How do skills work in EVE?
Your Skill Points (SP) determine the limits of your character’s abilities in Eve. You can own 10,000,000,000 isk in ships and modules and be totally unable to fly or use them properly if you don’t have the required skills.
This guide will hopefully explain how 'leveling up' works in EVE, through use of skills and skill points. If all of this is too much for you, hopefully you at least retain the knowledge/reminder from this guide to always keep your clone upgraded as to not actually lose skill points throughout the course of your life in EVE. If you are looking for detailed information on a specific skill, see Skillbooks.
How to Train a Skill
To train a skill, open your character sheet, done by clicking on your character's portrait, which is located in the upper left region of the screen by default. When the Character Sheet windows appears, click on the Skills tab in the lower-left window pane. In the right window pane, you will see a series of tabs, including teh Skills tab, Skill History, and Settings; for now, click on the skills tab. Skills are divided into catagories, so you may need to expand a few before you find the skill you want to train.
Once you've found the skill you'd like to train, right click on the skill and select "Train now to level (x)". Later, you'll probably want to explore the skill queue.
Using the Training Queue
Once you've opened the skill tab as described above, click on the Open Training Queue button. This will open the Training Queue window. The left window pane represents the skills that you can train, and the right indicates skills that are already in your training queue. You may add any number of skills that will train in 24 hours, but the last skill added to the training queue can exceed this 24-hour limit. This is especially useful to you as a new player, since many early skills will take up to a few hours to train, and you won't miss a beat.
Basics of Skill Training
SP are earned over time, whether your character is online or offline.
In simplified terms, a basic skill like Electronics will take 15 minutes to advance to level 1. Each additional level will take about 5.5 times as long, or 1h22m for Level 2. So, completing a skill at Level 5 takes a base time of 9.5 days.
Luckily, these are only base training times, and are affected by your character's attributes. The amount of SP earned is dependent on the skill's primary and secondary attribute, which can be found by right-clicking on the skill, clicking on "Show Info", and clicking on the "Attributes" tab. For example, gunnery skills use Perception (primary) and Willpower (secondary) in determining how quickly those skills will train. Most Industry skills depend on Intelligence and Memory.
The primary skill attribute is twice as important as the secondary skill attribute for calculating training time. Each additional point in a primary attribute will save about an hour a day in training time for skills with that primary, and secondary attributes will save you about half an hour. You can get more points in your attributes either by using implants or by training the Learning skills, on which more later.
For a more complex, math-heavy example of how skills are trained, see Mechanics of Skill Training.
Starting Skills & Initial Skill Training
You don’t start off with many skills, and you’ll need a lot more of them before you can be truly effective. Fortunately, all skills can be bought on markets throughout the Eve universe. Some skills are more expensive than others. Generally the skills that everyone needs at first are relatively cheap, although you will be spending many millions of ISK on skills in your first few months.
You’ll be able to buy most of your basic skills in the area you start, by asking for money in GF Help or your squad channel. Do this as soon as possible - we'll be happy to give you everything you need within minutes of creating a character. Avoid hauling around skillbooks - instead, immediately right-click on each skillbook you buy and click "inject this skill." This only works if you meet the prerequisites for the skill - more on that later. You can then train any skill you've begun at any time, and don't have to worry about having the skillbooks on hand.
Initially, you’ll want to buy every skill you can train and get them to level 2 or 3 \xE2\x80\x93 all those +5% bonuses multiply very quickly. Eventually, you’ll want to specialize, but don't worry about that in the beginning. For advice on which skills are especially useful for your particular race, see the GoonFleet Basics page, specifically the "Starting Out as a _________ Pilot" sections. In general, you'll want to focus on gunnery skills for Amarr and Minmatar, drone skills for Gallente, and missile skills for Caldari.
For mining around Goonswarm's home, you’ll want to get into Cruisers early on so you can use a mining cruiser, and you’ll want to train Mining skill up to Rank IV so you can use Miners IIs. If you want to be really hotshit, train Science skill to level four and then train up Astrogeology, you’ll get a 5% bonus per Astrogeology level to your mining laser yield, and all the ladies will look at you and go "hot damn that’s a fancy mining laser" and you’ll be pimpin'.
