Stop bitching about skill points newbtards.

Read enough EVE-related posts and you will notice a certain complaint always being made: I can never catch up to older players.

First of all, the statement is mostly true. If you started a new character today, those pilots with 50 million skill points will always be around 50 million skill points ahead of you, give or take. Baring a complete reset, that will always be true.

The issue I have with the statement is: who cares? Yes in a 1 on 1 situation, they will smoke you, be it combat, mining, economy, production, whatever. Last I checked (this morning) EVE is an MMO, which stands for Massive Multiplayer Online. Well EVE is certainly massive, since everyone plays on one server. And it’s certainly online, as everyone has to log in to said server. And now the real kicker, it’s actually MULTIPLAYER, and not in that WoW way where you run by people on your solo-happy way to kill/collect 10 of something.

You join a Corp, work with others, compete against others, and generally try to survive. If you go about it solo, you will have a tough time, and will get really bored. The fools at CCP had this crazy notion that people would like to play together, and do things as a group, so they designed systems around that silly idea. Mining solo sucks, mining as a Corp is fun. Running missions solo day in day out gets boring, running missions with a buddy is fun. Dueling is boring, group battles are fun. See the trend here?

The other thing that EVE nails, and most other MMOs get terribly wrong, is that no matter your skill points, you can contribute. If you just created your pilot, you can join your Corp in a mining Op, and still contribute. Sure the guy flying the Hulk will mine a hell of a lot more ore, but you still did your part, and unlike other MMOs, you did not take anyone’s spot, or loot an ‘epic’ that someone else is going to be pissed about. EVE does not have a ‘raid cap’ of 40 or 25. The more the merrier, no matter the skill level. Is your Corp running missions just for fun? Bring your newbie self in a frigate and join in. Pew pew the frigates in the mission, loot some wrecks, get blown up, and have a blast.

So while you might never catch the skill point leader in EVE, you also don’t have to level to 70 and grind gear/rep/tokens to play with your friends. Day one you can jump right in, and not once will someone pick a ‘better geared’ pilot over you, while you sit around and listen to vent as everyone else is having fun.

That skill point thing, not that big an issue now, is it?

22 Responses to Stop bitching about skill points newbtards.

  1. unwise says:

    The very fact that a new player will never be able to catch up is the main reason I’ll probably never try EVE. You are probably right that it would make very little difference to how much fun I’d actually have if I did play it, but it’s a psychological barrier I won’t be willing to cross while their are other MMO alternatives to keep me occupied.

  2. Van Hemlock says:

    Aren’t we past the ‘LFG or GTFO’ stage nowadays?

    That said, I agree about the skill points themselves not being a particular barrier to enjoyment of EVE; solo or otherwise.

    You start with enough to have a taste of most aspects of the thing straight out of character creation, are competent and in control by about 5 million, and by the time you hit 15-20 million, have *all* the things you’ll use day-to-day at VI and Vs.

    Beyond that you’re left looking at obscure side-skills or long Vs that are very specialised indeed. After the 50+ million mark, (I imagine) it really is about obsession and the kinds of roles which need a large and active corp behind you to get anything done anyway; Empire Control, Outpost Construction, Tech 2 BS Building, Capital Piloting, etc.

    Perhaps a case of flawed comparisons to WoW et al. Being perpetually 50 levels behind in something like that would be offputting, yes!

  3. syncaine says:

    So if I want to play a rogue, raid, and join a Sunwell guild, how long will that take? Especially if I want to be honest about it and not just use some lower-tier guild to leech some epics off and then quit?

    It might not be perpetual, but it’s damn close. Actually I take that back, it’s worse than perpetual, as it will be near impossible for a new player joining WoW today to see Ragnarous, Nef, C’thun, or anything in Nax. Might not even be possible to see TBC raids either, unless you leech onto some guild and they fit you in.

    Of course, WoW does not come out and say “all former content is off limits to you”, but that’s the reality far more than any limits in EVE. I have a better chance of flying a Titan in EVE than I do of creating a character and seeing all of AQ40.

