Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thoughts on "The Way of the Plex" devblog

I just enjoyed reading GM Grimmi's recent devblog on the PLEX market. We finally have some much needed hard data that helps us better see the supply-side of the PLEX market.

The bottom line is that >1200 PLEX are being traded every day at >300m each.

360,000,000,000 (360 billion) a day.

The yellow line is particularly interesting to me. Notice the spike in created plexes in March (blue line) and the dip in plex usage in June (red), which corresponded to a significant jump in plex creation and stockpiling (for value perhaps rather than usage). The jump in prices happened when that yellow line dipped and flatlined in May.

We see about 800 being utilized a day for subscriptions, which appears fairly stable.

On the flip side, there are about 16000 plex just sitting around collecting dust and the urge to create them seems to be on a general increase (blue line, above). This WILL have long-term and major market implications. People continue to invest in plex with the likely belief prices will rise again.

Supplies are far outpacing demand and appear to be based purely on real cash investment towards the end of commodities trading. The plex supply has more than doubled in just a few months, while the demand remains relatively flat. The question is how the owners of these 16,000 will handle any volatility in the coming months.

If these were all investors who used ISK to stockpile some plex, then they won't be so eager to sell at a loss. If these were heavily made up of people using real cash to create plex, then they may be interested in dumping plex if prices tank again. We'll see.

8-18: i just posted similar points at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Economic Banter #1: PLEX & Trit prices

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry
I have some questions.
  • Where did all the PLEX cash flow go?
  • When will Trit turn back up?
PLEX prices - 3 month view (sinq region)

Wow. May & June 2009 PLEX prices were insane.

We can go around and around about WHY this happened, starting with the argument that the recent offer around using PLEX for Fanfest was the main cause. I don't believe any one argument about causes wins. This cannot be explained by Fanfest. There was no significant jump in either demand or trade volume. If anything, it was caused by a supply shortage and not by demand.

In Sinq Laison alone, there are 50-100 trades a day. That meant 20-40 trillion ISK a day, just in one region. By my calculation, this month of steep price increases accounts for about 10 trillion ISK a day (in Sinq) of extra cash. That's enough cash to buy out all the tritanium in each region, several times over. In raw volume terms, PLEX trading apparently dwarves all other market phenomenon.

Market manipulation?

One odd thing I did notice was fairly substantial coordination of price shifts in MANY regions simultaneously. To be specific, I was traveling around during the peek of PLEX insanity and watching prices in multiple regions. PLEX prices were being simultaneously raised in "quiet" regions as well as the trade hub regions. There were many regions with only 2 PLEX for sale, in strange locations, having their prices raised at the same time they were being raised in Jita, Dodi, etc. I found this peculiar, because it indicated that a handful of traders had obscene amounts invested in PLEX and were manipulating prices in coordination. To be specific, I witnessed sales prices on PLEX in 3-4 scattered regions (including quiet ones with only 1-3 plex for sale) simultaneously rising by similar jumps within a few minutes of each other. I ran around many regions and found the trend was maintained to suit the large volumes of sales in the trade hubs... as if actively coordinated.

In fact, I got the distinct impression that 1-2 major traders were simply buying out the PLEX market and price gouging. I'd be 100% convinced of this if it weren't for the simple fact that I can't believe anybody has that much ISK (tens of trillions). Likewise, such behavior would indicate one of the most risky investments possible, because nobody in their right minds would believe those >400m prices could last even if they were properly manipulating with active trading at ever-higher prices. Nonetheless, volume in Sinq barely dropped to under 50 a day and it looks like there was a significant spike where nearly 100 were sold at 400m.

Did somebody engage in a massive gambit?
If so, i think it involved coordinated efforts of a corporation or some equiv group of traders. Perhaps it wasn't entirely their doing, but they could have tapped into the trend and exacerbated it. Some people cashed out very nicely.

PLEX prices - 3 month view (forge region)

Other possible factors? It's summer during a global recession. A lot of players potentially ended up on vacation. There's also a shift in real life cash flow, with strained RL economies. There appears to be a minor trend in monthly demand, but this went beyond that.