Training for Combat
This is the big one. You’ll need some skills for combat in missions and against NPC pirates (“rats,\xE2\x80\x9D), and some of the same skills and some different ones for combat against other players.
This will vary a little bit by your race. If you’re Amarr, focus on Small Energy Turret. Gallente and Caldari, Small Hybrid Turret, and Minmatar, Small Projectile Turret. More importantly, there are a bunch of side-skills in this category that will raise your overall effectiveness with any turret weapon considerably. Try to pick up Sharpshooter, Rapid Firing, Controlled Bursts, and Motion Prediction.
If you're a race that uses missiles -- i.e., Caldari or Minmatar -- you'll want these skills. The basic skill here is “missile launcher operation.”First, train this to level one. That will open up the skills “Missile Bombardment\xE2\x80\x9D and “Rockets.\xE2\x80\x9D Grab those, then switch back to training “missile launcher operation\xE2\x80\x9D up to II. That will let you train “Standard Missiles\xE2\x80\x9D skill, which will be your basic attack missile for a while, “rapid launch\xE2\x80\x9D skill, and “Target Navigation Prediction\xE2\x80\x9D skill. It’ll also let you get F.O.F. and Defender missiles skill, but those aren’t wildly useful.
Most of the cool ones here unfortunately require basic Drones skill at level V, which is like a week’s worth of training, so don’t worry about ‘em right now. For now, pick up “Scout Drone Operation,\xE2\x80\x9D as a few levels of that will drastically extend the range of your drones. Grab up "Combat Drone Operation" for a bit of a damage boost.
Ship Fitting and Utility Skills
These are the skills that make your ship and/or you more generally effective. By category:
Basic "Electronics" skill is very important as it lets you fit lots more stuff onto your ship; having this at level V is considered a practical prerequisite for almost all advanced ship setups (More specifically, it gives you +5% to your ship's CPU per level). It’s also a prerequisite for a lot of other skills you should get, too, though. "Targeting," and "Long Range Targeting" are both extremely useful, and "Signature Analysis" (lets you target faster) and "Propulsion Jamming" are essentials for any kind of PvP. Propulsion Jamming will let you use warp jammers, which will be your primary job in fleet PvP with Goonfleet for your first month or two, and will also allow you to use Stasis Webifiers, which slow targets down and make them easier to hit. If you only get one PvP skill, get this one.
Lots of good skills here.
"Engineering" is similar to electronics, and equally important for ship fitting (it gives +5% to your ship's powergrid per level). "Energy Management" and "Energy Systems Operation" will boost your capacitor in various ways, which will let you fight longer and harder. “Energy Emission Systems\xE2\x80\x9D will let you use Nosferatu capacitor vampire weapons, which will boost your capacitor and drain your opponent’s. "Energy Grid Upgrades," will let you use ship upgrades like power cores and power diagnostic systems, which can let you fit things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. “Energy Pulse Weapons\xE2\x80\x9D will let you use smartbombs, which are useful in some missions -- but Don’t use them in concord space! (Contrary to their name, they hit everything in the immediate area of your ship, including allies, NPCs, etc.)
If you’re Caldari or Minmatar, or just want to buff your ship’s shields a bit, pick up “Shield Management,\xE2\x80\x9D “Shield Operation,\xE2\x80\x9D “Shield Upgrades,\xE2\x80\x9D and “Tactical Shield Manipulation.\xE2\x80\x9D Those skills will let you use the various items you need for shield tanking and will increase your ships\xE2\x80\x99 overall survivability.
These skills used to not be so hot, but due to some game mechanics changes, they've recently become very important for fleets, especially the large fleets that GoonSwarm so often fields. The more people you have in your fleet with high-trained Leadership skills (especially Leadership V) the more widely you can distribute various bonuses to the rest of the fleet. We're always looking for more people with the leadership skills trained -- especially Leadership V -- and new players who want to play a role in helping lead or organize fleets should definitely consider training these skills.
If you know at character creation that you want to train these skills heavily, consider bumping your Charisma up a few points; these are the only wortwhile skills that use it as a primary. For more information on these skills, see the Leadership Skills article.
