Tuesday, 29 October 2013

How To Train Your Newbro

So today I'm going to write about something I feel pretty strongly about. You may disagree with me, and that's OK, but then again, I'm pretty sure I'm right.
Newbros, newbs, n00bs, new people. All coming into a game that has an incredibly steep learning curve, despite CCPs efforts to make the transition from character creation to flying around knowing-what-you're-doing as smooth as possible.
We were all there once, and I know that some of us were luckier than others, going straight into corps that had a good training program or playing with real life friends and learning together or even being "adopted" by someone who took you under their wing and showed you the ropes.
I constantly see posts on Reddit, or even cries for help in local where a new player is out of their depth and is asking for help. I also see a lot of responses that go along the lines of "what's your ingame name, i'll send you some iskies". This is my biggest gripe. I strongly believe that giving newbros money, whilst helping them in the short term, detracts from their experiance later on in the game. The problem is that the new player suddenly goes from 1-2 million (which they have probably been grinding or mining for) to, for arguments sake, 400m. I've seen it happen dozens of times, sometimes more sometimes less, but in either case, a gigantic ISK boost to a player who has no idea how to spend that amount of money.
You could say the same is true of new players who buy a PLEX straight off the bat and decide the best way to spend that ISK is on shiny faction mods because High Sec is safe right? Right?.
What actually happens is they blow the money, either very quickly, or over a period of time. Either way, the same thing happens. They run out of money and have absolutely no idea how to make it back for themselves. They then get dejected and quit, or forever sit at the bottom of the pile (of being space rich) and fly T1 frigates until T1 frigates gets too boring and they quit.
If you are going to give a newbro some ISK, please consider not doing so. Instead, give them the ship they need (properly fit), or some proper market advice (buy x here, sell x there), or offer them your salvage for a couple of sites/missions, or invite them to fleet and go for a roam and let them keep the loots. Do something productive, don't just drop ISK on them.
One of the other problems that I see quite often is that newbros get funnelled into a "system" that exists, a funnel from which they exit as one of three pilots.
  • This game is cool, I like shooting red rats and making money
  • This game is dangerous, I'll stay in High Sec and mine
  • Fuck the system. I'm going to go explode
Whilst these three roles actually provide a fairly even distribution of carebears, industrialists, pirates and the rest, I think it also leads to large numbers of pilots never experiencing the full wealth of what Eve has to offer. They get sequestered into this niche role, never leave it and eventually the niche role gets boring and they quit.
Things like Eve Uni and RvB are fantastic, but are also the key offenders. They are meant as training institutions, where new pilots go, learn the basics and then move on. What I see more and more frequently is pilots who have been in E-Uni for years and never done anything other than go on E-Uni fleets. There isn't any problem with this if that's what they enjoy and is what suits their play style, but then again they've never had to think for themselves, or provide content for themselves, and that makes me sad. I don't want to say bad things about E-Uni, but I've attended some of their lectures and been on a couple of their fleets and I think it's WAY too structured and there are FAR too many rules. I understand why it happens and how it has come to be like that, but I would never recommend a new player to join them.
On the flip side, one of the other largest recommendations is to join RvB or BNI. This is the complete opposite of E-Uni, where you are literally thrown in at the deep end and told to enjoy yourself. I'd love to see the retention figures for either of these two entities, and I'd put money on it being pretty terrible. This style of learning is called the FOFO method (which stands for Fuck Off and Find Out, not Friend or Foe) and is defintely not suited for the majority of Eve players, especially ones that have been playing less than a few weeks.
The problems can arise from the newbro too. Often, they are so over their heads that all they can muster is a general cry for help, rather than a direct question. "What do I do now", "What corporation should I join" are the type of questions that solicit such a shitty response in terms of helping new players. They are suddenly presented with an incredible amount of information to which they clearly have no understanding or background, and as such can't really make an informed decision. We should be encouraging newbros to ask more directed questions - which tend to get much more detailed and narrow responses with proper explanations which the newbro can learn from. Some questions you should ask yourself:
When a newbro asks you for a skill plan, do you give him the EveMon .xml, or do you spend 2 hours talking them through each skill, what it does, what it affects and what they should train it to (and why)?
When a newbro asks you how to fit a ship, do you link him the fit, or do you spend 2 hours going through each module, what it does, how it works, what skills make it better and how to use it?
