UPDATE: Based on comments here and further Twitter discussion, I modified some of my positions and posted the idea in the Features & Ideas Forum for discussion and consideration. Here is that post, your support would be appreciated!
I had an interesting discussion on Twitter today about the removal of abandoned anchorable items (really what we’re talking about here is unfueled POS), and the level of nuance didn’t lend itself well to so few characters. So I wanted to take a few minutes to address it here.
Today, especially in wormhole space, moons are littered with dead, long-abandoned POS. The vast majority of these will never have their owners return for them and have sat idle for weeks or months. They are space junk, pure and simple. But to remove these is a multi-day, ammo-intensive process due to high HP and reinforcement timers. Worse, abandoned POS means that any new folks looking to move into a wormhole first have to clear a spot of old abandoned junk.
Low Sec CSM candidate Sugar Kyle (who will be getting an endorsement from me) was looking for input on how we might allow people to remove this space junk and potentially profit from it. CSM 8 member Ali Aras (who will also be getting an endorsement) chimed in as well.
When asked this question, many people (understandably) think in terms of dead POS in k-space. Where you have unlimited access to the POS and can come back and shoot it in a couple of days with no real difficulty – all your routes and surroundings remain the same. If push comes to shove you can go about your business, come back in a couple days and shoot the rest down. Once you’re done, you pack up your loot and head out.
This is not the case in wormhole space, where I would argue the bulk of the problem actually lies. In wormholes, you have to worry about having the right ship for the job, often more than one, but you have holes that disappear either from lack of time or excess mass. This means that within 24 hours or less, your logistics change, often radically. You will lose connection to both your home system and any k-space locations that make it worthwhile for you to attempt to grab the abandoned structure. In addition, the wormhole corps that would bother to do a shoot and wait and shoot again are large enough and well-funded enough that it’s just not worth the bother – and that’s with today’s mechanics that require only ammo and a timer. It is for this reason that I believe it is critical that CCP make it very easy to remove this space junk, creating a whole new class of salvager – maybe even a new ship.
To that end, what I would personally prefer is a very, very easy system. If you have Anchoring V and the POS is Anchored but Offline, you can take it. Done.
That said, I can understand if people would like to see a bit more gameplay value here, and are also concerned about people not having a chance to defend. So let’s go through the proposals I’ve seen for gameplay additions – again remember that the crucial feature is that it be made fair, but easy and cheap – or no one will actually do the removals.
- Hacking. Yes. Of all the ideas proposed, this makes the most sense. It adds a gameplay element without dictating the ship, or a piece of equipment, or a timer, or worst a combination of all three. Give the POS a hacking difficulty that scales with size and faction (large faction towers very tough, small basic towers very easy). You could also have the self-destruct happen dependent on size (1 fail explodes smalls, 4 for large faction, etc.). I could get behind this idea. Then you could also make actual removal post-hack driven by skill level at Anchoring (tuned again to size and value of tower).
- Timers. Timers (along with HP) are the problem now. If we want people to eliminate these things, at least in wormholes, the timer needs to go away or at minimum not be attack-based. Here’s what I mean by that.
- Bad: Timer starts when hack fails. No. Here again we’re at “come back in a couple of days”. Only dedicated siegers will ever do this in wormholes, and it will remain a strong discouragement even in highsec. This is effectively how things work now. Nothing changes and you might as well have not bothered to even try.
- Potentially Good: Timer starts when fuel runs out. Maybe. This means that the owner gets a notice to come and save their stuff, but a wolfpack flying by gets a notice that tells them there’s no point in bothering with it today (come back when the timer runs out). It provides the defensive benefit of a timer without wasting the attackers’ time. You could make this as much as 48 hours, and effectively what it does is put the tower into Reinforced when it runs out of fuel.
- Deployable-Driven. No. Yes, I know CCP is on a deployable kick. I have gone on at some length about my opinion on some of the good and bad ideas therein. The bottom line is this: it adds one more layer of complexity that adds no value to the scenario. It’s just one more stupid thing to remember and have stocked – in wormholes this is a big deal, because generally you are not out and about in a ship able to scoop a POS, nor fit for hacking. You’re generally in a pure combat or pure scouting ship. And in the beginning you’d have to have many of them, unless you made it scoopable. If you want to add a capability, new item, and expense, make it a ship instead. Here’s what I propose:
- ORE Reposessor: Yes. A new ORE hull with bonuses to hacking and cargo hold size, with enough size for a Large tower and several key mods. Tank would be better than a T1 Industrial but worse than a Deep Space Transport – in fact this could also be done instead with a repurposed set of Deep Space Transports. Would be great for moving POS and modules in or out of a location. UPDATE: Coffee Rocks suggested repurposing the (useless) Primae to do this. I think that’s a great idea.
- Penalties Against Salvaging Party. No. Someone in the conversation suggested that the original anchoring corp get killrights against the hacker. This makes no sense to me – remember that if the above are done, this is no different than salvaging a white wreck. At worst, you make it like stealing from a can and make the person flashy for 15 minutes. You are not attacking someone, you are doing New Eden a favor and cleaning up their mess.
So yes, please – we need to make towers removable. Yes we should add some gameplay value. But most importantly, we need to treat it like what it is – the salvaging of space junk, not an attack.
UPDATE: Two of the other folks involved have now made posts of their own that are worth your time to read: