I don’t usually fly Amarr. When I first began playing EVE ten years ago, I’ve chosen Gallente for my main character. Gallente felt most European from all the races, and I really didn’t like the slavery thing in Amarr background. Caldari reminded me too much about rat race, and I was afraid the Minmatar ships will break itself apart. Let’s say I didn’t trust in the rust back then.
But now thanks to the new SKIN system I began to fly Amarr. Why? Because Khanid Oracle is simply gorgeous.
Ship skins and customization isn’t a new idea. I mused about flying Gurista Raven back in 2012, and T’Amber has been developing his ship painting tools for at least a couple of years. So what makes ship skinning such a spot-on feature? It’s microtransactions after all, and players didn’t seem to like them back in Incarna.
There’s a couple of reasons. Incarna failed, because avatar customization in a spaceship game was not really meaningful for the players. EVE is a spaceship game, set in space, so SHIP customization feels way more fitting. Other developers understood it earlier. In WoW the main way of transportation are mounts. Thus mounts make an important element of core gameplay. There are premium mounts, which, except for different looks, work exactly the same as their regular counterparts. The core gameplay of World of Tanks is… surprise: tanks. Tanks can have different camo patterns that can be purchased for in game money (time limited) or real money (permanent). Why do people buy them? Because they can customize element of the core gameplay (well camo reduces tank visibility, so it has actual in game function, too). And now EVE has ship skins. Fits just right!
So why do I like Khanid Oracle? As I said earlier, I didn’t like Amarr. Khanid Kingdom is part of Amarr Empire, but they are closer to Caldari, and I can live with flying Caldari ships (because Gallente should know their nemesis). That’s one of the reasons I really liked flying my brick tanked Damnation 🙂 Ship skins are not just a way to customize ships, for me it actually opens up a whole race I’ve been ignoring for the past 10 years.
So my TL;DR feedback for CCP FoxFour and the whole Team Size Matters is: SKINS ARE GREAT, I WANT MORE! 🙂
Well, some skins could have an actual in-game meaning or mechanic tied to them. For example pirate ship skins, when activated, would cause NPCs of the same faction to ignore the player’s ship. But should the player engage these NPCs, the skin would expire immediately and rats would start shooting. This is of course just one example, but with working skin system, the possibilities are there.
*) The above idea is intended only for 30-day pirate NPC skins which drop as loot.