These skills are a little bit useful to everyone but extremely useful to Amarr or players who want to fly ships that use armor-based tanking. Be sure to train “Hull Upgrades,\xE2\x80\x9D “Mechanic,\xE2\x80\x9D and, if armor tanking, “Repair Systems\xE2\x80\x9D Of these, “Hull Upgrades\xE2\x80\x9D is probably the most important \xE2\x80\x93 it’ll increase your armor’s hp and let you use various armor upgrade items.
These are the skills that make you go faster. You want them. The basic skill here is, again, Navigation, and you want it. Also, train Afterburner skill, so you can use afterburners and go about twice as fast. It might be worth training both Navigation and Afterburner to level IV early on. That will open up High Speed Maneuvering and let you use MicroWarpDrives, which allow you to go ridiculously fast in open space but won’t work at all in deadspace missions and are basically a PvP tool. It’s also wise to pick up “acceleration control\xE2\x80\x9D for an added bit of speed, and Warp Drive Operation so you can use the warp core stabilizers; the counter-item to propulsion jammers, these will make it harder for others to keep you from warping, but due to various limitations are really only useful in non-combat setups. Evasive Maneuvering will make your ship more agile (turn faster), which will help you warp more quickly.
Good idea to train Science to III as a lot of random things have it as a prerequisite. Training Cybernetics will let you use stat boosting implants, which you’ll want to do eventually, although they’ll be too expensive initially. If you're very into mining, train Science to level IV and then train Astrogeology for a bonus to mining laser yield. Science IV is also useful for miners because it allows you to use Tractor Beams which speed up hauling your ore considerably.
A few of these skills are useful if you’re doing mission running. Train Social to III, then train a level or two of Connections and Diplomacy. Negotiation is also worth picking up, as each level of that skill will give you +5% money from mission rewards.
If you followed the character creation guide, and got Frigate IV to start off, you shouldn't have too much to worry about here; that and Spaceship Command at III will let you pilot Cruisers, and SC III and Frig III will let you pilot Industrials.
These were mentioned somewhat above, in the basic attributes section. There are six basic skills here and five advanced ones -- a basic and advanced skill for each attribute, and the "learning" skill itself. sooner or later, you want all of them. "Learning skills\xE2\x80\x9D like Instant Recall will increase your attributes by one point per level for each level of skill trained. “Advanced Learning skills\xE2\x80\x9D like Clarity will further increase each by one point, but require you to have IV of a basic learning skill first. (Note that there is no “Advanced Learning\xE2\x80\x9D version of the Learning skill itself, but only of the various stat skills \xE2\x80\x93 when people say “advanced learning,\xE2\x80\x9D they’re referring to the skills like Clarity that boost stats).
If you remember, each additional point of an attribute will save you about an hour a day of training time for skills with that attribute as primary, and about a half hour for skills with that attribute as secondary. However, since each additional level of Learning skill takes 5.56 times as long to train as the prior level, it takes progressively longer each for each level of learning skill to pay itself back in terms of hours invested for hours saved. The lower levels of learning skill will pay for themselves quickly -- within a few days in all likelihood -- but the higher levels will take considerably longer to pay out a net time savings.
Example: if Analytical Mind I takes fifteen minutes to train, and then you spend the next six hours training skills that have Intelligence as a primary attribute, then Analytical Mind I will already have paid back as much time as you took to train it. However, Analytical Mind Level III might take seven hours to train, at which point you'd need to train int-primary skills for seven days to put yourself ahead of where you'd be if you hadn't trained the skill at all.]
Most skills in the Learning category have Memory as primary and Intelligence as secondary, so to maximize your efficiency, train each level of “Instant Recall\xE2\x80\x9D (memory) first, then a level of “Analytical Mind\xE2\x80\x9D(intelligence), then a level of the “Learning\xE2\x80\x9D skill itself, then rotate to the next level of Memory, etc. For now, you’ll want to take all the basic learning skills, with the possible exception of Empathy (Charisma), to about three or four, depending on how much you want efficiency or how desperately you desire to leap right into combat.
Complicated enough? there's more. The five attribute skills in this category have "advanced' versions, which require the basic skill at IV as prerequisites. they take a long time to train, but as they're "new" skills, rather than additional levels of old ones, the first few ranks can be trained comparatively quickly -- within a day or so. This means that once you train a "basic" learning skill to IV, you can quickly add three or so more points to that, bringing you from four to eight additional points over and above your starting stats in that attribute.
