Skill Tiericide: Fitting skills


Eve is a game of choices. Every choice you make will impact your efficiency, your future, it will expose you to weaknesses and can even have a huge impact on the cluster. But Eve is also a game of complexity and intricacy. Layers upon layers – this complexity makes Eve a game of knowledge and dedication.

Game of Bloat

A few months ago I stumbled across two posts from Rixx Javix discussing the difference between bloat and complexity. While complexity is great for the game, bloat is a slow death for Eve. It can constrain everyone to a singular path, removing meaningful choice. Bloat can also block the road to positive change for the game, adding constraints that any changes have to take into account. ExtraCreditz covered depth vs. complexity in this excellent video.

At that time, I was working on skill plans for my alliance and my alts and it got me thinking about skill tiericide. That’s how I met Beboparebop, over on Tweetfleet Slack (you can ask for an invite here thanks to Steve Ronuken). While we were talking about a skill tiericide article, the question of fitting skill was raised.

Does it fit ?

Skills in Eve have two purposes: raising your efficiency or unlocking new possibilities. Anchoring structures, manning POS guns, using new modules and ships or making a class of ships and modules more efficient are a few examples. There used to be two exceptions: learning skills and fitting skills.

Learning skills were passively enhancing you, making them mandatory and creating a threshold that you needed to go through before making meaningful choices. Additionally, their purpose was conflicting with the essential mechanic that determines the speed at which a skill is learned, namely attributes – something that I could and should dedicate an entire article to.

Fitting skills passively enhance all the ships you can fly. They are mandatory for most of the fits that are considered acceptable. They allow access to a great number of choices, but are themselves not choices that require a balance of weaknesses and strength to achieve a goal. They force you into a funnel, the opposite of choice. You don’t fit the wrong module because you are bad at theorycrafting, but because you can’t do otherwise. They also collide with the real mechanism of fitting: the slot distribution and PG/CPU load.

I think I broke it…

Do you see the pattern here? Fitting skills are in the same place that learning skills were in. There is also another negative aspect to them: they create an invisible powergrid and CPU threshold and make balancing ships hard. Balancing ships for the “All at V” level means that levels below that may be unable to fit effectively.

First of all, here are some basic fits to show you with hard numbers the difference between having all skills at V and at 0. (I realise this isn’t possible in the game, but it’s to help illustrate the issue).

Here is a basic Caracal fit that we regularly see. There’s a 156.2 CPU and 276 powergrid change between the two characters. So just over 30% of this Caracal’s designed limit.


Our next piece is a fit I borrowed from an alliance mate, here is a dual-propped Taranis. In this case it’s a 31 CPU and 11.38 powergrid difference. Not as great a difference, but still a solid 20%.


Basically, what we get is fitting skills impacting different classes of ships and different types of skills differently. This creates an imbalance. It’s not a design i can get behind.

How to make it work

This series is not just about challenging bad game design, however. There has to be a balance and I would offer alternatives. As much as possible, I want to propose change and solutions to the problem. My working ideas are the following.



  • Game design has to be consistent. If there is a goal to why there are skills in Eve, they should all follow that goal.



  • Skills are a tool to specialise and commit your character. They are choices you make about what you want to do with that character, so they should be polarising and specific.



  • Commitment has to be rewarding. If you commit to a path, you should be better in that path than players that did not make that choice.



  • As much as possible, do not reimburse skills. Always try to change them.



With that in mind, let’s see what changes I landed at with the help of Beboparebop. First of all, get rid of all CPU and PG bonus on skills. Then it is possible to refactor them to the following list:



  • CPU Management – Remove and refund SP.



  • PG Management – Remove and refund SP.



  • Shield Upgrades – 5% increase in shield HP provided by shield extenders



  • Weapon Upgrades – 3% increase to damage modifiers on all Weapon Upgrades modules.



  • Advanced Weapon Upgrades – 2% increase to rate of fire on Weapons Upgrades modules.



  • Electronics Upgrades – 5% increase in scanners and signal amplifier modules.



  • Energy Grid Upgrades – Get rid of that effect and just keep it to unlock things. Alternatively, give a 5% increase to capacitor modules and passive shield modules.