Perhaps a very simple explanation is that players bought less PLEX with real cash. School ended. Times are tough. Perhaps players had less cash to invest into gaming? I'd strongly favor this theory, but it would seem to me that it would be matched by an increase in demand for in-game PLEX to pay for subscriptions with ISK. However, there was no significant increase in volume from what I can see. What we did see was an explosion in ISK cash flow.

This leads me to the more basic question. The month-long upwards swing in ISK cashflow from PLEX was not tied to any apparent inflation in general prices, so where did that 10+ trillion ISK a day go?

Where did all that cash go?

It certainly did not go into buying Tritanium... which has been steadily dropping like a rock, lately. Some argue it's due to a lack of demand for new warfare ships. I wonder.

Tri: 3 month prices (sinq region)

Trit: 3 month prices (Forge region)

I don't see indication of a major drop in demand, quite the opposite when you look at 6 month trends. This leads me to speculate that this is a supply-side phenomenon. So then, what would account for a significant increase in trit supplies?

How about summer time? More mission running & reprocessing? More mining? Is this part of a more general annual cycle? Is trit usually in decline for june/august?

Let's look at the Quarterly Economic Newsletters for clues.

QEN Q1 2008: Trit prices

It's hard to suggest there's a strong trend towards lower trit and mineral prices during the summer, but the evidence could also support the notion of supply increases. Trit prices have historically had some other factors holding prices down. Last year we saw trit "decoupled."

Trit: 1 year market history (Sinq region)

So, are we currently seeing trit settling downwards? Or is this a temporary fluctuation due to a wave of summer supply? CCP's QENs indicate that trit demand has been at a steady increase, and the market volumes indicate the same.

My suspicion is that a new baseline is being felt out and that we're touching it at 3.80 or so.


I'd wager that as August comes, we'll see some massive buy orders on Trit and a fast incline perhaps to 4.20-4.30 range.

PLEX demand looks fairly stable, but I suspect we'll see an increase in PLEX items in late August and September. A lot of the new players from this Spring & Summer may be in a position to want ISK. I predict a drop in prices below 300m, then coming back up towards Oct and going way up again (350m) by Dec.

I'd wager that we'll also see extreme volatility in T1 salvage mat prices in august and september, but rational prices won't settle until both player stockpiles run dry and CCP explains the changes in drop rates.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A "PvP Epic Arc"

Based on my previous musings about "Tommy" & the New Player Experience on this blog, I finally started a simple thread on the Eve forums.

A "PvP Epic Arc" (up to 800k SP) in a special W-Space constellation

Worst thread subject ever, but I hope it stirs discussion.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Attribute Implant Costs & the "Fun" Disincentive

I believe that there are arbitrary disincentives against doing PvP in Eve.

The risks/rewards of activities in a game should ENTICE players, not discourage them.

I came to Eve wanting to pvp and explore space. I quickly realized that I had to grind standing for jump clones. I then realized I needed a lot of ISK to afford to regularly pvp. I'm increasingly having to "work" and do the "smart thing" rather than to do the simple, fun thing. I'd like to suggest 1 change that could help improve Eve dramatically.
  • Lower "attribute" implant costs by ~80% (over 6 months)
Have LP stores charge $15m and 10k LP for a +5 implant rather than 65m + 65k LP. I'd wager that would lead to a +5 set being about 90mill, which is still a significant investment. CCP would also need to rearrange cases where implants are in the pool for mission rewards and drops. An entire +3 set should be 10m not 10m each. I am not suggesting costs be reduced on "skill hardwiring" implants. I would possibly even argue that those prices should INCREASE.

I am not saying this as a personal complaint about spending ISK on implants. I made about 1.5b in my first 2 months playing Eve. I am suggesting this because I believe this game mechanic is hurting Eve gameplay.

Counter-argument #1: "It's market driven and the prices reasonably reflect demand."

This is not true.

Base prices on attribute implants are set by CCP. A +5 implant from a standard LP store is 65million + 65,000 LP. CCP also determines what type of implants are received from various storyline missions, etc. CCP entirely determines the baseline value.

