Friday, November 26, 2010

The Great Learning Skills Massacre

As practically everyone has heard by now, CCP has decided to remove learning skills. While my personal opinion is that this is good for the health of the game (in particular, by making the game much more noob-friendly), there are certain aspects to the way CCP is doing things that have some players upset.

Most of the complaints are coming from players who have trained advanced learning skills to V. Under the new system, those players will train at a slightly lower peak rate, and despite the fact that they will be getting millions of skill points to reallocate now into skills that affect their gameplay, they feel this is a nerf.

Additionally, and perhaps more crucially, they feel that everyone who didn't bite the bullet, take the long-term view, and train the advanced skills is getting a huge buff, while they are getting nerfed, or at best, treated neutrally. While I can understand this feeling, I think it is a bit overblown -- after all, they have had the benefit of faster training up until this point. So the nerf, such as it is, is that they will no longer have a long-term training edge.

One thing to keep in mind is that while CCP has implemented most of the CSM's Remove Learning Skills proposal, they left out two small but important elements -- allowing attribute remaps to be slightly more extreme (which brings the max training rate to within a few SP/hr of the previous max rate), and providing an extra remap (which lets thoughtful players maximize the benefits of the change as soon as possible). The stated reason for this is that CCP did not think they could get a bigger package of changes through QA in time to meet the release deadline -- and to be honest, I have no reason to believe they are being disingenuous about that (quite the opposite, in fact).

However, those two changes would have soothed some hurt feelings, and it is important to note that they could be implemented at a later time, independent from the currently planned changes. I for one hope that CCP will recognize this and commit to doing this if possible.

With respect to how to maximize the benefit you can get from the death of learning skills, it should be obvious that if you can train learning skills at a high SP/hour rate, you should do so from now until they are removed. You will then get those skillpoints back, and can apply them to skills that would train at a lower rate. As one poster on SHC remarked, "Half the game is training Clarity V".

I would also recommend that you consider saving some of the skillpoints for a rainy day -- they will come in very handy when you want to train for a flavor-of-the-month ship, or when CCP introduces new skills into the game.

1 comment:

  1. Considering that learning skills affected everyone, there is no way that CCP could please everyone no matter how they decided to implement it...but with the additional changes in the CSM proposal, it seems the very most balance could be achieved.

    On a related note, I believe that characters under 1 year old should get quarterly remaps. I seem to recall training groups of skills that would have benefited from this in the effort to build as well rounded a skill set including Spaceship Command, weapon, and support skills as possible during that time and did a lot of jumping from one group to another in that effort. That would also allow them to recover from mistakes more easily.