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EVE Online has No Problem Getting New Players, but Retaining them is an Issue

blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,769
edited May 2016 in EVE Online

Emotions instead of skills may be the answer [Article originally appeared over at Destructoid andhttp://massivelyop.com/2016/05/01/eve-evolved-fixing-the-new-player-experience-again/ ]

"It's super depressing," Andie Nordgren said with a sort of semi-defeated smile. She's the executive producer of EVE Online, one of the deepest and most complex sandbox video games in existence, and she's reacting to a key statistic that developer CCP shared at this year's EVE Fanfest: In the past year, more than 1.5 million new players signed up to try EVE Online; the overwhelming majority of them permanently quit after two hours.

Of course Nordgren feels that way. How could she not feel that way? She's steering the ship that has created one of the biggest living science fiction universes of all time, a game that tens of thousands of people are logged into at any given minute. There's obvious appeal for anyone willing to see it through, but that's the exact issue -- so, so many would rather give up than dig deeper.

In my third Fanfest, it's a problem that has come up before. Every year, in fact. This is the first time that CCP has quantified it, though. The new player experience is something the developer is continually working on, and that's assurance we get every single year.

One of the oddest moments of the weekend concerned this very topic. CCP took some time out of the EVE Online keynote to address the new player experience to its install-base who cares enough about the game to trek to Iceland in celebration of it. It's important to everyone; those EVE veterans stand to hypothetically see their corporations and alliances grow with an influx of new players.

How to retain new EVE Online players? The short of it is that CCP will try to structure the initial experience to tell stories and to form an emotional connection. It wants players to care about the game before they're concerned with learning all of its systems.

How that will work remains to be seen. In our interview, Nordgren admitted it's a very fresh perspective, one that's far from fully formed. "We're really early stage and that's kind of the reason (CCP Ghost) was talking more conceptually about how we're thinking and how we’re approaching it. What I really want is that you don't feel like it's a tutorial, but that you feel that you just started playing the game," she said.

Nordgren continued "This is how I want to experience games today. I don't necessarily have time to first learn and then to play. I want to learn by playing. I want to take some meaningful actions while I'm learning that feel like they have something to do with my progression. We're going to try to build an experience where you're involved and it's clear to you how you're making progress while we gradually reveal more of the complexity of the game. But it feels like you're playing, not like you're learning."

As for the "It's super depressing" quote she started with? Nordgren supplemented it with an understanding that EVE isn't necessarily for everyone, and even the people who appreciate it might not have a life-long relationship with it. 

"I know that we have a hobby-type experience and that's also something that not everyone is into. I think that we'll always have a lot of people who kind of go 'Oh, that looks cool!' and then they get into it and are like 'Ehhh, okay that wasn’t for me,'" she said. "You're never going to sign everyone up, right? But, I think we have a chance to have more people at least enjoy some more time in New Eden before they drop out. Then, of course, some of those will actually discover EVE as a hobby and as a passion. I think that's the exchange. If we can give you a more powerful experience in the beginning, it's not necessarily that everyone has to stick around forever. I think it's a fair trade that if we can give you a better experience, you might stick around for more time. You're happy, we're happy, and then you may or may not stay as an EVE hobbyist, if you will."




거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












Post edited by blueturtle13 on
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Comments

  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 11,669
    The actually depressing is that "thing" that is supposed to be a tutorial...
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,287
    edited May 2016
    Quite a statistic, and I definitely agree while EVE isn't for everyone likely it would appeal to more with a better starting experience.

    Not everyone is willing to take my approach of downloading, printing and thoroughly reading about 10 game guides before even signing up for the tutorial. (pre video era)  :p

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing POE at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,769
    Kyleran said:
    Quite a statistic, and I definitely agree while EVE isn't for everyone likely it would appeal to more with a better starting experience.

    Not everyone is willing to take my approach of downloading, printing and thoroughly reading about 10 game guides before even signing up for the tutorial. (pre video era)  :p
    That is impressive that you did that. That is committing to a game my friend.

    거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












  • OfficerFriendlyEQ2OfficerFriendlyEQ2 Member UncommonPosts: 105
    Knowing you can set your skills for many months ahead without having to pay a subscription may be whats going on, therefore I am not convinced new folks or vets too, are leaving permanently.
  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    With the tutorial that EVE has.... Or the lack of a tutorial...  This isnt really hard to figure out.
    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • goboygogoboygo Member RarePosts: 2,035
    Darkfall was the same way, tons of people tried it MOST all of them quit.  But they decided to listen to the people that stayed and not talk to the people that left and find out why.
  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Member UncommonPosts: 1,989
    "EVE Online has No Problem Getting New Players"

    BS....

    "This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,287
    "EVE Online has No Problem Getting New Players"

    BS....
    1.5M new players tried EVE last year.

    Period.

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing POE at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Member UncommonPosts: 1,989
    Kyleran said:
    "EVE Online has No Problem Getting New Players"

    BS....
    1.5M new players tried EVE last year.

    Period.
    lol...yeah..."New players"

    "This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  • fodell54fodell54 Member RarePosts: 859
    edited May 2016
    Kyleran said:
    "EVE Online has No Problem Getting New Players"

    BS....
    1.5M new players tried EVE last year.

    Period.
    lol...yeah..."New players"
    There is no point in arguing with Kyleran about Eve. It's like arguing with a brick wall. You're either with him or against him. To each their own though. I for one can't stand the game but we all have a game that we stand up for.

    Fight the good fight Kyleran!
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,228
    This is both a problem and a non-problem.

    It's a problem because some of the players who we'd want to keep around are leaving before they "get it" or understand the game to a competent level.

    It's a non-problem because EVE tends to scrape off the low-effort pond scum and shovel them to games where their whining and crying will be tolerated.
  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,769
    fodell54 said:
    Kyleran said:
    "EVE Online has No Problem Getting New Players"

    BS....
    1.5M new players tried EVE last year.

    Period.
    lol...yeah..."New players"
    There is no point in arguing with Kyleran about Eve. It's like arguing with a brick wall. You're either with him or against him. To each their own though. I for one can't stand the game but we all have a game that we stand up for.

    Fight the good fight Kyleran!
    I think it showed great candor for a developer to comment on the numbers they not only had sign up to play but that the majority of them left. I see no reason to doubt that because it is a very honest public admission that their new player introduction to the game does not do a good enough job of helping ease in the new players and help retain them. I wish more publishers and developers were this open about their shortcomings.

    거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












  • 0vergil00vergil0 Member UncommonPosts: 27
    Knowing you can set your skills for many months ahead without having to pay a subscription may be whats going on, therefore I am not convinced new folks or vets too, are leaving permanently.
    you can set up all you want beforehand ( to a max of 365 days of training )  but as soon you sub run out  training pause so you still need to either feed plex or stay subed
  • SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,122
    edited May 2016


    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,287
    0vergil0 said:
    Knowing you can set your skills for many months ahead without having to pay a subscription may be whats going on, therefore I am not convinced new folks or vets too, are leaving permanently.
    you can set up all you want beforehand ( to a max of 365 days of training )  but as soon you sub run out  training pause so you still need to either feed plex or stay subed
    It goes much higher than 365, one of my alts has 538 days queued.

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing POE at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • AstropuyoAstropuyo Member UncommonPosts: 1,945
    Haw I recently made a new account to stealth around on and let me tell you this..

    If I were a new player I'd get the hell out of the game asap.

    It's just not fun when you look around and realize..no matter what you do. No matter how much time you have invested.

    Some asshole like me on my main account is one day going to make you question why you even bothered to learn what SP was. Because year near a decade and you get retarded.
  • DistopiaDistopia Member EpicPosts: 21,182
    H0urg1ass said:


    It's a non-problem because EVE tends to scrape off the low-effort pond scum and shovel them to games where their whining and crying will be tolerated.
    I always felt this type of attitude was a big part in SWG's issues to keep new players around, especially at the height of the PRe-cu era. I saw quite a bit of this type of chest thumping aimed at new players in that game when folks would ask questions/seek help or just not get it. This isn't an issue with players, it's an issue with game design, complex game design is important to many. Yet it's all for naught if you don't offer fun ways to learn the mechanics of a game. 

