Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Death to attributes!

Here's something odd.  I'm still getting mail from Perpetuum Online.  I started to delete it, then the second paragraph caught my eye:
As announced in our Sept. 28 devblog (http://blog.perpetuum-online.com/posts/2011-09-28-attributes-extensions-and-sparks/), we are revamping the extension and attribute system, and as a consequence, the account reset feature will be removed from the game.
Revamping the extension (skill) and attribute system?  Let's look at this devblog and see what they're doing--


Perpetuum Online is deleting attributes from their game entirely!

Here's their reasoning, and it's custom-designed to make an EVE player laugh:
We've been internally debating the issue for a long time now and we have finally come to the conclusion that attributes are not necessary. They are pretty much an unneeded annoyance, and while they seem to make the game more complex and deeper, they do not contribute to it in an entertaining or useful way.
You're removing complexity for because complexity in and of itself doesn't add anything to your game?  There are several thousand EVE players here with pitchforks and torches that would like to have a word with you, Perpetuum.  ;-)

But if that wasn't bad enough, there's more!  They're gonna try to use logic on us:
The problem with attributes has always been that you have to make important choices at the very beginning of the game. However, at that point you usually don't have the slightest idea what they will mean for the future, and you don't even have any chance to make adjustments later on. Obviously this can be a very frustrating experience for our new players.
Stop making sense, Perpetuum.  I don't like it.  :-P

The more I think about this announcement, though, the more that it's driving me nuts.  Stop and think a minute.  What are you training... right now?  What are you planning to train over the next month or three?  If you're like me and you have more than one account (I have four), then that list is probably pretty long.

And I'll bet there's skills on it you have absolutely no interest in whatsoever.

My second combat main is a good example.  Six months ago, I shifted him over to an Intelligence/Memory configuration.  There were some key skills that I wanted to fill in, particularly in the Mechanic track, where it was time to train his four armor comp skills to Level V.  I also wanted him to have Astrometrics V, Cynosural Field Theory V, Jump Fuel Conservation V, and Jump Portal Generation.(1)  There were also a few other odds and ends for those attributes that I wanted.

But now, that's pretty much done.  I can't remap his attributes again until early April or so.  So, his skill plan is now full of... well... crap.  Astrometrics support skills.  Electronic Warfare.  Shield Comp V.  Higher shield comp support skills in general.  If I want to do these things, I have other characters that can do them.  Since there were eight months of skills to train that I really wanted, it made sense to move him to the INT/MEM configuration.  But now that the things he needs are done, now I'm effectively gonna waste four months or so training skills that I have no plans to use with this character.  They might come up, sure.  But they probably won't.

I'll bet this happens a lot with characters in the 40 million to 60 million SP range (where this character is).  There are no skills that he needs right now that are critical enough to switch to off-attribute training to get them.  Still, there are skills that he's picking up that he probably won't use.

Some time back, there was a plan within CCP to allow players like myself in this situation to buy a PLEX and then use that PLEX to buy an attribute remap.  But that plan was (rightly) kiboshed as being a form of pay-to-win.  When it came up, I joked on Scrapheap and then on Failheap that I was completely against it... but if CCP did it anyway... ummm... I would take advantage of it.  ;-)

But if you stop and think about it, what are attributes doing for EVE except slowing down the fun I want to have in the ship I want to be flying?  What are they doing for skill training except occasionally slowing it down and rerouting it in a lot of directions that we as players don't necessarily want to go?

In that context, this move by the Perpetuum devs is brilliant.  And sure, I could mimic it in EVE by simply flattening all my attributes, and some EVE players do just that.  But I'll bet a lot more don't.  I'll bet a lot more are like me, and reconfigure toward INT/MEM or PER/WIL, and then build skill plans to focus on those areas for a year before reconfiguring back.

But really, we're only doing it because we're gaming the system.  We're min-maxing, the same thing we do with everything else in EVE.  We hate to see that we're training at 1980 SP/hour instead of 2520 SP/hour, and so we rig things so that doesn't happen.

In the process, though, we're making life a hell of a lot harder on new EVE players, and we're directly supporting one part of the learning cliff that keeps people from wanting to join us in New Eden.  We're making the game unnecessarily more complicated than it really needs to be.  There's really no particular good reason why EVE Online can't just give all of us 2500 SP/hour all the time and be done with it.

Removing Learning skills was a brave first step by CCP in knocking the learning cliff down somewhat.  It'd be truly :fearless: to take the next step, though.

Death to attributes!  Death to attribute implants!  Let's drop them both from the game, and open up implant slots 1-5 for more set/bonus implants.  Discuss.


(1) Guess what his next ship is.  Go ahead.  Guess.  ;-)

42 comments:

  1. ...death to taxes???

    It would make sense to remove attibutes, basically the only time I pay them any attention is when setting a remapping point for the next years training.

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  2. I'm relatively new, at 22m SP, and I've never remapped... I've just never been so focused on a direction that the 10% or so reduction in training time was worth the hassle - I'd just pay for it later. Admittedly, I'm only just now getting to the kind of skills where lvl5 is a whole month.

    Re: training skills you wont use - why not train the skills you will use, inefficiently? Is it really going to be faster to train stuff you'll never use, remap, then train what you want? Start on them now, so you're ahead when you do re-map, I'd think. But then, I'm not a min-max'er, perhaps doing things efficiently is more important then doing what you actually want.

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  3. I completely totally agree with this!

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  4. Easy way to "half-ass" min/max: I knew my char was never going to be an "off-grid booster", or even an on-grid one. Move as many skillpoints as possible from charisma and redistribute amongst the others. Supplement that with appropriate implants and voila, no, you don't "max-out" per se, but you still make pretty respectable training times.
    Then again, my job means I can very abruptly be sent on a two-week assignment, no days off, and no internet access, so for me "maxing" means if a skill takes 2 weeks to a month to finish, great. I'm not coming home from an assignment and looking at the skill queue going "Fuck, I missed 9 days with nothing training...."
    Sometimes slow and steady wins the race.

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  5. If they remove attributes they might as well just have the 1-5 implant slots be skill training time multipliers.

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  6. Wizarth - to a min/maxer, training an unnecessary skill at optimum speed is more good than training an essential skill 20% slower. After all, at some point in the future you might want to use a ship that makes use of that "unnecessary" skill. It's like hoarding in reverse.

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  7. IMHO the problems are not attributes. it is the stupidity of min/max-ing everything. fly with a decently balanced set of attributes would solve all the problems. but what would people be without min/max everything...

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  8. I love the idea. However, take it a step further in helping new players: set a base rate of 2k/hour and give everyone a bonus to training speed *inversely* proportional to their total skill points.

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  9. Get rid of attribs, stop having a skillqueue and/or allow people to pool SP to invest/spend in skills as the SP is accrued. Let's stop being warey of PVP due to learning implant loss.

    Also, BLOPS.

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  10. Interesting thought. I think I agree - why do we need to be able to change attributes around?

    Well, at one time in the past it would mean that you created chars to be specialized in different areas of the game, since the attributes were locked. But with the ability to shift attributes around, that very option and feature actually just exposes the inconvenience and lack of purpose of its existence...

    Thought, I do not agree about your "remove attributes implants" point - there needs to be some sort of perk for people who can afford faster skill training at the risk of loosing them if podded. (The old risk vs. reward thing).

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  11. Isn't the point of EVE that it has the training cliff? The high barrier of entry is what makes me want to log on every day and also what makes me feel the most proud/elitist when I understand a mechanic enough to bend it to my isk-making/pod-killing will.

    If you start removing training attributes how far do we start racing down the slippery slope? And who are we trying to make it easier for?

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  12. I like the idea of removing attributes. Alternately, offer quarterly remaps instead of annual. I like the complexity of the game, but I don't like the duration the complexity locks you into. I'm still new enough that I train whatever I need and don't worry about min/max but that might change when I decide to move into capitals. Until then my skills are all over the place.

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  13. this doesn't make sense. Just keep the default values and skill. If you like to optimise something, optimise it. The small skilling speed difference is irrelevant for the game experience - there is no race/competition.

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  14. The attributes remap and whatnot don't add anything enjoyable to the game. They're not even a big thing. It would improve the game if they were removed by making it less of a hassle to train skills.

    I still want training improving impants though, they have a nice risk/reward balance.

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  15. Introduce PLEX for remaps. End of story.

    If you're going to argue that complexity that gets in the way of fun is bad, then you might as well just give everyone 100mil SP and be done with it. After all, training time only gets in the way of fun. Why not give everyone 100mil ISK every day for ships as well? After all, grinding ISK is needlessly complex and gets in the way of shooting stuff. But then why not make ships identical? After all, fitting ships is much more complicated and takes too much thought.

    Just because something is complex, does not mean that it is bad, even if it slows down the time necessary to do something "fun." I spent the first year and a half of my EVE life using a general-purpose remap, because I wasn't sure what I'd be training. Other folk knew what they wanted, and attribute remapping allowed them to achieve their goals faster.

    Attributes serve a useful purpose, and removing them just because new players don't know what they might want isn't a good reason to remove them, especially since new players already start with an even attribute distribution, which is essentially the distribution CCP would just force everyone to use if it were to remove remaps.

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  16. I am one of those who just flatten them remaped once when it first came out never looked back. I am ok with someone squeezing out an extra 1M in SP. To each their own.

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  17. Gotta laugh, when people even complain about something that isn't broken. Nothing wrong with existing attribute system.

    It is like the agent quality thing - having the same quality for all agents just makes it pointless to give the agents different names or have different agents in each station. Make 'em all the same.

    So, eliminate attributes - make all players the same. Then, you can get rid of the player names and call everyone "Anonymous". lol.

    As for remaps, nothing wrong here, either. If you are actually dumb enough to use your annual remap to max skill training for only 4 months worth of skills and then suffer with min skill training for 8 more months, I'd say go back to school and retake Algebra I.

    It isn't that hard to balance your attributes to optimize a year's worth of training. Remapping an attribute isn't a binary selection - Max or Min. Planning ahead and figuring out the optimal attribute balance is just another part of what makes the game challenging.

    I really don't like ideas which dumb down the game further. EVE isn't a FPS. There has to be some differentiation between the players with brains, and the players without.

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  18. Damn look at the Elitist Jerks in this comment section. I'm not even going to comment on Katsuko hyperbolic idiotic post or the anonymous. One of those Elitist Jerks posed the question: "And who are we trying to make it easier for?". Ah, maybe you haven't seen the latest PCU info. Eve needs new players and this suggestion will go a long way to removing stupid complexity. I say remove all attributes, but definitely keep skill training boosting implants. Still take the risk of loosing them is a fight.

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  19. My only complaint about attributes and attribute implants is the attachment that people have to those implants, which then discourages them from engaging in PvP: if they lose their pod, they have to buy those implants all over again.

    If only there was a way to encourage people to use their jump clones and not worry about the SP that they're "losing" by not being in their +5 clone :)

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  20. I'm near to reach my 100M SP on main char an i worked hard for it. Using imps, protecting the clone with high imps an switching clones for PvP.

    I find it is part of the RPG that you need to think about your characters skills and attributes. I don't want that anybody can train anything without thinking about it.

    The dump and stupid pvper how is an excellent gunner an pilot should be different from the intelligent high memory using scientist researching the inns an outs of Invention and Production.

    Further more, I really prefer our "learning cliff" because having a lot of WoW kiddies in the game won't improve the overall Eve experience. yes it is hard to play the game but i even know a 60 year old guy playing eve. he switched to rift for a few weeks but soon complaint about the lack of depths.

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  21. Leave it alone.
    It ain't broke so don't fix it.

    P.s breaking the 100k SP barrier before the year is out, so I may be a tad biased. :p

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  22. Mara: you can even PvP with +5 implants in your head. Nobody says you have to have a full set in your pvp clone. just 2 would be enough....