  4. Talyn says:

    @unwise: I’m curious why you think there would be (or is ever) a need to “catch up?” Catch up to *what* exactly? In a levels game, sure, if you’re the late-comer you have to play catch-up in order to group with your friends without everyone being penalized. In a skills game like EVE… like Syncaine said from Day One you can play with your friends regardless how long they’ve been in the game. The only “need” to catch up in skill points, ISK, ships, whatever, is a self-imposed “need” that to a degree doesn’t really exist. Your “stuff” will improve regardless as you play, just like it would in all those “levels and gear” games. But you get to decide how and when things improve, and all the while you’re able to play with anyone, any time, regardless how long each of you have been playing.

  5. Micah S says:

    There’s a guy in my corp who can fly pretty much any tech 2 ship….but he can only fly one at a time. Is he way ahead of me in SP? Absolutely, I’m a massive noob. Will he always be better than me at, say flying an assault ship? Absolutely not. He is now (see noob comment above), but in six months I will have all the same relevant skills. I don’t think it’s fair to tell people who are just starting to stop whining, cause they are coming from games where the expectations are totally different. Rather we should emphasize the ultimate meaningless of the skill gap.

  6. Bonedead says:

    I wish I could play EvE. I can get over the skills thing, but I’m not into having to group to play the game.

    I blame the idiots in DAoC (around release), namely those in Nisse’s who led my little kid ass to death waaaay too many times. MMOs require a different kind of skill than say an FPS. In MMOs there are a standard set of rules for productive group gameplay. Healers heal, mez adds, etc.. Tanks hold aggro and take aggro from others, etc etc. For some reason some people just don’t get that, and I usually get stuck with those people.

    In an FPS all you get from dying is +1 to deaths, in MMOs you lose time. The time it took to get exp lost, the time it took to clear a path that close to the boss, and the time it takes to run back to where you were.

    In an FPS there aren’t nearly as many rules. It is like playing with a few gears, interlocking different gears, mixing and matching, many people have different tricks to achieve the same goal: HEADSHOT! The only rules are that if you’re competing you should walk a lot and listen for footsteps, keep your mouse on the edge of corners you’re rounding and at head level.

    /hijack
    Solo fo lyfe imo!

  7. sid67 says:

    @Talyn: A lot of personality types would find that irksome. I can certainly identify with achievers and competitive players who would find it bothersome knowing they can never “be the best” at something simply because it’s impossible to catch up. It’s like the younger sibling who is always frustrated that the older sibling got to do stuff simply by virtue of being older. Imagine an 11-year old pissed at the 16 year old who can drive, then at 16 (when they can drive) pissed because the older sibling is now 21 and can drink. As long as it feels like there is something they can’t do, they will have the perception that it is unfair. The distinct difference in Syncaine’s Sunwell example is that eventually a player CAN get to the point where they are equivalent or better. For a more casual player, this might not ever be an issue because they aren’t trying to catch up. For a hardcore competitive type, simply “knowing” they can’t ever catch up would be incredibly bothersome.

  8. Letrange says:

    to all those that say you can’t catch up, I’ve got news for you, see all those 50mil SP ********? well guess what, they’re trying to catch up to the 90mil SP (or is it 100mil, I think Dr Caymus hit 100… but I digress) dude out in front.

    Guess what? that 100mil SP dude? he can barely fly a frigate as I recall since just about all his skills are in the sciences. Yep that’s right he’s a science alt… Sec while I look him up….

    Follow the linky: http://ineve.net/skills/character.php?charID=MTUwODYzNzk5

    So see, you too can fly ships better than Dr Caymus. In about 2 days…. Heck some of you will be better than he is at flying ships right after you create your character… Yes he can actually get in tier 2 amarr battleships… barely, and any PvP guy would blow him away going: “humm did he forget to turn on his hardeners? that was a little easy”.

