Friday, August 12, 2011

HALP?! How do I Get my [insert female companion title here] to Play Eve?!

This is a question I’ve been asked several times since starting Eve Online.  I’ve been asked by corp and alliance mates, those that listen to the podcast and even random people in some of the open in-game chats that I hang out in.  The inquiring pilot’s background can vary from null sec capsuleer to market trader to casual miners.  The question is always the same though.  Why doesn’t my significant other find EVE Online as fascinating as I?

The truth is; I have no freaking clue.  I don’t.  The first problem is that I don’t know your significant other.  That makes it difficult to give good advice because I have no idea of what they’re looking for in a gaming experience.  In fact, I don’t know if they even like video games to begin with.  That coupled with the fact we’re discussing EVE Online, there could be any number of reasons they don’t want to play.  Just think of all the different things current players dislike about the game.

I love this dude.
That said I’m going to try to impart some advice anyway.  Mind you, this advice comes with stipulations.  They are as follows:
  1. I have no idea what I’m talking about.  Most of this will be pulled out of my ass. 
  2. This is all 100% my opinion.  No facts will be included at all.  Ever.
  3. Posted responses are extremely generic in order to fit to a wide variety of situations.
  4. You’re reading an advice blog from a chick that plays EVE Online and is way too into ponies.  I would say use your best judgment when necessary, but let’s face it.  The fact you’re here proves you have terrible judgment anyway.

On with the gud poasting!

What’s the Point?
One of the issues with player acquisition and retention on any level is how well new players understand the game and end goals.  This becomes a problem when you look at MMO’s in general because for most people “getting to the next big shiny” is not a valid goal.  Without concrete and easily measurable goals, most people automatically feel there’s no real point or purpose. 

I'm totally borrowing this from Eelis Kiy's blog

The Solution:  The trick is to get the potential player to see how the open sandbox is a benefit more than ‘a rubix cube to go F*** yourself with.’  Take the time to explain how you can basically do anything you want.  For the nurturing and puzzle loving types there is the industrial side with its myriad of blueprints and manufacturing chains.  For those who are more adventurous there are a vast number of null sec and wormhole options.  If their play style is more aggressive, they can duke it out by participating in low sec via piracy or faction warfare.  Even those that prefer role play in rich and stimulating settings are getting their piece of the pie with live events and new changes Incarna is bringing.  EVE Online has a little something for everyone.   

Lack of Instant Gratification
Another common issue is the complete lack of “Push Button; Receive Bacon” in the new player experience.  Yes, there is a small amount of instant gratification in the form of receiving skill books after certain mission or getting a new hull after you complete the tutorial arcs, but it’s not much.  Removing training skills was a good attempt to soften this blow to the NPE and get people in to the game faster.  However, you still need the patience of Mahatma Gandhi in order to get to any serious game.  Just look at the necessity of core, fitting, gunnery, ship command, etc skills.    

The Solution:  There isn’t one.  Yes, you can trick-out their clone out with implants and set them up with the most pro skill plan ever, but… that still only helps so much.  If the potential pilot doesn’t have patience, they won’t make it in EVE Online.  As anyone who’s played EVE Online for any extended period of time knows; you need patience to do anything.  From mining to industry and even PvP, you will spend a fair amount of time waiting.  Those are the breaks. 

A Nobody with No Body? Part 1
Since the dawn of EVE Online, avatars have not played an important role.  This made EVE Online stand apart from most of its MMO competitors.   This also excluded EVE Online from a big portion of the MMO market share because… well.. people like bodies.  For some the disconnect is unbearable and the lack of personal in-game representation (not counting a ship in space) breaks their immersion.  This makes it hard for some people to ‘get in to the game.’

All about the space ships

The Solution: Incarna.  Now that Incarna has come we finally have bodies.  They are bodies stuck in one room, but we have them.  The advent of the NeX store makes it possible to dress up those bodies.  If you wait a little while (there’s that waiting again!) CCP will soon be iterating on walking in stations.  Once Incarna is fully realized capsuleers will be able to move into entirely new era of being corporeal.  Pilots will be able to have shops, poker parlors, hang out rooms or whatever their minds can come up with.  These things combined should appease the Second Life/Sims type crowd.  Hopefully, it will be the door that leads them to actually fly in space.  Get it… door?  I hate you Captain's Quarters alt screen.

A Nobody with No Body? Part 2
People in EVE Online hate people they do not know.  The meta game with in EVE Online and most styles of game play tend to feed that mentality.  Current players of EVE Online took the 80’s message of stranger danger to heart and that mode of thinking is not going to change any time soon.  This can be a new player’s biggest obstacle when it comes to getting started in the game.  Who you run with is a big deal in EVE Online and if you’re running alone… you’re doing it wrong.

The Solution: Give them the hook up.  If you are bringing a new player in to the game, it is in your best interest to introduce them to the right people.  Chances are your corp or alliance isn’t going to want them joining up right away.  However, many larger corps and alliances have starter corporations for lower SP pilots and once the players have the proper amount of SP and have been shown the ropes, they are allowed to run with the big dogs.  There are also corps who’s sole purpose is work with new people.  If your corp does not have a sister corporation for newer player then get them in EVE University.  Also check to see if they are a part of a larger social organization as Goons and Test have their own versions of intro corps, but you have to spend some time in the greater social group first. 

You Are an Awful Instructor
Remember when you were first learning how to drive?  Remember when your parents would clutch their hearts and slam their foot into the floorboards any time the car went above 15 miles per hour?  Or how they would scream “WATCH OUT” when ever there a person/car/stop sign/cat/etc 5000 feet in front of you?  That’s you trying to teach your significant other how to play EVE Online.  Really, it’s not that you’re a terrible instructor.  It’s just that your expectations for them are much higher than they should be.  After all… they’ve watched you play for how many years?  That’s how not to think btw.

The Solution:  Sometimes they best thing you can do, is to pawn your potential pilot off on someone else.  There are organizations out there that are much better at training new players and have a much better success & retention rate than you do.  Off the top of my head I can think of EVE University and Project Halibut.  There are also a lot of great mining and mission running corps that act as great havens for new players to get their feet wet.  There are even some corps that specialize new player PvP training programs.  Sometimes the best way to teach a bird to fly is to kick it out of the nest.  Plus if you aren’t hovering over their shoulders prattling on about how terrible they are at this game they just started playing, it could prevent a break-up/divorce.

Have You Really Talked to Them?
No.  I don’t mean did you mention EVE Online in passing that one day two years ago.  Have you really sat down with them and talked to them about EVE Online?  Have you told them how much you enjoy the game and why you think they might enjoy it to?  Have you told them that you would like to use the game as a medium to spend more time together?  Have you explained that you would like them to take interest in your passion?  Have you shown them

The Solution: Sometimes all it takes is a little conversation to get a lot more action.  I say that from personal experience.  I had not touched an MMO until my now ex-boyfriend came to me and said, “Hey.  My last girlfriend didn’t play video games, wouldn’t have anything to do with them and it would really mean a lot to me if you played with me and took interest in my hobbies.”  That Christmas I got a shiny new gaming machine and then entire expansion pack for World of Warcraft.  Within a few months I had my level 70 Hunter and I was working on my Priest.  It’s pretty amazing what can happen when communicate openly and effectively with your partner.
Because one day we all want this.

So that’s all the advice I have so far.  This may be one of those blog posts that turns in to a series, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.  I hope this helps out TerroxEracktor and all the others out there that one day hope for their significant other to understand what's so great about internet spaceships.

Ciao for now

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