New player retention

newbie

The big flavour-of-the-month topic is new players and how to avoid them trying the game for a few weeks then giving up because it seems boring. This is a problem and is backed up by CCP’s own stats for the simple reason that the game is boring, EVE played alone with the slim content that the game provides is very limited and only gets interesting when you engage with other players; whether that be the traditional route of an overloaded rack of blasters or more subtle means such as markets, spying, and various collaborative efforts like mining. The stats bear this out, you are much more likely to stay on in the game if you find a corp to teach you all this stuff because quite frankly only a twisted savant could learn this game without help.

The various proposals on the table at the moment include increasing starting SP, removing attributes, and accelerated learning for newer players.

The first of those I think there is a solid case for, as a newb you are always trying to balance training those irritating core skills with getting a shiny new ship or T2 guns for it and for the first year or so you end up chasing your tail skills wise, if you haven’t made any enormous mistakes it levels out a bit after that and by 20M SP or so you should be able to fly a decent selection of ships well. This is not an insignificant period of time however and when you are new you don’t listen to the experienced guys saying “just get your frigate skills up” because you are convinced that HACs are the key to success.

Perhaps the extra SP needs to be unlocked somehow through the tutorials because I know if I were starting off now with a pile of free SP I would spam it all into something unsuitable and probably waste half of it. The old system had specialisation, you would pick a bit of history for your character and this would affect his skills, bringing back aspects of that but putting it into the tutorials so you could specialise into combat or mining or whatever might be worthwhile.

Removing attributes is a thorny one, CCP have said they are interested in this but the LP markets for implants are well established and many people depend on them for income, there is also a great deal of ISK tied up in these items so taking them out of the game would have far reaching consequences.

I don’t think that making all attributes equal is a forward step since you can do that already by allocating your points evenly amongst your stats so there would need to be a completely new system and something to go into the 1 to 5 slots in your head – perhaps some implants along the lines of the genolution sets which affect ship stats rather than learning?

Accelerated learning for new players already exists in the form of an implant which lasts (I think) one month and boosts your stats greatly for that duration, making more of these available through tutorials could be an option but another is giving more respecs to younger characters.

In the first few months your training will bounce around all over the place and the ability to respec once a month for instance would help a lot – of course this depends on grasping the concept of attributes and planning your skills a bit but this rewards those who have taken the time to learn rather than spoonfeeding the SP, this is EVE after all – we don’t want it to be too easy. The frequency of respecs could decrease over time and remain at one year for all the bittervets who don’t know what to train anyway.

Last of all and possibly most importantly, this game has always been driven by the players. Quit whining about what CCP can do to help newbs and leverage the most effective force in the game – the players.

If I come across a clueless newb in lowsec I will normally scram him and ask for a ransom, not ISK because he has none but a song, joke or haiku. This will often be the first time he has interacted with another player and it goes one of two ways. The most common response is “sod off” optionally followed by some threats of what the player will do to me, my mother, or my property. These guys get podded back to highsec and learn nothing.

Those that engage, find it cool and interesting when some dude appears out of nowhere and tackles them then demands they sing their national anthem on comms get loads of free advice, often ISK and of course fly their ship away in one piece. I have a watchlist of people that I have helped out and convo them occasionally to see how they are doing and stop doing so when they have joined a decent player corp – at that point hopefully someone else will be looking after them. Very occasionally if I meet a super keen guy, I’ll take him under my wing for a few hours and teach him slingshotting, dscan, and a few other tricks to help keep him in one piece.

Of course for every one player who is prepared to do this there are 99 who would prefer to explode or scam the poor guy but even if one percent of the active players did this once in a while we would definitely see the difference in the game.

In conclusion then, CCP have their part to play but every single player can arguably make more of a difference simply by giving a leg up to a random newbie every once in a while. Try it, you’ll make someone’s day.

AT first weekend highlights

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Well the first weekend is over without any major surprises amongst the top teams, here are my highlights:

First of all Tuskers are through with a couple of solid 100 – nil wins which makes us all happy, our first match was comfortable but CVA are a solid team and we took it very seriously, coming out fine in the end.

Props to Pheobe for taking out Clockwork and then Brave to stay in the winners bracket, I know nothing about the team (and perhaps they drafted in some ringers) but I love the underdogs and will continue to cheer for them.

Shadow were the last match of the weekend and showed everyone how bombers should be used, we have faced that comp in practice and it is not much fun, you should definitely watch the replay of Shadow v NC.

I have to mention Bastards who despite losing the first one came back with a solid 100 – nil against Affirmative which cheered me up no end, they are a pretty low sp bunch and did well, their next match is not too tricky either so fingers crossed for them to push on a bit further.

Drop the Hammer was another entertaining match vs 404 and executed an MJD rush rather well to get in the face of their opponents and start melting shit at a good rate, again worth a watch on replay.

