Balanced solution to allowing Alpha's cross-racial skills

This is based off a conversation in reddit that got into the imbalance of the races with Alpha players. For those not wanting to read everything some players feel that the Amarr and Minmatar Alpha skills are weaker then the Caldari and Gallente. It was eventually pointed out that even if Alpha characters were perfectly balanced for combat, Gallente Alpha characters gain access to three very good specialized industrial ships, Miasmos, Epitha, and Kryos. The only other race to get even 1 specialized industrial is the Minmatar and the Hoarder is the least useful specialized industrial for most Alpha’s. This makes Gallente the only practical choice for an Alpha player.

After further discussion we surmised that the reason Alpha players are blocked from cross-training racial skills is to block access to pirate faction vessels. We think (maybe @CCP_Falcon can chime in on this) that there is no way to directly flag a ship as “Omega only” and the devs have done so indirectly by making certain at least one skill for Omega ships is Omega only. If cross-training was enabled then it would be impossible to stop Alpha’s from pirate faction ships which would make Alpha characters too powerful.

We were thinking the solution to all this would be for the devs to implement a new Skill, simply called “Omega” that all characters of all factions (both Alpha and Omega) start with trained to level 5. This skill would not provide any gameplay bonuses in any way. It would however be an Omega only skill itself so is only active when a player is playing as Omega. By having all Omega only ships require this skill as a prerequisite it would work as a binary flag on them so that a ship could still be Omega only even if every other requirement was met with Alpha only skills within the current framework. By doing this, I think Alpha characters could then be allowed to train skills from other races without being able to fly ships they shouldn’t.

This would very simply make all Alpha characters balanced with each other (as any racial imbalances can be fixed by cross-training). It would also allow Alpha players a chance to try out the other races without having to create an alt (important for someone trying out the game that finds out they dislike drones/missiles/etc.). It would also allow Alpha players to fly fleet/corp builds more easily without having to figure out a version that works with a specific race. I also don’t think this would make Alpha’s too powerful, at least no more then simply creating 4 different Alpha characters would be, though if someone can think of an exploit that would cause this to a bad idea I would like to hear it.

TLDR: Create a special skill to allow Alpha’s to train all racial skills without becoming too OP.

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Your conversation is kinda close but not quite on the cross training. The reason Alphas are blocked from cross training is simply to limit the amount of skills and things you can do/get access to as an Alpha Clone and to limit the potential for abuse of the system.

Right now each Alpha gets around 5.3m SP before they run out of things to train, with quite a bit of this in Spaceship Command for the racial ships as well as the racial weapons systems. Overall the differences seem to come to around 2m SP, though some of that is shared in Drones or Missiles between Gallente and Amarr and Minmattar and Caldari respectively.

Overall this means that if an Alpha could train everything regardless of Race they’d be able to train around another 5m SP before exiting the Alpha Clone state. This leaves them able to, as soon as they are no longer an Alpha, fly anything up to Pirate Cruisers at a fairly decent level of skill and around a month’s train from any T2 specialist Cruiser or Frigate in the game.

In short, the reason Alphas can’t cross-train has little to nothing to do with being able to use Pirate Frigates as Alphas, it’s to prevent abuse cases that arise from being able to train too many skills while an Alpha.

Also it’s not needed to create any kind of Omega skill or other hacky workaround. Ships and Modules in the game area already flagged as either Omega or Alpha and even if you have the skills to use something from Alpha you can’t use it if it’s flagged Omega.