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My Wife, the Capsuleer. Part II.

October 5, 2009
Mathilda 95

Mathilda 95

As promised it’s a lovely saturday afternoon and I’m watching my wife shape the Gallentean face of Mathilda 95. I had guessed she would choose Gallente, I didn’t expect her to stop the Caldari intro movie and decide not to be one even before it finished though. While she tried to decide which hair style and accessory was the lesser of two evils, I gave her a brief history lesson on New Eden and exactly what a Capsuleer is. Somewhat satisfied with Mathilda’s looks my wife began her EVE career.

My teaching style and my wife’s learning style don’t coincide so I had promised to keep my mouth shut unless she asked a question. So in order not to totally lose my mind wanting to “help” I went about my own way in New Eden and only glanced over every once in a while.

My impression after an hour of watching Mathilda learn is that the beginner’s tutorial does a good job of telling you how to do things but not why, and certainly doesn’t give you the bigger picture. Specifically the fitting screen. Considering how important ship fitting is and how many different kinds of modules and combinations of items are possible the fitting screen needs way more initial explanation. Everyone who plays EVE knows what an intense learning curve it has, and EVE is definitely not designed for the casual gamer but a “bigger picture” approach to the tutorials and introductions to the game tools would benifit all new players regardless of gaming experience. I also believe that this approach would highlight the difference between EVE and other MMOs more clearly. EVE is not about “go here”, “collect 10 of this”, “kill 3 of them” but the intro tutorial is pretty much like this, perhaps giving a new player the wrong impression of EVE.

Beginning tutorials complete Mathilda moves onto the career agents. At this point my wife wants to “just explore” but after some urging from me she agrees to do the career agent missions. One mission later and it was time for a break. When my wife logged back into New Eden it was clear that a lot of what she had learned hadn’t really sunk in. I explained a lot about the fitting screen, how to find her optimum range, how to target, what the difference between warping and jumping is, and what an acceleration gate is. As she finished for the day she remained hopeful if not enthusiastic. “I think I might like it”, she said.

Filled with hope and glee I sent her links to BattleClinic’s New Player Guide and CCP’s gorgeous Career Guide. BattleClinic’s guide was a great resource for me as a new player and I hoped that the Career Guide would open up the possibilities of EVE in that bigger picture kind of way.

On sunday most of the day passed before my wife launched EVE, I tried to push her to read the guides I sent but honestly we were both tired and hungover from a hard night of tequila and RockBand so I didn’t push too hard. When she did head back to New Eden she announced she was going on a salvaging mission, unfortunately she had put the civilian salvager in her cargo hold instead of fitting it to the ship so she headed back to station. Geared-up and ready to go she flew out to the mission area, she dispatched the rat there without much trouble but needed help knowing how to salvage. That explained she headed back to the station. I can’t be sure but I think she gave a little sigh before saying “Yeah, I think I’m done with EVE”. She said she really wanted to like it because she knew it would make me happy (she’s the best) but it really isn’t her kind of game. I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t like it and thanked her for trying it out.

She asked me why I liked EVE, and I came up with this list:

I like flying around in my spaceship.

I like that most the game is player controlled and influenced.

I like the complexity and that there is always something new to learn or delve deeper into.

I like the sandbox.

I like that I’m not forced into one character type from the start and I can switch direction anytime I want.

I like that the player base skews older than other MMOs

and

I love the enthusiasm and sense of community the players have.

My Wife, the Capsuleer experiment ended as I expected but it was an interesting and enlightening journey.

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