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Reader Comments (37)

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 7:59PM nilsmmoblog said

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The single most important thing CCP could do to attract new players is a complete redesign of the UI. I tried Eve four times by now and the UI is the main reasons I gave up each time. It's not that I couldn't figure it out - even though that's hard enough. The problem is that I get a headache and the game simply isn't as much fun to play as it obviously could be.

I know a redesign of the UI probably requires a redesign of the client and I know that it is incredibly difficult. But that doesn't change the fact that it has to be done eventually if Eve wants to survive for another ten years.

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 10:24PM Utakata said

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@nilsmmoblog

One thing I can see being a problem here is that all those who have played EVE and stuck with it are likely going to be up in arms if CCP start to radically mess around with the UI to make user friendly. Though I am all for making things "user friendly," but I can see this creating a schism between newer and older players...similar to WoW's "hardcore and casual" players. Potentially creating a horrible and volatile community that could likely drive away players, new and old alike.

My suggestion would be to have user friendly and an advance option for the UI's. With the latter defaulting to the traditional UI used in EVE now. This would entirely get around the problems I for see arising above, making it an enjoyable game for both parties. Optional tutorials would also go along way to, even if the the two UI choices would be too difficult to implement.
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Posted: Oct 31st 2011 4:18AM (Unverified) said

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@nilsmmoblog As a long time EVE player (about 5 years or so) I have to agree. The UI is what makes this game worse than it is.
I actually don't have a problem with how it works, like first targeting something and afterwards firing the weapons, but the UI itself feels just laggy. It still is bound to the network layer, which means when you open up a window such as the market, the whole UI is blocked for a couple of seconds, depending on the internet connection and load and that is a really poor design decision.
Also there is no window management whatsoever. You always find yourself opening up window after window which then tend to overlap and be anything other than "good to control".
Yea, I really hate the UI ever since.
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Posted: Oct 31st 2011 4:27PM Tanesis said

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@Utakata The problem there would be most eve players, certainly the PvP ones, would just use whichever gave the greatest advantage rather than which ones intuitively felt good.

If the UI was radically alterd then a lot of the existing playerbase would create a whole world of dumbing down drama. A lot of existing players like the UI because of its complexity.

Tan,
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Posted: Oct 31st 2011 6:08PM (Unverified) said

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@nilsmmoblog I agree. The UI is horrible. It does some things okay and other things not so okay to just plain bad and hard to find without being explicitly told by other players. At a minimum they need to at least change the graphics of the UI, it feels like you are playing Windows '95 sometimes.
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Posted: Oct 31st 2011 9:01PM Utakata said

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@Tanesis

So what would be the solution then? CCP can't afford to lose it's traditional playerbase even over it being a percieved notion of "dumbing down"of their UI. And at the same time, CCP wouldn't create a duel option UI if it can be exploited.

...perhaps expanding their tutorial system greatly would be better? Keep in mind, part of the problem is that something isn't user friendly when it's unfamiliar. Once players get used to it, this may no longer be an issue. So here an optional expanded tutorial would be ideal.
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Posted: Nov 13th 2011 9:50PM Sabbatai said

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@Tanesis As a long time player I'd have to say I like Eve's UI because of its "depth" rather than its "complexity" which I think is just awful.

The "overview" is awesome but I would like to see it overhauled and easier to read/manage.

The text is just too small. People always make jokes about my eyesight but they are probably playing at 1024 on a 16 year old CRT or something because the text is TINY. Even expanded. Even the highest font size option. Chat allows me to make the text gigantic if I want... why not the rest of the UI?!

Repositioning some windows also drags others that unless active, you won't notice. Namely, the "Selected Item" (hotbar) window moves the target display (or used to, I think they fixed this). Without something targeted you can't really tell as the only indication that it was moved and the tool you use to move the target selection window by itself is a teeny tiny white circle that indicates the corner of the invisible box that holds that information. Jesus, it is even hard to explain...........
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Posted: Oct 30th 2011 8:14PM Korvix said

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I had 20+ trials for the game before I ended up starting in 07'. Tried it on and off since 03'; but it wasn't much of a 'game' back then. At least its not really 'excel in space' anymore lol.

The single most important thing a new player can do to increase their enjoyment in EVE is to join a player corp. I suggest EVE University if you don't have a friend to get you into their corp.

I like the UI. You wont really appreciate it much until you really get into mastering it. But once you have your overview set up right and configured properly you could play the game without seeing other ships/objects at all....and sometimes you have to do just that. Though I could see a slight redesign to make things easier to get to. Some of the menus are really well hidden and you will never find them unless you accidentally click on it or someone tells you the options are there.

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 8:17PM Knoodlepot said

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Been playing since 04 and i never really thought of these things like the UI. i always took them for granted easy to use. my friend did the same thing quit cos the UI was too confusing,, lucky he never checked the Map.

With this 21day trial review i hope some of CCP see this and change a few things, cos they can not change somemthing if they are not told about it. this will be an interesting read and see how far your friend gets. It'll be nice to get new blood into the game different faces.

