Like pretty much everything else in EVE, skill queues work differently than in any other MMOG. Whereas World of Warcraft requires you the player to be logged on and do the action you want to skill, EVE Online’s skill system runs in the background whether or not the player is online. I can happily skill my missiles while shooting nothing but bullets.
On the upside, you can’t really grind or power level skills and that a 1/2 year newb can be as powerful as a 10 year veteran – for lower category ships at least. Skill comes more from the player than the gear of the character – or so the theory.
The downside is that certain ships or activities take ages to train for. I know people who have mapped out their character progression a year ahead of time. If you need a perfect miner, hauler and trader, a year is likely realistic for training. And the economy is scaled around perfect characters, i.e. the margins that a fully trained character can make are much higher than those that a newb can make. Well, the vet has put in the hours and ought to receive some of the benefits. What feels unbalanced, isn’t really, its just off-putting to a new player.
Through the years, I trained my main characters to be pretty decent for their roles but they all seem to have a convergence point – that of my main. Wormholers all need to fly Covert Operation boats, scan fast, hack, fly Noctis and salvage, can fly pretty much the same industrials (no point accumulating too many different ones in the hole) and do PI. In fact, without a little bit of diversity in mining and industry (which I so rarely use that it actually has become enjoyable), all my characters are “mini-me”s of my main. I need more than one for scouting ahead or – more frequently now – when we are wardecced and I don’t want to raise attention to my main in Empire space.
To this end, I stopped training my main(s) and focus on a set of alts in Newbcorps for the single purpose to be my off-time afk miners. Nobody knows who they are (I tend to forget their names), they found a home in a high sec pocket in Aridia and the long skill queue meant that 2 months ago I set it up and let them marinate. The idea is that they come out “perfect” in the end. My main, well, yes I lose training time but I can fly anything I want right now, I don’t really have a ship I need to train for.
So, I recently found myself working from home, mostly on conference calls – what a great opportunity to do some afk mining, right? I log into my Newb Corp bros and grab a couple of Covetors I had brought in for that purpose a long time ago. I looked forward to “play” the game without non-stop looking over my back, d-scanning or otherwise get hassled. Well, the trouble starts when I warp off and the Neocom tells me that I lack capacitor for the warp to the belt. Really? 4 or 5 stops en route and I realize that I must have not trained Capacitor Management to V like on my main. Which is kind of a base requirement for all pilots. Eventually I land and try to launch my Hobgoblin II only to be told that I needed Gallente Drone Specialization I. Argh! A skill so obscure that I had forgotten that it existed.
What was supposed to be a semi-afk relaxed afternoon mining turned into tedious low-sec runs shuttle runs to find and inject skill books before I had to log off. Nothing enjoyable about the game play, just tedious house keeping and disappointments. EVE punishes these of low attention span, repeatedly and without regard of actual experience.
If anyone had given me the choice to drop a few plex right there and then and train a skill on the spot, I would have done it. Man, I would paid Aurum or whatever silly Pay-to-Win currency they cooked up. And in a way, I could do this, been reading for a while about how to buy characters. Its perfectly legitimate, for the skill sets I need its not even that expensive and I really should do it. But something in me stops me from really looking. Characters are like toothbrushes or sex toys, I don’t really want to touch one that I have not owned myself for his life span. God knows where he’s been, maybe he used to bot-farm in some filthy nullsec system or be a ganker. And I only have 3 character slots / account! CCP, at least let me buy for PLEX another character slot. Please?
Bottom line, as a reasonably experienced player starting again is just as painful as a new bro and that means, quite painful. Something else that should be looked at in the future?