As discussed throughout the EVE World Tour in 2019 and further in the July Status Update dev blog, placing emphasis on embracing new players is important for EVE to continue standing the test of time, and to set it up for a thriving third decade. With the ongoing EVE Forever initiative and the focus on embracing new players, we are updating one of the game's core systems: Skills.
Have you ever been browsing the forums for a good list of skills for a particular goal, or been playing with EVEMon and said to yourself "I wish I could do that in the game"?
Coming this September, the Skill Plans feature will be introduced into EVE Online. It will allow you to create, share, and interact with purposely created lists of skills within the client.
In addition, that release will bring big changes to the skills and training queue interface.
To plan your training, currently you need to have bought and injected the relevant skills and have placed them into your training queue. This presented an opportunity for improvement. The easiest way to describe this feature is through an analogy. The Skill Plans feature is to skill training what the fitting window is to ship fitting. To get the right fit, you can experiment using the fitting simulator. Neither the ship nor the modules need to be purchased first in order to see the end goal.
With the Skill Plans feature, you will be able to build a list of skills without needing to buy and inject them first. A Skill Plan is an ordered list of skill levels with specific goals, which you can create and keep track of to follow your training.
The unrestricted planning of your character development is only one of the reasons for this feature. Another reason for its inception is to enable players to share lists of skills with each other. It is often difficult even for seasoned players to pick the right skills for their goals, and the number of player-made lists of skills on the forums and wikis is evidence of that, as well as the dedication of the creators of third party tools like EVEMon. Now, the possibility of sharing and interacting with such plans in the EVE client has been opened up. You will be able to share any Skill Plan in a chat, EVE Mail, corp bulletin, etc., just as you can share ship fittings. You will even be able to leave a link to a corresponding Skill Plan in a ship fitting description.
Every one of your characters will be able to save up to ten Personal Skill Plans that you will be able to track, edit, and share with your friends (or your alts!).
You will be able to start - or continue - training a plan by moving its contents to your training queue with one click of a button. Similarly, the buying of all missing skill books and application of unallocated skill points will be able possible with one click, for each individual skill or for all of them.
So what about those goals mentioned earlier? A Skill Plan can be created with a concrete goal in mind, like flying a battlecruiser with T2 weapons, or maxing out all Planetary Industry skills. It can also be an open-ended journey through your character development. Either way, it can be long and the anticipation for reaching its end might be stretched out in time. Enter Milestones, which will help you track your progress towards the smaller goals within the plan.
You can set up to five Milestones in a Skill Plan that would indicate specific sub-goals within it. For now, a Milestone can be any item or any skill, and it will be completed as soon you train all the skills required for the item or skill in question. For example, you can set a few Milestones in that "battlecruiser with T2 weapons" Skill Plan that will be useful for you to complete along the way:
The Milestones may simply act as a reminder for yourself, but if you will be sharing your plan, they might very well carry vital information about the intentions behind the plan and its skills.
While many of you will be preparing Skill Plans to help new players, there was also a desire to give new players clear, guided paths embedded in the game. A few months back, the first version of the EVE Academy website was launched, listing multiple careers that players could choose from and included a couple of ship fittings for each to make the beginnings of the EVE journey a bit easier. Now, a Certified Skill Plan will be introduced for each of those ship fittings within each career (and per Empire). A new player entering the Skill Plans screen in the client will be met with a choice of career and corresponding Skill Plan, which will contain a list of skills that are useful at the start of that career and which will enable them to use that career's ship fitting. The description of the Skill Plan will contain a short amount of information about the career and why those skills are useful for it. On top of that, the Milestones should alleviate new players' concerns about when they can engage in a particular career's activities.
The Certified Skill Plans can also be shared, so even those who haven't built a custom beginner-friendly plan on their own can still help others by sharing the plans that are certified.
Skills can be seen as the primary progression system in EVE Online, and are an important element for new players to understand. As such, it is important to ensure that they are more prominent in the game, so with the introduction of the Skill Plans feature, the skills window will be changing as well. The skills window will be removed from the character sheet panel and be given a new, fully separate window, accessible directly from the NeoCom. It will be divided into two main sections: Skill Plans and Skill Catalogue. While the first section will contain the whole interface related to Skill Plans, the other one will show all skills and the level you have trained for each, similar to how the current skills panel does. If you don't plan on interacting with the Skill Plans, they won't be in your way and you will be able to train skills as you do today. One thing worth mentioning is that there will be a return to the horizontal arrangement between the skills catalogue and the training queue. Your requests for this have been noted, and the hope is that the new skills screen will be easy and enjoyable to use. Be sure to give us your feedback on the new interface changes!
As you can see, the character sheet itself will change a bit as well. Now you will be able to see your whole body - apparel and all - in all its glory!
To accommodate some of the goals for this feature, Alpha and Omega clone skill queue lengths will be matched, and their limits will be increased.
The reason for increasing the length of the queue is that some of the Certified Skill Plans are longer than 50 skill levels. The limit is being increased to 150 to make sure that new players especially will have a smooth experience when adding such a plan to their training queue, rather than having it be obstructed by skill queue limitation. The previous limit of 50 skills was implemented for technical reasons and the current limitation of 150 skills exists due to the same concerns, but now it will be big enough to not be a blocker in most scenarios. This is an especially important part of embracing new players that need to learn many new things at once. The aim is to make skill training simpler in the beginning while new Capsuleers are still figuring out what they want to do, and discovering which skills will help them achieve those goals.
Skill Plans will not have any limits for the number of skill levels in them, and short of them putting an unexpected load on systems, that's how they will remain.
The above is what the Skill Plans feature will include in the September release. Plans for adding Corporate Skill Plans later this year along with other improvements are in motion, and we also look forward to reviewing all the discussion and ideas from the community! We encourage you to leave your questions and comments in the official forum thread.
Capsuleers are the lifeblood of EVE Online. New players help grow the game, strengthen the community, and keep stories in the world interesting and engaging. More Capsuleers means more content, more talent to recruit, and a better game for everyone. As part of the ongoing effort to embrace new players in New Eden, EVE's first gameplay moments have been transformed into an approachable and compelling story driven experience.
The primary goal of this new adventure is for players to experience an entertaining and emotionally rich narrative while also learning essential skills they need to thrive. By engaging with this freshly imagined content, newcomers to EVE Online will hopefully find their earliest steps into the game more enjoyable, leading to increased retention and enriching the wider EVE community with their presence.
In September, the AIR New Player Experience (or AIR NPE) will launch with its first chapter, marking the beginning of a new journey into EVE Online. The work in progress is now available on Singularity, ready to be tested by willing Capsuleers. Players who want to participate in testing will need to create a new character through an empty character slot and complete the experience in one session.
Players will be introduced to the Association for Interdisciplinary Research (AIR), a new technology-focused organization making a splash on New Eden's corporate landscape. AIR's main goal is the pursuit of scientific knowledge through a variety of research and development endeavors. One such endeavor is the AIR Capsuleer Training Program, a project designed to help pilots achieve their dreams of becoming the best and brightest Capsuleers in New Eden.
Upon entering the game, players pass through the most critical stages of AIR's Capsuleer program, waking up in their newly designed clone bodies and acclimatizing to their pod. As they progress through their journey, players will meet Aura, their trusty AI companion. They will encounter a new cast of characters (including high-ranking AIR executives), as well as fly cool spaceships through breath-taking vistas, engage in pulse-pounding combat, and - of course - make some money.
The AIR NPE is the result of careful introspection of previous iterations of EVE's new player journey. The hope is to bring players the best of all those worlds while also presenting them with something new and exciting in its own right. This fresh take on the NPE seeks to give purpose and context for every move Capsuleers make, assisted each step of way by a suite of new tools and capabilities designed with new players in mind.
Crafting this narrative-driven content called for quite a bit of innovation when it came to tooling. The results of that innovation will benefit both current and future content capabilities so that players can continue to experience cinematic, immersive, and engaging gameplay in EVE Online.
This first phase of the new NPE is still a work in progress, but is now available on the Singularity test server to be put through its paces and commented on by the community. Slated to be released in September, this first chapter will provide new players with both an engaging narrative experience and a solid learning foundation as they begin their journey in EVE Online. This first chapter closes by introducing players to some of the offramps that can help them shape their future as Capsuleers in New Eden, but the story does not end there. As part of the ongoing efforts to embrace new players, such as the launch of the EVE Academy, Capsuleers will also see improvements to the skill training system.
New Capsuleers form a valuable talent pool for corporations and alliances eager to expand their influence. There is no substitute for the bonds of friendship and the gift of guidance EVE's veterans can provide to these starry-eyed newcomers. As an MMO that offers some of the deepest and most sophisticated community gameplay options out there, EVE has the power to bring people together like no other game.
Ultimately, the goal of this revitalized new player journey is to bring the thrill and joy of EVE to as many people as possible, while also investing in the technical foundations to create more exciting content and launch EVE into its third decade in good health.
The Economic Report for the month of may 2021 is now available for your viewing pleasure!
You can download all of the raw data used in this report here. As always, each image can be enlarged by clicking on it.
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