BB44 – Nullsec Revamp Part I: Intel Gathering

January 17, 2013
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The EVE blogosphere is abuzz with discussion about the Local channel and intel gathering methods – so much so that Seismic Stan of Freebooted has made it the topic of the 44th Blog Banter. Rixx Javix of EVEOGANDA has dramatically declared, "If you change it, I'll quit!"

Now, 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 revamp of nullsec (with occasional touching on other areas of the game), and this provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

Finally, this post and the ones that will follow it are tagged with "terrible ideas" for a reason – not because I actually think they're terrible (I wouldn't post them if I did), but because I'm sure there are things I'm overlooking or haven't fully considered. Feel free to leave criticism in the comments.

Intel Gathering

In my experience in EVE – which includes flying in nullsec fleet ops, FCing lowsec roams, living in W-space, and general travel through all of those regions – there are three fundamental tools used to gather intel: Local, d-scan, and the starmap.

Local

Currently, local is the same across all regions of space (with the sole exception of w-space); it provides perfect information about all pilots in a system, to all pilots in a system. No-one can come or go without two entire star systems knowing about it – the one he left, and the one he entered. They can see his name, his standings, and with trivial effort, his entire employment history.

To many people, myself included, that seems a little excessive. How would I change it?

In highsec, Local would remain as is. CONCORD likes to keep tabs on everyone in their domain, and they share some of this information with the rest of us to help us remain safe.

In lowsec, Local would display the number of people in system, and sort them by standing – you would know the total number of people in system, as well as how many friendlies, how many neutrals, and how many hostiles, as well as corp-, alliance-, and fleet-mates. Basically, if it has a little icon that shows up in Local now, it would be displayed in Local after this change, but with a number attached to it rather than a character name.

In nullsec, Local would default to displaying only the number of people in system. In sov space, freestanding upgrades called Stargate Traffic Monitors would be available to make Local function as if the system were lowsec.

In w-space, Local would continue to function exactly as it does now.

D-scan

D-scan is, in my opinion, a tiny bit too good in one way: it perfectly identifies the ship type of all ships in range. I would rather see the directional scanner report the name, race, and signature radius of detected ships, along an estimated ship class based on that signature radius, according to a table such as this one:

Detected Sig Radius

Assigned Ship Class

29m or smaller

Shuttle

30-59m

Frigate

60-64m

Destroyer

65-199m

Cruiser

200-299m

Battlecruiser

300-1499m

Battleship

1500-5999m

Capital

6000m or bigger

Supercapital

Those numbers probably need to be adjusted, but the idea should be clear. The goals here are 1) to enable gameplay around using modules that adjust your sig radius to misrepresent the capabilities of your ship or fleet, and 2) to allow sig radius savants the chance to glean a bit more information without crippling people who aren't. Stationary objects such as anchored cans or POSes would still be recognized for what they are, rather than being mislabeled according to their sig radius.

Related to the first goal mentioned in the previous paragraph, a new module might be introduced – call it the Signature Damper, an active lowslot module that can be loaded with scripts that reduce your signature radius and your shield hp by some percentage – 10%, 25%, and 50%, perhaps – to allow larger ships to masquerade as smaller ones. An active scan system similar to that suggested by Poetic Stanziel might be able to see past the sig radius to positively identify ship classes, at the cost of alerting your targets that you've seen through their ruse.

In sov space, a freestanding upgrade called a Passive Sensor Array would be available to give members of the owning alliance the ability to detect how far away from them all the objects on their d-scan are.

Starmap

At last we come to the starmap. Overall, I think the intel provided by the starmap is in a pretty good place as it is, but there is one change I would make.

First, for any system in which you have a corp-, alliance-, or fleet-mate, or which your alliance has upgraded with Stargate Traffic Monitors, the starmap would display an accurate-to-the-second count of the number of people in system on the starmap. For highsec, lowsec, or those upgraded nullsec systems, it would also also be able to display a breakdown of the people in those systems by standings.

Once you no longer have corp, alliance, or fleet eyes in a system, the starmap would continue to display the population count they last "reported" alongside the normal 30-minute average, until 30 minutes after they left system.

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3 Responses to BB44 – Nullsec Revamp Part I: Intel Gathering

  1. BB44 Local at a distance | A Missioneer in Eve on January 21, 2013 at 7:43 am

    […] Intel Gathering by Anshu Zephyran @ Structure Damage […]

  2. […] Intel Gathering by Anshu Zephyran @ Structure Damage […]

  3. […] Stargate Traffic Monitor: If an alliance were to have a Stargate Traffic Monitor anchored at more than half the gates in a system, Local would function as if the system was lowsec (see part I). […]