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A Better Badger

My goal was to make dinner first thing when I got home. Then I'd write my low sec focused Kronos post for patch day. After that I'd eat dinner and relax for a bit.

Instead, I wound up talking a newbie down from a rage quit after a gank. This is that story.

I'd only been on for a few minutes when I saw someone say, "I'm done with this game!" in Eve Uni chat. I watched what was going on and a week or two old player was running his first courier contract and got ganked along the way. Ouch. While the responses had some suggestions such as, "Don't fit that way" there was also a lot of, "Welcome to Eve. Ganks happen. We all lose ships."

It just wasn't the right tone to calm him down. As soon as I established that he wasn't auto piloting and he had attempted to fit out his hauler I pulled him aside in a private chat and went to calming him down and seeing what happened. One reason I pulled him aside is because he said, "New players don't get a chance to learn the rules." While I did not want him to rage quit I hoped that if he did, he'd rage quit all over me and leave me something useful to work with.

I think just being talked to calmed him down a lot. He was travelling gate to gate and was ganked by a Vexor. He learned a nasty lesson. I tossed him the twenty million that was sitting on Sugar since he was down to almost nothing and we just talked. He thought that he was doing good by going gate to gate.

So we talked. We talked about what to fly and what to fit. He admitted that he was rushing because a T2 hauler was a long train. He asked for advice on what to fit and I paled and asked him to give me a moment to look. Looking involved two things. A quick scan for Eve Uni's fit for a badger and hunting down some advice.

Ship fits are not my strength. I wish it were but it's not. I'm the one who flies Minmatar stuff because I like it even with Ishtar the flavor of the month. Plus, fits are regions. Therefore, I called upon a prist of fitting. Thusly, I did summon Michael Harari! He whose links are always ship fits has recently started a fitting blog (which I'm going to add to my side bar). I asked him to make a fit for me for my newbie who needed a properly tanked T1 barge. He made me this.

I gave it to the newbie and discussed it. We talked about fits and tanking things and if cloaks are worth it or not. Eventually, I just dragged Michael into chat for a bit and went to cook dinner while Michael explained to him the error of his ways and the cost of contracts. However, said newbie wants to be a space trucker so I'm not willing to discourage him from it. We informed him of the pros and cons and the realities of public contracts.

He called us nice. Michael denied niceness. I told him that educating new players is an investment that some have chosen to make for both selfish and non-selfish reasons. Can I call my reasons niceness when I was trying to glean information to use to deal with future new players who have learning voids? It seems selfish. Everyone that I can get to slow down, take a deep breath, and step back from the edge is better for the game.

And so, such was the start of my evening. And yes I tossed money again. Sigh. I need to stop because I'm going to go broke giving away money to people to capture their attention long enough to get them to talk to me and calm them down. Maybe, I'll get some in space PvE time to buffer my bleeding wallet. More than donating money to people I'm kind of paying them for the information that I need and want. It's weird. I'm weird. Oh well.

It was a useful forty-five minutes.


  1. You have good people-smarts.

    Someone who's in that state of mind usually needs two things: someone to listen to him (or her) vent about it, and a plan for making the same thing less likely to happen in future.

    Most people don't see far enough beyond the end of their own noses to even WANT to help. It's easier to make flippant comments.

    Maybe -- if I squint REALLY hard -- I can see your desire to make EVE better as selfish. But it kinda hurts my forehead to squint like that.

  2. o7 my hat's off to you mate, and you've got a new follower

    1. Be careful, I don't do this every say ;)

    2. hehe, my corp doesn't either, but if we notice they're nubs we're more likely to attempt and be helpful.

  3. But… but… isn't the official narrative that if a nublet gets blown up, the ganker/pirate responsible is more than happy to impart valuable knowledge, even without prompting?

    yes, I'm a bit bitter at the moment.

    1. Well not without prompting :) I mean if I violence somebody and they ask, I'll happily take time out of my day and explain how they could have thwarted me.

