skill

EVE Evolved: Three tricks to maximize your free-to-play EVE Online account

It’s now been almost one year to the day that EVE Online officially got a limited free-to-play option, and it’s certainly been a boon for the almost 15-year-old MMO. There’s been a significant increase in new players asking for advice on the forums and in-game channels, and activity levels have been bolstered by the increased numbers. Some of the game’s largest corporations have opened their doors to hundreds of newbros this year, and the best is yet to come. Next month CCP will be lifting some of the restrictions free players are currently placed under and allowing them to access to larger ships, helping to close the power gap between free and paid users.

While the expanded free tier will open up a lot more gameplay to free users, there are some tricks new players should know to maximise the effectiveness of that tier. There’s even a way for returning veteran players who find themselves constrained by the free tier’s limitations to get a full Omega level subscription absolutely free and even to make a profit in the process. Whether you’re on a free Alpha account or an Omega subscription, there are also a few sources of easy ISK that will take relatively little time each week to manage.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give a few tips new players can use to squeeze more out of the free tier and look at a way for returning veterans to get Omega subscriptions for free.

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The Black Death outlines the new profession system that starts you off as a plague doctor

There are no medical exams to pass when you start a new character in the next patch of The Black Death. You get to start off right away as a plague doctor near what appears to be the epicenter of the plague ravaging the area, and there’s even a set of quests introducing the many skills available to you. Once you’ve gotten through those quests – or just struck off on your own if you’re experienced with the game – the new profession system should allow you to mix-and-match your choice of skills to create whatever sort of profession you like.

The new system has eight professions with a grand total of 117 skills to unlock, and players can mix and match as desired. If you want to become the best plague doctor around, you can; if you want to split off and focus on farming, you can. And if you want to build a profession that’s a bizarre hybrid of farmer, hunter, and plague doctor? That’s totally all right as well. Our own MJ will be streaming the game after the patch drops on Thursday, so if you want to see it all in action, keep your eyes peeled.

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Crowfall explains the concepts behind skill trees and time banks

Do you like dragging yourself out of bed at three in the morning because something has finished in a game and you need to immediately address it? Probably not. That would be insane. But Crowfall recognizes that it’s a possibility with its skill training system, which is why the game has time banks. If a skill finishes training and you’re offline, time starts to fill up in the bank, and you can immediately spend it on whatever you want to train next, with VIP players able to bank up to 30 days of accumulated time. Players will also be able to use skill tomes to transfer banked time, thus ensuring that newer players can catch up with veterans.

VIP players will have the edge in terms of how many things can be trained at once, but they won’t be able to progress faster than other players while training; a VIP player can train two separate skills at once, but not the same skill twice as fast. You can catch the full overview on the official site so you know exactly how the game will help you train up your skills over time and how you can be sure to balance the demands of your time.

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Take a look at Path of Exile’s new Charged Dash skill in action

Charged Dash is a new skill coming to Path of Exile, and when you read about how it works it probably seems a little counter-intuitive. See, when you use it, you don’t actually dash; you project a mirage of yourself forward for as long as you channel the ability. The mirage movement is based on your movement speed, only slightly faster, but you still only actually dash when you stop channeling. Then you deal damage to everything along your path and explode in electricity.

Of course, when you see it in action, it all makes perfect sense, and the designers helpfully point out how the skill can be used as both a movement tool and a damage skill with varying aspects. Check out the video just below to see it in action. It’s a bit like watching a lightning bolt find its destination, which seems appropriate.

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Here’s how Crowfall is overhauling its skill system

Crowfall’s ramping up the dev blogs this week with a fresh one on the skills system. “Skills are one of the main methods of character progression,” ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair explains. “Skills train passively over time, whether you are offline or online, and they are based on the account, not the individual character. This means that when you train a skill, you get the benefit of that skill across any character on your account for which that skill is beneficial.”

The devs’ original plan was to have players train up from 1 to 100 in each skill, but as designed, that system didn’t cause players to feel as if they were making much progress. “It’s hard to get excited about a .001 gain per point,” Blair quips.

To fix it, ArtCraft’s changed up the model such that “the time it took to gain 20/100 points now equates to one pip” and “stat gains now ‘build up’ until each pip is earned.” Requirements that players complete training in a skill to jump ahead to the next skills have also been reduced or eliminated. Just know that the skill trees are due for a huge wipe and restructure thanks to the archetype skill overhaul.

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EVE Online is adding smaller skill injectors for newer players

The changes to PLEX for EVE Online make it easier to buy small chunks, sell small chunks, and not have all of it get blown up when you stuff a cargo hold full of your money. Of course, part of what has made PLEX so vital is the need for newer players to be able to catch up with veterans, which ties into use of skill injectors… which are currently very expensive. So the game is introducing a cheaper way to get those, as well.

Existing skill injectors will be marked as large injectors, while the new smaller skill injectors will hold a maximum of 100,000 points and offer smaller and smaller rewards to players with more skill points. The hope is that newer players can buy the bite-sized injector and start to catch up before moving on to larger purchases, thus ensuring that everyone can more quickly take part in the sprawling wars of backstabbing that make the game tick along.

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Revelation Online explains the leveling and advancement of Special Skills

Your normal skills in Revelation Online are what you use for 90% of the game, obviously. That’s why they’re normal skills, after all. You rely upon them and they serve as stalwart workhorses. But then there are the Special Skills, detailed in the most recent post on the official site. You can earn a few of them almost automatically through tutorial quests and consecutive logins, but most of the others must be earned through raising reputation.

