Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pay to Learn

It's good to see CCP making meaningful progress towards limiting the appearance of an unclimbable mountain in regards to skill training. For those of us with a few years of constant training under our belts it's probably a little tough to remember just how frustrating the skills system is as a new player. It very much limits what you can do, where you can go and ultimately, who you interact with. I think that last point is the most important one of all.

As someone in the AU Timezone, I can tell you first hand that it's a daunting experience when you set off on your EVE journey. Initially drawn in by the aesthetics and a love of almost all things Sci-Fi, my first two attempts at EVE both lasted less than a week. In those days the tutorials were poor and I had literally no one to point me in the right direction. The third attempt stuck, but only because I got into it with a few friends from a Battlefield clan and together we made mistakes and had a laugh. The concept of the game and it's aesthetics draw you in, but it's these personal interactions that keep you playing EVE, in my opinion.

So now CCP have, at long last, seen fit to buff the skill point donation to new players. Personally I still don't think it's enough, but it's a good start. Moreover, the tutorials and interface to help you become accustomed to the EVE Universe really is top shelf. Along with the best character creator in the MMO world by a very wide margin, the new player must be positively mesmerized by just how slick this game looks. However, I still don't think enough is being done to get those players interacting with player controlled corporations and alliances.

The latest news is the ability to remap poorly chosen skills. I really love this idea. I mean, I spent way too long on mining and industry skills when I came into this game and there was a time during my early forays into PvP when I would have gladly traded them for more appropriate skills. That time has past now, I've gone past 100 million skill points on both of my main characters, but this is the sort of flexibility young pilots need to ensure they don't just table flip when they realise mining is ten kinds of boring and they can't fly an Ishtar for at least a month.

Judging by the head explosions going on at the EVE Online Forums over this proposal, it would appear that I am in the minority. I'm yet to read a cogent argument as to why it's such a bad idea, but the general consensus seems to be a very juvenile one. "I couldn't do that, why should they be able to?" It's an effective way to remove yourself from the discourse in a meaningful way.

I'm not going to pretend I care enough about the mechanics of how they actually bring about the change; I actually trust CCP to do this right. In the meantime, I think I'll grab some popcorn and just watch the fireworks. Instead of getting bogged down by this, let's think about ways to get more newbros into the corporations. It's all good and well to make the unclimbable mountain less daunting, but it's made much easier when the load is shared.