On Helping New Pilots


With the recent influx of new pilots the amount of questions and answers in comms and chat is skyrocketing.

Players are Eve Online’s lifeblood. Right now, new pilots are joining and it is to the benefit of all players that as many as possible stick around for the long term. Each alliance and corporation will benefit from welcoming fresh blood into their ranks. Whether they end up friend or foe, a higher player count should be our common goal.

After spending years helping newbies find their way in New Eden, I’ve collected these “do“’s and “don’t“s on being a helpful veteran pilot:



Do: Answer the question directly
Answer the question directly and simply. If the question is “What is a microwarpdrive?”, the answer should be “It’s a mid-slot module that makes you go much faster.” There is no need to go into a lecture on sig radius bloom and the possible effects of a bomb. Lecturing like that just confuses new players.

Do: Keep it simple
Yes, there are corner cases and min/max options for everything in EVE. New pilots don’t need to know them. If the question is “What drone can I use with my new Tristan?”, the answer is “Acolyte I”. There is no need to mention ‘Augmented’ Acolytes or Caldari Navy Hornets.

Keep it simple. They will learn more in due time.

Do: Keep it short
If your explanation takes longer than 30 seconds, you are talking too much. You are going into things that don’t matter to a new player. If they want to know more, they will ask.

Do: STFU and listen
It can be intimidating for new pilots to speak up in comms, so when the chatterboxes are constantly talking, they won’t ask questions. Make sure you allow for a little silence at times to allow the quiet ones a chance to ask a question.

Better yet, make a point of asking for questions and waiting quietly for someone to speak up.

Do: Be generous
To most experienced pilots 10 to 20 million ISK is but a drop in the bucket. To new pilots it can make a huge difference in their ability to fly a fitted ship or to make them feel comfortable losing a ship or two without having to resort to flying a free corvette once again.

Give your ISK freely to new pilots. They will remember it and pass it forward.




Don’t: Shit talk other groups
While shit posting is a full-time job for many in EVE, it’s not something that makes new players want to stay with the game. What makes EVE so different is the way the community can fight vicious wars in game yet share drinks in Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Las Vegas. When starting out, new pilots aren’t helped by hearing the personal grudges of bittervets.

Most new players will move a few times before settling down, so assume that the new players you help now may not be blue to you in the future. 
Don’t: Mock their mistakes

New pilots often make terrible choices due to their lack of experience. For example, dual tanking is a mistake in almost every case, but when explaining why, try to point out why an alternative fitting is better, such as “The Caracal is intended to shield tank, which is great, because you can use the low slots to increase your speed and missile damage.” Don’t just say “Are you stupid? An armor repper on a Caracal? WTF?”

No one likes being talked down to, and many people will leave the game rather than put up with mockery in their first days of EVE. Save it for when they whelp their first expensive ship.

Don’t: Tell them that mining/ratting/exploration/industry is shit for making money
The truth is that there is no one way to make money in EVE, and we need pilots filling all the niches in New Eden to make the sandbox work. While you may personally hate mining, nothing good comes from sticking that hate into a new pilot’s head. Rather than shitting on something you don’t like, talk about what you do like. It can be as simple as saying “I don’t really like ratting and don’t do it much, but I do love selling fitted ships on contract and getting filthy rich doing it.”

Don’t: Tell endless war stories
New pilots will have no context and will not give a shit. They are still confused by how to set up their overview. They don’t give a shit about your great victory over PandaSwarm five years ago. They can’t tell the difference between a warp disruptor and a warp scrambler. They don’t give a shit about the great fleets of Drakes that once roamed nullsec. Those stories can wait until they are further up the learning curve.

Most importantly: “If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.” – The Dalai Lama


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Tags: dunk dinkle

About the author

Dunk Dinkle

Dunk Dinkle has played Eve since 2008. A life-long gamer, he's played MMORPGs since the first days of Ultima Online. In Eve, he's taken a path from high sec mission running to factional warfare to null sec. After the battle of Asakai, Dunk landed in Brave Newbies where he annoys FCs with an extensive soundboard.


    remember to always srp ventures bois, good fun

  • Arronicus

    Or you can be code, and have a contest to repeatedly kill as many new players as possible over and over and over. Because what could possibly be better for player retention, than new players repeatedly losing their ship to forces they can’t control or mitigate?

    Another thing though, I strongly disagree with your point about giving new players free money. It devalues their efforts, creates instant gratification, and draws away from the accomplishments of earning your first destroyer, your first cruiser etc yourself. These were huge milestones for many of us, and by just giving new players tens of millions for free, you aren’t helping them enjoy the game, you’re crushing opportunities for them to feel accomplished

    • Rob Thompson

      Now, now, Arronicus, you know perfectly well that CCP has reserved the right – should Highsec shenanigans indicate it – to impose Safety-at-Green conditions for our Alpha Clones. Remiss of you not to mention it. The New Order of Highsec loves those new players, with a passion.

      Now to your point about largesse and our little ones. There’s no doubt that for some players, earning Isk to buy their ships is a great feeling; being self-sufficient and all that. You know that for some others, the ship is simply a means to an end – an end usually accompanied by some form of violence, and therefore lacking intrinsic value itself. For such a player, a gift of Isk to fund his next PvP adventure, might be most welcome, along perhaps with some advice about how to survive an encounter for longer than 5 seconds…

    • Nemesis

      CODE is just EVE’s bottom of the barrel. The 15 year old just discovering the wonders of anonymity on the internet and the ones that have never grown out of it.

      On your other point. I think giving isk can be good and bad. However if someone has had a tough loss I’d say giving isk is mostly a good thing.

      I still remember my first day in FW a guy gave me 100m isk I had a lot of fun joining him and loosing all the ships I bought for that.

  • Bill Bones

    Do: if you don’t know the answer, direct them to someone who may. Nobody masters all trades in EVE, and learning how to get answers is also important for new players.

    • bad

      This, and the ridiculous fact that there are so many people in the player help channels who are routinely giving out completely wrong advice. If you want to be helpful, but don’t actually know the answer to something: Be helpful, don’t reply. Really basic stupid shit, like people saying autocannons track faster than blasters, or that you can probe out cloaked ships, or that you should always run your d-scan even in highsec.

  • DireNecessity

    Do soak up youngling excitement. It’s a precious commodity that fades away all too quickly. Savor while you can.

  • Mike Dawe

    good does and don’ts I would add, teach in public channels not private convos because for every pilot brave enough to ask there are probably a dozen lurkers who wish their question was asked.


    • Arronicus

      Private chats are better because you dont get tons of other people interrupting, you can be sure they saw your replies directed specifically too them, and they’re often less embarassed to ask what they perceive to potentially be dumb questions.

      • Cookem

        both work .. simple questions and short answers should be in the public channels. should a few want further explanations then take it to private. best of both worlds

  • Provi Miner

    meh the numbers tell the truth player retention increases with being killed it is that simple

    • Bill Bones

      Likely there’s a strong post or, ergo poster hoc falacy in that common belief. “People who have played long were killed young” does not mean that they played long because of being killed young. Correlation is not causation.

      • bad

        This. It’s just a worn out tired excuse by some of the newbie gankers that ‘we’re increasing player retention by making them lose ships.’

      • Rob Thompson

        “We have tried and tried to validate the myth that griefing has a pronounced affect on new players – we have failed…” CCP Rise.

        “We were surprised…
        What about retention though?
        Backwards. People who die play longer.
        <1% of account cancellations cite ship loss or harassment". CCP Rise.

        The original Twitch stream is no longer available, alas.

        • Bill Bones

          As I said: post hoc, ergo propter hoc. They play longer after they died, thus they play longer because they died, right? Yet how do you even test that? How about correlation to playstyles? Like: PvErs rarely die and have shorter tenures, but that’s not because they don’t die, rather because PvE is terrible; whereas players who PvP are on their way to have a longer tenure yet also are more likely to die. So if PvErs who died young have longer tenures without playing PvP, that’s a strong correlation and CCP might be right. But guess we will never know.

