Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pondering the Path of Training

Ender: It's not just the guns changing the math. It's the skills you need for the guns that changes the math
Ender dropped this nugget of bitter wisdom into the discussion in corp chat last night about skill plans, training a character with well rounded core skills vs training for a ship or fit. I’m very attached to it and will hold onto it forever.

While Eve has many paths most traveled they have few paths that must be traveled. Individuality and personal choice are the name of the game. But, just because a player can go careening down whatever path amuses them does not mean that every choice is a sensible one.

Over the last few days, I have been discussing character progress paths with a few corpmates. I was taught, and I subsequently teach learning a character’s core skills first. While Eve has many skills that do many things there are some skills that effect every ship that you fly every time you fly it. These are core skills and except for the handful of people that will never undock, something I’d call mandatory.

---Shield Management
---Shield Operations
---Energy Management
---Hull Upgrades
---Evasive Maneuvering
Spaceship Command

These are all skills that I was told to get to rank V and that I urge others to do the same. They affect everything you fly, improving your fitting abilities, capacitor volume, hull/armor/shield amounts, agility, and general flying speed. That 5% is what saves you in some battles.

The hardest part about the core skills is deciding when do you learn them? When Diz put together my skill plan he gave me a very long list of things to learn and told me to learn them in whatever order I wanted to learn them. Most of these skills were core skills, support skills and secondary skills. The end goal of most was to rank V although a few stopped at IV. I can promise that nothing stopped at I OR II OR III. Some of them took more than a little bit of time to learn. However, with the support of my corporation behind me I embarked on the task to learn all of these things. It took me months. I can say that learning them was one of the best decisions I made and the grueling wait to learn ’cool’ things was worth it.

Now, I can learn cool things and when I learn them I am inhibited by my own limitations not my characters. I never thought that I would be in the position where I could do things better than others. Yet, as I attempt to explain this philosophy to my new corporation mates, I find them staring at me in the same way I stared at my corpmates all those months ago. I need to encourage them to patience and waiting through the training before they dive into ships that help compensate for their lack of skills.

Compensation does not sound bad. Denying oneself cool things seems silly in a game. My automatic response is suck it up. However, snappy come backs do not win people's hearts or change their minds. Instead, as I attempted give reason to waiting or 'denying' one's self, Ender popped in with his crusty bit of bitter wisdom.

The difference between T1 and T2 guns on paper is very small. The difference between T1 guns and T2 guns in skill is very large. It is not that the inert object of a T1 module vs a T2 module is better, it is the fact that to learn that you learned so many other things that all apply to that module. It is a sum of its parts. The many pieces of a while.

Conveying that end goal and asking people to commit to it is harder than I expected. I remember sucking it up and believing in the boys. It worked for me. Along the way, I learned to fly my ships because they were all I had. It was a beneficial side effect. But at the same time I won't and can't order anyone to do what they don't want to do. Only suggest and try to convince to my philosophy. I know not everyone wants to learn everything to V and I am not asking that. However, that is also the point made. I am not asking for everything to be learned to V just the most valuable tools.

Which brings me back to another fashion of character development. Skilling into specific ships and fits.

I have a hard time with this one. On one side I want to say that it is a bad idea. On the other, it is very situational and my personal opinion is tainting the topic. Having discussed and learned more about fleet doctrines I see where there is an advantage depending on situation. It still rubs me the wrong way a bit and it does not remove the importance of core skills, secondary skills, and supports. I also believe that my innate distaste for being ordered makes me buck and reject the system some. But that is why I do the individualist low sec thing. I can't get behind the concept of being in a poorly skilled battleship over a well skilled battle cruiser. I also understand that it is situational and there are places where that is the BEST choice. I just don't like said choice. It is a game of decisions.

Fleet Doctrines work. They work very well. I think I am trying to separate my worry that a player may specialize their character into doctrines to the detriment of other things. But, this is something that will correct with time. My own inexperience in the situation and reaction from pressures others have placed on me are obvious when I step back and look. My own stubbornness is trying to blind me with a muleish resistance.

I also feel that I would have accepted the 'fit to doctrine' aspect when I accepted that I was going to a corporation that had it. If I had a problem with it, I would not have accepted the corporation. Then I ask myself, where is that line of 'corporation rule' vs individual choice? Or, perhaps I should not ask where the line is because a task for the line to be defined. Not that it is my role in the corp but being who I am, I stick my fingers in the pie until they are well and truly burned or stinging from being slapped.

I'll have to revisit this subject, I believe. My thoughts dance around because there are so many variables. I am warring with personal belief vs personal choice. It's a rather dangerous topic. It would seem that I am arguing with myself so that I can hopefully and more skillfully present my argument to others in the future.

Aside: Ever, on a cool day, dip your hands into a pool of sunlight? The tingling waves of heat are blissful across the surface of your skin. Fall is a lovely time of year.

1 comment:

  1. I've had to resort to treating myself to get through gritting my teeth about skilling up to V in certain things. I recognise the value of V in those skills and yet I find it hard to accept 4 to 8 days where it feels as if "nothing" is happening in my character progression. I'm still not finished with any sort of basic plan since I'm split over industry and piloting. A nearly 4 month old (tomorrow) character and I still can't fit and fly a BC as I'd like.

    My solution for coping is to never train two V skills in succession. I try to order the skill plan so that between the silent gaps of skilling you spend a day training up a series of skills from I to III (or IV) that have a more obvious effect than say 2% rate of fire.

    Example - I'm about to spend the entire week skilling Gunnery to V. Before it happens I filled out the skill queue with all I needed to practice on rats with Amarr and Caldari frigates using lasers and missiles. That'll amuse me test flying all week and I won't notice Gunnery crawling to V .