New Developer CCP Ghost Takes the Helm of New Player Experience InnovationMainDrain
Today during the Eve Keynote players were introduced to the new EVE Online Producer tasked with tackling the the New Player Experience (NPE). Introduced by CCP Seagull – who promised that the developers were “picking up the torch again” with regards to the NPE – CCP Ghost has a strong interest in understanding how people work. His previous work experience includes working in a special prosecutor’s office, security and intelligence studies, as well as interrogating persons of interest in ongoing investigations and in-depth data analysis – although no game design/development experience was mentioned.
His belief is that a modern understanding of the brain could help game companies develop games that provides people with enjoyable immersive experiences. Ghost was brought on board at CCP following a discussion with Hilmar and a chat with CCP Seagull to analyse the game and its players, with the aim of getting to the bottom of what’s going wrong with the NPE.
During his talk Ghost revealed that, in 2015, almost 1.5 million people tried Eve Online, numbers that could have a massive positive impact on the future of the game. However, the challenge remains in retaining those players due to the challenging nature of the game, with the majority of those 1.5 million quitting within the first couple of hours.
Very little detail on his plans for the future of NPE were discussed during his 13-minute presentation; instead references were made to the sheer volume of data he has analysed, as well as discussions with players and following new players in the early stages of the game. More substantive proposals for changes are yet to come.
The only conclusion we were given from his massive multiple-month long analysis into the game was simply, “Holy Shit. This game is unlike anything i’ve ever played, or ever heard about.”
A reference was made by Ghost, and again by Seagull, that the future of the NPE may involve more opportunities to have an impact in the NPC storyline at an early stage of a player’s career, using the extensive backstory of New Eden and the individual empires. The aim, they suggested, would be to allow players to create their own stories, have their own journey of mastery and purpose, to generate positive emotions, and to immerse people in the game.
The aim, they suggested, would be to allow players to create their own stories
The overall benefit would be to have new players in a position to contribute to player corps and alliances, and not have to be effectively babysat by more experienced players.
The reaction to Ghost’s presentation on social media was on the most positive. Some players were overwhelmed with his talk, with some on Twitter describing him as “a captivating speaker” and the “NPE savior this game needs”, and others saying that the NPE “has a bright future.” On Twitch chat UnderBridgeGaming said “The love he shows for Eve is real. Beautiful analysis” while H0rz0r noted that Ghost was “talking to me on many levels.”
There is no doubt that having someone with vast experience in understanding people can benefit the game in an area where understanding personal responses are so critical. This is particularly important as various iterations of the NPE, from tutorials to the opportunites system, have all failed in the past. CCP Ghost seems both fascinated by, and committed to, the challenge. Hopefully more solid information will be forthcoming at the roundtable on Saturday.