Warfare on taking down Forts and above has devolved into you either spam it with fighters at range or you spam it with enough legions or hard to track ships to down it without much risk if the structure is manned or not anymore.
Dreads are not really used anymore for structure bashing these days. You have a lot of fighters on field and a lot of ships on field and the server lag is just insane.
We all know that AOE damage is not something EvE servers like to process so a possible suggestion.
What about a precursor based multi targeting/defensive array? When you activate the module a sphere of X radius space around the structure has targeting lasers put on any fighters / ships in that sphere. The sphere to be decided by accepted standards. You would have X amount of seconds to warp off before precursor beams hit all objects in the sphere that damage then starts to quickly ramp up on.
This would kill off fighters, small ships, etc to where using dreads are viable and lowering the objects on grids are viable.
Ie the main problem being that a structure has 4 weapon slots to use for its defense against X number of ships arrayed against it and those weapons have to be setup for ship types so you are either damaging caps or sub caps further limiting number of weapons that can be brought to bear against a small gang.
Iirc one of the concepts regarding the transition from POS to Citadels was to encourage/coerce people into fighting over grid control. That’s why an unmanned Citadel has no defenses and most manned Citadels can’t be defended against most aggressors without an actual fleet being brought in. In practise this already existed with POS, only that the auto-defenses meant that you didn’t have to form fleets for any crappy attempt at taking down your structure.
There are quite a few really great things about Citadels…
but the warfare side, the economic aspect and as a result their role is just totally botched and has been from the beginning. They should have been way more expensive and way more powerful in return. Either that or way more limited in their economic capabilities. Likewise, they should never had any kind of asset safety, in any area of space. The fact alone that any unfueled Citadel offers a safezone in space at zero upkeep costs, until someone makes the effort to take it down, is purely ridiculous. On the other hand, it’s also pretty stupid that there is no need to do anykind of reconnaisance to find the structures, as you had to do with POS.
The weak defenses you see now are direct result of (understandable) player nagging about how they shouldn’t be too hard to kill in their current state. And yes, they shouldn’t. Because they are nothing more than cheap things anyone can spam into space at any time.
While I sympathize with your idea of stronger weapon systems for them, this would only ever make sense if all the other topics around them would be touched as well and it’s simply too late for that. There is no going back from them being cheap as f*ck. CCP will not get rid of asset safety and they will not do a complete overhaul of Citadel mechanics. If anything there will be some cosmetical changes and you can be sure that those won’t go into the direction of making them stronger against any fleet, because if only that would be touched (and they wouldn’t touch more than that), it would put them in an even weirder place.
They haven’t even gotten around to making turret weapons for citadels. I wouldn’t get my hopes up they’ll do something like this.
Not to mention that on the list of stuff that needs to change about citadels, their defensive modules are at least a dozen items from the top.
This already exists, in the form of aoe point defense systems.
They can only be placed on larger citadels. And that’s the point.
The smaller citadels are supposed to be weaker. They are cheaper, smaller, easier to replace. You can’t expect an astrahaus to be a counter to everything it comes in contact with.
Fighters swarms is a reason for a TiDi plague. Any means to reduce fighters amount in citadel fight is a good to have, IMHO. Just make sure it will focus on small ships…
Fighter range occurs outside of the AOE range even on a rigged fort.
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