It seems the Mittani, in all his infinite wisdom, has recently proposed a Newbie Zone within New Eden to help new players enter the game. Drackarn over at Sand, Cider and Spaceships has a nice follow-up to that idea as well. All of which is extremely valuable and worthy of reading and considering.
Back in the Fall of 2011 I wrote a series of posts predicting events to come in 2012. Part of that series was a concept that I put forth called Sanctuary, which remains in my humble opinion, the best core concept for the New Player Experience.
The essential concept works within the existing state of New Eden and doesn't require any new space, or weird instances, or additional space to be created. As we all know, each new player is already being "born" within several existing systems known as Rookie Systems. Rixx was born in Todaki, for example.
The idea is to limit each of those Rookie Systems (or combine them) to only young players. No one else can enter. (Perhaps there is an age limit.) New players would have the option of signing into the program or simply just flying out of system, since many new players are actually older players - we can't trap people without their consent. Once signed in the Tutorials would be structured in a tiered system leading to graduation. These tutorials would be helpful, interactive, and expose the new player to various forms of potential Eve game play. All while engaging them with other players within the system.
That is the essential bits. The rest is simply blue-sky concepts. But mini-games are possible within this frame-work. The ability to fly and experience different ships. The concept of working together to achieve goals, or flying solo to achieve your own. The structure is open-ended at this point obviously, but the goal should be to provide a safe learning environment for a few days. To get the new player comfortable with Eve and how it works. To lead them a bit and show them a taste of what is possible.
Eve has been a find your own way experience for a long time. And that is certainly its power. But it can be a rather soul crushing experience for the first time player. And it really shouldn't be.
Whatever the final core concept becomes, and what doesn't matter as much as SOON! The goal should be to make Eve a little easier those first few days. To engage the new player in this strange new world, and to help them understand a bit more about how they fit into it.
It should have been done already.
How many more trials can we afford to fail?