The Evolve rejection factor (and why it's not the end of the world)


#1

I’ve made the point I’m about to discuss in a couple of forum threads, but I thought that it might be a good idea to outline what I’ve been thinking into a coherent whole and put it up for discussion.

Put simply, not everyone is going to ‘get’ Evolve, at least not right away, and a lot of people - people who have already had a taste of the game in the Alpha or Beta stages - have the impression that the game is not for them. Words that come up for this are ‘boring’, ‘samey’, ‘short of content’ and the ever popular ‘10 minutes of hide-and-seek followed by a fight’.

I’ve called this people ‘bouncing off’ the game elsewhere, and I think it’s an apt term. Note that I don’t think this is a problem with Evolve. Rather, I think it’s a problem being caused by the games strengths, and what the game is aiming to be.

A lot of people who have sampled the game have come into it with a certain expectation of what an FPS is and how it is expected to work, a mindset that is informed by the current FPS landscape; one built around the ‘30 seconds of fun’ concept pioneered by Bungie and spread out among pretty much the whole FPS landscape. Most FPS’ in the market now have a smooth learning curve, a clear concept of what you have to do, and an immediate sense of reward to the player.

This is the case both in single and multiplayer games - the learning curve has very deliberately been kept manageable. Even in something like COD or Battlefield, you can expect to get out there and, if you don’t make a kill on your first run, you’re probably going to make some kind of visible progress by your second or third respawn. It gives a clear, definite hook for the player.

Evolve is different, even from a class-based shooter like Team Fortress. In Evolve, it is very possible - indeed, probable - to walk out in your first game and do everything horribly wrong. As the monster, you need to know what and how to kill and eat, how and when to stage up, and then how to utilise your skills. As the hunters, you’re worrying about tracking something that doesn’t want to be found until the odds are in it’s favour. You need to know when and how to dome. You need to know what creatures are going to want to kill you. You need to know that the Crowbill Sloth is not, in fact, the monster you’re looking for.

The learning curve is steep, not just to excel at the game, but just to have a good idea of what you’re doing and how to do it. That’d be tricky even if it were something that people are expecting, but in an environment where people are used to a simple learning experience, it’s a shock to the system.

I think that this is where a lot of the negative gameplay opinions we’ve seen from some people are coming from. (The negative DLC opinions, of course, are a whole other ballgame. ;p)

Now, this seems like a problem, and in some ways it is a problem. Evolve has enough negative word of mouth from the DLC thing, without this on top of it. But, I think in the long term, this will work in Evolve’s favour.

Evolve has a great deal of depth, a lot of strategy, and a lot of validity as a serious eSports game. It’s that complex. Some people, of course, just aren’t going to be into that, which is fine. But some people - some of the people that have rejected the experience they had in the Alpha and Beta - will genuinely be interested in the game that Evolve is, if they can be guided past the initial hurdles that the gameplay presents.

That’s where we come in - in talking to friends, in streaming gameplay and tutorials - heck, even in making ‘Evolve for Beginners’ videos if that’s what it takes. And it has to come down to us, because this kind of thing works best from us, as word of mouth, as ‘product evangelism’.

In sort- don’t hate the people that don’t get what Evolve is. Don’t get mad. Instead, try to show them the ropes. It won’t win over everyone, but it’ll definitely grab some of them.


#2

Your post is exactly the reason why I’m hoping that there’ll be some form of mentoring program available in the future. Based on the Beta, you can’t really play with newer players unless you seek them out through forums/communities and create a private party with them. I can understand why the matchmaking system prevents a rank 20+ randomly joining up with rank 1’s, but I thoroughly enjoy helping newer players in person instead of leaving them with a guide.

But don’t get me wrong, the information that’s going to be available after Evolve’s official release date is going to be very helpful and plentiful throughout the net. But it’s known that not everyone’s going to want to sift through all that knowledge (even though they really should!). Yet even for the players who have watched/read through those guides, it’s incredibly helpful to have a higher tier player taking the time to help reinforce a new players newly acquired knowledge.

It’s like my experience with TF2 (before the hats): even though I read lots of guides and videos, I learned the most when I had someone there with me to help explain all the finer details and complications of Fortress. I still got destroyed by the players who had been playing since beta, but just the fact that I understood why made the learning curve much more easier to adjust myself to (I’d say that Evolve and TF2 both have high learning curves :P). And even when my hours started reaching into the hundreds, I felt as though there was constantly something new to learn and classes to perfect.

I REALLY do want a delevel/mentor option for Evolve in the future. It could be a system which doesn’t count matches for the mentor and their perks are tweaked to help reflect everyone’s current rank. Those who do take the time to mentor newer players could be rewarded with something like additional EXP or an exclusive skin for taking the time to lend a hand. Even if there’s no carrot on a stick for helping out newer players, I really do hope there’s a future in game option to help out those who seek it. Who knows, only time shall tell ;D


#3

This is actually a good thing.
I don’t want to play with people giving up because they don’t understand a game in the first 30 secondes. Let them use their GL on CoD.
It feels great to play a difficult game, easy games are boring.
Evovle doesn’t need millions and millions of players. A smaller community with people who truly enjoy the game is far better.