I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past 6 months making new characters, theory-crafting how good I can make a character with <2 million skill points for different ships, and trying to PvP with them, sometimes this has been met with great success with my incredibly popular, and by far my proudest contributions to the eve community, the 20 day old executioner alt, and new player Kestrel alt. I also (unknowingly to some) tried using other characters with different ships although even with some success it didn’t end up panning out due to either being too complicated for new players (Dual Prop-Slasher with Ancillary Rep is probably one of the most micro intensive frigates I’ve ever flown), or just not having enough viable engagement opportunities with a new player Atron I used, Blasters are probably the worst weapon system when you have 0 skillpoints because while you can take advantage of your lower damage/HP by being at range with rockets/scorch S on the executioner character, When you get out-damaged at 0km by a laser ship because of your bad skills, well, thats not workable really.
I would like to pen my thoughts on the various roadblocks I found myself facing, and the parts of the skill tree that I felt bad about which I encountered while theory-crafting 20 day old characters back in December when CCP gave out the free 20 days of multiple account as a Christmas gift.
1. Thermodynamics. The Thermodynamics skill is probably *the* most important skill in the game for PvP, the ability to heat changes so much, it is by far the most useful skill, being able to re-approach gates, being able to slingshot and getting heated Scram+Web ranges, it improves your tank/DPS more than any other 1 level of skill. It is key. However when you have a 20 day skill training window, training Science to Level IV really hurts and it made me feel bad each time. Science gives a 5% bonus to blueprint copying speed, i.e. it’s complete garbage for anything to do with in-space, which Thermodynamics is for. Losing 16 hours training for a skill which will never help you in-space. I think the *actual* training time to train into Thermodynamics is pretty fair. I just wish it used another skill rather than Science IV. I would REALLY love CCP if they changed the Science IV prerequisite to Energy Operation IV. Energy Operation is a rank 1 skill, just like Science, so the total training time to get thermodynamics would be the same, however, Energy Operation is a key skill that many players get early on, it gives 5% better cap regeneration per level, and is one of the skills veterans recommend to new players to max early on. Thermodynamics itself sits in the Engineering Tree, and it also requires Power Grid Management IV & Capacitor Management III, so thematically, it would suit well. Science still is a pre-requisite for several other skills.
Also, Thermodynamics costs 4.5 million isk which I feel is really steep when you’re starting out, lowering the base price of this skill, or even providing it as a reward for a career mission/future opportunities would help so much.
2. Guided Missile Precision. GMP is the most important missile application skill, it lowers the explosion radius of your missiles, making them apply better. While Target Navigation Prediction is important too, it is not always effective like GMP is (if it could help your missiles apply). GMP is already a steep skill to train, it’s a rank 5 skill. However, the thing which I dislike about GMP is that it has a missile launcher 5 prerequisite. All of the Gunnery Support skills only require Gunnery to level 4 to be able to train, and Gunnery 5 is just a prerequisite for Large Battleship-sized weapon systems. Launcher Operation 5 also enables cruise and torpedo launchers. Dropping the LO requirement from 5 to 4 would help new player missile characters so much, and make Gunnery/Missile Launcher Operation basically identical in being a prerequisite for large-sized weapons at 5. The reason why I didn’t create any 20 day old missile character alts, and why I don’t think they’re as viable early on is mostly down to this. Launcher Operation 5 is a skill that’s got a nice damage/SP ratio when your rounding out your character 3-4 months into the game, but not early on. Would love to see this changed.
3. DPS Rigging skills. CCP removed the requirements of skills needed to actually fit ships a while ago, however, the DPS rigging skills still require you to train jury rigging to level 3 in order to train them, and they can be fairly vital to a lot of new player fits which use them, like my Kestrel and Executioner fits. Given the much lower importance of Jury Rigging for anything now that it isn’t required to fit things, Dropping the Jury Rigging skill prerequisite to level 1 in order to train these skills would make a decent quality of life difference saving 10-12 hours from a new players skill training queue.
4. High Speed Maneuvering (The MWD skill). The Afterburner 3 requirement feels really outdated. I would like to see this removed entirely since MWDs and Afterburners are completely different modules now, having to train Afterburner 3 to train to fit a MWD is something a lot of new pilots from BRAVE I talked too really disliked, if you’re a new-player in nullsec the Derp-tron/suicide tackle/ewar ships are probably one of the first things you can contribute with, MWDs are important in PvP too especially for null-sec. Afterburners is only a rank 1 skill but it still feels fairly bad in the same vein as Science with Thermodynamics because you’re having to train a skill which benefits something you’re not going to use.