Opportunities in New Eden ... or how I learned to play EVE

Howdy EVE Dev Blog readers!

Last time we spoke, I laid out a system we were about to begin live testing called Opportunities. A system we hoped would soon replace the old tutorial by giving new players a more engaging path to understanding how awesome EVE is. Today, I’m here to tell you that we are doing just that, starting on April 28th the old tutorial will be removed from the game completely and will be replaced by Opportunities.

Since the first Opportunities release, just after Tiamat in February, we’ve been closely monitoring the impact of the new system. By splitting new players into two groups and giving one group Opportunities and the other the old tutorial, we’ve been able to compare the two systems side by side on several important metrics. I can happily report that so far all signs are good. Players given Opportunities are roughly 10% more likely to become EVE subscribers and to continue flying their spaceships betwixt the stars than players given the old Tutorial. On top of that, we are seeing enormously increased engagement across a range of fundamental game features. Versus their old tutorial system counterparts, players using Opportunities are:

  • Approximately 28% more likely to have killed an NPC
  • Approximately 75% more likely to have used the market
  • Approximately 100% more likely to have mined

We’ve also been taking advantage of both data and feedback to make changes to the experience as fast as possible. In our second release in Scylla we roughly doubled the content in the system. We added some new essential opportunities including camera use, route setting and chat and also split some of the original set up into multiple opportunities to give us more room for details and to make the overall flow smoother.

With the full release we are going to continue expanding and improving on the content in the Opportunities system. We will be adding Opportunities for missions, exploration, manufacturing and joining player corps to name a few.

On April 28th we will not only be giving Opportunities to 100% of new players entering the game, we will also be giving the system to all of you, our proud veterans. For some of you this will be very good news as it means you will be able to check out the system that all our new players will be using, making it easier for you to guide them through their experience. For some veterans however, Opportunities won’t be necessary as most of the concepts covered so far are fairly elementary. Minimizing the Opportunities info panel should be easy enough and if you like you can disable all notifications for Opportunities as well using Notification settings.

Keep in mind that Opportunities from the last two releases will have been tracked on your characters and will be marked as done immediately if you’ve met the requirements during the last couple months. Newly added Opportunities other hand will need to be freshly completed.

We are very happy with the changes we’ve been able to make to the new player experience so far but we are absolutely not done. We have so many options for how to move forward that I’m not even sure what will come next but I can tell you some possibilities.

One area we are actively exploring is improving the visual experience of the Opportunity map view to make it more visually exciting and also make it easier to navigate all the Opportunities available, especially as the number continues to grow. Here’s a mockup showing one possible direction:

We are also discussing more interesting presentation for the content in each opportunity. Here’s another mockup!

Remember, these are just early ideas and don’t necessarily represent final product.

Visuals aren’t all though! Now that we’ve validated the base design for the system we are extremely interested in leveraging our A/B testing framework to try changes to certain system elements. For instance, we’ve stated from the beginning that we wanted to avoid tying rewards to Opportunities, mostly out of fear that it would encourage people to finish them all even if they weren’t actually interested in the activities required. Why not test and find out if players prefer rewards despite our assumptions?

There is also obvious potential to move Opportunities from being a new player experience feature to being a feature that even vets would appreciate. Kill a Titan Opportunity? Own a trillion ISK? Deliver 10,000 torpedoes? We’ve kept this possibility in the back of our minds while staying focused primarily on improving the NPE. Soon we may have the chance to explore difficult and long term Opportunities in more depth.

Whichever direction we move from here, we hope there is a bright future for Opportunities and we deeply appreciate your help and feedback.

On behalf of Team Pirate Unicorns,
Fly safe o/

PS – If you are interested in more details on the development and testing of Opportunities, I would recommend checking out our Fanfest 2015 talk on the NPE.