Do you like spaceships? Just kidding, everyone loves spaceships. If you're also a fan of MMORPGs, for time immemorial there's only been one real contender: EVE Online. And in EVE, spaceships are serious business--the game's player base is infamous for its brutality, space lanes choked with pirates and scammers and miscellaneous curmudgeons looking to visit harm upon their neighbors. But it's also a wonderful place, a massive galaxy chock full of systems to explore, resources to harvest, war machines to build and shoot at. All good fun, but not the friendliest place for someone getting their feet wet.
EVE developer CCP is trying to fix all that. Today they've announced New Player Training Sessions, aimed at teaching rookies the ropes. The first will be centered around EVE's most hallowed activity, player versus player combat, and will teach newbies the ins and outs of prepping a ship for combat and then going toe to toe with your peers.
EVE has always had tutorial missions, but the trouble with open-ended sandbox games is that once you're let off the proverbial leash you'll often have little idea of what to do next. Newbie-training corporations abound (EVE University being one of the most popular), but diving headfirst into a monolithic organization when you're still poking around with a new game is likely too much for some to bear. These training sessions should provide a nice middle ground--and the game's admins have already warned EVE's ne'er-do-wells that anyone interfering with these training sessions will likely be dealt with harshly. We'll see if that keeps some of the less scrupulous pirates at bay.
The sessions start on October 15th and run every few days until November 18th--the day before the launch of EVE Online's latest (free) expansion, Rubicon. That'd be as good a time as any to sign up for a 14-day free trial. I like to tell people that you'll know whether or not this is the game for you by the end of your first week, once you've worked your mind around the vagaries of the interface, skill training, and been shot at a few times. It certainly isn't for the meek, but a bit of hand-holding before the standard EVE garroting could help ease more folks in.