One of the more natural complaints about the ship SKINS program… and I will capitalize it just this once to acknowledge the force fed lore acronym, Super Kerr-Induced Nanocoatings… was that at its introduction, there were not a lot of skin choices.
Basically, why doesn’t MY favorite ship have a special skin?
There seemed to be a huge gap in the range of skins available. There were skins for capital ships, no doubt because if you’re going to invest billions into a hull… and live in that hull forever in the case of super caps… you are probably likely to want a new paint job for it.
Then there were skins for a range of tech I ships, so new players could spruce up their look.
And in between, in the land of tech II hulls… there wasn’t much happening.
This pain was made more acute by the temporary bug in the skin system that allowed players to apply any skin to any ship if they knew how. It was agony seeing every ship done up in the Police Pursuit Comet skin, knowing that it was a fleeting moment of awesome.
Some of the skins looks awful when applied to the wrong ship, but enough looked good enough… or even damn good… that there no doubt lived within many of us a faint hope that CCP would not fix the bug. You can see some other examples at EN24, from whom I borrowed the above image.
Still, even with the tech II skin gap, I managed to find some skins to spend my ISK on. And I actually got to use a couple of the skins I picked up in Jita. We ran Ravens for a bit during the Reaver Querious campaign.
And I also got to use the Rokh skin for a one-way suicide venture to Fountain at one point.
Both of those used the Wiyrkomi corporation skin, which is a decent olive drab finish with some white highlights at key points. It isn’t very showy as far as skins go, but it has a martial air to it. This is a color you would paint a combat ship. The Kaalakiota or Nugoeihuvi colors, with their red chevrons or red tiger stripes, may feel more savage, but Wiyrkomi is pretty good.
And CCP had its explanation for why it wasn’t rushing out skins for the tech II ships as part of one of its skins updates.
Another concern of allowing any SKIN on any ship is making Tech 1 ships resemble Tech 2 ships which would have visual gameplay implications. While deciding what SKINs to offer in the release of this feature we carefully selected SKINs for ships by making sure that if we offered a SKIN for that ship the same look was not used by its Tech 2 counterpart. This is the reason why for example there is no Sarum SKIN for the Apocalypse, as it would too closely resemble the Paladin.
Okay, I get that. If you make a Merlin skin… which the had, including one done up in the flat olive of the Wiyrkomi corporation colors… it wouldn’t be much fun to then to have the very same skin on the Harpy of the Hawk, the tech II variations on the Merlin hull.
And then with the Aegis expansion and the Fozzie Sov patch we got a lot more skins, including a bunch for those neglected tech II ships. The situation for me literally went from “no skins for any ship I fly regularly” to “skins for damn near every ship I fly regularly.” And if they had done something for the Tengu… and with the subsystem configurations that change how the hull looks I get that such a skin will be a pain to make for any of the tech III strategic cruisers… I would have been pretty much setup. Just look at the list for Caldari ships alone in those two drops:
- Harpy Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Hawk Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Buzzard Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Manticore Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Kitsune Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Crow Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Raptor Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Caldari Navy Hookbill Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Flycatcher Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Cerberus Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Eagle Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Onyx Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Basilisk Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Falcon Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Rook Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Caracal Navy Issue Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Osprey Navy Issue Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Crane Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
- Bustard Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent)
That is 19 new skins, and I know just off hand that I have eight of those ships sitting in a hangar in either YA0-XJ or UMI-KK, which means I might even fly them once in a while.
You can open up that New Eden store and be treated to a veritable sea of olive drab ship skins.
The thing is, CCP seems to have changed its mind on the whole “making sure that if we offered a SKIN for that ship the same look was not used by its Tech 2 counterpart” aspect of their skin program. While I haven’t bought the skins and compared them side by side, the Wiyrkomi skin for the tech I Merlin looks exactly the same as the Wiyrkomi skins for the tech II Harpy and Hawk. Likewise you can compare the Osprey, Osprey Navy Issue, and the tech II Basilisk in the store and not see an iota of difference. (If you can see such a difference, your eyes are better than mine!)
And there are similar skin matches between tech I and tech II in the Gallente, Amarr, and Minmatar line ups. That Ishtar Intaki Syndicate skin looks a lot like the Vexor Intaki Syndicate skin and so on.
Which leaves me with a somewhat split opinion.
On the one hand, I appreciate CCP getting some new skins out there for all of these ships, and I know that cranking out this many skins… and they have promised us new skins every Tuesday this month… means that they cannot all be special snowflakes of uniqueness.
On the other hand, that is a lot of olive drab paint splashed over those Caldari hulls. In that dev blog about skins coming this summer, the whole custom mask issue was explained, but there were also a lot of color options shown. I feel like the tech II ships might have been treated to at least something a little different.
But with two more Tuesdays left in July, maybe CCP will show us something different.
Strategic cruiser skins maybe?
Well, once they get the game running again. Fozzie Sov post-patch issues.