The Introduction of Content PlatformsSubmissions
This article is a submission from someone who we hope will be a permanent addition to our staff, Overman. He’s been playing, like he will mention shortly in his article, for almost a decade, weaving in and out of corps before settling in his curent residence with V0LTA. Let’s see what he has to say about Drilling Platforms and POSes and the requirements of them in terms of creating content.
I have been playing EVE a long time.
I warmly remember Megathron dominance and RR-Sniper fleets. And I also reluctantly recall when mining was the career path of choice for vast riches and when every warp landed 15km away from the target. However, for over 10 years I’ve come to fondly associate POSes with content. POSes have undeniably created a large part of the content in EVE, whether it was in 2009 when Goons were bashing POSes 24/7 in the grind for Delve/Querious or now in 2016 when opposing forces are constantly battling to keep or capture money moons. Yes, they are bitch to maintain and were an even worse headache before fuel blocks and yes, they could be exploited and horribly annoying to setup.
But I do get a little nostalgic with all the changes on the horizon. The vision CCP has been building is exciting as we progress towards the new POS-free New Eden. However, there is a growing sense of anxiety building as we leave something so familiar to embark into this brave new world. CCP Seagull has done a phenomenal job communicating her vision for EVE and CCP, in general, has been immensely helpful with responding to community feedback and addressing concerns. With that said, even after Engineering Complexes are released, Drilling Platforms (“Platforms”) is the one structure they must get right from the start.
As CCP have detailed, the roles for POSes and Outposts have been diversified across a variety of new structures. Most structures are dockable for at least some ships, tethering provides the safety-net that were once reserved for POSes, Citadels provide the firepower and Engineering Complexes provide most of the industrial needs of both POSes and stations (outposts). This is hardly exhaustive, but it is clear that the roles have shifted. We as players are no longer relegated to simply planting a flag in Dotlan or conquering a station that never goes away. Instead, we’re creating a new dynamic for each system.
For instance, Horde established numerous citadels for a variety of purposes routes throughout their region. This is great for PVPers and Industrialists alike to be able to form a connection with their space and identify it as their home. These new structures allow that to happen for Lowsec as well (leaving FW issues aside for now). Further, the risk of loss with these structures harkens back to what EVE is really about.
EVE has always been a game where most of the fun exists due to the necessity of having a winner and a loser. This was evident during CCP Rise’s presentation (ed: Eve Vegas) where playing EVE with a risk of loss made the experience that much more engrossing and intense. Defending and losing these structures will hopefully create a larger sense of scale for this risk of loss that encompasses not only individuals, but entire corporations and alliances.
Much of that zero-sum conflict within EVE centers on the POS. What CCP haven’t addressed is how they intend to translate the opportunities for conflict inherent in our POSes’ paradigm with that of Platforms. This is what we do know:
“Drilling Platforms focus on resource harvesting, mainly with reprocessing, moon harvesting, reactions, mining, gas harvesting, or new harvesting mechanics.” – CCP Ytterbium
“Service module possibilities: Reprocessing, moon harvesting, reactions, mining, gas harvesting. We also are considering new harvesting gameplay mechanics. We could for instance have pollution gas clouds form around drilling structures that see high activity, or seed small planetoids in specific asteroid belts and scan-able sites which require a drilling platform to break it down in smaller harvestable rocks.
Rigs possibilities: Anything that improves reprocessing, moon harvesting, reaction, tractor beam range effectiveness.”
At this point the community can only speculate how CCP will cultivate their place within EVE. The CSM minutes provided no new details and neither did EVE Vegas. As an example for how things may play out, imagine them as structures that are anchored near moons much like POS currently or POCOs with planets. If this is how Platforms evolve, let’s hope that CCP throws out the reinforcement windows and vulnerability timers for them.
Citadels are a pain [..] to siege.
Currently, Citadels are a pain in the ass to siege. At least the grind makes sense with Fortizars and Keepstars (if not Astrahuses) due to the reliance alliances and corporations are going to have on these structures when Outposts are eventually removed from Null-sec. The degree of planning and commitment required to kill these structures should match the Risk of Loss of the defenders. For Citadels/EC, the current mechanics are at the very least balanced for L and XL size structures. However, with the exception of the occasional WH corps that still live out of a POS alone, there aren’t vast alliance level risks that affect line members with POSes. Thus, it stands to reason that the structures created to replace the harvesting aspects of POSes should only require a commensurate level of planning and commitment from parties willing to attack them.