    Older characters as a general rule will have more OPTIONS open to them. But they won’t necessarily be better than you are. Classic example: I have a friend Cozmik R5. Now I’m an industrialist, and my alliance is mostly industry based. Coz is just about as pure a PvP’er as you’ll ever find (the dude will pick you off out of mid air with a rocket will playing Quake). So inviting him into my corp was kind of a bad idea. But I maintain some good relations with a pure PvP alliance down in 0.0, so about a month after he started the game I shuffled him off to the deep end (while making sure that no matter what he’d be able to keep flying affordable ships – leme introduce you to my little bpc factory – 0.0 lootz are great to melt and make affordable ships out of even if your indy skills suck). Guess what? If we ever met in PvP the dude would probably smoke me even with my 14mil SP head start. He’s got tech 2 medium guns and I don’t. On the flip side if I sneeze I get a supply of tech 1 disposable cruisers to throw away whenever I want. An evening of mining will get me a BS.

    The question is not catching up. It’s deciding what to specialize in. This is what throws newbies off once they get their heads around the system.

  9. Talyn says:

    @Sid: I suppose that’s just the difference between perception (or perhaps, desire) and reality. Doesn’t matter if your MMO is levels or skills-based, there is no such thing as “the best.” There is only the cap. Level cap, every member of Class A has the same number of points put into their skill tree. Skill cap, every player with Skill X has the same number of points in that skill.

    Playing “catch up” can indirectly imply (as such with your younger vs. older siblings example) that the “chase” is never-ending. Your younger sibling will *always* be younger unless he invents a time travel device. In games, one *will* always “catch up” not because of the chase itself, but because the cap brought the leader of the race to a sudden halt.

  10. syncaine says:

    Yet while that’s true Talyn, the best designed MMO’s don’t have a reachable cap. Technically EVE has a cap as well, but since its something like 14 years, it’s not very reachable. But that 14 years or whatever is a hard cap, and EVE has plenty of soft caps which are well within range. Just as a quick example, to be a ‘perfect’ miner you don’t need years of training, but rather months. At a very reachable point, you mine just as fast as someone with 100 million skill points. Same goes for a lot of other areas.

    I agree that the perception that you will never be ‘as good’ as older players in EVE is something that might be a negative to someone who has never played, but anyone with more than a week in the game knows that skill point totals don’t really mean a whole lot.

  11. Winged Nazgul says:

    In my opinion, CCP’s skill-based system is absolutely brilliant. I’m not going to rehash the reasons already given but I would like to point out one thing.

    Sure, coming in as a noob might be a little off-putting. But if you have as much time to invest in a MMORPG as I do; someday you will have many millions of skill points. Someday you will be the one with a decided advantage over a newb just coming into a game.

    I like that. I like that a lot.

  12. Talyn says:

    *holds hands with all the commenters and sings “Circle of Life”*

  13. Graktar says:

    It’s mostly a matter of what you want out of the game. If you want to be ‘the best’ or on par with ‘the best’, EVE’s system is very off-putting to newcomers as they can never, ever, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, be as good as those that came before them. They can be close in a specialized field, but overall? No. If someone new joins EVE and games 16 hours a day for the next year, that guy that started 2 years ago and plays 1 hour a day will still be ahead of them.

    In WoW, that guy that plays 16 hours a day for a year will be running around in full epics, while the guy that’s been playing 1 hour a day for a 2 years is running around in all greens. It’s not that WoW doesn’t have barriers for new players, but that those barriers are surmountable by absurd amounts of effort, whereas EVE’s barriers aren’t surmountable by any amount of effort.

    EVE’s system has its pros of course, I’m not trying to argue that one is better than the other, simply that people are complaining based on their expectation of what they want out of the game. You want to be able to play with your friends, EVE is good for you. Little Jimmy wants to be king of the hill in PvP, EVE is not for him because he hasn’t been playing for years.

  14. Jason says:

    I’m with Syncaine 100% on this one. Skill Point totals don’t matter. That guy with 50 Mil SP, the PvPer who can fly all manners of Tech 2 ships? I’ve seen a half dozen players with less than 1/10th his TOTAL SP blow him away. Yep, you heard me. How did they do it, you might ask? EWAR. They locked him up, and cooked him in his pod. All the SP in the world comes to jack crap if you can’t fly, can’t target, can’t shoot.

