Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Day 150 : Noob Tax

I sometimes think that MMO players love to be victims, in particular victims of “nerfs”. By “nerfs” I mean anything that lessens their in game character in any way; rule changes, buffing of opponents or rivals, removal of income sources, and for some simply other people being better at the game than they are. It gives the player a chance to rant cathartic. To over dramatically let go the inner reservoir of tears before the dam gives way and they end up posting publicly about how things should be changed to restore them to an earlier god-like status. Don’t get me wrong, I do it too. I've done it before and I've only just done it again. I prefer to think of it as catharsis and have a laugh about it later. My favourites include the, usually drunken, WoW topic of conversation “which class to nerf into oblivion because they annoy me” and the schadenfreude following the nerf of some other class. I'd still be playing whatever game nerfed me, and I’d generally forget the rage within a short period of time and deal with it.

I've had my first experience of this MMO experience staple in EVE. Like everything with EVE it was more intense than with any other game and I’d like now, before I go on, to apologise to CCP Fozzie for telling Rixx Javix (http://eveoganda.blogspot.co.uk/) not to “feed the bear” on Twitter. I was laughing when I did it, but it had the ring of mania about it. I’m not apologising for the crack about the forums being 90% of Statler and Waldorf alts because I’ll need proof that this isn’t true first. So, soz Fozz’. I owe the bear a beer.

So what was it that caused this blaze of rage? It’s something I referred to in several places as a “noob tax”. It is the incoming change to Destroyer and Battlecruiser skills that will split them into four racial equivalents. I didn’t realise I had a  problem when I first heard of it, nor did I realise that the change wouldn’t happen on the 4th, with the expansion, but at some point soon after the launch.

I think I was pondering the future of my character, perhaps a stint in null further down the line, when I realised I’d have to have way more skills in ships to adapt to any fleet doctrines. It was then that I realised that on my current skill plan I was going to end up with at least seventy to eighty extra days skill learning to max out just Battlecruiser skills for the other three races. I’d of ended up with Gallente Battlecruiser V at best. You can add almost another month if I hadn’t learned Destroyers to maximum though in truth I’d have probably got to this before any change anyway. That’s a lot of time to consider when you it’s greater than 50% of your current characters entire life.  Hence the “noob tax” label and why I didn’t care that it made sense considering all the other types of ships were split along racial lines.

In the end though I’d found out from CCP way before it happened. There was an explicit warning to begin training up now if you didn’t want to lose out. I could only pretend to despair for my future skill plan since really I change it more often than I change my underwear. The only solution was to tool up and face the problem.

I brought out the skill planner in EVEMon and messed around with my plan for a while. I then created a new “emergency” plan and faffed around with that for a while. Finally I abandoned those plans and looked at just Battlecruisers. I picked its two SP contributing attributes, Perception and Willpower, and filtered all the skills in the Skill browser tab by this. I had decided that I would remap to learn Battlecruisers, and then use the specialised time to train whatever else I found under those attributes. I can only fit +3 implants, +4s are too expensive for my noobtastic loss rate anyway, but I do have three attribute remaps left.

When I looked at what EVEMon was suggesting it was kind of like a slow version of this


So in fact the "Noob Tax" is a massive excuse for me to specialise in training weaponry and, incidentally my favourite thing about the game, ships. Oh, the hardship, the pain. I should go pour some tears into the forums. Embarrassment is, like, totally OP, man. (EVEMon is also OP but don’t nerf that because it works for me..... Sound familiar?)

I'm still in a race. I might end up with all racial Battlecruisers at IV depending on how soon after the 4th the change comes in. I have a faint hope that CCP might reduce the Skill Rank of Battlecruisers and Cruisers by one each. On the upside, my skill plans are finally coming into focus. That focus is on guns, lots and lots of guns. If I don’t make it for the 4th then, well, I probably won’t notice all that much after all :

  • Salvage drones
  • New bounty system
  • Non labyrinthine Crimewatch system
  • Dead Orcas littering Uedama for months and months (I’ll get emailed by the WWF now)
  • New ship skins
  • New targeting and HUD revamp
  • Camera Tracking feature (goodbye camera spin migraine)
  • Frigate logistics
  • New mining frigate (possible upcoming post : how much trouble noobs can get into using a mining frigate)
  • New sound effects
  • 4 new Destroyers, one of which looks like a U-boat.

There is probably stuff I've missed. If I don’t make it to BC V across the board then I’ll be too busy enjoying myself to care.

TL;DR : noob rages, thinks, says sorry, starts arms race instead.

For those of you of a mind to read something epic that isn’t an epic rant by a noob then you should go and read TurAmarths summation of Blog Banter 39


I’m not just telling you because he has immortalised my immortal as it were. The imagination, dedication and flat out work that a summary of this length, quality and enthusiasm must have taken makes it a must read. o7 Tur’

EVE Track of the Day

Don’t Look Back in Anger - Oasis


  1. Training all racial frigates to IV, cruisers to III and destroyers/BC to 5 (or 4) will be the focus for lots of players.
    If you are per/will mapped you might as well focus a bit on gunnery/missiles & other ship hulls as well.

    Of course this all comes at the expense of training science/industry skills needed to run a small pos for (ME) research.

    1. yeah - my upcoming Production Efficiency V and research skills are going to take a beating. I can do those slowly though and they won't add up to the 3 months time saved by Destroyers V and BC V now.

      All the Perception/Willpower ship/gun/missile skills will have to be learned anyway at some point. Might as well do it now.

      Plus it isn't just the guns themselves. The support skills under Gunnery are excellent too

      Surgical Strike
      Rapid Firing
      Motion Prediction
      Trajectory Analysis

  2. Replies
    1. Had to start actually having some time in the game rather than writing about it! ;)