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Expert Systems Feature Coming To EVE Online, Though Not Without Controversy

Joseph Bradford Posted:
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CCP Games announced its upcoming Expert Systems coming to EVE Online, though the new feature isn't without its controversy already.

CCP Games made the announcement via the EVE Online website, outlining what Expert System are and what they are  intended to provide. As a way to help new players navigate EVE Online's complex skill system, CCP is going to be selling Expert Systems, which are a group of skills designed around one of the core gameplay concepts of EVE. This could include skills aimed at helping players learn mining, or ship operation to start exploring right away.

Skills in EVE Online take real world time to train, meaning that in order to start flying that really cool Astero to explore, or jump beyond a simple Retriever for mining ore, players can wait days, even sometimes weeks and months before they can fly their new fit. Skill points are available as Skill Injectors on the in-game market, and CCP sells packages in the EVE Store that offer new players a sizeable stack of skill points in order to fast track the skill queue, but it can be expensive, both in game and out. 

CCP's solution to help new players decide if they like a chosen playstyle before that have to spend a week or so training the skills for it, is to give them a preview of sorts of what it's like to fly with the skills enabled. Expert Systems essentially injects the player with the skills needed to pilot more advanced ships and do more in the game, giving new players a taste of what's to come.

The Expert Systems still allow for players to train skills normally as well, and the skills injected with the expert system can't be extracted and sold on the in-game market. Additionally, if a pilot dies, the Expert Systems skills don't die with the clone, working much like Accelerators do currently in the MMO.

CCP said that "over 1.3 million distinct human beings" tried their hand at EVE Online in 2020, the team at the Icelandic development studio is still focused on ensuring that the new player experience is one that helps newbies get into the harsh world of EVE Online. 

From the news post:

"Expert Systems will provide a solution for players who want to try a profession without committing fully to the skill training it will require - whilst not undercutting the value of skill training, Skill Points and Skill Injectors. The first of these products to become available will be focused on exploration, mining, and the core skills required to operate spaceships in EVE (commonly referred to as the ‘Magic 14’)."

However, the system to many EVE vets right now feels like a way for CCP to pinch more money out of the wallets of its player-base. Forum posters commenting on the new announcement don't seem that jazzed for the new feature, and even less jazzed knowing it will take real-world money to unlock. Users are calling the new system a "rip off" in response to the fact CCP is charging new players for temporary skills, while others also point out that while the system allows the ability to fly new ships, it won't give them the tools to do so as well, noting that they will still need the ship to make full use of the skills.

One player laments the fact that this is a tool locked away from the in-game market by only being able to be obtained on the website store. The same poster talks about missed potential with this new system, such as a way for Alliances and corps to help new players along by giving them this package. 

It will be interesting to see how this pans out for CCP long term, and whether or not the feedback to the Expert Systems from veteran players impacts the feature moving forward. This all comes with the backdrop of the news that CCP missed some performance targets for 2019-2020, which will have an effect on the purchase price (decreasing 47% per the report) of the studio from Korean publisher Pearl Abyss. 


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore