At EVE Fanfest 2016, CCP Seagull announced a startling statistic that indicated that a good number of new players who decided that EVE Online wasn’t the game for them, did so after the first two hours. Two! Later during the presentations, we were introduced to CCP Ghost, a man with a beautiful brain, who was going to take on the challenge of overhauling and revamping the New Player Experience (NPE) in order to help improve the retain-ability of these players. Several weeks ago with the Ascension expansion release, we were able to access this NPE and welcomed an influx of new players as “Alpha Clones” — Or did we?
After filtering through a mountain of horribly worded Twitter announcements about EVE going Free-to-Play, I was able to start finding new players announcing their capsuleer status and began talking to many of them. In one such interview it seemed that maybe the NPE wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and that it felt force-fed and a bit of a show. I was even told that the culmination of losing your ship for the first time, while understood, seemed a bit unnecessary. At this point I felt it necessary to do the NPE myself to test the waters.
For the most part, all the tasks were fairly simple to me and could be followed very simply. If I moved ahead of the tutorial, I would find myself stuck and unsure on how to back-step until I figured I would warp away and back in order to reset it. It wasn’t until later that I found out how to reset a mission from the Operations Info Panel. Something that isn’t explained outright. While I was doing the NPE I was watching “Rookie Help” stream by as if it were a TEST fleet entering into local. Questions moved by so fast either unanswered or had no way to tell who was answering whom, so I took it upon myself to begin answering questions directly in one on one messages. Doing this again the next day I found that an hour had gone by in my mentoring that never had a GM visit the supposed Help channel. Weren’t they supposed to be there? Maybe it was because of the late hour of the night for most players. Maybe.
I found a problem with this. However, I also created a solution in a project called “EVE an Hour” which aims to eliminate the possibility of unanswered questions for a new player which might result in them quitting after just two hours of play. By enlisting the help of seasoned veterans and utilizing a Discord Server with rooms for every topic and play-style, new players can ask questions and talk to real players with real experience by text or voice, something that isn’t always readily available or easy to find in all of the noise in Rookie Help. These veteran players will volunteer an hour of their time to enter Rookie Help and either answer questions in game, or send invites to the Discord server to provide more in depth help. The more players that are being supported with personalized help, the greater the chances are that player retention will increase and the two hours and quit number will be reduced.