EVE Online tests potentially revolutionary tutorial replacement

    
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Throughout its over 10-year life span, EVE Online has always been regarded as having an insane learning curve. New players are dropped into the sandbox at the deep end, confronted by a complicated user interface and gameplay that is very different to anything else in the MMO genre. A common refrain among players is the fact that they had to try the game two or three times before it finally clicked, meaning the new game experience could use some improvement. The developers at CCP Games have made huge strides in overhauling the user interface in recent years, and the game’s tutorial has been overhauled several times, but they’re not finished yet.

At last year’s EVE Online Fanfest, developers revealed the early stages of a potentially revolutionary new feature called Opportunities that they hoped would eventually replace the in-game tutorial with a more immersive experience. It was little more than a vague concept at Fanfest 2014, but this week the first prototype of the finished gameplay has made its way into public testing. Players who log into EVE‘s test server Singularity will find the feature available for testing and can provide feedback on the test server forums. Read on for a brief breakdown of how the new feature works.

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The Opportunity system is a more freeform style of tutorial that’s better suited to a sandbox universe. Players are presented with a series of general tasks that can be completed in any order and anywhere in the universe, acting more like achievements than a standard tutorial. For example, one opportunity covers ship combat and provides a simple list of bullet points for the steps in engaging an NPC ship, from locking the target and activating weapons through to destroying the ship and collecting the loot.

The key difference between this system and the current tutorial is that it should be next to impossible to accidentally veer off from the provided instructions and get stuck with no idea of what to do next. Rather than trying to hand-hold players through a series of instructions to dock at specific stations or click particular buttons, the Opportunity system will provide general instructions for tasks that you can complete almost anywhere in the game. It’s hoped that this will stop new players from getting lost and giving up on EVE before giving it a fair chance.

[Source: EVE Online Devblog. Thanks to Manic Velocity for the tip!]
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Oliver Bishop

I think I’ve had six trials of Eve now over the last 5 years or so and never taken them up on a sub.

grungepunk1022
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grungepunk1022

Any word on if they’ll increase your starting inheritance ISK? One of the good things about the current tutorials is that, if you take the time to run through them all, you get a fairly decent amount of ISK beyond the 200,000 ISK ‘inheritance’, and a few free ships beyond the starting piece of garbage to boot in addition to starting to learn the basics.

Arktouros
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Arktouros

Yay EVE articles by Brendan again.
Honestly I never found EVE really all that intimidating to get into.  When the game first came out, sure.  It was crazy.  Here’s the universe, figure it out.  However the biggest obstacle at this stage for newer players has nothing to do with tutorial in my experience.  The biggest problem is making the segway into the game’s various end game content activities.  Being that they’re group based and group focused, this presents social challenges as EVE’s playerbase often times is always looking for ways to prey on each other and not everyone wants to join into some mega huge learning corp.  I guess what I’m getting at is it’s not learning what I need to do that is the issue, but rather getting to it that presents the greatest obstacle.

curtlikesmeat
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curtlikesmeat

I think I’ve had six trials of Eve now over the last 5 years or so and never taken them up on a sub. I always enjoyed the starting experience (even the tutorials as they were) but something stopped me, I’m not entirely sure what. It could be the lack of a proper avatar (despite the best character creation tool I’ve ever seen). I suspect it’s mostly my style of play that doesn’t suit Eve; I run around solo in most MMOs I play, rarely join guilds and generally get stuff done on my own. I play MMOs because I like to be in the worlds and have the feel of a living world going on around me with other people, but I like to have the freedom to just log out straight away to do something else. Playing solo in Eve just seems… a bit dull really I suppose. Being able to walk around stations as an avatar would help this, but then, that’s why I backed Star Citizen and Elite.

Styopa
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Styopa

Loopstah Miho Seconded.  Eve Uni has magnificent and comprehensive tutorials, explanations, the best wiki out there, and patient, deeply-experienced instructors who are willing to take the time not just to instruct you in the basics, but to organize roams and all sorts of events.  Plus, they often have deals on ships interesting for even moderately experienced players.  Now, I will say that being in it takes a bit of commitment – they don’t want people joining that aren’t there to seriously learn, but if you are willing, you’ll get 10x out what you put in.
Love those guys.

Hackholm
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Hackholm

zenaphex Hackholm Ya, I know, but it’s just not the same as having Eddy and those WW guys working on it. The recent screenshots look great though.

Drelkag
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Drelkag

ark211049 Drelkag I was saying how it wasn’t revolutionary. Not that it isn’t a good idea – because it is. I like open tutorials that let you test the game how you want.

Zennie
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Zennie

ark211049 Drelkag Well, “revolutionary” feature usually means “hey we’re doing something completely new and unheard before”.

karmamule
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karmamule

Nyphur Denice J Cook The key here is that “how to play EVE” isn’t just about “push this button to dock”, “check your agent over in this tab”, more importantly it’s about how to adjust to the EVE universe, the unstructured nature of gameplay, the mix of safe and dangerous areas, what works well as an individual vs what needs a group, etc..  

It really is quite different from most other MMOs out there and it is as much if not more important that the tutorial get the user acclimatized to that environment than it is to teach basic “click this/click that” mechanics which are quite trivial in comparison.  That this new tutorial system is just as much about teaching the open-endedness as it is the actual mechanics makes me agree with Nyphur that it looks very promising!

ark211049
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ark211049

Drelkag oh noeess another game did it first, thats just shocking in the MMO genre, suppose CCP will just have to scrap it entirely or forever bare this stigma