The Death of a Profession


I’m sure everyone has seen that large, sprawling chart of activities you can engage in within Eve that gets passed around the Rookie Chat like a bong at a frat party. The one that lists pretty much everything including scamming and drug manufacturing and that’s apart from your usual exploration sites, Concord DED sites, Sansha Incursions and recently even Drifter Incursions.

I look at it and it feels incomplete. It shouldn’t come as a surprise given the wide appeal of Eve that people engage in anything from telling jokes, to processed meat related porn/fanfiction in Jita for a few million ISK, to blowing up Titans in large free-for-all melee for charity, and from wormhole space ship recovery to miner-bumping in Osoggur with Catalysts. That’s all part of the sandbox. That’s all willpower manifested in our little virtual corner with our characters, lasers, and spaceships.

you aren’t an Eve player if you don’t have a specific niche you like to fill

I like to say that you aren’t an Eve player if you don’t have a specific niche you like to fill. One of those more obscure professions that’s close to my heart is scouting out lost and forgotten unfueled towers in wormholes and K-space for any “stray” ships or misplaced loot.

You roam around in a stealth bomber for hours on end, getting a stray kill here and there, and at the end of the night, just as you’re preparing to wind down, you jump for joy when you see an SMA without a forcefield on D-scan. So you get to bashing that tiny structure for the next half hour, wondering whether it contains fabulous riches or just a hollow cargo hold. Torpedo after torpedo, it doesn’t take long until it succumbs. You might finish the night trading up your little SB for a freshly-dropped bling-fit T3 or a shiny marauder. Maybe you load up some researched BPOs or a buttload of rat droppings. Each one is like a space Kinder egg.

That’s something I find fun.


But it’s more than that. Like in our favorite new Eve trailer, that wrecked POS was once someone’s dream, that was someone’s plan, or at the very least, someone’s “safe” bookmark. If you study the modules left behind you can see what they wanted to do with it and how skilled they were. You can read the corp history and try to piece together why this particular tower was left deserted. What made them just forget a few billion or more worth of loot in this tiny structure that my torpedoes smashed in. Sure it’s about the loot, because ISK is always nice, but it’s also about the exercise of imagination to create a nice story in my head from the available puzzle pieces.

Fine, I’m Space Indiana Jones and I rob tombs while gawking at the hieroglyphs. You got me. But the future looks grim for these kind of shenanigans. Citadels are here.

over three or four hundred medium citadels have been made

CCP Nullabor recently confirmed that quite a lot of people have anchored citadels already, mostly Astrahuses (Astrahusi? Astrahouses?) since we’re still a few days off from seeing mass-built Fortizars. Judging by public estimates, over three or four hundred medium citadels have been made, installed, and some even destroyed by now.

New structures are coming up and they’ll use the same mechanics for anchoring and attack/defense as citadels. Asset safety is a staple feature in K-space citadels, with only wormhole citadels dropping loot around its floating carcass, and that’s probably true for the rest of the upcoming structures too. POSes will eventually be forcefully removed from the game, with gradual incentives to move away from them during the transition period which has now started.


So, what does all of this have to do with my little chosen profession?


It makes it impossible and obsolete.

A while back, another profession was in the same situation. There was a change made that threatened to erase the way they played the game. I’m talking here about highsec safari hunters and the patch that made it possible to disallow free corp-member PVP with the switch of a checkmark to “Illegal” status. While I was in agreement with the concept behind it as long as the default option was to allow in-corp PvP, in order to somewhat preserve the practice of safari-ing, a year later this seems to have had the exact effect that was feared. Safari hunting is now dead, as most corporations have it set to “Illegal”. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but this is coming back to me now as I’m faced with my current conundrum.

Let’s take our local friendly time machine and move a year or two into the future after POSes get removed.

Forgotten citadels and various structures that share their mechanics litter the universe, their masters long unsubscribed and their corps shattered, like the POSes of old. But that’s where the comparisons stop. Citadels are relatively faceless, exactly the same in look and possible function, with none of the beauty and variety seen in POS configurations today. Currently it requires some skill to classify a POS configuration and realise what its purpose is. Ship scanners work on citadels, but will just show you rigs and modules. More importantly, no one has an incentive to take them down since there’s little for them to gain since the assets will be safely transferred to the closest NPC station, for just a cost of 10% of the value to the owner.

