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Monday, October 27, 2008

EvE's Metagame and the 7 month itch

After a blog entry by Mynxee, where she talks about her discovery of EvE's metagame, I got to thinking about how, unlike a lot of pilots, I didn't hit the "seven month itch" described by a lot of pilots. As I have commented before, it was mainly due I suspect to being thrust immediately into the larger eve game as a CEO and alliance leader right around that time. I've come to certain conclusions about EvE as a game thanks to this.

The first is it seems that the learning curve in EvE takes about 5 to 7 months. My observation is that newbies spend about that amount of time exploring the game mechanics and their options. This means that once they grasp the complexity of EvE (about after the first hour), their initial objectives involve learning the game. It seems to take about 6 months for them to attain the level of comfort where the "must learn the game" objective slows down and they either need to have something new to sink their teeth into or they need to take a break.

Basicaly they enter what I would call the "journeyman" stage of EvE. They've gotten enough of a handle on the basics and some of the advanced features of life in EvE and have a hopefully decent set of skills to build on. But the skill progression slows as they realize they need to address supporting skills and get into the longer skills. So the skill development becomes more long term and they need to concentrate on different objectives withing the game. A lot of pilots also grow beyond their current corporation's operations and may feel the need to move on.

This means two things:

One, as a new player be aware that as you approach your "journeyman" stage in EvE you need to give some thought to where you'll want to go in game and what you'll want to do. You'll need to set yourself some new objectives. But they should not be just "get to skill x level y so I can unlock gizmo z". They need to be a little broader. You'll need to start becoming aware of what's happening outside your little section of EvE. Explore other avenues, set new objectives. Get more involved at the Corporation and Alliance levels.

Two, as a CEO/Director becomes aware that one of his pilots approaches the "journeyman" stage in EvE, you need to start making the pilot more aware of the greater world of EvE around him and start introducing him seriously to the political landscape around him. The thing to remember is that I'm calling this the "journeyman" stage of an EvE player's life because one of the things that may happen is that the player may also wander from corp to corp for a bit looking for his next home. Not every corporation is suited to every stage in a players development. Realize this and don't burn bridges with the ones that leave.

Both players and CEOs need to realize this is a normal progression and to plan for it's occurance. This is where one of the advantages of alliances can potential come forward. Depending on the alliance of course. An alliance can be big enough to have "Newbie" corps, followed by more specialized corps. This allows for the newbie corps to take care of the needs of the developing player and getting them to the point where they are useful to the specialized corps and when they get to that point they can then transfer within the alliance. Single purpose corps will just have to get used to the rotation of pilots.

The point here is also that both sides need to be aware that the interface and game complexity is such that overloading the newbie with too much metagame when they are still learning the game can be bad, but not getting them into it once they pass the "apprentice" stage is also bad. Both sides need to work to help the pilot transition thru this phase (and yes it's different for everyone).


Cozmik R5 said...

Oh yeah, I clearly remember "The Hump" as I call it.

EVE is quite a monster. Even knowing what the game was about and being a sci-fi buff, I still gave myself one or two months of reading guides and tutorials BEFORE I even installed the client. I was still lost when I finally did but it helped a lot in some regards.

I recommend it to anyone who's trying to get new players into the game.

Mynxee said...

Really good post with lots of excellent points. After more than a year and a half of playing, it's so easy to forget what we didn't know then. And really amazing to discover that there is plenty of stuff yet to be learned!

One has to be somewhat of a student of EVE to really enjoy the advantages offered by the complexities...or be in a very supportive corp that will do a lot of the thinking for you.

Very good post, lots of excellent points made--each of which is probably worth a focused discussion in its own post.

Sue said...

hehe ll very interesting and true comments. however i dont care how long you play eve you never get 100% down with the game afer ovr 2.5 yrs of playing i will still have arguements wiht people who have played since beta on how a specific mechanic works. In order to survive in this game regardless of trade you have to continualy be on the look out for that little edge that no one else has and ALWAY "adapt or die" hehe