Sunday, September 27, 2015


~or “It’s All Profit and Loss… But What Do We Profit and What Might We Lose?”

From the Patch Notes for Vanguard, 6th heading down, Skills… 

All new characters will now start with approximately 400,000 skillpoints rather than 50,000.

I find this interesting and potentially… mebbe not smart. I do get the whole let’s make EVE easier to play for the newbs cause no matter how you look at it PCU is down, CCP stopped sharing any hard numbers on the subs a few years ago and no matter how you slice it or look at it, I don’t believe anyone can say the playerbase is growing… it’s not.

So CCP is making changes, as any good company would, to try and boost sales, secure their financial stability and increase profitability. Hence the increased focus on improving the NPE (New Player Experience) and refreshing the game by breaking the stagnation of nullsec and opening up those areas of the game for more players.

This change, a relatively large bump in new player base SP, is pretty obviously a part of the NPE strategy. Get players into a few T2 weapons and Frigate L5 on the very first day. There is debate on this and some hard feelings and others who feel it is naught but good.

Sugar Kyle said something that resonated strongly with me, in her CSMX - Post #29

It is a fine balance between helping new players invest without taking away rewarding first moments. I'm not convinced that skilling them into T2 weapons and Frigate 5 on day one is the path to go. For one, not everyone wants combat capabilities and for two, you  take away so many early accomplishments that your help can also hinder.

We who play, who write these blogs and argue these mechanics are vested in Eve. We have to invest new players first in the very concepts of our game.

Investment… I am vested in EVE. I have spent 5 years playing EVE, from a few hours a week to 5, 6 or more hours an evening. I started in Nov. 2010 and I had but the std. 50k SP. I, as we all have, worked my way up the skill tree, the vaunted Learning Cliff of EVE. I am proud of this, I am proud of my accomplishments.

As Sugar said, we have to invest new players to our game… not give them cart blanc, just hand them the power and abilities without any of the costs, consequences… and the wonder of exploring and the joy of discovery. Something handed to you for free is worth exactly what you paid for it… it is worthless, you have nothing ‘invested’ in it.

Let’s define this…

2. to devote one's time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.
…with the expectation of worthwhile result.” OK, what is a ‘worthwhile result’?

1. worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance.
…of value or importance.” OK…

We need to define exactly what it is we place value on or feel is important in the time we invest in skills in EVE Online. Is there actual value or importance in the Skill Points?

Obviously yes as skills are how one gets access to new ships and modules and activities in EVE. Access to almost everything is skill based and skills are accrued over Real Time, not Game Time as in so many other games where grinding while logged on is how one accrues skills and abilities.

And the dual crux for me is this…

EVE is such a complex game with so many paths that can be taken that not everyone necessarily wants combat capabilities right off the bat.
What if someone joins the game because his buddies talk about building ships and modules and the market… or even building Supers or Titans?
What about explorers who are mainly interested in scanning and searching covertly? What about players who come to EVE because of the market with no desire to ever undock again once they get to Jita?

And then there is this…

Just ‘giving’ such a higher number of SP at the start really does remove so many of the early accomplishments all the rest of us went through. I don’t know about anyone else, but as frustrated as I sometimes was back in my noob days… frustrated feeling I wasn’t keeping up, frustrated that I felt wasn’t really contributing to the group because of my low SP… even then I knew that it was OK, that this is how one learns and grows.

I look back now and I remember my noobhood as a fantastic and amazing time, one that I would not now change for the virtual life of me. This ‘gift’ of SP denies new players some of this experience… and as in real life the only thing we take from EVE, the only thing of real value… of real worth… is our experiences and memories.

I have a saying I try to live by…

“All you can take with you when you die is your memories… Pack carefully.”

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=


  1. I think a better solution is this:

    When you subscribe your account (ie once per account), you get 50k unallocated skillpoints. For the next 7 days, each day you get another 50k unallocated skillpoints. Adjust the number (50k) or the duration (7 days) to whatever level is appropriate.

    1. Its an idea... but it still doesn't fix the issue. The issue being decreasing subs in a game that is considered one of, if not the hardest to learn and play well in the MMO world. SP does not make you a better player, it only gives unskilled players access to more expensive hulls and mods... you can't buy human experience anymore than you can buy how to fit and fly your ships effectively.

      In the end, all you give them is more to lose in those first formative months... No, we need to give them more reasons to hang in there and invest in the game... we need to lure them in with PVE 'candy' until they look around and see the real value in EVE... the social and long term experience that is EVE.

