For as long as capsuleers have flown in New Eden, newer pilots have asked those of us with more experience where to begin. For as long as I can remember, the answer has been to point them to one or more of the nullsec newbie-friendly groups because conventional wisdom has dictated that getting them straight out of highsec was the best thing for them.

A couple of days ago, I was browsing Twitter and stumbled upon a Tweet from Ashterothi:

“Controversial opinion time: I think we should stop telling newbies to leave highsec ASAP. Life in null is boring, frustrating, and intimidating for a new player. Highsec is now the best place for new players to learn the game, gain confidence, and start their legend.”

Whilst most things tagged as ‘controversial opinions’ in this day and age are anything but, this one truly belongs in that category. The idea that new players should be essentially left to their own devices in highsec is, in my opinion, a dangerous one.

First of all, Ashterothi alleges that nullsec is ‘boring’. Whilst it’s evident to all that the current megablob metagame isn’t exactly providing content at a great rate, I can’t imagine that the answer to boredom is running level 1-2 missions or mining in a Venture in high sec.

These activities provide an incredibly low income compared to the activities available to a new player in null sec — gas huffing, exploration, salvaging, and VNI ratting. Whilst there are high ISK/hr activities in high sec (incursions and abyssal sites), these are generally gated off to people without hundreds of millions of ISK to spend.

That might not sound like much to you and me, but to someone mining 4 mil an hour and playing ten hours a week, they’re looking at months to be able to get into anything more than playing Eve to make ISK. This isn’t fun.

Secondly, Ashterothi suggests that highsec is a good place for new players to ‘learn the game’, but I’d debate this as well. New players in modern Eve need mentoring, and whilst nullsec inherently encourages cooperation (it’s very difficult to ‘go it alone’ in nullsec), highsec doesn’t encourage or require it at all.

So, if all I’m going to do is dismiss a controversial opinion that most people don’t agree with, then what’s the point in writing an article? Well, there is an element of the opinion which I agree with, which is that just throwing every new player at the megablobs really isn’t the best thing for them or for Eve.

A two-part reply to the initial tweet from Eurzadahn put it far more succinctly than I could,

“I often feel that the null groups that constantly pressure, and then scoop up newbies then rush them out to deep null ruin the future of the game. They immediately turn them into F1 line monkies and hurl them against a mountainous training queue, & take over that new player excitement and sense of wonder and pound them to death with their ideas of the game, their agenda, and their own brand of BS.”

I think Eurzadahn hits the nail on the head when he talks about “their ideas of the game, their agenda,” etc. When we send a new player to a corporation, we think we’re sending them to learn what to train, how to fly their ships and to get SRP and learn not to be risk averse.

What we’re actually doing is bolstering the ranks of three of the largest corporations, in the largest alliances, in the largest coalitions in the game; and giving those corporations the ability to fill the new players’ minds with their idea about how to play the game.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we now have a vast majority of new players heading to NBSI sov-holding nullsec alliances, and that every other way to play Eve is slowly dying off.

We used to have a vast range of alliances: the militaristic Band of Brothers, the industrial powerhouse of Ascendant Frontier, the nomadic force of Pandemic Legion, the numbers-oriented fun-loving Goons, the roleplay alliances, the NRDS alliances, mercenaries, pirates, the list goes on. The cultures in those alliances differed vastly, from hard roleplay to meme spammers.

What do we have now? The Imperium, a large nullsec coalition with mass industry, mass ratting, low-skilled ‘anchor & F1’ doctrines, and meme culture; Legacy, a large nullsec coalition with  mass industry, mass ratting, low-skilled ‘anchor & F1’ doctrines, and meme culture; GOTG, a large nullsec coa… yeah, that’s already about three quarters of the population of the game.

Now, the natural response to that would be “what’s the problem? Go make a roleplay alliance in a wormhole if that’s what you want”, but it misses the point.

If the vast majority of Eve players recognize the aforementioned style as the way to play Eve, they’re not going to be interested in joining an outlier; nor are CCP going to allocate their dev time to supporting niche playstyles. Ask anyone who lives in j-space or low sec.

But the most harmful part of this is that all of these new players are forming this opinion about ‘how to play Eve’ without ever having tried anything else. It’s the only way they know to play, and all these experienced people around them are doing it, so it must be right.

So, what am I going to start advising people? What should you advise people? I honestly don’t know yet. If you run or know of a newbie-friendly corporation that lives in a wormhole, or roleplays, or does something else that isn’t being a part of a major political power bloc, I’d love to hear from you.

8 Comments

  1. Eric Shang

    I started a corp about 6 weeks ago to help new players get settled in the game. They don’t want to go to null. They want content and running level 4s and ded complexes with them in a fleet is exciting and fun for them. There is to much to take at once.

    We do ore buy back. Loot and salvage buy back and also t1 frigate SRP soon to have destroyer as well. They like mining and the more adventurous ones will try exploration and will possibly want to try pvp.

    They and my vets are having a blast. High sec is not dead. 6 weeks = 115 people in a corp where most are new but getting help from vets wanting to help.

