It's good that things are being done now for new guys, but ideally should have been considered pre release. The devs are and have been listening but to vets who wanted to style the game for their own enjoyment, but in doing so created a perfect storm for new players to be farmed (6th rate pvp kill missions, removal of zones around capital area's for example) to cater for the test players wishes.
So here we are a few months after release and mostly what we are left with are those same players that advised the devs and little else.
It's easy in hindsight to lay blame, but i do believe all sides in the forming of current situation 99% did so in good faith.
Out of curiousity I restarted fresh after ports were taken etc and what i noticed was alarming after release and server pop was over 1k. When game was released it was easy to hunt AI out of neutral ports, skill etc as players/clans/nations were more concerned about establishing their max rank/economy than PvP, enemy AI ships were everywhere. After all ports were taken and the PvP increased on server, the new guys had to go into enemy waters to find AI ships above 6th rate and in home waters only enemy AI you see was in capital zone. So along with less options in terms of AI (discounting missions which lets face it loot extremely poorly for refits), came the horde of pvp groups hungry for combat marks to fund RvR/port upgrades. Basically new guys had a harder time than vets in this time and thats when server pop really crumbled away.
The Loki rune although kinda fun is yet another thing that will cause grief to newer players, this evening i absolutely destroyed a poor US guy in his connie with a rune it spawned me in an essex and basically cored him out staying on stern. All it does is impede new player progression, and yet again satisfy the PvP hungry vets for e-peen kicks. While a great idea i think it's again affected newer guys way more than older players, maybe make the loki rune much rarer?
Not sure what the answers are tbh, and just hope it's not to late to rescue game from where we are but one thing is certain we need better retention for new guys or game will die.
Sorry if i sound negative, I don't mean to trash talk just saying things as i see them, and perhaps an understanding of how we came to be here is a way to aid to formulate solutions without replaying past mistakes.
I really do hope balance can be achieved for game to be the success it deserves to be.