A Newblette in Space: How to Train Your Spaceship

Posted by on October 5, 2012 - No Comments »

A Newblette in Space is a weekly series about my adventures in Eve Online. Each week I’ll be rambling about something in the amazing vast space of New Eden that has caught my attention. Feel free to comment, heckle, request topics of discussion, or offer up interesting flames. 

Unless you are equating ISK to power, there is no grinding for skills or xp in Eve Online. Its novel way of handling character progression is time based. Set and forget, and means that you’ll be just as powerful as someone who started at the same time you did, you’ll just be richer and more familiar with the game if you play more.

Presumably. Hit the jump to learn more about skills and training.

Experienced players making alts will likely zoom ahead of newbies like me. I certainly watched a ton of them fly past me, able to blow through quests at three times the speed, and acquiring skills significantly faster. But this is always the case, right? In every game the alts blow past the new characters, because experienced players are twinking their alts and know just where to go and when.

It turns out.. that’s not necessarily the case.  But there are things a newcomer can do to help even out the odds, and while ISK does help out a bit, just knowing what to do and how to do it can improve your capabilities immensely. Since ships and ship mods require skills before they can be used, twinking still requires time to actually learn the required skills, and the knowledgeable newbie can keep up to a fairly decent degree.

The first, and arguably most important, thing to do is – can you guess? – plan. If you’ve been reading these regularly, you’re probably rolling your eyes at me and thinking ‘yes, we know, already, get on with it!’ But the more I play, the more I wish I’d set up an actual plan way back at the beginning. Now I understand why people asked me what I wanted every time I asked for help in the rookie chat. It’s really that important. The experienced players that I was looking at were in the same ships I was, using the same weapons. Even though they had access to lots of cash, it wasn’t helping them acquire better stuff, because like me, they lacked the skills to use the better stuff. What they were doing was simply planning.

Let me take a moment to recap how skills and training actually work before I go on. Every skill has a primary attribute, a secondary attribute and a training time multiplier. To take a specific example, Electronics has a primary attribute of Intelligence, its secondary attribute is Memory, and its training time is x1. So it trains pretty quickly as far as skills go, but you can improve that training time even further by increasing your intelligence and memory.

There are 2 ways to go about improving your attributes: remapping attributes directly, and equipping implants.  The reason I was stressing building a plan early on is that you only get a certain number of remaps, and implants can’t be removed once they’re equipped. From what I’ve heard, you get 2 remaps a year, which means the best way to go about using them is to plan out your skill training in 6 month increments.  Pick out your training, look at the skills, and remap to maximize the right attributes. Attributes don’t do anything other than boost training speed, so if you know you’re taking a bunch of skills that use Charisma, and none that use Intelligence, there’s no reason at all not to drop your Intelligence in favor of Charisma.

As for implants, they’re a one time deal. If you want to change your implant, the current one you’re wearing is destroyed. If you die, your equipped implants are destroyed (There is a difference between dying and losing a ship. If an NPC blows up your ship, you won’t lose your implants, but if you’re podkilled by a player, you will.). Which makes implants a pricey way to go about improving your attributes – so its best to know what you’re doing and take full advantage of them.

Having a strong 6 month plan that focuses on skills using the same attributes and focusing implants and remaps on those attributes is the best thing to do. If you’re wondering how much a difference this can really make, once I sat down and planned out what I wanted to learn, then bought +3 implants for the attributes I’d use the most, I cut the time it would take me to learn my skills by 50%! A skill that would have taken me 2 days to learn, took just 1. And that’s without remapping. Of course, to use the best implants you need to actually learn Cybernetics, but this is why I said that while ISK helps, it’s still possible to decently keep up. The newbie missions give out +1 implants, and you can spend the time it takes to learn the skills to equip the better ones making the ISK to buy them.

I will probably create one of these about professions at some point in the future. I keep harping on the need to plan, I should probably sketch out a few avenues of progression in more detail than I did originally.

Whatever you do, don’t do what I did. I floundered around without improving my attributes properly, took a bunch of skills from varying professions, and though I bought a shiny new Drake the moment I could fly it, I then discovered that I didn’t actually have the skills to equip it. And that’s a very sad place to be, because without weapons, there’s no way to: