This makes sense, however, I think you could drive players toward those structures while still making NPC stations more interactive for players, and most particularly newer, less experienced players. Let’s say you’re a new player just starting out. You finish the training missions, wherein you learn how to run missions, mine, and do some basic manufacturing.
These activities appeal to you, it’s what you know so far about the game, and you want some ISK. You dive right in. As you run more missions, your rep with the corporation that owns your home station goes up and your manufacturing taxes at the station goes down. This is satisfying feedback from the game and makes it feel as though your various activities feed into each other, that you’re truly leveling up as a player.
Along the way, you discover player owned structures. Their taxes are lower, even lower than you could achieve through standings gains. Perhaps you move your manufacturing there. It is unlikely that you know the station owners at this point much less understand the war mechanics, but it’s possible you’re made aware of the risks and accept them anyway. Maybe you start thinking about owning your own station, or you join a corporation that provides such facilities.
Then again, maybe you would prefer not to manufacture at a station owned by another player. Maybe you prefer to play solo and don’t want to invest in placing a station everywhere you want to manufacture. For example, I like to bounce around in different areas of NPC nullsec, where I tend to have standings with the nearby NPC factions, but where I don’t necessarily want to maintain a Raitaru in every area I want to do a little manufacturing in. It would be nice to receive a tax discount with that NPC corp in the same way I get discounts on broker fees and refining costs, even if it’s not as good as the discount I could get from my own station.
From a game design standpoint, I don’t understand why CCP wants to drive players into their own stations at all. This is just another example of why the sandbox isn’t a sandbox. If players choose to manufacture out of NPC stations, that should be as interesting and rewarding as game balance can reasonably allow. I don’t dispute that the rewards should be better the more investment a player puts in, but why should the investment of running missions be counted as significantly less important than the investment of buying and maintaining a station?