Vulnerability windows and multiple reinforcements on Platforms would be a mistake. The Risk of Loss is substantially limited compared to either a Citadel where hundreds of player’s assets are pooled together or an EC with a titan in build. For instance, Platforms/POS can be re-taken, but the potential loss of assets in a Keepstar is massive. The effort to kill a Drilling Platform should not be the same as a Citadel/EC when the potential for fun and Risk of Loss to the adversary is less. Grinding through Platform timers just doesn’t sound like fun.
Currently, corporations are notified when valuable POS moons are under attack and they have an opportunity to prevent the reinforcement or time the stront. If reinforced, the defending party must prepare for an ultimate skirmish to save the POS within 2 days. Depending on how ardent the defenders/attackers are, this scenario provides at least 6 opportunities to fight over a single POS with 3 opportunities to kill it within 1 week. While this may not be typical, the opportunities are exponential given the number of active POS in EVE. In the context of a regional offensive against an adversary, it becomes clear how much potential for conflict there is in the current system.
it’s impractical to hold POSes across the universe
Given the inconsistent degree of risk associated with each structure, vulnerability windows and multiple reinforcement timers would be an inappropriate hindrance to content generation if implemented for Platforms. Moreover, long distance defense of POSes across EVE is currently impractical due to jump fatigue mechanics and reinforces goals stated by CCP that they sought to make EVE bigger. Even with the proposed jump increases, it’s impractical to hold POSes across the universe. The longer the reinforcement cycles, the easier this becomes for space empires to passively control resources. Maintaining a reinforcement-to-kill period within 2 days facilitates more content by empowering attackers to reinforce structures when they’re capable and compelling groups to stay within defensible range of their valuable structures.
Ultimately, how Platforms actually operate is up to CCP and how it fits within their current vision. There are a number of factors which CCP should consider when distinguishing Platforms from Citadels/EC. For instance, they have to consider whether Rorq/JF & below should be able to dock and whether combat ships would be appropriate. Further, the relative safety of Citadels/ECs should be absent from Platforms. Tethering should be restricted to Citadels/ECs or perhaps a very small area on Platforms just outside the docking area of the structure. There should be limited defenses, if any.
CCP should also consider whether passive defenses are more appropriate on Platforms given how unlikely it is that they will be manned as often as Citadels/ECs. Resource collection should involve an interface where semi-weekly maintenance is encouraged to maintain maximum yields. For large empires, there should be a need for teams to manage the resource infrastructure and actually maintain their extraction efforts as opposed to just shuttling fuel/moon-goo around. The cost of Platforms should be tempered with how vulnerable and ubiquitous they’re going to be. For instance, Rigs or Service Modules can be utilized to add value to Platforms depending on their particular use.
To further speculate on Platforms, if CCP elects to keep the reinforcement-to-kill period for Platforms short, it is possible they will operate much like POCOs. There would be a set timer where a reinforced structure would come out and remain vulnerable to be destroyed for a short period. However, CCP could also require alliances to designate a specific hourly period (ex: 36 hours) after their reinforcement where they will be vulnerable as opposed to a set time-of-day which they will exit their reinforcement (as is the current POCO mechanic). A pre-set hourly period that can be changed up until reinforcement would retain much of the dynamic uncertainty involved with POS warfare without reducing it to switching fuel in and out. The DPS cap, timer, recharge mechanics are adequate at this point. Not everything needs to be reinvented.
However, it is important to incentive cap use on Platforms. The DPS cap/EHP would need to be adjusted to reflect that and maybe the rigs for these structures could determine the DPS cap/EHP scale to correspond with the value of the resource extracted. The investment in rigs/fittings can reflect the value of the moon just like how corporations are compelled to set up defenses for an R64. This is clearly analogous to how POSes size up and the level of defenses are directly related to the value of the resources being extracted in most cases.
I could go on and on, but I’d rather avoid an 18 page steam of consciousness. I know I didn’t flesh many of these ideas out, but that’s partially intentional. The goal isn’t to persuade CCP to implement these ideas specifically, but rather to illustrate one vision for how these Platforms could materialize. Nevertheless, the community should consider a few key points as we now turn towards Fanfest and, hopefully, more details emerge about these future structures.
Specifically, we should remember how important POS are as conflict drivers, how Platforms may take over the role of POS for conflicts and how, taken together, the new structure paradigm will shape conflict in the future. CCP may implement ideas similar to these or not at all. However, the removal of POSes for the sake of Platforms without facilitating the same scope of content for EVE is a concern. Regardless of how CCP decides to implement Platforms, the incentives which pull players together into fights need to be preserved and must be integral to CCP’s vision. I look forward to seeing what CCP have in store for us.
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