There is a gap, between starting the game and actually being able to play the game. I just joined today and I spent a good 3 or 4 hours Scavenging and rolling 3 different characters to get a starter character that I could work with.
Alas, I never did. I almost came to the point where I was about to quit and give up on the game forever. If it wasn't for a very friendly player (Dakota) who happened to be close by when my frustration finally hit Local Chat, I wouldn't be here right now. The game would be uninstalled and I would never return.
The problem is, that as a new player you are stuck. No matter what skills you chose, you're stuck in an endless grind to find certain things before you can actually have fun. I was in dire need of an Old Saw Blade. I couldn't make anything useful or do anything but craft the same thing over and over for no reason, w/o the Saw Blade.... that I couldn't find.
The tweak I am proposing, as a new player, is to give new players all the tools they need to start having fun immediately. I'm not asking for anything more than a proper set of tools that would allow the player to craft better tools, or craft other things that would allow them to advance in a proper fashion. As a tool maker, I couldn't make my tools because I couldn't make the handle to make the saw without a saw and I couldn't find a saw blade to make a bone saw, once I finally got to that point. Which is where my frustration came to a peak.
Every new player should start out with a basic set of tools, that will allow them to eventually get to every tool in the game. Without this, it's just simply not fun and retention is not going to be all that great. This is a simple fix and not game breaking in any way shape or form. With the way tools seem to be designed, it seems that future releases will allow item degradation and better tools will yield better results on the products.
This is just a simple fix, that would probably take someone no less than 10 minutes, that would increase retention and decrease refunds. Ever since Dakota has given me those tools, I am well on my way to having fun and enjoying the game. There is no reason I shouldn't have been having fun from the get go.