+3s cost about 9,000,000 (5.25m ISK + 5.25k LP)
+4s cost about 18,000,000 (12m ISK + 12k LP)
+5s cost about 100,000,000 (65m ISK + 65k LP)

Those are not market-driven prices whatsoever. CCP sets the bottom value. It's price fixed.

If CCP wanted to, they could make +5 attribute implants cost 15m and 10k LP instead. There is no player manufacturing involved. There are no other market forces at play. There is high demand because efficient training time is universally in demand.

Counter-argument #2: "PvP involves risk & Eve is about rough choices."

Risk implies putting something on the line. The risk/rewards of pvp should be driven by a "fun factor, " not set in opposition to it. Choices put in front of players should be fun.

Having to choose between efficient training time and fun is a horrible game mechanic. Vets may not fully appreciate this because they take training for granted after a while and tend to have tons of ISK. But for players under a year old, this is usually not an exciting choice or a reasonable risk.

A passive time-sink skill training design is already counter-intuitive to most hardcore gamers. You can skill-up while docked and AFK. Undocking just to have fun doing pvp should not significantly compete with training time.

It can take months of focused effort just to get a jump clone. And who really wants a jump clone that nerfs your training time for 24 or more hours? This is not a minor matter for newer players.

The risks of pvp should be primarily about the ship and equipment you bring, not TRAINING TIME for your character. It's an unecessary disincentive. I strongly believe this is a primary reason that so many players stay in empire or just quit Eve, even if they dont see it purely in these terms. The sense that enjoying the game more freely will cost you training time is a very bad thing.

That's a horrible choice to have to make as a gamer. Fun vs properly training your character. Vet players and CCP need to step back to see how unnecessary that is...

Counter-argument #3: "Top implants should not be easily available to everybody."

I consider this a fairly abstract rationalization for the status quo rather than a sound argument against the proposal.

It's not an actual reason against a set of +5s costing 90-100mil on the market. 90 million is not a small amount, although it would be a very fair investment for a +5 set.

The argument implies that having a +5 set is some type of very special entitlement or advantage that only the most skilled and rich players should have access to. I disagree. I think a fair price should be required, but we're talking about having efficient training time. Efficient training time absolutely SHOULD be within reasonable range for all players if they are willing to fork over a fair amount of isk. To suggest otherwise is to support the most irrational grind aspect of gaming.

100m for a set of implants that allow you to FULLY enjoy the game is more than sufficient cost.

New players would aim to have enough cash flow to maintain +5s in their first few months. Older players would get used to the lower costs fairly quickly. Absolutely no harm would be done. Nothing would be lost.

A lot would be gained for Eve... because you'd absolutely see more people doing pvp when the risk/rewards are not unnecessarily undermining training time.

The Fun Incentive:
A better way

It's my opinion that the risks/rewards should ENTICE players, not push them away from Eve.

The current costs in time/effort just to be able to pvp without severely compromising your training is entirely arbitrary. The fact that many players have accepted it does not make it sound or good for gameplay.

You shouldn't have to decide between having fun doing pvp and properly training your character. The "risks" of getting blown up should be the costs of ship and equipment, not CHARACTER TRAINING TIME. Current costs of optimal training times are pointless discouragement against getting out there and having some fun.

Let's consider all the new players who come to Eve because of the hype around PvP. Why should it be so hard for a new player to access such a basic fun-enabling features of the game? Jump clones take considerable time and effort. Once a new player gets invested in playing Eve, they start thinking long-term about character development. Game mechanics which actively discourage them from having fun need to be re-evaluated.

My suggestion is to cut "attribute" implant costs by 80% over 6 months. The reason I think it should roll out slowly is that the economic repercussions could be dramatic and very complex. 20% cuts in NPC prices every 2 months would be reasonable.

This could dramatically improve Eve gameplay, allowing a much greater freedom to engage in the risks/rewards of PvP. This would apply to "main" characters and "alt" characters. I suspect there's be a very significant increase in PvP with more activity in lowsec, nulsec and w-space.

This would be a boost to the economy.

This would be a boost to emergent gameplay dynamics and Eve universe politics.

This would help grow the player base.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Use Teh Tetrahedronal Force

It's my working theory that a 4 sided pyramid is optimal for scanning in Eve due to the angles involved. Eve explorers generally believe that scan results work with the 4 "best" probe locations. We believe that optimal results are about angles. I'm no math expert, but here's what I've come up with.

