Monday, February 10, 2014

The Great B-R Noobspike…

~or So, Is It Time For the Griefers To Go To Work?

As many of you already know, we are seeing a really big influx of new players since the media furor over The Battle at B-R… Seems destroying approx. $300,000 worth of virtual spaceships is Good For Business ™… go figger huh? =]

According to Chribba’s Newborn Player Graphs on EVE Offline, on Jan 30 11,696 new players… The single largest influx of new players in the 10 year history of EVE Online.

A number of us, the EvE Bloggers (at least a number of the ones I follow) have posted or at least commented on this. Most are, of course, about how this impacts EVE Online and CCP and us as a whole, IE the meta aspects… but Sugar Kyle though touched on an aspect that I feel is as important, if not more so, than the NoobSpike itself… Retention.

IE it’s great to get a huge upsurge in noobs in EvE, we all agree, from the griefer to the bear, that moar people flying spaships is just plain ol’ Good For Business ™… good for CCP, good for every industrialist, good for miners, good for market mavens and good for the game as a whole… the problem is, it is also good for the Griefer… and that is Bad For Business ™.

Some have opined that B-R will be The Last Big Fight… like when everyone the world over agreed that The Great War (WWI) was the ‘War to End War’… It wasn’t even called World War I until the onset of World War II. No one then could then begin to imagine the size, scope and ferocity of WWII just a scant 20 years later. As this relates to the virtual verse of EvE, one of my all-time favorite quotes (guess who) is one from 2004, “Spam will be a thing of the past in two years' time.” but here we are, a scant 10 years later and I run multiple spam filters that can’t begin to keep up with the crap in my inbox.

I seriously doubt B-R will be the Last Big Fight, I hope great hope for our collective future that this latest influx of noobs is like a shot of adrenaline to the game…. Now if we can just keep ‘em from being griefed into ragequitting so we can grow more corps and Alliances and Coalitions and The Next Great Big Fight ™.

Sugar says she accepts all playstyles as valid and rarely speaks out against anyone except… “…the people who truly prey upon absolute newbies. I cannot wrap my head around it and it drives me to a red eyed insanity.” You and me both Ms Kyle, you and me both. Noob griefers are the true bane of any game, but most especially EvE, because EvE is a true sandbox PvP FFA game. We have the fewest (correct me if I’m wrong) restrictions on PvP of any MMO I know of today. As we like to say, “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.” ‘cause yer gonna.

Same as Sugar, my issue is the line that is crossed “…when fun (for an experienced player of any age) comes in finding day old (or just very young) players and killing them.” The primary reason this is wrong is the exact same as camping a spawn point in any other game. As a clear example I present this by Khalia Nestune from Paul Clavet’s blog, “My Loot Your Tears”. This particular example took place on 1/8/12 in “Black Prophecy” not EvE, but Khalia and Paul were both notorious griefers in EvE back in the day and I feel Khalia’s attitude about sums up the mindset of players who feel any and all actions taken against new players are acceptable, thereby to me, highlighting exactly why they really aren’t.

Black Prophecy continues to give me lots of enjoyment. I’d discovered that the character search would not only tell you who was online – on the opposing team – but where they happened to be at that very moment. This made it easy to follow the same player all over the game and shoot him over and over.

Then he brought his slightly higher level friend, and I shot that guy over and over. Since he couldn’t kill me before I killed him, I let him get in a few shots. When he eventually left the sector, I opened a conversation with him. What resulted was classic “games are like real life!” e-honor hilarity.

The convo screenshots are full of classics from the age old griefers Handbook à la Rhetoric (italics mine)…

“See, I figure if I can make him so frustrated he won’t play, that’s a win for us…” 
I’m actually improving the quality of your pilots..., those that stick around must be good!”
“You just told me that Brennen was going nuts in your global. That’s totally worth the time.”
Who needs honor, if you win? :D” 
“You’re the one that thinks a game is the same as real life... I think you need some perspective."
“If you’re getting shot over and over, it’s clearly your own fault.”
“I’m surprised that you’re so upset. This is (just) a game, isn’t it? Shouldn’t you be enjoying yourself? I am.”

There followed an amazing comment thread… 67 responses (yes, I’m in there sluggin’ away at the griefers and having fun…). The arguments made, and slander and name calling is exactly as one expects when ‘legal’ adults try and defend childish gamesmanship. So, here we are with the biggest new player spike ever… thousands of noobs undocking in their cute paint-still-wet pods… fumbling around trying to...

(1) get a grip on "HOW THE FRACK does this all work?"
(2) “Where do I go and how do I get involved NOW in all that AMAZINGNESS I read about?”,
(3) “It’s gonna take HOW LONG to fly the second worst ship in here!?!?!”
(4) “I need to go where to get what book???”
(5) “MINING?!?!?!?” and...
(6) “Hey, what does it mean when one of those symbols in the sky pulses RED like that??”  BLAM!… POW!…
“WTF? What’s that?"
"A corpse? ... wait… a CORPSE!?!?!”

So how do we keep the poor little nubbins from getting griefed right out of the game? I was lucky, I had people ingame the day I started. Two of my sons had been playing since before they went over to the real sandbox in Iraq… both were just over a year ingame and so I missed out on the whole “All alone in space….” thing so many who join like this newest batch of noobs go through… on their own cause it all sounds so damn cool.

I’ve posted about Player Retention and Noob Griefing before, those few poor sods who know me know my feelings on this. The longevity of the game requires we take care of the little darlings until they learn which end of a Lazer the pretty light come out of and which end to hang on to…. and I personally believe that can be effectively accomplished with revamped tutorials.

Sugar is gonna reincarnate and start an alt/new char and run the tutorials again. I have decided I am too, but I am gonna take copious notes and really try and tear it apart so I can make some worthwhile suggestions on how to best put it all back together again… to give our children a fighting chance to not just join us, but to survive, grow and prosper in the deadly skies of EvE.

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


  1. My inner pedant can't let this one go:

    "It wasn’t even called World War I until the onset of World War II"

    Good luck in the newb zone, dont let the gankers suicide your Ibis!

  2. LOL...

    From the time of its occurrence until the approach of World War II in 1939, it was called simply the World War or the Great War, and thereafter the First World War or World War I...

    Stabs... =P

    1. And, as a Matarii I shall be in a Rifter of Deth... not any lowly Ibis... Ibis, nah... silly bird anyway...


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