Greedy Goblin

Friday, June 14, 2013

The uniqueness of EVE skill system

Every MMO has some form of levels or skills. Players gain them as time progresses. This usually means time spent in the game. EVE is called to be unique because skills are gained in real time. While it's indeed peculiar, it's not important as MMO players spend time in their game anyway and usually play for months to years. World of Warcraft could be changed to "levels gained in real time" without seriously impacting the game. Actually it's already "levels gained in real time" as item level is an integral part of a WoW character. You can't lose your gear, they aren't actually items but character attributes. Item level jumps happen when a new patch elevates valor gear level, so if we'd plot the ilvl of various players vs time, we'd see them close to each other, jumping together after a patch.

The uniqueness of EVE isn't from the fact that it has no levels. Would WoW be any different if players could start on lvl 90? Actually players demand it since ages and Blizzard gives in by constantly speeding up the leveling process.

The real difference between EVE and all the other MMOs out there can be shown by this:
380 DPS and 200 HPS tank isn't stellar from a Rokh. The story behind it is when I started playing EVE I lured my girlfriend with me. She didn't really like the game and remained very casual. A mission here, another there. She was like a week old when she undocked her Moa next to a magnificent thing. "I want that" - she said and in another week, with all support and gunnery skills at 3 she was driving the Rokh of the picture. With 4 Hobgoblin I it was a menace to level 2 mission rats.

Fast forward a year and she still plays, but still just a 1-2 hours a week (though it might change now as I conjured up an interesting project for her). Times and priorities change, she spent this year with +4 implants and perfect remaps, very focused, and finally she got the ship of her dreams:
Yeah, it's the same Rokh. She is stubborn. Now what's interesting is the very little increase of power due skilling (T2 modules are considered baseline and skill-limited). She had like 4% of her current skillpoints. Yet the ship had 60% of its active tank, 75% of its passive, 60% of its DPS and 80% of its tracking/range. When you have 4% of your WoW level or ilvl, your power is like 0.01% of the maximum. 2 of the noobRokhs would defeat one of the top Rokhs. Not even a thousand of ilevel 52 WoW characters could kill a single top character.

In EVE the skilling is just a marginal thing, something that was probably added as a necessity to make their game qualify as an MMO. With focused training, very soon you get power matching your competitors. You won't get significantly stronger just by having more skillpoints. In EVE you get stronger by learning and thinking. In other MMOs, you get stronger by spending time. A lolkid who never set foot in a raid and all his "heroic" efforts are being AFK in dungeons and questing for the farmer faction has a stronger character than a top raider had 2 patches ago.

In other MMOs you gain power as a handout, without doing anything but being around. In EVE, you gain it by being skillful. I'm not sure if EVE needs a skillpoint system at all and anything would be lost if there wouldn't be skills at all. In other MMOs, there wouldn't be a game at all without constant grinding for ever-increasing numbers.


Anonymous said...

Is that supposed to be a L4 missioning fit?

It has a distinct lack of a MJD.

Anonymous said...

The skillpoint system is not there as a way to provide more power, but as a gatekeeper, limiting paths, encouraging specialisation and making combinations more/less viable. It isn't about leveling, it is a multi-classing system.

Recollector said...

For a CASUAL player, yeah, the skill system means shit.

However, the VAST majority of EVE players are not casual, like WoW crowd is.

The skill system protects the EvE player against nerfs.Consider my example.As much as big and cool the caps and supers are, I do not want to train for them.I chosen to train instead for all races : frigates, cruiser, BC, BS at lvl 5, all support skills lvl 5, both shield and armor reps, gunnery and missile skills top notch (lvl 4 specialized).

Am I protected against ANY future nerf, being some ships or some weapons? Yep, I am.And that is WHY the skill system is in EvE.

Anonymous said...

And this is why i roll my eyes when i see ppl complain about old players being too powerful in Eve. Like when ppl whined about lowered clone costs for old chars recently. A noob can specialize and be as good or nearly as good as old char quickly. And then thers alts and the character bazar also.

Anonymous said...

This is a really bad example. A confluence of particulars make this ship in this application very effective with low sp. Long range guns, thus T1 ammo, thus T1 guns that don't require any gun skills besides gunnery to 5. T1 hull, thus requires no spaceship command skills to 5. PVE, therefore navigation skills are irrelevant and capacitor skills don't need to be maxed out. Easy fitting, therefore fitting skills don't need to be taken to 5.

Certain ships can be very effective with an extremely low sp investment. Other ships have certain critical points where expensive skills really make a difference. For example, Interceptors hit cap stability at high speed maneuvering 5 with 4's or 5's in the two capacitor skills. That lets an Interceptor tackle a target while skirmishing 8 jumps out from his gang and hold it while his gang arrives. Shield Upgrades 5 is another threshhold for Malediction pilots because it allows them to remove a fitting mod, getting an extra lowslot for speed and making them the fastest shield tanked Fleet Interceptor (by an extremely small margin faster than the Ares). Having that little bit of extra speed over your opponent means you can stay on field and provide live intel to your FC instead of having to warp off when hostile tackle gets close. Likewise, you can chase enemies off field with that extra 100m/s.

Another example is short range guns. They gain a huge amount of effectiveness for PvP when you can put tech 2 ammo in because of the combination of range, damage, and tracking. They deal much more damage at the edge of Warp Disruptor range than any other option (t1 short range guns can't hit out far enough, any long range guns have tracking issues and do less raw dps) making a style of PvP where you hold your enemy at point range but out of scram range very powerful.

You're lucky she didn't see a linked Talos devastate a small gang in PvP and say 'I want that.'