Deployables Part 2: Deps For Good

OK, so now that I’ve dispensed with the criticism, how about what I found that was good in CCP Fozzie’s deployable ideas thread? Again, there are degrees of “good”. I’ll start with the ones I like as-is and touch on a few “yes if” categories (if carefully balanced, if part of a POS, if turned into a ship module). Due to length, I’ve decided to put my own ideas into a Part 3 (as well as the thread).

Good Ideas

Intel Devices. One of the biggest categories of ideas that I think is balanced and useful without being OP (unless given crazy reinforcement timers, etc.) is deployables that gather or block intelligence.

  • Local changes. There are a lot of ideas in the thread about this. I wrote one of my most-visited posts on this topic almost a year ago, and most of it is still relevant today. Go read it, and if you really are passionate about Local, read the whole Blog Banter it inspired. TLDR – Local needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Some of these are things that can be addressed via deployables. Many are not.
  • Grid Loggers. One of the ideas in my Local post is for a gate-based intel device to track who comes into and through the system and could be posted at standard hardpoints (gates, moons, stations, etc.). This idea is also all over the thread. It’s a good idea. I still think this is a great device in Faction War and Sov Null. It probably should be limited to one per hardpoint (thus “Launch for Alliance” is probably a good option). In highsec or non-FW Lowsec, I’m not as sure it makes sense. I like it postable on a wormhole as well.
  • Deployable cameras. There are a number of these posts, and they often focus on different areas of need. I like both of the below, provided we can find a way to keep it from affecting game performance.
    • Movie camera – Seismic Stan (aka Freebooted) had a great post asking for this a long time ago. Eve is beautiful but lacks movie development tools in the worst way. Video makers cobble things together or settle for significantly suboptimal approaches. Using “cameras” to record would add a whole new dimension to fan videos, watching fights, and frankly to CCP marketing.
    • Commander’s camera – If you saw the last alliance tournament you may have also seen the “battle recorder” powered by CREST. This would be an amazing technology to allow for a remote FC to truly drive a battle tactically rather than from the thick of the fight. I think this would add an amazing new dimension to fleet fights of all sizes. I’d link it but it seems that everything from AT CREST has been taken down (please let me know in comments if you have a link!).
  • Racing “Lap Counter”. One really original idea is to build a “lap counter” that could be a live, automated checkpoint for ship race events. I think this would be hard to implement but it’s a really clever idea and one CCP could turn into another tournament-like capability for eSports.

Replacements for Station Functions. While I’m not a fan of replacing POS functions with deployables, I am a big fan of replacing station services. It’s pretty widely acknowledged that there are capacity and quality issues with this from what I see on industry blogs, etc. Now, if it was me, I’d want these in a POS. I’d definitely want them to be destructible. But if someone wants to put these things out in deadspace, sites or belts for me to shoot, who am I to stop them? They also represent great opportunities to take into whatever “new space” CCP is proposing. These ideas are all through the thread, and include things like:

  • Tax-free “black market” trade facilities. I especially love this one – maybe we could decentralize Jita after all? EVE players love the minmax, but I suspect CCP would veto this one since they want the ISK sink of taxes and broker fees.
  • Processing/Refinement & Compression. Better efficiency for miners, better targets for gankers. Everybody wins.
  • Research. I think this might be the #1 item I’ve heard people bitch about related to industry over the last 3-4 years. Great opportunity to fix it.
  • Manufacturing & drug labs. The #2 and #3 thing I hear bitched about not having enough queues.
  • Vending machines, equipment & ammo dispensaries. Fun new tool ideas for fleets, wanderers, and gangs. Fun new targets too.

Things That Automate Things Bots Don’t Care About and Don’t Lead to Goon OP. OK, I know I’m walking the edge of hypocrisy here when in the last post I said we shouldn’t use structures to make easy things easier. But there are some things that are effectively already automated or done AFK and add no value by having a ship do it at this point.

  • Cyno beacon. Let’s face it, most cynos are suicide alts anyhow. Having a guy with an alt in a noobship doesn’t add any play value to a battle whatsoever. You could do it with a deployable and there would be only one difference – that alt would no longer be needed, and that’s why I doubt CCP would ever implement it because they are a business, and more alts = more $. But it would be no difference from a combat perspective, and would in fact be better gameplay.
  • Siege engine. Think mobile Phoenix launcher. Phoenixes are well acknowledged to be useless for anything but shooting structures. So why not create a “current state Phoneix launcher” (maybe 1 could be held in each Tornado cargo bay) for that purpose expressly, and rebalance the Phoenix to be useful? If balanced properly (you could even lock down valid target types) so that it could only shoot structures, you drive down the interminable grind without opening the problem of shooting ships with it that makes other mobile gun platforms OP. Yes, it allows you to RF faster. But who cares? 9 times out of 10 you’re not going to stop the RF anyhow.
  • Auto salvager. Yes, it’s lazy-mode. But we already have an auto-tractor and salvage drones. The genie is out of the bottle. Just finish the job.
  • Abandoned drone collector. This is one I never would have thought of but is just a brilliant idea. How many times do you leave a herd of drones on the field because it’s too annoying to collect them? I smell a whole new salvaging career path, and it could be a very minor tweak to the existing Tractor Deployable to make it happen.

Actual Good Wormhole Ideas. Unlike the terrible ones in the last post (Wormhole Stabilizers and Collapsers), there are a few ideas I do like for wormhole play, or at least am not totally opposed to.

  • Wormhole extender. Wormholes operate on two principles, mass (there is a max ship size through and a max total mass through) and time. As I said the last post, messing with either mass variable is a terrible idea. But the time variable … within reason (e.g. no more than doubling the baseline, which would lead to no more than 48-hour lifetimes) I don’t see any reason this would be bad, and can actually see several reasons it would be good, and used by all sorts of wormhole travellers.
  • Wormhole generator. Sansha Kuvakei has had this capability for years. I’ve been agitating for years that capsuleers should have it too. The key will be making it work in a way that is balanced. Here’s my idea – all it does is trigger a standard “wandering wormhole” for your location. This means that you get a hole, but you don’t get to decide to where, or at most (maybe tied to a high-level skill) you get to pick a wandering wormhole type to spawn (which will dictate type of space but not system or region). This way it can work in all space types without being OP. It also quite conceivably leads to more activity in wspace, which is all the better. Ratchet expense up by destination type and you have a balanced way to mix things up that dovetails nicely with existing lore.
  • Wormhole status monitor. I envision this as a corp deployable rather than personal, but it would be great to have a device you could drop on a hole that told you mass remaining, time remaining, and polarization timers. Benefit to anchoring corp is obvious, anyone else would not be able to use it but having it present gives away the owner’s presence and any stealth attack advantage by doing so. Disappears with collapse of the hole it’s anchored on.

New Content and Capability. There were also several ideas that are good, or at the very least interesting and not broken, that don’t neatly fit any of the above categories.

  • Link jammer. Kills the effects of command links within x range, let’s say 200Km. While I wouldn’t quite go so far as to call boosters/links OP, they have become ubiquitous and left small gangs without them high and dry. I think this is a great way to level the playing field and make people fight with the ships they brought.
  • True POCOs. Allow Player-Owned PI pickup stations. Less robust or large, perhaps, but owned by a single player.
  • COCO Siphon. CCP call these POCOs today, but with the creation of the True POCO above, they will have to be renamed to what they really are, Corporate-owned, or COCOs. New siphon unit would pull things out of the COCO. Some people in the thread suggest that this draw directly from the launchpad or extractors of the planet below, but I believe that is too overpowered and should not be implemented.
  • Trigger Wreck. One of the more amusing missioner ideas proposed was a “fake wreck” that if salvaged would give the salvager a suspect flag (normal wrecks do not). Now that’s carebadgering.
  • Corpse Reprocessor. Dump in corpse, it gets processed like a wreck, standard loot fairy chance of implants dropping. Always delivers 3 units (1.14 m3) of Biomass, however.
  • Large Ship Warp Catapult. This is actually a hybridization I made up from several interesting ideas in the posts. Can only be anchored at gates, stations and POSes, but launches ships battlecruiser-sized and above to another gate, station or POS at pre-Rubicon speeds. Has no effect whatsoever on smaller ships.
  • Midwarp Capture Bubble. For use in null and wormholes only. You don’t warp gate-to-gate anyway, right? Right? This idea is overdue in my mind; the question is whether it’s even capable of being coded without a complete nightmare of new code tangles.
  • Automated Slowboat Courier. This is effectively a “fire and forget” cargo hauler. Aim for station, press go, walk away. If no one molests it, it gets through to its destination. It actually came up in several separate posts. While I would never use it, I honestly see no downsides so long as it moves slower and less efficiently (e.g. slowboat autopilot) than it’s comparable-sized hauler (industrial or freighter).