Angle = Probe1 - Target - Probe2

I'm a new player. In order to understand and feel like I had some kind of handle on how this worked, I began scanning as much as I could with 2 probes and trying to get comfortable with the results I obtained. I found I could discern a lot with a bunch of quick scans using 2 probes. With slight adjustments of just 1 of the 2 probes, I could get a good sense of location.

Feel free to replicate this on your own. Scan a site down and warp to it. Launch (only) 2 probes.

Try to keep the distances between probes and target equal for each angle measurement. I do not believe your skills will significantly impact the pattern of results.

~180 degree angle

Notice that you obtain a very small red circle. Take note of the signal strength, as well.

90 degree angle

Notice that your red circle has grown significantly. Notice the signal strength is weaker.

45 degree angle

Notice that your red circle is huge and the signal is much weaker. As you dip below 45 you'll start getting red spheres and completely useless deviation.

Conclusion: Obtuse Angles Provide Stronger Results Than Acute Angles

Perhaps I'm confusing factors here, but it seems clear to be that when reduced to simple, singular angles that the wider angles win (up to 180). Since Eve seems to look for the best 4 probes, the best 4 angles in producing a result then I would conclude this applies there as well.

The cross/box approach

I've used this a lot. It works ok. Let's look more closely at the acute & right angles involved.

The pyramid/tetrahedron

It's all about the angles. It's also very easy and fast to move around in this formation which gets you vertical reach as well. If your target is roughly in the center of a tetrahedron, I believe that's the optimal signal strength given the various acute angles formed with the probes.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tommy's Story & the new player experience

An Expanded New Player Experience

Many New Players: "Eve seems boring, repetitive and I don't even know what to do after a couple days playing."
Vets: "You're a moron. Eve doesn't need you."
Vets: "Go back to WoW."
Vets: "It's not boring. Learn to play."

Many New Players: "It seems like I have to spend 2-3 months training before I can have any fun. I'm not subscribing."

My assessment is that Eve's problem is not the famous steep learning curve itself, but how
new players simply don't obtain enough information about the game to make basic decisions. This is not a good thing, no matter how vets and perhaps some devs try to spin it. The learning curve itself is completely disconnected from the experience curve.

It's like
infants trying to learn a complex language in a household where nobody speaks around them. In this case the problem is not the complexity of the language but the disconnect between experience and what must be learned. New players should obtain a better sense of the game within 5-15 days and should be better guided through some of the decision making you make in the first month (while they learn about the game enough to start making real decisions on their own).

Combined with this problem is the fact that Eve often gives you two choices: (A) the smart thing to do vs (B) the fun thing do to. The perfect example is the interest in training Learning skills up. The experience curve has many counter-intuitive elements (i.e. it can quickly feel like a pointless ISK grind with repetitive content and you are limited to playing only 1 character). The experience curve needs to be much more engaging in the first couple weeks and some of the counter-intuitive elements need to be diminished.

Let me put a summary of my suggestions up front using a fictional new player (Tommy) and then give the full explanation. The important ideas are having an expanded tier of Advanced Advisory agents along with a "closed" set of systems for newbie pvp.

Tommy, The Newbie

Tommy just started playing Eve. He's heard about it over the years and decided to try it out. He's a former MMO player who enjoys FPShooters as well.

[ Give players more fun things to do on a platter, while they absorb the massive amount of information required to MAKE basic decisions in eve. ]

He enters Eve and immediately gets a pretty welcome screen and a sexy female voice which explains that he's been put into the CAS Corp as a new Gallente character, and will have the opportunity for some guided play that will help manage the steep learning curve of Eve. He's also told that as a Gallente character, he's still free to learn any skills and other racial technologies. It explains that the Eve universe is extremely broad, complex and can't be learned by a simple manual. He's told Eve is not a linear progression from start to finish but instead is an open-ended sandbox where players make an exciting world. Tommy is excited by this, not deterred.

Within his first minutes, he's engaged in the Crash Course tutorials which start giving him simple tasks and rewarding him with low hanging fruit. Tommy likes it so far.

