Skills and learning
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Skills in EVE govern the abilities of your character. They determine which ships you can fly, what modules you can use, the effectiveness to which you can use those ships/modules, and much more. This is a guide to learning those in-game skills, explaining the mechanics that govern skill training, and making suggestions for training strategies.
Skills are a significant part of what defines a character and what they can do. If you want to fly a ship, use modules on that ship, mine, trade, and so much more, you'll need to have trained specific skills for that. Additionally, training skills improves your performance (your ships will fly faster, your guns will do more damage, you will pay lower taxes, and so on). Some skills affect multiple areas of the game, but most are specialised. This has two major effects:
- It doesn't take too much time to become proficient in one area of the game (say, flying missile frigates), as there is a finite number of skills which improve your performance in that particular area. This also means that young characters (who have not been playing for as long) can "catch up to" older characters in specific areas of the game.
- Conversely, it takes much more time to become proficient in many (or even all) areas of the game; training every skill in the game to the maximum level would take around two decades of continuous training. In other words, older characters will be proficient in more areas of the game when compared with younger characters.
Fortunately, skills are cumulative, and once you have invested time (skill points) into a skill you will never lose them (with one exception: if you're flying a Strategic Cruiser and your ship is destroyed, you will lose one skill level in one of the relevant subsystem skills). This means that you can continuously improve your character's proficiency in one or several areas of the game, depending on your goals.
There are around 400 different skills in EVE, and every character can potentially learn every skill (provided that they have an Omega clone; Alpha clone characters are limited in what skills they can train). It would be easy to get lost, but thankfully skills are divided into groups:
|Armor||Skills to improve your ship's armor|
|Corporation Management||Skills to create and manage player-run corporations|
|Drones||Skills to use and improve any drones that you use|
|Electronic Systems||Skills relating to electronic warfare|
|Engineering||Skills to improve your ship's CPU, powergrid, capacitor, and to perform capacitor warfare|
|Fleet Support||Skills to form fleets with other players, and to make Command Bursts more powerful|
|Gunnery||Skills to use and improve turret-based weapons|
|Missiles||Skills to use and improve missile-based weapons|
|Navigation||Skills to make your ship faster and more agile, and to use propulsion modules|
|Neural Enhancement||Skills related to using implants, jump clones and boosters|
|Planet Management||Skills related to planetary interaction|
|Production||Skills needed to manufacture modules, ships, and more|
|Resource Processing||Skills needed to mine raw materials, refine them, and salvage components from destroyed ships|
|Rigging||Skills needed to fit rigs to your ship, and to make them more effective|
|Scanning||Skills needed to find objects in space using scan probes, and to hack into secure containers in exploration sites|
|Science||Skills related to research and invention|
|Shields||Skills to improve your ship's shields|
|Social||Skills to improve your standings with NPCs and to improve the rewards from running missions|
|Spaceship Command||Skills required to fly certain all classes of ship|
|Structure Management||Skills required to anchor and control various deployable structures, such as POSes and Citadels.|
|Subsystems||Skills required to use and improve the subsystems on Strategic Cruisers|
|Targeting||Skills to lock more targets, faster, and at longer ranges|
|Trade||Skills to improve trading on the EVE market|
It would not be practical to go into detail describing all these skills on one page; there is therefore a separate page for each section of skills (linked above). Furthermore some of these sections have corresponding Skill Tree Maps.
To help new pilots get their heads around the vast array of skills available to them, several sets of recommended skills have been compiled:
- Basic/CORE Skills
- Covert Ships Skillset
- Starting Skills
- Support Skills
- The Magic 14
- Basic learning for aspiring pilots (BLAP)
To learn a skill (unless it's part of your starting skills), a pilot must acquire and inject the relevant skillbook.
- If you are a member of EVE University, The Skillbook Program will reimburse the cost of any skill which is NPC-seeded and costs no more than 1 million ISK. See the linked page for details.
Pilots who completed the starter missions from the tutorial agents will have already been given some useful skillbooks.
The main way to acquire other new skillbooks is from the market. Pilots can browse the available skillbooks under 'Skills' in the Browse tab, or just search for a particular skill. Currently most skillbooks are sold by NPC corporations for a fixed price.
The NPC sell orders can be distinguished in two ways: they have a uniform price, and they have nearly a year's worth of time listed in the 'Expires In' column. (The maximum amount of time a player can put a sell order up for, by contrast, is 90 days.)
Players also sometimes put up sell orders for NPC seeded skillbooks. If the order is priced below the NPC price, the player is probably selling off books they bought in error; if the order is above the NPC price, the player is probably hoping to trick someone into buying. It is good practice to check the NPC price before buying an NPC-seeded skill from a player sell order.
Some skillbooks are not directly seeded onto the market. Instead, they are acquired through the Loyalty Point (LP) stores of NPC corporations or from exploration sites. These tend to be more advanced skills, such as Small Autocannon Specialization, which lets you use T2 small autocannons. Some players trade in these skills by finding them or buying them from LP stores where they have LP and then putting them up on the regular market for a profit. Depending on how hard it is to obtain these skills outside of the market, buying them from players selling them on the regular market can often be the simplest option.
Once you have acquired a skillbook, you can "inject" a skillbook.
Right-clicking on a skill in a hangar or cargohold, also gives you an 'Inject skill' option. Injecting a skill shunts the skill from the skillbook into the Skills list on your Character Sheet (and destroys the skillbook), but doesn't actually start it training -- effectively it stores the skill at 'level 0'.
Injecting is useful if you've bought a skill which you have the intent to train, but don't actually want to start training it right away or have yet to meet the requirements to train: once it's injected, you don't need to worry about keeping the skillbook with you, and there's no risk that you'll lose the skillbook if you fly into dangerous space and lose your ship. The same is true and useful for jump clones -- you can jump to a clone in hisec or a trade hub, acquire and inject the skill there, and then (after the jumpclone waiting period) jump back to your main clone somewhere in more dangerous space, where you can train the skill at your leisure. Note that you can inject a skillbook without knowing all the prerequisites to actually start training the skill.
You can train a skill by dragging and dropping it into the training queue, or by right-clicking on it in your Skills list.
Training Time Multipliers
So, how is the time it takes you to train a particular skill calculated? The number of skill points necessary to train a skill is determined by the skill's rank, also known as its training time multiplier, while the rate at which you get new skill points is determined by your attributes.
The base numbers of skill points (SP) required to train a skill with a training time multiplier of 1x (like Navigation, for example) go like this:
- Level I: 250
- Level II: 1,414
- Level III: 8,000
- Level IV: 45,255
- Level V: 256,000
When training from one level to the next you start with the skill points you accumulated training the previous level - so, for example, if you start training Navigation IV, you will already have 8,000 SP in the skill and will need to train 37,255 more SP to move from III to IV.
If a skill has a training multiplier higher than 1, the numbers of SP required for each level are multiplied by that number. So, for example, Evasive Maneuvering has a training time multiplier of 2x, and you need to accumulate 500 SP (250 x 2) to train it to I, 2,828 SP to train it to II and so forth.
The better the benefits of a skill or the equipment it lets you use, the higher its training time multiplier, or 'rank' as it's sometimes called, tends to be. Amarr Titan, for example, has a x16 training multiplier -- you need to accumulate 4,096,000 SP to train it to V.
SP = 250 * multiplier * sqrt(32)^(level-1)
Every EVE character has five attributes. These are:
These attributes determine how quickly you train the various skills in the game. They do not influence anything else about your character. Since time is perhaps your most valuable asset in EVE, understanding attributes and optimizing them for your character's plans is absolutely vital. In order to view your attributes, open your character sheet and select "Attributes". The five attributes for your character will be listed there.
By default, your character has a score of 20 in all attributes (except Charisma, with a score of 19).