So I move to wormhole space. I sigh a bit as I remember fondly the Territorial Claim Unit deathstar POS traps that were hatched before citadels and the genius of configuring a POS that way, let alone the artistry some people employed while doing so. In their place, Citadels and various industry/drilling structures arose. But those are not things I should be bothering with unless I can spare the time to scout out their vulnerability timers. Then I have to churn out a few thousand DPS even for the measly Astrahus, over each of the three phases for the defensive layers, each time waiting out the next reinforcement timer. That’s an insane grind and a high bar for my kind of explorer/junker who just wants to take down a long-abandoned structure to see if it carries any loot.


In short, I have to wage all-out war even if that citadel has been desolate and hasn’t seen the tender caress of a capsuleer for the last six months. I still need to commit to more time than its most likely worth to take it down. So I will not. About the same conclusion was drawn by players wanting to kill mobile depots right now since almost no matter what they may contain, you won’t be coming back two days later to a single shard of space to pew it for (if you’re lucky) 40 million in loot or ammo (also assuming the guy doesn’t just pick it up after you reinforce it).

Citadels then become the new ‘empty sticks’ that litter the game

Citadels then become the new ‘empty sticks’ that litter the game, just a tabula rasa monolith anchored at an arbitrary point in space that offers no content and has no tale to tell.

So I have no story I can build, I have nothing to create a nice tale for me aside from the fact that one guy set up one structure for his corp at one time. I have no loot I can rob from most of them, and the rest will require strength of arms for even cracking open the metaphorical egg, dozens of hours possibly wasted for nothing. And to top it off, no one will ask me for POS maps ever again either, they’ll just ask me to write down the timer for the next vulnerability period.

So with all the flexibility and versatility of citadels and the entire range of planned structures, how come I find that there are fewer options for expression, for creating experiences in the sandbox, compared to what came before? The discussion of overdesigned systems versus creating infrastructure for emergent design can be drawn but that’s a lengthier topic for a different article.

EVE Citadel exploding

A glimmer exists though in a possible solution that’s being tossed around Tweetfleet Slack. What if citadels are capturable or destroyable after a month of complete inactivity in terms of docking or service use? Other options include entosising, hacking, or pewing them to just a layer of structure with no reinforcement timer. All of these will work to clear out the future cluttered mess of citadels blocking out the sun, and get some sweet loot after. But so far it sounds like it isn’t even hitting CCP’s drawing board.

In any case, I still have another year or so until POSes become a thing of the past and I have to hang up my hat and whip. For the moment, I’m going to continue to enjoy my little niche, but I know eventually I’ll need to mourn the loss of this cool little way of playing the game.

In closing, Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark said it best: “How odd that it should end this way for us after so many stimulating encounters. I almost regret it.”

Tags: citadel, Cosmo, pos

About the author


Cosmo has been playing Eve Online for the better part of a decade, on and off as most Eve 'careers' go, over the span of a dozen trials and over multiple accounts. He's your average every-man player, with no hats thrown in any rings and with enough perspective to not get bogged down in endless threadnaughts on how every new feature will 'ruin' the game.

He loves the concept of Eve and the potential of what it could be more than the actual grimy bits that currently define the experience. "An Eve Online beyond Eve Online" as he likes to put it.

  • Niden

    I personally think there are plenty of viable solutions to this very niche problem. However, the main issue for me is the space garbage, there needs to be a solution in place that makes sure space isn’t littered with unused citadels.

    • Why should we mind? Don’t see any posts about off line towers littering space since inception. Reality is, for the one person that gets something out of this, there are 100,000 that don’t.

      • Rhavas

        Here’s one. I’ve been advocating for this for years.

      • Cosmo

        Well, towers have been hidden at moons so far. Citadels can be employed at more visible location and will cause more eyesore.

      • Souchek

        Over the years I have seen many, many posts calling for some way to remove dead sticks.

    • Bill Bones

      Just remove them after 6 months of inactivity and make the owner pay a 10% recovery fee to respawn them if/when he comes back.

      • Cosmo

        Why should they be automatically removed when you can let players do that? Trust me, there’s more than enough people to do space-janitor work.

