Tobold's Blog
Saturday, May 01, 2010
EVE progression

As I mentioned before, the closest EVE has to linear progression is moving from very small combat ships to increasingly larger ones. I went from frigates to destroyers and cruisers, and am now training to fly battlecruisers and battleships. While a bigger ship isn't the solution to everything, especially not in PvP, it sure makes PvE missions a lot easier, and allows you to play higher level missions for better rewards. But if you look closer, bigger ships don't have all that many more slots for weapons and modules than cruisers. What they do have is a lot more CPU, and PowerGrid, which allows you to fit *bigger* weapons and better modules.

So far so good, but in EVE any new item comes with new skill requirements. So while in a few days I could theoretically buy a battlecruiser and fly it around, I could only put the same kind of weapons and modules on it that are now on my cruiser, which gives me a ship which is barely better than the cruiser I have. To use the battlecruiser effectively, I need a collection of skills to fit all those bigger guns and better modules. Helpfully there is a so-called "certificate" system, where one tab of the ship info lists the certificates you should have to effectively fly it, and the certificate planner tells you which skills you need to train up to have that certificate. That gets even easier if you use a program like EVEMon, where you can say which ship you want to fly, and the program designs the most efficient skill plan for you to get all the necessary skills. So I did that for the battlecruiser I wanted, and EVEMon gave me the list of skills I needed to train up: Total training time a bit over 92 days. 3 BLOODY MONTHS!!!! With nothing I could do in-game to speed the process up, except log on for 5 minutes every day to queue up the next skills.

At that point I remembered that I have a level 79 paladin in World of Warcraft, who will not advance at all when I don't play. But if I play I could get him to 80 quickly enough, finally use his smithing skill to craft some epic gear, do heroics for more gear, and follow the fundamental MMORPG formula of "you play, you advance your character". In EVE I can only wait and play "just for fun", only that the activities I found in EVE high security space up to now aren't all that much fun by themselves. Not even crafting and trading are much fun, because it turns out that it involves a lot of flying around to transport stuff, and flying around in high sec is rather boring. So I think I'd rather level my paladin this weekend.
Sounds like it's time for some lowsec or even nullsec roaming. . . . . just to see what kind of trouble you can get into, of course ;-)
92 days? I'm assuming that you're training for T2 guns? For quite a few situations, T1 meta 3/4 modules are nearly as good (and sometimes even better due to less stringent CPU/grid requirements) as T2 modules, and only require the bare minimum of skills to use. I was doing level 4 missions with my Drake long before I trained for T2 heavy missiles, and I still don't have T2 heavy assault missiles trained. The downside is that meta 3/4 modules cost more, because there's less supply.
Yes, unless you are part of a good size corp that you can do stuff with them and generally socialize to avoid getting bored, "leveling up" in EVE is rather a long process. When a year back I tried to move to the next ship, EVEMon told me I need 192 days. That's when I stopped logging.
For me, EVE is one of those games that I enjoy being able to play on the side lines and I use it to supplement my WoW gaming so it's progression model is perfect for me. But yeah, I can understand it being a bit weird :)
I am an EVE fan. I love that the game exists and I love the world that it has created but I must admit a secret. I get bored of the game too after a short while playing.

However before you abandon the game - have you played around with EFT? I am guessing that as a research scientist you have an analytical mind and you just might enjoy playing around with it to see how you can maximise your ship capability with skills that can be trained quickly. EFT integrates well with EVE mon last time I tried.
It's funny, i don't look at it this way.

When i see a plan that tells me it's gonna take say... 90+ days i'm like "WOOOOOT !! I am SOOO gonna rock when that's done ! Can't wait, getting on it RIGHT NOW !"

But maybe that's just me.
I'm assuming that you're training for T2 guns?

No, the 92 days is for all the recommended certificates for a Harbinger battlecruiser: Core Competency Standard, Armor Tanking Standard, and Cruiser Energy Turrets Standard. Each upgraded from the current "Basic" certificate version.
See? For people who want to play to have fun, EVE IS A TRAP!
Tobold, you seem to be stuck on skills being the only way to measure progress in EVE. They're not.

Money - ISK is also a measure of your progress, in a vairety of ways. How much is in your wallet is not a good one as it can fluctuate wildly, but the rate at which you can earn it is.

Standings - This is the closest EVE has to a WoW like levelling system IMO. Your standing with a specific corporation affects the missions you can do and therefore the rate at which you can earn ISK

Connections - The most ephemeral and hard to define method of progression in EVE. This is your social group, your corp, alliance, or simply the people you hang out with. Its not hard coded in, there is to nice bar that tells you how many more friends you need, and so may not seem like a valid measure of progress. Social connections are a very important part of EVE and who you know is in many cases just as important as what you know.

Like everything else in EVE, measuring your progress is a matter of personal choice, and is never easy.

BTW what battlecruiser are you looking to train for that's taking 92 days?! I was in a BC on my missioning charcater within a month, and was nuking Level 4 missions in 6 weeks. from starting from scratch. This is not WoW, where you need to have the best gear to be effective. You don't have to have tech 2 everything, and as others have said you can often be more effective using tech 1 modules. I'd like to see the fit you're training for as 92 days seems a touch excessive.
Have you thought about settling for second best?
I think you've hit on something that's quite fundamental to Eve.

It's a game that plays best if you're ok to leave it alone sometimes and play Eve Offline.

I took quite a lot of breaks in my Eve playing and am now really loving it and playing it a lot.

It's a pretty great feeling to leave it for a month come back and blast missions into dust that used to be too tough.

Another thing I did when I needed a break from the combat side of the game was just concentrate on my trader alt. Log on, update my orders, log off, play DDO or WoW. (sometimes playing WoW with an afk autopiloting shuttle flying around The Forge collecting my regionwide implant purchases).

Of course that means you're paying for a game you're not actually playing much. But it is a game that will be fun later.

This is one of the secrets of Eve - it is actually a rather expensive game. It seems like a standard $15/month mmo but in fact you'll be tempted to stay subbed when not actively playing and you'll be tempted to alt. (Arguably forced to alt at advanced levels).
The skills those certificates adds to a training plan for a mostly untrained Gallente alt of main include:

Electronics Upgrades V (11d13h)
Gunnery V (6d15h)
Targeting V (5d18h)
ESO V (5d18h)
Mechanic V (5d18h)
Electronics V (5d18h)
Engineering V (5d18h)
Med Energy Turret IV (3d12h)
Shield Management IV (3d1h)
and so on.

I recommend you remove most of the Vs and IVs from the plan. All in this would remove around 79 days.

The level Vs above are useful in the long term, but mostly to eke out the last bit of powergrid and CPU for "perfect fits". Paying a little more for a higher metalevel item, or even undocking with 7 guns instead of 8 can compensate.

For example Hull Upgrades V would give you access to Tech II armor hardeners - but they're not magic "can't do missions without them" - they give -55% damage bonus instead of -50% for the tech 1 item, and cost you extra fitting CPU in the process.

Whereas a Meta 4 hardener (the "N-Type" items) will only give you 50%, but save you 10 cpu over the Tech 2 item, 7 over the Tech 1, easing your fitting requirements. They're also quite cheap - 300k v 1.6M for a Tech2 thermic hardener.

Going Tech 2, while good in the long run for overall efficiency, comes at a cost of immediate training time, and secondary skills needed to make the blasted things fit.
Mechanic V, which would have been a more useful example since it was actually in the certificate-generated list, gives you nothing other than an extra 5% hullpoints.
All the items enabled at level V are "large" - ie battleship class.
92 days sounds like a long time for that to take.Did you train learning skills and get a set of implants? As someone else said, although those are the recommended skills for the Harbinger, you can definitely get away with much less.
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The real trick with EVE is to realize that you may think you're getting better as your char skills go up, but the sad fact of the matter is that your chars skills go up faster than your own skills.

