I’ve played EVE Online off and on for about 4 years. In terms of skill points, I’m still a noob. I have however, had my share of adventures where war decs, the bane of new corporations, provided most of the excitement. Since then I’ve come and gone solo which is fine. I like company in game well enough but EVE is definitely a game that caters to my frequent need for quiet isolation. I’ve found the PVE encounters diverse enough that when combined with salvaging and making money for bigger ships and better equipment, I’m entertained while I’m subscribed.
I often use BattleClinic as a source for finding good ship configurations, commonly referred to as loadouts. To date my focus had been on PVE frigate and destroyer configurations. Given these are ships for newer players I’d never seen any with items in the rig slots. I recall wondering what they were but since they were always empty I never dug any further – until now.
Fitting a Noctis
The first loadout I saw with items fitted into the rig slots was returned in my search on the Noctis, a ship recently introduced specifically for salvaging. Like many players, I’d been doing salvage in a destroyer class ship. In my case that was a Catalyst. Even though I’m not planning to do as much PVE and hence less salvaging this time around, the range bonuses on the Noctis were good enough that it was worth buying since I could easily afford to have one.
There are some obvious fitting choices for a Noctis and I had a good idea of what I wanted/needed to do in the other slots but I like to validate my ideas some because I’m still very new in the scope of things, playing EVE. When the highest rated loadout showed rig fittings, it became time for me to figure out their purpose.
Rigs are to ships what implants are to players, permanent modifications to boost particular attributes. You can change rigs but the one being replaced is destroyed. It's similar to how glyphs used to operate in World of Warcraft. Depending on the bonus, the rig can be extremely expensive because of the components needed to manufacture them. Therefore people don't replace them lightly or fit them into ships that have a high probability of going BOOM.
I found all of the information very interesting because I've spent a good deal of time salvaging in EVE. You could say, I specialized in being a junk salesman. On occasion, my salvaging returned damaged circuit boards that I knew people used to manufacture rigs. I just hadn’t bothered to find out the purpose of a rig. All I cared about was salvaging one and selling it. Now that I knew what they were for and wanted to use them in my own ships, I had to have the necessary skills.
Bye-bye Learning Skills
CCPs removal of Learning Skills from the game and the subsequent refund of skill points to players that had trained them, allowed me to apply skills to some basic training I’d yet to acquire. As a result, when I completed another two skills in real time, 7 new certifications were awarded to me. WOOT! The two skills I trained in real time were to use rigs (Armor Rigging and Jury Rigging). Rigs are an important element in fine tuning a ship for its intended purpose and your particular play-style.
As a nice side bonus to all of this, for the first time, all of the ships I've recently fitted are capacity stable. Hell I wasn’t so sure that was possible to achieve since I’d never been able to do it before. You can fly cap unstable but if you need to use special modifications that use cap when activated you won't be using them for very long. I still think that's a common occurrence in ship configurations. However, in my case, I realize was the result of not training some of the basic skills.
If you’ve never played EVE, you might be wondering how you cannot have trained basic skills. It’s because there is no linear progression enforced on you in EVE. There are prerequisites but nothing that forces you down a set path. For that reason, many new players choose training based on having selected a ship and using a tool that spits out the training you need to fly it and configure it.
I know I’m not alone in having taken that approach. And if you continue in that fashion, raining what is needed to use what you want next, you can leave a lot of holes. I think this is one of the reasons the Certification Planner was implemented. It suggests basic tracks of training that can be mapped back to the various roles that can be played. And even that's not a perfect science because EVE is a sandbox and as such, there are no real rules that spell out the “right way” to play.
Anywho – I’m glad to have finally learned about and trained to use rigs. I’m glad that CCP did away with the Learning skills tree. Clearly, there were skills more important to my game play than the ones tied up in the Learning tree. Being able to instantly reassign them was a great in-game holiday treat.