Thursday, November 25, 2010

Say Goodbye to Your Learning Skills!

CCP has announced they are doing away with learning skills. This is planned to go into effect December 14. Here is a summary of the main points from the DevBlog, which you can read in its entirety here.

  • As of downtime today, all NPC sell orders for the eleven skills in the Learning group (hereafter referred to as "learning skills") have been CANCELLED. They're really not much use in the long run, we don't want to complicate later steps with unusual inflows of skillbooks, and it might go some way towards limiting the amount of scams that we know you're going to be running. Please, think of the children newbies.

FURTHERMORE, as of a patch which should arrive on (or about) the 14th of December:

    • We're not kidding. In your head, in your hangar or in your anything else, they're gone. Vamoosh. Deleted. Sent to the big recycle bin in the sky. Etc etc.
  • All skillpoints invested in learning skills will be reimbursed, including all the fiddly corner cases. If you have 2,012,692 SP in learning, you will find yourself down those skills, but with 2,012,692 skillpoints to redistribute.
  • All skillbooks not currently injected into people's heads will be reimbursed at the old NPC sell price. The money will go to whichever character or corporation owns the container that the skillbooks are in. For example, things in cans you've anchored for yourself will be reimbursed to you, things in corporate hangar arrays or the "deliveries" bin will be reimbursed to the owning corporation.
  • This will also involve cancelling any and all market orders containing these skills. Contracts containing learning skills will have those skillbooks substituted for copies of the Pax Amarria.
  • All new and existing characters will have an extra 12 base points (ie, non-remappable) in each attribute.
  • The 100% training speed bonus up to 1.6m SP will no longer be available. People partway through this bonus will lose the remaining bonus amount. They will of course gain a huge attribute bonus to make up for it.
  • Miscellaneous other cleanup tasks will be performed that are not very interesting, details available on request.
As a relatively new player in EVE, I really don't understand all the fuss with the learning skills. I don't have a problem with them. Sure, I spent a good portion of my first month training them instead of training more "fun" skills, but I also didn't allow myself to become a slave to the process. When I needed or wanted another skill, I trained it. I found an organic balance between training learning skills as needed while also training other skills I wanted. I've only been playing since the end of August, and I have all the learning skills (including the charisma skills) at 4 and 5.

I like the learning skills. I think it's cool that, like in life, you can choose the "quick and easy" path for immediate gain (by training fitting and ship skills right away), or you can choose a more long-term strategy (by training the learning skills), or you can find your own balance between the two as I did.

Now, I'm looking at this from the perspective of a person playing their first character in EVE. Let's face it, you don't need much beyond the skills you start with to do the tutorials, start missioning, and learn the game. I trained my learning skills while I was doing those things. No big deal.

I can, however, see how the learning skills would become more and more annoying as one becomes more experienced in the game and starts training up alt characters. Each character basically has one to two months (or more) of "downtime" in the beginning while they're training learning skills.

I can also see how it is frustrating for some new players that don't have the patience to train the learning skills, but feel like they're at a disadvantage if they don't (but isn't that part of the game? oh well). Ultimately, I see bringing new players into EVE a good thing. If we can make that entrance more enjoyable for them (without dumbing it down or making it to easy), then I'm all for it.

In the end, I support this decision by CCP. It doesn't really affect me, except that now I'll have a few million skill points that I'll be able to spend in other places, which will actually be pretty nice. I'm sure it will also be a nice change for new players coming into the game and for veteran players making alts. I honestly have a hard time imagining how someone could be unhappy with this.

It's kind of a bummer that you won't have the 100% training bonus for the first 1.6 million skill points, but you'll also have 12 extra points in each attribute starting out, so that's a fine trade by me.

What are your thoughts? Please, feel free to post in the comments and tell us all what you opinions on this are. Also let us know if you're a new or veteran player, or somewhere in between. I'm very curious to see how the community responds to this. My guess is that it will be a positive response over all.

Fly smart, and enjoy your bonus skill and attribute points in December!

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