Updated Mon, Feb 08, 2010 by Space Junkie
EVE Online's character system allows each account to have three characters associated with it, though only one character may be training skills at a given time. While most players have a "main" character that is PVP focused, the possibility exists of specializing the extra characters. These alternative characters, or "alts" can be trained with specific skill plans in order to focus their abilities and allow you, the player, to cover more ground at once.
By specializing characters for a particular duty you can save yourself a lot of work, and effectively manage several tasks at once. This article will cover several convenient options for alt characters, and a specific idea of what to train on them.
Depending on your character's race and starting skills, training skills in a particular order may offer some small benefit over a random order. If you use a skill optimization application like EVEMon, you should use that to determine the most optimal skill path for your new character. Keep in mind that while you are training on an alt, your main character is laying fallow, unable to train anything.
Below, you will find three of the alts that I think are most valuable, and Ten Ton Hammer subscribers will see an additional alt that many players probably wouldn't normally consider.
Training a character to have perfect PVP skills takes a long time, no matter what kind of PVP interests you. For very active or successful players, waiting doesn't cut it. Many opt to purchase characters with ISK, in CCP's character bazaar forum.
When doing so, most players will opt to sell their old character as a matter of efficiency. Unfortunately, if a character is being sold as a PVP character, any industrial skills that he possesses will not be factored into his price. Likewise, if he is being sold as an industrial character, PVP skills will probably not be a consideration. I mean, you can try and sell the character for whatever you want, but nobody is going to buy it if it's overpriced, and disregarding "dead" skillpoints is a major factor in character valuation.
Thus, it is practical for players that may consider trading up to train their industrial skills on a second character. Nor is that the only reason.
Many PVP characters that get involved with empire wars or null-sec conflict will end up being deployed far away from their base of operations. Or, at least in a different region. This makes putting those industrial skills to use difficult or impossible. By having a second character that trains any non-PVP skills, you can keep the wheels of industry turning while your PVP character is camped into a useless station on the other side of EVE.
For most of these alts, it will be efficient to train learning skills before beginning on the actual skills. By this, I mean the attribute enhancing skills found under the learning category, that make the character train skills faster and quickly make up for the time lost training them. The advanced learning skills are a little bit pricey to very new players, but well worth it.
For practically any alt, you will want to train most of the list below to III or IV, before beginning on actual skills. I have included the related attribute in parenthesis.
There are also advanced learning skills. For each of them, a normal learning skill must be trained to IV, as a pre-requisite. These are not always recommended for a character, and I will indicate if they seem relevant. The pre-requisitie is listed in parenthesis.
Neural remapping may only be done once a year, per character. It allows you to redistribute your attributes. It is done by opening your character sheet, clicking on the "attributes" tab, and clicking on the "remap now" button. Note that this cannot be undone for a year, and you should be really careful with using it on your main character.
When using an alt, you may as well remap to reflect the attributes that you will be using most, since you probably won't be training things on him for very long. The interface is really intuitive. I doubt anybody will have trouble with it.
Attribute-enhancing implants can significantly lower the time needed to train skills. If the skills involved take longer than two weeks, I would recommend putting in implants that give at least +1 or +2 to whatever attributes you are training skills for. For example, if you are training a lot of ship skills, it could significantly shorten things if you implanted an implant that imparted a bonus to perception.
Get to a market hub like Jita or Amarr, and see what's affordable. You can find attribute enhancers on the market under the "implants and boosters" tab. Keep in mind that in EVE Online as in life, time is money.
Also, please note that in order to use attribute implants, you will need to train Cybernetic I.