  • Mining Upgrades : 5% increase to mining upgrade modules.



Then you have to modify all the ships and modules of Eve that are impacted. First change the total PG and CPU on ships, bringing them up by 25% – the same as with CPU and PG Management at V. Then, change the powergrid and CPU of all weapons, and the damage/rate of fire on all Weapons Upgrades modules to compensate for the change made to skills. Low SP pilots will deal a bit less damage but fit things more easily. All in all, that should compensate. Rebalance all modules that are impacted to equal to an actual all level V pilot.

Eve is easy?

I don’t think I can leave you without speaking about the new player experience. Yes, obviously the issues caused by fitting skills mainly impact new characters. When thinking about skills and skill tiericide, I try to never orient my suggestions toward a specific player type. That’s why there is nothing about the new player experience in my rules. I believe that the best way to help a new player is to make Eve a good game. One that is well designed.

So my decisions as far as suggestions in this series are based on gameplay health and consistency. I am not asking that all those skills be removed, nor to dumb Eve down. I think that, by making all choices meaningful and getting rid of constrained paths, it will be possible to create space for new mechanics and new layers of complexity in Eve. Getting rid of bad game design decisions may open the field for new features and exciting possibilities.

I would like to thank Beboparebop for his help in the theorycrafting for this article.

Tags: diana, game design, skills, tiericide

About the author

Diana Olympos

Diana Olympos is one part logistics mastermind, one part avid fan of EWAR, sprinkled in with newbro training . Known as “the strange French guy”, he has the bad habit of overthinking every aspect of the game . He flies with Phoebe Freeport Republic in nullsec.

  • somal

    If you’re going to compare an all 5 character with absolute noobs, you should at least fit compact mods and meta guns and so on.

    • Diana Olympos

      You know it is not the point to compare with noob? It is clearly said that it is not about new players…

  • fdaffds

    Also remove learning implants – either with or without +5 to base attributes. It doesn’t offer choice, other than discouraging ppl from pvping or nullsec, both of which is bad for Eve’s health.

    • Kalestu

      It doesn’t offer choice? What?

      You can chose if you want to pay some ISK to get faster training or chose to not pay isk and train slower. How does it add more “choice” to the game if you remove this mechanic?

      • Gothmog3vz

        He means that people won’t undock because they don’t want to lose their “expensive implants”.

        I honestly think that’s a load of shit, I’ve been PVP’ing in implants since I could afford them, including +4’s, and I just cbf to train for the 5’s. We have jumpclones for a reason if you know you’re not coming back with the pod, but some people just can’t stand not-training at optimal sp, and don’t want to lose the isk (haven’t heard “don’t fly what you cant afford to lose”, I guess). Those are the people killing the game, not the SP/implant mechanics or whatever the strawman argument of the month is (fitting skills starting at 4 instead of 5).

        • Niko Lorenzio

          Same. Learning implants are fine. Especially now that we have jump clones and they don’t even require standings to use.

    • implants

      Exactly. Learning implants, just like learning skills, restricts choices rather than provide them – it’s something that all new players must get, or be gimped from that day forward forever. To newbies, there’s only one choice – avoid pvp, avoid nullsec, be unable to use Crystals/Slaves, etc. while you train up basic skills.

      • dagger906

        Choices like Learning Implants/Learning Skills/Fitting Implants are what’s called “Easy Choices.”

        Another example of “Easy Choice” is “you can play Eve, or you can biomass.” The choice is there – it’s just an easy one.

        But yes, “easy choices” are reflective of bad game design, and should be fixed so that they’re not so easy.

  • Fayral

    It doesn’t take long to get skills to 4 with the exception of AWU, as it requires WU 5. Comparing to zero skills does help illustrate the “issue”, but is incredibly realistic. Add in the differences between fitting skills at 4 (AWU 0) and see how big of an issue it is.

    Eve is a complex game and there are a myriad of options to make a fit work aside from training the skills you mentioned to a perfect state. Meta modules, downsizing one mod, rigging skills, fitting mods and rigs and cheap implants.