      When you call me a cock in local and then leave detailed descriptions of what you'd like to do to me with rusty nails while my loved ones watch, I'm not that keep, somehow... ;-)

    2. Not quite. Everyone expects the newbie to ask. I did this with my FW pilot and got a lot of surprised people and zero advice.

    3. The problem with that model is that pretty much the last thing most people would think of doing in that situation is asking the person who just blew them up.

      Maybe they're hopped up on adrenaline. Maybe they have the idea that anyone who would do that is not worth talking to. Maybe they try to vainly claw back some power with empty threats and insults. If you just leave them to that, you confirm whatever preconceptions they have, and the odds are that they'll leave.

      I know that some people are fine with that. They see their role as culling out the undeserving who are in the wrong game. My problem with that is that I have a hunch that most people don't know what game they're in, and so you don't know whether they're suited for EVE until you've had a chance to talk them down and see how they react to advice.

      Even a nicely worded EVEMail that you can copy-and-paste, with an opening to start a dialog, would be something (as opposed to the sneering, condescending one I got when I was ganked once, long ago.)

  4. The problem is that the newbie remained only by blind luck: met with you. If you wasn't online, he'd be lost to EVE.

    The info you gave him should have been in the game. Like every ship should have a "recommended fit" tab. Or at least the wiki should be updated by a paid employee with info like that.

    CCP just can't place their subscriber number on the hope "Sugar will be here and save us".

    1. I know. And that's why ai do try o talk to people who are upset to see what they needed or missed.

    2. I cooked up a suggestion to teach newbies via a career mission:

  5. Looks like I have to agree with Gevlon. The tutorials should train a lot more about how to fit ships and the NPC Corps could have a set of recommended fittings stored in the corporation fittings with descriptions for common newbie ships.

    A little con to your fitting duded: A fitting with "All V" skills and only 1.25 MW free power grid will NOT work for a newbie. Its a fitting to aim for but nothing he will be able to use right out of school.

    1. We still had the discussion on how to fit things and what to train towards and why.

      And I go on about us needing to educate them. I realize I need to know what education they need too.

    2. I note in this comment and Gevlon’s above that the origin of the new player’s rage is understood primarily as a failure to fit a boat properly. I am, however, struck by a couple of Sugar Kyle’s statements [intentionally taken out of order]:

      1) “He admitted that he was rushing because a T2 hauler was a long train.”
      Today’s lesson . . . don’t rush. Eve rewards patience.

      2) “One reason I pulled him aside is because he said, ‘New players don't get a chance to learn the rules.’”
      Wait what? This *is* your chance to learn the rules.

      What I’m trying to point out is that while there is an immediate proximate cause of our raging noob’s disaster (poor ship fitting), there’s also a much deeper root cause afoot (impatience & unwillingness to learn from failure).

      Unless CCP are absolute miracle workers, a better new player experience might affect proximate causes but won’t do a damn thing about root causes. If CCP could pull off a miracle of education and develop a space ship game tutorial that really did teach patience and resilience it would be a dark day for us Eve players as CCP would very probably move out of the MMO gaming business and step into the education business with what I would describe as a genuine and true education Jesus Feature.


    3. Actually, the root cause is other MMOs: If you look closely at #2, there's this idea, which you can find elsewhere, that first you learn the rules and get comfortable with the controls, maybe level up and get some nice gear, and then you go into the PVP zone, whether it's a server or a zone or a minigame. Obviously, EVE doesn't work like that. But it's not the new player's fault that EVE is completely different from just about every other MMO out there. So this player is complaining that the "PVP zone" came to them before they were "ready" for it. You're right that this is a chance to learn the rules, but first they have to break out of their misconception. Your "wait what" is because you already know how EVE works. We should never assume that new players do.

    4. Nice response Dersen Lowery. While I have my doubts CCP can ever adequately prepare noobs in the first place (so few listen), it does set me to thinking that there might be a something simple CCP can do after the fact.