There is also the fact that you may be skilling up to bigger ships WAY too fast. This is a VERY common problem with new player in EVE who come from other gaming environments. You get your frigate skills to "barely usable" and immediately jump into destroyers or cruisers and battle cruisers. The reality is you'd be better off continuing on your frigate skills for quite a while longer (things like fitting skills, energy skills, shield and armor tanking skills, navigation skills all apply to all ships is a nice bonus)

Then there is "learning how to USE the damn ships" PvE teaches you very little. At this stage I would adivise you to put a little warchest together and use nothing but throw away frigates and learn PvP in faction warfare while your skills go up for your cruiser/bc skills. The truth is YOU need to learn more than your character does. Staying missioning in high sec will not allow you to learn as much.

BTW T2 guns are not bigger, just better and more demanding of char skill. There are 4 sizes of weapons in the game - frigate (also for dessies), cruiser (also for battle cruisers and industrials), battleship and capital ship. That's it.
EvE's Certificate system has always been...lacking in practicality. That's why I wrote a custom cert designer that allows you to create custom certificates, as well as see the custom certs others have created (a la Battleclinic loadouts). Also allows CEOs to evaluate applicants for specific positions by plugging API key.

That's the sandbox.

Like folks said above: you don't need 90 days of skills to fly that battlecruiser effectively. Also there are choices you can make to train faster: implants and learning skills. (I think learning skills are problematic, but it's in the game.)

I'm surprised you aren't finding trading interesting, given your interest in making gold in WoW. There's a lot of trading you can do with minimal transport or indeed, no transport at all. The market dynamics are one of the most interesting things about Eve, I suggest you spend a few days studying it. The quarterly economic newsletters are a good place to start.
Nice post, and, while I do enjoy EVE, I have found that WoW is a better fit for my style of play.

I agree with Stabs' observation, I felt tempted to remain subscribed even tho I was not actively playing the game. I'm not sure what business model is the best fit for EVE and myself, but I determined that the subscription one was not a good fit.

Bottom line, for me, is that I think fondly of EVE, but I do not have an active EVE subscription, while I do for WoW.
For the next 3 months, just keep paying so you can keep upping your "skills".

Sounds like a MMO to me.
I wouldn't say that Mechanic V "only" gives you 5% more hull points. Mechanic V also unlocks the Assault Ship skill which is needed to fly assault frigates. And on the economic side of the game, Mechanic V then unlocks the following research skills if you also have Science V:

Amarrian Starship Engineering
Astronatical Engineering
Caldari Starship Engineering
Gallentian Starship Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Minmatar Starship Engineering
Molecular Engineering

You can then go out and do data core mining with research agents to get the data cores needed to build Tech 2 ships. That would give you something valuable to trade on the market.

I guess in the sandbox, everyone has their own opinions of the value of things. Where one pilot sees a skill as only providing a 5% boost to his hull, another sees the skill as an opening to additional ships and a potential new source of revenue. What I would suggest is looking at the skills in your 92 day skills queue and try to arrange them in a way that will enable you to accomplish different things and see different aspects of the game along the way.
Tobold, I guess its time for implants and maybe reskill your attributes. The latter though needs a long term skill plan in Eve Mon and it will recomend an attribute setup for you.

This reskill andimplants will save you a lot of time in skilling.

Also: do you have most learnings and advanced learnings on III or IV?
You only need the skills the ship you want to fly requires, the guns you need to fire and any module you otherwise want to stick on your ship. All those V's are massive overkill. Find an Eve ship builder tool and put together a ship with just what you need and figure out the skills needed for that. I used to use a tool called Quickfit for this, I don’t know if it’s still updated.

