Ship skins have arrived. The implementation of this feature has to be, in my humble opinion, the smoothest and best introduction of a new feature into Eve that I can remember. It works at a level that makes it seem as if it had always been there, hiding off to the side somewhere, waiting for us to discover it. Well done to all those involved in setting this up and getting it incorporated into the game.
I never gave much thought to ship skins. I enjoyed flying the Police Comet when it was introduced, but only because people donated ships to me. On my own I would never have bothered. My ships don't tend to survive long enough to make the investment worthwhile. The entire feature was more of a curious oddity than anything else. It was "neat" and fun to look at, but not something that I cared all that much about. The hope that someday we'd be able to put Corp/Alliance logos on our ships was about as much thought as the feature deserved.
But now? Now there is no arcane blueprints to deal with, the skins are embedded into your character for use whenever you want. They have become a part of you. A choice that can be made. This is revolutionary. Now it doesn't matter, now there is no building, or industry, or loss (generally speaking, at least for permanent skins) only choice. No one is more surprised than I am about what a huge mind-shift this is turning out to be.
I was shocked yesterday at how many of these things I had in my redeeming system. Apparently I have stolen or been given a lot of skin blueprints over the years. I think I had at least eight of the Police Comet skins, I gave the extra seven away to Corpmates yesterday. In addition to the three Fanfest Quafe skins, I also had at least a dozen more to choose from. A few are the 30 day variety, which I am honestly not that crazy about. But why wouldn't I always fly a Quafe Tristan?
I honestly think I will choose to always fly a Quafe Tristan. Why not? Click done. Wow.
Ok, so this is obviously a feature that will be building towards the day when we can add our own Corp/Alliance logos to ships. That seems all but assured now with the new Alliance logo submission process churning along. But it also got me thinking... where does this end?
Naturally our minds all jump to the Hello Kitty pink ships that have haunted the Eve community for years. But, while that might be a silly thing, the idea of custom ship skins is entirely possible. And I don't mean custom ship skins designed by CCP, but rather the potential inherent in truly custom ship skins designed by others. While the idea of pink ships in Eve might be a bit much (maybe?) there is an extremely wide spectrum between Quafe and Pink. A wide spectrum that someone like myself could exploit to develop some truly interesting and profitable skins. Want to see some flaming skulls? Or tribal tattoos? Or anything on a Caldari ship?
The possibilities are endless. And that can potentially be a bad thing. Goodness knows we don't want to start seeing sponsored ship skins, Coca-Cola reds, and Monster Energy Drink Hyperions, such garish displays would ruin the game. (I don't believe they'd actually ruin anything, I just think they are a horribly bad idea.)
Between the beginning and the horrible end-game, there is a lot of territory. And when it comes down to it the true potential of ship skins lies in the individual nature of the choice we now have. This choice doesn't affect anyone except you. This is a strange feature that has no implications beyond the individual pilot in a way that few features do. It is all about you. Ship skins don't affect game play, that don't damage anyone else, change anyone's game, they are truly and simply cosmetic.
But watching a ship transform before your eyes is transformative in ways I hadn't anticipated. I'm shocked to find that I really like it. Like a lot.
It should be interesting to see this continue to develop. I'm ready to design some awesome skins, just let me know.