Art by Major Sniper
XyzzyYYZ is known to lots of new members of Imperium as “The Man With the Links”. If you type a question into Imperium’s new pilot channel, Little_bees, and he’s online, you’re almost certainly going to get a link to an extremely helpful resource from him, often in just a couple of minutes. To many pilots, he’s the helping hand that makes joining EVE Online’s largest power bloc much, much easier whether null sec is old hat to you or it’s your first day.
I first met him about six months back when I joined GEWNS. Completely new to the game, I flew from Jita to Delve desperately trying to figure out how to set my home station in the UI and all of the online resources were failing me. Fortunately I was in the new pilot channel. XY, as he’s often known, calmly explained to me that what I was experiencing was normal. That despite EVE’s size, its servers can’t load a list of corporate offices as long as GEWNS’ apparently, and that this was a known issue. The solution, it turns out, was pretty simple – right-click on the station’s name where I was docked and select Set Home Station.
XY quickly became my go-to resource for questions in the game and his in-game links made life much, much easier for me. He pointed me to lots of great lessons from hard-won experience in wikis across the internet, fantastic posts people had made to train neophytes like me, and even built-in pointers.
Fighting the UI
He’s a realist though. “CCP has come a long way toward helping players share information with each other, but I think there’s still a lot more that can be improved to make certain things easier to de-mystify,” he says. “A major portion of introducing new players to EVE is just fighting with the user interface,” he adds. “There’s a lot going on there between the various menus, buttons, windows and game mechanics that come into play. New players have their work cut out for them. EVE is one of the few games that comes with homework and ought to award a degree.”
XY says there’s a “whole language to learn in the process, and complex mechanics for even the simplest activities.” He believes that “pilot frustration leads to a high attrition rate and it’s easy to come away from ship losses feeling like you accomplished nothing.” He says that a lot of new players “aren’t comfortable with the idea of losing ships. The life of a tackle frigate is short and violent by design, but that’s part of why we hand them out for free.”
XY’s been a member of SNOOO for just over three years, and he remembers his early days, which keeps him focused on new pilots. “We all know what it’s like to start in EVE. You’re lost, overwhelmed, poor, and getting questionable advice from all sources. Even as a newcomer, I was able to pass along information I was learning, mostly in the form of links to other resources that people had sent me.” He says he began collecting his famous links in-game using notepads for later sharing, which helped him remember what he was learning. “I had to know what was in the links I was sending out, after all,” he adds.
A Community Approach
XY highlights a number of things that he thinks Imperium and SNOOO does well. “Little_bees pointed me in the right direction to get started on all the stuff I was interested in seeing and doing in this game. I was able to ask questions and get advice from a variety of perspectives. I think it’s this community approach that makes us successful without the chaos of places like Rookie Chat.”
He also had praise for Imperium’s training faculty and various standing fleets, which usually include both text and voice chat, allowing you to ask questions and meet people virtually. “If the tutorials and career agents had sections that encouraged new pilots to group together,” he says, “I think that would get people thinking about the game as a social activity, not just sending them out hunting bigger and stronger rats.” He believes CCP could improve the NPE by “introducing newcomers to the idea of working as a team and sharing what they’ve learned. There’s some obvious problems with this approach, but in a perfect world, this would lead players to joining a good corporation sooner rather than later.