Also, ships in this game do not have a linear progression. The linear progression is Frigate -> Cruiser -> Battleships. The Destroyer and Battlecruiser types are kind of heavily gunned versions of Frigates and Cruisers respectively. They exist to allow a player who can fly and outfit the parent ship type to fly a significantly more powerful ship with very minimal additional skill requirements. That is to say, a destroyer exists to outfit Frigate level gear, just with lots more guns.

If you’re having trouble with Fighter based missions you should try with a Destroyer first. If you’re having trouble completing missions with a Cruiser you should try a Battlecruiser.
@NoizyGamer: Indeed, I should have been more specific. :)

Mechanic V contributes little to the stated aim of Tobold's skill plan (flying a battlecruiser "effectively") but has a bunch of other long-term benefits, only one of which is the battleship-class modules I mentioned. That's probably true of most of the IVs and Vs I suggested he remove from the plan.
I was just reading a post on the EVE Forums where the responder told OP that two months was not a long training time.

@WFS: Yes, EVE Offline goes well with WoW.

Neither WoW are EVE come close to the "If Blizzard ran EVE" game.
@michael: I thought that might have been the case :)

But I didn't realize the economic impact skills like Mechanic V have until I took a datacore mining class at Eve Uni. I guess my reply was a case of "If I could overlook it, others might too." That and watching "The Butterfly Effect" trailer too many times.
Tobold, something to consider doing is find the Harbinger again on the Ships browser and select the "Battleclinic loadouts" under the bold Harbinger title, which pulls a live feed of user-contributed ship fittings down from the battleclinic website. Create an empty plan, then when you find a fit that looks interesting - there's one for the Harbinger called "Harbinger low skill lvl 2 mission runner", for example - choose "Add To Plan" and review the skill suggestions.

That example is 15days on my low-skill alt. And 11 of that is because the fit has Tech 2 Hammerhead drones on it. Tech 1 HHs will do fine for now. :)

If you right click on any of the items in the right hand loadout panel, you'll see there's an option "Export Loadout to EFT".

If you install EFT - EVE Fitting Tool from:

... and chose to impact the battleclinic fit, you'll be able to review the capabilities of a ship fitted with the modules suggested (it shows resists, estimated DPS, capacitor use, and general tanking ability).

EFT can also pull in your character from your API key in the same way EVEMon can, so you can review how your ships will perform now, or copy your character and review how much impact additonal skill training would have.

Ie, you could test to see (roughly) how much impact that 92 days of certificate-suggested training would have on a given fit, over a minimal-effort two or three days.

EFT's interface is... quirky. Of course. :)

Quickfit, with I think Yyidth mentioned, passed on to the great bitbucket in the sky. EFT is the main tool players use to design shiplayouts.

That certificate system, although a great idea can indeed lead to bad things, that skill queue being an example.

It has you training skills to levels you really don't "need"

Put the level V skills to the end of the queue, and you will find yourself able to fly that BC much sooner than you expect.

Also, it can't be repeated enough "T2 > named" is not always true... for many items it's in fact "best named > T2".

Even with 50+ million sp, there are some modules that I would never fit the t2 version, instead preferring to stick with the best named version, due to lower fitting requirements, and equivalent effects.

EFT and Evemon are your friends, that an advice from your corp on what to fit to your ship, to make it effective.

It would appear you have well and truly hit the steep part of the learning curve shown in that often quoted graph for eve.

Trust us, stick with it, once you get over the hump, you will find yourself experiencing something truly awesome.

As with the others, please feel free to drop me an email, as I would be more than happy to help (advice, suggestions, but not isk as you seem to be doing okay there).
Don't rely on the certificate system to tell you whether you are ready to fly a ship or not. Its a good guide to help you optimise a particular path you want to go down, but misleading if used as the basis for deciding whether you are ready for a ship/weapon lowsec etc.

Definitely don't think that you need level 5 skills to run missions either! You can get away with level 3s and T1 gear quite easily :)

I have been running level 4 missions for a LONG time in a battleship and still don't use T2 turrets (haven't got around to skilling it up.. always something else a priority!).

