Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Skill Creep

So, the majority of view points, arguments and opinions regarding the new jump changes have been thoroughly discussed - in dozens of Reddit threads, 372 pages (at the time of writing) of official Eve forum thread and I'm sure across all the various Alliance, Corporation and other voice comms and forums.

I've obviously also been thinking about these changes, and on the whole I'm supportive. I tweeted that CCP would lose 6 subscriptions from me, but have since reconsidered my position. 

Before I get onto the main topic of this blog, I'd like to point out which part of the changes I have contention with.

The jump fatigue issue is the killer. For me, and for all the people I've spoken to (or at least those who know what they're talking about), these changes are a little bit stupid are go way beyond the means needed to achieve the same goal.

Jump fatigue is planned to have compounding effects, meaning that it's theoretically possible for a pilot to become completely useless for a pretty long amount of time (in terms of capital piloting). It means that in theory, if I want to use my capital pilot for capital things, I can only do so once per day. From a business point of view, that seems a bit excessive.

Any way, the long term result of these changes is that less people will use, or want to use, capital ships - and to some extent, Black Ops. 

So, what does a medium to long term pilot have to aim for?

Traditionally, pilots train skills in the following order:

Basic skills - basic T1 mods, frigates and maybe cruisers
Support skills - fitting and tanking skills
Medium skills - T2 weapon systems, battlecruisers and battleships
Advanced skills - HACs, some cruiser Vs, the majority of T2 weapons systems and some obscure others
Capital skills - Baby's first carrier or dreadnaught

I have no figures to back this up, but I'd imagine that the vast majority of pilots are already at the Medium and Advanced skill levels. Historically, Eve has a very hard time recruiting new players and retaining them past the Basic skills level, and those that do can get to at least the Medium skills level fairly quickly. 

Those of us who have been around for a year or two are slowly running out of skills to train. We've probably already trained all the skills that are important, and already trained into the ships that we are interested in flying or that we've been asked to fly by the people will fly with. If we don't want to train it on our main, we roll a new alt to train it (such as an industry alt, a market alt, a hauling alt etc.)

We have no interest in training for three weeks to get a skill that we don;t really want from IV to V.

The current natural progression once most of us have reached this point is to train into a carrier or a dreadnought - or both. I know that, personally, I have reached the point where I'm training at least three of my six characters into some sort of jump-drive enabled ship. With these new changes, no-ones going to want to do this so what's left to train? Once people no longer have things to train, it's much more likely that they'll stop subbing that character.

And what about those of us who have a capital alt that can fly both a carrier and a dreadnought? Or, god forbid own, multiples of these vessels? A move op for 2 dreads and 2 carriers is now going to take me days (almost a week) rather than hours. Days. Just to move four ships. Can you imagine the WoW crowd being happy if it took them weeks to move a super duper piece of armour or an awesome sword across the map?

I think not.

If fatigue was replaced with a static cool down timer, even one that scaled would be better. For example, the first time you jump you get a 6 minute cooldown on jumping out, the next time you jump, it's 10 minutes, the next is 18 minutes etc etc you get my point. This would solve the issue of large groups of capitals (and to some extent subcapitals) moving completely across the universe in trivial amounts of time. It wouldn't discourage people from totally avoiding training for capitals, and it wouldn't stop massive PR events like Asakai and B-R from happening again (and thus increasing CCP revenue massively - albeit short term).

I'm not going to get into the difficulties of logistics and actual content generation with these changes other than to quote CCP Grayscale when asked how these changes were going to create content.

"Ask your leaders, not us"

Well, CCP Grayscale. I've asked them. They haven't the foggiest.