EDIT: To clarify, I'm a pseudo veteran myself. Been playing a year now. These are just my observations from the new players I've talked to and trying to get friends into the game.
So as this game matures and more content is added, it appears that little has been done to ensure that new players can easily pick this game up and get a reasonable amount of enjoyment out of it. I’m in a not-currently hAAT guild for it’s more relaxed and chill nature as we’re mostly a bunch of grown-ups with not as much time to invest in this game as others. Part of being in a guild like this is that we pick up a bunch of new/low level players and I like to check in with them to see if they’re enjoying the game and if there’s anything I can help them with.
Having a good new player experience is important for several reasons, but of course the main one is that it increases the lifespan of this game which I believe most of us would like to stick around for a while. First lets go over the pros and cons of being a new player and what this game does to help you out.
Phoenix Squad: This 6 man group of heroes has been added to the game as a way to give new players a squad that can be used to unlock several legendary heroes, and also hold it’s own in GW. It also gets players near the top of the arena rankings until around the low to mid 70’s at which point more powerful Rebels usually take over. With the addition of Territory Battles, Phoenix continues to be a wise investment for new players. It should be noted that at the time of writing this, Phoenix is speculated to be given some numbers tuning and possibly some Zeta upgrades so they could potentially become an even safer farm.
Imperial Troopers: After their rework, this squad is sort of an upgrade to Phoenix or their dark side equivalent. These guys can do GW quite well and also make top spot in Arena with the right mods and a Zeta on General Veers. They are a mostly easy farm with Deathtrooper and Shoretrooper being the hardest. Troopers should come into play right around the time that Phoenix is becoming obsolete in Arena with Shoretrooper probably being the last hero you’ll farm up. The Troopers can put up respectable damage in phase 4 of the hAAT as well, meaning you’ll have at least one good raid team to offer up to your guild. Plus, Empire is totally righteous so you’ve got that going for you
Hard Nodes: We now get 5 attempts now making any hard farms you need go by quicker. In a similar vein, we now get 3 energy refreshes at their lower costs, 50 and 100 for LS/DS and Cantina battles respectively. This makes for some better timing regarding gear farming and heroes from Cantina.
100% Drop rate on mods: This was such a healthy change for the game as a whole but particularly good for new players. Way to go CG.
More content than ever: This game now has 8 different activities you’ll regularly be using your heroes and ships in. This isn’t counting any special events, only LS battles, DS battles, Ship battles, Cantina battles, Galactic War, Pit raid, AAT raid, and Territory battles. TB alone has a requirement of at least 4 strong LS oriented teams to be able to fully contribute and on the heroic level, the AAT raid requires up to 4 very specific super teams capable of putting in serious numbers to a phase of the raid.
Commander Luke Skywalker: This hero is arguably the most powerful we’ve seen introduced into the game and he’s not exactly been healthy for the game from a new player perspective. He’s one of those heroes who can make this game much much easier if you own him, and a burden if you don’t. Those with him are capable of soloing the Pit raid, so any new players without him are at a disadvantage in trying to put in raid damage.
Credit Crunch: With so many required teams at this point, Credits are needed more than ever. They are the fuel for everything you’re going to want to do in regards to your heroes. You need them to craft gear, you need them to upgrade your mods, and most importantly you need them to level up your heroes.
Gear Crunch: C&C, I’m not talking about the great RTS game Command and Conquer here, I’m talking about Carbantis and Cuffs. These two items are universally needed by an incredibly large amount of heroes in this game now. They are almost always the bottleneck most players experience while gearing up their heroes once they have reached higher gear tiers. At the time of writing this, we’re currently in the middle of the first Territory Battle with reworked rewards, so maybe the 6*+ mystery gear box will be a huge benefactor in relieving this stress.
Legendary Heroes: While most players can now safely ignore Master Yoda and to an extent Emperor Palpatine, there’s no argument that R2 and Thrawn are powerhouses that are required to make some of the best arena and raid teams in the game. Thankfully, Phoenix and Troopers are decent new player squads that can unlock these two amazing Legendary heroes. With that said, it’s easy to fall into the mentality that Legendary heroes are 100% required and with BB-8 now requiring one of the hardest squads to farm in the game, new players could easily be turned off.
New Shard Shop: For a lot of lower level players, the Fleet Shipments were a great place to pick up the harder to earn gear pieces. New players do not have themselves a slew of 7* heroes with a steady income of Shard Shop currency like veteran players do, so the removal of gear from Fleet was definitely a detractor in terms of the NPE.
So now that we've gone over that, what can we do about the NPE for Galaxy of Heroes to improve it? I’ve thought of a couple things that could be nice touches and also help out veteran players a bit as well.
For starters, I think the single biggest thing that could be done is to make Commander Luke much more accessible. Have the event occur every other month or something, so that new players can unlock him and be on their merry way with this god hero that can give them a chance in raids and high end arena.
The next thing would be to overall increase credit payouts throughout the game. LS/DS battles, GW nodes, Arena and even Territory Battles could have credit payouts improved upon. This would help virtually every player in the game and would go a long way to boost morale.
Lastly, and this is maybe minor but insanely requested, but I’d love to see the Tac Challenge rewards reworked. They could easily make that challenge in particular much more rewarding. The Lonar Power Cells are the only decent reward from the event with maybe MKIV Stun Guns being good for new players.
All in all, I think there’s several more things that can be done, but I want to see what else the community can come up with. Also I'd love to hear from anyone at CG about this, as gaining and retaining new players is also in their best interest to remain gainfully employed and working on this fine piece of SW goodness.