The skills themselves have large effects that can turn the tide of a battle in your favor, so it only makes sense that they’d also have entirely independent advancement options for players. You can level up several aspects of your special skills including cooldowns, duration, damage, and cost; higher-ranked skills will obviously take more time to improve than lower-ranked skills. The Special Skills are your big guns that allow you to do things your class otherwise would be unable to do, so it’s worth understanding just how big the guns can be. You can try them out yourself when the game hits open beta on March 6th.

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Working As Intended: A tour of 19-year-old Ultima Online

Wanna feel old? Three years ago, I wrote a Second Wind piece for Massively-that-was on Ultima Online, which had recently been turned over to Broadsword and was celebrating its 16th birthday. “The ‘old things suck’ snobs can scoff all they want,” I concluded, “but feature for feature, UO surpasses far too many modern games to be ignored.”

Now the game has just turned 19, and I’m back in the grand-daddy of MMORPGs poking around for the readers who’ve requested another look and listen. I’d call it a third wind, but for me, it’s probably more like my 103rd wind, as I’ve gone back so many times I’ve lost count. This round, I’m going to give a little tour of some of my favorite features, like housing, runebooks, boats, and combat, plus talk about some basic mechanics and highlight cool community hot spots on Atlantic, then wind down with some opinions on UO’s place in the genre and the lessons we can learn from its long and glorious sandbox development history even here in 2016. Enjoy!

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The Daily Grind: How do you define good play in an MMO?

One of the buzzwords of the modern MMO space is games promising to reward player skill rather than gear. I understand the argument being made, naturally, but I also think it kind of misses the mark. If your game has a detailed family of statistics and lots of different potential numbers to juggle, picking out the right kind of gear is player skill. Using the right build and the right abilities is a test of skill. Even in a game like World of Warcraft, success is frequently a factor of skill in the most gear-laden playstyles; you’re not clearing a Mythic raid if you have great gear but keep standing in the wrong spots.

That’s not counting the fact that there are a lot of players who would rather play with someone whose gear or performance is weaker in exchange for more pleasant banter. I get a lot of commendations in dungeons runs in Final Fantasy XIV just by being friendly and explaining boss fights to new players. So what about you, dear readers? How do you define good play in an MMO? Is it a matter of performance, attitude, equipment, or some combination of other factors?

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Test new skills in Wild Terra’s recent update

It’s all about the skills in Wild Terra’s recent update, and devs look forward to hearing testers’ comments on the changes. The early-access survival game has new mechanics in place for both mining and creating, as well as a few brand-new skills. Skills also have a colored con system.

Under mining, skinning has been added as a way to obtain hides and lumbering was introduced for producing timber and logs. Skill here affects speed, stamina costs, tool damage, amount gathered, and the chance to obtain rare materials. When it comes to creating, skill affects success, speed, stamina costs, tool damage, and quality. Failure results in damage to the tool and lower quality of the product. The new survival skill allows players to create basic objects and buildings, whereas carpentry allows players to build wooden objects and buildings. Leatherworking lets players manufacture items from hides.

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Star Trek Online is overhauling its skill system (again)

The skill system in Star Trek Online is kind of a hot mess. It always has been, from the game’s initial launch skills to its present system. That’s not editorializing – that’s a position that even the game’s developers seem to share, as outlined in the latest entry on the game’s official site detailing the upcoming skill system overhaul. The new system should make the difference between Ground and Space skills clear, eliminate useless or sub-optimal skills, and generally give players a solid picture of what they’re doing and why all through levels 1-50.

Skills will now be following an active and passive unlock system. Points are granted for Space and Ground skills per level, allowing players to actively unlock a variety of abilities; as abilities are unlocked in the various space disciplines, new skills are passively unlocked, while ground skills offer choices as more points are invested in the single progression track. Little to nothing is being lost, but a few new choices are being added, giving captains reason to find new ways to progress when the revamp beams onto the live servers later in spring.

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EVE Online player buys nearly $7,000 worth of skill injectors

EVE Online‘s passive skill training system lets players slowly accumulate skill points over time, and until recently there was no way to actively skip ahead of that the curve. With the recent introduction of Skill Extractors, players can now remove skill points from their characters’ heads and trade them on the open market as Skill Injectors. Other players can then buy the injectors and shove them into their own heads for a boost in skill points that can then be assigned to any skill. Tens of thousands of injectors have been bought and sold since they were introduced just a few days ago, and a few injector addicts have already come out of the woodwork.

Player Stromgren of DARKNESS. alliance used injectors to become EVE‘s highest-skilled character literally overnight, adding over 100 million skill points that would normally take 4.3 years to train passively. Stromgren gets only 150,000 skill points per injector due to diminishing returns for high-skill characters, so he needed to use 677 injectors to get to the point he is at now. At current market value, those injectors are worth around 437 billion ISK or 350 PLEX, putting the real-world value of his escapade at between $5204.75 and $6982.5 depending on the cash value used for PLEX. There’s no way to tell whether Stromgren purchased the injectors with ISK from the sale of PLEX or ISK he already had, but it nevertheless represents a huge cost.

Source: EVE Subreddit

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The six skills your aspiring rogue will employ in The Elder Scrolls Online’s Thieves Guild DLC

Enterprising rogues will be pursuing six new skills once The Elder Scrolls Online’s Thieves Guild DLC launches next month: Finders Keepers for spotting treasures, Swiftly Forgotten for being inconspicuous, Haggling for making bank, Timely Escape for getting away, Veil of Shadows for sneaking around, and our favorite, Clemency, for shmoozing the guards.

ZeniMax’s latest dev diary details all of these skills as well as the larceny system, which opens up a slew of new quests for thieves, including tips, heists, “reacquisitions,” treasures, bounties, and home invasions.

The blog post also discusses how mementos will find their way out of your inventory and into the collections menu, as well as how players will make use of new assistant NPCs, “special characters that provide a specific service when summoned.”

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