Mercenary Contracts, NPCs for hire, Hunting Missions and Distress Calls:

yesterday i was discussing in a chat channel about what would happen if you were on top standing (or at least good terms) with a faction or corporation. i have yet to know what it means to be on high standing with a pirate or empire faction but the case of mining ops giving you reps and stuff if helping them gave me a series of ideas regarding extra NPC things, among other stuff:

1. NPCs for Hire:

this concept came up mostly as the EVE version of a “Companion” system. i know the game is fundamentally oriented towards interactions between players, and that people usually carries a lot of alts to cover stuff when they dont have friends or corpmates to help them in fleet. hiring NPCs could be the same option for those that dont want to manage a lot of accounts. the idea is pretty barebones (i think) so here’s the basic features of the system:

-this service is accessed from a “Mercenary Office” button in NPC stations
-player has to have a positive standing of 3 or more with the faction owning the station in order to get this service
-NPCs for hire are posted in a list and the fit of their ships is random (it could be a tackler, logic, EWAR, etc…)
-the list is updated every hour and changes completely after 24 hours
-NPCs are divided by 5 ranks with rank 1 being frigates, rank 2 destroyers, and so on (there’s only subcaps)
-hired NPCs will impose an isk/hour tax based on its rank. additionally you have to pay a hiring fee that is significantly higher than the upkeep cost.
-the amount of NPCs hired scales with faction standings, with the minimum 1 being at standing 3. (you can hire 3 NPCs in total)
-when hired, the player will enter into fleet automatically with the NPCs. getting out of it will end the contract with the NPCs warping out and disappearing
-hired NPCs can be attacked by anyone, attacking one of your NPCs will break the contract and thus will cause the mercenaries to act as extra hostile NPCs
-both aggressing and killing hired NPCs incur in a heavy standing loss
-hired NPCs dont have bounties and dont drop bounties or salvage
-the player can end the contract by right clicking each pilot in fleet or by droping from it.
-hired NPCs will orbit the player when idle and will responding on other pilots attacking the player or other members of the fleet

the main concept is that when having fairly high standing the player can pay to hire extra manpower for its operations. the DPS and tank of these mercenaries is pretty standard for PvE situations so they shouldnt impose the same threat as a dedicated player gang with dedicated ship fits. they act more like diamond rats following you and providing support.

2. Mercenary Contracts:

like the name implies, this is a new type of contract that can be created by players which consist on the following:

-the contractor can setup an hourly pay (for the duration of the contract) or flat payout that is given based on the amount of isk destroyed by the contracted player.
-the contractor will have to setup a collateral that will be paid out if the contract is cancelled
-there’s a defensive and offensive option in the contract to define if the contractor is needing protection or needs to atack someone
-targets can be players, corps and alliances depending on the contractor’s rights
-contracted and contractors cannot attack each other for the duration of the contract
-contracted players that are hired by a contractor with a wardec will be included into the war as defenders for the duration of the contract

the idea is that you can setup a contract for bodyguards or hitmen that will receive an hourly pay or will get paid based on how much stuff they destroy when protecting the player or destroying enemy assets. the contract puts them as “bluetrals” for the duration and those hired will join in the war if there’s any. i know there’s a possible case where an entity can hire someone and use 3rd party alts to grief it but these kind of stuff cannot be evaded afaik.

3. Hunting Missions:

these are a special kind of mission similar to Burners but with a more “seek and destroy” approach. the player wont get noticed of the enemy traits, instead, the player will have to make sure to be ready for anything in the encounter. but before that, it will have to look for clues on the whereabouts of the enemy, sometimes with the help of probes or analyzers.

the enemy wouldnt be as heavy as a burner rat, but will still have a much more advanced AI than typical mission rats so the player will have to be ready to deal with scram, webs and EWAR if present, perhaps even drones. Hunting missions would be spread on all the lvls with a payout consistent with the agent lvl and security lvl, perhaps slightly better than the other missions received from that same agent as compensation for the lack of loot or salvage.

4. Distress Calls:

these are randomized events that happen in space near celestials or in deadspace pockets. unlike anomalies and signatures, Distress Calls only last a few hours and present different situations like empire transports being attacked by pirate rats, rogue drones setting up a mining operation, NPC ships getting stranded and asking for repairs, an encounter between 2 pirate gangs. among other things.

the rewards of these short events come mostly in the form of standing gains, some bounties, salvage, perhaps loot or ore/minerals. perhaps a bookmark to a container with goodies. or just plain isk payout for services rendered.

not a main source of income but a much more dynamic activity to pass the time when bored of running missions or anoms. and also, for more atmosphere and “life” in the solar systems outside of player activity.

No pets. Ever. Period. End of. Just no.

You say the point of pets is because you don’t have friends or alts…but you don’t seem to have thought about me having pets AND my alts also having pets AND my friends having pets with alts with pets. In fact, it’s going to be a lot easier to multi box on several accounts, all with alts and friends and pets…because at the end of the day, what you are describing is in fact drones.


I want little rogue drone pet that salvage behind me

drones are basically deployable weapons, its not the same thing. and again, there’s an upkeep cost to keep those “pets” running around so i dont see how that would be best in the long run for multiboxing. its just an extra service you can get but have to keep it with isk, its not a drone that you can just replace if lost then lives infinitely without spending more than the buying cost.

the system is made so people have it hard to exploit:

  1. you have to get high standing with the faction that provides the service which means living on NPC populated regions
  2. you are put on a premade fleet the moment you hire the NPCs, you could add more players but they cant bring more NPCs and of course, they occupy slots for fleetmembers
  3. there’s a hiring cost and an hourly upkeep tax to keep the contract working so these guys will bleed your wallet the more you have them

at best the system makes it both an optional service and an isk sink.

/Thread. Aside from the design principle issue with replacing player interactions with NPCs this would just get abused to turn 500-man fleets into 5000-man fleets.

If the cost is high enough to discourage people from multiboxing then it will be too high for anyone else to use it.

you have to get high standing with the faction that provides the service which means living on NPC populated regions

Getting standings is easy. Farm level 4 missions for a while, have standings. And if the standings requirement gets too high you just exclude newer players (the people who lack friends and “need” NPC allies) from using your system.

you are put on a premade fleet the moment you hire the NPCs, you could add more players but they cant bring more NPCs and of course, they occupy slots for fleetmembers

This is easily dealt with. Sure, you lose the fleet warp button and command ship buffs but serious PvP players are already using third-party voice comms to run their fleets. Each player is in a fleet with their NPC pets, and the FC calls targets on voice comms for everyone.

So either they become typical use for everyone like faction ammo or it’s for rich people only. Just another way for bigger older groups to stomp on noobs.

Awesome gameplay.

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