Terrible Ideas: EW, Intel Tools, and Nullsec

June 14, 2012
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My last few Terrible Ideas were all about carebear stuff, so this week you get a grab bag of suggestions, all relating to PVP in some fashion. So let’s dive right in.

Caldari Electronic Warfare
Presently the Caldari have only one form of racial EW, when all other races have two: ECM, which holds the additional distinctions of being the only chance-based form of EW and the most annoying form to be targeted by. I propose an extensive rework of what ECM is and does and the addition of a second kind of Caldari EW.

Target Jamming: The new primary Caldari EW method, target jammers are targeted modules. When first activated on an enemy, they break that enemy’s sensor locks and then reduces the enemy’s number of maximum locked targets by 20% (subject to stacking penalty, minimum 1 target removed). When jamming an enemy that can normally lock 2 targets, the first jammer will drop him to 1 target, but to completely jam him out, multiple jammers would need to be stacked until the enemy was more than 50% jammed. (Hopefully that’s not too confusingly worded.) Target jammers may or may not be race-specific; it could go either way.

Electronic Countermeasures: ECM now becomes the secondary Caldari EW and has a vastly different purpose. New-style ECM modules affect the ship they are fitted to; when activated, they regulate, reduce, and redirect the ship’s emissions to give it a smaller sensor profile – that is, to give it a smaller signature radius, making it harder to lock and harder to track. However, this also somewhat reduces their speed – acting as an inverse MWD, in effect.

Intel Tools

Currently, the main method of gathering intel is by scrolling through the Local channel. That makes Local a powerful intel tool – too powerful, in CCP’s opinion, especially for one that’s completely passive. There’s been lots of talk about changing local and introducing more active intel-gathering methods and tools, and I have a few thoughts on the matter:

Local

  • Highsec: Local remains as it is now; proprietary CONCORD subroutines in the stargates identify each capsuleer as they enter a star system.
  • Lowsec: In low security space, local will display the number of people in a system, as well as the numbers of reds/blues/neuts.
  • Nullsec: In NPC and unclaimed or undeveloped sov space, local will operate as it does in wormhole space, displaying no information on how many people are in the system or who they are.

D-Scan

Instead of unerringly reporting shiptypes within scan range, the directional scanner should instead classify ships according to their race and signature radius; in order to avoid forcing players to memorize common sig radius numbers, but reward players who do, d-scan will display a ship class – “frigate”, “cruiser”, or “industrial”, for example – for each ship detected, with classes assigned based on how the detected ship’s sig radius compares to the baseline ranges for a given ship class. This will be displayed alongside the actual numerical sig radius, which may provide more information for a pilot who knows his sig radii.

The UI of the directional scanner could also use some tweaking; the easiest to accomplish would be determine scan angle using a text box and slider/textbox combo to determine scan range.

System Upgrades

  • Local Intelligence Network: Systems with a strategic index of 4 or higher can be upgraded with a Local Intelligence Network, which allow the anchoring and onlining of Stargate Traffic Monitors. In systems so upgraded, Local will function as in lowsec.
  • Long-Range Passive Sensor Platforms: Systems with a strategic index rating of 5 can be upgraded with a Passive Sensor Array, which allows the anchoring of Long-Range Passive Sensor Platforms. In systems so upgraded, members of the owning alliance will benefit from an upgraded d-scan which displays distance figures for everything within scan range.

Nullsec

And now a few miscellaneous ideas I’ve had about making things a little better for small alliances in nullsec.

Deep Space and/or Stealthed Starbases

In light of the high likelihood of a complete revamp of how starbases work, I won’t go into too much detail about how I think this should work – but suffice it to say that I think there should be a structure that, when anchored at least 1 AU away from any star, planet, moon, or station, allows a starbase to be anchored next to it; and a starbase module that weakens the shield’s resistances and/or hp but also prevents the starbase and its modules from appearing on d-scan or on combat scanner probes. Ships visiting the starbase would still appear on scans as normal.

Farms & Fields

Certain military and industrial system upgrades have names that suggest arrays of networked sensor platforms: Pirate Detection Array, Entrapment Array, Quantum Flux Generator, Ore Prospecting Array, and Survey Network. To provide the sort of “farms and fields” objectives that small gangs can target to disrupt sovholders, a set of ~5 structures per upgrade spawn at random locations every downtime in systems equipped with these upgrades. They have relatively little hp, appear on D-scan and can be located with combat scanner probes. Once all of a particular set have been destroyed, that upgrade stops working entirely until the next downtime, when it is reduced a level and a new set of structures are spawned.

Planetary Interaction

Planets shouldn’t be locked to use only by members of the alliance holding sovereignty over a system. If a sov-holding alliance wants to gate access to planets in their space, they can put up POCOs and patrol their space for people who try to get by using the basic launch capacity of planetary command centers. The current system is an artificial restriction unsuited to EVE’s sandbox nature, and removing it will allow a greater variety of emergent gameplay and the potential for more small-gang PVP in nullsec.

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One Response to Terrible Ideas: EW, Intel Tools, and Nullsec

  1. […] I have touched on the linked topics of Local and intel gathering before, but I've been meaning to revisit the topic as part of my thoughts for a more comprehensive […]