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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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Certificate of approval

Now that we're about a month out from the release of Rubicon, I'd like to start writing about the features in the expansion that I'm personally a fan of.(1)  That starts with a feature that's probably going to end up being overlooked in the grand scheme of things: the new certificate system.  Thanks to the SOMER Blink thing, the dev-blog in question is already a couple of weeks old.

I myself started playing EVE with friends, some of whom had a good handle on game mechanics, others of whom came into the game with me and didn't know any more than I did.  As a result, I did a lot of reading of out of game sources (rather sparse at that time).  But when certificates were introduced in late 2008, I found myself at a number of cross-roads in terms of training and I found the certs to actually be a valuable tool for deciding what order to train things in.  Such things were much less precise than they are now; skill queues were still a few months away: once a skill finished training, you had to be around to load up the next one. 

This seems ridiculously primitive to me now, but this was how EVE was.  Evemon was around, but it was much harder to manage because you had to plan your skills to come out at times you could actually be on-line to update your training.  That sometimes meant training a quick pile of short skills while you were on-line followed by a longer train once you headed for bed or whatever.

And for this kind of thing, certificates actually seemed quite helpful!  They were just the thing to point to new career paths that you could pick up basic training in quickly.

Only now with the benefit of longer experience in the game can I see how limited and sometimes how silly and wrong many of the existing certificates are.  But the theory is still incredibly sound: "here are the skills that you're going to need to be good at X," the game wants to tell you.  It's EVE... trying to be helpful!

...I know, right?

So when I heard that certs were going to be revamped for Rubicon, I was instantly a fan.  At the summer summit, I was pretty chatty during most sessions but I was particularly chatty for this one.  ;-)  In particular, I begged and begged to get the specific details of what skills go with what certificates in front of players as soon as possible.  I'm thrilled that CCP Ytterbium and the rest of the team did that.  The forum thread on this feature will take you to a Google spreadsheet that has the details.  And I want to express huge thanks to Ytterbium and the rest of the team for doing this!

If you haven't already, I urge you to go out and give the spreadsheet a once-over.  It's not that hard to understand what you're seeing once you play around with it a little.  And the great thing about this new feature is the players have the opportunity to make sure that these certificates make sense.  That way, all those new players out there that are relying on this information for their early training will make smarter decisions than we made.  If that's dumbing down the game... guilty as charged.  But it's dumbing it down in a way that I for one can live with.

Of course, this is a nice step along the road, not the destination.  Sooner or later, we're going to need corp and/or alliance certificates.  The standard Rote Kapelle Ares fit, for instance, uses auto-cannons.  And our standard Rapier fit only rarely requires target painters and almost never requires weapons.  So for these special cases, it'll be handy to have certificates as a more specific training guide.  But where we are is a great start.

It's certainly not one of the flashier features in Rubicon.  But from a long-term perspective, it might end up being one of the more important ones...

More about my thoughts on other upcoming features over the next few days.

(1) As well as the opposite eventually, of course.  I'm afraid that starts with "M" and continues with "arauder."  But, another time.


  1. I just want to take this opportunity to make a suggestion for a simple change...

    Certificates solve one basic problem that a newbie faces. That problem is "what should I train". The provide a generally guideline on what to train.

    The other problem that newbies face is "how to fit my ship". I suggest that some standard, good fits should be loaded into the game as corp fittings for the NPC corps. Ideally if each fit could also have a little description attached to it explaining why the fit is the way it is and what it is trying to achieve.

  2. Is the new ship browser thingie they talked about at fanfest being packaged with this? Because I think it's going to end up being just as important, if not more. Knowing what skills to train is good, but being able to visualize a path of advancement through the ships that'll grow as you add skills is probably more important. The market window is sadly lacking as a way to do that.

  3. A quick look at the file shows a substantial problem. I see a lot of skills at level 1. If you can train the skill at all, level 1 is rarely the right level to train. This is because of the geometric increase in training time for higher levels.

    Now, there are skills that you want to have simply to allow the use of a part. If the desired part is allowed with level 1, then certifying something with a level 1 skill is fine.

    Most skills, however, you do not want just for the parts they unlock. Most skills have an effect that is actually useful and relevant, an effect that applies per level. Any skill like this, the very lowest level one should train is level 3. Maybe even level 4 for easy skills.

    There are some skills that give you per-level benefits, but the actual effect is not very useful. (An example here is Drone Durability, which gives drones a few more hitpoints. Whoopie.) With these, maybe knock off a level. Train to 2 at minimum, 3 for easier ones.

    So for example, the Scout Drones certs. Currently they have level 1 skills in several places, for skills that give substantial benefit. I.e.: the Scout Drone Operation skill extends your range. This is at least moderately useful, so it should be at least level 2 even at cert level 1. Probably 3. Combat Drone Operation gets you DPS. Does anyone need DPS? Yes, it's just the single most important thing drones do! So: level 3 for level 1 cert. Or look at Level 4 cert. Here they have the drone specializaton skills -- at level 1. These give 2% DPS per level. These are not super hard skills, so they should be trained to 3 as soon as they are trainable at all.

  4. Instead of improving the public/private options as needed, they decided it's easier just to butcher it.

  5. Corp certificates would be great, best suggestion I have heard in a while.

  6. I'd love to define private certificates which can be used with a corporation and/or alliance. To be a allowed into a fleet X or to be reimbursed, you would just show certificate Y. (»Sarum Industries Black-Ops – Master«, »Sarum Industries Market – Associate«)

    And, certificates based on property would be a very nice addition. For example, in order to be awared certificate »JF-class Transporter« you will need to have a JF in possession.

  7. Glad to hear you are not pleased with this abomination occurring with Marauders. Anything Yitterbum does well, (certs are very important for new players), is vastly overshadowed by that mess.

    Seems that he has zero clue about simple math, and tracking. And of course, given the standard goon mouthpieces on the forum spouting how good these changes are just proves how bad they are for the typical PvE'er.

  8. My main observation thus far:

    Certificates (particularly level 1/level 2) that have a prerequisite level LOWER than what every brand new character starts the game possessing. Namely:

    Electronics 3
    Engineering 3
    Shield Operation 2
    Gunnery 2
    Small [Racial] Turret 3
    Mining 2
    Mechanics 2
    Navigation 3
    Science 3
    Spaceship Command 3
    (Best I can remember, anyway... Electronics/Engineering replaced by CPU Management and Powergrid Management, I would presume)

    Example: Core Ship Operation (Level 1) has five skills with level 1 required - but at four of those (Energy System Operation excluded) are at least level 2 (or higher) at character birth. This certificate is pretty much meaningless.

    And some of these level 1 skill requirements for skills that start at a higher level propagate through higher certificate levels. Again, pointless to require Science 1 ANYWHERE, much less as a requirement for Core Ship Operation (Level 5).

    Definitely some rework to do.

  9. Real men don't hull tank anymore????

    that's sad. The one cert I'm actually proud of.

    1. Hull tanking cert is the only one I publicly advertise. I'm going to miss it.


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