Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My New Alpha Character

A lot of people created alpha characters yesterday. How many? Possibly a record number.

Of course, a lot of veterans curious about the feature created free accounts to try out the new New Player Experience and how alpha clones work. I know I did.

The process of creating an account was easy enough. I didn't have to worry about downloading the client, so I just filled out the information, verified my email address, attached my Google Authenticator app to the account, and away I went.  I should add that I'm glad that CCP allows players to use 2-factor authentication on free accounts. Not all publishers do. I wish I could apply 2FA to my Star Wars: The Old Republic account, but I guess EA/Bioware believes security is for paying customers.

The character creation process is pretty much as I remembered it. EVE has one of the most detailed character creators around. Even relatively rushing through the experience, I still spent 20 minutes creating my character. Too bad we can't leave the studio apartments we stay in when docked up. I hope one day CCP will redo avatar gameplay in Unreal Engine 4, but that's just wishful thinking.

I created a female Sebiestor Tinkerer. Yes, I went hard mode with the Minmatar, although I hear some people think the Amarr are worse off. I originally wanted to create a male character, but I fell in love with the name and gave in. I have a back story floating around my mind for my character. If I had created a male character, I would have chosen the Rebel ancestory. I need to write the idea down. I think I may actually have a good story.

Upon hitting finalize, I was immediately thrown into the tutorial, with a voice actor playing Fleet Commander Valdari giving me the background of my current situation in space. Also, my introduction to Aura. I don't think the voice of Aura is bad in the tutorial, but the words flow too fast when she says "warp drive active."

As I stumbled through the first part of the tutorial, I have to admit I liked the text that floated in space designed to show elements necessary to completing the tutorial easier. Except, that is, when the text covered up my capacitor and hit points. That was annoying. Especially when I'm into half-armor. Or at least, I think I was at half-armor. I couldn't tell because the UI element was in the way.

Having gone though the old NPE which was walls of text, I think the voice acting does a much better job of transmitting information. I do have to say I wish the instructions came just a tad faster the first couple of times I fought against the NPCs.

As I running through the tutorial, I was a bit concerned that my Reaper wound up with an armor tank while the skills an alpha clone can train are weighted very heavily toward shield tanking. Upon reflection, the tutorial is not just for alpha clones and Minmatar ships often can fit both an armor or a shield tank. Still, I can see where alpha players may run into some confusion.

I did manage to finish the industry section that results in the construction of a civilian data analyzer. The industry section contained two improvements over the old NPE industry line. First, instead of getting sent out to an asteroid belt to mine, the fleet commander told me the fastest way to get the minerals was to raid a den of pirates. The second, and more important improvement, was that while the data analyzer was under construction, the voice acting kept me occupied until the item was ready. Under the old NPE, players were basically told to go get something to drink, or maybe even get a sandwich, as manufacturing would take awhile.

I stopped at the point in which I needed to use a jump gate for the first time. The activities from the end of character creation to when I finished the last activity in the starter system took a little under one hour. In my opinion, that is pretty good pacing. Also, the tutorial presented a natural break point to return to real life.

So far, I like the tutorial. From what I've heard, the tutorial runs between 5-10 hours in length. I only want to spend an hour or so each day playing on my alpha account, so I think I'll finish the tutorial sometime this weekend.

Oh, and the crazy idea I alluded to in yesterday's post? I streamed the session to YouTube so I could have a copy live. The video, for anyone who really wants to see me stumble around, is below.

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