Death is part of the cycle in EVE. It can be sudden, over in an instant, or a slow drawn-out affair as you realise your shield and armour repairers are just being outpaced by the volley of fire in a zone where you can’t warp out. In EVE, you learn to never fly anything you can’t afford to replace for a reason… because you could lose it as soon as you leave the station.
But that is a lesson that takes time, and sometimes a bit of help from friendly veterans to learn. That first ship loss is heartbreaking. Your shiny baby turns to smoke, all that hard work and ISK gone in a single explosion. It makes you feel like a failure and the amount of ISK you lost could seem staggering, or impossible to make back.
CCP Games wants to help new players experiencing the shock and hurt of the first ship loss, in a bid to try to convert new players into regular EVE citizens. At the annual fanfest convention, CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson pointed out that every year they get more new players. Last year there were 600,000 new players, but most of them leave before the end of the week, with only 10% making it beyond seven days.
“We’re dedicating serious resources to this, which we have not done before. We have not done this level of investment, but we’re doing it now because we’ve seen from our own numbers it is the biggest opportunity for the game.”
EVE Online can be worryingly complex, and even with the game’s improved Agency guide system, there are layers upon layers of systems, tricks, jargon and shifting political agendas to learn. Knowing who is a peaceful miner with a good reputation and who is a scout for kamikaze destroyer attacks for whatever corp runs the piracy in that area is just as important as learning what skills you need to make your ship a bit sturdier and what equipment to have to prevent a quick, expensive death while out killing NPC pirates.
For now, the system will be manual with a moderator contacting new players when they lose their first ship. Over time losing a ship might get an automated response as to what went wrong, what you could learn from the encounter and potentially, reimbursed so you can get to flying again.