I never got to experience the captain’s quarters. My best idea of how they worked was from this video: EVE Online - goodbye captain's quarters - YouTube " EVE Online - goodbye captain’s quarters"
The think a large part of the problem was that captain’s quarters were just eye candy. They didn’t add anything more to the game than that.
That being said, there is very much something to be said for an interactive environment of this type. Let me give you my spin on this.
Reenvision captain’s quarters as a meta-game for fittings and all things industrial. One interesting example of this this type of environment is in a simulation game called “I Fetch Rocks” I Fetch Rocks on Steam.
Consider all the industrial components of this game, ship fittings, factory jobs, research, reaction formulas. Think if you could, rather than just push a button and check in if it is finished, rather you could interact with your environment. You could turn this into quite an interesting meta-game.
Note, I am not saying to replace the existing push a button and wait, but rather introduce other ways of interacting with the world. This could also be a viable way to differentiate alpha (non-paying) verses omega. The possibilities for what could be introduced are boundless, whereas eye candy interactions like the prior incarnation of the captains quarters were quite limited in potential.
Now for the arguments against:
It takes up developer resources that would better be used on fixing existing things in the game.
In some ways this is true, but it also opens up other opportunities for growth. We need new ideas, not just reworks of existing ideas mostly related to balance mechanics. (nerf vs buff arguments, scarcity vs availability, etc.)
This is a social PvP game, and this distracts from that.
This is a sandbox game, and there are many ways to play it. Often the only engaging (aka fun) way to play it (for many) is the social aspect. That is often due to the fact that much of the other aspects of the game are click and wait. Personally, I am a casual player, and I don’t really have the time to engage socially. I am not knocking PvP, I have no problem with it at all, go ahead try to kill me, but I want something else to do rather than just combat.
It was tried, it didn’t work.
That argument is largely a dodge. We tried electric cars in the early 1900’s, and they didn’t work. Look at electric cars now. Things changes, ideas change, technology changes. This is rarely a valid argument for not doing something. It just means leasons need to be learned as to why it didn’t work.
Older computers can’t handle the changes, that will make the game less accessible.
This is a valid concern, however I’m not saying replace existing systems, rather supplement with valid alternatives. If you want do do a reaction formula the old way, go for it. Here is an example, take data sites, currently you enter a mini-game. In truth, they could have just made a button “hack site”, you would wait, and it would give success/failure. Same end result, just more boring. Older computers would have options available they were capable of, newer hardware would have expanded options.