    Keep it how it is.

    • CM

      You missed the point of the article I think. They are meaningless skills and only serve to lengthen out the new player training times. Sure 4 is fine but 5 is critical for at least half a dozen skills. Why force new players to go through that?

      I agree with the author that skills should serve to diversify a character not need to be trained just to be able to fit things. There are a lot of doctrine fits that require AWU 4 and that is not a short train for a new player. That’s the equivalent of training a T2 weapon system.

      • Nemanja Djordjevic

        Yes, it is true that they lengthen the new player training times but as a new player that started PvPing immediately after making the character with wooping 55k SP, I was very, VERY happy when I could finally upgrade my meta to T2 as a result of training a fitting skill. It still adds something valuable.

      • Kalestu

        You know that i might add on the same argument “doctrine fits are not accessible for new players” –
        that one those are made by players, not CCP – as such players could change that
        and two most doctrines consist of T2 ships or T2 weapon systems to fit properly anyways…why not remove those skills on the same argument as well, because doctrines demand them anyway and this is not a short train for new players?

        (Yes, i am overexagerating a lot here…but i just think that the argument about doctrine fittings is a bit weak, as people could just provide 95% as effective fittings as an intro for new players into doctrines)

  • Danmal

    The same would be accomplished w/o reimbursement by giving a newbro a number of lvl 5s and most level 4s in the core fitting skills. The argument for doing so, that is, for giving newbros somewhere between 2-5 M SP, has been made over and over by newbie friendly veterans. They are generally opposed by bittervet oldbros who believe that having been logged off from the game or tapped their foot for two to three months constitutes some irrevocable privilege on their part that must persist.

    However, the changes proposed here achieve nothing else than would giving newbros more SP to start with, except that they are more complicated and that they might limit choice regarding these skills from CCP. More generally, I think the post is too focused on a small aspect of a much larger and more important problem: how to make the newbro at least theoretically useful on day one.

    • Kalestu

      …without making throw-away alt chars on “bitter-vets” too OP.

      Sorry but you are forgetting quite some things with that proposal.

      • Zadan Tyvianne

        ya that is the main problem with increasing starting sp, you then make throw away alts more powerful, there is ccps main problem in regards to this type of thing how to help the newbros, while balancing it such that bittervets can’t abuse the hell out of it

    • Actually Undocks

      “More generally, I think the post is too focused on a small aspect of a
      much larger and more important problem: how to make the newbro at least
      theoretically useful on day one.”

      Newbros are useful on day one. If you haven’t found that to be the case, then either your newbros are retarded, or (more likely) the people teaching them are retarded.

  • Kalestu

    Sorry but just no. You can’t expect me to take an article seriously that compares All5 to “All0”, a state which doesn’t exist in the game.

    Compare things to a starting toon and not this artificial bs that just overexagerates the point you are trying to make…

    Yes there is a difference in fitting options for new characters and yes they will need to train some skills up higher…however the only really annoying skill in this regard is AWU (maybe WU to some extend). The rest of them (the low rank basics) helpt to make people think about fitting options and how to adjust fittings if they don’t work out as planned….

  • Joe

    None of my trade Alts or cyno Alts have maxed out fitting skills. For this reason these Alts are much more limited than other characters.

    And this is a good thing because of my choices. My actions in game with my main have more significance because I took the time to increase the core skills. It’s true you probably can’t solo pvp in month 1 very well. But that has as much to do with t2 guns, and weapon, speed, spaceship, and tank skills as anything.

    Eve is a role playing game that requires character development. It’s not a first person shooter where you are just as effective as the first day you spawned.
    My point is your proposal makes Alts even more powerful and gives players even less reason to care about their mains.

  • Jago Strum

    can you at least be a little honest and do the comparison with meta mods? Then again with the skill a player actually starts at and not all zero or you could just edit pyfa and make the skills -5 that will really show your point.

  • AFK

    Almost EVERY game makes you level up before you can fit the orange gear and get better stats, so if that is bad design then obviously every game in history is badly designed.

    What you mean to say is that EVE’s pointless arbitrarily time-gated passive skill training drudgery is the problem, a system that makes no sense and is used by almost no other game ever because why tf would they??

