There have been some some arguments on both sides for what is  
reasonable to change, and what is not reasonable to change, in the  
interest of attracting new players to the game. Some feel that it's  
okay to make changes that might stop older players from playing,  
whereas I am of the school that only major changes that do that are  
reasonable. (For example, I feel that 50fps is a necessary evil, but  
I do NOT like the idea of showing damage to anyone since it's an  
acquired skill, and one that's fun to acquire at that.)

I propose the following, based off RadoS' idea of extra information  
for new players:

Newbies get a downgraded ship. No matter what ship type they choose,  
they end up in a CA. This CA will have det own disabled, and if you  
are > 2/3 CA phaser distance from the nearest enemy, your torps will  
linearly go down in speed to a minimum of 67% until you reach 4/3 of  
CA distance from an enemy ship, at which point they will not slow  

I think the first change will not be noticed by newbies, and the  
second change will help encourage them to play more aggressively,  
rather than the plinkage-from-afar that we see nowadays. Also  
important, the combination of changes will make a clued player not  
want to ever play the "newbie ship."

As compensation for the above, these players will get to see full  
damage on friendly/enemy ships, will see army counts on all planets  
(perhaps with a "Bomb Me!" message or similar), and will have some  
additional form of beeplite enabled to highlight "dangerous" enemy  
ships. Again, not enough to make a clued player use that ship.

To implement this, upon client launch a dialog stating something like  
"This client is in newbie mode, which will allow you to see extra  
information on ships and planets to help learn the game. Some  
advanced features will be disabled in newbie mode." should be  
displayed. There should be an "I am an experienced player, use  
default ships" checkbox that permanently disables that message and  
disables newbie mode, caching the value for future launches. The  
client will then send a packet to the server that causes that slot to  
be flagged as a newbie, and ANY ship selection will result in a CA  
modified as above.

Once a player in newbie mode hits Lt. Cmdr., the client should  
automatically disable newbie mode as above. (Possibly a DI level  
between Lt. Cmdr and Commander as guest, since for guests Lt. Cmdr.  
seems too low and Commander seems too high.)

Thoughts? I'm especially open to ideas on things other than det own  
that can be removed from newbies' ships without hurting their  
learning, but which would frustrate experienced players enough to not  
play with (and thus abuse the info capabilities of newbie mode.)