Introduction and Justifications
So, a lot of people are kind of unhappy with the state of moon mining and how the lack of passive income streams have translated into a lack of conflict drivers. @Phantomite has talked about this a lot and I think he’s really on the money as far as this goes. The “mine huge chunks out of the moon with te laser” system is kind of neat, but also…it’s really not a very good conflict driver. (Phantomite I’ve @ed you here because this seemed like the sort of thing you might like and my apologies for bothering you if you don’t.)
So, there currently is a passive income stream system already present in every system in EVE, which works (relatively) well and could serve as a model for how to develop better passive income streams going forward. That model is Planetary Interaction. (I know, I know, PI is kind of garbage, but as a middle road between completely passive and completely active income it’s pretty solid, it could definitely stand to be iterated upon and CCP hasn’t really touched it in years and years so iterating upon it both in terms of the UI and the gameplay flow would probably be called for here if this proposal goes anywhere.)
Planets are also, like moons, a fixed resource. You can’t really coax an infinite amount of resources out of a planet. They’re something to fight over, potentially. However, currently, PI resources are very common. They form a lot of fundamental building blocks, but you can get them everywhere and there’s not very much rarity to any of the resources acquired this way. They’re also a source of personal ISK, not a source of corporate ISK. All that being said, these are all things that could be worked out without fundamentally restructuring the system. it would also be an opportunity to make all of the moons of EVE more interesting and vibrant places.
Okay Saede, so where’s the actual proposal?
T2 Material Acquisition, Planetary Interaction Style
The TL;DR is that you make T2 moon minerals acquired from both planets and moons using a process similar to PI but at the corporation level instead of the personal level.
So the first step in this proposal is to completely throw out the current moon mining system. (Don’t worry, the refinery big laser will still have a role, we’ll get back to that later.) We’ll also change all of the moons from being all barren airless rocks. A randomizer will instead assign the moon a planet type from the same pool that all of the regular planets exist within (except gas giants). Perhaps weight it slightly towards barrens being more common if you think an overabundance of forest moons is unrealistic. But this would mean you could have barren moons, temperate moons, lava moons, plasma moons, ice moons, and oceanic moons, with all the regular PI materials available on all these moons, with resource distribution weighted by truesec the same way that current PI is weighted.
Finding T2 Materials
In order to find T2 materials in this new system, you still need what are currently moon probes, but now they can be activated on both planets and moons. You still need to fly around on your ship, launch probes at surfaces, and scan them. This process could probably be updated somewhat since I’m pretty sure those probes haven’t been touched in like a decade but the basic gameplay of “warp ship around and launch probes to scan planets and moons” would remain the same.
T2 material deposits would exist in fixed quantities that bubble up on planets and moons over time. They would be weighted by truesec and planet type so certain minerals would be more likely on certain types of planetary bodies (again exempting gas giants, you can’t get T2 mats from gas giants, maybe have another form of new gameplay involving them and other gasses or something). You could potentially also add a system that makes certain T2 mats more likely in certain nullsec regions, thus incentivizing combat over those regions, but it would still be variable and you might get lucky and find an R64 deposit anywhere with good enough truesec.
The planetary body would generate a deposit of a specific size in a specific location on the planet’s surface and once it was mined out, it would be gone and you would need to find another source. A corporation with maxed bonuses should be able to mine out a planet or moon in somewhere between 6 months for the smallest deposits and a year and a half for the largest ones. So holding space is important, but you do still need to move around from time to time and your claims won’t be infinite money pumps.
Harvesting T2 Materials
Okay so, you’ve scoured your alliance’s space and found a juicy R64 deposit, how do you get it? Well first, you need to put a refinery in orbit of it, same as now you can only put one refinery in the location. Then, like now, you blast it with the big laser! However…well blasting a planet with this thing is generally considered bad for the planet. When you use your big laser on the planet, the normal PI resources are zeroed out in a large area around the blast point. When you shoot the laser at your deposit you blow a huge cloud of (mineable) debris into space and leave cool scars etched onto the planet’s surface which you can see from orbit the same way you can see the Caldari Prime titan fall scars. You also can’t do this in highsec because CONCORD doesn’t like you shooting inhabited worlds with a big laser. The debris in orbit is a relatively small amount of resources but they’re resources and you can mine them because why wouldn’t you be able to mine them? The scars on the planet however will persist until the deposit is gone. This is important because it, in addition to the presence of the refinery, broadcasts to your enemies that you are mining this surface and might be a juicy target to attack. This adds a small additional element of risk to your mining operations.
Once you’ve fired the big laser beam, a new system in the refinery becomes accessible to anyone with the proper roles (probably config starbase). This new system is the PI system, but instead of being a PI material production chain, it is now a T2 material production chain. You use PI facilities that you build in the crater you just carved out in order to mine T2 materials and refine them. At the end of this production chain is your orbital transfer point. The materials are automatically shipped from the surface through the orbital transfer point to your refinery where you collect them. You don’t need to collect them from the orbital transfer point directly but you do need to have one. At the cheap end, with low material bandwidth, this transfer point is just the customs office. At the high end, this transfer point could be an entire space elevator (we know you have the model tucked away on your internal servers CCP, we’ve seen it in enough trailers).
If the orbital transfer point is reinforced or destroyed the flow of resources stops, if the refinery hits structure reinforcement the flow of resources also stops. The currently useless mobile siphon units can be set up at the orbital transfer points as well. This means that not only can you attack resource supplies outright, but you can also perform hit and run attacks and steal resources from your enemies. If you wanted to really make things interesting, you could also reintroduce orbital strike ammo and make PI and corporate PI facilities targetable with it if you hack the customs office to establish a targeting solution. The idea here is to have multiple points in the process to mess with it so despite it being a passive income source, it’s a “soft target” passive income source that doesn’t take a huge capital blob to interfere with.
The goals of this system are to make it so there are fixed things in space worth fighting for, make those things sufficiently soft targets that small groups can harass larger groups for those things, and make New Eden a more interesting and vibrant universe in the process by making the moons more than just clones of the Earth’s moon. This is a rough draft and I’d expect any such proposal to see massive iterations before being implemented even if everyone involved absolutely loved it but I think this would be a big step in the right direction for gameplay, content drivers, and the overall feel of the universe. Thank you for letting me waste your last 15 minutes, fly safe.