    Academy of the Unseen Arts is a great place for them. We are recruiting.

    January 10, 2019 at 09:54 Reply
    1. Twilight Winter

      Hey, if you want to send me a DM on Twitter (@TwiWinterEVE), I’d love to talk about your corp.

      January 10, 2019 at 13:01 Reply
  2. “If you run or know of a newbie-friendly corporation that lives in a wormhole, or roleplays, or does something else that isn’t being a part of a major political power bloc, I’d love to hear from you.”

    https://twitter.com/naamaskar/status/1081237295976665094

    January 10, 2019 at 11:22 Reply
  3. Zof

    I haven’t been playing long. A WH corp found me my second or third day, and they were at war. So I got to learn how to not die. That was very useful. I didn’t even go in the wormhole the first week. I focused on “how to pay for things” and worked on mining with my venture while being aligned. Then I wanted more money, so I went into the wormhole to use my venture on gas sites. I think greed ultimately forces people interested in playing into different content. The main thing about Eve as a new player is it’s so complicated, it’s very easy to get the wrong impression about how something works, and keep that wrong impression until it hurts you. Lots of reading. Lots of re-reading because a lot of things have changed recently. I read a massive document on how space houses work, then later found out “Oh, that’s the old stuff. Here, read about the new stuff.” The point is, all of that has appeal for me. I don’t want easy. I want the benefit of going that extra mile for an unfair advantage by learning the details. I love the game.

    January 10, 2019 at 17:40 Reply
  4. Reinder

    I never send players to null, personally i’ve played most playstyles in eve. With the exception of HS suicide ganker, HS wardeccer, NS f1 monkey. I ran HS newbro friendly entry coorporations with all the buyback and that nonsense. Done the Indycorp thing, ran one of those for a while. Did the missionrunning / explo thing. Incursionfleets. Lived in lowclass wh. Lived in highclass wormholes. Solo lived in lowclass wh’s and now living in a small corp in a wormhole ratting in c5’s. Honestly i think there isn’t one way only to play eve. Most of nullsec to me is just boring attrition style gameplay. The reason the big coalitions are so powerfull is their meme gameplay, it keeps line members somewhat interested because they drink the propaganda Kool-aid and feel like they’re part of a group. Since really all the content in null is just as much farming and excitement as mining in a venture in sobaseki. The only big difference i saw was the constant flow of bullshit going your way trying to make you part of that group and making you feel you matter.

    I think the best place for players is the eve-Uni. They will take any lvl of player and give them the information plus a “safe” way of learning the game. They do stuff in all types of space, personally i take issue with about 90% of what they teach because as far as i’m concerned they’re doing it all wrong, but thats not at issue here. The thing they do right is have an organised structure that exposes players to varying styles of gameplay. Far more then any other group i’m aware off. And in the end it really doesn’t matter if they learn to do stuff “wrong” you can always teach a new player to do whatever it was you took offence with better. What you can’t teach a person who’s never tried it is what it is like to partake in a certain activity. And lets be honest, Flying your brand new Vexor belt ratting, but having to buy all the skillbooks from some person that is making a 1k % markup because there is no viable way for you to travel up and down to highsec isn’t fun either. You may be able to afford it but as far as i’m concerned there is more to eve then just nullsec systems with names you can’t remember.

    January 10, 2019 at 22:52 Reply
  5. The14th

    I’ve questioned how we handle new players for some time. The big guys scoop them up as cannon fodder, and there’s an entire ecosystem around scamming, trolling, and ripping off fresh pilots. Everybody screams about the player count and that CCP is killing the game, but I think we share at least a little bit of the blame.

    January 11, 2019 at 22:07 Reply
  6. IrishJ

    I started playing a long time ago.
    My friends at the time lived in Venal and i wanted to join them, back then Belt ratting was the only viable way of making isk, loot and salvaging was good income at the time.(but a long wait for return as Carriers where the only real way to get to empire no freighters yet )
    After being advised by a buddy of mine Kurator told me i should stay in empire get some amour skills up and some gunnery skills up, i did go up to venal a little early to be honest and wasted a lot of time doing very little as i could barley tank the rats let alone kill them (waited for people to log on so i could tag along).
    In the end just had to wait till my skills got up to a decent level. I have noticed the culture of you should play the way i do come into eve in the last while,but isnt that the way corps and alliances want there members to play. The people who stand out in eve are people that do crazy stuff, like fly a megatron in every fleet, the rifter that made a gauntlet run then killed tempest solo. Eve has changed alot since i started and i do not have got to run belts for 2 weeks to buy a battleship,injectors and anomaly’s so much has evolved in the game.
    The only thing that has not changed is some of the people behind the scammers and all the hype there are still some amazing guys and ladies unfortunately you have to find them small groups that have nothing to lose and play to have fun,that is where you need to start not being chucked into a 200 man Team speak or mumble server, not having a clue and every one suspicious of the noob.I dont know if i could play Eve if i had to start back from a new player view point again, Could you ?

    January 13, 2019 at 21:10 Reply
  7. Great post, thanks.

    January 14, 2019 at 14:53 Reply

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