Also to see what other parts of EVE i take for granted and do not think is hard to understand.

I laughed at a guy asking how to move Drones into his ships nearly wrote something rude in local chat till i thought about it. i don't think there is a tutorial on how to. i knew how cos i was shown too.

I try to help new players too but i'm paranoid mostly i never fleet up incase i get ganked D:

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 8:51PM (Unverified) said

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As a not so veteran player that is trying to bring some friends, the UI is the worst. EVE really needs a more intuitive UI (but please don't dump the old one, just like they did with the ship spinning).

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 9:48PM mmark said

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I remember when I tried Eve was that it took me a while to actually find out how to find a agent with the agent rating scheme being odd - CCP has recently changed the agent rating system so maybe it is better now.

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 11:24PM smg77 said

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@mmark
They added an agent finder system and simplified the agent quality ratings so finding agents to run missions for is much better now. The missions are still boring as hell but at least it's easier finding agents for them.
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Posted: Oct 30th 2011 10:04PM Celtar said

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I keep waiting for them to make available the ability to increase the font size to something that is readable. Literally I get a headache from eye strain and a backache from leaning forward while squinting at the screen.

Even my son finds it hard to read the UI, yeah I know the "chat" fonts can be increased in size, but that isn't what I'm talking about. I am talking about every "other" bit of text in the games UI.

I'll never be able to play the game if I can't play more then twenty to thirty minutes without the above issues. I know I am not the only one who bitches about this, over the years I've seen repeated complaints about the same thing.

The game so reminds me of the old table top game Traveller, would really love to spend major hours in the game but until this issue is fixed I won't be able to. :(

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 10:25PM roberticvs said

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I agree with the points given by his tester in this article. A player should start out as a person, and not a ship. The novice player experience needs to be more welcoming.

There are a lot of great things in and about EVE, but the loyal fanbase needs to open their minds and accept the fact that just because XKCD made an amusing comic about how complex the learning curve is, CCP needs to smooth that curve and bring in new customers to remain successful. Incarna is a good way to do that.

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 10:42PM Channel84 said

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they could learn a lot from uncharted water online tutorial

Posted: Oct 30th 2011 10:46PM Dirame said

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I don't know, I had a very easy time with the Eve tutorial when I first started. Maybe it's because at the time I started Eve, I didn't have many other MMOs under my belt so I didn't have any ways of playing that I was previously used to.

Posted: Oct 31st 2011 12:37AM Boardwalker said

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@Dirame

Or you can read, which the majority of MMOers don't seem to want to do anymore. Welcome to the minority.
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Posted: Oct 31st 2011 12:54AM Boardwalker said

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Great article, Brendan. Really enjoyed reading it and learning about your friend's experience. And you're right, it seems like he just missed stuff that would really have helped him, like the career agents and the different channels (like recruitment) in the chat box.

I'm looking forward to future installments!

Posted: Oct 31st 2011 2:23AM pancho72 said

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It's always interesting to hear how new people react to a game. We tend to take things for granted when we are used to the basics. I recognize some of the things Kajatta mentioned. Especially the feeling of 'where are all the other players'. Decoding all the different brackets in the overview was no simple task.

I agree that being introduced to an avatar representing a real human may make it more friendly, but I doubt it helps much after the first few minutes unless the avatar has a gameplay purpose. Currently the 3D environment is unrepresentative of the actual gameplay and is little more than a fancier portrait. One weakness of EvE before Incarna was the lack of a link between gameplay and avatars, and Incarna does little to change that.

Compared to some of the 'hardcore' MMOs on the market, Eve actually has some very good tutorials. A shame that Kajatta didn't encounter them. :-)
Connecting introductory content into a complete experience is probably tricky to do right, especially when many features are implemented one step at a time, the way CCP likes to do it.

Posted: Oct 31st 2011 4:00AM Anulla said

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"I also loved the fact you get to see your ship in a hangar before you go into it, that was really cool, but I didn't like the fact that I couldn't walk all the way up to my ship to get in."

I find this a major failure on the game's part to make Kajatta understand what it is to be a Capsuleer, *the* major part of Eve's lore. In the hangar, the capsule below the rail is easy to miss if you don't know what to look for. Of course, there was no walkway to the ship, but how does the brand-new player know that?
This is one area where the CQ could be used not only as a tutorial for the major elements of the UI, but also as a bit of exposition showing why you're a Capsuleer to begin with. Couldn't some videos be screened in the CQ that show some history and maybe a sequence showing a pilot entering a capsule? I certainly remember at least one video showing off a capsuleer being emptied out into the CQ when Incarna was in development. Without some perspective on the backstory, a lot of what you see in the game exists in a vacuum.

I'm a little surprised Kajatta didn't have more luck finding other players to steer him along. When I first started, the newbie help channel was fairly active and I did manage to learn a few things. I don't know if this has changed since Incarna went live.

Interesting look at a new player trying Eve without being coached by a vet. Looking forward to more of it.

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