Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Ugly Truth About Learning Skills and Learning Skills

It's best summed up by the CCP dev who when asked about Learning Skills at Fanfest stated that he wished they'd never been put in the game, and that they've yet to come up with any viable idea for removing them from the game without pissing off large sections of the playerbase. So, everyone trains these skills because it increases the value of their gametime, even if it stalls the slow trickle of rewards afforded by training useful skills.

Eve players tend to get obsessed by skills and skillpoints, they're the only comoddity in the game for which there exists no real shortcut to acquiring, you can't buy skillpoints or exchange standing for skills. So anything that makes the acquisition of skills faster is generally considered to be of utmost importance to players, so much so that people make some really bad decisions in the name of maximizing skill training.
  • I've heard quite a few pilots invite their friends to a free trial, give them money for skillbooks and then say 'Don't bother playing until you've trained all these learning skills'. Result typically is that the new invitee doesn't play the game, doesn't sign up and then tells all their friends that the game sucks because you need to spend time training skills so you can train skills.
  • This thread on Scrapheap Challenge is from a player who created a new alt account and complained that he couldn't get his API key for 72hours (new players don't get website access immediately to limit spammers). As a result he couldn't load his details into EveMon to analyze the optimal plan, and fearful he might waste some of his 200% training bonus on sub optimal skills decided it would be better to let the account sit for 3 days with nothing training at all. Now, I've thrown a 5/4 learning plan into EveMon and no matter how hard I try I can't make a sub optimal plan that takes 3 days longer... This is a perfect case of analysis paralysis.
  • There are hordes of carebears who are terribly afraid of pvp because they might lose their expensive implants... but it gets worse, there are pilots who fly in 0.0 and resent jumping into a clone with no implants so they can PVP because they're end up having to train at a slower rate for at least 24 hours.
  • There are a ridiculous amount of Caldari-Achura pilots because prior to the release of Apocrypha these characters started off with the lowest Charisma attribute leaving more points in 'useful' attributes. Nowadays the curse of the Achura still lingers, with attribute remaps the Achura pilots are forced to raise their charisma so you find players that refuse to take advatage of remaps for fear of losing the one thing that justified their character choice years ago. IMHO Caldari Achura Males are also cursed with the worst character portraits, and so now you have a whole bunch of players regretting wishing they could change their looks (you can, for a fee, but you can't change race/bloodline, so it'd still be an ugly protrait).
The effort spent in training learning skills takes time to pay off, if you're just starting out, I'd recommend that you train some halfway useful skills first, you should start training your racial frigate skill to level 3 so that you can fly the combat frigate given to you during the tutorial missions and unlock access to the destroyers skill. Gallente should pick up a couple of levels of drone operation, and caldari/minmatar should get some missile training. Get all the upgrades skills at level 1 - Hull Upgrades, Shield Upgrades, Electronic Upgrades, Energy Grid Upgrades, Weapon Upgrades & Afterburner. That will give you access to modules that'll let you build decent ships. You should be able to do all this in 12 hours, and you should use the game's skill queue to manage this, make the 'long' frigate training your long term priority, and then push the shorter skills to the front of the queue so you can take advantage of them sooner. For the tutorials you'll probably have to train astrometrics, Industry and Propulsion Jamming depending on the path, and to be honest I recommend doing them all so that you gain practice and good loot.

Now.... if you feed all those skills into EveMon you'll find that you can take advantage of learning skills to make the Frigate training a little shorter, so go and buy the Iron Will and Spatial awareness skills, train them to level 1 so that your frigate skill comes faster. But forget training more until you can fly a Rifter/Incursus/Punisher/Kestrel, that'll let you run all the tutorial missions, and, you can even do the Sisters of Eve epic mission arc with just those basic skills. (Rookies might need help, but I've been able to solo the whole thing with <80,000sp
While you're running all these missions, making money and most of all having fun you'll be getting some learning skills to make your experience in the long term smoother.

If you feel that you need some new skills for more awesome gizmos then it really doesn't hurt you that much to train them, get some basic cruiser skills if you want to, it'll be the best ship you can fly until you sign up for a full account, and by the time you sign up for a full account you'll probably have a better grasp at the long term effects of the training system and you'll know just how much effort you can bear to expend on the whole learning skills ordeal.

1 comment:

  1. Learning skills are a bane, I have lost 2 friends playing EVE to the bloody skill training requirements. No one wants to spend a month doing nothing and hopefully CCP will do something to change it. I see no issue with allowing people who have learning skills trained to spend/transfer their SP in other areas.