Effects on Skill Training
Every skill has a primary and a secondary attribute: Navigation, for example, lists Intelligence as its primary attribute and Perception as its secondary attribute. When you start training a skill, you can calculate the time needed (in minutes) thus:
( SP_Needed - Current_SP ) / ( Primary_Attribute + ( Secondary_Attribute / 2 ) )
In general the skillpoints accumulate at rate equal to
SP/minute = Primary_Attribute + 0.5 × Secondary_Attribute
It's not necessary to know the mathematics involved here, but the important thing to note is that your score for a skill's primary attribute will affect its training time twice as much as your score for its secondary attribute. You can find your attribute scores on your character sheet in the Attributes section.
A default character (assuming it is an Omega clone) with no modification to their ability scores gains between 29 and 30 skill points per minute (1740 to 1800 SP per hour). If the character is an Alpha clone, they only gain half (15 points per minute) as many skill points.
Each attribute is associated with skills for particular spheres of activity. Generally the groups of skills are associated with particular attributes as follows - with some exceptions:
|Group (# of skills)||Attributes (Primary, Secondary)|
|Corporation Management||Memory, Charisma|
|Electronic Systems||Intelligence, Memory|
|Engineering||Intelligence, Memory / Perception, Willpower|
|Fleet Support||Charisma, Willpower|
|Navigation||Intelligence, Perception / Intelligence, Memory|
|Neural Enhancement||Intelligence, Memory / Charisma, Willpower|
|Planet Management||Intelligence, Memory / Charisma, Intelligence|
|Production||Memory, Intelligence / Intelligence, Memory|
|Resource Processing||Memory, Intelligence / Intelligence, Memory|
|Science||Intelligence, Memory / Memory, Charisma|
|Spaceship Command||Perception, Willpower (beginner) / Willpower, Perception (advanced)|
|Structure Management||Memory, Willpower / Memory, Charisma|
|Subsystems||Intelligence, Memory / Perception, Willpower|
|Trade||Charisma, Memory / Willpower, Charisma / Charisma, Willpower|
As a rough summary:
- Perception and Willpower are very important for combat pilots, since they help you train skills which let you use better ships and weapons, and use your ships and weapons better.
- Memory and Intelligence are very important for industrialists, and still quite important for combat pilots (they're useful for drone skills, fitting skills and tanking skills).
- Charisma is important for traders and mission-runners, and anyone who's training the Leadership skills.
It should be obvious that raising your attribute scores, particularly for skill groups you intend to spend lots of time training, is a very good idea. Ways to do this are discussed in later in this guide.
General Training Strategies
EVEMon is a third party software tool that allows you to make plans on your characters skill training (as well as monitor and plan many other things).
When you first start playing EVE, you may have little idea on what skills you will be needing next week, let alone next month. But after your first few weeks, you will start to form a picture in your mind on what sorts of things you want your character to be able to do, and consequently which skills you'll need. The specific training strategies listed elsewhere in this guide work much better when used together with a long term strategy.
How Many Levels?
As you train higher and higher levels in a skill, you get less benefit for the time invested.
Surgical Strike, for example, gives you a 3% bonus to all turret damage per level - very useful for anyone who uses turrets as their primary weapon system - and has a 4x training time multiplier. You can get your first 3% bonus in a trivially short amount of time: even with basic attribute scores, training Surgical Strike to Level I takes 40 minutes or so. However, with the same basic attribute scores training Surgical Strike from Level IV to V would take nearly 25 days -- and you would still only get 3% more turret damage for your trouble!
For a new character, it is therefore often most efficient to train a useful skill which has a high training multiplier to III or IV and then move on rather than taking it to V straight away. As a rule of thumb, if you use a skill at all it's probably worth training it to III, and if you use a skill regularly it's worth training it to IV.
When your character is older you may well reach a point where you have fewer things you want or need to train - at this point, it may be worth revisiting some skills you left at IV and taking them to V.
There are, however, some skills which it's worth training to V quite early on in your capsuleer career. For combat pilots Navigation, which we used as an example previously on this page, is one such because:
- it has a low training time multiplier (1x)
- it affects a very fundamental aspect of the performance of all of your ships (speed)
- with a substantial bonus (5%)
There are a number of other skills with a similar combination of quick training times and significant, widespread bonuses which are well worth training to V quite early.
