Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Goodbye Sweet Newbie

[TL;DR: This is a sad post]
Mustic: BoysIIMen - It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

Anthony, my newbie that I adopted back in February, logged in today to tell me that he was unsubbing. I was not surprised. He has not been on for the better part of a month. The signs are easy enough to read. He took the time to wait for my normal login time and write me an Eve mail in case he missed me. I thanked him for that. Many will just vanish.

The reasons are simple enough. Life does not give everyone the time to cultivate internet spaceship gameplay. Like any MMO and more than many, Eve consumes a lot of time. It is not something that anyone has ever tried to hide. It is not a problem with the game. It is simply the truth and sometimes outside of this game in the world that truly controls what we do, one does not have the time to play.

He apologized to me for wasting my time. I told him that it was never a waste of time. He was a cool dude and I had the pleasure of knowing him for a while. I adopted Anthony from Rookie Chat when I created my Faction Warfare alt. It started as just pulling him aside to answer a few questions he couldn't get answered in Rookie Chat and turned into full adoption. I can't adopt a newbie into my corporation. But, I did what I could and gave him as much support as an outlaw pirate with little high sec access can. We were under a series of wardecs around that time I believe and using Chella was also out of the equation.

I didn't adopt Anthony with an ulterior motive. I adopted him because I wanted to and I enjoyed his company. I also, sincerely believe that it is vital for someone to take a hand in helping new players into the game. Not everyone has to join a newbie corporation or a training corporation but almost everyone benefits from having someone to lean on for help. No commitments. No pressure. Just a place to ask questions and receive advice and opinions on all of the undocumented things in Eve.

Anthony's story, as I relayed back in February, was also one of recruitment scams. He was smart enough to see through the scam but it scared him off of corporations. And, how could I blame him for that? We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to retain new players and they are being sniped out of Rookie Chat and scammed faster than we can get them interested in the game. One of my problems with expecting them to know better is that the corporation scams that can and do happen in Eve really don't happen in other places. Suddenly, they can be killed by people for no reason other than their amusement and hopeful tears. And while that is not what happened to Anthony it almost did. It did happen to other new players in Rookie Chat with him.

And I don't know how to fix that situation. I don't know how to do it without suggesting we change the fundamental nature of Eve. I want to educate people better. I feel it is the most true to the game approach but you cannot force education down someones throat. All of the caution that they are told prepares few for the reality of the game and I don't know if that is something that can be fixed or what part of it is wrong.

I do not understand why people prey on the newest of characters. I don't mean alts. I don't mean newbies that wander into wormholes and low sec. I mean the ones who sit on the rookie station in a ship with a can and offer duels or try to get them to steal. I mean the ones pulling week old characters asking questions and looking for a corp out of Rookie Chat and getting them to come where they can kill them. Every time this question is brought forward it is met with people who blame people for their ignorance or want hard lines to define what is a newbie and who needs to be protected.

Asking people to have personal limits is too much. They come into a game to shed them. Who am I asking them to be nice to the new players? If they wanted that they'd be in a fluffy, loving, rookie recruiting corporation. I understand that. I don't want Eve to be easy. I've never supported completely safe Eve. Yet, newbies are eaten before they are out of their shell crawling across the beach for the ocean.

None of that is why Anthony left. He recovered from his worry. He has a life that is greater than games. Yet, I still wonder if I failed somehow. I think that my time knowing him has given me a lot to think about when it comes to new player retention. I asked him to fill out the exit survey to give CCP their statistics.

And such ends an Era. I'll miss him. You’re not supposed to be attached to a game. You’re not supposed to admit emotions in a competitive world. I can’t say that I care. My world is -1 friend today. And while he is not lost, he is gone. Things are a bit sadder today.

And he voted for me before he left, right before the polls closed. Ah damn. I do hope that I will do him proud.

22 comments:

  1. "I do not understand why people prey on the newest of characters."

    You answered your own question, information and knowledge are the natural enemy of scammers and con-men and newbies are the least likely to have access to either, so they are the ideal 'mark'.

    It is sad that it happens though. Much of the phenomenon I believe is caused by the fact that many players coming into EVE deep down don't really believe EVE is a 'harsh universe' they don't take that claim at face value because many MMO's claim that, and it isn't really true in any of those.

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    1. I agree. Every game tells you how rough it is and then you pown everyone with a broken stick while dressed in some rancid wool eatting unripened berries.

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  2. You are a one-woman player retention empire. :-)

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    1. I have no idea what you mean by that but it sounds good. :)

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    2. Heh. Just that if we got commissions for keeping newbies interested in the game, you'd have collected a ton!

