In EVE Online, certificates are something between an achievement, a diploma, and a tool. As CCP puts it:
Certificates are a tool for EVE pilots to allow them to, at a glance, identify which skills or set of skills are recommended for a ship, item or activity the certificate is associated with. They allow for easier skill planning and help pilots to keep tabs on what skill sets they already possess. Pilots may also choose to allow anyone to view their certificates on their character sheet so no one can doubt their ability and the skills they possess.
In theory, certificates should thus be a way for a pilot to see if he has the skills required for a given ship.
For example, due to there being a new fleet doctrine in the CFC, I have been training up to fly the Oneiros, the Gallente logistics cruiser. It is the armor repair version of the Minmatar Scimitar. Why CCP chose to use the term “logistics” for repairs, I have no idea. They seem to use the term differently elsewhere. Still not exactly correctly to my mind, but whatever. Anyway, training for the Oneiros will let me play “space priest” and heal in the new fleet doctrine.
Towards that end I dropped 200 million ISK on an Oneiros with the required fittings for the fleet. In the information about the ship, it shows the recommended certificates if one is thinking of flying it.
Standard level Core Competency, Logistics Chief, and Armor Tanking certificates are shown.
Now, if I were designing this window, I might show the user what level they have attained. For example, I have the elite certificate… the levels are basic, standard, improved, and elite… in Core Competency, which is related to capacitor and energy management… so why not just call it that, right? Go see my comment above about logistics.
I also have standard certificates in the other two and thus should be well on my way to flying the ship. Of course, then there is the prerequisites tab, which shows the actual skills I need to just fly the ship.
That is a little more detailed and, in many ways, unrelated to the recommended certificates. And it also shows me which skills I have already via the green check mark. I look to be set for the Oneiros, don’t I?
Except, you will note above, I said I was “training” and not “done training.” This is because of the ship’s fittings, which are sort of touched on by the recommended certificates and completely ignored by prerequisites, but which are required for the ship to be of any use. I am still working on a skill in that regard related to armor maintenance bots, which are, in fact, logistics drones, but which everybody seems to call repair drones or repair bots.
Anyway, to me this illustrates how certificates are less of a tool… having the recommended ones helped a bit I suppose… and more of a diploma, a method to recognize that not only have you trained up a pile of skill points, but that you have trained them in specific areas. Though, even that isn’t as instructional as one my hope.
I have, as noted above, the standard certificate for Logistics Chief. I looked to see what it would take to get the elite certificate. (There is, for some reason, no “improved” certificate for Logistics Chief.) This is what the certificate planner shows me:
Shield emission systems I have covered. Remote armor repair systems I will have covered soon. I only stopped on that when I realized I couldn’t use the repair drones I had. And then there is energy emission systems, which involves the transfer of capacitor energy from one ship to another, and which is not used in any of our subcap fleet doctrines currently, and so I am unlikely to bother training it. Thus I remain with the standard certificate.
All of which is a round about way to lead up to another one of my elite certificates, which is for hull tanking.
The description for this certificate reads:
This certificate represents an elite level of competence in the infamous practice of “hull tanking”. It certifies that the holder can fully use all modules relating to hull tanking. The holder is aware that “real men hull tank”, and also that hull tanking is really dumb. With this certificate, you’ve maximized your ability to rely on your structural systems to absorb damage, although hopefully you’re smart enough to know what a daft idea that is.
Which sounds a lot more like an achievement than a tool or a diploma. Which makes me wonder if CCP really knew what they wanted with this feature in the first place.
Of course, a random, half-baked, over-complicated feature tossed into the game and left to stew for a few years… that sounds like the standard CCP process.
They probably have a certificate for achieving that.