The increase in player structures means an increase in demand for planetary goods for structure construction. In my opinion, this will mean Planetary Interaction (PI) will need a design balance/overhaul at some point in the near future.
One mechanic that has always bothered me (and more so now in its current form) is the method in which players move products on and off world. I’ve never liked the Customs Office, but the current implementation doesn’t feel like Eve-themed game-play to me – that is the passive income generated by constructing and then leaving a Customs Office. No further interaction required (barring someone blowing it up).
I have a more interactive risk-vs-reward approach I’d like the community’s (and developers if they’re reading) opinion on.
With the introduction of the mobile structures mechanics, I began to think about something I started calling (for lack of a better name) an Orbital Storage Bay (OSB). A small structure that is anchored somewhere in orbit of a planet you have a base on and allows you to move product into and out of said base.
Let’s start with the Reward:
For the cost of a single OSB, a player could move product to and from a base for free. Not only that, but the OSB could be built into the production links of the planetary base so that product a player deposits into the OSB could be automatically moved into production facilities and finished product could be moved back into the OSB.
Anchoring an OSB would be require a player to scan for an optimal orbital location. Essentially somewhere near the planet, but off the warp in grid for said planet. Once the scan pinpoints to location, simply warp to the site and drop your structure. Link to the base and you’re good to go.
What fun is reward without some risk?
OSBs only last for two or three days (similar to a Mobile Tractor Unit) before they disintegrate, taking any material they contain with them, unless the owner returns to interact with it (pickup, dropoff, etc). Use it or lose it, so to speak.
I also thought that it should be possible for other players to loot an OSB. My first thought was simply scanning it down, blowing it up, and taking whatever it happened to drop. While fun on some level, it’s not very engaging. Not after the first dozen or so anyways.
Instead, I thought about using hacking to access an OSB. A player with nefarious intent can scan down an OSB, and hack into it just as they would a relic or data site. Successfully open the structure and all the goodies inside are theirs for the taking.
To give owners some manner of defense, I thought an EveMail or alert of some kind to the owner from the structure stating that it was being hacked would give him/her time to mount a defense if they so chose.
Additionally, a new skill I called Encryption (again, for lack of a better name) could be trained to increase the complexity of the required hack, or to add multiple layers to the hack. (For example, Level 2 Encryption means a hacker would have to go through 2 hacking ‘maps’ successfully, thus increasing the time they are at the structure and giving the owner more time to arrive and defend it.)
As far as blowing them up, I can’t decide which would be better; whether it should just explode like a Mobile Tractor Unit or be reinforced like a Mobile Depot.
Any thoughts, comments, or criticisms are greatly appreciated!