I was browsing around the Eve blogs and I noticed there is a community not unlike that of the Warhammer Cross Promotion Initiative. It is known as the Eve Blog Banter and was started up by Crazy Kinux. The current topic of discussion is “What new game mechanic or mechanics would you like to see created and brought into the EVE Online universe and how would this be incorporated into the current game universe?” That seemed right up my alley even if I did find the blog post rather late! I do so love to promote features in MMOs that I am playing so I figured late is better than never.
The basic game mechanic behind Eve Online character progression is skill advancement. The method by which skills are gained is both intriguing and unique when it comes to MMOs. Skills are purchased on the market like any other commodity and then trained in real time. At this very moment Ferrel Thane is learning to use missile launchers at rank V. This will complete by Tuesday. In general, I love the system. I like that even when I’m not playing my character progresses in some way but I want more control of my destiny!
The mechanic that I would suggest would be training time bonuses through active skill usage. I envision that you could pick a small amount of skills, anywhere from three to five, and set them as “primaries.” This queue could only be changed once ever 24 to 48 hours. During that time period if a player acted in a way that would require the use of those skills they would receive a small discount on their training times. To make the system a bit more clear I think an example is in order.
My character Ferrel is a missile focused character. Due to that she selects Missile Launcher Operation, Warhead Upgrades, and Standard Missiles as her primary skills for the 24 hour period. In that play session we’ll say Ferrel generates roughly 120 minutes worth of time using those three skills. When the 24 hour timer rolls over the “training time” required by those next level of skills will be reduced by 6 minutes each (in my example we’re assuming 30 seconds off for every 10 minutes using the skills, not played). It isn’t much but it would add up over time.
I think the system would lead to a bit more engagement by the “log in, set queue, log ou”t players. They might feel that better gains could be made by just playing a little more and engaging in the profession of their choice. This would also give those “skill watchers” like me a bit more feeling of control. I find that it is important to me that what I’m doing directly effects my progression. I do realize these actions of Eve are rewarded with ISK and that there is a line of progression there but I am far more into skills.
In truth the current system does work wonderfully. I just have a small issue with the disconnect between my actions and my progression. Giving players like myself the ability to explore more than one progression and shorten the total training time might go a long way to our retention. This could also be used as a way to catch newer players up to where they need to be. There is a chance for abuse but as long as the rewards are kept small I think there may be room in Eve for active progression!