Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Looking to the Future

The little outside the world of Eve Online there is a wildfire slowly burning in the underbrush. Skill changes are incoming. We have had almost a year long prewarning but now the train is coming into the station. The point between here and now has been defined as 'soon'.

I'm thankful for the warning. Most are. The long term planning game that is Eve demands that players make use of the changes to benefit themselves. Instead of hoarding items today it is about skill plans screeching to a halt and making a sharp turn to tackle a sudden and unexpected delicacy.

Future knowledge tastes delicious.

The skill training programs for our corporations newest members have been adjusted. People have been pet and soothed and convince that they are not hindering themselves by the layover in their plans due to future plans.

But to my surprise there is some resistance.

Time is out most valuable asset in Eve. It is a depleting resource that we never get back. The warning to start skill training now is a gift of time. It is more valuable than most things that CCP can give to us. I don't understand wasting it.

The gap between old and new players in Eve is one of the most intimidating parts of starting to play. "Am I to late to start?" people often ask. "No, no, no," they are told. "Skill points matter but they can be overcome. Come play with us," is the answer. While this skill change makes sense it is also broadening that gap between the now and those who will come in the future.

Oh well. I'm not weeping for that future. I don't have any tears at all about this. I have found two interesting responses to the changes.

1 -- I talked to an older player who sees the skill point changes as a patch of negativity for new players. People will be encouraged and rushed into learning as much as they can in this finite amount of time. Players will find themselves learning things that they cannot really use because it is the smart choice for the future while asking them to endure more struggle in the now.

Interesting perspective that. I cannot say that I disagree. Yet, I'd respond that the entire game in a constant effort of give and take and choices between now and then. These are more immediate and somewhat harder but the results are also enormous. Perhaps it could be defined as a grind for those that comprehend grinding. Also, this is where the support structure of a group can truly shine. By supporting the newer players through an unplanned skill training change and not letting them feel as if they are not progressing.

2 -- A group of new players to the game who do not feel as if they will have any benefit from it. At a few weeks in they have made their decisions on where to go. From the outside looking in, I know that what one plans to skill train is not always what one ends up skill training. But, I was shut down and told that it was not worth it to take the time to train the skills.

But, "Time" was my argument. "I shall never need them! Destroyer V is only useful for T2s and Battlecruiser V for Command Ships and I shall never fly those things." I started to comment on ship bonuses and such things but I was shut down and I left them alone with their decision. It is theirs to make. I feel that the future is to voluble to make such bold decisions on such useful and popular ships. I also was not in the mood to get into an argument for the value of training a ship into its full bonuses. I remember clearly how hard it is to step into those first handful of two and four week training times

It is a hard choice to rip apart skill plans and make delays. Mine are in a tatter and I had to think long and hard about my Industry alt. I've never been a major advocate for neural remapping early in the game for reasons such as this. The list of things a new player needs is enormous and it bounces all over the spectrum of attribute needs. Tank, Guns, Navigation, Ships, Supports, Drones and all the random things that you find out you forgot about when you thought that everything was already learned.

I will not chase anyone down, pin them to the ground, and demand that they devote the next two months to learning Destroyers and Battlecruisers. I will however, make sure to suggest it and point out the reasons why the decision might be good and time given now for time granted later might be a worthwhile trade off to consider.

2 comments:

  1. Ah the Noob Tax. I found the race to Destroyers V and Battlecruisers V was actually an easy decision to make in the end. There are some support skills I will lose time on while I am remapped but the time saved will outweigh any loss.

    A new player should have remaps. They'll have to learn a lot of the Perception/Willpower skills anyway. Why not focus now, and throw in BC V because it is cheap.

    A Perception/Willpower remap benefits

    Guns.
    More Guns.
    Even more Guns. eg T2 Mediums feel closer now than they did before.

    Gunnery support : Sharpshooter/Rapid Firing/Motion Prediction

    Missile/Torp/Bomb skills

    Ships : all the ships!

    Destroyers V : new Destroyers coming out. New T2 destroyer roles in future?

    BC V : Who knows what new BC's they'll add in future?

    It doesn't make economic sense NOT to do it.

    Sorry for the garbled wall of text. This issue has become a thing for me.

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  2. Don't forget that after the change to learn faction battleships, you need to learn:
    - Faction Frigate 4
    - Faction Destroyer 4
    - Faction Cruiser 4
    - Faction Battlecruiser 4

    So learning Destroyers and Battlecruisers to 4 along with each Faction Frigate and Cruiser to 4 is very much recommended to everyone who is not very-very-very sure that he'll never fly more than one faction ships or won't fly any combat ships at all.

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