Originally by: Alec Freeman
and a certain achievment is required to fly them.
Interesting post. I'm going to pull out your line above though because I think it contains, of sorts, the answer to this.
It's long been stated that the test server is just for that, testing. We're all aware of this. Occasionally skills are set to level V in order to facilitate testing to ships where drastic changes are involved (especially ones that can have a large impact on sov changes and the outcome of major battles.) But they're always set back.
The reason I feel is that it's important that the test server not overshadow TQ in providing rewards to people who haven't achieved them. It is part of the drive in EVE to be able to work up to larger, more powerful ships (and this is true for many MMOs in general.) To offer a short cut for these on another server, while recognizing that it's not TQ, undermines some of that accomplishment. In this, the current test server functionality is rather elegent: People can fly, with little risk, ships they have "unlocked" in the main game, the "achivement" you stated above.
Starting up a pure ship testing server further undermines this. (Not to mention I cannot envision CCP wanting to maintain and manage a third server cluster.) While you do address some of these issues in your post, it seems like a lot of added work to prevent this new addition from overshadowing TQ when a simpler solution would keep things to TQ alone.
I don't mean to cynically rain on your parade, and I do not fault you in the least for proposing this (who doesn't want 100ISK capital ships!) But a max skill test server, in any form, undermines the spirit and drive of the main game. It's important we keep it intact.