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.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Prioritization Season

I must apologize for the lack of posts recently, but at least I have the excuse that I have been busy on CSM-related activities. By now everyone should have read the devblog on the October meetings, and now that that is done, CSM is looking forward to two important events -- the December Summit, and the Winter Planning Meetings.

At the Summit, we will be discussing a variety of topics, with many of the usual suspects getting their own meetings. But arguably just as important are the planning meetings.

CCP uses the planning meetings to decide what gets onto the schedule for the next 6-month development cycle, and CSM competes for time and attention with all the other stakeholders. While CSM members are not present at the planning meetings, we are represented at them by CCP Xhagen, and in order for him to do that job well, we need to provide him with some marching orders in terms of what we believe needs the most attention.

This is where you come in.  Just like we did in August for the previous cycle, CSM is soliciting feedback from players as to what items in our list of passed issues are most important to you. With over 200 items to choose from, we've got a better selection than you'll find at the famous  buffet of the Golden Trough. So head on over to the November 2010 Prioritization thread and let us know what issues are most important to you.

Voting ends at DownTime on Thursday the 25th.