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!