Using EVE Online's certificate system

2nd January 2009 – 1.40 pm

Having quit my corporation in EVE Online I am now back in Caldari space with my options open. Wondering if I should take time to learn more about armour tanking or gunnery skills I examine my learnt skills and look what I could improve, also checking the market to see what books are available to help me improve. It is all a bit difficult to know just what I should be learning, and indeed what skills are available to be learnt, to improve my current performance. With at least a couple of dozen skill books bought on top of the skills I knew straight out of the capsuleer academy it is now becoming complicated to keep track of each skill's relative benefits and thus what to learn next.

Luckily, there is the new certificate system, with accompanying certificate planner. For someone who cannot run the EVEMon utility the certificate system is immensely useful, with the caveat that it is accurate within itself. The certificate system has a database of skills that are considered, galaxy-wide, to be required for certain proficiencies. Once you have learnt the requisite skills you can claim a certificate that shows your competencies, from the basic level up to elite proficiency. The planner is laid out tidily, showing which skills and other certificates are required to gain the desired certificate.

When investigating whether I could feasibly learn about armour tanking I casually look to see how my skills line up for shield tanking, where I believe I am already competent and thus can diversify safely. Whilst I have basic skills in active and passive shield tanking I am lacking in a few areas to gain the standard certificates in shield tanking, deficiencies that can be rectified with only a few days of training. So rather than trying to learn about armour tanking the certificate system highlights to me that I would probably be better spending the time to learn a bit more about shield tanking, improving my capability and survivability in my Drake's passive shield tank set-up.

It is really quite handy to be shown in clear, graphical format how and where I can focus my training to see practical improvements. As I mentioned before, this relies heavily on the certificate system being accurate. For example, I may need to learn the skill to use rockets to gain the frigate missile control certificate, but if I am never planning to fit rockets to my frigates it seems a bit pointless. On the other hand, maybe I should look in to using rockets for certain tasks or missions and rather than overlook them entirely I could find out the advantages offered by rockets if only because the certificate system forces me to learn about them.

The other danger of the certificate system is that EVE Online could become a glorified skill training simulator. I have a clearly defined path to learning about passive shield tanking, as well as missile control skills, and I can plan what skills to learn and when and claim my certificates to move up in competency levels. The problem is that this can get involved enough—working out what competencies to work on, which skills are required to learn or skill books to buy, when best to schedule the skill training—that I can spend a short session doing nothing else. There is a whole galaxy to explore and blow up, I can be doing so much more than learning skills.

I still like the new certificate system regardless. I have lost count of the times I have logged in to change skills and lost a good half-hour's of training because even though I was on-line when the previous training completed I didn't know what to train next. The certificate system offers me a more focussed training programme than I can build quickly and easily even with my limited experience.

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