    Another thing to think about is the amount of SP someone is actually using. Dr. Caymus is an outstanding example of this. 100 million SP, and can’t fly a ship to save his life. He could spend billions of ISK fitting a faction battleship, yet some newb who focused on training PvP skills and just hit 4 million SP can blow him out of the sky because his tank can’t hold, he can’t keep his cap up, missiles can’t land etc.

    Which brings me to the last point, which is the most important. Even with 50 million SP, level five skills all over the map, you won’t always use all 50 million. For most ships, the most you’ll use at any given time is probably about 10-15 mil flying capitol ships. For the most part, even in a battleship, you won’t use a 10th part of your total skills. If you’re not fitting modules, the skills required for those mean jack all.

    All in all, EVE is probably one of the best designed MMOs out there. It’s heavily PvP centric, but there’s more than enough opportunity for PvE. It’s the ultimate game for casuals, because with minimal planning, you’re playing the game even when not logged in due to the skill training system.

    So, I’ll say it along with syncaine: Quit whining about skill points, you silly nublets. You don’t have to catch up to the 4-5 year old players to blow up their ships and pod their asses, all full of +5 implants.

  15. Crazykinux says:

    Listen to the man, he’s absolutely right, and I’m proof of that.

    My main, Treenara Mazouk, has 43 million SP, of which 27 million are in Combat related. Despite this, I’m probably one of the worst PvPer out there.

    Having lots of skill points doesn’t make you an expert in anything. Experience does. Lots of noob players will kick my sorry Carebear butt as easily as 1,2,3… ’cause I’m lousy at PvP.

    So “Stop Bitchin’ about da damn Skill Points” as the man says!

  16. [...] yes. Quit yer bitchin’. Posted on July 27, 2008 by Rick Syncaine, I’m in total agreement. Eve’s skill point system is far from a handicap for new players. In fact, it’s the [...]

  17. Jarek says:

    The difference between an “old” player and a “new” player shrinks fast as the new player gets some SP.
    Now i’m talking about PvP trained characters. The gap between a 5m SP player and a 50m SP player is huge, but between a 20m SP player and a 50m SP player it’s not much really. The 50m SP player has the advantage of more options, maybe he can fly 3 races heavy assault ships. But the 20m SP player can fly a heavy assault ship of at least 1 race well and can beat the 50m SP player in any of his 3 HACs. In this case the winner is decided by player skill, fitting and engagement circumstances and not SP.
    So you don’t need 50m SP to compete with 50m SP players in PvP.
    Besides the gain of ship performance/ability per SP decreases exponentially at higher SP levels. Maybe that 50m SP player has an extra 2% damage bonus on large tech2 blasters and the 20m SP doesn’t, but the 50m SP player had to train 20 days for it. And 2% is not a big gap.

  18. Mynxee says:

    Good post and comments. While I’ve always been somewhat in awe of folks with 30 and 40M skill points, it hasn’t affected my ability to have fun in the game. As a matter of fact, much of my enjoyment has come from starting two characters from scratch and developing them with specific goals in mind. Along the way, they worked within the confines of their abilities to earn ISK, support their corps’ activities, and enjoy the game. There’s plenty to do at ANY skill point level in EVE. Now…a year and a half into it…I have a 20M+ skill point industrial alt and an 18M skill point PvP main (Mynxee)….both of whom can do pretty much anything *I* want to do in the game. Their goals tend to be longer term now…which is fine…they are plenty busy in the game with what they have and can do right now.

    I’m proud of the fact that these characters are what they are because of choices I made for them from the start. I’m invested in them in a way that just going out and buying an already-developed character can’t possibly provide. I understand why people do that, and it’s one way to get around the skill points issue if it bothers you that much, but it sure doesn’t appeal to me.

  19. Rick says:

    Imagine what the Eve universe would look like if the Something Awful guys said “Aww, we’d like to play Eve, but we’re too far behind. We’ll never be able to compete with the players who have such a big head start.” And if GoonSwarm had never been born.

    Ok, some Eve players might say that’d be a good thing, lol, but my point is this; success in Eve is about persistence, little else.

