Okay, today we have a break from the ongoing Low Security Space series to talk about the various ways to accrue those all-important skill points a little faster.
Your learning speed is based on your attributes (found on your
character sheet). Interestingly, your learning speed is the ONLY thing
that is based on your attributes. Having a high Intelligence won't
make you better at science, it will just make you better at learning to be better
at science. Someone with 3 intelligence and the Science skill at V
performs just as well as someone with 20 intelligence and the Science
skill at V, but it took them a lot longer to get there.
As a starting character, your attributes should all be 8. Different skills are based on different attributes. Each skill has a
primary and secondary attribute. You can find out what they are by
right clicking on the skill and choosing "show info". The only was to
learn a skill faster is to improve the relative attributes. There are
three ways to do this:
1. Implants. These go from +1 to +5 and you can plug in one per
attribute. The +1s are relatively cheap and a full set of the +5s can
value at hundreds of real world dollars given current isk/USD exchange
rates. The down side to implants is that if you get killed, you've got
to buy a new set. You will get a couple of +1 implants as rewards if you do the tutorial missions, as well as the skillbook (Cybernetics) that you need to train in order to use them. You should plug in the +1 implants as soon as you get them and then not worry too much about losing them. They are cheap enough to replace. Eventually, when you get your hands on more expensive implants you will want to start thinking about keeping two clones, one with high value implants and another with cheap or no implants.
2. Attribute Remapping. There's a button on your character sheet in
the attribute tab labeled "Neural Remap". Doing this will allow you
to shuffle around your starting attribute points, taking from one and
adding to the other. The trick is that, as a new character, you get to
do this twice and then, after that, you can only do it once per year.
most of the combat related skills use Perception and Willpower, so
there's something to be said for just maxing out those, but I
guarantee that, if you do, you are going to curse every time you want to
train something like Engineering (increases the power grid of your
ship, allowing you to fit better modules) or Hull Upgrades (gives you
more hit points and allows you to fit better armor modules), both of
which are Intelligence/Memory skills. Of course, like every RPG, the
Charisma attribute is practically worthless, so unless you're opposed
to min/maxing or the idea of being a virtual boor, a good idea might
just be to push that down as far as you can and sprinkle those points
around. Then you can play for a while and see what training direction
you want to go in before using your second remap.
3. Learning Skills. These are horrible. The game would be better if they didn't exist. However, being as they do, we need to talk about them. The learning skills
are just regular skills that increase your attributes and thus make other skills
faster. There is one skill called "Learning" that affects all
attributes and then there is a basic and advanced skill for each attribute. The terrible thing about these
skills is that they give you no benefit other than faster training
time and, of course, time spent training them is time not spent training something actually useful. The end result is that training them basically amounts to making a gamble on
how long you're going to play the game for. For example, if you train all the learning skills to V, you will then have to spend about
three years training other skills before you will have saved more training
time than you sank into the learning skills in the first place. Even if you are only going to play the trial, though, it makes good sense to train "Learning" and all the
basic attribute skills (except charisma) up to II.
My advice would be to train no learning skills at all during the first day you play and then to buy the "Learning" skillbook just before the end of your play session. Fill up your skill queue with skills to last you until your next play session, then drop "Learning I" and "Learning II" in at the front of the queue. You should see the total training time actually decrease. I'd hold off on actually buying the skillbooks for the individual attributes until you have decided if you're actually going to keep playing or not. Fussing with learning skills is decidedly un-fun. Once you start thinking of your time in New Eden in terms of weeks and months, rather than hours and play sessions, then it is time to download Eve Mon and figure out a good training schedule for the learning skills. Until then, train skills that will maximize your fun rather than your skillpoints.