Tommy goes through the current tutorials and is told that finishing all 3 branches of the stage 1 tutorial agents will grant him access to more advanced opportunities. Once he completes all 3, he is taken to a special CAS Advanced Advisory Agent that starts a tutorial which explains how Certs work. It also shows him a fun in-game Ship Information Repository which has info links and 3d models of all the basic faction ships in eve. Tommy is excited about all the shiny toys and things to do.

The special CAS agent also shows Tommy a list of LP Items available through CAS. They are mostly basic civilian modules for a variety of things along with some Gallente frigates, ammo and BPs. LP Items are traded with LP and... newbie player tags!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tommy is then granted access to several advanced CAS tutorial agents. One is devoted to PvP & Exploration (Security). One is devoted to Advanced Industry (Production). One is devoted to General Advancement (Administration). He's told to come back to his primary CAS advisor if at any time he wants to look for other corporations to investigate. [The newbie corp advanced tutorial missions will include days worth of stuff to do, equivalent to hitting L2 standing in another corp.]

Tommy is sexually aroused at this point but has to get up in the morning for an exam. Tommy decides he doesn't need much sleep anyways and keeps playing. He wants to see PvP in Eve.

He immediately goes to the CAS PvP & Exploration Agent (security) which starts a cool chain of tutorials and missions. The first thing he is guided through is the star map. He sees how huge Eve universe really is and is shown stars colored by how many kills are happening and by who controls what. He's told to set a destination to a system several jumps away and is given a civilian probe launcher with 8 probes. He's told he must find a wormhole, to bookmark it and to do a quick investigation inside.

[This is special worm-hole space only available to new players who are on these missions with frigates and destroyers. It's a constellation of several WH-systems interconnecting different newbie races. Entry points should have basic Concord presence to avoid gate camps. There would be several central systems where it's much more of a free-for-all around the planets that include the main pvp objectives for group missions. Wrecks would not be salvagable nor be profitable.]

Tommy goes off to find the wormhole several jumps away. He is extremely confused by the scannnig process at first, but then finally realizes how to use them after about 20 minutes and with the tutorial's help. He is shown how to bookmark the wormhole he finds. He is shown how to go to the wormhole. He is shown how to look at the wormhole's information. It says something about how it leads to "tutorial unknown space." He jumps through the wormhole and immediately back. It looks really amazing in there and is scary because he's told people can shoot each other in there. He returns to the agent.

The PVP & Exploration agent explains how to setup clones properly and explains that the next step may involve dying. Pods and being podded is explained. He's given a mission to go join a fleet in "tutorial mission space" and to come back once he's killed several other enemy players. He's rewarded with a civilian webber and reminded of the cool LP Items obtained with a mix of isk, LP and tags from other newbie enemy players. He is blown up on one of the pvp missions but just laughs since he has a good sense of how to get right back on his feet, and has a mix of ISK and LP enough to quickly setup a new frigate.

[Civilian probe launchers and probes are limited in what they can find. Civilian Cloaks are mission items turned in with mission and which only work in tutorial w-space]

Tommy does a lot of pvp-oriented missions in this worm-hole space and decides he's one of the best Eve pilots to ever exist, having blown up many other ships and learning to use orbits, blasters and webber to his advantage. He spends the rest of the night doing pvp and grabs some of the simpler LP Items. He dreams of blowing ships up in his Imicus. When he gets home the next day, Friday, he rushes straight to his computer to play more Eve.

He finds he's been awarded several Decorations by the CAS Advanced Training Agents. He received one for finishing basic training. He received another for meeting some simple CAS pvp goals (i.e. killing X number of enemies). He has also gained a bunch of new skills while away and feels happy about the skills he'll gain in the next 24 hours. He's making good progress towards a few Starter Certs.

Tommy decides to try the other Advanced Tutorial Agents and to do some more PvP later.

He decides he isn't in the mood for more Industry stuff just yet, so he picks the General Advancement Agent. The tutorial explains how Tommy's standing with the Corporation increases with his mission achievements and that higher standing allows better agents and missions. He's shown that there is a Level 2 agent for CAS with more advanced missions and better rewards. Tommy sees that it's classified as a Security and PvP agent. This is his new objective: to gain access to the L2 Q -18 CAS agent. He also wants another PvP decoration.

