I keep a list of topics that I want to write about on this blog. The length of that list goes up or down as I think of things that I want to write or take care of those posts. Like the lonely Schoolhouse Rock bill that never becomes a law, though, some of those topics just never make the transition to actual blog posts. I'll take a swing at them, not get anywhere, then toss it back into the ideas pile. The oldest thing on the ideas pile, by far?
"Multiple accounts or one account"I've been thinking about this topic, on and off, for more than two years now... almost since the beginning of the blog. And after a few months of really thinking about it, outlining, throwing out outlines, rewriting new ones... now I think I have something worth saying on this subject: a lot of things worth saying, actually. This will be a series of at least three posts exploring this topic: why do some people insist on paying for an army of alts? And in the process of these posts -- just maybe -- I'll edge close to a fundamental truth of EVE.
More likely, I'll just get yelled at. But it'll be fun either way.
In this first post, though, I want to lay down a theme statement, which is something else that I do sometimes. All of these posts will be launched from this singular theme:
Alts in EVE exist because of the fundamental nature of the game and will never not be a part of EVE Online.Now, in the process of these posts, I'll have something to say about both the rightness of that theme and its correctness. Put another way: is that theme statement true? And if it is true, is this how EVE Online should be? What is the basic nature of alts in the game?
Let's undock. This discussion is going to start from a new way of looking at EVE characters:
OK, that's a pretty complicated little cross between a flower of doom and a Venn Diagram. Here goes: it's my theory that every character in EVE -- at their heart -- focuses (or at least, starts by focusing) on one of four key areas in the game:
- Sub-capital ships, whether used for PvP or PvE;
- Capital ships, again whether used for PvP or PvE;
- Science and Trade, which includes manufacturing and inventing; and,
- Resource and Logistics, which includes mining, processing, and transporting goods and services.
- What I call "Core skills" -- I'll get to those in a minute;
- Leadership skills -- the ability to act as a fleet booster;
- Specialized manufacturing -- the ability to build T3 ships, drugs, or capital ships;
- Doomsdays, Projected ECM, and the various skills that are specific to super-capital ships; and,
- Drone skills, not counting fighters or fighter-bombers.
Now, recognize that these SP values are not exact... nowhere near exact! But they are good basic values to work from.
What does this mean? Short version: if you want to have a single character that is well-rounded to every aspect of EVE Online, you are going to need about 270 million skill points. It's certainly possible to have more! But that's what you're going to need to be comfortable in every single category.
At 2500 SP/hour of training, that is going to take you some 4500 days, or about twelve-and-a-half years. And that is where CCP's bread is buttered. But we've got characters that are edging pretty close to that number now, which is why (I believe) we're seeing a marked increase in additional skills added to the game. CCP recognizes that a character can be well-rounded in everything in 12 years, and the game has been running ten.
Pay attention to this next bit, because it's important (even if somewhat obvious): alts in EVE exist because some players want to speed this process up. If you have a main and three alts, each of them can be strong in their core skills and their specialty with 75 to 85 million SP, or about 3.5 years of training. Players that leave the game after three to four years of playing EVE? Yeah. It's a good bet they're slamming right into this wall: they either have a single character that is good at one of the four specialties, play with it for a while, then get bored. Or they have sufficient alts trained in everything they want to know, play with them for a while, then get bored.
What about those core skills? That represents the basics: Engineering, Navigation, Rigging, Targeting, Armor, Shield, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You probably haven't noticed, but it adds up fast. For instance to be solid in Engineering -- just Engineering! -- you need about six million SP, or about a hundred days of training for that alone. The full 25 million SP you'll need takes you about a year, and that's after CCP has been carving at and attacking the Core skills for the last couple of years. Remember the Learning skills? Those were core.
But now they've started throwing things back in: new Scanning skills, new Neural Enhancement skills, new Armor and Navigation skills...
So that's the launching point for my thesis. In the next couple of parts of this series, I'll start digging under the surface, show off some specific examples of this model in operation, and explain what that gold text at the left and bottom mean. And as I said, in the process I just might touch the edges of What It All Means(tm). Hang on... this one's gonna be bumpy!