Q: 'Starting skills are a huge barrier, can we give a lot more to new players'Finally, CCP is actually looking at doing something about the NPE that makes sense. Here's why I'm in love with this idea, and I genuinely believe it will make an impact to retaining new players in Eve.
A: Yes. But this is not a simple change. You guys seem fairly agreed that the small amount of starting skills, combined with a high amount of 'must have' support and requirement skills, leads to some really icky barriers to participation for new players. We are inclined to agree and we are in the process of laying out a plan to address the problem. Nothing is set in stone yet but it seems likely that we will try and move new players towards starting with significantly more SP. Maybe between 1 and 2 million. It also seems likely that we will probably avoid any major skill reworks or skill removals. As this plan solidifies you will hear more from us.
Skills in Eve are all trained in real time, and depending on who you ask, this is either the best way to handle progression in an MMO, or the worst. Each skill has 5 levels, with each level taking more and more skill points to obtain, and thus more time. As a new player coming into Eve, you are confronted with a lot of choice, and freedom to do any number of things. However, nearly everyone agrees that there are a core set of skills that are extremely important to train:
- CPU Management: Gives a bonus 5% CPU per level
- Power Grid Management: Gives a bonus 5% power grid per level
- Capacitor Management: 5% bonus capacitor capacity per level
- Capacitor Systems Operation: 5% reduction in capacitor recharge time per level
Then you need skills to suit what type of tank your ship has, either Shield Management, Shield Compensation and Shield Operation, or Hull Upgrades, Mechanics and Repair Systems. In this time, nothing exciting, like guns, missiles or drones have been even thought about.
Granted, these skill trains are reasonably short, but I know from personal experience, during this time most new players will quit the game because they don't see any pay off for the time spent training these 'must have' skills. To put it frankly, it's boring to have to wait for all of this to train when all you want to do is blow stuff up because you're new to the game and lack the patience that veteran Eve players have developed.
The figure that CCP Rise gives of 1 - 2 million skill points would cut off around 2 months of training time, allowing for people to more quickly jump into the action. New players would no longer have to only be "hero tackle", essentially ships that dive in to hold other ships and then die because they can't handle the damage output of the enemy. They don't need to have the skills trained to 5, giving them even more skill points to play with, to make mistakes with.
To wrap all of this up, I honestly hope that CCP goes ahead with some variation of this plan, because I can only see this working in favour of new players, without giving older players advantages. Ignore the people who are saying that because they had to train skills, new players should have to as well. Do it!