  • Astra

    thought: why not just have the citadels use fuel blocks to maintain shields and RF timers at a very slow rate of decay?

    example: citadel has 5,000 blocks of fuel in it, services use these up as normal, but one or two per week are used for “defensive maintenance”

    if a citadel is put into reinforce mode, it checks to see if there is a single block of fuel available to burn for this RF cycle, if there is no fuel, the structure doesn’t enter RF, leaving the attacker free to press onwards.

    the basic concept is that after a sufficient time a derelict station would run out of fuel to burn and just be left floating dead and defenseless in space, easy to crack open for whatever spoils are left (or just an easy killmail) having an external indicator for this would be useful, for example the loss of all external lights and the tethering function, since the citadel would be non-operational. to recover the owner would simply need to feed it a pair of fuel blocks.

    • Cosmo

      Yeah, there are solutions but i don’t think anyone really pushed very hard to consider this yet.

    • Aderoth Anstian

      So no. One of the endearing features of the citadel is that it does NOT require fuel. This is a part of making logistics less of a nightmare than it was.

  • luobote kong

    It feels like careers for solo players are gradually being designed out of Eve. Possibly new careers will emerge. But I doubt it will be by design.

    • Cosmo

      To be fair, a lot of niches were created as part of a broken and incomplete system. Now, with a more carefully designed approach, pre-tested hard on Sisi and overengineered for every possibility, there are a lot less chances of something cool emerging.

      The coolest thing anyone did with a Citadel so far was to anchor it on the Jita/Perimeter warpway.


  • Provi Miner

    Dude to bad you are wrong and your story makes no sense. you don’t kill off lined towers no in half an hour with torps from one bomber. So lets be clear here you like to shoot the modules that may or may not drop something. Modules you may be able to kill in half an hour. Ok now that that is clear lets move onto you next point reference. Cits like a pos in that “YOU” are not really going to kill it in half an hour. But don’t fear for I am here to save your glory of hunting out little stuff you can destroy. “Platforms” oh yeah you forgot that little tid bit coming. So don’t sweat it you will have stuff to killz.

    • Cosmo

      I thought it was clear i was talking about shooting SMAs and such. As for the next upcoming Industrial Array/Drilling Platforms, they will use the same mechanics as Citadels. Either way, i doubt they will be ‘headshottable’ within even an hour or two.

      • Provi Miner

        I wouldn’t bet against it, I can honestly see them being mgt intensive. Fuel and the like. I do think that they will be easily killable if they are not being managed for a time. Just my best view of it.

  • Niko Lorenzio

    They killed off or seriously hampered dozens of emergent gameplay professions and specialist roles over the last few years. You’re just scratching the surface. If they go ahead with some of their plans they will kill off even more.

    • Cosmo

      True, they have, and a lot of bits of the game are still over ten years old. With Evelopedia down, you don’t even know about a lot of opions you have with legacy systems like booster manufacturing and such. Information is fantastically scarce.

  • Marley

    It used to be about you, making your way in a vast brutal unfriendly environment, finding your path, eventualy making a difference one day for everything around you, make a name for yourself and write your own story.
    Now, it’s about being yet another faceless and nameless F1 drone in some massive numbers corp/alliance. flying around in a shitfit something, being told what you can and can not do, press F1 when the egomaniac fucktard yells on comms, eventualy end up bragging with a shiny killmail, where your name lists among 500 others, and will never make a difference for anyone….
    Welcome to the new EVE 🙁

    yes, I still play it. And I still enjoy it. But I don’t like the way it’s development moves away from what EVE used to be…
    and this is my personal opinion, like it or not.

    • Cosmo

      You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. Fully serious, move out of being an F1 drone in a huge alliance and switch it up with small 15-20 man corps.

      There are still ways out there for you to sandbox solo. Hell, i stole an unanchored tower a few days ago. :p

    • Verdis deMosays

      I agree with Cosmo’s reply. There are a lot of options for a player away from the F1 masses, it’s just a matter of finding that niche. This is Eve, not WoW, and niches exist. I wrote about one a while ago on TMC, that of Drone scavenging, and had a reader who converted to it after getting two geckos on his first time out.

      Just because you don’t see another way to play doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

      That’s one reason I’m so committed to Sixth Empire. We help people fin their way, and support them as they fly in the direction of their dreams. Advice, free exploration frigs, a strong community, and good words for those chasing the horizon. This is what makes a good alliance, not mindless masses of solo players chasing orders.

  • Jandor

    I found breaking apart dead POSes for loot was one of the more fun Eve careers I tried, although I always personally imagined it with more of a Firefly vibe to it than Indiana Jones. Either way, it’s a massive shame it looks like it’s being killed off.

