Eve’s Certificate System and other shiny improvements

None of this will be new to current Eve players, or those of you who keep up on Eve developments.  I’ve never intended this site to be a news blog, so take my oh-so-late comments with that in mind.

I unsubscribed from Eve last fall, just about a year ago. There have been quite a few major changes which I assume were a part of the Apocrypha expansion. The two shiniest additions are the Certificate System and the in-game ship fitting tool.

If I was in college, or under-employed, or single with no kids, I probably wouldn’t need tools like these to better grasp the intricacies of skill training and ship fitting in Eve. I could scour forums and websites for more knowledge about the best fits for the ships I’ll be flying and the skills I need to maximize effectiveness. Unfortunately, as someone over-employed with a busy home life and taking grad school courses, my time to think about Eve usually occurs while I’m logged in and playing.

My last subscription period found me flying with Eve University, and I learned a ton about fitting and skill training from them, but I’m no longer in that corp (and don’t have access to the guides on their website). As I tried to re-orient myself and plan out the next couple months of skill training, I discovered the certificate planner.

Available as an option from your Character sheet, the planner identifies 9 key training areas and offers a map to achieving certificates of achievement within them. There are four levels of achievement: Basic, Standard, Improved, and Elite. Each level identifies the skills you need to successfully complete the certificate and shows what certificates become available as you unlock more skills.

I’m a pretty focused character, flying Minmatar ships, training autocannons and artillery, building out armor tanking skills and working my way (eventually) to being able to fit and tank T2 modules in Minmatar battleships. I also have pretty decent skills in most of the core areas like Engineering, Navigation, Mechanic, and Electronics, at least when they relate to flying and armor tanking Minnie ships. Still, the certificate planner showed me some gaps that I might not have noticed with my previous method of organizing my training (Sticky Notes and pages of notebook paper scattered god knows where, plus way too many bookmarks in my browser and not enough structure). Within just a couple hours of messing around with the certificate planner (mostly during typical Eve downtime like traveling, mining, and scavenging), I felt like I have a good path moving forward, with definite goals to achieve. The planner is a great addition to managing your character in-game.

The new ship fitting screen is similarly helpful in providing information and storing various configurations for the ships you can fly. I used Eve Fit in the past, and thought it was awesome, but now I can accomplish most of the same things in-game, and I like that. It’s much easier to mess around with different configurations while I’m sitting in the station, tinkering hands-on.

There are two other key additions since the last time I played that makes the Fitting tool even more useful The first is a Search box in my Items window. Type in a bit of the name of the module you’re looking for, and your window changes to just show items that match. It’s soooo much easier to fit a ship that way, and I can experiment without a ton of scrolling through module after module.

The second feature, the Compare tool,  was around last time I played, I think, but I never realized its usefulness. To figure out the stats for a module, you have to Show Info and check the attributes. There are usually five versions of that module with various benefits and drawbacks, plus a Tech 2 version. The Compare tool makes it really easy to figure the strengths and weaknesses of the modules relative to each other.

The combination of the interface improvements and additions plus finally understanding the usefulness of the Compare tool have greatly increased my understanding of how to fit ships, and the tradeoffs available to make a ship more offensive or more defensive, faster and more agile or slower and better armored, and I can fit ships for the situations I think I’ll be encountering the next time I’m out in space. Knowing what my ship can do will help me start to learn what fights I should pick, and what fights to avoid…when I have the luxury of making that kind of choice :) It’s definitely helped me fitting out mission boats; I’ve increased DPS and increased the amount of time I can run my modules (like my armor repairer).

For an example of how this all fit together and improved my fittings, I’ll quickly walk through the light bulbs that started going off when I put all these tools together.

I mentioned that most modules have five variations, plus a Tech 2 version (and faction mods, which I’m not flying yet, and maybe never will :) ). Using the Certificate planner helped me realize a couple places where I had missed skills that give me benefits like increased Powergrid or CPU capacity, or faster Capacitor recharging. With a little more cap room to play with, I started comparing the variations of mods that were maybe now within reach, like Tech 2 mods.

When I started checking Tech 2 requirements, though, the Compare tool finally helped me understand what Eve players mean when they say “Tech 2 modules aren’t always the best choice”. There are some Tech 1 variations that might be better options, depending on your fitting requirements.

For example, let’s talk about Rocket Launchers. Tech 2 rocket launchers might offer a fast firing rate, but they’re also heavy on CPU and/or Powergrid requirements (can’t remember which right now). If I’m already squeezed on room for CPU or PG, I might want to look for a Tech 1 variety that might not refire quite as fast, but has much lower CPU or PG requirements.

I know when I looked at trying to fit Tech 2 weapons last year, I was never sure how I could handle the heavy Powergrid requirements. On my Hurricane, bumping my six artillery weapons would cost an additional 120 PG, and I couldn’t figure out how to fit it, especially since I already had a Tech 2 tank fitted.

Finding Tech 1 versions with lower PG requirements for of a lot of my other mods gives me a lot more flexibility in the Powergrid area (and adding rigs helped too). I still have Tech 1 artis fitted (low CPU requirments, but still pretty decent damage), but I think I have room to fit it out with the T2’s now.

All these tools helped me finally see my ship in a more organized fashion, and I think I’ll be taking ships out that make better use of the skills I have trained. At least on missions…I’m still flying cheap throwaway Rifters when it’s time to drop into low sec or null sec.

*Edit* I added a couple links to the Ship Fitting and Certificate Planning pages in the Evelopedia. That’s another impressive addition since the last time I played, and a great resource for new players, or old players trying something new.

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4 Responses

  1. welcome back to EVE – the hotel California of MMOs

  2. If you revisit the Uni forum sign-up page in game, you will update your corp, and join an Alumni usergroup, that gives you access to many of the subforums.

    And EFT can export to files which can be directly loaded into the new Fitting browser. “Export to XML” -> “Import”. <3 integration. :)

    • Thanks for the tip! I didn’t realize that, and I appreciate it.

      So much of what I see being improved in Eve, especially around the new player experience and the information available through the tools I mentioned, in-game, were things that I learned through E-UNI, the in-game channel, the Rookie channel, and the forums. CCP was smart to integrate that information within the client.

      I can’t wait to see the new in-game browser. If I can get to the Evelopedia quickly without needing to alt-tab, it will be even more seamless.

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