Attributes and Skills* * * * *
Does Eve need attributes? It's been discussed a lot recently. Unlike other MMO's your characters attributes don't make a difference in day-to-day gameplay. They simply set how fast you train a skill. Is it time to remove attributes from the game or totally revamp their purpose? Do they add a level of complexity to the game that is not needed? If you really need to use a 3rd party application to get the most from it should it be in the game? Should they be repurposed with each attribute adding a modifier to your ship? Are attributes a relic from the past or are they an important part of Eve - You make your decision and deal with the consequences?
I couldn't tell you what my current attributes are on any of my characters. I can't remember the last time that I cared.
Early on in the typical career of an EVE pilot you tend to care a lot about your attributes and remapping them to maximize your skill training speed, many times to the point of making convoluted skill plans to maximize each 6 month portion. But its a perfect example of the Law of Diminishing Returns: at a certain point, no matter how fast I accrue skill points its just a tiny drop in the large bucket of my overall skill point total. Who cares if I gain 0.11% new skill points this month or 0.12%?
Its also very telling that the only time I really care how long a skill takes to train anymore is if its blocking me from a new module or ship I want to try out, and since I've cross trained every combat ship there is in the game the pressure to get the most skill points per hour definitely drops off. Medium Railgun Specialization V in 29 or 31 days, whatever!
But just because I don't make use of them doesn't mean other people don't spend many hours pouring over skill plans and trying to optimize the attributes and neural remaps. The question is: does it add positively to the game?
From a role playing perspective, I find the concept weird: I can get a neural remap and become more charismatic but have a poorer memory? I can be smarter but less perceptive? Does that actually carry over into anyone's roleplay?
From a gameplay perspective, it feels out of place in EVE. In a game that is very collaborative and competitive and interactive, its a component that is none of those things, instead its very insular, min-max power-gamer-ish, and pure number crunching. Other than how fast a number ticks over, attributes have no other bearing on the game.
Honestly, I don't see the long term value in attributes, they are left overs from a different gametype, and I think they should be removed, replaced with something more relevant to the reality of how we play that game now, not how it was first envisioned 12 or so years ago.
I think we should replace attributes with skill categories, and let players take certain long-lasting boosters that assist with skill training in those categories. Make these new boosters manufacturable by players to create an economy, have different quality / strength levels, make the components hard to find or other found in certain parts of space (like low sec!), and its a gameplay that slides seamlessly into the current paradigm instead of hanging off the rest of the engine like a vestigial organ.