          • Rob Thompson

            Hi Bill, I don’t really do casually dropped Latin expressions, so forgive my ignorance there!

            I get what you’re saying, but the accusation often levelled against my activities is that ganking players, new-ish or otherwise, will lead to them quitting EVE and…… so on. What the CCP data seem to prove is that exploding these players’ ships is not what makes them leave, that is, it can be discounted as an important factor in that regard.

            Clearly, that isn’t the same as saying it’s what makes them stick around, but since my detractors use the argument to support their assertion that I’m affecting CCP’s bottom-line (and therefore the future of the game), I do like to demonstrate their error from time to time.

            Alas, it doesn’t help; for it is entirely true what the Russians say of such a person: “Говорит день до вечера а слушать нечего” – He speaks from morning to evening, and listens to not a word…

          • Provi Miner

            I think you are wrong, and right: PvErs rarely die…. (this is right and the logic that follows it) however most pvp’ers started as PvErs who at some point got tired of being shot and started shooting back (this is where you are wrong, few if any start out with the idea of shooting people most start like me do some pve relax, then something somewhere happens and pve and relaxing take a back seat to shooting someone and the excitement it creates).

      • Provi Miner

        My personal opinion is thus, eve is a challenge for new players. Those who are willing to be challenged stick around longer and one of the ways to be challenged is to die and instead of quitting “to hard” these personalities see being killed a challenge and tend to stick around more. In other word killing a young player is just one of the nets used to catch players, that is all.

        • Nemesis

          EVE is NOT hard on newb’s. It is unfair!

          EVE is built in a way that limits newb’s capabilities and options. Not really a bad thing, however it is exploited by people who say they want a challenging EVE. However what they really want is to show that they are superior… If these people wanted a challenging game they would find something challenging to do instead of going after the weakest prey.

          A EVE newbe is like a kidnaped and abused child tied to a chair all it can do is role with the punches and wait till it’s either over or has grown enough to fight it’s way out (which let’s face it takes at least a few months).

          • Rob Thompson

            An individual new player starts with certain…..disadvantages, it’s true, in EVE and in Life. But there’s nothing to prevent him/her from exploring co-operative play right from the start. There’s wisdom and companionship out there, all you have to do is search for it.

            Must say I found the comparison in your 2nd paragraph distasteful, but I understand the point you were trying to make Davy.

          • Nemesis

            I agree a different analogy would’ve been better. My apologies.

  • Calduron Vorn

    I just want to mention that Dunk Dinkle has added wit and fun to the Brave Newbies alliance since they started, what? three or four years ago and is one of my favourite newbie-friendly people in Eve.

  • Cookem

    “They are still confused by how to set up their overview.”

    shit.. IM still confused on how to setup my overview !!

  • Rob Thompson

    Just like James 315, I lost a ship in Lowsec during my early days in EVE. His was a Merlin, I think; mine was a Coercer. We stayed put though, determined to conquer this awesome game.

    I’m all for helping out new players and, like many gankers, gate-campers and other lovers of mischief-making, I always respond positively to them if, after talking with them for a bit, it seems that they would benefit from advice, reimbursement or other assistance with the game.

    It’s about attitude, in EVE as in Life; in this case, the attitude both of the player and of the newbie.

    Alas, some players know all about EVE (or so they will tell you!), but they aren’t very skilled at imparting information to certain types of enquirers. To further complicate matters, not all newbies learn stuff in the same way. For example, my response to getting my beloved Coercer blown up in a Lowsec asteroid belt (don’t ask) was not to open a convo with my killer but to do a Google search about life in Lowsec. Someone else, in a similar situation, might well have simply wanted to be told why it wasn’t wise to effectively go afk in an uncloaked ship in the middle of an otherwise deserted asteroid belt, in Lowsec (or in Highsec, these days…).

    So, while the article’s points are well-made, I feel that the most important take-away is the player’s understanding of whether he actually can help the newbie, and if he can, what’s likely to be the most effective way. It isn’t as simple as it sounds.

    Some new players (and indeed others) for some reason eschew the Google Search; I’ve never understood why. They ask and ask and ask in Help Chat and all over the place, taking the risk of being told utter bs, rather than doing a couple minutes research. Mind you, Google results can be disappointing. Links to out-of-date YouTube videos and PDF guides abound. Why don’t the people who make these things take some responsibility in either updating them or, you know, pulling them?

    Ah well, good as this article is, I fear that (like my comments) it is unlikely to put an end to the enduring scenario of the clueless raging newbie advised by the clueless arrogant vet.

    • Nemesis

      I was going to post this after raeding your first sentence “Your comments probably do not get the attention you want since they are narrow and allow room for your point of view.”

      However I read on before submitting and was surprised by the post. Few comments though:
      – Have met few gankers who you can actually have a convo with, most are just …. and seem to lack any common decency or insights. Mostly it’s carebears should die and that kind of nonsense. EVE is not meant for anything else then what I use it for and we should all hunt down anyone who disagrees. (Not saying it’s your attitude it is however the main attitude)
      – If you start with a weighted comment, changes are people do not read on and all further communication is a lost. So as many people (me included) you fall under the “but they aren’t very skilled at imparting information” portion of the community
      – “It’s about attitude”, I disagree! As in real life attitude is important, however if your motivation is squashed on a dayly bases no amount of “good” attitude will cover that loss!
      – Google vs asking:
      –> First off most information found through google has the same issues as information received from someone directly, no way to easily validate if it’s correct (baring common sense)
      –> As you stated people process information in different ways some learn better when there is interaction
      –> On the out of date crap, yeah. One of the biggest issues of the internet now a days making google a far less usefull tool by the day.

      All that being said being a newbe in EVE myself 4 months or so. Gankers make it difficult to stay with it. Now do not get me wrong, I do not mind the ones picking peeps of in LS/NS/WH. And then there is that stupid one sided war declaration being used on newbe corps to get some free kills.

      From my experience most gankers are nothing more then cowards picking on weak prey, trying to ruin another’s day. They prefer taking on a miner then taking on this https://crossingzebras.com/hyperion-the-king-of-brawling-battleships/ in PVP.

      • Rob Thompson

        Thanks Davy for your very detailed response. I suppose ‘temperament’ might have been a better word for what I was trying to say; your temperament generally informs your attitude. My son (a notable rager) says that, when roused, I have all the anger of a long-dead sloth.

        Allow me to provide some balance. I’ve met few miner/carebears with whom I could have a useful conversation about EVE. They’re either afk-mining (i.e. absent) or so ignorant about game mechanics outside their activity that it’s a waste of time. These tend to be folks who do nothing but mine, of course; many others are highly profitable conversationalists!

        Regarding ‘carebears should die!’, it’s important to distinguish tongue-in-cheek comments from genuine hatred. James 315 made just this point in an interview (conducted by CZ itself for a then-upcoming CSM election). It’s a pity that, on both sides, there appear to be individuals who just can’t take a bit of smack-talk.

        If you’re getting whacked on a daily basis, correct attitude would be to ask yourself how, and then try to do something about it. But I know plenty of people who don’t take this route, so I guess it’s common.

        Of course, Google isn’t infallible as a source; neither, for that matter, is Wikipedia. However I’ve always found it easier to browse pages and compare, than to listen to the views of innumerable people – any one (or all!) of whom might be scamming me…

        You were in a WH you say? Very unusual to find my lot there; we’re the New Order of Highsec (what a lot of folks mistakenly call CODE.). We operate exclusively in Highsec, although we naturally do travel further afield. Just sounds like hi-jinks to me.

        You’d probably be surprised to learn the number of gankers who are also: Miners, Mission-Runners, Industrialists, etc. And a good few of us hail from well-known (and even opposing) Nullsec PvP Alliances. it’s a play-style, and it says nothing reliable about us in general.

        Stick with the game; it’s awesome. If you’re aware of what gankers do and how they do it, you’ll better be able to ensure, by using the tools CCP has diligently provided, that you don’t end up on the end of my Light Neutron Blaster IIs!

        Fly Safe!

        • Nemesis

          First off you are most welcome. I must say I find it difficult to formulate a accurate response. I’ve devided my answers into categories. Also you’ve

          @afk and ignorance
          People being ignorant is a common thing in this day and age I regretfully have to admit. However going afk is not always a result of ignorance or general stupidity. For some it’s a requirement. For instance if my son (2 years) needs my attention he gets president over anything else that is happening (barring some exceptions of course).

          @Game mechanics:
          Now this is in my eyes is a very important topic. One which many gankers I met do not seem to understand.

          EVE is a simulation with a simulated economy where “most of the ships are produced by players” (a quote (not literal) from CCP, if required I can lookup the reference). Meaning resource gathering is a necesaty. The often made defense against mining is that raw resources can be aquired by other means. I probably do not have to explain why I ask those who do to please go back to school and pay attention this time…

          @Game mechanics 2:
          Hi sec has been designed to be a place for safe respit where one can CHOOSE to PVP. This is the mechanic EVE was designed with. To let traders, miners and so on do the things they like in peace without fear of being popped in their undefended ships.

          It is the HS gankers whom actually go against game mechanics and use bad design desigens to their benefit. This in many games is actually referred to as cheating 😉 (this of course would be a stretch)

          @carebears should die! & ganking (targets weaker than you):
          Have you heard of cyber bullying? Ganking (in most cases) fits that description perfectly 😉

          @”getting whacked on a daily basis”:
          Ah yeah there’s the you’re not resourcefull enough comment. However EVE is setup in a way that most newbe’s will not be able to do what they enjoy in a safe way!

          @Google vs conversation:
          It’s a preferance I personally use both.

          @What I do in the game does not reflect who I am:
          I personally as well as many psygology papers would disagree 😉

          @Stick with the game:
          If you are a hisec ganker and pray on the weak I hope you do understand that you actually achieve the opposite of what you are saying. I know too many people who’ve had their enjoyment squashed by gankers and stopped playing EVE because of it. THIS IS A BAD THING for anyone who plays EVE.

          @Adding an exerpt from the eve online site:

          Player-created empires, player-driven markets, and endless ways to embark on your personal sci-fi adventure. Conspire with thousands of others to bring the galaxy to its knees, or go it alone and carve your own niche in the massive EVE universe. Harvest, mine, manufacture or play the market. Travel whatever path you choose in the ultimate universe of boundless opportunity. The choice is yours in EVE Online.
          –> Basicly says if you want to just mine EVE is the game for you 😉

          I will however stick with game despite the gankers, however my enjoyment would be increased tremendously if EVE would be allowed to mature. Making it a place for anyone to enjoy themselves, whatever they which to do. Without the limitation you’d wish to place on them.

          • Rob Thompson

            For the moment, we’ll have to agree to disagree!

            But, I’ll just leave a now-famous quote from EVE Community Manager CCP Falcon. It was made as part of a longer response to someone who raised similar issues to those mentioned by you.

            “EVE is built on the core principle that you are never 100% safe, no matter where you go or what you do. When you interact with another player, you roll the dice on whether they’re going to screw you over or not. That’s a massive part of the social engineering behind the very basic underpinnings of the EVE Universe.”

            It’s the way the game has been designed and implemented, with full backing from the Company. I may not like some of the restrictions placed upon me in Highsec; you may think there are not enough of them! We’re both subject to the rules, though, and must work with what we have.

          • Nemesis

            Disagrements are how we grow and make life interesting 🙂

            In the end EVE is a game which people play for fun (at least I’d assume that is the case).

            I agree with you on one thing though the thing that rubs me the wrong way is not so much EVE, but human nature.

            I’ll leave a quote which I think fits the discussion.

            “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

            There is one thing I do not understand though. You seem like a rational person however you choose to live in HS which you find too restrictive while there is LS/NS/WH out there where none of these restrictions exist.

          • Rob Thompson

            I have alts elsewhere, Davy, but working within the restrictions of Highsec helps me to grow and definitely makes life interesting!