Things That Would Make Good POS Modules

As discussed in the previous post, there are a number of things that are way too OP to be mobile modules. That does not, however, mean that they wouldn’t be good fixed-location (i.e. moon-linked) devices. I think many would be great POS additions (in fact I think POS should always have had these things).

  • Existing POS capabilities. When unable to be easily moved or positioned in a combat field like a station, plex or gate, things that are OP in those situations (as suggested by the thread posters) are fine. This includes combat mods, shields, CHAs for stuff storage, and SMAs for ship storage.
  • Repair mods to fix armor, hull, and overheat damage
  • Drone hive (we have other guns, why not drones?)
  • Trade hub module – much like the black market above, but restricted to the use of that corp or the people allowed to use that POS
  • Medclone & Jumpclone capability – While it means additional risk, it also gives additional defensive capabilities. It also would allow wormhole dwellers to change clones to change implants like k-spacers do. In wormholes I would limit this to require you to be in the system already (in other words, you could jump from clonebay to clonebay within the system, but could not jump from k-space or another hole into the wspace system).

Stuff That Would Make Good Ship Modules

There are a number of bad anchorable/deployable ideas that actually would be pretty cool in module form. Most would be very OP as a persistent deployable but cool as a charge-based single-shot item.

  • Chaff. Two types: 1) Anti-missile – Effectively a “working” FOF system. Fires charges that reduce the possibility of missiles hitting (rather than 100% success). 2) Bomb protector – What would be bad is an “AOE no bombs get through” deployable. But what about something that would make one bomb per charge/cycle explode early/far away, or that would deflect a bomb in another direction? Or one that could shoot an anti-bomb one at a time, reducing an 8-bomb hit to a 6-bomb hit?
  • Gate Probe. Shoots a probe through a gate, gives a report of what is visible on grid on the other side. This would be a great choice for a roaming gang to bring along. I can already see the ITS A TARP memes showing the readout.
  • Ship Tracker. This is a classic Rixx Javix Gooder EVE suggestion. He puts it out there as a deployable, but this just begs to be a shootable module. Shoot target, able to follow hit ship for a number of minutes, jumps, or until repaired, etc.
  • Gate Interference Device. While this is just too OP as a deployable, what if it was a module limited to a specific ship type (maybe a HIC) that could stop one ship from jumping? If well balanced, I could get behind it. I might even fly a HIC more often…
  • Centripetal Warp Launcher. As I mentioned in the previous post, I am not a fan of Deadspace pocket creation. What I do like is the idea of being able to launch your ship in a random direction for a ridiculous distance. In the thread this is proposed as a sort of insta-escape button, which is dumb (see combat avoidance in the previous post). But what could be cool is if you gave it a wind-up too long for combat but it would launch you, say, 50 AU in a random direction. I don’t have any issue with pre-fight preparedness or escaping more fully after escaping to begin with. Safe spot creation module, anyone?

Definitely Maybe

And of course, there are a handful of leftovers that I keep thinking and rethinking. They sound good, but I can smell the serious potential balance issues. Fozzie & co. would have to be extremely careful not to make them overpowered, but if he can, they could be very interesting.