    Only having the 2 implants for your current training in, cuts down the pod loss costs a lot. Until you start spending money on hardwirings. but that is another topic. ;)

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  23. If we're suggesting "removing stupid complexity", then let's also suggest the following changes to CCP:

    1. 4 races -> 1 race (Caldari, ofc)
    2. Many ship classes -> one ship class (titans)
    3. Zillions of modules -> one module (PWN module)
    4. High/low/null sec -> 1.0 sec
    5. Complicated UI -> one button (FTW)
    6. All players with an IQ above 60 -> unsubbed
    7. EVE -> WoW

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  24. I agree with PLEX for remaps, but with a limit, only 1 PLEX remap / year so you would get to change every 6 months.

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  25. +1 Mara Rinn's "only" complaint

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  26. This is a stupid idea, sorry to say it bluntly. But the fact that you have to make choices and optimize your training is a plus. Nobody is forcing you to remap or max/min. You CAN just scoot about with everything on neutral. But those who don't and make the extra effort can.

    And effort = reward = profit.

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  27. I admit my first reaction was "NO!" because of falcon.

    but then I thought about it with logic and stuff, which may or may not have been wise. Then I came up with an alternative I could live with, which I will now impose on you guys (Jester willing that is).

    Instead of attributes, they could add neural re-wirings (which would cover all of the attributes) that favor SP generation for particular roles. Most newer players have some or other idea of what they want to be in eve, and I think it would be easier for them to say "miner" or "industrialist" as opposed to "erm...int/mem i guess?". The neural mapping they select gives them bonuses to training skills related to the field they're interested in. They could even have a "n00b" wiring for newer players which favors basics (fitting skills & core) but not specialised skills (AWU, t2 gun skills etc).

    Implants could work in a similar way. Giving bonuses to specific types of skills to various degrees. Ideally this should be more specific than the neural wirings.

    This makes the system more intuitive without removing the concept completely from the game.

    Possible downside is that this is a bit like choosing a "class" in other MMOs. Then again n00bs can change once or twice and vets can change every year/ 6 months (I forget).

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  28. I'm a bad person and a double poster:

    I want to comment on the "elitism" type comments from both sides of the faildebate.

    EVE is not intended to be difficult, EVE is a sandbox and is intended to provide players with choices. The more choices a player has the better the EVE experience is as a sandbox. This incidentally, is why I favour keeping some manner of skewed SP generation in the game.

    Players who are a) smart or b) studious are naturally going to come out ahead if there are multiple choices (and please consider the significance of this in the context of PvP). This should not be confused with making EVE difficult to play, which is really just a stupid idea. Actuating choices should be easy, making choices should be the challenge. To avoid player frustration the choices should be as clear as possible.

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  29. @Mara Sure, I know a very good way to encourage people to PvP without worrying about being podded, remove attributes and give everyone the equivalent of +5 implants.

    When peoples brains are as big as an investment as their ships (if not bigger) of course they're going to worry about losing them. And skill training takes so long in EVE if there were +10 implants that cost actual $$ I'd buy them.

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  30. Every game is going to generate min/maxxers. It's the slow (usually) process of tweaking settings and characteristics until maximum efficiency is reached. Once the max is reached, people go straight to the popular "max" and are oblivious to, and ignore, all the steps that were taken in the process of tweaking. Attribute tweaking is no different.

    The risk/reward aspect of attribute tweaking is no different either. If you take advantage of the reward that you can train certain skills at 2700, you also run the risk of having other skills train at 1820 to balance things out. Attribute tweaking is part of the game. If you could spend a PLEX on a remap to save waiting for time to expire, how is that any different than me buying 3 or 4 PLEX to pay for a carrier that I can fly, but can't afford, or using a PLEX to buy the skill books in the first place instead of grinding missions for the cash? There isn't, and there cerrtainly isn't to CCP and the player who sells me the carrier and mods certainly doesn't give a shit where I got the iskies.

