Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Compelling Argument

One of the most compelling arguments against the skill trading proposal came from Mike Azariah on the most recent Neocom Podcast called Tinfoil Reply: Selling Skillpoints. Not quoting verbatim, his major concern is that by allowing new players to skill up faster they will get themselves into more serious trouble sooner, and possibly getting in over their heads before they are experienced enough in EVE and her foibles to handle the situation.

Out of all the arguments against skill trading, I find this one resonated with me the most and took me back for a few minutes to consider it. And then I rejected it. Sorry Mike. :)

You see, starting out in EVE players get in over their heads all the time, paying for painful mistakes for months or even years after they start. I started with 5000 skill points and a terrible tutorial and worked my ass off for a year, joined a new null sec alliance, but everything I had in a Raven, tried to scout myself into null sec from high sec, and died to a gate camp. Spent weeks ratting in a borrowed Ferox to get back on my feet.

Players will get in over their heads a lot all the time but they are more likely to get in over their heads with poor skills in the core and support categories which is one reason why I think they should be given out for free to starting players but we'll not rant about that again. By keeping them in lower skill point brackets and forcing them to wait on crucial skills just to try and prevent them from getting into a bigger ship too soon is not the right way to go about it. If that's really the concern, we should change the game to force players to demonstrate proficiency in playing the game before allowing them to fly something, for example, you need a certificate in Frigates by completing 10 level 1 missions or getting on 10 PvP kills prior to unlocking Destroyers. (This is just an off the top of my head example.)

Or another alternative is to tune the ISK progression model and make it harder to afford the bigger ships, thus putting downward pressure on players to choose cheaper alternatives until they are ready for the risk of more expensive things.

And so on. But skill point progression as it currently stands is a penalty rather than incentive to new players to stay in small ships.


  1. Anyway, supposedly those who make a mistake and lose their ships are more likely to stick with the game. At least I remember some stat like that from someone at CCP.

  2. I also disagree with that view. Not saying it's not a possibility in some cases, but I think this situation is more common: a new player gets blown up, blames their low SP (mostly not the real reason for it) and then quit when they work out how long it takes them to get all those Vs to make it "fair". If people get blown up earlier at higher SP, they will be forced to realise it's not the SP that's the problem. Of if they really believe that, then at least they will have the option to solve that (before being blown up again at all V, and then they will know).

  3. Best argument I have heard against it, and I am against it, is from a comment on my blog from Chanina...

    "My concern is that instant SP spoils new players, not learning to need patience to be successful. They may feel entitled to instant success and that should never happen in eve."

    I know you wish Skilling would just go away... that it is, to you, somehow a ‘penalty’ rather than an interesting game mechanic (which is what it is to me BYW)... You feel getting noobs into bigger 'better' ships sooner is somehow good and (this part kills me) that "EVE players get in over their heads all the time, paying for painful mistakes for months or even years after they start." and you believe that noobs will just take that in stride, especially when they lose the huge amounts of ISK (they bought with RW money because now they can BUY those skills so they can fly those bigger ships)... when they get pwned by someone who's been actively PLAYING the game for long enough to know HOW to fly and fight in EVE... Yeah... we need lots more of that.

    And I am sorry but I personally know a number of new players who gave EVE a fair go... more than a 1 month in almost all cases... and walked away because of losses to better "RL" skilled players... Hell I lost a brand new 'cane to a vet inna frigate once... and yea, if my sons hadn't been playing EVE too, I'd have left the game then... almost did anyway. And the loss wasn't for lack of toon SP, it was lack of MY skills in flying and fighting...

    Sometime afterwards the guy what kilt me saw me in Arnon at the SOE station and we talked... he told me what I did wrong and gave me some pointers and even sent me ISK... but the night it happened if it weren't for my sons... I would not be here today to argue this with you so don't go telling me getting pwned as a noob HELPS retention... that's statistestical bullshit. You can prove ANYTHING with statistics.

    We want to keep our noobs? If CCP is willing to make real changes in the game… in how things work then I propose this… Make it so noobs HAVE no choice but to join a player run corp in the first week. One of the many out there that we ALL know are actually noob friendly and who will actually help them get into the game... EVE Uni, etc., etc.

    CCP could create a unique Alliance (which can include Alliances not just corps) just for a group of carefully vetted corps that can and will help noobs get past those first critical weeks... then once they have at least a basic understand that EVE is NOT anything a Themepark or at all like WOW or LotR or whatever... then they can leave and go solo inna NPC corp or whatever.

    This won’t stop new players who want nothing to do with other players from breaking away and doing their own thing after the 2 weeks is up… and it won’t stop alts from being created. Either they have to wait out the 2 weeks and just skill up, or CCP could allow you to ‘Apprentice’ your new alt to an existing account thereby releasing the new toon into your older toons ‘recognizance’ so to speak… But for a ‘real’ noobie, someone coming into the game due to an add or whatever, for him/her it would just be part of the lore that you are born as an Empyrean in an NPC Corp and then immediately you pick one of several ‘vetted’ player corps to transfer to for basic training…

    But just getting their toons quickly and easily into more expensive ships will never ever make them 'competitive' in EVE... only time and RL ingame experience can do that. All you are setting them up for is a harder, and more expensive fall when they undock.

