of Eve. No loss eh mate? CCP will happily keep Tranquility running for the rest of us. But I'll always feel like we were robbed of something. Robbed of a game that could have been so much more but wasn't. Robbed of a chance for Eve Online to be a real social engine. One with a society that is actually like us, all of us. Even those that just want to fly from place to place without risk; never kicking sand in anyone's face.