    • Diana Olympos

      Well you know… maybe it is the point of the required skills for T2 modules…

  • eve player

    I disagree with you! ignoring the V compared to 0 (which isn’t
    in game) a newer player can fit decent enough ships early on. Your Caracal
    example, the newer player would simply meta down all those T2 mods with lower
    versions, they have been performing tiercide and there are modules with lower
    fitting requirements. If there is still a PG and CPU issue he knows where to

    If anything it should be clearer within the fitting tool
    programs as to which skills to train to bring those red CPU/PG options into

    • Diana Olympos

      If you look at my article i say clearly that it is NOT about new players, i even think that change would be worst.

      It is about things making some sense.

      • Niko Lorenzio

        They make plenty of sense as is. You can use good fits with decent skills but if you want to squeeze the min max you train fittings skills to specialize. It’s a choice, not a mandatory funnel.

  • Leo2014

    > “Then you have to modify all the ships and modules of Eve that are impacted.”

    Since every ship and a very large number of modules would need to be reworked, this raises the question of what you are gaining for so much developer time.

    Since you only result in a ship having lvl V fitting skills built in, it is hard to justify the amount of time needed to make this change. Yes it helps low SP characters, but part of fitting skills is keeping a character from fully realizing the potential of a ship right away.

    Fitting skills while not much of a choice are not that different than a weapon skill. You can shoot a small beam laser with 1 level of training but you are funneled into training it more levels to be of any value. The fitting skills determines what kind of fits you can use. Newbros have to use sub-optimal fits, but that is part of progressing. Especially with Tier 1 ships, max fitting skills are not even needed to get good fits. When you move up to higher tiers of some ships you really need high fitting skills to get T2 long range weapons to fit without big sacrifices. But, then that is also making more choices: Do you skill into a ship that you can’t fit optimally or do you skill up fitting skills first and get the most out of that ship you want to fly?

    I think you over simplify bad fits. Many with an elitist view will call out bad fits on ships, but often times it is sub-optimal but not really bad. And there is a difference.

    Also, there would be no market for half the modules in the game if everyone could fit the optimal module all the time.

    While I agree some skill trees and some fitting skills could be redesigned to offer more compelling choices, I don’t think this is the right approach at this time.

    • Diana Olympos

      The optimal module is not only dependant of your fitting skills. It depends of the ship and what you aim to do with it. Of your other modules fitted. Etc. There is no optimal module on the market, only options.

      The fitting skills force you into some options.

      • Leo2014

        “some options” means choices.

        Only training missiles skills forces you into limited high slot options. Ships with turret hard points are no longer an option for your skills either.

        yes what you can fit is dependent on several factors, but that does not diminish fitting skills as a way to slow progression into the most optimal choices.

        • Diana Olympos

          The thing is, there is no “most optimal choices”. There are your choice. And anything limiting you in your choice that is not a choice in itself is not what eve is about.

          Here you are choosing a meta module, not to get a bit more of PG/CPU. Not because you decided to specialise in another part of eve.

          No you are choosing the meta mod because you have no choice. Not even the choice to make a bad choice.

          • Leo2014

            This is not really true. I have been skilled into some T2 modules and choses to use a Meta module so I would have more PG/CPU for another module that I wanted to fit. Typically with AB/MWD I will choose the downgrade here so I can fit a full rack of T2 weapons or a T2 tracking comp etc.

            I have seen posted fits for people with all Vs and there is a note that fitting implants are needed to make the fit work. The other option is to downgrade to a meta module somewhere in the fit. Less optimal but still functional.

            Not all fits work and the ones that do depend on your skills. Anything you have not trained for removes choices and you are “forced” to “choose” something else. That is the basic design of the game, I don’t see how you say these particular skills are different.

            I do agree they add less flavor and less direct benefit than other skills but that does not, by itself, justify the effort needed to remove them. If a massive skill system redesign were planned, I would say yes look at changing these skills or removing them and consider rolling longer training time into the more flavorful skills.