    1. There seems to be this impression that I want new players in better (i.e. bigger and more expensive) ships faster.

      That is not what I am going for. What I want to see that when a player is in a merlin with the same modules as me, he is not needlessly penalized because he has not been around long enough to train all the hidden support skills that improve hit points, weapon range/damage, speed, agility, etc.

    2. I’m not concerned with what you 'want' for new players, I'm concerned with what new players WILL DO… New players ALWAYS want bigger, faster, etc., etc., ships because they don’t know better… IE they have not played long enough to have LEARNED that ‘bigger is not always better’ in EVE.

      When I was still a noob, after we formed HBHI and joined Demsal, me and the guys who were new ALL spent a lot of time talking about how much we wanted to get into BCs, BSs and the holy grail for us at the time, T3s…

      And of course we griped and complained about Skills the Skill Q and such… it’s a troopers right… but we also had so much to look forward to. We enjoyed each skill line crossed, each new ability was like a present long awaited and anticipated… Hearing Aura’s sultry “Skill training complete.” was like audible sex… with gifts! Plus we had TIME… time to learn how to fly, how to fight, how each class was important and had its role to play.

      How modules worked and how they changed your ships abilities, how to get a grip on the adrenaline rush and focus on range, speed and transversal while at the same time managing your ships cap, heat, drones, ammo, boosters, etc., etc., AND keeping up with comms, spamming DScan, watching local AND following target calls, tracking if you are targeted, by who, taking damage, managing local reps and/or calling for remote reps... ALL while trying you best to kill the other guy first… SHEESH!! No amount of SP will help you understand and effectively manage 1 second of all that.

      You are a vet with years behind you…your new player in his Merlin should not have the same mods as you, and those mods alone sure as all hell will not keep him alive if he fights you… if they could then EVE would not be the EVE you and I play now would it?

      Hit points, weapon range/damage, speed, agility, etc. all improved by some variable percent overall will not save him, will not make him ‘competitive’ with an experienced player who has studied and flown and fought for years… if it could player skill would not be a factor in EVE… but it isn’t just a factor, it’s the deciding factor, ask Talvorian Dex… ask Rixx Javix… look to your own experience. And you are ignoring that.

      When I was a noob I had no idea how try and to manage engagement range based on any understanding of my ship & fit vs my opponents ship & fit. That took YEARS to learn. I was far better off losing cheaper ships and mods AS I skilled up my toon AND I learned RL skills than being tricked into feeling like I could BUY skill in EVE… ‘cause you CAN’T… ever.

  4. You remind me of my very first ceo. He invited me to his corp via local chat when I was 1 month old or so. This was on my now biomassed character jedi2005. He was a highsec carebear "in mind", like you. This was 2005. A month aferwards he got his corp in iac alliance a pvp nullsec alliance. iac went bust 2 years later and he applied to a alliance in the drone regions. By this time he was ratting in a thanatos carrier in the drone regions, I was still flying only battlecruisers, both for pvp and pve, ethernally space poor.. He lost his carrier once to a passing pvp gang.. In 2010 or so I biomassed my jedi2005 character and now 5 years later I return to the game with a character build from scratch. Do I care that Im back and have now after 7 months only 7 million skilllpoints, while with my old character, had that much more sp. A real pvp'r doesnt care. Would I like to fly once a carrier, sure I do, will I care if I never get to do that, because it would require me to pay for a second subscription, as I, out of principle, dont do plexes/isk for dollars/skillpoints for dollars.. its a choice..

  5. Lasts comment; You seem to be in favour of this skillpoints for dollars system. Because it will let the option open for new players to gain skillpoints on the older players, leveling the "skillpoint" playing level field for these new players . But what with the new players who dont like to spend extra money on the game, besides their subscription fees, or out of principle because they dont think its good for the game, or because they dont have the time/money, How are they not at a disadvantage vs the new players who dont have such qualms ? :) Would you go full communism on this then, limitless isk and skillpoints from day 1 for every character, as an answer ? :) And would it then still be the same game ?

    1. I honestly don't think this skill point trading goes far enough! As I said in an earlier post, I'd rather that they just abolish the core/support skills or start new players with 4 million or more skill points. But this skill point market is at least a step in the right direction giving players an option to pay to overcome the early penalty levied on them by tradition.

    2. If you want younger players to catch up to older players, why not introduce "real" death. Its something that in scifi literature is extensivily written about. Then all those older players have something to look out for, Beginning from scratch again.

  6. I thought Mike Azariah's argument was overly patronizing. If we assume it is an adult playing the game then let them make their own decisions with their own money. Some people might need a long time to learn how to fly but others don't.