Take the basic Learning skill itself up to IV (after you've trained Int and Memory up that high as well), and leave it -- there's no "Advanced Learning" skill, so it takes something like eight months to a year for Learning V to pay for itself.
Diminishing Returns with All Learning Skills
Car goes 30 miles an hour. This means it takes 2 hours to travel 60 miles.
Car upgrade I adds 10 miles per hour. This upgrade is inexpensive. This means an upgraded car will travel 40 miles per hour, so it will take 1.5 hours to travel the same 60 miles.
Time saved by getting Upgrade I: .5 hours.
Car upgrade II adds an additional 10 miles per hour. This upgrade is expensive. This means a doubly upgraded car will travel 50 miles per hour, so it will take 1.2 hours to travel the same 60 miles.
Time saved by getting Upgrade II: .3 hours.
Conclusion: Future upgrades (which are also more expensive) give diminishing returns.
What does this boil down to?
For maximum efficiency, you want to train the learning skills in this specific order: - Instant Recall 1 - Analytical Mind 1 - Learning 1 - Instant Recall 2 - Analytical Mind 2 - Learning 2 - Instant Recall 3 - Analytical Mind 3 - Learning 3 - Instant Recall 4
- Eidetic Memory 1 - Eidetic Memory 2 - Eidetic Memory 3 - Analytical Mind 4 - Logic 1 - Logic 2 - Logic 3 - Learning 4 - Eidetic Memory 4 - Logic 4 - Spatial Awareness, Iron Will, and Empathy 1-3 (Order does not matter.) - Now, train Spatial Awareness, Iron Will, or Empathy to level 4, based on whichever attribute is the highest (Perception, Willpower, or Charisma). (i.e. If Perception is your highest of those three attributes, train Spatial Awareness 4.) - Next, train levels 1-3 of the corresponding advanced learning skill. - Repeat the above two steps for the other attributes. - Using the same logic (highest attribute first), train Clarity, Focus, and Presence to level 4.
Keep Your Clone Upgraded!
Skill points can be quite easily permanently lost. Yes, that is right... PERMANENTLY LOST. This happens if you die (get 'podded') and do not have a clone contract that is sufficient to contain your skill points. When you start the game or get podded, your clone resets back down to holding the lowest skill point level possible on a clone: 900,000 SP. New players start out with about 50,000 SP, so it's particularly easy for a new player to forget to upgrade their clone, break the 900,000 SP Barrier and suddenly find themselves a week behind. Always make sure your clone can hold MORE SP than you currently have! Often times, the character sheet does not update until after a skill is finished, so it is possible for you to have substantially more SP than what your skill sheet is reporting. TO remedy this, briefly stop and re-start the skill you're training to update your SP and make sure your clone is large enough. Better still, get into the habit of upkeeping your clone by upgrading to a Clone Grade Beta (40,000 ISK) whenever your capsule is blown up.
If you forget to upgrade your clone and you're podded, the game thankfully does not drop you down to a suicide-inducing 900,000 SP. However you will lose about 20-35% of your highest trained skill, which can mean days, weeks, or even months of lost training time that needs to now be re-trained!
Long Term Planning & Going Beyond this Guide
For recommendations on what skills to begin with for your first month or so of playing, please refer to the Recommended Skill Training Guide.
Also, there’s an application you should use for further skill planning: go to http://evemon.battleclinic.com/ and download EVEMon. EVEMon is a free, open source program that you can use to plot out your skill training program weeks in advance, look at how long things will take, etc. Most people pick a specific ship type as a long-term goal -- say, battleships, or covert ops frigates, or whatever -- and then work towards that goal over time. Familiarize yourself with the different types of ships out there, talk to people, figure out what you'd like to do, and work towards it!
EVEMon was originally created by Six Anari of Goonfleet, who coincidentally also created the SALR Firefox extension.
If you are using a mac, you may want to consider getting MacEveApi, a (very) basic skill-planner for macs. Nowhere near the features of Evemon, but atleast it runs. Get it here: http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1096971