Another class of skill which you may find yourself training to V are the so-called 'blackmail' skills which are prerequisites for particularly desirable equipment. On the way to training to fly the Wolf, for example, you would need to train Minmatar Frigate V, Mechanics V and Power Grid Management V. Similarly, on the way to deploying Tech 2 Hobgoblin drones you would need to train Light Drone Operation V and Drones V.
Some skills are worth training to V because of a combination of several of the above reasons. Drones V for example lets you use a full flight of five drones, which is useful on any ship with a drone bay of 25m3 or more - and it's a prerequisite for the excellent Tech 2 drones.
Boosting your Attributes
This section of this guide deals with strategies to help you train skills faster.
Effectively, all of the methods discussed below improve your training times by boosting your character's attributes. This boosting usually comes at a cost of something else; other attributes, money, or time.
Another way to increase your character's attributes is through plugging implants into your head. The first five numbered slots on your character sheet's Augmentations window are for attribute enhancers, implants which each give a bonus (from +1 to +5) to one of your five attributes. Unfortunately, if your pod is destroyed all your implants in the clone piloting it are destroyed as well.
The +1/2/3 implants are relatively cheap and you only need to train Cybernetics I to use them, so it's worth investing in these as soon as you can as, even with the smaller bonuses, they reduce training time by a significant amount. Storyline missions sometimes offer an implant as a reward so if you're running missions you may find yourself collecting some implants. Members of EVE University can also take advantage of the Implant Program to buy significantly discounted +3 implants.
Do note that there are also slot 1-5 implants (sometimes known as Pirate Implants) that also provide other bonuses, in addition to attribute increases. While these are usually more expensive, do check the markets carefully, as sometimes some "Low-Grade" ones, which are +2 to an attribute, are occasionally less expensive than the equivalent +2 implant ("Limited <type> - Beta"). See the list here.
If you're podded any implants you are wearing will be destroyed - you can set up a jump clone with cheaper implants, or no implants at all, and jump into it when you want to PvP to lower the amount of ISK you're putting at risk.
Since the more powerful +4 and +5 implants can be quite expensive, particularly for a newer pilot, one common trick is to arrange your skill plan so that you're only training skills which rely on the same two attributes, and then only plug in attribute enhancers for those two attributes. This way you only have to pay for two implants rather than four or five.
The advantage of implants is that they require minimal training time (Cybernetics only), giving you an immediate boost to training time which can quickly add up to months of time saved. The disadvantage is their cost, coupled with the fact that they are lost if your pod is killed.
Neural remapping doesn't let you boost your attributes overall, but it lets you take points away from one base attribute score and add them to another. The remap interface can be accessed through the Attributes tab of your Character Sheet.
There are a number of rules governing remapping:
- You get a "normal" remap once a year.
- The year timer begins once you use the remap, not when it is granted.
- You can also have 'bonus' remaps. Two of these are granted when you start.
- If you have both normal and bonus remaps available then the normal remap will be used first.
- Once you have used your normal remap and bonus remaps you must wait for the yearly timer to expire to remap again, so plan carefully!
- An attribute's base score may not be raised above 27 or lowered below 17 (the default score for an ability is 19 or 20).
- Any points taken off one attribute must be added to another -- they cannot be 'left over' when you finish remapping.
The common strategy for remapping is to put together a long-term skill plan which majors on skills which use a particular two attributes, and then remap so that you denude all your other attribute scores and pump up those two attributes.
If you create a long skill plan in EveMon, you can use one of the options of its 'Optimize Attributes' function to calculate which arrangement of attributes would be best for the first year of your plan. However, if you're new to the game your future career plans are quite likely to change as you explore the game, so making a year long plan after a few weeks isn't very realistic. Be frugal with your remaps for a little while until you get an idea for what you want to do.
Cerebral accelerators are consumed like boosters and give temporary bonuses to all five of a character's attributes, speeding up their skill training time. These can be acquired through certain in-game events (like the Crimson Harvest) or by buying EVE starter packs. Accelerators acquired through in-game events can only be activated for a limited time (usually a little after the end of the in-game event), after which they will have no effect. Accelerators acquired through starter packs can only be used by characters younger than a certain age, limiting their use to brand-new characters.
|Blood Raider Cerebral Accelerator||+10||24 hours||Crimson Harvest|
|Advanced Blood Raider Cerebral Accelerator||+12|
|Copper Ouroboros Accelerator||+10||12 hours||Shadow of the Serpent|
|Silver Ouroboros Accelerator||72 hours|
|Gold Ouroboros Accelerator||120 hours|
|Prototype Cerebral Accelerator||+9||14 days||Starter Packs|
|Standard Cerebral Accelerator||+3||35 days||Commissioned Officer Edition|
The duration of boosters is extended if you have trained the Biology skill, by 20% per level trained; if you train Biology to level V, the duration of a booster is therefore doubled. For example, with Biology V trained, a Blood Raider Cerebral Accelerator will last 48 hours instead of the 24 shown in the table above.
Neural remapping, is essential for mid- or long-term planning (compiling mid or long term skill plans can be made using external tools such as EveMon) and can help you cut several days or weeks of the training time needed to finish such a plan. Please remember that a fresh character is given only two chances to remap and after you used both remap, the next remap will only be available after one year of playtime, so use them carefully.
As a note, new players are not recommended to use their second remap within their first weeks of playing, the reason for this is that most skill plans made by that time will change based on what you (will) know and learn during the time you spent playing EVE Online.
After you know what you are planning for, and can make at least a mid- or long-term plans for things you want to do in EVE (which would probably be a several months or a year skill plan), you can begin to calculate an appropriate remap for the plan, this can be done using the help of EveMon's attribute optimizer or by common sense. You can try to experiment changing the remaps on the EveMon attribute simulator and see which skills are affected positively (trained quicker) and which skills will took longer to train using that remap, skills that took longer to train (because of a higher multiplier or if you are training these skills to higher levels) would be affected much more by appropriate remaps in long term rather than skills in which can be trained quickly.Several things you need to know before you decide to remap your attributes (since later on, you will only have the chance to do this once a year):
- You know which attributes are important to any given skill categories (for example, Perception and Willpower are very important for combat pilots while Memory and Intelligence are very important for industrialists)
- You know what the skills are for a given role or category (for example, Battlecruiser skill is a combat oriented skill in which perception and willpower are important)
- You have at least a plan for what you will be doing in Eve for the next six months or a year and can plan it accordingly.
- You know that remaps can only be done once a year and that it will affect your training time greatly.
- You are sure that the plans you have made are suitable for what and how you want to play the game and it includes a majority of core skills needed to pilot the ships you want.
New Player Strategies
New players get 3 initial remaps to spend, one normal remap and 2 bonus remaps. This might sound like a lot, but that's still 4 months per remap, and that's assuming you don't want to keep a bonus remap for next year.
While making a skill plan in EveMon and getting it to calculate your remaps for you sounds good in theory, a new player is still exploring the game and your interests will change as you discover new aspects. Nonetheless, there are some fairly safe initial strategies to use.
At the beginning of the game, almost all players will need skills from:
- Navigation (Intelligence / Perception)
- Electronics, Engineering and Mechanics (Intelligence / Memory)
- Spaceship Command (Perception / Willpower)
Combat oriented pilots will also need:
- Gunnery and/or Missiles (Perception / Willpower)
- Drones (Memory / Perception)
Miners and Industrialists will need:
- Resource Processing, Science and Production (Intelligence / Memory)
Traders will need:
- Trade (Charisma / Willpower)
If you look at these skills you'll see that two attributes crop up more than any others: Intelligence and Perception. Willpower and Memory are secondary attributes for several things (with the exception of Drones) and Charisma isn't required for any major skill groups unless you're a trader. Note that Willpower is the primary attribute for several skills in the Spaceship Command tree, but only for advanced ship skills, which at this point you'll be training rarely compared to the basic ship skills. As such, a good strategy is to keep your initial remap for a few weeks and train basic skills in all of the main skill groups you need, including Social and Trade. Unless you're going to be a hardcore trader (in which case stop reading here and consult a more detailed guide for traders), you should then spend a remap to place all of your attributes in Intelligence and Perception. More combat oriented pilots should put a few more points in to Perception and more industrial pilots should invest a little more in Intelligence. This remap should serve you well for most of your first year, at which point you should have seen enough of the game to reliably make your own long term skill plans.
