EVE University graduate. Drama Llama. Covert operations pilot. Poetic Stanziel has been very active in the blogging community bringing views from seasoned high-sec pilots, we please to share his stories and views on current Eve Online events and invite you to read more stories from his Poetic Discourse blog.

Poetic Discourse: The Road to New Player Retention

I have a friend at work, mostly plays theme park MMOs, grew bored with World of Warcraft after a few years of playing, and recently grew bored with Star Wars: The Old Republic, after several months of playing.

He knows I play EVE. I’ve talked about it, the politics and drama happening, from time to time. He always seemed interested, yet wary. The lawlessness of the game, even in areas with law. The scale of the game, “Guilds with over 5000 members?!” Corporations, I had to correct him.

Now he wants something different. He’s read that the learning curve for EVE is steep. Incredibly steep. He’s seen the learning curve graph. He wanted some advice on how best to learn EVE without become lost and ultimately frustrated.

Some folks think I’m 100% against EVE University. Not the case. When it comes to the fundamentals of the game, they do a great job. It’s just everything after the fundamentals that they attempt that I have reservations with.

This is the advice I gave to him. A six-week program that will teach him every fundamental, allowing him to move into the game with all the basic skills, and the desire to utilize and expand upon them properly.

  1. Do the newbie tutorials, all of them, except do not join Faction Warfare at the end of the advanced combat stream.
  2. Join EVE University for six weeks. No more, no less. You’ll learn bad habits should you stay longer, and you run the risk of getting sucked into the super-carebear mindset that permeates most of the organization.
  3. While waiting to be accepted into EVE University, start the Blood-Stained Stars epic mission arc.
  4. Once you’ve been accepted into the University, apply for a mentor. You may get a great one. You will likely get a dud. You’ll be able to tell which is which, simply by how they communicate with you.
  5. Set-up your overview to University standards. It’s a good solid set-up for the beginner. You’ll also learn how to set it up for your own needs down the road.
  6. There is no six.
  7. Join the University’s Mumble server. Politely ask questions while you’re playing. You can learn a lot chatting, asking questions and listening.  Confused by a class or a UI element, or something that just happened to you in-game? Ask on Mumble. There are a tonne of helpful people on the Mumble server. You’ll come to know Seamus Donohue quite well there. He’s long-winded, but very knowledgeable and always eager to help.
  8. Take every class available, especially anything labeled as 101: Missions 101, Clones 101, Directional Scanner 101, Aggression 101, Combat Mechanics 101, Gunnery 101, EVE Concepts: Tanking, Shield Tanking 101, Armor Tanking 101, Drones 101, Missiles 101, Gallente Ships 101, Minmatar Ships 101, Amarr Ships 101, Caldari Ships 101, Skirmishing 101, Solo PvP 101, Roaming 101, Scouting 101, Bookmarking 101, Fleets 101, Fleets 102, Wormholes 101, Nullsec 101, Lowsec 101. If a class isn’t on the current schedule, then head to the class library to listen to a recording.
  9. Learn how to operate your ships. Do security missions while learning the fundamentals.
  10. Once you’ve completed the fleet courses and you’ve been in the University for two to three weeks, head to their lowsec camp. Join roams, both blob and small-gang. Learn fleeting fundamentals, the command structure, some of the language involved (much is standardized, but many corporations have their own peculiarities.)
  11. Keep your head low while in the Uni. Don’t attract negative attention. Some of the officers and directors (like any player organization lead by people who don’t have the skills to lead in real-life) love pointing out obscure rules and power-tripping on those who break them. Like any bureaucracy, the University has rules upon rules upon rules. (They may have space hamsters in the sub-levels of their POS churning out new rules daily.)
  12. Ignore the fear-mongerers; those that will tell you how dangerous lowsec and nullsec are, and warn you from ever going there. (Which leads to the next point.)
  13. Ignore those who fear losing ships. Do not get caught up in the theme park MMO idea that you must keep upgrading. Every ship class is vaiable, always, for as long as you play. The number one thing you must learn is that everything you buy, you’ve bought it to be destroyed at some point.
  14. As a corollary to the point preceding: don’t get attached to things. If you’re not attached to your stuff, you’ll enjoy EVE that much more. (This alone deserves its own post soon.)
  15. Do not participate in any of the University’s Shoot the Officer events. These are simple e-peen affairs where the directors let the newbies fawn over them.” OMG! You own a Gila and a Flycatcher? You must be rich! Is that how you fit those ships? Cool!”
  16. Do not participate in any large fleets run by Silentbrick. These will ultimately fail, be exceptionally lengthy, and you’ll wish you’d have gone and done anything else.
  17. The one director you should get to know is Darian Reymont. His attitude towards the game should be the future of EVE University (should Kelduum ever give up the reins.)
  18. After your six weeks are up, head to a corporation in lowsec, nullsec, or wormhole space where you can take the fundamentals you’ve learned and apply them properly.

