The sci-fi massively multiplayer online game EVE Online has long been known for its harsh setting but also for its (almost) equally unforgiving learning curve. That is, until the Apocrypha expansion launched, bringing EVE's New Player Experience (NPE) with it. CCP Games aims to slowly ease new players into what is a rather complex game, giving them a feel for what they can already do and what they want to do in New Eden over time.
So how well does the New Player Experience for EVE Online tackle the difficulties of learning how to play one of the most complex MMOs on the market? Writing for Eurogamer, both Jim Rossignol and Oli Welsh write about the New Player Experience. Rossignol, from the viewpoint of a veteran player, and Welsh from the fresh perspective of a rookie. The end result is an overview of how EVE has changed, including a revamped tutorial and Neural Remapping (attribute respecs), as well as Epic Mission Arcs that allow players to make choices in how EVE's mission storylines progress.
While Rossignol praises some aspects of the NPE, he faults others, such as the fact that corporation (guild) recruitment still isn't explained to rookies well enough. Welsh's take on EVE as a rookie starts off with a sentiment many new players share. He writes, "I've been subjected to so much evangelism and scaremongering - sometimes in the same breath - from the players of EVE Online that when I finally approached the game itself this week, I did so with a mixture of awe and fear." That sounds about right.
Welsh explains that some of his apprehension wasn't necessary at all. He had a smooth experience with installation, progressing through character creation and tearing through the tutorial missions. Surprisingly, he states that the user interface (often maligned by gamers coming to EVE from other MMOs) is "staggeringly, eye-openingly easy."
Welsh's main criticism of EVE Online is that getting through the introductory experiences means the game progresses at a glacial pace. "In its early stages... the game feels like you're playing in a bubble, and although I was absorbed, I know I haven't encountered the real EVE Online. Its universe is still out there, somewhere," writes Welsh. Check out Eurogamer's take on EVE's New Player Experience for more on how the game is changing to bring more gamers into the fold.