I also run missions in lowsec with a low cost setup... largely T1 stuff in a standard cruiser. Built for range and speed (to avoid pirates moreso than for the missions themselves), i don't even have any armor/shield modules. A strategic approach to a build can be more effective than optimising with a lot of expensive gear :).

And I PVP in whatever I am prepared to lose :). Mainly cruisers, but also frigates and occasionally BCs.

When i wanted to explore wormholes, it took me less than a day to sort out the skills i needed from scratch.

So really, you don't NEED a lot of skill or isk to enjoy all of Eve. The real barrier is in your head - escaping the security blanket of highsec :). Eve is only as boring as you let it be.

If you need a helping hand to make that leap, joining Faction War is one option if you don't want to commit to a corp. From a casual point of view its quite enjoyable. There are also lots of corporations focusing on teaching new pilots and helping them make the jump out of highsec. Maybe look in to that.
Didn't you just knock age of conan for it's level every four days, and say that Eve's system doesn't make you want to not play??
Sounds like a web based game. Which raises an interesting game: why isn't EVE web based if it has all the requirements?
This is why I left EVE -- space is a big empty boring place. If you don't like chumming with clan mining ops or getting ganked, it is better to simply log off and let the offline skills accumulate. In several months, you can start to get where you want -- but even then -- you will never catch up to those who started years before you. So in the end you are only ever as good as the friends you keep.
The certificates are great investments in the future. For playing now, go look at what you need to pilot a battlecruiser.

If you want quick and dirty, IVs for important skills (gunnery, turret type, spaceship command, ship type ) and III for the tanking/targeting/support skills should be more than enough.

Lastly battlecruisers use the same modules as cruisers, with the exception of gang warfare links.

Early on I can think of few, if any skills that you need at V that should be longer than a 5 day train.
seepyou: wtf "to move to the next ship was 192 days" wtf were you trying to do go from frigate to carrier????? im sorry but that natural progression of ships isnt from frigate to carrier, and from battleship to carrier is also another BIG CHOICE, as t2 battleships are much closer... capital ships arent designed to be easily accessible, their something that requires knowing the game mechanics and knowing what your doing, if every guy had a capital and no cyno alts or cyno friends they'd be stuck in systems and complaining, then they'd complain when they died loosing a 800m isk ship, hell as it is people whine when loosing a t2 fit cruiser.

also i still dont get why people dont get that t1 meta 4 = t2 atleast in damage in most cases t2 are better a bit but still, you can get by with t1 meta 4 that cost a bit more until your skills are higher... hell i ran level 4 missions in my third week with a t1 meta 4 fit battleship, why dont people understand this.
tobold: also certificates are NOT REQUIREMENTS TO FLY A SHIP, their OPTIMAL FOR A PERFECT FIT, in many cases they go well beyond what anyone will ever need, dear god do you really need to target 7 targets? wow wait that level 5 skill that i dont need and only to 4 just nocked 4 days off my training time...

STOP BEING LIKE THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Certificates are guidelines, you dont just say oh i need these certs i wont play till i get them all... or i wont use this ship till i get them all, just fit the ship and play tinker with your fit with different modules, you dont need t2 guns to have a properly fit battlecruiser...

in fact cruiser guns on a battlecruiser is what u need, the extra PG/CPU is for MORE GUNS, and a bigger tank to survive longer...

Also you need to stop thinking that just cause its a bigger ship its better, as i'm pretty sure your battlecruiser cud be tackled and popped by a cruiser or frigate thts fit (active tank bs, vs a speedtanked cruiser with neuts and u're screwed)
shawno : "you will never catch up to those who started years before you. "


whats with you guys in this catching up....


Some people only fly frigates, and i hate to tell you this in 2 months u have just about every skill that matters for a frigate pilot maxed if you dedicate to this....

pick something you like and master it, stop trying to get a billion skillpoints skillpoints dont matter jack, i have a friend with 40m SP but guess what most people can pop him in a n00b ship because its all industrial skills.
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