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Friday, November 16, 2012

You must save the thing you love one noob at a time.

Rick C, who has commented here before, left this comment on my last blog post and I'd like to discuss it a bit.
"Been following the last few posts with interest. As I've commented before, I'm a newer player with a year under my belt now......and I find myself bored. The real life friends who got me into the game have gone down the bitter vet path, and I've been off playing other games since most of my corp is AFK. 
In a year's time I have: 
-Spent a month learning the game alone.
-Started playing with friends in their low sec corp. Found I was too new to be of help, and of course was told to get a Drake to be of use.
-Left the low sec PVP corp and learned the meta game with a few RL friends.
-Rejoined a low sec corp to help with Indy and POS maintenance.
-Spent hours orbiting gates waiting for that 30 second excitement that rarely came.
-Was at war for a few months and always told to remain docked up if my corpmates (different time zone) weren't on. So I was docked up.
-Went off and made my own Indy corp after experiencing the extreme boredom of war with a mostly EU timezone corp.
-Put up both hi sec and low sec POS's that I still maintain with my corp mates.

At this point with real life, new job, etc I just don't find the time to put in any longer. I log in a few times a week, deal with PI, occasionally deal with our low sec Cobalt moon POS, then log off.  
Recently some former allies needed a hand as they had been war dec'd and needed to rep their POS. So, I came to help guard their fleet, and found myself sitting idle for nearly an hour. Yup, bored. 
I don't know if I'll continue with Eve, but it's interesting to read that there seems to be a drop off in interest beyond myself."
If I had a million ISK for every time I've read or heard this story I'd be Greedy Goblin rich. His bullet points encompass much of what is wrong with EVE Online from the new player perspective. From the learning cliff indicated in the first bullet to the admonition that he should stay docked up because they were at war, I feel that Rick has gotten a rough deal every step of the way.

Is this CCP's fault? Do they have to fix this? It's easy to say "it is" and "they must." The truth is, it isn't entirely their fault. Much of the blame rests on Rick's friends who brought him into the game. To be brutally honest, they're not great friends in my book. They hung him out to dry.

We all know what CCP can do to help this issue. We've asked them, and they've tried, to lower the learning curve for new players. We've asked them time and again for PvE content that is engaging and fun for single players. To be honest though, I can't tell CCP what meets that need. I'm not sure it's even possible with the way EVE Online is.

That leaves it squarely in our lap to resolve. This is something I believe CCP has come to realize as well. The structure of EVE is such that it really does take a village. We've striven to "make EVE real" but we failed to understand real life communities lavish special attention on their children. We teach them how to function in the community. That is the role of the grown ups and it is something we as veteran EVE players fail to do time after time.

I have this to say to every bitter vet out there. If you want EVE to be real you must make it real in every sense of the word. If you want EVE to succeed, you must make it succeed. In a real community, we punish those who prey on children; not celebrate them. In a real community, we safeguard our young and teach them what they need to know to be contributing members of the community. They are our future and noobs in EVE Online are no different in that respect.

There are many in EVE who strive to do exactly this. We should all be more like them if we really want EVE to last another decade. CCP alone cannot do this. Not with the behemoth they've created. Not with the gritty, harsh, and unforgiving virtual reality we've asked them to give us.

To Rick and every other new player out there looking for a place to play EVE without being bored or shafted, I recommend you look into EVE University. If they are not your play style, you can look here for other organizations.

If anyone reading this is new to EVE and has a question, feel free to contact me and I'll help as I can. In fact, I think most members of the EVE blogging community would. Just ask us. We are a resource and you should use our combined knowledge of the game to assist you. If you run across someone who is new, point them in my direction. I don't mind. Just don't let them hang.

Almost a year ago I accused vets of killing the thing they love one noob at a time. There is a corollary to that premise. The rest of us must save the thing we love one noob at a time. It is a responsibility we've shirked long enough don't you think?

