Best Path Inc.
Posted - 2011.06.29 20:14:00 - [1
tl;dr - Give new characters more skills that allow the operation of basic stuff, such as Racial Frigate III, other frigates II, Hull Upgrades I, Afterburner I, etc.
When the Apocrypha expansion was introduced, the starting SP for new players has changed from 800,000 SP to 56,489 SP, while new players were offered a skill boost, effectively turning them into blank slates that train the needed skills faster. After the removal of learning skills in Incursion, new players got an even faster training rate by getting a 12 point increase in all base stats, without the need to rely on skill boosters or suffer the grinding halt of training learning skills. It was a bold move that removed one of the initial barriers for getting into EVE, so I applaud that decision once again.
However, the starting 56,489 SP seems a bit too lacking for new players, as it is barely enough to allow basic game play options, and even the most basic modules are more than 10 minutes away from being able to use. Sometimes the lack of skills can force the learning process to a dead stop, especially during the industrial tutorial where the player is asked to produce an item but does not has the appropriate skill to do that. ("You have to train Industry to level 1...")
This halt in the introduction of new features may negatively influence the first impression of EVE, as many players first playing EVE are often much less tolerant to waiting for access to new features than established players, as often described by the "first hour" rule, or "dump the game if it does not interest or entertain you within the first hour." Therefore, removing the impression that the users have to wait just to gain access to the most basic functionality will improve EVE's first impression and new player retention rate, which in the long run will help both the growth of EVE (and increase the number of pew pew targets or s**kers that dive into your market manipulation attempts) and CCP's financial health (more subscribers that will also buy the NeX stuff).
Then, how do you do this?
Quite simple really. Give new characters more basic skills that unlock most of the basic features a new player will ever need in the first day. This can be done by adding the following skills to every new player's starting skill set:
=> Racial Frigate III, non-racial Frigate II.
=> Non-racial turret II, missile launcher operation I, rocket I, standard missiles I.
=> Hull upgrades I, Repair systems I.
=> Afterburner I.
=> Propulsion Jamming I.
=> Industry I.
=> Astrometrics I.
A new Gallente character, for example, will start with the following skill sets:
=> Spaceship command: Spaceship Command III, Gallente Frigate III, Amarr/Minmatar/Caldari Frigate II. (Group total: 32490 SP)
=> Hybrid Turret III, Energy/Projectile Turret II (13360 SP)
=> Missile Launcher Operation I, Rockets I, Standard Missiles I. (1000 SP)
=> Navigation III, Afterburner I. (8750 SP)
=> Engineering III, Shield Operation II. (9415 SP)
=> Electronics III, Propulsion Jamming I. (8750 SP)
=> Mining II, Industry I. (1665 SP)
=> Science III, Astrometrics I. (8750 SP)
Total SP: 86145 SP.
While the amount of SP given in this proposal is only about 16 hours worth of training, it will be sufficient for any new player that wants to follow through the basic tutorial and career tutorials, and to consider as many options in future progression as possible in terms of race and profession.
To prevent whines from this change("free skillz!! it's unfair!1one!!"), it will be better to give 29656 SP to all characters that are created before this change, the exact amount new characters will gain from the revamp.
=> Jump start that involves less waiting to actually do stuff.
=> Wider options of game play for new players.
=> Increased retention rate of new players. Benefits both the users and CCP.