While training lots of skills to level III will give you many bonuses and a lot of options in a short time, being mediocre at many things is fun, but not very efficient. You can only have one ship in space at a time, so while being able to fly a Retriever and a Hurricane is nice, you can't mine and do level 3 missions at the same time, meaning that whichever you're currently doing you're not using a lot of your skill points. On the other hand, if you'd focused fully on mining or combat, you could be flying a Hulk or a Maelstrom instead and making a lot more ISK at your chosen activity (at the expense of not being able to do the other at all). This principle also applies within professions - having mediocre skills in a Drake and Hurricane is nice, but you can only fly one at a time. Variety is the spice of life, and being able to play several aspects of the game makes it much more fun, but be aware that when joining a non-training corporation, they will probably want you to have a "specialization" of some sort, be it EWAR, damage dealing in a particular ship, logistics, mining or manufacturing.
Another aspect of specialization is training all of the skills to use a ship effectively, and to high levels. Let's take the Drake for example. The minimum requirements to fly one and shoot missiles out of it is Caldari Cruiser III, Caldari Battlecruiser I, Missile Launcher Operation III and Heavy Missiles I. However, if you train only these skills and try to fly a Drake, it will perform abysmally. Many extra skills are required to fly a ship effectively, such as fitting and capacitor skills, tanking skills, weapon skills, drone skills and the specific ship skill (in this case Caldari Battlecruiser). Even with all of these trained to level III, you will still frequently be beaten in PvP by a pilot who has properly specialized in the ship and trained these skills to IV or V and trained for Tech 2 modules and weapons.
Ways to Plan
Here are three ways to organise your skill training around a particular focus or goal. These are certainly not the only ways to plan skill training - they're offered here only as examples.
- Training in short spurts designed to get the prerequisites to use a particular ship or module. These spurts are unlikely to ever be much more than a few weeks or a month long.
- This method gives you the regular gratification of being able to use shinier stuff, but is probably an inefficient way to use your attributes and may miss important support skills that would make your ships and modules much more powerful.
- Training in several-month-long stints designed to allow you to fly a particular ship or class of ships at peak or near peak performance, with all the relevant skills at IV or V. Several such stints can be combined to make a skill plan that lasts a year or more.
- This method will make you a more reliable pilot, but requires more patience and dedication, and research to find out which support skills you need.
- Training in blocks each lasting a year or more, organised around the year-long time limit on neural remaps, and designed to eventually create a highly-skilled character.
- So you might remap to boost Intelligence and Memory, then only train skills that rely on those two attributes for a year or more, before remapping to Perception and Willpower and focusing on skills that require those two attributes for another year.
- This method uses your attributes very efficiently, resulting in an overall shorter training time. But it's also very boring since your character will probably be quite useless, with big holes in their skillsheet, for a year or more.
The first method is good for new players since it offers the interest of regularly being able to use new equipment. Avoiding long-term planning when you're new can actually be a good thing, since you may change your mind about your long-term career goals in Eve. Deciding that actually you want to be a small ship, Gallente-flying manufacturer and explorer just after you've remapped for a two-year long Amarr-focused battleship fleet PvP skillplan is very inconvenient!
The second and third methods are more useful for older players who have a clear and fixed idea of what they want to do. The third method in particular is very boring, and is best suited to alts which are being skilled for a specific purpose (such as piloting supercapital ships) or to older characters who already have a good grounding in support skills and skills that let you do entertaining things while you chew through a list of month-long level V trains.
- The skill tree maps page to get a visual representation of the skill trees
- The support skills page for a discussion of particular skillsets
- The Skill trading page on the usage for skill injectors and extractors
- The Magic 14 page lists fourteen fundamental skills which apply to every single ship that a player can pilot in Eve