In EVE Online, it's not just enough to accrue the millions of ISK required to fly a battleship. You also have to train up the skills required to fly one, an act that can take months of actual time. But soon, CCP will let you take EVE's spiciest ships for a test drive, letting you borrow the required skills with new "Expert System" consumables.
Announced last week, Expert Systems will give you a week of temporary skill points in a "variety of professions", without having to commit. Considering the length of time it takes to train up (and the skill point limits applied to free pilots), these are pitched as a good way to explore new styles of play.
Expert Systems come with a preset loadout of skill levels, mind, meaning you can't assign them freely. From the sounds of it, this isn't a tool for a seasoned pilot to start experimenting with specific ships. Rather, these systems seem aimed at newer players looking to experiment beyond the early game (though you'll still need to buy the ship for whatever you're trying out).
Acquired skills won't be lost on death, though you'll lose access once the week runs out. You can also still train skills as usual, even the ones being tested—something CCP recommends, considering the cost of buying a new Expert System every week.
CCP plans to release these on the EVE real-money store, with the occasional system appearing as a login bonus. Response on the EVE forums seems mixed, both agitated at further paid microtransactions and wary of new players piloting ships they don't know how to fly.
But EVE is a time-hungry game. If the price is fair enough, I could very much see the usefulness in trying out my options before committing weeks of my time to sitting in a station waiting for my skills to finish training.