Eve Online gets easier to welcome new arrivals

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Eve Online has a reputation for brutal difficulty and sheer inaccessibility but the massive multiplayer online game is shaking things up to win new blood.

What is it?

One of the longest running and most successful online games, Eve Online is a sci-fi shooter set thousands of years in the future, in a region of space known as New Eden. Focused on ship-to-ship combat, exploration and commerce, players have near-total agency, with Icelandic developer CCP Games supporting whatever economic or political changes emerge.

Who’s in it?

There are about 600,000 players, and although the long-term are fiercely loyal, – many make an annual pilgrimage to the Fanfest gathering in Reykjavik – newcomers often find it difficult to make inroads into their society. CCP is now looking to make the game more welcoming without sacrificing the depth that the hardcore have come to love.

Changing how?

The game has massively stripped back the entry requirements. A staggering 78-step tutorial and a novella’s worth of intro text is replaced by seven broad gameplay categories, explored at will. Players are now out and flying their ship in five minutes rather than an hour.

An easier start?

While the game’s mechanics are untouched, a few balancing measures have been added. The big one is “jump fatigue”, which prevents excessive teleportation around galaxies, designed to stop more established players slaughtering those just getting started then warping to another victim.

Has it worked?

The changes have rolled out only in the last couple of weeks, so we will have to wait for the long-term impact. on player numbers and retention It’s definitely a friendlier introduction to Eve, though – offering a slimmed down intro actually makes you feel more prepared and in control for the sprawling universe that awaits.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Matt Kamen, for The Observer on Tuesday 14th April 2015 07.30 Europe/London

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