I am ashamed to admit that I have never really put much effort into my skill queue before. I still put more effort into it than most of the Dirties group (generally I have a month’s skill queue racked up in eveMon), but still the dark arts of Attribute Optimising has always scared me off.
For readers who are unaware of this particular practice. Let me summarise: All skills have primary and secondary attributes. Your characters level in each of these attributes directly effects how fast you gain skill points in them. For example a character with base attributes (17 across the board) will train Battleship V in 39 days and 3 hours. Where a character remapped to 27 Perception (primary) and 24 Willpower (secondary) will train it on 27 days 21 hours. Quite a difference, and that’s only within a month. Once per year CCP allows players to remap their skill points to new values. So here is how it works: You commit to training only skills which have the same Primary and Secondary attributes, once the year is up, you can remap to another set of attributes, and train only their skills. Doing this a capsular Doing this a player can save hundreds of days training per year. That’s a lot.
Before you all go running off to eve mon to set a 365 day skill queue, you need to understand the downsides to this practice. Eve skills tend to come in miss matched. For example as a new player I could optimise my skill points to Perc/Will for a solid year to train T1 Ships, Gunnery and Missiles. However in order to get the maximum out of my training, I would have to avoid training Drones, Shields, Armour and Fitting skills until I could remap to a new configuration. All in all it would take 3-4 Remaps (or years) before you had a character balanced in all the key skill areas. In the long run, this is quicker, but in the short term it means you’re going to be shit at flying and fitting ships until years down the line.
Attribute optimisation is also very inflexible. For a Nullsec pilot such as myself following FOTM is a must. If you can’t fly ships complimentary to the Doctrine, you shouldn’t be flying at all. This means that if you are missing skills that a fleet fitting requires, you have to quickly flip push your skill queue aside in order to fit in with the new ship of the month.
All in all, my opinion has been that attribute optimisation is another good example of Malcanis’s Law. So why am I suddenly looking at using it? Well the fact of the matter is that I am one of the “Older players” mentioned in Malcanis’s Law, and in just 80 days I will be “Un nerfable”. With my current skill queue in 80 days I will be able to fly every T1 ship in the game (saving mining ships, including capitals), every T2 ship in the game (again excluding Mining ships, Command ships and T2 industrials) and use 90% of their modules to T2. I believe that this means that no matter what becomes the Flavour of the month in the next 12 months, I will be ready to fly it without changing my skill queue. It’s a bold claim, and one which could be foiled by a few things; New ships/Modues, exhumer fleets, Command Ship fleets etc. But that’s a gamble I feel is worth taking.
This new found inflexibility coupled with the bare fact that I am running out of non Lvl V skills to train means that attribute optimisation has suddenly become a very attractive prospect. So for the next 80 days I am training for the last few modules and ships, before I start training and optimised skill queue. For other older players, looking at perhaps doing this as well, or newer player who are think they might benefit from doing similar, I will loosely go over how I have planned mine.
First of all eveMon is a must for this exercise. It has a wonderful set of tools precisely for the purpose of optimising you skill queue. Not least of which is the ability to filter skills by their attributes. For reference here are the different remap sets:
PercWill – Gunnery, Missiles, T1 & T3 ship command, Offensive and Propulsion T3 Subsystems
CharInt – Planet Management (command centre upgrades & Planetary consolidation), Social Skills
CharMem – Trade Skills
CharWill – Leadership Skills, Jump clones, Contract skills
IntMem – Electronics, Engineering, Mechanics, Planetology, Science, T3 Subsystems (defence, Electronic & Engineering)
IntPer – Navigation
MemChar – Corporation Management, Research Project Management
MemInt – Industry
MemPerc – Drones
PercMem – Weapon Upgrades (though not advanced)
WillChar – Trade Skills
WillInt – Doomsday Devices
WillPerc – T2 Ship command
Now for me, as a combat pilot, the key areas which I want to improve first are; Tank, Spank (gunnery, missiles and Drones), Ship skills and navigation. Now Drones and Navigation don’t have a full years’ worth of training in them for me (200d and 78d respectively) I also have them trained to a level with which I am pretty happy. That leaves Tank (IntMem) and Gunnery, ships and Missiles (PercWill). Armed with this, I created a skill plan which gave me my un-nerfable status, then remapped to IntMem for perfect tanking and some Electronic warfare skills. Once this is completed (400 days), I will be planning out another years’ worth of skills, likely using Perc/Will to perfect Gunnery and Missiles. The result of all this? With a balance remap (23 in all except Charisma at 19) and +3 implants this queue takes 592 days, Optimised it takes 509 days. Giving me three months of additional training for a year and a half of skill queue.
Do I lament not doing this before? Not really, until recently the nature of my game has mean that I needed the flexibility of a balanced attribute mapping. I always tried to take a years’ worth of training and optimise my attributes to that particular mix (which means I’ve never had much Charisma, no surprise there). But now my skill plans are featuring more and level V skills it really does seem like it’s worth it.