The Advancement agent gives him basic combat missions and some courier missions with interesting story-lines. He finds these give much better ISK rewards and Loyalty Points. He gets a basic Learning skillbook as a reward and is guided through the attribute remapping tool, warned not to use remaps until you have some longer-term training objectives. He is introduced to the concept of implants and Jump Clones. He is told that finishing all the advanced tutorials should grant him sufficient standing to have a Jump Clone (and that Cybernetics is available as a LP Item). Tommy spends many hours that night doing Advancement combat and courier missions, along with storyline missions that get him implants.

[Gaining standing in newbie corps should progress much faster than normal, allowing reasonable access to a Jump Clone when finishing all the tutorial agent missions. CAS station locations are limited so being allowed early access to Jump Clones is not overpowering whatsoever for newer players and simply liberates them into feeling more freedom]

He gains access to the L2 Agent which dramatically increases his rewards and sends him back into an intense PvP epic chain within wormhole space.

He gets a mission with a Civilian Cloaking Device that tells him to sneak through the wormhole space to a deadspace where he must hack into a datacenter and return. He gets a mission that has him analyze an archaelogical relic. He gets a very special storyline mission that requires him to find the closest Amarr sovereign system and to scan down the mission objective that he must hack into (i.e. use the map to look at Amarr sov and figure out which has the shortest jumps from destination). These keep him busy with increasingly interesting perspectives into Eve.

He is granted access to e-war civilian modules that are amazing. He's matched again with a fleet for pvp. He discovers a couple other similarly minded CAS players he likes to fleet with for PvP. One is a veteran Eve player who teaches him a lot over the voice comms.

He spends all Friday night completely obsessed with Eve, doing a mix of PvP and more focused isk/LP grinding.

He wakes up Saturday morning and decides to try the Advanced Industry agent. He learns a lot more about the markets of Eve, how to do research and more manufacturing. He also spends a little time mining in the newbie w-space because he spotted some good veld in there and wants to see how much he can make during quiet time. He gets blown up trying to haul ore out of w-space and has another laugh.

He discovers that a lot of the items he has are not "real" items he'll be able to use in the future. They are civilian modules. He becomes curious about all the toys and opportunities ahead with real items.

It's Saturday evening and Tommy's been playing Eve almost non-stop since Thursday. He's put in about 20+ hours and doesnt care to stop.

Tommy is starting to face some choices. He has to consider how much time to spend doing PvP for pure fun vs advancing and making money. He's happy that Eve allows you to gain skills passively, so this makes him feel better about just doing PvP for the fun of it. He realizes it's expensive to replace ships and starts thinking about how he might want to make money. He is unsure the best way to make money, but his experience tells him it's doing missions. He's still curious about trading, exploration, manufacturing and mining.

He finds himself spending more and more time looking at all the cool toys in the Ship Information Repository and wondering about them. He starts asking better questions in newbie chat and CAS chat. He decides that he should get a destroyer next.

He starts to finish the Advanced CAS Agents' missions. He gains more Decorations.

Several more experienced CAS players tell him to stick with the missions until finished and then to go back to his Advanced CAS Advisor at the station when done. Tommy follows this suggestion and plays deep into the evening, doing more of the missions. He sadly has reached the end of the Advanced Combat missions, but he ends up finding his CAS pvp buddies and they spend hours with their little fleet running around killing other players in newbie w-space. He stops caring about standing and just enjoys blowing ships up and having fun doing pvp with these people. He isn't bothered at all about getting blown up either, but feels pressure to make ISK. The 1million ISK loan by his Veteran PvP friend helped keep that pressure off for now.

Sunday morning, Tommy wakes up and heads straight into Eve. He gains an awesome CAS Decoration for lots of PvP kills. He is also trained for a Destroyer(catalyst) and is excited to try it out in pvp. He is doing ok on ISK because of all the missions he did with the Advancement and Industry agents. He finds he's gained a lot of LP but doesnt know which items to spend it on. He picks a BP for a catalyst from the LP Item store, since he knows he's going to be losing many of them. He's learned that blasters are excellent for his style of play in PvP but that Rails work better for missions. He's excited to try his Catalyst in both.