When a newbro tells you they are poor and can't afford a ship, do you give him enough ISK to buy it, or do you ask him how he makes his isk, give him some tips or let him tag along with you?
[Hint, the second part of each question is the proper way to help the newbro]
I've witnessed some fantastic programs that take newbros and turn them into real pilots who can make decisions, fit ships and sustain themselves without grinding.
One of them is ENL-I Academy. ENL-I (Enlightened Industries) is a nullsec dwelling corp that has their own dedicated training which they inspiringly called the Academy. My own opinions of ENL-I aside, the way they run their Academy is exemplary and I have, and will continue, to recommend them to newbros seeking that type of thing. I'm sure there are plenty of other corps that do similar things, but I know there are a lot of corps that don't. What they do is TEACH newbros. I'm not au fait with the detailed specifics, but from what I can gather, the Academy doesn't have the same blues that the main corp does, and they go out and kill anything they can find. They encourage their members to go out and do things themselves, supporting them as they do so. They provide a huge amount of content for those that wish to have it, and push people to both create their own content and create content for others.
The Angel Project, run by Sindel Pellion, is also a very good initiative. It's a bit like a food shelter for noobs, where they can ask for assistance in the form of items or isk, or just advice in general. Whilst they have broken my cardinal rule of no isk giving, they do provide a fantastic service and you should donate ISK to that project and direct your newbro there rather than giving it to a newbro direct.
As with everything, different people learn in different ways. For some, being thrown in at the deepend works, and that newbro has the drive, determination and enthusiasm to work out how to kick their legs, stay afloat and survive. Some just sink.
Those that sink might be better suited by having private lessons with a mentor who guides them and shows them how to do things. I have one concern with One to One Mentors (either as a mechanism within a large group, or just two individuals) and that is that there is no knowing whether what is being taught is correct or not. Mechanics and Meta changes often and quickly in this game, and what could be good advice one month could be drastically altered the next. As wel as this, the advice they are getting is very niche, and in some sense, crowd sourced advice can be much much better.
So, I've waffled quite a bit today. But I leave you with this:
Next time you come across a newbro in need, consider taking the time to teach them properly rather than just throwing them ISK and moving on.
A quick AAR from last night. We went out and did all the sites in our C3 static. The static had a a C5 connection that was pretty active, and by active I mean we killed a bunch of their minig ships and they got a bit upset. The static itself also had one dude who was rather active and determined. While we were running the sites, we kept noticing various ships popping up on D-Scan and launching probes. We had eyes on all the holes to watch things coming in and out, but a couple of pilots came in and never left. The first time we noticed probes on scan, our Noctis (who normally stays in the previous site hoovering) went back in to the Home Hole and waited. We finished all the sites without incident and all went to reship to combat ships to protect the Noctis while it salvaged.
The cheeky bastards had boomarked a few of our sites and few looting all the good loot.
We spread out amongst the sites, most of us in cloaky ships while a detail of ECM boats guarded the Noctis.
We were watching D-Scan like hawks and whenever a hostile appeared, we all tried to find them. We had a couple of close calls where we landed in a site just as the baddie warped off but eventually we got lucky and they landed in a site with a Cheetah where I had my instalocking Helios cloaked. I de-cloaked and burnt at him, and somehow managed to get into scram range without them warping off. I also managed to NOT slingshot myself and lose the tackle like I normally do. We killed him and his pod, which was worth a pretty penny.
During the chasing, we'd also noticed a Legion, a Loki and a Manticore slip into the hole and not leave. Eventually, they sprung their trap and tried to catch our Noctis as it finished a site. The Manticore launched a bomb an the two T3s decloaked. The Noctis YOLO'd out with minimal armor damage from the bomb, someone uncloaked and pointed the Legion, I uncloaked and jammed everything. Unfortunately, they Loki and the Manticore got away. Fortunately, we had a sabre and killed the Legion pod.
We saw the Loki go home, but the Manticore decided he'd be cool and torpedo all the wrecks in the last site (of like eleven sites). We weren't really bothered. We're a PVP corp and we killed just under 800m in ships and pods without losing anything.
One last thing, I'm looking for a comprehensive list of lowsec systems that meet the following criteria:
  • Has a station
  • Has a gate to a non-island High Sec system with a station
If you own such a list, I'd be very interested in seeing it, and might even pay you for it.
I can do it manually, and in fact I have started, but I'll probably miss a few systems.
Additionally, if you know of any way to find out the distance between System X and Systems Y, W and Z without having to manually type it all into Dotlan/GARPA, that would also be pretty neat. Bonus points if you do it for me as I'm pretty much computer retarded.