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson


  • SandyRavageSandyRavage Member UncommonPosts: 5
    I remember trying the game twice, the first time I got blown up in some corporation war so i quit because i didnt have much money to replace what i lost. The second time I was in low sec trying to figure out the exploration mechanics and someone blew me up, again, not much isk so i gave up.
  • Thomas2006Thomas2006 Member RarePosts: 1,122
    I love the depth of eve and the varity of things it offers you to do. But I also hate the ship movement, control scheme of the game. It feels litterly like you are playing a spreadsheet and not playing a game. I honestly think that is the largest problem with the game. You play the interface and not the visuals of the game. Where if you log into other space games you feel you are controling the ship and playing the ship as opposed to watching a interface all the time.

    If they could somehow capture the ship combat and movement of say Dreadnought then they would have zero issues getting new players into and sticking with the game. 

    The reworking on the new player tutorial over and over is not going to get people to stay around. A drastic change to how the game plays would get people to stay around. I have played with 50+ people over the years trying eve out and almost all of them say the exact same thing. They hate the ship controls and how movement is handled. It feels like you play more with the interface then enjoying the beauty of the game.
  • rodingorodingo Member RarePosts: 2,864
    edited May 2016
    Weird.  I never felt it was Eve's tutorial that was the issue for player retention.  I made it through through two or three of their iterations of the "tutorial" just fine.  If they feel fixing that will fix the underlying issue then more power to them.

    "If I offended you, you needed it" -Corey Taylor

  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,228
    Distopia said:
    H0urg1ass said:


    It's a non-problem because EVE tends to scrape off the low-effort pond scum and shovel them to games where their whining and crying will be tolerated.
    I always felt this type of attitude was a big part in SWG's issues to keep new players around, especially at the height of the PRe-cu era. I saw quite a bit of this type of chest thumping aimed at new players in that game when folks would ask questions/seek help or just not get it. This isn't an issue with players, it's an issue with game design, complex game design is important to many. Yet it's all for naught if you don't offer fun ways to learn the mechanics of a game. 
    EVE is one of the friendliest games I've ever seen when it comes to legitimately helping new players who don't come in the front door bitching about the difficulty.  Come in with a good attitude and willingness to learn and you'll get scooped up by a helpful corporation faster than you can blink.  There's several groups of people who have made teaching new players their entire profession, such as EVE University and the now-defunct Red vs. Blue.

    Distopia said:

     This isn't an issue with players, it's an issue with game design, complex game design is important to many. Yet it's all for naught if you don't offer fun ways to learn the mechanics of a game. 
    This part is true enough.  EVE is an extremely difficult game with a lot of concepts to memorize early on and the tutorial is absolutely terrible at imparting any of this knowledge.  There is currently a think-tank group within CCP who are working on this very situation as we speak.  They know that it sucks, we know that it sucks and we've been providing a lot of help and ideas on Reddit which is heavily trafficked by the CCP dev team.
  • GruugGruug Member RarePosts: 1,699
    I haven't played EVE for a while. It was fun while I played it several years ago. But, I did not play at the beginning and I did not join a "clan". I played with friends and we all enjoyed to the game together. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of things to do as a small group. None of use could seem to find any clan (corp) that wanted us. So over time we just drifted away from EVE to other games. EVE's problem (to us) was that it was not very welcoming to new players/groups.

    Let's party like it is 1863!

  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 8,791
    I had few problems with Eve but I did a lot of home work.  Reading the general forums that offered advice and even the pirate web site forums to know how they operated, and down loading the software that setup your training builds and timed them for you.

    The problem is, after the tutorial people want to explore so they head out into the wild wild west and die rather quickly, then they get laughed at.  I've seen it a lot in chat.  That's not much of an incentive to stay with the game and most players don't care that CCP is losing a potential income source everytime that happens.

    The best thing I saw in Eve were training corps that actively prepared players for Eve before they went off on there own.  Problem is few players look for these corps or even know they exist.  


    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • HrimnirHrimnir Member RarePosts: 2,413
    edited May 2016

    It's extremely simple.  Getting blown up and losing all your shit is not player friendly.  This is the main reason why FFA PVP games have such small playerbases.  Eve's playerbase looks high but the reality is it's a ton of people with multiple accounts.  That's not to downplay it's success, it is definitely a good model for it's style of game, but it's never going to achieve mainstream success while it is that punishing.

    BTW I say this as a player with around 25mil sp, I though I quit several years ago (shortly after the wormhole expansion, can't remember which one).

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

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