Each character in EVE has five attributes, which are small integers which parameterize the character's cognitive strengths. The five attributes are intelligence, memory, charisma, willpower, and perception. The only effect of attributes is to determine the speed at which a character trains skills.
Initially, all characters start with all attributes at 20, except charisma at 19. Generally, a character's attributes are fixed and do not change. There are only two ways to change them.
Attributes can be changed by using a neural remap, which raises some attributes at the expense of lowering others. However, neural remaps can only be performed rarely. Attributes can be improved by plugging in implants that affect them. Other than these two methods, attributes cannot be changed.
Attributes and Skill Training
The rate at which a character trains any given skill is determined solely by two of the character's attributes. Every skill has a primary and secondary attribute. To see which two attributes are used to train a skill, look at the attributes tab on the skill's info.
The formula for the speed of skill training (skillpoints per minute) is:
skillpoints/min = primary_attribute + secondary_attribute/2
Attributes do not influence the chance of success when using skills, only how fast the skills that rely on them are trained. Therefore, high attributes are only beneficial if you are training skills that rely on those particular attributes.
Your current attributes can be seen in the character sheet under the Attributes tab. The attributes shown will be the base attribute plus the effects of any implants which affect it.
Intelligence is primarily used for training in the categories of Electronics, Engineering, Navigation, Mechanic and Science. It is the secondary attribute for a lot of Social and Industry skills also.
Memory is primarily used for the categories of Industry, Corporation Management and Drones. It is also secondary for many skills in Engineering, Mechanic, Electronics and Trade.
Charisma is primarily used for Leadership, Social and Trade skills. It is secondary for skills in Corporation Management.
Willpower is primarily used for Leadership and Trade. It is secondary for skills in Gunnery, Missle Launcher Operation and Spaceship Command.
Perception is primarily used for Gunnery, Missile Launcher Operation and Spaceship Command skills. It is secondary for Drones and Navigation.
Attributes and Skill Groups
As can be seen from the table, there are attributes that are more useful for one career path than another. Many recommend that fighter pilots (PvPers or PvEers) put their points in Perception and Willpower. Industrialists will want to focus on Memory and Intelligence. Traders and Mission Runners who interact a lot with NPC agents will want to develop a high Charisma.
Only three science skills are not Intelligence/Memory: Doomsday Operation is Willpower and Intelligence, Infomorph Psychology is Charisma and Willpower, and Research Project Management is Memory and Charisma.
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