Coming into EVE Online new players are confronted by the complex nature of the game and are often overwhelmed as they try to wrap their heads around it. They can fall into the trap of only doing what’s provided in the tutorial, as those are the only things they know how to do. CCP aims to change this with the introduction of The Activity Tracker (TAT), which shows both new players and veterans alike different things that they might be missing. For example, it shows new players that it’s not only ore they can mine, but that there’s ice mining or gas harvesting. It shows veteran players extra stuff they could be doing, and possibly suggest a change of career.
We’re going to break it down and look at how good TAT is for introducing content to EVE Online. The tracker is broken down into five trees: Combat, Industry, Encounters, Resources Harvesting, and Exploration. Every item has five different levels, with the first being the easiest level to achieve and the fifth being the hardest. CCP has joked that they wonder how long it will take for someone to get to level five in all areas.
If you want to see a full breakdown of trees, here’s the link to the CCP blog.
One way TAT helps is for corporation recruitment. When a new player wishes to join a corporation. Most corporations are focused along one area, such as mission running, PVP or mining. The tracker allows them to present a portfolio of what activities they’ve carried out. If a player wishes to join a mining corporation, they show the corp what they’ve mined before. It also helps players point out what they’ve not tried and inform them of other play styles, such as mining ice or PI.
As a veteran player, it’s incredibly hard to get inside the mindset of new players and effectively ask them, ‘Does this tool work for you as a new person.’ Veterans already understand a vast amount of Eve, so understanding how new players see things helps get into their mindset.
I asked a friend, who’s never played EVE, what he thinks of the tracker and how its laid out. He told us, “I think as someone who’s never seen this or Eve but understands the general sort of game, that this is a good thing. Players have something to aim for and see their progression as players and get rewards. For industrial and commercial players this allows easier in-game optimization of their abilities. For combat players it allows them to see their strengths and weaknesses. For a corporation or a fleet getting a general feel of what their captains may be good at will help them optimize their fleets or train up less experienced players. It’s good for Eve in general as it may encourage people like who see it as fairly difficult to get their head around when starting that there is a progression they can follow. On the other hand, there may be a risk of increased poor behavior if players abuse this with other players: corporations may end up basing access to their fleets off of stats, not off of what a player can actually do. It’s an aid, not a full cv.”
What we feel CCP can do to further increase the Activity Tracker is to add a list of key skills which coincide with a tree on the tracker. For example, what skills improve your mining bonus apart from the obvious ones? Players often find that a wide range of skills in EVE cover a wide range of different activities and provide different bonuses. So keeping on top of them, making sure that they’ve got all the skills trained, is important and having the skills listed for the activities would help address that.