The best chance for keeping with the game is through this suggested path. Six weeks to being hooked on EVE.

There are other training organizations, such as TEST Alliance and Goonswarm, but they are brutal on their recruits. If you prefer a gentler introduction to the game, then I strongly suggest EVE University for six weeks. That is their strength, teaching the fundamentals. Spend longer than six weeks in the University and you’re getting less of a game education and experience than if you’d moved on elsewhere to corporations more experienced with particular regions and areas of the game.

Poetic Stanziel

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47 Comments

  1. Walextheone

    Somehow you always turn ever blog post into a Eve Uni criticism.

    Can't you get over the pain already?

    May 4, 2012 at 11:58 am Reply
    1. Northener

      I read this often and there might be something to it.
      But why? Did EU touch him somewhere naughty? What's the drama?

      May 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm Reply
    2. CFCgrunt

      Tell me, where did the bad E Uni director touch you?

      May 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm Reply
      1. Rotcrotch

        can you stop it with that shit? too boring

        May 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm Reply
  2. Rotcrotch

    goons/test = training organizations. kinda funny

    May 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm Reply
    1. Urziel99

      Dreddit and Goonwaffe do actively recruit from within their respective communities (Reddit and Somethingawful) I've seen and posted on the SA recruitment thread and have seen their Newbees in action. If a newbee joins a fleet and the FC notices them when we are waiting on a titan or they get a tackle or loose a ship the other members of the fleet send them isk. This is in addition to their mentoring program, a near bottomless supply of frigates and skillbooks.

      Say what you want about how Goons and Test treat external unaffiliated entities, but they both are very good to their newbees.

      May 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm Reply
      1. Rotcrotch

        which is why they are winning. it's a pity other null alliances don't actively recruit new players.

        May 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm Reply
        1. Urziel99

          Most don't have an external community to draw on. The rest are too busy being smug because they think skillpoints are the determining factor on player worth.

          May 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm Reply
        2. Bittervet

          Exactly

          May 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm Reply
  3. TEST FC

    This isn't the first time I've heard you bash TEST Alliance for our alleged treatment of newbies. You clearly have no idea what it's like in TEST. We are FOUNDED on our newbro membership. Our ROOTS are newbies. We treat them very well with free ships, skills, offering help and Real, Actual game experience, not just classes at a university in game. Who wants to sit there and listen to a person talk for an hour? Experience is the best teacher, and that's what we offer newbies.

    We're always donating ISK to people who don't have it and people who are new JUST for being new. I've never seen anyone treat a new player poorly within TEST. I don't know where this delusion originates, but I suggest living with us for a while before making accusations. We love newbies, they kick ass!

    May 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm Reply
    1. bagehi

      Last night, I saved a newbro from certain death. Saw him burning directly at a nano fleet in his rifter, called him off, then I drew fire until he got safe. We are good to our newbros.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm Reply
      1. I updated the Goon/Test section of the post to better reflect the "brutal" statement I made, and to better reflect the objections Test and Goon folks had to the statement. If Bagehi wants to update the EN24 post with the new stuff, he is welcome to do so.
        http://poeticstanziel.blogspot.ca/2012/05/road-to

        May 5, 2012 at 12:34 am Reply
    2. ViperRum

      I have to say, my only gripe with TEST is their comms, but even now they have mumble and the no-chatter channel so that's a big improvement.

      May 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm Reply
      1. This is mainly what I was referring too. It's like Perpetual Frosh Week for the newbs.

        May 5, 2012 at 12:09 am Reply
      2. Lorren Canada

        We fixed no-chatter by making durr priority speaker so even the people there can hear him 😀

        May 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm Reply
  4. Ze Martini

    anyone not joining the GGC will be shot for treason any small alliance joining the GGC will be repackaged into one of our larger more functional alliances.

    We treat all new players well, they have prime space on the eastern front

    May 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm Reply
  5. another RA pilot

    i wonder if he can write about something other than EU….

