[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.