  • Vartan

    I’ve occasionally looked for offline towers with modules and I think I’ve only ever found 1, I’ve seen plenty of abandoned sticks with no forcefield, but they are anchored and you cannot do anything with those in a lone bomber (so are there many of these things about?). When POS go, I would rather see them fall into an unanchored state (if they are not fuelled) and left in game so that they can be taken out, it will essentially create a niche…. maybe.

    • Cosmo

      They’re rare, and they involve you actually rescouting an area often enough, but you can find some.

  • Anon

    Safari was a cancer and so is you.

    • Aderoth Anstian

      This is hard for some people but a sandbox is made so that everyone can find a “thing” they like to do but I think it breaks down into 2 basic camps in my opinion: those who wish to build their sand castle and those who wish to kick over others sand castle. Each are legitimate gameplay in a sandbox. Safari was one of the few ways that a hi-sec focused sand castle could be kicked over.

  • Justin

    This would be really easy to fix, although it will never be exactly the same as a dead stick wherein you can pick and choose which pinatas you want to swing it.

    All it would take is a mechanic where an unused or nearly unused Citadel becomes vulnerable to capture (entosis) or destruction (blapblapblap) with relatively little hassle. This falls right in line with the “FozzieSOV” idea of maintain your space or lose it (more easily). The criterion for this can be different from Citadels anchored in WSpace to those anchored in KSpace (differences between high and null).

    Actually, are Citadels even capturable? I think they should be. I never liked the idea of being unable to steal capture POSes or POCOs. You can take almost everything in EVE from another player (may not always be easy), but you can’t take POSes and POCOs have to be willingly handed over. I think POCOs and Citadels should have a capture mechanic – but that’s just me.

    Some ideas based on Citadel use rate:

    Disuse Vulnerability: Make Citadels become more vulnerable with lack of use. The owner gets to set the vulnerability window. A base rate of activity keeps that window, but as activity levels drop below a certain mark time is added on either side of that window. This is probably not the best idea. Perhaps a better idea would be that every x/hours without significant activity, x time is added on either side of the window, up to 24/hours. This makes sense; a Citadel that isn’t used is more vulnerable; it’s like when you leave your car unattended in Chicago for long periods of time – more chance of it getting vandalized or stolen. A Citadel that’s attacked outside of it’s base vulnerability might grant the attackers bonuses; less timers, less defense, etcetc.

    Entropy: Citadels use fuel. When a Citadel hasn’t been used for, say, a predetermined period of time, you increase the fuel consumption rate each day after that period. Some lore reason can easily be made to justify this – Citadels are big, complex, complicated pieces of technology which require upkeep and maintenance from Capsuleer ship crews. Without that, inefficiencies arise and the reactors start to overheat, burning more fuel than necessary. Eventually if no one does upkeep the Citadel runs out of fuel and becomes completely vulnerable, and offline, like a dead POS. Less defense layers, no weapons. Destroy at your leisure or entosis and capture it (and gain access to all the juicy goodies inside).

    Granted I’m not exactly sure how Citadel mechanics work ATM (need to read up on it), but it makes sense that when attacking an “abandoned” Citadel, eventually you get to a point where you have the option to entosis or explode.

    Then again I’m bad at ideas.

  • ggggg

    Pickup unanchored towers/citadels

  • warren g

    many carebears and generally risk averse fuckbois who get shitty when their badness gets exposed like a trannys dick bitch you paymt rent get back to work

  • ThievesGuildMember

    I’d like to see citadels become hackable. Perhaps the electronic security systems should require being ‘renewed’ by the citadel owners every month or so. If this were implemented, our space Indiana Jones, armed with a hacking module and some skills, would be able to access and rob or perhaps even destroy an abandoned structure. (Destruction could require repeated hacks over the space of several days… Theft should be quicker.)

    CCP should allow this (dis)honourable profession to morph along with the technology rather than to vanish altogether. Being a thief is a time-honoured tradition and one we should encourage in EVE rather than abandon and forget.

  • Bryan Frye

    you paint a very bleak imgaine in my mind 🙁 I remember war decing those POSs to put up my own all the time the stories I have told about them. Do not get me wrong I like the fact that you do not have to anchor on a moon or limited by in some other fashion, but like you say… RIP

  • Jamie Moinly

    Maybe you could post an article describing a typical POSes raid? That way others can use it to submit opinions to the .C.S.M. about it and so that something remains.