Seasoning is the term I believe best describes a set of mechanics that I have designed to make attacking citadels more palatable. Currently, there are no mechanics in place available to the attacker to help give them an advantage while attacking undefended structures. Much like SBUs, Outposts, and IHUBs from Dominion Sov, undefended Citadels serve only as gigantic hitpoint sponges. These mechanics are designed to be best utilized against undefended citadels that have been anchored but are not being used by the corporation who anchored them. However, if an attacking entity utilizes these mechanics well, or if the defending entity does not sufficiently defend themselves from these mechanics, they can be deployed during active citadel conflicts.
The two mechanics that are proposed here, are codenamed Sugar and Spice. Sugar is an anchorable structure that is similar in looks to our old friend, the SBU. It is a structure that, when anchored within 300km of a citadel, protected for a 4h anchoring phase, as well as another 4 hour on-lining phase. The structure will show up on the overview and in space, but will not be D-scannable. This is so that only by visiting the structure the Sugar is effecting will the defender realize that there is an enemy structure anchored around one of their citadels. Sugar itself will have POS structure resistances, and will be available in all 4 NPC faction colours that will also determine the structure’s shield resistances similar to POSes. It will not have a reinforcement timer, but will notify the deploying alliance it is being attacked like IHUBs. The structures will be able to be removed from space within 30 minutes if shot at by 7-10 ships with Battlecruiser level DPS. The first explicit effect Sugar will have, is that it will remove the shield reinforcement timer whenever the structure it is anchored near starts its vulnerability phase. This will allow the attacker to remove the structure’s shield and armour hitpoints in one fleet deployment if Sugar is not destroyed prior to the vulnerability phase. If Sugar is destroyed after the vulnerability phase begins, its effects on the reinforcement timers will still be present.
Obviously, it’s intended that this module be used against citadels that are either forgotten by the defenders, or a structure that they do not intend to defend. It gives the attackers an opportunity to reduce the amount of boring gameplay they have to deal with while attacking space with citadels that are undefended.
The second mechanic is called Spice. Spice is a set of dropships that are deployed by Carriers and Supercarriers using standard fighter mechanics. These dropships have no weapons, no mobility modules, but their special ability allows them to deploy themselves onto hostile citadels. The dropships should have a relatively slow speed that would require the carrier to either launch them close to the citadel (and thus in scram range of the weapons) or really far away, and have to wait for the vulnerable dropships to arrive. They will have identical resistance profiles to the racial heavy fighters, and have similar EHP. The dropships are intended to be flown to the citadel that is being attacked, and have their special ability activated. Once activated, the dropships will fly to the model of the citadel itself, and latch themselves onto the outside of the hull. Dropships will be deployed in wings of 4.
The effect of a dropship successfully reaching the citadel, is that it will increase the DPS limit of the current or next vulnerability phase of the citadel. Dropships deployed prior to the vulnerability phase will have their effect per dropship on the DPS limit reduced by 50%. However, dropships deployed during the vulnerability phase will have 100% effectiveness on the DPS limit. The effect of 40 100% effective dropships will be the maximum impact this mechanic will have on the DPS limit. I believe that the maximum impact these dropships should have on the citadel DPS limit should be 20%, at 0.5% increase per 100% effective dropship. Deploying 40 dropships should cost between 100-200m ISK.
Obviously numbers can be changed depending on balance. I’ve brainstormed this idea trying to keep the new/custom code to a minimum, and trying to keep the interactions of these mechanics with other entities in the game as simple as I could. I’m not a software engineer, so I’m not 100% sure how much time this would require to code. Models for the SBU can be reused for Sugar, and the model from the dropships in the Prophesy trailer can be used for Spice - unless the work could be put in to make empire specific models (yes please!).
Let me know what you think of this idea.