In EVE Online, are certificates worth pursuing? Do they help new players train basic skills that most players would want?
Personally I think that Certificates were a great addition when they came in a few months ago. EVE has a bewildering array of trainable skills, many of which have incredibly obscure uses. Given that some of these skills can take weeks or months to train, and may or may not actually be useful to you personally, a guide through it all was badly needed.
As a new player you really used to be dumped there with very little idea of how to create a well-trained and rounded character for your chosen profession. You now have a set of recommendations on how to specialize your character into various roles, which secondary or support skills that you may have overlooked will come in useful, and a way to measure your own achievements and see that you are actually making progress.
Okay, so EVEmon was (and still is) the best way to plan out your character, find out requirements and plan the whole thing out. But an awful lot of players didn't ever know about it, particularly the new players who arguably needed its help the most.
I've just re-activated my account and come across these for the first time. I think they are worth pursuing as they are intended to guide the player into training the right skills to get most out of various equipment/tasks.
For example although you can train up basic skills to fly say a cruiser I think to get the most benefit out of it's weapon systems and abilities that having all the skills covered by the certificates for that ship you will get the best out of it with out having to research the EXACT skill bonuses for it.
So yeah probably best for new users rather than hard-core users who can do the research and calculate the best way to make the most of their ships.
Certificates are great as a guide to being able to do something well. The ship requirements give you the basics of what is necessary to fly it, but without the certificates, you won't be flying it to it's greatest potential.