Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Who is a New Player?

As part of my argumentative weekend and all of the posts that have spawned from it, I wound up starting to argue a point only to become sidetracked within my own argument. Justice.

The discussion, started by Rhavas in a comment to Ripard Teg reference Ripard's blogpost filtered down to another commentor saying that cynos and scouting are in theory tasks for the newer player.

I immediately disagreed. A lot. Off to writing about my disagreement with the topic I went. It struck close to home and close enough that I wanted to react to my side tracked mine.

To me, Cynos are a task for experienced pilots. In my minds eye, my Rhea and Thanatos were flying rapidly away from an Amarr station undock with hostiles in route to my location. That was the first image I saw when I thought about a newbie opening a cyno for me. The concept of a cyno or a scout seems simple. It is not. Would you release a week old player to go and open a cyno for you? A two week old character? And then blindly jump your capital ship to that cyno created by that innocent new character?

A scout has a lot of information to absorb and process. I am always nervous when scouting. The entire weight of the fleet is on what information I am giving. I think most of us know a fail scout or two. People who you cannot trust to give accurate or complete information and they are well experienced in game.

A cyno requires understanding jump mechanics, where ships come in, station bumping, docking ranges, undocks to select good stations. There are a dozen small details that are not hard to learn but must be learned first. They are not things covered in the tutorial. Capital ships and their accompaniments are just not something I see as a new player thing.

Okay. What is a new player? There are a lot of Eve Blogs out there with newbie or some version of such in their name. Some are brand new players at a week or two old, others are three months, some six months, some two or three years old and expressing that they will always be a newbie. And in Eve, one can be experienced at something and absolutely innocent and ignorant at something else.

I find myself thinking of new players as around the first three months played. Those are the awkward, hard times as learning and low skill points conspire to make everything rough. After that, it starts to level out. ISK is made, a few skill points are accumulated, some basic survival ability has been gained, often a corporation found. It is the make or break point for people playing. In most games, three months in you are a badass. In Eve, at three months in, corporations are turning you down still for not having enough skill points and you are starting to learn what you do not know. They are not veterans but they are not spun of pure innocence and stardust.

But who are we talking about? Who are we fighting for and suggesting things to? Eve sees a rookie as the first thirty days. After that, they are cut off from rookie chat and cast into the game. The tutorials see it as the first few days and again, after that, snip, off into the world. Who are we, the players, calling newbies and thinking of ways to improve their game, include them, teach them, coddle them, and then release them into the world to stand on their own feet?

4 comments:

  1. Yes, "this task requires a low number of skill points" is entirely different from "this task is suitable for new players." Character skill and player skill are two entirely different things.

    I believe that one of the most basic design errors in EVE starts people off in frigates instead of cruisers. Not only does it contradict lore, not only does it start the PVE-fueled, but entirely false, belief that bigger is better, but frigates are difficult and unforgiving ships to fly. The roles they fill frequently require at least a decent amount of player skill.

    Oh, well.

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  2. It seems many consider 'new players' to be the same as 'players who don't understand game mechanics' which is a reallyconfusing thing. Many people in eve go for very long periods of time without learning (or wanting to learn) many different game mechanics. I remember one point around the time of the barge changes where a csm member I think said something along the lines of 'new players flying hulks'. This is a common argument when used to try to nerf ganking and griefing, that players in ships, despite having to spend months to get into these ships are still newbies and should be protected.

    Personally I think after a week players should be actively learning different game mechanics and if they haven't learned enough to survive after a month then really the problem lies with them. There are many different resources and corps/alliances dedicated to helping and teaching new players that they really shouldn't be protected at all imo.

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  3. As someone who complains a lot about being 'newb', I'm really not a new player by any means. Yes, I have less skills than people have who started at the same time, but I know about basic mechanics of the game and know how to move around it (until they change the skill categories again or something lol).

    In hindsight, I should have learnt more, earlier. And listen to people who actually knew, not those that say they do.

    I would argue though, that starting out in frigates actually helps my flying other things. Because frigates are less forgiving, I would also argue that it takes a tad more skill than say, flying in high sec, mining. This skill is translating onto the bigger stuff, and i'm finding that padding my skills with the smaller stuff also helps.

    Also- anyone who wants to help me learn how to d-scan quicker, I wanna play a hide-and-seek of sorts heh. :)

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  4. I agree completely about the cyno part. Not only is the actual deployment very technical, but fitting a cyno field requires some skills that I would rather not see week-old characters wasting their time on when they could be doing something fun instead.

    On the other hand, I don't see any reason that new characters should necessarily be any worse at scouting than veterans. It might take a couple of roams to learn, but it's not a skill you pick up automatically after getting to X skill points. It might even take the same number of roams to learn for a newbie and a veteran. It seems to depend mostly on being a quick study.

    I'm sure there are other roles which depend mostly on soft skills that are the same way, too.

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