Friday, January 22, 2016

How I am Going to Use Skill Point Trading (and how I would use it if I were new)

The February release of EVE Online is scheduled to bring Skill Point Trading to the game. I have followed the discussion and debate over this featured on reddit, blogs, and the forums, and I fully support skill trading as outlined in the dev blog and am excited for it to be released. I have yet to hear a single good argument against the mechanic as CCP plans to implement it. The most common complaint is simply that it is "pay to win," but the accusation never gets explained and is highly implausible. Critics of the feature also seem to forget that the character bazaar exists (a much quicker way to go from credit card to character than skill point trading will be, it should be noted), and that it has not done any measurable harm to the game over the years. The second type of complaint is simply subjective. Some players object to using the skill trading because it does not fit with their own play style--for instance, the satisfactions of training skills, or learning how to use what you have incrementally. However, those are not good reasons to prevent other players from using skill trading, because EVE is a game of many radically different, and sometimes opposing, play styles.

Anyhow, I am making plans for how I hope to use the feature. Once the market settles I may trade in extractors/injectors, but I am more interested in using them myself first off.

How I am Going to Use Skill Point Trading

The first thing I am going to do when skill point trading launches in February? GET RID OF ASTROGEOLOGY V!

I am so freaking excited to rid myself of this skill, partly for personal reasons. Astrogeology V was the first "long" skill I trained as a new player. I of course wanted to make a bit more isk mining (back when I was so new I mined in a hauler, making less than 1m isk an hour). Shortly after I finished the skill, I went on my first Ganked roam into null. In my poorly fit incursus packed full of loot from the fights, I died while trying to get home, and was podded. Unfortunately, my medical clone had just grown out-of-date, and I lost skill points. Not just any skill points--I lost rank V in Astrogeology. I think I then tried to re-train it, but decided it wasn't worth it before it finished. So it sat, at "79%" ever since.

I wasn't too upset because I knew I wanted to focus on PVP anyway, and it was just a good reason to leave mining behind. However, four years later, and I still have that 639,000 skill points in Astrogeology as it sits at "79% done." Not for long! I am going to rid myself of that bad memory first thing.

Besides getting rid of mining skills on Sven, I am going to rid my market alt of her mining skills. I also have a third character at around 10m skill points who used to be my extra trader for special projects like Thera and Simela trading, but I no longer use her skills. In total, I expect to have around 6 million skill points extracted. Because Sven has over 80 million SP, he will only receive 150k SP if I inject them. I am happy to take that diminished return in exchange for skills I will never use. I plan to apply the skill points to drone skills--Drone Durability V and maybe Gallente Drone Specialization V, because they are skills I would also make use of yet hard to train given that I am never in a drone-specific (memory+perception) remap.

How I Would use the Skill Point Trading if I were New

What about if I were new? Well, there's two relevant categories of new players here. There's the new player at sub-5m skill points, who will get a 100% return in skills from injecting 500k SP. Then, there's the 5m-50m skill point range, or characters who will receive 80% of the skills returned, or 400/500k.  

If I were a new player with sub-5m skills, I probably would not use skill trading, simply because I would be too new to the game to really understand what to train. However, some new players are a lot better at the game than I am, and know quite early what skills they need--such as fitting skills or skills to fly doctrine ships. So, some new players in the sub-5m SP category might well have great use for skill trading and will get a full 500k SP from injecting, and that's awesome for new players in my opinion. Me personally, I was just too bad at the game to make use of skill trading that early.

However, the 5m-50m SP category of new players is another category altogether. These are players who have been playing for anywhere from 5-6 months to a full 3 years, and they will get a fantastic return on investment. I sure as hell would have used skill trading during this period, and if fact it is when skill trading would have been most useful to me. I think I fully knew what I wanted to do in EVE at around 5-6m skill points. My EVEMon skill plan already stretched upwards of 2-3 years of planned skills. How would I have used skill trading during this time? A few ways:

1) First off, like many players I've talked to already, one of the best uses of skill trading is to create PI alts. 500k SP is enough to have a near max PI character. And, the profit for PI is currently going through the roof, and will continue to rise with and after the release of the massive PI material sink that will be Citadels and their rigs. I think the number one use I would make for skill trading if I were newer would be to create 2-6 PI alts. It would pay for itself in just a few months of LS, NS, or WH PI.

2) The next way I would use skill trading if I were 6 months to 3 years into the game would be for fitting skills. Skills like Advanced Weapon Upgrades V that are so essential to virtually any play style in EVE but are giant skill training hurdles. With a 400k/500k return on skill points I would definitely consider getting most of the fitting skills I needed.

So those are the two main ways I would use skill trading if I were between 6 months and 3 years into the game, and sub-50m skill points. I am looking forward to reading about how other players use skill trading and whether it makes the game more enjoyable for them. It certainly will for me.


  1. I've considered using character bazaar alts for passive isk. The idea is you run an alt that is just training with +5s sits in Jita and after a year or two you sell a "perfect titan pilot" for a lot more than you spent in plexing the account.

    Injecting skills would be pretty useful for that as you could get your +5s online in the first 10 minutes. In fact it would probably be economic to immediately inject 10 skill packs and go straight to 5 million SP.

  2. I am glad that you are so positive about it. I think I am pretty excited for it too. I have yet to hear, as you, any really good negative arguments. I can not wait to give it a go and see how it works for me and the other people that I work with. Everyone is chewing their fingernails.

    Kourtney Heard @ Hansen Adkins