I am not sure if this idea has been suggested, but this would make for a grand idea that would open up a lot more options for players.
So on with it;
The Fleet Escort Function,
Lets say you have a freighter.
Lets say there is a bunch of gankers ready to intercept you.
You have a group of players that escort you, like a fleet follow mode, they enter warp only when you enter warp, regardless of how fast their warp alignment is, they jump star gates only when you jump the star gate.
When you land on the other side, you land in close proximity of each other.
There’s a catch though; when you are using this fleet escort mode, a green bubble appears around your convoy, easily identify who you are flying with, and the size of your escort. Your ship signature is also increased by X % due to overlapping with the escorted ship and other ships.
In return your escort ships will auto-lock and target/use modules/weaponry on any ships that engage you, but will only follow you and stay within close proximity of you (no chasing off targets, etc.
Now what will happen is this, if said group of gankers have enough firepower, they will be still be able to overwhelm your freighter and at the same time, be able to kill said escorts if they have enough time.
If they do not, they would have to pick their target wisely, as they would soon be wiped off grid if the escort weaponry can hit them and overwhelm them.
Now here is another suggestion to the fleet escort system; allow the ship being escorted to have some of the damage transferred to their escorts, as a form of human shield.
Another suggestion to the fleet escort system; allow escort contracts to be created, where players can autopilot and make cash as “escort ships”, giving a form of passive/afk income, but create an isk sink where 20 percent of the escort contract (lets say, 100k isk per jump) will be taken as part of the “Escort Guilds Commission ™” fee. That fee is of course removed from the game and taken by Eve.
This allows players with low skill points or even higher skill point players to make money as a form of passive/active income, with less “grinding” (Escorting the ship manually) while providing money for someone that wishes to be escorted, content for players out to pvp (As you would require much more coordination, manpower and teamwork to take out even a fully afk escort fleet).
Contracting rates can be set by the player who wishes to be a fleet escort, and they will wear the cost if their ship is lost. The player piloting the escort ship will automatically be “podded” back to port of call, and if they undock as part of an escort, their pod is automatically set to an unbonused, empty pod.
At the end of the escort, the player can then opt to pay a further amount of isk (Lets say 30 percent) from the contract to “auto-pilot” back to their port of call, thus appearing there in a transition screen, unable to play the game, for a period of time (10 minutes sounds reasonable).
So with all that information, lets say old mate freighter needed to go 30 jumps, and was willing to hire escorts charging 100k per jump, the escort pilots could make 1.5 mil out of the total 3 mil, fully afk. This would provide a reasonable isk sink, but also a method of safety for said freighter pilot.
Other features you could include (Using the Freighter scenario above):
-For more pvp content, the freighter can select which pilots to “untether” in order to allow them to engage in a skirmish, while the freighter escapes; this is for players that prefer a more active pvp playstyle but can’t be arsed to sit around waiting for pvp to show up at their gate, or fly around empty patches of space looking for a fight.
-In a situation where the freighter survives the ambush, a bonus could be paid out and would be advertised as a danger pay bonus.
-The contracted rate still applies even if the freighter blows up, and is paid per jump that the freighter makes, regardless of whether pilots are untethered or tethered.
I am sure I missed a few things, but yeah, discuss, maybe if people think this is a good idea, it might gain some traction from the dev team!
A note to the dev team, think about how many extra subscribers you’d get from people that could play this game on a passive/afk basis, while providing content to PVPers, pirates AND privateers alike.
Note from myself and semi TLDR;
Escort ships, get paid, buy space hookers and party.
More ships to shoot = more fun, amirite?
More ships to defend your freighter or whatever you want escorted means you’d be more likely to make that run that was giving you the heeby jeebies, and sooner?
I would pay 100 mil for moving 1 bil worth of cargo, especially for sketchy patches of space.
-This function could also be applied to mining corporations (who would hire security for their miners).
-If this idea was ever implemented I would definitely not be a fully AFK escort in anything greater than a T1 ship
-@CCP if you actually think this is a great idea and want to implement it, I’d be more than happy to write up a Game Design Document that is more structured and detailed than this, utilising ideas from players that show interest/provide feedback on this idea.