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    3. Ahh, yes. Well, I believe that a side effect of the steep learning curve is both forgetting how painful it was and for some arrogance that they succeeded where others failed.

      Not everyone enjoys helping. Many find it irritating. I think that is normal for nature and I don't expect every individual to want to spend their time newbie helping.

      However, we need more resources that are obvious for new players. I've been getting a lot of feedback about how hard it can be for them to even start finding success. It shouldn't be. But features such as a recruitment newsletter accessible through the neocom where one could browse corps and maybe read ratings (but god people will abuse that) and find public chats that's better than the current search.

      Almost every need that we see feels as if it could be an expansion all on its own. It is a huge mountain of small things.

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  3. My recommendation to any noob is wait at least a month or two before joining a corp. I'm glad I did. I looked, prodded, asked and then found and joined a corp 4 months into my Eve career. It took me this long to figure out what I should be looking for that'll work for me (and the corp). In retrospect this approach worked very well.

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    1. I find that week 3 is about the point where they are looking for a 'bigger' Eve.

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  4. Tis truly a sad thing that the new bros are getting eaten alive coming out of the gates. Kind of like the little sea turtles scurrying to the ocean after hatching and digging their way out of the sand... only to be eaten up by the seagulls or other birds hovering above.

    Sorry for you being down one friend but I have complete faith in your ability to make him proud. Looking forward to you getting into the CSM and making shit happen :D.

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  5. I won't let a full on newbie join corp unless they hung out in our pub chat for a couple days first. I suggest that to EVERYONE in Rookie Help.

    Also, I completely understand feeling sad at losing a new friend.

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  6. I think the tendency of EVE to strangle newbies in their crib should be more prominent in the advertising. We don't like you! Give us 14 days to make you hate us too! If you survive that, you just might make it!

    If you can't fix it, feature it!

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  7. Noooooo. This is, this I can't even describe. For the sake of the newbie I will say this:

    1) It's possible in other ways to virtually solo and enjoy the game

    2) I am playing Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys in honour of you because, well Boys II Men? You had gall. You had guile. Farewell Space Newbie!

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  8. It is great that you took him under your wing. This is one of the reasons that I voted for you for CSM with all five of my accounts. IE, your nature as someone who understands the problems the game faces. We need more people with your attitude in the game and more importantly, on the CSM.

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  9. " Every time this question is brought forward it is met with people who blame people for their ignorance or want hard lines to define what is a newbie and who needs to be protected."

    I understand why scammers want hard lines regarding protection of newbies; what I don't understand is why it is so hard to draw hard lines for them. (No pun intended). Let's draw the damn lines already.

    "I mean the ones who sit on the rookie station in a ship with a can and offer duels or try to get them to steal."

    That's already against the rules, so drawing hard lines is possible, there just aren't enough.

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    1. The fear of hard lines comes because they ether walk the edge and play letter of the law vs spirit of the law or the line is so far to one side that it strangles other things without meaning to. In a game that tries to allow the players to create their own society the lord of the flies effect is hard to counter without countering other things as well. I think the worry is that we will have to give something up that makes Eve unique.

      I agree and I should have commented about the lack of enforcement of this particular thing. The wall of limited resources is very, very tall here.

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  10. A good post. I enjoy your blog very much. Though I have bittervetted out of EVE again, I also listed you in my number 1 spot for the CSM. Good Luck.

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  11. you been playing eve way to long m8.. have forgotten that it is a mmo after all, and like any mmo, you never know who you will be gaming with from month to month.. heck, not even from week to week sometimes..

    don't be sad... its a mmo.. it is just the way it is...

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    1. I commit one of the greatest sins in this game. I admit that I have emotions about things. I know it is the way that it is. I still miss the fun and interesting people that I no longer see.

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  12. Tbh I'd rather see corp scam ppl banned then the likes of ero1. But ccp can't figure out what's really good for the game. Ero1s victim is still playing eve. Almost everyone I know that's had the goons steal all their stuff In a recruitment scam usually quits.

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  13. Honestly I can't understand the whole scamming newbie thing. There is no return as they don't have enough isk to be worth the time invested. The kill mail is like wise near worthless unless you are merely tracking kills to death ratios.

    That said it's another thing to blow up a newbie who wandered into LS or WH. It's a free for all and they are a valid target. Plus they could be a spy. Generally most corp I've been in message them, talk about what they did wrong. If the newbie isn't actively a dick the fleet usually throws x2-4 the isk listed in the killmail at the newbie. Depending on the corp recruitment isn't out of the question.

    Personally I tend just point them and warn them that the next guy will clean their clocks.

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