Fly Careful


  1. Yep - I remain convinced that the key is to get in with a community that helps and gives you some low-skill entertainment early on. EVE University was what did that for me, and the primary takeaway I have from it is "how an EVE corp can/should work" - not in terms of specific rules, etc. but in terms of things like fleet behavior, fits, gotchas, and finding what you do and don't like without hitting discouragement.

    I'd also recommend Red vs. Blue.

  2. I agree. The biggest draw to an MMO is that its an MMO. Alot of people claim they like to solo, but really they like to solo and show off what they accomplished to other people playing the same game.

    I think a very large thing is the risk vs reward. You can very easily lose everything youve built months of building as a newb OR a vet. Isk for some is easy to come by, but for many, it really is not easy to get in large amounts unless you buy a PLEX. It takes a good 6 months to a year even before a brand new player figures out a good way to make ISK they enjoy doing.

    And when you have people encouraging scams or blowing up newbs and *enjoying* the tears produced, you cultivate a ccertain type of community and attract more of those types of players. Look at The Mittani's deal with fan fest earlier this year. His shennagins cost him the CSM chairman seat, but his behavior and attitude towards collecting tears is something we as gamers and CCP as ddevs, have helped to grow in New Eden.

    Now, Im not saying I want EvE to be carebear heaven, and I do enjoy a good scam and do not feel CCP should step in to protect people from legit scams, but certain trends need to be discouraged. That will only happen when the playerbase or CCP decides enough is enough.

    1. The Mittani is probably the single biggest caretaker of new players in Eve.

    2. Only as long as you've been a member of Something Awful for 90 days and jumped through all their hoops - or know someone personally and are sponsored in. Even though Goonswarm is in the listing of the second link, I did not include them by name because their membership requirements are not noob friendly. Who wants to be a member of some forum for three months before they can even submit an app? And, it's outside the EVE Mechanic and that's also an issue. What it boils down to with Goons is that they are great if you are already a Goon (from another game?) or know a goon personally but you are an EVE noob. For the rest of us, they are not so helpful.

    3. Any member of the CFC will get the same treatment, and only members of Goonwaffe (the executor corp) have the need to be from Something Awful.
      You also have TEST also which is a bit the same.
      However, if The Mittani (and his organisation) can be considered very helpful to noobs, he's at the same time very cruel about them if they are not part of "his children" (aka not blue)... which one is more important ? I don't think we can answer that.

    4. He brings in his friends and lavishes them with gifts, and training, and helps them learn to enjoy the game, which is exactly what you're advocating. Why is it wrong that he brings in his (extended) friends and not *your* friends? You should be the one bringing your own friends into the game.

    5. Not that it's fair to want noobs to have to meet you in real life, take you to the bar for drinks, and other assorted hoops :)

    6. Yes, dear old Alex brings in his TYPE of friends and lavishes them with gifts and shows them how to have fun being assholes by fucking with people who aren't part of an external mindless herd, looking to roll around like locusts until there's nothing left to destroy. Then, they move on. That doesn't make Eve noob friendly at all, and especially when other low brow wanna-bees try to emulate their asshattery. The play style CCP encouraged for years is now biting them in the ass. It's preventing their subscriptions from growing, and they've finally gotten their heads out of their asses a little, and have started to clue in to that sad little reality. Patch after patch, they have been and will be, making Eve more and more care bear friendly. Why? Because there always have been, and always will be, more non-assholes than assholes that want to fly spaceships. Magnitudes more.

    7. "Why is it wrong"

      because Eve won't survive if it's a great game for Mittani's friends and a horrible game for anyone else.

      Let's suppose conservatively that 10% of Eve's 350 000 population turns over per year. He'd need to be accepting 35 000 new people into his coalition per year, about 1/3 of the entire population of SA and 5 times the population of Goonswarm.

      Also, as many MMOs have shown previously (UO, Shadowbane, Darkfall), you can't make such worlds primarily for "killer" Bartle types. Killers need non-killers to feed upon, you can't collect many tears from people who play Eve to collect tears.

  3. This and THIS... yes, da, uh huh, yuppers...
    Finding a group of people with whom you share a common TZ (at least near enough so your OL times overlap) and with whom you share similar interests...
    [for the best reference of the possibilities in EvE, look here:] can be key to enjoying EvE. There 'is' a lot you can do solo though. I spent my first month solo, just ratting in .5's and having 'adventures'... Undock, and just start flying from gate to gate, see what's out there... it's a BIG 'verse man and exploring solo can definitely be exciting... Don't limit yourself to what others want to do.

    I too was told "Dock up!" "Don't give em easy kills." Screw that, go have fun it's a game!! It is what YOU make it... especially EvE. =]

    1. I think it's ok to say dock up if you also provide fun content. I think, by telling people to dock up, you enter an unspoken contract to provide them with entertainment at some other time.

      I quite often tell people to dock up, then get a fleet organised, sort out boosts, then tell everyone to undock and go out hunting kills. I sometimes tell people to dock up and we don't get to undock until the hostiles leave because we'd lose if we fought them.

      Remember while it's not fun to be told to dock up for long times with no fun, it's also not fun for most people to undock and get blown up.

  4. As a new player, I'm really glad to see this posted. I and two RL friends started playing together a few months ago. I started first, and all of my experiences in other player corps -- EVE Uni and smaller private ones -- were a disaster. Eve Uni was useless, as it was permanently wardecced, and you were severely punished if killed by a WT. Other corps either said "you're useless, go get a years worth of SP and come back," or were composed of relative newbies like myself. I finally convinced a couple RL friends to join and make a corp with me, and we're finally having fun. That said, it's extremely hard to get anyone else to try; almost everyone else who's tried the game out is griefed incessantly, and when they ask how the hell they died, the response is along the lines of "LOL l2p n00b".
    I love this game. It's amazing. But the playerbase needs to take a good look in the mirror. The only people paying any attention to new players are those who do their best to discourage them from playing.
    I don't dispute there are plenty for whom this just isn't the game, that it's essentially too difficult and harsh. But that's not usually the problem. Usually, new players are lost, abused, confused, and quit. It's a rare modern gamer who is willing to spend, as I did, literally months doing research before they even BEGIN to play the game, and it shouldn't really be required anyway.
    Should hisec be dangerous? Yes, absolutely. Should reward correspond with risk? Without question. But something has to be done about failing to educate and integrate new players. I've only just started playing; I don't want the game to die shortly after because it's impossible to retain new subscriptions.

    P.s. I really do love this game. It is fucking fantastic; even the whole "miner-bumping" doesn't bother me -- it adds some strategy to mining. It's the "lol troll the n00bs" or "ignore them, they're worthless" mentalities that I find dangerous.

    1. P.p.s. No offense meant to Eve Uni. It's a great institution, but learning a sandbox game is hard when you're monstrously restricted by wartime rules.

    2. No, I agree. I think Eve Uni is too risk averse to be a fun learning experience for most people. Some people will enjoy it but most will have much more fun in RvB.

  5. What was Ricks goal in the game?
    What did he want to achieve? What measurement he choose for winning?
    - ISK? Then play solo in the NPC corp, other people just hold you back (only exception is scamming)
    - Kills? Convert some PLEX, buy a pilot on the bazaar, watch videos and guides for a day, off you go to lowsec.
    - Making "history"? TEST takes almost everyone (even me), Goons were mentioned already, Nulli Secunda just started their coalition with newbie-friendly alliances, and considering their desperate situation I'd guess even some SOLAR corps would be receptive.

    I'm afraid the goal of Rick was "having fun with friends" which is impossible here, as it needs all friends to be on the same page. That's given in most MMOs (every player runs the same raid in WoW), but not happening in EVE.

  6. Wow, you make a comment and it becomes a post. Lol! Well Mabrick, glad you gave my comment a read.

    I can't speak to everything discussed in previous comments, as I tried last night and Blogspot told me no epic novels... but reading Goblin's comment this morning left me thinking.

