Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jack of all trades, master of none?

In some MMOs (WOW and just about every other major MMO except Eve, I'm looking at you!), the decisions you make when you create your character dramatically impact what path you will take in the game. If you choose to play a warrior class, you will not be able to heal, for instance. If you are a mage, you can't pick up a sword and duke it out in melee combat.

Eve is different, as I'm sure you know. You can train any skill and (eventually) fly any ship in the game, no matter what decisions you make when you create your character. You can become a PvPer, miner, industrialist, market player, pirate, explorer, mission runner, etc. no matter what kind of character you start as. In fact, if you have enough time, you could become all of the above assuming you have enough money to train the appropriate skills.

This is both a blessing and a curse. For a new player, you can jump into the game and start training one set of skills for one play style, then find out you don't like it and change without too much of a penalty. This is a definite plus since new players (myself included) have absolutely no idea what you can do in the game let alone what play style they are going to enjoy. The downside is that the plethora of options can make it difficult to decide what skills to train next.

For a more experienced player, the biggest problem comes in the old saying "Jack of all trades, master of none". It is very easy to get yourself into this position in Eve, where you try to train skills to support 2, 3, or more play styles that don't really complement each other (think pirate/miner). Unless you have a huge amount of time, you are never going to become really good at either role.

I guess the question is: does it matter? I'm asking because I'm looking at my EveMon training plan and it is quite a jack of all trades extravaganza. I have trained tons of mining, up to exhumers and would even love to fly an Orca. However, I'm also actively pursuing battleships and want to fly a combat capital ship as well. Does this make sense, or would I be better off focusing on one play style (i.e., mining) and get really good at it?

I'm not just asking a rhetorical question here. I'm really open to suggestions. Please post a comment and let me know what you think.


  1. I think this is a game...and it's meant to have fun. If you want to be a jack of all trades, then do it. I have my main character as a jack of all trades...I train what I want, when I want.

    I do have evehq to guide me on each path I decide to take at the time I decide to take it...but I normally end up only getting 25% through before I switch back and forth to something else.

    You can always get a second account for specialization :)

  2. make your life EASIER pick 1 RACE to start with.

    Wnat to be jack of all trades fly different ships in that RACE, switching races adds 10X more complexity that you want.

    EVERY race has a good Miner, PVP, PVE type..

    So if you stick with 1 RACE to start with (yes even the idiotic Caldari) you will be able to Mine, PVP, PVE etc....

    Some are better at some things than others:
    PVP : Amarr/Gallenete
    PVE: Caldari
    PVP/PVE Minmatar

    Of these three the most cimplex is the be REALLY good you have to have BOTH armor skilsl AND shield skills plus Artilery + Missile skills.

    You can PvP in Caladri boats ( but mainly the T2 cruisers in that race) nothing is an absolute certainty.

  3. I appreciate the input. I think I've done a lot of training in mining, so I'm going to switch for a bit and work on training offensive skills. Then after that we'll have to see.

    Ugh, choices, choices, choices...

  4. What I do is pick a ship and then master it to the point where I can fly the ship and the modules on it with "elite" skills (i.e. level 4 or 5 in relevant skills). Then I pick a new ship and do the same.

  5. I agree with Kirith here.
    I've not quite followed that path closely myself, but in general I think it's best to stick with one "Topic" until you either master it, decide you don't like it, or it starts to (temporarily) bore you.
    Then switch and explore something else.
    My Main is such a Jack but then egain he maxed out certain areas with the currently available skills.
    I've been playing a good long time, so your argument holds, that one could - in theory - become perfect in everything ... eventually. :)
    But who'd want to?