Apologies for no blog yesterday, I was at a RL Work thing all day and didn't get back until very late. You'll be pleased to know that yes, I am suffering today.
Thinking about going away got me thinking about my skill queue and what to put in it to ensure I continue training for the full two weeks. That got me thinking about level V skills, and that in turn got me thinking about something I say quite a lot: "xyz is one of the best skills you can train to V".
So, here is my list of five skills that are more useful to train to V than any others. They aren't in any particular order, and they don't include the support/fitting skills because you should already have these to V, or at least in your current queue.
Recon Ships: Each level of this skill gives ~significant~ bonuses to you usefulness when flying any recon ship (force or combat) For example, each level of Recon ships gives you an extra 30% ECM Strength on a Falcon, or 60% range to the stasis webifier of a Rapier. That's huge. Not only does it make you super awesome support, but it also enables you to have a much better fit on your Force Recon (the cloaky ones). Each level of Recon Ships gives you a 20% reduction in the CPU for cloaking devices, which means you can use that extra CPU in much better places than on your CovOps cloak. A lot of people only train this skill to IV, as it's a fairly long train to get to V. Those people have to gimp their fits and are dumb.
Logistics: Why would you ever not train this skill to V. One of the hardest thing about flying logistics ships is managing your capacitor. The large majority of fits aim to be cap stable, or very close to cap stable and with Logi V, this becomes much much easier as each level of this skill reduces the capacitor need of the repping mods by 15%. Logi IV fits often have to have either less tank or less reps, both of which are pretty bad things to have to compromise on.
Evasive Manoeuvring: This skill affects your ship's agility, and each level increases it by 5%. It's not as noticeable with the smaller sized hulls, but when you get up to battleship and capital sized hulls, 5% is a huge increase and can easily mean the difference between your ratting carrier being caught, and it warping off while you smug in local.
Command Centre Upgrades/Production Efficiency: I've been a bit naughty on this one and actually combined two skills because I didn't want to exclude anyone. If you do PI, having Command Centre Upgrades to V is a pretty good time investment. It allows you to upgrade your Command Centre to the maximum level, which in turn gives your more PG and CPU. Having more of these things means you can build more structures, meaning you are both more efficient and more profitable. Do it. Production Efficiency is super useful to anyone who makes anything. It basically reduces that amount of materials you need to build an item, and therefore directly increases your profit margins. Why would you not do that?
Signature Analysis: I didn't realise the importance of this skill until after I had trained it, and it's not particularly obvious what it does. Well, it make you lock things faster. Ever got to the party late and just missed out on the killmail? Ever missed getting point on that faction battleship because you didn't lock it fast enough. These are all things that could potentially be reduced by having this skill to V. It's a prerequisite for a couple of things, but I consider it pretty important for new players to get to help them become even more effective fast tackle early on in the game. If you've been playing longer than six months and don't have this skill to V, you are stupid. This even benefits people doing PVE and Mining.
While we're at it, we might as well do the five skills that you should definitely never train to V.
Advanced Target Management: Previously known as Multitasking, each level of this skill increases the number of targets you can lock. However, this is limited by the amount of targets the ship you are flying can lock. The prerequisite to this skill is Target Management, which is the exact same skill but with a different name. You don't start the game by being unable to lock anything, so by maxing out both of these skills, you can potentially lock 11 targets. As far as I am aware (with the small amount of research I did on my smoke break), the ship class with the highest amount of lockable targets is Logistics and Marauders, with 10. The only way to increase this is with an Auto Targeting System, a high slot, with the T2 version able to lock an additional three targets. However, this module (as given away by the name) will automatically target something close, so is actually pretty fucking useless and a thorough waste of a high slot.
Rigging Skills: I'm grouping a number of skills together here, but I fail to see why anyone would ever train these to V. The T2 rigs only require level IV to fit, so it's not that. I don't really get the drawbacks mechanic, but for as long as I've been playing as well as extensive EFT Warrioring (checking the difference between All Level V and my own skills) leads me to believe they are all absolutely pointless. I'd be interested to somebody proving me wrong on this one, but until then I consider it absolutely pointless.
Armor Layering: Whilst I was in Test, someone much smarter than me ran some numbers involving the time it takes to train skill vs the benefit it has. Armor Layering is a skill that reduces the mass penalty for fitting armor plates. In the most basic sense, armor plates increase your align time, which is a bad thing. But the actual math of how this is calculated means that the difference in align time if you trained this skill to V, even with loads of plates fitted is absolutely minimal. We're talking thousandths of a second minimal, and considering the server tick is like one second, it's beyond pointless.
Sovereignty: No offence, but it's incredibly unlikely that you'll ever be in the position where you need the space for an extra 1000 pilots in your corp. Especially if you already have this skill to IV, which gives you 5300. In the rare fringe case that you are one of those people in that position, there are a number of people who have trained this skill already and would be more than happy to be CEO for 5 minutes while your max number is increased. And before you think you can make money by training this skill whoring yourself around, you can't.
Target Breaker Amplification: Target Breakers were introduced a few expansions ago, and were largely ignored considering it's chanced base and takes up a mid slot that could very easily be used by something that is guaranteed to work. It's not even like each level of skill gives you a decent increase in chance of this module working, 5% is a terrible SP investment.
Auto-Targeting Missiles: Yes, I know this is the sixth skill, but I'm enjoying myself and it's my blog so get fucked. Auto-Targeting missiles are hilarious. They target the nearest thing and shoot it. Previously known as FoF Missiles, it's an incredibly fun fleet doctrine to take out and fly around. Training this skill to V however, is as dumb as a bag of bricks.
Cloning Facility Operation: As I mentioned in a previous blog, Clone Vat Bays are pretty stupid and no-one uses them. This skill increases the maximum number of clones you can have in the Bay by 15% per level, which is a significant increase, if anyone ever used them for anything. Ever.
Remote Sensing: Allows you to view a planets resources when you aren't in the same system. Why you would ever want to look at a planet 9LY away is beyond me, and I'm one of the people that advocates PI...
I was tempted to include Fleet Command V in there as well, as herding 256 autists around on a regular basis isn't particularly very common. However, I'm currently training this skill to V and still trying to convince myself that it will be worth it once it's done.