It is not that I am unhappy with the way that the skill system works in EVE Online. In fact the system tends to favor people like me who have a bit of patience Still, I find something vaguely unsatisfying about character skills being obtained and honed via such a detached, off-line, time driven process.
Of course, I have a long history with the DIKU MUD family of skill improvement, where your skills get better only by use. The concept has standing in MMOs as well, appearing in Ultima Online and EverQuest through to World of Warcraft and Darkfall, with plenty of other stops along the way.
So I started thinking about how the concept of skill usage leading to improvements might be tackled in EVE. Not that it necessarily should, but more of a thought exercise.
My first thought was simple: Allow skill usage to add skill points to known skills. Every x times I fire a medium hybrid turret at a live, active, hostile target I would get y skill points added to the skill “medium hybrid turret.” You’ll note that I did not fill in numbers there. The whole thing would have to be tuned so that it might, say, give you a boost towards getting to level 2 or 3 of a skill, but not allow you to, say, get level 5 of a skill just by spending the weekend ratting or running missions.
I am also of the mind that, for combat skills at least, shooting at a live person ought to count for more than blowing away an NPC. Another thing that would have to be tinkered with to prevent exploits though.
My second thought was to get away from the current skills and to come up with a set of non-trainable, over-arcing skills that would improves when given skills were used and which would, as they accumulated, give a small but tangible benefit over time. This would reward skill usage without messing with the current skill system.
Again, this is all based on being trained for years that skill use equals skill improvement.
So what do you think. Should skill usage lead to skill improvement?