    May 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm Reply
  6. TrollofTrolls

    on step 1 I really should recommend him to watch a video of how to use probes for the Exploration part of the tutorial …
    you got few probes, and with very limited knowledge on how to use em its hellish.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm Reply
    1. bagehi

      This was mentioned to the new player experience guys at Fan Fest. They agreed and said they would look into improving that part of the tutorial.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm Reply
  7. tldr

    TL:DR

    Don't read unless your a noob.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm Reply
    1. ARG

      TL – DR

      May 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm Reply
  8. WheeZ50

    For my real friends/people I think are an asset to eve: I share buddyreward and tell 'em to put my number on speedial.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm Reply
  9. TESTie BESTie

    TEST is horrible to new players. Just ask that one guy that pointed a Russian tengu in a rifter on his first day and was given billions of ISK

    May 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm Reply
    1. Ras

      Say wha?

      May 5, 2012 at 12:31 am Reply
  10. anon

    >TEST
    >Good

    ahahhahhahahahhahahhhahahahahahahahhahaahahhahha

    May 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm Reply
  11. Kratisto

    This is a good plan to learn the game. I think the most important thing is to give them an experience of eve that is remarkably fun, such as dueling a ship of yours or going to lowsec/0.0 with a friend or friends to kill things/get killed.

    Once I got that experience, I didn't look back.

    For example, if you got a friend or 2 into sniper ruppies and dicked around 50km off some gates in Fade somewhere you could kill a rifter or 2 for your troubles.

    May 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm Reply
  12. Some Guy

    In all honesty EVE Uni isn't terible if you follow these bullet points, after your six weeks you should be able to fly a Drake, at that point most Nulsec entities would be relitively happy to have you. Suprisingly IRC is a decent place to go to learn a few things, they're decent to the newbies although you might be better off in GS or TEST most newbies don't have a lot of isk and they have SRPs, IRC doesn't. All in all, do what you want, that's what we all did. Don't be retarded about it and you might get somewhere.

    May 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm Reply
  13. ViperRum

    Wow lots of words, I condense it down somewhat….

    Rules:

    0. Always update your clone.
    1. Never fly what you can't afford to lose.
    2. Always make sure your skill queue is active.
    3. Do the tutorials.
    4. You will lose ships, get used to it.
    5. Find a good corp that will introduce you to PvP.
    6. Go back and read 1-5 again.

    That's it. There is so much to this game though that it can be overwhelming, so telling him we've all been through that and when he gets in a with a good corp/alliance he'll have plenty of people that will sympathize with that and will happily join in on the friendly reminiscing and bitching about things. And that is what is great about this game is that people will like to "hang out and chat." My son played WoW, but there never seemed to be the same level of camaraderie there as I saw in Eve.

    May 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm Reply
  14. nullsecnoob

    I am not a goon but they treat their newbies very well, training sessions are frequent, special status in fleets, and taunting/hazing a newbie can bring on the wrath of leadership. Our corp/alliance does much the same. Anyone in empire that wants to come to null space is more than welcomed by most alliances. We all compete for in game resources and newbies are one of those resources.

    May 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm Reply
  15. Someguy

    GSF is very good to noobs with free skill packs, free ships, the goon wiki, and classes. If you're a goon who screws with noobs, you'll quickly draw the wrath of leadership. You can look at their leaked jabber pings and see that they try to include everyone. How many other alliance jabber pings include rifters, ffs?

    May 4, 2012 at 6:03 pm Reply
  16. I also am a former (recovering) theme-parker … I was sooo ready for something different , and was also skeptical of EVE for most of the reasons mentioned, but I decided to give it a try, and a real one.

    I did a couple of weeks of reading and homework before I even installed the game, so I knew what to expect and had a *general* idea of what I was going to try. Still, the initial shock and learning curve was quite steep. however, I am so glad I came to the sandbox, I will never look back.

    I looked at UNI too initially, however thier rules was one of the things that turned me off, I wanted to carebear around at my own pace, and figure out if I wanted to say in the game .. at the time UNI was at war and was reading about not being able to undock .. go here.. go there ..etc , and while I dont fault them for it, and understand the reasons, I wanted to be free to explore and find my own path, not be stuck waiting for someones approval.

    would I be blown up, and meet horrible unforeseen death?? … of course .. but it was hella fun and I LEARNED.

    anyways, a newbie friendly corp recruited me and they too had a really nice training program, without all the restrictions.

