Fanfest 2015: Helping Newbros, The Art of New Eden, and More

I know, I know – we’re not even in the same month as Fanfest anymore. And, to be honest, I’m sure you’ve already had your fill and this post will be completely futile or irrelevant. However, on the off chance that you didn’t see the following talks at Fanfest, I’m here to encourage you to change that situation. Before we jump into the real meat and potatoes of today’s post, which is CCP Rise’s presentation regarding the opportunities system and new player experience, I absolutely recommend taking a look at Rixx Javix’s EVE Fan Art┬átalk and Roc Wieler’s ‘Brutor Guide to Empyrean Health’. Particularly the latter really surprised me – Roc certainly has the beginnings of a motivational speaker in him, though the delivery is still a bit rough and scattershot. Still, two great talks from players at Fanfest!

Now, on to the main event: a sparsely attended, little-watched talk about how CCP is moving forward when it comes to helping out new players.

Though chances are you haven’t watched the presentation, you may have seen one of the highlights from it being passed around the EVE community. It turns out that while ‘illegal combat’ in EVE Online does present itself to players within their first 15 days of playing the game, it really isn’t a problem. Rise and company apparently took a look at 80,000 users and focused on their first 15 days, finding that:

  • 85.5% of users don’t die within their first 15 days
  • 13.5% of users die legally within their first 15 days
  • 1% of users essentially get ganked within their first 15 days

Ironically, it would appear that those who are ganked have better retention rates than those who die legally, who in turn have better retention rates than those who don’t die at all. You know what this means…kill all newbs!

CCP Rise then went on to talk a lot about Opportunities, the new way forward when it comes to the New Player Experience. Opportunities are essentially freeform tutorial suggestions that players can accomplish anywhere, rather than the old heavily-regimented mission-style tutorial of the first 10 years of EVE. Opporuntities were rolled out about two months ago in an ambitious A/B test – an A/B test that apparently had quite a lot of internal doubt associated with it within CCP. While showing half of all new players a new way to get into EVE may sound fun to us as players, I’m sure subjecting 50% of your potential client base an unproven onboarding solution is quite nervewracking from a business perspective. However, as Noisygamer puts it, CCP has some of their swagger back these days – and they went for it.

Rise goes over a lot of the details, but the take-away of the whole thing is that using the Opportunities system (even in its limited first-pass construction) resulted in a 14% increase in conversion from trial to paid accounts. That’s huge and should provide all the kudos needed to Rise and his team, but just in case they don’t get enough I’ll toss in my own – awesome job and well done! I’m looking forward to the expansion of the opportunity system and the final, long-awaited death of the traditional tutorial system