Apocrypha is on the horizon and we are getting closer and closer to the final list of changes that will be popping up in March. But as usual, I get to talk about the New Player Experience (NPE).
I want to get one misconception out of the way. This blog will concern you and everyone else. If you have played for a year, 6 years, 3 months or a week, you will want to read further than this. Chances are there will be changes that will affect you! Although NPE in it‘s very existence focuses on the new player and how they are introduced to EVE, this can have an effect on older players as well. Many believe that the NPE extends only to the first 5 minutes. With some games, this might be true. But as we have all gone through the first months of EVE and often thought; „oh my, this game is too hard!"
This is something we want to help with. Our goal is to ease players into the game and not intimidate them with a hundred choices in the first minute. Start with the basics and then leave them to decide on their destiny. A true sandbox experience. Give them a shovel and a rake, and let them dig in.
The biggest change you will probably notice is character creation. For the past few years, the process of creating your character has been a multi-step process with a lot of choices. Choices that were intimidating, to say the least, for anyone who had never played EVE before. You needed to choose a race, sex, bloodline, ancestry, career, specialization, school, and allocate free attribute points. You also had to select a name, read about the 30 skills and the 800K skill points you received from this experience.
For Apocrypha, we simplified this process. We eliminated choices that had no effect on you whatsoever and moved these choices to a more appropriate time where you could make an informed decision. You are in charge of your destiny.
We have simplified the UI, moving all choices into one screen. I think you will be quite surprised with the functionality, as it works quite well. We went through a whole fully functional "new" version of character creation before we re-did the whole thing again. These changes will be on SISI pretty soon (if they haven't arrived already) so I urge you to give it a try.
We have removed the School, Career and Specialization completely. These added quite a bit of complexity. Players were required to select these without knowing what to expect. Many times, people would choose blindly, leading them to feel let down or disappointed later on.
We have moved the allocation of the 5 free attribute points. A new player has no idea what the attributes means and, as many of you probably have done, assigned 3 to charisma because it must be awesome!
Skills received from character creation have been re-visited and removed, many of which were irrelevant to new players. Just to name one skill that a certain path could get - Who needs Siege Warfare when you are fresh out of military school? Are you going to siege a POS in your Velator?
These choices, all important, are better made once you have a true understanding of how things work in EVE. Once you know what you want to do, what you want to fly and so on, that is when you should decide on your career and skills. And it is better that you understand what the attributes do, before you start fiddling with them.
Skills and attributes
In our newest build, a player gets about 50K skill points from character creation. This might change, depending on testing. But we will be reducing the 800K quite substantially. New players should not feel intimidated by their skills, and they should be given a chance to decide, on their own, exactly what skills and path they want to go down. As a result, you will be able to create an alt which is more focused and get there quicker than before, as you can decide exactly what skills to train.
I will talk more about the skills and their effects in my next blog.
Your attributes will be very similar between the races once you start out, but now you will get to change them. A new player will have the opportunity to respec his attributes twice. This allows a new player to change previous decisions they made resulting from not knowing the system.
Once a year, you - and everyone else - can take 14 attribute points, and re-arrange them within reason. Attributes can be set at values anywhere from 5 to 15. This means, that every year, you can take all your spare charisma points and put them into perception if you so please. Or the other way around.
Careers - the sandbox way!
As I mentioned before, in the existing system players chose a career before even the first 10 minutes of play and, as with many games, it is an important choice. But with EVE, as you know, you can become anything you wish. You can move from shooting players to mining at any time. You are not bound by any restrictions by your "career." It gives the false impression that you are deciding on something, which then doesn't mean a thing in the world of New Eden.
However, you can learn about these particular career paths. As before, we will have 10 missions per career, which will teach you the basics of Industry, Business and Military occupations. These have been revamped, and are all available to you. You can go through them all if you want, or just one, or none. Your choice and your destiny.
This concludes the first part of the Apocrypha NPE overview blogs. There will be more from my design counterparts and myself in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.