    Now I have 3 accounts, am digging deeper into PVP and Industry, and fully plan to one day live in null

    I try to get my old theme buddies to come over all the time, and a few have, a few tried and left too. I for one am sick of having content force fed to me, and love the open world.

    what will it take to better retain newbies ? I am not sure, for me it was the pre-research and expectations I had set for myself.

    May 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm Reply
    1. David_Star

      Probably the single best decision you can make early on as a character is joining a player corp – really any corp. That leap out of the NPC corps is the biggest hurdle for people outside of getting used to loosing ships.

      If you are lucky enough to find a newbie-friendly corp that is also good – you have already won Eve. Oh, and those rules in the other comment by ViperRum:

      "5. Find a good corp that will introduce you to PvP."
      ^^this^^

      May 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm Reply
  17. Gumpin

    Eve uni is horrible intro tool for eve.

    You can get more help from simply communicating in the rookie help channel the game automatically you in and experimenting on your own instead of letting the uni hold your pod's leash.

    Unless your goal in eve is to be a clueless care bear that only knows the most basic of things and nothing more stay away from the uni.

    May 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm Reply
    1. Urziel99

      And once rookie help disappears after 30 days there is always project halibut channel. Hell even some corp pub channels field questions from new players.

      May 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm Reply
  18. IgnatiusHood

    I got damn lucky with the corp i'm in. kinda just stumble across a recruiter and fell in with a WH right after I got out of trial. Did the toots, missioned like a boss with these guys to chat with and question, did sisters of eve arc, got into Battlecruisers and Barges, went into a WH and never looked back…

    Been killing it for a 15 months, loving EVE, enjoying the comraderie, the fun, making ISK hand over fist. Now I'm setting my primary for a move into Syndicate to see what kind of LS trouble I can get into! While my alt army grinds ISK in WH space.

    I enjoy EVE because its open ended more than anything else. I can do whatever the fuck I want.

    May 4, 2012 at 9:47 pm Reply
    1. hmm

      Just so we're clear, syndicate is nullsec.

      May 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm Reply
    2. Rotcrotch

      yeah there are so many avenues to choose. I think as long as you have an alright working brain, eve is fairly easy to learn.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:26 am Reply
  19. TestGruntBestGrunt

    Whenever "TEST" and "newbie" are put together in any fashion (sperging, like this article, or pitiful, or condescending, or whatever), I can't but link this:
    http://youtu.be/96b7Jk5xCTQ?hd=1

    This is the real stance of TEST towards newbie. This, and nothing else.

    May 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm Reply
    1. Rotcrotch

      yeah, test is pretty cool

      May 5, 2012 at 12:30 am Reply
  20. CareBearStares

    Came here expecting aggro… Was actually surprised.
    Pretty spiffy article Poetic – no troll.

    May 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm Reply
  21. ze Name

    Goons are excellent, they are the only organization that can BURN your vote in a Game ! That is a new record ! 😀

    May 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm Reply
  22. Random Miner

    I feel this is one of the best articles of yours I've read. Very well thought out, all newbies should have a similar check list.
    And yes, having only lost my first miner like a year after I started playing, getting attached to things can be devestating lol, that point does deserve alot of attention. So makes sure you got isk for another, and for god's sake don't buy T2 rigs unless you consider yourself ISK rich lol.
    Good article Stan

    May 5, 2012 at 1:08 am Reply
  23. BillyBob

    If by brutal you mean that TEST will give a day old character ships for free, welcome him to fly in any fleet and give out constructive, battle tested criticism, then yes we are to be avoided by anyone so sensitive as to need to be coddled into the game. Hell, we've even written songs about our hero Newbro's.

    May 5, 2012 at 2:01 am Reply
  24. Over it

    A post with lots of criticism of Eve University. I wonder who could be writing it? Damn this guy holds a grudge. I seriously think he is disturbed. Why does he get published here?

    May 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm Reply
  25. Devore

    #13 and 14 are great points. Once you fall into the bad pattern, it's a very hard habit to break. Treat your ships as disposable. Like consumables. You don't get attached to your potions in WoW, you just use the one you need when you need it. Your ship is not your gear, it's not your weapon. It's your health bar. Expect to die, a lot.

    May 6, 2012 at 1:58 am Reply
  26. […] few days ago, Poetic posting a road map for new players here.  He gave props to Eve Uni for their crash course programs which teach new players the ropes […]

    May 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm
  27. Fool

    No wonder I feel vaguely dirty after reading this.

    May 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm Reply

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