Monday, November 21, 2016

EMP S And The New Player Experience

I am still running my alpha character through the career agents. I decided to do two yesterday, the exploration and business lines of missions. The exploration went a little better than expected. I guess all that practice probing down anomalies while in Signal Cartel paid off. But when I got to the last mission of the business line, I wound up rage quitting for 10-15 minutes.

Why the rage? The agent handed me a 200-run EMP S blueprint copy and asked for 5,000 rounds of ammunition. Oh, and I had to make the ammunition myself. What?!

First, let me back up a bit. Throughout both the new New Player Experience and the career agents, players are guided to use EMP S ammunition. That doesn't even make sense, given that the main NPCs new players fight belong to the Angel Cartel. EMP S is a type of ammunition that does 75% of its damage using electromagnetic (EM) damage. The Angel Cartel is most vulnerable to explosive, followed by kinetic, damage. The rounds that players should use against the Angel Cartel are Fusion S, which consists of 83% explosive damage, with kinetic damage making up the remainder. EMP ammunition works great against the Amarr Navy, but new players don't run into the Amarr.

Logically, by the time I am asked to manufacture ammunition, the agent should ask me to create Fusion S, not EMP S, rounds. The manufacture of Fusion S rounds requires isogen, pyerite, and tritanium. Isogen is found in omber and kernite. In Minmatar space, omber is found in any 0.6 security system and below while kernite is found in 0.4 systems and below. Given that information, a new player should stumble upon isogen-bearing ore. Even if the player manages to wander out of the Minmatar Republic into either the Ammatar Mandate (Derelik) or the Amarr Empire (Devoid), once the new player enters a 0.6 security system, all the new player needs to do is warp to a belt in a Venture, fill up the ore hold, and return to base. Simple.

With EMP S rounds, the instructions are misleading. EMP S requires nocxium, not isogen, to build. The agent helpfully tells the new player that nocxium is found in pyroxeres (0.9 security and below), jaspet (0.4 security), hemorphite (0.2 security) and hedbergite (0.2 security). The only problem is, of the four ore types, only hedbergite is found in the Minmatar Republic. So what can happen is that the new player, thinking he only has to go to a 0.9 system, goes to belts looking for pyroxeres. How much time is the new player going to spend looking? I don't know. The problem is worse if the player goes into low sec looking for jaspet. Not only will the player not find the jaspet, but might wind up on the wrong side of a kill mail.

In a best case scenario, a true new player may have heard that mining is cancer and never do it. In that case, the player goes to the nearest market, buys the materials, and produces the 5,000 rounds that way. In the worst case, the player wastes a lot of time looking for ore in places the ore does not exist, gets frustrated, and rage quits the session.

I, on the other hand, am not a new player. After realizing my character only had 5 million ISK, I hopped on Dotlan and found that Jask, in Derelik, was the nearest source of nocxium. So I headed out that way and filled my Venture's ore hold with viscous pyroxeres, and returned to the station. Did you know manufacturing 5,000 rounds of EMP S takes almost four hours? So I started the process, logged off, ate dinner, took a nap, and listened to a podcast. I logged back in with one minute left on the job. Once the job completed, I opened up a conversation with the agent, hit the compete button, and received a Wreathe plus 206,000 ISK as a bonus for completing the mission within the allotted time. I then logged back out.

Seriously, 4 hours? Okay, I get to use the remaining 150 runs on the blueprint copy, but the ammunition is the wrong type to use against the local NPC pirates. I know this suggestion is too late, but CCP needs to change the ammo type to Fusion S and reduce the amount of ammunition required to produce from 5,000 down to perhaps 1,000.

On Thursday, I wrote about how unexcited I was about the new NPE directing me to the career agents. The experience with the final business mission is worse than I remembered. Hopefully CCP does a fix before doing a marketing blitz to attract new players to the game. A four hour AFK mission? Ugh!

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