Monday, March 31, 2014

Hacking Sticks

Cheradenine Harper started, what I will now call, a crowd sourced idea and solution when he asked the eternal question:
"Anyone know if there's been any mention of being able to unanchor abandoned structures?"
In case one does not know what an abandoned structure is, in this conversation, we are speaking about abandoned player (corporate) owned starbases aka POS. A POS, when it runs out of fuel, goes offline. It does not anchor or vanish from space. It stays there, forever. In null sec, low sec, and wormholes they can be shot. In high sec the corporation must be war deced otherwise Concord says no. High Sec and Wormholes have huge numbers of what I called derelict POS.

Why is this a problem that needs to be solved? And, with any idea that has a lot of aspects of convenience one has to ask why we want it and if it will improve game play or is it just an idea to make my life easier.

In high sec people try out POS and get tired of them. They also put them up to stake a claim to a moon in a location. They will activate the POS when they want to do something. They let it go offline the rest of the time. In wormholes, people leave and the unancored, derelict POS grow. In low sec people forget to fuel their POS or abandon them when they move, cluttering up dscan. In null sec, I don't know, but I'm sure it's irritating to kill them.

At one point POS declared Sovereignty of a system. They where super important. That changed with the Dominion expansion. They became an important tool but in a different way. I'm fine with all of that. I'm just not fine with people using them to lock down moons in high sec. In fact, selling free moon locations is a thing that people do. All this is good. It is one of those little Eve careers that appears.

But, should someone be able to leave a POS on a moon for years and the only way to remove it is to shoot it an awful lot?

Rhevas, a wormholer, gives a good perspective of the irritations of derelict POS here.

I believe most understand how a wardec is irritating to do. They cost ISK. They take 24 hours to start. The owners get a warning. Then you have to shoot the thing. In other space you still have to shoot it and this is where shooting it isn't a simple solution. Offline POS still have their base stats. This means they take a long time to shoot in any space unless you are going to drop dreadnoughts on them. While dropping dreads is a delicious pastime it still has the whole situation of putting billions of ISK out on the field to destroy a single, unattended, abandoned structure.

It is also wasteful. If someone leaves something in space I should be able to steal it. If I scan down a ship someone has ejected from, I can take it. If I shoot a POS that has modules anchored, I can unanchor them and take them. I should be able to take the POS as well. It is just a structure and no one is looking after it. If they where, it would have shields up and I'd claw at them frantically whining and gnashing my teeth.

Hacking POS is not a new idea. I am not quite that amazing to have reinvented the wheel when no one noticed. But, the new deployables are, perhaps, a perfect area to allow us to do something about it. One problem with hacking POS is time. Well with our handy dandy new deployable we will be able to set it up to unanchor the modules and a time can be decided on for how long the unanchoring will take.

My first ideas where basic. Fly up, drop off the module, activate it, fly off, and come back later. Habit caused me to assume that it should have a timer. I was thinking about the mobile depot with its 48 hour timer. However, Rhavas came down from the wormholes and said, "NO!" and slapped my hands with a ruler. "Timers are bad, mkay?" he told me (to paraphrase). I sucked on my bleeding knuckles and nodded with wide eyes on the ruler. A better and more thoughtful approach must be taken. I learn quickly. Ow.

When someone says, "No" to an inconvenient feature, that no needs to be backed up. Rhavas made reasonable arguments about its viability in wormholes. I can respect that. He is the one that lives there. If I want people to listen to me about low sec when they don't live in low sec it seems that I can give others the same opportunity. What that time period while I tended my knuckles also made me think was time balance.
"How long does it take to kill an offline POS now? To damn long! Let that chant be preached in the streets! The offline POS takes to damn long to die! To damn long, am I right? Hear it brothers and sisters! Even with the dreadnought, even with the Nyx! Even when the Oracle fleet AFK! It takes to damn long for that offline POS to die! To damn long! Hear this cry! To damn long for that POS to die!" - Sugar from somewhere random after midnight when writing.
If we set up a hacking module that was roughly equivalent to that, it seems reasonable. I then expanded that thought into something simpler. The more I thought about it the more I realized that they had neglected to tend and fuel their POS. Why was I making massive concessions to allow them to come and take care of it? I'm in the middle of doing fuel runs for my own POS even as I write this. It is part of the responsibility of having it. I decided that I was adding needless complexity out of habit not valid gameplay. After all, I keep my POS fueled exactly because I don't want it to go offline and risk losing it. They hold fuel for thirty days after all. This wouldn;'t be a sudden thing. The in game calendar even marks your POS dates and shows them to you. The crowd sourcing on twitter agreed as Coffee Rocks chimed in wondering why we needed a timer.

Why indeed. Habits don't automatically make something good. Even with my own complaints about structure timers I've fallen into a terrible trap.

From: Aegea/Shantetha
"Put in a hacking mini game req hacking V & anchoring V. 3 failures 24h lockout timer/pilot + kill right. And yes I was thinking per pilot on the lockout so if joe fails frank, david, or lolimsoawesome20978 could each try."
Kill rights? I don't agree. Current deployables are suspect flag. Kill rights are also functional only in high sec. So, lets say Rhavas (who doesn't agree) cleans out a wormhole and goes to sell stuff in high sec. Why is he getting a kill right? They abandoned their stuff. I am keeping space clean. Tending to the servers needs. Helping the production machine that fuels Eve's underbelly!

At the start of the discussion I introduced the concept of having two skills to use the deployable. First anchoring. Anchoring is our basic module for putting anything in space (except mobile depots). Hacking would be used because this is a very serious, skill intensive task. This is a starbase after all, even an empty one. I figured Hacking V and Anchoring V. It is a very nifty deployable structure so let it require a reasonable skill investment. Otherwise we will have two week old alts running around unanchoring kingdom come and while amusing I think it could be done in a way that is sensible. This gives us some possible combo of the hacking game, a deployable, and skill requirements.

Orrrrr..... we can toss the idea of a deployable all together which Rhavas likes and introduce Coffee Rock's new Ore ship or a refurbished Primae and use it as an unanchoring/repo ship. We can keep the anchoring and hacking abilities and mix it with the ship for something interesting.

Complaining is easy but that does not make the complaints invalid. Often when we, as players, are complaining about something nonstop there is a problem somewhere in the complaint. The complaint is a symptom of said problem. Now, complaining will never stop because they are a force of nature of similar scope and consistency as... say... light. But, when the complaint is a symptom...

Maybe it is something that can be fixed! And according to Cheradenine Harper...

13 comments:

  1. I fail to see why the current situation is a problem.

    Where there is sufficient incentive, pilots will put 1+B of ships on the line, whether a dread or a fleet of bs. On a few occasions I have organised the fleet of BS.

    I accept the desire for change. Doing something to address the passive shield recharge would significantly help the small group.

    But reducing the need for fleets would be a net loss.

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    1. This is all my fault Foo and it started in hisec. I'm writing up what happened on my blog and will probably finish it tonight but it started out with greed ( my god what if I could loot all this abandoned stuff) moved into irritation (so someone just bags a moon and leaves stuff there forever and that's it? Undead space) and then onto frustration (OMG are there abandoned POS on every moon?) then into guilt (I remembered I once put up a POS ages ago and forgot about it).

      So I guess the position is to introduce some kind of dynamism into the space around moons and to make this space accessible to players that don't have access to 1B fleets (or fleets at all) possibly creating a new kind of player junkman role along the way. But also admittedly, I'm greedy and I've never really had untouchable loot flaunted at me in EVE. There's always some easy-ish way to get involved in nicking it which is very "EVE" but in this case the method for getting that sorted was long winded and full of barriers to entry.

      I hold to thinking it's a good idea for the reason it makes space more dynamic but I also hold to the fact that somewhere underneath I've a lazy, greedy opportunist streak a mile wide.

      I'm also wondering :

      a) refining changes will amp up POS demand and do the job

      b) what Rhavas is going to make of his strict teacher with a ruler role

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    2. Why are we putting out billions of assets or hours of a fleets time to kill off-lined POS? Giving into the 'not as soon as it goes offline complaint' that is still ridiculous. These things wind up taking a dedicated day to clear out if one is not using capitals.

      In high sec they are everywhere and people plant them to claim moons and walk away from them forever. If a war dec hits they activate them and deactivate them as soon as the war dies. Then, maybe, now and then, they turn them on. Stick a large tower down because it takes so long to grind.

      Where is the value in the game play here? Where is the risk for their assets?

      We have a habit of shooting everything in low sec. Dead POS die because they irritate us and clutter our dscan, plus we like to know who has tried to slip a tower in.

      But if you leave your stuff unattended and undefended it should become my stuff.

      There should be more options than shoot it to get rid of it. We often look into 'how' we can improve game play. Just by allowing us different methods to do parallel tasks can open up interesting situations. I've sat on a POS theft job more than once. We stole it because we could. Because it was more fun than shooting the person and shooting the stick.

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    3. http://diaries-of-a-space-noob.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/653-nails-in-coffin-of-space.html

      Note the fact that I saw no industrial modules around dead sticks.

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  2. How about if the difficulty of removing the POS were somehow made proportional to the time since it ran out of fuel? That way it would be easier to get rid of something abandoned for years compared to one that only ran out of fuel a couple of days ago.

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    1. I suggested on Cheradenine Harper's blog that maybe if we think of time we can do the 30 day thing that anchored cans have when not interacted with. I think it is way to long but I'm trying to be open minded.

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  3. John Holt here...

    Certainly some system for removal is needed. Now, how do we plant a fire a ccp to get it done?

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    1. Try to present clear, coherent, reasonable, engaging, game improving features? :D

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  4. fuel run out = shield start decaying? If "abandoned for a while" POS only hard armor and structure, they would be far easier to destroy.

    The absence of a force field already makes them vulnerable to high DPS ships (blasters, ogres). Adding that feature would make it a snap :)

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  5. Life in a C1 WH, means you keep it clean. You constantly have a stream of hisec folks looking for quick kills. You don't leave wrecks.

    Folks take a clean WH as being a nice place to set up shop. After all, we did it in our day.

    We would go out of our way to inform folks trying to setup a POS in our WH that this was not in their interest or ours. Usually, with common tools of encouragement, we would convince them to take down their tower and leave. Sometimes, however, the POS would be left to run out of power. Then we were stuck with an abandoned tower. AND NOTHING SCREAMS ABANDONED WH LIKE A DEAD TOWER. so we had LOTS of folks trying to setup a POS because they saw a dead one. They never bothered to scan all the planets to see if their was a live POS out there.

    I would have given my eye teeth to have a painless way to hack that tower down. taking out a large POS in a C1 WH is miserable work. Made better, I will say, with the introduction of the attack battlecruisers.

    I cannot for the life of me, understand why the ability to unanchor someone else's dead POS cannot be added to the game. If this demonstrates the failure of the old POS code, then damn the POS. Get a new replacement structure ASAP, and kill the old code dead. Let me clean up space.

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  6. Thanks for helping to propel this conversation, Sugar - I think it's a good one!

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  7. It was this sort of thing that had me dreaming for a while of the intersection of EO, Rust, and the now pretty much dead 'walking in stations'. Nagahappen, but it was a fun little dream.

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