    P2W has always existed. Players, in their righteous indignation, are playing mind games with themselves, convincing themselves that it doesn't. I'd be fine with paying a PLEX for a remap, and I bet most players would too, or not even care one way or the other. I'd be fine if attributes were removed, and I'd be fine if they stay the way they are too. If it's part of the game, I'll play it, if not, I won't.

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  31. Either this, or leave it up to remaps only. And I'd not be opposed to remaps for PLEX. It would surely make people a little more inclined to go into lowsec and nulsec (real nulsec, not the highsec copy that is some sov space :P) if it means they didn't have to do without +5's or have a large wallet to support replacing them. And more people in both areas would be good \o/

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  32. Honestly? I think the idea for quarterly remaps instead of yearly is the best option. Just cap the number of remaps you can have at 1 or 2.

    @Kat: Complexity is only good when it adds depth. I have to disagree with you simply on the basis that the depth added to the game through attributes and remaps is not worth the added complexity that it bring.

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  33. @Mara Rinn particularly -- granted, at a year and a half in, I'm still "n00b" status and realize this, but:
    You're correct in your assertion that yes, less financial risk = more propensity to PvP, but...that being said: isn't the WHOLE POINT of EVE that everything comes with an inherent risk??? There is no "safe" option, even in hisec, as the Goons or any handy griefbear wardec corp will be happy to remind even the most die-hard carebear.
    If you "nerf" the consequences of PvP here, are you not just taking another step towards "WoW in space"??

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  34. 2 things: ask yourself whether it's better to forgo those maxed training time skills you'll never use and train what you need slightly slower or to go ahead and train them for no purpose.

    second, i split all my points between Int/Per. Overall, your training time is better for almost everything.

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  35. I assume this post was cross-posted on EN24, considering the delightfully rude ad-hominem attacks.

    Point is that any complexity in a game arguably takes away from "fun" for someone in some way. But if you take away all complexity, then you also take away most of the fun, and are left with a shallow and rather uninterestong toy instead. A game by its very nature is complex, and rewards skill and patience; a toy is just something pretty to fool around with for a little while. Attribute remapping is only slightly complicated, and any literate third-grader can figure out that he shouldn't respec all his attributes into Charisma/Perception if he doesn't know what he'll be training in two weeks. Of course, judging by some of the comments here, half the EVE player base is functionally illiterate, but that's their problem.

    Attributes serve a useful purpose. They allow players to _choose_ whether they want to specialize in one specific area for a while or whether they want to keep their options open. No-one forces a new player to remap, and in fact the starting tutorial does not even cover remaps, since the assumption is that a new player doesn't know what he's doing and will benefit most from a general attribute distribution while he trains everything from Gunnery III to Drones I to Industry IV. The point of this game is _choice_, which is why we no longer dump two million in pre-distributed SP on new players and hope some of it is useful.

    Furthermore, remapping confers no special advantages aside from somewhat faster training time. A player can spend their entire EVE life training on the same attribute layout without any issues. I did that for a long time, and it did not detract from my EVE experience in any way. I recently started an alt (on the same account), and ran through the tutorial out of boredom; I very much doubt that a new player would really have benefited in any way from training Propulsion Jamming I in seven minutes instead of nine.

    Tthe advantages of gettind rid of attributes are ephemeral at best. A new player will not really benefit from being able to train at 2500SP/hour, since his training times are so short that he wouldn't save more than a few minutes off his initial skills, and maybe a few hours per week when he starts training such "long-term" skills as Amarr Frigate IV. The only players who would actually benefit from removal of attributes are older players who are training long-term skills such as Amarr Carrier V, where they might save days on their training times. Older players would benefit even more if they could train as though they had +5 implants plugged in all the time.

    So in sum, there are no real benefits to removing attributes. They do not add much complexity, and allow players to make meaningful choices, or choose to not make those choices. Removing them would not actually get new players to play the game faster, because their training times are not very long to begin with, and would mostly benefit older players.