  20. Cantonus says:

    I have about two and a half years training skills. I have a fraction of that actually playing and even less pvping. I currently have 36 million skill points. I have trained with a singlemindedness toward battle. The only noncombat skills I have are so I can make my own ammunition and join my corp in mining. I can just barely fly a retriever and fit mining strippers. I am LOUSY at pvp but I can certainly dish the damage out in missions. Sure if a real noob pilot came up against me 1 v 1 I’d hand him his ass. A new player/character that is focused on learning the ropes of pvp and training the skills for it can be devastating in a matter of months. There is no way a new player with a few months of playing WoW could be devastating. I know because I played WoW for 3 years and watched. Gear/Level games are almost to a one geared to players that are incapable of learning how distribute points and or skills to maximise their strengths. I’ve played Anarchy Online and Shadowbane. Those two games are the kings of level and skill point systems. EVE has joined their ranks when it comes to tweaking a character for maximum strength.

    Now about this catching up business. Of course you’ll catch up. There are only so many skills and so many skill points to have a perfect set. I am still about 4 months from perfect gunnery skills. After I have trained them, ANY new player can now catch up to me, eventually. I have about 10.5 million SP in Gunnery. Once the last point is trained, I can no longer advance in that skill category. Do I have any desire whatsoever of having perfect mining skills–no. Any desire for perfect industry skills–no. I will never have as many SP as the top dogs because i simply don’t have an interest in crafting in EVE. I want to run missions and pvp in my Minmatar ships.

    Why do so many use WoW as the example for MMOs? Is it because 9 million people play it? 8 of those million are new to MMOs. They are noobs and don’t know good when they have it thrown in their face. Blizzard created the most dumbed down MMO in the history of gaming. The only reason I played so long was for my friends and a lack of any other option in the fantasy category. I continue to play and train in EVE and Anarchy Online and am now approaching level 80 in Age of Conan. For a great taste of what Shadowbane pvp was like, AoC fits the bill. I just wish the player built cities of SB would have been incorporated in to AoC. Sieging and destroying a city is so much fun! That’s what I get from EVE. A nice warm fuzzy feeling when I see my enemy target explode! LOL and when the noobs in Command Ships take 15 minutes to kill my Battleship (it took 2 CS and 2 BC 15 minutes to take down my Maelstrom!–obviously n00bz).

    Resume of MMOs:
    Anarchy Online
    Earth and Beyond
    Shadowbane
    Star Wars Galaxies
    EVEOnline
    World of Warcraft
    Age of Conan

  21. mbp says:

    Hi Syncaine

    I know I am late to comment on this post but I have a few thoughts I want to add. First off I have to agree that EVE’s skll point system is far more generous to newbies than the more typical level based systems that games like WOW have. I just spent a very enjoyable week playing exclusively with an 800k skill point alt trader. The lack of skill points was no handicap at all.

    However on reflection I think there is a bigger issue at stake here. EVE is a game that has proven itself to have longevity. It has held on to older players and it is still attracting new players 5 years after launch. However if the game wants to keep going for another 5 years it has to address the problem of renewal. The game needs to attract ambitious new players who can aspire to reach the top of the game within a finite period. The combination of skill point debt and the massive accumulation of wealth by established players combines to form a glass ceiling for ambitious new players. I have no aspirations to be a power player myself but I really do think that is a problem for the future of the game. I have written more on this in my own blog.

  22. AaronLS says:

    I played during the trial and thought it would be fun, and I wasn’t even in a corp yet.

    If we applied the “I won’t play cause I’ll never catch up to older players” logic to life, then we should all kill ourselves. There will always be a programmer(or other profession) that has 10 years of experience more than you, unless you happen to live longer than any other programmer. This is because time passes at the same rate for everyone, whether it be in RL or a MMO, and unless you are willing to devote more of your life to the MMO, there will always be others with more hours in the cockpit.

    Anyhow, only reason I didn’t continue after the trial is I am holding out for JumpGate Evolution. I’m more of a sim person so the clickidy click click combat of Eve was not for me. Otherwise Eve did alot of things right economically that JumpGate did not. I hope JumpGate evolution picks up some of those ideas.

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