Tuskers have Warlords next so fingers crossed but Evebet has Warlords to win by about 2:1, might be worth putting some money on us as we don’t intend to roll over that easily..

AT time

I haven’t been playing much due to:

a) Boats and parties

b) AT practice

c) World of warships

Today however is D day with our first match which everyone is really pumped for, the main subject of conversation now is which tunes to play pre game and my top secret hype tune is the lego movie tune which is unbelievably sad but I just love it:)

Watch the stream here http://puu.sh/jCqNh/5ac18c3c80.jpg

Good luck and may the best men win.

Its been a while but..

Today I got a really great ransom. Spotted a Venture mining in lowsec and went to fetch my double scram atron which is used on these occasions. Scrammed him and opened a convo which took a long time since I was speaking French very badly and asked for the Marseillaise which is the French national anthem and a belting tune.

Turns out he was Belgian so that was out but then had to try to translate “drinking song” which was beyond my linguistic ability, eventually I realise his English is better than my French so we switched.

I love French songs, they always sound good and afterwards spent 20 mins or so giving him some advice and trying to find a decent lowsec French speaking corp for him, if anyone knows of one please let me know. This guy has the right attitude, he found being ransomed a good laugh and unusually didn’t swear at me or threaten to burn my house down and shoot my dog.

The pilots name is Osvlad Oskold, he is very new so if you enjoyed his singing please send him some ISK.

I’ve been sacked:)

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For the last six weeks or so I have been writing articles for mittens dot com. At the time both EN24 and TMC were looking for writers so I applied and was accepted for both. I wrote one for EN24 and about 13 for TMC for the simple reason that the latter pay nearly three times as much for each piece.

Today I was sacked for kicking up a fuss (which was probably inevitable) about one of the editors who would rewrite bits of my articles so badly that I then had to go back and spend about half an hour arguing to have the changes reversed. They included nonsensical syntax, basic grammatical errors, and simple spelling mistakes.

To be fair mittens responded to my criticisms and we had a discussion about how the bonus pay structure rewards the most prolific writers not necessarily the diligent ones (the significance of a Tusker trying to point out the benefits of quality over quantity to a goon were not lost on me) but in the end they decided to bin the troublemaker. There goes my attempt to get a bit of lowsec pvp news onto the mainstream sites.

I could still write for EN24 but given the fact that I put a lot of time into each article it’s probably not worth my while. Producing run of the mill battle reports doesn’t interest me, it’s the interesting story behind the killboards that is the difference between linking a killmail and adding a title, and an interesting read. Sailing season is coming up too and I’ll be partying my arse off on a boat in the med for most of July so maybe the stories will have to take a break.

August will bring AT so I’ll no doubt have some good tales to tell about that provided we don’t get spanked in the first round but somehow I don’t think that will happen..

Always bet on stupid..

stupid

Always.

Many years ago when I was a learner pirate, a very experienced guy who taught me a lot used to say “always bet on stupid”. He was right more often than not.

We had just finished some AT practice and jumped in the comedy battle navitas for a quick roam, ending up on grid with a kitey ashimmu we killed a few drones but couldn’t pin him down and he warped out. Less than five minutes later he was outside the plex where we were set up and we were all saying “naaah, surely he wont”.

He did and it was a long fight since navitas are not known for blistering dps but even with nasty vamps sucking us dry we tanked fine and finished him off, 360M kill with 133M dropped, nice – we knew this guy always flies flashy and were pleasantly surprised.

I think he must live in system because literally minutes later a cynabal appeared on scan and I just knew it was a rage undock, sure enough it appears on short scan and its game on again. This one went down even easier than the last. 320M kill with 72M dropped, thank you very much again.

At this point Switch’s mind is blown, he simply can’t fathom the guys thinking and his voice is going really high as he struggles to comprehend the sub-optimal choices going on here. He knew our fits from the first engagement that ended with no kills but still came back twice. Well three times as it turns out.

We were discussing what he would bring next and someone said “well a curse would be nasty” and just then hey presto he appears in a curse. Scram bosh and it’s round 3. The neuts were indeed a pain but we killed drones and then made a mistake as he managed to get an MWD cycle off and pull range, he got one of the navitas down but we continued to harass him and kill drones until he warped off.

A 12M frigate for two blingy pirate cruisers and 200M of loot, yep that’ll do.

Eve collides, Tuskers vs Sniggwaffe

Tuskers vs Sniggwaffe

Man this was a good one, I got back from racing all day and was knackered with quite badly burned hands, sat down and was given a jackdaw which I did my best to derp into a couple of battleships. Luckily they applied like shit and I squirmed out in one piece.

Not even gonna bother describing the rest of the matches, they were bloody entertaining and well worth a watch.

29:10 – 2nd fight

52:20 – 3rd fight

1:16:57 – 4th fight

1:37:30 – 5th fight