Quick, give me manual control!

By CCP Nullarbor
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o7 mates!

With Phoebe just having undocked, our attention quickly turns to the Rhea release coming on December 9. If you've been watching the o7 show and reading developer blogs you would have already heard some pretty amazing things being cooked up for later this year.

Today I'm going to share with you an experiment that was born out of recent new player experience testing that we have been doing here at CCP HQ in Iceland. CCP Rise covered this in detail at EVE Vegas (you can watch the video here). The short version is that we take standard PC gamers who have never played EVE before, sit them down with a new character and a checklist of things to achieve and then simply observe them play EVE for 30 minutes without any help or feedback. It's really fascinating to take a step back and view some of these early moments, especially the stumbling blocks which are causing confusion or breaking expectations based on their past experience with other PC games.

One of the things we almost universally observed was the initial expectation to be able to fly your spaceship in any direction using the WASD keys on the keyboard. The transition to EVEs flight control scheme of right clicking on things was jarring for some.

So in Rhea we are launching a beta version of keyboard flight controls. They are very simple, the left key points your ship to the left, the up key upwards. You get the idea.

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The controls will initially be opt-in so if you wish to try them out you will have to open up the keyboard settings and assign keys to them. We will then be using this opportunity to A/B test the introduction of controls to new players to gauge whether this helps or hurts the on-boarding experience. We also want to see whether this is a path that is worth pursuing for veteran players or whether polishing up the existing controls would be time better spent.

In any case we want to hear your feedback. The new controls will be available for testing on Singularity tomorrow so go try it out there and post your thoughts on the forums. We are also planning a mass test next week which will be very important in validating if this can be allowed on Tranquility from a technical perspective, so if you have the time to spare please lend a hand. There will be more details about the mass test in the coming days on the test server forums.

Happy space drifting!

CCP Nullarbor and Team Game of Drones