  2. Good post Tur but we have provided input over and over on this and all that seems to come from it is this giving the new player something for free, maybe they will stay. Not likely. So now we have a new player who can fly a frig with some T2 stuff on it with no isk to buy the ship with, I guess the plan will be all you space rich players need to give them a ship to fly and when they demonstrate zero skills at fly the given ship then by god don't be a poor give them an SRP'ed ship, that way they don't rage quit because they still suck. I don't know why we continue to post on this topic.

    I see this same item in World of Warships where the newest player can hope right into a low tiered Battleship as soon as the game is done downloading. They demonstrate the spoiled child syndrome right from the get go with the "I'M IN A BATTLESHIP WHY DO I GET DIEING? EVERYONE ELSE MUST BE USING CHEATS!" followed by "Where can I get an aim assist program so that I can make shots like the people who have played 600 matches already?

    Don't get me wrong I love EVE have since the first time I undocked, and no I don't have the easy button win for CCP either but we have pointed out to them several times over why making this game NEWBIE friendly wont work. I can only guess that being on the inside looking out this is the only path CCP can envision for the good of the game.


    1. Thanx Sly…

      We agree CCP is fighting back against lost subs. The ‘why’ of those lost subs is a contentious issue… some cry foul play in Hisec and how carebears are shat upon by CCP and Gewns and some cry foul play in nullsec and how nullbears are shat upon by CCP period…

      EVE is a niche game, CCP knew that and accepted it right from the start… EVE has no end game, Risk and Loss are real things in EVE, and the playerbase has a deserved rep as one of the toughest and most hard core groups of players in the MMO world. This is a game that requires players who take the long view, who see the value in investing in the game and who revel in winning against long odds… but niche games are far riskier from a financial standpoint for their creators and owners than main stream themeparks.

      The upside for us in being part of a niche MMO is that it is actually a special, unique and truly different kind of gaming experience, the downside is that quite simply it takes a different kind of player to invest in such a game and again, there simply aren’t as many of us as there are run of the mill themepark players, by a factor of millions.

      I agree that one of my worries is new players coming into the game, now with 400k SP, thinking this will level the playing field between them and vets a bit… and it won’t. It is not raw SP that makes a player better, it is that combination of “player skill and experience” and where the SP was focused that does. And like you said, there will be the whole “I can use it, but I can’t afford it?!?!” thing on top of that which I dint even touch on in my post.

      EVE is simply too complex to play well right off the bat no matter how many SP your toon has as evidenced by new players who have the financial resources to PLEX for ISK and just buy a toon on the Bazaar and a Raven and bling it all out just to lose over and over to skilled player in T1s. You can buy a 50m SP toon, but you cannot BUY the knowledge of how to effectively fit and fly anything.

      So for me this, 400k SP New Toons is not going to change the main fact that EVE is not a themepark MMO and requires a different kind of “player”. My fear is CCP will be financially forced to nerf and dumb EVE down in order to grow the playerbase… and this is a slippery slope that one once started down cannot be reversed.

      They will risk steadily losing older players and players looking for what EVE ‘had’ to offer while gaining more themepark players… players who will push for more and more WoW styled (IE safer & NPE only) gameplay forcing more and more vets to opt out of the game… a self-reinforcing death spiral of the gameplay ‘we’ used to love.

      The burning question no one has yet effectively answered is…
      “How does CCP maintain solubility and create growth with a truly niche product?”

      My suggestion is here… “For Once, a Simple Sales Problem”

  3. This topic is always heated and taking a look at the different blogs ccp can't do it right. For you it is too much, for Kirith it isn't enough. I consider myself a pretty old Character and my own new Player days are long gone. Back in the days where the skill of frigate level 3 enabled you to take seat in the little fat man (Tristan) and play with missiles as a Gallente was an experience new Players won't make. Many things have changed, any frigate is available at level 1 and you hardly find missiles in Gallente ships.

    This isn't necessarily bad and EVE has changed to the better most of the time. We, the old playing vets enjoyed those early days but we aren't the ones who quit. It is hard for us to say what would be better to retain new players as we accepted the old concept and found it good enough to stay. But every now and then when I try to help new players with a fitting to improve there survivability (in mission or just in space) there are so many variables to consider. “Yes you have to skill X to get that MSE on your ship” followed by “oh yeah right, you lack the PG/CPU to do so, then skill Y + Z after that”.

    That doesn't motivate new players and it is hard to tell them that they still are a valuable addition to the corporation while the T1 fitted industrial has several modules gone offline. From that point of view I appreciate the upgrade to new players as my duty to help them gets a lot easier. But I share your concerns about the early experiences and rewards that get lost. They won't get the joy of “yes finally I can fit those T2 expanders in my Iteron Mark V” (which back in my days only a small fraction of pilots had skilled for; ok that wasn't early...). And the upgrade to the Tristan will not come with level 3 of the skill but when they explore the ISIS and buy it from the market.

    CCP has to compensate for these lost moments but in the bigger picture, I think the move to 400k SP is OK. I don't know if there would be a better solution, but maybe those quitting the game take the survey and reply why they quit. Maybe there is a majority quitting because “I would have to wait 3 days to fit the module I want”. And maybe some of those would still play the game and got invested in it and its meta. We all don't know and only the future will tell us whether it was the right thing or not.

    The things we can (and CCP has to) do is increasing the engagements new Players get with the eve universe. Seeing the beauty of the universe and learning how dark it can become. With opportunities and universe full of wonders to see. Would it hurt the game if there was a more theme park like option to learn about the story of eve and its lore without reading the books and dozens of short stories? How can a new player fall in love with a universe he doesn't know? You and I, I know, we love this game, else we wouldn't be here. But why? For me it is the huge depth of the Lore around even without being a role player. The possibilities you have and the fact that you are engaging other players no matter what you do are great points too.

    Maybe, it is a simple sales problem. But would it hurt to improve other aspects? Maybe SP isn't the right way, maybe it is, I don't know. And you probably doesn't either. So we shouldn't focus on how it is a good or bad thing. What ELSE can we do to get new players invested? Did you know at the first time you bought a module from the market, that you bought it from another player? I can't remember my own case but I don't think I do. Shouldn't that be an important selling point of the game? “Congratulations, the first module you bought was from 'add player name'; Ready to build it yourself?”

    The 400k are for sure not the silver bullet, it isn't even clear if it is the right direction or not. But it seams obvious that we need changes to retain new blood.

    1. Chanina,
      I agree completely that we need to attract and retain new players… and like you, much of the playerbase and everyone at CCP I am sure, I ponder the way to best do that. The ‘how’ can define the game or change it in potentially massive ways, some will be highly contentious and some will be met with anticipation…

      ” Would it hurt the game if there was a more theme park like option to learn about the story of eve and its lore without reading the books and dozens of short stories?”

      I myself have pushed for more and more creative and immersive PVE… and I believe we are seeing it in the Burner missions and, IMHO, most importantly in the Drifters. The Drifters and their far more mysterious and seemingly unscripted (unrevealed) involvement in New Eden both at the NPC/PVE and player levels is really fascinating to me. The fact that they are, unlike most NPCs, dangerous to us, that they are unpredictable and interactive AND part of the ongoing Lore is exactly the way I feel CCP needs to go.

      Elite Dangerous has an interesting mix of PVE gameplay… ‘contracts’ are similar to mission in EVE but you do not have to take a contract to be involved in PVE. NPC pirates will attack you without provocation anywhere in space and you can drop in on a variety of PVE ‘sites’ from resource sites to pirate actions to war zones, etc., etc. The Drifters non-consensual interactions have that kinda feel but in a way that is appropriate in EVE… and I like it.

      “Congratulations, the first module you bought was from 'add player name'; Ready to build it yourself?”

      I have often felt all purchases should be not just, “Small 'Ghoul' Energy Siphon I”, it should be, “HBHI’s Small 'Ghoul' Energy Siphon I” or “HELPeR’s Small 'Ghoul' Energy Siphon I”… IRL we don’t just buy a Wrangler (a “TJ” or “YJ” or “JK” et al to my Jeep brethren and sistren out there) we buy a Jeep, Wrangler (or “TJ” or “YJ” or “JK” et al)… We don’t just buy a .45, we buy a Colt .45 or a Ruger .45… Branding is important IRL.

      All modules and hulls should be listed on the market as “make-model-meta” with the Make being the Corp that produced the item. Or… another Corp could buy items under contract, IE wholesale, and then for an NPC Licensing fee “Brand” them and retail them under their Corp’s name. Pull a Show Info on an item and you should get the Corp that made it and the Corp that retailed it if different from the producer, or even a full history from production through all subsequent sales and resales.

      This would add to a feeling that YOU left your mark on the verse… that your name is out there, a part of other player’s game and experience. Wouldn’t it be cool to loot some wrecks, whether from a fight you were in or purchased as salvage… and you find a Shield Booster II YOU built 2 weeks ago… or 2 years ago… and the ship it was on was part of some nullsec Corp… cool huh? =]

  4. Just 2ç... from what I've seen and read, the 400,000 SP are already allocated to skills necessary to complete the current Objectives. So it's just a way to bypass the Career Agents since the new player haves all the skills from start.

    It's not like "here, have 400,000 free SP and find a way to make a inta-alt for something". Or, so I'm reading it.


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