Paying for half a game?

Posted: January 20, 2010 in MMO Concepts

This is not (very much of) a whine.

This is not (very much of) a complaint.

This post is the crystalisation of some thoughts that have been sloshing around my head in a saturated solution of ponder.

And I’m sure that Veterans of Eve have heard this a million times, so apologies for that… but I want to share, and this is my blog.

There’s a lot to love about Eve. There’s a lot that I actively love about Eve. And foremost amongst the things that I love is the skill system. You set a skill to train, and at the end of the allotted training time, it’s done. You can do a bunch of stuff, or nothing at all, during the training time… but it will still train. As long as you log in every so often to update your training queue, your toon will continue to develop. This is patently brilliant. Instead of needing to constantly grind for xp, you can leave your character development running and go and actually play the bits of the game that you enjoy. Sure, this wouldn’t cut it in other games. How can you waggle your e-peen sprint to level cap, if you can go no faster than others? How to wear the casual colours of “gamer with a life” if you are as well trained as the next man? For all of Eve’s much vaunted metagame, there are other games where the progression meta is as strong as our capatalistic politic meta. These games would lose something with our skill training system.

But there is a problem with the skill training paradigm in Eve. That problem is the matter of alts.

Eve is a big game. It is said that were you to train every skill in the game it would take decades to do. Even with the best implants to speed training and all the learning skills trained (and learning skills, there’s a rant for another day); you are still looking at a time investment longer than the servers will be around. Even for players who have been in the game from the moment that the servers came online 7 years ago, they’d have to have run multiple characters on multiple accounts to have trained all the skills available. To even reach a reasonable standard in combat takes all the training on a single character for a decent amount of time.

Now we have a lot of options in Eve, that’s the beauty of the game – combat, exploration, trading, mining, industry, invention, and so on and so forth. But the game is about specialisation, and so it’s important to find one thing that you’d like to do, and specialise. Want to do something else? Well, you can stop training your current speciality and train into a new one. But be prepared for a pretty long haul. By far the best plan to see the majority that the game has to offer, is to skill up an alt in the chosen profession. And here we hit the snag.

Alts can only train, if they are the only character on that account training.

So – despite having 3 character slots on my account. I can only train one of them at a time. The result? I have a main account and a secondary account. My main account has the character that I play day to day; Psia. My secondary account has a couple of characters who take turns learning stuff. One of them is designed for mission running and flogging the loot afterwards. The other is designed to haul. But I’m paying 2 monthly subscriptions for the privilege. I didn’t have to pay twice to have a hunter, a priest and druid on my WoW account, so why should I have to pay twice with Eve?

What possible reason is there for this? As long as you can only ever play one toon on any given account at any given time, what’s the problem with having all 3 character slots train at once? There are more than 3 things that I’d like to try in the game, but the long training times mean that it’s going to take me a very long time to try even half of them. Where’s the harm in letting me train more than one character at a time, so that I can at least try more than one or two things.

I’m sure that I’m not alone amongst Eve players in having multiple accounts. And that rationalising them would lose CCP $15 per month. But I’d probably not rationalise them. I’d probably keep the second account for the fleeting opportunities afforded by being able to run two clients at once. But I’d be able to see much more of the game. I’d be able to train an alt specifically to fly capital ships, and experience the massive battles in space. I’d be able to train an invention alt and have him try to invent from BPCs. I’d get to experience those bits of the game from which I am currently barred, because I don’t have enough time to skill my characters.

Other games have recognised the desire of players to chop and change for variety- dual spec in WoW being a perfect example. Almost every other game allows for alts of some shape or form, and none of them face the player with a choice between developing their main or their alt in the way that Eve does. And few games have as much to do as Eve does, or as much that requires specialism. Currently, it feels as if I’m paying a full subscription for half a game. So c’mon CCP – let me train my alts at the same time as my main!

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Comments
  1. Chris says:

    Come on dude, the reason is theirs no “grind” in EVE to learn things, in other games you dont set it and forget it and come back a week later having learned a new skill or even a dozen skills over 24 hrs of not even playing…

    Also you can try almost every skill in the game in under a month, what takes time is BEING GOOD at the skill, which isnt really necessary to figure out if u really like it or not, getting a bs takes what a week? so in 4-5 weeks u can fly every bs in the game and in turn their cruisers and frigates as well, not to mention guns and missles. you just wont be killer at any 1 of them.

    Capital ships for every pilot’s alt? would be the result and would result in a very odd scene down in nullsec if u asked me.

    EVE is the way it is not just because of the finances, but for the balance, eve forces you to specialize and decide what you want to do its like real life, You can’t just be 30 different things, well u can just like in eve you just wont be awesome at them.

    EVE… Find something you love after experimenting and then specialize in it 🙂

  2. Cyberin says:

    I never understood this argument. You say this is different than every other mmo…how?. Last time I checked…I’ve NEVER been able to level my main and my alt at the same time in any mmo I’ve played…why should Eve be any different.

    Wanna dual box in wow?.you need two accounts…its the exact same thing..

    • ChainTrap says:

      To dual box, I agree… exactly the same as all the other MMOs. but to experience the content? Completely different. The fact is, that if you want to experience all the content in Eve, there is no way that you can do it all on a single account. The difference is the time that it takes to “level” an alt in Eve, as opposed to other MMOs.

      That and I don’t understand why we can’t train all the toons on a single account simultaneously.

      • Cyberin says:

        “That and I don’t understand why we can’t train all the toons on a single account simultaneously.”

        That is the part of the arguement that doesn’t make sense to me. You can’t do that in any other game at all, so why should EVE be different? Training 2 characters on one account in EVE would be the same as logging in and leveling 2 characters on the same account at the same time in another game…

        And…you can experience everything in EVE with one character…you just won’t be ‘perfect’ at all of them for a long time. Which, is no different than any other MMO either…it takes TIME to experience everything…no matter what game you play.

        I agree that it would be neat to be able to train 2 characters at once. But truthfully, I hope it doesn’t happen…for the reasons stated above…there really is no ‘reason’ for it…other than people wanting to get more than they’d get from any other MMO.

        Alts are not required in EVE…they simply make things quicker…

      • ChainTrap says:

        you can experience everything in EVE with one character…you just won’t be ‘perfect’ at all of them for a long time.”

        I think that this is where we disagree. As an experiment I just added a battleclinic loadout for a Rorqual, a Hel and an Avatar to an Evemon plan for one of my more trained alts. according to the training plan it has presented me with, I can fly these 3 loadouts in 1154 days. That’s 3 years and 59 days.

        In my time in WoW which was 3 years, I had 4 level 80 toons, and another 3 at 70+. I’d seen all of the content except the very top end raids, and the lack of those was only through my choice of guild. I had experienced all the trade skills also.

        So, I’d dispute that there is equivalence. Other MMOs do not require skills to use their market. Other MMOs do not require such long chains of prerequisite skills.

        My argument would be that whilst, in time, you can experience all of the content that Eve has to offer, that time is so great, that in reality, you’ll need an alt account.

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