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  36. Former EvE player and current PO player here. The removal of attributes was an excellent move for PO, but I am not sure that it makes as much sense for Eve.

    Part of the logic used for their removal in PO was that a starting player makes decisions on attributes that can not be changed at a point they know virtually nothing about the game. By contrast, EvE has a mechanism for remapping attributes.

    The second part of the argument for their removal, that the complexity added by having attributes provides no in-game content/value is sort of hard to argue with in PO. A second change of the game is the addition of sparks (basically like clone/implants) that convey in-game bonuses (like to weapon performance/mining/etc.).

    To me either change would have been good, but done together, they are fantastic in effect and help define the flavor and direction of the game. Just happens to be a different route than EvE took.

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  37. Its a shame that attributes don't affect more than just training times. As it is they are just a mechanic for the sake of having an extra mechanic. In their current state, they might as well be removed. However, if for example, having a higher Memory affected your scanning ability, poor Charisma decreased you're negotiation skills, or a higher Willpower increased... etc. If this were the case then even if it was a tiny benefit then you might have more specialized players. Would also make those remaps even more meaningful. And as a side benefit that everyone can rally around... it would add another degree of *cough* immersion. Or if you're not into "immersion" then its at the very least an added level of complexity to better thin the herd.

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  38. I much prefer the Perpetuum skill training approach. I've always wondered if the skill queue is CCP's way of keeping up login stats and forcing people to stay at least peripherally engaged.

    At a minimum I wish EVE had a skillpoint bank. That would help users not only during periods of absence, extended outages and indecision, but also make it easier for someone to get into a ship type/fleet fit when they join alliance X who only fly ships Y.

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  39. It just seems like more dumbing down of the game. I have a feeling that CCP is trying to make it where someone with a pilot that is a few months old will be on level with someone that is a few years old… Yes you will get more new subscriptions at first and maybe make more money but you will lose most of your older loyal player base. These people have been paying their monthly dues for years and will continue to pay unless CCP keeps doing the things to alienate them. CCP might think oh well we don’t really care… We’ll lose the old players but that’s okay because our game will be more mainstream and we’ll make up with it by getting twice as many new people. This might in fact happen but what they don’t realize is that like most new people who try games they will get bored with it after a few months and quit playing. At that point CCP will be wondering what happened and why no one is subscribing… Keep it up CCP…

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  40. "Complexity is only good when it adds depth.", so lets get rid of attributes OR or increase simply remaps to 2 or even 4 per year.

    Though I have to admit Enders got a good idea too. Skill point banks and skill point categories for imps and remaps sounds very good. Core Skills, Leadership, Industry, Advanced Guns, etc

    This would even allow to decrease training time for new players with implementing better imps for core skills while staying in the general game mechanics.

    Another way would be to decrease the effect of implants and remaps. At least I would feel like I am doing it wrong when I give up 30% SP when I choose not to remap. Its not like I really losing anything and it is not like am risking much. It is simply a no brainer to use expensive imps and remaps to min/max. Complexity without choice is boring. It is not hard to figure out how to min/max, its just tedious. And boring and easy, but complex tasks are simply not fun. Eve main goal is to be fun.

    Lets get rid of attributes.

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  41. The whole time I was reading this post I was thinking what Wizarth later posted:

    "Re: training skills you wont use - why not train the skills you will use, inefficiently? Is it really going to be faster to train stuff you'll never use, remap, then train what you want? Start on them now, so you're ahead when you do re-map, I'd think. But then, I'm not a min-max'er, perhaps doing things efficiently is more important then doing what you actually want."

    I support keeping attributes (katsuko makes a nice argument above that I happen to agree with), but I'd love to see them used for more than just training times, something along the lines of what Modex suggests above.

    Great post and discussion though.

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  42. Get rid of attrbutes
    remove boring skills
    introduce xp grinding
    realise you logged into wow instead of eve
    stay there
    be a mad nublet who think complexity means holocaust
    cry yourself to sleep
    feel pro because you grind 20h/day
    ????
    Profit?

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