      Sooner or later nearly every Eve pilot is going to suffer defeat at the hands of another player. At that first shocking moment perhaps an automated follow-up from CCP (pop-up?) could help nudge the player towards good natured understanding rather than raging irritation. Maybe something like, “So you just got murdered . . . Congratulations Pilot. You’re blooded. You’re the real thing.”

      Now that first PvP defeat is a rite of passage. A badge of honor. T’was meant to hurt. CCP might even hand out a little badge honoring the occasion.


  6. Sure, he isn't perfect. Some people are not prepared to find themselves shocked and upset about the game. Instead of telling him he's impatient and unwilling to learn he told me those things and he was calm when he did it.

    So, he realized what he did and the handful of time used to calm him down will hopefully prepare him for this happening again. Maybe there is no Jesus feature of education. That's fine, I'll still look. If all I find is the fact that I'll have to personally invest some energy in them then that's what I find.

    If he had continued to rage out, maybe. But he's human and imperfect. I'm pretty familiar with those two points so I'm going to take the more productive path as I seen it.

    This is also why I didn't drag him chat. When someone is having an emotional reaction lectures rarely get anyone anywhere.

    1. If I was lecturing anybody I was lecturing Chanina & Gevlon.

      It frustrates me see difficulties dumped at CCP’s doorstep that we can’t realistically expect them to do anything about. Eve’s quirky charm (for me at least) isn’t tanking mechanics. Rather it’s what you can do once you master the mechanics. Grow a space business (mine happens to be in Hi-Sec). Rush to the assistance of a space friend (it’s an absolute joy to log on to, “Dire! I need logi. Fast!). Suffer humiliating defeat (::chagrin::). Sucker punch a fool (::giggle::).

      Expecting the new player experience to teach life lessons is a bit extravagant. Only life teaches life lessons. Sure, your raging noob needed some mechanics instruction but it sounded to me like he mostly needed a life lesson on responding to adversity. Hopefully he absorbed a little useful wisdom.


  7. I'll probably get blasted for saying this, but I don't think we can make the EVE experience better by just focusing on newbies, their behavior, and lack of knowledge.

    There were two people in that equation -- the new kid flying an undertanked Badger, and the other guy. Presumably there were more interesting targets around during that timeframe, and yet he chose to blow up the new toon in the indy that couldn't shoot back.

    To be clear, I'm not recommending that CCP implement some kind of effed-up industrial invulnerability cloud or whatever. But it seems to me that every time there's a discussion about the new player experience there's a lot more focus on building a better newbie instead of building a better vet.

    I'd like to see a cultural shift in the community, so targets like that are considered EZ mode and beneath a vet to bother with.

    1. I guarantee you that the ganker didn't check his age. All he checked was fit and cargo

    2. I'm sure you're right. But even the fit should've been an "Ehhh, why bother" kind of thing. I wish more people were fans of GFs instead of one-sided stuff like this.

    3. The fit is so he can calculate whether or not he can gank, the cargo is so he can calculate the expected drops.

    4. Or at the very least, take 5 seconds to check the age and attempt contact afterward.

      Putting all the responsibility for correct behavior in an encounter on people who are too new to know anything yet is rather obviously going to hurt retention.

      And, just to be clear, I'm not demanding that CCP ~require~ anything. But if EVE is a sandbox where players create the content, then players are in large part responsible for the NPE, and they should recognize that. We can't just wash our hands and claim that it's CCP's responsibility.

    5. Day what needs to be said, lady. Even if it is not agreed with it needs to be said so that it can be considered and thought about. It can be very, very hard being the sayer.

  8. It'd be interesting to see a metric implemented where they calculate the aggressor's risk and publish those stats along with bulk kill volume.

    Hmm. That gives me an idea for writing a killboard plugin, actually, that might not even need any additional API features from CCP.

    The idea would be that your killboard stats are weighted according to how much risk you took to achieve the kill. Popping a shuttle wouldn't count nearly as much as a more equal fight.


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