            If I have not trained into T2 weapons I have no choice but to fit meta ones. Just because I can’t equip T2 weapons yet, does not mean the option is not available to me down the road. Arguing that I am choosing a meta mod because I have no choice does not make sense.

            To illustrate: A skilled mechanic should be able to get more performance out his car than the average Joe that knows nothing about cars.

            I can see we have 2 different views on this and will not likely agree. My view is fitting skills are support skill that need to be trained in addition to skills that directly do other stuff for you. They help keep progression from going to fast, and force decisions to made along the way as a pilot gains SP as to what ships and modules they will be able to fly.

  • Gary

    Fitting skills are there for specialisation. By not training them, you have to use lower-pg meta modules over T2.

    As for them affecting all ships, they don’t. They affect specific ships. Weapon upgrades does nothing for freighters, nor for my noctis, nor mining barges, nor exploration ships.

    If you want to make affects-everything skills mandatory, start by looking at shield/armor/hull HP, capacitor capacity, capacitor regen, flight speed, align speed… I don’t see you complaining about these.

    • Diana Olympos

      Well then why do you have to train other skills to unlock T2 ? Isn’t that the specialisation you are talking about ?

  • Ethikos

    I understand your points above, but I must disagree with them. For myself, you are starting to hit one of the aspects that makes me love EvE so much. There is complexity in the game and there is a time element in the game. It takes time to learn and it takes time to be able to utilize various things.

    Removing the CPU and Power skills is a step down a very slippery slope in my opinion. The same arguments above could be extended to granting all the requirements to fly all ships in the game, use all weapons, etc at day one. I equate skills in EvE with “levels” in other MMOs. It takes time to get them, the awesome part about EvE is that you can train while your offline and just because you have the IG skill does not mean you have the expertise to utilize it to full effect.

    As someone who is still relatively new to the game (started in 2013, new from my view), I fully support the need to train those skills and understand why they are so important. Besides, unless my memory is failing me most of them are x1 or x2 skills and thus fairly quick trains.

    • Diana Olympos

      If you look at my article i say clearly that it is NOT about new players, i even think that change would be worst.

      It is about things making some sense.

  • Niko Lorenzio

    Yeah…. Can’t support this, sorry. First of all with skills you don’t have to get it to 5. 3-4 is plenty. You have fitting rigs, modules and implants to help with tight fittings as well as a whole range of modules with lower fitting costs. This is not the same as learning skills. You should not always try to train fitting to 5. In fact that’s a bad decision IMO. The only one I would support is changing the AWU as I think it’s a bit too high for a basic fitting skill and could serve a different role.

  • JZ909

    I agree, I’ve always found it annoying that you have to train Advanced Weapon Upgrades 5 to fly a competitive Rifter (and yes, I have a Rifter fit with .7 PG left, at all level 5, so don’t anyone tell me I don’t need it).

    My idea to solve it would be to make it so that lower tier/smaller ships only benefit from lower levels of fitting skills, but obtain greater benefits, and then separate the skills from each other so you could get all level 1 fitting skills without wasting time on skills you don’t need just to start training a fitting skill you do need. That way, it’s quick and easy to be competitve with smaller ships, but as you get into larger/more advanced ships, it takes more time to get good.

  • Solaris Vex

    +1 The first time I bought a T1 cruiser I was mad that I had to spend a week training fitting skills despite being able to use all the mods. It still irritates me every time I make a new alt.

  • Bozo

    Train (pick weapon system of your choice) specialization to 5: you have an advantage over that newbie who only has it to (less than 5), at the cost of sinking a month’s worth of training that won’t have gone elsewhere.
    Train Advanced Weapons Upgrades to 5: you have an advantage over that same newbie in that you can make a more effective fit (though there are lots of fits that don’t require AWU5).
    In either case, you’ve spend a month’s worth of training in order to acquire a lasting advantage, and some people complain about the learning curve.

    I have toons with decent amounts of SPs that have bad fitting skills, because they never needed them (and yes, they do undock). I like that EvE Players have to make choices.

    So yes, in my opinion, removing fitting skills would be dumbing down the game.

    TL-DR: one thumb down for the OP’s idea from me.