Skills are the experience point mechanic for EVE Online. Unlike many MMOs, skills in EVE Online train at a constant rate whether or not you are logged in. This makes EVE ideal for players that do not have time to grind but want to remain competitive. Still, there are many pitfalls to training EVE skills that should be avoided, and we can help with that. This guide addresses ten common questions about training skills in EVE Online.
Many of the answers below depend on your personal situation and preferences. Will you be spending your time mining or running missions? Are you going to try EVE PvP right away, or wait for a while? Do you have a friend or corporation that will be helping you pay for skill books, or do you need to grind out the ISK yourself? I will try to present the most helpful advice possible, but remember to keep your personal situation foremost in mind.
What ships should I train for, first? There are so many!
There are a few schools of thought regarding this. The first is that you should train up your racial frigate ship skill (Caldari Frigate, etc.), the weapon skills to go with it (e.g. Small Hybrid Turret), and then start working your way up into bigger ships as you run missions. This is probably the best course of action for new players, though many players are tempted into trying new and bigger ships, and train the skills for them even though they end up being less effective than if they were in a frigate. Then again, maybe you will earn more EVE ISK with some trading or social skills under your belt early on, or with some mining skills.
What ships should I train for, specifically for my race?
For players that want to fly Amarr ships, I would suggest training Destroyers for early mission running in the Coercer ship, along with Small Energy Turret and the related gunnery support skills. Eventually, you should upgrade to an Omen cruiser, followed by either the Harbinger or Oracle battlecruiser.
For players that want to fly Caldari ships, I would strongly suggest Caldari Frigate 4, followed up with Standard Missiles and various missile support skills. Once you have enough to run level 1 missions in a Kestrel with relative ease, train Spaceship Command 4, Battlecruisers 1 (or more), and Heavy Missiles. The Drake is one of the most exceptional ships in EVE Online, and will allow you to run most level 3 combat missions with ease.
For players that want to fly Minmatar, the Rifter is arguably the finest frigate in EVE Online. You can then move into a Thrasher destroyer, a Rupture cruiser, then the Hurricane battlecruiser. From there you can either move into battleships or start working on specializing in a tech II ship. If the latter, you will certainly want to train up your Navigation category of skills along with them.
Which tech II ships should I use, first?
The answer to this one is inarguably assault frigates. They are one of the easiest to train for and are excellent at missions, exploration, or PvP. In the Crucible expansion, each of them received a major buff that made them really fun options, especially for new players. Next to them, the other good option is stealth bombers, which are an incredibly fun way to PvP, run missions in low-sec (especially faction war missions), or just blast through low-level missions.
What is the biggest mistake people make when picking EVE skills to train?
The traditional answer to this is that people generalize rather than specialize their characters, increasing the time it takes for them to be truly effective at any one thing. I, however, disagree with this uncritical piece of advice: the biggest mistake people make when training their skills is not training things that will help them enjoy the game, first. There is no point in getting a big payout in the form of a highly-adept character a month down the line, if it turns out that you hate what you have specialized in, or quit EVE Online out of boredom in the meantime. Train skills that let you try lots of different things, especially during your first few months. You can worry about getting really good, later.
How important are tech two guns and missile launchers? They take forever to train!
While tech II guns and launchers take a long time to train, they are one of the biggest advantages that older players have over newer ones. The jump in performance is way bigger than one might expect, and tech II ammunition is also incredibly great. That said, I think training up support skills for weapons systems is more important than getting access to the tech II weaponry modules.
What are the other "big skills" that make veteran characters so excellent compared to newbies?
Having more skills does not automatically make a player better, especially as compared to player mastery of game mechanics, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Maxing out every little skill and eking out every possible statistic advantage is one thing, but some skills make a disproportionate difference.
Here are a few:
- Advanced Weapon Upgrades 5: Training this all the way opens up whole worlds of ship configuration options, especially when paired with rigs and faction modules. There are some ships that essentially cannot be flown properly, if AWU is not trained all the way. To a lesser extent, maxing out the the rig weapon skills like Projectile Weapon Rigging also can make a big difference in fitting options.
- Capacitor Skills: Maximizing skills like Engineering, Energy Management, Energy Systems Operation, and potentially skills like Shield Compensation or Controlled Bursts can make a big difference in ship performance.
- Weapon Support Skills: The various weapon support skills make a huge difference: it is not enough to just be able to use a turret; you need to be able to track targets, fire faster, and hit harder while you do it. This is equally true for missile launchers.
- Everything Else: Maxing out drone skills and navigation skills can be pretty key, depending on what your endgame ships will be.
What is the best skill in EVE Online?
While this answer is different for everybody, I think the best answer is Cloaking. There is one version of EVE Online that is you playing it before you have cloaking, then there is an entirely different game, afterwards. It is useful for PvP players and industrialists, alike, due to their applications in the stealth bomber and blockade runner ship classes.
What is the worst skill in EVE Online?
The answer to this is situational, but probably the Defender Missiles skill. Defender missiles are a fun idea in that they shoot down missiles as they approach you, but in practice they are rarely effective. CCP employees have previously spoken about how buggy they are in developer blogs, but decided that fixing them would be more trouble than it is worth. Fair enough, but don't let newbies train to use the darned things before they know better.
Capital ship skills are only useful outside of high-sec space, and require a huge skill point grind that will leave new players yawning themselves to death. For this reason, I recommend that should players should avoid even thinking about this during their first year of playing EVE Online. If it turns out that you like living outside of high-sec space and see regular opportunities where flying a capital would be fun and useful, then you can start the grind. Otherwise, your time is better spent becoming the best sub-capital pilot that you can.
What is the most important industrial skill to train?
Production Efficiency 5 is, lamentably, the baseline for participating in EVE Online's robust manufacturing sector. At least, in high-security space it is. It usually takes about a bit over week to train. Once done, you will be able to produce things without needing additional ingredients that are wasted. Practically every commodity on the market is priced with margins determined in part by having PE 5 trained, so if you want to compete you either need to train it or learn to live with not having any profits.