  • Gate Gun Reform. There are two ideas that are geographically limited, and if done right could be really awesome. Both involve immobile gate guns. Both have huge potential for abuse, but could be amazing new mechanics if balanced right.
    • Lowsec Gate Gun Override. This deployable would scramble the gate gun signal, either halting gatefire or even better, allowing the owner to actively target the gate guns much like a POS gunner. It would be totally obvious so few would stick around, but if you dropped one in a crisis… what fun to shoot carrier hotdrops.
    • Sov Null Gate Gun Placement. If the empires can do it, why not nullsec sovereigns. I’d make at least one major change here, though – that they could not automatically fire for many reasons, not the least of which is that frigs are useless in gate fights in lowsec because of gate guns, and I wouldn’t want to bring that bad mechanic to null. In order to fire, they would need to be actively manned like a POS gun.
  • Covert Cyno Detector. Quite simply, makes the covert cyno show up on Overview like the standard cyno does. I don’t fly a lot of Blops from the hunter end, so I’d want the null guys on CSM to weigh in heavily on this one.
  • Billboards. I think there is great potential for coolness and terribleness in this idea. I love the idea but the potential for spam and EULA-challenging visuals is really high. CCP might nix this just because of how much they’d have to police it. TTP will be very short I’m afraid.
  • D-Scan Cloak. Your fleet within a certain radius would be hidden from D-scan only (still able to be found via probes, Local or landing on grid. I am waffling on whether this would be almost as bad as a group cloak.
  • Remote Local. Drop deployable, and while it’s up you can get Local (characters only, not chat) list from that system while you’re not there. I like the idea but am concerned about it being OP and potentially causing game performance issues. It also potentially disenfranchises scouts.
  • Warpable Beacon. I love the idea of this for people running events or wanting to bookmark a public meeting place, or even as bait. I fear that it will be the next Depot – space garbage littering the Jita undock.
  • POS Fuel or Stront Siphon. This is another good candidate for siphoning, I’ll admit. But I’m not sure if it will be too OP as well, especially if aimed at fuel. Stront I’m a bit more comfortable with – it forces you not only to siphon but to knock the shield down to make an impact. And maybe from a balance standpoint you could only remove x stront per day, so that anyone paying attention could easily keep up.
  • Shockwave Generator. This is again a cool concept, but likely to be OP. When activated it generates a “wave” that pushes anything unanchored away from it. I love the idea that it could be used one time in a battle, or to push an unanchored ship out of a POS shield. I loathe the idea that 50 of them could be used at once to make combat an untenable spamfest of non-control.
  • Mines/planted bombs/time bombs. As Mike Azariah noted in his posts, these were removed from the game for a reason. However, I think they could be re-added with some very careful balance work on CCP’s part. I have no doubt it would be a challenge, but what fun. I remember playing the original Half-Life deathmatch and blowing the crap out of people with remote-explode bombs and mines. It was amazingly hilarious and fun. Imagine being at a 200Km grid point and exploding a bomb at the gate. Or setting a time bomb behind you as you run away from a blob. Great potential for imbalance, but great potential for entertainment.

Tune in next time for one last post – my ideas. I promise it’ll be the shortest of the three!

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6 Responses to Deployables Part 2: Deps For Good

  1. evehermit says:

    I was assuming there would be 100 great ideas, but I’m seeing very little which I think of as being cool or a wow idea. The Ship Tracker idea however stands out as unique. I expect the empire gankers would love it though – its use in empire would have to be carefully balanced.

    • Rhavas says:

      The thread has an unholy amount of repetition, so unique ideas were few and far between I’m afraid.

      I love the tracker idea. It should have a simple country but one that slows your flight, like a simple stop to repair in station. Works great in high sec but you might have it a while in Great Wildlands…

  2. Sonlin says:

    I’m honestly kinda scared by some of these. Let me go through a few:

    Movie Cameras: Everyone would use them, leading to lag.
    Research/Manufacturing/Drug slots: That’s a HUGE purpose of poses, and a driver of High Sec Wars
    Cyno Beacons: Now using capitals wouldn’t even require putting another ship at risk…
    Siege Engine: Next time anybody tackled a Titan, 1000 of these would be deployed.
    Wormhole Generator: There are a limited number of wormholes iirc, so not sure how this would work when too many are active.
    Link Jammer: Command Ships would die out completely, because everyone would carry these.
    Corpse Reprocessor: Main downside that I can see is a loss of income for NPC 0.0 people.
    Automated Slowboat Carrier: Unless these things had no tank/could be shot by anyone, it’s bad. The more you take people out of space, the worse the idea.
    Gate Probe: This reduces risk. This is what scouts are for and, given interceptors can get away anyways, there’s no need.
    Gate Interference Device: Stop people from jumping? Not sure how this is a good idea, especially in a dead-end pocket.
    Covert Cyno Detector: Eh, ruins the point of covert cynos, doesn’t it?
    Mines: Just because it’d be fun doesn’t make it a good idea.

    • Rhavas says:

      Lots here – you picked a lot that I did already say I was concerned about but sounded fun if it could be balanced, generally for the same reasons I stated (Movie camera, Siege engine, Gate interference module, Mines). Quick replies on the others:
      – Research/Mfg/Drug: True, but why force these to be in a POS? What the current system does is disenfranchise the little guy who can’t afford a POS, much less defend one. I’d rather he had freedom, albeit at smaller scale/efficiency and with less defenses.
      – Cyno Beacon: I don’t think the game will be worse for not putting a noobship or T1 frigate at risk. No one in a cyno ship today risks anything anyhow. So make it have the same HP as a T1 frigate, and if it needs to be hardier they can use a ship instead.
      – Wormhole Generator: I trust CCP to figure this out. Right now I can tell you there are thousands of them up all the time. I’m not worried about this one.
      – Link Jammer: I sure would carry one. I think links are OP (especially off-grid) and need either nerfing or workarounds like this one.
      – Corpse Reprocessor: I killed it, I should get the loot from your head too.
      – Automated Courier: I agree, they should not be heavy tank, and I’d be OK with them shootable even in highsec. They also should be smaller and slower than their smallest, slowest cost/size counterpart. I personally would gank every one of these that went by. Remember these are not my ideas, I’m just categorizing the ones in the thread. 🙂 If people want to set up gank targets for me, I’m amenable!
      – Gate Probe: Fair point on the new interceptors (my brain still thinks in Crucible terms in some ways). I actually think it would be fun game play, however.

  3. I like how you’ve gone through all of the ideas and distill them down. Thanks!

    Medclone & Jumpclone capability – is there already a mechanic worked out for what happens if you are podded and your clone’s “home” (in this case the POS module) no longer exists?

    Wormhole generator – certainly seems like a determined attacker could find your WH faster with these. Fire up 10 generators, see what you get, power cycle them until you get your target system. Maybe if the generator can’t be cycled until the WH dies of natural causes?

    As a newer player trying to also do things with an industrial alt I would be all over the idea of a industrial deployable. Yes, I can see someone going through a system and reinforcing all of them that they could find which would be painful if you have a multi-day job going, but it’s still better than getting together the 1B+ ISK you need to set up a POS not even getting to the pain of grinding faction standings for a moon POS.

    • Rhavas says:

      Thanks!
      – Medclone/jumpclone – That’s a great question. I am assuming so since Rorquals can have clones resident today, but I really don’t know the answer. I imagine that would be something Fozzie & co. would have to balance.
      – Wormhole Generator – Yes, that’d be a danger. I think it would have to be carefully balanced to not become an “autoroller”. I think your idea of only one of your own per system until you go to the work of cycling it would be reasonable at first blush. That’s also why I think it should be an appropriate wanderer type rather than anything at all targeted. Making it a random wander type for your start system should damp it down too. But it would definitely bear some watching. Rage rolling for a specific hole is painful (although one targeted to Class 6 holes would be able to get lucky more often than others).
      – Industrial – My thoughts are the same as yours. And I live in a POS!

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