Since I have not run the New Player Experience (aka NPE) in over 2 years I cannot say how the current iteration does in terms of taking a new player without existing contacts to experienced players in game and who choose not to data-mine the forums and fan sites.
As Andrew last said:
@Mashashige:The problem in Eve is that since a player can do ALL careers and professions from the start (with some skill training of course) and switch at any time, can a tutorial system be created with enough depth to introduce all careers in the game? I believe the answer the Eve game designers decided upon was no and hence why most (all?) new players end up mining, missioning (aka questing for fantasy MMO players), or belt ratting. Again, I have not done the NPE recently so perhaps more effort has gone into showing players simple manufacturing and trading than I am aware of.
"[T]rying to guide players to niches is problematic at best, due to curbing of imagination and creativity."
I completely disagree. Guiding players without forcing them into niches is exactly what a good tutorial system does. The two concepts are NOT mutually exclusive.
So, how much "hand-holding" by the game and in-game documentation (*snicker*) is needed to allow new players to choose from the wide variety of careers in Eve without going too far and taking away Eve's "hard edge" and "uncaring galaxy" attitude?
Warning to Rabid Eve Fanboys and Fangirls: try to be more objective and remember the frustrations from when we first started and perhaps didn't have mentors to guide us to the promised land. If you don't I'll be forced to become grumpy.