Thursday, September 19, 2013

Leave Your Shoes at the Door, Please

When I’m not being an evil pirate, I like to trade on another character. And when I’m not trading, I like to try my hand now and again at manufacturing. It may seem like a weird sort of hobby for a pirate to have, but I quickly found with my low-sec trading and alliance shop activities that it’s a lot easier to drop tons of minerals in my home base and simply build a lot of what I need. Not only does it take a lot less M3 to move, but it makes things easier to be able to simply build what I need, when I need it.

Building ships is fun. However, I always thought it would be really cool to build an outpost someday. Unlike building ships, modules, ammo, and etc., outposts are a lot more ‘unique.’ You can’t really ‘track’ your ships and items to be able to tell people ‘hey…I built that ship you’re flying.’ But…an outpost is different. Months down the line you can still say, “hey, I helped build that outpost. Thousands of people have visited it, traded in it, stored their junk in it. And I helped build it.”

Right now, there are four kinds of outposts, and a limited amount of upgrades you can add to them. Certain outposts are ‘good’ at different things. One is good for Manufacturing, with a lot more Manufacturing slots. One is better for ‘organizational’ stuff –setting up various offices and etc.

Wouldn’t it be cool, if there were more than four types of outposts? What if…outposts came in different sizes and flavors similar to POSes?

On the small end, a little bigger than a Large POS, we’d have the Military Outpost. These are smaller than the Outposts we have today, with limited functionality. They are less expensive, and easier to put up.

You could setup basic ship repair services, medical cloning, bounty office, limited player hangers, and etc. Different ‘flavors’ would have different perks. Perhaps one race’s Militiary Outpost was beefier, allowing players to store more goods in the hangers. Another would perhaps be smaller, and take significantly less time to put up….very useful in the case of needing station resources immediately for an invasion, or etc.

After Military Outposts, we’d have regular Outposts. These would be similar in size and functionality as what we have now. But, perhaps we’d balance them out, adjust some stats, and etc.

Finally, we’d have the ability to build Stations. These are a big step-up from our current Outposts, with facilities that compare or even rival those of high-sec stations. Industry based stations would have upgrades for creating competitive refineries, massive amounts of manufacturing and research slots –even drug labs. Others would have strengths in other areas. One, perhaps, would have a special upgrade allowing for the pseudo-docking of a limited number of super capitals.

These ‘stations’ would be huge—amazing feets of engineering. It would take a week just onlining the basics to get them operational, and upwards of a half a trillion ISK in costs. There would be only a few in existence, and just the fact that one existed in a region would make that region extremely valuable to own. People would be clamoring to pay whatever fees necessary to gain access…

In addition to giving a whole bunch of variety to outpost building, we’d change a few things about outposts in general.

First, all outposts/stations would be destructible. The military outposts would be harder than a Large POS to take down, but easier than its bigger brother, the Outpost. Stations….well, stations, for all practical purposes would be nearly indestructible. It would take massive amounts of damage, most likely from ships that don’t even exist yet. (But, those are ideas for another post…)

Second, we would decouple sovereignty from outpost ownership. This means that you do not need sovereignty in a system in order to own and operate the station. I’ve talked about separating sovereignty from ‘ownership’ before, here.

Owning a station wouldn’t be much different than owning a POS. Only, stations can trade hands in terms of ownership, either through friendly terms or force. (And they can also be destroyed.)

Furthermore, we’d allow corporations unaligned to an alliance to own and build outposts.

Third, all outposts would require certain types of regular upkeep, in terms of fuel and fees. If a corporation or alliance doesn’t upkeep the station, it goes into an ‘unowned’ state, whereup others can come and claim it. (Or, they can also leave it unclaimed in which anyone can dock and use it.)

These fuel and upkeep costs would be based on the size of outpost, as well as what kind of upgrades are installed on it.

Fourth, you can build outposts in wormholes. I don’t know about you, but the idea of going exploring and finding an unclaimed, secret outpost that you could claim and use…well, it’s enough that even someone like me might try her hand at exploring. ;)

Maybe it’s a dumb idea, as I don’t know a lot about wormholes. But I think it would be interesting to expand the use of wormholes beyond carebearing sleepers, and exploratory pvp. Imagine if major alliances used wormholes as secret military bases? Perhaps…for the purpose of a stealth invasion, or as a quiet place to retreat to…

Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, the sky is the limit in null-sec, and elsewhere. Who knows what else I’ll think up? Mothership class super carriers? The ability to build semi-permanent gates to wormhole systems? Modules that knock out local…and/or system scanning. Semi-live events that ‘spawn’ or ‘happen’ based on player actions.

New ship technology brought in by the invasion of the long forgotten fifth race…

I think you must be pretty crazy to have as wild an imagination as me.

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