His standing has gone up tremendously. He decides to spend the quiet day trying to finish up the other agent missions so he can have a Jump Clone, although he's not exactly sure why he needs it! He also wants to start looking into other NPC corporations for missions. By early evening, he's finished all the Advanced missions and is starving. He'd eat but he's having too much fun arguing about something stupid in CAS corp chat. He fails to notice right away that he's achieved 8.0 standing with CAS having finished all the tutorial missions and gained another set of elite Decorations.

He talks with the Advanced Advisory Agent who begins going over a tutorial which explains the difference between empire-based newbie corporations, player-run corporations and NPC corporations. It's reviewed how he might seek standing and LP rewards from a big and widely spread out NCP corporation like Federation Navy. He's shown how to open the corp's info and browse available agents. He's told he can also open the star map and see agents that way.

The Advisory Agent recommends staying within CAS and heading off to either Fed Navy or something more industrial oriented. He's also told some vague story about some events surrounding the Sisters of Eve and to keep an eye open for opportunities.

The final reward for finishing all the Advanced tutorials is a set of tier1 Learning skill books.

Tommy can't decide if he wants to move onwards or to keep doing pvp in the newbie w-space. He's told that he can keep doing pvp in there as long as he has under 800 Skill Points and uses a frigate/destroyer. His CAS buddies tell him to set a jump clone there at the CAS station so he can more quickly come back for pvp!! Tommy is in love with this game... and spends several hours in fleet with his CAS buddies, ganking noobs. They really enjoy killing the Caldari players who dont seem to know what to do once you get in close.

He comes home Monday and decides to look for a L1 Fed Navy agent. He finds out that he has access to a few Quality 0 agents not too far away. He does a few missions, but then he goes to meet up with his CAS buddies for some more pvp. He continues this cycle every night, eventually hitting L2 during the week and realizing he can start making a lot more ISK by running L2/salvaging than by doing most other things. He also noticed some trade opportunities between the 2 regions he spends the most time within.

He regularly browses the ingame ship model thingy and has learned to use Evemon outside of game to figure out training. He is a newbie but he feels comfortable with the steep learning curve because between the PvP, the simple trading he's done and the Fed Navy missions he has plenty to do. He also decided what he wants to focus on over the coming 3-6 months having had much more of a sense about what's out there.

  • He has a sense of achievement throughout the first few days.
  • He understands Certs and has a better grasp of skill goals.
  • He understands the Map.
  • He understands Corps.
  • He has a basic intro to exploration and the professions.
  • He has simple grasp of the toys available.
  • He has had a taste of PvP.
  • He has enough basic information and experience to comfortably make the hard decisions ahead in the first few months.

Tommy decides to make a 2nd character to try things from another race. Eve allows him to train a 2nd character at 50% speed, which is very frustrating since it's a lot more constraining that other games, but he figures it's better than nothing (which is how it used to be for Eve). He makes a new character. A minmatar character that looks BADASS. He wants to fly the Rifter because he heard it was awesome and he was shot down a few times by them. He sets his first character to 50% training speed and gets started on the new character. He gets setup to join with his CAS buddies for pvp right away and loves how you can make fleets across races.

Tommy decides he is going to subscribe to Eve online for sure and can't believe he hadn't tried Eve a lot sooner...

His roommate insists Eve was boring when he tried it, but Tommy tells him it's really fun and that he should try it again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Growing List of Suggestions:

Here's a brief summary of the suggestions I've put together.
  • Lower "attribute" implant costs by 80%
  • Expand new player experience:
    • Advanced tier of noob agents/tutorials
      • PvP & Exploration Agent
      • Advanced Industry Agent
      • General Advancement Agent
    • Dedicated w-space for noob pvp under 800k SP
    • PvP "epic" arc using special w-space
    • Noob corp Decorations
    • Ship Information Repository (3d previews)
    • Expanded LP Items for noob corps
  • Allow training on a 2nd char at 50% speed
  • New tech3 BPs for things like "wormhole analysis probe," using the more basic sleeper materials