    What is my goal in Eve? At first it was an invite from a friend. I'd never done an MMO before. Once I started playing the goal was to figure the game out. Once I'd learned the mechanics and interface the goal turned into "skill up or die, Eve is a sandbox." From there the goals bounced around.

    For me playing any game is a blow off, a step away from my real life to do something else. You know, have a little fun. In Eve my goals changed and evolved on a monthly basis. When I left the UK low sec corp I had a new goal, and so did a Real Life friend who joined the game in January of this year.....

    Try out Goblin's Market Trading (no kidding Goblin). My friend and I did it for a few months, made insane isk, and my toons are very well funded. Grinding that all the time though just doesn't do it for me. My 11 month old Indy toon can fly and afford a Rorqual, but I just find myself saying "so what."

    In the end, I think the issue comes down to figuring out what my goal is now. Thanks Goblin, think you're spot on.

    Now, to the noob issue. I will say there is a community, not in game but outside of the game. This blog, Goblin's, Jester's, Tiger Ears....Last Spring I started reading all of you on a daily basis. Went back through posts from the beginning. Learned like a maniac. You guys all helped me to learn a lot about Eve. My real life friend Don, who signed up to Eve in January also researched the Meta Game. Let me tell you, sometimes the research and reading was more fun than the play.

    So, I think my issue is I'm totally goal-less in the game. But I've noted many other folks dropping away too. My bitter vet friends have played over 6 years each. They've been away from Eve for months now. My friend who joined in January has moved on to other things. I'm sure everyone's reason is different.

  7. The Problem with the Educational Organization page is more than half of the organizations listed aren't actively trying to teach anything, they are just recruiting. The problem with getting your education off the interent is, there's so much of it, and half of it is wrong. How does a new player know the difference?

    I just started blogging "Life on the Bubble" at The focus for the blog is the problems facing new players, especially those interested in small gang pvp. So what we're going to do there is provide a little new player advice, and a little advertising for the work we're doing in Open University of Celestial Hardship [0UCH]. People interested in OUCH can join the OUCH-UNI in game channel.

    We're providing links to players and organizations who are actively teaching, whether to new players or veteran carebears. Our way of providing accredidation for the folks who are trying to make a difference.

  8. If there are any players (new or old) looking to get into the Mining, Industry and Manufacturing field, I'd be glad to share my knowledge. I enjoy teaching players what I know because I want the game to continue for years to come. Without taking ownership, it will not continue.

    If you'd like some help, insight or advice, contact me in-game: Nolen Cadmar.

  9. Ahoy,
    I just found this blog and started to read, so hence my late response on this topic.
    Getting started I was too facing similar problems, although I managed to find a national team, I could join up with. They helped me with the baby steps, and provided some hints on how to establish a stable cash-flow, so I can go on, if someone pops my ship.
    You can say I got lucky. To be honest, I was the one trying to look up a corp, joined their public, went along in a poorly fitted bc to help around Lvl4s, looted in a destroyer etc... The key thing was they found things I can be of use, while getting the stuff/skill/sp.
    Now, my main's lifetime is reaching 4 years, but I had several big gaps due to different things.
    Also I found a fine piece of guide, which gives you the information you need (not what you desire :D ). It is marely letting you know how things are working in EVE, and let you discover the important things, so the FUN is still there.

    Linky :

    Since the original is in my native language, I could read the PVP version as well. Once it will be translated to english (in progress) it will provide a N00b with all the basics.
    EON, already offers a hard copy for retail on the Vol 1, and it was even supported by CCP as well in one of the dev blogs. (I am sure they will do the same with the PvP version as well.)

    Whenever I met a new player in my journey I was always trying to be helpful. Some of them faded away, but many of them still out there. Doing there thing, and time to time we share ideas, thoughts, stories or just hanng around in a vuirtual room.

    "You must save the thing you love one noob at a time. " is definately something I done ever since I had knowledge to share, but good to know that there are like minded pilots are there as well (outside the corps I was flying with).



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