How might the act of skilling in EVE change, such that the core mechanics of how we acquire skill points does not change, but that the system becomes more flexible for the player?
Instead of adding skills to a skill queue, why not just amass skill points into attribute buckets [attribute points], which can then be spent on skills.
The system would still retain five attributes: memory, intelligence, perception, willpower and charisma. Depending at what rank each of those attributes are at, taking into account our current mapping and any learning implants we have plugged in, each attribute would accumulate points over time. I would suggest a rate of about (attribute value x 30) points per hour per attribute. We then take those attribute points, after some period of time amassing them, and spend them on skills.
Every skill has two associated attributes. Gallente Battleship, as an example, has perception as the primary attribute and willpower as the secondary attribute. We use a 66/34% ratio in determining how many points per attribute are required for skill purchase. Gallente Battleship V requires 4,000,000 skill points total, thus 2,640,000 perception points and 1,360,000 willpower points.
How does this make the system more flexible?
Let’s say you’re in a lowsec corporation, and they want their pilots to train into dreadnoughts. You decide, sure. But after creating your skill plan, you see that it’s going to take you nearly two hundred days to get into a Gallente dreadnought effectively (the spaceships skills, the capital weaponry skills, the siege module skill, etc.) You decide, to be safe, rather than sorry, that you’ll spend 200 hundred days amassing all the attribute points you’ll need, but you won’t actually purchase any of the skills until you can purchase them all at once.
Then tragedy strikes. At around 100 days into your skill plan, your lowsec alliance fail cascades. It is no more. You’re homeless. After some soul searching, you decide that you’d like to move to a wormhole, and you soon find a great new alliance to take you in.
Dreadnoughts were never a ship you were super keen to fly anyways, and now that you’re soon to be living in a C3 wormhole you really need to train up strategic cruisers and those damned scanning skills. Under EVE’s current system, that’s pretty much 100 days of wasted skill training you’d have completed towards dreads, a ship that you’re no longer interested in flying, and probably no longer interested in training towards.
Under this new flexible skill point system, and because of the decision you made not to buy any of the dreadnought-related skills until you had amassed all the attribute points required, you’ve a lot of flexibility to do something else. Now that you’re in wormholes, you can take those 100 days of attribute points that you’ve amassed and can immediately start purchasing skills that would be far more useful in a wormhole environment. You haven’t wasted 100 days of training at all.
It’s an idea. I’m not pushing for this as a change needed for EVE. The current system is certainly inflexible, but it’s by no means terrible or bad. Perhaps this new system isn’t quite right for EVE, for one reason or another. At any rate, it’s a discussion that can be had. Would this new system be appropriate to EVE? Is being forced into early decision-making important? Or is flexibility something that should be worked into the system?
You can read more of Poetic Stanziel’s opinions at his Poetic Discourse Blog.