Posted Tue, Dec 14, 2010 by Space Junkie
The second part of the Incursion patch, originally slated for Tuesday the 14th, has been delayed until the 15th. It contains a grab bag of minor fixes, a new unique ship that each subscribed player will get for free and, most important, the patch will removal the learning skills from the game and reimburse any skillpoints spent on them. Just like they promised. Not bad, CCP, not bad.
The Removal Of Learning Skills
Every player in EVE Online is about to get a major boost to their skillpoints.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with how EVE's skillpoint system works, this is a category of skills that increase the rate at which you gain skills. Put another way, they are a thing you spend experience points on that then increase the rate that future experience is accumulated at.
This game design decision had some unfortunate consequences: right off the bat, every new player needed to train learning skills for a month or so, or they would fall behind other players' skill totals very quickly. That means that instead of new pilots training interesting skills, they had to train boring skills that don't really add anything to their enjoyment of the game. This is particularly bad for new players, who will want to try everything there is to do in EVE and will need many different skills to do it.
So now, CCP is getting rid of them, and all characters will train skillpoints about as fast as a max-learning character would. The 100% learning speed bonus for new players' skillpoints is going away, but with this change they don't even need them. This is probably the single most newbie-friendly thing that CCP has done since EVE Online was first released. New players will not need to waste their time on superfluous skills, and EVE Online will be a better game for it. But what about the veteran players that have already trained the learning skills?
Reimbursing Learning Skills
CCP will be reimbursing any skillpoints spent on learning. You can respend them however you like. The spare skillpoints will be easily used on your skills screen, in a manner similar to when CCP gave most pilots in the game a bonus 100,000 skillpoints because of an unsceduled downtime, a few months ago.
Each player will also automatically be reimbursed ISK for any skillbooks in their hangar, in their ship cargo holds, or in containers, though for macroeconomic reasons CCP will not reimburse the ISK spent on skills that have already been used.
Learning Skill Controversy?
A lot of players in EVE Online enjoy that the game is difficult and has hurdles to entry, because it makes the game seem more elite. Others just want new players to suffer through the boredom of training the same learning skills that they did. I think both of these complaints are pretty silly. As to the first concern, EVE Online is still the most difficult MMO on the market, and reducing the barriers to joining up and being useful does not compromise how "hard core" the game is, nor does it put EVE into some kind of easy mode. As to the second issue, if it was stupid when you first started playing EVE, it is still stupid now, and there is no reason to leave it in.
The one situation where someone might have a real complaint is if a player has recently re-allocated their attributes with a neural remap, under the assumption that they would need to train the learning skills. Such a character could be stuck with a sub-optimal set of attributes until they gained another remap, a year later. That would stink. Thus, though it is not explicitly stated anywhere, it is hinted by a CCP developer that characters may get a bonus remap. On the test server, it seems that players that have no remaps will get one, while those that do will not receive an extra. This is presumably to help people that were essentially screwed by the game changes, without compensating those that were not. If this is how things roll out, I'll be pretty pleased with CCP because it is such a nuanced solution.