  1. We had an unwanted visitor in our C1 this weekend. I killed his venture, told him wh space is not safe, explained Dscan to him, linked him a venture fit, contracted him back the loot he had dropped and promised not to shoot him a second time if he wanted to return to mining in our wormhole (which he did).
    The loki and devoter that killed my mining ship the next day were less friendly though they taught me some valuable lessons as well. After downtime you had better pay attention to new signatures in your system.

    1. You should ALWAYS be paying attention to new signatures in your system, not just after downtime.

      Do you use a sig tracking tool?

    2. Wait wait wait. There are sig tracking tools?

    3. Yep. Check out staticmapper.com

    4. Ah, I see now. I'd never used it in the IGB before. Didn't realize I was missing out. Thanks!

  2. AS a big newb I want to say you're missing one important factor yourself - everything in moderation (even moderation!) - What I mean is 2 hour lessons on everything isn't always the answer. In fact, I can think of several situations where that would have driven me to rage quit. In my case, people gave me isk - I think over the course of my first few weeks I got 3 different donations of 10 mil each. These were early in my career, but the donators knew me well enough to know that I had some idea of how to be responsible with it. They also linked me fits early in my career so I could focus on the fun stuff up front, and modify the builds when that was what I was looking to do. It also encouraged me to save builds and learn all the features so I am not forced to spend hours building a ship straight out of the gate. The moral of the story isn't that you're wrong though - it's to get to know the player before you give them things blindly. Find out what knowledge level they're at, and point them forward.
    I do agree with Eve-U being too structured though. I joined for about a week at the beginning and found myself without anything to do - everything fun was against the rules.I don't think Eve-U should be a corp onto itself. It should be an entity that has different factions in several large corps, including goonswarm. In my opinion, CCP should probably look at Corp mechanics and see if there's a way to make that happen - perhaps a new mechanic that can be used for a multitude of purposes, or perhaps something limited to Eve-U and other newbie training centric corps.

    1. Absolutely.

      10m isn't what I would call a big doantion, not even to a player on his first day. And spread over a few weeks is absolutely fine. What I mean is when there are 10-15 people each giving 10m in the space of an hour.

      The moderation part is indeed incredibly important. I'm not advocating sitting a newbro down in front of you and giving a two hour lecture. Two hours was an arbitary statement to demonstrate taking some time to talk things through properly.

  3. As one of the training cadre, I highly recommend the Open University of Celestial Hardship for new PvP players. We are a nullsec training corp that requires you to complete 9 training modules and be involved in 10 meaningful kills, all within 90 days. After you graduate you can apply to join the cadre (and be required to teach classes) or move on to the rest of your Eve career. We take everyone from day old noobs, to bitter mining vets who want to get some back for all the ganks over the years. Spai's welcome!

    Check out the killboard: http://ouch.eve-kill.net

  4. I think you're rather mistaken about the nature of Eve Uni... and honestly I think it's pretty laughable that you think the nature can be determined by the open-to-the-public lectures and a few Aldrat-based roams. "They've never had to think for themselves, or provide content for themselves" manages to combine insulting and factually incorrect in a way rarely matched by even an American politician. If you think new players in Eve Uni don't create content, you honestly have no idea what you're talking about.

    The rules of Eve-Uni in highsec and lowsec are a bit frustrating at times, but the tiniest bit of thought allows you to see why they exist. (In your mind, I'm sure all new players want to be grinding up sec status!) These rules that most people find frustrating are switched to NBSI in WHs and null. The "don't go into sov null" restriction is honestly outdated at this point... but was probably pretty important when someone could still potentially think of E Uni as a highsec front for a nullsec bloc.

    Ironically, the other series of rules that people find frustrating is basically "don't fly such blingy ships until you know what you're doing when we're at war". This is mostly an issue for people who stay in the highsec campus and aren't used to perpetual wardecs. There's much more to Eve Uni than the high sec Aldrat campus, it would be good if you had some idea of what you were talking about, before posting about it.


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