TLDR: Give structures fuel bays and baseline fuel requirements in order to reinforce. Tie refueling to sov in order to limit the ability of an attacking force to stage inside of a defender’s space and give a sucessful attacker a way to remove defender’s structures. Reduce the number of timers for medium structures (i.e. Astrahus).
Background: Right now, citadel combat and sov mechanics are a bit out of whack. Already, it’s discussed frequently that we are post-Fozziesov or that we are in “citadel sov” as the ability to stage forces with citadels, regardless of sov status, has made sov largely obsolete. With the removal of outposts in the near future, sov is quickly going to mean almost nothing, and all the work that was done on Fozziesov (which is a pretty good mechanic IMO) will be wasted. Citadels, on the other hand, are fantastic (too fantastic IMO) as both offensive and defensive tools. On the offense, for a mere billion isk, an Astrahus can be dropped as a staging point, and as long as it survives it’s short initial vulnerability timer, and it’s short vulnerability timer at the 24 hour mark, it can’t be taken down for something like a week. On the defense, a system can be cluttered with many citadels, making it a massive grind to actually evict someone from a section of space. Finally, abandoned structures all over New Eden clutter up the game, and will eventually impact game performance if there is no reasonable way to remove them.
Give structures a token baseline fuel requirement and a relatively large fuel bay. From a design standpoint, I would say aim for them to be refueled once a month or so (I’m not extremely committed to this timeframe and it could be adjusted). If the structure runs out of fuel, it does not reinforce when attacked.
Make a mechanic that allows the sov owner decide what structures may be fueled. If you drop a structure in space that you don’t own, as soon as it goes up it can be taken down without a reinforcement timer unless the sov owner allows you to fuel it. This will prevent defacto ownership of a system without actually fighting for the sov. In addition, if you take a system, this will give you a mechanism to remove structures from other people relatively easily after you own it for a bit and those structures run out of fuel.
Reduce medium structures to a single reinforcement timer, or two attacks to destroy rather than the current three. This will reduce the general Astrahus spam and make them a little easier to attack in all sections of space, as well as balance them with larger structures, which are almost easier to take down due to longer vulnerability periods.