Wednesday, July 23, 2008

EVE Online: Character Creation Revisited

I am making an alt to help Marb with a bit of trading and ferrying so I have had a second opportunity to experience EVE's character creation system. When setting up Marb I choose Minmatar Brutor for no more scientific reason that the fact that I liked their style. This time I have had a chance to study character creation in more detail with the help of two detailed forum posts from Akita T (who explains how race and bloodline choices affect character attributes) and Tiberyya Za (who provides an excellent spreadsheet detailing the starter skill packs you get with each of the chosen professions).

Like many things in EVE the character creation process is far from intuitive and it is entirely possible to gimp your character from birth. Any character can learn any skill in EVE but a character with a poor set of starting attributes could take weeks or months longer to reach their desired goals.

Characters attributes (perception, intelligence, memory, willpower and charisma) do not in themselves convey any abilities but they speeed up the learning time of certain skills. The trouble is that certain attributes affect far more skills than others. So for example a character who hopes to learn a wide range of skills will benefit far more from a high perception which affects many skills than a high charisma which affects few skills.

The conclusions drawn in Akita's analysis are a bit depressing. It seems that the races are hopelessly imbalanced. It is quite hard to make a bad Caldari while it is equally difficult to make a good Amarr. Marb, a Minmatar Brutor Slave Child turns out to have been a middling choice.

Aside: Caldari players are far far numerous than Amarr. I wonder is this evidence of intelligent decision making by players or is it conincidental. Then again I could be mixing up cause and effect - the larger the number of players the larger the whine factor if there are serious problems with that race and the more likely that such problems will be addressed.

For this trader hauler alt the character choices are simplified somewhat because I have no intention of investing any more than the bare minimum of skill training time into them. They will have to survive on little more than their starting skill set. This makes attributes largely irelevant and puts the spotlight on Tiberyya Za's spreadsheet.

Every race has a business - trader profession with a genrous allotment of trading skills. The Minmatar trader actually has the most skill points invested in this line with two heavy 5 pointers followed by Gallente, Caldari and Amarr in order.

Equally important to this character is the ability to ferry stuff about and I want to be able to fly a decent sized industrial transport with minimal additional training time. The Amarr scores most highly here on several counts. Firstly only 1 level of training in Amarr industrials is required to access their heavy industrial with an impressive 4800m3 base capacity. Secondly Amarr ships all have plenty of low slots for fitting useful modules like cargo expanders and armour plates (to deter suicide gankers). Morevoer the armour trader already has level 3 in the hull upgrades skill which is required for thes modules.

For pure trade the Minmatar wins hands down. A natural 5 in daytrading allows orders to be manipulated from anywhere in the current region - a huge advantage for active traders. Unfortunately Minmatar offers no advantages in the way of quick access to industrials and or cargo expanders. In the end I plumped for the Amarr option - seduced by the thought of what can be done with all those lovely low slots.

3 comments:

syncaine said...

Is this a 2nd account, or one account with a second pilot?

If it's on one account, then getting up and running quickly is indeed key. If it's a second account, I would not worry too much about starting skills.

mbp said...

Its an alt on the same account Syncaine. That is why I can't afford to waste training time on it and must rely on starting skills only. I am also determined to keep the total skill point tally below 900k so that I can avail of free clone jumps.

syncaine said...

Ah ok, so a true alt.

On a 'big picture' scale, training even 1 million SP on the alt won't slow your main all that much, and if it saves you a lot of time/trouble with the alt, it could be worth it. I guess the real bonus is that whenever you need, you can just train the alt, and then switch back.

I will say this though, as someone who tried playing with just one account, having a true alt is rather annoying. If at all financially possible, I would recommend a 2nd account. That way you can get him up to hauling asap, and then let him train up in whatever side projects strike you, while letting your main stay focused. CCP in many ways almost designed EVE to be a multi-account game, the bastards.