This idea is pretty meta, so bear with me. It would also greatly increase the scope of CCP, while specifically enriching the game, yet also significantly reducing the TiDi fleeting mess. Of course many people in the game follow hyper-specialized strategies to “win” the game, so the established hyperspecialized player base will be vehemently against such a sweeping change. As such I consign myself to being yellled at, and these players overwhelmingly being negative. I however hope CCP will look beyond that at the potential for this game change to enrich the game.
Slipstream Drives are a function of inner-system warp travel. This can be implemented in-game by means of a specialized vessel or a low slot. The device takes a while to spool up, so i isn’t an instantaneous jump-away device. The propulsion can only be initiated outside a gravity field, so only at some distance from stations, planets and stars. When the drive is initiated, the vessel is moved ‘out of phase’ in space and it moves forward at a significant speed. While this speed is not high enough to match normal in-game warp and can be used to travel (i.e. several ten thousand kilometers per second). It’s main function however is to increase manouvrability and interactivity of ships in-system and allow for total freedom to travel in-system. When engaging the drive, large objects in-system (including mission hubs) become red blobs in the feld of view. The pilot is forced in a forward-facing view and must steer the vessel with up/down/left/right buttons as if piloting. In this space the pilot must manouver around gravity wells and large structures. Other vessels moving in slipstream state also become red blobs of a size commensurate with ship mass. A ship intersecting with a large mass (planet, station, capital sized vessel) or another vessel moving in slipstream (or it’s gravity disturbance blob) drops both vessels out of slipstream at a reasonable distance, say, a hundred kilometers and slipstream can not be re-engaged for a few minutes.
The function is for manouvrability of vessels at “significantly slower than warp” and the choice of fleets to inject themselves in in-system. For narrative purposes, slipstream always avoids Mission (or other) rooms or Abyssal activity, and if a player tries to pinpoint to these always drops vessels at least outside of grid from such spaces, and these are not visible as aforementioned red blobs. Since Slipstream-equipped vesels only interact with capitals when in slipstream they can only be used to manouver in-system and intercept other vessels moving in slipstream, or emerge at a reasonable distance from any red capital blobs… This allows specialized slipstream fleets to intercept competing fleets, take in desirable positions when in fleet combat.
Here’s where it gets interesting and where significant game design discretion is warranted.
(1) Variable slipstream speed: Smaller ships (…frigates?) equipped with S sized slipstream engine move faster than larger sized vessels equipped with such modules. It’s a matter of game design and testing to determine how much this speed difference would be but I would suggest the slowest slipstream ships would move at several 10K km/s relative to the regular grid (i.e. well under 100K km/s). The fastest ships in eve move about 21K km/s, but these would be exceedingly rare.
(2) Nulsec Warp Bubbles do drop slipstream in normal space, and may or may not be visible as red blobs. I leave it up to your imagination how such and such would affect fleet manouvering. Very exciting.
(3) Triglavians (and maybe some other factions) use slipstream technology and will be moving around occupied systems to “sliptackle” targets. Since when moving in slipstream you can’t look behind you (…) you can never be certain when you have a fast triglavian on your tail, unless you move as a concerted team.
(4) Specialized new classes of slipstream bonused (T2?) ships are henceforth known as Littorial class vessels. There should be ‘littoral’ frigate-, destroyer-, cruiser-, and up to battleship sized slipstream vessels, but capitals should not be capable of using slipsteam technology. Specialized vessels might move slightly faster when moving out of phase, or may have other specific benefits.
(5) Certain structures or entities in-system, in-game may only become visible or approachable in-game using a slipstream.
(6) When crossing within a respective distance from a wormhole (say, a thousand kilometers) in-system you instantaneously tumble out into the wormhole system involuntarily. Also, this bubble is NOT visible in slipstream overview.
(7) When flying in slipstream normalspace looks very different. I can envision a very glitzy styke of game design graphics and sound effects to simulate the process of entering slipstream (something that might take up to half a minute for a battleship sized entity) as well as moving in or forcibly dropping out of slipstream.
(8) … Later on (…) there may be the potential for developing new technologies, say torpedo’s, that are launched WHILE IN SLIPSTREAM and have the capability of dropping other vessels by projecting a small slipstream bubble of themselves. So you might later on come to chase other vessels in slipstream and purposefully bump them out in grid ‘by launching stuff at them’.
(9) at the edge of star systems there are things or phenomenon that drop vessels moving too far from the system (i.e., the equivalent kuyper belt) in normal space, as well as increase the spool-up time for the slip stream. Such vessels are stuck there for a few minutes, and can’t warp back into the core of the systems likewise. Their hulls count as “phaselocked” or whatever.
As indicated, this would be a big one, and I fully anticipate being shouted down, be yelled at, but that’s understandable.