Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thoughts On Certificates

So, more of my thoughts on Certificates.

To the unwashed, the latest expansion introduced Certificates which are essentially achievement markers based on skills you have trained. For example, if you have trained up to appropriate levels the skills required to use Medium Railguns effectively, you might be able to earn the Cruiser Hybrids Certificate. In addition, certificates have four levels: basic, standard, improved and elite. Obviously the difficulty in earning a certificate is directly related to its level.

I've got about 80 certificates mostly in the basic and standard category, a few in improved, and a handful of Elites. Here are three of my Elite certificates in the Core skills category showing I have excellent Capacitor, Integrity (i.e. hull and shields), and Navigation skills, and Improved in the fitting skills (I would need Advanced Weapon Upgrades V to bump that to Elite for example).

(As usual, click to see better)

And even though I can use Tech II Large Blasters and Rails, you can see my gunnery skills are only considered Standard since a lot of support skills I've only trained to IV instead of V. Needless to say I was a little disappointed my vaunted gunnery skills weren't certified Elite or even Improved.

(Click for the gory details at 100%)

A lot of veterans scoffed at certificates as a waste of time. They provide no change in how ships or modules operate, they cost nothing to get, and prove nothing in the process. As usual these veterans missed the point.

There are a lot of skills, well over 200 or 300. To a neophyte player, it is more than daunting trying to figure out what to train to be good at something since the skills are divided into categories based on their function. There is no category called Gallente Frigate Command filled with skills that you should train to be good at flying Gallente frigates for example. Instead you need skills from Drones, Gunnery, Engineering, Spaceship Command, and probably Electronics and Navigation. And while its easier for veteran pliots to figure out what they need to train for the next shiny new ship class, it still takes time and research.

Certificates provide a method for pilots to quickly asses the skills they need for certain roles. Want to know what skills are recommended for flying Amarr combat cruisers? Check out the related certificate in the certificate planner:

(click for engorgement)

You quickly see that the basic requirements are laid out in a straight forward manner.

Furthermore, pilots can make certification public so that other pilots can check your information and see what you are specced for quickly without having to scan 150+ skills and filter out the signal rom the noise.

To summarize I think Certificates are a good idea. Something was needed ingame to help new players move forward with their skill training, provide an easy way for prospective recruiters to assess a pilot's compentency, and allow veteran players a quick method for self evaluation of their skills. While they may have little impact on actual gameplay, they are very useful for the metagame outside combat.

12 comments:

  1. I was disappointed to discover that my prober alt with her almost perfect exploration-related science skills (all at 4 and 5, and with 6M in science) did not get some kind of Exploration related certificate :) And with 4.8M in drone skills, she got nothing better than a Standard. There were a couple of other discrepancies that seemed like random connections of skills (Caldari Frigate III gets her a Caldari Engineering certificate, the description of which indicates the pilot would be good at manufacturing. Huh?!)

    BTW, I had 45 skills, 2 Elite, the rest mostly Standard, and a small handful of Basic. Given my very focused skills (mainly pvp, 124 known skills, 30 to level 5), that seemed more on target.

    Maybe certificate assessment is a lot more difficult on characters with less focused or wider ranging skills like my prober alt. Anyway, I can just imagine the time that went into this complex beast, but it needs a lot more work to make real sense, in my opinion.

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  2. Correction: I had 45 Certificates I could claim (not 45 skills)

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. The certificates system is definitely a good idea in the long run. Unfortunately it is just not as useful as it could because it is obviously not fully implemented yet.

    Not sure if you have noticed, but a lot of higher proficiency certificates require tons of cross-faction or even cross-"profession" training which does not always make sense given the title of the certificate. There is also a lack of certificates related to capital ships and their associated skills.

    Hopefully, one day soon, the system will be completely supported.

    (Accidentally double posted)

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  5. Anonymous3:49 am

    No more need for recruiters to go through your API, great day for spies =)

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  6. I agree, I think it is an excellent addition that allows for greater visibility of the skill training process.

    It is particularly helpful for those of us unaware of or unable to run the EVEMon utility. I doubt it is anywhere as useful as EVEMon but it is certainly a step forwards from having no skill planner available beyond the basic interface.

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  7. @Mynxee: Yeah, my indy alt with ~30 million skill points focused on non-combat related skills was also very certificate-poor compared to Kirith. But I think this first iteration of the system concentrated on the ship-damage-tank trinity and I hope more depth is added later on.

    I also want to see some benefits to having hard to reach certificates someday. :)

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  8. Anonymous: Certificates are private by default. No one can see which ones you have unless you set them to public. Which you can do for some or all, at your whim. So the only folks susceptible to being spied on are the ones who have made their own info available.

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  9. Some people think certs are moving EVE towards noobification. I just think it's about organization and inter-skill interaction.

    ATM my skills are mostly basic. with a handful of standard and one or two improved. Which is pretty pathetic.

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  10. Anonymous9:54 am

    Gotta agree with the sentiment of it being vaguely useful for newbies.

    But I have to admit that I will continue to actively discourage newbies from even thinking about looking at Certs for the foreseeable future. They're completely off the wall in a handful of cases, the nomenclature implies importance to things that are absolutely not important, and are misleading at best.

    Trust me, you're better off with a pad of paper, a pencil, a sturdy eraser, and a good deal of time paging through the skills and asking questions of more advanced players.

    Fly Safe

    (I should really just get an ID, shouldn't I? >_>)

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  11. From a newb perspective, the core certificates are helpful to point out "essential" skills. I hope they continue to flesh out the cert system!

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  12. The comment about EVE-Mon was spot on for me. I don't/can't run the program, so the certificates system allows me to get an idea at a glance of where I am at and small things I can do to improve my abilities.

    I also hope that the devs take note of what the veteran players are suggesting and tweak the certs to bring them more in line with real 'improved' or 'elite' skill proficiencies based on player experience.

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