Improved New Player Experience | EVE Online

Improved New Player Experience

2021-08-24 - By EVE Online Team

Capsuleers are the lifeblood of EVE Online. New players help grow the game, strengthen the community, and keep stories in the world interesting and engaging. More Capsuleers means more content, more talent to recruit, and a better game for everyone. As part of the ongoing effort to embrace new players in New Eden, EVE's first gameplay moments have been transformed into an approachable and compelling story driven experience.

The primary goal of this new adventure is for players to experience an entertaining and emotionally rich narrative while also learning essential skills they need to thrive. By engaging with this freshly imagined content, newcomers to EVE Online will hopefully find their earliest steps into the game more enjoyable, leading to increased retention and enriching the wider EVE community with their presence.

In September, the AIR New Player Experience (or AIR NPE) will launch with its first chapter, marking the beginning of a new journey into EVE Online. The work in progress is now available on Singularity, ready to be tested by willing Capsuleers. Players who want to participate in testing will need to create a new character through an empty character slot and complete the experience in one session.

What is the AIR NPE?

Players will be introduced to the Association for Interdisciplinary Research (AIR), a new technology-focused organization making a splash on New Eden's corporate landscape. AIR's main goal is the pursuit of scientific knowledge through a variety of research and development endeavors. One such endeavor is the AIR Capsuleer Training Program, a project designed to help pilots achieve their dreams of becoming the best and brightest Capsuleers in New Eden.

Upon entering the game, players pass through the most critical stages of AIR's Capsuleer program, waking up in their newly designed clone bodies and acclimatizing to their pod. As they progress through their journey, players will meet Aura, their trusty AI companion. They will encounter a new cast of characters (including high-ranking AIR executives), as well as fly cool spaceships through breath-taking vistas, engage in pulse-pounding combat, and - of course - make some money.

The AIR NPE is the result of careful introspection of previous iterations of EVE's new player journey. The hope is to bring players the best of all those worlds while also presenting them with something new and exciting in its own right. This fresh take on the NPE seeks to give purpose and context for every move Capsuleers make, assisted each step of way by a suite of new tools and capabilities designed with new players in mind.

More immersive experiences - new tools, visuals and functionality

Crafting this narrative-driven content called for quite a bit of innovation when it came to tooling. The results of that innovation will benefit both current and future content capabilities so that players can continue to experience cinematic, immersive, and engaging gameplay in EVE Online.

  • More immersive experiences and faster iteration: All of the content in the AIR NPE is built through a brand new nodegraph editor, meaning that every single battle, direction, player activation, proximity trigger etc. is visually mapped in a nodegraph editor that can be monitored live while playing through the new content. This means considerably better tracking, quicker and clearer iteration capabilities, and in time, a bank of templates that can speed up the process of building new content, and overall a much better development environment to create new dungeons, fleets fights, or simply any interesting scenario that requires any scripting in the game.
  • More dynamic visuals: One of the key elements required to create a modern new player journey is increased cinematic power. To put greater focus on scenes, enemies, ships or landmarks, or heighten the drama, action points or set pieces, brand new cinematic camera tools have been developed. Action scenes now take on a much more dynamic life while the beauty of New Eden has a chance to truly shine. The power of the weapons systems and the grandness of ships and fleets can be displayed more prominently and with greater diversity.
  • Gradual UI reveal: The UI in EVE is a lot to take in, so to begin with players will get maximum exposure to space with no UI elements. Those UI elements are then gradually revealed as the story progresses, anchoring each section of the player's display in contextual story beats.
  • Improved UI highlighting: UI highlighting works. It always scores well with new players and has made a big difference cutting through the clutter and improving direction. Now, UI highlighting can blink, take on more colors, have more versatile placements and clearer guidance in many forms.
  • An integrated intro video: A new intro video will ground players in the story while highlighting the rich and vibrant tapestry of EVE Online's many possibilities. New video scenes integrated into the gameplay showcase the boarding of your new ship. The video will be officially released with the feature, but savvy players will get a sneak peek at the work in progress during testing on Singularity.
  • Beautiful visuals: Several art assets were built for the AIR NPE with the aim of making it the most beautiful and immersive experience possible. This includes several assets such as a massive station wreck, new types of explosions, background, ship SKINs, and more.

New players are the lifeblood of the community

This first phase of the new NPE is still a work in progress, but is now available on the Singularity test server to be put through its paces and commented on by the community. Slated to be released in September, this first chapter will provide new players with both an engaging narrative experience and a solid learning foundation as they begin their journey in EVE Online. This first chapter closes by introducing players to some of the offramps that can help them shape their future as Capsuleers in New Eden, but the story does not end there. As part of the ongoing efforts to embrace new players, such as the launch of the EVE Academy, Capsuleers will also see improvements to the skill training system.

New Capsuleers form a valuable talent pool for corporations and alliances eager to expand their influence. There is no substitute for the bonds of friendship and the gift of guidance EVE's veterans can provide to these starry-eyed newcomers. As an MMO that offers some of the deepest and most sophisticated community gameplay options out there, EVE has the power to bring people together like no other game.

Ultimately, the goal of this revitalized new player journey is to bring the thrill and joy of EVE to as many people as possible, while also investing in the technical foundations to create more exciting content and launch EVE into its third decade in good health.