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This Blog Banter comes from the conversations of CCP Legion:

“…we want to make the first days, weeks and months in EVE enjoyable and not just something ‘you have to plough through in order to get to the good stuff’” [and the newly formed Player Experience team will focus on] “…where and why people lose interest in EVE… We invite you to pour your heart (or guts) out and tell us what you think is good or bad with the current new player experience and what you think could be done about the problems.”

CCP Legion, Player Experience Team
First off, I will have to say that before reading my comments, that you read Seismic Stan’s Blog “Freebooted” here:http://freebooted.blogspot.com/2012/03/bb33-widening-net-accessibility.html because pretty much everything he says I agree with 110% and could not say it any better than he already has and whatever points I make are merely to clarify details in positions he has already established perfectly.
Not to get started, I am playing three MMOs right now:
  • Eve Online: A game that I have played continuously for the last 4+ years.  I blog about this game, I dream about this game, I ponder on a daily basis various aspects of the game.  I have bought special equipment to play this game better.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: A game that I have played since it was released to the public, and I currently have three characters, two of which are at the endgame.
  • World of Tanks: A game that me and my son can play and enjoy.

Those three games occupy much of my time, particularly Star Wars: TOR for the moment.. though EVE is getting its fair share in.  However, WoT and SWTOR have a few things that could really be of benefit if EVE took a look at utilizing their strengths.

The Good

Here are the places where Eve Online does great:

  1. Time based skill training – This feature alone probably kept me playing more times than I can count.  There are weeks.. sometimes months that I didn’t want to play and just wanted to do something else.  That skill training mechanic kept the games value to me.. so I kept playing and paying for it.  It also helped me in that I could still compete against other players and that other players, while they could fly better ships.. didn’t necessarily mean they were higher trained.
  2. Recent Videos – Yeah, aside from their newest video, every other one has been epic.. truly epic.  They all stir the heart and the gets your motor running.
  3. No boundaries – Compared to other space-related MMOs, yeah, there are no boundaries.  You can make a living doing just about anything if you know how to make it work.
  4. The epicness of space fights – 10 versus 10 man gang is still so sweet.

Now, here are the places that Eve really falls down.  I think there are really two that stand out as actually harmful.

The Bad – Old, Difficult UI

I know there are UI changes coming along.. but the more I play WoT and SWTOR, the more I look at Eve’s UI and I think that it should be so much better.  And I think the problem really comes down to that the Eve UI is predominantely a one-handed UI.  Sure, I can activate a module using a keyboard in a fight.. but for the most part.. I am using my mouse, and only my mouse, near exclusively.  As silly as it may sound.. moving just the flight controls to a WASD format combined with current mouse shortcuts would probably make the game soo much better. 

Another problem that I also agree with Stan on is that while the focus of CCP has been to see more “space”, all I see is more windows.  Lots and lots of windows.  There is no “design” in the UI, no character, no uniqueness, nothing special at all.  There should at least be a couple racial options for people to try. and we have the technology to have.. curves and circles, right?  Both WoT and SWTOR have modern and up-to-date looking UIs.  Ones that utilizes both hands reasonably well.  Plus neither of them try to do anything outlandishly new with the UI besides just make it look better.  Both use the WASD format, and both have tasks divided up between my hands equally.

Lore – Who gives a rat’s…. backside?

Eve has a lot of backstory with the chronicles, three books, near infinite blog posts, etc.  Yet, none of them really answers the question, “Why should I care?”  Really.  Why should I care that the Amarr made the Minmatar slaves?  Why should I care that Gallente intrusiveness forced Caldari to rebel?  Not enough has been done to get players into the lore.. while at the same time, it seems to easy to ignore.  I mean as a Minmatar, it not only should have been difficult to get work with Amarr favoring corps, but I should expect to see a racial epithat a time or two as well.  Yet, despite having demi-gods of their own, every station lets me dock.  Every Amarrian patrol ship lets me pass without harrassing me.  Every market in Amarrian territory responds perfectly and doesn’t charge me any more for being a Minmatar…  How immersive is that?  How do I feel like a formerly repressed slave who wants to enact revenge.. when they are as civil as my own mission givers?

Another is Aura.  You know, the neutral voice that helps capsuleers learn their ship.  Well, let’s ponder that for a moment.  Do you REALLY think that all the empires.. as fractured and as contentious as they are is going to allow a neutral voice to guide brand new capsuleers.. brand new demi-gods.. upon a neutral path, free of any influence whatsoever?  Oh heck no!  Truthfully, this is a page that CCP should take from SWTOR.. and they could do it pretty cheaply too.  Have each bloodline have their own racial Aura, who guides them on how they fly their ships.  Make each training mission something different in a minor sense, but make the context be heavily influenced by the racial group that the new player is coming from.  Even better, have all of the missions be done in voice overs as well.  Shoot, those at fanfest would probably volunteer!  In fact, THAT would be a great idea to get the community involved.  You could probably do for free what it took SWTOR millions of dollars to do.

All in all, a new player should get the sense that he should have some loyalty to his faction.. and that there should be consequences if he falls away from favor.  All the while giving him the sense that his choices are important, and relevant.