A lot of folks have tossed around the idea of capital ships in hisec before, and I think that is a horrible idea.
However, I’ve been tossing around an idea (actually, now a few different ones) for a while regarding limited capital ship access to hisec and I’d like to share it here. (I brought up a similar idea on the old forums a few years back, but I’ve refined it some since then.)
What wouldn’t change:
- No cynos in hisec.
- No Supers, Titans, Rorquals, or FAXes in hisec.
- No Capital Ship production in hisec. (But sales of capital ships would still be allowed.)
- Capital ships can jump out of hisec to an available cyno/beacon.
- Capital ships would remain unable to use (or be made unable to use if need be) existing hisec acceleration gates (missions, signatures, etc.).
What would change (all versions)
- Carriers and Dreadnaughts would be able to enter 0.5, 0.6, and 0.7 systems via stargates. 0.8, 0.9, and 1.0 systems would still be off limits.
- The act of being in hisec space (i.e. undocked) in a capital ship would flag a pilot as suspect. This flag would renew constantly while undocked in hisec in a capital ship so it would last until the pilot docks or changes into a subcapital ship. (Plus 15 minutes as with all suspect flags.)
- CONCORD response strength for criminal activity in a capital ship would be increased to keep protection in line with sub-capital ships. CONCORD response time would remain unaffected at first, but could be reduced later if need be for balance purposes.
- Jumping into hisec when doing so would produce a suspect flag would be disallowed should a pilot’s safety settings be set to maximum.
- All of these changes (and the ones listed below) would apply to current legacy hisec capital ships.
What would change (version 1):
- The “suspect in a hisec capital ship” response would be avoided if the pilot (not their corp or alliance) has sufficiently high standings with the empire faction of the system they are in.
3.0 faction standings for 0.5 space
5.0 faction standings for 0.6 space
7.0 faction standings for 0.7 space
- Dropping below the standings requirements while in space would immediately flag you as suspect.
What would change (version 2):
- A new corporation setting, “Enable Hisec Capitals”, would be added. It could only be set if the corporation was wardec eligible, and it would automatically be toggled off if the corp became wardec ineligible. Declaring war on a corporation set to “Enable Hisec Capitals” would have the cost substantially reduced.
- The “suspect in a hisec capital ship” response would be avoided if the pilot were in a corporation with “Enable Hisec Capitals” set.
- Leaving (or being kicked from) your corp while in space, or your corp no longer enabling hisec capitals while in space, would immediately flag you as a suspect.
What would change (version 3):
- The “suspect in a hisec capital ship” response would be avoided if the pilot were enrolled in faction warfare (either individually, or through their corporation/alliance), but only in the faction they are currently enrolled with. This would not include faction allies. (So Caldari militia could fly capital ships in Caldari hisec only, not Caldari and Amarr.)
- Ending your militia service while in space would immediately flag you as suspect.
What would change (version 4):
- Nothing. There would be no escaping the suspect flag while operating an allowed capital ship in hisec.
Why the change at all? (From a lore standpoint)
With the rise of the Drifters and the Triglavian Collective, the empire factions have had their collective military strength drained by these new threats. The previous limits on capsuleer capital ship activity in high security space was intended as a means to protect their sovereignty, but now that sovereignty is under attack from elsewhere.
As a result, the empire factions, along with CONCORD, agreed to allow limited capsuleer capital ship capabilities on the peripheries of high security space as a deterrent to the Drifters and the Triglavian Collective so that the empires could focus their defenses on their core worlds. In order to avoid possible encroachment by hostile capsuleers, the empires requested that CONCORD limit such activity to capsuleers who were not already shown as loyal to the faction whos space they were operating in, either by standings or by volunteer service to the local militia. (Or, in Version 2, CONCORD would be limiting such activity to players who agreed to make themselves more susceptible to other capsuleers keeping them in check.)
Why the change at all? (From a gameplay standpoint)
These changes would create a sort of “midsec” (i.e. middle security space) on the edges of hisec. Pilots not meeting any of the criteria could try their luck at operating capital ships there as permanent suspects, and pilots wanting to interfere with said luck would have opportunities to do so. Pilots with excellent faction standings or current militia service would receive a hefty reward for their loyalty, or pilots willing to expose themselves to increased risk via wardec would be rewarded for taking that risk. Mission runners could use capital ships to complete gateless combat missions (although I’ve done the math on this, and I doubt it would be of much benefit in terms of ISK/hour). Mercenary corps could utilize capital ships for structure-bashing (or structure defending) contracts, which they could charge higher fees for. Intrepid merchants could establish new hisec trading hubs with a special focus on capital ships.
In the end, more capital ships would end up exploded, and exploding other things, without impacting hisec as a whole too much, or the core of hisec at all. And more explosions are a good thing, right?
But what about suicide ganking?
In terms of available EHP, Carriers and Dreads, depending on how they are fit, will range in difficulty to gank from a max tanked freighter to about double or triple that EHP. Yes, they will be safer than freighters, and I’m aware that they could potentially get used as a safer hauling alternative. But most, if not all, of the major hauling trade routes start, end, or pass through systems of 0.8 security status or higher, so there would still be points where more vulnerable ships would have to be used to move bulk goods. This change wouldn’t eliminate suicide ganking of freighters, but it would likely change where that ganking took place.
And yes, there is the possibility that dreads would be used for suicide ganking. I can almost guarantee that it will happen. But would it be cost effective? Not really. Sure a gank Moros puts out an astounding amount of DPS, but five or six Polarized Taloses will match that DPS with better tracking and better mobility for a fraction of the price.
But what about the nullsec blocs?
One of the main concerns with hisec capital ships is the ability for nullsec blocs to hide capital fleets in relative safety, or to travel to distant regions without having to use jump drives. Such fleet move ops would be limited to pilots with sufficiently high faction standings, or to moving while suspect. In addition, there is no way to cross hisec (at least not that I can find) without being blocked by at least one 0.8 system. It would be possible to save some time by traveling some distance into hisec and then jumping to losec, but such an op would still be limited in the number of pilots it could utilize or only be executed under relatively high risk.
There is also concern with large nullsec groups moving into 0.5 space with capital fleets and monopolizing the moon mining going on there. I feel like it’s pretty safe to dispel this fear because if such groups were interested in 0.5 moon minerals, they’d already be making efforts to monopolize them with subcap fleets. At the time of this posting, this doesn’t appear to be the case.
I know that all versions of this are a controversial idea and I will likely get a lot of pushback on it. I’m not entirely sold on it myself because even with all of the limits and restrictions I have in place, there’s still potential for abuse. I see this a way to hopefully draw some players away from the core of hisec (admittedly while pushing some others further into it) and adding more depth to the current distinction between just hisec, losec, and null.
Plus…more exploded capital ships…
Thoughts and feedback are encouraged.
- Added version 2 as an alternative.
- Settled on “No Faxes” to both proposals. Hisec should still remain primarily a place for subcaps, and FAXes simply do too much to negate subcapital damage.
- Added commentary about suicide ganking.
- Reorganized and streamlined existing proposals and added version 3 as another alternative.
- Added version 4 as an alternative.